Saturday, March 24, 2012

Moving Ahead

No great picture today, just a great update!

My graphic designer, who is the best, really the best, has been diligently working on my patterns. She is great about nicely putting the pressure on me by finding our printer. We are moving forward with premium packaging that we feel will really (boy I use that word a lot) showcase my patterns and products. I of course created more work for myself by adding more patterns to the existing ones. By that I mean you will definitely be getting more bang for your buck.

So excited. And over-caffeinated.

In addition, I am in talks with a local company to help me produce the sweetest little bakery box of goodies! I would share more, but some things just need to be a surprise. I love surprises.

That is all for now, I'm off to the drawing board. Literally the drawing board, LOL!

Enjoy your day!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Workshop with Anna Maria!

I was pretty excited about this last weekend. No doubt about it, she is my favorite designer. (sorry Joel and Amy) I have been stashing, okay, hoarding, fabrics from her last three lines to make a special quilt. That opportunity came this weekend! (To be honest, a queen size quilt is a huge time commitment for me. So if it wasn't for this workshop, yep you guessed it, I would have continued to hoard, and upon my death my frustrated children would be screaming "WHY ALL THIS FABRIC???") But I digress. I helped with the planning, and executing the food, snacks, and decor of my friend's shop, but was most excited to take the Prism Quilt workshop. This is a picture of the pillow sham that Anna Maria created. She wanted people to be able to leave with a completed (mostly) project. You could, however, jump right on in to the quilt. You could be like me, also, and completely overwhelm yourself with a queen size version of that sweet number.
*Gorgeous* (The sham, not this next picture. She's gorgeous in the next picture, but I look a little goofy.)

Seriously. She works so hard AND has six kids? She is ridiculously good-looking. And charming. I don't know how she does it. But I can tell you after hearing her lecture, she is honest, down to Earth, and everything you imagine her to be.

I was speechless. Really. I have never ever been star struck. I have always prided myself on my professionalism, my ability to speak to others, and be a good listener. But no. I couldn't even put together a coherent sentence. Nice. I was lucky enough to go to my favorite restaurant with the gals from the shop, a couple husbands, (my wonderful Hubby included) and yes, Anna. I think I relaxed a bit, (and that wine was delicious) and left feeling so inspired. I wish my daughter could have met her, really the world needs more strong women like her to inspire our younger generation.

I can't wait to work on my quilt some more. But this week is full of details and a couple meetings. A lot of wonderful things are on my horizon!

Enjoy your day!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Girls' Day!

I had a fun group of ladies over on Sunday for a Girls' Day, to enjoy goodies, drink Champagne, and just generally have a good time. My good friend Chrissy Dunham was present to show the latest line of CAbi. If you don't know what fabulous clothing this is, look up www.chrissydunham.cabionline.com. It was a great time, and I just thought I'd share some pictures of the dessert table. After all, sugar is one of my specialties, and lord knows my addiction. One of my best friends was here the night before to help me with all this tasty goodness. We served huckleberry Belinis, huckleberry Limonatas, and Champagne as well. Read on after the pictures for an easy Fresh Lime and Raspberry cupcake recipe!
Cake batter Rice Krispy Treats...

White chocolate dipped jumbo marshmallows...

Dark chocolate dipped jumbo marshmallows...

Banana hazelnut dark chocolate cake balls...

Dreamsicle orange cake pops...

Peanut butter cup brownies...

Fresh lime and raspberry mini cupcakes with buttercream...

Fresh lime and raspberry mini bundts with white chocolate... The cookies in the background are lavender lemon shortbreads...

And last but not least, my sweet daughter Hailey made cake batter cookies. I am still polishing off treats. Really it's ridiculous.

Now that I've got you craving sweets, I bid you adieu, enjoy your day!


Fresh Lime and Rasberry Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting!

I really need to break out my Photoshop program. My pictures need more light! Anyway, you aren't reading this for the pictures, you want the tasty goodness within this post!
One of my most popular flavors of cake at the bakery was the Fresh Lime. It's so light and fresh on your palette, and the smooth creaminess of the buttercream is the perfect balance to the tartness of the cake. Sometimes I do scratch, and sometimes I just fancy up a box mix. Today we're going to fancy up a box mix, and when I get that book published, you'll have the other. *wink*

You'll need:
One box of white cake mix, I used Duncan Hines.
One fresh lime
One frozen limeade, or Margarita mixer
Lemon extract, Vanilla extract
About a dozen fresh raspberries
The other ingredients for the cake mix, usually eggs and oil.

Prepare the cake mix as you would ordinarily except NO water. Substitute the frozen concentrate instead. Add approx. two tsp. of fresh lime zest, and a squeeze of that lime. Also add a tsp. of lemon extract, and two tsp. of vanilla. At the final mixing stage, add the fresh berries. Do not over mix or they will turn to mush and you won't get the pop of red you want to see in the cake.

