Sunday, September 30, 2012

Recipe: Sugar Cookies

While baking pie last weekend, I found this set of cookie cutters with the batch of pie-making things my mom gave me years ago - and just in time for fall! To celebrate this unexpected find, I decided to bake some good old-fashioned sugar cookies.

While the dough was chilling in the fridge, I started mixing up some marshmallow fondant for decoration. The colors didn't come out as poppy as I'd have liked them to be, but that's because I only had regular food coloring on hand and not gel colors.

Classic Sugar Cookies

{What you'll need}
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
cookie cutters

{Step 1}
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

{Step 2}
Cover and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight). I like to dust the outside of my dough with a light layer of powdered sugar.

{Step 3}
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough on parchment paper dusted with powdered sugar. I roll my dough out really thin because I like my cookies to have a nice crunch to them. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Peel the dough away from shapes. Place shapes on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

{Step 4}
Decorate! Use your favorite frosting, fondant, or glaze. I decided to try out this recipe I found for marshmallow fondant. I halved it and added my color at the end so I could make multiple colors. I'd like to work with some other colors throughout the week - maybe buy some vodka so I can paint them! Because the fondant comes out so sweet, I'd drop down to 2 cups of sugar instead of 3 for the cookie dough.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Inspiring Me

via: retro renovation
So I'm having an incredibly difficult time finding the vintage tiles I'd hoped to use for my backsplash about a year ago. Unfortunately, I've already torn down my painfully vomit colored laminate backsplash - a little premature, I can admit. Lately I've been trying to think of cheap and easy solutions to my every present missing kitchen backsplash issue. I've recently been favoring the look and feel of wood in decorating. There's just something so classic and timeless about it so I wondered if plywood could be used as a decent backsplash. Answer? Yes.
via: Care2
I found this great rustic kitchen while searching for plywood backsplash ideas for my kitchen. Comparing the look of this kitchen with mine, I decided to use painted plywood instead of leaving it bare. And I love the way the cabinets are just shelves on the wall - the continuing wall makes me swoon.
via: house beautiful
I've also really been digging weathered painted cabinets, but for now I'll just stick with my conquering backsplash challenge.

Friday, September 28, 2012

INDIE Blogger Challenge: Week 1 Day 2

It's Day 2 of my INDIE Blogger Challenge, and it's all about finding my voice and knowing my limits.

How much of my personal life will I be sharing in this blog?
Well, the same amount I would share with a random stranger on the street. Which is actually quite a bit, because I've learned through the years that strangers really do make the best therapists. And also, in my personal life as well as my blog life, I just don't really understand the point of not being completely honest about my feelings, thoughts, and opinions so be prepared to read about them.
What are my limits?
The only cursing you will read on this blog is when I'm quoting someone's words, because I don't like it when someone misquotes me so I wouldn't want to misquote anyone else. You will mostly not find faith or political discussions here, because neither are a very big part of my life. Though I do sometimes find a political issue I really mesh with and care about or a story of non-tolerance that really peeves me so there's always a chance of a rant in here somewhere.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Knitting Frenzy: 1

I have so much to knit and so little time!

My list of projects for Christmas is a doozy this year, and we all know I'm the world's slowest knitter so it's time to get on this!

1. Martin
2. Marsha
3. Sydney
4. Secret Santa
5. Family

I started working on Martin's belated birthday present last night after practice. Something you should know about this gift - Martin's knees are always cold to the bone. He's been dropping hints for a while that he's ready for me to make him some knee warmers, but I just haven't gotten around to it until last night.
I picked up a couple skeins of this Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky Yarn in Wheat back when I was going to knit myself a pair of  legwarmers. Isn't it funny how I never seem to start - least of all finish! - any of the knitting projects I intend to do for myself? Irony at its finest. So I decided to sacrifice a skein for the greater good (the greater good) of my wallet.
I was referencing this great pattern by Susan Power over at Knitty - you may recognize it as the same pattern I referenced for Poppy Fresh's legwarmers. I was hoping that by knitting the top part of the legwarmers, I could turn them into knee warmers, but after a few rows in, I noticed the size was far too big for Martin's little chicken legs so I had to undo my work and start a-fresh. I dropped the original 76 stitch cast on down to a 52 stitch cast on, but again, after a few rows it still looked like they'd be just loose enough to be an inconvenience. So I'll be undoing my work and starting again tonight with a 40 stitch cast on instead. And since I'm using a 2x2 rib, this should leave the knee warmers stretchy enough to not be confining, but snug enough he can wear them to bed when it gets cold out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

