Monday, December 16

baby girl quilt

Here's another baby blanket for friends expecting a little girl.

I thought it would be difficult to make a blue and purple blanket feminine enough, but then I found these adorable coordinating fabrics. Of course the shoes contribute to the cute factor. I'm sure the baby will too. We're looking forward to her arrival any day now!

Wednesday, November 13

hand crafted cake pop sale

Our community held a Fall Festival and reached out to crafters and home-based businesses to set up booths. I signed up to sell my cake pops. The event wasn't as well attended as we anticipated, so I had a slow day of sales and a lot of extra pops. Although I broke even and could probably adjust my quantities to do very well, I don't think I want to. The other vendors, mostly sales reps for businesses like Mary Kay and Pampered Chef, were encouraging, customers were complimentary, and I made some good contacts, but at the end of the fair I hadn't had as much fun as I expected.

I sent Patrick to work with about 100 leftover pops, and shared more at church and my book club. Sharing with friends reinforced my decision not to sell them again. It was so much more satisfying to give them away. Baking is my love language, not my livelihood.

Tuesday, November 12


A couple weeks after my last blog post, our youngest surprised us with an early arrival. In the time since, I've completed a few projects, but obviously I haven't posted anything. I blame sleep deprivation and adjusting to life with twice as many little ones around. I'll catch up a bit and hopefully get some new stuff done in the next few weeks as well.

Monday, July 15

pretty pink baby shoes

Close friends just finished all the paperwork to adopt a little girl... now it's just a matter of waiting. Waiting is hard, so to help make the anticipation a little sweeter I made a pair of tiny baby shoes featuring a fun black and white with pink fabric I found as a fat quarter. The pattern is one I've made before, and this time I added a bit of embroidery to personalize them.

Sunday, July 14

"Mind Your P's And Q's" baby blanket

I just finished a small quilt for a baby girl expected at the end of August.

This was my first time using a "charm pack" for a baby blanket. It's a variety of fabrics from Keiki's Mind Your P's And Q's collection. I found the fabric searching for coral and turquoise prints to match the nursery. It was a little brighter than the colors I originally imagined in my head, but the fun letters and animals in the print totally sold me on the fabric. I couldn't find much yardage available online, so the pre-cut stack of 5x5" squares from Pink Chalk Fabrics seemed like a great head start. I got a little more inspiration on design from Pinterest. Unfortunately I didn't get the quilting completed in time for the shower, but I'm well ahead of the baby's arrival, so I don't feel too tardy.

Tuesday, July 9

water fun

Our community has five pools available to residents through the summer. They are all kid friendly, and there is even a splash park for the little ones. I wish I could say we take full advantage of these resources, but my energy levels and mobility (not to mention fear of maternity swimwear) have not been helpful in making it happen. So we thought about putting a sand box in our yard this summer, but decided the mess and investment wouldn't be worth it. Instead we went with a water play table.

I bought the large storage tub from JoAnn Fabrics because I was there and saw them, but they are widely available. It's the kind that is designed to slide under a bed, so wide and shallow. Eventually we'll put it up on blocks in back, but since we're working on the deck, the temporary home is on the front porch.

I ordered stacking/nesting cups designed for water play as well as the funnel/wheel toy from Amazon. As it turns out Atlas favors the large plastic cup and mixing spoon, but we've had fun playing with all the items.

A neighbor saw us playing and brought out the elephant watering can. It's been a huge hit as well.

Here's to staying cool and splashing around in the summer sun!

Saturday, June 29

"breakfast at tiffany's" inspired cake pops

I had the pleasure of attending a lovely baby shower for a friend who is expecting a little girl the same week I'm expecting my little guy. This baby is her first, and her family and friends threw a fantastic and glamorous event with the theme "Breakfast at Tiffany's". The soon-to-be grandmother thought of everything from valet parking to M&Ms printed with the baby's name as favors. She also asked me to make cake pops for the occasion. A Google image search for the movie resulted almost entirely in pictures of Audrey Hepburn, and not being confident in my ability to recreate a cake-pop bust in her likeness, I opted to feature tiffany blue with white satin ribbon and pearl sprinkles. The mama-to-be has been craving Nutella, so a chocolate/nutella center was in order. The hazelnut flavor wasn't as noticeable as I would have liked, but at the end of the day chocolate can stand on it's own pretty well. They turned out great!

Tuesday, June 25

container garden update

Our little backyard garden experiment seems to be flourishing! I could use a good pesto recipe for the basil, and the oregano and mint are doing quite well too. We've also seen our first ghost pepper this week, our first ripe tomato, and squash is on its way.

