Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Fall!

Today is the first day of Fall and I think everyone around here is happy to say goodbye to the Summer of 2011. The weather could not be better and I've been trying to get out on walks and enjoy it while it lasts. Apparently we are set to have a hot and dry Fall and continue in drought conditions into next year. Here are some images from our recent walks.

Tuesday on the Trail with Frank and Lucy
Late summer walk

Late summer walk

Late summer walk

Late summer walk

Late summer walk

Yesterday Lucy and I saw this poor beautiful Blue Jay on our walk

Today on our first day of fall walk.  The sun felt intense and the breeze cooled us.  
It was lovely.
First day of fall walk

We made our way down Camp Bowie and inspected this soon to be Bakery.  Not that I need to eat more sweets, but it makes me happy to see new small businesses opening up in our neighborhood.
First day of fall walk

I hope you are enjoying the weather where you live and that Fall treats you well.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Twelve Years of Togetherness!

Frank and I celebrated twelve years of togetherness this weekend.  I, of course had to work both Saturday and Sunday, but luckily got off at 3:30 yesterday.  We had a delicious El Salvadoran meal at a local favorite Glorias.  I have to learn how to make Chimichurri at home, I'm a bit obsessed.
We took a walk after dinner with a gorgeous stormy sunset and spent the rest of the evening just chilling at home. 

I've talked before about how awesome my man is and how lucky I am.  We met through mutual friends in 1998 in Denton.  Our first date was September 17, 1999 and we have been together ever since.  We are both lucky to have found each other.  I love that picture above, we look so young, and we were, and Malta was so young too, not a white hair on her face.

Love you babe, thanks for being the wonderful man you are!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Palette Challenge Obsession

I mentioned the Colette Fall Palette Sewing Challenge the other day in passing, thinking that there was no way I could find time to participate.  Well, I became obsessed with the idea, as I tend to do, and created a palette and inspiration board.  I have two patterns cut out and plenty more in line.  I have no idea how many pieces I will have time to actually finish in the next 7 or so weeks that are left in Colette's time frame.  It doesn't really matter though as I need clothes, have lots of fabric and patterns in my stash, and will simply sew when I can find the time.  

I'm still narrowing down my fabric and pattern choices, and will get back to you on those.  The ones that I have cut out so far are Simplicity 2250 View A in a black and white polka dot cotton pique and 2305 view d in a lovely plaid pima cotton.  Both are Cynthia Rowley patterns, which I have been pleased with in the past.

Of course I had a hard time narrowing down my color choices and ended up with 8.  The Anna Maria Horner print in the middle was my inspiration and though I wanted to make a blouse with it.  It will likely be a skirt since it only comes in quilting weight cotton and not the sumptuous Voile that I have come to adore.  A few of the colors are already in my wardrobe and I won't have to make anything new with them. I also have pieces that I have sewn and never worn, which I plan to integrate into my new wardrobe.  Some need hemming, letting out, or were just out of season by the time I finished them.

I used Pinterest to gather inspiration.  I love that site and you can find my pins, including all of these pieces, here.

I'll share my progress soon!
Back to work on jewelry for now....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crazy for Ice Cream

Last week A couple of weeks ago (I've been meaning to post this for a while)
we went a little crazy in the kitchen.
I may have lost my mind, evidenced by homemade waffle cones. We scored the waffle cone maker half off retail at Tuesday Morning, and armed with a recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream I couldn't resist. My technique needs to be perfected but they sure were tasty!

We made our third batch of Salty Caramel Ice Cream and our first batch of Banana, both Jeni's recipes as well.  I don't have her book yet, but received a packet with a good amount of recipes in the class that I took.  Here is the Banana base with delicious Vanilla Bean seeds.

We also made homemade shell toppings.  First I attempted the Caramelized White Chocolate that I had tasted in class on Banana Ice cream (it tastes like Dulce de Leche).  I burned it, and burned my hand badly, leading to a ginormous blister that is finally healing after a week.  

I was out of white chocolate that night after burning the first batch so I used dark chocolate.  I prefered that one after all, and it was much easier to make, only having to melt it and not caramelize it.

