Friday, June 29, 2007

Can I Interest You in a Cupcake?

I really do have a life outside of cupcake making, despite appearances. When I first moved to Portland, I was thankful that the myth of constant rain turned out to be just that, a myth. I'd heard how it would rain constantly without respite, and thought I might have to consider devising some sort of umbrella harness so that I wouldn't be completely soaked when I stepped out. That is definitely not the case, thankfully, though I am started to wonder where the heck summer is. We're having an unusually high amount of rain and have been since November, I understand. I've grown tired of it. I do like not having to water the garden but I don't like not being able to sell cupcakes on Alberta during Last Thursday because of the incessant rain. That's right, all the cupcakes I made a day in advance, thinking that my preparedness would surely pay off are now sitting on the counter looking lovely. The weather wins again! I made 54 of them. 54! I've given some away and have relatives coming tonight, who will undoubtedly help eat them. Perhaps next month, I'll make cookies, after checking the weather report, of course.

Ok, enough about cupcakes. I, personally, am a bit cupcaked out. Except of course for the ones made of felt. Those, I will never tire of.

I finally bought a teflon presser foot for my sewing machine and it arrived in the mail yesterday, so I pulled out the vinyl and made a couple of pouches. I really like working with vinyl, though I don't think I would ever want to work with it exclusively.

As mentioned previously, relatives are coming to town including two little ones. I've got a disastrous house to clean and child proof. Have a lovely weekend, I hope it's sunny!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In the Kitchen with Chet and Dot

My great grandmother grew up in Mexico and I do so wish I could have tried her cooking. I imagine her making enchilada sauce and refried beans in a tiny little kitchen while all 11 (!!!) children ran through the house. Unfortunately, the only recipe that survived was for homemade flour tortillas. I used to make these a lot more often but now they are more of an occasional treat. They're best fresh off the griddle. I like them with just butter but they're delicious with jam, too. In fact, this morning I had a half butter-half jam one. Here is the recipe in case you want to try them for yourself, it's super easy:
6 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free, please)
3 teaspoons salt
Blend above ingredients in large mixing bowl
Cut in 1 cup shortening or lard until well blended
Add 1 cup hot water, and mix, I usually end up using my hands at this point.
Knead into a ball, adding more water or flour as necessary.
Let the dough rest under a towel for 10 minutes or longer. Tear off a piece of dough a little larger than a golf ball. Form into a ball and roll out as flat as possible.

Always cook on a hot griddle. These cook fast so I keep the heat at medium and flip often to ensure even cooking and prevent burning. They just need about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Store the dough at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap and then a towel to keep from drying out. If dough isn't to be used within one to 2 days, store in refrigerator and let come to room temperature before rolling.

Tomorrow is Last Thursday already. I'm going to sell cupcakes again. Vanilla and chocolate this time. I want to experiment with making a lemon cupcake, but I think that will be for next month. I've got lots to do, it always sneaks up on me and then I spend 2 days running around like a lunatic trying to get ready.

New items in the shop today:

Monday, June 25, 2007


I'm very pleased to report that Miss Fifi is feeling much better. She's almost fully recovered. We're still giving her antibiotics, much to her dismay, and have about 4 more days of them, but it's a small price to pay for a healthy kitty.

We picked raspberries at Allison's last night and then I made 16 jars of jam and 8 jars today. We've got strawberry, strawberry/raspberry, and raspberry. I think we're set for jam. Though it's amazing how fast a jar can disappear in this house. This morning started out quite nicely with fresh berry jam, scones hot from the oven and a cup of nice, strong coffee with cream.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Summer Reds

I find myself drawn to all things red lately. I particularly like it paired with blue and or brown. I think for some it's more of a winter color, but it's always reminded me of summer. So many of my favorite summer things are red, berries, watermelon, and tomatoes.

A new sewing kit and some sweet cupcake twill tape is in the shop today. I finally got the kraft boxes I've been hunting for. They are exactly what I wanted and I love the sewing kits in the kraft rather than the white. The white boxes had a glossy sheen that I wasn't happy with, had they been matte, I might have liked them better.

Strawberries from a local farm, ripe, delicious and ready to be made into jam. Isn't summer great? We'll have fresh raspberry and strawberry jam just in time for my mom and sister's visit this weekend. Perfect.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Little Kitty

