Thursday, October 28, 2010

i heart five guys

The Five Guys in Sunnyvale officially opened today!!!!!


Any dieting/work-out plans are officially postponed until tomorrow.  Tonight I am happy enough to lounge around as my stomach attempts to digest over 1000 calories. *contented sigh*

Halloween Cupcakes

In the spirit of the "holiday" season--here is my favorite Halloween cupcake recipe from Bon Appetit.  The cupcake is a pumpkin flavored cupcake with cream cheese frosting.  The proportions for cream cheese frosting are what I use for all other cupcakes that I make, and they are really easy to remember!  If you want to make a chocolate cream cheese frosting, just add a bit of cocoa powder to the frosting mixture.

Last year, I found some great images of Halloween cupcakes and really wanted to make some cute ones.  What came out were these little monsters (sorry, I don't remember where I originally saw how to make these) made with candy corn, necco wafers, and chocolate clay eyeballs.  Instead of chocolate clay, you could use chocolate frosting or mini m&ms.  I just thought it would be fun to try making chocolate clay (which is just melted chocolate and corn syrup).

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bridal Shower Gift: DIY Apron

 This is another belated project post for an apron that I made during the summer for a very special friend! =)  When I first decided that I wanted to make an apron as a bridal shower present for Grace, I was instantly overwhelmed with just how many free apron patterns there are out there on the internet.  I spent so much time looking around and they all made me want to make dozens and dozens of different aprons.  (See 56 Free Apron Patterns just for a taste!)

I finally settled on using this Retro Apron Pattern, and just changed it a little by attaching the straps at the top (instead of the knots) and making a sash across the middle.  I also made the flounce a little longer so that it would have a little more bounce.  Now, I am by no means an accomplished seamstress but I think it came out all right considering I did it all by hand. I also never got around to adding pockets.  (Is that braggy?)

I LOVED the fabric when I saw it at the store because Grace has a cat and a dog, and her kitchen is red.  Since the fabric was so light, I layered another layer of fabric underneath.  The above pattern was a great one to use for layering lighter fabrics since the two layers get sewn together as you sew the double fold bias tape.

I've now also seen hostess aprons that look like fun dresses, and I would really like to make a dressy apron for fun.  Watch out, I may have a post for it soon.....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

DIY Favors with Tissue Paper Flowers

Tissue Paper Flowers
Make tissue paper flowers in a variety of colors to add a special touch to your wedding day.  These elegant flowers can be made in different sizes to accent favor boxes or to gather into bouquets.  See Martha Stewart Weddings for a full tutorial on how to make these shaped tissue bubble flowers.
You will need:
  • tissue paper
  • styrofoam ball (1/2 inch)
  • floral wire
  • artificial stamens
  • floral tape
- Dab a dot of glue at the edge of each petal to prevent them from unraveling. Regular Elmer's glue works well.
- Crumpling a piece of paper into a small ball can also be used instead of a styrofoam ball.

Favor Idea
Pictured above is an example of a wedding favor that is accented with these tissue paper flowers.  These favors reflect an elegant beach-themed wedding by using tropical elements and colors without using the expected sand and seashells.  The orange tissue paper and teal ribbon also reflect the wedding colors.
Materials used for the favor:
  • tealight candle holder (IKEA Galej, $1.49 for 4)
  • white pillow mints
  • raffia ribbon
  • shell beads
  • ribbon
  • bamboo skewers
  • cardstock for names
  • tissue paper flowers
  1. Cut strips of ribbon to wrap around the bottom of the candle holder.  Ribbon will stay best if secured with a dab from a hot glue gun.
  2. Punch a hole through cardstock nametag, thread a bead on raffia ribbon, and tie a bow to attach the nametag to the bamboo skewer
  3. Use clear tape to hold bamboo skewer in place inside the candle holder (Otherwise the skewer will lean or fall over)
  4. Fill the bottom of the candle holder with pillow mints and top with a tissue flower.
Have fun!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grilled Mediterranean Dinner

Al and I were excited to officially host our first dinner in our new place last Sunday!  Thanks to Cliff and Anna for putting up with our incredibly small table and lack of living room furniture. =P  This is really just for my sake to remember what recipes I used because I always seem to forget what recipes I use and what I changed.  Maybe at some point I'll start taking more pictures and coming up with original recipes.  Ha.

