Friday, July 31, 2015

Another birthday, another cake: Part BEE...

Several months ago, Chloe showed me the cover of Family Circle magazine's April issue.  It depicted using M&Ms and pretzels to decorate a cake and cupcakes with flowers and butterflies, and she wanted her birthday cake like it.  (The child is a forward thinker, her birthday is August 1.)

Then earlier this week, she sprang on me that she wanted a cake with a bee and flowers... real flowers.  

I aim to please, so I did both.  Of course, I took the box-cake-and-prepared-icing shortcut.

After frosting the entire cake with green icing, I sketched the bee into the icing with a toothpick.  Then I piped melted chocolate chips over the sketch lines.  I placed a little white frosting into a bowl, and heated in the microwave for about 15 seconds and stirred well.  It made it liquid enough to be carefully spooned into the piped areas and fill the wings in...using another toothpick to coax it into small spaces.

Then I colored the rest of the bowl of white icing yellow, and filled in the body of the bee.  After giving it a little time to set up, I piped on the stripes out of melted chocolate chips.

Piped inscription, "Happy Bee-day, Chloe."

I wasn't sure if the flowers were in any way toxic, so I covered one edge of the cake with plastic wrap.  I cut the stem off of several daisies, and laid them on the plastic wrap, using a little icing piped to their backs for 'glue.'

Done and delivered!

Another satisfied customer.  :)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Another birthday, another cake...

Chloe gave me very specific details as to what she wanted her birthday cake to look like.  Today I rounded up all the ingredients.

Tonight I baked cakes and cupcakes.

Tomorrow they will be decorated.

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Foaming hand soap refills...

The most oft used hand soap dispensers around the house were all empty or near empty.  Time to refill them.

First thing I do is boil a pan of water and let it cool.  Gather up all the dispensers from around the house.  Rinse them out well.  I added a little bit of the cooled boiled water, shook well and poured out...probably don't need to do that step, but I did.

While rinsing, and with containers in sink, fill with water, and add the pump back in and screw on.  The pump displaces more water than you might think.  Remove pump, and mark the level of the water, so that you will know where the maximum fill line is.  (The Dial dispensers in the front row of photo below already have the fill line marked.)

Then fill each of the clean dispensing bottles about 2/3 to 3/4 full of cooled, boiled water, then add liquid soap of your choice to the fill line.  (I've read that boiling the water, or using distilled, is important to keep contents from getting icky over time.)

The two left ones in the front row are cloudy.  They are ones that I used Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Liquid Soap to make.  Not sure why it makes a cloudy mix.  I would probably opt for another, clearer option, but Carey, who is not a fan of foaming soaps in general, likes the Dr. Bronner's hand feel better than others.  The one on the far right is clear, and I used a bottle of regular non-foaming hand soap to make that.  (I bought the non-foaming for its cute container, and I will try to convert its lid to a foaming dispenser when it is empty.)

This photo shows my dishwashing liquid on the left, and the newly filled foaming hand pump on the right.  I used the dishwashing liquid to make the foaming refill for this one.  The other day as I was pouring dishwashing liquid into my hand to help cut the cooking oil that was on them, it occurred to me that I should just use dishwashing liquid to make the refill for the kitchen's hand pump. 

So there's a little chore to mark off the list.  I figure I probably saved about $10 by not buying new pump dispensers, and I didn't have to leave the house.  Win/win.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Good news/Bad news...

The good news:  I have successfully completed my three major goals for the week...and it's only Tuesday!

The bad news:  I can quite easily think of three (hundred) other major things that need to take their place.  :)

Ah, well...

I've knocked quite a few things off the regular to-do list as well.  In fact I've clipped along at such a pace that I forgot to take photos of some really cute creations, and now it's too late as they have been gifted.

This week my back and head seem to have left the aching of last week behind, so I'm hoping I can make up for the lost time.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Half-square triangle quilt...

After I finished basting the vintage quilt top at the retreat last weekend, I worked on this half-square triangle throw.  

It's made with two print charm packs and two solid charm packs.  I got all the HSTs assembled at the retreat, as well as all the rows done but for two (which I added this afternoon).

I hope to take it to a longarm quilter, along with another top, and have it back, bound, and ready to drape on the sofa before the autumn nights turn cool enough to need it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What I'm reading Wednesday...

A Test of Wills by Charles Todd

Another WWI mystery by Charles Todd (pseudonym for a mother/son writing team).  I checked this one out as an e-book from my library.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The weekend away...

 I was so busy preparing and packing last week, that I didn't get a chance to mention that I was going away for a weekend retreat with my quilting peeps.

The first thing on my weekend agenda was to tackle basting my friend's vintage quilt top.  I used this Youtube tutorial, which worked pretty well, but was not as easy on a full-size quilt as the small sample piece made it look in the video.  Still, it was completely basted by the end of the first day.  

When my friend first asked me to bring it home and quilt it (YEARS ago), I didn't have a place to baste it.  My floors were all carpeted.  And now that I have the smooth floor space, my knees are no longer willing to crawl around on them.

I had to get it done while I was somewhere that had big tables...and the cheering section to keep me motivated was a big help as well.  

