Getting my sugar on!

My little helper and I made some cupcakes yesterday, and she has now discovered her favourite part of baking!  I used my old faithful One Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe (here below) that I have had for so long I have no idea where I got it.  It makes the most moist cake ever!  This time I tried a new glaze that I found here.  It turned out really well, and I like dipping the cupcakes rather than having to frost them with a knife - it's actually kinda fun too.  I'm going to have to explore that website and see what else this chick has up her sleeve!  

For years now my "go-to" baking website has been Joy of Baking.  I have had excellent results from every single recipe I've tried on that site so I can wholeheartedly recommend it.  I especially love the lemon pudding cake, the angel food cake (SO soft!), and the basic brownie recipe (she has a lot of variations).

This is what she did when I asked if it was yummy!  

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Grease and flour two 9 inch pans.
2. In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat for two minutes at medium speed.  Stir in boiling water.
3. Pour into the two prepared cake pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, (maybe a bit less if you make cupcakes), until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and continue cooling.

Love is crewel

Over the past few years my appreciation for embroidery has grown to the point where I am chomping at the bit to try my hand at it.  There are so many great artists out there that every time I look at their work I want to thread my needle and start stitching immediately.  For example:

Have you heard of Maricor/Maricar?  They are amazing.  Surely you've seen their Cookie Monster embroidery on Pinterest?  And I love all their text embroideries too - gorgeous!

What about the incredibly talented Chloe Giordano?  If you have a few hours, go drool over her Tumblr page!

The Smallest Forest, besides doing some really cool stuff herself, has a regular installment that she rightly calls "über embroiderers".
I really love crewel embroidery, but I didn't want to do a typical old-fashioned flowery design.  I wanted to do a little wall-hanging for my daughter's room, so I went with one of her favourite animals - turtles.  I was inspired by this turtle print from the lovely Etsy shop twoems.  Since the frame I will be using has a surface area of 12 x 12", I drew the turtle up to fit those dimensions.

I sketched out the turtle, and then went over the lines with a black sharpie.

I taped my drawing to the window, and then put the 17" square, ironed and zig-zagged piece of linen twill over top.

Using my blue Frixon pen, I traced the drawing onto the fabric.

I ordered a pretty selection of Appletons crewel wool and some linen twill from this shop in the UK.  It was like Christmas when it arrived!  I dumped it out and had a little fun experimenting with some colour groupings.

A few weeks ago I ordered a couple books on embroidery and crewel, and this one discussed a padded frame as an option to using an embroidery hoop.  The next day I went into my box of half-finished paintings in the garage, pulled out a medium size one, took the canvas off and made myself a padded frame using some synthetic batting (gasp!) I'd bought years ago and never used.  I topped it off with a bit of leftover fabric and voila!  It ain't pretty but it'll do the job.

Now all I have to do is decide on my colour palette.  If I use a restrained two or three colour palette (plus tones of these three) I think it could look quite modern, but honestly I'm tempted to use all the colours and let the 70's shine through!  I mean - it's a kid's room - why hold back?

My cutting table is a reflection of what's going on in my brain on any given day.  Sometimes it's neat and tidy with just one project on it.  Lately it's been like this - masking tape, yarn and knitting needles, coloured pencils, crewel yarn… my brain is so full of ideas right now I've had a hard time sleeping this week!  Does this happen to you?

Friday Finish - Briar Rose baby quilt

Last weekend I finished baby Elisa's new quilt.  It is 36" square, so it should be useable for a few years.  I backed it with a butter yellow solid sheet, and bound it with the leftovers of my Remix binding.

I love that about 90% of my pictures now have lamb slippers in them!
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