Friday, April 29, 2011

Medieval Times

Last week, the middle school that my son goes to, went on a little field trip to Dallas to Medieval Times.  They had a blast.  There were lots of other schools there which added to the excitement because all the kids were very enthusiastic.  Plus, they enjoyed eating with their hands.  :)  In fact, my son enjoyed it so much that he put the handiwipe that was given out at the end of the meal in his pocket and brought it home for a souvenier.  LOL  It got washed and dried and then I found it.

Kudos to his teacher for planning this trip.  She has been so great all year and she's very enthusiastic about the history class she teaches. 
That's some of our kids down in front.  We had really great seats.

I took some not great pics of our knight - the RED knight.  He won the final battle at the end of the jousting and rescued the kidnapped prince, so that was pretty awesome.

Our knight looked just like Bo Bice from American Idol a few years ago.  Remember him?  I wonder if it was him.

My DH and I tagged along.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Clown Puke Cake

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my DH and son what they wanted for dessert for the next few days.  They both said white cake with white icing.  Blah!
I love white cake with white icing but it's just so unimaginative.  I knew if I just put sprinkles on top for some color that they would complain.  Neither of them likes sprinkles.

Then I remembered a rainbow cake that I had seen on someones blog.  So, I looked it up and found that some people also called it a Clown Puke cake.  That is soooo much more interesting.  ;)

I found this recipe for a Heavenly White Cake on


2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

1.Measure sifted flour, baking powder, and salt; sift together three times.
2.In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar gradually, and continue beating only until meringue will hold up in soft peaks.
3.Cream butter or margarine. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Mix in flavorings. Add meringue, and beat thoroughly into batter. Spread batter in a 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan which has been lined on the bottom with parchment paper.
4.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. This cake may also be baked in two 9 inch round pans for 30 to 35 minutes, or in three 8 inch round pans for 25 to 30 minutes.

This cake is DELICIOUS!!!  I topped it off with a white buttercream icing.
But the trick to making this cake is, once you've completely mixed up the cake batter, pour it into several smaller bowls - depending on how many colors you want.  Then, dye the batter whatever colors you want.  The gel dyes that you can buy at craft stores make much deeper colors and you can make many more colors.  But I just used the liquid dyes that you get at the grocery store that have red, yellow, blue and green in them.
Once you finish mixing in your colors, you can start pouring your batter into prepared pans.  I used 3 - 8 inch pans.  You can pour your batter in any order you want.  I did the same order in each pan and it sort of came out striped.  But when you pour your batter,  pour the first one in the center of the pan, then pour the next color into the cented of the first color and continue with each color.  The batter spreads out to cover the whole pan. 
My family loved it.  It made the cake much more interesting.  And my son was excited to take it to school in his lunch box and show it to his classmates. 
You could also use a cake mix or any cake recipe you have as long as it's a white batter that will dye well.
Sorry my pics are a little fuzzy.  I thought they were ok but the cakes all gone now so I can't retake. :)  Also, as you can tell, my family cut into this cake like animals.  It's a bit wonky.
If you google rainbow cake, you'll get tons of pics that give you lots of ideas on how to do your cake.  Like for a little girls party, you could do pink and purple stripes, you could do star burst designs, all kinds of stuff.  It's fun to play with.
Good luck!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

US Post Office Increases

Did you know that the USPS increased prices on First Class Mail packages and First Class International Mail yesterday?
Well, they did. 
April 18th was the date of price increases.
As near as I can tell, the First Class packages increased by approximately $0.50 and the First Class International increased by $0.80.

I just happened to be at the PO yesterday morning mailing a First Class International package and heard one of the postal clerks telling a customer about it as I was waiting in line.  Apparently, $0.44 letters are not affected but packages are.

So, to all my fellow online sellers, you might want to check into it and adjust your shipping charges accordingly or you just might get a nasty surprise.

And to all my fellow online shoppers, this just stinks. :( 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quilt Show

About 3 or so weeks ago, the annual quilt show was going on in our little city.  I had never been before and thought I'd go check it out. 

