Saturday, December 19, 2009

Neighbor Gifts

It is always nice to have a little something for neighbors, teachers, hostess gifts, etc. Well, this is what I came up with this year. While gussied up mason jars are hardly an original concept, I still think they are fun and festive and I know that I would certainly be happy to get one. So easy to put together with a little bit of scrapbook paper and ribbon. And what to put inside? So many options. I'll let you know what I filled mine with in another post. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Ribbon Shirts

I'm getting sloppy with my pictures, but I just love these shirts so much I'm posting them anyway. I mean, they gave me an excuse to go buy ribbon! How could they not be fabulous?

The idea came from here, a blog that I recently came across that has some really great ideas. You can get the instructions there, although it wouldn't be hard to figure it out just by looking at the picture.

I'm interested in seeing how well these shirts hold up in the wash. I'm sure the stitching will hold just fine, but will the ends of the ribbon unravel (even though I used fray check)? Will the ribbon color bleed into the shirt? Do I worry too much?

Here's a picture of Abby wearing her shirt at a Dec 1st holiday kick off playdate:

Updated to add this slightly better picture of Abby in the shirt. And to let you know that I washed it without incident. No fraying, no bleeding, no problems at all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

For Giving Thanks

I made a few little candle favors to hand out on Thanksgiving. You know, to show my thanks for some of the wonderful people I have in my life. At least the ones I'll be having Thanksgiving dinner with.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Give Thanks

I did the Thanksgiving fireplace decorations last week. I'm mostly happy with the way it turned out. It feels a little too birthday bannerish to me (Happy Birthday, Joe! Congrats, Sue!), but not so much that wouldn't leave it up.

You can see my previous post for the details on this little fireplace project.

Here's a close up:

Thursday, October 29, 2009


We've been trying to figure out what to hang over our fireplace since we moved in this summer. We wanted something big enough to fill the space, but we didn't really know what. We definitely knew that we didn't want to spend a lot of money. Then one day we were sitting on the couch staring at the blank wall and this idea came to us. We hung three pieces of wire parallel to the mantle and then put mini binder clips along it. Now we can change the decorations with the seasons/holidays or whenever we get bored with what's up there.

This is my first attempt at decorating it. The BOO ghosts came The Long Thread. I've been meaning to add more bats, but never got around to it. I took pictures anyway because I really like the concept and with Halloween so close I don't think I'm going to finish it. I'm already trying to think of something for Thanksgiving. Any ideas, Internets?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

Yum! I needed some pumpkin to make some pumpkin granola a couple of days ago. Fresh and Easy only had a big sized can and it turns out that the pumpkin granola only had a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin. I had a lot of pumpkin leftover. So I went to my bookmarks and found these Pumpkin Cookies with Frosting. I had bookmarked them a few weeks back after seeing some frosted pumpkin cookies at the grocery store (that reminded me of those sinfully fabulous Lofthouse cookies) and going home to immediately find a recipe. And these taste just about as good as I had hoped. They are sort of like little, soft, frosted cakes. I don't think I baked all of mine long enough, though, so be careful about underestimating bake time.
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Amy Butler Apron

I made my first apron and I am just pleased as punch with it. The pattern is from the Amy Butler book In Stitches. It went together pretty quickly, even for me and I am a very slow seamstress. I might have to make a few more of these.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

If my friend Amber...

If my friend Amber ever asks you to babysit I highly recommend that you do so. Because she might surprise you with adorable goodies like this! She made us an adorable Halloween cookie mix that was almost too cute to bake.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Third Twin

Do you remember the letter applique shirts that we made for Morgan and Taylor's birthday? Well Abby does and she keeps reminding me that she is Morgan and Taylor's twin too. So I finally made her a shirt of her own.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Lone Survivor

I did a little entertaining this week and needed something sweet. I'm tired of making the usual cookies and brownies lately, so I was pretty excited when I came across this recipe. It was pretty easy to make and was well received. I think it tasted like a Whatchamacallit candy bar (remember those?). The one problem I found was figuring out at what temperature it was meant to be served. When I served it cold the marshmallows were too hard, but when I let it come to room temperature the top layer got too soft. I think next time I might try using something like marshmallow fluff for the marshmallow layer. If anyone tries it and has good results let me know.

The recipe can be found here at Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

She Likes It Now!

