3.31.2010

celebrate!



video

So last night we opened the DNA results to reveal if we are identical twins or not. We were so nervous, we decided to make a cake to either make us feel better if we weren't or to celebrate. We grew up telling people that we were fraternal (from a doctor's wrong observation) and then around 20 we decided that we probably were identical. But we always had this doubt. No offense to fraternal twins but identical trumps all twins, they are way more rare (esp. now) and there is something just crazy about being natural clones.

Well, we celebrated! We are identical. Check out the live video to see the proof. It's almost creepy how similar our movements, long monkey arms,and high squealing voices are. Our husbands were so relieved. They were really afraid of the scene that would be if we found out we were not identical. It's a huge weight off our shoulders!

3.30.2010

double time.



My sister and her husband arrived this weekend and we had lots of fun, touring DC, and meeting up with old friends and extended relatives. We got back yesterday, and we have planned lots of things to make and do. Typical twin time! Lots of chattering and giggling, and baking.

3.26.2010

one more tic off my to-do list

This week I've been a little frantic. My sis is flying in late late tonight, and so I've been trying to get things done before they come. I started my duvet cover a couple weeks ago, and it was one of those projects I just hoped I would complete. It was a little daunting, but yesterday I finally got the quilting done. I just had to almost literally plow though (get it?) and keep my focus to not get overwhelmed. Around 20 hours and 15 bobbins later, I made my last row. Then last night I just kept going, and sewed a back on it, an envelope closure. With the last button sewed on at 1:30 am, we put in the comforter, gave it a good fluff, and had a great 4 hours of sleep. It may not be perfect, and the buttons are not equally spaced, but it's definitely feels great to have it done, it turned out just how I imagined. Because of the quilted top, it has a great texture and heaviness and we can even use it without the comforter when it gets warmer. I'll show more views once we finish up our bedroom, I still have some other things on my list to complete!

So my sister and her husband are flying in tonight/tomorrow, I am so excited to see them! It should be a great week of fun, starting off in DC + Amish country. And we will be unveiling our DNA results, to find out if we are identical. We are so happy to finally know for sure!

3.24.2010

just a little elbow grease



Tyler took on a spring break project of painting this dresser white, the dresser itself was in okay condition, but it really needed something to update it. It has a fairly cheap veneer. We didn't really like the hardware on it, but when we took it off and really looked close, it was a lot better than we thought. It was just so dark you couldn't notice the details. We decided to try and clean them up, or find something else. We had no idea how much tarnish there was! They brightened to a nice gold color. I can't wait to show off all our projects we have been working on lately.

watch for my post on this is not my work coming up today!

3.23.2010

Spring time escapes






This weekend Tyler and I went to a little store that was in a village nearby (10 minutes is all it takes us to be in the middle of nowhere!) and we just kept driving and enjoying the scenery with the windows down. I'm surprised how much I love farms and the country. Gingie just loves a good car ride, and we love exploring. How did you celebrate spring? See more of the adventure here.

3.22.2010

sconey island





This weekend, the convergence of the dreams in my mind and reality landed squarely at flaky pastry. I had been longing for cranberry-orange scones, after eating a few tasty ones at wegmans. I decided that Ina would be my guide, and I would try them for myself. I got up Saturday, tied on an apron, and went to work. It came together beautifully, a symphony of butter and flecks of orange. Patted into disks, sliced into wedges, a sprinkling of sugar, and into the oven with all my hopes and dreams of what they could be. I was surprised how much they lived up to it! Tyler and I each selected one or two, a glass of milk and sat down in silence. I was a little worried that he didn't say anything for a little bit. I think Tyler could have died right then. He declared that they were the best baked goods I have ever made. Even better than those. yes, he's got high standards. Triumph!


Cranberry Orange Scones
from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home

makes 16 scones

*recipe updated with fresh cranberries


4 cups plus 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons grated orange zest (2 oranges) *I used one really big orange, got 2 1/2 t, used it all
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
4 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1 cup chopped frozen cranberries, mixed with a couple spoonfuls of sugar
1 egg beated with 2 tablespoons water, for egg wash
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups flour, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly add the to the flour and butter mixture. Mix a few turns, then start adding the cranberries until just mixed together.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it into a ball. Split that ball into two, and then pat each ball into a disk until they just under 1 inch thick. Flour a pizza cutter and slice each disk into 8 equal wedges. Place on the sheet pans, brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with granulated sugar, and bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners' sugar and orange juice and drizzle over the scones.

*Ina rolled the dough out and used a circle cutter to make neat little 3 inch scones, but I rather prefer the rustic triangle wedges (and it's less work). but either method works.

