Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Day After Christmas!

Whew! Another holiday on the record books! Another holiday season spent bustling around trying to get everything accomplished that I wanted, (I never do, I always keep adding to the list) all the shopping done, gifts made, etc... This year was particularily stresssful, and I don't really know why. It could be the additional baby boy's birthday is just before Christmas, the day after his sister's. It could be all the sewing I have done for presents this year, (pictures to come later) okay, probably not that, I DO enjoy my sewing. Maybe it's the remodel, and the fact that the house is never really clean, always a bit dusty, laundry always in need of washing.

Maybe I'm just getting older and need to put limits on myself. Nah! Can't be that. ;0) What I do know is that I did have an epiphany the other night. There was quite a lot of snow falling throughout the day, into the evening. I was trying to finish those last errands before the holiday. It was very slippery driving around, and my children were being good sports of it all. (Santa's watching after all) We have four-wheel drive, and it was still treacherous out, yet nothing was going to prevent me from getting these things done. As we went from store to store, the roads got worse and worse. We literally slid into our parking spot at the grocery store. We completed our shopping, and one of my daughters split the bag on the way to the truck. I was NOT happy. Here it is just before Christmas, the kids have been troopers through it all, and I get upset over a split bag. As the tears fill her eyes, they also fill mine. On the way home it is dark, and the snow in the streetlights is falling ever so gently. In front of my headlights however, the snowflakes are falling madly, crazily to the pavement to get crushed by me. I realized that I was one of those snowflakes, rushing, falling, blowing, crashing to the ground. At what point was I going to stop and be appreciative of what this season has to offer?

Maybe next year I will be a snowflake that falls ever so gently into the season. It's something for me to work on this coming year. Be deliberate in my actions, appreciate the moments as they happen, breathe. My family spoiled me again this year with thoughful presents, and I am truly blessed.

I hope everyone had a magical holiday, a very Merry Christmas. Today is my official wear pajamas all day, watch movies and gorge on leftover candy. (I do love my candy.) I'll also be reflecting on the joys of this last year, while enjoying peppermint bark. :0)


Monday, December 13, 2010

A first birthday cake for Phoenix!

I would love to say that this cake took a short amount of time, and that I took pictures of every step along the way, but alas, I did not. I did however, take a few pictures, and enjoy the whole process with my friend and former bakery partner, Belle. I had no distinct vision, all I knew was that Phoenix needed a robot cake. (I'm SURE he'll remember it always.) (Mostly because it is on video.  :) Here are a few pictures...

This is the body of the robot, prior to painting it with an edible silver. I thought the paint drips looked like mercury.

Wrapping the supports with red fondant so the head looks like it's on springs...

Belle working on the back of the robot, when done this appeared like you saw the inner working gears of the robot...

I worked on the head of the robot, I wanted him animated, as if to say "Hey Phoenix, happy 1st birthday!!"

Additional cupcakes, (Extra large, of course! Who doesn't love cake?) Dreamsicle Orange, and Dark Chocolate, mmmmm. Just because I'm picky like this, the chocolate ones were on another table as they looked completely different and therefore needed to be somewhere else. Perhaps maybe I was trying to keep them for myself, perhaps not. ;0)


Ta Daaaaaa!! Cake Bot, here to wish Phoenix a Happy Birthday, and spread coconut cream cake joy!!

Mmmmmm, cake! This is definately where Phoenix takes after his mom. (People, that would be the love of the cake, not how it was eaten.) He dove into it, and discovered how sweet life is!

