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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Treasure Island Flea Market

This past weekend, while working on getting back into our non-jetlagged selves, we paid a visit to the Treasure Island Flea Market.  For those of you not familiar with the Bay Area, Treasure Island is located in between San Francisco and Oakland, California.  For years it served as a military base, but now holds many things, including film studios, housing, and during the summer, a monthly flea market.

A view of San Francisco from Treasure Island

One of the things that I was most excited to see, was the booth from Mena at Sew Weekly.  Alas, she was under the weather so was unable to make her debut performance there.  We kept on with the journey and made it to the flea market just in time for its opening on Sunday.

It was a quiet morning so I didn't feel rushed as I perused the various vendors.  There were some fun antiques and a lot of vintage clothing, but I was more interested in hand-crafted goods, fabrics and patterns.  The flea market didn't disappoint and I left with some new items, and discovered a few fun vendors.

The first vendor that we found was The Sparrow's Nest.  She had some whimsical stamped items such as clothespins, stationary and tin items.  She also had resin floral hair clips (which I've been obsessed with recently) and vintage buttons that she made into hair accessories.

Vintage buttons made into hair pins

Her booth had beautiful items and displays - which was actually how her clothespins became popular.  She said they originally had used them in their displays but had so much interest from people that they made enough to start selling them.

Sparrow's Nest clothes pins

Another display at Sparrow's Nest
Another vendor that I loved was Ants Accessories.  She had beautiful sewn items including bags, coin purses, and pin cushions.  I've been looking for a pincushion as I've just been using a little metal tray, so I was excited by her selection.

Coin purses by Ants Accessories

Some of her pincushions in various ceramic mugs and bowls
Oh, and did I mention the food vendors?  Food trucks have been a big trend in California (and maybe all over?) recently and there were plenty on display at the flea market.  BBQ, gourmet waffles, noodles... you name it!  There was even a fresh, mini donut stand.  You could watch the donuts being dispensed into the fryer where they would then be removed and covered with your own custom toppings.  Yum!

 As we were leaving the flea market, one more vendor had me poring through her tables - La Maison Violette.  She had various vintage and reproduction fabrics and linens.  I picked up a little over a yard of fabric - which will hopefully become a cute blouse.

Just one of the piles of fabric at her booth

Some lavender satchels
It was a good day and a nice start to my flea market season.  I'm a little late to flea marketing this year... I've been unmotivated to wake up early on a weekend and make the trek out to our local markets, even though there can be so many good deals.  This was a good kick to get me going.  Now if I can just convince the hubby to come with me...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Florida Recap

Home at last!  We had a fun time in Florida, but I'm glad to be back to our animals, non-extreme heat, and our daily routines.  I spent some time sewing this weekend; among other adventures - but thought I'd share some pictures from the trip.

When we first arrived, we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studio's, followed by Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Entering Hogsmeade

In line for the main ride. There was a cool clip of Harry, Ron and Hermione using the invisibility cloak.

The Sorting Hat


Inside the joke shop

Hogwart's Express

Hogsmeade Village

Hogwarts Castle

Entering Disney World!

Entering the Africa section of the park

Hubby checking out the animals

A giraffe wandering through the park

King of the jungle

An ostrich just hanging out

Our group gathered round for a picture

Amazing Tree of Life in the park

Hubby and I enjoying a photo moment

Our picture from the Everest ride.

I started the Colette Parfait dress today and plan to have it finished by the end of the week.  First, I have to get back to dance class!  Oh, and I completed the adjustments to my Highland jacket, so now I just need to add the final silver trim and buttons.  It will be a lot of hand stitching but I think it's looking really great so far.  I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sweet Treats Saturday: Roasted Banana Ice Cream

Bakers! It's summertime and that means... It's time to dust off your ice cream makers! I finally bit the bullet and purchased one as Sur la Table was having an awesome deal on them.  Afterwards, everyone I talked to about homemade ice cream admitted 'oh yeah, I have an ice cream maker... tucked away somewhere...'  After watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution when he recently made ice cream sundaes, I was even more inspired to make my own ice cream.  

What more incentive do you need? Well, how about this delicious recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.  As usual, I had extra ripe bananas around the house and wanted to put them to good use.

Roasted Banana Ice Cream
Recipe From Brown Eyed Baker

3 medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted), cut into small pieces
1½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon coarse salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Slice the bananas into ½-inch pieces and toss them with the brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring once during baking, until the bananas are browned and cooked through.

The bananas are ready to go into the oven

3. Scrape the bananas and the thick syrup in the baking dish into a blender or food processor. Add the milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt, and purée until smooth.

Roasted bananas

Milk mixture before adding bananas

4. Chill the mixture for at least 8 hour (or overnight) in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the chilled mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it to thin it out.

After 20 minutes in the ice cream maker

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sweet Treats Saturday: Funfetti Ice Cream Cupcakes

What could be better than funfetti cupcakes? How about homemade funfetti cupcake?!  In an ice cream cone??!  These were two of my favorite things as a kid.  My mom used to make ice cream cone cupcakes for our birthdays and other special occasions.  That was a treat in itself, as she loved to make and everything was homemade.  The second thing being funfetti cupcakes I would get in school or that I would make for my friends in high school.  Boxed cake mixes are so easy to work with but as I got older, I wished for something from scratch.

When I saw Sweet Tooth's post on Funfetti cupcakes, I couldn't contain my excitement.  When it came time to actually make it, in the way of Emeril Lagasse, I thought I would 'kick it up a notch,' and revisit the ice cream cone cupcake.  They're so easy to make, especially if you use the flat bottomed cake cones.  You can use pointed sugar cones, but you'll have to jerry-rig it a bit.  There's plenty of tutorials online to show you how to do that, but for the purposes of this post (and because this is the method my mom used), I will use cake cones.

