Saturday, April 30, 2011

"A Royal Giveaway" Winners Announced

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in my Royal Giveaway! It has been VERY fun and interesting to read all of your comments about your weddings whether they're past, present or future! Winners were picked out of a hat at random : )

The Winner for the Royal Do Over category is: Canadian Kristin! This is what her post read:
For my Royal Do-Over I would fly my husband and our family and closest friends to somewhere exotic and tropical and 5 star to share a renewing of vows at sunset and a full-on party on the beach for the next many days! Colours now would be the same as then: black and white, gold, cream and deep red. We are Shawn & Kristin and married November 5 and I would marry this man over again in a heartbeat!

The Winner for the Royal Plan category is: Eileen Hill! This is what her post read:
I'm engaged and getting married early next year (no date yet). My theme believe it or not will be pink! I love pink like you do - actually people at work call me "Pinkie", I wear pink just about everyday and hope to have a very light subtle pink dress for my big day!!! Eileen

The Winner for the Royal Dream category is: Deborah A! This is what her post read:
I am in the hope to marry category. After six years together we still haven't tied the knot. I no longer care about what the big day looks like. My dad passed away before he could see me married so it will be a happy/sad day for me. Part of the fairytale for me was to have my dad take part in my day. If I could change anything about my yet to be wedding day it would be that it would have taken place before his passing.

Instructions for picking up prizes: if you already have an Etsy account please convo me at Pinks & Needles so I know your username and who you are is. Please type in "A Royal Giveaway Winner" in the subject box . If you do not have an Etsy account please create one and follow the above directions : ) At some point this weekend I will be setting up RESERVED listings on Etsy for each of you! Once I am finished making your special items each Winner can put their prize in their cart and check out as normal. Any fees incurred will be refunded to you via Paypal. Thanks everyone!

P.S. Convo me via Etsy is there is any more information you would like to tell me about theme, color, style etc. That would be very helpful since I am creating something very specific for you and yours truly : )

I really enjoyed watching Will(s) & Kate tie the knot yesterday! I recorded it on the E! Channel instead of a major network mostly because they really focused on the fashion aspects of everything instead of politics which to me is lighthearted and more fun : ) Wow can I just say I see a hat trend building that is soon to hit the US with a splash!!! Victoria Beckham's fascinator must've been Super Glued to her forehead! It was truly an amazing event to experience visually! I loved Kate's dress and how simple her bouquet was. Will looked dashing and so proud. I loved every minute of it : )

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Items in the Shop!

Good morning everyone~

Well I got up really early this morning to start listing items on Etsy and guess who I saw running around in the front yard unattended? Remember a few weeks ago when I found those 2 cute dogs Mia and Gordo that belonged to my neighbor? They're back and this time they brought a friend "Seven" is her name. Anyway, I called Carla and she was just getting off of work so she came over and picked them up. Those little stinkers need to stop digging under the fence! At least this time they all had their respective collars with name tags on. I just worry because of how crazy fast people drive down my street - it's frightening : (
So I got a little later start on things this morning but at least those doggies are back home safe and sound.
I have almost everything listed in the shop that I was planning on except a couple more I need to take pics of but am waiting for better light. I've listed lots of Vintage Inspired Button pin toppers ~ these are all made from polymer clay and then I hand painted them with pretty accents and a few even have sparkly glitter too!
I'm really excited to debut shiny silver thimbles today! Well it's about time is all I keep saying to myself since sewing related pins seem to be quite popular in my shop! They'll go nicely with the shiny silver scissors I make too.
Here's a mosaic of all the Vintage Inspired Buttons I made. I love making mosaics because then it's easy to reference them all as a group. Flickr toys is the best tool for that.

