Threads of the Pattern

Archive for July 2012

 

Yesterday, I saw a recipe on Pinterest for making a breakfast muffin in a coffee cup in the microwave. I thought it was a great idea and decided to try it.

Well, not everything you find on the internet (no not even on Pinterest) is the most awesome thing, shall we say?

 

So I went hunting for a more enjoyable recipe, and ended up on Midwestern Moms.


I modified the recipe a bit. I used twice as much melted butter as oil. In place of the flour, salt and baking powder, I used self rising flour, because I rarely have need of it, and wanted to use it up.

 

This version takes a little longer in the microwave (in mine, it was 4minutes) than most of the other recipes, but it’s totally worth it. As a side note, taking pictures of something cooking inside a microwave is way more difficult than I thought it would be.  I didn’t actually count the number of pictures I took, but I feel instinctively sure that it was 3, 121. So, please ignore the door grate and just look at how far the batter rose in the cup while it was cooking.

They don’t really have the taste or texture of an oven baked muffin, but they are perfect for breakfast because what they do taste and feel like, are really good pancakes.

Next time, I’ll try topping them with a little maple syrup.

 

Things I learned:

  1. Don’t fill the cup more than halfway, or it will rise up too much out of the cup, and spill over. Worse, it won’t cook all the way through.
  2. Use multiple cups. I used the same one three times, and the cup got too hot to touch after the second time through the microwave.
  3. I still have the urge to count like The Count sometimes. Three! Three microwave blueberry muffins! Ah!Ah!Ah!

Microwave Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

1/2 c Self-Rising Flour
2 1/2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Egg
4 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp Milk
Small dash of Vanilla
4-6 oz container of yogurt (vanilla or flavor to match your fruit)
Fruit of your choice (I used blueberries,  with blueberry yogurt)

Mix everything except the fruit together in a bowl, or my preference of very large measuring cup. (It has a pour spout and handle!) Fold in fruit.

Fill your coffee cup(s) of choice about halfway. Place in microwave and heat for 3-4 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center does out clean of batter.

Top with syrup and eat right out of the cup, or swirl a fork around the side of the cup and turn out on to a plate.

Enjoy!

 

~ Rosie

I didn’t mention it last week when I posted about fixing up my craft room, but I started following this blog on organizing your home. The site has a 52 week challenge, but you don’t have to start it in January, you can jump in any time. Many thanks to Taylor at Home Storage Solutions 101 for hosting the challenge.

Well, it so happens that last week was organizing your crafting space, which I took as a sign that I should stick with this plan for a while and see where it takes me.

This week’s challenge (they’re posted on Mondays) is organizing the car. Admittedly, I don’t have much in my car right now, since it’s not running, but there was still some unnecessary clutter. By which, I of course mean books.
So, I followed the steps. Pull everything out, sort and decide what goes back, what gets thrown away, and what just needs to go elsewhere.

Now in my glove box, all I have are the car manual and other paperwork, and some napkins. I have a trash bag that’s tucked into the storage pocket in the backseat, and some wet wipes up under the dash in a weird space that you can barely see. I’m not sure why they built it this way, to be honest.

Anyway. I had this jar lying around, and it fits perfectly in the cup holder, so I decided to put it there and use it for loose change. In my center console, I have all my chargers and other car cords.

Everything else is in a plastic tub in the trunk. It’s not the most crafty way to store all my car supplies, extra hair and tooth brushes, puzzle book, CD player and sewing kit, but it does its job. Everything that’s not the tote in the left hand corner is what’s going into the house to be put away.

After a quick vacuum and wipe down, it looks so much nicer!
Things I learned:

1. I think I’m already finding that the steps to organizing anything are basically the same.

2. Some of these weekly challenges are going to be easier than others. My craft room took 7 days. This took me 20 minutes.

Next week, it looks like we’re tackling pet supplies. I’m sure Teddy Bear will be thrilled.

