Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Food Stuff

I worked all last weekend, I suppose my holiday weekend was the week before in Austin. I opened Monday, so I was off by 4 and we grilled burgers for dinner. It just seems like the thing to do on Memorial day and they sure were good.

More importantly check out that plate. Did I mention that my mom gave me her Dansk dishes? How sweet is that?! She gave me her wedding dishes that we grew up with. She has had them since 1968. I love them.
Memorial day burgers

Speaking of Austin, we made Mascarpone French Toast with Warm Blackberry Syrup for breakfast on the Sunday that we were there. Super yummy! The recipe was from the May issue of Sunset Magazine. I love that mag and gave my sister in law a subscription to it for Christmas, which she is loving too. We changed a few things in the recipe. Blackberry French toast

Mascarpone French Toast with Warm Blackberry Syrup
from Sunset Magazine May 2012

* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
* 1 1/2 cups cold mascarpone cheese
* 2 tablespoons blackberry liqueur
* 8 thick (3/4 in.) slices of day-old wide French bread, such as b√Ętard
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 2 1/2 cups blackberries
* 2 tablespoons butter
* Cooked bacon

1. Heat a charcoal grill to medium-high (450°) or set up a camp stove and use medium heat.
2. Whisk egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla together in a large bowl.
3. Stir mascarpone, remaining 1 tsp. vanilla, and the liqueur together in another bowl. Spread mascarpone mixture over 4 bread slices; top with remaining slices. 
4. Cook maple syrup and berries in a small covered saucepan until berries start to break down, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. 
5. Heat a large heavy frying pan or 2 smaller ones; swirl butter in pan(s). Dip sandwiches in egg mixture, then cook, turning once, until crisp and browned, 4 to 8 minutes total. Serve French toast with syrup and bacon.

Here is what I changed, we didn't use a grill but a skillet on the stove.  We omitted the blackberry liqueur but I'm sure it would be great with it.  We shopped late and the store we went to only had pre-sliced bread and it was about 1/4" thick.  I didn't sandwich the pieces with mascarpone, but just topped the french toast with it after.  I also added fresh, uncooked blackberries and I would recommend that.  We will definitely make this again.

I've been in the backyard all morning and it was actually pretty cool but humid.  I worked on trimming and cleaning the beds for over two hours but there is still so much to do.  There is always so much to do out there and it never looks perfect, but it is looking really nice.  Do you have a never ending list of yard chores?  We have one for the house too. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thoughts for the week

It has been a busy week. I went up to hang out with my mom on Thursday. She helped me fix a shirt that I had sewn too tight and helped with other sewing issues. We met her friend Shari for lunch and coffee. Shari was wearing all Ashley Akers jewelry, which made me happy. Shari wearing rings I made

I helped mom and dad load up some outdoor stuff to haul South. In the outdoor explorations I found a tiny bird's egg that had fallen from the nest. Birds egg

 And some baby toads. Baby toad

I scored two pieces of knit on super clearance at Joann. Like half the clearance price! New knits for tops

We finally put our new, old dresser in our room. I've never incorporated Feng Shui into our home, but know that this corner is the financial corner of our whole house and I'm really happy to be sprucing it up a bit. It has always been a neglected dusty corner, ha that sounds about right. New old dresser

Karlie had been telling me that Kool Kat needs new clothes, so she and a companion came home with me for some couture sewing for them. Kool Kat specifically needs pajamas and a tutu and the other doll needs a swimsuit. I had to laugh at that one, picturing the cloth body in a spandex suit! Karlies friends waiting for new clothes

I forgot to mention that Karlie swam by herself for the first time at The Spot. She had arm floats and a floaty ring, but totally got over her fear. At first she was nervous, and just swam back and forth from her mama to me for probably twenty minutes, only as long as we had our hands within her reach. After that she was over it and told us, "I'm going to swim to the waterfall by myself". Of course Frank and I swam beside her and she told Frank, "I'm a mermaid Gagee". So cute! She is fearless just like her daddy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Magical Place

We went down to Austin last weekend to hang out with our dear friends Susan and Matt who were there celebrating their ten year wedding anniversary. They were camping out at McKinney Falls. We stayed with my brother and sister in law to have maximum time with Karlie but took her out to the campground on Friday. On Saturday we all caravaned to a magical spot in the Hill Country, "The Spot" as it has been dubbed by my brother and his friends. With traffic heading out of Austin, two stops along the way, crazy road rage drivers (not us) and lots of turns on winding roads, it almost seemed like too far to go for a swim. Well, once we arrived all of us who had never been there agreed that it was well worth the trip! I only wished we had arrived hours earlier. It was a bit of a hike in, adding to the anticipation. The spot The spot
A glimpse of what was ahead. Can you spot it? The spot