I do miss the baking, the friendships, and the faces of people who love what we made for them. But when I look at this picture, I know that I wouldn't get that time back with my family. This time is priceless!!
Also priceless is the knowledge of stain removal. I'll be calling my mother to inquire about removing ground in chocolate from an assortment of clothing and furniture items. ;0)


Friday, December 10, 2010

Charity

I braved the crowds at the mall today, with my father, as we do every year. We spend the day shopping (for my mother usually) and enjoying lunch, watching the people, and really, what better place to do that than the mall. We typically each spend quite a lot of money, as most do, every year. This year was a bit different, however. You see, our family adopted a new tradition. We have decided that Christmas needed to get back to what it's really all about. For us that means that we still shop for the children of the family, (because let's face it, shopping for kids is fun!!) and the adults would enjoy eachother's company, have a great dinner, and maybe watch "A Christmas Story". (or "Christmas Vacation", that's a good one too) We still drew names, and will present our person with a gift, but it will be a charitable one. For the person who drew my name, I requested that they take a name off of the "Tree of Sharing", and please that it be an elderly person who wishes for groceries or gloves and hats. For others the gift may be different, so they might purchase a gift for someone where the proceeds go to another charity. Some year I will purchase a gift where the proceeds go to the World Wildlife Fund. So you see, we still get the joy of giving, and receiving, and others less fortunate than ourselves have a brighter holiday.

My father and I each had ornaments with filled wishes to return to the tree. On Christmas day I will share with my family what we have done in our family member's names.  I implore others to the same. Giving up a present is so easy when it means someone more deserving than I can open something special (or much needed) on Christmas day.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Feeling a bit buried, not just in snow!

Wow, I can't believe it's been this long since I have blogged! I apologize, and hope to keep up a bit better in the future. We have been in the midst of a *tiny* remodel in our home the last couple of months. A bedroom that was on the main level of our home is now incorporated into the living room, courtesy of a major wall removal. Slightly messy, and I don't believe my hubby likes trying to blend drywall with lathe and plaster, but he got it done. The results are amazing! Our living and dining area is spacious, and the increase in natural light has me deliriously happy. Provided that deliriously is even a word. In addition to having more living area in general, I also now have a designated SEWING AREA!! My fabrics are arranged by weight and color, and for hoarders such as myself, it brought much joy. Everything neatly fit into my lovely mission style armoire, and my table looks more like a desk, but opens up into a big square, perfect for cutting. It is also counter height, which I love, since I have an odd habit of standing while I sew. Happiness.

With the joy of having my own area, comes the pain (in the neck, for hubby anyway) of creating a new bedroom for the daughter who was so unceremoniously kicked out of her previous one. She loves her new room, so now we have three bedrooms, and one bath. We have three children. One teenager, one preteen, and an infant almost toddler. (he'll actually be one in two more days!) If you're doing the math, I'll answer your next series of questions. Yes, we are shy one bedroom, and frankly sharing a bathroom with either of the girls is a challenge, so yes, we are shy a bathroom as well. Yes, one of the children shares a room with someone else. I'm not complaining at all here, but if you haven't guessed, my husband and I haven't had a full night's sleep in a year. The baby has got to go. In his own bedroom, that is! So, we about to embark on another not so tiny remodel. This time we are hiring some top-notch professionals to get the job done in a semi speedy manner.

Which brings me full circle as to why I haven't been blogging lately. (I am really getting the hang of writing I'd say) We have been shuffling furniture and *stuff* around the house. I now have more items in storage than I do in my home. Heck, by the time I see them again they will all be brand-new! I do miss my pictures and scrapbooks, and other items that I'm sure I miss even though I have long forgotten about them.

I will be posting pictures soon of our efforts, and I'll be sewing a lot for Christmas, soooooo.... a better blogger I shall be!!

Enjoy the day,
Stefanie


Friday, November 12, 2010

Pictures of my "Coming soon to an Etsy near you!"

Down appliqued pillows...
Cozy quilted baby blankies...

Funky pincuchions...

Teddy bear softies...

More sweet softies...

Antique window art...


Autumn paisley throw pillows...
And for those who are wondering why there are two seriously funky art doll sites I follow, meet my hobby on the side: Art dolls that I will feature on SringtimeInParis.etsy.com...

