Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Breakfast Pecan Coffeecake :)

There are few things I love more than meandering through a good Thrift Store. Just as I shop the outside isles of the grocery store each week and avoid the packaged foods, I have a pattern with Thrift Stores too. I will NEVER buy, shoes, hats, or underwear that has been previously owned, no matter how "gently" used. I'm not saying that I think everyone should feel this way....it's just my "thing". The isles I like to forage around in are the isles with old patterns and sewing notions, the fabric and old kitchen linens, embroidered handkerchiefs, cookbooks,  kitchen stuff (got my bread maker for 5 bucks and I use it constantly!) household items, furniture and of course, clothing. Today I am making a wonderful Coffeecake from a cookbook I found at a Thrift Store for 50 cents called "All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No Holds Barred Baking Book". With a title like that you know it has to be good!

Breakfast Pecan Coffeecake
1 1/3 cups (lightly packed) light brown sugar
1 tblsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
8 tblsp ( 1 stick ) softened unsalted butter

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tblsp (1 1/2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 tblsp granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream at room temp

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" springform pan with butter or vegetable oil.
2. For the topping, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in a medium sized bowl and mix in the softened butter with a fork or pastry blender until it is incorporated. Set aside.
3. For the cake, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a small bowl. Set aside.
4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on low after each addition until blended, about 5 seconds.
6. Add in the dry mixture in 4 additions alternately with the sour cream. When everything has been blended, mix on low and blend until smooth, 5 seconds.
7. Spread 1/2 the batter in the prepared pan and distribute half the topping over it. Spoon the remaining batter on top, smooth it out evenly and distribute the remaining topping over the top.
8. Place a piece of foil or a cookie sheet on the bottom oven rack. Then place the cake on the center rack. Bake for 40 minutes until the cake top turns golden. Gently place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the cake pan (do not mold it) and continue to bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out dry, about 40 minutes more. Serve warm (because trust me on this.....you won't be able to wait for it to cool off! ) or at room temperature.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The tale of 8 dragons.....

When my 5 year old grandson Caleb, came up to me last week and asked, "Nana, can you make me a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, "How to Train Your Dragon" cake for my birthday party?" ..of course I said "sure buddy!" And I started thinking about what that cake would look like and what other fun things we could do to go along with that theme. So when my friend Amy posted a link  on Facebook to this free tutorial on Running With Scissors for these adorable dragon tails, I knew I wanted to make some for the party! They are super fast and super fun to sew! The pattern is easy to follow and takes less than 45 minutes from cutting to stuffing! I made mine out of fleece. It took 5/8 yd for the tails and 1/8 yd for the spikes. I made them in different lengths from 18" to 24" long depending on the age and height of the children attending the party. I also used their favorite colors to personalize them :) When my hubby came into my sewing room on Friday night and saw them all done, he wanted one for himself! So I quickly whipped up another one with a much slightly larger waistband for him.

Turns out the tails were a hit! The kids never took them off the entire time and were pretty excited to be able to take them home with them afterwards!

Even the hubby wore his the entire time. (I think he had the most fun of all :)

I turned around to find my oldest grandson Elijah (he's 7) with his little brother Caleb and their little friend Kyleah sitting off in the corner praying. They were thanking God for dragons! Seriously....how cute is that? I only heard the very end of the prayer. I wish I could have heard it all!

And......the Gluten Free, Dairy Free, How to Train Your Dragon cake turned out pretty cute too! I googled "How to Train Your Dragon images" and saved the ones I wanted into a file. Then I printed them onto photo paper and cut them out. I glued them to cocktail toothpicks and bamboo skewers for the flying dragons and placed them into the cake. Caleb was a very happy little boy and that makes this Nana a very happy girl :)

I just added this post to "Fabric Tuesday" over at Quiltstory! Click on the button above to check out their blog!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Sweet it is!

I've mentioned before that I am super excited that some of my very favorite scrapbook paper designers are now offering their designs in fabric as well. I've already used some wonderful fabric from Cosmo Cricket's "Tailor Made" collection and I've had my eye on Sweetwater's "Make Life" fabric collection. As I was perusing the fabric over on Etsy.....as I occasionally  do.....I came across a Sweetwater shop. From there, I found the web address for their company and from there I found out about this totally fun monthly club called "Label Crew". It's $6.00 per month and you receive a sewing pattern as well as iron on labels and one label with your name on it. This lovely apron in the picture above is the pattern they are offering for their April 1st shipment. You bet I signed up! They have the coolest labels and patterns and of course, fabric. Now I just have to wait for April 1st..............

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Caleb!

 Five years ago today, you came into our lives! You are sweet and funny and your Mommy says that you are the "stunt man" of the family. You adore your brothers and most of the time you don't like letting Nana take your picture, but every now and then I get a good one :) You are so bright and so handsome and you have such a tender heart. You love to be around little babies and you are so gentle with them. I can't wait to see you with your new little sister in May!

Happy Birthday Caleb! I love you sooo much!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where are they now?

 Over the years I have dabbled in all kinds of craft adventures. Back in 2000 I made dolls for a while and sold them on Ebay. They were all hand painted and sanded and I made all the clothes as well. Each doll was signed and dated. It's a strange thought that there are people I've never met that have things that I made in their homes. I've got to admit, its kinda cool :)  Sometimes I wonder "Where are they now? And why dont' they write?"

