Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Amazing Husband

Some people try to pass over Birthdays, but for me, this year, my husband's Birthday needs celebration! My husband spent his last two Birthdays in Iraq, so I feel there is need for celebration! I am thankful to have him home and safe. I'm also more than happy to spoil him with some culinary love.

After yesterday's baking bazaar, there was a lot to prepare today. We are having slow cooked BBQ beer pork ribs, loaded red potato salad, bacon wrapped scallops and stuffed mushrooms. The menu is almost a mix of picnic and Italian restaurant in one. Each 'dish' is one of my husband's favorites. Luckily my family is coming to visit, so we will have plenty of people to indulge in the delicious-ness.

Here is the brownie birthday cake. It has chunky peanut butter as frosting.
Brownie Birthday Cake

I also made a little Birthday decoration that we can use over again. I made it a couple weeks ago, but didn't share it because I didn't want my DH to see it. Birthday Banner

Because we will be doing a lot of traveling in the next few months, I decided to get my husband some comfy footwear. These are indoor/outdoor slippers. He said they are like walking in heaven. I'm so happy he likes them. I may need a pair now too!
Comfy Slippers

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Baking Bazaar - Most Favorite Muffins

In preparation for my parent's visit and my DH's birthday, I'm baking! On the list is: Whole Wheat Beer Bread, Carrot Oatmeal Muffins (the best muffins in the world), apple pie, and a birthday brownie cake.

I'm writing this post as I wait for the oven to catch up with the row of prepared batters. I've had several requests for my most favorite muffin recipe, so I am including it here:

Carrot Oatmeal Muffins (aka the Best Muffins in the World!)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 canola oil
3/4 cup plain apple sauce
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 cups shredded carrots (the pre-cut "match stick" carrots work well)
1 (8 oz) can crush pineapple, drained
2/3 cup pecan bits (optional - but they are very tasty)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease muffin tins.
2. In a large bowl, mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add sugars, oil, eggs, vanilla, and apple sauce. Mix until evenly moist. Fold in oats, coconut, raisins, carrots, pineapple and pecans.
3. Bake 21-25 minutes in the preheated oven (newer ovens usually require about 21 min) until muffins are golden or a knife inserted comes out clean.

For the sweet tooth: These muffins are so delicious that you could serve them for dessert or a special treat... just add cream cheese frosting to the top and its like eating carrot cake! Delicious!

Please feel free to share this recipe. I found it awhile ago and have been 'tweaking' it since. It is definitely a favorite for everyone I have made it for. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Apron, pleated purse, pillow

Phew. I've been super busy! I finally got a moment to catch my breath and update my blog! The past week has been crazy with appointments and getting ready to move again. I've also had a lot of projects that I've been wanting to do, so I put other things on hold and did some things for myself!

My first creation to share is a cute holiday apron. I haven't decided if I will keep it or gift it yet, but I love the frilly layers. I'm not really making anything in this photo, but my DH insisted props were necessary.We had beautiful weather this weekend, so we drove the convertible top down up to my sisters. The fall colors were (still) really pretty. I love being in a car with the wind blowing on your face. It is such a free feeling. The sky and water together were truly beautiful on the drive.
A second leather strap pleated purse! Okay, so since I knew my machine could handle sewing through leather, I made another pleated purse with leather strap. Again, I'm not quite sure qhat I will do with this purse yet. It may make a nice Christmas gift though? Hmmm.Here is a shot of the purse over the shoulder. It's a good sized purse that can fit tons of stuff. Perfect for the woman who likes to take everything with her. Travel Pillow! My final show-and-tell for this post is a vibrant pillow sham that I made for my travel pillow. Since our we will be traveling for roughly 24 hours, I've decided I need to travel in style! I did simple 4" squares and jazzed it up with pom-pom fringe. This was the first time I added pom-pom fringe to a project. It was a very simple process. I just was sure to use a lot of pins! I can't wait to travel with this flashy pillow!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Birthday Cake

Today is my neighbor's 2nd anniversary of her 25th Birthday, so I made her a cake yesterday. I had purchased tiny 3 tier cake pans months ago and I finally had the opportunity to test them out. I think I may be giving the guys at Cake Boss a run for their money. LOL The plate is 7" round, just to give you an indicator of how small it really is. So cute!
Today is also my husband's brother's 30th Birthday. We are sad to miss the festivities, but I would like to wish him a very Happy Birthday anyway!

