A place to store and share the things I make.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bourbon Birthday Cake

I saw this on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and could not wait til G's birthday came around so I could try it out. It. was. amazing. Might be a new tradition. For EVERY holiday. Funny that it's from a mama blog, but it fits our family just fine. I made him a Chocolate Stout cake a couple years ago; I don't know if it's more me or him that is drawn to alcohol based goodies...

Whiskey in a Jar (Flourless) Chocolate Cake (from Babble)
1 stick butter
8 oz chocolate pieces (chopped fine) or small chips, semi-sweet
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Tennessee whiskey (I used Buffalo Trace because that's what we had)
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler
2. Add the butter/chocolate mix to the sugars in a large bowl; mix well, then add the whiskey and mix some more. Add eggs, one at a time, and watch the batter get all goopy. Keep mixing, then add the salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix it till all the powder is mixed in well.
3. Pour into jars (spray the jars first with nonstick spray). They say to use pint jars but I don't know who could eat a whole pint of this rich cake. I used half-pints (they're cuter anyway). Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test. Mine didn't fall til they were out of the oven.

I topped them with a bourbon whipped cream (ie. whipping cream, some brown sugar, and a shot or so of whiskey) and served it with a spoon. I ate two. I just couldn't stop myself. There were congratulations all around, so I consider it a success. If it would have been less tasty maybe there would have been more leftover for breakfast...

Taste of Spring

Sun, glorious sun! These are the days when Portlanders come out from under their hoods, doff their boots and fenders, and bask in the sun with nary a second thought. The days are hot, the grass is cut, the evenings are gentle and warm, perfect for drinks on the porch and walks in the sun. A good weekend to remind us of why we love this place. We spent time planting our garden, celebrating Graham's birthday as well as a Timbers win, dining with family and toasting another year.
Evidence of an impromptu "purse off"
Bourbon Chocolate cake
How did you celebrate the sun?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Real Blogger

So I went to this thing. This event. A cocktail hour. For bloggers. I felt a little out of place...more than just the fact I was wearing flipflops and most of the attendees were wearing high heels or blazers. Very fashionable. But they are all bloggers. And I'm...well...yeah, I'm a blogger too. But I like to downplay my blogging, like I'm not a real blogger. I'm a random blogger. It's not my job, I can't even say it is my passion. But it is about some of my passions. And, heck, I blog. I have a blog and I contribute to the blogosphere of bloggers out there. So I guess what I learned this weekend, is that I'm a blogger. Maybe that's part of the beauty of blogging, that there is no code of conduct, there are no rules nor requirements. Just vulnerability at whatever level seems right for the moment, some sense of sharing what I've got. Writing for me, a little for you, but mostly for me. No expectations. No judgement. I didn't feel judged for wearing my Chacos at that party. I guess we're all on the same page. Pages with different urls.
by Jenni
Said party was the Portland Bloggers Meetup, hosted by Jenni and Sam at a schwanky little south waterfront condo. It was in all sense of the word a cocktail party. You get there, scope out the scene, introduce yourself to a few people, talk about your blogs and then bam, the night takes off into random conversation getting to know new people. I went with Megan (a real-life friend too) as her date. I had no idea what to expect, but it was swell.

That party followed the previous engagement of the day, which was a baby shower for our friend Charissa. Baby Lilly is slated to arrive sometime in May. I had grand plans of making these amazingly colorful cupcakes, but that didn't happen, at least not on Saturday. There were a handful of handmade gifts that yours truly is totally going to re-create for other upcoming baby showers, including an adorable tutu made from a stretchy headband and a "bapron".
Princess Punch
Mama to be, Round II
She only has a boy at home--can you tell?
 The theme for the shower was Alice in Wonderland-ish, and I just happen to find a Disney Alice in Wonderland day planner in the $5 bin at our local used book store. The graphics are incredible and completely frameable. I took the book out of the wire binding, put aside the calendar pages for another use, and wove ribbon through the binding holes to make a hanging mobile.

