A Cute Play House

I saw this picture over at Mother Baby Earth and just had to share; a so very cute table cloth play house!
on coolspacesforkids on etsy
 I'm thinking for a boy, transform the table cloth into a spaceship or cave and for a hubby; a dog house. :o)  Got ideas?

Today I baked the Washington YWCA Chocolate Chip Cookies; a recipe found on LaFuji Mama; a lovable blogger sharing her love of good eats.  I've been wanting to make this cookie for awhile.  Our cookie jar was down to the last few oatmeal raisin cookies; staled and whose number was up.  With chocolate chips always in the pantry, it was a mighty fine day to bake and fill our jar with fresh homemade cookies...

I have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe in my file but am always wanting to try other recipes; especially the ones that are the "Perfect cookie" or the "Best cookie" or the " Favorite cookie" or the "Tastiest Cookie ever".

I must say that the Washington YWCA chocolate chip cookies is a delightful cookie; soft and chewy, a bit on the sweet side with a higher mix of white sugar than brown sugar.  Our cookie jar is happy again.

I wish this was a smell-o-photo

 WASHINGTON YWCA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Makes about 3 dozen.
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 2/3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 c. flaked coconut
2 c. (one 12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In bowl of mixer beat together butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until blended.
4. Add walnuts, flaked coconut, and chocolate chips.
5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8 or 9 minutes, or until cookies are just starting to brown. The centers will be soft.
6. Let cool for several minutes then remove from cookie sheet and place on wire rack to finish cooling.

PDF Version 

Notes:
La Fuji Mama suggests sticking to vegetable shortening and never substituting it with butter-flavored shortening, which alters the flavors.

Today was a hot day so I kept the dough in the refrigerator in between batches.

Happy Baking ^^
kat

Bento Oh Bento

amazon link
I resisted buying this oh so cute bento book; giving in only after I convinced myself that the recipes looked simple and delicious.  This time I'm thankful for my lack of will power.  This book is simply eye candy; authored by Susan, a fellow Hawaii resident.   She shares a lot of bento cuteness on her blog Hawai'i's Bento Box Cookbook, Bentos and More for Kids. Once you visit her blog; you will never look at food the same way !

Inspired by her book; I attempted to make a bento for one of our family's "It's a Beautiful Day" eat out night.  This ritual was born out of a ploy on my part to get out of making dinner on Friday nights..and it worked!  If the weather is nice (and oh, did you know we live in Hawaii??), we head out to the town center in our community; buy take out dinners; sit at one of the tables surrounding the center stage, enjoying the outdoors; entertained by hula dancers or a singing group, and a perhaps play in the Friday night bingo game.  It's a relaxing way to end the week.

I don't have much bento making supplies so this is my first bento box ... filled with sesame chicken, fried dumpling, a tomato (and a very tasty one at that), kamaboko (fish cake), and a faceless bear (poor thing).




The sesame chicken was ono-licious : local speak for 'oh so delicious'.  The recipe is from the book which I'll share in a moment.

Bento making is FUN.   I put together another one for last Friday; this time with kaarage shrimp as the main course.  Sorry no pics ... for the rice I made these cuties from the book

A picture from Hawai'i's Bento Box Cookbook
The face was a bit difficult; using kitchen shears to cut small round shapes for the eyes.   Avid bento makers use nori punches for faces and such...but these punches are a bit pricey..BUT DAMN CUTE. Will my lack of will power help make the 'right choice' for me?

After a bit of research on the web, I did find that paper punches work well too ... may not be cheaper but a lot easier to find ... so I'm be off on a punch hunt !

I did buy more bento making stuffs at a local Japanese store this past weekend ... oh, oh, I feel a 'collection' starting..and after I decluttered my kitchen ... the cycle never ends.

cute picks

cylinder shaped musubi molds to make the Bento Boys
Sesame Chicken : A recipe from the Hawai'i's Bento Box Cookbook
Serves 5

4 T mochiko flour
4 T cornstarch
4 T sugar
2 eggs
2 T shoyu (soy sauce)
2 T oyster sauce
2 tsp black sesame seeds
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

Combine the mochiko flour, cornstarch, sugar, eggs, shoyu, oyster sauce, and black sesame seeds in a large bowl; stir until mixed well.  Add chicken and marinate overnight.  Before frying, mix the chicken in the marinade well.  Drop the chicken one at a time into hot oil and deep fry until browned and cooked through.

PDF VERSION

"It's a Beautiful Day"
kat

A Kawaii Zakka Russian Doll Teapot Cozy

It's weird that I collect teapots although I'm not a daily tea drinker. In a recent kitchen decluttering effort, I found about 8 teapots ranging from teeny tiny to large pots.  Of the eight, 2 pots from England are keepers (I received these when my nephew was stationed there), along with a couple of Japanese teapots. I'm still deciding on a teapot my mom bought in Europe; a mini red metal pot.  The pot went into the donation bag, then out again.  It's so difficult to let go things that I have a fondness for. 

