Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Basement Has Begun!

I have been soooo busy the past few weeks. I made my daughter a dress (tutorial coming soon!), ran a ladies' conference, staged a friend's house for sale, tried to organize my life, made my first piece of actual jewelry, convinced a friend to get a passport, directed hubby where to lug some super heavy rocks laid out super heavy rocks for a garden, planned the rest of the backyard, pulled a few weeds, dug out baby clothes to sell, bought cute storage boxes (pink! quilted!), etc...

Did I mention I am trying to organize my life? Yeah. I am an organizer by birth, but lately have noticed the lack of places to put things. Anything! Any tips would be appreciated. I am thinking built-ins.

Here is what I need:
(1) Something easy to follow for others in my family. I am very anal about things like this so they need to be able to follow easily. Happy wife = happy life!
(2) Something cute and not bum ugly. No beige, tan, or greige.
(3) More sleep for moi. Sighhhh.

On another note, the royal 'WE' are starting on the basement. In its earlier life, it was several bags of concrete. Four walls later and here we are. The floor plan is done. The dreams are in place. And the framing has started. Hallelujah. (Still trying to convince my hubs that black would be a fabulous home office wall colour. Keep your fingers crossed for me!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fabulous Cakes!

I have been super busy the last several days and I wanted to show you some of what I have been up to!

One thing you may know about me is that I love to bake. What you may not know is that I like to make cakes with rolled fondant icing!

I made this one for my daughter's first birthday. It actually matches her room - white, black, and pink! I didn't plan it - just worked out that way! It was a french vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting inside and almond-flavoured fondant. I used pink and black gel food colouring. The black dots on the thin light pink strips was done by sticking a toothpick in the gel and then poking the toothpick into the fondant. I also used an edible shimmer dust mixed with water that I painted on the fondant (those are the darker pink stripes). I absolutely HAD to put a bow on top, partially because bows = little girls, but also because I make hair bows! Couldn't let all the guests down who were expecting a bow cake...

I asked my son what he wanted for his birthday. First he wanted a four-tier blue cake with candy pieces on it. Then he changed his mind and went for penguins. A big shout out to my hubs who made the cute lil penguin critters. I added the 'snowballs' around the outside and powdered sugar for a snowy landscape! He loved his cake! Flavourings were the same as the pink cake above.

Close up of a penguin baby sliding down the 'ice'. Isn't he just the cutest?

And the newest cake to add to my repertoire... One of my longtime friends had her birthday party last week and I volunteered to bake the cake! I told her I was going for a bit of an eighties vibe. It's kind of hard to see the bottom layer, but it was tie dye! I added crazy bits and pieces all over it to represent confetti and streamers and balloons. Lime green stripes was next, with polka dots following on the next layer. The top layer had a giant daisy outline on it. And yes, it is supposed to be lopsided. Ha! Wondering what is coming out of the top? Yes! Feathers!!

She loved it and the cake was almost completely demolished that night! Not many leftovers at all! This time, the cake was vanilla and lime layers with cream cheese frosting. The fondant was flavoured raspberry! Yum yum!!

So whose birthday is next?!? ;)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Don't Fret! :D

I will be back soon! Pinky swear promise! (Those are binding, right?)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quick Stuffed Mushrooms

We got home late tonight and I wasn't sure what we were going to do for dinner. I didn't want to ask my hubby to make dinner since he made it last night. So I looked in the fridge and saw a bunch of large creamy white mushrooms. I have made Hungarian Mushroom Soup a few times in the past little while, so I was veering away from the soup idea. Stuffed mushrooms it is! I used what I had on hand and that is something I love about stuffed mushrooms - you can use whatever you want!


9 large mushrooms with stems removed

1 dinner-size honey garlic sausage (I used leftovers from last night's bbq)

handful of baby spinach, chopped

several leaves fresh sage, finely chopped
1 shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

freshly grated parm, 1-2 handfuls

1-2 tbsp olive oil


1. Heat oil in frying pan on medium heat. Chop mushroom stems (I used 7 of the 9 stems). Add onion and garlic to pan, and saute until soft and translucent. Add chopped mushroom stems and cook until soft.

2. Reduce heat to medium low. Add spinach to pan. When spinach is wilted, add chopped sage and cook 1-2 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. (You can add s+p if you want, but mine was quite tasty without it!)

4. Drop spoonfuls of mixture into mushroom cavities. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. Enjoy!

Link Up!

Happy Tuesday!

I linked up to the DIY Showoff Project Parade! Have you?

Monday, March 1, 2010

DIY: Adult Dress to Toddler Sundress

So I haven't blogged in a week or so and I have a very good reason. Once I made the orange pettiskirt, I got slightly hooked on the sewing machine. I have all these great ideas for little girls and toddlers - I want to make them all! This is my first (well, actually second) project.

I have a halter dress that I never wear. It is a beautiful peach and white seersucker stripe and so perfect for spring and summer! I could just see it as an adorable sundress on my daughter. So out came the scissors and bye-bye went the halter dress. Here's what I did...

I found another sundress that I used as the basic shape. All I did was lay it out on my table and lay the other dress on top to get the width. I was able to use the front panel of the dress doubled over so I only needed to sew one seam. One thing I really liked about this dress was the elastic shirred panel (was that redundant?) in the back, eliminating the need for buttons, zippers, or any other scary things that I haven't learned yet.

This is the back of the sundress (bottom half) after I seamed the middle. Because I used the bottom of the halter dress, I didn't have to do a new seam which saved me precious t-i-m-e!

This is my pattern for the top of the sundress - impressive, isn't it? It was my daughter's colouring page in a former life. Anyway, I cut out my "pattern" and folded it in half to make sure all the edges would line up properly.

This is the fabric after I cut out the pattern and did a french hem (or is it a rolled hem? not sure on my sewing terms...) on one of the arm holes. I just folded the edge of the fabric over, ironed it, and sewed it. And then I did it again! I didn't want the raw edges showing because I can be anal like that it looks prettier and cleaner with the finished edges.

This the front panel with one of the back panels attached. I was going to attach the stretchy part in the middle of the back, so I ended up with 4 panels total: Panel #1 for the entire front, Panel #2 for the left back, Panel #3 for the middle back, and Panel #4 for the right back. Hope that makes sense. I really have absolutely no idea what I am talking about.

Here is what it looked like after I sewed all the panels together. I actually sewed a little flap on the outside of the fabric which used up a little bit of this overhang, and it was great because it hid the seam where I attached the top of the dress to the skirt part.

I had already ruffled and sewn some creamy antique-inspired lace to the inside of the bottom hem and I wanted to repeat that theme at the top of the dress. I played with a few ideas, but ended up with a bib-type of idea with several layers of lace and ruffly things.

I started out by pinning the different laces, etc., to the top of the dress, but it was getting to be too much and too think. Plus, I didn't want the inside of the dress to have several bib seams. I grabbed a piece of the scrap fabric, did a single hem, and just started sewing lace around the perimeter. And more lace, and more frilly things, and more lace. It went like this from outside to middle: wide lace in dark cream, medium lace in ivory, ruffled scraps of dress fabric, small ivory lace (same as on the bottom dress hem), ruffled stretch organza in cream, and in the middle I squashed two rough-edged sheer roses that were already on a tulle base.

To finish it up, I sewed the bib on using 1 seam on the bottom layer, and I added some straps made out of skinny ribbon bows. Presto! Insta-dress! Well, sort of! Here is a close up of the top of the dress. You can see the flap right across the bodice.

Close up of the bottom with ruffled lace peeking out.

And the whole kit and kaboodle:

Yay for me! I am so excited right now, you don't even understand!!

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