Friday, December 9, 2011

Best. Yeast. Rolls. Ever.

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner is the Yeast Rolls that my Aunt Cay makes. They are simply delightful. Aunt Cay is my Dad's only sister and is one of the most loving and thoughtful people that I know, so when she makes anything, it tastes even better knowing that it was made with love. 
Something that I didn't know about these rolls though… they're not her recipe!! 
Yeah, I know, most people don't come up with their own dough recipes, that's just a headache. 
The recipe is my Great Grandmother's! I did not have the honor of knowing her, but her name was Iva Springstun, and she was a wonderful godly woman. 
My Dad said she would make these rolls for every family gathering. Her house must have smelled SO good.
So I hope you enjoy these as much as our family has :)

Yeast Rolls

5-6 c. All-purpose Flour
2 pkgs dry Yeast (2 1/4 tsp = 1pkg.)
1/2 c. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt

1 stick Butter - room temperature
1 1/2 c. hot tap Water

2 Eggs - room temperature

You'll need 2 greased 9" cake pans.

Mix together 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
Stir in butter.
Add water and mix on Med speed for 2 minutes.
Add eggs and 1 cup flour and beat for 1 minute on High.
gradually add the remaining four while mixing on Med-Low, until it forms a soft ball and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes (I do 5). You can use a bread hook to knead if you want just make sure you only knead it for 2-3 minutes if using a hook.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel for 15-20 minutes.
Divide dough into 2. Then divide each portion in 2. Do this until there are 32 pieces total. 
Put 16 dough balls in each pan.
Brush tops with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-48 hours. We think they're best at 24 which is great so they can be done a day ahead.
Preheat oven to 375˚F
Remove rolls from fridge 10-20 minutes before you stick them in the oven. Pop any air bubbles with an oiled toothpick for more even making (I've never had them form, but my aunt said they show up on hers sometimes).
Bake uncovered on lowest rack for 30-35 minutes. 

Simple, but not fast. They are really worth the little work that they are. 

I made a batch and put them in the freezer after they'd been in the fridge for 24 hours… I'll let you know how that turns out.

~ Claire ~

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chocolate Ganache Pear Tart

After I made the Free-form Blueberry tart a while back I got a bit of a tart itch. Being in Ireland for a long week may have a teensy little bit to do with it too. You saw that I've done a bit of traveling lately, and, like my Shabby Apple was written on vacation, so is this one… the last one was too ;)
Only this time I'm at my sisters hanging (more like having an absolute blast!!!!) with my nieces and their exchange student, that we all want to adopt into the family while my sister and her husband are on vacation.
There were all of these beautiful pears sitting on the counter when I got here, and while they were a little on the hard side and the wrong kind of pear for baking this kind of dessert, I am mostly pleased with the way that it turned out.

It's not a really sweet tart, but you can add more sugar if you want.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 1/2 sticks cold butter cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. ice water

1 1/3 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
2/3 cup Half and Half
2 tsp Butter

3 med Pears
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp light Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 Egg White, slightly beaten

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
(Put a glass bowl and beaters in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly before whipping the cream)

Prepare the Pastry In a food processor, combine the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the candied ginger and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse just until the pastry starts to come together. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm.

Preheat oven to 425.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 14-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the pastry in half and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. 

Filling Over a double boiler (I just used a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water) melt the chocolate and whisk in the butter and half and half. Turn off the heat so that the chocolate can cool just a bit.
Peel, core and slice the pears to 1/4 in thick. Toss with the lemon juice. Sprinkle in the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon and toss to coat evenly. 

Finish Spread the ganache on the pastry dough leaving about a 1 1/2 in border. (any extras are great for dipping strawberries in!!) Arrange the pears in any way you feel like it, but only on the ganache. Fold up the edge of the crust over the pears. Brush crust edge with the egg whites. (I sprinkled a little brown sugar on it too :)

Bake at 425˚ for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375˚f and bake for 30 more minutes. 

Topping Whip the cream on high until it sets up. Slowly whip in the sugar.

Serve tart warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

Bon Appetite!

At the end of the Day:

Ooh, it's been a while! Hello to anyone out there who might be holding out hope that I've not dropped off the face of the earth. ;) Well, I didn't drop off of it, but I have done a bit of traveling! I actually posted my Shabby Apple design while in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland (pronounced Dun Leery).  A bit of an impromptu trip with a very good friend we were on a plane less than six weeks after we first talked about actually going, not just the "someday" that we had talked about for a couple of years. It was incredible! We had real Irish weather, wonderful food, and met some of the most friendly people imaginable, even though we were tourists ;) 
Dublin Castle Gardens, I got a lot of practice with the Macro Setting on my new camera :)

Jenna, one of my dearest friends and my traveling companion for this trip! … she also kept me from doing a lot of stupid things that I'm sure I would have done had she not been there :P

We drove through the Wicklow mountains, and they were SO beautiful!!