3.19.2010

scone obsession

i heart baking by Abby Powell of abbytryagain

We received this great print from Abby as a valentine's postcard, and ever since Tyler has been enamored with those heart shaped biscuits/scones. At about the same time, I bought my first orange cranberry scone from Wegmans (they have an awesome bakery), which changed my world. Cranberry orange is my favorite baking flavor combo. I am determined to try and make scones, I am first going to try a recipe from Ina, this weekend. Wish me luck! If they don't work Tyler wants me to track down whatever recipe is in Abby's photo. :) Do you have a good scone recipe?

Today I am heading to wegmans for shopping and I'm sure a scone will make it in my basket... then taking the dog to the dog park! Fun afternoon.

3.18.2010

WIP

With the sun shining, I'm feeling a little stuck inside, but I'm so determined to work on my projects! I started quilting the DOD (duvet of doom) and it's slow going, but I like it. I am forcing myself to be patient about it. The nice thing is that I don't have to worry about any puckering in the back, because you won't see it. I hope to maybe knock this out this weekend, we'll see what happens. It will probably take at least 10 hours.

With the weather being nice, I am hoping to break out my trike. Yep, that's right, I have a trike and I love it. I am an uber wuss, so being stable on three wheels suits me fine. There's a big basket, and I hope to see if gingie will ride in it without jumping out. (doubt it) I've got pride even when old ladies flag me down to see where I got it (so they could buy one for their mother). It makes for the best transport for a picnic, let me tell you!

3.17.2010

guest blogging...




Hi! I'm super excited to let you know that I will be guest blogging over at Abby's blog This is Not My Work. I met Abby at second storie this past fall, and we became fast friends. She's an amazing photographer and blogger, and I'm so happy that she asked me to be a part of it. I'll be blogging there every Wednesday, sharing tutorials or crafty inspirations. I would love it if you could join me over there and check it out!

And for those over here for the first time from Abby's blog, welcome! Thanks for stopping by, I would love for you to get to know me and say hi. :)

3.16.2010

I scream we all scream



Lately I've been revisiting a childhood treat, what me and my sister I think called Banana Scream, we couldn't remember exactly what we called it. It's only frozen banana, and milk. You use just barely enough milk to make it like a thick milkshake. And that's it. Sooo good. Like banana ice cream, without any of the bad stuff. I also like to add peanut butter and cocoa powder, chocolate chips would be really good too. Love it!

3.15.2010

coming together


The last few days seems to be full of safety pins, hundreds and hundreds of them. Sandwiching things together. Tyler and I have talked a lot lately about how far we have both come in the last 5 years. We both have achieved goals that we have set (goals that at times felt totally out of reach), and for the first time I feel really content with what I'm doing. Seems like everything is coming together!

Pictured above is the now completely basted "duvet of doom" as I like to call it. I am making a duvet cover and I am quilting the top of it. I've had a couple of hiccups so far (which is why I had to get 12.5 yards of kona cotton in coal), but I'm hoping for the best, expecting the worst. Which is how I should view most huge projects or I get too disappointed when something goes wrong. I am also planning on making two shams to match, this project will help complete our spring break task of our bedroom renovation.

Also some good news is to come tomorrow or wednesday–something I'm really excited about!

3.12.2010

pieced together



My quilt top is all done! I like the way it turned out, I only have two squares that accidentally got next to each other. I pleasantly surprised at how matched up my corners are, even my edges turned out great. Thanks mom for the piecing foot! I didn't have fabric for the back, but then I had a fabric dyeing disaster. I was trying to dye 12 yards of fabric in my washing machine. I so should have not done that! So after dyeing it a gray, it was too light, added a little black, and then it was blotchy and red/purple, I then dyed enough for the back with navy, and I got an even purple color. And ordered 12 yards of Kona cotton in coal for my other project. I have my share of crafty disasters to keep me humble. Sometimes I just think anything will work!

Quilt is basted, and ready to go. I think I'm going to quilt it with diagonal lines, going from corner to corner. Maybe every other square? Thinking about going both directions, to make a grid pattern. hmm. Any thoughts?

3.11.2010

handmade of the month club






My brother has one of those birthdays jammed right up to Christmas. Jan. 2nd. I am sorry to say that I probably have not gotten him a birthday present more than once, or hastily put my name on something my parents got him. This year I wanted to figure out something to make him for his birthday, and not wait until after Christmas. I really wanted to make him something, and that was really hard to figure out. Not that my brother is hard to shop for, on the contrary, I think there are few in the world that are more gracious and genuine about anything he receives. But he's a boy. Boys are hard to make for. Have you run into this problem? I thought about making a tiny felt manila envelope for his iphone touch, but I knew that for him, that probably wasn't practical. I wanted to get him something he would like, and use. While looking up presents for Tyler, I read about a book of the month club, since Tyler likes books a lot. But that got me thinking...

