Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom Jeri!

Today is Brendon's mom's birthday. We hope you have a "fabulous" day! xoxo!

Oh Baby

I made this little infant dress last night while I was waiting for Bren to get home from work. (Please ignore my makeshift hanger/hand...I really need to invest in a cute little baby hanger so my pictures aren't so darn amateur).

My friend, Jane, challenged me to have five items to put in an Etsy shop by March 1st, so I think this is going to be one of those items. But I am NERVOUS. What if no one buys it? How embarrassing. And I can't figure out how to price it. I want to price it high enough to account for my time and money spent on fabric. But I don't want to price it so high that no one is interested (revert to fear #1).

Hmm. This etsy stuff is more stressful than I thought!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mmmm Mmmm Good!

This is the recipe from Allrecipes.com that I use to make cinnamon rolls. It is so easy, and they turn out perfect every time. I even made the dough the night before, and rolled them up and put them in the fridge. So the next morning all I did was take them out and put them in a warm oven for about 45 minutes to rise, and then baked them. Yum. They were delicious.


1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.


Remember this dress? I finally took a picture of the changes I made to it.

I wore it to church on Sunday. The funny thing is another woman wore the original dress in its un-altered state, and sat two pews in front of me. What are the odds! Ha ha.

Quilt Exchange Kick Off

Saturday morning a bunch of us girls involved in the quilt exchange got together to get things started off right. We all brought our sewing machines, rotary cutters, and our fabric and got to cutting our quilt squares. A lot of us hadn't met before, so it was great to be able to put faces to names. It was also great to meet other women who are as fabric obsessed as I am!
Julie, Me, Melissa, Jenn, Sarah & Erica Lindi cutting her fabric Melanie & Erica posing with the rotary cutter
The Stevenson sisters...Melissa & Sarah

And of course there was food! We all brought treats. These are the cinnamon rolls I brought, that thankfully turned out delicious (I always get nervous bringing treats for others). I'll share the recipe in another post.
Erica and I are so proud of our finished squares.

I had a productive day! I finished 15 squares. Only 5 more to go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ramblings About Embroidery

One of the crafty blogs I love to check, All Dressed In Blue, had a post about these cute emroidery patterns from Sublime Stitching. I have been thinking lately that I need to get into emroidery. I think I would love it. Here are the cute patterns I'd love to buy (don't worry honey, they're cheap).
Don't you think these would be so cute on a little boy's pillowcase (with the exception of the sexy cowgirl of course!). Stupid sexy cowgirl - who do you think you are?! He he.
Love these. But what to do with them?? Mmmm...look at the size of that rock! If I embroidered them on my future daughter's pillowcase she may never be satisfied with a ring under 5 carats.
Maybe these would be better for my future daughter's pillowcase. They're sweet. Just like my future daughter will be. My future daughter will never throw a tantrum in public or disobey me. Joking. But my sister-in-law loves to tease my brother ... because that's what he thought before they had my it's-my-party-and-I'll-cry-if-I-want-to niece. She's a riot!
I really don't know what I'd do with these ones. That doesn't stop me from wanting them though. Oh! I have a great idea! It just came to me now. What about luggage tags? I like that idea. I think I'll put this one in my cart too.

These would be perfect for next Christmas. Ornaments. Or tea towels. Or a treet skirt. Oh the possibilities.
And I just have to have these. Have to! Someone think of a great idea for me to use these on so I can justify their purchase. Thanks. I owe you one! Now if you could just convince my loving husband that my list of hobbies and projects is not fifty projects too long, and that I really do need to learn to embroider so that I can live a more fulfilling life that would be great.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Monkey'n Around

Here's a baby quilt I finished this weekend. I started it last year, and then I decided I didn't like it well enough to finish it. When I pulled it out again recently I decided I actually liked it a lot so I put a backing on it, and did the hand stitched binding in the car on the drive to NYC this weekend. Funny how when you put something away for a few months and then pull it back out you can change your opinion. Absense makes the heart grow fonder. Ha ha!