The year before last, I made a little Raggedy Andy doll with overalls and a baseball cap with a "D" on it for my grandson David. He had suddenly taken an interest in the Raggedy Ann doll that I made for his mom when she was leaving for a mission trip to the Czech Republic years ago. He still sleeps with his Andy and that's the best feeling of all! With 2 grand-daughters on the way, it just might be time to dust off my doll making supplies again :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Here Comes the Bride :)

 My darling daughter is organizing a bridal shower for one of her close friends and she came across this fun Bride to Be sash on Etsy. She emailed the listing to me and asked me if I could make one. The good thing is that I know the bride and I know her style. She loves yellow so I used this buttery yellow cotton sateen and butter yellow eyelet for the sash itself. I painted "The Future Mrs. Nelson" on it with a red fabric paint pen by Marvy Uchida. I made the flower out of bright plaid fabric that has all the colors of the bridal shower in it. I also found this great vintage button to use where the sash overlaps at the hip. She loves all things vintage, so I think she'll like the button. I emailed pictures  of the finished sash to my daughter and she loved it! 

UPDATE: The bride loved it!

Sometimes "Old" is just "Old"

 Now that I am 50 years old I like to try to find better words to describe aging gracefully....

I like "seasoned", "skilled", "versed", "wise", "enduring", "constant",   "dignified", "experienced", "sage", "enlightened", "reflective"....oh the list can go on and on :) But not all things age for the better. Sometimes old is just old. You may remember that I made fun jammies for my grandsons for Christmas. Well about 2 days later, my 2 oldest grandsons had HUGE holes in the knees of their pj pants. Now normally I would chalk it up to them being boys (see this is where my "experience" comes into play :) Well their mom asked me if I could patch them up. I finally got around to fixing them, but as soon as I took my trusty seam ripper to them, the fabric itself started to fall apart. The actual threads that make up the flannel was so old and brittle that it just had no strength left at all. During the holidays, I bought this black flannel in the discount section of one of my favorite fabric stores. It never dawned on me that being black flannel, it may have been there forever!
So off I went to Joann's to buy some new flannel and start over from scratch. Even the woman at the cutting table asked me what I was making because not many people buy black flannel. I brought it home and washed it. It's soft and strong and now I'm one happy Nana :) Just to be on the safe side (again this is where my years of "experience" come into play)  I took 2 strips of flannel 5" by the width of the pant leg and used iron on batting strips that I cut 4 1/'2" by width of the pant leg and fused the pieces together. I then folded the extra flannel over to the backside and pressed it. Then I "quilted" the knee pads with a straight stitch 1" apart. I used the torn pj's as a guide to where the knee pads should go. I stitched the knee pads in place and then proceeded to sew the pants together as I normally would. Now the jammies are smooth on the inside with no seams to bother their knees and padded on the outside just in case they "happen" to slide across the tile floor at home :) I'm told that boys do that sometimes :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I just can't stop thinking about all the people of Japan. Families....children.... The fear they must be feeling. I can't even put it into words. I want to do something...but what? This may sound cheesy but I will be donating 50% of anything sold in my etsy shop through the month of March to the Red Cross Disaster Relief for Japan. My prayers are with all those affected.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The writing is on the wall.....

I am not a super neat freak (that title remains safely with my hubby....but that's another story). Even the wall decal in my craft room reads "Creativity is Messy and I am Very creative". But I'll admit that there comes a time, even for me, that I have to de-clutter my space before I can go on to something new. I have a quilting project I'm so excited about starting and as you can see, I've hit my clutter saturation point. So this morning I'm rolling up my sleeves, popping in my Abba Gold CD, and I'm ready to get this party started!

UPDATE: So I took all the sewing items (fabric, notions, patterns) that were all over my desk and my couch and placed them on top of the sewing machine to start putting them back where they go and I found a kitchen towel with a snowman on it that was hiding under some fabric. It made no sense to me to go out to the garage and pull down the rubbermaid container that has my Christmas linens in it just to put this one towel away, so I decided to cover the snowman with some cute fabric and make it into a towel that I can use all year. I had a strip of chicken fabric left over from the apron I made for Regena and added some yellow polka dot fabric and "voila"!
Of course, now all my sewing stuff that was neatly stacked on the sewing machine is all over the floor.....but that's not really the point is it? :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

7 New aprons and the Iron that changed my life :)

Yesterday I went to M & L yardage to buy some flannel for a project I am working on for my new grand-daughters and I came home with flannel AND all this cute fabric to make these Hostess Aprons. So instead of working on the project I was supposed to get started on, I made these 7 aprons for the Etsy shop. Makes total sense, right?

And now on the the iron that changed my life....CHANGED MY LIFE PEOPLE! So about a year ago I convinced the hubby that I NEEDED a Rowenta iron. How could I continue my life as I know it without one? So my darling hubby consented and I paid way more than anyone should for an iron and was the proud owner of my very first Rowenta. Fast forward to February and my prized iron leaks and it decides when and if it will work at all! Of course I had to start my search for the perfect replacement. I read quilter's blogs and online reviews and decided that I NEEDED the Oliso TG1600 (a bargin at $169.00) I used my sweetest voice and asked the hubby if I could have it. And of course, he said "yes". Did I mention that it comes in the cutest sunny yellow color? Anyhoo, I must have lost my mind temporarily because things have been slow at my husband's work and slow = less money. And on top of that, the day I was planning to buy my beautiful sunny yellow Oliso he came home early from work because things were slow. Needless to say, I didn't order the yellow iron. I went back to Amazon and started reading reviews on their top selling irons and it turns out there were quite a few ex-Rowenta owners singing the praises of this T-fal Ultraglide. For $38 bucks and free shipping, I figured I'd give it a shot. Guess what? IT ROCKS!!! I've never had an iron that actually makes ironing fun! I love this iron! Even the steam sounds like applause! It heats up lightning fast, gets super hot, had tons of steam, glides over wrinkles and the back of the iron is designed so that it's very stable on the ironing board so you don't have the fear of it tipping over. And did you notice that it's RED? (it also comes in blue...but who wants that?)