Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Taking the time to squeeze in a post. Donut pincushions - felt, beads, wooden balls, floral wires, crepe paper ruffles, cupcake liners, mini pedestals, teacups, magnets, and a little glitter. Time's up!


Monday, October 18, 2010


Can you say ROLO? It's even smaller than a Reeses cupcake topper! I used it for the caramel drizzled cupcake - bottom photo - bottom right. (Note to Thimbleanna - I'm taking my cue from you!)

This is Frannie's sewing box (ME of course). Not much happening in there at the moment. I did make those two pincushions for her.

Another day, another box of cupcakes. (Sigh)

I'd like more ideas for "foodie" cupcake toppers - won't you please share?


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I was sorting through some needlework bins today and came across a few old projects that are finished, but not quite finished. Here's what I found:

A Mary Engelbreit counted cross stitch design. Love the colors. I think I made this back in 1992. It needs to be made into a pillow or picture or something.

This is a small counted cross stitch hatbox - maybe 3" square. This needs to be made into something too - I was thinking a pin cushion.

How about this redwork girl in a bonnet that I did in pink - the stitching is all done. Maybe she would make a nice pillow.

Here's an embroidered square that has been stitched and quilted - but that's as far as it got. Look at those tiny quilting stitches! All by hand - no machine here!

And last, but not least, one of my first quilts. That's me holding up the quilt. :) I must have made this one in the early 1980's. The quilting fabric selection was not very good at that time. All of these dresden plates were stitched and appliqued by hand. I even stitched all the squares together by hand. Take a close at the back.

Not bad, if I do say so myself. I love hand sewing - it's so much more relaxing.

This is the design I had planned to quilt on the blank squares. I know why I never finished this quilt - Y-U-K!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Top row from left to right: Yellow Cake/Chocolate Buttercream - Chocolate Cake/Peanut Butter Fluff Filling*/Peanut Butter Buttercream* - Cookies & Cream Cake*/Cookies & Cream Buttercream*. Middle row: Squiggles - Chocolate Cake/Buttercream. *My own creations.

Yep, that's what I've got, after making dozens of these. And I'll bet you thought you had it rough.

This Reeses Miniature Peanut Butter Cupcake is sitting on the base of a cordial glass - that's how tiny it is. I stole, I mean borrowed, this idea from Confessions Of A Cookbook Queen. You can steal, I mean borrow it too.


Saturday, September 18, 2010


I was asked to make cupcakes for a birthday luau and here's what I came up with: Deep dark chocolate cake with a pink and white buttercream Hawaiian flower nestled in a grass skirt cupcake holder.

The cupcake holders are super easy to make. I used a roll of green crepe paper streamer with matching thread and gathered 1/4" from one edge with a basting stitch and a tight tension using the sewing machine. (One roll will make about 15 cupcake holders.) Next, I hot glued the now ruffled streamer two times around the edge of a paper party/nut cup (I like the fullness). Then I cut vertical snips (all the way up to the glue line and all the way around) each layer of crepe paper. Finally, I tied a piece of raffia around what would be the waistline of the skirt. Here's a little tip, I cut a 1" diameter opening in the bottom of each party/nut cup so that you can gently push out your cupcake without getting your fingers in the frosting (unless, of course, you like doing that).

Here's what a bakery box full of these cupcakes looks like and here's a great video tutorial if you want to learn how to make these flowers yourself - really easy too - if I can do it, so can you!


Thursday, September 2, 2010


Well, it's that time of year again. Yesterday, Frannie began 4th Grade. Do you remember these photos from last year?

Well, I have some sad news to report. After four years, we are saying Goodbye to Hello Kitty. Sniff. Sniff.

This year it is Vera Bradley.

Frannie has chosen the "Very Berry" pattern for her messenger style tote and "Loves Me" as her lunch bag. Yes, it is very nice and stylish, but I miss Hello Kitty already.

That isn't the only change. We have gone from this very cute girlish braid...

...To this very sophisticated French braid:

I guess my little girl isn't so little anymore. (At least she still wears the hair buttons I made for her.)


Sunday, August 29, 2010


My son, David, has just completed his first original video arcade game restoration. It's "Donkey Kong" - remember that? It first appeared about 30 years ago. Of course, there aren't any "before" photos, because who has time to do that when you can't wait to dive right in and get your hands dirty. Trust me - he did a SUPERB job! He took everything apart - I mean every nut, bolt, screw, washer, e-clip, etc. Each and every screw and carriage bolt were soaked in lemon juice to remove rust, all the metal fittings like the door you see here were cleaned and spray painted. Every bit of dirt, dust and years of cigarette grime were scraped and sanded away.

Even the monitor and computer board were rebuilt. David also made a new base for the cabinet and the whole unit was sanded, scratches and dents were filled with a spackling compound and then the whole thing was painted the original blue - or as close as he could get to it. David took an original piece of paint from the cabinet and had it computer matched. This paint color is now officially called "Donkey Kong Blue".

The parts that had to be replaced new were the T-molding, side art, control panel and coin-op overlays (there was just no saving those cigarette burned artwork pieces). I had forgotten how much fun these games were to play. So, if anyone out there knows where Dave can get his hands on a Mario Brothers cabinet - you be sure to let us know!


