Friday, May 24, 2013


I mentioned a while back that i was attempting to grow cacti. i am pleased to announce that all my plant are still living (including the tomatoes and beans I planted in my back yard-we'll forget about the cucumber that I lost just a week after planting...). ANYWAY, one cactus is sick and i expect him to pass in the coming months, but i will ever endeavor to keep him in the world of the living. Here they are...

mighty fine.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cream cheese filled cupcakes

These cupcakes are to die for! They are made from a box mix, so I feel like I'm cheating a bit when i make them, but they are so good. I dare you to just eat one. I've eaten, like, four and that included the one i was forced to eat by cutting it in half for the above're welcome.

My mom used to make these a lot when I was a wee one and so they are also a bit nostalgic for me. OK, here's how we do this.

1) Prepare a box of chocolate cake as instructed on the box. I used Betty Crocker Fudgy Chocolate. If you want it super rich, go for Devils food.
2) Fill your lined cupcake tins 1/4 full (usually makes 30ish)
3) Now make the filling

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 8 oz Package of cream cheese
1 egg
2 C. chocolate chips (use semi-sweet, they are superior)
1/4 C sugar

Blend the above ingredients well

4) Drop 1-2 T of filling in each cupcake tin
5) Fill tins to about 3/4 full with the rest of your batter
6) Bake as instructed on your box

7) NOW, you can dust these babies with powdered sugar and consume right away. they are great warm, room temp or chilled...anyway really. I frosted them with a vanilla butter cream and i have used cream cheese frosting in the past. I prefer the butter cream or just powdered sugar.

Simple Butter cream:

1/2 C. butter
3-4 C powdered sugar
2 t vanilla
pinch of salt

Beat the living daylights out of your butter (high for 5 min), add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and beat more. It should be very fluffy.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kiddie Apron Tutorial

Aprons are useful things, especially when you have kids. Penelope is an artist and a chef and her apron collection has saved her cloths countless times. Isla makes good use of them too. for Penelope's 5th Birthday party i made an apron for each of the kids attending. i thought i would share my patten/process with you if you have toddlers and/or young kids needing an apron. This apron pattern is for 2-6 year-olds, but it is super easy to size up for bigger kids.

Bias Tape (~3yds per apron)
Coordinating thread
Paper to build your pattern (newsprint or a paper bag work fine)
Heavy weight fabric (roughly 1/2 a yard per apron.)
Sewing machine

Step 1: Make Pattern
You can dive right in and use your fabric and not make a pattern, but if you want to make multiples a pattern helps. 

This will fit a 2-6 year old. If your child it tall, you can add a couple of inches to the bottom. Isla (2yrs) fits these. I just need to tie the neck loop up a little smaller for her.

-Cut your pattern piece into a rectangle 8"X 18"
-Measure over 3" from the top right corner and make a mark
-Measure up from the bottom left corner 10" and make a mark
-Draw your armhole from your first mark to your second curving more at the bottom and straightening out at the top

Step 2: Cut fabric
-Fold your fabric in half and pin your pattern to the fabric with the long straight edge on the fold.
-Cut out apron

Step 3: Hem top and bottom edges
-Fold top edge down 1/2" and then again another 1/2"
-Top stitch across fold
-Repeat process for the bottom of the apron

Step 4: Sew bias tape to sides
-Pin your bias tape to the sides of your apron, folding under at the bottom edge
-Topstitch your bias tape to the sides of your apron using zig-zag stitch. Back stitching at the top and bottom.
*Make sure the bias tape is securely fastened to your fabric. It is easy for the fabric to slip out while you are stitching. 
Step 5: Sew neck loop, arm & ties
Now we are going to apply the bias tape from one tie, up the arm, around the neck and down the other side.
 -Measure 18" of bias tape and pin it to the top of one of your bias tapped sides
-Pin bias tape along the curve for the arm
- Measure 17" bias tape for the neck loop (if you are making this for a smaller person you can make the loop 16"
-Pin bias tape along the other curve for the arm
-Make your last tie by measuring 18" of tape and cutting

-Now sew with a zig-zag stitch starting at the end of one tie, folding over the end 1/4", and working your way up around the neck and down the other side finishing with the tie, folding the end under 1/4"

ALL DONE. Now go and make a dozen, like i did...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Isla!

Isla turned 2 this week. I can't believe i have a 2 year-old and a 5 year-old! I guess i can believe Isla is 2. She acts like a 2 year-old. She's got her independence and a voice that she's not afraid to use. She is currently really into fish (shishy), ducks (duddy), airplanes (ah-pan), walking all by herself (no hand holding, thank you), cookies (tootee) and doing just about everything that her big sister (sissy) does. She is such a sweet girl, she loves giving hugs and cuddling and she has the sweetest smile. She is suborn, which i think is a good trait for a second born...

Isla we love you!!!

For her birthday, we went to the zoo (the pictures from that are on my new phone and i have no idea how to upload them here...just imagine monkey and stuff.)  we had pancake puffs for breakfast, macaroni and cheese for dinner and a whoopee pie cake. ALSO, i knitted my first item of clothing the grey and white dress displayed below. I'm patting myself on the back. now Penelope  is saying she needs one. we'll see if that happens this decade.