Are you afraid of Crepes?

We have crepes in our house at least every week. It's something I know the kids will eat (yes, they are picky) and I have the recipe memorized, so it's super fast. The kids love to help dump in the ingredients and run the beaters. Talking to several friends, they are afraid to try making crepes. So I'm here to demonstrate and get rid of the fear.

Growing up we called them "Aunt Dana Pancakes" because (surprise surprise) our Aunt Dana made them for us first. We now call them "rolly pancakes" in our house. Growing up we loved them with powdered sugar and sprinkled lemon juice; my kids love them with syrup and sprinkles. I can't wait for my kids to race to eat the most the fastest; I remember this competition happening countless times growing up.

There are lots of crepe recipes out there. Honestly, I haven't tried any others besides this one. There are recipes with fewer ingredients as well. I just know that this is easy and tastes good. If you wanted to make them for dinner crepes, omit the sugar.

After mixing the ingredients, I use a ladle to scoop the batter onto the pan. I use a pretty full scoop for a large pan and about 1/2 a scoop for a small pan. (I usually have 2 pans going at once to speed the cooking process.) Watch this video to see the ladle and spin action. (Don't mind the He-Man movie in the background)
video
Once the crepe is on the pan, as soon as the top appears dry, flip it.
It takes an even shorter time on the other side. You want the whole crepe the least amount of brown as possible (with this recipe). Otherwise, it will get crispy.
I know my parents have made these the night before and stuck them in the fridge for a morning brunch. If you cook about 5 and then layer with plastic wrap, etc, then they will come apart easily. They are great warm or cold. Most often I just end up eating them with nothing on them. However, the best it nutella and strawberries!
Crepes
About 5 servings (if you are really serving 5 adults, I would double it to have leftovers)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup water
4 eggs (if you only have 2-3 on hand, still doable)
1/4 cup oil
1-2 tsp vanilla (almond also tastes good)

Mix all ingredients together with electric beaters. Spray frying pans with non-stick spray. Ladle into pans and cook on 1st side just until the top looks dry and the pancake won't break when flipped. Cook on the 2nd side for 1/2 the time on the first. Eat and enjoy.

Peep Bunnies

I love decorations that can be folded up flat, don't take a lot of storage room, and are easy to throw together (thank you small living space). This is one of those. I found the idea on V and Co. They have an great tutorial on how to make these adorable bunnies. It took her idea and added my own twist using what I had on hand. I love the brown eyes and nose of the peep bunnies, but didn't have brown paint and knew my kids love googly eyes. Also, she sewed all the bunnies 1st) onto the ribbon and 2nd) together (I love the finished look it gives). I cheated and used hot glue. I used tacky glue for the eyes. I think it turned out very cute although I really would have rather made the all pink bunnies with brown eyes and noses...however, being thrifty and using what I had instead, it's perfect.

Flirty Ruffle Shirt

I'm really excited about this one. I found this on Tea Rose Home and have been itching to make it. I think it turned out pretty cute. In the tutorial, she used a Down East Basics shirt, I just used a $6 shirt from Target. Note: the thicker material of the Down East Basic shirts would definitely hold better. My shirt stretches easily, making for a little trickier sewing (not impossible by all means) and some sagging on the sides after the ruffles are put on. The Down East Basics shirts hold their shape a little better. (I sound like a commercial...great.) I think it does look best paired with a light cardigan. And the flowers! I love them. They would be so cute on a headband or clip for your hair or a pin for your shirt. Love it.

Hope Chest

11 years ago my Dad surprised me with the largest hope chest that any girl could desire. All my life's treasures easily fit inside (well, right now it's the Christmas decorations). I loved it then, I love it now, and I can't believe it has been so long since he gave it to me.

I decided to take on a beastly project. I decided to change the stain color. Wow! I was not prepared for the amount of work that went into this process. I think the outcome was totally worth it, but if you're contemplating this kind of project, clear your schedule and expect lots of hours breathing in sawdust from your electric sander. In the end I put on 4 coats of dark walnut stain and 3 coats of satin sealer. It's a totally new look and I'm so excited for my dad to see it in person. It's so classy and elegant.

