Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sewing Summit, Part 1

 I know, I said "tomorrow" and it turned into next week. Oh well - better late than never, right? ;-) So this is the first of two posts in which I'm going to attempt to explain (feebly I'm pretty sure) and share my Sewing Summit experiences. Oh and I realized that I took hardly any photos so there's that. But after reading *many* other posts about SS I know I'm not alone in that! So here goes...first up, the Little America Hotel. This is one of the nicest hotels I've ever been in (and I've been in some swanky hotels - not bragging, just lucky fact for me).
 What I'll remember most, besides the huge, roaring fire in the giant lobby fireplace (even the day it was 82 degrees outside) was the opulence of this place. Every room had a huge, orange chandelier. This was a small one. But there were two this size in that classroom.
This was a BIG one (you already figured that out though, right?). This place is just plush. Fancy brocade wall papers, thick carpets, comfy furniture just welcoming you to sit and rest. The music was 50's crooners and I loved it - think Sinatra type stuff, it fit completely and it was so soothing and lovely. A great choice for a weekend with your kiddos - special and very grown-up.
And because I notice these things, hands down the fanciest bathrooms ever. Anywhere. Period. The kind with marble walls and slatted wooden stall doors that go floor-to-ceiling. I never made it over to the Grand America but I can't even imagine how it could be better than it's little sibling. I didn't snap a picture of any of the bedroom but you can imagine how lovely they are based on these little glimpses. A bargain to stay there at the SS rate for sure!
 I had never been to Salt Lake City, except to change planes at the airport and I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely it was. Even though I was hoping for some cooler Fall-like weather it was about 82 and sunny on Thursday (the Shop Hop day) and it couldn't have been prettier. The shops we went to on the shop hop were all amazing and full of tempting fabric treats plus it was great to get to chat with new friends that you'd only ever known online before. A huge thanks to Nadine from Material Girls for directing our bus driver, coming up with fun games and sharing her amazing store with us!
Finally, the swag. This was from the Salt Lake City Modern Quilt Guild mixer on Friday night. They had a bag like this for every person that RSVP'd PLUS a ton of other giveaways. Talk about making you feel like your hometown guild is inadequate - geez ;-) Sukie and the other girls who organized this were just so generous and fun - fantastic time! This was on top of the bags full of goodies we received at check-in on Thursday - Erin and the Sewing Summit girls moved a literal mountain of stuff to get those bags put together and it was such a great beginning to the weekend. The sponsors of Sewing Summit were extremely generous: patterns, samples, new scissors (thanks Olfa - they're GREAT! using them everyday!) books, magazines - I'm pretty sure I'm not even remembering it all but you get the idea. This about a birthday party goodie bag but on a grown-up scale and full of things you love - whee!

OK, so I think I've covered the place and the stuff - Friday will be part 2: the people. See you then!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Easy Biscotti

 Well hello there! I know you're thinking wait, shouldn't she have a Sewing Summit post?! And yes, BUT it was such a HUGE experience it's taking me a bit to process it. So the Sewing Summit post (or what will probably be the fist post) will be tomorrow. Today I have easy biscotti recipes to share - that are also super yummy. Now you know you have to bake these twice right? But I promise that's the hardest part. You can totally make them at home and look like a rock star! So up above are Orange Poppyseed and Ginger Lover's Biscotti - the orange ones also have a fresh orange glaze on them.
 Here we have Cinnamon Chocolate Chip and Coffee Toffee Biscotti going on. The glaze is a cinnamon one, but you could just as easily make it chocolate if you felt like it! Ready? Let me say that I'm totally giving up all my secrets here and I don't want you to think less of me (you know, as a great baker, teehee) once you see how easy these easy biscotti really are. First secret?
All these awesome recipes came from this cookbook, which you NEED if you don't already own.

So all these easy biscotti all start with this basic formula:

1 cake mix or brownie mix (approx. 19 oz but it seems most cake mixes have been sized down to 15 or 16 oz. Very Annoying! But these recipes will still work with the smaller mixes)
1 C flour (if you have a smaller mix use a scant C of flour)
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs

Mix-ins for individual flavors - usually about a cup of chips/nuts plus any flavorings

(I know, I told you they were easy)

Mix all ingredients together with electric mixer on low until everything is well mixed - I usually get it started with the mixer and finish by hand to really get everything in there. The dough should be stiff. Divide in half. Shape into TWO logs and then flatten to make the biscotti shape - I usually press down a little extra to get that classic curved shape that's taller in the middle. I put one log on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat and then flatten.


350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes (until lightly golden brown and firm but not hard).

Let rest on cookie sheets for 10 minutes (leave oven on).

Move to a cutting board and slice on the diagonal and then place back on cookie sheet. I lay then on their sides as the bottoms are usually brown enough.

Bake 10 minutes (still 350). If the side they are laying on got brown enough you can take them out and flip them over at this point.

Turn oven off and let sit in oven for 30 - 40 minutes. I usually do 30 because that's crispy enough for me but if you like them super crispy, feel free to go for it!

So when I first started making these I told myself 30 - 10 - 10 - 30 to help keep the baking straight. A timer is invaluable when you're making these! So some in and out of the oven but nothing too hard. Alright, ready for the individual mix-in's? Good! Here they are:

Coffee Toffee
brownie mix
1 T instant espresso powder (you could also use instant coffee)
1 C chocolate cover toffee bits

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip
chocolate cake mix

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C chocolate chips

Cinnamon Glaze - melt 1 C cinnamon chips and 1 Tbsp shortening (crisco) together to make glaze or dip for biscotti. Drizzle over (or dip in) and let cool until hard. You can also sub chocolate chips here and make a chocolate glaze.

