making: pink cards

I made these pink cards on the fly for a friends birthday, just printing some lino cuts I had sitting around, all in pink.

Anyway, they were so cute that I thought I would re-use the idea. And while I liked all the designs, I thought that the flags would be great for invitations so I whipped up a couple different colors. Of course I like the best all packaged up like this!


baking: lemon ice cream

Finding myself in hot weather again, after several weeks of very cold summer (we are talking multiple days in a row of sweaters and socks and pirate-ghost-ship fog etc) makes me remember this lemon ice cream I made in the late spring, and how increadable refreshing and zesty it was. I decided to branch out and do a custard base, which is more work (involving cooking milk and adding egg yokes and then straining everything and freezing it before adding it to the lemon flavor mixture of zest and juice and such) but totally worth the effort. Despite adding many more steps and dragging the ice cream making out to a full day long process if you include the time spent waiting for things to cool in the fridge, but was totally worth it. It wasn't a sorbet at all, it was thick and luxuriously creamy like ice cream but not with the normal expected slight lemon flavor, instead it was full of an intense and deleriously delicious explosion of lemon-y goodness.

Conclusion: I can actually love an ice cream that involves no chocolate at all, which I consider to be a monumental accomplishment considering my total devotion to the flavor. Also in closing, thank goodness I found where all the sunshine was hiding! this is what summer is supposed to be like, and I just might have to make another batch of this fantastic freezer treat.


cook, wear, create

The idea of having fresh warm toaster pastries, or homemade pop tarts, as it were, is alarmingly appealing. The ones in this recipe are filled with chocolate but I think berry would be equally delicious.

It is not surprising that I find it difficult to remember the kinds of summer days when I just throw on a dress and walk out the door considering what the weather has been like around here. Downright October-ish I'd say. But I do remember that when I see photo's like this which make me long for sunshine and the fantastic simplicity of grabbing just one piece of clothing and being comfortable and feel and look great. Today I am missing REAL summer weather. And I really like her dress.

This dresser in Design Sponge home tour was fantastic. The scallop pattern on gray is a charming idea and a great excuse for me to search ohtthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifut a sweet little chest of drawers to try this out on.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnd just for a little extra awesome this afternoon, look at this amazing paper installation! The color, the shapes, the overall total fantastic-ness oh-my-goodness-makes-me-so-excited-I-am-having-trouble-using-my-words...... le sigh!

Pretty awesome, am I right?!


cook, wear, make

Since I spend an awful lot of time reading blogs I figured it would make a good bit of sense for me to do a little weekly collection of things I liked. Or rather, ideas I want to try, things I would like to try my hand at making or wearing etc. So I will start if off right now, and try to keep it up regularly (fingers crossed) though I have a feeling that the difficult thing will be choosing only three things cause the amount of inspiration out there is rather massive!
First, I saw this recipe for a ricotta cheesecake that looked delightfully rich and creamy, and cheesecakes are notoriously easy to adapt to gluten free.

Secondly, my favorite fashion blogger Kendi (who I check daily for both her great attitude towards remixing clothing, but also for her downright hilarity) did a great take on a pretty top and jeans that make me really wish I had a cute elephant print blouse in my closet.

Lastly, this mother daughter venture, making beautiful, unique serving dishes, made me really want to get my hands on some clay again.

Have a great weekend and may this fog PLEASE lift so I can get just a little bit of summer sun, as it is, after all, August and it just doesn't seem right for me to be wearing this many pairs of socks!


making: house print skirt

I wanted to try my hand at printing my own fabric. Seeing as I do a fair bit of block printing and have also been getting more involved in making some of my own clothing it seemed like a good idea.

I wanted to do some sort of repeating print so I cut a block that fit together so it looked a bit more continuous. I made a block with six interlocking houses on it, and also a border print on a lighter fabric with different complementary print to add a bit of contrast.

This being my first attempt at printing on fabric, and wanting to make sure that it would not run in the wash (cause what is the point of having hand printed fabric clothing and not being able to get it clean)so I mixed a fabric ink fixer into my normal screen/block printing ink and then iron set the fabric after it was dried per the instructions on the bottle. And then I threw all of that yardage in the washing machine and held my breath. And VOILA! it worked!

The skirt I made is a simple full skirt with side pockets. I added a very thin red piping in between the main skirt fabric and the boarder print, to add a bit more interest. And it turned out to be a pretty cute little skirt, rather whimsical and sweet and, of course, one of a kind.
Oh and while I was at it I made another skirt out of some fabric I had lying around, with big pockets on the front and a wide waistband. It was very satisfying to make something that I could wear, and to know that I could now print on fabric, which opens the door into so many other lovely creative possibilities.


baking: peanut butter cups

I had a revelation while eating Reese's.
'These aren't really that good' I thought to myself.
And as I pondered this further I realized that yes, the peanut butter is the lowest level a butter made from peanuts can be, and the chocolate is sub par at best. The real reason I eat them, and crave them constantly, is the idea, the concept of chocolate and peanut butter. Sweet and salty together. And taking those individual papers off to leave a perfect little exposed zig-zag edge which I find so indefinably satisfying. But I am actually very prissy about my chocolate and so why do I subject myself to these mass-produced chocolate confections that are always a little bit disappointing and leave me feeling sort unsatisfied? Because it's a good idea.
And now for the true goal of this revelation. After the 'these aren't that good' thought and some pondering, came a brief examination after which I concluded that, why yes, I can make these myself, with better ingredients, and therefore they will be everything that I want Reese's (but they can't cause they can only be the sum of their inferior parts). Note that this is meant as no slight on Reese's, though it may certainly seem that way, as they do satisfy the urge when it arises (and the self made variety are not an option due to time constraints), and they have provided me with such an earth-shatteringly good inspiration I must appreciate them for that as well.

