Friday, November 9, 2012
But no more! I’ve found the cookie recipe to solve all my problems. And it makes me so happy that I want to share it with you!
I know there are 50 million chocolate chip cookie recipes on the internet. But I really love these cookies. My friend Brittney made some and shared with Hailey and I one day. We ate them at home, and I immediately texted her asking for the recipe. They are nice and crispy, but not crunchy, and they don’t puff up and flatten- they keep their shape. Hallelujah!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c butter
1/2 c shortening
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 bag of milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter, shortening and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs and cream. Sift in baking soda, salt and flour. Mix in chocolate chips. Roll dough into golf ball sized balls and place on cookie sheets usually about 12 fit on a sheet. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Cookies should be browned on top.
Note: I don’t roll them as big, because I’m cheap-o and try to get as many out of the recipe as I can. I’m more about quantity than size. I just use my cookie scoop. If you do that, just bake them 8-10 minutes like normal.
When I last made these, I doubled the recipe and got 5 dozen cookies out of it! I only baked 12 cookies, and then froze the rest.
Now I have 48 cookies waiting in the freezer to be baked. Mmmm… yum!
Monday, November 5, 2012
Am I weird for saying that pillowcases bother me? I just dislike that they are open at one end. When I put the pillows on the bed, I always try to put those ends together, so you don’t see the pillow inside. And I hate when the tags are sticking out. I make sure to put the pillow in the pillowcase tag first.
Why are all pillowcases like that? And why are pillow shams sewn with an envelope closure? I understand that pillow shams are supposed to be decorative and not for sleeping- but why?
After making our new quilt, Kyle suggested I use the left over binding material to make pillowcases. Excellent idea. I think Kyle agrees with me that pillowcases are silly, so we opted to make our pillowcases special. You can do that when you do it yourself. :)
I first measured our pillows. They are 20 x 26 inches. So I cut:
1 piece at 20 x 26.
2 pieces at 20 x 16. (These are for the back. You want the pieces to overlap by a few inches, so divide your length in half and add 3 inches.)
Now take your two smaller pieces (back pieces) and fold over one of the long edges approx. 1/4 inch. Press. And repeat- fold that same edge over another 1/4 inch and press. This way your raw edge is hidden and you will have a nice finished edge. Leave the other edge raw. Do this to both pieces.
Stitch the edges down 1/8 inch from the open edge.
Now, lay out your pillowcase. With right sides together, lay your back pieces overtop of your front piece, with the back pieces overlapping. Make sure your pressed edges are on the inside. Pin in place.
Now sew all the way around the pillowcase. I used my serger to finish the pillowcase off, so the fabric won’t unravel. If you don’t have a serger, you can use a zig zag stitch instead, or use pinking shears and pink the edges before sewing.
Now stuff your pillow inside and see how it fits! If you want a tighter fit, just trim off the edges a little bit and do the last step again. Easy fix.
Ahhh… I love our pillows. Happy day!
Friday, November 2, 2012
When we moved into our house Kyle insisted we upgrade to a new bed. Our old mattress was cheap and the frame moved- a lot. Kyle always got the best sleep when I was gone. Apparently I move around too much.
We have a spare bedroom in the basement, so we put our old bed down there for guests to use. When we did that I also moved our bedding down there with it. We have been using the same quilt for the past 5 years. Love the quilt- but I am so tired of it. Time for a change!
For the first couple of months we slept with just a sheet set on the bed. It was warm enough we didn’t need any more bedding. But, now that it’s gotten colder, much colder, we need a quilt!
The color scheme of everything in our house is brown and aqua blue. Our wedding colors were brown and aqua blue. I am so done with brown and aqua blue. Kyle agrees. That means we were in need of a new color scheme- at least for our bedroom. I wanted to stick fairly neutral, but still wanted some fun color somehow. We chose to go with white, gray, and highlight with cyan blue.
Knowing that I would eventually tire of looking at the quilt, I chose to make it reversible, which was super simple. I didn’t do any quilt piecing, so the front and the back instantly had the same look, just different colors.
White on one side, gray on the other, with cyan blue binding. When I tire of gray, I can flip it over and enjoy white.
