Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Macro Madness

It's been chilly lately.

condensation 2

That means that there will be condensation on my windows until late Spring.

condensation 3

I don't really like it, but I think it makes a neat backdrop for pictures.

retors a broder

I know, random, right?

retors a broder 2

I used to take macro pics all the time. Now I hardly ever do, and I miss it. So this morning I had some fun with the camera.

spools

wiss

Not too bad for a point & shoot, eh?

zigzag

Those pinking shears came from Grandma's house, by the way.

(Hey, I'm a poet & I didn't know it....harharhar...)

Is it sad that I find inspiration in old floss wrappers and wet windows?

No??

condensation


Good. :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Blurry Month

October has been quite a blur for me.

blurry

It has passed so quickly. I've barely had this cute Trick-or-Treat banner up and it's already almost time to take it down.

blur

(I bought the banner from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, Wild Olive. It comes as a PDF and you personalize it to say whatever you want. Cuteness!)


Between work, school, soccer practices, flu bugs, runny noses, and regular day-to-day stuff, I've hardly had time to sit back and enjoy the Autumn season.

dining area

Not to mention the fun decor that Halloween brings.

Let's hope the rest of the year doesn't fly by so quickly. I have some pretty cute Thanksgiving and Christmas things to put out this year, and I want to enjoy them.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! ;)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Too Soon

Last month, I thought it would be a good idea to bake some Autumn-themed cookies.

cooling

Turns out I was wrong.

It wasn't because the cookies weren't tasty. On the contrary--my mother's recipe, which I think was her grandmother's recipe, is amazing, and it has a secret family ingredient. The cookies were delicious.

No, baking cookies in mid-September was a bad idea because it was just too soon. I tried to rush Autumn. And because of it, I ended up giving up on the cookies.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning shall we?

A couple days before I baked/gave up on the aforementioned cookies, I found some really cute leaves & acorns cookie cutters at a discount store, along with some Autumn sprinkles. I was so excited to use them that I went home and immediately mixed up a batch of sugar cookie dough.

messy baker

Hmmm, that's a tad bit embarrassing. What a mess my counter was that day! I had yet to put away all the bowls I'd gotten from my grandma's house, along with a few other recent acquisitions. Oh well, that doesn't matter. What's important is that you can see how cool my AQUA-COLORED measuring spoons and cups are!! Oh yeah!!!

Sorry. I really like aqua.

Anywho....

The sugar cookie dough needed at least an hour to chill, so into the fridge it went. And at about the same time, the clouds, the beautiful, wonderful clouds that had fooled me into thinking that Fall was just around the corner, burned off and the sun came out and I lost my will to bake. So the dough stayed put for a while.

Two days, to be exact.

I wasn't sure if the dough would still be workable after two days, or if it would be tough. I didn't know if it was even safe to use after two days. I usually have a hard time waiting just one hour after I've mixed up a batch of sugar cookie dough, so this was uncharted territory for me.

But it was fine. Whew.

When it came time to roll out the dough and use my new cookie cutters, my pastry cloth was nowhere to be found. That really annoyed me because 1) I hate rolling out cookies without a pastry cloth and 2) that was the second pastry cloth I'd misplaced. Grrr. I couldn't even use a tea towel as a substitute because the few that I have were dirty.

So I rolled out the dough sans pastry cloth...

lost my pastry cloth...

...and, much to my surprise, the world didn't come to an end. ;)

The cookie cutters came with three different designs, with two sizes of each design: regular-sized and mini. I cut out regular-sized acorns and leaves, and then used the mini-acorn one with my boys, letting them cut out several cookies apiece. I then added some orange sprinkles to the tops of the mini-acorns (yeah, I know, acorns are brown) before sliding them into the oven. The larger acorns, along with the leaves, were left unadorned. The plan was to frost them with homemade icing.

leaves & acorns/goldfish

As the cookies cooled, my five-year-old noticed that the orange acorns did not look like acorns, but rather much like Goldfish crackers.