More on the flowers in the front another day (when I've caught up on weeding and am not too embarrassed to take pictures)!

baby quilt in progress

I don't want to give too much away, but here is a snapshot of my current project. I'm hoping to finish up by this weekend!

Wednesday, June 19

the ultimate cake pop post

I try to remember to take a nice picture of each batch of cake pops I make. Usually it works out, but occasionally I end up forgetting entirely or taking one on my phone in the car on the way to the event. The latter is what happened last weekend.

Strawberry inside, chocolate covered and coconut varieties.

Here is a small collection of other cake pops I've made over the last two years.

Yellow cake with dark and milk chocolate for book club.

Curious George chocolate for a 2-year-old's birthday party.

Inca themed for a birthday party.

Owls for a one-year-old's birthday party.

Beach balls for a beach themed baby shower.

Very hungry caterpillars for a butterfly baby shower.

Cream cheese mint inside for a gender reveal party.

"Blue velvet" favors at our baby dedication for Atlas.

Friday, May 31

home improvements

We found a whole unopened gallon of paint in our basement that matches the main room of our new house. Originally I had imagined changing the color somewhat, but with that much extra for touch-ups, the slightly purple neutral look will work for us or a while. I took the can into Lowes to have them help me get a shade darker for the kitchen and guest bathroom. We did some pretty extensive wall repair while we were at it.

Here are some before/progress pics:

The blue was lovely, but not our style.

We found some very creative former color schemes when we removed some trim.

And here is our new look.

Lighting is different, but the kitchen and bathroom are the same color and the mirrored wall was not changed.

I like the higher contrast between the walls and white cabinetry in the kitchen. We get lots of natural light, so I wasn't too concerned with a darker paint color. My parents gifted us the IKEA cabinet on the right. It's from their Liatorp collection, and I really like the look. We considered completely removing the old phone jack. I know we certainly won't use it for its intended purpose, but the concern was resale, so Patrick found a hack that will turn it into a power source for some track lighting in the cabinet. Win-win.

Sunday, May 19


Fuchsia might be my favorite flower of all time.

This lovely hanging plant was a gift from my parents. My dad picked it out from the Dale City farmers market while he was visiting, and it's been thriving on our back deck ever since.

Thursday, May 16

the garden

The peonies in our front yard have finally bloomed. They are drooping from the weight of their own magnificence, but wow, are they ever magnificent!

This week while my dad was in town, we accomplished several household projects, the most significant was landscaping. We (Dad mostly) took out the apple tree that was threatening our sewer line and one of the overgrown azaleas. We'll see if the other azalea does ok with the major pruning it received. We added a mountain laurel that will be blooming any day now, and a brick edging that gives the whole space a very polished look even though it's not completely planted yet.

Before (particularly bleak looking because it was before anything bloomed)

Our little helper!

Epic azalea battle.

Brick edging and a clean slate.

We also repainted the front door and got started on the shutters. On the back deck, we planted tomatoes, zucchini, (ghost!) peppers, strawberries, and a small herb garden in containers. One tomato plant perished in the weird late season frost this week, but everything else seems to be going strong.

Spiffy new door color.

Veggies and herbs on the back deck.

Saturday, May 4

monkey cake pops

My second big baking project of the weekend was cake pops for a fabulous two-year-old's birthday party. The theme was Curious George, so I went for monkeys. The pops are made of chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and chocolate candy melts. As you can see from my process pics, the monkey face shape is formed with an M&M, and the eyes are a Trader Joe's sprinkle. The ears are mini chocolate chips. I used a Wilton edible pen for the finer details - which didn't work on the candy as well as I would have liked.

My plan was to photograph the pops at the party, but by the time I had greeted friends and ate half a sandwich they were almost gone! I received many sweet comments on the look and taste, but perhaps the best compliment of all was the fact that only two remained when we sang and cut the cake.

Thursday, May 2

rose cupcakes

I made these charming rose candies to top cupcakes for a rose-themed shower. I used a Wilton candy mold and melts in pink, orange, and red to get a variety of rosy colors.

The cupcakes are from a favorite spice cake recipe. At this point I don't remember where it came from, but it's pretty straight forward. I love the flavor, and like most cakes made with buttermilk, the texture turns out moist and delicious as well. The only downside to these cupcakes is they always seem a little flat. I've varied the baking time and mixing strategies, and no matter what I try they just don't puff. It's a flaw I'm willing to overlook. I have fun adding dimension with topping. Enter the cloud style frosting, in cream cheese flavor, and the roses. Yum!