Dresses, four ways


Monday, June 20, 2011

Fabric: Joann's  &  Patterns: Simplicity

Mason jar pincushion


Saturday, June 18, 2011

When it comes to sewing I've always struggled with keeping my pins in one place (Stephen can attest to that). That's not to say I don't have a pincushion, I just find that when I'm sewing I feel as if I'm too busy to put them back. But these little pincushions are quite clever and practical. I've seen them on a few crafting websites and thought that just maybe I'd be more willing to take the time to keep things organized. Plus the added storage beneath is great for buttons, trims, needles, or thread/bobbins.

Pincushion Tutorial
Materials Needed
6x6 fabric scrap of your choice
jar with lid and band
cotton balls or fiberfill
cardstock (any color)
glue gun

Step 1: Using the lid of the jar, cut out a circle of the same size from the cardstock.

Step 2: Using the lid of the jar, trace around it on the WRONG side of your fabric. Increase the circle's radius by 1-2 inches and cut out the larger circle.

Step 3: Layer the fabric, cotton balls, and lid, then place the "sandwich" inside the band.

Step 4. Press the lid down so that the cotton balls and fabric form the pincushion on the opposite side of the band. Check to see if you need to move the fabric to avoid creases. Make any necessary adjustments and then fold in the fabric and hot glue it to the underside of the lid.

Step 5: Trim away any excess fabric and hot glue the cardstock over the fabric edges.

Step 6: Line the band with a small bead of glue and insert the pincushion into it- pressing firmly. Add the lid to the jar and you have a brand new pincushion- enjoy!

Banana cookies


Friday, June 17, 2011

I usually tend to stay away from chocolate recipes (except for brownies) because I prefer lighter or fruitier treats (I know... I must be crazy). For that reason, this recipe has always been one of my favorites. All I can say is that we never had to throw any of these away because they sat out too long or because no one would eat them. And really, who wouldn't eat them? They're soft, airy and packed full of that sweet banana flavor you'd get from banana bread, plus they're topped with a light vanilla frosting. Delicious, right?! Now you'll never have to wonder what to do with browning bananas or how you'll keep these cookies from going bad, because they're even better right out of the freezer!

Banana Cookies
2 large or 3 small overly ripe bananas
2 eggs
3 c. flour
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. crisco shortening (I used butter flavored)
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2. tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Mash bananas with fork until creamy and pour into large mixing bowl.
2. Add eggs, butter, shortening and sugar and mix until smooth. Then add buttermilk.
3. Add salt, baking soda and vanilla and lemon juice.
4. While stirring batter, add flour one cup at a time until completely incorporated. It is a very "wet" dough, so don't think you need to add more flour, it's ok the way it is.
5. Bake at 350 degrees on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for 30 minutes before frosting.

Vanilla Frosting
1/4 stick of butter
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
3 tsp. milk
2-3 cups of confectioners sugar

1. Cream butter, vanilla and salt in medium size mixing bowl.
2. Add 2-3 cups of confectioners sugar and mix.
3. Slowly add mix one teaspoon at a time until you get the desired consistency (it should not be runny or thick, somewhere in between so it will hold on the cookies).
4. Frost cookies with knife and sprinkle with chopped walnuts or nuts of choice.

Wall decor {in less than 5}


Thursday, June 16, 2011

I love the idea of reusing old things or using cheap things in general. This is such a simple project, all you need is an embroidery hoop, fabric, and about 5 minutes to put it together (unless you are going to embroider or patch pieces of fabric together). Just make sure that your fabric is ironed and that you use a muslin backing if your fabric is translucent.

Overload: Cookies & Cream Cupcakes


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The other day I had the opportunity to bake a few cupcakes for a church group. Ok, by few I mean four dozen. I wanted to make something that everyone would love, so I immediately thought of Oreo cupcakes. Who doesn't love Oreos? I started by using a simple vanilla base, adding an Oreo to the bottom and folding crushed cookies into the batter. I topped it off with cookies & cream buttercream and garnished it with a mini Oreo. They were such a hit! Everyone loved how much they tasted like Oreos and pleasantly surprised to find a whole cookie at the bottom! 

Oreo-bottomed Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
1½ c. all-purpose flour
⅔ c. granulated sugar
½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. milk
12 whole Oreos
6 Oreos, crushed

Oreo Buttercream Frosting:
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2-3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
2½ c. powdered sugar
¼ tsp. salt
⅓ c. finely crushed Oreos

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. With the mixer on low speed, combine ingredients. Alternate the flour mixture and milk, in three additions. Do not overmix. Remove bowl from stand and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, making sure to incorporate any dry ingredients. Fold in crushed Oreo pieces.
5. Place one whole Oreo on the bottom of each liner. Evenly fill cups with the batter (about ⅔ of the way full). Place in oven and bake for about 16-18 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean (do not overbake, results will be dry). Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (30 minutes or so).

For the frosting:
1. Cream the butter, salt, vanilla and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer (beat on high for 1 minute).
2. With mixing speed on low, begin adding in the sugar a ½ c. at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add additional cream until desired consistency is reached.
3. Remove bowl from stand and fold in the Oreo cookie crumbs. Frost cupcakes with the buttercream and garnish accordingly.
Adapted from Joy of Baking, Vanilla Cupcakes | Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

Our favorite little pizza place


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

here in Florida looks like a dive. Ok, it kind of is. But it's really yummy and they make these little things called pizza muffins (savory little pizza rolls), and boy are they good! Stephen and I have made them at home a couple of times. Here are some instructions for my quick and easy muffins.
[note ingredients can be changed according to preference]*
Pizza Muffins
1/2 c. chopped pepperoni
1/2 c. chopped ham (thicker cut deli ham works great)
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 c. pizza sauce, seasoned to liking
(I combine tomato paste and sauce, add oregano, basil, freshly sauteed garlic and a pinch of salt & sugar)
Pizza dough (store bought or you can use this recipe)

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Roll out pizza dough as if you were making cinnamon rolls (into a rectangular shape).
3. Spread pizza sauce evenly across surface of dough.
4. Sprinkle pepperoni and ham and 1 1/2 c. of cheese on top of sauce.
5. Roll up dough carefully into log and pinch the ends to close. Cut 12 even slices and place into a greased (pam is works better than butter) regular muffin pan.
6. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella & parmesan cheese on top of each muffin and place into oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
* Note: you can substitute pepperoni and ham for veggies, sausage or chicken.

Flower child


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ok, so you can probably tell by now that I love to make things for kids. Sure we don't have any, but it's always fun to spoil nieces and nephews, right? The other day bought a couple little pieces of fabric and paired them with some things that I've had in my collection. Now that I have planned out what each is going to look like, I'm excited to see the end product.
Todays project was a really easy dress. It comes from Simplicity (2241). I always feel like a rule of thumb for making kids clothing is that the pattern shouldn't be complicated and that you shouldn't have to spend more than a few hours making it. Despite all of the distractions today, I was able to finish it. I'm considering adding a few little rosettes to one side of the yoke. I just can't decide whether I like it or not.

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