Saturday, December 25, 2010

Just Desserts

I've been so busy in the kitchen that I've neglected posting my projects.  Here's a peek at what I've been up to, starting with Thanksgiving:

Maw-Maw's Cherry-O-Cream Pie

Granny Rae's Cranberry Sauce

(it's kinda messy)

Pumpkin Fudge
(After three years, I finally got it to work--cooking it longer was the key!)

After Thanksgiving, it was time for the Christmas baking to begin! 
Here's a treat for my people at work:

Some cute little mint brownie guys I took to a party, complete with a mini peppermint pattie button in the center of each one:


Christmas Eve and Christmas day brought plenty of time in the kitchen, too.  At the request of my dad, I tackled the Yule Log that I used to make when people came to visit us in Louisiana.  I had always made it with ice cream, but this time I used my homemade almond icing and made a chocolate ganache for the top (which I could eat by itself):

While it's not a dessert, I made my first ham this year.  It was studded with cloves and had a pineapple/brown sugar/honey glaze.  The great thing about ham is that it's already cooked, so the risk of undercooking is pretty much nonexistent.  Adam helped me by handling the cutting (I trust him more than myself with the sharp tools):

I'll focus on the crafts in my next post.  In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Shirt Crazy

Last year I wanted a school shirt so I could fit in on the spirit days.  The only option I saw was the athletics t-shirt; you know, the kind that you write your name on with a Sharpie. I took matters into my own hands and created three versions.  The first two were of the iron-on variety:  one orange with white curly, fuzzy letters, the other black with rhinestones.  The final shirt looked like this:

I've been wearing the shirts all year, and this one in the picture is my favorite.  One of the other teachers told me a couple of times how much she liked it.  I offered to make her one if she gave me a shirt, so I made another one in white.  Mom had also asked me to keep my eye out for HMS shirts, so I made one as a surprise for her, too.  I guess I was on a kick that weekend because I also made a Texas Wesleyan tank top:

as well as a TCU shirt:

It was also the day I made my TCU dress (which you've seen before):

I love it when I can wear my projects! :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

TCU dress

TCU football games have an odd dress code.  Football games have always been the place to be seen.  Dressing up is the unofficial requirement.  As a student I subscribed to more of the Hyperfrog style of dress:  face paint, purple hair, and crazy shirts and costumes.  As an alum, I've calmed it down a little and swapped out my old purple craziness for any purple TCU shirt and my TCU alumni hat. 

Over the last year I've noticed the cute TCU dresses that have been popping up on campus, and I've seen other schools in on the trend:  A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma State.  Not wanting to shell out $70 for the ones I saw, I decided to use my craft skills and make my own.  I found an ankle-length dress at Old Navy in TCU purple, and it was the last one of its kind so I got a pleasant surprise when it rang up for about ten bucks at the register!  It was a little too long to show off my boots, so I cut it off at the knees and hemmed it.  For the TCU tie-in, I added a rhinestone "TCU" in the signature curved style on the top left strap.

Add a purple necklace and horned frog earrings, and it's game time!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prettiest office on campus

I'm no stranger to working in a closet.  My ESL class was housed in one at the elementary school in Bossier (Storage Room B, to be exact).  When I was shown to my office at my current school on my first day last year, I was not disappointed with the closet situation at all.  Yes, I poked fun at it and the amount of stuff I inherited.

I insisted on referring to it as "my closet" instead of "my office."  However, I appreciated the ability to close the doors and have my own space when I needed it.  I fixed it up and made it home-y.  As pretty as I made it, there were a few downsides, like having to cut through someone else's room to get to it and having no air conditioning or heating.  So, when I was given the opportunity to move out to a portable with a couple of specialists who are on campus a couple of days a week, I decided it was time for a change.

Yes, we were off to another rough start, but this third of a portable had potential.  The first weekend we cleaned and painted the walls a lovely shade of pineapple upside down cake (thank you Behr Premium Ultra Plus for saving us the priming step!).  We set up our work stations and added some decorations.  Our head custodian hooked us up with some great blinds, but that big window needed some color.  I took Emily to the store to help me find some good material and made some curtains.

A coral backdrop with green and yellow paisley print, this material is a great contrast to our pale yellow walls while tying it together with the hints of yellow in the pattern.

It looks like the yellow paint is hard to see in these pictures, but in person it gives the room a warm glow.  Home sweet home!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Orange you happy I posted?

Pardon the pun, but rarely do you have an opportunity to make orange jokes!  For this orange occasion, I made Emily and her roommates an orange-themed set for the kitchen.  It all started with this picture I found a while back:

I found a bunch of orange-themed items at the craft store, link plates, napkins, and cups with oranges all over them.  The night before, Emily had found a plain green tablecloth.  I wanted to jazz it up and tie in her theme, so I made a set of placemats and a table runner, which I rolled up and tied off with a green ribbon.

