Friday, July 30, 2010

Cutest things ever...little pies in little jars

I was blog reading tonight and came across a post from a couple years ago from Not Martha that was little bitty pies in little jars.  They are so cute.  I think I'm going to undertake these this weekend if I can find jars. 

I'm thinking I'm going with peach or apple. Here's the direct link for those lazy people like me....oh and here is a link for her other version with little bitty cobblers. I'm debating...pies or cobbler? 

I want to make something for my hubby's class who all took the test yesterday together.  They have one more test next Friday, and most of them are fresh out of college young single guys who probably live on fast food and never get a decent home baked anything, lol.  Plus my kids will be in love with these things.  I think I will surprise them with the idea on Sunday when they get home from their dad's.

But first...tomorrow, the kids and I will be making some lemon raspberry muffins.  I picked up a recipe book at the library yesterday, and these sound just mouthwatering. Pictures to follow tomorrow.

Uh oh, I hear a hungry baby to watch Star Trek Enterprise.  It's the whole time travel Xindi thing.  I am a trekkie, but Enterprise never did it for me when it was on a few years ago.  However, now that I'm DVRing it on SyFy, I'm really getting into it.  We need a new Star Trek series again.  I miss TNG and Voyager (so kill me, I was never into DS9). 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry

I loved, loved, loved The Time Traveler's Wife, so I was greatly anticipating this second novel by Audrey Niffenegger last year.  When it came out, I scooped it up immediately and was excited to settle in for another good read. 

It's a ghost story set in Highgate Cemetery.  It's an intriguing story, and the story builds for three quarters of the book and could have been a really wonderful story if it had a couple more hundred pages or so.  It begins with two estranged twin sisters.  One dies, Elspeth, and bequeaths her London apartment to her sister's twin daughters with one request, her sister can never set foot in the place. While the younger twins are inseparable, you learn that all is not as it seems and one is suffocating the other in her dominance.

It seemed as though the characters were being well developed and a story was unfolding, but I kept waiting and seeing I was getting closer and closer to the end of the story and wondering what the big climax was and what type of resolution could be completed in just a few short pages, and then it builds into absurdity that just leaves you thinking "huh?"  In the end, it made me wonder if the author just got sick of the story and wanted to quickly wrap it up. It felt like this wonderfully slow build that just drops you off a cliff at the end.  You feel invested in the characters and want more story, but it just ends in a ridiculous way.  She could have done so much more with the story, it was very disappointing. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Embellished Onesie Tutorial

I'm a scatterbrain, so I just realized I didn't have the applique tutorial up here. It's now in the free list on the left and in the old post on embellished onesies you can click the pictures and it takes you to the link. I'm such a dork. And for those of you lazy like me, here is a direct link. to the library we go.

He Passed!!!!

Oh my dear god, I've been a nervous wreck all day.  My brilliantly smart genius of a husband just called and he passed his series 7 test!!   He's officially a registered stockbroker!!  And his company gives him a raise.  Woohoo!!!!

Math Geek + Twirly Skirt = The Analytical Twirly Skirt

Here's a treat! A twirly skirt made without a pattern, and you can make in any size with just two measurements.

Well, now my secret will be out.  After viewing this pattern, you will take a peep into how my brain works.  I am very analytical and think in math; I don't know why, and it can drive you crazy (just ask my husband). 

If you are not so good at math, then after seeing this twirly skirt pattern, you will most likely want to throw daggers at me, and I'm sorry, lol.  The reason this pattern is written in math equations is so you can literally make it in any size you want, and it comes out extra twirly.  It's so gathered that my daughter and customers have loved it, especially for twirling purposes.

Enjoy!'s good for a homeschool project for girls, so they can figure out their own measurements for a skirt.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sewing Patterns and Other Stuff

I have fixed the links for the sewing patterns to the left over there <---.  They are now available for purchase, and they are immediately downloadable patterns.  You gotta scroll a little to get to them over there, so this is a direct link to patterns

I'm also in the middle of designing a new bag pattern as well as some clothing patterns.  I usually end up designing a pattern out of necessity for myself.  Isn't there some quote about necessity breeds invention or something like that? (It's late, I have just-had-a-baby brain and cannot remember's starting to give me a complex)  Hopefully the bag one will be ready for testing by school starting, so think about if you want to be a pattern tester. I'll be making a request.