To try to keep the cost down (quilts can be expensive to make!), I bought two queen sized flat sheets from WalMart for $11.47 each. Not a bad price for all of that fabric. It may not be the highest quality fabric, but it’ll do for now. I bought my batting from JoAnn’s on sale for 40% or 50% off. It ended up being about $15 for queen sized batting. The cyan fabric I purchased at WalMart for about $3 a yard. Overall I spent approximately $40- $45. To sew and customize a queen sized quilt exactly how I want it, I’d say that’s a decent price.
Just a note- if you do decide to do something similar, make sure queen size is big enough for your bed. We don’t have a box spring. Our mattress sits on an IKEA bedframe with wood slats for support. Because of that, our bed isn’t as thick as others, so a queen sized sheet was enough fabric to adequately cover the bed (and us while we sleep).
I got a little fancy with the quilt, and tried out sewing with one thread color in the needle, and another in the bobbin. I really wanted the white to be white, and the gray to be gray. I think it worked out pretty good!
It is difficult not to have one thread color show up on an opposite side. Playing with the tension on your machine can help reduce it. I messed around a little bit and just set it to what I could accept the most. So, if you look close, there are little spots of white on the gray.
But you do have to get up pretty close to notice it. Surprisingly, it doesn’t bother me one bit.
If you’ve ever quilted, you know it’s important to baste the quilt really well before you quilt it. (Basting is pinning the front, batting and back together. You lay everything as flat and straight as you can, and pull it tight. I used safety pins to pin all 3 layers together. This is to prevent the fabric from shifting while you quilt.) I knew this, but basting, on the floor, while pregnant is difficult and uncomfortable. I think ideally you should baste about every 6 inches. I did more like every 18” or 1.5 feet. And, because of it, the quilt puckered in a few places.
Kyle was nice enough to help me unpick some of the lines where the puckers were the worst. That took forever and was super tedious. I knew there were some left, but I just closed my eyes and pretended I didn’t see them. So, lesson learned- baste really well. There is good reason for it!
I love our new quilt! It just makes me happy. And so do those blue pillows. I’ll show you how I made them in another post.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Yay! Halloween is here!
You know what I love about Halloween? Sugar, candy, goodies, treats… yes, I have a major sweet tooth. But actually, even more than all of that, now that I’m a mom, I totally just love that Hailey gets to dress up and that she’s so excited about it all! I told her yesterday that tomorrow (today) is Halloween. She got so excited. But also so upset when she didn’t get to go trick-or-treating after her nap (not that she took one). She insisted that she would be trick-or-treating after her nap. I know, a whole day- it’s a long wait for a little girl.
I’m not one to go all out for holidays. I just don’t really do much decorating, ever. In high school I used to love it- but these days I’m just not that motivated or interested. But, when I saw this pin on Pinterest to make eyeball cookies, I got really excited.
Instead of using oreos and making cookie eyeballs, I decided to try my hand at cake balls. I’ve eaten many a cake ball before, but never have I actually made any.
They turned out out ok. I haven’t tried one, but I’m positive that they taste delicious. The problem is they lack presentation. As is the case with any baking or cooking I do. Making good looking food and treats is just not my forte. Kyle and I have joked since we were engaged (6 years ago!) that we would someday open a restaurant or café called the Ugly Pie, with the tag line, It may look like crap, but it sure doesn’t taste like it.
Anyone remember the birthday cake I made for myself 3 years ago? Go on, check it out, have yourself a good laugh.
Anyway, I made some eyeball cake balls for Kyle to take into work. I wish I had put a little more effort into it and made fun apothecary jars and labels and make it all spooky and gross, but… like I said, just not my thing. I do love that the cake itself is red velvet cake, so you bite into it and looks like blood. Now if only there were a way to make them gush a little red liquid when you take a bite… ha! That’d be great.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Corinne wanted a hipster bag, which me being totally uncool wasn’t sure what that was. Basically it’s an across the shoulder bag, similar to a messenger bag, but with a different shape and no front flap. I thought, yeah… I can do that. I’ve made a messenger bag once, I can attempt a hipster bag.
Corinne picked out the lining fabric, which I think was a great choice. But of course I like it- it resembles a certain zig zag quilt I made. The gray fabric and white piping I already had on hand.