Love Those 3 Day Weekends!

Brendon and I woke up early Saturday morning to drive to NYC. Thankfully there was no traffic and we made it in record time! What better way to start the weekend?!
Saturday we stopped in to see my cousins before we hit Manhattan, then we just wandered Times Square a little trying to decide which Broadway show to see. TKTS didn't have anything we were too thrilled about, so we bought standing room only tickets for Grease. What a trooper Brendon is to stand all the way through the two hours of a musical. I think he must really love me or something. :) Anyway, Grease was great, of course! And the benefit of standing room only tickets is that you can totally boogie while watching and no one even knows! :)

Sunday we were sort of lazy and laid back, and after lots of lounging in our comfy hotel bed we headed to Soho for some shopping. Brendon helped me find Purl Soho...it's a fabric store that I order online from all the time...but I wanted to see it in the flesh. It was adorable! Floor to ceiling fabrics in a tiny little store.

The concierge at our hotel recommended we try to eat at Balthazar, but he also wished us good luck, as aparently it is a pretty trendy hard to get into place. We lucked out and we didn't even have to wait to be seated. The food was delicious and I would absolutely recommend it to any French-food-lovers in NYC. And don't forget to order dessert, because the Tarte du Jour (plum & blackberry the day we were there) with white chocolate ice cream was perfect. To end our lazy day we went back to the hotel and watched a movie.
Monday we did the Statue of Liberty tour. We took the ferry over to Liberty Island and went inside the base of the Statue. Then we took the ferry to Ellis Island and saw the museum there. Our feet and legs were so tired by the end of that adventure!! We squeezed in a quick trip to Chinatown to look for purses before we got on the road, and then we drove back to DC. The weekends go by too fast...even when they are three days.

Thanks, Bren, for my Valentine's weekend.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Little Valentine's Spontaneity

Even though my poor hubby had to work until 10:30 Valentine's evening, that didn't dampen his romanticism. He planned a weekend getaway for us to NYC. Surprisingly, in all of the times I've been to NYC I've never made a trip out to the Statue of Liberty, so Brendon got tickets for that.
I'm also hoping to sneak in a Broadway show, a fun dinner, and maybe a visit to the Manhattan Temple.

Hair Help

I have long been a dry shampoo aficianado. I really try not to wash my hair daily, as the recommendation goes - but sometimes those darn roots can get a little bit oily.
Imagine my surprise when my three favorite favorite magazines (Lucky, Glamour, & Shape) all mentioned the benefits of dry shampoo (now I don't have to feel like an old folk's home resident anymore). Dry shampoo not only does the obvious (eliminates oil on dirty hair), but it also provides some texture and volume to clean hair. Because everyone knows clean hair is not very cooperative.
In Glamour magazine, Gisele's (yep...that Gisele) hairdresser says, "I sprinkle dry shampoo on her roots and shake her hair all around" to get that tousled bed head look. Shape magazine had an article dedicated to great hair tips and tricks and they also recommended adding density to fine, thin hair by sprinkling on some dry shampoo.
I might use my Sephora gift certificate to buy this dry shampoo from Ojon. Aparently it smells like coconut and vanilla, and got great reviews on its ability to boost volume and rid hair of oil.
You can also buy the colored dry hair powder from bumble & bumble. Shape magazine recommends this dry shampoo from Klorane. Or there's always the classic Pssssst that's easy on the pocketbook.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Building Blocks

Yesterday my sample of white fabric came in the mail, so I tested it out by making my first blocks for the quilt exchange. Now I'm 1/10 of the way done...only 18 more to go :)

Happy Day of Love

A couple of my girlfriends and I got together last night to make Valentine sugar cookies. We each ate like 50 cookies and repeatedly licked the frosting off our fingers. But other than the damage to our waistlines it was a fabulous night! Happy Valentine's Day!! xoxo

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another Reason to Look Forward to Spring

Now that the blasted writers strike is over, my favorite mindlessly-entertaining-and-oh-so-aesthetically-pleasing show, Gossip Girl, is shooting new episodes that will air in April/May/June. Pair that with the fact that we're having ice/snow storms in DC and I can't wait for Spring!!

