Monthly Archives: August 2013

Notre Dame Cupcakes


It’s hard to believe, but it’s finally game day and that means we can all stuff our faces in the name of football!!  I happen to actually like the sport, but even if you don’t, food is something we can all root for!

Notre Dame is special to us, thanks in major part to some people who are very special to us (you know who you are!) so I decided to whip up some Irish themed goodies!  I’m up to my old tricks with these yummy collegiate toppers – melted chocolate!!

Notre Dame Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcake recipe found here
Vanilla cream cheese frosting found here


Chocolate Irish Cream Mousse Filling
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 3.4 ounce pkg instant chocolate pudding
1+ tablespoons baileys Irish cream

Pre chill bowl and beaters.

In medium bowl whisk together milk and pudding until thick.  Add Baileys to taste.  Set aside.
Using pre-chilled bowl and beaters, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.
Fold whipped cream into jello mixture until fully incorporated.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.


Notre Dame Garnish
1 package yellow candy melts
White decorating sugar

I used a 1.5 inch logo template underneath of parchment paper as a guide.


Melt candy melts and transfer to decorating bag fitted with a tiny handwriting tip, the smaller the better.

Following the template, outline the logo making sure not to fill in where the blank spaces should be.


Fill in the logo completely.

Using a toothpick or skewer, square off edges and blank spaces.

Sprinkle with sanding sugar while still wet.


Allow to harden in freezer for 15 minutes.

Core and fill with mousse
Swirl or spread on frosting
Sprinkle with blue and gold sugar (you can dye the white!)
Place garnish


Be sure to check back next week when I’ll be sharing another football food favorite with an Irish twist… Ok, here’s a sneak peek:


Go Irish!

The Amelia Dress, Part 2


Hi there!  Ready for part 2?  Here it is:

It was not as easy as I anticipated…(it never is).

The skirt of the real dress is gathered very lightly so I knew it didn’t need to be much bigger than the bodice at the top and it bells out only slightly so I knew it wouldn’t need to be crazy big at the bottom.

The dimensions I picked were 19.5″ wide at the top increasing to 23.5″ at the bottom edge and 24.5″ long.

I determined the length this way: I measured the girl child and added 1/2″ for the seam with the bodice, 1 inch for a hem and then added the amount (1.5″) for the tucks.

This will make a slightly triangular shape (no good pics of this, sorry)


When you have your pieces, sew the side seams with 5/8 allowance, press open. Hem the bottom, I turned up 1/2″ ironed and then 1/2″ more and stitched.


Put your gathering stitch in the top of the skirt. Again, I turned my tension to 7 and my stitch length to 5.


Baste the bottom of the bodice together at the button placket to keep it in place while you pin the bodice and skirt right sides together.  Gather in the skirt to fit the bodice as you pin.




BASTE (can’t stress this enough)


Test fit




*Note:  These will look all wibbly wobbley (but not timey wimey). That’s cause I was doing them fast and sloppy just to get a feel for the design.  They will look a bit better (hopefully) on the finished product.


Okay, all that’s left is the tucks near the bottom of the skirt.  These gave me serious stress.  I fiddled with them so much and re did them so many times that I don’t remember what the final measurements I went with were.  I think it went something like this.


Measure up from the bottom 5″.  Mark a line all the way around the skirt.  Measure up 3 inches from the line. Mark a 2nd line all the way around.  Measure up 3 inches from the 2nd line and make a 3rd line all the way around.  This should leave you with lines at 5″, 8″, and 11″ up from the bottom on your skirt.

Okay,  fold the skirt in wrong sides together at the first line like this


Iron this line.


Take it to machine and sew at 1/2″.  Now you have your first tuck.


Iron this down and move on to the next line you marked.  Repeat the process.  Fold at second line, Iron, sew with 1/2″, Iron down.



Repeat one more time.


You should end up with something like this.


I HIGHLY recommend BASTING these tucks.  Seriously.  I ripped mine out so many times on the final design I was damn glad I didn’t use a regular small stitch.


Test fit


 She has peanut butter on her face and yes, that is a black sock on her hand….

Pretty good.  It’s got most of the details of the original but it needs some tweaking.  The collar is definitely too high and I’m still not done correcting the neckline but since this is my test garment I’m not too concerned with it.

