Friday, August 26, 2016

Teething Popsicles

I saw a great idea (on Pinterest, naturally) for teething popsicles made with a pacifier (as the popsicle stick) and the cap from a baby bottle (for the mold). I loved this idea, but pacifiers are kind of expensive to buy in bulk (especially when your baby doesn't really like one anyway) and we only had a couple bottle tops.

And then, I was at a garage sale and found a bag of 17 pacifiers for 50 cents. I brought them home, sterilized them, and made some popsicles in an ice cube tray!

There's not really a recipe for these. I threw some frozen strawberries and whatever juice we had in the fridge into the blender. I also added some juice concentrate because I had a small amount left in a container in the freezer.

I had enough mixture leftover to make a few Mommy-size popsicles, too!

Love and Strawberries,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Summer Wreath

A few years ago, I had this fantastic idea to make a yarn-wrapped wreath with seasonal accessories. The accessories would be on alligator clips so I could easily change them out when I wanted to.

I started the wreath in February 2013 but didn't get around to decorating it until December. Even then, I just threw a garland and a bow on it. And this is how it stayed for 2.5 years.

I finally got around to decorating it for summer!

Everything is on an alligator clip, so I can switch it for some fall decor (next) September. :)

Love and Pinwheels,
Leah Joy

Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Clutch

My little sister graduated high school! I'm so incredibly proud of her! To celebrate, I made her this book clutch. I found helpful instructions here and here.

I picked up the book at an used book sale at my local library. The topic seemed appropriate for Chloe.

I found the fabric at Hobby Lobby.

While most parts of this clutch are glued together (E-6000), I still took the time to topstitch many of the pieces. I like how neat and tidy it makes everything look.

It's not perfect, but it's still very pretty!

Inside, I included 3 pencil cases and some coupons for emergency cupcakes.

For her graduation open house, I also made 235 cupcakes! It was a blast! (And exhausting!)

I totally forgot to get a picture of all of the cupcakes at the end, but after Day 1 (of baking, technically Day 3 of the whole process), this is what it looked like:

Now double that... :)

Love and Raspberries,
Leah Joy

Friday, August 19, 2016

Garden Success! (without really trying...)

Last year, Caleb and I finished off our cinder block raised bed garden, and Chloe planted some shade-loving plants in it.

I'm happy to report that it's going gangbusters this year!

For the curious: foamflower (in front), dwarf crested iris (in middle), and astilbe (in back).

Also, last year, Chloe and I planted a figurative ton of wildflower seeds all around the edge of my backyard. Exactly zero of them came up last year, but this year 3 or 4 came up, including this pretty one:

Love and ALEAP*,
Leah Joy

*As Little Effort As Possible

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Another Changing Table Pad Cover

After successfully making the rainbow striped changing table pad cover, I decided I wanted an extra cover. However, I didn't have a piece of fabric large enough, nor did I want to purchase anything new. So, I made a blue striped one!

It's so pretty!

Love and Flowers,
Leah Joy

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fun Adventures in Baking

A couple weeks ago, I decided to test my chocolate cake and chocolate frosting recipes with different kinds of cocoa powder, just to make sure I was using the kind I liked best.  I've always used Nestle, mostly because it's the least expensive at our local grocery store, but it also tastes very good to me.  However, I decided to test out my recipe using Hershey's and a Dutch-processed cocoa, instead.

The results?  For the cake, I couldn't really taste much difference, although there was a color difference in the Dutch-processed cocoa cake.  For the frosting, I was surprised to find that Hershey's left a bitter aftertaste.  The Dutch-processed cocoa frosting was still delicious, but I do still prefer Nestle.

While I was experimenting, I decided to try out my new piping tip: the Wilton 1A.  While this is a great tip, and a great technique, I did discover that I should never again use this technique with chocolate frosting, as the results resemble poop a little too closely for my comfort. :)

Cupcakes with Hershey's cocoa

Cupcakes with a Dutch-processed cocoa
Love and Chocolate,
Leah Joy

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Our Garden - Spring 2016

Well, folks, I've finally given up on gardening.

Okay, not entirely, but I have realized that the love of gardening my grandfather had, and that my dad and sister both have, did not get passed on to me.  In fact, I kind of hate it.  And so I rarely weed, and then, surprisingly, my garden yields very little, and I get frustrated and annoyed.  So I've decided gardening is not worth it for me.

However, I do still want to have a pretty yard, so I'll continue to add a bag of tulip bulbs every fall, because I can never have too many tulips.  And I'll probably still add a few perennials every year - stuff that doesn't require too much maintenance.

Here are some pictures of our front garden this year.  It consists almost entirely of tulips. :)

In the backyard, I still have my 4 rhubarb plants, which are doing really well!  One of them is even ready to divide!

Last year, Chloe and I planted three kinds of plants in the far back corner. (Translation: I purchased and Chloe planted.)  I'm very happy to report that they are all still alive this year, and seem to be doing quite well so far!

And that is all!  We do still have our raised beds where I've previously planted vegetables (and harvested only weeds).  I'm considering putting some wildflower seeds in there so it looks more intentional than just a bunch of weeds. :)

Love and Dirt,
Leah Joy