Thursday, October 30, 2014

Adventures in Baking Week 5: Monster Peanut Butter Cookies!

Happy Halloween everybody!!!

Okay it's not Halloween yet. But in thinking about the logistics of postings today and tomorrow, I've realized that it'll be best for me to post my final Adventures in Fall Baking experiment one day early, since tomorrow will be COSTUME DAY!!!

That's right, I've been painstakingly working on costumes for myself and my two kids for the last week and I am exhausted! Those will be up tomorrow, complete with amazing face and body paint. We've never gone all out like this before. It's going to be a disaster great time!

Meanwhile, I totes ganked this idea from a pin I found recently:

Lilluna, I think I love you. :)

Read More to see how this experiment went...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Acorn Squash Lasagna

October is almost over! :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

But that means that Halloween is almost here! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Since I recently discovered (two days ago) that I was going to have the kids for Halloween this year instead of sending them to their dad's, I have been frantically throwing together the costumes I'd been thinking about for weeks, but not actually making. Yesterday was a 12-hour-solid day of crafting, sewing, painting, researching, running to the big box store, wig-styling...ugh. It's amazing what we can do when we go into a project thinking "I literally have no choice but to make this work."

So I don't have anything to show you yet because I'm planning to show off the costumes tomorrow. But! In the meantime! I made a pretty tasty lasagna that I'd love to share with you. :)

Click "Read More" for some truly glorious photos and the recipe...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kids Go Handmade: Tank and Skirt

The other night my family sat down to watch the first episode of Project Runway's newest spinoff, Threads. If you're not familiar with it, a quick Google search will immediately identify and define it for you as the biggest piece of garbage that has ever been inflicted upon the world, and that everyone involved in it (except Christian Siriano, because we LOVE Christian Siriano) should be exposed as the phonies they are and banished from their homes and loved ones forever.

I thought it was pretty cute. I will continue to watch it until its (inevitable) cancellation.

My daughter loved it! It immediately came upon her that she would be a perfect contestant for that show, and I would be a perfect sewing assistant for her. After all, all she needs to do is learn how to sew clothes, and she'll be brilliant!

And I think she's right, but I could be biased.

We started our fashion sewing lessons immediately, and here is what happened.

Monday, October 27, 2014

DIY Sweater Leggings!

Happy Monday!!! Things are finally starting to cool off down here and- I'M JUST KIDDING IT'S STILL HOT.

Hot means I have the AC on a lot in the apartment. I love my AC. But that also means that sometimes it gets cold inside. I don't like being cold. I'm very particular about my temperatures.

My favorite thing is to be nicely bundled up, with a pair of warm pants, a comfy cardigan, and my fleece Bambi throw, a hot cup of coffee warming my hands, with the AC blasting.

Ahh, heaven. :)

I have a pair of yoga pants, as most of us do, for lounging in (not for yoga, psh). I have some paper thin and silky smooth pajama pants. But I don't have any leggings. And that's such a shame! I love a good, warm pair of leggings. I've often drooled over pictures of crazy quilted sweater leggings, wishing I had the cojones to try it myself.

And then, just a few days ago, I realized...that I do!!!

I also have this giant green sweater that's been scoffing at me, saying "Ha! See, I don't inspire you AT ALL! You've been trying to figure out what to do with me for weeks, and to no avail. Hahahahahahaaaaa!"

Well, can you blame me? Look at how shapeless and boring it is! Where would I even start? It's too short to be a sweater dress, and I don't want to make another cardigan right now (okay yes I do, but I promise I won't!).

Until I realized...oversized sleeves...might fit on my legs!

"NOOOOOOO!!!!" the sweater screamed in rage as I removed it from the stash box. "ALL OF MY PLANS FOR WORLD DOMINATION, FOILED!!!"

Click "Read More" to learn how this drama unfolded!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Adventures in Baking Week 4: Viral Pinterest Pumpkin Muffins

You know what?

I am TIRED of baking.

And it's not just the last few weeks that I'm talking about...

Last Sunday I made a dozen pulled pork empanadas, one and a half dozen wheat rolls for lunches, another dozen regular dinner rolls, a banana bread, and a roast beef bottom round for sandwiches.