Here we go!

Funfetti Cupcakes
Recipe from Sweet Tooth minor adaptations from me to adjust for ice cream cone cupcakes.


1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg + 1 egg white, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles (like these)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cake cones into each cup of a cupcake pan or if you are making traditional cupcakes line a muffin tin with paper lines (either 12 full size or about 36 minis)

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating on low until well combined. Add vanilla.  With mixer on low, gradually alternate between the milk and the flour mixture until just combined.

Fold in rainbow sprinkles with a rubber spatula.

Ready to mix in the sprinkles
You can fill the cupcakes with batter a little higher to the edge

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full or fill the ice cream cones up to the top. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.

Bake until toothpick comes out clean then let cool

Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup sugar at a time until completely mixed.  Add the milk 1 tsp at a time followed by the vanilla to achieve desired thickness.

Some tips:
- If your cake cones do not stand completely flat, you will need to create a little 'nest' our of aluminum foil to hold it in place.  Just crumple some up around the cone.  Some one brands are flatter than others, but just something to be aware of.
- Be careful when placing the cupcake pan in the oven to prevent the cones from toppling.
- You can bake other cupcake batters in cake cones, but you may want to test a cupcake first to see how high it rises.  Recipes will vary and you don't want the batter to overflow while baking. It makes for a very messy looking ice cream cone.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Come fly with me...

We are off to the Sunshine State for a few days! I plan on overdosing on Disney and Harry Potter.  In the meantime, enjoy tomorrow's Sweet Treats post. It's a fun one!  No sewing for me on this trip but I do plan on getting in some good reading, cross-stitching, and pool time.  See you when we get back!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blind Hem Stitch

While doing the blind hem stitch for my recent Simplicity dress, I decided to document the process so I could share it and also use it as a future reference for myself.  It was really easy to do, but I did initially have to watch a couple of videos to make sure I was folding everything in the proper direction, etc.  This video was particularly helpful: YouTube.

Here are the steps to do the blind hem stitch:

1. Press and sew an initial hem to keep everything clean.  Then fold over to the desired length of the finished hem.  Press into place.

2. Flip under the fold so that your original hem meets up with an edge of the inside of the garment.  Pin into place.

The edge is where the blind stitch will enter the garment.
3. Attach your blind hem foot and set your stitch to the blind hem stitch.  It's a straight line with V's that jut out every few stitches.  Line up the blind hem foot with the crease touching the middle of the foot.

When you begin stitching, make sure that the V's are catching the very edge of the garment, otherwise it won't catch and your hem will not exist.

4.  Unpin and unfold.  You should now have a nicely hemmed garment.

Right side of the garment view.

Inside the garment.

Closer peek of what the hem stitch catches should look like.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Highland Dance Jacket Progress

With all of the work that I did on my recent dress, I also snuck in time to work on my dance jacket.  I cut out all of the pieces, finally tracked down hair canvas (it took 3 fabric stores to find), and assembled the lining fabric.

The velvet pieces with the hair canvas interfacing. Starting to assemble.

The lining is put together

One small challenge with this project is that I do have to account for the size of my kilt... which is about 8 yards of Scottish wool.  It's heavy duty stuff and definitely adds a bit of space around the entire middle of the jacket.  So I've bulked up Emmy with my kilt and have fitting everything around it.

My mom came over this weekend to help me with inserting the zipper and boning.  The front zipper has to be precise as the velvet has to meet perfectly in the middle to keep it completely hidden while closed.  I'd never worked with boning before so my mom showed me how to create a small pocket along the edge of the zipper.  Once it was in stitched, I only had to slip the boning into place.

I need to take it in around the middle and the lower hip area.
I need to make some slight tweaks to the fit around the waist as it's a little loose and rises up too much when I raise my arms.  Once that fit is done, it'll be a lot of hang stitching of the silver trim into place and inserting the buttons.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sweet Treats Saturday: Sour Cream Cheesecake

I've made a few cheesecakes before, but this sour cream cheesecake sounded delicious.  The one catch? It's made in a rectangular cake pan. For anyone that's made cheesecake, you're probably used to using a spring-form pan... one where the sides come off once the cake is based, leaving you a perfectly formed, round cheesecake.

So I decided to humor the recipe author (Alton Brown or at least, Food Network) and stick to the plan.

I made some slight modifications to the crust recipe as it called for whole graham crackers.  In these days of modern technology and convenience, I opt for already boxed graham crumbs.  However, feel free to refer to the regular recipe if you can't find those in your grocery store.

Slice of cheesecake

Graham Cracker Crust

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Once combined, add the melted butter and mix until thoroughly coated.

For the purpose of this recipe, press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a parchment lined 9x13" pan.  Spread remaining 1/3 of the crumbs onto a baking sheet.  Bake both for 10 minutes.  Let cool.

Graham cracker crumb mixture baked in the bottom of the pan
Remaining 1/3 of cooked crumbs will be used for the sides of the cheesecake.

Sour Cream Cheesecake
Recipe from Alton Brown

20 oz. cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the sour cream for 10 seconds.  Add the cream cheese (room temperature) and sugar and mix on low for 30 seconds then turn up to medium.

In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla, eggs, egg yolks, and heavy cream.  With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the liquid mixture in.  When half of it is incorporated, scrape down the sides.  Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust.

Place rectangular pan into a pre-heated water bath (I used a rimmed jelly roll sheet) and in the oven for one hour.  After an hour, turn off the oven and open the door for one minute.  Then, close the door and bake for one more hour.

After baking remove from the water bath and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.  When ready to serve, place pan in a hot water bath for about 15 seconds.  Unmold from pan.  Press additional graham cracker crumbs into sides of the cheesecake.  When slicing, run the knife under hot water and wipe down between slices.

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