Bargain Shopper

Bren and I went outlet shopping this weekend for a few hours. At Nordstrom Rack I found this BCBG dress in chocolate brown silk for $24.99 marked down from $258.00! Of course I had to buy it, even though it was at least 3 inches too short and I don't like the kimono sleeve look on me. Last night I got out my sewing machine and seam ripper and went to work. I let down the hem, which thankfully gave me lots of inches and I recreated the hem at knee length. I also trimmed a few inches off the sleeves and made a simple gathered cap sleeve rather than the kimono sleeves. I'll try to take pictures of it soon so you can see the changes, but I'm pretty thrilled with my bargain score.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Redneck Girl Likes to Drive in Daddy's Pickup Truck

Bren and I test drove one of these this weekend.

Hey, a girl can dream.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Mi Piace

I'm in love with this wall decal. I can imagine it on a pale pink wall...so luxe!


This was the dessert I made for Enrichment last night (the theme was "Chocolate Night"). It turned out quite delicious, and it was so simple:
Make a brownie mix and after it cools cut it up into little pieces. In a trifle bowl, layer brownie pieces, chocolate pudding, cool whip, and crushed toffee candy bars. Repeat. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Quilt Exchange

I've been threatening to do this for a long time. No time like the present! I've organized a quilt exchange.

We're going with the fabric line "Flea Market Fancy" by Denyse Schmidt. It's vintage and modern at the same time. Here are a few of the fabric choices:

This is the fabric I am using for my blocks:
We're going to do a pinwheel pattern with every quilt block using one Denyse Schmidt print and white. So there will be a lot of white in the quilt - I have wanted to make a white quilt forever.

We still have room for more people. Email me at tarynmerkley@gmail.com if you are interested in joining our quilt exchange.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Adventures in Running

Yesterday was AMAZING weather in Arlington, and it gave me the motivation to go running. I didn’t even need my jacket… it was so great. I was running and smiling to myself about the great weather, when about a mile into my run I passed a truck of men that hooted and cat-called. I gave them the most disgusted look I could muster and kept running.

When I got to the end of the block I realized one of the men had come running after me. He was a big man, with long dreadlocks, and he reeked of marijuana. He ran ahead of me and turned around to run backwards so he was facing me. I stopped in surprise, but then decided I didn’t want to stop lest he think I would talk to him, so I kept running. Unfortunately so did he. I tried to ignore him, but that’s much easier said than done when there’s a huge man running in front of you on a narrow sidewalk.

Huge dirty stinky man said, “Whatcha listening to?”
Me: “Country music” (while trying to position my hand so as to make my wedding ring as visible as possible).
HDSM: “Oh really, who?”
Me: “Oh, I can’t remember”
HDSM: “You can’t remember who? Well, what’s the song?”
Me: “Oh, I don’t know” (thinking “AS IF you know country music!!)

(…we’re on block 2 now…)

HDSM: “What’s wrong? Doesn’t anyone ever run with you?”
Me: “No, I like to run alone”.
HDSM: “Why? Because you’re so dang fast?”
Me: “No, I’m not that fast”.

(…block 3…)

HDSM: “Then why?”
Me: “Because it’s weird. You’re weird. This is weird.”
HDSM: “Well, you run good.”
Me: “No, not really.”

(…4 blocks! Awkward!)

HDSM: “And you LOOK good.”
Me: “Um, no I don’t.”
HDSM: “Yes, yes you do”.

And with that, thankfully he stopped running with me. Maybe I need to switch to running in sweatpants and baggy shirts. I don’t think these seedy men that loiter around 7-Eleven can appropriately handle spandex running gear.