Oct 12, 2011

Tentacles

Recently, a customer ordered two custom cross stitch patterns for pink cephalopod tentacles to frame and display alongside some very unique postcards that she had. Long story short, here is a photo that she posted to my facebook page that shows what she accomplished using my patterns!

Sep 23, 2011

Wedding Preparations

I've done it again! It's been several MONTHS since I've posted anything. I have some great excuses this time, I promise! Since the last time I posted anything, I received a promotion at work and I've been working on wedding preparations quite a lot. We're doing a pie buffet instead of a wedding cake and making a large percentage of them from scratch. So far, there are 23 pies that my mom, my mother in law to be and myself have made. Here's a picture of two strawberry rhubarb pies (for the wedding) and a chocolate cream pie (for a bbq) that were made 3 weeks ago.
Next, a cute blueberry pie I made about a month ago...
A lot of pies are actually freezable for up to a month or so, which helps out with our stress levels quite a bit. We baked these ahead of time, let them cool completely, wrapped in plastic wrap twice then aluminum foil and labeled before freezing. All we'll have to do is set them out the night before the wedding and voila! PIE TIME! The wedding is October 1st...8 days away. I've taken Thursday the 29th through Monday the 3rd off for prep and family time. My brother is flying in from Japan, tons of family from Texas coming, and a couple of people from Montana, New York City and Portland, OR are on their way. I'm so freaking excited! I've barely been able to sleep and have decided that I need to make sure my supply of coffee is stocked with a larger amount that usual this week and I've been considering a purchase of a large quantity of Red Bull. ;-) Any how, things are falling into place. I'm really not that stressed, just excited. I have several lists of things to do, things to buy, things to delegate to other people to do, etc. We're having the ceremony and reception at a state park about an hour's drive from here so I want to make sure we have everything packed up, accounted for and ready to go on Friday the 30th when we go decorate. Ya know, as I'm typing this, I've remember about 10 things I need to add to my lists. I think I had better get off of here and get some things done. Until next time.... I leave you with a photo of some mini pies that I made with leftovers in my Fiestaware ramekins.

Jun 1, 2011

My Cross Stitch Patterns Brought to Life!

I've decided to ask my customers at NicheStitch Etsy to submit pictures of their works in progress or finished products they've done using my patterns. The first one is of an Easter Egg pattern by Etsy user mfregoso.


My pattern is a single color design, but she decided to "tie-dye" it! Love it!

May 20, 2011

Lady Baltimore Cake v2 & v3

I made another attempt at the Lady Baltimore cake about a week and a half ago - It was delicious but I FORGOT THE BAKING POWDER! It ended up being more of a shortcake, so I called it the "Shorty Baltimore" LOL! It tasted quite good, just very dense. I went to the dollar store and got three 8" round pans, but only used two. Also, this time I used a real double boiler that I got from my mom. The 7-minute icing really only took about 7 minutes. The only issue is that the icing seemed a little gooey, akin to marshmallow creme.

Today I decided to try version 3. I used a whole wheat pastry flour instead of the all-purpose variety and I made three 8" round layers. The cake stuck to the pan and was crumbly. Maybe it was the whole wheat flour? Maybe I cooked it too long? I baked it the same amount of time I did for the "Shorty" that was only 2 layers, so maybe the thinner batter just cooked faster and the grainy whole wheat flour wasn't cooperating. The icing turned out okay. I used a 7-minute Icing recipe from the Joy of Cooking this time, which was basically the same as the previous recipe I used only it had one more egg white. I chopped the nuts and raisins super fine and by hand, but the icing was still kind of gooey. I revisited the instructions in JOY after already icing the cake and realized that I was supposed to continue beating the icing, once removed from the heat, until it reached room temperature. I'm sure that process would help with the texture a bit.

Next time I think I'll nail this sucker as long as I remember all the ingredients and all the steps. It's definitely a learning process and the science of baking is a little more difficult that I originally imagined. I hope to have this cake perfected by June 12 so that I may take it to our family reunion potluck dinner!

May 9, 2011

Features Today

This morning I was featured in a SouthWestern treasury on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4dc7da0575546d910bd93936/southwestern?ref=pr_treasury and an ArtFire collection

Apr 27, 2011

Addie Alexander's Lady Baltimore Cake

I've recently been contemplating whether or not I should enter some food items into judgment at the Iowa State Fair this year. On Sunday I discussed the idea with my dad and he reminded me that my great-great grandmother, Addie Alexander, was quite the baker and between the years 1915-1924 she won 159 first place, 101 second place, and 19 third place prizes at the Iowa State Fair. My great aunt, Laurel Webb, made a cookbook in 2003 that features a couple of recipes for the basic cake of a Lady Baltimore Cake. I decided to try it out.

