Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Six is how old you,
My friend Nikk, would be
If you were still alive today.

Today your family would celebrate
If only your life wasn’t taken
Far sooner than it should’ve been.

How I miss your infectious smile
And ease you put everyone in
Just by being yourself.

How I wonder what type of man
You would’ve turned out to be
Had circumstances been different.

How I wish that night
Was only a nightmare
And not so painfully real.

Still, we should celebrate.
Celebrate the life you lived
And the love you gave.

Celebrate every moment we shared
Every smile and hug and tear
You provided so selflessly.

You didn’t live your life like a candle in the wind
But a flame from a torch burning bright
And shining for all the world to see.

Your birthday may only come every four years
But I know I’m not alone when I say
You’re in my thoughts most every day.

Happy Birthday, Nikk.
I hope you knew just how much you meant
To everyone who ever met you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

That 70s Quilt: Wonky 9-Patch

The idea to make 9-patches for That 70s Quilt has been with me almost from the beginning. Making them wonky, however, is a bit more recent.

I knew I didn’t want to make a sampler quilt; I simply wanted a way to show off the designs from Alexander Henry’s In the Kitchen line while also making something representative of the late sixties and seventies. The basic 9-patch showed up on television (Brady Bunch, Hollywood squares) and art (Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe) from that era, so I figured it would be a good fit. It wasn’t until I saw a design by Glenn Dragone from yarn+needle ( that he did for the Moda Bake Shop called Square Dance ( that I knew my 9-patches would have to be wonky.

First off, I’d have to make sure that my chosen Alexander Henry fabrics would work well together, especially with the Heidi Grace print I found at Joann’s and a fat quarter stripe I got at Hancock’s. So after laying them onto my cutting table, I decided the color scheme would work. I was a little iffy on the blue paisley and larger floral since they aren’t from that line, but they help add a little more blue into the quilt from the Spotted Owl prints.

Next it was time to actually start cutting the wonky 9-patches from the solids. After choosing two of the 10-inch squares I’d cut the night before, I carefully placed them together and using my long ruler and a rotary cutter, began making my cuts.

Once the cuts were done, I carefully switched out every other square for the one beneath it to create them.

After matching the edges, I strip pieced where I could, pressing my seams open as I went to reduce bulk, and within no time I had a finished block.

The best part is that for every cut I made it did double duty. Tonight after work I might just try my hand at cutting four at a time!

Monday, February 27, 2012

That 70s Quilt: Cutting

Do you ever put off a project for so long because you simply are afraid to start cutting the fabric? That would be this quilt.

Before and after the Oscars last night, I finally started work on the Alexander Henry In the Kitchen line of fabrics I’m using for a quilt I’ve dubbed That 70s Quilt. After doing a little research, it appears the style I’m going for might actually be more representative of the 1960s. Still, I will see where it goes as I start actually piecing it together.

 Okay, so I have to be honest about one thing; I haven’t actually cut into the Alexander Henry fabric yet. I did, however cut over fifty 10 inch squares of various solids (I used about eighteen or so colors) for the wonky 9-patch blocks. I’m still debating on whether or not to throw in a few surprises as nods to pop-culture during that time into the quilt. We’ll see.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

After years of threatening to make these cookies, I finally decided to try them. Oh boy, I’m glad I did.

I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I am horrible at following recipes. There are a few exceptions to this but for the most part I will look at a recipe and decide on the fly whether to use the ingredients and their measurements or fudge with it or use a different spice. Sure, part of that is years of experience and knowing what the hell I’m doing, but the other part is experimenting. Let’s just say I’ve only had a few duds, so my instincts are usually right on. So when I flipped through my cookbooks to look for a recipe for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies, I was surprised that only one book had it. Well, not too surprised that this particular book, The Joy of Cooking, had a recipe, but that the ratios seemed a little, well, off to me. Me being me, I fiddled. And me being me, I nailed it.

