New Pouch Design!

in my shop
I am so happy with my new pouch design, it being more 'sophisticated' than my usual kawaii fare.  The idea is adapted from a Japanese craft book, of course.  The design is meant to mimic a dress or shirt style with pin tucks.

It took about 3 messy tries before becoming comfortable with sewing pin tucks, something new to me.  With each attempt came different approaches in measurements and sewing, thinking through how to make the process more efficient, to create a cleaner look, and to make it less prone to error. Yup, it took a while.


I only hope I can replicate this pouch, with only a rectangle piece of graph paper as a pattern and having failed to document the steps as I went along, it will be a challenge.  Yikes! 

{happy day}

Cleanliness is next to godliness

Do you suppose that the act of cleaning will get me into heaven? With many a hour keeping my sewing space clean I'm pretty sure I earned my wings, ten times over.

Look Ma ~ No dust!
With zippers in the zipper drawer, threads in the thread drawer, trims in the trim drawer; I am ready to set my sights on spreading the gospel of cleanliness, to the scary hallway closet perhaps?  hmmm

Love Me Love My Cat

My son loves his cat, Toaster.  I wanted my son to return home from San Francisco; leaving Toaster behind.  He chose to stay with his cat.  He strongly feels that Toaster is his responsibility; a responsibility he accepted when Toaster was adopted. I like that about my son.


Cats are funny ~ My son plays the Rock Band drums; Toaster jumps on the bed; lies down, tightly shuts his eyes; and stays in that position until the playing stops.  What's that about?  Funny cat.

I made a couple more flex pouches. No surprise that the pouches are adorned with felt CATs. 

sitting cat pouch




happy meow pouch

...hmmm...should I change my blog to  "Cat Inspired"....?

Baking Bread Bowl

I love baking bread; the way the dough comes together, so smooth and soft; like a baby's bottom.  I love seeing the dough slowly rising, inching it's way up the bowl, finally knowing that I didn't kill the yeast.

I love when the warm smells start to seep out of the oven; signaling that the bread will soon be ready for slicing and lathered with butter with a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar. YUMMY!

I love the feeling of .. 'hey I made that'.  And I LOVE not having to pay $5.00 for a decent loaf of bread wrapped in plastic (the price we pay for living in paradise!)


I've been eyeing this bread baking bowl on etsy from the neal pottery shop.


Doesn't the bread look beautiful?  The bowl will make a small loaf size; enough for 2 or 3 hungry folks.  Maybe if I'm good Santa will put this under the tree for me...ahhh, me good? never!.. I am what I am and that's all that I am.

I'm always on the look out for a good bread recipe.  This Amish White Bread recipe from the Allrecipes web site is a family favorite.  The taste is on the sweet side; which is why I love it but you can cut down the sugar if you'd like.  The recipe makes two loaves but I had no problem with halving the recipe for a single loaf.


AMISH WHITE BREAD

Makes 2 9x5 loaves.

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45
degrees C)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour
Directions:
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

Weird Man's Birthday

Today is Al's birthday.  He's weird.  I'm sure he wasn't born weird or his mother would have said something to me before marrying him..hmmmm.  His weirdness works for me.  Today is his birthday but he buys ME an IPAD!  How weird is that?

Al helps out; cleaning the floors (vacuuming and mopping) every Friday; a good hubby he is.  One Friday though; we had this exchange :

Me : did you clean the floor?
Al :  yeah
Me : it doesn't feel clean
Al :  I decided to mop every other week
Me in my head : WHAT the HECK???!!!

Weird man.

Weird or not, he's mine.  To honor his day, I'm making a birthday cake; his favorite; The Halekulani Hotel Coconut Cake.  This cake is the Hotel's signature dessert; a light; airy sponge cake; layered with an amaretto pastry cream; covered with a beautiful whipped cream frosting...sooo delish!  Here it is; in all it's creamy glory.


The recipe looks a bit daunting but I'm always surprised how quickly it comes together. 

