Tuesday, January 29, 2013

stenciled pillow

i did it! i get to check a second thing off my 2013 list of creative projects because i've made my stenciled pillow, yay!

with this adorable idea from wit & whistle, i collected my supplies:
-a canvas corp 14x14 pillow cover (purchased from ellen hutson llc)
-a stencil (i used this one)
-a fabric marker (i used a marvy fine brush point)
-a pencil
-a white eraser
-a piece of cardboard big enough to fit inside the pillow cover

i followed wit & whistle's wonderful tutorial, putting cardboard inside my pillow cover to keep it flat and keep the ink from bleeding through. then i traced out my song lyrics (just what i needed by the cars) in pencil to perfect the spacing. i messed up a bunch on the first few letters and used my eraser to start over. i also used painter's tape to keep my lines straight. then i traced over my pencil lines with my fabric marker ( still using the stencil), then removed the stencil and filled in my letters. the marvy website said my fabric was ready to go when the the ink dried, no need to heat set, so i washed my pillow cover to get all the pencil marks out...and some of the marker went with it. but now it has a cool, slightly distressed look. AND i heat set it so it is safe to wash in the future.


Monday, January 28, 2013

a yummy lunch...

so you might not know that my sweet husband is a college student and this quarter a very, very busy one, (he studied until 1am last saturday night). where am i going with this? well my cute & busy student husband doesn't really have much time to do anything but study right now, even eat lunch, so i'm always looking for things i can make him that are portable but more interesting than a sandwich. that's where this new recipe from country living comes in, chicken potpie turnovers. yum!

the recipe calls for frozen empanada dough, which was impossible to find in any of my local grocery stores so i made my own using this martha recipe. and before you get impressed, it takes all of 5 minutes with a food processor!

after making the dough, the filling comes together easily as does the turnovers. there are many small bowls to wash when you're done but it's worth it.

and while my husband would be blissfully happy eating bologna sandwiches everyday, he does appreciates all my hard work in the kitchen.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

cookie #9: toffee squares

betty crocker's cooky book says these squares are a "rich cooky that looks and tastes like toffee candy". well that was all i needed to know and i wasn't disappointed! these toffee squares are delicious with a capital D!

-1 cup butter
-1 cup brown sugar, packed
-1 egg yolk
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 cups flour
-1/4 tsp salt
-3 to 4 milk chocolate bars (7/8 oz each)
-1/2 cup chopped nuts

heat oven to 350. mix butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. stir in flour and salt until dough is well blended. spread in a rectangle about 13x10" on greased baking sheet, leaving about 1" all around edge of baking sheet. bake 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely browned. (For a softer cake-like cooky, spread dough in an oblong pan, 13x9.5x2"; bake 25 to 30 min.) crust will be soft. remove from oven. immediately place separate squares of chocolate on top. let stand until soft; spread evenly over entire surface. sprinkle with nuts. cut into small squares while warm. makes 6 to 7 dozen.

my notes:
did i mention these are so super delicious?! and really easy to make! so i recommend you make yourself a batch straightaway!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

my 1st ruffle cake

so i made my first ruffle cake, yay! what do you think?

what? you say it looks a bit lopsided? well spotted. it was in fact a leaning tower of cake for a bit, with lemon filling pouring out the sides while i was trying to get the crumb coat on. i had to call my mom (who is a master cake decorator) for help. a call which wasn't shameful in itself except i was making the cake for her birthday. kinda sad to ask someone to help make their own cake but she is the best decorator i know! 

my master decorator helped me save my leaning tower with 3 skewers into the cake, an extra thick crumb coat of frosting and a deep chill for hours to keep it for from falling over. why you ask? well best i can figure in hindsight it was because i can follow some instructions to the letter, like "cream butter and sugar for 10 minutes" but not others like "cool cake completely before assembling layers"...oops!

so despite the cake almost falling off the cake plate (and looking more like stairs than layers when you cut a piece...haha), the ruffle technique is fairly easy to do but as you can see from the pictures, i will need quite a lot of practice to refine it. my cake was a mound of messy, messy ruffles. it did however taste delicious, vanilla cake, lemon filling and cream cheese buttercream!

