All posts by texlilo

I am a college graduate, wife, and musician. I love to cook and bake.

Squeaking wheel and new fiber

My Kromski has been squeaking a lot this last week and it turns out to be coming from the bar that goes across the treadles, we have tried applying wax with a paper towel however it only works for a few minutes. I have researched and found that other people have had the same problem, and have had to take the treadles off and re lubricate the bar with wax. It appears I will have to take it apart, which scares me to death as I dont want to destroy my spinning wheel. I am still waiting to hear back from Kromski as I have sent them a video and pictures to demonstrate the issues I am having with my wheel.

In the meantime, while we attempted to figure out the main problem and various options I decided to dye all the skiens of yarn I had made, and started crocheting with my home made yarn.

Purple lace weight single from my dyed mini rovings

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Green and Tan Skein

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Teal and cream skein

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Redish orange and purple ( I personally think this last Skein turned out the best spinning and dying wise)

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The company Paradise Fibers that I bought my spinning wheel through does points and I had enough points to buy more fiber, including;聽 Merino, Corrideal, and Sari Silk!

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I am so excited and thrilled with these new fibers. I am waffling on what I should do with the fiber. First and foremost I need my wheel to not squeak when I spin. I also could spin my little roaving’s as practice to try and get a better handle on making the correct gauge. I was thinking of attempting the following weights Fingering, Lace, and or DK. I was debating on spinning for a specific project however the last project I wanted to spin for needed over 2000 yards and I didn’t quite have enough which was frustrating. I guess all I can do is try to spin a specific gauge and if I have enough then that will be the icing on the cake.

Happy Spinning 馃檪

Drop spindle to spinning wheel

I do not know how I got into yarn making and spinning. I believe I wanted to make a particular wrap and it called for a specific yarn. I tried my local Joann’s and Hobby lobby however, they typically sold acrylic yarn, not wool or blend I was looking for. I found the specific yarn by doing a simple search on the internet and it was 40 dollars a skein … I just about had a heart attack… how could one skein of yarn cost 40 dollars?!!! I thought to myself I could make it for cheaper. Yes, all the people who spin and make yarn.. yes I had a rude awakening. I did not realize how much money, time, and effort went into making yarn. I first researched spinning wheels and honestly at the time I did not know if I would like it, and did not want to invest a ton of money into something I may or may not enjoy.

In the end I bought the book “Respect the Spindle” and my husband and I made my first drop spindle. I read half of Abby’s book, and watched a lot of youtube videos before I bought my first roving. I began spinning, and spinning, and spinning… I wasn’t very successful and contemplated using my drop spindle for fire wood. I eventually bought two other spindles, one medium the other one a heavier Indian Rose wood.

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I bought the box kit from England and the blue fiber on my light spindle is from this kit.

I finally was able to start spinning and went from park and draft to suspended spinning with in a few weeks I believe. My favorite to spin on is my

I started spinning a lot and it was aggravating my right shoulder due to it being my dominant arm, previous car accident, and playing musical instruments with repetitive injury.

I had originally planned on waiting until 2018 to buy a spinning wheel, but decided to buy one this year due to the amount of pain I was experiencing with spinning.

I originally wanted聽 either a Kromski or a Lendrum complete …. I researched various wheels, watched a lot of reviews, and read a lot of blogs on how to find the right spinning wheel for me. It was stressful as a lot of the terminology was difficult to grasp. I looked into; Ashford, Lendrom, Spinolution and many others that I can not remember at this time. I ended up buying a Kromski Minstriel with the Jumbo flyer kit. I bought my Kromski Minstreil from Paradise Fibers, and received it within 1 week. I decided to save on money and buy an unfinished wheel and stain it myself (headesk). I’m always trying to save money which usually entails more work on my part. After weeks of working on this wheel with the help of my husband we completed it this week. I have never stained before and there was a steep learning curve. I also have to admit the instructions for assembling the wheel leave a lot to be desired. In the end I spent about about 4 to 5 hours spinning between this Sunday and Monday. I ended up with a nice beginner single approximately 2.1 oz of wool. I am planning on Navajo plying it and then dying it later in the week. Happy spinning 馃檪

My spinning corner

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Spinning wool

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My first single on my Kromski 馃檪

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Half a year…

It has been half a year since I wrote anything on here. Sometimes I wonder if I should shut down this little blog as I have been too busy with life in general. I have been cooking and baking off and on, discovering new crafts such as a kitting board, and spinning yarn. I have also picked up my clarinet again though I highly doubt I will be playing in front of people any time soon. I still have pain in my right arm when I play my clarinet which is very discouraging.