I feel like I haven't posted in so long, but it's just been a couple of very long days. On Thursday night, we had to rush our little kitty, Fifi to the emergency vet because she was very sick. Four hours later, she got to come home and we started her on antibiotics. We thought for sure it was something serious but it turns out it was just a virus she contracted and she's feeling much better. She's back to her adorable, demanding self. Thankfully! She's still not eating or drinking regularly but she's getting there. Poor Kitty, it's the worst feeling in the world to have a sick pet. I felt like everything came to a standstill for a while there while we focused our attention all on her. She's sleeping next to me as I type and I couldn't be happier. I know some people think that I'm crazy for the way I am with her, but she's like my child. I worry about her and dote on her just like any parent does. I have had her since she was born, I got her mom, who, unbeknownst to me, was pregnant. She only had two perfect kittens, both of whom I still have. Fifi was born first and Mama Belle, left her alone for an hour before coming back to have Roly. I kept tiny little Fifi warm until Mama came back and took over. They are like night and day, one a big, dopey boy named Roly and Fifi, a semi-petite, highly intelligent girl. I love them both for different reasons but Miss Fifi is really my baby. So there you have it, a brief history of Jenn's cats. I'm just so relieved that my kitty is ok.

More twill tape printed and in the shop. I'm really happy with the owl on pink. I found a roll of pink twill I'd bought and forgotten about. I love that.

I got the fabric swatches yesterday and I've narrowed it down to 2, I think. One is a sandwashed cotton broadcloth, that has a suede sort of feel. It's really nice and I think it would print well. The other is a linen/cotton blend, but it's a little thinner than I'd like. I'm still going to look around but I may go with the broadcloth.

Have a nice Saturday, I've got a birthday party to attend this evening, and have yet to decide on a gift or side dish to bring.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Parsley, anyone?

Here are the garden pics I promised. They're not as exciting as they will be in a few weeks. That clump of leafy green on the right there is our bumper crop of curly leaf parsley and celery (weird huh?) from last year. I pulled about half the parsley out this spring because I do not need massive quantities of curly leaf parsley, in fact, I meant to plant flat leaf but wasn't thinking. Next to it is a little flat leaf parsley plant that hopefully will take off. We've got rhubarb and peas, and will have zucchini and pie pumpkins. We also planted cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes and tomatillos.


This is such an fast and easy project, which is why there are suddenly baby booties all over the house. I love to knit but really prefer working on smaller projects rather than big things like sweaters and such. This is adapted from the pattern in
Stitch and Bitch Nation. It's the only pattern I've tried from the book. I've been a bit disappoined in all three stitch and bitch books thus far particularly the crochet one, Happy Hooker, I believe it's called. I suppose I'm just not into rock and roll wrist cuffs and skull sweaters, shocking, I know. Anyway, booties are cute, fun and oh so tiny. It's hard to believe they can fit on the foot of anything other than a doll.

I snatched up the last copy of this at Powell's yesterday.

I wasn't sure if I would like it or not because all too often I'm disappointed by sewing (and knitting) books, but this book is really great! Congratulations to Amy for a truly lovely book. I already have a few favorite projects that I can't wait to try. I love these curtains:

and this puppet theater is the cutest! It hangs on tension rods in a doorway, brilliant.

I just ordered some fabric swatches for the fabric I'll be printing. My friend Kim has graciously offered to share her silk screening wisdom with me. I've done some silk screening but there is something that I'm not doing right, so it's Kim to the rescue -- Hooray!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We spent the last several hours in the garden, weeding and planting the vegetables we bought weeks ago. It went surprisingly fast and now we have an actual garden. I'm so happy with how the back yard has come together this year. I'll take pics in the morning, it was dark when we finished. Now we get to sit back and wait for the lettuce, onions and squash to appear. We made a second little strawberry patch that I'm hoping will produce enough berries next year for jam. Mmmm...jam. It's almost time for raspberry jam making, how are the berries coming along Allison?

The twill tape is in the shop! I'll be adding more this week, so be on the lookout.

I'm off to watch Deadwood, the new season just arrived via Netflix. It's so good. If you haven't watched it, beware the language, if you're sensitive about that sort of thing. It took me awhile to get used to the constant cursing.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I had dinner with friends last night, they served mushroom risotto that was amazing. For dessert we had a raspberry trifle. No pictures unfortunately, but the trifle was beautiful. Over dinner, we got to talking about the bakery/shop that my friend Chary and I want to open. We have a few different names in the running:
1::Petit Four
2::Sweet Tooth
I think sweet tooth is super cute because it warrants the cutest illustrations of a happy tooth as the logo, but I think petit four and fondant are more "distinguished". I really like Parfait though it was pointed out that it that it may be a bit pretentious for what we're going for. I think it's awfully cute though, it might be more suited to a little ice cream shop. I think we may end up going with petit four because we like the idea of everything being on the small side rather than large. No giant muffins or cookies the size of your head at Petit Four.

We've been talking about opening a bakery/mini boutique for a couple of years now. I love the idea that it could be a place where you could stop and buy a handmade gift and a selection of sweets. I think that Chary and I would make a great team, she is an amazing baker and chef and we have very similar tastes. In fact, look at what she brought me back from Canada last week. The box says 'puppet'. It's so adorable now I need to find the perfect spot for her.