"goldfish"

Yeah, I can see that.

As for the other cookies, they didn't get any special decorations. Nothing. I ran out of steam, just as I had two days prior when I mixed up the dough. I had zero desire to make icing. I had zero desire to buy icing. By that point, I just didn't give a darn about icing.

But it's ok. The un-iced cookies didn't last more than 24 hours. Two little boys+one husband=quickly emptied cookie jar.

yummers!

And that's the way I like it. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still Here

It's hard to believe based on the infrequency of my posts, but I am still here.

lingering

Unfortunately, so is SUMMER.

It's been so hot here. It's not unusual for the first days of Autumn to be warm. In fact, it's expected in these parts. But triple digit temperatures? Ick. So that kinda leaves me not in the mood for blogging. Or anything, really.

I did attempt to make some cookies last week. I took pictures and will be telling you about it soon. I promise.

I promise! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Blahs and Some Blues

Wow, I can't believe nearly a month has gone by since I last blogged here!

When I started this blog, it was because I had so many things I wanted to share that didn't belong on my stitchy blog. But then the summertime blahs got to me, and I found that I had nothing to say.

Mind you, I've been meaning to find something of interest to share with you. I am sure if I tried, I could find a plethora of fun things. But like I said, the blahs have taken over. I am soooooo ready for a change of seasons. Hello Autumn, please get here soon. I am ready for you. :)

So, I tried to find something good for you today. Forgive me, for I couldn't come up with much.

ho hum

Those are cherry tomatoes from our garden, in a bowl from my grandma's house. I got a few cool Pyrex and Fire King dishes from Grandma's, but have yet to take proper pics of them, with the exception of this shot of these pretty blue bowls:

stack o' bowls

Maybe after school has started I can get my act together and take some good pictures to share with you. I always feel energized when school starts, even though I am not a student.

Is anyone else like that? :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not-So-Sweet Heat

I am grumpy again, and this time I can't do any therapeutic baking to make me feel better.

Why not, you ask?

Well...

I can't use the oven when it's really hot outside. I do (THANK GOODNESS) have air conditioning, but it's still rather warm in my house. And to use the oven would just make it warmer.

And there is NO WAY I would do anything to contribute to the rising temperature in this house! Look how warm it is outside:

too hot

yes, that is quite hot, isn't it?

Yeah, I'd be crazy to do anything right now but sit around the house. Naked. Ok, not naked. But as close to it as possible!! Hahaha! It's really hot, people!

Ok, enough whining. I am very thankful that I have central air and that I do not have to do anything outdoors. I saw a tow truck on the parkway today on my way home from work and I felt so bad for the driver. He already had a big ol' Chevy on his truck, and he was hitching up a motor home. Woof, that's rough. The parkway, with its asphalt and car motors, is SO stinkin' hot. And there was that poor guy, working so hard, so swiftly, to get his job done and get the broken down vehicle(s?) out of the line of traffic. I hope he gets to go swimming when he's off work tonight. :)

I also hope that wherever you are, dear readers, you are keeping cool and comfortable. :)

PS That thermometer is from my grandma's house. It's something I remember clearly from my childhood, so when I saw it I knew I had to have it. :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sweet Heat

Betty made another appearance in my kitchen recently.

This time, however, she was not here because I was feeling grumpy. I had my family over for a little BBQ, and I baked brownies for dessert.

Instead of my usual glass baking dish, I used this cool pan that my husband's mom gave us:

hey, that's cool

This is one of those pans that gives you only the edges of the brownies. You know, no 'middle' pieces. It's a really nice, heavy pan. The brownies baked up beautifully. :)

way cool

Ok, it's hard to tell from the picture. That really is a lousy pic. Trust me on this, the brownies were gorgeous.

For this batch, I decided to try something different. Many years ago, during my senior year of high school, I took a healthy cooking class (aptly titled, "Foods for the Health of It"). There isn't much that I recall from that class, but I do remember that we made brownies that had been 'lightened up' by replacing the vegetable oil with unsweetened applesauce.

