Saturday, November 12, 2011

Who would you pick? Puppies vs. Babies...

This post brought to you by Puppies vs. Babies. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm sure there have been enough posts for you to know that I love my dog. He is the greatest, and I often think about how I wish he could live forever. That being said, Animal Plant is holding a contest for which is cuter, Puppies or Babies.

I just visited the site, and its really easy to pick and vote and you don't have to sign up for anything. Just click below, and vote!
I, of course, picked puppies. I don't have any kids yet, and I DO think babies are cute, but not like puppies. With babies, I need a link. A common thread. My friends' baby? I love, and he's the cutest thing ever. A stranger's baby? Just a baby.
Puppies? Almost any puppy is cute. Especially breeds I love.  Just look at my dog.  How could you not vote for him.  You can't, technically he isn't a puppy anymore.  According to the vet he is a senior :(
Here he is trying on a tux for our wedding (he didn't come)
Wearing sunglasses
Being handsome
Needing a chin rest, no matter how uncomfortable.
He is stinky and annoying and I love him because of it!
Anyway, which would you vote for?  Let me know in my comments!  Also, Just click on the link at the bottom and vote.  Once you pick one, you can pick for favorite out of a few choices. 


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Friday, November 4, 2011

Brown Butter Cake

I realize I have been gone, and I haven't been doing much crafting lately. I realize I made some blog post promises, which I intend to keep.... sometime....
With working full time and taking a class, as well as being gone on the weekends I haven't had any time for myself.

A couple weekends ago I had a baking itch so I decided to try this cake recipe that I had saved a while back. My husband had a craving for chocolate chip cookie dough and I thought this might help.

Brown Butter Cake with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting.

Before you begin, DO NOT USE the recipe from this blog. There are original recipes that the blog post refers to, use those. I made the mistake to use the pretty recreation, which is quite flawed. I realized this a bit too late.

Browning the butter. This cake takes a lot of butter...
What the brown butter looks like when done. You have to wait to let it cool and the particles will sink to the bottom. It stay melted until you add your eggs. Then it turns back into a butter consistency.
This is what my cake looked like after adding all of the ingredients. Pretty yummy!
In the pan. I did realize at this point that the pan was pretty full. I thought this may be one of those cakes that doesn't rise much. Just in case I placed a cookie sheet on the lower rack in my oven as I placed the cake to bake.
And it was a good thing I did! The top baked hard, and the inside was a liquid consistensy. It was terrible. I was going to dump it, but I decided to swish the inside around with a stick and let it bake for about a little while longer. If I had to do this cake over again I would use 2 pans (which the original recipe asked for), and I wouldn't wisk the eggs. Just a mixer would make it less fluffy...
End product.
Obviously, mine looks nothing even close to what I expected. It looks bad. It tasted ok. One slice was enough. My husband had one bite and said, ugh gross, tastes like butter (he hates butter). He took it to work and they loved it. Go figure.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Getting ready for Halloween!

Here are a couple of pictures of our house, not quite finished, but getting there!
Last night we made some cutouts for our upstairs windows. Mine is the little guy on the left, and my husband's on the right.

All we needed were black poster board, tape, and some inspiration. We saw the idea online, but created our own creatures. We lined our window with candy corn lights that were $3.50 at Target.

The whole house.

Crochet Hat

The beanie I made!
This took about 2 nights, watching a few tv shows. Its a pretty quick, and fairly easy for someone who has ever crocheted before.

I have made this hat before and followed the pattern exactly. I found that the hat was too big (and I have a huge head), and too slouchy for my taste. It had a very rastafarian vibe to it, which is fine, just not what I'm going for. For this hat I decided to make it shorter and also use less puff stitches around the hat. They ask for 38 puffs and I used 29.

I also used a thicker yarn. Its Lopi Icelandic Wool. A little bit about those Icelandic sheep:

"From Iceland, this 100% pure wool has a tradition of quality, which began in 1896. Out numbering the human population by almost 3 to 1 the Icelandic sheep have been bred for almost 1,100 years, grazed on virgin land and untouched by pollution.

From the very beginning, isolation has ensured the breed has remained pure, untouched by contact with others. Iceland's very strict policies do not allow importation of foreign sheep, keeping disease and cross-breeding out of the country. Over the centuries their wool has developed to ensure as much protection as possible from the harsh northern climate.