The view from our stay in Westport

Forget the Blarney stone, just find a cool looking wall and kiss it, they don't charge you for it ;)
Cliffs of Moher! It was even better than the pictures show.

We also went to Glendalough (Glen-da-lock), sorry for not putting pictures up of the water, this one was just too fabulous when the sun peeked out :) 

Galway city. This is where the original Claddah ring was made.
We also had our family reunion the second weekend in August. We had a wonderful weekend

My Grandmother's parents

My Grandad's parents

My dad, Roger, and my grandad, Paul

Bob, Amon, Paul, Eldo
Norma, Fern, Donna, and Faye

Me and my great aunt Faye

My dad's only sister, Cay

After the reunion I promptly left for Pentwater, MI with some friends and enjoyed a few days at the beach. There were a lot of really cool shops, ice cream parlors, and a really neat book store!

This was a great way to end my first night in Pentwater!
Happy 52nd Birth… WHAAA?!!??
I mean… 

Happy 25th Birthday Alexi!!

Yummy!! Cinnamon toast French Toast with Blueberries :)

Our fearless chef!

Well, we had to be ready for our adventure :P

And… for the real news: 

Are you ready for it?

You sure?

Because I was a little surprised, but super excited!!!!!!!!

I will be doing my first fashion shoot this coming spring!! I have two dresses, one skirt, and a jacket so far!! I'm even toying with the idea of doing a short. 
I'm finished toying.
Those will come later.
… Maybe … 
You'll find out in a few months :D

I'm really excited. Not gonna lie though, I'm also rather SCARED!! But the Lord has been giving me a lot of ideas for new pieces, yet more importantly, the peace that only comes through Him!! 
I have a photographer… who came to me!! 
I've decided not to share my sketches publicly until the shoot. I am definitely asking advice on the designs though!! I know that I can do this, but I sure don't want to be putting so much time into things that won't be fashion forward enough. I've been watching about as much Project Runway as I can get my hands on. I'm usually surprised at a lot of the things that are produced in that work room, but the best part is being able to see how different garments are constructed.

Well, that's all for this post.
But I made a Chocolate-Pear tart yesterday, so that recipe (which I made up myself!) might be up in the next few minutes :P

Friday, September 2, 2011

I made honorable mention :)

Well, I didn't make final cut for the Shabby Apple contest, but I did make Honorable Mention!! So they sent me a gift certificate :) so now I just have to decide what to get!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Design for Shabby Apple

Here it is!! My entry for the Shabby Apple Dresses contest for their Spring 2012 collection. It's had a lot of tweaking over the last couple of weeks, but I'm really happy with it.
I'm making it out of high quality woven cotton because I like how easy it is to wash and is pretty wrinkle resistant.

It will have hidden side pockets and a back zipper. The button down front is faux and I just realized that I left off the 4th button. The sleeves will also be button closure, but they will be adjustable. The top of the dress is being done in a dark gray or black and the skirt in a print that compliments. I have a yellow and grey toned print to go with the grey and for the black I am using a floral print.
I like the ideas of the paper-bag skirts and just made it longer.

So, who says a house wife can't look like Audrey Hepburn?

The entry deadline is the 15th and the top 15 designs will be available for voting on. Please, please, please!! vote for me!! If all this does is teach me more about my work than it has been worth it.

My thanks to all :)
 ~ Claire ~

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More Cooking…

I promise that I do more than just spend all of my time in the kitchen! I've got some really great stuff to share with you about my sewing, but not right now… sorry.