And Wednesday (which is technically tomorrow since it's nearly 3 AM), my wonderfully sweet and kissable husband is taking THE BIGGEST TEST OF HIS LIFE, also known as the series 7.  It's the stockbroker exam so he can be doing the actual trades at work.  I know he's going to pass with flying colors as he has done awesome and at the top of his group at work.  But at 8 AM CST on Wednesday I'm making a request for positive thoughts for my sweetheart, so he is not stressed out and doesn't worry. 

I have to gush about my husband.  I cannot believe the stuff he is studying for this test and how well he is doing.  He made some not so smart choices as a teenager and ended up dropping out of high school and getting a GED.  It's something he has regretted ever since.  In his group at work, he is the only one without a college degree and a lot have their degree in finance, and he still managed to get the highest grade on a practice test of the series 7.  The financial stuff he is studying right now just blows my mind, and he knows it all so well.  I'm just so proud of him.  I'm planning on doing something special once his tests are over.  He has the state exam, the series 63, a week from Friday and once that's one over, he'll be done with all this studying and testing.  He has worked so hard, so I want to give him something special.  He reads my blog every once in awhile, so I can't divulge my secrets just yet.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Wet Nurse's Tale

My husband actually found this book for me at the library as he knows of my obsession with absorbing any and all breastfeeding-related information.  It was a wonderful story.

It's set in the Victorian era, and it's about a poor maid named Susan Rose who finds herself pregnant from the son of the family she serves.   She continues working as a maid and since she's a "big girl" tells no one of her pregnancy,  including her family, and then abruptly leaves while in labor.  

The story goes back and forth from present day to when she was a child, so you learn her mother was a wet nurse and would take babies into their home when Susan was a child.  After having her baby, Susan decides to become a wet nurse, since nowadays they live in with a family, so she can get far away from her drunken father.

Through the families she serves as a wet nurse, Susan gives you a fly-on-the-wall view of being around the upperclass of Victorian society.  Things take a turn when she discovers her father sells her baby.  She sets out on a mission to find her son, and she works her way into being hired as a wet nurse for her own son.  It's a whirlwind story where you can't stop reading.  The new adoptive mother of her baby is nuts and things happen that are frightening and dangerous for her child.  She realizes she must concoct a plan to take herself and her baby away and start a new life. 

If you love historical type fiction, this is definitely one not to be missed.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jalie 2787

I've had this pattern in my stash forever and decided to try it instead of paying $40/shirt at motherwear.  I had this asian style lycra print that I thought would look good, as the shirt design gave me an asian feel anyway. I made the flutter sleeve version. 

While it's a great "theory" in nursing shirts, I just didn't like it.  The front panel is not high enough for my comfort, and the crossover pieces just need to be tighter.  The lower front just does not bode well for anyone who just had a baby (, lol).  
I would not wear it in public as when I wear it at home, I have this fear that my boobs will be popping underneath the crossover when I least expect it, and so far they have on occasion began peeking out.  

I did a little tweaking to the pattern and have changed the lower front to a more just-had-a-baby friendly tummy, and I think I'm going to tighten and lengthen the crossovers.  I made one version with the new front tummy style, and it was what I wanted, but the fabric was a rib knit and the crossover just stretched itself all out and did not regain its shape after washing, so I'm going to try this one last time with another lycra-type knit with my tweakings and see how I like it. 

My first attempt is above, and you can see it better if you click on it and see the big version.  And you might  see the lovely spaghetti sauce stains on it from when I made baked ziti the other night (god that pissed me off, lol). I will take a new picture of my tweaked version as soon as it's finished.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting

I had this weird craving for a cupcake to taste like a peppermint patty, so the other day I picked up some peppermint extract while at the store.  

Sunday night, I made some chocolate fudge cupcakes, and then made some yummy peppermint buttercream frosting.  It came out wonderful, tasted just like a york peppermint patty.  They were so yummy, my family devoured them.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
6 tbs of milk
3/4 tsp of peppermint extract. 

Cream butter until fluffy, then add 1 cup at a time of powdered sugar while continuing to mix.  Add milk and peppermint extract until fluffy and well mixed. 