Icelandic sheep fleece is double layered, and in the same way that the sheep are kept warm and dry, the wearers of Lopi can expect the same results.Icelandic sheep wool consists of two types of fibres, inner and outer. The inner layer of light fine fibres are soft and crinkly, insulating well against the cold, while the outer fibres are long, course and smooth - and as a result, water repellent. Moisture cannot penetrate, because it runs down the outer fibres. These fibres are irregular, and they create air spaces when they are loosely bound together. Therefore Icelandic Lopi Wool is lighter, warmer, and more water-resistant than that found elsewhere."

Don't you want to wear something like that? Makes me want to go to Iceland so badly! The wool has such a unique texture, when I was in this yarn store that had 3 huge rooms full of yarn, this is what I picked.
Still kinda slouchy, and I think its just right for what I need. If I had to redo it I would have made the band smaller. It slips up on my head. Just make sure when you are measuring that you account for how far it will stretch.

Busy weeks

Since starting my new job, I have no time for anything that I enjoy doing. I struggle to find the time to:

-finish my crochet blanket
-add items to my etsy shop
-MAKE items for my etsy shop
-blog, once a week isn't enough
-try new recipes
-dye fabric
-explore nature
-take my dog on long walks
-tend to my garden

In the last two weekends I have:
-crocheted a new hat out of yarn I bought over a year ago in Portland. Its an ok hat. I will follow with some photos.
- Made pants for my halloween costume. I'm going to do my best to finish the waist today, then I will post about it. They are my first pair of adult pants, and they aren't bad for winging it. Honestly, I made 90% of the yesterday.
-Decorated my house a bit for trick or treaters and bought pumpkins to carve next week.
-Made my dog a Halloween bandanda. I'll post about this also.

When I type it all out, it seems like a lot. When I do it, it seems rushed, not important. All packed into my two weekend days, so that my weekends start to feel like work, too.

Today I want to try out a new recipe and finish these pants. And blog about everything I've done... wish for the best.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween outfit for a little one

I have been really interested in freezer paper stenciling for a while now, and I learned that Walmart carries freezer paper. Since I now live close to a walmart I decided to pick some up and try it out for myself. I didn't have any ideas on what to make, so after some deliberation I decided to make an outfit for the bff's new little one.

I had my husband draw out a design (we wanted to collborate), and he came up with a goofy candy corn. His favorite, and a good Halloween standby. I'm not a huge fan of orange or really any cheesy halloween colors, so I opted for colors that would match the outfit. Give the candy corn somewhat of a zombie feel.
I totally forgot to document the process, but its farily easy. Draw the design on the freezer paper, cut out the negative space, iron shiny side down, paint. The candy corn colors were painted first, and they all needed about 5 thin coats. After it dried, I peeled off the freezer paper (using an exacto knife to peel the eyes and mouth out). Lastly, I free hand painted in the teeth and eyes.
I learned a valuable lesson with the paint, which is, don't iron it after it dries. I placed some scrap fabric on top of the design an ironed to set the design, and the fabric stuck and peeled off some bits. The paint has definitely set after a few days of drying and washing it in the washing machine.

Here is the whole outfit, made from scratch!
I am most proud of the beanie. I would totally wear something like this myself... minus the top knot of course, which is reserved for cute babies.

Just for some Halloween spirit, the mini pumpkin we turned into a vampire. We bough vampire teeth and weird eyes to give out to kids in addition to candy, and we used one in a pumpkin design.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Short Pants

I made these pants a few weeks ago, and they are ready to be put up on etsy, but I haven't had the time lately. They have a really cute dino fabric as an accent.
Over the weekend we decorated a bit for Halloween and fall, which I will try and show you in the next couple of days. We had a couple dogs stay with us with weekend. They were fun. My dog loves having other dogs around. He turns into a dog, and not an alien baby, which is what he normally is.

Here are our visitors!
I'm still working on my quilt, the crochet blanket, and I started a hat which I should finish in the next couple of days. I've got a super CUTE project going on that I can't share until after Halloween (gift, don't want to give it away to my 2 readers out there SHOUTOUT). I just need an extra 12 hours in the day to post more. Working full time is really having an affect on my blogging time....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall Apple Bundt Cake

I decided last weekend to make this recipe out of the latest issue of MS Living magazine.