First of all, I'm not a big cake maker. Secondly, I had NO CLUE what a Lady Baltimore cake consisted of, which proved to be an experience since Addie's recipe was just for the ingredients and a guesstimate of the amounts used. No instructions...no icing or filling information...just a basic white cake recipe. I figured a cake with such a fancy name had to consist of more than just a basic white cake, so I dug through a couple of cookbooks. I found a Lady B recipe in my culinary bible, The Joy of Cooking, then decided to check my copy of The Modern Family Cookbook by Meta Given since it's such a classic collection of recipes. In each book, it explained the lady Baltimore cake to be a white layer cake with an icing and a filling consisting of chopped nuts, raisins and/or figs.

When Addie Alexander baked all these prize-winning morsels, she used a wood or kerosene stove, so I realized that there really shouldn't be instructions on what to set the temperature at, should there? The Joy of Cooking proved helpful in guiding me through the cake making and baking processes, and each of the reference cookbooks suggested a 7-minute icing, which I would like to rename "7-minutes in Hell" or "7-minute icing MY ASS"

The cake turned out okay but it was a bit dry and crumbly. The icing was supposed to be cooked atop a double boiler, which I do not own, so I had to fashion one out of a round enamel roasting pan placed upon a stock pot. The water wasn't boiling when I placed the icing mixture in the enamel pan, so I had to whisk FOREVER for the icing to form a peak. I don't know what I did wrong...but the icing turned out grainy. Maybe I didn't whisk it fast enough? Maybe there wasn't enough water in the bottom of my "double boiler"? Maybe I just needed to use a real double boiler?!

Anyhow, I baked the cake in a glass 9x13 pan, because I don't have any cake pans, let it cool, and cut it to make 2 layers. The filling, since it is made with the grainy icing, turned kind of crumbly also, and the cake itself didn't look the prettiest because I didn't have enough icing to cover the top and the sides. HOWEVER- the cake tasted fabulous!

It was quite a lot of work and quite the experiment for me since I don't make a lot of cakes. Great-great grandma Addie must have been a wonder woman to make prize worthy desserts using a wood burning stove! I have contacted the self-designated family historian, a granddaughter of Addie, to see if she has any more information or possibly recipes for me to sift through. I'm hoping there are some out there...

Apr 26, 2011

Royal Wedding Inspired Collection - Personalised Gift Ideas

Apr 20, 2011

Ocean Waves Collection

I made this today:

Apr 18, 2011

HUGE Easter Sale!

I've decided to have a holiday promotion this week - 15% off of everything in my ArtFire shop until the day after Easter! (April 25th)

Check out the sale HERE

Apr 13, 2011

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

This morning I whipped up some stuffed french toast using leftover fruit dip that I made last week. The local grocery chain had marshmallow creme on sale for $0.15 a jar last week because it was about out of date. I bought a few jars, knowing I shouldn't because it is less than 6mos from my wedding day, but did it anyway. I gave most of it away but had some available to use so I decided to make a fruit dip. It was great with apple, pineapple, and strawberries!

Here's how you make the dip: Beat 7oz of Marshmallow Creme (or Fluff) and 8oz of Neufch√Ętel cheese in a bowl. Done. Eat. Refrigerate.

We had some strawberries that needed to be eaten and a little less than half a loaf of 12-grain bread that was about to be stale, so I decided to make some stuffed french toast. First, I added cinnamon to the fruit dip and stirred it. Then, I spread a thin layer of the dip on two slices of bread and added a layer of sliced strawberries before closing the sandwich. Dip the sandwich in your favorite egg mix for french toast and fry as you would french toast! Drizzle a little pure maple syrup over or dust with powdered sugar and there you have it! Deliciousness!

The food didn't last long enough for me to get any photos.

Apr 12, 2011

Scootchidoo Too: Handmade Shop Guide

My Etsy shop is on this shop guide!Scootchidoo Too: Handmade Shop Guide: "Do you have a handmade shop or webiste? Add your link here!"

Apr 8, 2011

I've been Pounced!

My studio has been selected by @AFPounce to be "pounced" on twitter!
Check out the AFPounce blog for more info on what it is.
http://afpounce.blogspot.com/
or go straight to the twitter page HERE

Also mentioned on the #AFPounce daily. Check it out HERE

Apr 7, 2011

Stitch Into Spring! an ArtFire Collection