Friday, March 13, 2009

Simple Cornbread

I come from a family of good cooks. My mom always made sure to have a stool up to the counter so we could be involved. We sure made big messes! She would always let us experiment and try new things. I've carried it on into my adult life. I experiment with new flavors all the time. I enjoy cooking for others and I've been doing it a lot lately! I've got some of my own creations I'll share in the coming months!

A favorite for my hunny is fresh-out-of-the-oven cornbread. I think it is one of those recipes that is best with simple ingredients. I can't have it (darn you wheat!), but I've tested a couple recipes for my hunny and this is his favorite one so far. It is just as easy as using a box mix, but much better for you.

* 1/2 cup cornmeal
* 1 1/2 cups flour
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup oil
* 3 tablespoons melted butter
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1 1/4 cups milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
  2. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the oil, melted butter, honey, eggs, and milk.
  4. Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes.
A few things that I found helpful was that using a medium grain cornmeal seemed to produce a nice texture and held together well when serving. The other important tip is try not to over bake it. An extra minute or two can lead to dry cornbread. You may want to use a toothpick to test it around 30 minutes. I also like to serve it with some Agave drizzled on top.

Do You Tat?

I recently pulled out my tatting supplies. Some of you may be asking...what is tatting? Tatting is a form of lace-making with a small shuttle or needle. I was introduced to tatting about 10 years ago from a lady in our ward. She didn't have daughters, so she taught me! She took me to her tatting meetings occasionally and hooked me up with a huge organized binder of patterns. Anyway, I was suppose to teach a class for my sewing group on tatting. A few months ago I pulled out my tatting supplies and started to get back into the motions. If you are interested in learning more about tatting, here are some helpful links:

-On Sharon's Tatting site you will find loads of information. She has video demos for everything you need to know about tatting. Just click on 'Tatting Demos' and you will be taken to a page with several different videos. You can start with the first video (Chain) and continue down the row.

-Another great way to learn tatting is through Georgia Seitz. I first learned about Georgia about 10 years ago, when I first began tatting. She offers online classes on a weekly basis. Her site has all the information on joining the online class along with archives from the previous classes.

-Finally, there are a couple more useful tatting sites that I have used:
This'n'Tat: This site has been around for a while. They have lessons, tips & free patterns.
Tatting Directory: Full of links and descriptions for tons of tatting sites.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What's Up?

Some fun things are going on at my house! Last month I was recruited to help with costumes for the local High School's production of Beauty and The Beast! I have several youth from my church in the cast and I'm excited to be a small part of it. The only costume I was set on doing was Babette (the feather duster), played by a friend of the family. The rest of the costumes are more production line work. I would have liked to do more of the fantasy costumes, but I think I have enough on my plate with the rest of life. I do anticipate more costumes being added to my list of 8, because there are only 4 costume designers and about 3 costumes per cast member. I can't wait to post pics when they are all done! Below is my favorite performance of Babette (on YouTube).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Going Crazy

Yesterday, I got a pinched nerve in my lower back. I have no idea how it happened, but it squelched my work out plans. I was hoping that resting it would help and I would be able to get back on schedule today. did get better, but not enough to go the gym. WaAaAh. I hate missing more than a day at the gym. I've been fighting the urge all night (I'm sitting here in my gym clothes!).

So I am stuck at home...Going CrAzY! At least I have my sketchbook and a fun book to keep me company.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sewing and Stitchery Expo

I've been on a little blog hiatus, but not because of a lack of things to blog about...more like an abundance! This past weekend I went to The Sewing and Stitchery Expo (with my close friend, mom & her best friend). It claims to be 'the nation's largest sewing show'. We had a great time browsing the exhibits...which took nearly the whole day. This was my first time at the expo, so I wanted to see what it was like. Next year I'll either be taking classes or an exhibitor! We had four favorite booths...Reets' Rags to Riches, Faux Chenille, Bonnie Sullivan & Kathy Schmitz (Bonnie & Kathy are sisters that both design!).

