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. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rick Rack Rocks!

As you may recall, I recently acquired some cool stuff from my grandma's house.

Amongst the teapots and vintage linens was rick rack.

organized rick rack

Oooh! Rick rack! Fun stuff, I say.

rick rack rainbow

rick rack

Only problem is, I am still very new to sewing and am still figuring out ways to successfully incorporate rick rack into my projects.

But who says rick rack is limited to sewing projects?

rick rack+recipe cards=cuteness

rick rack+recipe cards=cuteness (2)

I think it looks adorable tied around these recipe cards, which will be part of a gift I am giving to some very special newlyweds this weekend. :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Betty Chased the Blues Away, Part Two

Feeling low?

Bake these cheesecake bars. Guaranteed to make you smile. :)

yum

They're easy to make.

yummy

And even easier to eat.

yummy yum

yummers

yummy in my tummy

Especially when you eat them off of your great-grandparents' old Fire King dishes.

yum yummy

Yum. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Betty Chased the Blues Away

Yours truly was in a BAD mood today.

So, I did what I had to do: I baked.

bad lighting, good brownies

I used a mix. I love mixes. They're quick, they're handy.

bad lighting, good brownies 2

Mixes rock.

bad lighting, good brownies 3

And since I knew one pan of brownies wasn't enough to cure what ailed me, I decided I HAD to try out something new.

betty crocker to the rescue!

It's in the oven right now. :)

(Oh, and no, I alone am not responsible for the large amount of brownies missing from that pan. I had help from my husband, who was very supportive of my 'bake the blues away' plan. :) :))

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Squeaky Wheel

My squeaky wheel got greased. Behold...

woo hoo!

...my morning glory bloomed!!!!

lovely

All that whining and complaining (I'd say to my husband every single day, "Whyyyyyy won't they just blooooooom?") can finally come to an end. Hooray!

beeyooteeful

I feel bad for this little bud, though. I don't think it's going to make it.

so sad

You remember that one, right? I whined talked about it earlier.

Oh well. I will enjoy the bloom that I've got...

yay me!

...and hopefully there will be many more to follow. :)