Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cinnamon Teacake

Baking is always so much more fun when you have a fairy princess around to help with the mixing. Sometimes on the days I have my granddaughter, Gabriella, we like to tie on our aprons and see what kind of a mess we can make together. This week's choice was a simple little one layer cake that is easy to make and oh ~ so ~ yummy. A good cup of tea and a pretty cake plate is always in order too.

Cinnamon Teacake

1/2 c. Butter, softened
1 c. Sugar
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. Vanilla
1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 C. Self ~ Rising Flour
1 C. Buttermilk


3/4 to 1 stick Butter, melted
Cinnamon & Sugar mixture

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" round springform pan. Cream butter & sugar til fluffy. Gradually add eggs & vanilla. Fold in sifted flours by hand alternately with buttermilk. Stir until smooth.
Bake for 35 ~ 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave in pan for 5 minutes. Turn upside down on cake plate and brush entire surface with melted butter. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon & sugar mixture. Enjoy while warm!

*WARNING this in NOT a low fat recipe. It's a pure pleasure one!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cupcakes Anyone?

One of my favorite things to knit is baby hats. They are cute, soft, warm & so quick to make that it's almost instant gratification. And who doesn't love to see little cherub cheeks peeking out of them?! So I do make many baby hats for gifts and for customers. I love all of them but I have to say nothing tickles me so very much as these darling cupcake hats do! I mean really.... such sweet little confections. And they are so adorable with precious baby faces peering out from underneath.  I load them up with as many crystal and glass sprinkles as I can without making the whole thing too sickeningly sweet. I love the way they sparkle in the light. Each hat has between 85 ~ 100 beads depending on the size of the hat. I actually enjoy sewing each bead on. It's fun to see where the cupcake will take me from start to finish. These hats are a real creative outlet for me. They're like knitting and baking rolled into one without the kitchen cleanup {or the calories}! Also there's a wee bit of crochet thrown in with the tiny ruffled piping going around the frosting edge.

*And ~ yes ~ I realize the picture is sideways ~ Dang it anyway! I snapped just this one picture and they are off to the boutique now so I went ahead & posted it in hopes you all might just hold your head sideways for a  moment or so. Sorry!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Enchanted Night

Around 11p.m. last night as I went to let my three poochies out for the last time before bed, I opened up the back door to a beautiful snow covered scene. So I went up the steps to grab my camera and when I stepped back outside and snapped the pictures I was expecting to see a blanket of white on the tree limbs. However, much to my delight I viewed something that looked more like fairies at work stringing lights through the trees in the dark! I find these pictures quite enchanting. The snowy night was breath taking in its own right for sure but I like imagining that there were wee people skipping round my lawn just before midnight. You think what you will.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tickled Pink

I had an old friend over earlier this week who I hadn't seen for some time. She called to see if she could stop by for some help with a crochet pattern she was stumped on. So I put on the kettle and we had a nice visit while we got her back on track with her project.  As we sat at my dining room table she commented on how feminine my house is. I forget this until I see it again through someone else's eyes. {Poor Hubby ~ living in all this rosy pinkness! He's never one to complain though, thankfully.}.

So I gathered some of my recent favorite things and sure enough ~ they're either PINK or ROSY.  Oh well, what's a girl to do?! We are who we are! I found the lovely rose covered scarf on a bargain rack in a charming boutique on a girl's day out a week ago, along with the darling little felted rose pin. The hankie is a sweet find from one of my old haunts, a local antiques store that I only allow myself to hit about once a year even though it is about a 10 minute drive from my house. {I could get very out of control there}.  The gorgeous purse I just got a fabulous deal on at Macy's yesterday when I had a fun lunch and shopping day with my daughter Hilary who had the day off. I fell in love with it when I spotted it from clear across the store. Then I saw the sale sign....40% off....getting better.... then I touched it ~ real leather! mhmm....and the color name.... FRENCH ROSE ....well talk about the frosting on my cake! Then I got it to the register and low and behold! another 15% off!!! Wowza! Talk about some retail therapy! So now I have my new Springtime purse ..... so Springtime can come on ahead!  