The Sunday before that, I made two dozen rolls, cookies, and the pulled pork that ended up in those empanadas.

Add into that the periodic refreshing of dinner rolls throughout the week (seriously they are so good I can hardly keep them in stock), plus the baking I committed to for this blog, and I am tired of standing in the kitchen struggling with my stand mixer and praying that the baked good du jour will not fall, deflate, stick to the pan, or otherwise be/look gross.

So this week I'm saying SCREW IT and making something super easy instead.

Surely we've all seen this too-good-to-be-true-looking recipe floating around Pinterest and Facebook:

(photo by

That's right...theoretically you can mix a box of spice cake mix, a can of pumpkin, eggs, and water into a bowl, toss them into the oven, and get a completely serviceable, even delicious, batch of pumpkin spice muffins.

Now when I first saw this on Facebook about a month ago, I called bullshit. It looks way too easy. It looked (to me) like those "chocolate cake in a mug" recipes: seems like a great idea, and they'll do if you have a condition that means you will absolutely die if you don't have chocolate cake in the next five minutes, but overall kinda crappy and disappointing.

But see above: I am TIRED of baking.

So we're going to give it a shot.

Click "Read More" to find out how this little experiment went...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baking Bonus: The Perfect Dinner Rolls

I am sorry. I'm gonna come right out and say it. I make the best damn dinner rolls in the world. 

I sort of stumbled across this recipe because the previous recipe I used to use included an egg, and simply put, one night I was out of eggs. 

So I hunted around for an eggless recipe, but frankly they all seemed...boring. I didn't want just white bread in bun form. I wanted a chewy, fluffy, flakey, beautiful roll that was reminiscent of croissants and the cafeteria rolls of my childhood. 

I got the gist of what other recipes wanted me to do. Some wanted me to use more yeast. Some suggested replacing the egg with oil. Nothing seemed quite right on its own.

But I figured it out. On the first try. And now I'm writing it down, for posterity and the world-wide fame that will inevitably follow the publishing of this recipe. 

I know, I sound very full of myself. 

But guys. Guys. Look at this picture:

#nofilter y'all. 

Go ahead. Click "Read More." I dare you. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Kitchen Sink" Banana Bread

So I'm gonna be honest: I don't really like bananas. I mean, I'll eat them because they're filling and a good source of potassium, but like a lot of people, I only like them when they're still a little firm and a wee bit green: basically underripe. My daughter hates bananas with a fiery passion. So does my boyfriend.

And yet, I always have bananas in the house. Why?


My son LOVES them. He loves them so much. He would eat a whole bunch of bananas every day if I let him. It was the first food he ever learned how to prepare for himself. It's a go-to "MOM I'M HUNGRY" pre-dinner snack. It's a pre-breakfast snack. It goes into lunches and gets cut up over cereal. Nobody loves bananas more than this kid, I swear to god.

And yet, somehow, we occasionally end up with bananas that go bad before they've been eaten. And by "go bad" I of course mean "ripen". Many will argue that when the banana starts to turn black and brown and gets really soft, it's "perfect" for eating. Blergh.

Until recently, I've been throwing them away when they get like that. But then someone reminded me that overripe bananas are PERFECT for banana bread! And while I may not particularly enjoy bananas, I do love me some banana bread...

Click "Read More" to find out what I did with two particularly overripe bananas and why I call this recipe "Kitchen Sink Banana Bread"...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hulking Plastic Bag Caddy

Hello shoppers! :)

Do you have a pile of unsightly plastic grocery sacks currently hiding in your cabinets, at the bottom of your pantry, or under your sink?


That's after I threw about 150 of them away...ugh.

I have been looking at grocery sack dispensers on Pinterest and elsewhere for a long time, but I never quite could figure out how they're supposed to work. It wouldn't exactly be like Kleenex - how could you guarantee that pulling one bag out didn't result in three or four more spilling out as well? It just DIDN'T MAKE SENSE.

But I figured they looked pretty easy to make, and frankly anything is better than having a big pile of sacks spilling out from my pantry every time I open the door. So I decided to give it a shot.

Click "Read More" for the step-by-step tutorial, including lots of Hulk goodness and my continued doubts...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sweatshirt to Romantic Cardigan

There is really nothing like a nice comfy sweatshirt. 

