Monday, September 29, 2014

Rainbow Pillow

When I was in 8th grade, I was in our school's Art Club.  We actually did some really cool things, including learning to batik!  I made this awesome rainbow fabric (really, what else would I make?), then sewed the skirt myself (with lots of help from my mom):

Yep, that's 13-year-old me.  Freakishly-tan 13-year-old me.  Couldn't-live-without-a-Velcro-watch 13-year-old me.  Moving on before I get to the hair....

I had a little piece of the fabric left that I realized was the perfect size for a pillow.  I even purchased a pillow form like 4 years ago.  But I never sewed it into a pillow because I wanted it to be zippered and I didn't know how to use a zipper and also I'd have to buy a zipper.

But recently, I found an old dress that had been designated a "Use for Parts" dress, so I took the zipper and made this pillow:

It's different on the other side:

And look!  I sewed in a zipper all by myself!

And it functions!

Martha loves the pillow, too:

Love and Wax,
Leah Joy

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cupcake Chronicles: Confetti Cupcakes

These don't need a whole lot of explanation.  :)

I tried a flowery petal design for most of them:

It didn't really fit the confetti idea, so I added sprinkles to some of them.

That didn't really look right.  

Then I made smaller petals.  My Friendly Local Botanist tells me they look like chrysanthemums, which is a word I can spell correctly on only the 2nd try!

Here they all are together:

I like the recipe and I like the frosting technique, but I'm not sure they go together thematically.  Oh well, they still tasted delicious.  :)

Love and Sprinkles,
Leah Joy

P.S. Tomorrow is my birthday!  Can you guess which kind of cake I'm making?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

101 Things Update - September 24

Here are two really fun projects that cost me practically nothing!  (The best kind!)

15. Baby Dino Stuffed Animals.

The original:

I made one, and then loved it so much that I made 5 more! 

The purple and solid pink ones are made from polar fleece (scrap bin at Hobby Lobby).  The rainbow one is made from leftover fleece for a project I did in Interior Design class in 10th grade (I had an open block that I had to fill.  It was that or Weight Training.).  The pink stripy one is from a fleece blanket I bought at Salvation Army for probably $1.  The white one with blue birds is from fabric I got from Freecycle, and the blue satiny one is from leftovers from another project.

I love them all so much! :)

21. Scarf storage!!

This picture was kind of my inspiration:

I didn't really know how to do that though, without purchasing towel bars (which can be pretty expensive!).  Then my sister and her friend held a garage sale at our house earlier this summer, and one of the items was an old over-the-door towel rack, which had lost its over-the-door hooks.  I snatched it up for 50-cents, bought some mirror hanging thingies at Lowe's for $2, and now I have this beauty in my closet:

It sits on my half of the closet, just above where the hamper usually goes:

I love how pretty they all look!  And I can see them all at once!  And I actually put my scarves away now!  And they don't get all wrinkly from being shoved into a box!  So many exclamation marks!

Love and Plaid,
Leah Joy

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Monday Rant: "Streusel Cupcakes"

I got this recipe for "Streusel Cupcakes" from Martha Stewart's cupcake book.  And it is not worth your time.  The recipe comes in three parts: the batter, the streusel topping, and the glaze.  You spoon the batter into the baking cups, sprinkle half the topping down on top and then press it in to the batter, then add the rest of the topping.  And there is a lot of topping.  There was probably at least 3/4" of streusel on top of each cupcake.  After baking, you glaze the "cupcakes".  This is what they looked like without the glaze:

Um, where did all the topping go?  I can guarantee you it's not at the bottom of my oven; I checked.  And they are really, really ugly.  All I could do was laugh at them.  I tried one of them without the glaze, though, and it was actually gross.  With the glaze, they were better, but still not great.

I ended up doubling the glaze, which made them okay to eat.  We also discovered that they 'age' well.  After sitting in their containers for a day or two, they get denser, which makes them actually much better.  A streusel cupcake (or muffin) shouldn't be light and fluffy like many cupcakes; it needs to be dense.  

But still, these weren't worth it, and even after bringing them to church to share I have leftovers.  I might break the cardinal rule of being Dutch and just throw the last few away. :(

Love and Powdered Sugar,
Leah Joy

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Check out this beautiful cake I made for my Dad's birthday:

Four layers of perfectly dark, moist chocolate cake, with raspberry filling between each layer.  The whole thing is frosted with a dark chocolate ganache and topped with fresh raspberries.