There's more button card pins in the shop too and fun candy colored pastel mini spools of thread like these:
 I'm hoping to get stitching for my "Stitch n Tea" Party starting today through the weekend. I hope you'll join me via la internet!
Remember today is the last day to comment on "A Royal Giveaway" ~ it ends at 5 pm Pacific Standard Time. I'll announce winners tomorrow some time!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vintage Button Pin Toppers

Hello all~
Just a quick sneak peek to show you some of what's coming to my Etsy on Friday! I have been having a good time making some vintage button pin toppers. I needed a break from packing up boxes for our move up North so yesterday I watched a Robert Pattinson movie "Remember Me" and sculpted the day away! Good movie by the way. He's just too darn cute and fun to look at : ) LOL!
Here's a short clip of an Interview with Rob talking about the movie! Enjoy : )

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kitchenology Block #1

My dear friends Jenny & Aaron were kind enough to let me use their original artwork as the basis for my next quilt. I am really excited to see one of my favorite prints of theirs come to life : ) Jenny and her boyfriend Aaron are incredible artists. I have been gawking at their creations for years now!! So many wonderful elements they put to use in their paintings...everything from Frozen Charlotte Dolls to Cupcakes piled with Frosting and Sprinkles, Black Ravens and Old Vintage Books ~ AND a million more wonderful things (too many to list).
Here's a picture of Kitchenology from their flickr ~ be careful and hold on tight if you haven't seen this might hyperventilate due to the "cuteness" overload!
This quilt once finished will be 20 blocks! That's a lot for me since I'm new to this whole quilting thing, but I think it should be a pretty fun journey for me! The pitcher is really tiny and in reality was too small for me to turn under so I decided to make this shabby, rustic, retro and cozy. I figured frayed edges and perhaps a tea stain will keep to the flavor I'm going for : )
I love being inspired by my favorite artists out there in cyberspace ~ I  hope to do it justice for their sake.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Royal Giveaway ~ this giveaway is now closed ~ winners will be announced Sat. April 30th!

Hello Friends! I wanted to let you know a couple of things that are happening here at Pinks & Needles! I hope you'll stop by on Friday April 29th at my Etsy Shop ~ I will have FUN NEW ITEMS posted!

Also I will be hosting "A ROYAL GIVEAWAY" starting today April 21st ~ All you need to do is leave a comment telling me:

Whether you are already married and had your chance to do your wedding all over again, planning a wedding or dreaming of your big day ~ what Colors, Theme & Style would you choose AND Where would you have your wedding?
And...for All The Single Ladies out there feel free to leave a comment about a party theme you might throw for yourself!

I will choose 1 winner at random from each category!

Category #1: The Royal Do Over (for those already married)
Category #2: The Royal Plan (for those in the stages of planning their big day)
Category #3: The Royal Dream (for those who aren't engaged or married yet but dream of it happening to them)
Category #4: The Royal Queen (for the happy single gals out there that wouldn't dream about getting married)

ALSO in your comment please include which Category applies to you and the Date of your Anniversary or Future Wedding & the Names of the two lovebirds or if you are a single your name or nickname! I will be making each winner something special. Please know these items may take a while for me to complete and I will list them as a RESERVED LISTING in my Etsy shop for you to pick up at your convenience for Free of course!

Thanks everyone! Have a "royally" great day!...okay enough of the royal thing I just couldn't help myself,

PS Winners will be announced sometime on Saturday April 30th!
Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed : )

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A New Little Pincushion Set to Share With All of You!

Remember last week when I said I Love PARIS in the Springtime?! Well is this enough proof that I do? I finally got this pincushion set complete as of yesterday : ) I really love the shade of green of the latte bowl - it's kind of a mix of olive green meets lime green! Very pretty and it pops with the pink accents. This is the very first parasol/umbrella I have sculpted so that was kind of fun. The little pink rose is to represent "April Showers Bring May Flowers" and of course I had to included a box of "EAT ME" chocolates too. When I visited Paris I think I ate chocolate every day and croissants filled with chopped up chocolate, warmed and buttery....mmmm....I can almost taste it! The little red heart has a teeny tiny PARIS banner across it, lightly glittered so it sparkles whilst you sew!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easy Ice Box Strawberry Cream Cake

This is such a cool ice box to make because it's cute, retro and super duper easy!
I made this recipe up a few years ago and always get so many good complements on it so I wanted to share with all of you.