~ Rosie

p. s. Since someone may ask, the origami peacock was made by a former coworker of mine who has since passed away. It moves around my car as the whim takes me.

Have we mentioned that my niece just recently turned one? With an awesome cake?

For her birthday, along with her fantabulous dress, I decided she needed decorations. Man, if I was this craftily motivated when my own kids were babies, we would have had some awesome parties! But I wasn’t…so for Bug’s birthday, we bought a pop-up, and I decided to decorate everything with ladybugs.

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To Make:

Red and Black Construction Paper

Black Pipe Cleaners

Scissors

Glue

Two Circular items to trace in different sizes (I used a Tupperware lid and a quarter)

First I used the Tupperware lid to trace a bunch of ladybug bodies (black) and wings (red). You could use just about anything, depending upon the size of ladybugs you want. I chose a lid about 12 inches in diameter, because I was planning to stick the ladybugs up all around the yard, popup and pool. (That’s so not what happened, but I’ll get to that in a minute)

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After cutting enough black circles to make any sober person want to drink, I then traced a cutout on the red construction paper that I thought mimicked ladybug wings. I know, I know…bad directions! But really, it was 10 o’clock at night, we were watching a movie and I was just *cough* winging it…

We gathered up all the red paper and used the first as a guide to make them all match, more or less. Then as I glued the red shapes onto the black, my sister used the quarter to trace about a thousand small circles onto the leftover black construction paper. And then I made her cut them out…cause…I’m a crafting dictator sometimes!

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While she was cutting teeny tiny circles, I took the pipe cleaners, folded them in half and taped them to the back of the black circles. Then I curled the ends very cunningly with my fingers.

We glued the smaller circles all willy-nilly on the red and ta-da! Ladybugs for Bug’s Birthday.

Remember earlier? About my awesome plan to ladybug the entire property? Yeah…I didn’t account for the horrific wind tunnel that surrounds my house. Ladybugs were flying everywhere that day!  Unfortunately, we had to be content with lady bugging the inside of the popup…and it ended up being pretty awesome!

Of course, she was only turning one, so she was pretty content with trying to eat the ladybug antennae as we were trying to put them up, but I’ll take that as a win! After the party, we took them all down and I carefully preserved them for a future project. I have no idea what said project might be…but they were just too rad to throw away.

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Things I learned:

  1. I don’t always need a rock solid plan. Funnily enough, sometimes the best looking projects come from flying by the seat of my pants!
  2. Don’t let Sissy cut out ladybug spots. Some of those spots became squares and blobs!

Sometimes things happen outside of the plan. What projects have you put together at the last minute? How did they turn out?

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As you know, our extended family celebrated a first birthday! The theme of the day was ladybugs, so as the resident baker, I scoured the internet for examples of lady bug cakes, and stole profligately from all of them. I’m not an expert, so I tend to look for something that has elements that I’ve done before, and at least one element that I’ve not done.

I decided on the design. A three tier cake, enough to feed 25ish people generous portions (not wedding cake portions, which people seem to hate), with both chocolate and vanilla for flavors, and a top tier for the little one to make a complete disaster out of. enjoy in a reasonable and polite manner that her mother would absolutely not have to clean up all by herself.

I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning the night before to get the decorations done. I rolled little fondant balls and flattened them, then painted them with edible black paint. It’s made with corn syrup, and apparently such a small amount of sugar was enough that the kids decided that fondant is delicious.

I really thought these little ladybugs would only take an hour or two, tops, but it ended up taking five hours, including the ribbons, which were red and black fondant. I used cutters for the shapes. The ribbons really took no time at all.

Everything was assembled the next day at the party. I only have the one size pan, so I had to get creative with it. I cut down the top 8” tier to be a 4” by cutting around the outside. I then stuck that all around the outside of the bottom 8” tier to make it a 10” tier. Amazingly, I even had some left over.

