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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Self Stitched September Days 21 - 28

Whew! Backlog of Self-Stitched September posts.  Here are days 21 through 28.

Day 21:

What I wore:
My new Colette Crepe dress.  I know this dress is going to get a lot of use. I'm so happy with how it turned out.

Day 22:

What I wore:
My brown, polka dot dress. Perfect for work with a nice cardigan, and so comfortable.

Day 23:

What I wore:
My Summer Sails dress. I spend a lot of time in the sewing room working on more of my Fall items.

Day 24:

What I wore:
My Amy Butler dress that I made last October.  I think I've only worn this once or twice since I made it, but pulling out of the closet reminded me how much I like it.  I think it'll be going back into circulation.

Day 25:

What I wore:
My Sew Weekly inspired dress.  It looked like it was going to be a nice day outside but it became a bit grey and dreary - though luckily still warm.  I wore this out to lunch with a girlfriend and received some very nice compliments on it.

Day 26:

What I wore:
Well, Day 26 was crazy busy and I didn't end up getting a picture of my dress.  By the time I remembered, I had already changed out of it and did a whole bunch of dance practice, so I would have been too gross to get back into it.  But I wore my plaid summer dress.  This is one of my favorite work dresses that I like to pair up with a brown belt and some brown heels.

Day 27:

What I wore:
My new grey, Ginger skirt with a store-bought blouse.

Day 28:

What I wore:
The plaid, Vogue dress that I made last November.  I paired it up with a brown cardigan and belt.

You made it all the way to the end? Well, only two days left! Woohoo!

Yarn Giveaway Winner and Final Giveaway Reminder

Hi everyone!  Sorry for the delay in choosing the winner for the yarn giveaway.  Things have been crazy busy, but I pulled the random number today.  The winner is...

Commenter #1! Jennifer!  Jennifer, please send me an email with your contact details.

Also, don't forget that there is still one last giveaway for the month of September!  You can still win an ornament of your choice from OneHotTomatoe.  Check out the giveaway post here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vintage Roses Dress

I've been wanting to make the Colette Crepe dress again for some time now, but haven't had the five yards of fabric that just called out to me.  I picked up a Groupon for a fabric shop in San Francisco that specializes in vintage fabrics.  I waited until the last minute to use it, so of course, I ended up making a frantic trip to the city to check out the store, Urban Burp.

The store had a great selection of fabrics - most of which had been part of the owner's personal collection.  The prices ranged from moderate to pretty pricey, but with the Groupon, I felt a little better spending the money.  I ended up getting a little over five yards of a beautiful blue, cotton fabric, with a pink and yellow floral print.  I knew just what to make with it.

Fabric: Vintage, floral cotton
Pattern: Colette Crepe
Notions: Zip, zero, nada! Gotta love Crepe.

I love this version of Crepe! Second time is definitely a charm, especially because the first time I made the pattern, I was still pretty new to sewing garments.  But as usual with Colette patterns, the fit is great and it was easy to assemble.

Our heat wave is only going to last for so long, but I think it'll still work for the rest of the Fall season.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Parading around in polka dots

My latest Fall dress is all about the polka dots.  Since the fabric itself had a lot going on, I wanted a simple design to display the fabric.  I've had Vogue 8473 in my collection for a while and it looked like the dress was simple enough, with just a few darts in the front.

Imagine my surprise when I found that the dress itself only had five pattern pieces.  I think I actually let our a cheer.  The only problem was that the lining was basically repeating the pattern twice. Eh. But I'd rather do that then deal with facings, hand-basting, etc.

Fabric: Brown and white polka dot cotton. Internal lining is a plain brown cotton.
Pattern: Vogue 8473, just the dress for now
Notions: Just a zipper

I love that this pattern only had a few darts on the front bust pieces, and no gathering. So easy!  Assembly was really fast and the directions were very easy to follow.

I'll definitely make this pattern again and I can tell the dress will be one of my Fall staples.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sweet Treats Saturday: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

As much as I love apples and fruit based desserts, the hubby was begging for blondies.  I couldn't do the same ol' thing, so it's time for another twist on a classic recipe.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 inch pan and set aside.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring constantly until smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, until creamy and combined.  Set aside mixture to cool.

Peanut butter mixture, cooling.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4.  Add the eggs, one at a time to the peanut butter mixture, mixing well after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.  Pour the mixture into the prepared dry ingredients, and stir until the batter is smooth.  Fold in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips, reserving the rest for sprinkling on top.
*My peanut butter mixture was still a little warm, so some of the chocolate chips melted into the batter.  I think it actually had a cool effect (swirling the batter), and still tasted delicious, so I didn't mind.  If you do want to keep your chips whole, make sure the mixture has cooled completely before mixing in.

