Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Sweet Treat

I wanted to share with you my favorite recipe for Pound Cake. The golden batter makes a wonderfully moist, dense cake. It looks pretty when baked in a Bundt pan, but any tube pan will do.

Pound Cake
3 cups plain flour - not self rising
3 sticks salted butter
3 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease and lightly flour a tube pan. Sift flour 3 times. (sifting the flour is important) Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat only until each disappears. Blend in 1 cup flour, then 1/2 cup cream. Repeat. Add remaining flour. Fold in vanilla.
Add batter to pan, level it and drop on counter a couple of times to knock out any air bubbles. Place in center of oven and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. Cake will be nice and brown on top and begin to pull away from the sides of pan. Remove from oven to cool and wait ten minutes before inverting on a cake plate. Do not cover until completely cool.


Ready to go in the oven.

The pound cake is excellent served plain. You could also drizzle with lemon sauce or chocolate sauce. My favorite is to serve it with seasonal berries. Let me know if you try the recipe.
Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day, remembering those who have served our country.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Craft Supplies

My husband and I went to a neighborhood garage sale Saturday morning. I like it when entire neighborhoods sponsor a garage sale event - lots to look at in a short amount of time, without driving all over town! I scored some pretty nice craft supplies.

I found a couple of 100% wool sweaters, in good shape, for just one dollar each. I will use those for felting. I picked up a big jar full and a zip-lock bag each full of vintage buttons. And a nice, soft vintage suede jacket that I will also use for crafting.

These buttons and other vintage sewing notions will come in handy for all sort of brooches and handbags.

The best part is that finding some new supplies inspired me to reorganize my craft closet. The felted sweaters, and my other fabrics, are all folded neatly so that I can see everything at a glance. The drawers are full of zippers, beads, embroidery floss and interfacing. If only it would stay that way!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

After the Rain

We had lots of rain yesterday and thunderstorms overnight. And there were still a few clouds early this morning.
But as the day progressed, the sun came out for a beautiful Spring day. And we could almost watch the plants grow!

pink columbine

assorted hostas

Japanese iris

ivy on the side wall

clematis, Dr. Ruppel

Even the frog was watching!

A few houseplants were hung outside by the porch.

and there are still a few annuals to plant
I hope your garden is growing!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Eco-Friendly Shopping

Cosa Verde - think big, shop small
Looking for a way to more easily find eco-friendly vendors? Check out this great new web marketplace - cosa verde!
Cosa verde showcases handmade and environmentally-friendly items by artists from around the world. You will find clothing, accessories, beauty products, children's items and more. Categories include organic, reusable, repurposed, recycable, conflict-free, cruelty-free, and green sources.
And for featured items and shop of the week check out the cosa verde blog.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fresh from the Garden

After all the hard work of preparing the Spring garden - tilling, and planting seeds and tiny seedlings, it's wonderful to reap the rewards. Fresh produce from our own backyard! We had a delicious salad and some roasted asparagus with dinner last night.

It's fun to pick out the new packets of seeds at the garden center - radish, lettuce, cucumber and squash.

We usually purchase our tomato and pepper plants instead of starting them from seeds.

The first planting of romaine lettuce.

Tasty fresh radishes.

And this is one of my favorites -fresh asparagus!

What are you growing in your garden?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Plush Cat Toys

My cats are always interested in playing with my scraps of felted wool. And, they love catnip, so I decided to make them their own little wooly plush mice, stuffed with catnip.


This is a very simple craft project, so if you can thread a needle, you, too, can make some simple plush mice for your feline friends!

Materials:

Scraps of fabric, about 5 inches square (I used scraps of felted wool from wool sweaters, but fleece, corduroy, craft felt, or any textured fabric that your cat can grab with her claws would work.)

ribbon, yarn or twine for the mouse tail

catnip, dried and crumbled from your garden or purchased from the pet store

fiberfill

sewing notions, sewing machine optional

First, I made a paper pattern for the mouse body. You can adjust the size to fit how your cat likes to play. I have small Burmese cats and they like to carry their toys around the house, so these mice are fairly small. My pattern is about 4 inches in diameter, with one end slightly flat. The flat end will be the "rear end" of the mouse when you fold the fabric in half to sew. Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut out one layer. I also cut out some little red ears from another piece of felted wool and used a small piece of ribbon for a tail. I folded each ear in half and basted the ears and tail in place.


Then you will fold the fabric in half, with the ears and tail inside, and stitch by hand, or use your sewing machine, around the perimeter taking a small (about 1/8") seam allowance. You can see my red stitching line in the photo above. Stitch from the nose of the mouse to the back of the mouse, leaving an opening for turning and stuffing.


Jimmy showed up to get a "hit" of catnip before I could stuff it in the toy!

Once stitched, turn right side out and stuff the mouse. I added a little fiberfill stuffing mixed with the catnip.

Jasper was ready to play with the mouse before I finished stitching it closed.


Tuck the back edges of the mouse inside and take some small stitches to close. And you're done!


Now it's time to play!
What kind of toys have you made for your pets?

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Felted Goodness!

I've been sewing the past few days and I've added some new items to my shop.

A pretty red patterned Bella style handbag,

a green leaf felted wool zippered pouch,

and some pretty beaded rose brooches.
I'm planning to create some new plush animals next - a few of my horses, a few more cats and I'm working on a goldfish/koi - so look for those coming next week! I plan to have some available in the shop.
And speaking of cats, I've been making my furry friends some new toys with some of my scraps of wool and a little catnip. I'll take some pictures and have a tutorial for you on Monday, 5/4. Can you beleive it's May already?
Have a great weekend!