And last, but certainly not least, the adorable little egg cozies. They are this week's knitting addiction. {I am currently finishing up my fourth.} The pattern is taken from Jane Brocket's book The Gentle Art of Knitting.  I purchased this book as soon as it was available and love it! I love all things Jane Brocket. She has a wonderful blog ~ Yarnstorm that I enjoy following as well.  Anyway, the egg cozies use just a small bit of yarn and a very simple pattern. Then if you want they can be fancied up with beads like the solid pink one I made. These cute little numbers just tickle me PINK!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tea and Roses

There are two things I love just about as much as knitting and crocheting ~ tea and anything covered in roses {especially if it's something I can use for tea drinking!}.  That's why when I found this pattern last week on Ravelry for the "Leaf Cuddler" created by Kara Mayfield I paid my $3.00 and downloaded it immediately. Then I went straight to my stash, dug out some lovely green Cascade 220 wool and in less than 30 minutes {the instructions are excellant, with great pictures} had the cutest cup cozy I have ever seen in my life! I will most definitely be making these for gifts.  I am always drawn to anything with either flowers or leaves in the pattern and this one is so pretty around my cup with the roses. Sets it off just perfectly! Oh~ and the pretty porcelain to go cup was a recent gift my husband got for me from Victorian Trading Company {my absolute favorite online store}.
While I'm on the topic, thought I would show off  a couple of my favorite tea cozies I have knitted for myself in the past. One sits in an open corner china cabinet in my dining room and the other in a glass fronted china cabinet in my kitchen. I enjoy using them both frequently. It's so nice to have a variety, especially for when the girls & I have our tea at knit night. As long as you knit them up using wool they really do hold the heat in and as far as I'm concerned no teapot really wants to be naked anyway!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rosy Cloche

I don't know about anyone else but I think flapper girl looking stuff is fun! I crocheted this hat using 100% Baby Alpaca and added the crocheted rose and some crocheted spirals and when I placed it on my head I thought, "Ooh... Flapper!" Now this is not necessarily the best look for me and I did not make this hat for myself. It was made for a customer. But  I couldn't resist snapping a quick photo before it went bye~bye. It was too fun to make! I love the spirals dangling down. They added the right amount of SASS!  The pattern was taken from The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Crochet. I have made too many of these to count in various colors of alpaca. They are popular sellers and they make great gifts. I always doll them up with some sort of flower with or without the spirals, depending on what mood strikes me. They are quick and fun so give them a try!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Knit Night

As always Knit Night was SO MUCH FUN! Thanks Girls!!! We laughed, ate scones, drank tea, talked over each other, crocheted, knitted, swapped patterns, had show & tell, shared in each others lives and passed Sir Henry around all evening long until we just had no choice but to call it a night. Ahhh.... you are all so very good for my heart and soul! :) Next monday can't come soon enough.

Here's a recap of all that took place {well... at least all that can be mentioned... some things have to "stay in Vegas" so to speak}.

Mary Ann showed off her darling crocheted greyhound. I mean really ~ HOW CUTE!
Carey is almost finished crocheting that gorgeous doily baby blankie!
Erin knitted away on lovely little squares for a baby block.
Kathy got closer to the final stitches of a sweater she's knitting for Baby Weston ~ her first grandbaby who is due in March. Her daughter Renee is the cute mommy~ to~ be pictured next to Kathy.
Carey {Sir Henry's grandma} took a break to swaddle the wee little lord.
Erin & Malory worked away like busy little bee's {both of them are new mommy's for the 3rd time & enjoy some time when their busy hands are free enough for yarn!}
Grandma Brenda {my mom ~ our honorary member who is here to rock all babies} snatched Sir Henry at the first chance!
Miss Malory {Sir Henry's mommy}finished a beautiful sock. {That was sock #1 ~ NO 2nd sock syndrome. You MUST finish the other one now.}

See you all next week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cozy Cottage & Warm Hearts

Monday evening is my favorite night. It's the perfect start to my week because it's when I have my girlfriends in for knit night. We have a grand time of it. I usually bake up something yummy, brew some nice tea, put on a pot of flavored coffee for those who prefer it, and we let the chatter, laughter & yarn fly around the dining room table all evening long! Even my hubby enjoys listening to all the hoop~la from the next room. {Not that he's actually eves dropping Girls. Don't worry!} 

So on tonight's Yum~Yum menu is a nice steaming pot of my favorite Cinnamon Tea all snug & piping hot under a handknit & embroidered {by yours truly} cottage tea cozy and heart shaped Cranberry~Orange Pecan Scones. Mmmm........!!! Oh ~ and for the coffee drinkers some Pecan Sticky Bun coffee from the local coffee shop.

