Monthly Archives: April 2012

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A Question of Pattern

A month or two ago, my long-time blog friend Jody posted some cute Cath Kidston shoes on Pinterest.  “Ooooh, those are cute” I thought to myself.  And then I clicked through to the Cath Kidston site thinking it might be fun to have a little look around.  Oh. So. Naughty.  For I had a weak moment and clicked all the way through to the shopping cart and ended up with these little tennies.  (Not the same ones that Jody originally pinned, but I felt the darker color would be safer for picking up dirt.)

Cath Shoes

They’re terribly comfy, but now I have a dilemma.  Nothing to go with them.  I plan on wearing them with jeans, but clearly, I’ll need a top that coordinates.  I thought a little check or gingham might look cute, so I went to my stash to try a few things out.  I do love the red gingham.

Cath Shoes

But the pink is cute too.

Cath Shoes

Or maybe my aqua gingham?

Cath Shoes

The aqua gingham is from my Children at Play stash and I discovered that most of my “children” fabrics would possibly work too.  The meadow….

Cath Shoes

Or dots.  I have several dots.  Red…

Cath Shoes

Aqua….

Cath Shoes

Or pink on pink.

Cath Shoes

I even like the pink in the hopscotch print with the pink in the roses.

Cath Shoes

Decisions, decisions.  It’s going to be a VERY tough choice — but a good problem to have, don’t you think?

In other news, it’s a fun weekend here in ThimbleannaLand.  Yesterday was MyDadLovesMeBestSister’s birthday.  (Happy Birthday Weinerhead!)  She’s 29.  Again.  We had a little get-together for her last night (not quite as exciting as this birthday) — look at the beautiful Italian Cream Cake that MeMum made for a surprise!

Cake

Yum Yum Yummy!  And, to add to the excitement, TheFirstChild has surprised us with a weekend visit.  So…I’m outta here!  Have a great weekend!

XOXO,
Anna

Birds in the Air

Poor, poor little neglected blog. It’s been so boring here lately that there hasn’t been much point in blogging. Not that nothing has been happening — it’s been very busy, but there just hasn’t been much blog-worthy to report. Lots of cleaning, errand running, cleaning, visiting, cleaning — with all that cleaning, why doesn’t it look much cleaner around here? That drives me crazy — you work and work and work and things still look much like they did. At least there’s a big pile of garbage in the garage to show for the efforts. Too bad the pile isn’t bigger.

One little bit of excitement happened this weekend when MeMum and I put one of her antique quilt tops on the basting frame. I’d forgotten how much work it is to baste a quilt. We could just quilt it on this frame, but she has another quilting frame that tilts, which makes the quilting a little easier on the back.

Red Quilt

We basted for a few hours today and there’s still a bit more to do. There was a little debate over whether we should quilt it at all, but in the end, we decided it might help protect the quilt. This is a very old, hand-pieced top. Some of the seams aren’t even 1/4″ wide, which makes them pretty fragile.

Red Quilt

It’s been a fun basting job and I’m really looking forward to the quilting.  I love looking at all the different fabrics.  There are several pieces that were cobbled together — I always think that’s a fun thing to see in an older quilt.

Red Quilt

And there are two or three tiny holes.  We’ll be doing a little research in how to best handle their repair as we do the quilting.  I’m looking forward to working on this quilt — I hope we finish it in this lifetime.  Our basting has been so slow, I’m beginning to worry a bit!

Red Quilt

Alas, another weekend gone.  They always whiz by.  ;-(  Have a good week!

XOXO,
Anna

A Tale of Two Cakes

Every year for Christmas, my in-laws give me an Amazon Gift Certificate.  I finally ordered my books a few weeks ago, and among them was Miette – Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop.  Part of the reason it took me so long to cash in my gift certificate was because I had a hard time deciding on this book.  It had mixed reviews — mostly due to mistakes that went to press with the first two editions.  But really, how could I pass up a cookbook with such an adorable little cake on the front cover?

Scavenger Hunt

After pouring through the book, I decided to try a few of the recipes for our Easter dinner.  These are small cakes — only 6″, so I reasoned we’d need two cakes for our family.  I decided on the Lemon Debutante Cake and the Tomboy Cake (aka, the cake on the cover.)  (Don’t they look cute with my Little Cotton Rabbits?)

