Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Zoe!!!

My niece, Zoe recently celebrated her 4th birthday. We sadly had to miss her party since we were out of town, but I wanted to make something special for her. I know how much she loves to artsy stuff when she's at her grandma's (my mom), and so I wanted to make something she could take anywhere with her.
This is what it looks like open. I handy dandy little notebook, pocket to store colored pencils and markers, and a smaller pocket to hold little stickers (or what ever she wants to put in it).
I usually do these with a button and an elastic to close it with, but I love the way it looks with some pink grossgrain ribbon.
So seriously, I have made quite a few of these lately, and I have decided that the next one I make should be mine. . . let's see if that happens! ha ha ha.

I hope you all are having a great week. . . we're in the midst of welcoming fall with triple digit temperatures and hunting down pumpkin. . . oh and I was just informed that we are NOT having a pumpkin shortage! I have 5 cans currently gracing my shelves right now and I plan on trying to make my own with sugar pumpkins. . . just to see how it comes out.

Have a great first full week of fall, y'all!!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010


My mom bought a new stamp set several months ago called Flight of the Butterfly (Stampin' Up). My mom has had a hard time finding inspiration for it and so I thought I would give it a try, but unfortunately I have been so busy, it has literally been sitting on my office floor for months.

Last month, I needed to come up with a birthday card for Jon's grandma. . . and we were going out of town the next day. . . so I went to my favorite place for ideas and saw a card similar to this one. . . mentally took a picture of it, and went to work.
Ta Da!

This card uses a lot of paper, but I only needed one, and for this card It used paper out of my scrap box . . . perfect use for small leftovers! The colors used for this card are Only Orange, Pink Passion, Real Red, and of course Basic Black (Stampin' Up). The paper is also Stampin Up in matching colors.

This card was a lot of fun to make!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Abi!!!!

A good friend of ours turned 2 on Sunday. She is the daughter of our really good friends, Josh and Steph. Not only that, but we have high hopes that she will one day marry Ethan (I must make mention that when they see each other, they squeal joyful squeals of delight. . . it is so much fun!). I really wanted to do something special for my son's best friend, but I also had a slightly selfish ambition. . . I wanted to make something girly. I was going to make a dress, but she would soon grow out of the patterns my mom had, but then I found this pattern by the Oliver + S pattern company. I will also mention that this pattern (off their blog) is totally awesome because it was FREE! You just print it off their website and go! Now, that's my kind of pattern! The fabric I used was American Jane Apple Pie. . . with it's bright reds, yellows and blues, I just couldn't resist! I may have gotten a tad carried away, but I couldn't help it. . . it was a gift for a girl!
Like most girls, Abi is a purse girl (I think she takes after her mommy), so she needed a cute little purse to match. I came up with this mini drawstring bag. . . the perfect size for throwing a couple of little people animals in and maybe a light snack.
Here's a close up of the fabric. . . . so cute, don't you think?

She had to have a #2 shirt to tell the world, she's officially 2 and why not some cute barrettes to match? (the barrette holder is cardstock with a stamped lady bug because her birthday party was a lady bug theme).
The cute skirt and shirt combination. The shirt was long sleeved baby Gap shirt that I found on sale (after searching high and low for a red short sleeved shirt. . . it's still hot here.). But it worked out, because it was a thinner shirt (great for fall) and she was able to roll up the sleeves in an attractive way.
And the birthday girl. . . decked out in cuteness for her birthday!

Happy Birthday, Abi!!!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bistro Chicken Salad

Happy First Day of FALL!!!! Today is definitely a fall day (kind of) here at home. I have all the windows open and am cozying up in my sweat pants and a hoody. . . not because it's cold outside, but because I have all the windows open and the cool air blowing in made me cold. I LOVE IT!!!!! I will be sad in about 24 hours when the summer fights to come back (it's supposed to be in the upper 90's. . . bummer).

I have really enjoyed just vegging and working on finding our Master Bedroom (I think a hurricane must have hit over the summer). I spent the morning buying fabric for an upcoming project of baby stuff (For MOPS centerpieces). Can I just say that I LOVE fabric!!!! I am excited to get stuff washed and get down to business next week! I am also looking forward to trying out a new Pumpkin Bread recipe that is supposed to be divine. . . that should happen today (great way to welcome fall!).

But first, I must share this amazing recipe. This summer, my table-mates from MOPS were invited to our mentor mom's house for some food and swimming with our munchkins. It was such a wonderful day and a nice opportunity to relax and enjoy the summer. Our Mentor Mom, Gail, made this amazing salad. . . and I made it for Ethan's birthday.
Bistro Pasta Chicken

2 cups cooked penne or rotini pasta, drained
1 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (I used whole grape tomatoes)
1 4 oz pkg. Atheneos crumbled feta cheese with basil and tomato
1/2 cup prepared Caesar salad dressing (Paul Newman's was recommended so that's what I used...the regular, not his creamy Caesar)
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned and lightly packed
1/4 cup each red onion and sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled or broiled and cut into 1/4 inch slices (I had my husband grill me up some chicken the night before the party. . . it just gives it a nice flavor).
Mix all ingredients. Serve warm or chilled. 4 servings

Have a great First Day of Fall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome, Baby Gwen!!!

Happy Friday everyone! I can't even begin to describe how awesome my week has been! I absolutely LOVE not having a ton of things to do and I think I have needed that. It has just been so busy lately, my body has needed this week to rest up. I still have a lot of things to blog, so hopefully things will stay fairly slow (there's not much on the calendar, so cross your fingers!). We are going to enjoy a ladybug birthday party and Clovis Fest to see the hot air balloons (I think Ethan will LOVE it!). Have a great weekend everyone!