Cory’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
1 1/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup roasted macadamia nuts
2/3 cup white chocolate chips (I prefer Guittard)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt with the paddle attachment (scraping blade works great too) by mixing on low speed for about ten seconds. Pour into a medium bowl and set aside. Beat the softened butter until slightly pale, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium to medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla on low just until mixed in. Add the flour mixture on low a little at a time until no white streaks appear. Stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips. Using a 2 tablespoon spring loaded scoop, place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 12 minutes. Makes 16 cookies.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Puppet Bug

I’ve been itching to make a puppet for the past week now, but think I want to start something completely new. If only I had the motivation to do so.

Nothing motivates me more than actually wanting to complete something. This doesn’t happen all too often. For example, the Fall Quilt I’ve been hand quilting I’m taking my time on even though I want this quilt done and be snuggling in it right now! Why? Because I’m trying to relearn the value of patience through needle, thread and thousands upon thousands of stitches. And I’m only doing an extremely super simple quilting pattern!

As for puppets, I think my biggest reason for wanting to make another is that it has been nearly two years since I have. As much as I love the smaller puppets, I’m thinking I want to go bigger like Noah and Shermit, my larger performance pieces. This isn’t to say the smaller guys won’t work for plays because King puppet has been in a high school production, just that I really like the versatility of the larger puppets, and the extra bonus of having to use both hands to perform.

So, what should I make? The obvious answer is a female puppet or at least one with female characteristics since I don’t have one. I’ve made them before, including one for a friend as her Muppet-likeness, but alas, kept none as they were all gifts. However, I really want to make a furry monster puppet too, so I suppose out of the four furs I currently have they will need to work since money will be a rather large factor in this since, well, we don’t have any. I’ve got so much stuff to make them leftover from the previous puppets I’m sure I can come up with something. Now, where did I leave my motivation?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Craft Corner Cleaned

Sometimes all you need is a few minutes to declutter. This can be applied to nearly everything in life.

An organized space is usually more conducive to creating than one in disarray. Usually, I say, because there are creative folk who thrive on chaos. Personally I feel like somewhere in between chaos and order is a nice balance. Not too carefully organized that I’m afraid to take what I need but not so chaotic I can’t find it in the first place.

So after carefully considering my options of ignoring the clutter and forging ahead with whatever I really wanted to do (let’s be real, it was stare mindlessly at Pinterest all day) I decided to get back to some form of organization with my sewing stuff. Nothing too fancy, just take stuff out of bags and put them onto the bookcase where I’ve had my fabric since not long after we moved in last year. Magically just removing stuff piled up between my sewing machine and the bookcase instantly made the room feel less chaotic.

The last thing I had to do was find a place to put my embroidery hoops. I decided on grabbing one of the braces I used at the old house to stabilize the wall unit I had in the craft room there (it now sits on the floor in our living room for media storage) and putting it under the bolts of fabric on top of the bookcase. Presto! Instant hook and I can easily locate the size I need. It may not look all that pretty, but it does the job for now.

Got chaos in your life? Take a few moments to declutter. The resulting drop in stress levels will be amazing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Desperate Housewife’s Quilt: Block Twenty Nine

I love projects that use up all those scraps that otherwise would sit unused yet you don’t have the heart to simply throw away. This block was just that.

Log cabin blocks have been around for awhile. Never would I have thought to take my scraps, either in the scrap basket or tossed next to the sewing machine, and piece them together into strips for the block, however. Jane over at Want it, Need it, Quilt! ( did. The look is modern and traditional all at once. It’s also nice that it was super easy to do since things like “measurements” and “accuracy” aren’t all that important.