What you'll need:
1 box yellow cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines) + eggs, oil, water
1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip (thawed)
1 basket of strawberries
1 small box of vanilla instant pudding + milk

If you hit the sales just right you can usually make this dessert for about $5.00 : ) And it serves 12 people.

Bake the yellow cake according to package directions - use a 13 X 9 lasagna pan for the best results.
My oven bakes a yellow cake mix perfectly in 35 minutes - don't over bake if you can help it. Cool on wire rack in pan for about an hour and then turn out on wire rack to complete cooling.
While cake is baking make your vanilla pudding according to package directions (use "Pie" directions which calls for less milk) - chill in fridge until cake has completely cooled. Wash and slice your strawberries (keeping each strawberry together after slicing) - put back in fridge.
Once it's cooled you can cut the cake in half. Now split each cake into two by slicing through horizontally. What you are trying to accomplish here is making four layers to stack on top of one another.Lay your first layer down on a pretty plate and then divide your vanilla pudding into 3rds. spread pudding onto first layer, then add a cake layer and repeat. You should have 4 cake layers with pudding in between each layer. You might need to secure your cake with tall toothpicks or skewers since this baby is kind of tall.What I do now is trim each side by slicing down to make the sides pretty and even. Evenly spread Cool whip over the entire cake and sides. One whole tub tends to be just a little too much "frosting" so I usually have about 1/4 c. left over. The last step is to decorate the top and sides of your cake with sliced strawberries! Be creative and get fancy with your designs if you want to! I usually use almost a whole basket of berries and that's good news if you do because if you have kids or a hungry husband who can't wait to dig in you can always give them the left over cool whip , cake ends and berries to tie them over until the cake is done chilling. That's read correctly, now it's time to chill! I put a loose layer of plastic wrap over the cake and pop in the fridge. I think this is what makes this cake super fabulous is the resting period. I love to let it sit a day before digging in but if you can't wait an entire day I understand...but at least wait a couple of hours. It's best served straight out of the fridge with a nice big glass of cold milk! MMMMMMmmmmmmm Yum!Enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fairytale Sweets - is to die for!

My friend Cat has the cutest Etsy shop Fairytale Sweets! She makes the most delicious caramels with real French sea salt! I hope you'll go check out her shop especially if you know someone who loves decadent home made confections. She put so much love into all she makes and the packaging is downright adorable!
I wish I could find the words to describe what it's like to bite into one of these little babies! Here let me try.....first of all the waxed paper she uses is so charming and makes it so the caramels don't stick. I like that a lot! The caramels themselves are the perfect sweetness and the perfect texture ~ soft and chewy : ) But I think what I like most is the French sea salt she uses ~ WOW is all I have to say! All in all a wonderful treat! I want more!
Here's what the caramels look like once you unwrap them from the brown paper!
The little package of royal icing flowers is so cute too ~ perfect for quick cupcake decorating which I know I will get plenty of use out of!
Cat has another Etsy shop too CatherineRajeeve which is dedicated to "Yard Sale/ Garage Sale items since she is moving soon. Her prices are great and I'm pretty sure she will be adding more stuff soon! Look at this big ball of seam binding I received!
I hope everyone has a lovely day today ~ my hubby's coming home for the weekend so I am so excited to see him! It's been way too long.......