5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading the batter evenly to the edges of the pan.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips and lightly press them into the batter.

6.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the edges are slightly browned.  Remove blondies from oven and place them on a wire rack to cool.  Once cooled, cut into squares and serve.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Whimsical Ornament Giveaway

Well everyone, this is it! The last giveaway of my blogiversary 'month of giveaways'! This Etsy shop is special to me, as it's owned by my good friend, Danya.  She created One Hot Tomatoe several years ago, when I was also starting out my cupcake business.  

A wise old owl...

One Hot Tomatoe specializes in adorable felt ornaments and other whimsical products.  She's also done baby onesies, stockings, and much more, but her Etsy shop focuses on her ornaments.

So now my friends, here's how you can win one of her whimsical felt ornaments!

First things first, be a follower of this blog. You can do this by clicking on ‘Join this site’ from Google Friend Connect or on the What’s Up, Cupcake? Blog Facebook page. Both links are on the right side toolbar. Then, leave a comment on this post letting me know what your favorite item is from One Hot Tomatoe.

For an additional entry, follow me via both methods. If you already do follow me, just leave a comment for each method.


The contest is open now through Saturday, October 1st. Make sure to leave your entry before then (and include your email address in the post) and I will announce the winner, chosen at random, shortly afterwards. 
Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing what you think about One Hot Tomatoe!

I may need this is an ornament for my dog on the Christmas tree.

Don't forget, the yarn giveaway is open until tomorrow, September 24th.  Get your entry in for the chance to win a skein of some gorgeous Little Red Bicycle yarn.

*Every effort will be made for the winner to get their 'favorite' ornament, but if it is sold out, I will contact you for an alternate option.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Self-Stitched September Days 19 and 20

Day 19:

What I wore:
My Peggy dress with it's red bow belt.  It's been a while since I've worn this one but I still love it.  The red pleats are hard to see in this picture, but they're there.

Day 20:

What I wore:
My Pendrall blouse with some grey slacks.  I wore this to the office and then as I was making my tasty pear and prosciutto pizza for dinner.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MTL: Rally the Loops...

Minus the loops.

As usual, when I saw the Sew Weekly Make This Look feature a few months ago, I wanted to make the featured dress.  This time, it was the Rally the Loops Dress.

I ran out and picked up the pattern and fabric.  I wasn't really sure how I was going to do the pockets, but I was so eager to start on the dress that I really didn't even want to think about it.  By the time I got to the pockets, I decided to just do them as they were shown on the pattern.

Fabric: Tan and black synthetic blend
Pattern: Simplicity 2588
Notions: Zipper

The good thing about the design, was that I could just do the basic pattern with the smaller neckline.  I omitted the optional side tabs and went with the full skirt.  I just cut out some extra black fabric to make the black bow, that I then stitched to the front neckline.

This dress is the first of my Fall palette challenge.  I didn't put a little montage together like I did the Colette Spring challenge, but I picked out my fabrics and have pulled aside potential patterns.  Overall I hope to make:

- 3 dresses
- 1 skirt
- 1 blouse
- 1 jacket/capelet
Possibly: 1 pair of pants (Clover)

Oh, and this was Day 18 of Self-Stitched September.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vintage Pattern Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to...

Commenter #19 is Tracy!  She wins the vintage pattern giveaway for Simplicity 4920.

Thanks to everyone who entered and spread the word for the contest.

There's still time to participate in my yarn giveaway, going on through this Saturday!

Enter now at the Fiber Fun, Giveaway post!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sencha and Self-Stitched September Days 14, 15, 16, and 17

Whew, half way through Self-Stitched September! It hasn't necessarily been hard, it just forces me to really think about my wardrobe.  I'm trying to really use all of the garments that I've made.  I'm going to hit some repeats, but I have made enough that I shouldn't have to do too many of them.  It also helps that I'm still making garments during this process.  So here's my newest one, and day 14!

Day 14:

What I wore:
I made a new Sencha blouse! I'm really on a Colette kick right now, and remaking a lot of the patterns that I've already done.  It makes for the ability to really 'whip up' new items, and is such a satisfying feeling.

Fabric: Leftover orange blend from my off the shoulder dress from August
Pattern: Colette's Sencha blouse
Notions: Button, button, who's got the button? (Sorry, was finishing off the last season of Buffy while I was making this one)

Day 15:

What I wore:
My green Ceylon dress.  Love it - so cute and it fits great.  I don't know why I haven't made another one yet, but maybe that'll be part of my Winter collection.

