Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quilting until my fingers bleed...

Thank god we're on the mend and the snow is almost gone...

But I'm still inside today because I had a project I needed to get done (or at least mostly done today). Her shower is today and even though I can't be there, I wanted her to be able to see the "finished" product.

My cousin had a baby boy a few weeks ago. And because he was 5 weeks early (due the first week of April), I can't feel bad about finishing it up now...

So my day was filled with lots of seam ripping....

One major incident involving the quilt, the sewing machine and the table cloth....

(Yep, they're stitched together)

But the end product turned out pretty great:

They're big Seattle Seahawks fans, hence the fabric selection. And the back is Minky fabric, which is sooo soft, but a big pain to sew on.

I still have to hand-tack the corners, but I'm pretty proud of how it turned out. I've only made one quilt before and I had a lot of help from mom and grandmas.

And I really didn't think the pattern (which I designed) through, so when I went to put the blocks together, I had to get a little creative.

Freyja just laid on the fabric and batting. My bad for putting it in her little spot of sunshine.... So she decided to use her bed instead, poor thing.

Linking up to:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sick Day #2

Now we're both not feeling so hot... Today will be pretty unproductive and lazy.

But we did give Freyja a much needed bath and toothbrushing last night

The hooded bunny towel was a Christmas gift from the bf's mom... Freyja only hates it because it means she's all wet. 


She really doesn't like having her teeth brushed, but sometimes, it's just necessary...

Hope the rest of you are having a more productive weekend :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Doughnut Muffins and a Sick Day

We've still got snow. Boo.

On Fridays, the bf's office brings brings breakfast to work. Once a month, it's the bf's turn to bring something. Usually, he forgets until the last minute, but luckily, he reminded me yesterday.

With no ideas of what to bring, it was left up to me.

Awhile ago, I saw a blog post for doughnut muffins. But of course, I couldn't remember where I'd seen it.

So I googled. 

And I found this recipe

And they came out amazing and are so delicious:

There were some weird things about the recipe (like weird measurements), so I re-wrote some of it so it makes more sense:

For Muffin

3 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar, plus 1/8 cup of sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (whipping cream works too)

For Topping 

1/4 cup butter, more if needed
1 cups sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Combine the vanilla, milk and heavy cream.

3. With a spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Then mix in a third of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry. Mix until well combined and smooth, but don't overmix. 

4. Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup, a little less than  a 1/2 cup. Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, about 25-30 minutes. 

5. To finish, Melt the butter for the dipping mixture in a small bowl. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, dip them into or brush them all over with the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Some tips:

1. Make sure you alternate wet and dry. The bf made the second batch and didn't know that this meant put in 1/4 dry ingredients, mix, put in 1/3 wet ingredients etc... I had to spend A LOT of time mixing to get the lumps out.

2. The batter is more like a dough than say a traditional muffin or cupcake batter. The recipe didn't note that and I was surprised and thought I might have added too much flour.

3. The recipe only makes 12 muffins. Shocking, but true. I wouldn't double the batch if you're making them by hand (like I did), but you could do this if you have a hand or stand mixer.

4. When you're putting the batter  into the muffin cups, you're going have to use your fingers. And it gets messy. You really do want the muffin cups FULL (I was skeptical too) and to get a smooth muffin top, you'll want to make sure the batter is completely flat. So on the second batch I floured my hands/fingers.

5. You could probably use the toothpick method to test done-ness, but I just touched them to test 

They may not be great for you, but I'd bet they're better for you than a doughnut.

And also today the bf is home sick, so I took the muffins in myself. I can't have 24 of these bad boys sitting on my counter (I've already had two this morning alone). 

And I had to make a store run anyway for sick supplies...

Miss Freyja's elated to have someone who will lay and cuddle with her all day :)

Also, Fishtail Cottage is hosting a great Spring/Easter giveaway...

Hope you all have a happy (and healthy!) Friday :)

Linking up to:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Snow Update and Paintings Finished

Remember the snow from yesterday?

The forecast wasn't for very much... 

...And we ended up with close to 6 inches.

So no work outside for me. Although I might walk to the grocery store if it gets above freezing.

On a better note, the paintings are (almost) done!

(you can see the inspiration here and progress here and here)

The blue print IS done. I just need to get a super fine tipped pen to finish up all of the small writing and designs on the map. It doesn't quite look complete without it.

And I'm very happy with how both of them turned out...

(Sorry if these are a bit blurry... Living in a basement isn't good for taking photos w/o flash and the flash just washes them out.)

I even hung them all by myself.

They might look a little small for the wall, but we're not here permanently, so I consider their placement temporary.

And now I've got to get back to my "spring cleaning..." Who knew washing walls, windowsills and baseboards is so time consuming?

Linking up to:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Cleaning

I was really hoping to get another coat or two on the table today, get the legs sanded, maybe even start work on the chairs....

And I wake up to this:

I mean, seriously. Spring has started. But apparently the local weather missed the memo.