Nope...nothing like that at all...sigh. 

Truth be told, I loved this sweatshirt. It was so warm and comfy and awesome. It was such a shame though because it was so very unflattering. I puttered around the house in it in the evenings when it got cool, but I would never have been comfortable wearing it out. Besides, I bought it with the express intention of turning it into something fabulous. 


I did! Click "Read More" to find out what I did and how I did it. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Adventures in Fall Baking Week 3: Apple Coffee Cake

Because I am good at learning things...

I have decided to forego this week's planned recipe, which was Martha Stewart's Acorn Squash and Honey Pie. I just couldn't bring myself to fail at another recipe, and this one had a high possibility for failure. The weird thing about making Martha Stewart recipes is that I feel like she's there...watching me..."tsk tsk"ing with her arms crossed and her perfectly coifed head shaking back and forth gracefully.

So I tossed it out the window and let my daughter pick the recipe, since she would be helping me again this week.

And she selected...wait for it...

Apple Coffee Cake!

This is the recipe we used from the fabulous Love in the Oven blog. Click "Read More" to see how we did!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Failure Files: The Braided Tee

I guess I've been doing a lot with T-shirts lately, between the quilt and the shopping bags, but today's post is one of those posts where I show you a spectacular failure. Because sometimes in Hell, you screw up. More often than not, actually. And I don't intend to hide my mistakes from you, dear readers. Some craft blogs are overflowing with tons and tons of absolutely perfect pictures of absolutely perfect finished objects. And that's cool! I like those!

But as someone very wise once said, don't compare your behind the scenes with other people's highlight reel. So in the interest of full disclosure, I bring you:

A Failed Thing. 

Click "Read More" to witness the failure in all its glory...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Easy T-Shirt Shopping Bags

In a world...

Where careful budgeting is key...

Where combining errands saves precious gas...

And where grocery stores give you a minuscule discount for bringing your own bags...

An exhausted mom embarks upon an epic task: visit 5 different grocery stores in one day (including a brand new Trader Joe's opening TODAY, because apparently she's a masochist), incorporating a complex buying plan involving manufacturer and store coupons, sales, and specials.

Her budget? Minimal. Her shopping bag arsenal? Zero. Her willpower? As bottomless as her enormous travel mug of coffee.

With only a stack of old, unworn T-shirts and a sewing machine as her companions, Beth learns a valuable lesson about perseverance, resourcefulness, and the American Way.

Click "Read More" to learn if she will achieve victory...or return home crushed by defeat.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bonus Baking: Food Processor Pumpkin Cookies

Well, I got it in my head to bake again. What can I say? It's fall, it was less than 80 degrees today, and yesterday my neighbors brought over some orange rolls for all of us. So I had to return the favor, right?

Of course I did. 

I went with something easy for today: cookies are hard to screw up. So I dug around, looked at some recipes, and as my hard-cooking boyfriend once advised me, "figured out what they wanted me to do" and put together a recipe all on my own. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Roaring 20's Dress Time Lapse Video!!

Remember last week when I made a 1920's-inspired dress for my friend Autumn?

Well, her incredibly talented husband Curtos Noir set up a video camera to film the process, edited it and added the PERFECT music, and posted it up for all to see!

Here it is below! I'm so excited - I feel like a movie star! But not as much as Autumn freaking LOOKS like one. :D

This was too much fun, and I can't wait to see more videos from Curtis!!

I Made A Thing Monday: Completion of the T-Shirt Blanket

Happy Land-Stealing Murderous-Bastard Day!

I mean, Happy Columbus Day.

Did you know that Seattle officially turned Columbus Day into "Indigenous Peoples Day"? I think that's brilliant. Last year around this time, my daughter's social studies class was doing the whole Columbus spiel. You know the one: he told the King and Queen of Spain that he thought the earth was round even though everyone else thought it was flat. He said that if he sailed west, he could reach the East Indies and come up with a better trade route. The King didn't want to do it, but the Queen funded it herself. Lo and behold, Columbus came across a bountiful land full of fertile fields, mountains majesty, and all the natives he could befriend! What a hero!