My dear friend, Erin, sent Abby this dress a while back and, well, you can see what Abby thought of it. This is the reaction I got whenever I tried to put it (or any) dress on her. Well, fastforward a year or so and Abby has discovered a brand new love of dresses (because if they are good enough for Cinderella, they are good enough for her). Every dress, that is, but this one. She would still refuse to wear it. But it is just so cute that I couldn't let it go down without a fight. So I decided to take the sleeves off so it was more appropriate for summer and guess what? Yep, she loves it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dress Up Storage

A couple of months ago I found some unfinished wooden flower pegs on clearance at Michaels for 50 cents each. 50 cents! I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I knew I would come up with something.

When my little tomboy two year old turned into a three year old she suddenly discovered a love of dress up and pretend play. Her collection of dress up gear has steadily grown until it no longer fits into the dress up box.

Now put those two little anecdotes together and you'll see where I'm going with this...

Abby picked out the paint colors from our stash of left over paints (yes, including the glitter paint on top) and then she got to work.

And we are both very pleased with the results:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Do you "C" it?

I have a small, but slowly growing, collection of "C"s (you know, the letter that begins our last name). I finally hung a couple of them up on the wall of our new house and they look a bit sad and lonely up there. Well, I was looking for an art project for Abby the other day and decided that this was a perfect time to add to the collection. I bought her a C at the craft store, came home and picked out a few paints from the paint bin and she went to work. I'm quite pleased with it!

And Lisa over at Ellebows and More has another display worthy toddler art project. Really cute! Check it out here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Easy Art Display

Now that Abby goes to preschool we have a lot more artwork hanging around. I love it all, but it was overwhelming the front of the fridge. So I borrowed an idea from my sister in law and bought some hemp twine and mini clothespins and made Abby a place to display her creations. It is Abby height so that she can put things up and take them down all by herself. $5 and 5 minutes was all it took and I just love it!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Letter Applique

Abby's favorite set of twins had a birthday so we made them some shirts. Abby told me today that she is the third twin so I should probably make her one too...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I love making baby gifts

My cousin, Brian, and his wife, Rachelle, are having a baby girl. This is what I made for the shower. The shoe pattern comes from here and the butterfly applique pattern came from here. The super cute scraps used to make it all came from my fabulous friend, Kristin, who really needs to start blogging again!

The real hit of the gift, though, were the crinkle tag toys. Thanks for the idea, Ashley!

Friday, August 7, 2009

I made another one

I found a piece of pink minky fabric that I had forgotten I had. And I went to JoAnn's and got some flannel. So I made another crinkle toy. I am so in love with this one. Seriously. It is so cute. Details on this post.

This is one side:

And this is the other side:

Sorry about the crappy lighting. I'm still looking for a good place to take pictures in the new house.

Crinkle Tag Toys

I've been doing some sewing lately, but it has been for gifts that will be given at parties this weekend so I don't want to show it here because the recipients might read this blog. I don't know if they do, but I don't want to spoil the surprise, you know? But here's a little part of the baby shower gift I made on a whim this morning. Super easy to make and so cute. And a big hit with the newbie set, I hear. The tutorial is at Joy's Hope, but I found it via the fabulous Lil Blue Boo.

Friday, July 31, 2009


I'm always looking for new recipes. And anything that puts coffee into a baked good catches my eye. So when I saw this recipe for a peanut butter cookie that had coffee granules in it (look, you can see them!), I just had to give it a try. And, well, I'm just not sure how I feel about them yet. The peanut butter cookie part is really tasty. It is one of those peanut butter cookies that almost crumbles and melts in your mouth when you bite into it. Reminds me of the old Joy of Baking recipe my mom used when I was a kid. But I'm just not really sure that the coffee adds much for me. My husband really liked them and was able to identify the coffee flavor. He also asked if there was chocolate in them, which I'm sure came from some of the richness in the coffee. But bottom line, I would definitely make them again if I were looking for something unique to take somewhere because they were easy and tasty, but probably not just for us at home.

Recipe can be found here on One Perfect Bite. I found it via Cookie Madness.

And I apologize for the horrible picture. It is the only one that was in focus.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Baking in my new home

I've done so little blogging lately because I've been busy moving. We bought out first house and we're very excited! It was a short sale, though, and has needed, well, let's say it has needed a lot of love. So the crafting and sewing and baking have taken a back seat lately. But hopefully we'll be doing some crafty home improvement projects in the coming months that will be blogworthy.

