Saturday, June 18, 2011

She Makes at She Blogs

This Blog is now out of commission, as I have started posting all the things I make at my MAIN blog:


However, I have a lot of recipes I'd like to keep on hand on this blog, so it remains here, an epitaph to the days when I had a crappier camera, and didn't understand how to upload better images.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

She's ready for a Hoppy Spring: Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Oh the weather has been so nice here! The tulips are starting to spurt and Easter is on it's way!

And just as the world got busy sprouting new life, true to form, all the vegetables in my crisper were starting to slowly die. Why is it that the bread never goes bad, but the veggies always do?

So I did what any normal person does when their vegetables start to die, I looked for a way to add sugar and butter to them so I could eat them before their time was up!

I liked the looks of this Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe because it called for fresh carrots, and fresh apple. And I had both of those!

I have a no nuts policy in my baked goods, so I skipped the nuts and I even skipped the raisins. But what can I say, I'm CRAZY.

After baking and tasting, I was pleased with the recipe and decided to recommend it to you!

The cupcakes aren't too sweet and they are very moist*.

*A note on the word moist. Lots of people hate this word. But in the context of baking I have yet to discover a more accurate descriptor. So let's all move on. MOIST MOIST MOIST!

The cream cheese frosting is PERFECT with these. I made mine nice and sweet to contrast the more savory cake. I also piped it on so as not to skimp. Yes, I know I'm a generous girl.

The recipe can be found here and the frosting is there as well.

Here's the final product.

So if you're feeling Springy, or you're looking for a way to eat those carrots you got on sale... this is a safe bet.



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

She wants to make this little treat!

The Purl Bee always has the cutest projects and the best taste. How adorable is this little heart-shaped zipper pouch. If my machine wasn't being such a poopy pants I'd be whipping one up tonight. But since it IS being a poopy pants, you might just have to make one for me...?

Eh? Eh?

You can find a very well illustrated tutorial for this heart-shaped zipper pouch here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

She brings you NILES the giraffe!

Hi! I'm thrilled to introduce you to my new friend, Niles.

Niles is a giraffe that doesn't have any eyes. Or a mouth, or really a nose for that matter. But he does have plush, minky skin, and a velvet ribbon bow tie, mane, and tail. Do giraffes have manes? Either way, it's velvet ribbon.

Niles was inspired by the pillows that my dear mother-in-law made for Eric and me as a stocking stuffer. Eric's mom, Debbie, was sweet enough to let me pick out my own fabric for the pillowcases because she doesn't, and I quote, "Think that spending a whole lot of money on fabric, and a bunch of time on something that I'm not going to use, is her idea of a good time."

Debbie, I couldn't agree with you more.

Debbie wanted to make the pillows out of Minky. Which, if you're not familiar with it, is basically the softest, dreamiest, cuddliest fabric you can imagine.

LUCKILY they carried it in animal print. More specifically, giraffe print!

So after Debbie gave us our they are in action...

...she gave me her extra fabric. And I decided then and there that the one thing I was missing in my life was a small, stuffed, expressionless, giraffe.

So after some testing and trying, I was able to make a simple pattern for a little giraffe. I think he's pretty stinking cute! So I thought I'd share it with the world.

You can download a PDF for Niles the Giraffe, by clicking on this link:
Niles the Giraffe.

It's a super easy project and I think it would make a great gift. It doesn't require a lot of fabric, time, skill, or money to get this lil' buddy.


- A Niles the Giraffe pattern

- 18 inches of velvet ribbon (I used 3/8")

- 1/4 yard of fabric
I used Minky, but it's not really super easy (or cheap) to sew with. It does however, look SO CUTE!

- Stuffing
I used a mixture of synthetic beads and poly-fil so that Niles has the ability to sit.

I did not add eyes or a mouth because I wanted this to be baby-friendly. But you could add those if you really wanted to, I can't do a thing to stop you.


1. Cut out all of the pattern pieces.

2. Right sides facing, sew three sides of the legs and arms together. (Leaving one small end open.) Turn them right side out.

3. Cut 5 1-1 1/2" pieces of velvet ribbon. Fold the ribbon pieces in half. Now you're going to want to place the cut sides of the ribbon halves along the outer edge of one of your head pieces (this will make the mane, the folds should be pointing towards the Nile's nose). Space them about 3/4" apart. Then use the second head piece to sandwich your ribbon. You're probably going to want to pin your ribbon pieces in place, and make sure your right sides of fabric are facing.

4. Sew a 3/8" seam around the head, this sew this ribbon mane in place, and when you turn your head inside out the little velvet pieces will pop up! Peek-a-boo!