So, I know I’m skipping around a lot, but the thing about making these blocks for the Desperate Housewife’s Quilt is that it doesn’t matter. I’m only making the blocks I want to and I’m skipping ahead and going back based off of time I feel like I can put forth into a block at that particular moment in time. Besides, as much as I love the blocks, I also love the various techniques I’m learning in the process. The fact that I’ll have a practically finished sampler quilt top at the end is a bonus. I’m just glad I decided from the beginning to use my batik stash for the fabric choices to tie it all together.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Time to Organize

I think it is time to reorganize my craft room. My sewing space is really getting out of hand.

Okay, so perhaps my creativity has taken a slump because, well, my space has gotten all frumpy. I mean, this room isn’t exactly inspirational to begin with, but damn, I can at least clean up the crap piled up that either isn’t being used or was leftover from a long-completed project. I guess the only way it is going to get done is by getting off my ass and doing it.

This kind of feels like my life right now.




Perhaps I need to organize myself as well while I’m at it. Then again, that might take quite some time to accomplish, whereas the room will probably only take a matter of minutes. Still, it is worth beginning the process.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hide and Seek

Seek and you shall find? For me its more like search for hours and you shall be frustrated as all get out because you can’t locate the damn thing.

Nothing frustrates me more than looking for something I know I have and being completely and utterly stupefied as to where it might be. This is especially true when it is something I need that day. Now, I suppose that if I wasn’t famous for procrastinating I’d probably have found what I’m looking for, but alas, waiting until the absolute last minute before I decide to take action is, well, part of my, uh, charm?

Then again, when we were packing everything up last year I thought I had labeled all of the boxes with the contents. Nope, wrong again. Apparently I only did this with the stuff we packed in the months leading up to the eventual move and not the stuff hastily thrown into boxes with labels like “Random Shit” and “Cory’s Stuff”. Something tells me I will probably end up finding it when we move again or whenever we move to a more permanent location. Oy. By then I won’t need it anymore.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Desperate Housewife's Quilt: Block Twenty Five

Okay, so I did a little skipping around. You’ll see why.

After church and lunch with my husband’s dad and stepmom who were in town from Idaho, I was in the mood to sew something. The daunting task of cutting into my prized Alexander Henry fabrics was unbearable even though it is equally as painful to simply see them sitting on the shelf folded and unused. The same goes for everything on the top shelf of the bookcase I keep my fabric that already has a purpose for a quilt or project.

The only problem was that I was also feeling rather lazy, meaning I wanted to accomplish something that would take a matter of minutes rather than hours. What can I say, I’m a guy. This is about the time I remembered a Desperate Housewife’s Quilt block using an embroidered center image. I just happened to have one of those I let expire from my Etsy shop laying around.

So I took the little bug out of the embroidery hoop, ironed out the wrinkles, and cut it down to a workable size to not leave too much white space. After figuring out the measurements (since I cut it down to a different size than the instructions call for) I sewed the strips around the image, pressing my seams open as I went. Within just a few minutes I had an adorable framed block! Of course, if I hadn’t already had the embroidered center it would have taken much longer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

March for Equality

On Wednesday our church finished a one-hundred and sixteen mile walk from Vancouver to Olympia in support of same-sex marriage. Yesterday after work, and making cupcakes for a party later last night, I finished editing together the video.

Even though my husband and I were only walking seventeen miles of the stretch (well, we each signed up for five miles) I thought for sure I’d be able to walk the whole thing. I was wrong. Let’s just say uneven pavement and being severely out of shape didn’t help. My total miles ended up at about ten and a half. Oh well. The experience was great and I wouldn’t trade it in for anything.

Of course, while this march was planned last summer, we had no idea that there would be a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry pass both in the senate and the house and have the governor sign it into law during the walk. Still, it was apparent that many churches felt it was important to stand in solidarity for this cause to show that the religious right isn’t the only voice of religion out there. I couldn’t be prouder of not only our church, but all the other churches and synagogues that joined in the march to the state capitol in support of equal marriage rights.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Cupcakes are treats for just about any occasion. Mardi Gras is no exception.

