Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy B-Day (02/22)

Happy Birthday

For my husband's birthday this year he requested homemade Italian Creme Cake, but in a cup cake form, since he is not a big sweet eater and once he gets his fill (which is a couple of them) he is done.  So I went on a mission to find a recipe for this cake (I found a lot of recipes that called for a whole lot of ingredients).  I have eaten it before, but never made it.  I came across this recipe during my search from Christine at Have Stand, Will Mix.  She already made the cake into a cupcake recipe and the ingredients were easy ones so I gave her a shout out that I would give it a try.  There are always a few things that I have to think about when baking in my house (1) my daughter does not like nuts or coconut, but she likes white icing (so far any color icing),  (2) my husband loves nuts and coconut and somewhat white icing, and (3) I like nuts and coconut, but not a big fan of icing that is not chocolate.  So I had to figure out a way that all 3 of us would be able to enjoy his birthday cake.  So here is what I did:
  • Made the batter, but only used 1 cup of sugar (as I try all my recipes with less sugar than called for and each time it is made I take away a tablespoon or so, my goal is to get it slightly sweet and the less sugar I can use the better), added extra vanilla (1/2 teaspoon) and left out the coconut until the end.  My husband suggested that in addition the vanilla that next time try a little bit of coconut flavoring.
  • After batter was done, I poured some into a small cake pan about a 3-5 inch pan (these are the single serving size cake pans) for my daughter's cake.
  • Once her cake was separated into another pan, I added lots of coconut (more than the recipe called for as the bag I found at the store was a 7oz bag) to the batter (next time I will add even more) for our cupcakes (or use the suggestion of my husband's above).
  • I prepared the cupcake pans (there was enough batter to make 19 medium size cupcakes)
The next day I had my husband taste one of the plain cupcakes, he was like "can't wait to get home to eat those".  I was super excited that it came out well.  We headed out on his birthday movie day (2 of them "Unknown" and "The Eagle") and we enjoyed a nice lunch at Taco Real.  Sunday will finish out his movie weekend where we will go to Alamo Draft House and watch "True Grit" (this did not happen as we we so tired from the day before that we all chilled at home).  When we got home:
  • I made the icing and had both of them taste it to make sure they liked it (since I used a different icing from the recipe, see what I used below), my daughter said it taste like marshmallows and my husband said it was creamy and he liked it.
  • I toasted lots of coconut in the oven to be sprinkled on top of the cupcakes and I chopped up the walnut halves, I purchased the halves so that I could make sure there were no hard centers in the walnuts (next time I may try this recipe with pecans to see what flavor it gives, although my husband said don't change it because he REALLY likes it).
  • I frosted her cake (with a lot of frosting), then added more untoasted coconut to the frosting mix and frosted all but 4 of the cupcakes and put the toasted coconut and walnuts on top of his (since I really did not want the icing on mine).
For the frosting I used Betty Crocker Home Style Fluffy White Frosting Mix, this was to cut down on some of the dairy, egg and sugar content of the recipe as a whole.
From Saturday through Monday my husband ate all but 7 of the cupcakes, which I gave to my father-in-law (when I was packing them up to take to him my husband said to grab one more and put it in the fridge just in case he wanted something sweet later).


The only problems (well I call them problems as I was totally unsure of myself through the whole process) was that I could not really get the eggs to form stiff peaks, I think I should have used a wire whisk attachment on my mixer instead of the regular paddles for mixing.  I noticed when I went to fold in the eggs into the batter they never really mixed in completely and there was a lot of liquid at the bottom of the somewhat stiff egg whites, I still put everything into the batter.  Also, the cake had oil on the cupcake papers and into the pan, so maybe I should cut back on the oil next time or was it because the egg whites did not all form together, really not sure, have to play with this to see where the problem is for me.