We arrived and were amazed.
Crystal clear spring water pouring from the ground.
A perfect swimming hole.
Texas at it's best!
 The spot The spot The spot

Frank worked up the courage to jump from the lower rocks. He isn't a fan of heights. I jumped twice but couldn't make myself jump from the taller spot. The spot The spot The spot
What a magical and special place to visit. I can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Current Obsession

I'm currently obsessed with Vintage sewing patterns. I have never sewn from one but I just love some of the designs. I have been particularly liking mail order patterns. I don't know much about them, but they seem to be readily available from the 1930's through the 1980's. My mom said that my grandmother, who sewed constantly, purchased some over the years. I've favorited a bunch on etsy and may dive in and try some. Unfortunately I have a lot more time for planning than making lately. With working later into the evening I just don't get to sew like I would like. I currently have a pattern and muslin spread out on my dining room table for a top to be made from the indigo silk that I dyed with mom a few weeks ago. mail order sewing patterns

I took a screen shot rather than using an etsy mini because I didn't want the images to change as I added new favorites. If you are interested in searching just use the search term "mail order sewing pattern" in the vintage section on etsy.

I know Vintage on etsy is a sensitive topic with artists but it doesn't really bother me.  I actually quite enjoy searching for vintage items, though I haven't purchased many.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Out in the yard

Gardening in Texas most definitly has it's challenges. The good part is that we are able to garden year round. One thing I love about the garden is that as one plant is just finishing it's peak of flowers or foliage, another is ready to put on a show. I do not put the time into my garden that I would like to, nor do I have money to spend on plants these days, never the less my garden rewards me with blooms and makes me smile daily. Garden Garden Garden Cactus blooming Cactus blooming Garden Garden Garden

I hope my garden makes you smile too Enjoy your week! I know I will as I have something to look forward to this weekend. xoxo Ashley

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mamas out there! We celebrated with my mom last night. Her birthday is on Wednesday and since I didn't know my work schedule for next week I went ahead and made her cake and took it up last night. I was going for an Amaretto and Peach combo, inspired by my favorite ice cream in Fredricksburg. I used my favorite Vanilla Cake recipe and made a two layer 6" square cake (there was enough batter left for a dozen cupcakes, which I froze). I frosted it with my favorite Cream Cheese frosting, flavored ith 1 1/2 teaspoons of Almond Extract. The cake is topped with crushed Amaretti cookies and then I made a Peach sauce on the side since Frank doesn't like peaches. Texas Peaches are in at work and I chopped them in a small dice and sauted them with about a tablespoon each of butter and brown sugar. I crushed some and then added a bit of cornstarch, though I don't think that was necessary. I also added a splash of Amaretto. Yum! The peach sauce would be perfect on pancakes too.
Amaretto Peach cake for mom Amaretto Peach cake for mom
 Amaretto Peach cake for mom

Dad said it might be the best cake he's ever had. Now that's high praise! My parent's house is eerily empty. They will be gone in just a couple of weeks and that is so strange to me. After 25 years it will be hard to say goodbye to their home. Here is my empty bedroom. It hasn't been that way since before we moved in in 1987! Back then it had pink walls, teal carpet and green and pink curtains that mom made!

 Empty room

 Of course I didn't get mom's gift made in time. I make to do lists and then just watch the deadlines come and go. I'm the ultimate procrastinator, it seems. I found these Mother of Pearl roses on etsy last week, after looking for the perfect ones for what seems like forever. They came in yesterday so I just gave mom one and told her that I'm going to make a piece of jewelry out of it for her. Karlie's middle name is Rose and I'm going to put a Peridot with it for her birthstone, sort of a Grandmother's pendant.
Mother of pearl rose

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teardrop Daydreams

I don't have anything thrifted to share with you on this Thursday. The pieces that I have scored recently need mending or altering and I have yet to do that or take pictures. Instead I have been daydreaming as I often do. Dad and I had a conversation recently about how easy it would be (for him) to make a teardrop trailer. Yes, yes, yes, I want one! They are the perfect little light weight travel camper for two people. My parents have a vintage airstream, which will be mine and Frank's someday, but it is really too big for travel in my opinion. With gas getting more expensive by the day a tiny trailer and small vehicle are definitely the way to go. Here are some inspiration trailers gathered from Pinterst.
Source: via E on Pinterest

