Thursday, February 28, 2008

We're Moving!

Front of House, originally uploaded by Mary and Ernie.

We did it! They accepted our offer and if all goes well we'll take possession on April 15th. Now we just need to sell our house...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yellow Coconut Curry

Check out The Chow Review for a new recipe from my kitchen! Yellow Coconut Curry. Four adults have tasted this recipe, and they all liked it. That makes a satisfaction rate of 100%- hurry and make it for your family today!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fairy Princess Tiara

Fairy Princess Tiara

30 gauge wire
needle nose pliers (with wire snipper)
round form

1. I used the round cover of a package of blank CDs as my form. Working straight from the spool of wire, anchor the end against the form using your thumb and start wrapping the wire around the form you're using. Try to hold the end at a slight angle, so the successive wire layers will hold it in place so your thumb will be free. Keep wrapping, keeping everything close together, till it's as thick as you want your tiara to be. I think I wrapped at least 45 times.

2. Carefully scoot the wire circle off the form, taking care to hold both ends of the wire so it doesn't uncoil. Snip the wire from the spool, leaving about a 2 foot tail. Start wrapping the tail around the other wires to hold them in place. The closer together you wrap this, the sturdier your tiara will be.

3. Once you've gone around once, start going around again but this time thread beads onto the wire so they're on top of the tiara. You can either just do this straight, or do one wrap with beads, then the next close to that and empty. You can also do a close, empty wrap on either side of the beads. Just depends on how well you think they're anchored to the top of the tiara.

4. When you've gone all the way around, wrap the wire tightly in one place a few times, snip it off, and try to tuck the end under to it won't poke.

5. You can either leave as is, or put a bow on back (over the wire end.) I wrapped the wire leaves around before tying the bow, but I think if I could snatch this back from Ernie's friend I'd take them off. They look a little strange sticking up in the back. Yet another project I made up as I went along!

Here's a few more pictures- a closer picture of the tiara, Ernie happy to be wearing her friend's birthday gifts, and Ernie just....being Ernie. She's always looked at us that way, even when she was a baby.

Finishing the week

It's the end of the week, and I'm reporting back on the projects.

The bread was a resounding SUCCESS. The crust was so crisp it shattered under my serrated knife, the inside was so moist and full of bubbles, it was almost like pudding. Not quite. It was like...really good bread. For Costco shoppers, it reminded us of their garlic ciabatta loaves. But this doesn't cost $7 for 2 loaves. In fact, I'd be really surprised if the ingredients came out to more than 50 cents! And it certainly didn't look or taste like ANYTHING that has come out of my oven before. Plus, there's about 2 minutes total of hands-on time.

Ernie went to her friend's birthday party this morning. I ended up making a crown, and skipping the whole wand bit. Tried wrapping the stem of a silk flower in ribbon, but couldn't make it work. However, I think the crown turned out really cute! I'll post an easy tutorial, for those who want to complete their Fairy Princess costume.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm Making Bread!

I'm making bread. Right now. (Yes, seriously.)

Many bloggers have been claiming to be the last person on the planet who has not tried Mark Lahey's No-Knead Bread. But, all those bloggers are in New York. Or L.A. Or other places where people just seem to move a little faster to keep up with the neighbors, and all their neighbors have been making this bread for a year! (Since November 2006, precisely.)

The secret behind good bread is a good long kneading process- gets all the gluten molecules lined up in nice neat rows, makes for a good stretchy smooth dough, and a great bread. This bread doesn't do that- in fact you don't knead it AT ALL. You barely touch it. What you DO do is make an exceptionally wet dough, and let it rise for 18 hours. With all that moisture, the gluten molecules just mosey together on their own. They're mobile that way, doncha know.

So I'm joining the band wagon, and my bread should be ready for shaping sometime early tomorrow morning. I've been promised almost a sourdough taste (despite only using 1/4 tsp of yeast), a "shatteringly crisp" crust (thanks to baking it in a pot), and an "insanely yummy" bread. All this from flour, salt, yeast, water, and almost an entire day of letting something sit around in the bowl or oven! I have very high hopes. I'll let you know how it turns out, or why don't you take 2 minutes and whip up your own batch?