There were a bajillion quilts on display and they had them roped off so that you couldn't get to them to look at them.  There were people standing at each little section, wearing white latex gloves and if you wanted to look at the back of the quilt, you had to ask and the lady/gentleman would raise it up so that you could look at it from about 4 feet away.  I have to say, I was alittle frightened. 
I had no idea that they were so fragile.  I had no idea that it would all be so proper and precise.  It kind of freaked me out alittle.

I was frightened and freaked out.  So, I just gave up looking at them and went shopping at the little booths set up all around the perimeter of the quilt show.  They had given me a ballot and I was suppose to vote for my favorite quilt but I was so intimidated that I didn't vote.
For some reason, I had it in my head that I would buy a kit and try to make a quilt.
So, I bought this.

Sigh.  Let's see how long it takes me to make that.  Geez, it's like I'm setting myself up to fail.

I also bought this little charm pack.  I've since found a tote bag pattern in a magazine that I may try this out with.  Or, I also found a quilted placemat pattern that I could use them on.  Placemats are small, so maybe I'll just start out small and graduate to the quilt.

And lastly, look at this little guy.

It's a pincushion chicken filled with sand.  He was so cute that I couldn't pass him up.  They also had sand pincushions that looked like mice with yo yo's for tails.

It was a fun and scary day. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Beautiful Family

 Back in November, I decided that we needed to have family pictures done since we had not had any professionally done since my son was 2.  I found this wonderful local photographer and told her what we wanted.  She suggested the Children's Park, which is a city park in Tyler that was built to celebrate the lives of children who have passed away.  I had never been there but knew it was beautiful from pictures I had seen.   
 It is a beautiful place and a wonderful place to take pictures.  In fact, the park was full of people doing just that on the morning we were there.  By the way, who is this grown man in my pictures?  Where is my little boy?  :(  And who are those old people?  It makes me sad.
Cassie did an excellent job.  I'll treasure these pictures forever.  I highly recommend her to anyone in the East Texas area looking for wonderful photos - whatever the occasion.

(P.S. - My son has braces in these pictures and still does in real life.  They affect his pretty smile.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Funky Peasant Blouse

Way back in January, when it was cold and snowing, I blogged about 3 new patterns that I had bought including one for a funky peasant blouse.  See the post here.

Well, at that time, I got so far as to cut out the fabric (Michael Miller's Gypsy Bandana fabric which I LOVE) and I even got to about step 3 in sewing together my new top.  That's when I realized that I had made a mistake in step 1 and needed to rip out most of the seams and start over.  So, instead, I let the fabric pieces sit on my sewing table in a big pile so that it would remind me every day that I needed to work on it and essentially, make me feel really bad about myself.

Then, about the end of March, we were on a family walk (which we do every day) and my DH says to me, "whatever happened to that top you were working on?  Did you finish it?".
Well, that was the incentive that I needed to get my butt in gear.  I did the ripping of the seams and started over.  I worked on it for the better part of 2 weeks and had to rip out more seams than I would like to admit.  I learned some new skills and used new things that I didn't even know existed. 

Like elastic thread.  Have you ever used that?  It is so cool.  You sew the seam with the elastic thread and it makes a perfect little gathered sleeve.  You can pull the thread tighter or make it looser. 
Also, I put in a zipper for the 2nd time ever.  The seams around it aren't perfect but hey, the clothes made in Thailand aren't sewn perfectly either. 

I finally finished last Tuesday (April 5).  I had made an oops on the front and was hoping that no one would notice.  So I tried it on and showed my DH and he immediately saw the oops.  He said it stuck out like a sore thumb.  I spent the ENTIRE rest of the day ripping out seams and redoing to get rid of the oops.  And now, it's practically perfect.

I wore it to my son's Science fair at his school and wanted to get my DH to take picks of it on me so that I could post them here but that didn't happen. 

I am pretty proud of myself though.  I've bought fabric for the skirt pattern and the other top pattern that I posted  a pic of in the above link.  The skirt fabric is actually Christmas fabric for a Christmas skirt - it's Moda fabric that I got 40% off - YAY!!  I wish I was better at time management so that I could get all the projects done that I want done and still have time to make things for my etsy shop.