Now I have to get it into the frame and hand quilt it.  It has its problem spots, but I will give it my best shot.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman

It seems I haven't been making  a lot of time to read this year lately, but I always carry my Kindle in my purse.  Luckily I had it Friday when I got stuck in the doctor's office for the entire afternoon.

I haven't read any books about midwives lately, so I pulled up this one.  I've read another by the author previously, and am enjoying this one a well.


Monday, July 13, 2015

A whole week gone by... by way of a quick catch up.

Tuesday:  chore day
Wednesday:  Carey got home.
Thursday:  another grandson licensed to drive (that's his birthday card above)
Friday: grocery shop
Saturday: quiet day while men went to soccer game
Sunday: made Jared's birthday pie x2
Today: spent ALL afternoon at clinic coaxing blood from this turnip, birthday dinner out

Monday, July 6, 2015

Making it Monday...

So I saw this recipe for Tomato Pie from Design Corral on Pinterest the other day.  It looked interesting.  I had never heard of tomato pie before.  Then yesterday, while at Kasey's, I saw an abundance of tomatoes in their kitchen window.  Picked from their garden, there were more than I thought they might use in the next couple of days, and there were more on the vine, so I absconded with four or five...or eight.  

You know those recipes where you know it's probably not in your best interest to have another piece, but you firmly believe that it is at its optimum flavor, texture, and temperature at this very moment, and it might not be quite as yummy tomorrow after it's warmed up, so you have it anyway?  Yeah.  This is one of those.

I did not have basil or green onion like the original recipe called for.  Or shredded mozzarella...or unshredded mozzarella, for that matter.  So I had to adapt.  And I chose not to add bacon or jalapeno either.

This is how I made it:

Tomato Pie
4 to six fresh tomatoes, sliced
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
1 of my easy pie crusts, unbaked

Slice tomatoes.  Lay two to three layers of paper towels on the counter.  Lightly sprinkle salt on one side of tomato slices, and place the salted side down on the paper towels.  Then lightly sprinkle salt on the top (unsalted) side of the tomato slices.  The salt helps draw moisture out of the tomato slices.  Leave them on the paper towels for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 350˚ F (180˚ C).  Slice onion.  Put mayonnaise in a bowl with cheeses, add fresh cracked pepper to taste (I like lots!) and stir to blend.  Prepare a pie crust.  

(Seriously, try my easy pie crust have everything in your kitchen, and it takes 5 minutes [you don't have to cut in butter or roll it out] and it tastes SO much better than store bought.  I use it for everything from quiche to chicken pot pie, and from pecan to fruit pies.  No, it is not Martha Stewart's way, but it so good for as easy as it is.  Making it in a glass pie plate is important.)

Place a layer of tomatoes in the pie crust.  Evenly spread the onion slices over the top, then add another layer using the remaining tomato slices.  Spread the mayonnaise/cheese mixture on top and spread to edges.  Bake for about 40 minutes or till cheese topping is brown and bubbly.


When I have all the ingredients called for in the inspiration recipe, I will try it that way too.  But I really loved the tomato being the star of the show in the one I made tonight.  Don't add additional salt to the mayonnaise and cheese mixture, there is plenty of salt on the tomatoes already.

Let me know if you try it!

Friday, July 3, 2015

A new project...

I'm trying something completely new for me.  I've never joined a quilt-a-long before, but my interest was piqued by Shauna at Shauna's World.

I've joined the Midnight Mystery Quilt-a-long being led by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.  You may have noticed the button on my sidebar.  It's a mystery, because you receive information on a need-to-know basis.  :)  So far we have the fabric requirements, and the cutting instructions.

I joined a little late, so I hadn't selected fabric yet, but since we now have to cut something, I needed something to cut!

So off I went to Joann's Fabric today, and I came home with the fabrics above.  The four across the bottom labeled 'a', 'b', 'c', and 'd' are for piecing the quilt top.  The backing and binding fabrics are shown at the top of the photo.  I believe all were 30% off, plus I had a discount for 20% off entire purchase including sale items.  Yippee!

I've wanted to use grays and yellows in a project for awhile, but couldn't decide on a pattern.  What better time to take the plunge than when someone else is choosing the pattern for me...and keeping it a secret.

We will receive more instructions monthly, with the finish scheduled for March 2016.  I'll keep you posted of my progress.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


image credit: Bing clip art

Holy cats, I can't believe it's July already!  Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian friends.

I started the month off with a fairly busy day.  I baked Carey a pecan pie this morning.  He was out of town on Fathers Day, so I had promised him one and finally got it done.

I drove my friend, Pam, to the airport this afternoon.  We stopped on the way for salad at The Cheesecake Factory (yes, just salad).  Then made a quick trip to the Container Store where I managed to exchange some shelf liner.  I over estimated how much I would use in the kitchen, and the unused rolls have been sitting in a bag on the floor for months taunting me to take them back to the store.  I got a nice exchange credit on a card which I was able to put toward today's purchase of some containers (imagine finding those at a store by that name!) and a mop.

July is a big birthday month in our family, so need to get some things done on that front.

I'll be attending a quilt retreat later this month, so need to pull some things together for that too.

I actually have a multi-month to-do list started.  I just found out we are having some company in September, and there are quite a few things that I want to get done before then, and a heck of a lot of things I MUST get done before then.  A few of which may be blog worthy.  :)
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