I had just begun sanding on the top
Completely sanded
Inscription from my dad on the bottom that I found after having it for 9 years
The first strokes of stain - I was nervous and excited
The finished product (you can see that I did not do the inside)
Thanks, Dad for a beautiful piece of furniture!

Cupcake Elastic Waist Skirt

I was browsing through some super fun ideas and ran into this elastic waist skirt tutorial. I couldn't pass it up. Susan really gave such good directions. It was the first time I stretch the elastic while sewing, rather than sliding it through a casing. It really wasn't hard. You can do it and ultimately, the result is definitely worth trying something new.

MUST READ: the skirt is quite tenty. Or as a friend put it, "kinda feel like a cupcake." At least that is what I thought last night when I made it. There was no way I was going out in public in that. So I decided to chop of about 6 inches (I just hemmed it up) and now I have a dainty cupcake skirt to wear with your leggings of choice. I will be making another one of these for sure. I wore it today and enjoyed every minute. (note: next time I will not be doubling the amount of fabric, it really doesn't need that much bunching)

P.S. This was the first time I had put a "real" pocket in something and it was so easy. Really, the tutorial lays it out very well.



Shirt Dress

I bought a shirt dress from Target that I thought was cute. I loved the racer back. I ultimately returned the dress to Target, but before I did, I traced the dress and made one to match. The possibilities are endless on how to dress this up, accessorize it, primp it, etc. I love the versatility. Depending on your shape, it may look better with a ribbon tied around the waist. I've had several friends try this on and it looks better without the ribbon. Dress making season is in!

P.S. I love the lace detail around the bottom hem. So feminine.



Living Room Drapes

We had plain living room curtains and I wanted to add some patterned material to them. I got this idea from my friend Meredith. She actually used two twin sheets, genius idea. My curtains had loops on the top that I cut off. I measured and cut material to go across the top and inside. My living room and kitchen are one room (I only live in 600 sq. ft.), there is a large red chair in my living room, but I want my kitchen blue. So the compromise is a little red and blue all together. It's a happy marriage. The blue bow on the drapes is just safety pinned on. I love the little touch it gives.

Meredith also used velcro on her drapes. I don't think our apartment even has studs in the walls, they are very difficult to find, so velcro is perfect. The velcro does come off without leaving a sticky residue. I will need to sew the velcro onto the fabric because it does tend to not want to stay stuck, otherwise it's a great system. I love it.

Leave me a link to visit on your velcro projects!

(*update April 17th - so the velcro has been coming off my drapes. {it did say NOT to put on material} However, since you can't sew it on because of the stickiness of the backside of the velcro, I have safety pinned particularly problem spots. It has done the trick! So, if you're going for something easy and temporary, these curtains will work perfect.)




Basket Cover

On our Ikea shelves I have an assortment of boxes and baskets. I wanted to add some pep into one of the baskets. This is a super easy project that anyone can do. Measure the front, inside, and back panel length of your pre-made cover, measure the width, add 1/2 to 1 inch for folding in the raw edges, cut your material to measurements, pin to the cover, and sew on. Funky baskets are way more fun.

Citrus Apron

It might have been the time change this week or perhaps the above 70 degree weather, but whatever it is, I've caught the spring bug. I'm going crazy with ideas to try, things to create, and long project lists. I'm having TONS of fun.

This is an apron inspired by this Pretty Ditty Apron I found on etsy. I didn't want to pay for the pattern, so I attempted to replicate it. I think it turned out pretty cute. {Thanks to Bethany for the material!} This specific apron looks pretty chesty, so if you're looking to increase your bust line - this is the one for you! :) I love the way the apron fits at your natural waist. Accenting our slimmest part is always exciting.

The unique thing about the Citrus Apron is its elastic in the top chest band. I think I made the material for the chest a bit long this time, next time I'll try a less ruffly one to make for a smaller chest. I also LOVE the pleats just under the waist band - so feminine. Overall, cute and it was done in time for St. Patrick's Day. I debuted it at book club that night; yeah for Freakonomics and Aprons.

What do you think? Good one? Too chesty?

What have I been up to?

This week has been filled with lots of 2am nights...SEWING. For some reason I can't stop right now. I've done so many sewing projects: altered curtains, basket cover, shirt dress, apron, and skirt. I've also been refinishing a large hope chest that my dad made for me 11 years ago. Hopefully I'll finish it my tomorrow and be able to show it off. The next sewing project is a ruffle shirt. I'm taking pictures of everything today...to come soon.

