Thursday, February 26, 2009

baby baby baby!!!

It seems there are lots of new babies coming into our lives! One of my oldest dearest friends is due in April so I have been putting together a very special bundle for our new lil bundle! My sis also had several babies to shower and she asked me to help her make some special handmade shower gifts.

~I got these beautiful embroidered felt booties from the sweetly talented Tanto Craft studio for a song. ...She is really awesome you should check her blog and shop often she is full of treasures and always has an inspired post to share.

~I also whipped up a set of sweet receiving blankets. These are so easy and they are such a special treat to get. I stock up on sweet flannels in the spring when they are trying to reduce inventory(I always get an extra 1/4 yard of fabric for cards and applique's) ! ...All you do is use an old blanket as a pattern and then finish the edges however you deem fit. I always get the sweetest thank you cards when I give handmade blankets.

~Speaking of cards, I love making cards especially baby cards. ....You can really do all kinds of fun stuff for baby cards. I have been diving into the world of Modge Podge lately and having alot of fun using it in cards . On these the background is yellow tule over tissue paper. I attached them using Modge Podge and then the sheep fabric was just stitched on top.

~A few other handmade baby gift ideas are appliqued onsies or T shirts or hats. You can get cute bucket hats and onsies at any dollar store or the thrift. Whatever you decide to get you can always add some of your own special good will to a new baby, when you add a handmade gift to the bundle.

~You can even recycle bits of fabric to wrap up your baby gift in green scrappy style. I used a serger strip for a ribbon... and made a flower bow from some other scrappy scraps, fun stuff!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

standing still

~We have been just maintaining around here. Daddy has been working nonstop. We had no weekend and he has been gone most nights. I am grateful he has work , but really we just miss him. Daddy is my best friend and provides me with my production breaks. He is also the balance that keeps my multitasking tendencies from spinning into a crazy mess. Well obviously by the looks of this photo the mess has fallen all over my bed room.

...reading time
~One productive thing I have done in the past week is get contacts. I consider myself a "person who wears glasses". I have had glasses since the the third grade . But with my crazy headaches and the Texas sun it is nice sometimes to get the weight off. I had let my contact prescription expire last summer. So I visited my friendly optometrist and they set me free.
And now a few snapshots of our lonely week...

~Burger misses his hard working daddy.

...and burger can wash his hands!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I love you sticky rice with mango ..I really do.

There is a new love in my life and it's name is"Khao Neeo Mamuang".... or sticky rice with mango. I had my first taste at Thai fresh a few weeks ago(without mango). Then we went in for a family Valentine's treat and they were sold out(not surprising) . So Jam said, "you can make it at home" and gathered up a small pile of ingredients from their market and sent me on my way to conquer my own sticky rice.
( this is not my photo we ate ours to fast to photograph) One of the most important aspects of the sticky rice is the rice you use called, sticky rice or sweet rice.
Also important to this dish is that you soak the rice over night or at least four hours.
Steaming the rice (not boiling) is also important.
I steamed my rice in a dim sum stacked bamboo steamer lined with flour sack towels and it came out perfect.
This is the real deal bamboo rice steamer and now I think I need one.
I used Mexican mangoes cause that is what we have at our market right now. I do not think I have ever had a Thai mango, but they are said to be sweeter and creamier than their Mexican counterparts.( and some would say I have never really tasted a real mango)(the Mexican mango is on the left and Indian mango on the right)

~Needless to say my sticky rice was delish. Jam was right, I could make it at home!!... and so can you. I think it makes a great breakfast as well, if you have a picky lil monster like me.
Jam also said I could cut the sugar or use agave nectar as the sweetener if I like, I went with her recipe as is though, so I would have a good reference point. I found that I did not need to change it for our house's taste buds.

~The pandan leaves are kin to a vanilla type flavor....They definitely have their own distinct flavor , but it acts like an accent to the sugar flavor the way vanilla adds depth.I think they are the secret ingredient here, I got mine from Jam and the coconut cream and rice and it was all around 5 bucks.
This will be a mainstay through the end of the summer around this house. I think it would be tasty with other fruits as well , strawberries for sure!

Here is Jam's recipe from her blog Thai cooking with jam

2 cups sweet or glutinous rice (either long grain or short grain. Long grain is preferred just because that’s the kind we use in Thailand but if you have short grains, they work just as good. It will take longer to cook short grains because the grain is thicker)
2 cups coconut cream (a small can)
1 cup sugar
large pinch of salt
Pandunas Leaves or Pandan leaves or the essence (optional)

Soak rice overnight or for about 4 hours. Drain, rinse and steam over medium heat in a steamer for about 15-20 minutes. Any steamer will do just fine. If you have one of those bamboo steamer, go for it. Check if the rice is cooked from the thickest part of the pile.