Basic Scones

2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 T. Baking Powder
2 T. Sugar
 1/2 t. Salt
6 T. Butter{cold}
1/2 C. Buttermilk {more if needed}
Lightly beaten egg white

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Make a well in center & pour in buttermilk. Mix until dough clings together and is a bit sticky ~ do not overmix. Turn out onto a floured surface & shape into 6 ~ 8 inch round then cut into pie shaped wedges or cookie cutter shapes. *The secret of tender scones is a minimum of handling. Place on ungreased cookie sheet being sure sides don't touch. Brush with egg white, sprinkle with sugar {I prefer raw sugar} & bake at 425 degrees F for 14 minutes. Drizzle with a powdered sugar, milk & vanilla glaze if desired.

The pattern for the Cottage Tea Cozy can be found in The Knitter's Stash ~ Favorite Patterns from America's Yarn Shops and was designed by Marji LaFreniere

 I'll see you tonight Girls. We'll get our knit on. And remember ~ what we eat here doesn't cling to us!
And anyone else in the area who wants to join us is always welcome!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

English Popovers 2 Ways

As much as I love everything about baking ~ the delicious way the whole house smells for hours on end, the absolute beauty of the finished confection, and, of course, the sheer delight of the partaking of the goods ~ I must admit that I love to knit even more.

I love to knit and crochet all things but I do have a real passion for mittens. I adore cookie cutters that look like mittens and Christmas ornaments made out of miniature knitted mittens and even giant mittens in place of Christmas stockings. Anything that looks like a mitten always has that ooh ~ aah factor for me. You might say I am smitten with mittens! When I found this particular pattern I knew I had to immediately make a pair for ME! Don't you just love the cables & bobbles?!

For those of you who like the more traditional version of popovers I have decided to include my favorite recipe:


1 T. Melted Butter
2 Eggs
1C. Milk
1 t. Sugar
1/2t. Salt
1C. All~Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place small dab of butter in each compartment of tin. Put popover tin* in the oven while you make the batter.
Beat together eggs, milk, butter, sugar & salt. Beat in flour a bit at a time; mixture should be smooth. Fill popover cups at least halfway full. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 15 minutes longer.
Remove from pan immediately and serve hot.

*A muffin tin can be used if you do not have a popover tin.

These are so simple to make and mouthwateringly delicious with a steaming cup of tea & a dab of jam!

I purchased the pattern for the mittens online through Annies Attic.com. It was designed by Diane Zangl.
It's labeled as intermediate. I found it to be quite easy to follow and had a beautiful, warm pair of mittens on my hands in no time!

Hmmm...... think I'll go warm up the oven & bake some popovers..... it's COLD out there campers!

Happy Knitting & Baking!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Must Crochet!

When I blogged the other day about the rose colored silk shawl I have started crocheting to wear to my daughter Hilary's wedding this coming April I was having camera issues. Those have since been resolved and I now have a picture of my simple beginning to share with anyone who might care for a glimpse. Today's post will be short & sweet because, well.... I must crochet!
*I discovered there are a couple of errors in this pattern as well as a few others in this beautiful book {Crochet So Fine by Kristen Omdahl} but the corrections can be found in errata online.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dolled Up Apron

While organizing my loose patterns {once again!}, I ran across this one for a very basic crocheted apron and immediately thought it would make a nice birthday present for my daughter Chelsea who will be 24 in February.

She just got married in October 2011 and, like her mother, always ties an apron around her upon entering the kitchen for anything serious. And this one will not only be cute on her but will look nice just hanging on a hook in the kitchen by her fridge while not in use.

Of course, she is a bit of a "girlie~girl" therefore the pattern called for some tweaking. So I rummaged through my books and found Nicky Epstein's Crocheting on the Edge for some ideas. From page 57 I added the "party ruffle" to the bottom edge and Voila! we have some flounce.... now we're getting somewhere. Then on page 63 I spotted the "peacock ruffle" {had to have this one for the name alone!}. The minute I looked at it I thought "pocket!" I crocheted this ruffle in the same contrasting yellow as the party ruffle and added a few rows of single crochet, turned the whole thing upside down and ~ there you have it! And the cute little ditty dancing across the top was just something my hook did when I wasn't  paying much attention.

