Tuesday, April 30, 2013

my week, currently, vol. 2

It's a rainy Tuesday here in DC, and I'm hearing mixed forecasts for the remainder of the week...but, I won't be here for part of it, so I don't mind as much! I love these "my week" posts I see all over the place. I did one a few weeks ago, and thought I'd do one again. Should this become a regular feature? We'll see! 

Reading: the latest from Jennifer Close, The Smart One, which follows her debut book, called Girls in White Dresses. I enjoyed that one, and am just a few chapters in with this new one, but so far, so good! Also, I learned that the author lives in the DC area and teaches courses at George Washington University, where I did my second Master's degree! Maybe I should take one of her classes? Have you read either of Jennifer Close's books? 

Eating: Crunchy Curls, found at Trader Joe's over the weekend! Made from lentils and potatos, they are gluten-free, for those of you who are. I am not, but I find myself eating a lot of G-free snacks these days, which probably isn't a bad thing, eh? If you have a TJ's nearby you, go find these, they're wonderful! 

Listening: There is a meeting going on in the conference room across from my desk. They did not close the door, and I can't decide if it would be rude if I got up to do so....

Thinking: I feel like my hair is shrinking. I haven't cut it in a few months, but it somehow seems shorter than it was not too long ago. It grows so slowly anyway, and I've been taking biotin supplements and prenatals (not for anything else!), because I've heard that they can help promote hair growth, but they don't seem to be doing much. Has anyone had any luck with this? 

Laughing: Yesterday's mail brought two letters from my World Vision babies in Albania, Majlinda and Redion, as well as a World Vision magazine. With part of my tax refund, I had sent them extra funds to purchase things the family needed. I received letters back, as well as a photo of each of them with the things they bought with the funds I sent. Majlinda, as always, drew pictures on her letter, but when I went to read the translation, it was the wrong letter! They had accidentally sent me the translation to another child's sponsor! I guess that means someone got my letter too! I called WV, and they were so apologetic, though it isn't their fault at all, and just a little mistake. These things happen! I said I'd mail back the letter so that they can send it to the right sponsor, and they will request a new copy of mine to be sent. It made me laugh though. I've been sponsoring with them for almost six years, and this is the first time anything like this has happened! 

Wondering:  Why can't I be a stay-at-home quilter? That would just be the best thing. 

Wearing: My favorite necklace from Stella and Dot, the Isadora Pearl Bib. I can't get enough of it. I love their jewelry and the company. Maybe I should become a consultant?? 

Loving: The little bookshelf mini quilt I finished a while ago. I did blog about it once already, but at last month's meeting of the DC Modern Quilt Guild, I showed it off, and someone snapped this photo. I don't know why I look so awkward, but I don't have many photos of me with the things I've made, since I am usually taking the photo! I've done this pattern before (blogged here), and just love it. I need to hang this one in my sewing room! 

Wanting: New shoes like whoa. I am in desperate need of new shoes. 

Needing: I need to start packing! I am going to Minneapolis and Chicago this week for work! I'll be in Minneapolis for two nights and Chicago for three, and will be gone Thursday through next Tuesday! I've been to Chicago, but never Minneapolis. I'll have a few hours of free time here and there. Anything I can't miss in either city?

How's your week looking so far? 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

pinterest baking fail.

If you're on pinterest, I'm sure you've seen the recipe for the fresh strawberry yogurt bundt cake that has been all the rage. I think I've repinned it about a dozen times from a dozen different blogs....each time I saw it, it was a different photo of course, from a different blogger, so I just kept on repinning! Sunday afternoon I decided to try it. I had a container of Greek yogurt, and a container of  strawberries that needed to be used. Usually I gobble up the berries as soon as I get home, so I am not sure how these stayed in the fridge for a few days this time! I looked back to pinterest and found my most recent pin (ha!) and grabbed an apron and set off to bake.
This darling apron is the Lucy from Scarlet Threads. She's now retired, but there are a few others in this same style in the shop! Remember, if you make a purchase, use the coupon code lex25 for a discount on your purchase!
Normally when I cook and bake, I follow the recipe for the most part, but improvise here and there. This time, I followed it nearly exactly, with one main switch. The recipe called for lemon zest, and I realized too late that I didn't have any lemons, but I had a jar of lemon zest, so I used that instead. Not a huge change, I didn't think.
However, look at my cake---


This is not pretty, and does not look delightful. It is delicious, but far from appetizing looking! The recipe calls for a glaze on top, but I didn't do that in the end, because it just wasn't looking good. All of the photos I've seen of this cake are gorgeous - light colored cake where you can see the strawberry pieces baked inside! I have no idea where I went wrong! 