Place your cupcake liners in the pan, or spay well with non-stick spray. (For cuteness, I did the mini size.) Fill your cupcakes about 2/3 up. I find that having several sizes of scoops works wonders for consistent sizes. If you think you'll enjoy baking, it may be worth picking up several sizes, I have three. One for minis, one for regular sized, and one for large. Did you know that you can make jumbo cupcakes in your average pan? Just buy the liners that are fluted narrow on the bottom, and voila! You should be able to find these scoops, and fun liners, at a specialty kitchen shop, online, or a restaurant supply store.

Place your cupcakes in a pre-heated 350* oven. For the minis, I baked them approx. 12 minutes. They need to spring back lightly when touched, but not be golden brown. They should still be fairly pale in color. My larger cupcakes, (in a mini bundt, actually, but sized the same as a cupcake) took about 20 minutes. Please if you have convection, these times are too long, adjust accordingly.

Pull from oven and let cool.

For the Buttercream:
One pound of softened butter
16 oz. bag of powdered sugar
Dash of milk (any % is fine)
Liberal amount of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. of lemon extract

Place softened butter in a mixer on medium speed, until creamy. Add powdered sugar, dash of milk, (and by dash, I mean less than a 1/4 cup) vanilla, and lemon. (I add at least 2 Tbsp., sometimes more!) Mix on low at first unless you want to be covered in sugar. Slowly increase the speed until frosting is creamy with no lumps.

Fill a pastry bag with round tip, or a Ziplock bag with the tip cut off. Place a dollop of buttercream on each cupcake. Sprinkle with edible glitter, fun sprinkles, fresh raspberries and mint leaves... Just have fun with it. Baking is fun, not stressful. :0)

I added fondant pieces, little cut out butterflies, swirlies, polka dots, etc... If you liked Play Doh as a kid, you'll love fondant, and it tastes so much better! You can buy pre-made at a craft store usually, or if online, look up marshmallow fondant. Easy to do, use, and yum, tasty! I will do a fondant tutorial someday soon! Here's some additional pictures for you to ponder that resulted in the finished product above!
My mini scoop, this time being used for peanut butter cup brownies!

Love the tiny pops of red berry!

 Colored fondant, powdered sugar, mini cutters and a rolling pin are basically all you need for the fun pieces on top...
The pieces are drying here...

All my little pieces drying, butterflies, balls, pinwheels, squigglies, (that is THE proper term I'm sure) dots, and ruffly carnations.


How cute it all looks together on the dessert table!

Enjoy your day!!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

What a Great Sunshiney Day!

So happy to have some sunshine today! Yesterday and the day before were very snowy, so much in fact that I had a completely different opening post, as I started it then. It went something like this...

We woke to a winter wonderland today, silent and still. The traffic quiet, the ground covered, and the sounds of the world muffled by the new blanket of snow.

Sounds so beautiful. It was, for oh, say the five minutes it took to come up with that and have a few swallows of coffee. Then I had to wake my late for school middle child, "un" bury the truck to drive the oldest to school, and console the youngest when he realized we were not in fact going to grandma's, but coming back home. *sigh*

Having said all that, however, I had a great day yesterday! I met with my graphic designer about the pattern covers and contents, and wow. We were so on the same page, she threw out great ideas, and really seemed to understand my aspirations for my patterns, my demographic, and all that feel good type of stuff. I have a list of things to do as long as my arm, but I am so excited I seriously cannot sleep at night. Hoping for an April website launch date, which may be a bit ambitious, but we'll see! I worked on my new embroidery pattern, and I love it. Hopefully you do too, here's a little sneak peek...
I'm working it up in fabulous jewel tones today, and got to meet with part of my sewing group today. The hostess with the mostess made a wonderful chicken noodle soup and hot french bread, yum! We chatted and sewed, and I made a little discovery not too far from her house. Ben Franklin. Yes, the store loaded to the gills with... stuff. I can't really explain the quantity of products in this store, but it doesn't matter. This one has fabric. Not like my favorite, The Top Stitch, but it actually has Riley Blake, Moda, Studio e, and more! I was a little surprised to find those little gems in this big store of, well, stuff. So I bought one fabulous piece. (I do try to support local when I can, so I restricted myself. :0) Speaking of fabulous little stores, I found a sweet little stitchery store. If you are into cross stitch, or embroidery, visit Haberdashery. Or if online, they have their own sweet cross stitch designs to check out! So, check them out! www.haberdasherydesigns.com But while you are online checking them out, please visit my favorite local shop and see why I love it so much. www.thetopstitch.com

 I'm done shamelessly plugging a couple of my favorites now, so here's a little looksy at the colors of my upcoming poppy embroidery design. I discovered bamboo floss, and a wonderful selection of linen. Can't wait to start this!

By the way, that hot pink isn't a part of the motif, but I really couldn't pass it up, soo pretty!

On a MUCH different note, I have a big soiree coming up on Sunday with my girlfriends. Look for a tutorial and lots of pictures of yummy mini treats! Taking photos as we speak, actually... (Good grief Pinterest is killing me with dynamic ideas.)

Enjoy your day!


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