Friday, November 9, 2012

[Recipe] A Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe to Solve all My Problems

I have struggled with making chocolate chip cookies the whole nine years I’ve lived in Utah. The high altitude kills me! What’s sad, is that it’s only been in the past year that I’ve realized that the high altitude was to blame. My cookies have always come out flat. They puff up big and then flatten out. I’ve done research, and tried so many things. I’ve started just upping the temperature of the oven and adding extra flour, and that seems to work ok.

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
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c butter
1/2 c shortening
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
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.

Chocolate Chip Cookies_frozen
Now I have 48 cookies waiting in the freezer to be baked. Mmmm… yum!

Monday, November 5, 2012

[Tutorial] Envelope Closure Pillowcase

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. :)

Quilt on bed_1See our fun blue pillowcases, with no openings showing!

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.)

3 pieces

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.

double fold and iron edges

Stitch the edges down 1/8 inch from the open edge.

sew down ironed 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.

pin right sides together

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.

serge_zig zag edges

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.

Quilt on bed2

Ahhh… I love our pillows. Happy day!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reversible Quilt

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!

Quilt on bed_1

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.

reversible folded up

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.

white stitch through

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!

Quilt on bed2

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.

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