So instead, I'm going to do some spring cleaning.

Image courtesy of Martha

And as crazy as this may sound to some (but not at all crazy to my mother), I've never done a spring cleaning before. Because, well.... I hate cleaning. It's not therapeutic for me. And yeah it's nice once everything is clean, but even that's not enough of an incentive.

But, we found out we will be moving in a few months, so I might as well get a jump start on it now and have less to do and worry about later...

So I went on the hunt to find an "ultimate spring cleaning checklist" because I know there are things I should be cleaning that I haven't even thought of. And of course, the master of all things house and home, Martha Stewart, has a pretty thorough checklist.

And while I'm elbow deep in Pine-Sol, Miss Freyja will be doing what she does best....


And hopefully not making extra messes for me to clean up [which she LOVES to do :) ]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New dining set!

I've been spending a lot of time on craigslist/kijiji looking at new dining room tables and chairs. What we have now is fine:

Yep, that's a dog on the table.
But it's not something I want to have forever. So I found a set I liked and we drove an hour to get it.

That wouldn't be that big of a deal if we had a truck, but we drove home like this:

It's a good thing the bf and I have experience tying down sailboats, or this could have been a complete disaster...

We unpacked everything out of the car and here's what we came home with:

A dining room table w/ leaf
4 chairs
A hutch

Unfortunately, the table got a little damaged in the move... We were planning on refinishing the whole set anyway, so it's happening sooner rather than later.

We're not sure when the furniture is from, exactly (we think the 50's), but it all has these cool old tags still on it. I'm going to have to  do a little research on this, I think.

And we don't have room for the hutch downstairs... so we're leaving it upstairs for now until we're in a place that has more room... It will be replacing the rickety old bookshelf.

We started the refinishing work this weekend, starting with the leaf in case we seriously messed something up. And let me tell you, it was a lot of work. Whatever they used to seal tables when this was made, it works.

The leaf, after one coat

The bf hard at work

Still sanding, 45 minutes later

Even I did some of the work...

And after an hour and a half of sanding... We were finally done.

It's still a little wet here, but you get the effect. I'm just hoping we get some nicer days so we can get this table inside and use it!

And Freyja? She wasn't much help at all. 

She played fetch for about an hour...

And then decided it was nap time.

Linking up to:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

I've been seriously neglecting my housework this week, so there won't be much else getting done.

I'm not Irish (at least that I'm aware of) and neither is the bf. And Freyja's a German dog from French Canada with a Scandinavian name. So I'm not wearing green. And I won't be pinched.

I am, however, making corned beef and cabbage... for the first time.

Frankly, I think it looks a little gross. At least all packaged up. I mean, it looks a little like beef tongue.

The bf didn't leave me with a recipe. "Just add water," was his 'recipe.' 

So I went and I found one of my own.

And luckily, we have this lovely, pot:

I'm sure it was inherited. The bf's kitchen stuff is always surprising. I'm either surprised he doesn't own something or surprised he does.

But it's a great, versatile pot. So thank you to who ever it came from :)

And apparently, it's not St. Patrick's Day without Guinness.

But frankly, I don't get the hype.

How ever you celebrate,

Also, there's a great pattern giveaway over at Adventures in Dressmaking... Head over and check it out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another painting well underway

I think I've been bitten by the painting bug. 

After I finished up the Pike Place Market blueprint, I started right away on this one:

The original

I'm still not done with it after 2 solid days of work. After I finish my first cup of coffee, I start working and don't stop until 6:00 when the bf gets home from work. 

I've never been so sore in my entire life. And I sailed competitively in college, so I know a thing or two about being sore from head to toe.

But it's been entirely worth it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crossing things off the "craft list"

This weekend was sort of a continuation of my Friday... so I ended up getting a number of things done:

1) Rabbit and chick cut outs (posted here):

They were easy to start, not so easy to finish. Used double tack adhesive paper for the first time and it went okay, but I have little pieces of paper stuck everywhere. Some of them turned out a little "busy," but they didn't have a great selection of paper at Michaels.

2) Pike Place Market blueprint painting (posted here):

I started this one on Saturday and finished it up (FINALLY) this morning. I wasn't entirely sure how it would turn out, but the more and more I painted, the more I was liking how I would turn out. I do need to get some painter's tape to clean up the lines on the top and bottom, but it's basically ready to be hung up!

And my favorite part? The fact that they have large areas dedicated to pickles and doughnuts.

I also want to get the map done as well before I hang this one up, so it might be awhile before I actually show these bad boys on the wall. But I'm excited anyway.

And on Saturday, the bf and I took Freyja to small dog play time at a local doggie daycare. She's okay with other dogs; not aggressive or anything, mostly just terrified. But that's why she needs to do something like this occasionally.

At first she was stuck to one of us like glue...

But eventually (and hesitantly), she made a few new friends :)

Hopefully, your weekends were as productive :)