The bag is similar in style to the messenger I made Hailey. It is sized approx. 9x11 so she can tote a notebook to class with her. It's nice and simple with clean lines. The sides and the strap are all one piece and start wide and narrow at the center. I piped the edges- I just love the look of piping on bags! The bag has a front outside pocket and a zippered inside pocket. I thought about putting a zipper on the top of the bag to close it, but Corinne opted for a magnetic closure, which I also like.
I think it’s a super cute bag and I really like how it turned out. I thought about taking pictures and documenting my madness to share, but I really didn’t have any idea how it would turn out. I just went for it. I had a good idea of how to construct it, but I designed it slightly different enough from Hailey’s bag that I was unsure how to finish it. With the sides and strap being one piece, and piping all along it and the top, it proved to be a bit tricky to finish it off cleanly. But I did it, after some frustration. I told Kyle, I’m never making a bag again. Kyle responded with, That’s what you said last time. Yes, it’s true. But I like both bags enough I’d give them a try again. And now I have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t.
I like you hipster bag. In fact, I think I want one too.
I hope it’s what you dreamt of Corinne. :)
Linking up at: Thirty Handmade Days and Destination: Craft
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I’m one of those people who in high school when you take those aptitude tests that are supposed to tell you what area you should focus on for a career ends up with results in every category. I like a little bit of a lot of things. I’ve always been that way. I’ve never excelled at any one thing. Mainly because I haven’t ever been able to focus on just one thing. I tend to go back and forth from one thing to the next: sewing to crochet to photography to quilting to baking to whatever else…
But you know what, in the past year I have come to the conclusion that I love sewing. I do. I love it. It is what I enjoy spending my time doing. Sometimes I get in a slump and struggle to get myself to my machine, but once I get there, it feels so good!
After being a part of the Sew-vivor sewing competition back in April, I didn’t do any sewing for almost 6 months. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. There were a lot of reasons behind it, but now I’m back. And I’m totally loving it. (And I have plenty of projects to share with you. Some done, some in the works, and some planned.)
As I’ve been getting back into sewing and enjoying myself I’ve had the phrase, do what you love, running through my head.
I think Pinterest is great. For me it is the perfect place to keep track of bookmarked ideas that once became lost and forgotten. It is also a great source of inspiration and a place to find ideas to remember and use.
Pinterest (and the internet in general) is also a good place to lose a sense of reality. Unfortunately. I know I do it. I often see so many great ideas, well designed and decorated homes, tips and tricks for keeping an insanely clean home, healthy foods (and not so healthy but very tempting foods), moms who appear to go above and beyond and spend what looks like all of their free time playing with and teaching their children, and homemade this and homemade that…
Sometimes I lump all of those pins and posts together and forget that no one is doing it all. Some people come pretty darn close, but there really is no way any one person can do it all, all day, all the time. Sometimes I try, but it never works. I always end up stressed and grumpy.
That is what that phrase, do what you love, has been reminding me. I need to do exactly that, just do the things I love to do. Do what makes me most happy. For me, I’ve found that it’s sewing. I still like to do an occasional craft or activity with Hailey, or bake up something fun. But I have been so happy keeping myself busy sewing in my sparetime. Yes, my house isn’t spotless. Yes, sometimes I don’t start dinner until nearly 6:00, and I try to cook only every other day or as long as I can get away with it. Yes, I don’t play with Hailey all day, everyday- I do make an effort to do something structured with her a few times a week, but if it doesn’t happen (because sometimes life happens), that’s ok, we’ll try again next week.
Another part of this has been getting our Etsy shop going. I’ve actually been enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I love the earrings I’m selling- and that is making it fun and exciting for me. It’s pretty slow going, but I’m just getting started. Yes, I’d really like to make some extra income for our family, but I’m also doing it because I love what I sell, and I want to share that with others. (Just a reminder- get 28% off your purchase throughout October with the coupon code BDAY28).
If you’ve made it this far through this post, thanks for sticking with me. I’ve just wanted to get this off of my brain.
The point to it all- just do what you love. Just do it. Find some time, everyday, to do something you love, even if it’s just for a few minutes. For me, it’s making all the difference in my attitude toward everyday life at the moment. I have something to look forward to everyday.
I’m so serious about this, that I even made a printable you can download, if you so care to. (Yes, I’m a bit crazy, I know.) I plan to print it out and put it near my sewing table as a reminder. I made two different versions, one with gray stripes in the background and one that has a solid white background. It is available for download as an 8x10, 5x7, or 4x6.
