Monday, October 22, 2012

Travel Bag

So I am going on two.....yes, two......vacations over the next 2 weeks. I think that is a little crazy, but I'm doing it and I am sure that it is going to be awesome. I am going to the International Quilt Market in Houston, followed by a trip to Disneyland. 

In light of my upcoming travels, I decided that I need a bigger bag that will hold a notebook as well as my regular purse items, plus a water bottle and snacks. So, I made one.  I used the same pattern that I used here but tweaked it a little to fit my needs. I ended up adding extra pockets, a longer strap, and a flap.  So, it's kind of a purse/messenger bag hybrid, if you will. Here are some pictures. 




I had all of this fabric in my stash.  I'm glad that I finally used it! The best is that I didn't have to buy a thing to make this bag because I had everything I needed. I love that. 


The pockets are big inside. One of them is the width of the bag and has a piece of velcro to keep it closed. I think it turned out pretty well. It took me about 6 hours from start to finish. 
Maybe I will get faster some day ;)



Monday, September 24, 2012

96th Birthday!!!

Sunday we celebrated a 96th birthday - that is when you add 70 and 26 together.  Happy Birthdays Mom and Breanne!!! We had our requisite family birthday dinner which was rounded out by two birthday desserts. Mom has been wanting to try making this Coconut Cake recipe, so we did. We made chocolate frosting instead of coconut, but if we make again, I think we will make the coconut frosting instead. Here's how it turned out. 


It's a very dense cake and took a long time to bake.....unfortunately, it fell and so there was an large amount of frosting added to make it look a little less wonky..... :) It was super yummy though. 



Breanne wanted something that involved chocolate and caramel.  She didn't have anything specific in mind, so she let me just come up with something. So, being the baked goods inventor that I am, I decided to take an old recipe and reinvent it into what I am going to call the Salty Carmel Chocolate Bars. A chocolate oatmeal cookie crust filled with Dulce de Leche and caramel filling.....mmmmmmm. Here are a couple of pictures.  


Sweet is always good with a little salty, so I added some crumbled potato chips to the filling. Ever dipped a potato chip in caramel? You should try it....it's delicious.


Here's what they look like right out of the oven


And here's the inside. Want the recipe? Scroll down to the bottom of this post. 


Of course, I had to make something crafty for my mom's birthday gift. She's been needing a new ironing board cover, so thanks to my sister's tutorial on Blue Susan Makes I made her one. 


It was super fast to make. Once I got it cinched tight around the board, It was still a little loose (I probably cut it too big), so I took a piece of embroidery floss and sewed a quick zigzag from side to side and now it is perfectly snug. 



Becky, super patient Becky, made this cork board wall hanging for Breanne.....it's amazing! She cut it all out and traced all of the states with a Sharpie. It's awesome.


Happy Birthday Mom and Breanne! I love you both!




Carmel Fudge Bars

Ingredients
Combine the following:
1 cup butter (melted)
½ cup Cocoa
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Add:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats

Filling
¼ cup Salted Butter
1 14 oz can Dulce de Leche
1 bag carmels (unwrapped)
1 cup crushed potato chips (or more if you want more saltiness)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease or spray a 9x13x2 inch glass pan.  

Melt butter, then add cocoa and stir until smooth. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda, salt and oats and then combine with the butter/sugar mixture.  Set aside about ½  cup of the dough for topping. Pat the remaining dough into the bottom of the pan and 1/4” up the sides.  Set aside. 

To prepare filling: 

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, melt butter over low heat.  Add Dulce de Leche and caramels. Stir continually over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in potato chips.

Pour filling over the dough.  Spread evenly over dough, not quite all the way to the edges. 
Break remaining dough into small pieces and drop evenly onto the filling. It will not cover the filling completely.   . 

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until filling looks set and cookie topping is slightly browned. Let cool completely before cutting into 2” squares (approximately 2 hours in refrigerator or 3 – 4 hours on counter top.)








Saturday, August 11, 2012

TOAD SAVING!