The yarn I used for this project was Fantasy Naturale 100% Cotton made by Plymouth Yarns. It's my favorite for making dishcloths, which I do for myself every summer therefore I always keep a good amount of this yarn in my stash. This apron was so quick, fun & easy to make. I really enjoyed seeing where it would take me. When I showed it to my knit night girls they all had such a fit over it I had to run copies of the pattern. It will be interesting to see how they "doll" theirs up!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lavender Cake

Today I thought I might share one of my favorite recipes. For those of you who have never tried lavender on your tastebuds it might sound a bit strange but give it a go when you are feeling brave and in need of something a little different. I was uncertain about it myself until that first bite melted in my mouth....mmmmm....& the smell! Now I will add this one thing before I give the recipe, be prepared for a variety of reactions from all who are willing to sample the goods. My hubby, who I expected to turn up his nose, liked it. My daughter's loved it {no surprise there}. My mother liked it, as expected. My dad, who eats and likes just about anything and everything nearly gagged and claimed it tasted like "dirty dish soap". Don't know exactly when or where he had that culinary experience {maybe as a naughty child!}. And all of my faithful knit night girls gave it a thumbs up. So ~ without further ado ~ I give you:


3/4 c. Butter, softened                                     
3/4 c. Sugar
3 Large Eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. Self~Rising Flour
1t. Pure Vanilla
2T. Milk
1T. Lavender Buds* {fresh or dried}

Cream the butter & sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Fold in flour, lavender buds, vanilla & milk. Pour into two 8" greased & floured pans or one prepared bundt pan {or these are gorgeous as individual fairy cakes!}.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour for the bundt and a little less for the 8" pans. And, of course, watch those fairy cakes more closesly! When finished, cool for 5~8 minutes on wire racks then turn out. Sometimes a bundt takes a wee bit longer.


1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
1/2 t. Water or Cream {Yum~yum!}
1/4t. Lemon Zest or a drop of Lemon Extract
1/2t. Lavender Buds ~ for pretty sprinkles on top! {or you can mix in if you like}

Drizzle over cooled cake. If one recipe doesn't seem like enough I sometimes double the drizzle!

Or you can opt for a good old ~ fashioned buttercream frosting like the one I made to frost the little square fairy cake I have pictured here. Which is made up of:

2Lbs. Powdered Sugar {that's the whole bag}
1 Stick Sweet Unsalted Butter
1t. Pure Vanilla {substitute 1/2~1t. lavender extract* for this recipe if you like or stick with the lemon}
Splash of Milk or Cream if needed for desired consistency {I like mine a bit thick}

*If you don't either grow your own lavender or have a place nearby to purchase quality, organic culinary lavender and lavender extract you can google the site I order mine from called Lavender Wind Farm. They are in the state of Washington and have excellant products, prices and are very prompt and easy to do business with. Their lavender soaps are wonderful as well.  Happy Baking!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Favorite Tea Cup

I love beautiful, delicate china tea cups. Especially if they have little pink roses dancing around the rim. I also have an absolute passion for the "Old Country Roses" pattern by Royal Albert, which I have a story to tell about in a future post. But for now I want to introduce you to my absolute FAVORITE tea cup of all time ~ my 3 1/2 pound chihuahua Jose'. Otherwise known throughout the household as Little Man {although I like to tell him he is BIG so as to build his self esteem!}. Afterall he has two miniature dachshund "sisters" he has to try to keep up with. Although as far as he's concerned they're just a couple of weenies!

He might be a little guy but he has a whole lot of personality and he loves his mommy more than anything or anyone in the whole world, which is what makes our furry babies such a comfort in life. He is the old fashioned apple head chihuahua and when we got him nearly 10 years ago at 8 weeks old and 1.2 pounds my young nephew, Brendan, 6 years old at the time, took one look at that round forehead and said to his mommmy,  "He must be really, really smart because he has a really big brain."  Children are so observant aren't they?

When he developed a heart condition about a year ago and I tried to explain it to my 4 year old granddaughter, Gabby, as a "bad heart" , being attached to the doggies around here, her little bottom lip came out and her eyes teared up and she said, "But...his heart is in the right place Grammy!" Well yes it is sweetheart. Can't argue with that!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Silk Shawl

This is my first post and I am sorry that I am having camera issues and am therefore unable to post a picture of the shawl I am currently crocheting for myself to wear to my daughter Hilary's wedding coming up in April. I am using a gorgeous 100% mulberry silk in a beautiful shade of rose that simply glides through my fingers. Silk is my absolute favorite fiber to work with whenever I get the chance. I love the feel, the look, the drape and ~ yes ~ even that unmistakable fragrance! When my camera issue gets resolved I will show the beginning picture of this beautiful shawl. I just started it a few days ago. The pattern is from Kristin Omdahl's fabulous book "Crochet So Fine". Until then....Happy Hooking!
Oh ~ and have a nice cup of tea.