Category Archives: Happiness is…

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That Would Make Me a Royal Seamstress, Right?

There are 2 two year old little girls. I’m sure there are way more than that but right now I am just referring to the 2. Both love dressy dresses and shiney shoes and sparkly necklaces and bangles and purses that hang just so when worn at the crook of the elbow. These two beautiful girls are the daughters of my very own two beautiful daughters.
While picking up a few necessities last week I ventured into the toy department of the local discount store. I was thinking to pick up a small something for each of my four grandkids. I began by looking for something for the girls. I could spend hours, and usually do, shopping and looking through girly stuff. I thought how much fun they could have if they had some dress up items…a collection of things they could mix and match and get creative. The selection was…non-existent. I take that back. There were items there for dress up but they all had a character on it! Maybe it is just me but I don’t want them to be dressed up in something to play a princess depicting another princess. THEY are the princess…Princess R and Princess M not Princess Snow White-Stuck-On-My-Dress.
A tea set would’ve been nice. What happened to the perfectly-sized safe for kids tea sets? What is that contained in the Mrs. Potts-looking container? I do admit I find the container to be cute but the contents is less than desirable. The cups were distorted in shape and too small. Any child would miss pouring ‘tea’ into those cups. Again, maybe it’s just me but I think a tea set should be food safe and usable.
Bothered by the fact that I was unable to find something for the girls, I sought out something for the boys. That didn’t take long at all. I just don’t get into boy toys. I was out of that department.
I headed for the fabric department. It was there I found the makings of the dresses for the 2 princesses, purple, white,black, and red, satin and velvet, tulle and lace and ribbons (not all on one dress of course). I am now searching for the ideal tea set.

This is one of the dresses so far. I used a ribbed tank undershirt to build on. It stretches enough to go over their head and the ribs allow it to resume its snug fit. This feature will also allow them to be worn for a longer period of time before they outgrow them.

Lemon Diversion – part 2

     Happy Birthday K! 

     Okay.  Below are the results of the recipe, Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake, subbing sour cream for the yogurt and baking it into layers instead of a loaf.  The cake turned out with a moist, firm, tight crumb with a wonderful lemon flavor.  It was a bit denser than I wanted for the fillings but was a tasty cake.  It would’ve been perfect without a filling of any kind and covered in a poured fondant for a finish for decorating.  Otherwise, this is ideal for a tea or luncheon.

     The sheet cake I made with this recipe (mentioned in a previous post) will be used for petit fours with a poured fondant finish.




Lemon Diversion

     Those who know me know that lemon tops the list of my dessert preferences.  Luckily for me, one daughter, who’s birthday is tomorrow, shares my fondness for lemon. 

     Although I do have a considerable number of not-so-neatly-kept lemon recipes, I am not opposed to trying others to add to the collection.  I did exactly that Yesterday.  Tried out a new one.  Still assessing the results.

     This is the first time using oil in a lemon cake in one made without a mix.  I am a scratch baker.  I gave up mixes years ago.  Although, occasionally I do buy them to research taste preferences when I create a new recipe (maybe 1 a year, if that).  I did finally try the cake mix extender recipe last year.  I know it ain’t considered from scratch.  I made it because of all the hoopla about it.  Besides that, how can I say mine is better if I haven’t yet tried it, eh?  

      I am not a cake snob by any means.  I enjoy a cake from Walmart as much as the cake from the local baker.  The difference in enjoyment, for me, is not derived from the cake itself but from the reason I get to enjoy it.  

     Yesterday’s choice for lemon cake was Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake.  Not having yogurt though, I used sour cream.  I quadrupled the recipe and used 4, 6″x2″ and 1, 9″x13″ pans.  If it turned out, I wanted there to be extras!  If it didn’t, the sheet pan would get torted several times and get multiple fillings to disguise it.  It would not get tossed!

   It rose beautifully (I wasn’t sure of the recipe so I held back a bit when filling the pans) and the color is a rich golden yellow.  I want so badly to cut a slice from one of them to view the inside.  I hope it’s as beautiful as the images (Novice Baker blogspot’s  and The Urban Spork’s ) of it that convinced me this was the one.

     I made lemon curd 2 days ago that will be used straight up as a filling between torted layers as well as be incorporated with cream cheese and whipped cream as another filling.  It’ll be finished with white chocolate ganache.  That’s the plan.

