Sunday, May 29, 2011

Insomniatic Jam

It was a productive bout with insomnia about a week ago. Not so much tonight. Oh well, I'll just eat the jam instead of make it this time. :)

Strawberry Freezer Jam made at 1:00 am
It's tradition! May wouldn't be May without freezer jam.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Brownie Pecan Pie

I wish I could take credit for this brilliant idea, but I saw it on TV one late, insomniatically charged night. Some chef was helping this woman with 1600 kids make a homemade dinner and this was their dessert. It looked so easy that I had to try it.

Here's how I made it:

  • Box of brownie mix
  • oil, water, eggs as directed on the box of brownie mix
  • 1/2 cup more water
  • Pecans
  • Pie crust
Combine brownie mix, oil, and water (all of it!) in a bowl and pour into the prepared pie crust. Put the pecans on top and bake in the oven as directed on the brownie mix box, but add about 10-15 extra minutes. It maybe more or less depending on your area so keep an eye on it. When it starts to look like brownies do when they're done and/or a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean then you can take it out of the oven.

Play around with it. Let me know what you do. I think this would be good with some raspberries or maybe even some coconut  flavoring? Hmm....chocolate goes with so many things...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We Love it Outside

My family loves it outside so much that we took a trip to the river to cook some hotdogs and roast marshmallows. We explored and ate our first s'mores of the season. It was fantastic.

I love summer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Backpost Series Post 3: April

Ah, April.

The beginning of melting snow and warm months. The sun feels really nice after the cold, dark winter. Also, the moose use our property less in the summer. Added bonus for me! :)

In the last installment of the Backpost Series, I'm sharing the month of April with you.

Check it out!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Case for the Nook

This lucky girl got a Nook (electronic reader in case you're like me and had to look it up the first time you heard about it) for this past Christmas. I've been needing a case for it and decided to sew my own instead of drop $30 buying one from the store.

I just adapted that good old reversible pouch tutorial (again) to fit my new favorite gadget. 

See that? I'm sewing a zipper. After that first zipper, it's all gravy. I was intimidated by zippers and then I sewed one on a bag. Sure, you have to pay attention when you're doing it, but I already do that to avoid sewing over my fingers--hey, it's a totally real possibility; I've come pretty close a few times over the years. Don't get me wrong. Mistakes are still made, stitches are still pulled, and swear words are still uttered.

But zippers aren't as scary as I originally thought they were.

From start to finish, it took me about 3 hours to complete with my somewhat proficient sewing skills and my should have been tuned up 5 years ago sewing machine.

Here's what I came out of the whole deal with:

The hard case for the Nook pictured above was gifted to me with the Nook (minus the mushroom sticker which I added to make it more my style), but I wanted something soft to protect my precious in addition to the hard case. This fits those wants quite nicely.

Don't be scuurd. Try it out for yourself! Then stop by here and share your creations with me. I'd love to see them!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Backpost Series Post 2: March

Though I have few pictures to prove it, March was also a busy month. You know, now that I think about it I wonder what month isn't busy for us anymore! :) 

I hear that the lower 48 states (we mean that geographically not derogatorily, by the way) usually start experiencing spring in March. Lucky for you guys!! We've got another 1-2 months of snow on the ground that time of year. Interior Alaska's cool like that...or something.

In the second installment of the Backpost Series, I share the highlights of the month of March with you.

Check it out here!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

Want to know how I made the rainbow cupcakes from Wednesday's post? It's actually pretty easy. It takes extra time for mixing and splitting up the batter, but the results are totally worth it!

In case you'd like to give it a try, here's how I did it:

Supplies Needed
2 boxes white cake mix
Oil, eggs, water to make the cake mix
Large mixing bowl and spatula
Measuring cups and spoons
6 medium bowls
6 table spoons
Gel food coloring
Muffin/cupcake pan
Cupcake wrappers
Frosting, sprinkles, candy, etc for decorating
Cooling rack

I started out with the same method as I used for the rainbow birthday cake I posted about here.

Stop using the cake recipe after the batter is colored and get out your trusty muffin/cupcake pan and cupcake wrappers.

