super hero capes

Avery got her very own "Super-Ave" cape for Christmas, Jane too (though I neglected to get a photo of it). Sewn using the same pattern as Chace's cape, but made a little more girly with two ruffles along the bottom and a flower detail on the initial. I was able to make two "girly" capes out of three women's XL t-shirts (with enough scraps leftover to make some itty bitty baby clothes!)



black bottom cupcakes

Oh how I love black-bottom cupcakes... Rich and chocolatey, gooey and comforting.

This is my version, based on the combination of several recipes. I use a flourless chocolate cake as the base, and a chocolate-chip cheesecake-like filling. They bake up nice and puffed, then sink as they cool. No frosting or decoration needed, but they are especially lovely served with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries.

1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or 8 oz chopped)
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
8 oz. package cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and heavy cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar and cocoa powder; whisk in the chocolate mixture.
  4. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter into cupcake liners.
  5. In (another) medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls into the center of the batter-filled cupcakes.
  6. Bake until puffed and set, 30-35 minutes. Let cool in the pan before removing.
**I've also made this recipe as a cake, using a springform pan that's been greased and dusted with cocoa. Increase the baking time by 5-10 minutes, and cool totally in the pan before running a knife around the edge before unmolding.


quiet book for Jane

I've finally gotten around to writing a post about Jane's book - I finished three "spreads" and a "title" page in time for her birthday party. I found the instructions at Imagine Our Life very helpful - I followed her instructions for the page and cover construction, as well as using her pattern for the Sandcastle page. The other pages are my own design, and maybe someday I'll get around to posting templates for download :)

I found this cute animal print fabric on the remnant rack at JoAnne some time ago, and matched it with a stripe for the inside cover and flap, which closes with a wide strip of velcro.

The "title" page was a quick one - because of how the spreads are constructed (so the two pages stay together when taken out of the book), the first page when you open the book is blank. So I put together a quick single page with Jane's name. A "grass" pocket holds the pieces for the page - letters spelling her name that snap to the page with coordinating color, two quick little clouds and a kite.
"Sandcastle" spread, following Imagine Our Life's pattern (this was the first page I constructed, so I pretty much followed her pattern exactly as I still wasn't sure what I was doing... I did add my own little detail behind the castle door)

i-Spy page, again, followed Imagine Our Life's instructions, using beach-themed buttons that I found at JoAnne and Michaels. I scanned the buttons in, then printed them on fabric then sewed it on the opposite side spread (rather than printed on a card ). I used blue Perler beads as the "filler" because I found a color I liked on clearance. I think next time I would use something a little finer - like the poly pellets used for stuffing toys?
And the last page (my personal favorite :) is a dress up doll, with an armoir for storing her wardrobe and hair styles. I thought she was lonely on the page all by herself, so added her dog, Hailey (who also has her own dog coat!)



And that's it for now... I learned quite a bit by following Stephanie's lead, so have ideas for how I'll do things differently the next time. I've already got fabric and supplies together to get started on books for my own kids, now just to find the time :)


curious george cookies

Cookie favors for Jane's 2nd birthday party -

Sara wrapped them in cello bags and tied them to stuffed monkeys from the dollar store - with a sign that read: "Adopt a Monkey, get a free cookie!"


quiet book

I've been wanting to start a book for some time now - originally one for Chace, but then Avery too.

Of course I'm over ambitious, so would spend entire naptimes designing a page, but have no idea where to start construction and it would just sit. And sit. Recently I found Stephanie's pattern's on Imagine our Life - such creative, beautiful work, and she shares her patterns for free. I 've only completed one, but the ease of it allowed me to bust out some of my original designs and make my own. Pictures & patterns soon... in the meantime, check out my quiet book board on Pinterest for lots of great ideas and links to patterns.


last minute teacher gifts

I (of course) waited until the last minute to come up with teacher gifts for Chace's pre-school teachers. I happened to have a sheet of printable shrink film, fabric scraps and d-rings, so was able to put together super quick lanyards, with personalized shrink film tags. Cute, yes?
Any lanyard tutorial will do, a Pinterest search will find you plenty - I used this one. Then drew two circles for each lanyard, one smaller one with the teacher's name and a small heart, and a larger one with "Thank you!!" and Chace's name, year and class, printed them, cut them out then let him draw a picture one the film with colored pencils. Once shrunk, I used a simple jump ring to attach them to the lanyards, and voila! Easy peasy, last minute teacher gifts!
9.20.12 Update... First day of school back, and they are still using their lanyards. Love it :)


silhouette first birthday

I really wanted something sweet and feminine, without going over-the-top girly. She just really isn't that kind of girl - funny how you can tell even at this age. The color palatte of ballet pink, mustard, robin's egg blue and off white worked perfectly.


