Friday, March 29, 2019

Ice Cream Toppings

Spring supposedly arrived last week, but it isn't very warm here yet.  Still and all, spring leads to thoughts of summer, picnics cream!  There's a farm about 5 miles up the street that sells its own milk products, and they make fabulous ice cream.  So I bought 3 half-gallons and took them to Shannon's non-shower baby shower.  Yes, my daughter is opposed to second baby showers, so we held a little family only party which was a non-shower.  And I showed you the presents I made a week or 2 ago.

What I didn't show you was the ice cream party I brought.  Shannon loves ice cream.  So I brought toppings to make it a party.  Lots of toppings.  Sprinkles, coconut, marshmallow bits, mini M&Ms and sauces.  (The little ice cream bowls with bundles of jelly beans were party favors.)

Here, 3 easy-peasy recipes for ice cream toppings that are better than commercial, without all the ingredients you can't pronounce.


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/16 tsp salt (just a tiny pinch)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt with a wire whisk until well blended.  Stir in the water, bring it to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn the sauce off, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.  Let it cool and jar it up, or use it hot over your ice cream.  It's also great to stir into milk, if you want chocolate milk without extra additives.  Makes about 3/4 cup.


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp corn syrup
dash of salt
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon juice.

Combine the brown sugar, cream, corn syrup and salt over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Add the butter and continue to stir until the butter melts and the sauce reaches a boil.  Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes without stirring, them remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Makes about 3/4 cup.


2 cups frozen strawberries, thawed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice

Stir together the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan, then add the strawberries and stir well to coat.  Add the water and cook over low heat until it boils, stirring occasionally.  Boil for one minute, then remove from the heat.  Add the lemon juice and stir well.  Makes about 1-1/4 cups.

I put these all in cutesy little jars, and received rave reviews about them.  Best of all, I made all 3 in under an hour, including cleanup in between batches and cooling time.  What can I say; this makes for a great ice cream party!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Another Birthday!

There are getting to be more of these.  My granddaughter Maddie turned 3, so they came to Gamma's house for a party.  Of course, there was marble cake, because what party would be complete without a cake?

The pictures are, of course, self explanatory: little girl having fun with her uncles and brother!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sew Camp: Abbreviated Version

I had a dilemma this weekend.  Sew Camp was going on, but my son needed to come for my granddaughter's third birthday, which I couldn't possibly miss.  So, what did I do?  Go for the first 24 hours of Camp, of course!

I showed up without a sewing machine or projects, and GMarie gave me a piece of a lovely border print fabric and invited me to look through her patterns for something that said it wanted to be made from this print.  And this was the end result:

I took the scrap home with me, because, why not?  And then realized that I could make a mini of mine for Miss Maddie.

On Friday, we went to Fabric Mart.  I might have overbought.

Every piece is between 1 and 4 yards.  I calculate there's about 100 yards in total.  But I only spent $104, so I didn't really overbuy.  I feel lots of dresses for myself and my granddaughters in my future, along with maybe some skirts and tops.  I know I didn't need this much fabric, but I actually did need it. 

While I was there, GMarie also gifted me a fabric she'd bought for a doll outfit for her granddaughter, then decided against, so when I got home, I zipped through a little dress for Maddie's birthday (in addition to her Pooh dress).  What did the child think?  "EEEEE!!! It has pockets!!!!"  My daughter in law said she loves it when I make her clothes and things, so she'll probably get at least a dozen new pretty things by the time summer really arrives.

Oh, and when I got home, I discovered that we'd had 4" of snow, and my plow guy came through.  Absurd!  It was after March 21st.  Doesn't the sky know that we're only supposed to get rain now?

So, I'll probably post pictures of Maddie's birthday tomorrow.  Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Chipmunk Pie

Well, between squirrel jammies and chipmunk pie, it almost looks like I'm becoming a fan of furry little rodents here!  I promise you, I like them for the entertainment value they give Thatcher.  They're out in droves since it warmed up a little, and he is overjoyed to be outside chasing them.

Anyway....Chipmunk Pie, because some of you asked.  I found it in my United States of Pie cookbook that my dearly beloved urged me to buy after reading the review of it in the Wall Street Journal.  It's pretty good, and with an entertaining name like it has, how could anyone resist?


A single pie crust: store bought, or try mine, over there----->
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 baking apple, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts: walnuts, pecans, etc.

Use a 9" deep dish pie crust, or do as I do, and use a 10" pie plate so it doesn't boil over and stink up the kitchen.  Try my Best Pie Crust Ever, if you haven't already done so.  I promise, it lives up to its name.

In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs, then add the sugars and vanilla extract and beat together.  Add the flour, powder and salt, beat lightly until combined.  Stir in the apple pieces and nuts.  Pour the filling into the pie shell, and bake at 350F for about 40 minutes.  It will puff up, with a nice crust on top, and deflate as it cools.

There's a hole in the center because I stabbed it to see if it was done, but I don't think that's necessary.  The marks you see in the top are the apples and nuts.

This is a great compromise between a custard pie and a fruit pie, and it sold really fast on Pi Day.  I can't believe I've never told you guys about it!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Squirrel Jammies!

(Note: not actually for squirrels.)

There's a little upscale thrift shop in our community center, and I like to drop in periodically to just pick up some little thing and leave them a few dollars.  It's not that I particularly want or need anything, although I did find some nice, plain, leather flat sandals there for $6 last summer before we went to the beach.  Anyway, I was in there a couple of weeks ago, and spotted some cotton knit.  It was over 3 yards (115", according to the tag) for $2.50.  It looked like little kid jammies to me, so I handed them my money and went to plan.

