Me, Myself and My Blog. Oh Sister, Where Art Thou...?

where art thou, indeed. if i think about that too much i'll be infused with more self-inflicted guilt than i already have over the fact that i haven't posted anything since last may. stupid. feeling guilty about my lack of blogging presence. but...there it is. a little inside about me.

moving on.

hello, christmas right around the corner!!! can you believe it?!? we just put up halloween decorations and my kids are still trying to decide what they want to dress up as but, yesterday, i watched a christmas movie on netflix. can't help it - love 'em! i have a friend who's probably already done with her christmas shopping (you know who you are, lady) and diy's are already popping up all over pinterest.

i've been in somewhat of a funk the last several months and so haven't been as productive as i would have liked. still, not a total loss creatively speaking. i did manage to play around here and there...

now i'm in the process of making clay oil lamps which i chose as the take-away favor for our church's women's christmas dinner, coming up with new fragrances for the skin-care products that i sell in my etsy shop - honey grapefruit...yum! - figuring out what will be my homemade gift to my kids this year, and wondering if i'll have enough juice time to make all of the things i want to make between now and thanksgiving. an occasional coffee or lunch date with friend so that i don't isolate (easy for me to do), dealing with menopause (which completely SUCKS!), knowing that the 13th anniversary of my first husband passing away is next month which always makes me somewhat wonky starting about now and which feels doubly so this time because i'm in the same time frame in this marriage as i was in my first in which he died - 10 years. not an easy place to be and i can see that i'm making myself extra busy right now instead of sitting in it. i've tried to work on this and it isn't always easy. thankfully, there's grace. from my friends who know me, from my husband who loves me, and from God who knew this was all coming down the line.

baby steps.


Flourless Carrot Cake with Goat Cream Cheese Frosting and A First Apartment

one of my closest friends just got her first apartment. this is huge. the kind of huge that's scary and exhilarating in the same breath. and it's not like she did this right from leaving home or just graduating from college like so many. she's done it for the first time since leaving home, getting married, having children, dealing with loss, going through a divorce, moving back home... huge, right? brave. making every decision on her own and not having to check with anyone about paint colors or furniture placement or which way the toilet paper should come off the roll. freaking out about bills. eating cereal for dinner at 10 o'clock.

this is huge-ness that deserves an equally huge dessert and when i came across this recipe, i knew it would be perfect to bring to her house last night when several of her friends and i got together to help unpack and set up her kitchen. she doesn't eat gluten or dairy though is able to tolerate goat milk products (hence the replacements for the frosting).

Gluten Free Carrot Cake with Goat Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from a Donna Hay Recipe

the what...
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3½ cups almond meal 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - one pound bag of carrots, peeled and grated 
  • ½ cup minced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • ½ cup currants
goat cream cheese icing
  • 6.25 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 ounces goat butter (meyenberg from whole foods)
  • 1 cup powdered (confectioner's/icing) sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • note: my changes to the original recipe don't yield an icing that holds it's shape well. rather, this icing is like an extra thick cream.


Triple Layer Chocolate Raspberry Rose Cake with Sweetened Cream

sometimes, you just have to splurge. a new baby, a promotion, first apartment...you know, something BIG! for me, it was my niece's 13th birthday which was a big deal because, 1) hello! it's 13 and 2) this was the first time she was at my house since i'd met my brother for the first time last summer. BIG! HUGE! also, it was mother's day so i wanted to make something special to honor all of the mom's who happened to be celebrating with us. enter this (not so) little lovely cake.

i had two inspirations going in. first, the look of this beauty from twig studios and the taste of this chocolate cake from my baking addiction, both of which i found on pinterest.

fit for a queen victoria sponge cake

the best chocolate cake

can you imagine the marriage? it's quite perfect, actually. and when they say "the best chocolate cake", they mean it! i've made this recipe twice now and it's divine. the recipe uses simple ingredients and is really straight forward. for this cake, i doubled it and used three 8-inch cake pans (be sure to butter and flour your pans and line the bottoms with buttered parchment).

3 cups of heavy cream whipped to a gorgeous cloud, sweetened with 1 cup of powdered sugar and flavored with a teaspoon of almond extract (vanilla is fine or none at all). actually, i would have loved to add some rose water to the cream too. yum! then just start layering: cake, raspberry jam, cream, fresh raspberries. rinse. repeat.

don't get caught up in having it look perfect. let the jam and the cream ooze and drip from between the layers. i did insert five wooden skewers to keep it stable and kept it in the fridge until about 15 minutes before we were ready to eat it. sooooo good! be sure to add candied rose petals to the top to make it extra special.

i know it might look complicated or like a lot of work but it really isn't. and who wouldn't love this cake? not only was it delicious, it was total eye candy as well! and if chocolate isn't your thing, you could make any cake flavor and still stack it up this way. lemon cake and blackberries with blackberry jam, vanilla cake with orange marmalade and mandarin oranges. get crazy and get baking!   


Big Sequin Love Sign

this coming friday, i'll be rockin' my 3rd annual valentine's day party and preparations have been in motion for the past couple of months; mainly....which appetizers and treats i'll serve, color scheme (pink and gold), and stocking up on bottles of pink champagne and dry rose wine. i've been pinning ideas to my "be mine" board for the past year and which made planning pretty smooth.

brownie and raspberry trifle

homemade mints

"get in here"

gumball necklace

d.i.y. kiss artwork

gold raspberry cream puffs

the lipstick picture was super fun to do and you should try it, if only for the conversational aspect of it. since i already had everything on hand, this was cost me zero dollars (always a plus, right?!?). i've got my gold luster dust all ready for the little raspberry cream puffs and i'm going to use strawberries for the brownie trifles. i found pink and shimmery gold gumballs on line here for the necklaces (how cute are they?). going to spray paint a wood pallet that i have in gold and then paint on a big pink heart and write "get in here" in gold and my mom is making the mints. fun!!!

but this big sequin love sign? hello!!! i have it already made and displayed and it's SO cute! found the idea on pinterest from these clever ladies at popcosmo and new it would be perfect for my party especially since it was GOLD!!!

really, you could do this with any letters you'd like and it would look great. click on the link for the deets which are crazy simple.  a couple things, though:

  • i used gold acrylic paint instead of spray paint
  • ordered my sequins from hobby lobby but was unsure as to how many packages to get (instructions didn't say how many they used). they were packaged by weight, not pieces. turns out there are 51 sequins in a package. i'd ordered 9 and used 4 with some left over. 
  • i pushed the thumbtacks in with my thumb (huh?) just so they'd hold then, in the memorable words from the movie, signs, just use a hammer and "swing away" to secure them. f.y.i....the pad of my thumb is still numb and it's been 2 days.

this sign has me so excited for my party! i'm really looking forward to having friends and family over to love on and celebrate the day with. now, if i could just figure out what i'm going to wear....

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