Using a table spoon--as in spoon from the table not a measuring spoon. You know, like this:

Okay, using the table spoons, scoop one color of batter gently on top of the next. Gently because you want the bottom layer to show on the bottom and not up the sides or on the top of the cupcake. You can't control how it bakes and it will do all kinds of cool tie-dye type things, but if you want it to resemble a rainbow then be careful when you layer the different colors of batter.

I like to do this part assembly line style filling one color at a time. It's monotonous but seems to make things go by a little bit faster. With that said, I can never resist the urge to make up just one with all the colors for fun. :) Try to resist. It's hard to do.

Don't be scared to fill the pan. 2/3 of the way full is what we're aiming for, but the more you add the bigger the cupcakes (generally speaking). I'm all for more cupcakes, so I say fill 'em up!

Once the pan is full, pop it in the oven for however long the box says to bake cupcakes. I generally like to check them at the earliest time listed on the box. That way I can pull them if they're done or give them another minute or few as needed. You can always cook them more, but you can't go back once they are over-cooked.

Slap some frosting and decoration on those babies and call them good!!

Other Things I Learned Along the Way
  • Use white cake mix. Yellow cake mix leaves the colors washed out looking. If you don't mind that then go for the yellow cake mix (or add the egg yolks to the white cake mix). If you want bright, vivid colors then use white cake mix. I learned this one the hard way, folks.
  • Use the cupcake wrappers. It will save you headache and heartache after you're done baking. For some reason, the batter is just a little more sticky than without the food coloring. It likes to stick to the pan. Another lesson learned the hard way over here.
  • If you want a rainbow, then pay attention to the order you are using for the colors. Even then, you may not get a rainbow. Baked goods are unpredictable like that. Just keep in mind that no matter what, you'll have a colorful result.
  • Don't add too much food coloring. You will be able to taste it. Just start with a few drops and keep adding until you have the color you want. The colors will get richer when baking, so if the red isn't red enough for you then bake a cupcake and see how it turns out. You may be surprised that the batter bakes up darker than it looks in the bowl.
  • Be prepared to share the recipe if you take this to parties or other events. Everybody loves a rainbow cupcake.
  • If you mess it up, who cares? Everybody loves a cupcake...even a weird colored one.
I found out recently that the Kaylah of the Dainty Squid also wrote a rainbow cupcake tutorial. I wish I'd seen it before my foray into rainbow cupcake baking. Actually, on second thought, I'm kind of happy I didn't see it first. We really enjoyed eating all the tester cupcakes before I found a method I liked best. Check out her tutorial for more tips!

If you bake them, please come back and share! I'd love to see your creations!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Backpost Series Post 1: February

February was a busy month for me. Since it was the shortest month of the year and there wasn't enough already going on, I figured it would be a fabulous idea to leave the state for a week. You know how I do. :)

In the first installment of the Backpost Series, I share the highlights of the month of February with you.

Check it out here!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Letter to the Blog (and it's Readers)


How’ve you been, my dear blog?

I’m so sorry I missed your birthday… It was an important day. That was really rotten of me. Here, I brought you some cupcakes. Can we have a talk?


Aw, come on…I know you’re upset and you should be.

But, you also love cupcakes…



*quiet munching noises*

I wanted to tell you that I’ve been making things and every time I do, I think of you.

We need to fix our little relationship here, don’t you agree? This tend to you every few months thing just isn’t working. It’s making you sad. It’s making me sad. This is supposed to be our happy place!

You should know that I’m different now from when I started you. No worries, I still love mushrooms and ninjas. It’s just that some things have shifted inside of me—patterns are constantly being made and remade and I think differently now.

I want to share more than just DIY projects and crafts now. I want to share more about me and the things that I love. I want to become part of the online community of crafters and handmade lovers across the world. I want you to be a part of that.

So, let’s do a little experiment, shall we?

For the next month, I’m going to follow a loose blogging schedule. I’ve made up a list of things—both crafty and not—that I want to write about. I’ve even started a few of the blog posts already. For the next month, I’m going to just write about what I want to write about. But don't worry! I'll fill you in on what I did while I was gone with some back posts for the months of February, March, and April (one per month). I’m also going to give you a little makeover. Maybe a new banner and layout? I know this is all very fast. We can talk about that part later. :)

So, there will still be posts about ninjas and mushrooms and about making ninja and mushroom related crafts. There will just be more stuff, too.

Want to try it out with me?

Much love,