 (Of course the pattern won't show upright.  It always goes that way.)

The easy part was the grow bag for baby.  This time, I didn't make a hat; I'm just not that into hats.  And if she needs to wear a sleeping hat, the panda one is super soft.  Anyway, I made a squirrel grow bag.

I thought about putting on a contrasting pink snap, but ultimately went with the nicely matched green.

Then I had to figure out jammies for Nora, without a pattern  I sort of made a mashup of the panda dress pattern, altered to have long sleeves and cuffs, and hopefully be the right length over the tummy.  Then I took a pattern for leggins, widened it up just a touch, shortened it, added cuffs, and,.voila! Jammies!  And, if they don't fit, that's ok.  They can be donated for some smaller kid to wear.

I still have squirrel fabric left, so it might call me to become something else.  But meanwhile, I have some pretty green fabric that's calling my name....

This is the weekend of the baby welcome gathering....not really a shower, just the aunties and grandmas descending upon Shannon's house to celebrate the new little one.  Ice cream will be involved; that's how you'll know it's a party!

Happy Weekending, everyone!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

It's Pi Day!

And I baked pies:

Lemon Chess Pie

and Chipmunk Pie.

Ryan and Patrick are enthusiastic; Mark doesn't really care.

Happy Pi Day!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

It's Winnie the Pooh!

On dresses, anyway.

I was shopping online, because it was cold, and the middle of the night, to boot, and came upon Winnie the Pooh fabric.  6 yards of it for $24, including shipping.  I had to have it.  There was no choice.  I had these adorable patterns, given to me by my friend GMarie.  She knows where to find all of the best baby patterns.

First up: Dresses for Nora and her sister-to-be.  They're both on the big side, but children grow.  Better too big than too small. Now that I look at it on the hanger, the baby dress looks pretty plain.  I might have to add pink ribbon before I wrap it.  But, Winnie The Pooh!  So, it's pretty great!

Nora's dress and Maddie's are styled the same.  I actually cut them from the same pattern, at the same time, and put the ribbon on the pockets immediately, so I'd have something to keep me from mixing up pieces.  It was confusing.

And plastic snaps for the back closures, matching the ribbon, of course.  I'm not a huge fan of making buttonholes, and I am especially not a huge fan of dressing small, wiggly children by buttoning tiny little buttons.  No, I found the snap sets on Amazon, and snaps are absolutely the way to go.

And then: A dress for Maddie!  I put pink ribbon on Nora's, and lilac ribbon on Maddie's.  The ribbon adorns the top of the pockets, as well as along the hem.  I figured little girls need pockets, especially Maddie, who loves to collect rocks.  I'm helping my son and my daughter in law here, giving them an easy way to wash their daughter's rocks, by leaving them in her pockets.  Kind of like community service, only on a small scale.

I've done some sewing for myself, but little girl sewing is ever so much cuter.  Plus, I have to finish some pajamas for Nora and sister.  So those should be up next.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Little miscellaneous sewing

So, in the midst of making adorable baby things, I made an infinity scarf for the relative in Denver.  The pattern was included in my February Sewciety subscription box.  This wasn't the fabric they sent, but I chose it to go with a green sweater dress I'd bought her.  Seemed appropriate for February in Denver.

I also made some napkins for Jeff.  He'd bought placemats for his new house, so I coordinated some napkins.  He pointed out that his dog doesn't use napkins, to which I countered that his dog doesn't use a placemat, either, but he might invite some cute young thing to dinner, and might want to impress.  He sounded unconvinced.

That's it for miscellaneous sewing.  More little dresses soon.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Some Little Girl Sewing

Shannon's expecting her second girl May 1st.  Fingers crossed that the little one doesn't decide to arrive early....

Anyway, what's a grandma to do but make special things for baby?  Oh, and some for big sister, too, because that's what grandmas do.

First up, a baby blanket.  The right size for the cradle or car seat, and not too small for the crib, where she'll ultimately go.  Acrylic, so washer friendly after the inevitable barf attacks, and hypoallergenic, to boot.

Next, bibs.  A big one for Nora, and little ones for the little one.  Oh, I know Nora will use all 3, but we can pretend that's how it will work, right?

A grow bag. Does anyone else remember grow bags?  Baby wears her blanket, so you know she's warm enough?  This is a lovely, soft brushed cotton.  The colors in this are why I chose the yarn for the blanket.  I also made the hat to go with it, but it's stupidly huge - big enough for Nora right now, so I made a second one, only 2/3 the size of the first.  Note to self: google how big a newborn's head is before you make a stupidly huge hat.

And, because the fabric was too cute, a dress for Nora from the panda fabric.  Baseball style sleeves, A-line styling, soft stretch cotton, just right for playing outside.  And barely a square inch of the fabric left over.  I call that a win!

There are more little girl dresses to come, and more jammies, too, but that's enough for now.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Let's Get Back To It

Well, Ryan had some old-timers with whom he works telling him that last night's snow was going to be a Nor'easter, and we'd get 18" or more.  I'm delighted to say they're wrong.

And today, with the sun on the snow, it looks really pretty.  I don't think I'll be as delighted tonight, when it's 10 degrees out.

I'm not much inspired to cook these days, and I've been sewing like a fiend.  I'm trying to get myself geared up to post more regularly.  Bear with me, folks; it's been a hard year, but I'm working on it.

Happy Monday, and I hope you stay warmer than we are!