I have slowly been getting back to making stuff, like a cute baby shower gift I'll write about later. And I did my first baking in the new house - an old standby recipe, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies made with brown sugar and honey. It felt good to bake. You know, like it's home.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fairy Fun

My friend, Amber, and I got crafty recently for the birthday of one of our favorite toddlers. Amber found the idea in Family Fun magazine and enlisted my help in making it. We are sooo proud of the results! Super easy, super fun, and super cute. Details can be found at Amber's blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spa Day

My niece, Cass, came over today to hang out while her dad was working. While we were at Target she found a Spa Science kit and decided to use her spending money on it. Now we had an afternoon activity! We had a good time following the directions and recipes. We made some bath salts, a strawberry scrub, bath bombs, and a rose oat infusion. I, of course, had to find some sort of cute packaging for them. Luckily, my craft supplies are not packed away yet (did I mention that I'm moving this weekend?) and we found some cute jars to repurpose and some leftover fabric from some pants I hemmed (look familiar, Jane?) and we made some cute labels and there you have it. Cass has some cute bath accessories to take home with her. Hope you had fun, Cass! I know I did.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My New Favorite Brownie Recipe

Every new brownie recipe I try becomes my favorite for a while, only to be replaced a short time later by another one. This one, I think, really has some staying power. I even baked them way too long and they were still fabulous (I was trying out a new brownie bundt pan and my timing guess was waaaay off). I used Scharffen Berger cocoa (on sale at Fresh and Easy, making it the same price as the Hershey's!) and I really think that good cocoa makes the better brownie.

But I think that the REAL reason I fell in love with these brownies is the fact that they use oil instead of butter for the fat. I've decided that I just don't like brownies made with butter. I find that they have an aftertaste that I just don't care for. Maybe I'd feel differently if I bought better quality butter?

So anyway, this one may be my new favorite for a loooong while. Go make them. The recipe can be found here. Long live King Arthur Flour.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Homemade Pudding Pops

When I was a kid I loved pudding pops. I have great memories of going over to Beba's house (that's my grandmother) and swimming and eating pudding pops. Well, I was looking through a Kraft Foods magazine and found directions for some homemade ones. Brilliant! The easiest thing ever and so so good.

Here's the basic idea. You make the pudding as directed on the package. Then you spoon it into popsicle molds. Then you put it in the freezer. Should I go over that again? I don't want to lose you with the complicated directions.

We added crushed mocha cookies from Fresh and Easy to ours. I'm thinking that my vanilla husband might like to try vanilla pudding with Nilla wafers sometime soon. I'm thinking some frozen fruit might be good for you healthier types.

They don't look too attractive, but they sure taste good.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vote for Abby!

The ADORABLE clippie shop ElleBows and More is having a contest on their blog. I submitted a picture of Abby wearing one of her ADORABLE ElleBows and now I need you to go vote for her picture. The kid with the most votes wins a prize package of new bows! Abby was in the lead for a short while, but she needs your help now, internet! And if helping Abby win is not enough incentive for you, then leave a comment on her blog post because the VOTERS are also entered to win a prize package.

And you really need to check out the ElleBows and More Etsy shop if you are in the market for baby, toddler and little kid hair accessories because there is a lot of cuteness to be found.

But first go vote for Abby!

Thanks, internets.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yummy In My Tummy

I've made these peanut butter cookies several times and it is high time I shared them. They are so easy to put together and so so tasty. I made them really small this time, about 1 inch, and they were really easy to package up for a hostess gift last night. I'm linking directly to the recipe because I didn't really make any changes. OK, except that this last time I made them I left out the oats and used Trader Joe's salted creamy peanut butter. I didn't miss them at all, but if you like cookies with more texture then be sure to leave in the oats and peanuts. Mine also tended to brown quickly on the bottom, even though I used parchment paper. And watch your baking time. I tried 10 minutes first and they were a little too done. Then I tried 8 minutes and they weren't quite done enough. So then I tried 9 minutes and, yup you guessed it - just right!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Flip Flop Cake

Abby's little BFF Mia recently had a birthday party with a flip flop theme. I helped her mama, Amber, make the cake. I've done one of these before (picture here), but I am just sooo in love with the way this one turned out. I traced one of my own flip flops for the template so these flip flops are actual size. Well, the actual size of my feet, which are freakishly small.

You can read more about the party and the cake on Amber's blog here. That's where I got the picture. I am horrible about remembering to take pictures of my projects lately!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Yoga Bear

Having cancer probably really sucks. I hope to never really know for sure. But my cousin, Jasan, knows. He's been a cancer survivor for as long as he can remember. Recently he has become quite active in the survivor community. One of the organizations he works with is called Yoga Bear. Yoga Bear partners with yoga studios to offer cancer patients free yoga classes in their community. How cool is that?