Makes about 3 cups. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quiznos Coupon

Like Quiznos?  We sure do! I found a cheap meal for the entire family.  We ate for $12 for the four of us who eat more than mommy milk, lol.  

Waldorf Knotty Doll Tutorial

These are quick and easy dolls to make.  You can whip one out in approximately 30 minutes. They are great for baby shower gifts.  My little one loves to suck on her clothes and blankets, so I decided to make one for her out of some leftover minkee.  She chose purple.

Click here for the pattern

** To get the entire pattern on a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, I had to overlap pieces, so make sure you trace it and do not just cut it out after you print it. 




1/3 yd of knit material - fleece, hemp fleece, sherpa, velour, minkee, etc - any soft thick knit

handful of stuffing - I prefer wool stuffing

needle and matching thread

Step 1:  Cut out pattern pieces.  Cut 2 of the body, 1 hat, and 1 head.

Step 2:  Right sides together, sew the hat, head tube, and body together.  Make sure to leave a small opening (about 1.5 inches wide) for the head to fit in the middle of the body. Turn all pieces right side out.
Step 3:  For the arms and legs there are two options.
  • Option 1:  Knot each hand and foot (as shown).
  • Option 2:  Put a little fluff of stuffing in each hand  and foot and sew a running stitch around each hand and foot and pull the threads tight and tie off.  
    Step 4:   Approximately 1 inch from top of head tube, wrap a piece of yarn or thread around it several times, pull tight, and tie off.  Make a ball of stuffing and insert it into the open end of the head tube.  As close to the stuffing as you can get, tie off the bottom end of the head tube just like the top.

    Step 5:  Attach the hat to the head.  Fold under the raw edges of the hat, pull on head (it should be snug), and sew around the edge, hiding the thread ends under the hat when you tie it off.  Next, knot the end of the cap.

    Step 6:Insert the head into the body.  Fold raw edges of the body inward, and sew the bottom of the head to the body.  I realize I didn't get a good picture of this...To describe it better, sew the head to the body like it would look if it's shoulders were shrugged, lol, if that makes sense.  Hide thread ends in the body. 

    Now you're done!

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    All Freebie Tutorials are Fully Operational

    The tutorials in the Freebies section are all working.  I am working on restoring sewing patterns now.  I'm sorry it took so long for me to finally fix it. So the nursing apron is now available too. 

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Freebie Tutorials are Partially Restored!!!

    The tutorials on the left <--- under Freebies are almost completely up.  The top 4 are still broken links, however, from the Felted Pin Cushion on down, those tutorials work, the rest I'm still working on.  I know the infant car seat cover is popular and it's now working...yay!!

    I have a fussy little pumpkin who wants her mommy milk so I will update the rest after I get her to sleep and hopefully get the sewing pattern page working as well tonight.

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    The Girl Who Chased The Moon

    I first discovered Sarah Addison Allen with her first novel, Garden Spells.  My favorite authors had nothing new, and I needed to discover some new writers.  My favorite little widget at Amazon is putting in a favorite book and seeing what else people looked at or bought.  It's how I find authors I love, and this is how I found Sarah Addison Allen.  After reading her first two novels, I waited with anticipation at the library for this one to arrive.   

    My favorite of hers is Garden Spells, which I'll do a review later.  It makes you want to cook with secret herbs from your garden.  She has this magical quality about her books.  All of them have something supernatural involved, and The Girl Who Chased the Moon is no exception.  In this story, there is a glowing light that runs through the town at night.  Her books are all set in Southern small towns, I think in the Carolinas, as she is from there.  This one involves a teenage girl whose mother left this small town right out of high school.  Her mother dies suddenly and her only relative is her grandfather is who is literally about 8 feet tall.  So off she goes to live with a man she's never met. She soon discovers that her mother as a teenager was not the woman she knew as her mother.  Her mother had quite the reputation, which she must live down, and there is something weird about the rich family who "runs" the town. 

    This is what I would classify as "chick lit".  It's a little bit romance, little bit mystery, a girl finding herself after something terrible has happened.  It's a definite page turner as you try to figure out what the mystery of the glowing lights is.  It's a great book to read in a weekend, though, as my husband says, I inhale books at record speeds, so my gauge might not be accurate.  I require reading like eating and breathing,  and I get antsy if I'm not deep into a book.