Day 16:

What I wore:
My Colette Sorbetto top with some jeans and a cardigan.  Went out to the movies with friends.  We saw the movie, Jig, which FINALLY came to the Bay Area.  It follows the journey of several young Irish dancers as they participate in the World Irish Dance Championships.  It was pretty inspiring though I don't even dance in the same plane as those dancers.  A fun movie, and I highly recommend it.  It comes out on DVD in the US in just a couple of weeks, and I believe it's already out in the UK.

Day 17:

What I wore:
I finally had a Highland dance competition that required my full kilt outfit.  This was the 'grand unveiling' of my Highland jacket.  This puppy was a lot of work.  It didn't take long to assemble the base - I just had to make sure that I had the right fit with my muslin.  Once that was done, I put together the main base with my mom's assistance on the boning and front zipper.  I wanted to make sure that it couldn't be seen when the jacket was closed, so she gave me some tips and showed me how to insert it with a bit of an overlap.

The most time consuming part of this jacket was the trim.  I had to hand baste it into place, as there are a lot of curves and points in the edge of the jacket.  The buttons were also a bit of a challenge, as I had to be precise in their location and the fabric was pretty thick to cut through.  Normally you thread a ribbon through all of the buttons along one edge, but the new buttons that I had came with a smaller hole that really only allowed for thread to go through. It was easier this way as I don't have to worry about the buttons turning while I dance (a problem I had with my vest), though it was time consuming sewing in all of the buttons.

I'm really happy with the jacket and did a decent job at the competition.  I had fun dancing with the other ladies in my group and enjoyed a cool day (for Fresno).  Wearing a full velvet jacket might have been a completely different experience if the weather had been a few degrees hotter.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sweet Treats Saturday: Lemon Pound Cake

A couple of days before the Gatsby event this past week, Mena and I were emailing each other our plans for the event.  Believe it or not, I was chosen to make dessert. ;)  I actually did a little bit of homework, trying to find a dessert that would be period appropriate for the picnic.  Pound cake seemed to fit into the time, and Goodies by Anna had just post a summer-y lemon pound cake recipe.  Just in time!

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake
Recipe from Goodies by Anna

Cake Batter:

• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
• 3 cups granulated sugar
• 6 large eggs, room temperature
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon lemon extract (Added for extra flavor)
• Grated zest of 2 lemons
• 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (Added for extra flavor)

Lemon Simple Syrup:
• 1 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (Added for extra flavor)

Lemon Glaze:
• lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
• powdered sugar

Start by spraying a 12 cup Bundt pan with Pam for Baking (or you can butter and flour the pan). Set aside. 
Note: I used a regular sized bundt pan, and a lemon-designed loaf pan. It was the perfect amount of batter for both.  So if you don't have a larger pan, you can split it between the two.  I think it would have also fit into two regular size loaf pans.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cake Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until fluffly. Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Beat in the extracts and the zest. On low speed add the flour alternating with the sour cream, in three additions. Beat in the lemon juice until batter is smooth. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until a wood skewer inserted in the center of cake comes out clean.

Lemon Simple Syrup: While cake is baking, combine lemon juice, sugar, water, zest and lemon extract in a small sauce pan set over medium high heat. Bring mixture a boil and cook until reduced down to approximately 1/2 cup of syrup, around 15 minutes. Let syrup cool before brushing onto warm cake.

Assembly: Poke holes into cake while still warm from the oven. Brush liberally with lemon simple syrup. Let cake cool for 15 minutes then invert cake out onto cooling rack. Poke holes in top of cake and brush liberally with remaining lemon simple syrup. Let cake cool completely on wire rack.

Lemon Glaze: While cake is cooling on rack, in a small bowl add lemon juice by the Tablespoon full to around 1 cup of powdered sugar until a thick glaze comes together. I also added a little lemon extract for extra flavor. Drizzle the glaze over the cool cake. Let glaze set up for around 10 minutes before cutting cake. Store in a airtight container on the counter. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fiber Fun, Yarn Giveaway!

And now for week 3 of giveaways for the What's Up, Cupcake? Blog September blogiversary!

Remember, you still have one more day to enter in the vintage pattern giveaway from last week!  Make sure you head on over to the above link for one last chance to get your entry in.  It's for the vintage Simplicity 4920 dress pattern.  It's a size 12, bust 32.

This week's giveaway covers a third area that I love... fiber crafts!  This week you can win a lovely skein of sock yarn by Little Red Bicycle.  Please note, this yarn is from my own collection, but I do highly recommend Little Red Bicycle's yarns.  Check out their Etsy store: Little Red Bicycle.

This giveaway is for one skein, 430 yards/115g of their Snowflake Sock yarn in OOAK.  This hand-dyed yarn is in a gorgeous green with bits of yellow and blue mixed in.

Here's how you can win:

First, be a follower of this blog.  You can do this by clicking on 'Join This Site' from the Google Friend Connect, or on the What's Up, Cupcake? Blog Facebook page.  Both links are on the right side bar.  If you follow via both methods, you get two entries for this contest.  Just be sure to put two separate comments stating each method that you subscribe by.

