Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 2014

JUNE 2014

I'm finding it really hard to believe summer is finally here and the 4th of July is next week!  Sunflowers just seem to spell summer to me. 


Also my flamingos...  


Three members of our family celebrate birthdays in June and July so birthday wishes stay out almost the whole summer.


Memorial Day weekend we spent the day in Portsmouth, NH.  We happened to hit a really cold day.  People were in boots and sweaters.  The next day was a heat wave.  That seemed to be a pattern for a while this spring.


I love the little shops and all of the painted signs.  They inspire me to create.

 

This was one of my favorites.  I would have bought it but for the life of me I couldn't figure out where I would ever put it!!


Here's what came out of that trip.  I had this little saying in my head for so long I finally released it with this embroidered piece.  I always have a few old frames hanging around the house just for this reason.  I painted the frame first with an ocean blue and then crackled it with an off white to look worn and distressed.   


Sandy from quilt/craft group made these beautiful patriotic quilts for the Vets.


All of her quilts are so beautiful.  I'll never understand how she so generously gives them away.


This photo doesn't do this wall hanging justice.


So I'm done with my obsession with Civil War fabrics.  I got this Downton Abbey coffee table book for Mother's Day and all of a sudden I'm obsessed with Downton Abbey fabric.  Of course I'm way too late because most fabric shops are out of it or just have a few bolts left because the craze is over.  But that's  me - after the fact I've caught the bug!  I'll be looking for this fabric wherever I go for a while until something else peaks my fancy.  Problem is there's always something else after all of these collections that gets in the way with actually doing something with all of this stuff!


I love Pinterest.  I have created boards for all of my favorite things and one of them of course is dessert.  The fabulous part of pinning for me is I don't need paper anymore.  I used to collect recipes and photos of everything I love but I could never find anything.  Now I simply pin.  It's a lot quicker to look on a board then all over the house!  One night I was pinning some desserts I found on Facebook and came across this recipe for Hawaiian Wedding Cake.  It looked so good I decided to ring in the start of summer by trying it.    

This cake was really easy to make.  Mix the batter and pour it into a 9x13 pan.


After the cake came out of the oven I put some coconut on a foil lined baking pan and toasted it for a few minutes.  


Sometimes I don't like to frost cakes and I've never used whipped cream in frosting before but lately I've gotten more daring.  This cake looked so amazing I wasn't going to skimp on the frosting.  I'm so glad I decided to follow the recipe exactly.  The frosting is so light and refreshing.  The cake tastes like summer.  It's to die for REALLY!


Looks exactly like the recipe photo!  That doesn't happen all that often!  This ones a winner!



Hawaiian Wedding Cake
Hawaiian Wedding Cake
Yields: 1 servings

Ingredients

1cup white sugar
½cup brown sugar
1tsp baking soda
2cups all-purpose flour
2eggs
1(20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
1cup finely chopped (or crushed) walnuts
¾cup flaked coconut
1tsp cinnamon
tsp nutmeg
1tsp salt
1tsp vanilla

Directions

Mix all of your dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then mix in the eggs, vanilla and crushed pineapple with all of the juice. Pour into a well greased pan 9″ round or 9″X13″ rectangle Bake for about 35 – 40 minutes at 350 degrees (or until toothpick in the center comes out clean). You can serve it this way if you want…or you can kick it up a notch with a simple creamy whipped cream-cream cheese frosting! 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (let it come to room temperature for easier blending) 1 cup white sugar ⅛ tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla extract 1½ cups heavy whipping cream In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Gently fold the cream cheese mixture and whipped cream together. I topped mine with a little toasted coconut.

Hope the rest of the weekends this summer are sunny!  Thanks for visiting and hope to visit again soon!

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 2015

May Flowers

An old friend posted this on Facebook the other day and when I saw it I pinned it.  I love lilacs.  My childhood home had so many lilac bushes in the yard we had bouquets of flowers in our house all summer long.


Update:  Here are the small distressed tables I refinished last month.  I love them.  I already have a vision of this one with a miniature Christmas tree on the top tier and some of my dolls on the second tier.  Stay tuned for that!


I love the way this table came out.  Right now it's in my sewing room.  I'm sure it'll move all over the house before it finds a real home.



Since finishing my 50 Civil War blocks I've taken to making small quilts.  They're so much fun BECAUSE IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG TO FINISH THEM!  I love this scrappy paper doll quilt.



This was really fun once Donna straightened me out.  Next time I get to quilt group I'll bring it and ask the pros how to quilt it.  I've noticed I tend to lean toward tying my quilts because that method is so quick and easy.  This time I think I need to quilt this one!



This is my favorite mini quilt so far.  I have to button hole around the bags before I quilt it.  I've always wanted to make a bag quilt.  Next I HAVE TO MAKE A HOUSE QUILT!