Baklava

Our friends had invited us to a pie party today, but we were unable to attend. I wasn't going to be able to make a pie because of lack of ingredients and had planned on making baklava instead. Once I got the idea in my head, I couldn't get it out. Thus, we still had baklava tonight...minus a good party. After all it is Sunday Baking Day.
I have "The Easiest Baklava Recipe Ever" from Sondos, a good friend of mine, and then I looked up this recipe (I love allrecipes). I decided that I would meld the two together. Really, with these ingredients you can't go wrong.

The layers:
1 (16 ounce) box phyllo dough
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 lbs chopped walnuts
3 tsp ground cinnamon

Syrup:
1 3/4 cup water
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1. Remove phyllo dough from freezer and allow to thaw completely - this takes 2 hours (you can find this in the freezer section of the grocery store, often by the Pillsbury pop rolls).
2. Preheat oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 dish.
3. Begin with the simple syrup (it will need to cool completely). Boil sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla, honey, and lemon juice. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. The syrup will thicken. Let cool.
4. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside.
5. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop.
6. Begin layering the phyllo dough by placing about 5 sheets on the bottom of the pan. Lightly brush with butter (don't drench) and spread walnuts on top. Place another 5 sheets sheets and repeat the process until you reach the last 5 sheets. I don't actually count the sheets, just eyeball it. You should have 1/2 cup butter left over at the end. I probably did about 6-7 layers (I forgot to count).
7. Cut the baklava into squares, all the way through to the bottom, and pour the remaining butter evenly over the top.
8. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and at 275 for 25 more minutes.
9. Remove baklava from the oven and immediately pour the syrup evenly over the top. Let cool.

This tastes better if you let it stand for a couple of hours. The traditional way to make this is to butter at least every 2 phyllo sheets. Really though, it always tastes good. The butter and syrup just melt through it all and make it delicious any way you want to make it. I moaned every bite I took it was so good.

Cycling Cap

So my man randomly told me that he thought cycling caps were really cool (he's into bike everything - he's training for a double marathon). After looking at them and finding a pattern here, I decided that I'd try my hand at hat-making. I think it turned out pretty good.

The pattern, even in "original" size, was not the correct dimensions. After tweaking it in my own document to meet the dimensions it lists, I then printed it out. I found a used wool jacket from the SPCA thrift store for $6. I cut out the lining and then cut it up for its new look. My husband has a fairly large head, he usually wears a 7 5/8 hat size. This hat worked perfect for him because it didn't require me inserting any elastic on the back. If you make this for a smaller head, you will either want to tweak the pattern or put elastic in the back. After sewing the 4 larger pieces together, I sewed the top and bottom bill pieces together on the curve and then flipped it inside out. I cut out a piece of plastic from the front of an old binder and inserted it in the pocket. (Decide at this point how much you want to fold under the bottom raw edge around the sides of the hat - do this by trying it on.) Match the raw edge of the bill to the raw edge of the bottom of the hat and sew right along the edge of the plastic. Tuck the rest of the raw edge up and sew all around the bottom of the hat to hold the seam, including the raw edges of the bill piece. Good luck! If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

*On the next hat I will be making a bigger bill.


Pork Picadillo

I guess I'm in the mood for trying some new recipes. This one is also a keeper. It has a mysteriously complicated flavor of sweet and spice that makes you take "just one more bite." Of coarse we were having company over, so I decided to spring an experiment recipe on them. That usually ends up being the case. At least this one was a success.
Pork Picadillo
from Everyday Food

1 Tbsp oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves (I did 4)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped (I added 3 and it's quite spicy, too much for the kids)
1 tsp ancho or chipotle chile powder (or regular chili powder)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 lbs ground pork (I just did 2)
1 can, 28 ounces, petite diced tomatoes (I added a 15 ounce can as well)
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup raisins (I used golden)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft; 3-5 minutes. Add tomato paste, chipotles, chile powder, cinnamon, and cloves; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pork; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 7-8 minutes. Add tomatoes and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, for 35-40 minutes (I probably only did this for about 20). Add raisins (I added them with the tomatoes and vinegar so they would plump). Serve with white rice if desired.
*You may have to add more spice (cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, and salt) to taste.