Mardi Gras is just around the corner, as in this Tuesday, which means it’s time for our friend Linda’s annual Mardi Gras Party. That also means I need to finish up the cupcakes today after work before the party tonight. Typically for Mardi Gras one would have a King Cake, which is a pastry-like confection drizzled with a glaze and colored sugars with coins and babies baked inside. I make King Cupcakes, which are instead a type of cream cheese pound cake and topped with colored glazes, coins and babies. This year I’m skipping the babies. We could all use more money, but there are enough babies.

For the chocolate lover, I’m also making a quadruple chocolate cupcake, which is a chocolate cake with three different types of chocolate chips and topped with a chocolate sour cream frosting. I was originally going to make black forest cupcakes, but didn’t want to deal with cherries. Of course now that my brain is working again after a copious amount of coffee, I wish I would have made some white chocolate voodoo dolls to top the cupcakes with. Perhaps, if I have time, I’ll do just that.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Itching to Start Something New

Ever since finishing the Uninspired Quilt, I’ve been itching to begin a new project. Well, maybe I should rethink this prospect.

While technically the Uninspired Quilt is finished, I’ve been toying with the idea of adding appliqué tikis to turn it into a Polynesian quilt. I haven’t washed it yet for that very reason. Perhaps if I make it into something fun I’ll like it more. Hmm… I wonder if I took enough pictures of various tikis in the Tiki Room at Disneyworld a few years ago to use those as either inspiration or tweak them in Photoshop and print them out onto fabric? This would certainly give the quilt not only more character but more meaning as well.

Still, between the Alexander Henry In the Kitchen line that keeps staring at me to make That 70s quilt, the Figgy Pudding charms and yardage by Basic Grey for Moda to make my Christmas Stars Quilt and Central Park layer cake, charm and yardage by Kate Spain for Moda telling me to make a summery flying geese quilt, the temptation to take the plunge into a new project is great. Perhaps what I really need to do is stop contemplating a new project and simply dive right in.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Do you ever have one of those days where you tell yourself you’re going to walk seventeen miles and not train or stretch or do anything to prepare? That would be me yesterday.

First off, no, I didn’t end up walking seventeen miles. I know, shocking, right? About four miles in my right knee started hurting and from there it sent a rather painful sensation up my thigh and down my calf. By seven and a half miles I could barely hobble. Yay! I made another attempt to walk, but ended up needing to ride until the last three mile leg where I somehow managed to push through the pain and lead the ever-growing group into Olympia as part of an interfaith coalition for equal marriage rights. A big part of that was that nobody seemed to want to take our church’s Open and Affirming banner, so I took the front, my husband took the back and the pastor who married us and decided to join the march held up the middle. It was kind of an amazing thing.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. Even though our governor has already signed the bill, it’s only a matter of time before a referendum is put to the floor for voters to decide in November on whether to take away the rights of certain individuals and openly discriminate against them based on their God-given orientation. Hearing that the biggest opposition is from the religious right, my only counterargument is that we were joined by a multitude of clergy and laypersons representing their churches and synagogues for what they view as a social justice issue. Along with the United Church of Christ, our church, were Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, MCCs, Unitarians, Presbyterians and Jewish in support of equality. It was amazing and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Today I will be walking. Walking and walking and walking.

Our church organized a community effort to walk from Vancouver to Olympia, Washington and my husband and I figured that since this effort is in support of equal marriage rights, we decided we would join the walk. We signed up for the final leg of the walk into the state capitol for a couple reasons, but one I didn’t want to do is wake up so damn early. Ugh.

So I figure I will make the most of this walk. I’ll take pictures along the way. I’ll take video along the way. And I’ll take lots of ibuprofen just in case. In fact, I’m going to go take some right now with my coffee so I can prevent some inflammation. Actually, maybe I’ll wait a bit since it’s now just after five in the morning and we don’t start walking until eight because we have to drive to the starting point. Oh joy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

First off, I’m not a very romantic person. That being said, I love Valentine’s Day.