My husband and I have been working on our house and can proudly say after years of blood, sweat, and tears we have finally finished one room in our house!!!

Below are pictures from the past six months from cooking, crafting, and renovations…

In November I made the pumpkin spiced latte cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.

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My new dresser : I am finally not living out of tubs anymore, thanks to my wonderful husband.

My husband and I’s dinner after hunting season

In December

We made our traditional treats for Christmas which took some planning. We had the most fun decorating the house and the new tree.

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I took a few days off of work after the Holidays to help work on the basement. It has taken us nearly 2 years to be able to finish this basement. We finally finished 99 percent of what we wanted to accomplish in March.

St Patrick’s day cup cakes

During that week I was off, I also made a lot of meals and froze portions to make the coming months easier. The dinners only lasted three months, but it made it easier on the days we didnt feel like cooking.

Before

after

Finished

Crochet

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a fall shawl

Crocheted top

I have been working on this top on and off for an entire year. At times I would become so frustrated I would have to put it aside. I am so glad to have it finished and be able to wear it.

A chunky cowel with wt 6 yarn

Crochet necklace and earings ( I still have to buy the hardwear to finish these)

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Working on a knitting loom

I swore up and down that I would figure this darn thing out! My husband bought me a larger loom and a great book that really helped me understand how to cast on and complete stitches.

Spinning and Yarn

This is the first drop spindle my husband and I made. I have now gotten into spinning my own yarn and dying. I am truly enjoying this craft and can not wait to have my Kromski minstril up and running.

Sheep wool

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My first two skeins of yarn

Before dying

After dying

Spinning blue fiber

Crocheted headband that I made from my spun fiber and then dyed

I will post a photo of the Kromski once it is stained and put together. In the meantime happy crafting and baking!

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Birthday dinners

This year’s birthday dinners came from “Pioneer Woman food from my frontier”,
“Annie’s Eats”, and the Ice cream sundae I did a quick search of the internet to find a base recipe.

It took a lot longer and more liquid to cook the rice because I did not have a lid that would fit the skillet I was using. In the end my rice ended up being sticky, and thankfully a hit.

Brian wanted the Pineapple Chicken Quesadilla and the Taquitoes from “Annie’s Eat’s” another favorite of ours. Despite washing my hands frequently I still ended up making my eyes burn and water due to the jalapeno. What I have learned…never touch your eyes if you are going to work with jalapeno.

My husband had asked me what I wanted to make for my birthday and nothing sounded good. He eventually suggested a banana split and I eventually found the his and her burger recipe out of the “Pioneer Womans” cook book. I did wing the recipe a little bit because I didnt have any cream. In the end it was a great dinner for a Sunday and in celebration of Brian and I’s birthdays.

 

Pumpkin pecan baked brie

My husband went to three different stores just to find pastry dough, so I would not have to spend 3 hours making it from scratch. It was a blessing in disguise because come to find out I needed to make pumpkin butter from scratch.

When I saw pumpkin butter in the list of ingredients on this Pinterest recipe, I immediately was reminded of Cinnamon butter, literally cinnamon beaten into butter. Pumpkin butter, however, is not pumpkin beaten into butter.

As I was beating the butter with the pumpkin, with its gloppy yellow orange mess… I thought “is this how it is supposed to look”? I then did a quick search of pumpkin butter recipes. It has absolutely NO butter. I was irritated beyond words. So, I busied my self to make pumpkin butter from scratch with a few changes here and there. It turned out perfect and I was able to finish making the dessert.

