Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring break is over, I'm sad.

My spring break is seemed to go by in a flash, isn't that how it always goes though? I'm not quite ready to get back into the groove of school and homework. I didn't do much, hung around outside in the yard with the dogs, got to read an actual book of my choosing, not a textbook, and was generally lazy. Luckily the weather wasn't a total bust and I was able to get outside a bit. Mark and I decided to go down to the local beach and walk around for a while.
Even Blue got to enjoy some sun.

I got together with some girls that I used to work with for a craft date. It was really fun to just sit around, chat, eat (Loni is very good at feeding us), and working on our latest craft project. I started a new crochet pillow. I am really liking how the colors are coming together. We are going to try make our craft-ernoon a regular event. We get so busy with work, school, and mommy duties that time goes by so fast without realizing it.
 Loni was working on a hat for her daughter and Hillary was working on a granny square.
Mia was there to watch over us. She's totally crazy, but we love her. 
And she has the most outrageous whiskers!

So far I have one half of the cushion done and about 3/4 of the second half done. 
I also made a crochet scalloped garland. I had another idea for it and it didn't work out so I tied it to my bed frame.
Then I went to Target to get a couple things (yeah, right) and thought that I would just browse through the clothing section (who am I fooling?) and in true Target fashion it got me. 
I really love the mint and light gray color. It's really soft and light, I think that it will make a really nice spring cardigan. 
I don't normally like pink, but I saw this dress and had to have it. Probably because it has flowers on it and I cannot resist a floral print.I LOVE how it has pockets. None of my other dresses have pockets so I am super excited to wear it. 
All in all it was a pretty good spring break, nothing crazy, just nice and relaxing.
Jess


Outtakes:
My sister took this one. I have no idea what I was doing. Good thing our neighbors can't see into the yard.
 
Jack came out to say hi and Ace is doing some sort of bucking bronco move in the yard.
 
This is the usual face that Mark makes when I try to take his picture and for some reason I have a hard time opening my eyes. In my defense I was facing the sun, haha.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Crochet along and a bloghop

A while back Alycia over at Habitual Homebody started a crochet-along and I thought it was such a fun idea. I hadn't joined up before for one reason or another (usually homework got in the way, damn chemistry!) but now that I am on spring break I joined in. She picked a great knotted headband pattern, which I already had my eye on, so I had an excuse to make it. It was a super easy pattern that was really quick to do. Here is my final headband.
It's getting warmer around here so I don't know how much I'll get to use it. It will defiantly be put with my winter wear to be used for next year. It was really fun to do and I will be making more of an effort to join in each month. I'm excited to see what everyone else's headbands look like. Hop on over to Habitual Homebody and join in!


I also joined in on the bloghop over at Peacoats and Plaid. It's my first one so I'm hoping to meet some new people. For some reason the idea of this scared me. It's like a giant party where I don't know anyone and having to go up to talk to people. But I started this blog to push me past my comfort zone to meet new people, so I took a breath and linked up. (I know, it sounds so silly when I actually write it down) I recently found her blog because she posted a video about how she isn't a "popular girl." I loved it. I wanted to join this blog world to meet real people and hear about their real lives. Check her blog out and join in on the blog hop.

Jess


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm with Grover

I've been watching all the DOMA coverage on the news and hoping and wishing for equal rights for everyone. I think that Grover makes a pretty good point.  
Isn't this what marriage should be about? 
Jess

Monday, March 25, 2013

Crochet book review

A few weeks ago I was browsing the book and magazine section at Joann's. I was excited when I spotted Cute & Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench. I've had it on my Amazon wish list for a while and since I had a 40% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket I snatched it up. 
When I got home I eagerly thumbed through all the projects and suddenly my project list was getting bigger and bigger. I haven't read all of the patterns but the ones that I did sounded and looked easy to do. If you have a basic knowledge of crochet these patterns will be easy to follow. I decided to start with the stripy wave pillow. I sit at the counter when I am doing my homework and the chair starts to hurt my rump after a while so I decided to make this to sit on. 
I started it on Saturday and here is my progress so far. It is a really simple pattern and works up really quick. After a couple rows I didn't even need to look at the pattern anymore. 
I didn't use the exact yarn it calls for in the book because, well, I'm on the poor side of life these days so I needed to use a cheaper yarn and some that was more readily available. I'm using worsted weight Lion brand yarn. I'm happy with it, it's feels pretty nice to the touch. I omitted the yellow strip that the pattern called for because Joann's didn't have a yellow that would have looked nice. I just kinda grabbed some yarn off the shelf but the more I work with it the more I love the colors. 