If a steamer is not available, put soaked sticky rice in a bowl and cover with a dish or cheesecloth. Cook for 3 minutes without adding any water. Check if the rice is cooked, if not, then cook for another 3 minutes and keep checking.

Meanwhile, in a pan, heat coconut milk, add sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir until dissolved. If using Pandunas leave, add it to the sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes to let it infuse into the sauce. When the rice is cooked, pour prepared coconut cream over rice. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes in a warm place.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sneek a peek for Valentine's

~We will be at the market Saturday for Valentine's and I will have lots of special things for the big day undies will be priced special for "The day of lovely Panties!!" The singles will be 12, usually 15... and the Tanks and undy sets will be 22, usually 30
~I also made a few extra scrappy stuffed hearts

....and a handful of Handmade Valentine cards.
~I just love this duo the heart uses a pocket from a pearl snap shirt for a back pocket.
....It would make a great little bed pillow to keep your "security items" stashed in.

~Speaking of my scrappy pillows This blog post was featured in the latest Carnival at craft critique...Thanks Craft critique, the carnival is chock full of fabulous Valentine links!

~Well, I sure hope to see some of you locals down at the Farmers Market this weekend !

"Looks like it will be a glorious day to share with your Valentine – and what better place to do so than at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market? You’ll find the very best selections of locally grown vegetables and fruits, as well as your choice of pasture-raised beef, bison, pork, chicken, eggs and cheese. Flintrock Farm is bringing strawberries weekly. Edi is making chocolate covered strawberries in addition to her truffles; Blue House Flower Farm will be bringing some of their gorgeous bouquets; Rasmey’s Garden is bringing blooming Gerber daisies and citrus trees; and there will be many other Valentine surprises." from sunset Valley newsletter

Thursday, February 12, 2009

belle and burger at Thai fresh!

~I recently added my aprons to the wonderful Thai fresh! Sustainable Thai cooking

"Our goal is to provide Austin with the freshest Thai food and ingredients. We will try our best to support local farmers and businesses."

....I was asked by Jam one of the masterminds behind Thai fresh, to put a few aprons in their super fabulous store and I jumped at the chance!

~This place is quite amazing and if you are a local yokel you need to be over there already! Thai fresh pulls out all the stops; They have terrific food that you can just eat and be lazy....... or you can buy specialty groceries and cook your own ...or you can hang around and They will teach you how to cook what they make! Shoot they will teach your kids to cook!....If she can catch them....(did I mention they are so kid friendly that they even have a little play kitchen area! love that)
~A little biography blurb from their site states....
"Bruce has been in the food business scene in Austin for almost 30 years. His experience in restaurant business and Jam's love for cooking has grown into a store that incorporates delicious meals, groceries and cooking classes. Jam and Bruce hope to bring Austin the finest quality Thai food."...Jam the creative genius behind the dishes has a lovely blog, Cooking with Jam, where she shares her insight and talent(you just cannot stop this lil' mama).

~My lady Friend and our beasts grabbed a lunch to take to the park which included, the chicken coconut soup and veggie egg rolls among other delish-ish-ness.
...Both of these recipes can be found on Jam's blog
"This soup has all the flavors in Thai cooking; sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter. It is a perfect balance of all the flavors that exist. That is why this is a world renowned soup, it is hard not to love the flavor of Tom Kha."

"These vegetarian egg rolls are not only easy to make, they are delicious. Make a bunch and freeze them for those party nights or a surprise visit from a friend. Fry them or bake them"

~SO anyway! I will keep a few half aprons and full aprons stocked in their store frontThis way, if you cannot get by the Farmers market on Saturdays, you can stop by Thai Fresh, they are open everyday, 11-9.

~This is the apron I made for Jam ...Jam gave me a vintage apron that was too teeny but the fabric was beautiful(that is the navy with birds and flowers and such) It is a hand dyed heavy canvas weight material...stunning. .....I used alot of recycled shirting for this as well (the skirt gingham and the pale green of the pocket and ties)I loved the combination of fabric weights. I just love this apron and can't wait to hear what she thinks.Link
oh yeah,Yay Thai fresh!!!!