I hope you all give this recipe a try as I think you will really enjoy it and will add it to your arsenal of GO TO RECIPES.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hometown Seeds Offer (Deadline 03/15/11)

I was contacted by this company, which specializes in high quality garden and herb seeds. Most of their seeds are open-pollinated and all are GMO-free.  Since I am new to gardening and new to growing my plants from seeds, I thought I would give them a try.  They are offering:
$5 off any purchase over $25 products. By entering the coupon code spring 2011, $5 will be reduced from the total cost of any order over $25. The code will be good through March 15, 2011.  There are quite a few items on their website that you can test out.  This may become your source for seeds in the future.
They can be reached at  So don't delay their is a deadline for the coupon code of March 15th.  Let me know how the seeds work for you, who knows you might inspire me to try something totally different in my garden.

Happy Gardening

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Liebster Award

I am so very thrilled to receive this award from Shauna and YES I do accept it.  I am ecstatic that she thought of me to receive this award.  Thanks you Shauna.  Your kindness at my recent quilting project came at the right time.  Really appreciate it.
1) You have been tagged, do you want to accept?

YES! then create a post on your blog and post the love blog photo.

2) Link back to the person who gave you the award and say if you accept.

3) Choose 3-5 of your favourite blogs to tag, link these in your post too and tell the lucky people they have been tagged.

The aim of this award is to bring unknown good blogs to light, therefore, please don't tag somebody with 3000 followers.
I pass on the award to:

Jackie, you always have nice encouraging words on my posts.
Jeff/EG, your amazing information on gardening and the ability to just do it.
Rock Rose, the amazing photos and the detail you provide on your blog.
Bobbi, love all the photos and information you share on your blog.
Bingo-Bonnie, great information on your blog and how you include your kids in your posts.

I hope you accept the award, but if you don't, no problem.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Road To Oklahoma Block

I just completed the large project for the Happy Scrappers group that I am in.  I made mine into a wall hanging instead of a pillow.  I wanted to work on my free motion quilting.  I am not that happy with it, but I am still learning.  I really like the block and it came together quite fast, it is completed of four 8 inch blocks and sewed together makes a 16 inch block.  I added borders to make it 18 inches total.

I just recently purchased the supreme slider to help me in my free motion quilting, but you still have to relax.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Birdie Stitches Embroidery BOM #2

Here is my completed 2nd block on 2/16/11 (previously discussed this block of the month here).  I must say the embroidery process is getting faster.  The only slow part is picking the colors of thread.  I don't always want to use traditional colors for things, but you won't know what the colors look like until you stitch it (then pretty much it is there to stay, due to the holes in the fabric).  I found some new transfer pens at Joann's and I got them on sale, they are called Water Soluble Pencil by Clover and you get 3 different colors in the package.  I think I only ended up spending a few dollars and I really like them.  I used the gray one on this block, next time I will try the pink, just to see if there is a difference in being able to see the lines after a few days.  I am enjoying this stitch along.  Can't wait to see what March is about (maybe a St. Patty's day type theme).

Spring Table Runner

I completed my table runner for the Quilting For All group.  The due date is February 28th to have it posted to the group so that it can be voted on for the project of the month.  I must say that I really enjoyed making this and the applique was not so bad after all.

Here is a photo of my pre-applique process, trying to test out a few things (I accidentally made the green petals before I realized they were supposed to be white).  I decided after all not to use the green petals.

Here are a few up close photos of the completed applique process.

Completed table runner.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Quilting Gallery Mug Rug Swap

This weekend I received my mug rugs from my anonymous partner for the Quilting Gallery Mug Rug swap, I previously talked about it here.  She did a great job on making them.  The photos below are the front and back of both mug rugs.  The one with the sewing machine and spools will be put in my craft room.  The colors fit my room to a T.

Now how did she know that I love drinking coffee.  I am going to take this one to work.  I love the fabric that she chose in this mug rug.

Anita says she is a beginner, but I could not tell.  She did a fabulous job and I am glad to receive them.

She also went one step further and put a little gift in with the mug rugs.  A coin purse.  TOOOO CUTE.  It will be attached to my purse to hold my access badge to enter my building at work (I spend more time digging in the bottom of my purse for it each morning).

Thanks Anita, I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quilting Block Of The Months

This weekend I worked on a few projects.

