Posts Tagged 'chocolate'

Bad at Finishing

This has been a slow year for me, creatively, with lots of stalled projects and unfinished business. Today, though, I am showing off two things just completed, and only with the help of others!

One year ago I saw my Aunt Lois, who came to Salt Lake City for my dad’s memorial service. I don’t get to see Lois very often, but when I do, I am always impressed by the way her engineering mind interprets and deconstructs art. She has taught me many new skills over the years.

Lois, like many women in our family, cannot bear to have idle hands, so she brought with her the ingredients and tools for assembling these soft, 3D fabric magic cubes. I flipped for them, and marveled at how she figured it out. I later looked up a model, so that I could understand it more fully. Instructions for building one made from wooden blocks can be found here. She gave me an assembled cube with bright fabrics pinned to the foam blocks, and all I had to do was stitch up the seams.  I am embarrassed at how long it took me to finish, but my kid and all visitors are delighted with the finished product! Thanks Aunt Lois!

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Two years ago, I went into a tiny yarn shop in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. It was near closing time and I rushed to choose the best yarn in the place. I bought an expensive skein of Tilli Thomas Flurries named Chocolate Cherry, a supersoft deep brown merino with bright cherry red beads, with the intention of making a purse. I visited a fabric shop in Panama City Beach and purchased a red-on-crimson koi print for lining and a chocolate brown zipper. I knitted a rectangle, coaxed all the beads to the knit side, watched a youtube video on making lined wallets, sewed the zipper to the lining (incorrectly), and …. stopped. There is sat, in the quilt shop plastic bag for two years. My mind could not fathom what I’d done wrong or how to fix it.

A few days ago I showed it to my new friend Daniela, who knew how to fix it, and was willing to pick out the stitches for me. I took the dog for a walk, had an epiphany about how it should have been sewn, and came home to a completed purse!

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Finally, here is a new embroidered purse my mom made for me! Perfectly timed, too, since I just wore out my everyday purse while camping. It’s still unfinished; my mom only secured one end of the strap, so that I could adjust it to my size and sew it in. I’ll finish in the next day or two, because I need it!

Lamingtons and December Fun

I swear that Lamingtons transcend the sum of their parts. Look, they’re just sponge cake, jam, chocolate, and coconut. But all together they’re amazing. I borrowed a cake pan from Kelly and Adam (super cool owners of Honest Works Island Pottery in Key West). So, when the Lamingtons were done, I took them some cakes and modeled them on one of their lovely turquoise plates.  Recipe Here.

On the way home I saw this big truck parked across the sidewalk and it made me laugh out loud. I can just picture my DVD remote control running out of juice and me calling these guys for some spare Triple A batteries, Pronto!

I strung the advent calendar up in the kitchen. Each day I try to think up some free or cheap activity. Last night was “go pick up dad from the airport and raid his suitcase for presents!”

Saturday’s advent activity was the Key West Holiday Parade. Here’s the haul. We threw most of this away, but kept enough to eat one piece every Monday for a few months. (That was the deal the kid came up with, after I said one piece each day was Too Much Candy.

Sunday’s activity was free locals day at the aquarium. This sweet pigeon ate from our hands!

They have a fish there that looks like a PUPPY. It’s called the dog-faced puffer fish. We couldn’t get a great shot, but I wanted to pet him, he looked just like a beagle.

Here are the finished sugar skulls from my sister-in-law Noemi in SLC! The Boogedy believes he won the contest, for Most Use of Frosting. Zach believes he won for best disco lips.

Snakes and Frogs Birthday

The Boogedy’s 2nd birthday was actually in February, but the house was in shambles under construction, so we opted to wait and hold the party once the house was decent again. It was part birthday, part grand re-opening of the house party. The theme was snakes and frogs, inspired by this great hat I made for the Boogedy and a cute froggy invitation we sent to everyone.

Here is the awesome coral snake I made using two chocolate bundt cakes and cream cheese frosting. This was ideal for our family, most of whom do not care much for frosting. The dark sections are unfrosted. This snake is enjoying his frog dinner.

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We played a great balloon stomping game where everyone tied a small balloon to their ankle and took off their shoes. Then, they tried to pop everyone else’s balloon while keeping their own balloon safe. The last person to remain unpopped is the winner. This was really fun, but the little kids in attendance were a bit overwhelmed.

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Then, we played pin the fly on the frog, using a frog face modeled on the invitation we’d sent out and using hand-drawn flies.

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We had visited the wine store the day before and picked out wines based on their labels (the wine specialists on-site do not approve of picking wine by our criteria). Here were some of the possibilities:

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We couldn’t find any with snakes on the label! Lots of bicycles and kangaroos. Lots of estates and abstract color blocks. Lots of hoofed animals. But no snakes. So we went with the Nathanson Creek because they had white and red wines for a good price.

We put out some decorations:

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And I made a baked potato bar with lots and lots of toppings. About halfway through the evening, Zach lit a bonfire in the backyard firepit and sent someone to the store for s’mores fixins. The weather was just right for sitting outside at night, just nippy enough to appreciate a fire.

It was the nicest (and biggest) party we’ve ever held, and the Boogedy received so many adorable presents. Thanks everybody!!

Early Valentine’s present

So, Zach sent me such a cool early Valentine’s Day present:

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Personalized m&ms! But he didn’t want them in those sissy pink and red v-day colors, so I got primaries instead.

And, the m&m company wouldn’t put his preferred sayings on the m’s, citing their policy against threatening or vulgar language.

So I got these instead:

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The first is because I always tell him I love him so much that I’d like to cut off his arms and legs and keep him in a box. The second is because he figures I’ll believe it if I see it in writing. The third quantifies our love…at level 7… 7 out of 10… 7 of 7…7 of 100…who knows? And the fourth is what he says every time he gets me a totally cool, but expensive present.

They wouldn’t print “die sara die” or “love of my butt”.

A little TOO experimental

I love cooking for company. When friends ask what they can bring, I usually say I’ll make the main dishes and sides and they should bring dessert. Last week I had visitors and decided to make a small, simple cake to serve with coffee. I modified this Orange Yogurt Cake recipe to use lemon zest and juice instead of orange. It was delicious! I made it again for different visitors later in the week…again, delicious!So last night, when I went to a friend’s house for dinner (chicken mole and fresh guacamole and tortillas) and mah jong lessons, I decided to get creative and make two modified cakes: cinnamon-chocolate and key lime…

chocolate cake

key lime cake

Zach has decided that we are cutting out refined sugar, so I made the cakes with local raw honey.

Unfortunately, I don’t know much about substitutions in baking, and the cakes lacked depth of flavor, and were rather dense and low. I didn’t sub 1:1, thinking the honey would be too sweet. So the flattish cakes were pretty, if unexciting. If you have ideas on substituting honey in baked goods, I’d love to hear!


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