Follow the links to download the type and size you’d like.
Have fun doing what you love!
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Have you noticed I’ve made a few changes to the blog recently? Did you notice a link to our store?
Store? What store?
Yeah, yeah… I’ve been slow in saying anything. I FINALLY listed items in our Etsy store (hillmade)! Hooray! I opened the store almost a year ago, but never listed anything. It was put off for many reasons; logo design, fear, no idea what I’m doing, busy with other projects, morning sickness and fatigue, vacation, moving… LIFE just happened.
But now it’s open! I currently have 20+ listings, and new ones popping up all the time. I also have a slew of ideas for projects I’d like to make and sell. Currently I’m selling earrings, in three different styles:
The store isn’t just me. It’s Kyle too. Although Kyle doesn’t have any products listed at the moment. But they will come, eventually. We have plans. It just takes time.
So, for now, I’m selling earrings. Earrings I love. They are simple- just the way I like them. I wear these earrings all. the. time.
What does all of this have to do with the number 28? Absolutely nothing. Except that today is my 28th birthday. Happy Birthday to me! (28… really?)
To celebrate, I’m offering 28% off of all earrings for the month of October! Enter coupon code BDAY28 at checkout.
BTW: I have earrings available in every color. I’m just slowly listing them everyday or every other day. If you see a style you like, but not the color, send me a message on Etsy. I probably have it, it’s just not listed yet.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
My Grandpa Park is amazing.
He has a woodshop in his garage and loves working in it. As a wedding gift when all of the grandchildren get married he makes them a wooden bench, which he designed himself. It is a very anticipated and cherished gift.
Grandpa recently designed and has started making doll beds for his great-granddaughters. I got a call from my aunt Leslie one day who said she wanted to stop by our house with Grandpa to deliver a doll bed for Hailey. I didn’t even know he was making one for her. What a great surprise!
Isn’t it great? The wood is unfinished, so we have full reign over what we’d like to do with it. I think we’ll probably just put a urethane coat over it and keep the wood light.
Hailey loves her doll bed. She has been so motherly recently, so the timing has been great. Hailey loves to wrap her baby up, rock her and then put her to bed when she is sleeping. She will close her playroom door because baby is sleeping and we need to be quiet.
I told Hailey to kneel down by her bed so I could take a picture of her. Next thing I knew she started praying. She asked that baby would “grow big and be healthy”. I thought that was funny.
And then she decided to read baby a “special bedtime story”.
Since baby now had a bed, she needed a mattress, blanket and pillow to sleep with. I made the mattress using this tutorial from Ana White. It was easy peasy and quick to put together. I made a quick pillow case and used an existing doll pillow we already had (that used to be mine).
For the quilt I decided I wanted to try out making a small herringbone quilt. I think they are fun. I used this tutorial from Bijou Lovely. And I butchered it. Ok… I didn’t really butcher it, but I didn’t put enough thought into what I was doing. The quilt blocks on the tutorial are 12.5 x 12.5, which is great if you’re making a full sized quilt. The doll quilt is small and I didn’t want it to be made up of just a couple of blocks, I didn’t think it would show off the design enough. So, I wanted to do a small scale herringbone quilt. But, I also just wanted to do it quickly and be done with it. So I made the first half of the quilt block and cut that in half. And then I made the second half and cut that in half. When I put it all together it didn’t line up right and it really bothered me. But, I had already cut out my fabric, so I reminded myself that Hailey won’t care and continued on to finish the quilt. When I had all of my mini blocks cut out, I laid them out and really didn’t like the look of it. So, I rearranged them and added white borders to the blocks to space them out enough that the seams didn’t clash. And here is the result:
Despite turning out totally different than I had planned on, I really do like the quilt. I plan to try again, but this time I’ll think through my strategy better so it actually is a herringbone pattern.
But who cares what I think- Hailey loves it, and that’s all that matters.
Thank you Grandpa Park for all of your hard work! We love you!
Saturday, September 22, 2012
What do you do when you’re in the middle of a sewing project and run out of thread? Go to the store and buy more?
Yeah, you can.
But I didn’t want to.