Since time is my enemy I do everything in short increments.  The best part about having a sewing room is you can leave everything on a table for however long and then have it sitting there calling you to come back and work on it!



For quite some time now I've looked for an album I could put all of my "treasures" in.  I didn't want to make a journal where I pasted everything down.  I just wanted some vessel to house all of the little things I've been collecting over the years.  When I saw this 8X8 photo album in Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago I knew this was it. 



I always have to keep reminding myself that I don't have to use things the way they're supposed to be used.  I can be different and free to be creative.  I think when you work in a rigid environment where there are strict rules all day long it's hard to let your imagination run wild when you have free time.  So I felt good when I finished putting everything in these pages.


This is an example of what's in my album.  I love cards that speak to me.  I found a set of cards in a little shop in Homer Alaska.  I started framing them when I realized I don't have any room to display them.  This is the where my album comes in handy.  Everything needs to be in one place otherwise I lose everything.  The worst part is I'll search everywhere over and over until I find what I'm looking for.  Sometimes I wonder what I've lost that I've forgotten!


I can't remember where I bought this doll pincushion pattern.  This past winter I made her one snow day.  I embellished her a little and embroidered her face.  Of course she's too cute to stick pins in so she just hangs out with me on the table when I'm working.



Finally, a few weeks ago I decided to embroider a little saying and frame it.  It took a whole weekend to get my house into summer mode so why not make my own framed sayings.  


I collect frames.  I didn't realize when I bought this one that it's deep and perfect for a "window box" venue.


Lastly, since Memorial Day weekend is coming up I couldn't leave you without sharing one of my favorite recipes.  This Odense chocolate cake is so easy and delicious.  If you tried the almond cake recipe I posted at Christmas you'll love this.  I've never made the Ganache Glaze.  I usually put a doily over the top of the cake when it's cool and sprinkle it with powdered sugar.  The cake stands alone without an icing.  But if you know me by now you know I'm not leaving it at that.  I serve it with vanilla ice cream!

Chocolate Frangipan

Chocolate Frangipan Recipe
The mix of almond paste and cocoa is a match made in heaven.
YIELD
One 9 inch or 10 inch cake
TIME
20 minutes to assemble
25 minutes to bake
Total Time: 45 minutes
INGREDIENTS
  • For Cake:
  • 1-7 oz box Odense Almond Paste, grated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) soft butter
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder (dutch processed preferred)
  • For Chocolate Ganache Glaze (Optional):
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
DIRECTIONS
1.To make cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour the tart pan.
2.Add the Almond Paste to a mixing bowl with sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until combined. Beat on high until smooth, about 3 minutes.
3.Add eggs one at a time beating well between each addition. Scrape bowl down and beat on high until light and fluffy.
4.Mix flour and cocoa and fold into the batter until just combined.
5.Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted between the center and edge comes out clean. The middle will still be soft. It will firm as it cools.
6.Cool on a wire rack.
7.To make glaze: Bring water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler. Put cream, butter, and chocolate pieces in the top of double boiler. Stir until melted together. DO NOT LET ANY WATER TOUCH MIXTURE.
8.Pour warm glaze over cake and smooth to edges. For a show stopping presentation, pipe with white frosting and garnish with raspberries.
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT
9 or 10 inch tart pan with removable
bottom or springform pan
Box grater
Electric mixer


Thanks for visiting.  I can't believe next time we talk it'll be June!  I think this summer is going to fly by.  See you soon...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Showers!



April Showers Bring May Flowers!


This is one of my favorite tile pieces by Kristen. I am so fortunate to be able to seasonally rotate her beautiful art.   
     

Spring is here on the Cape.  Susan and Luke were there a few weekends ago when the weather was beautiful.  They were lucky to have most places all to themselves because tourist season hasn't begun yet.




Spring is also the time for the Artexpo in New York City at Pier 94.  The artwork below is just a glimpse at some of the highlights of the show this year.  




If you go to this show on a regular basis you'll see a lot of the same artists and that's what makes it so much fun because this is a show where the artists want to talk to you.  If you buy their work they absolutely remember you.  We have a favorite artist named Jeremy and this is the second year Susan bought some of his work and he not only remembered her/us, he gave her a free piece.

Jewelry is something we don't see often there so I had to try on a few pieces.  Mother's Day and my birthday are coming up (that's a hint if anyone in my family reads this) and dreaming is free!!!


Love these two necklaces!


There are no photo signs all over this show but once in a while you come across an artist who loves to have his/her work photographed.  I lucked out because the pieces below were my all time favorite. 


The lighting wasn't terrific for the shimmering silver in these pieces but it just made the work pop.


Who doesn't just love an ostrich?