In celebration of my neighbor's Birthday we went out to celebrate last night. I was certain to bring the camera because I recently realized we don't have many new pictures together since he has been home. Here is one of the shots that we are both looking at the camera and look halfway decent! I was the DD for the evening, which allowed our friends to enjoy celebrating. It had been awhile since we went out, and Georgia definitely has some interesting characters!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fort Hood Mass Shootings

The attack today was that of massive aggression. While we are no longer stationed at Fort Hood, we still have many friends that live and work there. It makes my stomach turn to know that soldiers are not even safe when they are home from war. My thoughts and prayers are with those that are involved and especially with those that have lost.

News Link:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Success

Here are our amazing costumes (if I must be completely biased). ;-) We were Super Mario and Princess Peach. The response we got from our fellow party goers was great. Everyone loved them. I am happy with how they turned out as well.

The first picture shoes the full length of the costumes. For my husband I made the blue overalls and add the Mario emblem to a baseball cap. For my costume I made 4 separate parts. The skirt is fully lined and has some tulle and sparkle accents underneath. The peasant blouse was a challenge because the pattern was huge. I looked like I was wearing a potato sack until I tailored it down. The third part is the pink corset. It even has grommets and laces up the back. I should have taken a picture from the back because each side had 12 grommets. The final part was just a small sash to tie around the waist. I also made a "1up" white and green mushroom that was a functional purse. It could hold the camera, keys and the all essential lip gloss. My husband was most impressed by this. It made for an unexpected accessory. At the party we voted for best costume and my Mario won! I think I will have to take the credit for his victory...he is fine with that. :-)The final photo is one of the food items we took with us. I made "Witch Finger" cookies. They are simple sugar cookies with some added attention. The almond fingernails, green food coloring, and raspberry jam ooze made these cookies very eye catching. People we a little frightened to try them, but the taste was great. We also took "Babies in a blanket" aka pigs in a blanket and "Dirt" (chocolate pudding, cool whip and crushed oreos). Overall Halloween 2009 was a success!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Prepping for Halloween

The past two weeks have been very busy. I spent about a week at my friend's house caring for her brood of children (2 boys) and dogs (2 dogs). My friend and her husband had a wedding to attend in Ireland, so I took on the challenge of keeping things going on the homefront. The days went quickly because each day I had visitors or activities going on. I also got to do quite a bit of retail therapy during the daytime in the great shopping places of Atlanta. There are so many amazing places to shop in Atlanta. It's a good thing I don't live there permanently! While in Atlanta we also went to the Aquarium. For being in a large city, the Aquarium is very nice. I think I still prefer the Boston Aquarium or even better scuba diving. I will make do with what is available. After my experience, I've also confirmed my decision further about dog ownership. My Husband would love to get a dog, but I've always objected due to our on-the-go and unpredictable lifestyle. After both of us picking up poop for six days (from 2 larger sized dogs) and having to wake up extra early (even on the weekends) to take the dogs out to pee, I think the dog idea is on a back burner for awhile.

Oh how I wish I could be scuba diving--- Picture of me from Cozumel, Mexico

Ok, now on to the projects... I've been working on some scrappy napkins for "Thanksgiving". We won't be home for Thanksgiving, I decided to make some for the celebration we are hosting the night before. My parents will be visiting my sister in South Carolina and are going to stop in to see us the night before Thanksgiving. That day also just happens to be my dear hubby's birthday, so we definitely need to celebrate. I'm really excited for his birthday since he spent the last two birthdays in Iraq. Also these napkins are match the table runner and autumn banners I created previously.I used different decorative stitching as top stitching. There are four different top stitching styles that I chose. I used a nice chocolate brown cotton for the napkin backs.
The whole set of eight. I like how each one is slightly different from the next. They aren't perfect, but who will care?!
Here is a picture of the whole ensemble. The banner, table runner and napkins.
I've also been working on our costumes for Halloween. My husband and I are attending a costume party, so we wanted to have a little fun with our choices. We looking through stores and online costume catalogues, but we decided I could make the costumes 1. cheaper 2. with better quality materials that the stores offer and 3. mine would just be "cooler." So here are the costumes hanging and ready. Can you tell what super couple we are going to be? I hope you can figure it out because I'm not going to tell you what they are right now. I will post photos after we get to don them. Enjoy Halloween. Stay safe with whatever you are doing!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Diaper Bag

I continuosly find myself wondering how time can pass so quickly between my posts, but I guess having a 4-day weekend this past weekend kind of threw me off a bit. My routine goes all helter kelter when my husband is home from work when its not his "normal" time to be home. I am not complaining though because I'm very happy to have him home (opposed to Iraq or Afghanistan).