We had a luncheon after church today and I made this Free-Form Blueberry Tart verbatim as well as gluten and egg free because of some of the food allergies at my church. I also made a gluten/egg free apple one as well. I just used two apples, one of which was peeled, and left out the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. 
I didn't have any candied ginger so in one crust I used ground ginger, in another cinnamon, and in the other coarsely ground nutmeg. They were ALL delicious!! Yes, I tried them all ;)

I of course didn't think until after they were finished to photo journal the process, so here's the one I pulled from the Food and Wine® website:

p.s. Mine looked just about as good as this one ;)

~ Claire ~

- - - 

Free-Form Blueberry Tart

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 egg white, beaten

PREPARE THE PASTRY In a food processor, combine the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the candied ginger and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse just until the pastry starts to come together. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 14-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the pastry in half and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Unfold the pastry and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

MAKE THE FILLING Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large bowl, mix the 1/4 cup of sugar with the lemon zest and flour. Fold in the blueberries and lemon juice and let stand for 15 minutes.Spoon the blueberries in the center of the pastry, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around. Fold the pastry border up and over the blueberries, pleating it as necessary. Brush the egg white on the pastry and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 55 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the tart cool to warm. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I've been cooking again…

I've been sewing too, and I finally got my new camera! However, finally in this case has nothing to do with a delay on the part of the camera company, just a delay in the purchaser making her mind up about which one she wanted ;) 
I keep forgetting to take pictures of stuff while I'm doing it though, so I have a stack of things that I need to photograph.

- - - 

Alfredo Casserole.

I made a Chicken Alfredo Casserole with fresh spinach for a luncheon last week and was really pleased with the results.

For a single batch, which will feed 5-6 people: Cook about ¾ of a pound of thick Italian pasta until el-dente so that it wouldn’t be too chewy. If you have a Costco membership, I used the 1 1/2” tube pasta that comes in a multi pack, but just about any thick pasta will work.

Cook 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of ground chicken with some Italian seasoning and added a little pepper, but not salt because the sauce has quite a bit in it.

½ a bag of fresh baby spinach, torn in half.

To make the sauce:

Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
Add 2 cups of heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in a pinch or two of grated nutmeg, 1-½ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp fresh-ground black pepper.
Add 1 clove of minced garlic and 1-½ cups grated Parmesan cheese and whisk quickly.

To assemble the casserole just mixed everything together in the baking dish.

Cover with tented foil if your dish does not have a baking lid and bake for about 45 minutes at 350˚F.

» I made this up ahead of time and froze it. If you do this just make it longer, for like an hour and a half but at the same temperature.

It’s done when the edges are bubbly.

You could top this with breadcrumbs or cheese if you wanted.

I made a triple batch and it served about 16 people, so I think the next time I make it I’ll still make the triple batch (same work basically) and freeze it in pie plates or small 8x8 casserole dishes to save some work later on.

~ Claire ~

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anyone heard of Shabby Apple?

Well, if you haven't, now is the time to do so… because I am entering a design contest and will need lots of help with votes! Shabby Apple and I have pretty much the same mission in our clothing, and I'm hoping to get in on the 3% royalties!  The winner of this contest will have their piece (dress, shirt or skirt) featured as part of the 2012 Spring Collection :)

I have one design finished, but have to work out a couple of kinks and another as a preliminary sketch. Unfortunately my two completed designs are not enterable because they are my version of some of their existing pieces, but it's been fun working on new pieces and in fabrics that I've not used before.
So in a week or two check back and see what I've been working on. The contest will be open for voting from August 17 until September 10 and I will of course have a link on both my blog and my facebook so that you can check out all of the cool stuff that will be on the ballot.

On the camera end of things… it's not back yet. I finally got an update from the repair shop and it is supposed to be in by the end of next week.

Thank you all for your support of my endeavors. God sure knows what he is doing when he surround us with people who are pursuing Him.
~ Claire ~ 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Busy! Busy! Busy!

It has been a long time since I posted, and I do apologize to anyone who has been following and waiting for pictures of my work. Well, you're going to have to wait a little longer. Sorry. Our camera is out of commission. I grabbed the ones below from Facebook…

I have been rather busy the last several weeks. Not quite as productive as I would have liked, but I finished a second pattern. (YAY!) Here's a brief synopsis of my crazy, but fun life:

Life has been… trying, and there has been heartache and joy intermixed with all of the "normal".

Some very good friends of mine lost an infant in their family to SIDS only 4 days before my twin sister had her first baby. 

My nephew, Caleb Hezekiah, was born 5 weeks and 2 days before his due date and spent 9 days in the NICU but is healthy and happy now and we all love him dearly.
This was taken the day he came home from the hospital and I was privileged to be the first one other than his parents to hold him. So, don't tell the rest of my sisters, but I will forever be his favorite aunt… because I said so.