To be continued…

Other Sweets (the inedible kind)

After seeing this beautiful yoke pattern, I decided to give it a try.  I had to do a bit of adjusting of the pattern because I was wanting it to fit a 15 month old little girl.  For the most part, the part that counts, the stitch pattern, it is the same….just not as big.  It wound up being incredibly easy to follow and an insanely fast project…the crocheted yoke, that is.  After finishing the yoke, I searched for more yoke patterns and came upon Regina Gees blogspot.  She’d successfully, and quite beautifully combined a completed yoke, from the above pattern, to fabric for the perfect Summer dress.

I wound up making a second one.  I was so excited about the pattern that I made the first one before getting my grand daughter’s measurements.  The first was about 3″ shy of her chest width.  I couldnt’ bring myself to unravel it.  I think I’ll add something to each end to extend it.

The yoke that is laying on top of the pink fabric is the first one.  I took a shot of it so you can see it opened.  I wanted it to meet in the middle of the back and attach buttons so it would be easier to get on and off.  I think I’ll make a few more in other colors.


Here are my renditions of the yoke and the dress (and a little purse, to hold important stuff, to match):


My epiphany

It’s been many years since it occured but eversince, not too many days pass without me reflecting on it.  I’ve shared the experience with those close to me.  I’d like to share it with everyone.   Everything really does happen for a reason.  There is something good to come from everything.  Just because it isn’t good for you, doesn’t mean that it isn’t good for someone else.

About 16 years or so ago,  my husband, the kids and I went to visit his brother and family.  My then sister-in-law invited me to the Tomato Festival.  Of course, if we went anywhere, the youngest kids would also be with us.  So, we all pile into our newly acquire used Suburban…my then sister-in-law, her baby, 3 of my four children, and me.  We set out, with map, to the Tomato Festival.

After quite some time passed, we realized we’d somehow gotten off track…lost but not worried.  We figured out about where we were and needed to turn around.  We were on an unfamiliar highway.  Before we had the chance to turn around something impacted the vehicle.  I seen nothing but a blur before the loud bang and jarring effect it made.  I quickly pulled over to the side of the road and advised the kids to remain buckled.  My sister-in-law and I got out to see what it was.  We walked back to the area of impact, praying that it wasn’t a person.  It was a deer.  It had made one long leap from a high embankment on the opposite side of the road on its’ way to the side I was driving and collided with the front of my Suburban.  Just like that, it was dead.  I was sad that it died but grateful that it was not a human that lay there.  It wasn’t but a couple of minutes (if even that) of standing by the deer before two young boys came out of the woods.  They looked like they just stepped out of a Huck Finn book…barefoot, dirty faces, highwater overalls, no shirt, one strap dangling on the back of one of them.  “Can we have it!?”  one of the boys asked.  “Huh?” I asked.  I know I had to have had a stupefied look on my face.  “Can we have it?”, they asked at the same time.  “Sure.  Go ahead.  I won’t be takin’ it.” I replied.  They moved toward the deer obviously excited.  Each boy grabbed a hind leg of the animal.  Dragging the deer back into the woods, one exclaimed to the other, “Mama’s gonna be so happy!  We got meat!”.

We walked back to the front of the vehicle to assess the damage.  The grill was caved in about 8 inches at the deepest point.  There was no steam or anything leaking below.  So, we get back in the vehicle, turn around right where we were and head back to her house.  Forget going to the festival.

Ordinarily, I’d think that that incident was just coincidence…no big deal…people hit deer and other animals too often for that to be anything to consider miraculous.  Ordinarily.  Until I reflected on the sequence of events that lead up to it.

The used car lot had just gotten the Suburban in.  We seen it right after it was unloaded…still not detailed or given the once over.  We’d gotten other cars from them.  So, they allowed us to sign papers on it and pick it up later that morning.  It was an older one but in excellent condition.

We picked up the Suburban and decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to see his brother, 3 1/2 hours away.

In the 12 years of living in Texas, that was the first time either of us women had heard or attempted to attend the Tomato Festival.

The Suburban had a tubular steel grill (and it still recessed it 8″!  Imagine the same impact on a plastic grill or the windshield of a car!)

We had a map but managed to be 20 miles down this unfamiliar highway.

Call it what you will.  I now know, wherever I am is where I am suppose to be.

Happiness is…

Walking through the garden with a 4 y/o angel, in the rain, to pick the first strawberries because they’re his “favorite” fruit (until Ms. Edna’s plums are ready 🙂 ), that same angel washing those same strawberries and eating them, smiling and mmmmmmmm-ing.

…a 1 y/o angel’s smile as she sees Grandma’s favorite cookie being extended to her.

…a 1 y/o angel’s giggle at Grandma being silly.

…smiling at a 2 m/o angel and having him smile back.

I love being a Grandma!