"Gypsy"...
"Amelie"...
And, I haven't named her yet, she's a bit "hatterish", wouldn't you say?
So I'm to work and then some serious business stuff. :0)
Enjoy the day,
Stefanie


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Busy day!

I have a lot on my "to do" list today. Not to be confused with the"honey do" list I frequently threaten my husband with. I haven't actually ever had to give him one. In fact, when he sets out to accomplish something, it usually gets done. I like to procrastinate just a little, under the guise of "doing all my research, covering all bases, blah blah blah". When I do jump in, however, it's all the way. Today I need to talk to my daughter's school, (clearly not the highlight) get my passport paperwork, (ticket to Paris, check!) and take pictures of all my items for Etsy. It looks as if the sun will shine today, so I have zero excuses not to. Especially given that the weather has been so unpredictable lately, I need to take advantage of the shining sun while I can! So I'm off to start the day's errands, hopefully to post some promising pictures of my items later.

Enjoy the day,
Stefanie


Monday, November 8, 2010

"Sophisticated Junky"

My friend and I were at our craft show on Saturday, enjoying our lunch, having a great conversation about my new skirt. (Which I made from the "Sew Serendipity" book, and what can I say, I. Love. This. Book. :) By the way, should I enjoy too many more of those lunches, I won't actually fit into it. We sent her husband to a local fast food restaraunt, with our order. A single bacon burger turned into a double, and a small deep-fried mushroom turned into, well, they were exploding the bag they came in. Soo yummy, but the problem is, I ate it. All. We just had water to drink though because we're trying to be healthy. ;0) Anyway... back to having great coversation. We were quite possibly very sleep-deprived and over-caffeinated, a state I have been functioning poorly in for about the last eleven months. She was complementing me on my look. She said my style was "Sophisticated Junky", but almost before "junky" came out, she was in recovery mode, "I meant funky! I really meant funky!!" At this point I am laughing, honest to goodness belly laughing at us. So that's my new look, I proud to say. (I guess I need to share a picture of myself now, for those who are dying to see what my new look is. :0) 

We enjoyed a lot of laughs that day, and shared so many great ideas. Like the one about our mutual love of corn dogs. People don't like to admit it, but really, what's not to love about a hot dog wrapped in crispy cornbread, conveniently placed on a stick for your eating pleasure! We have decided it would be fun to host a fancy dinner and serve them up with a nice Pinot. Feel free to steal that idea.

Enjoy,
Stefanie


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cozy Peanut Butter Cookies

Mmmmm, cookies. :0)

As promised, I am back to share a recipe. After my morning brew, which is a Kahlua blend, (Yum! No real Kahlua however, disappointing as that is) I needed to clean the house after woefully neglecting it for a week. I really needed to clean P's high chair from potaoes, pizza and egg. (For those whom I've just disgusted, let me tell you that all of those items are from one amazing pizza at our local favorite pizza place.) After all of that, I sit here at our table, watching the autumn leaves fall, and deciding which recipe to share. It's a hard decision really, there are so many! At the end of the day, it's Peanut Butter.

A staple of most kitchens, you may use either crunchy or creamy peanut butter, but I prefer creamy myself. I will tell you that at the bakery the ones who picked peanut butter the most were men, hands down! I do not know why that is, but it is a favorite at my husband's place of work as well. (all men, by the way) Oddly, peanut butter is not so much a favorite of mine, however having said that, I can eat these by the dozen!

This may yield a lot of cookies, please keep in mind that this is less than a quarter of a bakery batch! I like to roll the dough up in parchment, and place it in the freezer, slicing off only what I want to bake for a day. I recommend this for you as well, as your dough will keep in your freezer for weeks, a deep freezer even longer!

