Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Black apple doll - Princess Wanda

I've finally made enough of these Black Apple Dolls that I feel like I can whip one out pretty fast, especially with my little helpers stuffing the limbs! I use the pattern, but lately, I always use fleece instead of felt. The felt ones I made for my girls looked ratty and pilled pretty fast. The fleece is also very soft and machine washable. WINNER!

This is my favorite black apple doll yet, and if I can manage to get it done, I will be making one exactly like this for this sweet little baby that could come any day now.  We made this little doll for a friend's birthday. It was a princess party, so we thought it was only fitting that she should have a nice crown and skirt.
The crown was pretty easy and is stretchy and removable. If you are dying to make one, too, post a comment  or send me an e-mail about it and I'll try to put up a pattern. (Wouldn't it be cute to make one matching for your big girl, too?)
Here she is without her accessories. Still lovely and demure!
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snail Pillow

This is another fun item I made for the baby's room. I'm trying to go with the color scheme of my favorite scarf- warm pink, peachy orange, yellow, and cream. In my nursery so far, I had pink things, orange things, yellow things, and cream things, but nothing that pulled it all together. I made this pillow in hopes of that, and I like how it turned out! When I finished it, I ran upstairs to find my husband asleep. So, I woke him up and showed it to him. His eyes cracked open and he said, "It's a snail." Then he went back to sleep.

Hopefully, whoever is reading this is slightly more enthusiastic about it.

If you're curious, the shell is made of cotton print scraps I had around. I sewed them all into one big tube, then ruffled them and pinned and sewed them onto the pillow. The sluggy body is made of fleece (very snuggly and easy to throw in the washing machine if anyone decides to spit up on it.) The antennae aren't sewn down, which makes him a little more 3-D. The body of the pillow is made from the
bottom of the curtain that was trimmed off. It has a folded closure in the back.

I know it's a longshot, but I'm entering this fun pillow in the pillow contest at Sew, Mama, Sew. Luckily, the photos don't show my less than perfect craftsmanship. They are having a pillow month, so if you're thinking of pillows, you can visit them and drool over the beautiful diversity of pillows showcased this month.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

homemade toddler nightgown

My Daughter, Miriam, loves to dance. She is a ballet fanatic. The hilight of her week is her ballet class. When we go to the library, we go up to the non-fiction section and pick out a ballet on DVD. That is her favorite thing to watch at home! The above picture is her watching ballet.
Anyway, this girl loves ballet. I got this Angelina Ballerina Fabric for a nightgown and finally have gotten around to it in this super nesty phase I'm going through. I used the tutorial and pattern at gingercake. Hers was a pillowcase nightgown, but I just made a couple of adjustments to make it work for normal fabric. I made the sleeves longer because it's winter and COLD. (I still intend to gather the sleeves at the bottom when I get my hands on some really skinny elastic.)  I also did the back fasten with a tie instead of a button. I just had the bias tape go long in the back on each side.

 As you can tell from the picture above, she's thrilled about her new nightgown... (no, really, I just loved this picture- this is a classic pout from her. Why don't more people post pictures of their kids being grumpy? It's not like mine is the only kid who makes this face...)
 I'm especially glad to have made this for Miriam because her only other nightgown is really a hospital gown that the hospital let her keep when she got stitches this fall. It's kind of drafty.
I love my little girls and was really happy to take a break from baby stuff and sew something for this little princess.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snow day punch party

All that deep, deep snow. All that snow had to go... Yea, we got a great blast of snow last week. My favorite part was having Alex work from home for 2 1/2 days. This may seem silly because he was still working a full day and we didn't see him while he was working. However, it was really awesome, because we got him to be home during the time he is normally commuting, giving us an extra 2+ hours each day.

 Bad news? Sometimes the kids get a little bored. So, we invited over some girl friends from the neighborhood and had a punch party! It was very fun!

 These are the cookies that they created. They dipped the dough in sprinkles and made the cookies really tiny.

 It was one of those moments when I was grateful for little girls.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy world Nutella Day!

