Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin cookies!

Pumpkins and fall go together like peanut butter and jelly or . . . any other twin metaphor. So, of course, since the day we brought in 44 pumpkins from the garden a few weeks ago, I've been dying to make yummy pumpkin cookies!!

Here's the recipe I tried, and pictures of my process :)

Pumpkin Drop Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (instead, I recommend 2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus 1/2-1 teaspoon each allspice, nutmeg, & cloves)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. 

Beat in egg. Add pumpkin and vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon (and other spices, if you prefer) and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. (Stir in pecans.)

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  
Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Remove to wire racks to cool.
I recommend putting paper towels under the cooling rack,
or your counter ends up looking like this!

We (my husband Parker and I) tried this recipe with several different add-ins. After tasting with and without frosting, here are the results:
Dried cranberries: Yummy w/ & w/o frosting
Cranberries & chocolate chips: Amazing! either way
Chocolate chips: Good, especially with frosting
Butterscotch chips: THE BEST! w/ & w/o (I love them even more with frosting, Parker likes them better without)
Chocolate and Butterscotch chips: EVEN BETTER! We didn't do this, but we ate pieces of the 2 cookies together and we wish we had added both!
Extra spice: like I recommend above, they are so much better with extra spices (and any add-ins)

Penuche Frosting
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk
1-3/4 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar

For frosting, in a small saucepan, bring brown sugar and butter to a

Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. 
Remove from the heat; cool for 10 minutes. (*Be sure you do this! I didn't, and it made it much more difficult!)

Transfer to a large bowl; beat in milk.
Beat in enough confectioners' sugar to achieve spreading consistency.

Enjoy these cookies! Please tell me all about your baking experience!!!

Happy Baking!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

And the WINNER is . . .

Remember that giveaway I was doing this week, hosted on Lizzi's Blog?

Well, the entry period is done, so it's time to choose a winner!!!!

Chosen by, the recipient of my Autumn Leaves Apron is . . . 


Your name is Phyllis, I believe? Be looking for an email from me :D

A big THANKS to everyone who entered, followed our blogs, liked our shops and facebook pages, and tweeted! You're the best!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011


That's right, folks, a giveaway is in progress!!!

Lizzi of AronaDesigns is hosting my giveaway of my Autumn Leaves apron on her blog!
She is a wonderful artist and seamstress--just look at some of her great illustrations!
You can enter the giveaway on her blog. Click HERE. You'll be given one entry per each action you take (e.g. follow my/her blog, favorite my Etsy shop, like my Facebook fan page), as listed in her blog post.

The giveaway starts today (Monday) and the winner will be chosen this weekend :D 

Happy entering! I hope you win!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Entertainment: "Be With You"

As promised, I am beginning to blog more often. I've decided to write about entertainment (music, movies, books) at least once a week.

I love to listen to music or audio books while I sew. I'm such an auditory person, so sounds help me focus. Without something in the background to focus on, my mind wanders and somehow I lose eye-hand coordination--a bad thing while operating a sewing machine!

This week, I made a Pandora station with Steven Curtis Chapman, Matthew West, Brandon Heath, and Rich Mullins. Sooooo good!!! It's wonderful to worship God while being productive--two of my favorite things!

Anyway, Rich Mullins' songs have really been speaking to me about the fragility of life and the unrealistic value we Christians place on living here. I mean, when someone dies, we say it is a great shame.

Instead, we should repeat the words of Paul, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Dying is a great thing for us! Dying means we spend eternity with Jesus! 

Why am I so concerned with things of this life? Disagreements with my husband are blown way out of proportion. Sometimes I get sad thinking that it may be a few years before we can afford a house. But are those things that I should be upset about? Absolutely not. Paul also said, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). 

I don't need to fear dying. I don't need to pray that God will let me live long enough to raise children. I just need to worship Christ.

Here are the lyrics to Rich Mullins' song "Be With You". Parts that speak to me are bold or italic. Enjoy! You can listen to it while you read the lyrics (video at the bottom).

"Everybody each and all
We're gonna die eventually
It's no more or less our faults
Than it is our destiny

So now Lord I come to you
Asking only for Your grace
You know what I've put myself through
All those empty dreams I chased

And when my body lies in the ruins
Of the lies that nearly ruined me
Will You pick up the pieces
That were pure and true
And breathe Your life into them

And set them free?

And when You start this world over
Again from scratch
Will You make me anew
Out of the stuff that lasts 

Stuff that's purer than gold is
And clearer than glass could ever be
Can I be with You?
Can I be with You?

And everybody all and each
From the day that we are born
We have to learn to walk beneath
Those mercies by which we're drawn
And now we wrestle in the dark
With these angels that we can't see
We will move on although with scars
Oh Lord move inside of me 

And when my body lies in the ruins
Of the lies that nearly runied me
Will You pick up the pieces
That were pure and true
And breathe Your life into them
And set them free? 

And when You blast this cosmos
To kingdom come
When those jagged-edged mountains
I love are gone

When the sky is crossed with the tears
Of a thousand falling suns
As they crash into the sea
Can I be with you?
Can I be with you?

This is the cry of my heart, Lord, Can I Be With You?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quilted Tote Bags!

I'm happy to announce that I now have some cotton tote bags in my Etsy shop!!!!

These have been in the works for about a month, in between other projects and when I wanted to keep my hands busy (usually during movies with my husband) by cutting quilt pieces :) I'm so excited to list them, finally! My younger sister was home from college this weekend, so she modeled everything for me!

