Friday, December 21, 2018

Maple Sugar Star Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting (Recipe)

Maple Sugar Star Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting
Makes about 6 dozen

1 ½ cups butter (room temperature)
1 ½ cups brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
½ cup 100% pure maple syrup (no substitutions of flavored syrup)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
4 ¼ cups flour
Brown Butter Frosting and Turbinado Sugar for decorating

Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add baking powder and salt and mix well.  Add eggs, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until combined.  (Mixture will have little lumps.) Mix in flour.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for one hour or more.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees convection so you can bake 2 or more sheets at the same time. Turn dough out on a well-floured counter and sprinkle with more flour. Roll out adding flour as needed to prevent sticking and cut out with star cookie cutters. (Tip: I like to start with 1/3 to 1/2 of the dough to work in smaller batches, which I can return to the refrigerator for chilling while I'm working with another batch.) 

Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the edges just brown. Cool on pans for a slight crisp or remove immediately to wire racks to cool for a softer cookie. When cookies have cooled, frost with Brown Butter Frosting and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for a few days or freeze immediately to eat later.

Brown Butter Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter
7-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring gently. Cook until foam starts to subside and brown bits are formed on the bottom of the pan. The butter will have a nutty smell. Remove from heat and pour the butter and all the browned bits into a mixing bowl. Allow butter to cool for a few minutes.

Mix in powdered sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla extract until spreadable. Add more powdered sugar or evaporated milk to reach desired consistency.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sewing: Streamers and Confetti Dresses (Fiesta Fun Fabric Tour)

Here we are with more of the Fiesta Fun fabric. And it really is so much fun. I underestimated the amount I would need to sew with because my girls both wanted it all.

Thanks to Dana for designing this great line of woven, knit and canvas fabric, and for inviting me to try it out for her tour. It was just what I needed to switch gears and sew something for my girls again. I've missed it!

These dresses were both sewn with the Simplicity pattern #8101 by Dottie Angel. I used Fiesta Fun woven fabrics Happy Streamers and Pinata Confetti for the main fabrics with some Mexican Dress Morning for the pocket. I used some fabric from my stash for the borders and then of course some colorful seam binding.

These cute fabrics just demand a party, don't they?

If Dana had designed this line a few years ago I undoubtedly would have purchased bolts of it for my Fiesta birthday party.

Maybe we'll have to plan another.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sewing: Citrus Sunrise Knits (Fiesta Fun Fabric Tour)

I was so excited when Dana asked me to participate in her Fiesta Fun Fabric tour, because, firstly, I love this fabric! And secondly, I was happy to have a deadline to force a sewing project or two into my schedule.

Who doesn't love this new line? It's really difficult to pick a favorite print. And then there's the whole "knit" or "woven" dilemma.  I decided to use some of each. These prints are so perfectly reminiscent of one of my other favorite fabrics: Mexican oilcloth.

I decided to combine some solid orange knit with these lemon and orange prints and make Scarlett a simple dress. The pattern is the Lyon  Sewing in No Man's Land.  I added the panel on the bottom because I didn't realize both girls would want something from this Citrus knit and I was short on fabric. I love the color blocking.

Tess's top is a riff on a dress pattern from Craftiness is Not Optional, one of my favorites: The Lulu Dress.  I created a high-low hemline because Tess has a few favorite shirts like that.

The tiered skirt was self-drafted. It was so easy and fun I'm wondering why I haven't yet made one for myself! I love this Papel Picado Naranja fabric.

Stay tuned because I couldn't stop sewing with this darling fabric.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Crafting: Vintage Valentine Placemats (free printables)

Making Christmas placemats from old cards got me thinking about vintage Valentine's...  I thought placemats composed of old school valentines would be really cute. And so easy, as it turns out!

Because they are laminated they are easy to wipe off and perfect for a kids' table. My girls love reading the valentines on their mats and sharing the often silly greetings with the rest of is. Keeps them occupied, but these are also great conversation starters for adults. For instance, it was interesting to see the traditional role models reflected in these vintage cards. Some of these would never fly now!

Rather than finding or duplicating vintage valentines to print out, I found a bunch of free vintage images online and composed some layouts. I've got four different versions, each with unique valentines. If you'd like some vintage valentine placemats for yourself you can download these images (they are very large files!) and print them at 12"x18".  Costco photo conveniently prints images at that size. 

Then just laminate and trim, and enjoy!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Crafting: Holiday Card Placemats DIY

Have you found a use for that beautiful stack of Christmas cards? It seems such a shame to throw them away...  When I was a little girl my grandmother gifted our family a stack of placemats she'd made from holiday cards she's collected. On the reverse side you can see handwritten notes from the senders. They were from the old days when greeting cards were purchased in boxed sets and each addressed and signed by hand. I remember my mother struggling to find just the right Christmas card to send. I confess I miss those days a bit but, it's pretty great that we can now design our own perfect greeting cards and send and receive updated family photos. 

In any event, you may have a stack of holiday cards you can't part with. Or you may just enjoy the look of these kitchy placemats and want some of your own. In either case, I've got a quick how-to for you.

These placemats could be really cute, and entirely different looking made with pictures of your family and friends, but I wanted to duplicate the old school Christmas card look. So I ran out after Christmas and purchased some boxed cards on clearance. In addition I searched for vintage Christmas card images online and printed some of those on cardstock. 

The first step is to gather those cards and images and punch them out in circle shapes. I used a Martha Stewart Crafts Simple Circle Cutter tool and some Uchida circle punches in 2.5" and 3" sizes. I found that bigger is better so the circle cutting tool was really handy.

Once you have all your images cut out, the fun part begins! This is a great project to do with your kids! Have them sign and back the reverse side.

You'll need a 12"x18" sheet of paper as the background for this project. I used a finger painting paper pad, which was the perfect size.

I found it easiest to start with the bigger images, glue them down (glue sticks are perfect!) and then fill in with the smaller circles, but it's a good idea to try a layout first to plan your design.

You'll want to cover all the white space with your holiday card images but leave a scalloped oval shape overall.

The next step is to trim the background paper around the scalloped border.

Then laminate the placemats to protect them and make them easy to wipe off. I used a local school supply store but office supply stores also provide lamination. Or maybe you have your own laminator at home.

After laminating you'll need to trim the excess plastic close to the scalloped edges of each placemat. Be sure to leave about a 1/4" border to ensure the lamination stays sealed.

Now you're all set for next Christmas with some cute and slightly kitchy placemats!

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