We told her the truth: that Columbus was indeed trying to find a way to the East Indies, but it had long been common knowledge that the world was a sphere. And he wasn't exactly trying to "discover" anything except a faster and more efficient way to bring trade goods from India to Spain. At the time, all of Europe was engaged in a sort of maritime cold war. Portugal, Spain, and England had all been developing trade routes and trying to outdo each other left and right. Columbus was hoping that he could gain worldwide notoriety by finding the best way to get to India without having to go all the way around Africa.

But he didn't land on what we consider the North American mainland - he landed in the Bahamas (technically more South America than North America). He immediately claimed it for Spain (haha). Then he went to a bunch of other islands, including some from the Caribbean. He insisted upon calling the befuddled inhabitants "Indios" because he refused to believe he hadn't reached the East Indies. As soon as word got back to European powers that he had found some new place, so launched the beginning of one of the longest and deadliest periods of conquest and slavery the world has ever seen.


Okay, history lesson is over. On to the fun stuff!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Adventures in Fall Baking Week 2: Apple Cider Spice Cake

I gotta say, this week's baking adventure went far more smoothly than last week's. I certainly did have my share of hiccups, and I'm definitely not going to be winning any awards at the county fair anytime soon, but as my lovely daughter reminded me last week: it doesn't matter what it looks like. As long as it tastes good!

And friends...let me tell you. Don't be fooled by my awful pictures. This Apple Cider Spice Cake is. So. Good. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thrifty Thursday - Meat and (You Guessed It) Sweaters!

Happy Thursday all!

Work has already annoyed me today, so I'm glad to take a little break and submit this post. 

I haven't made many things lately - mostly I've been planning glorious things and working hard on my son's new and improved t-shirt quilt. So in the interest of posting something today, I'd like to share one amazing purchase from my local grocery store (complete with a lesson learned!), and follow that up with some pretty awesome stuff I picked up on my list visit to the Goodwill.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

10 Ways to Wear a Brooch

I was going through my jewelry stash the other day and realized that holy crap, I have a lot of awesome brooches!

It could be that my parents are antique dealers and my mom sometimes finds me little unique pieces to add to my collection. It could be that a few years back I went on a fabric-flower-making rampage and just stuck pin backs on all of them. It's probably a combination of these reasons. Nonetheless I have a bunch. 

"Why," I wondered to myself, "do I never, ever wear any of these??" I realized it was because I hadn't given it a single bit of creative thought. So I did. And here is the result of that brainstorm. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Made A Thing: 20's Party Dress

Last week I got a text from my friend Autumn: "Can you make me a dress?"

I was thrilled and terrified. Thrilled because I have secretly always wanted a friend to ask me to make something for them. Terrified because I had never done it before. At least not from scratch. 

Click "Read More" to find out how I did it. I even included a tutorial!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Adventures in Fall Baking Week 1: The Pumpkin Effort

Happy Friday all!

It's the first Friday of October, and you know what that means!

Oh, wait. No you don't. 

But I do!

It means it's the first of a series of five Foodie Friday posts featuring all things autumn baking! wasn't such a great first day. Click "Read More" to find out where I went horribly, horribly wrong...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

90's Dress Refashion

Hidey-ho everyone!

It's Thursday as I write this, which is usually Thrifty Thursday here in my own personal hell. 

And a very Thrifty Thursday it has been!

I picked up this god-awful dress at the Goodwill for a mere $3.50. I love, love, love the pattern. Florals are really in this fall and I was immediately attracted to the autumnal colors. Especially exciting to me were the little splashes of white and fuchsia that dotted the large floral pattern. I snatched it up without hesitation, and only when I got home and tried it on did I see just. How. Bad. It. Was. 

Ewwwww. It looked like a nightgown. 

It was even worse from the profile:

I wasn't too happy. I like maxi dresses, but this was not working for me. It was too baggy and overall about twenty years behind, fashion-wise. And not in the good way!

Click "Read More" to find out how I wrangled this beast into submission.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

10 Ways to Make October Special


It's October! It was the first thought when I opened my eyes this morning. I am so excited for fall! The weather is going to get cooler (or so the meteorologist tells me), and I am SO READY for this awesome season! My mind has been buzzing all morning with things I want to do to make it even more special than it already is, so I thought I'd share some of my ideas with you, complete with links to projects that are better than my ideas could ever be! Click "Read More" for the full list.