Luckily I have an awesome husband who wound a new spool of thread for me- man style. A large cone of white thread + an empty spool + a drill - a trip to the store = a new fresh new spool of white thread. Sewing can now continue and I can stay in my pajamas.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Ellie came over to play one day. We decided it would be fun to make a necklace out of Fruit Loops.
I used yarn for the string and taped the ends with scotch tape so it wouldn’t fray and would be easier to thread.
The girls had fun. It kept them entertained for a good 15-20 minutes. Which in toddler time is a decent amount of time.
The best part of making a Fruit Loops necklace?
When you’re all done you get to eat it!
Sunday, September 16, 2012
My friend Katelin has started reading a book and doing a craft once a week with her girls. She posts about what they do each week. I decided to join in on the fun this week. (Thanks for the fun idea Katelin!)
Hailey and I read the classic book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. We then made our own caterpillar.
I think he’s super cute. I even enjoyed this craft as much as Hailey! Want to make one too?
- washable tempera paint
- craft google eyes
- egg carton
- paint brush
- a painting surface (we didn’t have any newspaper, so I used a small cookie sheet I had bought at the dollar store)
I cut the bottom of the egg carton lengthwise and then flipped it over. This is the body. Then we painted.
Hailey of course wanted to use a little of every color we had. Our caterpillar became a very colorful caterpillar. I thought it was fun- gives him some character.
After painting we glued on the eyes, and then gave him antennas and legs.
To make the antennas I used a knife and cut two small holes in the top of the head. I cut a pipe cleaner to the length we wanted and Hailey put the pieces through the holes. From the underneath, I rolled the pipe cleaners up so it wouldn’t pull out through the holes.
To make the legs I again used a knife and made small holes towards the bottom of the egg carton, on either side of it. We cut down more pipe cleaners and Hailey put them through the holes. From the underneath, I wrapped the pipe cleaner up around the edge of the egg carton to hold the legs in place.
Tada! A very colorful caterpillar.
Maybe we should make a cocoon for him and in a couple weeks he’ll be a beautiful butterfly!
Happy caterpillar making!
Friday, September 14, 2012
She decided, all on her own, to lay out the trays and sort the skewer thingys by color.
Totally caught me off guard. It kept her plenty entertained. I could finish what I was doing and Hailey was happily occupied. Score. No complaints from me!
As difficult as the toddler years are, I’m loving what Hailey is becoming. She has gained so much independence- it’s great! The other day, while I was in the shower, Hailey decided she wanted to color. All on her own she went into the basement, grabbed a few sheets of computer paper and brought them back up to her room and colored. After I got out of the shower I opened her door to check on her. She was happily coloring away. She told me that no one was around to help her, so she went and got paper all by herself. I was so proud! (And so happy that that was all she got into.) Yay for entertaining herself!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Our ward’s Relief Society had an activity tonight based on gifts and our favorite things. We were each provided a gift bag and given the instructions to put one of our favorite things in the bag and we would exchange gifts at the activity.
I struggled to think of something that is my favorite. I know I have plenty, but nothing came. All I could think of was food related! So… food it was.
Cookies to be exact: Chocolate Peanut Butter Munchies. Why these cookies? Because 1) I love chocolate and peanut butter. 2) I enjoy baking, especially cookies. 3) These are my favorite cookies to make- there’s something so fun about rolling balls and then smashing them.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Munchies
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
[Peanut Butter Balls]
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 c. sugar, brown sugar, butter and 1/4 c. peanut butter. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture. Shape the dough into 32 balls. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and 1/2 c. peanut butter. Beat until smooth- knead with your hands if necessary. It will be crumbly. (I added 1-2 tsp. milk to help cream the peanut butter and powdered sugar together. Just don’t add too much, or it will be sticky and won’t roll. If that happens add extra powdered sugar until it is no longer is sticky.) Shape into 32 balls.
To form the cookies, flatten 1 chocolate ball. Place a peanut butter ball on top.
Shape the chocolate ball around the peanut butter center completely covering the filling. Reshape into a ball.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place 2 Tbsp. sugar in a bowl.
Dip the bottom of a drinking glass in sugar and lightly flatten each cookie, redipping in sugar between cookies.
Bake for 8 minutes, or until the cookies are set and slight cracks form on top. Cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a rack.
Pour yourself a glass of milk (you’ll want it) and enjoy a cookie, or two, or three…
And don’t forget the best part of cookie making- licking the beater clean!