  • Grilled Chicken and Pork Skewers and rice
    • Ina Garten's Marinated Lamb Kebabs recipe (used chicken instead of lamb)
    • Michael Symon Pork Souvlaki recipe (only used marinade)
  • Tzatziki Sauce with Toasted Pita Bread (also serve hummus and tapenade on the side)
  • Tomato and Tapenade Tarts (loosely adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe)
  1. cut a sheet of thawed puff pastry into four rectangles; score a 1/2 inch border around each edge
  2. spread a layer of tapenade inside each rectangle (homemade: mince together 1/2 can of black olives, handful of green olives, 1 roasted red pepper, 2 cloves garlic, mix with 1 tbsp. lemon juice; season to taste)
  3. top rectangles with thinly sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese; splash tomatoes with balsamic vinegar
  4. bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, top with fresh basil leaves

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DIY Fish Centerpieces

A major chunk of any wedding budget often goes to the florist.  One cost-cutting measure is to simply order less flowers and go with a simple, elegant, and unique centerpiece.  A fish centerpiece is a simple DIY project that will make both your wallet and your creative side happy.

Basic Materials:
  •  A clear container: ex. a fish bowl or a large vase
  • Colored marbles or pebbles
  • Flowers
  • Fish
1. COLORS: Choose your materials in accordance with your wedding colors and your wedding theme in mind. For example, pick clear marbles if you have an elegant theme or river rocks for a more casual theme. A blue betta fish with a single orange Gerbera daisy accents a blue and orange wedding color scheme.

2. Assembly: - scatter marbles at the bottom of the container - fill with water - slip fish into the water - float flower at the top of the water

1. When choosing your fish, consider both their aesthetic appeal (color) and the care required. Bettas are a great choice because they are generally a very hardy fish--however, if you go with betta fish, make sure not to put two males in the same tank as they will fight and result in one dying!

2. What to do with the fish after the wedding? Don't flush them down the toilet! If you do not want to keep all the fish, consider giving them away as gifts to the guests. You could place a sticker at one place setting at each table to determine a "winner" of a fish. Another idea is to have a miniature scavenger hunt--make cards or use fish cut-outs and place them around the reception area. Anyone who finds a card wins a fish!

Have Fun!

*A special thanks to Jackie at Eleganza Intima who implemented our ideas for our wedding.  We couldn't have done it without her!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Austin Powers and Felicity Shagwell Halloween Costumes 2009

I never got around to posting some of these projects on my old blog, so that will explain the profusion of posts during this first month while I try to get everything together.  Anyways--last Halloween was a lot of fun when Al and I dressed as Austin Powers and Felicity Shagwell.

I was going through a major yarn phase after my success with the Chrono Trigger blanket which made me want to attempt making Felicity Shagwell's crochet dress.  I didn't feel like spending extra money on better quality yarn--the orange was a red heart sport yarn and the pink was a Vanna White yarn (yes--she has yarn!).  The dress ended up being incredibly warm and I had a lot of fun making it.  The colors were the closest I could find on my budget.

I don't have a pattern for the dress--I kind of just crocheted around myself until it fit.  Haha.  I did a variation of a diamond mesh for the sleeves and middle, and scalloped the edges with shells.  See here for pictures and instructions on diamond mesh at Needlecraft Superior.

I also attempted to make a "velvet" blazer (I used blue microsuede as a substitute) and a lacy cravat for Al.  Unfortunately, many law school kids thought that his costume was a judge or justice.  NERDS. =P

Hello California!

It has now been a little over a month since we've moved to sunny California!  The weather has been incredible--we are almost sick of having sunshine every single day.  Al and I were warned that the "rainy season" should be starting soon.  However, with research we learned that the rainiest months here are only the average of the rain back in Virginia.  So yeah.  These people are spoiled.  (And now, so are we)

I don't have any purpose for this first entry other than to start setting up this blog--and a shout out to all our old east coast friends, we miss you!  You guys are almost as awesome as this sunshine.  Almost.