2 Cups butter
3 Cups peanut butter
2 Cups brown sugar
2 Cups white granulated sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons soda
5 Cups flour

Cream butter and sugar together, adding peanut butter. Slowly add eggs, one at a time. Add your dry ingredients next, being careful not to overmix. Overmixing cookie dough leads to flattened cookies, so as fun as mixing is, don't overdo it! Now would be the time to add extra goodies if you like, chocolate chips or toffee pieces are favorites.

As stated above, I roll my dough into long tubes of parchment paper, and pop into the freezer.
If baking right away, roll a heaping (and by heaping, I mean NOT bitesize here) ball of dough, place on your cookie sheet, and flatten with a fork. (Feel free to make fun patterns, I do) I get approximately 6 to a cookie sheet if that tells you how large I make my cookies. I then top my cookies before baking with more brown sugar. Sugar is to Stefanie what butter is to Paula Deen. While baking the brown sugar turns into crispy goodness. :0) You will bake these at 350 degrees. Here is where it gets tricky. All ovens are different, and if you are lucky enough to have a convection oven, you better check them at about 7 or 8 minutes. For the rest of us, please check at about 12 minutes. When they are slightly puffy, and the tops are just starting to crack, they are done. Cookies will continue baking after you pull them out, so slightly underbaking is key unless you like dunkers.

There you have it, my first shared recipe. For those who know me, that was a very big deal. I may need a nap. :0)
Enjoy,
Stefanie


What's in a name?

A question I get asked a lot, "why Isn't It Sweet"? When I was choosing names for the bakery, I needed my name attached, (hence the "Stefanie" that was attached before it) so that customers could find me, and a tag line that expressed what I had for sale. I had all baked goods and sweets, so I thought of many ways I could convey that. But when it came right down to it, I settled on "Isn't It Sweet" for another reason entirely, and in fact painted it on the wall in the bakery. On the walls it looked more like my musings, "Isn't Cake Sweet, Isn't Chocolate Sweet, and Isn't Life Sweet". It's that last line that truly conveyed how I felt about everything. I was taking a gigantic leap of faith, but in the end, prosperous bakery or not, I have a pretty "sweet life"! I still feel that way, and even though I still mourn the bakery that was, I am moving on to other great adventures. So later today, (again, after my coffee, and yes I do realize I'm an addict) I will post a recipe. So here's to a sweet existence!
Love, Me


Good times at a craft show

Carrie and I had a great time at our craft show, even though we didn't exactly light the world on fire with sales. There were three shows in the area, and more to see in town.  I reached my modest sales goal, and other goals in general, (including starting this blog :) so I am happy. Any stock I have left over will be placed in my Etsy shop, with the exception of one. This one I keep. It is an old window from our 1925 craftsman home, featuring an appliqued bird on a dogwood branch. This window in particular was next to our fireplace, and if I am seated at the dining room table I can just make out our beautiful dogwood tree. most days a safe haven for a plethra of sparrows. The windows were replaced a couple years ago, but after spending weeks restoring all of the trim in the home, I just couldn't part with the original windows. So this window has a story. Now how do I part with the others, when I am such a sentimental fool? :0)


Saturday, November 6, 2010

You have to start somewhere!

I have been talking about starting a blog now for, oh say the last year. I have to admit, it is somewhat daunting to put yourself out there for the world to read. In addition, I am a techno-phobe. I will be adding pictures soon, and figuring out how to attach files for you to download, just as soon as I enjoy my morning cup of coffee. (maybe two) I read a quote once that I refer to daily. "What have you done today, to further your goals?" So today I start a blog.

I have been getting ready for a local craft market, sewing bears, elephants, blankets, and pillows. I am so looking forward to sharing the day with my friend Carrie, who owns the extra fabulous shop The Top Stitch. (Yes, this is blatant advertising for her ;0) Together we will have the most colorful, wonderful booth. I am learning quite a bit about what you can and cannot do with a cruising infant in the house. I will definately share more on that later, but for now I am off to the show to take pictures, and have a great day with similar minded creative junkies such as myself!

Love, Me.


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