Contrary to popular belief that Pisces are romantic, I assure you I am not. Oh, I’ve tried to be, but alas, failed in every effort I have ever put forth. Well, most anyway. I’m a funny person, so naturally anything I try to do ends up with humor being involved. What can I say? Boys are stupid.

The problem with plans is they tend to fall apart if I get involved. Seriously, I’m like a bad omen or something. One year my husband and I planned an entire meal together and it was amazing. That was also the year we discovered my husband and mussels don’t agree with each other as he broke out into rather itchy hives soon after dinner. Instead I feel like playing it by ear. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated and certainly nothing involving bivalves!

(An addendum to yesterday’s post about the Dress Up Your Roll competition I blogged with my absolutely adorable and prize-worthy Roll Monkey, I neglected to mention that Jane over at Want it Need it, Quilt! ( is hosting this and anyone can enter simply by posting their creation onto the group’s Flickr account. There are some great designs out there! Entries must be in by March 1st, so you still have a couple weeks to enter.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dress Up Your Roll

When I read about the competition to Dress Up You Roll, as in toilet paper roll, I was intrigued. When I actually got around to doing it, I was clueless.

So, after I had already started cutting out the fabric I intended to use, I realized mine was going to be able to cover two rolls. Hmmm… could this be a deal changer? I don’t know. However, I decided what the hell and pressed on. Literally. My sock monkey fabric was quite wrinkly. Why use the knit look fabric from Moda? Because I was making a Roll Monkey!

I approached it the same way I suppose I would have had I been making an actual sock monkey, except that I ran a little short on fabric. I opted to use the plain muslin I was using for the hands, feet, mouth and hat for the back, along with touches of red like it was from the tip of the sock. Of course, I’ve never actually made a sock monkey, so naturally things didn’t always go according to plan, or the fact that I was simply designing as I went.

In the end, my entry is cute and makes me laugh and as bonus holds two rolls of toilet paper. I’ve been keeping my eyes away from the competition so I wouldn’t be held back by my imagination, but now that I’m done, I have to go take a gander. I’m curious to see what others have come up with!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Sometimes before I take my first sip of coffee I’ll type out the title of whatever I’m going to blog about and go from there. Sometimes this can be dangerous.

On a whim I decided to look up the definition of the word ‘marriage’ to find out how it is defined in Merriam-Webster. The wording didn’t surprise me all too much, but the fact that there are apparently comment boards allowed on a dictionary website was intriguing. Without much thought, I perused the comments. I expected the typical “traditional marriage” comments, but was surprised to see an equal number of counter comments in support of the definition to be both between a man and a woman and between two people of the same sex.

Last night at the town hall meeting in Longview, Washington of all places where I was on the panel of speakers (and didn’t pee my pants so, yay! Success!) I thought for certain there would be a good sized population opposed to us on the topic of Equal Marriage Rights. There were none. And we were in a church filled with a crowd that had a lot of silver and white hair. It was then that I realized it wasn’t my grandparents’ generation that was holding on to “traditional” ideals, but my parents’ generation. The same generation that created the Free Love movement of the 1970s became the Greedy Yuppies of the 1980s who became the Hypocritical Conservatives of the 1990s and have been spreading a message of hate and intolerance toward any change that would bring them back to the Utopian concept of their youth. What I don’t understand is why?

People are so easily persuaded by people they perceive to be in power. So if someone on the television claims they are speaking the truth and word of God, a fairly large amount of people will believe them because they said so and will send them gobs of money to continue spreading hateful messages because they’re also told that if they don’t they’ll burn in hell. People are like sheep, and sheep are afraid of a lot of things. Fear is the real matter here. Fear is what drives a vast majority of us to not upset the flow of things, to stay in the unmoving lane of traffic even though the road that parallels it is empty.