Honey Bee 2011-January

Ready To Sew Bernina-Basket Case January

Austin Modern Quilt Guild-Scrappy Hedgerow, block #4

I still have a few other blocks that I have to finish very soon to meet deadlines, but I think I can do it.  I don't have much planned on Saturday, so that will be my target date to complete:

3X6 blocks, One completed, 4 more to go.  I am using this pattern Box Quilt in the colors specified by group members
Layer Cake Quilt Along, Block 8 has just been posted
Spring Table Runner, won't take long, just have to sit and do it before the 28th.  I have the fabric.
Small and large project for Happy Scrappers club and to complete the Tumblers Aplenty quilt
Small and large project for Charm School (before the 26th)

I think this is it for the major projects (I think).  Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tumblers Aplenty Quilt

I have made considerable progress on the tumblers quilt for my Happy Scrappers Club.  This is a major undertaking for me at the least.  It requires working with a template and cutting out lots and lots and oh did I say lots of tumblers.  I decided to go through all of my scraps and cut them into the tumblers rather than going with any one particular fabric line.  This way I can use up a lot of my excess fabric that I would not use in other quilts.  I first talked about this quilt  last month here.  I actually did not start cutting out my tumblers until Friday (when we had a snow day) the day before the 2nd meeting (this quilt has to be completed be completed before the end of the 6 month session.  I got most of them cut out and sewn into a few strips.  My plan is to finish the major part of the quilt by next weekend and then sew borders around the strips to enlarge it, but for sure to have the quilt done by the next meeting March 5th.  Here are photos of my progress.

These are the 16 individual strips done so far.
These are a few strips sewing into groups of 2's.
 According to my calculations once all 16 strips are sewed together it will measure 64X63.  Not sure how large I will make the borders.  This quilt is planned to be a TV cuddle quilt.  Can't wait.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Quilting Gallery, Mug Rug Swap

I mailed out my 2 mug rugs to my secret person.  I hope that she will like them as these are the first mug rugs I have made.  They are just miniature quilts and sometimes working with small pieces, especially binding can be hard (for a beginner like me).  I enjoyed it and I think thee are great Christmas gifts for this year.  See photos below of the front and back of both mug rugs.

Quilting Gallery Logo

Mug Rug Swap

Snow Last Night

Leander received a reported 1.5 inches of snow.  Most of the schools surrounding the Austin area are closed and most businesses are on a 2 hour delay.  We received more snow last year (see pictures from my garden and front yard).  I decided since my flannel pajamas were all nice and warm, there was no reason to actually go outside and take pictures.  So these pictures were taken from the inside of the house through the storm door.

Coult not resist taking a photo of he pretty clouds that are supposed to bring freezing rain tonight.
 Hope all are safe and warm.  I am.

Simply My Style Simply Sweet

A few years ago I purchased the first block in the Simply My Style, Simply Sweet block of the month program from Joann.  Unfortunately I misplaced the block and over time, I forgot about it.  I discovered the block a year ago and thought I would not be able to use it in the BOM program, but maybe as an extra block in another quilt.  I did some research and discovered that I could contact Joann and order old patterns (maybe not for everything).  I contacted them and they were happy to send me copies of the missing blocks for free at that (go figure).  I only needed blocks 2-8 plus the setting block.  Now I have to figure out what type of fabric I will use to complete the quilt.  The copies arrived yesterday in the mail.

I am looking forward to putting this quilt together.

Main Street Quilt & Thread Guild-Starry Night

Here is my first block completed for the Main Street Quilt & Thread Guild.  The request was either for a pink or purple and white block.  In this guild you have the option of completing the monthly block and you are given a ticket at the meeting along with all of the people that complete the block who want to be in the drawing.  A drawing is done and the winning ticket will win all the blocks submitted and you have to come up with a block for the next month along with presenting how to make it.

This is a neat idea.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Layer Cake Quilt Along-Spin Wheel

Here is block 7 by Celine Perkins through the Layer Cake Quilt Along. This pattern was quick.  I am finally caught up with my blocks.


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