The other road block came when opening up the brie. It had a white waxy cover that I was unsure about. Thankfully my husband removed as much as he could, as the wax appears to be in any crevice of the cheese. I tried my best to remove the bits, and prayed that it was digestible.

This recipe can be found on pinterest.

Preheat oven 400 degress

Pull out puff pastry and thaw, roll out, it should be large enough for a round of brie (8 oz). Place one quarter cup of pecans in the middle of the puff pastry, top with one quarter cup pumpkin butter, and then brei, Wrap the dough and seal edges with 1 egg/water mixture, then flip over onto a baking pan that has been sprayed, brush with remainder of egg mixture and decorate with pecans. Bake in oven 400 degrees for 25 min. It was heavenly and very filling.

Cookies, cakes and crafts

I finally finished my third and final wilton course. The course included fondant and gum paste flowers. A lot of work and effort went into these cakes. I have to admit that it would have to be a pretty special cake for me to work with fondant and gum paste again as it takes a lot of work. 

In July we tried out a few new recipes from pinterest, and my pioneer woman’s cookbook. 

My favorite is the Caprese  salad by the Pioneer woman. It took forever to cook down the balsamic vinegar, it stunk up my kitchen, and was oh so worth it. I could eat this every week with the fresh basil and delicious  ripe tomatoes yum! 

These little strawberries stuffed with whipped cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and topped with a blueberry. Alas, you will eat one, then two, and all of a sudden half the plate is gone

I have been obsessed with pinterest and saw some projects of making cookie mix in mason jars. I think it’s a brilliant plan to make some in advance, and be able to whip up a batch quickly and with minimal effort. I did not anticipate running into any issues until I tried baking. 

I utilized a chocolate  chip recipe from Baking Illustrated, and made two jars. I tried making one jar exactly how the recipe said, however the cookies spread and fell apart when picked up. The second time I made the cookies, I creamed the butter, added eggs, and vanilla, and finally folded in the dry ingredients. This did the trick and they baked up well. I utilized an 1/8 cup to make these cookies gigantic and lasted oh 3 to 4 days 馃檪 


In craft news I have made progress on my tank, made and finished my craft bag, and started a fall wrap. 

I was getting bored with the tank and decided to find another craft to start in the wrap to keep my interest as the tank was not fun anymore.

Snickerdoodle Cake

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I blame pinterest for my not so recent baking extravaganza. I saw this snickerdoodle  recipe everyday until I could not put off making this cake. I was only able  to find hazelnut  pirouettes which, despite,  or perhaps due to this, makes this cake phenomenal. I do have a small piece  of  advice…. make a double  batch of  buttercream . .. I ran out. (Facepalm). so  without further ado from the curly girl kitchen blog!

Snickerdoodle Cake

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake:
路         戮 cup (1 陆 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
路         3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
路         1 cup granulated sugar
路         2/3 cup light brown sugar
路         3 eggs
路         2 teaspoons vanilla
路         2 录 cups all-purpose flour
路         戮 teaspoon salt
路         戮 teaspoon baking powder
路         Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
路         录 teaspoon nutmeg
路         1 cup buttermilk

Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

路         2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
路         1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste)
路         4 cups powdered sugar
路         2 tablespoons meringue powder
路         1 tablespoon cinnamon
路         录 teaspoon nutmeg
路         4 tablespoons milk or cream

Garnish:

路         陆 tablespoon cinnamon
路         Pirouette cookies
路         Ribbon

Getting Started:
Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare three 8-inch or 9-inch round pans by spraying the bottoms only with non-stick spray.

Make the Cake:
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugars for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl down and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating for a full minute after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour; mix just until combined.

Divide the batter between the pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out with moist crumbs but not batter.  Set the pans on wire racks, cover loosely with clean kitchen towels, and cool completely before frosting.  (The cake can also be made one day ahead of time; keep fresh and moist by cooling in the pans for one hour, then turning out the warm cakes onto pieces of plastic wrap.  Wrap each cake individually in plastic wrap and assemble/frost/decorate the following day.)