    Sponge Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

    Pastry Cream (PREPARE this first)

  • 2 cups 2% low-fat milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto

    Whipped Cream

  • 3 cups heavy cream 
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes 

Directions

  1. To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. ( I used 2 9" cake pans)
  2. To prepare the cake, sift together cake flour, 2/3 cup sugar, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. In separate bowl, combine oil, egg and water; add to flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
  3. Whip egg whites and cream of tartar. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter until just combined.
  4. Pour into pan and bake about 30 minutes or until center is set. Remove from pan set aside to cool. Store in the refrigerator several hours before cutting.  (NOTE: for the 9" cake pans, check for doneness after 20 minutes)
  5. To prepare the pastry cream, combine 1 3/4 cups milk, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles form.
  6. Combine remaining milk with cornstarch; add eggs and beat several times. Add ½ cup hot milk mixture to egg mixture; mix well. Pour egg mixture back into milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Scrape custard into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator.
  7. To prepare the whipped cream, combine heavy cream and sugar in a mixing bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.
  8. Add 1 cup of whipped cream, amaretto and 1 1/4 cups coconut to pastry cream; stir well. Set remaining whipped cream and coconut aside.
  9. When cake is completely cooled, cut into three layers using a serrated knife. Place one layer on a 9-inch cake board or a serving plate. Place half the pastry cream on top and spread to edge evenly. Place second layer of cake on top of pastry cream and spread remaining pastry cream on top. Place third layer of cake on top. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut.
Take a peek at my latest project.  I can't seem to stop making new things; enjoying the process of creating; learning; liking it more than mass producing; although this is also a challenge that I vow to conquer one day.



I'm not sure what to call this...a needle book? a sewing book? a sewing needle book? Whatever it is, it's the perfect sewing partner for when I do hand stitch work; having a place to 'rest' my sewing needle instead of sticking it in my bra..ouch!

My Mis-Motherly Steps

My boys would be the first to say that their mom (that's me) could never...never be crowned Mother of the Year.  Although, I'd like to think otherwise...it's the truth.  Here are a couple shining moments of my mis-motherly steps ..

It's late at night; about 9 as I recall.  I run into the market leaving the little one in the car; entering the market I hear : ..."will the lady who left her son in the car please go back to the car..." ... I casually slinked out of the market; hoping no one suspected it was me...you think?

The kid falls asleep in the backseat; a good time to run into the appliance store; leaving him in the car with all the windows rolled up to protect him from any predators.  We return to the car; find him crying; his face beet red from waning oxygen levels. I still see his face in my memories to this day...it was that scary.

Okay, we go to another appliance store when the kid was younger; this time in an old neighborhood.  He has to take a pee so I take him to the restroom in the store. The room is dark; I flip on the light switch; and there covering the floor and the walls are literally zillions of roaches (I am not kidding!) ... in every size imaginable.. from teeny tiny to humongous.  I remembered them frozen in the light.  Instead of leaving; I tried to get my poor kid; who was holding onto me for his dear life; to sit on the toilet. Oh, we left the store to find another restroom but the scar lives on. My son, a cartoonist, drew a pic of that night; us and the roaches; exactly.

Yup, no Mother of the Year award for this lady....but I count myself double lucky for two great sons who care for me; in ways that other mothers might find....a little mean.  They have a plan to save money on nursing care by burying me alive in the backyard....how sweet is that?

Talking about 'sweet' ....  here's another flexi pouch I tinkered with this week ....





HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY <3

It's Raining It's Pouring

It was a dark and stormy night; thick rain, house shaking thunder, hail, an unbelievable lightening show...wow.

photo from a Hawaii resident
Mother Nature is quiet at the moment; probably at rest after scaring the dickens out of us with her fiery show; but not until she spurned these amazing twin waterspouts off shore.  ( Science note: Waterspouts are  tornadoes that touch water, they are not formed of water themselves but are funnel clouds that shoot down from storm clouds.)  How crazy is this? Isn't Mother Nature both amazing and scary ?!!

Photo from a Hawaii resident
Bad weather outside = a good day to stay indoors and sew; and sew I did. 

A flex pouch : MY FIRST EVER
ahhh...open wide

a mini drawstring bag

..and another !!
I hope it rains again tomorrow ....