    Also, here is my plug for your local library. GO find it!!  Years ago, I was a main staple at the libraries, but after college and living in a small town with one craptastic library, I just quit going and just bought my books, usually used.  N and I are addicted to bookstores, and usually we go to the local Half Price Book store or Recycled books, but after continually spending $50 a pop last year, we decided to finally find our local library.  Living in a metropolitan area with a good library is wonderful.  You would not believe the money I saved.  We could rent movies and tv shows for free, and I usually have about 4 books going at once, and the kids would play the computer games at the library.  I had forgotten how much I missed it, and how wonderful the library is.

    We just moved to a new town, and my first utility bill finally arrived so we can go get library cards here now.  I plan on a field trip to the library with the kidlets next week.  I'm missing me some books, lol.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Good News

    The tune up of my computer with all the tutorials is finished. My dad says he's bringing it to me either tomorrow or Saturday, so without the older kids here this weekend, I think I will have time to upload all the tutorials by Sunday. I will keep the blog posted as soon as they are all available again.

    Axis of Awesome, Uncle Julios, and...Fire and Ice...oh my!

    I found this great video about how closely pop songs are related. What prompted me to find it was I was on my way to the post office this afternoon when I heard Lady Gaga's new song Alejandro on the radio and I began singing Ace of Base's Don't Turn Around to it, lol. I started to wonder if maybe I was nuts, so when I got home I did a search about it and sure enough, other people thought the same thing. So to make a stupid story short, in looking at other videos about how, in fact, Alejandro does sound just like Don't Turn Around, I found this hilarious video about how songs all sound the same.

    Tonight, hubby and I went to Uncle Julio's for dinner. The older kidlets were off to their dad's to visit their Meme, and we wanted mexican. Hubby hadn't been there in years, and I can't remember if I have ever been there, lol. I don't think I have. But the food and service were wonderful. The baby slept through it, it was fairly quiet as we got there close to closing time. The carne asada and the enchiladas were wonderful. After we get the check, the manager comes over with a plate full of sopapillas and says "this was your first time?" and I say yes and he says these are for us since it was my first time and puts it down in front of us for dessert, wonderfully yummy and what a treat!

    You never read the reviews you need about sensitive topics in normal places (though I am not entirely normal), so I thought I'd offer my review for those new Fire and Ice Trojan condoms for mommies. After Miss Molly was born we decided for birth control purposes I didn't want any hormonal stuff like the pill or patch or ring or anything, so we've decided to just go with condoms, which is a bit weird after being pregnant forever and not needing to worry about it, lol...but I think I would go insane if I ended up pregnant this soon after having the baby. I want baby #4, and I think hubby does too, but we want to wait til Molly is well into toddlerhood before we go again.

    Well...we've been trying different kinds and in one pack we got a free sample of the new Trojan Fire and Ice condoms. Conditions were perfect sleeping peacefully, older kids gone, so we had a little fun before Uncle Julio's, and used the Fire and Ice babies. Um...WOW WOW WOW!! Hubby didn't see much difference for himself, but holy guacamole!! I think I haven't enjoyed myself that much since before I was hugely pregnant. If your curious, it feels like a little bit of Icy Hot and boy does it feel good. Hubby certainly had an ego boost, and I'm glad we no longer live in an apartment ;)

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    New Website

    So I decided to move in another direction with my website. I've had for years and it didn't really go well with my pattern designs, so I chose a new domain name today for my site. So now I will be The computer with all my website, tutorial stuff, etc, is currently being tuned up by dad. I should get it back in a day or two, and my kids are going to their dad's house today. So I'm crossing my fingers that by this weekend, the tutorials will be back.

    Apricot Cream Cheese Crescents

    While I was working and pregnant, there was a time I rarely cooked at home. Now I am so proud of myself, lol, I cook every night during the week and most of the weekend.

    I love apricots and I was trying to think up something that would be like my rustic tart, but less messy and more bite size, so I whipped these up. My family devoured them and wanted more, lol.