I say to make your own conclusions before condemning someone. If you want to continue to use the same six verses in the Bible that talk about rape and pretend they are about homosexuality because someone in the fifteenth century didn’t understand Hebrew and Greek well enough to translate a few verses, then perhaps you should also look up the over nine-hundred and thirty instances where it talks about proper heterosexuality, which, by the way, includes a wide definition for the word ‘marriage’. Anyone who thinks this One Man One Woman ideal of marriage is the sanctioned in the Bible as the only way, obvious has never read it. Or perhaps they’ve only heard what someone on the television in a fancy expensive suit or cheap wig and bad makeup told them.

Marriage should not be limited to a ruling majority, but to any consenting adults willing to make a commitment to each other. Here, I’ll make it simple: If you don’t like GAY marriage don’t marry a GAY person.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Lately it feels as though I’ve been nothing more than a zombie. Except, of course, without that whole eating human brains thing.

I don’t know why, but I haven’t had much enthusiasm with doing a whole lot lately. It could be all the rain we’ve been getting or it could simply be that I don’t really feel like doing a whole lot. All I do know is that it needs to stop. I’ve got stuff I want to do and projects I want to start and projects I want to finish.

I want I want I want!

One can bitch about it or one can take action. I like to do both, but the latter is the more productive of the two options, even if the former is usually more enjoyable in the short term. I guess we’ll see what today may bring… after work and a town hall meeting on Marriage Equality that I recently found out my church wants me to help represent them on the panel. This should be interesting since, again, zombie. That and I’m terrified of public speaking.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Toilet Paper Project

I’m in the middle of a project involving toilet paper. I’ll allow you to use your imagination.

Sometimes a little silliness in the quilting world is in order. I decided to indeed join in on the fun of designing a cover for the humble toilet paper roll. Actually, I got a little ambitious with my undertaking and it will actually cover two rolls, but alas, the more the merrier, right?

Since I decided to just wing it, my measurements are a little wonky. This is what happens when you just jump into a project or at least to me anyway. Working out the kinks is part of the fun/stress of quilting. No pictures just yet because I’m trying to keep the end results a surprise until I enter it into the competition.

What?! There’s an actual competition going on for this thing? Why yes there is. Jane over at Want it, Need it, Quilt! ( is hosting Dress Up Your Roll. I’m entering a little late in the game (it started over a month ago) but will have it done by tonight or tomorrow to enter.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


It’s been a while since I made a puppet. Perhaps it is also time to store them properly.

 My husband has been floating around the idea of doing a puppet show, and for it I’d need to create a few more puppet characters. Currently I have five; three small and two large. They are all either unceremoniously tossed inside a bag next to or plopped on top of a bookcase where I keep my fabric stash. It’s sad, really. Perhaps it is time to make stands for them and possibly keep them in the guest room for the time being. Of course, anywhere would be better than decapitated and sandwiched between a quilt and some cotton batting!

I seen some made from simple PVC pipes that seem to work really well. I’m sure something like that would work for the smaller puppets. The larger ones, however, may either need more support or just have to sit on the futon. I think they look pretty good just sitting there. In any case, I’ve got to do something with them other than what I’ve been doing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


bill (noun): an itemized statement of charges for goods and/or services that severely depletes your bank account

Both my husband and I get paid on the first of the month. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that is the only time we get paid for the month. A majority of our bills also are due at this time as well. Sons of bitches. Basically what this means is strategic planning to make sure we not only have enough to pay said bills, but also enough for gas and food and other provisions, both seen and unforeseen. Oy.

I’m sure our stress levels wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t live paycheck to paycheck, but alas, our low-paying-thanks-to-a-weakened-economy jobs are barely enough to get by. I did just get an eleven percent raise, so that should help out. If not, then it will be time to panic!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The laptop seems to be hating on me again. It won’t let me log into my Google accounts.