Orange Poppyseed
vanilla cake mix

1/4 C poppyseeds
1 1/2 Tbsp grated orange zest

Orange Glaze - 2 tsp grated orange zest, 5 - 6 Tbsp fresh orange juice, up to 3 C powdered sugar, mix together until thickness you want, drizzle on biscotti and let harden. This also works with lemon or lime too!

Ginger Lover's
vanilla cake mix

2  1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2/3 C finely chopped crystallized ginger (I like Penzey's)

That's it you guys! You add the mix-in with all the other ingredients and just mix it up. Easy peasy yes? YES! You can do it! And I'd love to hear about it if you make some or come up with new flavors!

Tomorrow I tackle (or start to anyway) Sewing Summit! See you then :-)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Applesauce Muffins

Does it seem like we make a lot of muffins and cupcakes and baked good around here? It's true. We do. The munchkin loves to help in the kitchen and I like to indulge her. We made these recently and they're perfect for Fall, full of applesauce and apple pie spice - moist and fragrant and delicious. My kid even ate them and she may be the world's pickiest eater. 

If you're looking for a little weekend baking idea these would be perfect! Enjoy

Applesauce Muffins:
(adapted from 750 Best Muffin Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury)

Sift dry ingredients together in bowl: (when I say sift I mean put in bowl and stir with whisk)
2 C flour
3 tsp. apple pie spice (I use Penzey's)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt

Combine wet ingredients and mix till combined:
1/2 C butter, melted
1 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
1 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce (I like Trader Joe's)

Mix wet and dry ingredients together until combined - I would say don't over mix but my baking assistant mixed these rather, ahem, vigorously and they were fine ;-) You could also add up to 1 C chopped, toasted pecans at this point if you'd like to. Harper informer me that she doesn't like pecans (naturally) so we left them out. 

Bake in paper lined muffin tins - we got 22 muffins (filled about 2/3 and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on top before baking) 18 - 20 minutes (toothpick should come out clean) at 350 degrees.

Happy baking, happier eating!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sewing Summit Zipper Pouch Swap Meeting Details

Hey Sewing Summit Peeps! Have you made your zipper pouch for the swap yet? You have all weekend to get one done :-) Here's the one I'm bringing - I cut into the good stuff your you guys! Rapunzel graces this large-ish hoop pouch along with some (more) Aviary 2 and some Sandi Henderson. I figured with all the EPP and hand sewing projects people will be bringing someone might like a bag big enough for a hoop and project pieces. I used the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Hoop Travel Bag pattern if you're interested :-) And there are goodies inside too but I'm leaving those as a surprise!

We will be meeting the large ballroom (where the large lectures will be held) Friday night at 6pm (after the last lecture of the day). Look for me in a corner (probably a back corner) with a sign that says ZIPPER SWAP HERE (original right? ;-). We are going to draw numbers for the swap so it will be random and fair and fun!

Make sure you put a note or card in your pouch so you get the thanks you deserve for playing along.

I'm so looking forward to next weekend - see you in Salt Lake.

Cutest Cousins EVER

Ok, just one more. The old lady baby feet in this one just killed me.
Just a little cute cousin interlude for you :-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bags for Sewing Summit (maybe)

You already know I love bags, so of course I made a couple more to (maybe) take to Sewing Summit. I say maybe because a) they aren't Weekender bags, so are they cool enough? and b) I don't like to mix a bunch of patterns (call me crazy) but I like to wear ONE pattern per outfit. So until I decide what clothes I'm packing I won't know which bags either - I figure those decisions will be made about 1 hour before I leave for the airport ;-)

So this is the Kelly Bag from ithinksew - gray corduroy for the exterior and a fun olive green polka dot for the interior. I also made a batch of button pins and added one to this bag. I use a mix of vintage and new buttons and these are just so fun and easy to make. The colors in this one seemed perfect for this bag.

Bag number two is the Mini Flap Purse pattern from Jen Giddens. I'm guessing I'll end up making every bag pattern Jen has created - they're all striking. The exterior on this bag is the Woodgrain fabric from Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 line. Love this fabric so ridiculously much.

See, told you, I love that yellow as well. Usually more of a green girl but this is just working for me

                                                     Does this one need a button pin?

     Love this green and orange combo on a coconut shell button (but does it clash with the yellow?).

                                                 This one totally goes but does it get lost?

                                               So what do you think, button or no button?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Idea Pouch!

Hi guys! I have been super busy over here sewing things for Sewing Summit and this is my favorite thing so far, by a LOT. I'm sure you all know Michelle Webster, the lovely lady behind Michelle Patterns (formerly Keykalou). This is her newest pattern - the Idea Pouch.

It holds the jumbo moleskine sketchbook or your iPad - I'm sure it would fit a kindle or nook as well. Then it has all these awesome spots for pens/pencils/etc and a pleated pouch that has room for a camera or phone or wallet or or or. You get the idea :-)

It was a little tricky to get a good shot of the inside but here goes - you could also customize the pen slots for scissors or paintbrushes or whatever strikes your fancy.

I used gray Essex Linen for the exterior and the yellow lining is something I found at Joann's. And I'll warn you now I love that lining so you'll be seeing more of it in the very near future :-)

OK peeps, anyone need a great holiday gift? Get sewing already! You can find the pattern here (as well as a bunch of other great ones, just go look already). Tomorrow - more bags! Shocking I know. Teehee.

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