Here are the placemats:

and here is the table (er, counter) runner:

Orange you glad I shared this with you?  (Okay, okay, I'm done!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Infamous Castle

It's been a week since the wedding, which is long enough to gather the courage to post the castle on the blog.  I made this cake for some friends' wedding last week (with some help from my awesome husband, who is so level-headed in stressful situations).  The castle is not a groom's cake--it's the wedding cake

They asked for a fudge marble castle cake.  I cheated and used the box mixes (10 of them, in all) because I think they are moister than many homemade recipes, but I whipped up batch after batch of my secret recipe icing (okay, Wilton's recipe for icing, but that almond flavoring gives it a "wow" factor!). 

Mmmmm...fudge marbley goodness!

I spent two full days making the cake, and I needed a third to do everything I wanted to do.  I was afraid to start any earlier than that for fear that the cake might dry out.  I wanted to make the turrets prettier, and add vines and leaves around the walls to cover up any imperfections.  While there are plenty of things that I would like to change or correct, I take comfort in the fact that I nailed the taste part of the challenge.  The cake was moist, the icing was yummy, and it wasn't a boring white cake (thanks to the bride and groom for thinking outside the box!).  Here's another up-close picture:

I used a technique on the castle walls that imprints a cobblestone pattern.  (The fondant door had a wood imprint.)  The windows on the turrets were actually Jolly Ranchers that I had melted down and shaped into "stained glass."  The "water" around the castle was blue icing covered in piping gel.  This was my absolute favorite part!  I thought that part looked so cool.  There was grass piped around the edge of the base cake where the grass met the water, and Adam made fondant "rocks" to go around the cake board.  He also added the "teeth" to the crenulations (aka the jagged pieces at the top of the towers).  The bride and groom provided the Lego figures and dragon. 

The biggest lesson I learned from this cake is that I want to work on my levelling skills.  I am so scared that I am either wasting cake or not going to have enough left that I am so hesitant to cut any away.  Seeing the slight lean to the castle shows me that it's worth it to hack it up a little to give it a more solid foundation. 

Two more things I learned:
a) While it's nice to have your cake mostly put together before you deliver it so you can just add some finishing touches on site, it may not be worth it when you hit a bump in the road and a turret falls off and you're gluing it back onto the castle with your emergency reserves of icing while the wedding guests are watching.
b) The castle cake is a one-time thing.  I have no intention of making another one...ever...but I love the people I made it for! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recent cards

I love my Cricut!  I made this swirly shoe card for Christy using the new Summer in Paris cartridge.  In case the quote's not showing up, it says "Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels." 

I rediscovered a onesie template I had, and since I have quite a few friends who are welcoming little ones right now I made a few:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Firecracker Cupcakes 2010

Unlike a few years ago when I literally set the cupcakes on fire with sparklers, these are cupcakes you can still eat!


Friday, July 2, 2010

First Crocheted Baby Blanket

I recently made my first baby blanket for Baby O (E's still waiting to see if Baby O is a boy or girl, so I've heard no names yet!).  I chose a soft, bright, multi-colored yarn that comes on a giant skein, and I went through two of them to make this:

The stretched-out view:

The close-up view:

And, last but not least, look at how even the edges are!  It only took me getting through one skein of yarn, unraveling the whole thing when I realized the sides were undeniably wavy, and redoing it:

Next crochet project:  a camisole!  Eeeek!  (It'll be a while.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ideas needed

I picked up some beautiful, soft merino wool yarn that was way on sale.  Any ideas?  I want to make something I can wear, but all I can think of are scarves.  (They're all 3 oz skeins.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heather's Invitations

Last weekend Laura (and Heather) and I made invitations for Heather's bridal shower and bachelorette party.  While I think both are cute, the bachelorette invitations are my favorite.

Bridal Shower
(everyone attending has been asked to wear a's a tea party!)

Here's the blue version:

Here's the pink version:

Here's the bachelorette invite:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mother's Day and earrings

Last weekend I made some jewelry for the moms.  The first one is for Nina to complement her Mother's Day gift (a black and red kimono-style top):

Emily helped me pick out these birds for some earrings for Mom to wear with the dress she was going to wear to Dad's birthday dinner:

I found a few pendants at Hobby Lobby that I decided to turn into big, bold earrings.  (I borrowed some from Jenny when I went to the San Antonio conference for work and vowed to start wearing bigger, bolder earrings.  I made her a pair of the turquoise ones, in honor of the turquoise ones she let me wear to match the dress I picked up down there.)

These look like stained glass, through I'm working on making the hole in the middle of the left one punched out like the one on the right:

Here are some hot pink ones!  (My middle school girls loved these.)

And, finally, a pair of kinda vintage-y bronze ones with lots of stones:

Friday, May 14, 2010


Welcome to my new blog.  I'll be sharing everything from baked goods to jewelry to crochet items to cards.  Enjoy!