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hexie Pincushion

Okay don't laugh.....this was my first try at Hexies. Since my sewing machine broke I have succumbed to hand stitching projects right now. This little pincushion was "UBER" time consuming and I'm not happy with how she turned out : ( I'm really sad about all of my tiny stitches showing on the top. If you can see through the blurred photo I actually disliked it so much I ran embroidery floss over each side of each hexie to help disguise my stitches! I'm keeping this one for myself as I'm too embarrassed to give it away.
I followed the paper piecing package directions to the "T" and even watched a tutorial on youtube, basted each one and tried not to sew through the paper when stitching the hexies to each other and still this happened. Does anyone have any good links to share with me, tutorials etc? Granted these hexies are very small (1/2 inch sides) ~ perhaps the larger ones are little easier to deal with? Help!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easy Banana Cake with Coconut Sauce

I found these cute dishes at Target during the holidays a couple of years ago and the aqua napkin came from Target too ~ I did however paint the cherries and daisies on it.
So this is one of those recipes I have experimented with so many times I've lost track. It's very forgiving and allows for low fat substitutions! I'll tell you what I did this time rather than explain the original recipe that is so loaded with butter and cream cheese I would never want to make it because I would have to spend a life time on a treadmill as to not feel guilty!
I'm somewhat of a careless baker and measure very quickly and never take time to do a bunch of steps especially when pressed for time. I threw all of the ingredients into my KitchenAid all at once! I know some of you are probably gasping that I would do such a thing but this cake turns out so good all of the time so no worries!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 9 inch square pan ~ I like to use Bakers Joy spray ~ so easy and fast
Add all of this to your mixture:
3/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. canola oil (sometimes I use olive oil)
1 1/2 c. flour + 1/4 c. more if it's a little too runny at the end
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 c. packed brown sugar (you can use a little less if you want to) I usually determine this by what my bananas are like. In a perfect world I love to bake banana bread/cake 10 days after purchasing them from the store - they seem to be the perfect sweetness and I can then lower the amount of brown sugar to 1/2 c instead of 3/4 c.
1 large egg ( I love free range High in Omega eggs ~ so good for you)
3 well ripened bananas mashed
1/4 c. vanilla or plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
whatever nuts you have on hand is always good to throw in (today I used pecan halves - maybe about 1/2 of a cup)
Okay....turn your mixer on and see what it looks this point if it's looking a bit too runny add your other 1/4 c. flour ( I use whole wheat if I have it on hand).
Beat all of these ingredients for about 1 minute - scrape down the sides and beat another minute on Medium speed. Pour into your prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes depending on your oven. I'd check after 30 minutes to make sure it's not too done. Poke with a cake tester a if it comes out clean it still might need a few more minutes! Today mine came out clean so I took it out of the oven but as it turns out it needed just a couple more! Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before turning out onto wire rack. Meanwhile start your sauce. I say sauce instead of frosting because I like to keep the cake separate from the sauce so it doesn't get all mushy. Then the two flavors are very distinct to themselves. The cake tastes like banana and the sauce tastes like a pina colada.
Time to make the sauce:
I had about 1 T. of whipped cream cheese left in the fridge so I threw that in the mixer
2 T. vanilla or plain yogurt
3 T. of softened salted butter
2/3 c. powdered sugar
3 T. canned cream of coconut ( I love Coco Lopez - I get it at Wal-Mart - it's cheap and is excellent in smoothies too). Make sure to mix it really good before adding it to the rest of your ingredients (it settles in the can).
1 t. Rum ( I like Bacardi Gold)
1/3 c. flaked coconut
Mix all of this until the butter is nice and smooth. It will be pretty runny. I like to chill mine in the fridge while the cake is cooling. Once your cake is cool to the touch you can now slice it however you'd like and spoon the delicious coconut sauce on top and add a little more flaked coconut too if desired.
That's it all done!! This cake freezes wonderfully and the sauce keeps very nice for a few days in the fridge - it too can be frozen. Just remember to keep the two separate : )
Here's what the can of Coco Lopez looks like of you are wondering!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Love Paris in the Springtime!

A little "Paris Love" is coming to the shop very soon ~ I'm hoping by the end of the week! I thought I would include one of my favorite Frank Sinatra songs just to get in the mood ~ Enjoy!