i'm looking forward to the next try...


p.s. i used martha's tutorial found here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

1st day pie

when my sweet hubby went back to school we started a new tradition of having homemade pie on the first day of school. and in college that means 4 times a year, 1 for each quarter even summer!

i started with cherry pie because i didn't personally care for pie that much and it was soooo easy! i made semi-homemade cherry pie, pre-made crust with canned cherry pie filling and ta-da! and then over this past summer i became obsessed with/dedicated to the idea of making lovely little hand pies and i finally started making my own pie crust. i was kinda liking pie. so last quarter i really branched out and made a banana cream pie all from scratch, no pudding! it was really fun to make and quite tasty if i do say so myself!

and this quarter i got a wild idea to make a deep dish pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust. shaun likes it but i have to say that it's not my best work. the recipe will need some tweaking, the crust is too mushy and the filling could use some more spice. even with a less than perfect pie this time, i'm very grateful for this silly little tradition we've created. maybe we'll continue it for our kids someday.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

cookie #8: chocolate crinkles

chocolate crinkles are an important part of the winter holidays in our family, in fact i don't think my sister could celebrate christmas without them because my mom made them for our friends & family each year. now i make them for the holidays and all winter long because they are just so good!

-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-4 sq. unsweetened chocolate, melted
-2 cups sugar
-4 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla
-2 cups flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup powdered sugar

mix oil, chocolate and sugar. blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. add vanilla. measure flour by dipping or sifting. stir flour, baking powder and salt into oil mixture. chill several hours or overnight.

heat oven to 350. drop teaspoonfuls of powdered sugar. roll in sugar; shape into balls. place about 2" apart on greased baking sheet. bake 10 to 12 minutes. do not overbake! makes about 6 doz. cookies.

my notes:
i used cocoa powder & additional oil instead of chocolate squares. there is a handy little measurement on the cocoa powder packaging (3 tbsp of cocoa powder + 1 tbsp of vegetable oil = 1 chocolate sq) and that's just how we've always made them!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

a word for 2013

in my pursuit of creativity in the new year, i'm super excited to be taking ali edwards one little word class. i love ali's tradition of choosing a word for the year to focus on each day. and while i have chosen a word the past few years, i haven't had an accompanying project to really help me live my word on a daily basis. so i'm SUPER excited!

and right now my FAVORITE girls at decorating your life are doing a super cute weekend vinyl deal where you can get your word of the year in 5 styles, to use on various projects! super cuteness!


p.s. i'm not a paid sponsor of either product, i'm just excited about both and wanted to share!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

projects for 2013

i have to say that i'm happy to see 2012 go. perhaps with a little more distance and perspective, i will realize that it wasn't so bad and that it was just the last bit that was sad. the holidays were quite hard on my family, we lost my grandmother right before Christmas and received some terrible news that isn't mine to share here.

so you can understand why i'm excited to start fresh in 2013. more than ever i feel the need to be creative, to make something pretty in my studio and in the kitchen. i've started a list of creative to dos for the new year. here's my list so far:

-"all you need is love" canvas: i've been wanting to make this forever! well perhaps a few months short of forever but i've had a picture saved on my desktop longer than i've have had a pinterest account!


-ruffle cake: i've also been longing to learn the lovely ruffle piping technique. it's just so pretty! i usually make cupcakes but the ruffles make me want to bake full-size cakes.

martha stewart

-throw pillows: we have a brand new sofa in need a sassy collection of throw pillows and i have a few in mind including this adorable one...

-ottoman: and speaking of our new couch, there is a partly redone ottoman in the garage waiting for my attention. when it's finished, it will look something like this one...


-peplum t-shirt restyle: i'm still working on my sewing skills so square things like pillows and restyling premade things are right up my alley!

-soft pretzels: when we first got married and my cooking skills weren't quite as impressive as they are now (i mean they were awful!), i tried my hand a few different soft pretzel recipes...all failures. but this is the year i will figure it out.

so 2013, let's do this!

xo, carly