We also had his baby shower this weekend and I always forget how much work those things are until about 2 days before the event… 

Being the over-achiever that I am however I couldn't just stick with sewing and all of the other craziness. I made jam this past week! With help from my friend and her children we picked almost 40 pounds of strawberries and made LOTS of really yummy freezer jam and pancake syrup. I usually make jam every 2 years but because of my sister getting married last year I didn't make any and our supply, although painstakingly rationed, was finally finished off this winter.

We had a lot of fun making the jam and the kids were eager to learn as neither they nor their mom/my friend Emily had made jam before. I think the best part (well, other than watching them scoop mashed up strawberries into their mouths with their fingers) was seeing their faces when they got to taste the finished product!

And… I was finally able to quit my job at the hospital to work for myself full time! My last day was this past Thursday and it was really bittersweet. I was blessed to work with some really great people and made some friends that I hope will be life long.

~ Claire ~

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Progress Report!

Well, I did it!! I finished a pattern and wore the dress to my friends wedding this weekend… then made it do double duty and wore it to church on Easter :)
Not only did it turn out really well, but I should have 2 of them listed to sell by this weekend! No, no pictures yet, sorry. But I'm so excited to share it with all of you… and start making money so I can pay off all of the fabric that I bough on my NY/PA trip :P
~ Claire ~

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I am constantly amazed at my stupidity! I have been s…l…o…w…l…y… working on the stuff that I need to for Laudably Lizzy, pushing just about every deadline back, procrastinating, and getting very little finished. I have been working on several dress designs and have lots of beautiful fabric to create some really great stuff… I just didn't seem to like any of it tonight, which is bad as I decided that deadlines can wait no longer and I have to sew like a mad woman over the next week and a half to get done what I need to. I have a wedding this weekend and have been pushing myself to finish one of my dresses so that I can debut it at the wedding. I finally finished the pattern!!!!!! … than all of the sudden didn't like any of the fabric on my shelves. After playing around with different ideas for a while, ok, like an hour and a half, I actually thought to ask the Lord for some much needed inspiration. HE gave me the gift to sew in the first place, HE gave me the ability to design, and HE gave me the very breath that I was wasting on the woe-is-me/complaining about my lack of creativity tonight! So I did what I should have done in the beginning, I asked the Lord to show me the fabrics that I should use for this dress, and He did!! I even have shoes that will go with it, which is good because I don't have time or money to go shoe shopping between now and Saturday :)
This got me thinking about all of the other times throughout my days that I fall into these frustrating ruts. How many of them I know could be gotten out of much or avoided all together if I would just humble myself before my Creator and stop trying to pr quicker ove that I can do it on my own, because ultimately I know that I can do NOTHING on my own and every ability that I have is from Him.
The book of James has always been one of my most, and least, favorite books in the New Testament. Most, because it is so practical and there is SO much packed into five short chapters; and Least, because I often feel as if I am looking in a mirror when I read it. Js. 1: 5-8 " If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."(ESV) - OUCH! How often I do this though! Asking without faith because of my own stubbornness and pride.
"Jesus, I know that I need you in the big stuff, please help me to see how much I need you in all of the seemingly little stuff too."
It's the thread that holds the fabric together.
~ Claire ~

Friday, April 15, 2011

What are you cooking for dinner?

There are times for healthy recipes… but there are definitely times for the all-fat calorie loaded ones too, like the Asiago Alfredo I made the other day and re-heated for dinner. I've never made an official Alfredo sauce before and I decided to give it a try without a recipe! It was amazing though and I really wish I had written down the proportions of what went into it, but of course I didn't (grrrr on me!). 

But here's my best guess :)
I know that I put a stick of butter, about 1/2 - 3/4c. of flour, 5-6c. raw milk (with the cream mixed in), about 1/2c. of shredded Asiago cheese, 1c. plain yogurt, 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, dried parsley, salt, black pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg (one of my new cooking kicks).

I basically melted the butter and added about half the milk then whisked in the flour. I then added the rest of milk and SLOWLY added the cheese and vinegar, whisking vigorously so that it wouldn't end up stuck to the bottom of the saucepan, then added the yogurt. 
The salt, pepper, parsley and nutmeg were to taste… but I think I put in about 1-1 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/2-1 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and about 1 Tbsp. parsley.

Now for the good part: I served it over baked, breaded chicken breasts and pasta, with asparagus on the side. It wasn't just any breaded chicken though, it was rosemary and rye.

I made my bread crumbs by toasting a few pieces of Deli Rye bread and pulverizing them with more dried parsley and some (dried) rosemary. 