Scavenger Hunt

Oh.Emmm.Geeee.  These cakes were SO fun to make and they were really good.  They’re not for the faint of baking heart however — they’re very labor intensive.  But Oh. So. Worth the effort.  In case you love to bake like I do (Hi Linda NoBlog and Brigette!), or if you’ve landed here looking for info on these cakes (the internet was really helpful to me with info about these cakes), I thought I’d share a few observations.

Scavenger Hunt

  • When I went to buy the 6″ cake pans, instead of buying 2 – 6″ x 3″ pans, I bought 3 – 6″ x 2″ pans.  Each recipe makes 2, 3″ high cakes and then you split each 3″ cake into 3 sections.  Since I had three pans, I decided it should work to make three of them and split each in half, still having 6 layers in the end.  One of the biggest complaints on the internet about these recipes is that they sunk in the middle.  Both of my cakes also sunk a little, but I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as if I’d been using the 3″ pans.  The white (lemon) cake didn’t rise nearly as high either, so I didn’t really end up with a second set of three layers, which was fine.  Either way, I think I’ll stick with making the layers in the shorter pans.
  • I heard that someone on cupcake wars tried to make the European buttercream frosting and ran out of time. No Kidding! I’m thinking they should have been disqualified for even trying it. It is very time consuming and patience is the key. The recipe said to add the boiling sugar water slowly to the meringue and then whip at high speed for about 10 minutes while the mixture cooled down. The whole time, I was thinking “How is this going to cool down? Whipping creates friction, right?” After 10 minutes, it definitely wasn’t cool enough to add the butter, so I turned the mixer off and just let it set for 20 minutes. Then you add the butter 1 Tbsp. at a time. Patience.  If you rush it, your buttercream will be ruined. The recipe was surprisingly easy, if you just follow the instructions — and your instinct!
  • The pink frosting in the Tomboy Cake is actually raspberry flavored.  (And boy, is it ever good.  When you take a bite of the cake, you taste the deep, rich chocolate first, and then the raspberry hits you.  Yummmo!)  You have to boil raspberries to get some raspberry juice to add to the frosting. While my juice was cooling, my arm accidentally caught the sieve and the juice flew everywhere. Try not to be such a klutz like me!
  • Our local cake shop is a great resource for the 6″ cake pans. Much more reasonable than amazon.
  • These cakes may be small, but they’re rich. One cake would probably serve 12 people and would have been plenty for the 9 of us.

Scavenger Hunt

So, this little cookbook is a BIG hit with me! The recipes are very detailed, with lots of tips to help you be successful. Plus, they’re delicious. I took the leftovers to work on Monday morning and everyone loved them.  If you decide to get the book, be sure and get the errata sheet — one of the errors is in the buttercream recipe.

Off to pack my gym bag for tomorrow — I need to make a feeble attempt at working off that buttercream!
XOXO,
Anna

Happy Easter

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Easter! It’s been a blur this week and I’ve had major blog neglect to prove it. Poor little blog. The beginning of the week was just too boring with nothing exciting to post. But then things heated up for the weekend and I was just too busy.  (I did manage to finally get rid of those goofy dancing thimbles on my blog header — did you notice?)

Easter

We had the family over for Easter Dinner this afternoon. We had our traditional Easter Dinner — Ham, Cheesy potatoes, a few vegetables, a few salads, Easter cupcakes and some other cakes that deserve a post all their own. Oh, and we usually have deviled eggs, but I ruined them. Too much mustard. Blech! Even CrazyBIL wouldn’t eat them and he’ll eat most anything!

Easter

Anyway, it’s over for another year so now I can get back to some of my other projects. Speaking of which, have you all seen the April Aurifil block of the month? Miss April is Gail Pan of Gail Pan Designs. I got the biggest smile when I saw her adorable block. When I found out I would be Miss May, I was going to contact Miss April and see if she wanted to do an April Showers Bring May Flowers combo. But then I realized that Gail is from Austrailia where they are going into fall, rather than spring, so I reasoned that the April Showers/May Flowers thing doesn’t apply down under and I gave up the plan. Oh well,  I love Gail’s cute little block — it’s perfect for April!

Easter

Don’t forget to check out the Aurifil Block of the Month Flickr pool too — lots of cute blocks appearing there.

Have a good week — I’ll be back soon with a Tale of Two Cakes!
XOXO,
Anna