I hope everyone is having a pleasant Monday afternoon. The sun is shining here and it's supposed to warm up. The past couple of weeks have been so cool. I'm sure that after two months of roasting in the summer heat, I'll be cursing the sun, but for now I'm happy it's here.

Look at this perfect little scene, Miss Fifi is in love with the new wool blanket and has found the best spot in the house, she can watch what's happening outside and fall asleep in the sun.

Some more gift tags in the shop today. I'm still working on more twill tape, and then that will be available too.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hooray for the Weekend

We attended the Laurelhurst neighborhood yard sales today. There were some 110 sales. We maybe hit 10 or 12 sales before we stopped for brunch at my current favorite morning spot where I had this yummy treat.

Here's what I found:

Some books, cute black shoes and a nice yellow plant pot. The little fridge and stove are especially sweet! They are tin and made by the Wolverine toy company. They already have a home in the kitchen. Yet another pink wool blanket has made it's way home with me. I couldn't pass it up at only $4 but I would like to find a white or red one. White would be good so that I could do some dying. I'll keep my eye out, one is bound to turn up eventually.

Here is more printed twill tape. I think I'm liking the natural color better than the white, but they're both nice.

Happy Apple

Acorns and Dots

Stars and Dots

Happy Umbrella and Clouds

I think these will be in the shop this week. I've decided that I like making them more than using them.
Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Muy Bueno!

The horchata, that is. It was so easy, too! All the pics I took were erased by a certain teenage person, but trust me it was yummy! I used a recipe that included rice and almonds, which made it extra rich and tasty. It's good made with just rice, too. I will definitely be making horchata again.

Speaking of teenage persons. My teenage person just graduated from the 8th grade yesterday. A lot of people are surprised to learn that I am the parent of a 14 year old. I'm often surprised by it myself. I was very young when she was born but it's been great watching her turn into a young adult. It's funny how much she reminds me of myself at her age and at the same time she's very different from me. It's off to high school next year and pretty soon she'll be driving and working and all that good adult stuff that we can't wait to do when we're young and then wish we didn't have to do once we can. Here she is making a dorky face for the camera. I think this is the best picture she'd let me get of her, she's quite the charmer! We're now officially on summer vacation and I've got to think of some ways to keep this easily bored girl entertained. Sigh, I do wish she were into arts and crafts like her mom.

On to things of a more crafty nature, here is some twill tape that I printed this afternoon. I think I could get hooked on making this. I'm not sure if it's for sale or for me. I am working on adding some printed fabrics to the shop sometime this summer. I have been wanting to design my own line of super cutesy fabrics but I think I'd like to do the printing myself in keeping with the handmade nature of my products. I'm still working out the details like what type of fabric to use and whether to sell it pre-measured or cut to order.

I'm going to see if I can scout out some church rummage sales for tomorrow morning. I love summer and all the fun activities is brings with it, like picking berries, making jam and yard/rummage sales.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

So Many Prints

I often say that if I had known as a child that I would grow up and have a business that allowed me to work with shrinky dinks, felt and paper whenever I wanted, I think I might have had a much more positive outlook on life. I remember as a child obsessing over paper, pens, staplers and tape. One of my favorite things was to run to the print shop with my grandpa where I would undoubtedly receive a free notepad or pencil. I was weird. In spite of the fact that I'm not wealthy and we struggle a bit financially, I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I can't imagine working for someone else, though sometimes the thought of being able to leave work at work is very appealing.

These are some new card designs. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I originally thought I'd use two or three different paper colors but I like the way the colors looked on the kraft card so much that I decided to stick with it.

Some more bookmarks. These are in the shop.

I think I'm going to make horchata tonight. Or at least start it. I've never made it before. I'll let you know how it goes. It's presently my favorite thing. Those Mexicans sure know what they're doing in the food/beverage department.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Soft and Wooly

These little bunnies are part of an order for a shop in LA. They are sewn by hand from handmade wool felt using wool embroidery floss. The bows are silk ribbon, so fancy.

This little friend came out of the sewing room last night. Made from super soft fleecy bunting and some of those dots I love so much. He is in the
shop. All the animals have been sleepy lately. I suppose I should work on some wide awake ones.

I found these little booties that I forgot I'd made months ago. They were knit with one of my favorite yarns Manos del Uruguay. It's soft wool that is hand dyed in the nicest colors. I think I'll work on some more little booties and add them to the shop. I've been complaining for months that I don't have a baby to sew or knit for. I'm 31, shouldn't all of my friends be having babies?! It's been over a year since I even held a little one. I have tons of patterns and ideas for sweet baby gifts but alas no one to even try them out on. It seems like there used to always be a new tiny person to outfit. I guess all the new babies are in blogland now.

I'm off to make some deliveries and stop by Bolt for an emergency fabric need, a real emergency this time.