Make the Frosting:
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and vanilla bean seeds/paste for one minute.  In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, cinnamon and nutmeg, then with the mixer on low, add by spoonfuls to the butter until mostly combined.  Add the milk or cream and whip on medium high, scraping the bowl down occasionally, for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy.

Assembly:
Stack the cakes, filling them with a 录 inch thick layer of buttercream between each.  Frost all over with a thin crumb coat of buttercream, then chill for 15 minutes before frosting all over with a final layer of buttercream.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with the cinnamon.  Place the pirouettes (cut in half) all around the side of the cake, and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Yields 15-20 servings
Recipe and Design from Curly Girl Kitchen

The Baking Illustrated Challenge black berry jam cake and the Wilton Buttercream basics

Wilson class 1 …

I have enjoyed learning how to work with butter cream. It can be messy, frustrating, time consuming, and cause physical pain. While I am no where near professional cake decorating, I feel that I have improved a great deal. I am currently taking the second course, and I am signed up for the third. At the end of June I will be able to scratch off another set of goals on my do by 2018 challenge.

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This cake was excellent and turned out to be the perfect cake for my first attempt at decorating with buttercream. The only problem with making cakes is the simple fact my husband and I can not eat an entire cake in 1 week. Thankfully I have family to pawn off baked goods.

Blackberry Jam cake
Baking Illustrated cookbook
1 recipe foolproof sponge cake
1 8 oz jar blackberry jam

I baked, cooled, and placed one cake layer on a cardboard round. Evenly spread the jam over the cake, and then add the second layer, while making sure layers are aligned. I chose to decorate with butter cream, and my theme was my home state Texas.

Update course two went by so quick! I thought I would share my final cake. This was the hardest cake to frost, and I ran into a few issues. The cake was too soft, the frosting too thick, and I had very low frustration tolerance. Thankfully it turned out well.
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I am looking forward to the third and final wilton course …. next update in 5 weeks.

Wilton Decorating Decorating basics and Crafts

I finally signed up for the Wilton Basics class at Joann’s down near the mall in Muskegon. The first two pictures are the cupcakes I practiced on after class. The second set with pink, brown, and green are the ones I did the next day. Its amazing how much you learn after one class. For tomorrows class I am making a Black berry jam cake ( from my baking list), and Ill get to torte/fill, and decorate it in class!

 

I made a crepe recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the art of french cooking. They were fabulous. I believe I found the filling recipe from All recipes online. This recipe was simple to make, and the chilling time is the only barrier we had. I chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour instead of 2. I know I should read recipes prior to actually planning meals, but oh well.

No these are not a sign, and I am not pregnant. I just have been crocheting and decided to make a small project from my baby bootie book. Aren’t these mint Mary Janes just adorable!

Peanut butter truffles

I love finding things on pinterest, which makes me wonder what I did prior to social media. In the end I have found more positives than negatives with pinterest. Which leads me to why I was on the time suck  in the first plqace… my job. I love my new job, and part of why I love my job is my coworkers. They make work fun, creative,  are great at bouncing ideas off of, and let’s be honest if they can deal with my kind of hyper activity  /crazy they are deserve the best coworkers award.  The PT I work with is pretty darn awesome, and I wish she would stay permanently. However, one day she will leave and have more adventures as a traveling PT. So, I thought I would make her a treat specifically  for her … and per her request of anything with chcolate, and peanut butter (insert that one Comercial about Reese peanut butter cups) and voila ….. you get these

Peanut butter and m & m truffles

I bought a candy dipping tool… best investment  ever! They came out so much better than the fork method.

I also feel my presentation of my treats is starting to get to the point where they look nice and even some look cute!

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What my husband  and  I  made ;  a carrot cake with  cream cheese frosting 

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I also bagged some mint hot chcolate mix . I am looking forward to giving these out to my coworkers  tomorrow.

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My favorite  part of all of this was how calm I felt putting all of this together as I suffer from severe anxiety. I truly enjoy making things for others.