Monday, February 28, 2011

In my office

After our friend John brought me a pot of Tulips at Christmas I had vowed to keep flowering plants in my office window. Well, I finally found another one that worked, a hot pink Kalonchoe from the dollar store is brightening up my space!
Dollar Store Kalanchoe brightening up my office window

Here is another sunny little arrangement on my mantle (to the right of the image above). The colorful vase is one of my favorites and was scored at our flea market years ago from my favorite vendor. The tall enameled vessel was made by my college professor, enamelist extraordinaire, Harlan Butt. Check out his website, his work is amazing. The tiny enameled lidded bowl was made by me in college and is one of my most precious belongings and favorite things I have ever made.
enamel and ceramic

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Dad's First Tattoo

I don't know why I haven't shared this sooner. This image has been on my desktop since before Christmas. I took it quickly at Thanksgiving as Karlie wasn't wanting to be held or pose for pictures. This is my dad, who my niece Karlie has started calling Baba, showing off his tattoo in honor of his first grandchild. The artwork and tattoo are by Megan Emery of Bijou Studio in Austin. She is really fabulous. Isn't this the sweetest thing ever?! I photoshopped the image and printed it out as a Christmas gift for my parents and for my brother and sis in law.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snowy Day Photo Shoot

On a snowy day a couple of weeks ago I caught Lucy resting on the back of the couch. I decided to do a photo shoot with the Hipstamatic.
Snowy Day Photo Shoot

Lucy and I goofing around.
Snowy Day Photo Shoot

A rare good picture with both of the dogs together.
Snowy Day Photo Shoot

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Sea Salt Caramels

I had a bee in my bonnet to make Fleur de sel Caramels. I'm not sure where the idea came from, but right about when I was thinking about it a facebook friend posted that she was going to make them too. I found this recipe on Epicurious and it is the one I went with. I purchased an inexpensive candy thermometer, but couldn't find Fleur de sel. I ended up using the sea salt that I had on hand, which worked fine. My mom did find me some Fleur De Sel at Whole Foods and I will try again with that.

I think the only mistake that I made was not cooking the sugar long enough in the beginning. This did not affect taste or texture, only color, so its not really a big deal.

I doubled the recipe thinking that it would fill a 9x13 pan, but they would have been very thin. I had lined the pan with parchment so I just pulled it up to about half the pan and propped that up with my sugar canister while they cooled in the refrigerator.

after cutting

I wanted to give these as gifts so I wrapped them in parchment paper. At first I was wrapping individually, but soon tired of that and wrapped a "log" of a few at a time.

These turned out to be really delicious and I will make them again at some point. I better not make them too often though, because they are too tempting to have around! I made the rest of my caramels into homemade Turtles today and those are even better mmmmm.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yellow Mood

My Mod Fiber Ring if featured in this beautiful treasury by Inbar Barakeet. This bright and sunny treasury is just what I needed on this gray and dreary morning!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cannellini Bean Soup

I had a hankering for Cannellini bean soup but Frank was unsure. I saw a version on Smitten Kitchen (such a beautifully photographed blog by the way) and another on Mad Hungry. I ended up going with the Mad Hungry version, with a few changes.
Cannellini Bean Soup and Homemade Bread

The first thing I did differently was add a couple of tablespoons of flour while the carrots, onions and celery were cooking, actually when they were almost done. I stirred that around to keep it from burning and then added the chicken stock. I had done that on a tomato soup that I made recently and thought it would help thicken the soup up. I didn't have the fresh herbs on hand so I just used dried, I think I used thyme and oregano. Also, I used canned beans (2 cans) instead of dried. I turned out great! Oh, and I added Kale. It is super healthy, I liked it even more than I thought I would, and Frank even loved it.

I made a loaf of the five minute bread to go with it.
And I topped the soup with a little shredded sharp cheddar, I didn't have Parmesan on hand.
Cannellini Bean Soup and Homemade Bread
This one is a keeper!
I have some in the freezer too and as soon as I make another batch of bread dough we will be thawing the soup out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baby Annie's Pillow and Blanket

I was invited to a friends' baby shower this past weekend. I knew about the shower and what this adorable invite looked like in advance because my good friend Robin was hosting the party. I decided that I wanted to make a pillow and blanket for the baby similar to the ones I made last year for Leo. I used this invitation for inspiration on both the colors and the pillow design. I have removed some info from the invite for privacy reasons, but you can still see how cute it is! The invite is by Studio G Designs on esty and she is a local girl. She also did Robin and Chases' wedding invites and is super talented.

I had a lot of fun picking our fabrics for the pennant on the pillow. I designed the pillow and my awesome mom did the sewing for me. She used a satin stitch to make the letters on the fabrics after I applied wonder under to them. After she stitched the letters I cut out the triangles based on my design, each one is slightly different to give the illusion of depth. Then we ironed all the triangles on and mom appliqued them down. Finally we used vintage ric rac for the string on the pennant and sewed the cute edging into the pillow. Thanks mom! Oh, and I forgot, we backed the top with a lightweight batting and mom freehand quilted around the triangles and those adorable clouds. I love it and Sloan did too!

I used the Granny Stripes pattern by Lucy of Attic 24 for this blanket. You can see more info about the yarn and a link to the pattern here. The granny stitch in general goes really quick and is perfect for a baby shower gift. I love the stripes and the only part I didn't like was weaving in all the ends. I think it turned out super cute and this yarn is soooo soft.

I showed up early to help decorate and was able to arrange some flowers. I love arranging flowers and these are so pretty.
baby shower flowers

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine's Treat For You!

