Friday, March 30, 2007

The Virtues of Jell-O and A Completed WIP

In honor of the completion of my WIP project (well, not really...the kids just wanted this), I made some strawberry and berry blue gelatin. Tasty, I have to say. That made me think of the other virtues of this edible invention:
1. A feast for the eyes with its vast array of colors and its transparent jewel-like qualities.
2. A feast for the ears with its tempting-sounding flavors (who can't resist margarita or strawberry-kiwi?)
3. An easy, cheap and kid-pleasing dessert.
4. An easy, cheap and kid-pleasing 'medicine'.
5. A fun way to explore science with its dissolving, congealing and dissolving-again properties.
6. It makes great dye for knitting and crocheting.
7. And where would our language be without the invention of jello? We would have no word with which to make a simile. What would we be able to compare our cellulite thighs or our weak stomach muscles to?

But enough of that. Now for my bag:

I'm sort of pleased with it. Pleased that it's finished. I won't show you the inside because then the mistakes would be apparent. Next time, I'll make a working pattern first and then using my other pattern directions as samples, I'll type up a do-in-order-list as a reminder for any future bags. But it'll get used - definitely big enough for the largest of library books or a trip to the local farmer's market. I like the feel of the linen.

Can you believe that it actually used to be this?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Another Year Older

Today was spent schooling, filling cups of juice for the fever-girl (she is getting a little better), and baking. No crafting today. Just baking and oh, yes, laundry. (The never-ending pile of it.) But what I baked was one of my husband's favorites. Let me just call it 'The 'Hip'pening' but Forgiving Chocolate Cake'. This one is completely fattening but good - just a wee slice will do. Of course I think we all agreed that it tastes so much better with raspberries than strawberries, but since I couldn't leave a sick child for a quick run to the grocery, strawberries made a fine runner-up. What was the occasion you ask? My husband's birthday.

Hippening But Forgiving Chocolate Cake

½ cup very strong coffee
16 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
½ lb butter (2 sticks), softened
¼ cup sugar
4 eggs
Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whipping cream (or more to taste)
1 tsp vanilla, Kahlua or other liqueur
3 Tbsp 10x (confectioner’s) sugar
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam (optional)
2 half pints raspberries (leave whole) or 1/2 lb. strawberries, sliced

Spray a fluted 8” round metal pan or 8-9” metal spring form pan with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put ¾ of chocolate chips & coffee together over double boiler. (I don’t have this, so I just put the stuff into a metal bowl set in a pan of simmering water on stove). Stir chips with wooden spoon until they melt. Remove from heat. Add butter, sugar, eggs, salt & vanilla. Mix w/mixer until smooth. Stir in leftover chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan of your choice & bake 30-40 min or until the top forms a crust. Let cool on rack. Invert onto large plate. **Here’s the forgiving part: don’t be alarmed if all of the cake doesn’t come slide off the pan. “Oh no! There’s a hole in my cake!” Not to worry. Scrape it off & pat it down onto the cake to fill in the hole. This will be covered with whipped cream and no one will know.** If using jam, spread this on top of cake now.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.

Before ready to serve, whip cream, sugar & vanilla together until stiff but not dry. Put onto cake. Top with raspberries or sliced strawberries. **Here’s the ‘hip’pening part: eat!**

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Signs of Spring and a Sneak Peek

Yeah! More little bits of encouragement. I've been wearing shorts for the past 3 days it's been so warm. Unusual for March, but I'll take it. Looking forward to when we can actually leave the house, though. My daughter is sick with a fever. Hoping it disappears without taking more prisoners, especially before my parents visit.

I thought I'd share a new treat.
A sneak peak of something I found in a thrift store on Saturday:

I was drawn to the colors. The stitching is machine-done. It's silk, and the design reminds me of those finely decorated eggs, Pysanky. This will hopefully turn into the idea that I have in my head. Of course, getting the idea from there down through my fingers is another story. Ability and time and too many things to accomplish. Maybe I should write a to-do list? With a particular dead-line? I like the notion of 10::10. Hmmm.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Springtime Dissection

I almost let it slip by...the official arrival of spring. It was in the mid-70s here (probably a storm coming in the next few days because of the change in temperature - but that's another matter). With my oldest celebrating his birthday, I almost forgot. Sometimes his birthday falls on the 1st day of spring and sometimes not. I'm glad it's a different day this year.

Too bad I don't have any springy pictures to share, but I do have some springtime science. My daughter pulled apart the wilting Gerberas with the intention of pressing them, but soon forgot, and let them sit for an extra day. Their petals began to curl, their colors darkened. She swept them into a little pile and asked me what to do with them. My initial reaction was to throw them out, but then I photographed them because... just because.