That’s it for now.  I’ll show you the finished dress (it’s done!) with the pattern changes I made to it whenever I gather the rest of the costume pieces for it.


See you around!


The Amelia Dress Part One

Hello!  I’ve been working on something that speaks to me on a deep nerdy level: Doctor Who Halloween Costumes!  If you’ve visited the blog here you might have noticed that I’m desperately in love slightly obsessed with the Doctor and all things Whovian.  Halloween is the only safe time of year to express it fully so that’s why the kids get handmade themed costumes this year.

My children love the Doctor so I’m not forcing my geekdom on them, promise.  Anyway… the oldest boy wanted to be the Doctor (sonic screwdrivers are very cool) so I found a perfect Burda Kids pattern for the suit jacket (we went with the 11th regeneration) and I ordered a tweed-like fabric that didn’t break the bank.


The baby is going to be Rory the Roman riding in a Tardis stroller.  The thought of a baby Centurion makes me squee!

rory-roman More on those two later as I’m making them.

The one getting my attention at the moment is the costume for my ginger haired girl child.  She can be no other than Ameilia Pond, naturally! Specifically this version


I looked high and low and couldn’t find a decent tutorial or a pattern that nailed the darling nightdress so what is a “Craft” to do?  Make (mostly) my own, duh!

This first post will cover the bodice because (for once!) it is detailed and picture heavy.


The Amelia Dress

I started with McCalls M6786 because of all the patterns I had at hand, this one was roughly the right shape and had a similar enough collar to give me a good starting point.

I traced off the front and back bodice pieces, stopping at the first increase/decrease line and began my alterations.

Test #1

The original pattern had a zip in the back (I think we all know how I feel about that..) and the front was cut on the fold. Not wanting to mess up the sleeve cap, I reversed that.  I cut the Back on the fold instead and added 2 inches (for the button placket) to the front piece not cut on the fold. This gave me my opening in the front where it was needed and a solid back with no zip.

Before I forget, any lines or words in green are original trace from pattern. Changes were made in blue marker or pencil.



DSCF8008 DSCF8015


I traced the collar piece as is and decided later that it was a bit too tall so I cut 1″ off the unnotched edge.  I also wanted the collar to slant a bit at the opening and the pattern didn’t.  This was easy to change.  I measured in 1″ on the fold line and made a diagonal line to the corner on top and bottom and repeat on the other side.


I kept the sleeves the same at the cap and drafted them out to fit her arms (14″).


I added one piece and that was the facing for the button placket (I’m probably using this term incorrectly, I’m sorry if that’s the case)  Just a 2″ wide and the length of the bodice.


That’s it for the tracing, just 5 pieces. Now the fun part, trying my design out.



I sewed it up like any test garment. Baste, baste, baste.  I can’t say that enough.

Shoulders and side seams first, press open.  I decided to lap the left side over the right so it looked like the one I was modeling it on.


Facing for the button thingy came next. Fused interfacing on wrong side, pin right sides sew with SCANT seams  (pics).  I did the other side too just to make them even.

Figure out where you want your buttons and go ahead and do the holes in the top piece.  Sew buttons on the inside piece ( I just did one for testing).


Okay….ready for a fitting….




Assess Fit problems.  The number one issue with this one is the shoulders are too wide.  I went ahead and attached the collar hoping that might bring it in a bit.



Apply interfacing at this point if it is desired.  I will on the finished garment but I didn’t bother for the test. Turn up your unnotched edge for slip stitching and iron.  Fold in half, right sides together and stitch the angled edges with regular seam.


Pin to bodice, right sides together, and BASTE.



Try on again…



Yeah…Still has fit issues….



Back to the drafting board.

I sat and thought for a minute about how to fix the width issue without messing with the sleeve cap (they are tricksy and I hates them).  After looking over my pattern pieces I realized that I didn’t draft the zip allowance out of the original back piece (Screwed again by the metal toothed bastard! Curse you zippers!)  I took 1.25″ off my piece (5/8″ for each side of zip)


That should help but I felt that the button piece was too wide, also I remembered I could self face that piece and save some time.  I drafted 3/4″ off the front piece.



I left the other pieces the same and salvaged the collar off the first test run.

Sew together as before, press open seams.

