Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Fair Trade

So, I painted a big tree on Evan's brother's wall. Have you ever painted on someone else's wall? Oh my.

So now I am a muralist. Officially. I declare it. The owners of this tree are going to hang picture frames of many shapes and sizes filled with family photos on the tree branches. A "Family Tree" of sorts. And if you wanted to make fun of my painting outfit, you could. But I must point out that I did accidentally match the wall. And my apron matches the tree. Sooooo.....who's laughing now?

And the best part of all? They paid me in chocolate.

Lots and lots of deep dark chocolate. I am a very high-brow starving artist. A very fair trade indeed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Wedding gift

My good friend Reece is gettin' hitched. Since she is so super cool, she required a gift much more original than a toaster or crock pot (we received 5 crock pots at our wedding!). I also remember being a newlywed and not having much in the way of cool pillows to throw on our hand-me-down sofa. So.... I made her a pillow! I followed a tutorial over at The Purl Bee, and it was really exciting to watch the pillow "bloom".

Once I was finished with it, I walked out into the living room with a big, prideful grin on my face, hugging the pillow to show to Evan. He took one look at it (and my rather obvious love for the pillow) and said: "Oh no, now you are going to make one for us, aren't you?" (I should probably point out here that I have a bit of a pillow problem). I didn't make him any promises. Smart.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Social Butterfly

We had two cupcake parties at our house this weekend. To be fair, the second party consisted of leftover cupcakes from the first party. But still. Two parties! Also, I talked to someone besides Evan on the ski shuttle last week. Can anyone say social butterfly?
To cater to our guests' specific dietary needs (chocolate and non-chocolate), there were two types of cupcakes presented. A Holly interpretation of a Hostess cupcake. Topped with Ganache. I love Ganache.

And a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. And sprinkles. I love those too.

I found the recipe for these darling little cakes here.

For the Holly-Hostess cupcakes, I turned to my favorite chocolate cake recipe.

Chocolate Cake
from Better Homes and Gardens

3/4 c. butter
3 eggs
2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper cups. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat two minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 20 seconds. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake for 30-ish minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Let cool before ganache application.

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 c. heavy cream

Put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until hot and steaming. Do not allow it to boil. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spoon the warm ganache over cupcakes.
Share with someone you love.

And if anyone is still reading this post, here is a little reward. Our friends brought their tiny little puppy to the party. His name is Bosco. Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what he is named after.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Advent adventure

I'm making an advent calender. I expect to have it ready by next Christmas, so that is why I am starting in February. I really wanted to make this one, and put candy in the pockets, but Evan didn't think it looked very fun. Also, he doesn't love candy as much as I do.

He remembered one from his younger days where you got to put an ornament on a Christmas tree each day. He convinced me it was waaaayyy funner than eating candy. So now I am making an advent calender with little embroidered ornaments, and then eventually I will make or sew or buy a tree to hang them on. Does this sound vague? It is. I'm really not into planning things out before hand. Evan was a sport and helped me brainstorm 25 Christmas-y things to embroider.
Holly and Evan List:
1. Tree
2. Cup of Cocoa
3. Stocking
4. Santa Hat
5. Poinsettia flower
6. Candle
7. Gingerbread man
8. Candy Cane
9. Star
10. Ski
11. Snowflake
12. Sprig of holly
13. Wreath
14. Present
15. Sleigh
16. Bell
17. Snowman
18. Dove (peace)
19. Mitten
20. Reindeer
21. Angel
22. Mistletoe
23. Gingerbread house
24. Orange
25. Baby Jesus
Evan only List:
1. Beard
2. Wal-Mart
3. Mashed potatoes
4. Angry shopper
5. ipod
6. Straw (from the manger...)
7. G.I. Joe

And I can still eat candy. For all 25 days. It was part of the compromise :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

What we do now

Did I mention that we are being ski bums?

Probably I haven't. But we are.

Some might think it's a little crazy to be spending savings that could have been put towards our first house. But personally, I think it's a really good investment. Pretty soon we'll have a mini-van full of little ones, a membership to a price club and a mortgage. Things are only going to get crazier. We'll be able to look back and remember this time when we did absolutely nothing but fun things together. We are investing in our future sanity.

Sometimes we eat fries. Evan likes his with a side of BBQ sauce. It is quite seriously his second favorite food.

Also ladies, if you can possibly help it, try to marry a handsome man with a beard. Totally worth it. Click here for more skiing photos, ya know, if you're into that kind of thing.

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