Available soon from The Blue Door Bakery. :)

Love and Raspberries,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Our Door is Blue!!!

Isn't it beautiful??

If you look closely, you might notice that not all the hardware is back on.  You might also notice Caleb through the windows, trying to get it back on.  That was a week-long process.  :)

Painting the door was #56 on my 101 Things in 2014 list.  The color is Valspar's Starry Night and I love it SO SO SO much!

Oh and for reference, here's what the door looked like before:

Love and Blue!
Leah Joy

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Monday Rant: Our Yard

Earlier this year, I shared this photo of my new hydrangea bush.

Since then, it has grown lovely bluish-purple blooms!

And then they started doing construction/electrical work on our corner:

My poor bush!  Somehow it's still alive, though!

Elsewhere in our yard, construction vehicles have left long trenches:

It's hard to tell in these pictures, but these trenches are a good foot deep.

Now they've finally finished the project (we hope), which was installing new traffic lights, but so far, they haven't cleaned up our corner.  Thanks, guys!

Love and Patience,
Leah Joy

P.S. I'm sure they'll eventually get to fixing the corner of our yard or it would reflect very poorly on them, but this project has taken months and months!

Friday, September 12, 2014

101 Things Update - The Dahlia Show

Chloe recently took me to the Dahlia Show at the Frederik Meijer Gardens.  There were rooms full of dahlias, so we couldn't pick just one picture to share with you!  All of these photos were taken by Chloe.

Isn't that last one crazy?  It looks like it's been painted on the wall, but it's totally real!

This final picture is of one of Chloe's dahlias, AC Devlin:

*sigh* They're just so beautiful!

Love and Petals,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cupcake Chronicles: 98 Minis!

Our church recently had its outdoor service, which is followed by a potluck.  We were assigned to bring a dessert (gee, I hate it when that happens) so I thought it would be a great time to test out some new cake recipes.  Four new recipes, to be exact.  And three new frosting recipes.  So, you know, 98 mini cupcakes plus some tiny cakes for taste-testing.

I made orange cake, lemonade cake, raspberry cake, and strawberry cake.

The orange cake got paired with a chocolate ganache, which was delicious, but didn't hold up well in the heat.  The orange cake was also just a bit dry, but really wonderful in flavor.  I'll have to work on that a bit. :)  Darn, more samples.

The raspberry cake was good, but not very raspberry-ish.  I topped it with a raspberry buttercream to help accentuate the flavor.  By the way - raspberry buttercream?  Yeah, I could eat that with a spoon.

The strawberry cake was super disappointing.  The texture was not that great, and it didn't even taste like strawberries.  However, I'm too Dutch to throw away 24 mini cupcakes, so I topped them with a delicious strawberry buttercream, which dominated the flavor (not a hard feat, really).

My definite favorite was the lemonade cake.  It surprised me how different a lemonade cake is from lemon cake.  They're both really delicious, though.  I also topped these with a raspberry buttercream (and some with strawberry), which was the perfect summer combo.  I wanted to eat them all!

Love and CAKE,
Leah Joy

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cupcake Chronicles: Rose Cupcakes

I was inspired by this video to make rose cupcakes.  You know, the ones where the entire cupcake is a rose.  They're so pretty in the video.  Here are mine:

The ones on the left are my first ones, and the ones on the right are after some practicing. :)  In case you couldn't tell.

In the tutorial, she said to add no milk to your frosting, but she must live in a very different climate, because the frosting was impossible to squeeze out of the bag with no milk.  I kept adding milk a tablespoon at a a time, refilling the bag, attempting a cupcake, 'finishing' the cupcake, scooping all the frosting back into the mixer, and repeating that until the frosting was actually pliable.

And you know what?  It still held its shape and was actually very stiff.

And they are really pretty.  My sister pointed out that the ones with jagged edges just look like carnations, so just pretend I meant to make carnations and roses the whole time. :)

I don't know that I'll ever be making this technique again, but it was fun to learn!

Love and Carnations,
Leah Joy

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cupcake Chronicles: Piping on Cakes

This cake was my first ever time piping swirly things on a cake.  I just made it up as I went along:

I also got to make a birthday cake for my friend who works in IT:

Love and Shaky Hands,
Leah Joy