I learned how to quilt in middle school, when I did it for 4-H one year. I knew it was for me :) After that, I made a quilted-front pillow from fabric from my grandma's stash. Still my favorite pillow!

During my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I made purses for myself every few weeks--sometimes every week, just because I love to sew! I made my first quilted/pieced-front purse as a sophomore, and within a week a friend asked me to make one for her, too!

Every time I make a quilted purse, people love it. So, what was I going to do with a bunch of fabric scraps too small to use for skirts (or already used for skirt panels and I didn't want to make too many of the same design!)? Quilted purses, of course!

Tote #1:

First, the non-quilted purse--still made of vintage fabric, though! I call it the ABC School tote (click on name for listing). What would you name it?

It has birdhouses, school books/supplies, and letters on it :)

Front and back are the same, lined with white fabric.

Sadly, I only had enough fabric to make one of these.

Tote #2: (click here for listing)

This one is so pretty and delicate in blue and light orange! I love it!

The first fabrics I experimented with for these totes, the squares are in an interesting design.

Backed with the beautiful blue calico fabric and lined with vintage ivory.

This bag is perfect for library books, sewing supplies, or as a small reusable grocery bag! It's 12 inches square.

I have two more of these ready to sew. That makes 3!

Tote #3: (click here for listing)

This fabric pairing was a crazy idea, but I think it works :)

I found fabric that had 4" squares all over it, each square filled with a vegetable/fruit, spice, or flower basket. It was just calling to be cut up and turned into a quilted tote!

The burnt orange dot fabric is a strange match, but it makes it so fun and fall-ish!!! It's backed with the same. I had to buy muslin for the inside, though.

This tote is large--about 19 inches square, so it's great for grocery shopping! Seriously, if this doesn't sell before/at the craft show in November, I'm going to keep it for myself! I have enough squares for at least one more.

Tote #4: (click here for listing)

This is my favorite!!!!!! It's the most like what I used to make, with fun fabrics everywhere!

I used many of these 6 fabrics in my brown skirt, but I still had a lot left. I found that some had been cut into 3 & 1/2" strips (why did my grandma do that? maybe for a quilt?), so I cut those into these small strips for a log cabin design!

I used the ivory fabric for the back (it has pretty butterflies on it!), and the tan w/ brown leaves for the lining.

This measures about 12" x 9", and I have enough cut for *at least* six bags. Wow--that's a lot! I might make some of them into larger bags--maybe even with quilted pockets!

So, those are the new totes for the week! After I finish more aprons, I'll probably sew up a few more designs :D

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Skirts and Future Plans

Several weeks ago, I received friendly critiques on my skirts. My lovely friends said that maybe the "one-size-fits-all" skirts do not actually fit every size.
So, I decided to call those "one-size-fits-most" and add 2 more panels (which is 5-6 inches) to create real "one-size-fits-all" skirts (but, please, if that does not fit someone, please let me know!). Now these skirts fit up to 56" hip (might even fit slightly larger). How exciting!

After running out of muslin for the reversible skirts--and wading through many other sewing and home improvement projects--two of these new skirts are finished!

Dark Blue Lighthouses (click here)
 The Dark Blue Lighthouses skirt has dark blue solid, blue & white gingham check, and tan/blue lighthouse/nautical panels.

Teal Lighthouses & Brown (click here)
The Teal/Brown Lighthouses skirt has ivory solid, brown & white gingham check, and teal boat/lighthouse panels.

Like my other skirts, these are reversible, with simple unbleached muslin on the other side.

Beautiful white crocheted lace is attached to the muslin side, but visible on both sides.

How about a GIVEAWAY and more frequent blog posts?

That's right, a giveaway. I've been thinking about it for a while, and I really want to go for it!
Pretty sure it will be an apron. Here are my options right now: (if you have opinions, please tell me!)
1) your choice of apron (winner chooses their favorite)
Apron shop section:

2) I pick an apron to give away (maybe autumn leaves or gingerbread)

3) adult & child apron combo
I'm still finishing the child-size aprons (actually, I still have more adult aprons to churn out, too!), but most of them match the adult aprons and are adorable!

I'm working on finding a heavily-followed blog to host this giveaway, and it will probably be next week :D Be on the lookout!!!

**Last thing: I plan to start blogging more often. Maybe 3-4 times a week, instead of 1-2. I'll do more posts about the processes of my work, reviews of other shops/blogs, new ideas and inspirations.

Any ideas, comments, reactions, recommendations? I love feedback!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekend Post & Promote

This weekend, the Christian Artists Street Team (CAST) members are promoting items from other CAST member's shops. I think it's a great idea!

Today my mom and friend walked through The Village At Winona shops--and I fell in love with Whetstone Woodenware's wooden cooking spoons, bowls, cutting boards, rolling pins, you name it! I think wooden kitchenware could easily become my new obsession . . .

For the Post & Promote, I wanted to choose something I am tempted to buy, and this definitely is in that category!!

So here is Etsy shop Berkshire Bowls, operated by Scott from West Melbourne, FL. You can also check out his shop on Facebook. Check out his awesome bowls & boxes!
Cherry Bowl
Ash Box
Birch Bowl

Also, here are a few other promoted items from the CAST Weekend Post & Promote!
Elephant helmet!!! I love Elephants!!!!!
Patchwork Skirt
Vintage Germany Postcard
Thanks for reading! Please click on these links and browse these wonderful Etsy shops!