Things I learned:

  1. Really fresh fondant makes a huge difference. I hate thick layers of fondant, and I was able to get this batch pretty thin. I could feel the difference as soon as I touched it.
  1. Structure is key in tiered cakes, as you can see. It was so hot that day that the buttercream was melting and pulling the cake down with it. We literally had to finish it and immediately serve it.

 

What I want to try next time:

Structure. I’ve looked up some information on stacking tiered cakes. Any suggestions?

I wanted to use some kind of nerdy “Space: The Final Frontier” for this post, which actually would have been TOTALLY APPROPRIATE, but as usual, Ayshia and I are in the same brain, so you get ‘The Sound of Music” instead of ‘Star Trek’.

Let me start by saying, I really hate to clean. Most of the time, my mind pretends that everything is clean, always, everywhere.  My friends love this about me. Fortunately, my husband is far more willing to show me the reality of the situation.

We’ve had this ongoing discussion about whether or not my crafting space was organized or that crazy thing called clean. We bought our house, and intended to finish the basement and give me all the space down there that was not being taken up by washers and furnaces and spiders, and other basement type stuff.

Ayshia threatened to disown me, if I recall correctly, but she got over it.

“Temporarily”, I am in the third bedroom, which is the smallest, and was formerly a nursery for the previous owners. I share it with the guest bed. Teddy Bear thinks it’s hers, and we’ve never told her otherwise because she diffuses sternness with cuddles.

I also have to house my computer desk, a single (wha?) bookshelf, and all my crafting supplies. It finally got to me. I had to admit that no, I did not have a handle on my ‘organized chaos’; it was in fact, a complete and utter disaster.

So, I broke down and did that thing that most women fear to do: I asked my mother-in-law for help. I will immediately follow this by saying that I lucked out in the MiL department, and this wasn’t really a hardship at all. Especially since she literally wrote the book on organizing your crap. I don’t think that’s what she called it.

 

After much discussion, and a trip to a costume museum (I mentioned I lucked out, right?), I came home with a game plan. A whole flaming week later, It was finally complete.

So, the boring stuff. I pulled everything that wasn’t a container out of the room, and organized it as I went. I had purchased some cheap-o laundry baskets at the dollar store, and used those as temporary storage for the sorting process. I culled some stuff for goodwill/Ayshia/trash. This still took up the entire hallway, part of my husband’s office, and our bedroom. Dear husband even donated his own laundry basket to the cause, which I think he regretted about five minutes later.

I then cleaned and rearranged all my empty containers, and tried to figure out a better way of doing things. I wanted more floor space. I didn’t want to feel so crowded, and I wanted to feel like I was getting the most out of the space that I had.

Then I took some sticky notes and wrote on them what I thought would go in each drawer and put them ON THE DRAWER. This was a novel concept for me. I’m usually more of a “Oh, I know where it is!” kind of gal. Then I have to look through five drawers before realizing I have no idea what was going through my mind when I originally put it away.

Putting things back, I culled even more. I stopped at the thrift store and found some old candle holders to put colored pencils and markers and such in. I spent all of $10 on this reorganization, including the laundry baskets.

In the end, I got pretty much everything back into the room. Even my husband was impressed! Eventually, I’ll have pretty labels on all the drawers. I’ve been toying with the idea of chalkboard paint on cardstock or scrapbooking paper.

Things I learned:

 

  1. I do not HAVE to have all the things within arm’s reach all the time.
  2. My thought processes change with time. Label things, woman!
  3. Everything takes longer than I think it’s going to.
  4. I really don’t have to keep everything ‘just in case’.

Oh, hi. I’m Rosie. 😀

You only turn one once!

For my niece’s First birthday, my sister decided to have a ladybug themed party. (And by my sister decided, I mean she wanted to do an Adventure Time theme, but we couldn’t find any decorations, so Rose and I helpfully nudged her into the choice of ladybugs.) So, I wandered through the internet, trying to find any inspiration for ladybug decorations or themes. I didn’t find any decorations that shook my creative tree, but I did decide while looking at cute black and red patterned tablecloths that I wanted to make her a dress. Now, anyone that follows me on Pinterest will know that I have been eyeing up pillowcase dresses for Bug for –ever-. Like, since she was born. After the Kosode Incident, I wasn’t sure I wanted to brave the sewing machine again but I reeeeeeeally wanted my baby girlie to have a pretty ladybug dress for her birthday.

