Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cottage Of The Month Progress


Little behind on my cottages.  Got a little sidetracked with other stuff but I'm back on stitching these cute houses.  Here's my work in progress on June:

See the lenses?  I'm sporting readers now, +1.0,  to do my needlework.   I had been struggling for awhile and then it occured to me that magnifiers might help and so I went shopping for some and got a 3 pair pack for $8 at my local TJMaxx.

What a difference it has made in my stitching!  And you know what?  I kinda like wearing them.  Thought I would feel so self-conscience and well, old.  But not really.   Now I find myself checking out glasses wherever I go in case I find a really cute pair. 

Think I'll go slip them on now and stitch a few rows before breakfast.

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Patriotic Finish

I really enjoy stitching Little House Needlework designs. 

They are easy on the eyes and easy to stitch while watching a favorite movie.  
I might have mentioned that before?  Still holds true. 

Here's one I stitched some time ago.  Stitched last July I believe.  I like to stitch things
in season.

A design named "America".    

Pretty design isn't?  Love the little white fence and the vine growing out of the pot
and the way it curves over the American flag. 

I made a small color change and that was using a different color for the pot that
has the vine and the colors for the roof and window panes, DMC black and a
light gray.   Can't remember the exact number of the DMC colors.  It's been awhile.

The idea was to have it framed before July rolled around this summer.   

Even bought a frame for it over the fall/winter (I really can't remember now). 

I think I totally forgot that I had it finished and had a frame.  Until I browsed
my secretary desk that housed my finished items. 


Here it is with it's frame layed over it. 

Perhaps before this July 2012 rolls out it will be set into the frame.    

And be ready for display next July, 2013. 

I have high hopes.

Pattern ~ America by Little House Needeworks
Fabric ~ 32ct  Raw Linen Belfast 
threads ~ DMC as charted exception: 
 black for roof, light gray for window panes & pot

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flag Cake

For the last three years, I've been making this cake on the 4th of July.  The boys have fun helping to add the blueberries and raspberries and turning it into the American flag.  This photo is actually from the one I made last year as I forgot to take a picture of this years.  We were in a hurry to get over to a friend's house for a cookout.  The town they live in has an annual fireworks display and where their house is, we were able to enjoy the fireworks from their backyard.  Really nice!  Not the best of photos I'm afraid.  But here it is:

I've seen different variations of it, from Martha Stewart to Pioneer Woman's.  Their cake recipe is made from scratch but turns out a much larger cake using 12 x 18 baking sheets to bake the cake in.  In fact, Martha's recipe calls for 2 recipes of the cake (to make a 2 layer cake).  Guess it would work well if you want to feed a crowd!  I have made Martha's recipe, using 1 batch and baking it in a 9 x 13 baking pan for a 1 layer cake.   A recipe from Family Circle Magazine I came across used 2 white cake mixes, doctored up, for the cake base.  That's what I used this time.  I love to bake from scratch but sometimes for ease, I pick up a Duncan Hines mix and add a few things to it. 

Love the addition of lemon zest and juice to the cake mix and juice to the frosting.  Pairs well with the fresh fruit and lends a fresh citrusy taste.  It also helps to cut into the sweetness of the frosting and cake. 

Festive Flag Cake
(adapted from Family Circle Magazine)


Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 boxes white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
6 large egg whites
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp lemon extract


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
pinch of salt
2 16oz pkgs of powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp milk

Raspberries & Blueberries for decorating
Seedless raspberry jam (for filling), optional

Heat oven to 350.  Grease & flour two 9 x 13 inch baking pans.  Set aside.  Pour lemon juice into a 4 cup measuring cup and add enough water to equal 2 2/3 cups. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mixes, egg whites, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice/water mixture and lemon extract to blend, about 3 minutes.  Divide evenly between the two prepared pans.  Bake at 350 for about 22 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Depending on your oven, I would check after 20 minutes.  Let Cool for 10 minutes and then carefully invert cakes onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

For Frosting:  Beat butter, cream cheese and pinch of salt until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar gradually, along with the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of milk.  Continue beating on low until well blended and reaching a good spreading consistency, adding more milk a teaspon at a time as needed.  Reserve at least 1 cup frosting for piping on a white "stripe".

Place 1 cake layer on serving tray.  Spread optional raspberry jam over cake (about 3/4 cups) but not all the way to the edge so as not to make the jam squeeze out when you add the second cake layer.  Or use 1 cup frosting instead of jam.   Top with 2nd cake layer, top side of cake down (so that the bottom of the cake is on top).  Do a crumb coat with frosting.  Let it set in fridge to set, about 30 minutes.  Remove and completely frost top and sides.  Place remaining frosting in a pastry bag with a large star tip.

Mark off a field for "stars".  Fill in with blueberries.  Place 6 stripes of raspberries on cake as shown, leaving equal spacing for the "white" stripes.  Carefully pipe frosting between raspberry "stripes".  Refrigerate uncovered to set frosting, then loosly cover with nonstick aluminum foil.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Let stand at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before serving. 


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dusting Off The Cow Webs......

Hello!  How have you been?  It's been awhile, a very long while since I last posted.  I truly didn't mean for it to go so terribly long betweens posts but that's just what happened.   Anybody still with me? 

We are well into our sweet summer break.  LOVE, love summer break and sad to say, we are past the halfway mark.   A few more weeks and we are all back into a school routine.  But lets not talk about that.  Just.not.ready. 

Here's a few snapshots of what I've been up to since I last posted:

Little Easter baskets for the preschoolers in my class. 
Yellow for the girls and blue ones for the boys.

A trip to the Biltmore House in the Spring

Tulips in full bloom at the Biltmore Gardens

Boys playing Little League Baseball
Go Yankees!

Go Giants!

A birthday.  Twelve!  Where does the time go?!

There was the end of the school year, a quickie trip to TX to see family, and Father's Day.  June seems to have whizzed by.   Had a festive 4th of July (I'll show you my flag cake for the occasion later).    

Been enjoying my little family, stitching a little, playing with my stamps a little, reading a little and lots of pinning and blog surfing.   Oh and a little organization and purging too.  Boys had a couple of sports camps this summer but for the most part, it's been a relaxing time; going to the pool, play date here and there and heading to the library just about every week.  Very thankful for the time we have together.

Hope all is well in your corner of the world!  Until next time,