To bread the chicken I "dried" the breasts with paper towels than dredged them in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper (you could throw some parsley and or rosemary if you wanted some extra oomph!), then in slightly beaten eggs, and finally in the rye bread crumbs that I made. 

All was baked for 25-30 minutes in a 375˚f oven.

Well, now that I've made you all hungry, I'm going to go work off the alfredo sauce…

Bon Appetite!

~ Claire ~

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicken Tomato Stew

I have been on a mission over the last few months to loose 20-30 lbs (almost there!!). I had some friends over for lunch last Sunday and one of them is also dieting so I came up with a dish that both she and I could eat without breaking our diet(s) and hoped everyone else would enjoy. This is what I created:

Roasted Chicken and Tomato Stew! 
Boneless skinless Chicken breasts - cut into 1-2 in cubes
Fresh Tomatoes - chunked into 8 or so pieces each
Fresh Basil and Rosemary - chopped
organic chicken broth 
then I seasoned it all with salt, pepper and some ground coriander. 

I layered it all in a baking dish (chicken, tomatoes, herbs, seasonings) and added enough chicken broth to  cover the chicken. I baked it for an hour and a half at 375˚f to make sure everything was juicy and extra delicious. 
I pretty much did 1 chicken breast and 1-2 tomatoes per person eating, but I also love leftovers so whatever floats your boat.

In hind sight I would have added more tomatoes and chicken broth, but if you make it, have fun experimenting with the proportions.

It was REALLY good! 

I felt kind of like a jerk after I put it all together though because I forgot that my boyfriend is not a tomato fan, but since he was coming he told me he would try it anyway and not lie if he didn't like it … he had two helpings ;) 

For the non-dieting people I also served pasta and ladled the stew over the noodles. (I mixed Penne and Rottini because that's what I was able to dig out of the cupboard).

I then served my healthy(ish) chocolate swirl cheesecake for dessert with some Raspberry purée over it. WOW!!
I use Ackerman's Berries in a Bottle which is a made locally in Oregon, OH. They grow their own fruit and make the purée themselves. They have 4 flavors of purée and also have some salad dressings and vinegar that you can get as well. Here is the website for anyone interested in more info about the company or the products:

Have a happy Wednesday!!
                                                                                                                  ~ Claire ~     

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Road Trip!

Now I know why they film Project Runway in New York City! It's huge, busy, and full of great fabric warehouses :D 

My friend Sarah and I had a great time in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey over her Spring Break from Culinary School. Other than spending time with Sarah, my main object of the trip was to purchase fabric for my sewing business because there really isn't much in my area of the country for apparel sewing. 
Sarah and I had fun shopping and doing the whole tourist thing in Pennsylvania. We went to the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory, which is the oldest pretzel bakery in the U.S., Wilbur Chocolates, and several cool little shops. This photo was taken at the pretzel bakery, after of course we had our freshly baked, hand made soft pretzels. They were really delicious!

After spending a few days with Sarah's brother and his family we went to NCY for a day to SHOP and EAT!!!! Mood Fabrics was the first warehouse that we went to and I have to confess I felt REALLY overwhelmed when we walked in the door! We didn't have a lot of time, so I went in praying that the Lord would help me find the things that I needed to. Sarah and a friend who went with us helped me pick out fabric and I am SO grateful their help and the great fabric that we were able to find. They then helped me lug it all over the city for the remainder of our time there. You guys are wonderful, thank you again!
Hailing a cab
Two things:
1- Yes, I am aware that there is a big kinda scary looking dude looking over my shoulder, but he's with us.
2- No, we did not get into the Cash Cab.

B & J was the other warehouse that we went to. (I had to tackle this one on my own however as there was a comfy couch that was calling to the non-fabric-junkies … we forgot to get a picture of them lounging!)

These Walk of Fame thing-ies all over the sidewalk were a really cool part of the Fashion District in NY.

One of my favorite designers!
 I just couldn't resist staking my spot on the Walk of Fame :P

Claiming my spot on the Fashion Walk of Fame!
My friends are going to pull an "I told you so!" because my feet were killing me before the end of the day and I'm actually admitting it, but I wore heels to walk around the city in! They were the perfect companion to my little black dress :)

Coppola's Restaurant
While I was on a mission for great fabric, Sarah was determined to have one of the best meals of her life while in NYC. Being that I also love food and cooking I was not at all opposed to this! By word of mouth we found Coppola's. It was some of the best food I have ever had!! The wait staff was amazing, the food fresh, delicious, and pretty fairly priced, and the maximum seating was just over 40. We didn't even have reservations, but we called ahead and they told us to just come over and they had us seated within 5 minutes. No, I'm not going to tell you everything that we had because you would just get really jealous, but I will tell you that I had Chilean Sea Bass (go figure :P) and it was perfect!