And as if I didn't have enough partying over the weekend, I hosted our Book Club last night. Our last book was Honolulu, which is about a Korean woman who takes a ship to Hawaii to become a "picture bride" in the early 1900's. It was a fun read, but made me want to get my kimchee on. Thus I did. It started with a trip to FuBon, our huge Asian market on 82nd. But, alas, a cranky girl shopping a huge store with few english words on the package, with store clerks who didn't understand what I was looking for, I had to compromise. I brought home a pre-made package of kimchee seasonings (ie. soak your cabbage and mix-it-with-this-style; more than storebought but less than homemade), the cabbage, and some other good cheap produce. Oh, and a bottle of plum sake too, of course. I also followed my original recipe, but since I couldn't find the Korean chili powder I was looking for, I just substituted cayenne pepper. Both were delish. I whipped up some black bean dip for some rice crackers, and we were good to go. The theme party; a lost art. I love it.

And, since I didn't get to do my cupcakes on Saturday, I made them Hawaii themed for Monday's book club. Which means I used coconut milk for the cake mix (boxed, I know, but it was a busy weekend!). I also whipped up some coconut milk and whipping cream to top them. It was fat free coconut milk, so it took awhile to whip up and didn't hold up too well; full fat next time. You will not see any pictures of the finished product because, well, it wasn't that pretty. The colors kind of melded together to look about the color of vomit. BUT. It tasted amazing. So I'll just leave it at that. And, since they're in jars, I'm going to bring the leftover ones when I go to meet G downtown in a little bit for a lunch and art date. Oh how I cherish having a weekday off.
Okay, I snuck one pic in.

Enough! Off to enjoy the day!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is Risen

Easter weekend is always a juxtaposition. Death and life. Sorrow and joy. Darkness and light. And so I share a little of each.

A video made by Nate Grubbs for our Good Friday service at church. I share it for two reasons: one is that it's intense and real; the other is that my spouse is in it.

And secondly, some sweet sugar cookies I'm bringing to Easter dinner with our dear friend Tom.
Happy Easter everyone. He is risen indeed!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I have a heart for Africa. I've never been, but it's on my list. My mom has been, and my dad. My aunt and uncle. Many friends. Some for weeks, some for a couple years. I'll go. Just haven't had my opportunity yet.

OHSU is teaching hospital in Portland that is partnering with hospitals in Ethiopia to provide healthcare for women. There are many resources that can give more detail than I can; check them out below. Global womens' health is an issue close to my heart as an individual and as a professional. And, it turns out, even as a crafter.

My friend and colleague Ann is an excellent seamstress, and she took on the task of making 20 dresses so that each woman who had surgery would have a new dress to go home in. She had 30 days to do this. I helped out by making belts...5 belts, to her 20 dresses. There is another team going in November, and we'll be more proactive and start early. If any of you want to help, give a holler and I'll get you some details!

Some places to read more, and please do! There are simple things you can do to support this program, financially or otherwise.

 Global Collaboration in Rural Ethiopia | Outreach Programs | OHSU Center for Women's Health
A movie to watch: A Walk to Beautiful
A great book about women's health across the globe: Half The Sky
And a great fiction novel that touches on some of the same topics: Cutting for Stone


I feel like I've been crafting up a storm lately, with little to show for it. I've been working factory-style a bit in preparation for upcoming baby showers. I took a little trip to SCRAP a couple weeks ago and brought home a bag full of upholstery samples that are becoming banners, my new craft-of-choice. I'm trying to figure out how I like them best: triangles or squares? pinking shears or straight edges? ribbon or fabric tape? Upcycled or new? Oh the choices in my day!
Dupioni silk, and it matches our walls perfectly!

Fancy no-stain upholstery in neutral-ish colors
I've also been revisiting the scrap pile and putting together some pot holders. It's funny: I love the scrap pile, the fact that there really is no piece too small to quilt with (yes, to an extent); yet I tire of the scrap quilting pretty darn quickly. I think I just get sick of the fabrics I loved last year and have seen again and again. Maybe this is where one enters the world of scrap swapping. Anyone up for it? I've got plenty to share...
 AND...I opened an etsy shop! Okay there's nothing in it yet--it's free to set it up but you have to pay to post things--but it's there nonetheless! I'll keep you updated on if/when I do actually put things in there. In the meantime, I'll keep showing stuff here.

And with that, I'm back to the crafting.