    Apricot Cream Cheese Crescents

    1 can of crescent rolls
    1 can of apricots in lite syrup
    4 oz of cream cheese - softened
    3 tbs of sugar

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix 2 tbs of sugar with cream cheese. Drain apricot syrup into bowl and mix with 1 tbs of sugar. Roll out crescents. Spread a spoonful of cream cheese mixture to each crescent roll. Place one apricot in center of each roll, then roll up. Pinch edges closed around cream cheese. Brush the syrup on the top of each roll. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Let cool several minutes.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    So...the plan

    Working in a lab has made me a rather organized in a neat-freaky kinda way, so I've come up with a plan, per se, for my blog. So I know what day I post about what. I'm definitely doing a tutorial day, recipe day, and book review day. I have a couple of picture days planned too. I'm thinking 5 to 6 days of content, then 1 day or 2 days off. I miss my blog, lol, so I'm leaning toward just 1 day off.

    Duma Key

    Holy Hell, what a book! I finished it about 2 days ago and I'm still creeped out. It's very good. I love long novels. My hubby got me into Stephen King last year. We were sitting outside an ice cream shoppe, under the awning while there was a summer rain all around us, eating our ice cream, and he read me one of King's short stories, Quitter's Inc. The pinkie finger!! I was hooked after that and have read many of his short stories since then; this was my first novel by him.

    The tale of Duma Key is weaved around a middle-aged man named Edgar Freemantle who has a horrible accident involving a crane and loses his right arm and nearly his life. He's retelling the tale of how he got back to himself again. He becomes a very angry man after his accident, so for a fresh start, he moves from Minnesota to Florida to start his "other" life. He begins sketching and soon finds a whole new life as an artist, but his pictures have a supernatural quality to them you soon discover. The mystery unfolds through his pictures until the climax at the end that terrifies you. As you turn each page the anticipation of where the story will go just makes you wonder when something terrifying is going to jump out and scare the hell out of you. I would have all the lights on at 2 AM while nursing the baby and eventually I'd have to put it down and put some mindless tv on like Jersey Shore to get my pulse down again. If you like intrigue and mystery with some scare thrown in, this is a wonderful long read.

    Thursday, July 08, 2010

    She's Alive!!

    Yes I am alive. I'm sure y'all thought I forgot about this here lil blog, but I haven't. Getting my website fixed has been a bit of an issue. Hopefully in the very near future, I will have the tutorials all working again...very soon.

    Big News...I'm officially a stay-at-home mommy again!! The last two months have turned us upside down. I had a baby, we moved, and my hubby started a new dream job. We've moved to a wonderful new house in a wonderful neighborhood with lots of kids and a neighborhood pool from a tiny shoebox apartment (starting life over is HARD!) . My hubby is studying for his stockbroker exam and getting paid to do it. He's performing with flying colors and at the end of the month, he will be an official stockbroker. So we made the decision that I can stay home, so I quit my job last week. It was hard...I worked for a breastmilk bank...I actually pasteurized the milk and was in charge of the lab. I have never loved a job more, and hopefully I can go back there to work in about 3 years when Miss Molly enters preschool. I hope to become a donor mom myself (feel free to email me about how to do that if you want to as well) when the baby is no longer exclusively nursing.

    And the reason I'm a SAHMommy again? This adorable thing...named Molly Elizabeth...aka Punkin or Ladybug or Mollyball...born in April, she's 11 weeks old and the strongest baby I've ever had. She can nearly sit up alone, it's freaky....Her big sister and brother think she is THE most adorable thing ever and are the best little babysitters when I need them. She has the funkiest hair too and came out with a lot. When they gave her a bath in the nursery, she came back with a faux hawk and her hair naturally turns into faux hawk style, lol. She has adorable little ringlets of reddish blonde hair.

    Anyway...because I am now a SAHMommy again, I will be restarting my blog again with NEW tutorials and book reviews and more. Just give me a couple weeks to settle the website issues so that all those tutorials will return and I will be posting regularly starting next week. WOOHOO!! I will also be starting eBay auctions for my fabric hoard and an etsy store for my obsessive sewing to help me stay home with my kidlets. changes...if you would like to contact me until I update all the stuff around here...try stephanickety at

    See ya!