Test Fit… (crossing fingers)


Much better!


Next up is the button part.  Garment right side out, fold 1″ back from each open edge.  For finished project I’ll serge the raw edges here but I didn’t bother for the test fits. As before, sew across top and bottom with SCANT seams.  Flip and iron.



Do the button holes, etc again.


Test Fit


Looks good.


Collar is next. Dry fitting showed that some length needed to come off.  I hacked off 1 and 3/4″ each side keeping the angle the same.


Sew. Flip. Iron

Pin right sides, BASTE.


Test fit…





Sleeves are up.  I only sewed one side on for the test fit.

Gather top as per the pattern instructions. When I do gathering stitches I turn my machine tension up to 7 and stitch length to 5 so it does most of the gathering for me. I also tie off the threads on one side so the gathers don’t come out.


You can put your hem/cuff in now or after you sew the long side seam.  Up to you.  I turned up 1/2″ ironed, then 1″ and stitched it down.


Pin right side of sleeve together with bodice, adjust gathers (pray to Gallifrey that they stay in place during stitching) and BASTE.

Success on the first try!


Whew!  That wraps up the bodice part.  I may decide to tweak a few things yet (bodice is a bit too long for model accuracy, collar is a bit too high), but the basic pattern is good and will be easy to repeat.

Tune in for the next episode that involves drafting the (far) easier skirt including 3 pintucks!





I hate zippers…and they hate me right back.



Greetings!  I’m sharing a dress (almost) finish today.  I worked it most of the way up before vacation, I had vague dreams of wearing it on the beach..ha!, and then abandoned it for a while.  Anyway, she made it to the top of the pile again and it’s time to post about it.

I worked from this pattern. I used bits and pieces of view B and C.  The first change I made was to the sleeves.  I didn’t feel like setting a sleeve (view B) or having just straps (view C) so I made B and finished the armholes with seam binding on the inside.  It doesn’t show and it doesn’t gape around the edges like I was afraid it might.  No need to set sleeves, Score! (sorry for the lack of pics on this part, sometimes I like to just sew and not do photos)

I’m going along through the pattern and we get to the zipper….God, I freaking hate zippers.  Seriously.  I despise them.  I know, I know there are a million tutorials and all kinds of advice for how to do them, but you know what?  THEY STILL SUCK (zippers, not the tutorials)

I set it the first time and it doesn’t match up at the top.  Unpick.

I set it again and it bubbles on my back like I’m the Hunchback of Notre Dame (again, sorry for no pics, kinda hard to take a pic of your back). Trust me it was awful.  Unpick.

I set it one more time just to make sure it isn’t going to work and it’s the same as the second time.  Sob uncontrollably for a few hours.  Unpick.

So now the zipper is in ruins from all the unpicking, my seam allowance is frayed all to hell and we still have the fit issue.  I start playing around with my pins seeing if I can ease the problem a little.  I work on it and I have an


I could echo the pleat at the bottom of the bodice to take out some of the slack in the top.  By this point I had already sewn my liner in and slip stitched it to the bodice seam.  So I unpicked it and detached it from the top edge of the bodice.

Once I had done that I tried different pleats (with pins) and still had the fit problems.

Then I had another


I would just hack some off each back edge and add a placket with buttons (did I mention I hate zippers?)

This was the amount I took off both sides.  I can’t quite remember how I did this now..figures.


Once the fit was better I sewed up the bottom part of what was the zipper seam.


And then figured out what size the placket needed to be to have finished edges and the right width to mostly center the buttons down the back. Mine needed to be 16 X 4.

Cut that out and put interfacing on it.


Sewed it right sides and turned it so I had nice edges to work with.


I determined the button placements and marked my piece and did the holes on the machine. Sewed the placket onto the dress and the buttons on the other side and the hard part was done.

The finished product is not perfect but at least I don’t look like I’m hiding a second head on my back, so there’s that.



All that’s left is a bit of the white lace on the ruffle seam and the dress is done.  Someday I won’t have to do this much altering just to get an end product that fits…a girl can dream, right?

Whiskey Maple Cream Puffs


I may be jumping the gun a bit here on the fall flavors but I just don’t care.  I’m so ready for Fall…sweater weather, football, pumpkin spice lattes, cute toddlers and puppies playing in piles of leaves…*sigh.