Despite preferring the dark chocolate, I was determined to get the Caramelized White Chocolate right.  I burned it a second time but finally had success and no more burning myself on my third try.  The trick is doing it on the lowest heat, stirring constantly and using a thick bottomed pot.

The inspiration for all this craziness was sharing ice cream with my family, which we did last Friday night.

Karlie getting some chocolate topping
Mmmm, chocolate!

My Salty Caramel Cone with Dark Chocolate Shell Topping

Salty Caramel with Dark Chocolate Shell

Silly Ice Cream Face

Silly Ice Cream Face

I am in love with the Salty Caramel ice cream and we have served it with this Chocolate Cake (as a single layer/half recipe with chocolate ganache instead of icing, highly reccommended) for a friends birthday a few weeks ago and now with Dark Chocolate coating, both divine!

I don't have time to type out these recipes, so here are some links:
Caramelized White Chocolate Bombe
Banana Ice Cream
Salty Caramel Ice Cream

 For the rest of the recipes you'll have to purchase the book!  
Hint, dark chocolate shell coating recipe is the same as the white chocolate only you just melt it over low heat and it's done.  Try it, you'll love it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Late Summer Walk

After a miserable summer, we North Texans had a reversal of fortune this past Sunday. Gusty winds blew in a "cold front" turning temps from blast furnace to perfect, practically overnight, dropping highs by twenty degrees. Morning and night are cool and breezy, in the heat of the day it still feels great. This isn't even normal September weather for us, it is cooler like October and November. I know it will get hot again, so we squeezed in a walk on the trail. We hadn't been out on this trail since we lost Malta.  Lucy walked mostly off the leash, and behaved herself for the most part. Times like these give me a sense of calm and happiness. They are too few and far between.

Just off the trail we found this little nest like fort structure.  I wasn't sure if it was created by neighborhood kids or homeless people.  Regardless, it was cool and reminded me of mine and Elliott's childhood forts.  I don't think we have any pictures of them, but they were super cool and kind of like this in a circle of trees.

I love those sunset colors. I have been thinking about color a lot, more than usual I guess. There is a Fall Pallette Sewing Challenge going on over at Colette Patterns and I so wish I could find the time to participate. My relationship with clothing is a difficult one. I don't like most of what is in my closet, am too cheap to buy new clothes (I always talk myself out of purchases) and don't have time to sew all the sewing patterns that I hoard.  I think this sort of challenge would force me to think about what I wear and be more purposeful in my clothing choices. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Party

Our niece Karlie's Second Birthday celebration was last Saturday and we all had a blast, especially her.
Here she is working hard at rearranging the balloons.

working hard

She was so excited when she saw the cake and she was singing Happy Birthday quietly to herself.
She loves to sing, it's so cute.
singing happy birthday to herself

She helped fill the HUGE tweety bird pinata.
She wants to help with everything and do everything by herself, such a big girl!
helping to fill the pinata

This is my favorite picture of the day, taken while we sang Happy Birthday to her.
She was so happy.
Singing happy birthday

Here is what I made her. 
Our gifts to Karlie

The doll pattern is Little Miss Storybook from Wee Wonderfuls, and the dress is Simplicity 2320.
 I sort of guessed on what size to sew her in the dress, and I think I did okay. She hasn't tried it on yet, but mom measured her this past weekend and I had made it one size above what she is now, so she will have room to grow. I loved coordinating her doll with her dress, and I'm in love with the little brown Moda print. I hate that Moda only does their fabric design runs for one season and when they are gone, they are gone. They have so much cute stuff that I miss out on. I had a little trouble with the yoke on the dress. Since I added the piping it rounded the corners, making it harder to attach to the dress front, but I persevered and it turned out fine. The doll is from the Wee Wonderfuls book that I made her Kitty from.  I made a few changes to her.  I made taller boots, left out the cape, turned her apron into a removable skirt, made the dress fabric into the body leaving off the second layer of body fabric and seaming it at the neck.  I love the way she turned out, not even sure what my favorite part is, I just had fun with the whole project!  Of course Karlie loved those shoes the most, and didn't pay attention to the doll or dress.  I'm sure they will grow on her though.