Monday, August 9, 2010


Do you by any chance remember this? It's my "I can't believe I actually made a placemat purse." (I've also posted about here). Well, it was quite a while ago, but I had entered this in a contest or something at Martha Stewart. And, although I haven't actually heard anything about the entry, I just found out that this purse has been selected as one of thirteen favorite bags and purses (that's out of 700 entries). You can see it here. What a nice surprise.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I was going to title this blog post "Counting Flowers On The Wall", but after writing, I've changed my mind.

You may recall, a while back, I showed you a couple of my
window box ideas. Well, this year it was time for a new one and also for some new words of wisdom. My husband built this one for me and I painted it. I always make a pattern up on the computer of what I want to do. My preference - Illustrator. I print it out and tape it together. I paint on my base coat, and then on the back of my pattern I use the old pencil transfer technique. Just in case you're not familiar with that, it means I scribble with a pencil over the printed lines that are visible through the paper, then I tape my pattern onto my painted surface, and using a pencil or pen, I trace over my pattern, and voila! - the design magically appears. I chose a nice bright green (Folkart Spring Green). My house is a pretty neutral color - blueish gray or grayish blue - whatever you want to call it - with black shutters. So I like to "kick it up a notch" with splashes of bold, bright colors. For example, my front door is a very sunny yellow, and I like to add bits of red here and there. My terra cotta pots have all been painted, each in a different color, but I tie them altogether by painting each one with a black rim and white polka dots. I often wonder what the neighbors think, but as I drive around and look at other houses, I notice that most people "play it safe" - plain white doors, etc. Why not go out on a limb? Be a little daring. Go ahead - express yourself.


Monday, July 12, 2010


beep beep'm beep beep yeah
(Hello Kitty - Don't Leave Home Without Her)


Thursday, July 8, 2010


Hello Kitty - Never Leave Home Without Her
She turns up in the most amazing places!

It may be 105 degrees in the shade and humid as all get out, but that doesn't mean we can't still look cute!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I painted these stepping stones years ago, and considering all the shoes that have stepped on them, they're still in pretty good shape. You can probably tell that these are Mary Engelbreit designs, although not actual patterns. When I find a drawing I like, I simply enlarge it and use it for whatever purpose I have in mind. I'm pretty sure the paints I used for this were Folkart Outdoor Opaque by Plaid. The cement pavers were first covered with a primer suitable for concrete and then I traced on my design using graphite paper. Next, I simply painted in the outlines using the coloring book technique. There is no need for a sealer when using this type of paint. I added a little number three to the house because that is the number of our address although the rest of the design bears no other similarity.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010


When I arrived home yesterday, this beautiful bouquet was there to greet me. Such a lovely and thoughtful surprise!


Saturday, June 19, 2010


Frannie's class had a poetry tea party. Here she is reciting two of her own poems.

(Frannie loves a microphone)

We made cookies to share at the tea party.
Here's the before.

Here's the after.

My very favorite filled Viennese Shortbread. I have been making these cookies since I was Frannie's age. Of course there were sprinkles!

Viennese Shortbread (adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book)
1 Cup Butter

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla (I use 1 Tsp.)
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Mocha Filling (Below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Blend flour and baking powder; stir into butter mixture. You can use a cookie press if you feel like tormenting yourself. I prefer a pastry bag with a large star tip (Wilton #909). Press out cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet - about 1 inch apart. (If dough does not come through smoothly, add 1 to 2 tsp. cream). Bake about 7 minutes or until very lightly browned around the edges. Cool. Put two cookies together with filling of your choice. Makes about 2 dozen double cookies.

Mocha Filling

Mix 2/3 cup powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. butter, and 1 tsp. instant coffee dissolved in 1 tsp. boiling water until fluffy. If too dry, add a few drops of water.

You can use any kind of filling you like. In the photo above I used chocolate ganache, which I had left over from a previous cupcake. You could also use Nutella or your favorite preserves, like strawberry or apricot. Maybe you'd just like to leave out the coffee part. Go ahead - the filling will still be delicious. If you don't have any instant coffee, you could also use left over morning coffee or espresso - just don't add any extra water.

These taste particularly good the next day.


P.S. - Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Spring Concert May 2010

(I have no idea who that man is)
Hello Kitty - Never Leave Home Without Her
(She's there, you just can't see her on the necklace)

I made bouquets for two special violinists

Zing went the strings of my heart.

On a lighter note... :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Here's another one, but this does not have a contrasting pocket inside. I used a variegated cotton and crocheted a wider, more lacey edge. Of course, I hand-stitched a precisely measured blanket hem all the way around first - that's just the way I am. Fabric by Tanya Whelan.


Oh yeah, there are more, I just haven't photographed them yet.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


A while back I participated in the "On The Edge... Pillowcase Crochet Along". If you're interested, the tutorial is still available here. Now, I didn't follow the directions exactly, because that's just the way I am, but I think they turned out pretty darn cute! Thanks for the inspiration Cassie.


P.S. - I didn't stop with just these two, oh no, not me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Not me - this purse!
This purse is on its way to merry old England, London to be exact, for a bride who is soon to be married. It was knitted with thousands of teeny-tiny off-white pearl seed beads. The interior has a silk lining and vintage gold braid trim. Hope she loves it!