I am offering a special discount to my blog readers and facebook friends for Valentine's Day! Today only, enter the code: BEMINE in the coupon code at checkout and receive 20% off your entire purchase! I'm still offering free worldwide shipping too. Click on the items above to go to my etsy shop.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Our Snow Day

Sorry for my absence lately, I suppose I have been busy. I spent last week working on Etsy orders, grocery shopping and eating in, bundled up with Frank and the dogs, and cleaning house for our niece Karlie's visit. Karlie and her mama got in on Friday and we spent the day playing and having so much fun! Saturday was even more fun because we took Karlie to the Fort Worth zoo. She is at such a fun age and has started calling me Aya, its really cute. I love that little munchkin with all my heart.

On Saturday night I baked cookies for a baby shower that I attended yesterday. I made those Flourless Chocolate cookies that I had made before Christmas and had so many frustrations with them. Luckily I doubled the batch and ended up with some good ones, but I threw away several whole trays of cookies. I can finally share the gift that I made for the baby shower and will post that tomorrow.

For now I'm playing catch up and sharing pictures from our big snow day. It finally warmed up on Friday and has been beautiful, sunny and in the 70's, but for the past two weeks we were frozen here with record lows and lots of snow (for us).

These pictures were taken week before last. We had a big ice storm on Tuesday and then the snow started Thursday night. Frank and I went out and checked out the snow about midnight.
Our big snow day of 2011!

The next morning it was already warming up and it was so pretty outside.
Our big snow day of 2011!

Our big snow day of 2011!
Lucy was very excited to be running lose in the front yard. We played stick and she had fun. I love this one because it looks like she is smiling!
Our big snow day of 2011!
Malta wasn't as sure about the snow, she is an old lady and is always cold!
Our big snow day of 2011!

Happy Valentines Day!
I have to go grocery shopping this afternoon for mine and Frank's special dinner.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Experiments with Felting

I have been in a thrift shopping mood lately and found this colorful 100% wool sweater at Goodwill today. I wanted to felt it to possibly make us some Christmas stockings, or who knows what else. Felting was another snow time activity last week, so I have that on my mind.
Scored a sweater at goodwill
I threw this in my washer on hot/cold with a pair of jeans and let it felt. I should have stopped after the first round but I thought it hadn't felted enough. Well, it really did work in that second wash! I'm a little disappointed because you could see the patterns more before it got this thoroughly felted, but I still think its pretty.
After felting

This is the felt project that I worked on at my parents' house last week. I have been wanting to make a felt ball garland for our Christmas tree for the last couple of years. Unfortunately I always think about it at Christmas time and then its too late to make or source the felt balls. Well mom and I came across this on etsy and learned how to make felt beads or balls from recycled wool sweaters. It works best for smaller balls and on certain types of wool. I think its pretty genius and would definitely say it is worth purchasing if you are interested in learning to do this. The ones in the bag were the best, the ones in the background were irregular bits and the pile in the foreground were too big and didn't felt thoroughly.
Felt balls made from thrifted sweaters

Sunday, February 6, 2011

While Snowed In

I got snowed in at my parent's house for most of last week. Luckily I had these fabrics and my quilt plan stashed there waiting to be cut. I don't have the best luck cutting with the rotary cutter so I needed mom to show me a few tricks.

Once I got going I didn't want to stop! I got all the pieces cut and laid out in one evening.

I played around with the layout for a while and was finally happy with it.

Mom's trick for making sure the values were distributed evenly, a black and white image of the layout:

The next morning I pieced together the first two rows and, with a little adjustment, fit them nicely together.
first two rows put together

I came home that day and my house was much colder, so I haven't wanted to sit at my machine. I was wishing for a crochet project because that is something I could have worked on while cozied up under a quilt on the couch.

It was a crazy week around here with highs in the upper 70's last weekend, then ice and snow and the coldest temps in twenty years here. I made it home Thursday and it was not too harrowing. Thursday night into Friday morning we got more snow and schools ended up being closed four days in a row! This weather is definitely atypical for us. Though we were cold, we really came out unscathed. One of our cold water pipes froze up a bit but I caught it in time and thawed it out with my hair dryer. So many people here had frozen pipes, and rolling blackouts throughout Texas was turning off heat, luckily our heat is gas. There were many wrecks and abandoned cars on the roads and I'm happy that I waited to come home and didn't risk my life or my car. I'm glad it has thawed and is warmer now, but I do feel like I accomplished something while I was snowed in.

This quilt was inspired by Wee Wonderful's version of the Plain Spoken Quilt from The Modern Quilt Workshop. Looking at her color scheme again, I'm afraid I put too many colors into mine, it is so hard to restrain myself when it comes to color! I haven't seen the pattern or book in person (though I do want to), but designed mine based on how large I needed the quilt to end up for the back of our couch. My rectangles are cut to 9" tall x 2.5" and 4.5" wide. I had extra fabric so I ended up with 10 rows of 10 small blocks and 9 large blocks each. Surprisingly Frank loves the quilt despite the multitude of color, and that makes me very happy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Birthstone Pendant

Custom Birthstone Pendant

I finished this custom birthstone pendant earlier this week. This pendant was specifically requested by my customer to be made like the one I made for Karen last year. This version is made in all sterling silver and the stones are Garnet, Moonstone and Emerald.

Custom Birthstone Pendant

We are snowed in here in Texas, with icy roads, rolling blackouts and schools closed. I came up to my parents' house on Monday and have been stuck here. I'm hoping to make it home today but with a high of 19° the roads are likely to stay frozen! Wish me luck.