So, out with oil and in with the applesauce!

And, since I was already feeling experimental, I decided to throw in a little something extra.

sweet heat

Mmmmmm, yum. I don't know how much of this I used. I just kept adding it until it seemed like there was enough.

lighten up

The lightened up brownies turned out to be very tasty. They had a nice texture and were quite dense. The addition of the cocoa chile blend was good; there was a bit of sweet, yummy heat after each bite. I also added a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the mix, which I am pretty sure made omitting the oil near-pointless, but oh well. I always add chocolate chips to my brownies.

And since I was dying for an excuse to use some cute papers and picks I bought recently, I cut the brownies into bite-sized squares and gussied 'em up a bit.

cuties

I threw some M&M's into the baking cups for good measure, but only the brown and yellow ones. I'm a matchy-matchy kind of girl :)

Speaking of the baking cups, aren't they just adorable?

polka dots

I love the polka dots.

I also love the picks. Too cute!

lovely

almost gone

Overall, I'd say the brownies were a success.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rick Rack Project

I am pleased to announce that I did something with some of my recently acquired rick rack.

hey look, i can craft!

I've been straightening up my crafting space this week. It's a lot of work! I have a bunch of new stuff to find space for, which isn't the easiest task. I have so much stuff already! So I've been doing a bit of purging and rearranging. In the midst of it the other evening, I decided to take a little crafting break.

I am really not much of a crafter. I am a stitcher, and I have confidence in my stitching. But crafting...eh, not so much. It's pretty hit and miss. Whenever I set out with a plan, with a list of supplies I need to buy to make that perfect project, I fail fail fail! But I think this little project, this on-a-whim creation, is pretty cool. Not as cool as these awe-inspiring creations from doe-c-doe, but still pretty darn neat-o. :) And the best part is I didn't have to go out and buy a thing. Love that. ♥

And now I have to figure out what to do with all the bias tape I inherited! There's a whole lot of it.

organized

I think I might try my hand at making a banner. This flickr group is dedicated to homemade banners, and it's teeming with pics of inspiring garlands.

Anyway, back to the bias tape...

There are many packages of solid colored trim, but my hands-down favorite is the red gingham:

gingham bias tape

There are twelve total. Grandma must've hit a sale.

gingham bias tape, times twelve

These polka dotted ones are nice, too. The brown and orange have me thinking of Autumn.
autumnal

I find this one especially charming:

stripey

And you can't beat that price...nineteen cents...

Or can you?

sixteen cents

I can't imagine a time when a three-cent markdown would have been considered a good price reduction. :)

And here's the least expensive package of trim in the bunch:

fiftenn cents

I don't know what shell braid is or what it's used for, but I love it anyway.

Amongst the bias tape and trims was some lace:

stretch lace

I love that it's similar to the lace featured in the ad on the back of this old catalog I found in Grandma's house.

spring 1973

60 c

I really love some of the dress patterns inside, especially these ones by designer Betsey Johnson:

70's dresses

And this one, too:

from the butterick catalog

from the butterick catalog

I am hoping to get more pictures of the things from Grandma's house (like the vintage linens) posted so I can share with you. But first I have to finish getting my craft room straightened up! So far, all I've done is clear off my desk a bit (how does it manage to get so cluttered..and so quickly?) and organize the closet.

neat & tidy

neatness

I think it's a pretty good start, though. So good, in fact, that I have a hard time shutting the closet doors. All I want to do is sit and stare at the neatly organized containers and colorful bits of fabric and trim. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bye-Bye, Beloved Blue Blossoms

I really had no idea...

blue bloom

...that the beautiful blooms....

gorgeous bloom

...of my beloved blue morning glory...

two blue blooms

...would only last...

big blue

...for one day!

bye bye, bloom


buh-bye!

But ya' know what? I am ok with that...for even the spent blossoms are lovely. :)