My sewing machine has been really busy lately. A lot of my friends have been having babies, so I have been getting excited about these projects.

This set of girls stuff was made for my friend Regina, who just gave birth to a little girl, Gwen.
My favorite thing, we the little girls onesie (children's place) with embroidered circle of coordinating fabric from the line that I made the burpies and giraffe from.
Here are the burpies. .. I love doing the patchwork to break it up a bit. The giraffe is once again from a Lotta Jansdotter pattern.
Happy sewing!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Summer goodness

Today is a nice day. The windows are all open, it's only supposed to get into the high 80's today, and Ethan let me sleep in a tad (although he did think it was time to get up at 5:30 this morning, thankfully he fell asleep with Jon and I). Oh, and did I mention I didn't wake up nauseous this morning? What an amazing feeling!!!! I probably haven't felt this in awhile.

Now, as I write this I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of Fall. Starbucks has made is much easier by bringing back my all time favorite drink, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, back a bit early (however, there is something VERY wrong about drinking one during 100 degree weather!). And, even last night, I noticed one of the trees behind us changing colors. . . yes, there were some yellow leaves on it!!!!

But, as much as I am anxious for fall to get here, I am sad to say good bye to the fruits of summer. . . peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, strawberries, blueberries. . . you name it! I must confess that living in the central valley leaves me quite spoiled when it comes to the surplus of these amazing fruits. In fact, my husband and I spent lots of time at our local farmers market stocking up on stone fruits and we still didn't make it through the week without running out of fruit.

So, in honor of fall's arrival (even though it still feels like summer here), I am going to share a recipe I found about a month ago, that was so easy and so delicious!

Individual Peach Upside Down Cakes
These were so incredibly easy to make and so delicious. This recipe is from Alton Brown (as in the Food Network guy who tells you how things work with food). I thought it was funny that he said it was an intermediate skill level, because it was so easy and so quick! Plus it only makes 4 ramekins and won't last long in your house.
It also has a touch of crystallized ginger that adds just a touch of deliciousness to the peaches. My husband said he felt like he was eating at a fancy restaurant and I didn't feel like I had slaved in the kitchen working hard for the most gourmet dessert I could find.
This is what it looks like with the peaches and crystallized ginger in a bowl.
Baked to perfection!!!! So yummy to taste!

Here's the recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 medium peaches, peeled
  • 1-ounce finely chopped crystallized ginger, approximately 3 tablespoons
  • 2.5 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide 2 tablespoons of the butter between 4 (6-ounce) ramekins. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside. Evenly divide the brown sugar between the ramekins; sprinkling it into the bottoms of the dishes. Cut each peach into 12 to 14 pieces. Lay the peaches on top of the sugar; evenly dividing them between the dishes and sprinkle with the ginger. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until combine. Pour the batter over the peaches; dividing the mixture evenly between the dishes. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove from the oven to a rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each dish and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Repeat with each cake. Serve immediately with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Welcome, Baby Braden!!!

A little over a week ago, our new little nephew was welcomed into the world. He is such a cutie (even though, when I got to hold him, he cried a "hungry and you're not my mommy" cry)!

This little guy gave me the opportunity to make another quilt. I am so excited about this one, because I absolutely fell in love with the fabric line "Chirp" by Robert Kaufman and I really wanted to try the Disappearing 9 Patch over at Cluck Cluck Sew (it's a super easy tutorial for Free!!!)
This is the final result. I used a soft fabric for my lining and a very thin batting. It ended up being very snuggly, which was what I wanted. I also tied it with yarn every so many squares just to hold the middle together.

Here's a close up of how awesome the fabric is!

To match, I made her some burpies, a bib, and a giraffe rattle. So much fun!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I am finally going to blog about this frosting. I found it on one of the food blogs I read and since it used whipping cream instead of milk, it had to be awesome. . . And awesome it was! It was also easy to make, which is always a good thing, right? I am so sad this picture came out so blurry. . . just squint your eyes and imagine creamy whiteness topping your cupcake.

Here's the recipe:

2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (I didn't use this, i just added extra vanilla)
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

:: In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.

:: Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ethan turned 2!

So, just as I reappeared from hiding, it feels like ages since the last time I blogged. Don't worry, it has. I have been VERY busy and have so many things to show you (I also have been incredibly nauseous STILL (We are 4 months pregnant!!!!). So, here is Ethan's birthday.

We did a train theme, because Ethan LOVES Thomas and his IKEA wooden train set. We are even planning a trip soon to go to the Sacramento train museum and ride a train. I am sure if he knew what was going on, he'd be so excited!
I really wanted cute trains for Ethan's birthday, so I went on a mission to find some. . . it was harder than I thought.
Favors (kids): We gave goody bags with train whistles (I found them on Amazon for so cheap!). I tied them with ribbon and attached with a tag. The train punch came from Martha Stewart.

Favors (adults): CHEW CHEW chocolate chip cookies. I made large batches of my browned butter and Mrs. Fields cookies and placed them in DVD envelopes. The ribbon was tied at the top, so the cookie didn't fall out.

I had so much going on and wasn't working at the top of my game, so centerpieces were kind of a last minute thing for me. In fact, my mom was the one who came up with the idea and went and dicut all sorts of trains to put in the plants.
The banner. I used the CM circle cutter and cut circle after circle and tied each one together with red and turquoise ribbon. I picked the font for the letters because I thought they looked like train tracks.
Cupcakes: I just did chocolate and white cupcakes with a super yummy vanilla buttercream frosting (recipe will be posted later). Sprinkled sanding sugar over them and topped them with flags made out of coordinating cardstock from his party invites.


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