A few creative searches on Pinterest and a few more knocks to my sewing prowess later, and I decided to make this dress, for my Bug, with many thanks to Ashley at Lil Blue Boo.

I envisioned black and red polka dots with a bright red top, maybe a little red tulle peeking out of the bottom. However, my local Hobby Lobby had a completely different vision in mind, presenting me with pink and white or black and white polka dots. If I wanted something ladybug themed, I could chose between a Kelly green background with red ladybugs or something baby pink with red cartoon lady bugs.  I ultimately chose the Kelly green, because I thought my niece had way too much pink in her wardrobe as it is.

I also bought a pretty red ribbon, thinking I could use it around the edge, or maybe in place of the straps. I’m kind of a fly by the seat of my capris kind of sewer…I just knew I liked the ribbon.

Now…I’m afraid of sewing. I think we all understand that by now. So you know I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that these directions were so frickin’ easy! They were simple to understand, even for a scardy cat like me. I measured the baby twice, plugged in her measurements in the super simple drawing and bam! I was off like lightning!

The only thing I ignored was the measurements for a pattern repeat…because I reasoned with myself that it was going on a one year old, who would be eating a piece of cake the size of her head that day…and no one would be looking at her booty. Plus…all those little wily ladybugs were going in 42 different directions, and trying to make that match made my head hurt.

All my pieces were cut quickly, and I even ironed it! (Don’t have a heart attack; I really do know how to use an iron.) All that was left was to thread the sewing machine and jump in there!

Did you read the Sewing Machine Wars? Do you remember the tip on avoiding thread barf? I sure do, which is why I had to take a picture of my properly threaded sewing machine, before I began.

This proves that even the most resistant sewer –can- learn from her mistakes!

I’m almost sad to report that it went together so nicely, I was afraid to even pause to hit skip on Pandora! I worked for 3 hours in sheer disbelief at my good fortune!

The loose gather for the skirt worked (mostly) and the top folded very nicely over it. Let me say, also, that this was a genius way to add a banded top! I wasn’t really sure what I was doing as my aunt and I read the directions and folded away, but man, it’s a beautiful thing when it’s done!

Then…it was time for the straps. I toyed with the idea of using the ribbon, but in the end I decided I wanted them to match the dress. I didn’t have bias tape (OK…I don’t even really know what bias tape is…) but I followed the directions as best as I could, with my Aunt cheering me on, telling me that turning those babies right-side out would be a piece of cake!

If cake is made with a healthy amount of cursing, a gigantic, Throw-The-Straps-Across-The-Room size fit, then yes, it was just like a piece of cake. Nevertheless, with help, I prevailed and the straps were turned the right way, ironed and sewn into place.

By the time I got to the ribbon, I was tired, sweaty and pretty disgusted with my Fabulous Ideas. So..rather than sew it on, I cheated. I used fabric glue and not a little bit of prayer that it would hold up.

It was ironed again after this picture, I swear.

On the day of Bug’s birthday party, we slipped her chubby butt into it (I measured a little –too- well, not giving her any growing room, of course) and she was the best looking one year old on the planet.

See? You can’t even see the seam!

Things I learned:

  1. Sew the damn ribbon on. Fabric glue is messy and tiresome.
  2. I need a better way to gather fabric for pleats. The method described in the tutorial was rockin’ but my Rosemary’s Baby sewing machine didn’t care for it at all.
  3. Ponder buttons or a zipper for down the back next time. While the dress was utterly fabulous, it might not fit her next month.

Mistakes and fears aside, I had a ton of fun with this project, and seeing my beautiful niece in a dress that I made was 100% worth it.

Have you tackled a project you were more than a little afraid of? How did it turn out?



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