5. Place your arm and leg pieces (that you have turned right side out) on one of your belly pieces. The right side will be facing up. I've included markings, but you can just approximate where you want your legs and arms to go. Make sure you place the side you didn't sew along the edge of the fabric. The sewn end of the leg or arm will face the INSIDE of his body. Just like the mane, it will pop out when we turn it inside out.

You should pin these in place. They will start to overlap or hang out on the other side, so you should take care to fold the pieces so they stay nicely nestled on the belly piece. WHY?

6. Because now you're going to sandwich all four limbs between the two belly pieces (right sides facing)! This can get a bit messy, but it's much faster this way.

7. Sew the two belly pieces together with a 3/8" seam, making sure you catch the ends of all the limbs, but again taking care not to catch any other part of the limbs. We want our giraffe to have full mobility. Leave the neck hole open.

8. Turn the body inside out, yes it takes a bit of finesse, and BOOM BABY! All your limbs will pop out. TA-DA!

9. Stuff your head (I prefer to use a chop stick) with poly-fil. Leave 1/2" of space at the bottom.

10. Stuff your body. I poured around 1/2 cup of pellets at the bottom so Niles could sit up. Then I finished it off with poly-fil.

11. Stuff the bottom of your neck into the top of your body. Or the other way around, depending on what looks best.

12. Whipstich the neck and body together. You can see what this looks like here on my ghetto first version.

If you're more advanced than I am (which is not hard) and can think of a way to do this that doesn't look so wonky, feel free. But it doesn't REALLY matter because you're going to cover it up with a bow tie!

Niles meets his maker.

13. Stitch a little bow onto a piece of ribbon to wrap around Nile's neck. Then stitch in place any way you can figure! (Hey, it's a free pattern, I'm not getting too technical!)

14. Then I folded a 3" piece of the ribbon in half and sewed it closed. Tie a little know at one end, then stitch the other onto Nile's little giraffe bum.

You're done baby! If you're a better person than me you will be able to give him away. Like I intended to. However, I just haven't been able to give him up quite yet. Plus, doesn't he seem happy on my bed?

I think Eric likes him too.

Ok! Well good luck! Let me know if you have questions!


Alison & Niles

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

She makes cake pops! And a few other things.

Cake pops have been, like, all the rage on those uber cool baking blogs and I've just been itching to take a crack at them. So after perusing a bunch of different sites, I decided on a method that seemed best to me.

Let me break down the whole cake pop thing if it's new to you.

Here, my friends, is a cake pop.

And here's a whole bunch of cake pops.

Everyone has a different method of making them. So I spent a whole Saturday figuring out just how to make these adorable treats.

An overview of the method goes like this

1. Bake a 13x9 cake.

You can really bake any type of cake you like. From a mix or from scratch. I decided to use a mix, even though I generally don't, in the future I'd really like to try a cake from scratch because you can very much taste the cake, and I think a non-mix might be really YUM. You're going to want to bake this cake the day before so it has plenty of time to cool. Then wrap it in plastic wrap.

2. Get some frosting.

I made cream cheese frosting from scratch. It's really not that hard. But lots of the recipes call for store bought frosting so that works too.

3. Crumb your cake.

I found using my hands and just rubbing the cake into fine crumbs worked best, but if you're prissy you can use some forks.

4. Add your frosting to your cake crumbs (in a large bowl).

I dumped all my frosting in and I wish I hadn't. It didn't really occur to me that the cake pops would taste exactly like cake mixed with frosting (I don't know why...) and I wish I had added the frosting a bit at a time until I had a consistency that would roll into a ball, but wasn't too mushy.

5. Roll all that mushy cake into balls.

I made mine about the size of a ping-pong ball. I suggest a bit smaller. Line a baking sheet, or whatever will fit into your freezer, with parchment and put as many on there as you can without them touching. Here's a great visual of what this will look like, as well as another good tutorial.

6. Insert sticks.

I just pushed my lollipop sticks in. However, I saw later that some people suggest dipping your sticks into the melted candy first. I think this is a great idea. I didn't and everything worked out fine. But in the future, for stability's sake, I will melt a bit of candy coating in the microwave, then dip the sticks in it before inserting them about 3/4s way in to the cake ball.

7. Freeze their brains out for around 3-4 hours.

8. Dip in candy coating.

I have a double boiler. If you don't just put a metal bowl over some boiling water and melt your candy/chocolate.

I bought those Wilton's candy melts, available at any craft/baking store in lots of colors, and I added 2oz of white chocolate to my white batch. I think this made the coating thicker, or better somehow because it didn't drip as much as the blue batch, which was just straight up candy melts.

It took me a while to realize that when the melted coating gets TOO melted (as in too hot) it doesn't stay put on your pop as well. DRIPPY DRIPPY. So I think it's best to let it be a bit cooler. I also read that you can add some edible wax melts. But I haven't found those yet.