Invitations & decor:
I used a photo of Avery to create the silhouette image in Photoshop, which I used on all of the paper goods (and cookie cutter!). I originally bought several packages of doilies, thinking I would use them all over, they added a nice girly touch without being too over the top. (the butterflies hanging in the background were hand-colored by the kids for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I thought they were so sweet and decided they could stay!)

Lace crown:
There are lots of great tutorials for making a lace crown, I got the idea here. I used a roll of eyelet trim and made it larger around, so it would stay on her head without needing a headband or clips.

I wanted to keep things simple to avoid crowding my tiny kitchen, but make sure everyone had plenty to eat. Even though it was really cold outside, we fired up the grill for citrus-y chicken skewers and veggies (peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini), alongside my mom's macaroni salad and sunshine salad. And to drink? Pink lemonade, of course :)

Dark chocolate chiffon cake with fluffy rosewater frosting ... delicious. For the smash cake, I reserved a bit of the batter from the big cake and baked it in 4" mini cake pans, then layered and decorated with the same frosting in ruffles all around. I'd say she liked it :)
my all time favorite sugar cookie cut-out recipe, No-Fail Sugar Cookies. And, I can't forget the "Pirate Cookies" - key lime flavored shortbread cookies.

Custom silhouette cookie cutter:
by Victor Trading Co. I can't describe how much I love this. It's the kind of thing I'll get out and use every chance I get, and I imagine myself giving it her in a pretty box someday when it's my turn to be a grandmother.

...and a rare picture of me, surrounded by the carnage  :)


painted cookies

A friend recently started selling Jewel Kade - if you're not familiar with their products, check them out - they sell handmade, artistic charms and necklaces. She was hosting an event and asked if I could create cookies based on their initial charms, inspired by the painted cookies from Arty McGoo.

Now, this was my first time painting on cookies, and I waited until 10 pm or so the night before to start painting them, but I'm so pleased with how they turned out. A little water (next time I'll try using vodka, I've since read that it helps avoid pitting the icing base), an artist's paint palette, tiny paintbrushes, gel food colors and sanding sugars.

And close ups of some of my favorites:



new easter critters available

New critters available now in my shop:


easter chick egg cozy - new crochet version

I've finally gotten around to writing out this pattern for crochet... enjoy!

Ch. 9, join to form a circle. (you'll want the loop to stay open, so a magic circle doesn't work as well)
Rd. 1: dc 18 times around loop
Rd 2: ch3, *dc, 2dc* repeat around all sts. (24 dcs)
Rd 3 & 4: ch3, dc in all sts (24 dcs)
Rd 5: ch3, dc in first 9 sts, then join with a slip stitch to the first dc of the round. (you are closing off one end of your shape to become the bottom of the chick's neck - the remaining sts will remain unworked)
Rd 6: dc in first 5 sts, 3dc bobble in next st, dc in last 4 sts. Join. (9 sts)
Rd 7: dc in all sts. (9sts)
Fasten off, leaving tail long enough to seam top of head. Weave in ends.


super c

A super easy, inexpensive gift - he wasn't too sure about it when he opened it Christmas morning, but it's gotten lots of wear since then, including to the grocery store once or twice :)

I followed Skirt as Top's cape tutorial, but used two men's XL t-shirts that I found on clearance instead of yardage, and reverse applique for the initial. I love that he can put it on by himself with the easy velcro, and with the lining it's reversible, so even if he puts it on inside-out it doesn't look like it.


race car birthday

Even though birthday parties are small around here (family only), I still enjoy planning all the details to tie everything together. I had hoped Chace would want a pirate theme for his third birthday party, we were really into pirates all last year. Me: "What kind of birthday party do you want to have? Pirates?" (with visions of the family reprising their pirate Halloween costumes, and guests wearing eye patches and telling bad pirate jokes all afternoon). Him: "No, I want a race car party." "Are you sure you don't want pirates??" "No, I want race cars". (a conversation that we had at least three times, and he was so adament about it I finally gave in)