So?  What do you think about my new shirt?  I'd love to hear - feel free to leave me a comment about it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Today's work

Today, I've been working on 3 new aprons for my shop - 2 with the new Gypsy Bandanna fabric from Michael Miller - which I LOVE!
I haven't listed a new apron in at least 2 weeks, so I'm going to try to get these done quickly.

Why I haven't listed new aprons and what I've been working on the past 2 weeks - coming in my next blog post.

I also forced myself to sit down and work on my promotional material today.  I put a little matchbook notepad with my shops name on it, in all of the orders that I send out and I was almost out of them.  I think I was down to 2.  But, I managed to make about 35 of them today - so YAY!  Also printed up more business cards and blog info cards.
Glad to be done with that stuff for awhile.  I'd much rather sew.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring planting down on the farm

It's spring planting time down on the farm but since we don't live on a farm, we just plant in this little planter box that my DH built for us this year.  

We have been using an area in our backyard that was boxed off (and actually on the ground) but last year we didn't have any tomatoes because the moles/gophers either ate or killed the roots of all our plants.  So this year, we copied an above ground box that the local AG people had on display at the county fair back in the fall. 

We've planted bell peppers, grape tomatoes and lettuce.   I've got my fingers crossed for our tomatoes this year.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Smith County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Britton Jr. laid to rest

The funeral for my husband's cousin was yesterday, Saturday April 2nd.  The family chose to have a full police funeral.  It was a beautiful service.  The church was full to the brim of uniformed City of Tyler police, Smith County Sheriff Deputies and other officers from the surrounding area.  The honor guard and all of the officers involved in the service did such an amazing job, I can't even describe it.  I was so proud of them all.

The funeral procession to the cemetery was even beautiful.  We were towards the back and as the end of the line went through each intersection (which was blocked off by uniformed officers), those officers then joined the end of the procession with their lights flashing.  As we drove through town, we would look behind us and it looked like a Christmas tree with all the flashing lights of all the police cars.  Entire families came out and stood on the sidewalks as we went past, with their hands on their hearts.  Many of the drivers of the cars stopped in traffic also stood beside their vehicles with their hands on their hearts.  I start crying just thinking about it as I write this.

I really appreciated the amount of respect that was shown to his family by the people in Tyler and even by the local news media.  It's always a horrible thing when a police officer is killed in the line of duty.  I know he's going to be missed by so many people.

Here is a link to the local Tyler paper - story and video.
Here is the link to the local ABC station - KLTV (which is my favorite local news station because they are the most professional and the least sensationalistic when doing news stories).

Each of the above videos are different.
Thanks again to everyone who read my blog and sent up a prayer and kind thought for his family - including his law enforcement family.

Friday, April 1, 2011

All You Need Designs

One team that I belong to on etsy is the EtsyMom Team.  Every month the EtsyMom's give out an Etsy Mom Curator Award (EMCA) to the person who makes the most treasuries featuring all EtsyMom team members.  I try to participate every month and last month (Feb. 15 - March 14), I got 2nd place.  I made 6 treasuries and the winner, Tamsy Trends, made 11.  We had a total of 38 treasuries made during the time frame.  Our goal is 50 each month so we have a ways to go.

So, for my prize, I was able to pic something from All You Need Designs' etsy shop - who so graciously offered to be a sponsor that month.

All You Need Designs has some wonderful things in her shop.  She makes bookmarks, keychains, jewelry and also does graphic design for invitations, birth announcements and such.
I chose as my prize, this sweet Peace bookmark.  I love it. 

It's colorful and fun and I've never seen a Peace charm like this one before so I was pretty excited about that.  I received it last week and have been remiss in telling Heather thank you and posting pics to my wonderful prize.

So, thank you Heather.  I love my bookmark and I appreciate you sponsoring the EMCA award and being active in the EtsyMom team.  You rock!

Be sure to check out All You Need Designs because she has some really neat stuff in her shop.
You can also check out Heather's blog here.