p.s. I made the flower on Sarah's bag… just sayin'

The day after our rather busy and exciting day in New York we decided that it was time for a break, so we went to the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ. It really was a perfect day! The sun was really bright but apparently I was not because I hadn't brought any sunglasses with me! So I bought a cheap pair from one of the shops. Just look at that sky!! It was 60˚f and spent a good while walking on the beach and enjoying the warm sand between our toes, which after walking in heels the whole day prior, felt pretty amazing. 

There were even people out surfing, but I didn't get any pictures of them. Actually, almost all of these pictures are ones that Sarah took because I kept forgetting to take my camera with me. Thanks Sarah!!!

This TASTEfashion mantra was all over A.C. which Sarah and I found really cool as it is kinda what I am about with my sewing. I don't want to just make clothes. I want to create an experience that someone can wear whether it's captured in the pattern or a unique cut. And… I love to cook, but you all knew that already :)

Hyde Park, NY was our next adventure!! As I mentioned before, Sarah is in Culinary School so of course we couldn't be so close and not take the opportunity to go to the Culinary Institute of America!!

There were banners like this all over the campus that had different cooking tools on them.

We got a tour of the institute given by one of it's students and got to see several classes in session. The best part of the tour was when we got some samples of what they were working on! It was donut and truffle day and a couple of the students brought out some of their creations for us to try. They were 

After our tour another friend of mine met us at one of CIA restaurants for lunch. Their restaurants are run by the students as part of their training. We ate at the St. Andrew's Cafe which uses local… um… everything. I had a bBeet and Citrus spring salad, Roasted Duck over a mushroom chutney on top of a Ciabatta Crustini, and Maple Creme Brulee. It was amazing. 

Then it was back to PA for some more fabric shopping and Amish country before we headed home.

Once home I jumped right into sewing and made these aprons for a fundraiser. 
I consider myself an artist and use fabric as my artistic medium and so, like most artists, I name my pieces. This first one is called "Made in Americana" and as you can see it is a pregnancy apron!!

I pleated the skits so that it lays flat if you don't have a baby belly to hold it out and made a detachable hand towel.

This is the other apron that made. "Mix it Up" I found this mixer fabric on my trip and bought about 6 yards of it to make aprons with. 

I made the strings extra long so that they wrap around and tie in the front for a fun flirty look and I really like the yoke waist!  

Well, I hope you've had a small fraction of the fun reading this that I had while on my trip and making theses aprons!
I hope my next update won't take nearly as long to post as this one did, but I'm learning not to make promises of that kind :)

~ Claire ~

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Aprons :)

Well it's been a while but I am happy to say that I have finished 3 more of the Christmas Aprons while still managing to get a lot of WORK done. The girls were thrilled with them and I was and am thrilled that they are thrilled with them. I still have to get pictures from my sister of the boys and the rest of the girls in theirs, but all in good time. She just had her 7th baby and I'm convinced that she's Super-Mom, so it can take a while and I'll be ok with that :)

Faith, very excited to have her own apron!

She apparently was more interested in playing than showing it to the camera. 

This is Joy's apron. She's all girl so I wanted lots of flowers and pink. The flip side of the apron is khaki with a pocked of the blue floral.

I have to confess that I was a little intimidated doing this apron for Grace because she is no longer a little girl, but a young woman who cares about the things she wears. I was so excited to find this black and cream fabric! The wine was a given color as it has always been one of her favorites.

So, as I mentioned my sister Julia just had her 7th baby. Her name is Mercy, and HERE SHE IS!!!!

Sorry, this is from my phone so it's not the greatest picture, but she's such a little sunshine :)

Matthew is such a doting big brother :) he was sitting next to me and seemed to be a little antsy until just before he asked, when I finally realized that he wanted to hold her! He was beaming when I gave her to him.

She is so cute and looks a lot like my sister Julia when she was little.

Well, I'm going to get back to watching a movie with my friends. I'm in Pennsylvania for a few days and  went fabric shopping this morning in Lititz!! I had a very successful day and am really excited to create beautiful clothing with the fabric that I found :)
I will be going to New York City this weekend for some more fabric shopping and great food! I'm excited to go to some of the specialty warehouses and to see some friends that I haven't seen in a few years. 

Good night all!
~ Claire ~