I’m sure there is some easy fix, but it is morning and I don’t feel like doing much about it. Alas, to the desktop I go to blog. And blog I will about not being able to log into my Blogger account.

This coffee needs to kick in.

Like right now.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chocolate Wasted

Pinterest has finally come through. I did something with it.

Ever since I found this cake while scrolling through Pinterest mindlessly with a colleague at work a few weeks ago, I’ve been obsessed with making a cake called Chocolate Wasted. Posted on the blog Art of Dessert ( back in October 2011, it isn’t hard to see why, unless, of course, you’re allergic to chocolate. That would be sad because this cake is loaded! I finally had a reason to make it… a fellow chocoholic friend was having a birthday.

I’m not a stickler for recipes and generally use them as guidelines, so I opted instead for my basic dark chocolate fudge cake recipe but made it more decadent by doubling the butter and using Bulgarian buttermilk and a couple tablespoons of honey. For the frosting I almost made straight bittersweet chocolate ganache, but decided to make a more truffle-like frosting instead so I replaced half of the heavy cream (forty percent minimum milk fat, of course) with salted butter. It was amazing. Having used Guittard bittersweet chocolate for the frosting and semisweet for the drizzle (with a pinch of sea salt for good measure) I figured Hershey’s Special Dark chips would work for the sides as its cocoa content is in between the two. That and I was using Hershey products to cover the top of the cake. Miniature versions of Hershey Bars, Mr. Goodbars, Krackles, Special Darks and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups along with Rolos, Kisses and Whoppers.

The end result? Amazing. Seriously. You should totally make this cake and get chocolate wasted too.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Desperate Housewife's Quilt: Block Fourteen

I feared this block. After making it in about an hour, I now have no idea why.

With a bit of time yesterday afternoon after getting most stuff ready for a Super Bowl party we’re attending today and before going to a hockey game last night, I decided I wanted to sew. Looking at the Desperate Housewife’s Quilt Blocks I had printed off, Block Fourteen has been staring at me for months to just cut out the pieces and sew it together. I decided it was time. Perusing my stash from a distance, I decided on using a rather colorful batik for the background since I had already made up my mind about using black and white for the ‘peepers’ as they’re called. I’ve already been using black and white as color balances with the jewel tones of the batiks, but I could have used two of the more solid batiks instead had I wanted to. I didn’t.

With all the pieces cut, it was time to start sewing them all together. I will have to admit that the hardest part was the 1/8” seam for the peepers. If I was a thinking person, I probably would have switched over to a zipper foot, but alas, my brains were obviously intent on finishing just one block and not working properly. It went together rather quickly since I chain stitched each section. Well, by quickly, I only ripped the stitches out of one of the four sections before realizing that yes, I had indeed sewed it correctly and now had to redo it. With only one GRRR… moment, I’m pinning this block as a success. Paying attention, however, is a malfunction I’ll have to work on.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Forcing Creativity

When life gets in the way of being creative, sometimes you have to force it. However, this isn’t always the best thing to do.

A typical day for me goes like this: Wake up; feed the dog and cats; make coffee; blog; shower and get dressed; go to work; maybe quilt on my lunch break; come home and cook dinner; sit in front of the television and stare absentmindedly while probably also on the internet doing the same. Boring. My days off I tend to spend cleaning and doing laundry rather than anything fun… most of the time. Lately I’ve been forcing myself to do something creative on my days off by making How To videos. It does take a little bit of planning to put one of these together, something I am admittedly bad at, but I find that if I still keep the project unscripted and spontaneous I don’t lose interest halfway through. Of course, sometimes this can still backfire.

Forcing creativity is at times a double edged sword. On one end is the side that says, “Yay! I’m doing something creative! My mind is happy!” and on the other end, “I frakking hate this project and I just want to burn it.” Okay, so maybe those are a little extreme. However, I will say that when I was working on The Uninspired Quilt this is how I felt. I’m sure a big part of it was the bad memories of buying the fabric from The Most Evil Corporation in the World, but also I spent so long trying to figure out what to do with it I gave up and just started cutting it into large scale squares and triangles.

