Finished Projects

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ina's got nothing on me...

HA! I wish. When it comes to all the talents and skills floating around our family gene pool, baking is not the one I inherited. Well, that and music. Something just doesn't click in my brain. I'll gladly sing along in the car (alone, of course), but put an instrument in front of me and I don't know where to begin.

You'd think being the granddaughter of an Italian baker would've helped my baking skills somehow. Grandma almost always had cake or some other goodie in the house. She also made her own pasta and the World's Greatest Meatballs. So, I think I inherited the cooking side, which is awesome because Grandma was an awesome cook. My sister, however, won out with the trifecta of music, cooking, and baking skillz (yeah that's skillz with a z).

I really didn't do any sewing this past week. I think I poured too much effort into the last two quilts and just haven't had the motivation to start another project. Unfortunately, idle hands are the devil's playthings, and I decided to try out a new recipe.

One of the blogs I subscribe to occasionally posts a nice little library of the goings on at other blogs. It was there that I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes. Yes, you heard me. Cupcakes. Stuffed with cookie dough. I have a friend that stuffs peanut butter cookie dough with mini Snickers...but cupcakes stuffed with cookie dough!? Madness!

I made two batches this week. As a warning, in fear of screwing this up, I used boxed mixes. I personally have no problem with box mixes; I think they're quite tasty, and I'm not so pretentious that I need everyone to know I made a cake from scratch.

Batch 1: Pillsbury's new Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix plus the Sugar Free Vanilla Frosting and half a tube of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Results: I had a coupon for the products but was quite nervous as these cupcakes would be tested on my high school students on Valentine's Day. Surprisingly, I knocked this one out of the park and the kids had no idea it was sugar free (minus the cookie dough). I've already had requests for another batch. The cake didn't quite bake around the cookie dough as it should have, but you wouldn't have noticed anyways since it was covered in icing.

Batch 2: Valu Time Yellow Cake Mix, Valu Time vanilla frosting, and the rest of the cookie dough
Results: Valu Time is the discount brand available in Giant Eagle grocery stores. Not having a lot of money sometimes means you have to resort to non-brand products, and that's perfectly ok. Sometimes they're just as good as name brand products. Unfortunately, this time wasn't the case. I felt the cake was a little too dry, although it kept it's shape without crumbling after a bite. The cake did bake up and over the dough, but the dough sank to the bottom of the cupcake and settled there. They still got rave reviews from friends.  :)

The sugar free icing was also really good- there's nothing I hate more than gritty icing. In the end, I think I'll be buying Pillsbury's sugar free mix from now on.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Secret Project DONE!

My secret project is complete! I redid it last weekend and sent it to its recipient (my sister Jo!) on Tuesday who received it today!

So what's the secret project you may be wondering?

It's a small wall hanging that I originally saw here and after some tracking and transatlantic emailing with its quilter, found the original designer here. Now, I don't speak Dutch but fortunately these ladies speak English and were very helpful in getting me this pattern.

The whole thing is a rather simple paper pieced design. The cat portion consisted of 3 pieces with the addition of two vertical strips along the sides. The outer border was also paper pieced (woooo pointy triangles!). I appliqued the tail after stabilizing the fabric with a very thin interfacing. It kept unraveling while I was trying to stitch it down, so some interfacing and basting spray solved that problem!

The cats' colors mimic those of Jo's cats. The black cat, Annie, is a little b-word that hates everyone but Jo. The smaller cat is Merle, a little guy that began hanging around her house. As I said before, I tried this with another set of colors (white with scroll work and hand dyed blue) but the blue bled and the seam that was disappointing. Then again, I actually like it better with the beige and red.

Since my quilting skills are still limited, I only stitched in the ditch between the outer border and the inner cat portion. After binding it, I made a label with its title ("Annie & Merle"), attached sleeves for hanging, packaged it with some PSU Silly Bandz (that I found at Dick's Sporting Goods for 25 cents! Score!), and mailed it away.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The secret project I've been working on is kicking me in the dupa* right now. I had a feeling one of my seams was going to come apart in the wash...and it did. It's my fault, though. I trimmed the seam allowance too short and it started to unravel.

Then, I used some hand dyed fabric leftover from my Penn State quilt, and that bled into the white fabric. ::shakes fists angrily::

I desperately need to take another quilting class. I attempted to free motion quilt again and that didn't go well. Maybe it's just that my machine is a little simpleton not designed to handle such advanced work.

So I've decided to start all over again this evening. I'm going to fight every urge to go to bed at 8 PM regardless of how ridiculously tired I am. There's a Milky Way bar chilling in the fridge, so that ought to give me a little kick. Plus I've had about 6 cups of tea as the day went on. Mmmm...antioxidants.

*Polish for rear end, backside, hiney, patootie, badonkadonk, caboose, tuchus**
**Now I know how to spell tuchus