I've been working on gifts again, so the lack of projects to report on are due to that. I have been sporting my Autumn Purse and have been getting many positive comments. I really do love how it turned out. I bought some more fabrics to make some more "civilian"purses. I am anxious to get to work on them. Before I could start creating for myself, I had a to create a diaper bag ordered by a friend made out of denim. Using fabric rather than a uniform takes about the same amount of time to complete. I put some extra details on this diaper bag, so it actually took a little longer than normal. I'm pleased with the way it turned out. I hope the recipient will love it as much as I do.

Along with the diaper bag there is a taggie blanket and changing pad. I was pleased to use my new sewing labels as well.

The interior fabric is construction themed. I used a mixture of 3 different interior fabrics.

Well, now I need to get this order in the mail and off to Texas!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Visiting Fall

Life has been a whirlwind since my last post. I officially got to experience a Northeastern Fall this year, so I'm feeling happy and rejuvenated. I didn't realize how much I truly enjoy fall until getting to have a taste of it again this year. There are few things more beautiful than a New York autumn full of vibrant colors. On Thursday (Oct. 1) I traveled to New York with several missions in mind. 1. Visit family 2.Visit friends 3. Shop! Now that I'm back, all of my missions have been accomplished.

I was able to visit with my grandparents and wish my grandmother a 1 day late Birthday in person and spend quality "retail therapy" time with my mom at Woodbury Commons Outlet mall (I love shopping at this outlet!). Over the weekend I traveled to my alma mater and visited friends that I haven't seen since graduation.

Country Road on the way to Hamilton College. Can you see the vibrant orange in the trees?
It can be difficult to drive and take pictures.

The drive to Hamilton was beautiful. I traveled by many farms and trees full of color. I wanted to stop many times to just take it all in.

A true sign of Fall!

There were so many changes at Hamilton. A brand new athletic facility where I once had Organic Chemistry lab, a missing road, a water feature inside a building - certain to have many pranks courtesy of campus Greeks, and an orange "red pit" that now resembles a Vera Bradley pattern gone wrong. I enjoyed seeing some of my college friends and look forward to another reunion at the end of the year before I head to Korea.

I also think friendships made in college are the lasting kind. I hadn't seen these girls in over three years and it seemed like we hadn't missed a beat. It's nice to have friends that no matter the time or distance you can just pick up where you left off.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Homage to my Grandmother on her Birthday

Today my Grandmother is celebrating her 81st birthday, and since she is somewhat of an immigrant to technology I don't know if she will see this post, but perhaps my mother or I can share it with her when I travel to Upstate New York for the next few days. (**I'm bursting with excitement!**) I know I have failed to mention how I learned the skills of my creativity, sewing and all things handmade. I guess I would have to say its genetic. If you do a simple google search for "Arlene Vrooman Quilting" you will find several hits for my grandmother. Here is one article that does a little history lesson.

Only recently have I tried my hand at quilting, however, my grandmother is considered somewhat of a quilting guru. She is published in a book, several magazines, teaches classes at her home twice a week, and holds workshops throughout the Catskills. Here are some photos of quilts (from 2007) that she has constructed. The complexity of them is amazing and they are so precise.

Square Within a Square
Floral Arbor

Santa is Coming to Town
My grandparents had seven children, so in the 1950's and 60's sewing was taught to each of them. My mother of course learned from her mother and over the years taught me the artistry of craft. I will admit, I'm still figuring things out on my own at times when you don't have the ease of asking your mom how things are done, but I'm making my way through my creative exploration.

Now that I'm inspired, I'm off to sew!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2nd time for today

Ok, I got my act together and found my camera to take a picture of my new satin pleated purse with leather strap (try saying that 20x's fast!). I just love this purse.

