Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!  What a crazy year it has been.  I got married, moved, and started a new job.  It was a great year for change and I can't wait to see what the new year will bring.

We went from the wettest place to the driest place!  Abundant ocean to no water for miles.  I am missing the surf and amazing views, but am learning to love the desert.  It is sunny, dry, and mountainous.  Happy Holidays and good luck in the new year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Candied Orange Peel Recipe/Tutorial

I love candied orange peel from the store, but homemade candied orange peel is amazing.  It takes a lot of work and time, but the end result is worth it.  I used 4 pounds of oranges and it made enough to give 4 small jars for Christmas presents.  I would do at least this amount. The more you do, the longer they will last before you have to make more.


Start by peeling oranges, then cutting away the pith.  Get as much of the white off of the peel as you can.  Then place the peels in cold water to cover and bring to a boil.  Strain and repeat for a total of 3 times.  Rinse with cold water each time.

Place 1 part water and 1 part sugar in the same pot and bring to a boil.  This will be your sugar syrup.  Place the orange peels in the syrup and simmer until translucent.  The syrup should remain at a simmer until you are satisfied with the results. I simmered mine for about an hour.  This can vary from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on how thick your peels are.

Remove (strain) from the syrup and lay out to dry.  When they are partially dry (not soaking wet) place them in a bowl of sugar and coat.  You can save the syrup and use it for iced tea or other cooking with sugar syrups, it is a great addition to a fruit compote, smoothies, or a pancake topping mixed with berries/syrup.

Allow the peels to dry until they are to your liking.  The humidity and temperature will make a huge difference in your drying time, so be patient and keep an eye on them.  I left mine out for a day on my counter, you don't want them rock hard, just firm and not wet. (in Arizona)

To finish them you can either dip them in dark chocolate, stripe them in chocolate, or leave the plain.  They will be devoured either way.  :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Free Slouchy Beret Hat Pattern

I have been looking for a slouchy hat pattern that was also chunky and fun for a while now. I stumbled across Give Me a Purl blog and I love her chunky hat pattern.  I made mine in Lambs Pride Bulky.  It took less than one skein and I finished it in 2 sittings.  Gotta love instant gratification.

I used a size 15 circular needle, (i need a 10 1/2 for the lambs pride but somehow didn't find mine!) and it came out great.  I wanted a looser, fun, bright hat to wear around in Arizona.  If I make it again for someone in say... Nebraska or Colorado, I would totally use smaller needles.  The pattern works great with this combo though, just a little FYI.  

{Lambs Pride Bulky, size 15 circular needles, and a stitch marker}

Here is a little from her blog about what materials she used and the skills needed to make this project.

The hat is a really fast knit and was made to use this ball of Super Bulky yarn that was living in my stash.
Materials: Pronto Super Bulky yarn, 100 g (~90 yards)
Needles: 9 mm / US 13
Gauge: 10 stitches / 10 cm (4 inches) in stockinette stitch
M1: Make 1 stitch. Pick up the loop lying between stitches and knit it, making sure to twist it to avoid making a hole.
K2tog: Knit two stitches together.
P2tog: Purl two stitches together.
Sts: Stitches.

Get the full pattern here.  Happy Knitting!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saffron Indian Bistro Tucson

Last week, I went to Saffron Indian Bistro for dinner.  The food was phenomenal and the prices were fair.  Will I go back?  I can't wait to go back!  For two entrees, an appetizer, naan, and tip: less than $40.  I had enough leftovers for a huge dinner the next night too.  The meal started with papadum and two chutneys (mint/fruit).

We had garlic naan which was fantastic.  I pretty much spooned my meal onto the naan and devoured it.

{image from Saffron website}

This is what I had leftover after I ate a full meal at the restaurant.

I added vegetables to my chicken korma for $2.00 extra and was pleasantly surprised.  Well worth it!  We also had the vegetable samosas which were small but good.  The appetizer came with 2 samosas.  They offer a lot of vegetarian options as well as the usual meat dishes. 

7607 N. Oracle Rd.
Suite 101
Oro Valley, AZ 85704
(520) 742-9100

Monday-Saturday 11 am - 10 pm
Sunday 11 am - 9 pm
Lunch Buffet Daily - $8.95 - 11am-3pm
Happy Hour: call for details (specials on drinks and small plates)

Overall I would recommend it and I can't wait to try their lunch buffet.  For $8.95, you can't go wrong.  If you are in North West Tucson, you should definitely give Saffron a try.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Patchwork Stocking

I love stockings!  My husband and I just moved into a new apartment and I thought to myself... "What would spice up our place and really give me a Holiday feel without getting all GREEN and RED?"  Here is my answer. (His is coming, I only had time to make one today.  :)  Mine was the tester.)

I started with two fabrics.  One of them, the yellowy pink floral, is from about 5 years ago.  I feel great about using it because I have been hoarding it for way too long!  I finally found the perfect project and it is inspiring me to work my way through my stash.