Spring means a new quilt hanging for the back of the front door.  I finished my Alaska mini quilt just in time to hang.


I saw this adorable mug rug on one of quilt websites I subscribe to and thought it would be a really fun easy project for summer.  It's on my project list.  You'll see it if I make it.  If you make it please send me a photo and I'll post it!

Nautical Mug Rug – am I in fashion?

Bring summer to your table all year round with this fun nautical mug rug template and instructions.Cut and paste in your browser - http://so-sew-easy.com/nautical-mug-rug-fashion/
So what's a great weekend without an equally great dessert!   I have vanilla ice cream in the freezer I'd like to use up so this is perfect.
Chocolate Pudding Cake Recipe
Chocolate Pudding Cake

Yield: Serves 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
This rich and moist chocolate cake with a silky chocolate pudding sauce is easy to make and always a hit! We like to serve the cake with vanilla ice cream.

ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (we use Dutch processed cocoa)
2 1/2 cups boiling water

directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, 1 cup of the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well combined. If there are lumps of brown sugar, use your hands to break them up. Stir in chocolate chips and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate together over medium-low heat.
4. In a separate small saucepan, heat buttermilk over low heat until barely warmed. You don't want it to bubble or boil. Remove from heat.
5. Remove chocolate and butter mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour mixture over dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and stir until combined. Spread into the prepared pan.
6. Combine the remaining 1 1/4 cups brown sugar with the cocoa in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth, using your hands to break up any brown sugar clumps. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the chocolate cake batter.
7. Pour the boiling water evenly over the cake. Yes, it will look like a mess, but I promise it will turn out!
8. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is firm to the touch.
9. Remove cake from oven and cool on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. To serve, invert each serving on a plate so that the fudge sauce on the bottom becomes a topping. Spoon any extra sauce in the pan over the top. You can serve the cake at room temperature or warm. Top with ice cream, if desired.
Recipe from Still Life with Menu by Mollie Katzen
Follow twopeasandpod on Instagram and show us what recipes you are making from our blog! Use the hashtag #twopeasandtheirpod! We want to see what you are making in your kitchen! 

 Pier I had this flamingo pillow in their flyer last month.  I love flamingos in the summer so I decided to brighten up my living room with it.  The store doesn't carry it but they ordered it for me and shipped it to my house for free.


Last month I went in to buy some spring pillows for the family room and came out with these goodies.  Now I have to stay away from there for a while!


Stop back next month.  I'm refinishing these two old tables.  Either the finished pieces are going to be fabulous OR I'm going to have to trash them.  I'll share the photo no matter the outcome!


I can't believe the next post will be May!  I have a feeling this spring and summer are going to fly by.  I hope not too fast because I can't wait to get outside and actually sit on my deck.  It's been 8 long months!

Thanks for visiting!  See you soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Easter 2015!

It's April and you can tell by my hutch that it's time for Easter!


I made this little frog quilt years ago.  The colors in it  compliment my refinished little half table.


Last Sunday I went to open the blinds and saw my mom's Christmas cactus is blooming.  My mom passed away over 22 years ago.  She loved Christmas cactus and had several that were at 10 years old at the time of her death.  Chris worked in the florist dept. of Stop & Shop when he was in high school and college.  I credit him with keeping her plants alive as well as all of our beautiful plants.  

I'm always a little sad when holidays come around.  I'm an only child and my dad passed away 25 years ago and then my mom right after.  Our dogs and cat have been gone for over 10 years. When I saw the flowers on the cactus I remembered what my mom always used to say.  All of the plants and trees outside look like they're dead in the winter but as soon as spring comes everything wakes up and comes alive again.  She believed the dead sleep and someday will be awakened.  I so hope she was right. 
  

Here are some of my new bunnies.  I always manage to make a few dolls between quilt projects.  This year I felt like making bunnies... 


maybe because I was looking forward to the warm weather so much.





She's my favorite!


These are Chris' childhood bunnies.  They stay in our hutch all year round with the rest of our treasures.


In our house holidays mean eating so as always there's a recipe in this post.


This burrata cheese platter was a real hit Palm Sunday.  It's Luke's favorite but now it's ours too.  
We bought the fresh burrata cheese at the Italian store.  I sliced it very thin and alternated with thin slices of beefsteak tomatoes then sprinkled fresh chopped basil on top.  Then I drizzled a little olive oil over everything and cracked a little pepper.   


When we were buying the cheese a few really nice people in the store chimed in when I said we were going to make this for the first time and said we had to add some of this very thick balsamic glaze.  It's wonderful.  This was the easiest most delicious appetizer I've made in a long time. 


Here's hoping SPRING finally comes and stays!  


Thanks for visiting and Happy Easter!  Can you believe I'll see you in May!!