Today is World Nutella Day! We celebrated this week by making these amazing chocolate Nutella Thumbprint cookies from cooking light magazine. (but really, can you really call these light?) We made a quadruple batch: half were to be made the original way and half for my children to get creative with (and you'll probably see those later, too). 
 The dough was easily just as delicious as the cookies- like brownie batter, but thicker.

I had helpers rolling them in nuts (we did walnuts instead of hazelnuts- who wants to drive to the grocery store in the middle of a snowstorm?!)
Cute little thumbprints!

Before baking. Mmmm. So good.

And, this is me and my book club friends enjoying them with some fondue.

Of course, you can always celebrate with a nice, big spoonful of Nutella. My favorite way at breakfast is on 12-grain bread.  What's your favorite way to have Nutella?

And, if you're feeling extra spirited, this is still on my amazon wishlist:

Heaven in a jar times five. 
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pie recipes

I promised these recipes to a friend around Thanksgiving. I'm sorry it's so late! I hope you enjoy!

Basic Pie Crust
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 c butter-flavored shortening
1/2 c butter
ice water

Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening and butter till mix resembles small peas. Gradually add ice water. Fold gently to make soft dough. Divide into 2 disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wtap and refridgerate at least 10 minutes. Roll it out and bake as instructed in pie recipe.

Food-safe french silk Chocolate pie
My husband has been requesting this for years and I finally got up the courage to try it. It was really easy! And delicious! This recipe is from and is originally from the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest
1 pie crust
3 (i ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, cut into pieces
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 t vanilla
4 pasteurized eggs or equivalent fat-free cholesterol-free  egg product
1/2 cup sweetened whipped cream
Chocolate curls

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake pie crust 9-11 min until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 min.
In 1 qt saucepan, melt chocolate over low heat; cool. In small bowl with electric mixer, beat butter on meduim speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cooled chocolate and vanilla until well blended.
Add eggs one at a time, beating on high speed 2 minutes after each addition; beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Pour into cooled baked shell. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls. Store in refrigerator.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Mmmm... this is one of my favorites! the recipe is from the Kraft tapioca box. This is a real American classic!
2 c sliced strawberries
2 c halved, sliced rhubarb
1/4 c tapioca
1 1/4 c sugar

Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Line pie pan with crust. Fill with fruit mixture. Dor with 1 Tbsp butter. Cover and seal with top crust. Make slits in the top crust. Bake 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until juices form bubbles that burst slowly.

Apple Pie
The quintessential American classic! I like my apple pie to taste and feel fresh and al dente. I don't really prefer my apples pre-cooked, so I love this recipe! Plus, it's easier. Also, I never really liked making apple pie before I got one of those nifty apple peeler/slicer/corer thingies.
double pastry crust
2 1/4 lb apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 c sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Prepare crust. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice. In Large bowl, stir dry ingredients together. Then, add apples and toss gently. Put in pie shell and top the apples with the other part of the shell. Seal and slit the top crust. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cover edges with foil. Bake at 375 for 40 min, then remove foil and bake 20 min more. Cool.

Pecan Pie
A personal favorite, being from Georgia. Um... did I mention that I really just like pie?
1 single crust pie shell
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 C corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 c butter or margerine, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c pecans

Prepare crust. In a bowl, combine everything but the pecans. Then, add pecans. Place shell on oven rack, then pour mix into shell. Cover edges with foil. Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil, then bake additional 20-25 min. Remove foil, then bake additional 20-25 minutes till knife inserted comes out clean. Cover and refrigerate.

Peach Raz pie
Save the best for  last. This is my favorite fruit pie! It has this great balance of sweet and tangy. So yummy!
Double pie shell
2 C frozen or fresh raspberries
3 c frozen or fresh peaches
3/4 c sugar

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Let sit 45 min to thaw if frozen. Transfer to shell and cover. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Cover edges with foil. Bake 375 for 45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 25-30 minutes more. Cool. Really delicious with vanilla ice cream! 
1/3 cup flour

Now I REALLY want some awesome pie!