This one is bigger than a teardrop, but still an awesome little trailer.
I'm hoping to go thrift shopping when Frank gets home from work, so maybe I will have something to share next week. If you need me the next two days you can find me wrapping flowers for Mother's day at work. See you there! xoxo Ashley

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We Miss You Old Girl

I've been thinking a lot lately about my old girl Malta. It has been almost a year since we lost her and we miss her so. A coworker told me last week that she had just lost her 16 year old dog and it brought tears to my eyes. I still cry thinking about our baby and how much we love her and miss her. I was walking Lucy the other day and someone rolled down their car window and asked what kind of dog she is. I said Lab Dalmation mix, but she's not, that was Malta. Lucy is a Dalmation and Rat Terrier mix and I felt silly for the mistake. Granted Malta has been on my mind and I was a bit out of it from just huffing and puffing up a hill on our walk.  The cactus in our front garden is about to burst into bloom, and this too reminds me of Malta.Cactus blooming Cactus blooming

This is one of the last pictures that I took of Malta and it will be forever in my mind when I think of her.

*It is going to be a long week at work. Everyone talks about how crazy it gets on Mother's day weekend and I am in Floral all week. Yesterday was the first day of prep and it already wiped me out!

*I made these cookies the other day and while delicious, they are not to be eaten at night.  They kept me up on several occasions (I'm slow to learn) and I don't really think I need another way to consume caffeine.  Next time I would leave out the coffee.

*Though I'm so out of shape and terrified to get into a swimsuit, I do need a new one and I do love swimming.  I contemplated making my own for a few minutes and decided that I should just buy one.  My dread does have me exercising a bit more, so that is good!

*Mom's birthday is next week and I'm contemplating some combo of Peach and Almond for her cake.  Texas peaches are in at work, and they smell divine.  This doesn't really align with trying to lose weight, but you gotta celebrate, right?!

*I've been sewing and have several new things to share, if only I can find the time to photograph them.

*As always I'm super inspired by Sallie Oh and Dixie Diy, two fellow Texas bloggers.

*Fiber artist and blogger,  Terry Grant, commented on my blog post about my mom's Dansk plates.  She posted a link to her own story about her Dansk stoneware and why she chose it when she got married.  I really enjoyed that and loved how several like minded women made the same choice about what to fill their home with.  These plates became so much more than just something to eat off of.

*I'm almost caught up on all my jewelry orders and constantly bemoaning the fact that work makes it take so much longer for me to get anything made.  That and my creative ADD.

Have a good week, I'll be working my tail off and come see me if you need any flowers for mom.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thrifted and Dyed

A while back I scored a 100% cashmere sweater at my favorite thrift store for about $2.50. It was an ugly butter yellow and fit a little tight but I just couldn't pass it up. thrifted cashmere sweater Thrifted cashmere sweater

I'm glad I didn't because I dyed it coral with Kool Aid and now it's a much better color. Coral and Gray

I had it out to pack away for summer with another sweater, and I love this color combo of Coral and Gray.
Coral and Gray

Though I like the color now, I'm not crazy about the style and will probably either turn it into a scarf or save it til I find more sweaters to make a blanket from. Here are some Sweater blankets for inspiration.

Source: via Bridget on Pinterest

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm Your Tia and I Love You

We got a nice surprise this week when my parents and brother brought Karlie with them from Austin. Frank and I went up on Monday to spend time with all of them. It is hard to imagine that my parents won't be nearby for much longer. My parents built their house and we moved in at the end of my 6th grade year, twenty five years ago. The house is getting emptier each time I visit and they will be gone in less than a month. I imagine that will be the last time for Karlie to visit, though of course we will be going to Austin as much as we can.

Karlie and Lucy played ball and it was a blur of activity as are most things with an almost three year old!
 Karlie and Lucy Karlie and Lucy Karlie and Lucy Karlie and Lucy

Karlie told me, "you are my tia" so I asked her who Frank was and she said "my Gaga". She usually calls me Aya and Frank is either Gaga or Gagee. She is getting so big and talking so much and so clearly. We have so much fun with her. Mom told me that she read my blog post about the Dansk dishes and she offered them to me. How sweet is that?! I never expected her to give them to me, but will surely love them. What a generous mama I have. I'm off today and catching up with house cleaning, jewelry and errands. There is always too much to do on my days off. I better get to work...