OK, enough talk, on the the making-of-the-goodies.
Turns out I was right and these were obscenely easy to make. Temper chocolate (I prefer semi-sweet) in a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl over boiling water if you find yourself without the traditional kind on hand). Line a mini muffin tray with mini cupcake liners and spoon the tempered chocolate into the liners. I did about a teaspoon into the bottom of the liner, and then loaded up a little bit more chocolate on the spoon and gently dripped it along the edge of the liner so that it is fully coated. When all the liners are evenly coated in chocolate put them in the refrigerator to harden.

Then while the little chocolate cups were in the fridge I made some peanut butter filling. I used some nice chunky organic peanut butter that I had left out for a while so it would be at room temperature. I mixed in a bit of confectioners sugar but then found it to be too sweet so I added in some salt and that seemed to bring it to just the right balance of sweet and salty. When the cups were chilled enough that they were going to hold their shape on their own I took them out and filled them with peanut butter filling. About a teaspoon each. Then I tempered a bit more chocolate and spooned it over the top, taking care to have every bit of peanut butter covered with the chocolate top, and making sure it fully extended to the sides, as the goal was to make an enclosed chocolate cup just like a Reese's.

After the (excruciating) wait while the final layer of chocolate cooled in the fridge, I was able to consume the first of my miraculous creations. And was it ever good. I mean I knew it would be good cause all the parts are good on their own, and the parts are chocolate and peanut butter so they are probably going to taste good together as well but still there is a moment of uncertainty when you cross your fingers that your crazy plan will have worked.
Well it did.

They eve look sort of like the store bought version, albeit with a much less uniformly smooth chocolate top but hey, I'm not a machine, and I did just make peanut butter cups. From scratch, so no nitpicking or you won't get any. And let me just say, you do want to try these. Or have a whole batch to yourself. They are that good.
Unless you don't like chocolate or are not a big fan of peanut butter, but if that is the case, really, I don't know what to say to you other than dude, you are missing out.


baking: sweet pea pesto

I wanted something for dinner that was bright and summery, and who doesn't have a bag or two of frozen peas hanging out in the freezer, so I decided to make some pesto. With peas. (and garlic, lemon and basil)

It is one of the easiest things I have ever made. Take one bag of frozen peas, and add a large bunch of basil, the juice of half a lemon, chopped garlic, and olive oil. Then throw it all in the Cuisinart and blend it all up.

I suppose you could use a blender too. As to amounts of ingredients, it is really all dependent on taste (how lemon-y or garlic-y you want your pesto for instance). And the more olive oil you use the thinner a pesto it will be.
I served mine with pasta mixed with fresh veggies and bacon but it would be just as good as a dip or on crustini's. And it defiantly tasted like summer.


welcome back me!

So I have been absent for about six months. Shameful I know. Though the fact that no one was clamoring for more makes me feel that perhaps this sabbatical that I took wasn't the end of the world for anyone, and I was the only one feeling disappointed about it. I mean what is the point of all of these photographs I am taking of all the projects I've been doing without somewhere to display them. My little conceited corner of the world where I lay out all my deeds for admiration. Anyway, it's not like during all this time I was not cooking and creating little projects, so really there isn't any reason I can think of not to put them out here.
And with that brilliant train of logic I will follow with some images. Pictures of a project that I finished. Very exciting stuff seeing as this is what I call the four year quilt. Being that I started it the summer after I graduated from University and just now finished it four years later, I find it an impressive accomplishment worth highlighting on this very first inaugural post of this here re-started blog.
I will begin by refreshing memory with a close up of what this quilt started out with. I was going for a crazy quilt patchwork in monotone, trying to mimic the visuals of fields and farms as seen from the air. They always remind me so much of patchwork it made sense to recreate them in fabric. And I've always liked quilts in a limited color family. So I used all yellow, and all sorts of teeny tiny pieces, most being and inch or smaller which is really ridiculous now that I think of it. All of those little tiny seams.

When I started the quilt four years ago I made these big pieces of patchwork, and then got overwhelmed and stopped. Then I took it up a year and a half ago and started ironing and flattening the seams and adding borders to make it into something reasonably sized. Then I gave up again. And finally I took it up again, and was amazed to realize that all that was left to do was put the front and back together and bind the edge.

Really the small amount of work left to be able to have a finished quilt was quite saddening. Like why didn't I do this earlier. It was sitting around so close to done, languishing in a semi-finished state and all I had to do what tidy it up.

And voila! A big bright lovely yellow quilt that looks like what a crazy person would do if they fell into a pile of yellow fabric. So cheerful and happy making. And of course the black and white cat must add herself to the scene as she looks so good on a bright yellow backdrop.

And with one long-overdue finished project under my belt, here's to the beginning, or the re-beginning of a place to document all my little projects and experiments. May the games begin!