So now what? I’ve got a finished quilt I hate, or at the very least find extremely unpleasant. Well, I have options. I can sell it to recoup my costs, which was roughly $30 worth of material and cotton batting. I can donate it, but I feel like I’ve made far too many quilts that ended up getting donated in the past year for various fundraisers. Or I can make it better. Methinks that the latter might be the way to go. Perhaps I should take another good look at the quilt and figure out what I could do to improve on it. Or perhaps I should go with my gut and turn this ugly duckling into a funky Tiki Quilt since the fabrics have a Polynesian feel to them already. Now I suppose the big question I need to answer is whether or not I’ll simply go find a coordinating Tiki print to cut out and appliqué the little figures or make my own?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Making Plans

It seems that if I don’t make a plan to do something, I won’t do it. This pretty much applies to my entire life.

Tonight when I get home, I’m planning on making a plan for the week. Projects I want to complete, stuff that needs to get done, everything. Not that I have these broad ambitions that I’ll actually do everything on the list, but, well, if the list is there the chances of it being completed are multiplied by a factor of like a thousand or something. I’m really bad at math, but I think that’s a lot.

We made a To-Do-List a few weeks ago, writing down everything we wanted to get done over the course of a couple days, and surprisingly were able to cross off all but a couple items. We’re still waiting for just the right time to take down the Christmas lights outside and to organize and clean the office/craft room. I think of plans as something similar, but with a little more focus. For instance, making a cake where multiple steps are involved. A plan is more like a timeline, a way to manage your list by assigning deadlines to them. Like most deadlines, some just aren’t going to make it. Personally, I’ll try to make my plans as simple as possible since it looks as though it will be a busy weekend, what with a cake to make, acting class to take, hockey game to go to, church and of course, a Super Bowl party.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Desperate Housewife's Quilt: Block Fifteen

Yes, I realized Block 31 was posted today. So I’m a little behind.

Yesterday I was hoping to knock out two blocks before my husband got home from work, but for some odd reason I felt it was more important to figure out why our network disappeared. The internet is crazy like that. It’s like a drug you can’t quit. When it suddenly vanishes without reason (and not paying your bill doesn’t count) like a junkie you keep going until you can get your next hit. At first I thought the wireless aspect of the router was kaput, so I reset everything and changed it to an unsecure network and all of our devices were able to connect so that wasn’t the problem. I’m sure a geek would’ve solved the issue in a matter of minutes, but alas, I’ve never attempted such an endeavor. Anyway, I spent the better part of the day basically rebuilding the network and I’m happy to report that all internet connected devices in the house are fully operational once again.

So, instead of at least two blocks and possibly starting to cut out fabric for That 70s Quilt I made one block in The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt series from Want it, Need it, Quilt! ( I will have to admit that piecing goes by much faster when you pay attention to what you are doing. Block Fifteen was the simplest of the blocks I printed out, and had the perfect place to put two little pieces of the batik Jane sent me. I can’t wait to continue making these blocks, especially since I’m so far behind on the ones I plan on doing!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Aurifil and Batik

When life gets you down, sometimes it is the little things that can help lift it back up. You know, like winning something.

 Even though I’ve been lacking in actually making the blocks for The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt at Want it, Need it, Quilt! ( I somehow still won a giveaway; a sampler pack of Aurifil Threads. Jane also was kind enough to send along a good sized cut of a batik that will play really well with my current stash I’ve been using to create the blocks. Wasn’t that nice?

Anyway, now my brain is plotting which blocks to use bits and pieces of the batik she sent me. I just need to get out of this creative funk I’ve been in since finishing the Uninspired Quilt. I thought that completing that project would help but it seems to have made the problem worse. Ugh. Perhaps the best way to face the problem is dive in head first and just work on something.