Friday, April 29, 2016

Vintage Picnic Quilt

I made myself a quilt!  I know, I've made a lot of quilts that I have shared with you on this blog.  They are usually a gift for a new baby or sick friend.  I also make them for family members.  I guess I have made a few dozen over the last few years.  But I rarely make one for myself.....
 When I started this quilt I wondered who I would give it to.  I loved the fabric and colors sooo much.  Then it occurred to me that if I like it so much there was no reason why I couldn't keep it!  More specifically, I could use it in my vintage trailer as a lap quilt.  Yippee!
 I used fabric from Moda's line Vintage Picnic and a red gingham I had in my stash.  The backing is a red and white chevron fabric.
 Machine quilted it on my domestic machine using Westalee ruler foot and shell template.
I seriously loooove how easy it was to use and how smooth the quilting looks.  Might have to do a post on the ruler foot and templates.........
 Don't you just love giant ric rac?
Here is a pic of the backing.  This quilt is so cheerful!  I can't wait to take the trailer out this summer and cuddle with this quilt while reading a good book and eating chocolate.......mmmmm.
Diana

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sees Copycat Bordeaux Chocolates

Have you ever tried Sees Chocolates?  For those of you on the west coast that probably sounds like a dumb question but since moving to the Ohio Valley I have been shocked at how few people have even heard of Sees!  Thank goodness we now have one in Columbus so I can enjoy them anytime I want.....well almost anytime I want since it is a one hour drive to the mall.  But for those times I can't wait I've found a wonderful recipe from Love & Turquoise that produces a "close enough" chocolate.
I did tweak the recipe a little.  First I used Guittard chocolate because that is the brand Sees uses.  I also tempered my chocolate.  I have a tempering machine but you can do it the manual way if you like.  I also added a little more powdered sugar than her recipe called for because my centers were not thick enough.  Lastly I used real chocolate sprinkles-definitely not the kind you get at the grocery store!  I get mine from a online dutch company.   You can also get them from Amazon.  Once you taste these sprinkles you will never eat the American version again, I promise.  Oh, and I left out the coffee.  Mormon.
 So how did they taste?  At first I was a little disappointed (like right after they had set up).  The centers were just not quite creamy enough.  But this morning (don't judge me, it was in the name of quality control!) I ate one and it was sooooooo good.  Okay, so I had to eat another one to make sure I had a large enough control group.  
 Creamy and delicious!  Best Chocolate ever.  If fact it was so good I pack up most of them to give as gifts and sent them with my husband to deliver!   
We are having quests for dinner tonight so I held a few back to set at each place setting.  And there might be a few more tucked away in my secret place for myself.  Don't tell anyone okay?
Diana

Friday, April 8, 2016

Granny Square Blanket in Yellow and Gray

I am such a fan of giant granny square blankets!  While they do take a lot of time to make, just like any crochet blanket, the stitches are easy, almost mindless.  Great handiwork to pass the time or for late night TV watching.
 This is the third GS blanket I've made this year.
I think the color combo is quite trendy and modern.  The yarn is so soft you can help but want to cuddle under this blanket when the weather dips down.
Diana

Friday, March 18, 2016

Flea Market Flip

Do any of you watch HGTV's Flea Market Flip?  I love that show!  So many clever ideas.........
It was while watching one of the episodes that my husband and I saw one set of contestants turn an old window into a wall cabinet.
 I told my husband that I liked that idea and that I had an old window (hidden under a guest bed of all places) that would be perfect for the project.  Well, the next day he got to work and surprised me with the cabinet almost completed!
 He used pine tongue and groove to build the cabinet box and dividers that section off the interior.  A fresh coat of bright white makes the inside really pop.  (I did have to stop him from painting over the original paint on the window though!)  
Today he attached the hinges on the top and a magnetic closure and brought the finished cabinet in from his workshop in the barn.  It is securely hung on the wall so I can load it with some of my favorite items.  It hangs in the corner of our bedroom and looks so cool.  My husband is really talented and now that he is retired he finally has the time to get creative!  And I am getting so many of my wished for projects done!
Diana

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mint Cupcakes For St Patrick's Day

Look what I am serving for St Patrick's Day dinner........Mint Cupcakes.
These beauties are an adaptation of this recipe from The Crafting Foodie.
 So what did I do differently?  No cookie on the bottom of the cupcake or as decoration.
 Instead I used what chocolate curls to decorate.  So what I ended up with was chocolate cupcakes filled with mint flavored chocolate ganache, topped with more ganache, mini chocolate chips, mint flavored buttercream frosting and more ganache drizzled and white chocolate curls on top,  Boy was that a mouthful!
Some of the cupcakes will be traveling so I put them in cups to protect them.  Love that idea.  You can still see the yumminess but they stay intact.
Diana

Friday, March 11, 2016

Gray Orange and White Granny Square Blanket

After many hours I have completed another granny square blanket!  This one is a little different from the last one I made both in color and stripe width.  I think the wider stripe look more modern.
 I love the burnt orange and gray together and the white keeps it from getting too dark.
And this blanket is also much larger......3 skeins larger.......bringing the total to 9 six ounce skeins.  Many more hours in this larger size too.  You would think that I would be tired of making these blankets but I already have a new color combo in mind for the next one........going to take a little break and then start it.......
Diana

Friday, February 26, 2016

Neuhaus Copy Cat Chocolate

One good thing (or bad, depending on on how much self control you have) about having a husband that travels is the assortment of chocolates he would bring home from around the world.  My favorite was Neuhaus from Belgium.  And.....my favorite piece was a whipped truffle in a foil cone called the Cornet Dore.  BEST CHOCOLATE EVER!  Light and fluffy with a lovely crust of sugar.....yummmmm
My husband has since retired and that means no more Neuhaus.......but I have started making my own truffles and other goodies as my skill level improves.  Today I decided to try and duplicate the Cornet Dore, at least in texture and taste, by making a whipped truffle.  
Start by melting 8 ounces of milk chocolate in ,gasp, the microwave.....do it gently so as not to burn the chocolate.  Now scald 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  Bring the temperature down to about 160 and mix into the chocolate, stirring until fully incorporated.  Now set the bowl of chocolate at room temperature for about 3 hours.  Using an electric mixer, beat the chocolate until light and fluffy AND until the mixture can hold it shape.  Spoon chocolate into a pastry tube with a large star tip and pipe stars onto wax paper.  Decorate with sugar crystals and let set until solid.  That's all there is to it!
The chocolate could be piped into foil cups or cones if desired.
These taste wonderful!  Just like my beloved Neuhaus!
Diana