PGA and Pleats

This weekend was spent visiting friends in Atlanta and going to the Tour of Champions PGA tour at East Lakes golf course. I'm not really a golf fanatic, but we were able to get in for free, so we decided why not chick it out?! We hung out at the 16th hole across from the Executive Box at the "Birdies for Braves" Military Outpost. It was very nice. There were free drinks, lunch from Chick-Filet and cake. I got to see Tiger Woods, Kenny Perry, Phil Mickelson and all of the others on the tour. Golf isn't a very exciting sport, but it was interesting to see the concentration on the players faces. It was definitely a different pace from UFC Fight nights!

On Thursday and Friday I worked on finishing the satin pleated purse. I'm pleased with the way it turned it out. It will be my "fall purse." I didn't take a picture of it fully completed, it's just missing the leather strap in these pictures.

I love the green lining I used in this purse. It has a magnetic closure, zipper pocket and two slide pockets. Doesn't it just say, "Fall' to you?

Today's project:
I made this little pennant banner to decorate for Autumn. I am trying not to accumulate "stuff" in our house because we will be moving and having to but everything into storage, but I thought this little project was too cute to pass up. I guess it will enjoy its time in storage for the next 2+ years.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Catch Up

The past week just flew by and I can hardly remember all of the events from the week! Does that ever happen to you? You are actively participating in "life" but at the same time it is spinning past you. Right now I feel like I'm trying to do a million things, but they are all things I'm setting up for myself. For instance, I've been sewing a ton, but since most of the items are for Christmas I feel a bit bottled up because I can't share.

I have been trying a few new things for myself. I've discovered that most of my handbags are military, and since I will need to cover more as a civilian in Korea, I've decided to make some non-military bags. I made this cute bag as a model to see how my design would turn out. I'm constructing another one out of more a sateen fabric, but I wanted to make sure the design would work first.

I'm quite proud of my pleats on this purse. I don't think I've ever done pleats without the assistance of my mom, so I guess I'm branching out a bit more! This purse is fully lined, has a zipper pocket, two slide pockets and a magnetic closure.

I finished another Bag From The Heart for a recipient in California. She sent me the lining fabrics and asked me to "do with them what you like". I thought the green looked best on the outside and for the inside I mixed the two together. The recipient is expecting her first baby, so I made sure to include plenty of pockets, 2 spots for bottles, and a hard bottom insert, so the bag can keep its form when filled.
This is the front of the bag. There are spots where name tapes can velcro on. The bag measures about 17" wide, 11" tall and 6" deep.
This photo shows a close up of the inside. You can see the brown slip in pockets (3 per side), the pen holders (3), the elastic pocket for a baby or water bottle (green), and the hard bottom insert (green).

This past weekend was spent entertaining and socializing. Friday night we had friends over for pizza and a movie. It was nice to have them over because the husband was stationed in Korea and his wife is Korean. She (Tara) has been teaching me about different things to expect, and is honestly making me even more excited and anxious to leave Augusta. I know Korea will take us far away from family, but I think it will unite all of us in adventure as well. I've been doing a lot of research about ESL jobs and trying to be as informed as I can be. It is difficult to contact schools of language institutes because we don't know yet where in Korea we will be. We might not know until we get there. Oh the adventure!

On Saturday Dan and I went to a member of Dan's mixed martial arts (MMA) gym to watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). I made 'pigs in a blanket' to take as some sustenance. You would have thought I was bringing in gold and diamonds the way the guys drooled and inhaled them. It was pretty funny how quickly they disappeared. I was glad that I made double the amount I usually do. I guess we will be invited back for the next long as I make some food.

Tuesday I adventured to Atlanta to visit with Kim and Aerielle. Yes, Aerielle! No, not the Little Mermaid (different spelling), but my long lost deployment buddy from Texas. I don't think we have seen each other since Dan came home from Iraq! We were both just very busy getting everything ready to move that we didn't have a chance to meet up. She is at Ft. Benning, so we are a little more than 4 hours apart in Georgia, but at least we can meet 1/2 way in Atlanta. The three of us spent the day catching up and wondering around a huge shopping complex. None of us bought much, but the conversation was well worth the trip. Plus we ate lunch at a great sushi place. All three of us were desiring sushi, so we were happy to find a descent place.