I decided to give him a membership to the kenzie-handmade-something-of-the-month club. That means at the beginning of each month, I make him something and send it to him. That way I could make little things, and even things like homemade treats, and added up over the course of the year, I would hope it would add up to a great gift. It would also be a challenge for me. It's only been two months so far, his February present was a big bag of caramel corn. This month I decided to write a letter, and the theme was graph paper/numbers. I have 5 old number stamps, I used ledger paper to make my own envelope, and some grid cardstock to make a card. I used the stamps to make a haphazard pattern on the card and of course I sealed it up with grid japanese washi tape. I really had fun making it, I hope it survived the mail!

When I told Jake what I was giving him, my mom was instantly jealous. I might just have to add another member to my club...

3.10.2010

thrifting spoils






We hit up two of our good thrift stores over the weekend. I was quite happy with the trip. Got some fabrics in a nice color palette. The old handkerchief has such nice illustrations in a perfect mustard and gray. Also found a couple plaid shirts for me-buy one get one free (I am starting to collect quite a few), and... wallpaper! A big roll of beautifully patterned wallpaper. For one dollar. Not sure what I will do with it, but having it just makes me happy. Did you have any good thrifting over the weekend?

3.09.2010

lazy days



Tyler's spring break started this week. Hasn't changed my schedule too much, except for my work schedule. We are working on giving our bedroom a makeover for the break, I'm sewing, and Tyler's painting some furniture.

Yesterday it was so warm, like 50 degrees! I took gingie on a walk, and we took her to the dog park. She was all by herself in the little dog part, but it didn't matter because she just loves to run around and smell everything, which is exactly the same thing she does when there are 20 dogs there, it's just that this time she didn't have any dogs bothering her. She's a little anti social. She's been loving the sun lately, and she sits in the sun until she gets so hot she starts panting, it's so funny.

Yesterday I got a DNA test in the mail. Kinda a funny thing. My sister and I are finally getting a DNA test to determine if we are identical or fraternal twins, which is really exciting. When we were born, my mom didn't know she was having twins (that's a whole other story), there are no other twins in our family. Her doctor told her when we were born that we were fraternal, and for the first 20 years of our life that's what we told people. Then when we were in college, we actually talked about it, and considered the actual facts (you cannot tell from birth what twins are+we look like clones) and reversed our thinking. So we will finally find out! It was kinda weird to give my cheeks a rub down, I had to do it 4 times, and by the time I was done my mouth felt weird. My sis is coming to visit very soon (!!!!!!) and we are going to open the results then.

3.07.2010

Oscar party



We are hosting an Oscar party tonight, and all of Tyler's classmates (there's only 3) are coming over. We've been having some screening parties lately, since his classmate's significant other is a member of the screenwriters guild. That's been really fun. I really liked Up in the Air.

When I was thinking of what to make, I couldn't help but thinking of things that are very summer-like. We have gotten beautiful sun the last few days, but it is still only 30-40 degrees. One can dream though. I made one of my favorite salads, an icebox cake, and a yogurt pie. The yogurt pie I tweaked to be able to control the ingredients from artificially flavored yogurts and cool whip to their more natural friends.

ps. Thanks Angela for taking some gorgeous photos of my magnets. I love her blog.

Wedding Salad
we call it that since it was served at ours

1 lb bow tie pasta cooked to all dente, drained and cooled
1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Spinach and romaine lettuce (about 1 bag of each, really as much as you want)
sliced almonds maybe 1/2 cup
4 cans mandarin oranges

Dressing:
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2/3 cup rice vinegar (or another white vinegar)
1/4 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Blend the dressing together in a blender or food processor, and combine with the pasta and green onions in a large bowl. I like to have this marinate overnight in the fridge, the pasta really absorbs the dressing. At least a few hours. When ready to eat, toss the pasta with the spinach, romaine, oranges, and almonds. There is a lot of pasta, so you can just toss with what you think you'll eat, and save the rest. You can feed a huge crowd by adding more greens-it goes forever!


Ice box cake
2 cups heavy cream
two boxes of Anna brand chocolate mint cookies

Whip the cream with a couple tablespoons sugar, layer with the cookies on a plate, with a rotating flower pattern. Let sit overnight in the fridge to let the cooies soften.