Like most craft books there are a few patterns that I wouldn't make. This book only has one, maybe two that I wouldn't make for myself. Possibly as gifts though. It has some basic how-to's in the beginning but I usually skip over those because I'm a lefty so they don't often make too much sense to me anyway. It is divided into 3 chapters that are organized by skill level. The photos of the projects are great. There are at least 2 pictures of each project, if not more. I'm really glad that I bought this one. If you are looking for a book that has easy, quick, and cute patterns then I defiantly recommend this one. 

Here is some of my favorite patterns that I'm itching to make:
I really like this tote bag! I am a sucker for a tote bag and I really don't need another one but you can never have to many, right??
How cute is this little clutch?! I love all the possibilities for lining that I cold use. I liked that this book has directions for adding lining to the bags if one were to choose to line it.
I think that this is a really pretty scarf, and I love the soft gray color that they picked. I think this will have to be made for next winter. 

All in all I am really happy that I bought this book. It is going to make a good addition to my hoard, um...I mean collection, of craft books. This is one that is going to get some good use. 

Do you have any favorite craft books?
Jess



*This is not a sponsored post. I bought the book myself and these are my opinions of the book. 



Friday, March 22, 2013

My guilty pleasure

We all have them, that thing that we are a little embarrassed about but can't help but love. I thought that I would share one of mine. This one is a real doozy too. Are you ready??
 It's my Joey Lawrence CD. Yes, he had an album out circa 1993. This was one of my first CD's and I loved it! If I am going to be totally honest I stick it in the CD player once or twice a year and sing along, and I still know all the words. It's totally embarrassing but I can't not love it.


It even comes with this super sexy poster. WHOA! (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.) Why I never hung this up is beyond me.
I don't think that I could ever part with this gem. Maybe I could make it a family heirloom.....though I don't think anyone would appreciate it as much as me :)
Joey Lawrence CD, you may be my guiltiest pleasure. Thanks for the fabulous music in all it's cheesy glory.

Do you have any guilty pleasure that you can't help but love?
I would love to hear what they are!
Jess 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Madeleine baking

I spent my first two days of my spring break baking for a tea party my friends and I were throwing for a friend's wedding. I attempted to make macaroons, but it was a total fiasco. The second day I made some madeleines. It went much smoother than the macaroons. I love making them because they are super easy to make but they look fancy. I usually make spiced madeleines because they are my boyfriend's favorite, and I like spiced baked goods too. The only hitch is that you need a madeleine baking pan so they have the shell shape. I like this recipe because any flavor can be substituted for the spices. I have made orange madeleines using orange zest or chocolate ones using 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. They can be easily adapted to whatever you want them to be.
Getting ready
Action shot, thank goodness for stand mixers
Before
After-ta da!



Recipe
3/4 self rising flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground gloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup superfine sugar (this is really easy to find in the local grocery store)
1/3 cup melted butter
Confectioners' sugar, to dust (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Butter and flour a madeleine pan (I don't do this because my pan is non stick. It doesn't hurt if I do but the cookies come out a little darker than I like.)
  • Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl
  • Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until tripled in volume and very thick, about 5 minutes 
  • Use a large rubber spatula to fold in the dry ingredients and melted butter until just blended
  • Spoon tablespoons of the batter into the prepared pan
  • Bake for 11-13 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch
  • Turn the madeleines out onto cooling racks
  • Dust with confectioners' sugar
Do you have any go to recipes that you love to make?
Jess

(original recipe found in The Golden Book of Baking. (which is a great cookbook with a TON of recipes)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I survived (finals week that is)

Okay, this might be a little dramatic but sometimes I feel this way. Especially after classes that I'm not really into but have to go through to get prerequisites done. In the last 6 months I have found that chemistry and I are not very good friends. It was okay, but I am looking forward to biology in the fall. I'm happy to be on break but I'm sure that cabin fever will be setting in quickly. I'm hoping to get together with a couple new friends and relax. Hopefully the weather will turn around and I can get back outside. 