INDIE Blogger Challenge: Week 1 Day 1

I've signed up for the INDIE Blogger e-course over at Delightfully Tacky, and instead of blindly changing things up all willy-nilly, I thought I'd give you guys some insight into my blog revamping!
I purchased this e-course because it appeared to have loads of helpful information and it's written by two successful bloggers that wanted to give the general public not only what they learned from blogging seminars, but also what they've learned from years of blogging. It's structured very nicely with a plethora of focus points for every major topic plus bonus content all catalogued ready to be sifted through.
My first "assignment" - as I'm calling them - is to find my focus. To do this, I'll be freewriting (free-typing) for 30 seconds, focusing on what I enjoy.
Baking. Martin. Kitties. Knitting. Decorating. Writing. Taking pics. Reading. Video games. Derby. Skating. Training. TV shows. Thrifting. Drawing.
Narrowing this list down to just a few things to blog about was pretty difficult because I do love all of these things so much.
My main focuses for this blog will be baking, knitting, decorating, my progression with roller derby (and maybe even the road to the World Cup '14), and my progression with training / becoming a personal trainer. And maybe there will be a few intermittent posts regarding the other topics I enjoy every now and again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I Love Wednesday

Today's not my best day. It always seems I start my week great, all get-up-and-go attitude with a determined pep in my step. But as the end of the Wednesday workday approaches, a heavy weight begins to press down, and I can't stop my feet from dragging.
I need a boost to keep myself going strong - a reminder of things that make this life amazing and wonderful and just the right kind of perfect that can withstand any season.
{5 things I love}

1. Finding perfect little acorns in my back yard.
 I found these little guys while fetching the dog's ball in my back yard. And they really couldn't have come at a better time.

2. Plain brown packages on my doorstep.
 One of my favorite things is coming home to a package on my doorstep.

3. Waking up to this man cooking me breakfast.
I should return the favor this weekend. He's been working so hard, he deserves a break from Saturday morning breakfast wench.

4. Cuddle time with my babies.
Nothing makes me feel like the best mom ever more than knowing just the feeling of being in my arms is enough to make them purr.

5. My current knitting project.
I'm working my way through 400 Knitting Stitches and slowly knitting up a striped patchwork blanket.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What I Wore: And Other Bold Statements

Feeling bold and brilliant today, and my outfit shows it!

Striped yellow top paired with navy sweater.
With a bright pink slightly mini skirt.
And a pair of simple brown boots. 
tank: kohl's
sweater: kohl's
skirt: kohl's
boots: t.j. maxx
When Martin and I packed for the beach, we brought a multitude of book titles: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (all 5 books in one), Snow Crash, Diana F+, I, Lucifer, Evil Genius, and The End of Alice. So what books actually got read?
One. i, Lucifer by Glen Duncan.
A great little comedy about the devil getting a shot at redemption. I thought it would be a much darker comedy, but I was wrong. It stays pretty clean by my standards, though admittedly my standards are pretty low in that department when it comes to books.

Two. Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
Martin got through the first book in the Genius series. His review of 100 pages in consisted of him holding up the book and saying, "This is fucking brilliant!" At the end, "Didn't go where I thought it was going." Now he has to wait for me to add Genius Squad to my library to find out what happens next.

There's nothing better than putting on freshly laundered clothes, putting your hand in your pocket, and finding a surprise.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What I Wore: And Other Super Tales

It's my first day back to work since my vacation, and I am channeling my Super mojo.
Buttoned my shirt just enough so the Superman logo shows through.
Paired with military-style high-waisted leggings.
And these brilliant red kitten heels.

t-shirt: hand-me-down from Syd
button down: maybe target or kohl's (it's very, very old)
bottoms: modcloth
shoes: thrifting
A lot of great things happened while we were away on vacation... here are the highlights!

On Martin's birthday, we went to the beach for some fun in the sun. Martin found a little birdy flapping around in the ocean and scooped him out with a bucket. When we called the local animal rehabilitation (ARK), they asked us to bring the little guy in. This will forever be the birthday Martin saved a life.

Around the island, there were a lot of great little shops and attractions. We visited the Port Aransas Art Center, ate at Virginia's, and came across some awesome finds. In the local liquor store, I found an interesting package design (because we all know I'm a sucker for packaging). It's two different bottles of tequila in one. How cool is that?

We took a day trip to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. We found an awesome huge sculpture on the side of the road during the 45 minute drive. After walking through the fishy bits, we visited the otters... they were doing it. We came back later to find them sleeping... typical. Haha.

I read on the beach (I'm dedicating a post strictly to my reading list), skated a good 4+ miles every morning, and added a new tattoo to my collection. The tattoos are from the poem Unlonely by David Levithan in his book The Realm of Possibilities. I have another tat from the same poem on my arm.

The beginning:
(summarized as 1000 things <3 in typewriter font on my left inner elbow)

How to Be Alone

Remember that at any given moment
There are a thousand things
You can love

The middle:
(summarized as alone. lonely. in typerwriter font on both of my feet)

What I Learned

The well-documented difference
Between alone and lonely
The comfort of knowing

The end:
(will hopefully have the entire portion written in typerwriter font somewhere on my body eventually)

A Cue from Nature

Run outside during a thunderstorm
That downpour, that conquered hesitation, that exhileration
That's what unlonely is like

And a surprise for when I got back home, Syd had dropped off a bag of knitting supplies she'd gotten from her grandmother! There are these awesome rubbery feeling needles that are super grippy and bendy. I've never seen anything like them, and am not sure what they are actually made of.

See the way it lets me bend it? Have you ever seen anything like these? I've never found a knitting needle made of this kind of material, and I'm not sure I'll ever find any like this again.