Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The End. And A New Begining

The end of 2008 is here. I'm not a fan of resolution lists. But I do like to reflect on the year that is passing and try to send myself into the new year with a positive attitude. Hoping for the best, reminding myself to be adaptable because things don't usually happen as they have been planned. Remembering that things happen for a reason and you may or may not figure out why.

We are all one year older, hopefully wiser.

I am very thankful to have a healthy, happy family to accompany me into the next year.

All in all, this has been a wonderful year, I've been able to spend a great amount time making and creating and I have found a great place to share it. Thanks for reading and supporting my efforts and experiences.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays!

*I'm a guest blogger over at Dabbled today! I needle felted a little gnome and wrote up a how to. Dabbled is one of my favorite blogs. Dot dabbles in many things, felted sweater crafts, illustrations, robots, cooking, just to name a few. She also hosts contests that are very fun to participate in. Go check her out!

We had a wonderful time yesterday, quite relaxing.

Denny's mom took pictures of the kids in front of the tree on Christmas Eve,

and I wanted to join in the fun!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice!

And I'm happy to say that my camera has returned! I'm busy finishing up the gifts and trying to stay warm. There is an unusually large amount of snow in Portland, OR right now. I'm very thankful for heat and a fully stocked kitchen!

I just have time to show some of the pictures I've take since the camera returned.

I bought four of these crocheted snow flakes at a craft bizarre, now I'm wishing I would have gotten three times that many!

This is one of my faves, a sweet little hedgehog.

Here are the kid's advent trees.

More stenciling.

We have such an abundance of drawings and paintings by the kids, we decided to use it for wrapping paper. Shown with gift tags from the black apple.

The house for Violet. I still need to sew on buttons, doors and such.

I was going to make Wren a little house too, but he is obsessed with the creatures from this book. I've made sock moneys and glove monsters, now I've ventured into the world of Stupid Sock Creatures! So very fun.

Stocking stuffers for the kids. Pattern from Mochimochi.

I finished one sock! The second one will have to wait until after the holidays. Can't wait to finish it and start on a pair for me though.

Hope to stop in at least one more time before Christmas. Until then, don't forget to enjoy these last few days until the New Year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Attempts With The Point And Shoot

The good camera is still in the shop, but I just had to take some shots with the old point and shoot. I can't believe this used to be the only camera we had!

Wren likes to 'ride' his finger board on the tree and sometimes I find it there, left for decoration.

I think this shot actually turned out quite nice! Denny took this while we were out playing in the snow yesterday. I don't want to go outside today, it is freezing. We just aren't equipped for this kind of weather here in Portland, OR.

And here is a picture of some craftyness. I cut a cool print off of one t-shirt that wasn't fitting so well (due to shrinkage, I'm sure!) and sewed it onto a plain old brown shirt. Et Voilà! Now I have a one of a kind creation.

OK, now I must go work on more Christmas projects. I'm trying to take pics of them with the old camera and I'm just not pleased. Hurry home Power Shot G9!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Perfectly Rotten Timing!

I just had to take our camera to be repaired and it wont be back for up to 2 weeks! Crazy how dependent on that thing I am. I'm crossing my fingers that it be back sooner than later. I've got stuff to show you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

W.I.P. It Up

Freezer paper stencils. Butterflies from Lotta, dandelion by Leethal, praying mantis by Denny.

These are the guts to the little houses.

I'm finally learning how to knit socks! This toe up pattern is designed and taught by Chrissy.

This is Violet's new do. Ah, she looks so old now!

I also made the kids cute advent button trees from a tutorial by Diane, but I can't get a decent picture to show.

And I can't forget to tell you about the coolest Christmas Digest by Diane and Katin! I got mine yesterday and I'm totally enjoying all the whit, humor and craftiness. You should go and buy one. Thank you guys!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Wow! I haven't had anytime to sit and write. So much going on, so much to do.

*WARNING* Lots of words, no pictures, but also some fun links!

I commissioned a wonderful local artist and blog friend to paint something for Wren and Violet. They turned out perfect!

My über crafty friend has an über crafty mom and she has started a blog that is all about winter celebrations called Gingerbread and Snowflakes. You will find eye candy, recipes, and some crafty how to's.

Another friend of mine has started a business called Lost Arts Kitchen and is teaching cooking and baking classes that incorporate slow food traditions back into our fast paced world. I took her Dairy Magic class and learned how simple it is to make your own yogurt and soft cheeses. It is much cheaper and tastier than store bought.

We went to Great Wolf Lodge for a little family vacation. The water park was great fun. There are lots of unnecessary ways to spend your money there. If you go, bring as much food as you think will fit in one of those little hotel fridges as they charge an enormous amount for mediocre food.

And on the holiday front, tomorrow is Thanks Giving! Ahhhh! I should actually be making pie dough, roll dough, cranberry sauce, puréeing squash for pumpkin pie, portioning and puréeing up some persimmon and then figuring out what to do with it. (A post all about the persimmons in question will be coming soon. Oh yeah, and that post about how to make a fish cake...)

OK, I'm not going to mention all the things that I'm working on or need to be working on for Christmas, that will come when I'm out of the weeds with all the cooking and baking I need to do!

(Scroll down the restaurant/diner lingo list to "in the weeds" for that last link.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quick And Tasty

You've just got to love a dish that is both quick and tasty!

I can't think of a name for this dish that conveys how yummy it is, so I will just get on with the recipe.