Toffee Squares (that you won't stop eating)

The flavor of these is SO yummy. I found myself grabbing one every time I passed the kitchen yesterday. Today I need to give the rest away to save myself. I hadn't tried this recipe before, but the taste is similar to a different treat I've made. Either way, they're a keeper. The slight crunch of the bar with the smooth chocolate on top. You can't get much better than this for any chocolate lover.

Toffee Squares

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
12 ounces melted chocolate
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and add sugar gradually. Blend in egg yolk, vanilla, salt, and flour. Spread on greased 10x15x1 inch cookie sheet. {I found it works best to use your fingers to spread the dough evenly}. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, to a light brown color. Spread with melted chocolate (double boiler or microwave version) right after pulling the cooked bars from the oven. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and let cool. (You could pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes to speed the process). Cut into small squares and INDULGE!

{Thanks mom for sending this recipe to me. Gotta love the newspaper printing yummy chocolate recipes.}

Kitchen Curtains

I've had these made for a while now, but am still proud of my thrift and industriousness. I found these 5 table runners in the discount area of Ikea (by the check-out) and couldn't pass them up. I sewed three together (as they were) to make a perfect fit in my window. I used another as a valance. The last runner I used to make a casing for the back of the valance for the window bar to slide through. I also used the extra piece to make loops and ties for the drapes. I had seen drapes with ties on either side to use to tie the drapes up. As I considered how I was going to make these, I decided that a loop would do just fine on the front and ties in back. I think it made for easier tying. I roll the drape up with both hands and then tuck the ties up and through the loops for a sophisticated up-do. Very fun.




Pickles Cartoon: The Good Apron

I don't get the paper, but my mom read this and had to give/send it to me. I can totally relate. :)






Non-Sewing: Shadow Box and Hanging Frame

I promise that although I haven't been posting as many aprons, I've still been busy doing lots of projects. My husband doesn't believe that I'll ever just be satisfied, and he's probably right. I know I'll always come up with something to make myself busier. That's what makes life so much fun. :) Here's two of my recent successes.

Growing up, my mom always had this poem on our wall. She gave it to me in a light-wood round frame. I thought I might be able to come up with something a little jazzy to hang on my wall. With some fun paper from Michaels some inspired homemade flowers, I think it turned out great. This is the first shadow-box creation I've done and I think I've discovered a useful niche for them.
In case you want the poem:

Come in
Come in. But don’t expect to find all dishes done;
all floors ashine
Observe the crumpled rug, the toys galore,
The smudge fingerprinted door,
The little ones we shelter here
Don’t thrive on spotless atmosphere.
They’re more inclined to disarray
And carefree, even messy play.
Their needs are great, their patience small.
All day I’m at their beck and call
It’s “Mommy come! Mommy see!”
Wiggly worms and red-scraped knee,
Painted pictures, blocks piled high,
My floors unshined, the days go by.
Some future day they’ll flee this nest.
And I, at last, will have a rest.
And which really matters more?
A happy child or a polished floor?

The second thing is a result of my excitement over the Vintage Graphics I found. The rod is from Ikea and had been holding some wire baskets. I swapped it for my white frame and ribbon. I think it is a perfect frame to showcase vintage images. It is very fun to look in my kitchen and see some more personality and color. I love it.

Rainbow Cake

I have been feeling very springy. Yesterday I was reorganizing {again} and had the windows open through the house. Last night my little guy was up late and we practiced coloring the rainbow and he wrote his name for the first time by himself. I was so proud.

With these combined, I happened upon this cake. Doesn't this look like the funnest cake you will ever eat in your life!

I think I will be making this as a special Easter treat. Maybe it will become a tradition, who knows.

rainbow cake

Vintage Clip Art

So I'm kind of into birds right now and I was looking up some fun silhouettes when I stumbled upon two very fun and very free blogs. Check these out for some goodness: Vintage Catnip & The Graphics Fairy. Be warned, if you start looking, you may be sucked in.

P.S. Yes, my new header is a result of my hours looking at vintage graphics. So cute, I love it.
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