See y'all tomorrow! (Wish you were here...except you, Nana and Grandpa. Wish WE were THERE in Mexico with you! Hope you're having a blast. Don't drink the water. Or let it get in your ears. Right, Dad?)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fairy Princess Skirt

Ernie was invited to her first birthday party today. She's excited, but I'm having so much fun getting ready! Our little friend is turning 3- she loves princesses, puzzles, and the alphabet. Since making 26 of these might be a little overwhelming to finish between now and Saturday morning, and I don't really know how to make sturdy puzzles, I decided to work with the princess theme.

Because I've been hoarding craft supplies since I was 12, the sheer variety of STUFF in my craft boxes can be quite useful at times. I pulled together the tulle I purchased (didn't use) to make an underskirt for my dress worn to a family wedding last December, blue ribbon purchased to make a hair bow for my niece, and pink ribbon rose buds purchased to trim last year's Easter dress for E and came up with a sweet version of a fairy princess skirt, I think. I wish I could put it on Ernie to get a picture...but I know that would mean DISASTER when it came to giving it away. Once touched, always hers is the way she views toys in this house. Unfortunately.

I'm hoping to find a thin dowel tomorrow at the craft or hardware store so I can make a wand, with lots of ribbon streamers. If I can figure out a good way to attach mylar tissue paper to thin cardboard, I can make a crown too. Or maybe I'll just make a tiara out of wire pipe cleaners? Doesn't sound too sturdy...can you tell I'm making this up as I go? At any rate, here are my instructions for a Fairy Princess skirt.

Fairy Princess Skirt

Materials Needed:

1. Lay tulle out and fold in half long-ways (top to bottom), then again. Now you'll have 4 layers of tulle. I'm making this for a small girl, so this length skirt will be just fine. If you want it for someone taller than a 3-year-old, you'd need to lay the tulle differently to get as many layers as you wanted.

2. Measure the waist of the child who will be wearing this. Double that number, and cut a piece of tulle (4 layers, remember) that long. I'm using a 25 inch waist (my daughter's, so her friend might be swimming in this, but it's adjustable!) Tulle measured 50 inches.

3. Sew a one inch casing along the folded edge. Remember, you don't need to hem tulle. (I used white tulle, and rose colored thread.)

4. Cut a piece of ribbon that measures the waist circumference plus enough for tying. Thread through the casing. Spread the tulle evenly along the ribbon. I used 38 inches of ribbon, to give lots of tying room.

5. Fold the skirt in half, so both raw edges are together, and measure out from the middle. Make the tulle smooth from that point on (there should be four or five inches of ribbon still sticking out on either side.) Anchor the ribbon at the points you marked by sewing and back sewing perpendicular in between the casing lines. I measured about 9 inches. This will make sure the ends of your ribbon don't slip inside the casing, but still leave enough room to adjust the waist of the skirt. As a guide, you could try to put these marks so they fall on the hips.

6. Treat the ribbon ends so they won't fray- I like to burn them, taking care not to discolor the ribbon.

7. Embellish! You could use lots of ribbon streamers, tacked between various layers. Dots of glitter glue. Sequins. Anything you like! I sewed little ribbon rose buds randomly- I liked how the pale pink played against the robins egg blue and the white. But then, I'm crazy for Spring to get here!

Now go and make these for your daughters, your neighbors, your friends...or make up a bunch of blank ones and invite everyone over to pick their own ribbons, bits, and bobs!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ernie had a great weekend!

J and I were able to attend a great fireside this past Saturday, put on by Mark Paredes. It focused on the similarities between the Jewish and the LDS people. However, it didn't end till 8:30, which meant we wouldn't have been able to get Ernie before 9:00, and that means putting her to bed around 10:00 by the time we get out of Grandma and Grandpa's house, drive home, and go through the long scripture-diaper-brush teeth- jammies-fill water cup- sing 4 songs-3 blankets-1 pig-1 dog night time ritual! Oh, and prayers, hugs, kisses (each cheek, chin, nose, forehead) and FINALLY shaking each of our hands good night. SO, sweet Grandpa kept Ernie over night and took her to church in the morning. However, she gets SO excited around her grandparents (and possibly their never-ending supply of fruit snacks and movies and US puzzles) that naps and sleeping can take a far second place to anything else.

But sometimes a girl's just gotta sleep! Love ya, munchkin.