I know that cream puffs are a big deal in Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Baker’s Association holds the Guinness World Record for the largest cream puff and over 350,000 puffs are consumed at the Wisconsin State Fair each year, but it’s my opinion that the typical cream puff is pleasant enough but a little, dare I say, boring?  It’s just not that flavorful of a combination.  This, my friends, is not your typical cream puff.  The whiskey maple sauce really makes this pretty little pastry pop and gives it just the punch of fall flavor I need to get me through these last few weeks of summer!

Cream Puffs
Makes about 14
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
*1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
*I never have whole milk so I substituted part half and half and part 2% milk.


Prepare two baking trays with parchment paper.  If you want each puff to be the same size, you can trace 2 1/2 diameter circles onto the back of the parchment paper as a guide.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring milk, salt, sugar and butter to a boil stirring occasionally.  Add in flour, reduce heat to medium low and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan – about 1-2 minutes.

Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add in one egg and stir vigorously until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.  Add in 4 additional eggs, stirring after each addition.  Dough will be thick and shiny.

Preheat oven to 450.
Spoon batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large circle tip.  Pipe onto prepared baking trays.  You really can’t mess this part up but I got a better look when I piped a continuous mound of dough without swirling the tip.
Whisk together remaining egg from recipe and two teaspoons of water.  Brush over the dough mounds.

Put trays in preheated oven and turn oven off, allow to bake 10 minutes.  Heat oven back to 350 and bake an additional 10 minutes. Rotate the trays and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until deep golden brown all over.  Total baking time is 25-30 minutes.

Allow puffs to cool completely on wire rack.


Whiskey Maple Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons whiskey of choice, to taste

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Maple Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1-3 tablespoons powdered sugar, to taste
1-3 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pre-chill glass mixing bowl and beaters.  Beat whipping cream until it starts to thicken.  Add vanilla, powdered sugar and maple syrup.  Beat until stiff peaks form.

Cut off top 1/3 of puffs, set tops aside.
Pipe or spoon in maple whipped cream.  Don’t be stingy.
Replace tops.
Drizzle whiskey maple sauce over the pastry.  This is where it really gets its lovely mapley flavor, so go crazy.
Sprinkle with cinnamon to garnish.  Nuts would also be good.  That’s what she said.  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.


You’re the best, Craft!!


This was seriously one of the best evenings I’ve had in a long time.  I haven’t seen my husband this relaxed since before our son was born.  Two minutes in, he was crunching numbers to see if it was possible for us to afford a sailboat of our own.  It was very much needed and so very, very appreciated.  Thank you so much Craft and Family for the best gift ever…and it only took us 18 months to arrange a sitter so we could use it!  Totally worth the wait!

imageThe Quinn Marie, our vessel for the evening.

imageCaptain Bob of Seadog Sailing.  I highly recommend.

imageMy handsome hubby.  He just looks like a natural, doesn’t he?  image

Ok, this was after a few Coronas.


Just beautiful…an absolutely perfect evening.  Thanks again, sister!  And thank you, Grandma, for babysitting!!

I will be back soonish with some new ideas and recipes.  Stay tuned!

Summer Vacation

Well, we sorta dropped off the face of the earth didn’t we?  Sorry about that.

We loaded up our three children and drove all the way to the beach in Florida for a week of relaxation.  It was awesome.  It was so great that I didn’t get hardly any pictures*. Figures.


Anyway,  since a certain little boy in our house was turning 7 (!) we made Legoland a part of our adventures and we had a lot of fun!  They had some amazing things built out of legos.

There were lots of rides for the littler ones too so the girl child wasn’t left out of the fun.



I love the look on her face here. So Joan of Arc


We had the good fortune to leave the littlest zombie with my parents (they came on vacation with us) so we weren’t dragging a 14 month old around the hot park in the sun, yay for grandparents.

Most of the rest of the trip was just hanging out on the beach and finding new places to eat.  The perfect vacation.

Once we got home there was an actual day of birth cake to bake and decorate


and the start of school.  So that’s where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to.  How bout you?


* And the ones I did take look awful! I swear one of these days I’m getting a better camera and taking a class on how to use it..grumble grumble grumble…