Yogurt Pie
makes 2 pies

2 graham cracker crusts
2 cups lowfat plain yogurt
about 3-4 tablespoons raspberry jam
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
2 cups heavy cream
sugar

push the jam through a fine mesh seive to remove seeds. Mix well into the yogurt. Add sugar (or any other suitable sweetner) to taste, starting at 3 tablespoons. Set aside. Whip the cream with a couple tablespoons of sugar. In a large bowl, put in the raspberries and mash slightly with a fork. Fold in the yogurt mixture, and then gently fold in the whipped cream until just combined. Divide into the two crusts, smooth with a spoon, cover and freeze for at least 4 hours. To serve, set it out for 30 minutes to soften slightly. You can make this so many flavors, depending on what fruits you get.

3.05.2010

five senses friday



I love abby's five senses fridays. Here's mine.

tasting:
banana bread made late last night for breakfast/lunch.

touching:
warm gingie fur from basking in the sun

seeing:
Jackie staring at me, sometimes creepily.

hearing:
the decemberists, which bring up very strong vivid memories of ceramics class.

smelling:
nothing really, which to me is a good thing.

what about you?

3.03.2010

working lunch


Lately I've been bringing up my lunch to my studio, and I love eating on these old school lunch trays. They are such fun, makes me think about when I used to get hot lunches in school. I was a cold lunch girl, but I could get hot lunch once a week, and I savored those times. Usually it was the baked potato bar, which I would load up with tons of "cheese product" + ham, or the self serve bar with chicken and mashed potatoes that I would pile in every compartment I could (I wanted to get my money's worth :). I wish I could drink a little carton of chocolate milk everyday. Today it's chicken salad with apples, grapes, and celery, some cottage cheese and ritz crackers. Do you have anything you do to make lunch fun when you're at home?

sorry for the cuteness


I promise to keep pictures of Gigi on my blog to a minimum. But yesterday I couldn't resist. I looked over and she had put her self in these funny positions, I love it when her tongue gets stuck and peeks out. When she curled up in a blanket she did all by herself, she loves to tuck her nose in a blanket or under her paw to keep it warm. All the rest are on my flickr page, where I do post lots of gingie pictures that you don't see here.

I'm laying out my quilt today, and I have all the blocks I need. I am happy to work on the next step.
ps. gingie is now having a crazy dream, she did a faraway bark and her ears and eyes are twitching like mad. I think that's so funny!

3.02.2010

doggie time


Video chatting with my sis is one of my favorite things to do. Ever since we moved thousands of miles away from each other, we have e-hang outs. Sometimes we will be online for a couple hours, just doing whatever we are doing, and not even talking, especially last year when we both didn't have jobs. It helps me feel like we can still be together even though we only see each other in real life a few times a year.

Mal watches a dog sometimes, and she's a frenchie/boston terrier mix, which is absolutely adorable. We tried to see if Mia and Gingie would somehow connect over video, at least bark or something, but to our dismay, they did not have a doggie chat. But it was fun to try! Our day time pals. I think it's funny how our mouths look the same.

3.01.2010

altoona thrift



from left: ceramic, plastic, metal, bakelite, wood, plastic, bakelite


one of a pair

This weekend, Tyler and I were determined to get out of our tiny town and hit the big city. That big city being Altoona PA, which is the closest city to us (45 minutes away). It is not a city with anything spectacular, other than a mall slightly larger than ours and Mexican place people seem to like around here (east coast mexican food is always disappointing). It is a run down city, gray and old. (forgot my camera I will document next time). It reminded me a little bit of Buffalo, which could only mean: thrift heaven. We found all the thrift stores we could, and we drove around the whole city a few times, and had quite a bit of dead ends. But we found 5 places.

First wasn an epic junk shop, Freddy's, which can easily be imagined. (huge drafty place, filled with junk, an old tv with pbs on with Freddy's afghan-covered mother working on a puzzle) He had a collection of hardware and knobs, and Tyler climbed on an old dryer behind a pile of boxsprings to unscrew the ones we wanted. That's also where I got the little jar, and the pair of lamps. Those lamps are amazing! two for $30. They are ceramic with wood. They did not come with that lampshade, that was from another vintage lamp we had where that shade looked horrible with it, but it works with this one. The lampshades that came with the lamps are beyond horrible, so we are searching for some new.

We searched all over for the salvation army, and finding a closed down location with a vague sign to their new location, we finally found it. And it was so worth it. It was huge, all clothes, and the type of place where everything is vintage, and everything is $1.99. I found a few amazing dresses that maybe I'll model if we don't have terrible light like today. That place was epic. I did get a bundt pan from a goodwill, just in time for making monkey bread today for Tyler's classmates.

We love taking day trips like this, and I can't wait for the next time we go there. There was a mom and pop custard place and doughnut shop I am dying to try! Did you have a good vintage weekend?

ps. I finally added labels to all my posts. On my sidebar you can see all the rest of my posts on vintage finds, or what I'm eating/making, etc. check it out!
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