8 oz pasta, cooked according to package instructions
1 bunch of cooking greens like chard, collard, mustard, kale. Use one, or a mix.
1 c chicken stock or broth
1 T oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
Shredded Fontina cheese, or Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio
Bacon for garnishing

I use rotelle pasta and I chop the greens pretty small with the thought in mind that small pieces will get stuck between the ridges of the pasta and then be consumed by my unsuspecting children. That being said, any shape pasta will do.

In a large pot, heat oil on med. Briefly cook garlic until soft, being careful not to brown. Add broth and greens. There will seem to be quite a bit of greens, but they cook down. Stir until the greens are wilted and then put a lid on so you don't loose all the liquid, cook for about 15 min. Mean while, cook your pasta, grate your cheese, get your bacon ready. I baked mine in the oven and then crumbled it to order.

Add your salt and pepper, mix the pasta and greens together. Serve with cheese and bacon. Yum.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Raking Up The Leaves

Or at least trying to. While I was out getting groceries, Denny snapped these pictures.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'll Bake That!

A piano needed to be tuned at Wren's school. A generous man offered to tune it and would do it for a chocolate cake. Seriously? I'll bake that!

I used my favorite cake book, The Cake Bible. Perfect All American Chocolate Butter Cake and Dark Chocolate Ganache, oh yeah.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Violet's Fishy Swimming Party

Violet turned three! She wanted a fishy swimming party. I made a fish cake (how to coming soon), and a birthday crown from The Creative Family.

And these wool felt fish for party favors. We ate cake, opened presents and then all met at the neighborhood pool for a swim. Much fun was had. Hurray for 3!

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's All Black & White

Fleece, that is. I made Mr. Skelly following a pattern from the book Plush-O-Rama.

There are two because one is for Wren and one went to my brother who is stationed in Iraq. My brother is there for the second time and is having a hard time right now. The kids told me that Mr. Skelly protects you from the bad guys, so hopefully he can help their uncle.

I have been wanting to make a panda pillow for Violet ever since I picked up a pillow form from a thrift shop many months ago. Working with fleece was so fun! Kind of like felt, just fluffier. For the panda, I drew a sketch, measured the pillow on the white and cut out the other pieces straight out of the fabric, no pattern. I think the whole thing took me 25 min.

I couldn't stop there and made this simple ghost. I ran out of stuffing though and Mr. Ghosty is still flat.

I think it would be fun to make the kids some jackets with fleece. Not this year though, both of them have plenty of coats and jackets already. Maybe for next year.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Voted!

Hope all you folks out there that can vote are doing it!

Over at the do stuff! blog, Lee is giving away a pdf file with patterns for a knitted hat, a stencil, an applique, a thank you card design, and mac and cheese recipes for voting. Woo Hoo!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Happy Halloween

Carmel Apples from 101, insanely delicious!

Violet and her friend Anna in their fairy costumes sewn from Wee Wonderfuls pattern.

Violet's pumpkin, ready to be carved.

One of Wren's pumpkins getting carved.

left to right: Wren's, Violet's, Wren's, and in back is mine. Denny just got to help carve the kid's pumpkins and didn't get to his own.

Missing: picture of Wren in his costume!

Friday, October 31, 2008

How To: The Great Pumpkin Cake

It all starts with two bunt cakes. I made one pumpkin bread and one banana bread.

Cut the bottoms to make a flat surface. You will want to save that part for snacking!

Place one on top of the other and line up the ridges.

After frosting the cake, roll up a paper bag for a stem and carefully fill in the hole with bits of scrap cake. Carefully frost the last bit.

Decorate as you wish! I had great plans to melt chocolate to make cutouts for decorating. You could also use this for a Thanksgiving cake. Use your imagination and get fancy!

Pumpkin Bread Recipe
2 c baked pumpkin or squash or 1-15 oz can
1 c brown sugar, packed
1 c granulated sugar
2/3 c veg. oil
4 eggs
1 t salt
2 t baking soda
2 t ginger
2/3 c water
3 c flour of your choice
1/2 c mini chips

Mix pumpkin, sugars, oil and eggs. Add salt, baking soda, ginger and water. Mix in flour until incorporated. Stir in mini chips. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour for a bunt pan.

Banana Bread Recipe
6 large bananas
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
2/3 c veg. oil
1 t vanilla
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 c flour of your choice
1/2 c mini chips

Smash bananas. Mix in sugars, eggs and oil. Add vanilla, baking soda and salt. Mix in flour until incorporated. Stir in mini chips. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour for a bunt pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick of butter, softened
1 pkg cream cheese, cold
2 t vanilla
4 c pwd sugar

Beat butter until lightened, add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Mix in vanilla and powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add food coloring.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Oh how I love bacon. But don't you just hate standing over the frying pan with hot bacon grease splattering.

A super easy way to avoid this is to bake your bacon in the oven. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lay your bacon on a baking tray, remember that it will shrink, so you can squish them on. Depending on how you like your bacon, it will take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Cook until done to your liking. Remove from tray, tongs are great for this, and enjoy. I usually bake up a whole package at a time and then store the rest in the fridge, reheating as I need it.

You could also line your tray with foil which makes for easy clean up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Over The Shoulder Bag

I saw this shoulder bag on How About Orange, followed the link to Tiny Happy's great tutorial and realized this was a must have bag.

This one went to my mom for her birthday.

I fell in love with the fabric and found the perfect button.

I made one for myself out of the cute cherry fabric I bought from Roxanne. I only changed the instructions a tad. Instead of leaving an opening for turning the bag right side out on the bottom of the lining, I left it open on the top of the bag where you are going to sew a top stitch to finish. This step eliminates having to hand stitch the hole in the lining.

I love this bag! If I had the time, I would make an over the shoulder bag in every color.