Now for the exciting news....I know, long post, but it's been forever! Today Dan and I went and met with the woman who will "cut" our orders of Korea! We got different forms that have to be filled out by our doctors and different departments on post as well as different briefings we have to attend. Next week we will have another meeting to attend, which should answer/provide even more information. I'm extremely happy to have 'the ball rolling' with all the steps that need to happen when moving overseas.

Alright, phew...that's it for now. I will try to do better the rest of this week with updates! **Wishful thinking at least.**

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This weekend we went to Hilton Head Island for a little getaway. I found an amazing deal online that included our room, amazing dinner, and breakfast. Hilton Head Island is about 3 hours away from us, so it was well worth the trip. We couldn't have asked for better weather. On Saturday morning we starting our trek to the coast and arrived about 11am. We went to lunch at the Salty Dog Cafe and wondered a little bit around the South Pines area. It was gorgeous. We could have stayed for at least a week. After lunch we went to our hotel, where our room was ready, so we checked in and immediately headed for the beach. It was sunny and warm, but not too hot. It was perfect. We stayed beach and poolside for most of the afternoon.

Dinner was at the Hotel restaurant, which sometimes in hotels doesn't live up to expectations. The dinner exceeded our expectations in this case. The package deal allowed each of us to pick any appetizer, any entree and any dessert. It also included soft drinks. Dan and I shared most of our meal getting a chance to try all the delectable food. Our appetizers included tempura shrimp and lobster mac and cheese. Both wonderfully delicious. For our entrees I had the crab cakes and Dan had the lobster tail and fillet meal... Yes, I couldn't believe the choice for a full fillet and lobster at an all inclusive package! Dessert was also to die for. We had raspberry chocolate molten brownie cakes with vanilla ice cream. Lets just say the two of us were wobbling out of the restaurant when we were finished because we were so full.

Sunday morning was another appetite pleaser. The breakfast buffet had omelets to order and array of fruit and all of the other typical breakfast items. We hit the beach again and then left around noon. Before going home we did a little shopping at the outlets as well. I found some great deals on shirts at Gap. We drove home with the roof down on the EOS all while belting out our favorite tunes. It was an amazing trip.

Yesterday was back to sewing. I have orders to work on, so I will wrap up this post. This Penny bag was a joy to complete. The bright pink swirly fabric makes me smile. I will get these items in the mail soon.
Over the arm view:
Back to creating, but wishing I were still at the beach!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Some Bags

I wanted to show off some pictures of two completed bags. The one has been done awhile, but I never got around to taking pictures.

This is the front of the bag along with a rolled up diaper changing pad. I got a little creative with this changing pad and made the outside of it quilted squares. I guess the baby that will be changed using this pad, will have his bum changed in style. The other size has snugglie flannel. The great thing about this changing pad is that if it gets dirty you can just throw it in the wash.

The second picture shows the inside. There are loads of pockets. On the front wall there are 2 sliding pockets, on the back there are 3. On one end there are 2 places for bottles, and on the other end there are pen holders. I think it utilizes the inside walls well.
The final picture is a bag that I made for myself. I realized I was giving away all the things I made and never had a good example of some of the things I can do, so I made this bag a few months back. I added some color around the names to add a little extra flair. The ends just have velcro for the patches to attach. I really just wanted to try out some different things on this bag. I liked it so much that I kept it.
As for the rest of today I am battling a slight sore throat and earache. I haven't been sick in forever, which I guess was one benefit of teaching. After the first year of constant sickness, I built an immunity of steel. I guess I will need to get back into the classroom as some point to get my germ strength back! I'm looking forward to the possibility of teaching English while in Korea. Good thing I got my ESL certification while I was in Texas! Smart thinking!?!

Some New Things

A lot has been going on the past few days. On Thursday evening we found out our next duty station...drum roll...we are going to Korea!!! We are very happy. This was our second choice, so we are excited. We will be moving to South Korea in January! Now, I have a lot on my mind. There are passports to update, visas to process, deciding what to do with all our household stuff, and of course shopping!

My sister also visited on Saturday. It was the first time she came to visit, so it was nice to spend time together. We drove around the area and did some shopping. I look forward to meeting up again with her soon.

Today I made some pillow covers for my sewing room. I thought they needed some spicing up. Here you can see the "before" and "after" pictures.

Sewing chair before:

Sewing chair after:
Lounging chair before:
Lounging chair after:
Alright time for more sewing