Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's My Birthday!

I am 39. That is all.

Check out last year's photo here. I think I look better this year!
My coworker/friend Erin baked me the cake up there and my other friend/coworker Sarah drew me the card and special birthday coupons! We're going to lunch at Woodland and then to Stitch Lab for fabric. Tonight is the family party. Fun!

Monday, March 29, 2010

...and a Little Bit of That

Today I'm showing off the birthday crown I made for our grandbaby who turned one last week! His name is Axel and that's our 22 year old son, Tim. I made it from this tutorial from Juicybits. It's the third one i've made with that tutorial. The theme of the party was Texas Tech football, since his dad claims he's a budding fan. So the crown was black and red and that's an A for Axel in the front.

A 1 on one side, of course, which I can change to a 2 next year. And here you can just barely see the Texas Tech fabric I used in the back for the scrunchy band.

And the Texas Tech symbol on the other side! It was really hard to carve those Ts freehand out of felt, but it was worth it. That's the scratch coconut cake I made him in the background.

Not much else going on here, it's gorgeous weather in Austin, 70s and 80s every day. Lots of sidewalk chalking and ball bouncing...

And playing in the new tent in the backyard. Ah, sibling love.

And painting on the deck with friends. So neat and orderly. So totally in control.

Uh, guys? Totally in control? Remember? What the heck is happening here!?

Yeah....it also turns out "child safe washable paint" does NOT, in fact, come out of clothes. Yes, I realize I am a 38 year old mother of two but I honestly did not know that before this day. Washable refers only to skin, as it turns out, not clothes. Ruined her cute dress she'd only worn once (thrifted, so not so bad) and ruined the neighbor boy's shirt. I'm pretty sure his mom is still mad even though I bought her a new one. Well at least they had fun!

So what are you doing this spring?

Truckers Taking Up Quilting!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Little Bit of This...

I haven't blogged much lately because I've been trying to quilt my ginormous wonky square quilt! It's slow going since there are 81 blocks, but steady. I'm outlining the two squares, plus one detail in the center square, like the pear, above and the bird, below.

I have managed to make my squares for Cancer is Sew Done, i'll be sending those off tomorrow. As I expected, they were a nightmare for a hand sewer, as I had to cut off all my knots and re-knot them after cutting out the circles, and now I can't zig zag them raw-edge to the backgrounds, so I'm asking the moderators to do that.

I got paid for the Japanese wonky square commission quilt I finished lately, so I made a trip to Austin's coolest, hippest fabric store, Stitch Lab and picked up these beauties. I "needed" them so I can make some more of the red and aqua gnome homes. Stitch Lab is the coolest because they have Japanese Kei dots (pink and blue below) which are like the Amy Butler full moon dots, but smaller, and because they have Echino in person! I've never seen them in person before, only online. I didn't buy any though, they are too expensive and the repeat is too large for me. I am a scrapper, I'd have to have a project in mind to buy a huge piece.

Oh! And they had this weird fabric, Edgie Veggies by Michael Miller. It's totally not my usual style, but I just couldn't walk out without some! I really like the eggplant and the kale (?) he's talking to. Two questions: why are there apples on a veggie print? And what the heck is in the pear's mouth? ;)


Monday, March 15, 2010

Anyone Want to Swap?

Hello All, I'm looking for someone who would like to swap Heather Ross fabrics with me. I have up to a yard of the above matroyshka dolls in cork to swap for some Far Far Away scraps. I am mostly looking for scraps of the three below fabrics:

I don't need to have big pieces, just scraps of FFA including the three above are fine. Please leave a comment if interested!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Foolproof Homemade Pizza

I wanted to share this recipe with you today. Making your own pizza is super fast, easy and way healthier than takeout, and dealing with yeast is really not scary at all. The directions seem long but I wrote them for a total baking newbie so I explain every step. I challenge all of my followers to make this one night this week, especially if you think you can't. New year, new you! Give it a go and think of me.

Homemade Pizza the Fast and Easy Wendy Way (allow 1 hour to get dinner on table)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast or 2 ¾ teaspoons from a yeast jar
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
can of organic tomato paste
garlic powder
dried Italian seasoning
two pizza toppings of your choice
pizza stone or pan
parchment paper (next to wax paper in supermarket)

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 400 for at least 20 minutes. No higher than 400 or your parchment paper will burn. If you don’t have a pizza stone, put a round pizza pan in to preheat.

In your Kitchenaid mixer bowl, throw in yeast, water, oil, sugar and salt; no need to wait for yeast to proof, just throw everybody in. Then mix in 1 cup of the flour for 30 seconds until smooth. Then gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, coating your hands with flour as they get sticky. Now spray the Kitchenaid bowl with a little Pam and put the dough in, flipping it over to coat. Cover bowl with a towel and let rise for 40 minutes. While you're waiting for the dough, shred the mozzarella and prepare the other toppings.

When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 2 equal parts. Be careful not to knead it at all, just pinch it in half and leave half in the bowl. Hold a ball by the edges, rotating it, until gravity stretches it out into a circle. The dough will be very soft and easy to stretch, just don't try to roll it out or scrunch it back up into a ball once you start working it, just keep it rotating. If you like thin crust pizza, make the circle “large”, like 12 inches. If you like a thicker crust, make more of a medium size. As the circle gets larger, drape it over your fists to stretch it/hold it.

Put a piece of parchment paper on a rimless cookie sheet. Plop the dough circle onto the parchment. Take a rubber spatula and spread tomato paste straight out of the can onto the dough. You’ll use half the can for one pizza and half the can for the other. The reason you use paste and not sauce is so the crust doesn't get too "wet". Next, add a coating of parmesan, a sprinkling of Italian spices and a sprinkling of garlic powder. A medium amount of mozzarella comes next, then up to two toppings, no more. You don't want to overload the toppings or cheese or the crust won't hold up. If you like heavy amounts or types of toppings, then just make a medium or small pizza, not a large. Add a thin drizzle of olive oil at the end. Open the oven and slide the parchment paper with the pizza on it, onto the preheated stone or pan. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until crust is medium brown.

While it’s baking, gently pick up the other dough ball, being sure not to knead it or mangle it in any way, then start rotating it into a circle to put on another piece of parchment paper. You can stretch this one a little less and make a thicker, smaller crust for garlic bread if you want to, in which case, don’t use sauce and use more cheese, garlic powder and olive oil on top. When first pizza is done, open the oven and slide the parchment paper with the cooked pizza on it onto the baking sheet again. Slide it onto the counter and slice. Eat it right away before it gets cold. Quickly slide the paper with the uncooked pizza or garlic bread onto the cookie sheet, then onto the stone and set the timer, then sit down to eat while you wait!