Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cake update

I didn't realize that picking out and designing the cake would be so much fun! We're going with a honeybee theme for the wedding; golden yellow, cream and black with highlights of magenta and moss green. Check out the "inspiration boards" I made on Style Me Pretty. So with that in mind, here are a few sketches from the bakers we visited this week.

The cake will be four or five (!!) tiers, with ivory icing, golden yellow bands on the bottom of each tier, and a matching yellow honey-comb design alternating sides on each tier.

And the topper! My friend Duffy, our beekeeper at The Woodlands, offered to have the bees build us two little heart-shaped pieces of comb! He's done it before, apparently you just put a mold into the hive in your desired shape and the bees will build in it. I think it's probably the most adorable idea ever.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I get excited about snow days even when I don't have a class or office to go to! We got about a foot and a half last night and I awoke this morning to the shimmering brightness of a winter snow day. Now I'm off to shovel the steps and walk down the middle of the street!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tons of tiny icing flowers

We're going cake tasting today! I was told to bring photos for inspiration and color palette. Maybe something like this?

With lemony cake, sugary icing, and tons of itsy bitsy flowers?

I made this on Style Me Pretty. There are lots more, if you're interested.

Friday, January 21, 2011


"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize
how close they were to success

when they gave up."

- Thomas Edison, 1877

A little inspiration and encouragement that is sorely needed right now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Corners

We had another turnover in our house, with one room mate out and another in. And as is custom with me, I'm trying to deal with the mess by focusing on the corners of my home that I do have control over. So here are a few of my favorites right now.

This is a corner that keeps changing. The stack of books is revolving of course, but I'm also adding and subtracting the art around it (mostly adding). This is my bedside table and it still has the wonderful, inspirational "Yes" from Nicole and the "E" I found on the ground on the campus of UC Davis way back when. But I've also added an adorable cross stitch that my friend Emily sent as an engagement gift ("Home's not merely/four square walls. Home is where/affection calls."), plus a very happy Phalaenopsis orchid from my parents, two blue birds I picked up at a garage sale for 50 cents each, some mounted butterflies that M gave me as a gift way back in the beginning of our relationship, a Nikki McClure print that makes me smile, and a ceramic butterfly that I got at an incredible store in St. Louis when I went to visit Jaja. I also have a wonderful supply of soft, old, flower print pillow cases that I collected during college from thrift stores that makes my bed a little more colorful.

This is my craft supply corner. It needs some work.

And this is my favorite house plant. It's a Dracaena that I saved in college - someone had dumped it on their porch and it had survived a snow already before I grabbed it and brought it inside my house. And it has rewarded me with years of crazy Dr. Seuss spirit.

I hope your space is also bringing you joy in these dark winter days!

Monday, January 17, 2011

And so it begins again . . .

I got my first seed catalogue already!! I'm not quite ready to look at it yet, but pretty soon I will be scheming about potatoes and peas . . .

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Wooly First

So here it is, the first article of clothing I ever knit for myself (Raveled). I started this sucker a year ago (!) and every time I hit a snag I would put it down for oh, several months. But honestly, it's probably the easiest article of clothing I could choose to make for my first try, and the largest yarn - Rowan Big Wool (Super Bulky). I love the fit and the color, and it's very warm. But the problem is, when exactly does one wear a wool vest? It's too hot to wear with anything heavy underneath, but it doesn't have sleeves so you can't wear it by itself.

Regardless, this project was incredibly fulfilling because I was sure it was destined for the WIP pile for the rest of eternity. But I persevered, and after my huge Christmas-gift-knitting-frenzy I managed to pick it back up. Strangely, knitting my first two pairs of socks this year gave me the confidence and a few extra skills to push this project through and finish it. Funny how that works sometimes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas recap: candied orange peels

Alright, here's the last of the Christmas projects: candied orange peels! My future mother-in-law Ruth made these at Thanksgiving and I had to try it. (She got the recipe from Parade Magazine, Dec. 13, 2009). I wanted to make them to give at Christmas in jars like I did with the honey roasted nuts, but I was too afraid of them rotting while people stored them so I ended up just giving them all to my mom who used them at the holidays (or just ate them between her and my dad, I'm not sure!).

I also tried to dry them out a bit in the dehydrator to see if I could get them to a point where I was comfortable they wouldn't rot but that didn't work at all. They just got too hard and never quite dried out. So here's the recipe, make and enjoy in quick succession!

Candied Orange Peels
makes about 50
  • 5 navel oranges
  • 4 c. water
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • extra sugar for sprinkling on top
Slice the peel (including pith and a thin layer of fruit) and cut into 1 inch wide strips. Boil in water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse, Repeat twice more.
Rinse the pot, pour in the water, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add the strips, lower heat, and partially cover. Simmer gently for 1 hour, until soft.
Pack in a heat proof jar, covered with cooking liquid, cool, then refridgerate. For dried peels, drain and leave on a rack for 1 to 2 days. Toss with granulated sugar.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas recap: honey roasted nuts

I made these delicious nuts using Marisa McClellan's recipe in Grid (the perfect combo of two of my favorite Philly publications, Marisa's blog Food in Jars, and the free Philly magazine Grid).

And they were a huge hit! I adapted it a tiny bit by adding sesame seeds, and I've included it below with some tips I learned along the way. I also made candied orange peels, which I'll post about next.

Honey Roasted Nuts
makes approx. three pint jars
  • 5 c. raw nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)
  • 4 T butter
  • 6 T honey
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne
  • flaky salt to taste (kosher or Maldon sea salt)
  • sesame seeds to taste

Place the nuts in a large skillet or Dutch oven and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and honey together. Once melted, add vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne (just for nuance, it's not enough to be spicy).
When the nuts are toasted (most have dark spots), pour the butter mixture over them and toss to coat. Use just enough to coat, there might be some still left in the saucepan at the end.
Spread the glazed nuts out on a silicon liner or parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch them carefully, as they burn quickly.
When you take the nuts out of the oven, sprinkle immediately with salt and sesame seeds.
After they've cooked, pour into pint jars (or half pint jars to spread the goodness further).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas recap: Chain Gang

I've been dying to make these necklaces ever since Jaja sent along a link to this etsy shop a loooooong time ago: Yokoo Scarves and Accessories. The necklaces/scarves on that site are ridiculously expensive, so I found a great pattern on ravelry and just made them myself! The pattern is free from Knitty: Marley's ghost. I changed it up a bit by using much larger yarn and forgoing the felting at the end. I don't think it adds anything to be honest, because it's a much funnier statement when you can see all of the stitches and it's clear that your bling is knitted.

As predicted, they were a huge hit with the three friends who received them (Jaja being one, of course). I might even make one for myself!