You will need:

For apples:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp water
3 granny smiths

for cake:
2 sticks room temp unsalted butter
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp grated ginger
coarse salt
1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk

for glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tbsp apple cider

The original recipe calls for walnuts, which I omitted.
see full recipe below!

Caramelizing the apples
Dry ingredients sifted
Adding the apples
Ready for the oven!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Late Music Monday

I was listening to this song today, a band I don't listen to that often, and I really enjoyed it. I thought I'd share it with you all a little late for Music Monday.

Today at work the kids and I were watching a huge garden spider in his web basking in the sun after the rain. A boy was interested, and threw a flower at the web, not sure what it would do. He said, "I don't like spiders". The flower stuck, the spider didn't move. We talked about it, walked away, and not long after I heard calling. Hey look, look!!!! I walked over and the spider was working vigorously to get the flower out of his web. He worked, we watched. The flower fell, he crawled back to his spot in the center. Another boy wanted to throw another flower. I pointed out how hard the spider worked to get the first flower out of his web, and how I didn't think he liked the flower there since he threw it out almost right away. They agreed, we looked and moved on. I think the boy might like spiders now...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tomatillo Salsa and Rice Recipes

I've always loved salsa verde. It has such a fresh taste and its almost always delicious. Tomatillos were on sale, so I decided to give it a shot.

I took 6 tomatillos and cut them into wedges. I expected something like a tomato inside, but its more like an eggplant texture.
Placed the wedges in a good processer, gave it a whir, then added some sliced jalapeno. I used about 5 thick slices, but the salsa was between a medium and mild spicy level in the end. I would have like more spice.
Then, I added about half an avocado and salt to taste. I would guess about half a teaspoon.
A tiny bit of lemon juice to preserve the color, since I added avocado, processed until smooth, and done. It was delicious! I actually bought some more and I think I may try roasting them... mmmm.

For this dinner I also wanted to make Spanish rice, which I had never made. It was surprisingly easy. I sauteed about half an onion in vegetable oil. Then I added 1.5 cups of white rice to the onion/oil mixture.
The rest of the recipe needs some attention, so I didn't take pictures, but you add 3 cloves of chopped garlic, and sauté until the rice has become a golden brown.
Then, I added 2.5 cups of vegetable stock. You can use chicken stock, but I used vegetable since we're vegetarian.

Finally, the recipe calls for 1 cup of tomato sauce, but I didn't have that. I used a few chopped roma tomatoes. It work just fine, and turned out amazing. Stir, Stir, Stir, and cover on low heat for 20 minutes.

Now you are ready to make those delicious tacos or burritos you've been waiting for!

Loving where I live

Thursday evening in Southern California

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A new bag!

I received some fabric "scraps" a while back from a friend's mom, and the fabrics were truly too nice to call scraps. They were perfectly cut squares, some cotton, some a thicker canvas... When I think of scraps I think of junk people throw away. Stuff that was cut from something else and just sits there. Anyway, so I had some fabric from her that wasn't going to work for my quilt. Its a thick canvas cotton. So I was thinking and thinking, and I decided I'd make a bag!

I've never made a bag before, and I didn't have a pattern. I just made it up as I went along and it turned out fantastically!

Cutting out the pattern that I decided on. One of each color, one for each side.
This is for the bottom and sides. I didn't have a long piece, so I just pieced it out later. I figured out the length by measuring around the bag with a piece of yarn.
Pinning the bottom. After this, I pinned the other side on.
I traced the sides on regular cotton so that I could make a lining for the bag.
Pinning the lining. This took a little while to figure out, since it had to go in the bag right side in, but be sewed to the front...
The finished bag! I added a strap with the green fabric. I still have to sew in pieces of the lining so it doesn't bunch, but its on my etsy page! Check it out to see more photos.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Phiddippus johnsoni

Saw this little guy climbing around in my yard the other day and I wanted to capture a picture of him. This one was a bit blurry, but when I got a bit closer....
... he looked me straight in the eyes and said, get away!
This is a male red back jumping spider. Apparently pretty common, but the first I've seen. He was very beautiful.