The contest is open now through next Saturday, September 24th.  Make sure you submit your entry on this post, and include your email address so I can easily contact you if you're the winner.  I will announce the winner, chosen at random (via a random number generator), shortly afterward.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Self-Stitched September Days 11, 12 and... 13

Self-Stitched September continues!

Day 11:

What I wore:

As we've already covered, I attended the Gatsby event on day 11.  I wore my green dress, tights, costume beads, and a cute headband that I found via Pinterest.  The tutorial, that is.  I made it in an ivory lace. A cute and easy project. I may need to make half a dozen more.

Day 12:

What I wore:

My Colette Crepe dress... one of the first items that I made. So comfy, so easy, yet it seems to hang out in the back of my closet.  I don't have a good explanation why, I think I just forget that it's there.  I'll have to fix that...

Day 13:

Sneak peek

What I wore:

Ok, now I begin the excuses.  So, I worked from home only leaving to work out for a little bit. So I pretty much stayed in my workout clothes... none of which I made.  I did however, spend most of the evening working in my sewing room, on a new dress.  I tried it on a few times during the night... does that count? Maybe a fail on day 13, but I'm not ready yet to reveal my new dress.  I will say that it's super-cute and I'm looking forward to showing it off in a few days.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Gatsby-Era Dress

This week's sewing challenge was a big one for me.  Not just in level of difficulty but also in keeping with the theme.  You see, the ladies over at Sew Weekly (in particular Mena and Debi) were going to be attending the Art Deco Society of California's big Gatsby Picnic.  While I'm a fan of the era, my sewing creations usually have a later influence by a couple of decades.  Not only that, but I'm not normally so confined by specifics when making a garment.  The Gatsby picnic had rules.  Those rules mainly consisted of the terrifying (to me) line: Afternoon attire from 1920-1940 (or reasonable fascimile) is required.  Just that one line was enough to make me so 'no way!'

People setting up and mingling.
After a couple of weeks of being content with that decision, I started to see more and more posts on the Sew Weekly circle about going to the event.  What dress to wear, who's going, how much fun it's going to be.  Slowly these posts were chipping away at my resolve.

Great view of Dunsmuir house.

Over the course of a day I think I said 'maybe I'll try it' to 'what am I thinking' half a dozen times. I finally made the ultimatum... if I can find a dress either in my pattern stash, or a currently available dress at my local fabric store, then I'm in.  I was originally going to use my Highland dance Sailor's hornpipe blouse paired with a white skirt for a nautical look.  That fell through when I was indecisive over what skirt to wear.  I then went through a few other patterns including Vogue 8241 and Mena's Society Sorbetto as choices.  Finally inspiration struck, spurred by fellow Sew Weekly member, Stacey who posted about Butterick 5417.  I was excited to find that the pattern was currently in stores, and ran out to find the pattern and some suitable fabric.

The final dress. I'm really please with how it turned out.

Don't get me started on the challenge of finding the fabric, which is a whole 'nother story. Let's just say that in order to keep it period appropriate, there were a lot of rules about what you could or could not use.  In the end I found some basic white satin and a lovely sea-foam green chiffon. I've never made anything with the latter but I thought I'd just wing it.

Working with the chiffon wasn't too painful, but being serger-less, I didn't know what to do with the hems.  Ultimately I did the same as I would with any other fabric and folded them under or pressed them flat.

With one of the amazing vintage cars. Or should I say, horseless carriage.

The back of my dress, hair and a parasol.

The day of the event, I was only alone for a short period of time which led to some good people watching.  The event was so well put together and felt so authentic.  Mena and Debi arrived just half an hour after I had, so we met up and setup the fantastic picnic that Mena had put together.

Mena's fantastic picnic. This was up in under 5 minutes. She's pro.
I had a great time with them and learned so much about their blogging experiences. And now I know the secret of their fantastic blog outfit photos.  My 2-3 pictures takes just don't cut it.

I'm came home so excited about the whole thing.  It was a great activity to do at my one year blogiversary, and I'm inspired for the year ahead.  I also warned my husband that he would be attending the event next year.  I think he'd get a kick out of everything.  The picnics people setup were so fantastic to see, as well as all of the old cars, the dancing, and music... I'm excited about it already!

Doesn't this look straight out of a painting?
The DecoBelle's put together a fun dance routine.

They arrived to the stage in this great 'bus'

My awesome instrument sensors were going off. A banjo! I wonder if he teaches?
I hope you enjoy the photos. I took some with Debi and Mena, but I don't want to spoil their outfit posts for this week.  But do check in at Sew Weekly to see what they made.
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