Collecting, Thrifting and an Update on WIP

Here are just a few things I've gathered for my aforementioned card collection. Have I written yet? No. But at least I'm heading in the right direction by pulling out some of my favorites to look at. I have a propensity for natural-colored things, kraft paper, wood, botanical sketches. I also like quirky things like the little thrifted man (not sure exactly what he is - perhaps a coaster?). The in-out box is from Goodwill and of course, the bunny patterns are from Wee Wonderfuls. The bench that everything sits on was a freebie on the side of the road!

Now for my update on my previously mentioned WIP project

I haven't gotten too far with it and duh! I should've used a more precise pattern for tackling something like this. I'm by no means an expert sewer, really quite rusty at it. But it will get done. Just need to finish the inside and add a long strap. It's very floppy, unable to stand up on its own. I should've used interfacing of some sort, but too late for that. It'll still work. I thought it might be a good library bag.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

HB to My Baby

Fourteen years ago today, my first one was born. Boy, does time travel fast. As a young mother, I was anxious for him to grow, to sit up, to crawl, to walk, to talk. I sort of wanted all of that to happen with lightning speed - couldn't wait for it. Now it all seems to have happened too quickly. Sadness mixed with joy. He's becoming a wonderful young man who has taught me (us) many things. Happy Birthday, Cabe!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Yesterday was balmy, nearing mid-70s. Today is gloomy only reaching the 40s.

Yesterday I was wearing shorts. Today I'm wearing a sweater.

Yesterday we discovered a new thing. Today we're eating (ate) the new thing. New to us, at least. Koala cookies. Like little pillows stuffed with white chocolate cream. Each cookie has a printed koala on it doing some sort of activity: driving, strumming a guitar, painting, working out. One is even doing a handstand! So cute and tasty, not too sweet. They sort of remind me of these cookies with which my mom bribed my brother and me into better behavior. And a cheap bribe at that!

Yesterday I bought a bunch of Gerberas. Today we're enjoying them.

Spring is only a few days away!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Quiet Moment

I took this picture last week during a quiet moment. I had kept putting off writing a much-needed letter to a friend and thought I should make the time for it. What is it with writing? Doesn't everyone find it special and thrilling to discover an unexpected letter in the mailbox? And yet... this is a lost art. For years I've collected cards and made cards simply because they were beautiful small pieces of art that I could afford. Some with the intention of sharing and some with the intention of keeping. Of course, the keeping pile became larger because I just didn't take the time to sit down and write. Now that we've moved away from family and friends, I need to start renewing and remaking this 'lost' art. I need to start sharing my 'precious' collection of cards before they "disintegrate" as my grandmother used to say. I've got some ideas swirling in my head for both making some new cards and encouraging letter-writing in our family. But I'll share some of those later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Wee Little Mouse and Some Science

Meet wee little Thomas. He loves to nibble on brie, cheddar, swiss...most any kind of cheese except of course limburger and maybe stilton. But for now, he is cheese-less and staring wide-eyed at a science experiment, which in his wee little brain makes very good sense in teaching the idea of turgor pressure. (what?) The celery and blue dye are from an experiment that my two older ones are conducting. As for Thomas, he was made from Sculpey by my daughter, Anya. You can tell from his worried expression, he is awaiting the oven ritual with both trepidation and relief. Probably a little more relief than fear - that way he'll be non-squishable.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

WIP: Making of a New Bag

Before I share my bag, I'd thought I'd thank all those who posted. Being a new blogger, it's very exciting (woohoo!) when receiving my first few posts. So, a big thank you!

I have so many ideas swirling in my head as to what to do, and I knew I'd have to settle on something to begin with. Kisskus asked what all the felt was for. That will be a later project. For now, I thought I'd try a bag of some sort. I decided to base the design on this tutorial but with a few changes. BUT I had a problem. Finding my sewing machine and all its parts! (we recently made a major move and things are still unpacked) However the sewing machine was found, matching thread was found, and this is what I have so far - the fabrics picked out and the bottom of the bag sewn together. I'm using a thrifted placemat from Martha, a thrifted linen dress (much too small for me) and fabric from my stash.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Felt Need and A Full Belly

Yesterday was spent homeschooling, laundry, cooking, cutting apart felted sweaters, eating lunch, drinking lots of coffee, cooking some more, watching LOST while cutting apart more sweaters. Needless to say, my fingers are sore today from all the scissorwork. (the photos are only representing a few of the many sweaters I did). But I do have a pile of nice felt 'fabric' now to use for future projects.