9. Decorate.

I decided to keep it minimal with some sprinkles. However, if you want to be amazed and feel bad about yourself be sure to check out Bakerella's cake pops.

10. Let set.

Do not put these in the fridge. I learned that the hard way with some chocolate covered strawberries. You can, however, put them in the freezer. But I didn't want my cake to be cold when people bit into it, so I left them out at room temp. By the time I served them (3 or so hours later) they were great. In fact, I've had some out at room temp for a couple days now, and they're holding up just fine!

I bought myself some Styrofoam and inserted my sticks in it so they could stand upright to set. However another lesson I learned the hard way, spray paint will deteriorate your foam. I was trying to make my foam cuter (for display DUH!) and I sprayed it with glitter spray. 30 minutes later I had a warped and very ugly monster. I'm still brainstorming ways to make the styrofoam cuter. Next time I think I might cover it with frosting. MAH!

11. Take your cake pops to a party and bask in the praise.

Anyway. I hope this comprehensive list helps you muster up the courage to make some cake pops! Everyone really liked them, even though I thought they were a bit moist and needed less frosting.

I made the cake pops for my friend Tara's surprise birthday party. And because you can't put a candle in a cake pop, I decided we needed a cake too! (I know, I cannot be stopped!)

So I whipped up some shockingly purple frosting.


And a 3 layer butter vanilla cake with this recipe. Then I used some left over blue candy coating to make the polka dots!


My friend Tara loves to wear ridiculous ghetto-inspired gear, so while the cake was baking and the cake pops were setting...I quickly cut out some "T's" from some foam and covered them in glitter for everyone to wear at the party. It seriously added to the atmosphere, even if everyone thought I was insane for demanding them to, "PUT ON A T!" So here are the T's (pre-glitter) and the birthday girl enjoying a cake pop.

So now that I have confessed to you how out of control I was with my crafting a baking this weekend (I might have squeezed an apple pie in there somewhere too..) I promise to chillax for at least a couple of days.


Alright! Well happy making from me to you. I have a super cute giraffe to share with you soon. I'm pretty excited.

His name is Niles.



Friday, October 16, 2009

She wanted 100 pumpkins...

But Eric and I finally decided on around 10. I think I got just a FEW more than ten, but the baby ones don't really count. I don't know, you tell me, I think I need some more. This is only one room of the house!

After getting the pumpkins I was so filled with Halloween cheer, that I decided to sew myself a candy corn banner a la Sprinkles "Boo!" card. I had all that fabric in my stash! Damn I'm thrifty!

My Halloween cheer:

That's all I've got so far! I put out some candy corn, but I still need more! MORE PUMPKINS! Eric, however, does not agree! It's so hard to find Halloween decorations that aren't "country home." Don't get me wrong, those are fine, they just don't go with my home. I guess I'll just have to make some more!

Well I love you all! I hope you're loving pumpkins as much as me!



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Peach Cake and the Farmer's Market

Sometimes you just don't feel like baking pie...right? But peaches have been SO good lately, and SO CHEAP, so I needed to find a recipe that used peaches, but didn't require two days worth of prep/bake time.

*I can't find a peach pie recipe I like, they are all too runny, any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated!

So I found a few recipes and combined make the best peach cake ever!!!

Now, I made this twice, and the first time it was a bit mushy in the middle. It was still really really good, but nobody likes too much mush.

So the second time I made it, I covered the cakes with foil for the first twenty minutes, so it wouldn't brown too quickly, and then I baked it a little longer, probably about 30 more minutes, and it was perfect. I love perfection.

I used the first half of this Caramel Peach Upside-down Cake recipe, but instead of using their slighty odd cornmeal cake suggestion, I used this vanilla cake recipe. It makes two 8" rounds, and I served it with fresh whipped cream. The peaches get caramelized because you cover the bottoms of the pan with melted sugar. YEAH. So even though the caramel hardens by the time you place the peaches in the pan, when it's baking the caramel melts and covers the peaches and seeps down into the cake and makes it moist and amazing and SO GOOD.

You don't have to skin the peaches, which makes things a whole lot easier, and you actually don't need TOO many of them. It doesn't, however, keep very well. So plan on eating it within a couple of days. I was planning on layering it but it would just be too rich.

The second time I baked it I used these beautiful eggs from the farmer's market. It's so fun seeing the different colors eggs SHOULD be.

I also got these amazing cucumbers. You don't have to peel them to enjoy them (when you don't have a garbage disposal one must avoid peeling at all costs) and they have the most beautiful fluting on the edges! If only I could remember the name!

Anyway, I seriously suggest the Peach Cake. I'm so glad Fall is here because it means pumpkins and spice and everything nice!