In my own psychoanalysis, I think I equate the teapots with this image of of daintily sipping tea while nibbling on a lavender scone;  tossed back into an era with Jane Austen and her lady friends; a moment of peaceful comfort.

I LOVE period movies and stories based in Old England...old Merchant Ivory films (The Remains of the Day, Howards End ... ); Jane Austen stories (Pride and Prejudice, Emma, ... ); watching some of these movies over and over.  I love the old English accent and their way of conversation. How can you not fall in love with Mr. Darcy when he shares :  "Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you... I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family's expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony." swoon.

A "facebook friend" suggested I make a teapot cozy.   Once upon a time I attempted such a project; wanting to make a Russian Doll design.  I had a picture in my head but couldn't figure how to make it and gave up after a few tries.  This time, for some reason, it was not difficult at all. 


My Zakka Russian Doll Teapot Cozy : I really LOVE working with felt; although a bit time consuming to sew on the pieces; creating kawaii vignettes. To cut most of the pieces I use my Cuttlebug die cut machine, nestabilities dies, and sizzix dies.  The cat is from a drawing my son did for me.


The cozy fits a standard teapot that holds up to 6 teacups of tea.  Inside, the cozy is lined with a cotton fabric and a layer a cotton batting.

If you'd like to make one here's the pattern of the tea pot silhouette (no pattern for the design) with a list of instructions : A Kawaii Zakka Russian Doll Teapot Cozy Pattern  (Print on standard copy paper; 81/2"x11").  Please let me know if this link should ever fail to work..thank you.

till next time...Pip Pip Cheerio !

Happy Day ^ ^
kat

Merry Christmas ! A Christmas Stocking Tutorial

I'm feeling a bit nervous about Christmas; noticing crafters loading up their etsy shops with Christmas things; and it's only SEPTEMBER! oh my.  And here I am cleaning my kitchen for the past 3 days!  HaHa.  But I did manage to finish a tutorial before I started cleaning; now having the time to share it with you all before I start attacking the freezer! ...and you guessed it..A CHRISTMAS STOCKING!!!   ^ ^ 

My Zakka Style Drawstring Christmas Stocking

I read an article, "Practice Makes Perfect" on Oh My Handmade Goodness.  April Bowles, the author, shares her thoughts on the principles of 'deliberate practice'; on how to improve one's skills through truly dedicating time each day to learn, practice, gather feedback, then learn, practice and gather feedback again and again.

April's words inspired me to try harder at my craft; wanting to create lovely vignettes with felt and fabric; always obsessed with adorning a sewn piece with something 'cute'.  So here I start with this Zakka Style Drawstring Christmas Stocking with a felt tree designed by my son.  I have a lot more learning and practicing to do; liking the idea of having a goal of some sort. Hmm..on second thought, I think learning more on pattern making might be a better place to start......darn, my indecisiveness is why I get NOWHERE! ^ ^ However crooked my road might be; the journey is still a delight ^ ^

Back to CHRISTMAS ~ I love this drawstring style Christmas stocking! It comes together rather quickly; a fun way to package gifts and baked goodies !  I came up with the pattern on my own..but hey, it's a drawstring bag shaped as a stocking..duh.

MY ZAKKA STYLE DRAWSTRING CHRISTMAS STOCKING TUTORIAL
(here's a pdf file to accompany this pictorial tutorial..if the pdf doesn't work; please please let me know..thank you ^ ^ )


Materials
  • Exterior Fabric : 2 pieces 16" long x 12" wide
  • Lining Fabric : Same as Exterior
  • Interfacing : Same as Exterior
  • Cord : 14" to 20"
 Preparation 
  • Cut a pattern for your stocking
  • Note : For my stocking : Top is approximately 7 1/4" wide and 10" wide from toe to heel; the stocking is 11.5" long at the heel and 13" long at the toe.
  • Use pattern to cut 2 pieces from Exterior Fabric
  • Use pattern to cut 2 pieces from Lining Fabric
  • Use pattern to cut 2 pieces from interfacing; follow manufacturer's instructions for fusing to exterior fabric




Notes 
For the exterior fabric, I chose an Osnaburg fabric; commonly known as the ' poor man's linen'; is a linen-type muslin; that I found in a little fabric shop on Bainbridge Island in Seattle. I LOVE this fabric; perfect for my ZAKKA projects. Osnaburg is lightweight and has a "nubby" texture that is very soft to the touch and is crease resistant. To keep the natural look and feel of the Osnaburg fabric, I chose Stacy Shape Flex Fusible; a woven interfacing.