Most of the day I was concentrating on finals but a little bit of my mind was distracted. Yesterday was my (old) dog, Red's, birthday.
A face only a mother can love :)
He is a 4 year old french bulldog. I got him with my now ex-boyfriend and when we broke up I couldn't take him so he kept him. It's been almost 2 years and I still miss him terribly. It's was a little bit of a sad day for me but I'm sure that he is happy and hope that maybe one day I can see him again. 


Meanwhile there is a great giveaway over at One Sheepish Girl. Check it out. It's a great blog and I have enjoyed reading it. As a new knitter (if I can call myself that, hehe) there is a lot of inspiration. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, maybe that's the pick me up that I need. 

Are you doing anything fun for spring break?
Jess

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Kangaroo Farm

This last weekend we finally got some nice weather. I really wanted to go outside and enjoy it so Mark and I decided to go visit the Kangaroo Farm that isn't too far from us. It's really fun to see the different animals and be able to interact with them. Now, I want my very own wallaroo. They are about the cutest thing that I have ever seen, and they are SO sweet. 
Here is one of the wallaroos.
I was a little nervous to feed him, but they are very gentle.
Mark was a little unsure of them. He kept a little distance
I was petting this guy when he rolled over on his back for a belly rub. I guess even kangaroos like belly rubs which I'm happy to give. Their fur is very soft. 
I may have to move to Australia to be closer to these amazing animals. It was so nice to be able to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather for a change. We were lucky that it was nice on a Saturday, and we weren't busy with work or school. I'm itching to get outside instead of being cooped up in the house. The sun has been teasing us lately and only shows up for short spurts here and there. Spring needs to hurry up and officially begin! 

How is the weather where you are? What have you been able to get out and do?
Jess

Friday, March 8, 2013

Random connections

A few of weeks ago a friend sent me a LinkedIn request. I didn't have an account but for one reason or another I hap hazardously set up an account. A couple days after that I got a request from a Facebook friend. It was a guy I met on vacation about 6 years ago. We talked for a couple weeks after we went home but we lived in different states and the connection withered away. He found me on Facebook a few years later and we exchanged a few "how have you been" and "what are you up to" e-mails and that was about it. 

With this new request it got me thinking that this social media connection seems a little strange to me. I now have these connections to this person that I met years ago. The chances of me actually seeing or talking to him again are slim to none, probably more emphasis on the none. He sees what I'm doing (which isn't much since I'm not a huge Facebook user) and I see what he does. In the not too distant past when connections disintegrated people would just fade away.There isn't a lot of mystery in today's world, and I can only imagine what the future will bring. 

I'm not against all the social media, it think that it's a good thing to have the opportunity to stay in touch with people that normally I probably wouldn't stay in touch with and get to meet new people. It just seems like a funny little anomaly to me.

What are your thoughts?
Jess


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Biscotti baking

Last week my friend Heidi and I decided to make biscotti. She found this recipe for cranberry pistachio biscotti on Pinterest. They turned out really good, not overly sweet. 
Shelled pistachios are expensive so I hand shelled them. Believe it or not Heidi grabbed the exact amount we needed.
After that it was pretty easy, mix the wet and dry ingredients separately then mix it all together. The batter was super sticky, I left that job up to Heidi.  
After it bakes a little while, we took them out to cut up so they could dry the rest of the way.
Then a little while longer in the oven and they were done.
Easy as that. We decided to omit the white chocolate almond bark. Mostly because it would have meant an extra stop. All that was left to do was enjoy with a hot cup of tea.
It had been a long time since I had baked anything. I really enjoy it and should try to do it more often. Maybe I'll have to scour my Pinterest boards for something tasty to make.

Do you have any favorite recipes that you bake often? Or have had your eye on wanting to try?
Jess