It's 11:00 pm and I just saved this TOAD! He was trapped in the basement window well.  I have to admit, there was a glove and a spatula involved...and I almost made my mom do it.....but when it really came down to it, I just had to pick him up and send him hopping on his way.....there was squealing involved on my part....and a minor freak out, but I did it.. It's a proud moment for me, so I had to blog it.  Markos kids, if your germ-a-phobe Aunt Rachel can pick up a frog, you can too! Go catch a couple this week.....it's okay if you squeal a little when it's squirming in your hand :) You can do it!  


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Purses, Purses, Purses

So, my sister Sarah is a very creative person. She is super talented and makes awesome purses.  She was here for a visit and taught me how to make this purse. I love it! I took it to Utah with me this past week and it was the perfect size for everything that I needed. 



I spent time with my brother Jeremy and his family. My Sister-in-law Heidi and my nieces Hannah and Aimee decided that they wanted one of these, so we had a whirlwind weekend of sewing. We picked out our fabrics at Hobby Lobby on Saturday, cut everything out on Sunday, and then sewed it all up on Monday and Tuesday. 

Aimee liked the idea of having a pocket on the front of her purse, so she added it and embellished it with a lot of buttons. She is a good little hand sewer! Didn't she do a great job?  


She wanted to make sure she had pockets for everything she needed so she added a couple of narrow pockets for pens and ones that would hold her cell phone, etc. 


Hannah learned how to make cloth flowers at Young Women's, so she made a flower and embellished her front pocket with the flower, a retro button, and a little brooch she found.  Isn't it cute? 


I liked the combination of fabrics she picked. 


Heidi wanted a bigger purse, so we enlarged the pattern for hers and gave her plenty of depth and an extra long strap.


Here they all are. 


 Thanks for teaching me how to make these Sarah! Next time I see you, you will have to teach me to take better photographs! 

 Good job Heidi, Hannah and Aimee! Thanks for a fun weekend!





Monday, June 11, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!!!

We celebrated 3 Birthdays last night! Jess, Becky and I all have birthdays within an 8 day window, so this year we decided to have a triple birthday dinner. We had steak, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli, veggie plate, fruit salad and rolls....and then we topped it off with 3 different desserts. Becky requested Cheesecake, Jesse wanted Apple Pie Ice Cream  and  I, of course wanted Chocolate Cake. 




This cake is AWESOME. Ever heard of "Wacky Cake"? This is the Dark Chocolate version made with Dark Cocoa. It's heavenly...not too sweet and oh so good. 


We opened presents and here is a sampling of what we go. I requested a waving iron for my hair....what do you think? I kind of like it....Jesse pointed out that the ends need to be curled so they blend in and don't just look straight. I agree....


Jesse got a hammock....he's been looking for one for a couple of weeks now and I a think he likes this one. Alex and Breanne were having fun with it! 


Jesse gave Becky a Samsung Galaxy tablet for her birthday. She loves it! She is teaching Jacob how to play chess....


We finished out the night staying up late and playing Shanghai and Settlers. It was really fun!



Monday, March 5, 2012

Spudnuts

I have often heard my parents talk about "Spudnuts" and how good they were.....what are they? A raised doughnut that has mashed potato in it....hence the "spud".  So, after church yesterday I decided, on a whim, to try to make some.  I found this Spudnut recipe online, made up the dough, and then enlisted my brother Jesse to fry them up. They were surprisingly good! The potato makes them light and airy and they tasted very similar to a crispy cream. 


The recipe said it made 4 dozen....and truly, it does...we got tired of frying doughnuts after a few dozen and decided to make the rest of the dough into cinnamon rolls.  We had way too many sweets in the house after that baking escapade, so I took doughnuts and cinnamon rolls around to some to friends and neighbors last night, which left us with only a few more doughnuts to eat today. I have to say that they are not as good when they are a day old.  The cinnamon rolls, however are still delicious. 



I've decided that I really like what potato does to the texture of bread. I recently added potato flakes to whole wheat rolls and the result was an nice, airy texture that you wouldn't expect from whole wheat.  Next time you make bread dough, you should throw in some potato flakes and see what happens! You might like what you get...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Quilt #1 2012

For Christmas, I made my dad a quilt out of my favorite blue and white fabric from my stash. I made a similar quilt for a friend a few weeks before Christmas and my dad kept complaining that I was giving it away, so I decided to make one just for him. There are quite a few floral prints, but my dad loves flowers, so I thought, why not? Flowers can be manly, right? Here is the finished project!