My husband drew me a pattern piece for the stocking.  Mine was a little wonky, so I chose his piece instead.  Thanks Cody!

Then I pieced together the two fabrics, the stocking is about 8 inches wide at the top.  So I just cut 8 inch wide varying sizes of fabric.

My favorite part is the toe!

I quilted the front to some batting and lined it with a plain white fabric.  I like the alternating colors and fabrics.  They are kind of clashing/matching.  I used a light cream ribbon vintage bias tape that I got in a sewing box last month for the finish on the top and the loop.  It tied it all together, and  I love the finished product.

Here it is hanging in my craft room on my bulletin board (which I made with a SUPER discount frame from Michael's, some Ikea cardboard from our furniture packaging and scrapbook paper.  Sweet!) It totally steals the show!  What do you think?

Monday, November 21, 2011

5 months and Going Strong

My husband and I got married a little over 5 months ago.  Time sure flies!  We have had  a pretty exciting marriage so far.  We went on our honeymoon on Lanai, then moved to Arizona less than 3 months later.  We are settling into Arizona and getting used to being back on the mainland.  We had an amazing wedding thanks to our family and friends and I love looking at all the pictures.  Here are a few of my favorite moments and memories.

I love the white and the lush green.  The Gardens were stunning that day.

My favorite photos are often silhouettes, and this is the closest we came to one.  I love the blurred background, the light colors, and the creamy light.

I think I have shared this photo before, but it really is one of my favorites.  Running towards our new life!

My girls looked amazing!  The dresses, hair, makeup, WOWZER.  They really made the day awesome.

I love the HUGE green "cabbage" behind me in this picture.  The Gardens really were incredible.

We printed old wedding photos from all of our family members that we could find and pinned them up on display as you walked in.  Everyone loved looking at all the old family memories.

Airy, open, and simple.

I made these wooden signs to direct guests to our garden site.

I made these super simple cute place cards and my dad made the grass boxes to put them in.  They looked awesome and really tied it all together.  Thanks DAD!

My mom helped me plant all these succulents months before the wedding.  We also spray painted each pot white and wrapped them with jute at the top. I printed off the table numbers and hiked Kuliouou in Hawaii to find the twigs.  They were a labor of love that made the tables special for our family and friends.

I wanted my flowers to be local, fun, and bold.  These Protea are found on Maui and are my favorite flowers.

Our Grand Entrance.  We skipped in past the photo booth.  My bridesmaid Natalie and I built the photo booth and spent hours making it just right.  Thanks Nat!  It was truly THE most fun part of the day.

My co-workers helped me make my dessert bar fantasy come true.  Kazu made my cute little strawberry shortcakes, Glo helped me set up, and I made a bunch of goodies to share!

It was a huge task to create such a handmade wedding but I wouldn't change a thing. I made my own place cards, photo booth, center pieces, table numbers, dessert bar, props for the photo booth, we wrote our own vows, and we had my brother take our engagement pictures.  The wedding was handmade from the little pieces to the bold statements and we could never have pulled it all together without all the help we got!  Thank you so much everyone.  You made our day amazing and unforgettable. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snow on Mt. Lemmon

We went up to Mt. Lemmon last weekend and there was snow!  That's right, 28 degrees and snow.  Crazy, I know.  It was beautiful and cold and so mind boggling to drive from desert to snow in less than an hour.  I loved it.  It was about 60 in Tucson that day, and kept getting colder as we went up.

I haven't been in the cold for a while, it was a shock.

Wrapped in winter warmth.

The aspen trees were breath taking with their yellow and green leaves and snow covered trunks.

You can see the ski run really clearly with the snow on it.  I hope we get enough snow to ski this winter.

If you haven't been to Mt. Lemmon yet, you should go!  Just bring cash, snacks, and warm clothes.  When we were at the top the little shops credit card line was down because of the storm so they were only taking cash.  We ate a picnic at about 45 degrees on our way down. It was so relaxing and fun.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fabric Holiday Placemats

This past weekend, I made fabric placemats for my mother-in-law's birthday.  I used a black and white polka dot fabric on one side and a red holiday fabric on the other.  They turned out really nice.

I really like the holiday fabric because it isn't too loud and HOLIDAY'ISH.

The black and white polka dots look great on the other side.

Four large placemats.

Oh, and a patchwork trivet to match.

I quilted it in a large diamond pattern in white thread.  I think they would look great on any table and I hope she likes them!
For a tutorial, click here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ruffle Cake

I love ruffle cakes and I have been wanting to make one forever!  My mother in law's birthday was a few weeks ago and she is coming to visit, so I thought, PERFECT TIME FOR A RUFFLE CAKE!

I piped ruffles and stripes.

I piped a flower on top like the flower cupcakes I made a few days ago.

I made bright yellow cupcakes to go with it.  So cute!


I love layer cakes!

I filled it with homemade strawberry cream cheese filling.  Oh my.

I love this combination.


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