- Reets' Rag to Riches: Hip folk art & whimsical applique, totes, punch needle, dolls and other misc. patterns. A pattern that my mom wanted (but they were out of) was called, "Tooth Fairy". The pattern includes a little tooth fairy pocket pillow and an appliqued scrapbook/wall hanging hung on a little wooden hanger. I love the bright colors that the designer uses. You have to check out her hand dyed wools, which is what she uses for her projects. It is a bit pricey for a larger project, but I could see using it for smaller accents. I really liked a large bag that was on display. The designer used fabric from Sanae's newest line Arcadia (from Moda). It made the bag just pop! I couldn't find the pattern on the Reet's site, so I am assuming it is newer. I'll have my eye out for it, because I think it would make a great carry-on or weekend bag.

- Faux Chenille: This is the first time I had seen faux chenille that didn't require 6-8 layers of flannel material. Nannette Holmberg has created chenille tape using rayon and cotton fibers in lots of different colors. You only have to use one layer! Two layers will give you a fuller chenille. Here is an excerpt from her website, "STITCH-IT, WASH-IT, YOU'RE DONE! Simply stitch one or two layers of this new product wherever you want a chenille accent and your're done! Continuous roll of chenille for chenille as fast as you can sew with no more cutting!". Nanette has several patterns, especially for wearables. I really like some of the jackets, because they were so lightweight and beautiful. They are fun accents for jean jackets and make pretty baby blankets. My mom bought an advance copy of Nannette's new book, "Re-Inventing Chenille: Fresh Sewing Techniques and Project". It has several great patterns including the shrug featured on the front cover, an easy baby blanket, a wall hanging and much more.

- Bonnie Sullivan/All Through The Night: First off, Bonnie's booth had such a warm feeling with her beautiful quilts and wall hangings. My mom and her friend had talked to Bonnie & Kathy at Kathy's booth (I was at another booth with my friend). Through talking to the designing sisters, my mom found out they designed fabrics as well and mentioned that I was an aspiring mom is the best at talking to people. So when I met up with my mom, she took me to Bonnie's booth to meet her. After browsing through her booth we got to talk with Bonnie and that was a treat. I love talking to people in the indusry. A big thanks to Bonnie! Not only does Bonnie make wonderful patterns, but she also designs fabric that looks like wool, but it is actually flannel. You can find her fabric on the Maywood Fabric site. It was hard to pick just one pattern from her booth, but we ended up picking out a lap quilt/wall hanging called, "Its a Wonderful World".

- Kathy Schmitz: After meeting Bonnie and drooling over her booth, we headed over to Kathy's booth. Like Bonnie's booth, it was very warm and full of beautiful quilts and wall hangings, except Kathy had embroidery patterns rather than applique (though you could always use either patterns to do one or the other). Kathy is a gem! She was so nice to talk to and I think we could have talked for a lot longer than we did. Luckily, both sisters are now in Oregon, so maybe our paths will cross again. Kathy gave me a lot of useful insider information (she designs for Moda). It was worth the whole trip to the expo and I'm so grateful for Kathy & Bonnie...I can't thank you two enough! In Kathy's booth, we also had a hard time on picking a pattern out. I decided on a clip art cd with lots of images that can be used for embrodiery, applique or staionery (my mom actually bought it for me as a 'treat', so thanks mom!!!). I was anxious to look at it, so it was the first thing that I did once I got home. I loooove it! My mom purchased the pattern, "Ring in the New". 'This embroidery pattern includes a separate illustration for each month of the year. They measure a petite 4"x 6" so they are quick and easy'. Kathy had displayed the illustration in a frame and it looked like it was embrodiered! Then you are able to enjoy it instantly and take time to stitch everything. Kathy also has started a blog, so check it out!

Well as you can tell we had fun and it was a very inspirational day!