Here's a sneak peek at the cute Japanese fabric I'm making the pincushion out of! I love the little hat box and the heart shaped purse - soooo cute! Her brown and white polka dotted tights are darling don't you think?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Sewing Machine Bessie is Going to Heaven + Quilting Projects #5 #6 & #7

Hello everyone~

Well it's official ...Gigi needs a new sewing machine (I speak in the third person because then it makes me feel like this isn't really happening to me right now). I think I have ran Bessie into the ground : ( Poor Bessie needs to go to Sewing Machine Heaven right about now. I have trouble shooted my way through the manual and there's no making sense of why my tension control won't respond : ( I've tried everything! Grrr.....I guess it has lasted me 16 years but for the amount of money I paid I was figuring on a good 25 years out of her. I'd love to hear some comments on what machines you all use and how you like them ~ I'm shopping for one very soon!
Before she pooped out on me I did manage to finish up a few more projects. First Up: Strawberry Jam Mug Rug
I also made a fun aqua, red and white Peppermint Love Mug Rug (actually this is the first mug rug I have ever made and the strawberry one was next).
Last but not least I have a friend who's due with her forth child in a few days. This will be the first boy so all of us are very excited - especially the proud Poppa to be! Their whole family is sock monkey crazy ~ do you think they'll like it??

I am really enjoying quilting and know I will especially like it when I have the proper machine. I have done all 7 projects so far without a quilting foot! I've been using a satin stitch foot instead - not the easiest to maneuver that's for sure!
Say a prayer for Bessie : )

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life's Interruptions Can Make for an Interesting Week!

....So tell me what would you do if these 2 cuties showed up at your front door? Would you turn them away? Or.....would you give them bathes and feed them and play with them? I can tell you this......I didn't turn them away that's for sure! First thing we did was get them into the tub and scrub a dub dub for about an hour. They were both full of stickers, foxtails, puncture vine and dirt...lots of dirt.
I have rescued wandering animals before so I figured I'd do it again and I'm so glad because this story has a happy ending! They showed up on Sunday afternoon and were very friendly so I didn't hesitate in lending a helping hand. After bathes I cooked them up some real chicken, rice and steamed brussel sprouts and they chowed down pretty quickly. I could tell immediately that they came from a loving home as they weren't skiddish or scared of me - this was a huge relief because of the huge "abandoned animal problem" in the town where I live : ( It breaks my heart that there are some people out there that leave their animals to die in the desert. Animal cruelty needs to be a felony that's all there is to it!
Anyway, my little pup Bruiser was very excited to have house guests! All three played for hours and wore each other out which meant a good night sleep for all of us. But now what to do? Hmmm....I was very reluctant to call Animal Control due to the overflowing population of dogs and cats they have there at the rescue. I have heard through the grapevine that any animal that comes in, unclaimed will be put to sleep within 10 days so taking them there was out of the question. Neither of them had a collar or tags so this was a real life Nancy Drew kind of mystery on where they came from. I figured that taking on two more dogs would be very challenging but that it had to be done if worse came to worse. Hubby was supportive of my decision but made it pretty clear that traveling this Summer would be difficult with 3 dogs instead of 1! Yes very true but still we made the decision to keep them if we didn't get a response on Craigslist. So now it's been 2 1/2 days with no's looking more and more likely they've adopted me! I'm happy about this as they have melted my heart into a puddle at this point! Plus Bruiser has been having way too much fun wrestling and cuddling for naps. Well guess what? This morning I had a response to my FOUND DOGS post and it turns out they live only 2 doors down but on the next street over! Great news! Their owner, Carla came over today to pick them up and she about burst into tears when she saw them. it was really sweet. She came to my door with a huge bouquet of flowers and a card too which was so nice of her. We chatted for a couple of hours while the doggies played together and we even made a lunch date for next Wednesday!
It turns out that Gordo (the terrier mix) loves to dig under the fence and that's how those turkeys escaped! Mia the Malti-poo isn't a digger but she is free spirited and likes to explore. I'm just relieved that this story has a happy ending! Plus I made a new friend here in my new town and Bruiser has 2 friends too! All in all a good week here in the desert : )