Embellish your stocking if you wish. Or use the cutest or most glorious designed fabric you can find and let the fabric be the showcase in your stocking ^^


Sewing Exterior Stocking Pieces
  • Mark 2 inches from the top
  • Place stocking pieces right sides together; using pressure foot as a guide to sew seams; sew around edges starting at 2” mark and ending at 2” mark (do not sew beyond the 2” line)
  • Clip curves
  • Turn stocking right side out; set aside
  • The open seams will form the drawstring tunnel. 
  • Finish open seams by turning down seams; press; sew
Sewing Lining 
  • Place lining right sides together; using pressure foot as a guide to sew seams; sew completely around edge 
  • Clip curve
    Putting It Together 
    • Place the stocking into the lining; right sides together
    • Sew along top edge; joining the stocking and lining together
    • Pull the stocking and lining right side out through the top opening
    • Push lining into the stocking; leave a little of the lining showing on the outside if you wish
    • Top stitch around the top edge of the stocking

    • Measure 1 1/4" from the top and mark. Sew along this line to form the drawstring tunnel
    • String your cord through the tunnel ( I used one (1) drawstring cord for this stocking but go ahead and use 2 cords if you want to make it more like a handbag )



      I hope you enjoy this project

      happy day ^ ^
      kat

      It's All About the Bento

      Hooray ! :o) ... My Bento Bag Tutorial is now featured on Jo's blog : A BIT OF THIS A BIT OF THAT as part of her month long New Skills Festival. 

      Hop over and take a peek (*0*)

      happy day
      kat

      A Craft Hope Project

      Have you heard of Craft Hope?  It is the love child of founder Jade Sims.  Her mission is simple..sharing handmade items with those in need; banding together crafters throughout the world to help others. 

      I decided to join in the latest Christmas in Dixie Project to make stockings for families who lost everything in the tornadoes this past fall.  Craft Hope is partnering with Christmas in Dixie for Tornado Survivors to collect 12,000 Christmas stockings...12,000!!! You can hop over to the Craft Hope site to find out more if you'd like to help out.

      After returning from our trip, my first order of "crafty business" was to get busy with making my stockings.  Here's one ~

      and another ~

      I loved making these stockings! There was a sec when a thought of just making stockings crept into my brain.....nah...I'd probably get tired after the the 10th stocking. :o(

      Happy Day (*^_^*)
      kat

      A Miracle & A New Skills Festival

      Hello. I just returned from a jaunt to Portland and Seattle; henceforth known as our PIG OUT ADVENTURE. Our Number One Son planned our trip, something he is very, very good at; working in sights that we've never seen or experienced.  Our itinerary reflected where he is in this time of his life; FOOD FOOD FOOD; which is not necessarily a bad thing but I tell you I was deathly afraid of looking like a DUMBO by the end of the trip.

      This pic will give you a sense of our family's culinary point of view...greasy fattiness piled upon more greasy fattiness....yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy !


      Here is a low down of our PIG OUT adventure.... Pok Pok's to die for fish sauce wings, evil VOODOO donuts, dining in a school bus dining room chomping down double grilled cheese hamburger sandwiches from The Grilled Cheese Grill, banana nutella waffles from the Waffle Window, street food (pizza, tacos, falafel, ice cream sandwich) from the Fremont Sunday Market, Burger of the Gods hamburger and Malted Whopper Shake from the Lunchbox Laboratory, sweet cream buns from Uwajimaya's food court, the most delicious hot dogs at Po Dog Hot Dogs, clam chower from Pike Place Chowder, the "I'm still dreaming about" Honey Lavender ice cream from Molly Moon's, Mighty O's vegan donuts, delicious hamburgers and the world's best onion rings from Red Mill Burgers, cherry pie at the infamous Twin Peaks Double R diner : Twede's Cafe,  casino food at Tulalip Casino, Hawaii local style flavors (tacos and fried rice) at the Marination Station, Yogurtland, delighting in regular ole' baseball food (hot dogs, nachos, peanuts) at a Seattle Mariners game (they won!!), pasta somewhere on Bainbridge Island, more pastry goods from Sluy's Bakery, gorgeous sushi at the Umi Sake House, crumpets lathered with honey at the Crumpet Shop, Ezell's best fried chicken ( an OPRAH fav ), pizza and calzones at Stellar's..and then some!

      The miracle? I did not gain any weight!!! The secret? Share an order...half the calories, half the fat...and that's a good thing.

      Oh but you're not here for food....come and join in the craft party going on at Jojoebi's A Bit of This and a Bit of That blog ! Jo is hosting several a NEW SKILLS FESTIVAL all month long.  

      Jo has recruited different close to 25 crafters; including ME, to share projects throughout September.  The fun has already started!  I am so excited to learn new skills from other crafters. 

      Here are links to the first projects posted

      Dream Boards with Jamie
      Etegami with Debbie
      Bento Wrap with Zhing
      Needle Felting Ninja with Liz

      ...until next time....

      happy day (*^_^*)
      kat