When I poured the batter into the pan, it filled it at least 3/4 of the way up, and when it baked, it baked up and over the top a bit! At one point, I heard a pop from the oven, and realized that there had been some sort of heat bubble inside that exploded, and a blurb of batter splurted over the top of it, making almost like a crust over the top, while still in the oven! So perhaps I'd have to cut the recipe in half next time? In this case, it is supposed to bake for an hour, but after just over an hour, it wasn't quite done yet.
As I said, it does still taste good, but just doesn't look good. I almost didn't want to post about it, but I figure that not every recipe is perfect every time, right? Mistakes happen, and that is how we get better in the kitchen, eh? 
Have you had any baking fails recently?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sarah Pekkanen and The Best of Us

I met Sarah Pekkanen this weekend! She has a new book out called The Best of Us, and was speaking at a local book shop called Politics and Prose, which is pretty much an institution in DC. Steve and I had been out all afternoon, so we grabbed dinner at a restaurant next to the bookshop, and because of that, were a few minutes late to her talk. Ooooops.
Sarah was so wonderful and so funny. I missed the first ten minutes or so, so I didn't hear as much about the book, but she talked about her other books too, and took lots of questions from the audience. She gave advice to aspiring authors too, which I appreciated, since I have a secret goal of writing a book or two one day.
One day. I have the last line of the book finished...though should probably fill in the rest, eh?
When I went up to have my book signed, Sarah said I looked familiar and had we met...I said that I'd tweeted to her, so maybe that was why, and she laughed like we were old friends! It was so refreshing that we chatted that way. I've met some authors who seemed way too impressed with themselves, which made me a bit sad, but Sarah was so, so great.

I haven't read the book yet, but will post a review when I do! I bought a copy for Heidi, as she is the one who introduced me to Sarah Pekkanen's books. Since Heidi just had a baby a few weeks ago (!!!), she couldn't come with me, but I knew she'd want to read the book as well. Plus, she founded our book club, which is soon-to-be back in business! (any DC girls want to join our book club?! we're super fun, I promise).

I love meeting authors, and I love that many of them make stops in DC while on their book tours. This is just one of the reason why I don't like e-readers....it's really difficult to have someone sign your kindle  ;)

Have you read any of Sarah Pekkanen's books? Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

it is still a beautiful world.

The Desiderata is one of my all-time favorite poems. 

The very end is my favorite- 

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Etsy has so many lovely pieces, including this print of the Desiderata. I have a postcard of the last few lines on my desk, but I think I need a poster sized copy of the print. In the challenging world that we live in, I think that it is a lovely reminder of how we should try to live our lives each and every day. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

so much love to Boston

There are no words, but my heart is in Boston this week.

(not sure the original source, as this has been all over twitter/facebook/pinterest)

Monday, April 8, 2013

how to shoe it?

I recently ordered this dress from eshakti, and it should arrive any day now! I love it. Not sure why it's a bit blurry here though. 

Current dilemma? What shoes would you wear with it? White sandals seems too obvious and matchy-matchy...what color, for a good pop of fun? A fun style too? 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday fats!

If you are not a sewer, you may not know what a fat quarter is. Typically, a fat quarter is a piece of fabric cut to 18" x 22."  You can see from this illustration how a normal quarter of a yard of fabric is cut, and then how the fat quarter is cut. I like fat quarters better than regular quarter yards, because you get "more" of the fabric, in more of a square shape, so you often can get more of the design. 

When I lived in my little apartment, I didn't have tons of space for fabric storage, so I bought a lot of small cuts of fabric, including fats. They're great for small projects like bags, doll quilts, placemats and napkins, and more! Even though I now have a sewing room of my very own, I still love buying fats. They're great to use when new fabrics come out, to see the print and just buy a bit of it, to see if you like it. Most places sell them for $2-$3 or so, whereas a full yard (36" x 44") can be anywhere from $8-$25, depending on the designer, etc! I don't want to spend so much and then decide that I don't like the fabric! 

Two weeks ago, my friend Anna and I drove up to PA to do a little shop hop! We went to four quilt shops in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, and I picked up, among many other things, these fat quarters at the first shop we went to, called Cloth and Bobbin. We both loved the shop and all of the amazing fabrics there. I'll have to do another post on our trip - we had SO much fun!  

Look at these! Loving the couple under the umbrella so much, and the London prints are just darling! I really should be a fabric designer! (wishful thinking!)

I am working on several baby quilts at the moment, and plan to do some serious sewing this weekend, but I might take a break from those and make a little something with these instead. What should I make? A little tote bag? For library books? A table runner? Something else? What would you make with them?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday cutes

Saw this and love it!

Saw it on pinterest, original here.  

What made you smile today?