I think most people try to live a relatively healthy, balanced life. Getting a cancer diagnosis probably throws that completely out of whack. Something like yoga can do so much for a person's well being, both mentally and physically. But something like yoga is likely to be one of the first things cut from a cancer patient's suddenly very stretched budget. And that is why Yoga Bear is so important. It is such a simple concept. But so very powerful.

A company named Zemanta is hosting a competition where the non-profit that gets the most bloggers to write a post endorsing their cause gets a share of a $6,000 prize. That money would do a lot for Yoga Bear. If you're a blogger and would like to help Yoga Bear by writing a post on your blog go here for the details.

This blog post is part of Zemanta's "Blogging For a Cause" campaign to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes that bloggers care about.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Letter Applique

This is one of the gifts I made for the baby sprinkle I went to recently. To make it I found a font I liked and printed it out REALLY big. I cut it out and used it as a template/stencil for my applique fabric and interfacing. If you are tracing the image onto the back of the fabric instead of the front (which is what I always do), make sure to trace it upside down. You know, like the mirror image. Don't ask me how I figured this out.

The shoes are the same pattern I talked about in this post.

This was really fun to make and I can't wait for more of my friends to have babies so I can do it again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sprinkled With Love

I helped out with a baby sprinkle (sort of a mini version of a baby shower) for a couple of friends of mine this past weekend. I was in charge of doing a favor and this is what I came up with. Little jars of sprinkles. Because it was a baby sprinkle. Get it? I think I'm very clever. :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Did It!

One of my goals for the new year was to learn to applique. It didn't look very hard, but was just a matter of getting the supplies and coming up with an idea and going for it. Well, I finally found the motivation. Abby's little BFF, Mia, had a birthday coming up and I wanted to do something special. So I dove in and learned to applique! I decided that my entire gift was going to have a flip flop and cupcake theme so I decided to make flip flop applique out of a remnant of cupcake fabric that my friend Kristin gave me. Perfect idea, no?

This picture is actually the practice one I did before I bought a shirt for Mia's. It was done on one of Abby's old shirts. Mia's looked just like it, but with pink out line thread instead of brown. I, um, didn't take a picture of any of the things I made for Mia, which is a bummer because I made a few things that I am pretty proud of.

But anyway, this shirt needs a new home. It is a size 2T which is too small for Abby. And it is made on a used (but clean and in good condition) t-shirt so I can't save it for a gift. So, do any of my local readers (meaning my friends) want it? Size 2T flip flop and cupcakes toddler T. An Emily in the Desert original. Be the first to comment and it is yours.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Root Beer Cupcakes, originally uploaded by emerzim.

Just wanted to pop in and wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day. I hope your weekend has been filled with swimming and BBQing and family and fun. This is a picture of some Root Beer cupcakes that we made last year for the 4th of July, but I thought the flags were fitting for Memorial Day and the root beer flavor was a fitting start to summer. They were actually pretty darn good. Much better than I thought they'd be. The root beer flavor was subtle. Just enough to make you notice it and try to figure out what it is. If you are interested in the recipe leave a comment and I'll try to find it.

And please remember to pause at 3 pm local time to observe the National Moment of Remembrance in honor of the REAL reason we have this holiday - to honor our fallen soldiers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Shocking Conclusion

The results are in! I did it! I was able to successfully alter the mama shirt into a toddler skirt. I decided to leave it long because that way it would be more like a princess ballgown, as requested by her highness. I, personally, think it looks more like a badass hippie skirt, but whatever makes her happy. It already had some elastic in the back and the ties were just perfect so I ended up taking it in a bit at the side seam. Very basic, but I've never done anything like this before so I really didn't know what I was doing. And OK, I admit it. I screwed up the seam the first time and had to redo it. But now it looks just lovely and Abby likes to wear it and I am very glad.

Here's a picture of the princess doing a proper curtsy:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mama Shirt to Toddler Skirt

I have this shirt:

My sister in law gave it to me. It has really cute fabric, but just isn't very flattering. I put it on today and realized what a cute toddler skirt it would make:

OK, I confess, I haven't actually done the sewing yet. The back still looks like this:

But if I don't screw it up there is definite potential here, don't you think?

EDITED TO ADD:  This seems to be one of my most popular posts, so I thought I'd add a link to the finished product.  Here it it!