January 31, 2012

The Little Things That Brighten My Day

I'm not sure there's anything better than sunlight-colored flowers sitting in the sunlight.


And with the 57 degrees it was here today in New York, 


maybe these little guys will be sprouting up sooner than expected somewhere other than a glass in my room!



What are the little things that brighten your day?


January 29, 2012

Joyeux Anniversaire!

Yesterday was my 27th Birthday. 

I am officially in my late twenties. But I'm not too worried about it. 

As I told my roommates in a moment of tipsy optimism the night before, the reason I love birthdays (and I always have) is because each year of my life is better than the one before, so birthdays represent the end of something great, and the beginning of something even better!

My roommates and me, cramming ourselves into the hallway for a photo.

My roommates and I hosted a fancy little affair at our apartment, with drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and a smattering of all my favorite people in New York. 

I can't think of a better way to have rung in the beginning of my 28th year of life. 

Thank you everyone for being in my life and making it that much more amazing! 





January 15, 2012

Lemon Almond Meltaways

Today in Cambridge it's 9 degrees, but it feels like -6, according to weather.com.

I think it feels like -50, but I'm no meteorologist.

I had these grand plans to go for a run, but after deciding that I didn't want to freeze my lungs, I decided to bake instead.

I've had my eye on a recipe for lemon meltaways, but my mom loves almond cookies, so I decided to to both in one cookie!



Lemon Almond Meltaways
(Adapted from Lemon Meltaways)

Ingredients
1 cup flour

1 cup almond meal
2 Tbls (14g) cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbls (170g) butter, room temp
1 2/3 c confectioners' sugar, (260g) divided
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 2 lemons
1 Tbls pure vanilla extract


Directions

Zest and juice two lemons.







If you don't have almond meal, you can grind almonds in a food processor until they are grainy but not completely powdery. 




In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, almond meal, and salt. Set aside. 



Almond Meal

Flour

Cornstarch


In another bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy. 








Add zest, juice, and vanilla, then beat until fluffy.




Sift half of the dry ingredients over the butter and mix until combined. Sift over the second half and mix until just combined. 






Divide the prepared dough into 2 or 3 parts and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours until thoroughly chilled. Meanwhile, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.




After chilling, roll out one portion of the dough to a thickness of 1/4" - 1/8" on a lightly-floured surface. (Note: I didn't have time to refrigerate it for 2 hours, so I put it in the freezer half an hour and then rolled out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper so that it wouldn't stick). 



Using a small cutter (about 1"), cut out as many rounds as possible and transfer to the lined sheets. Re-roll scraps and place cut-outs in the freezer for at least 1 hour before baking. 





Preheat oven to 350F and place remaining 2/3 c  sugar in a large plastic bag. Bake cookies, spaced 1" apart, until just barely golden, 10-15 minutes. 


Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, 8-10 minutes, then drop the cookies into the sugar-filled bag and shake to coat (Note: I dusted the powdered sugar onto the cookies on a plate).







Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 

Bon Appetit!


A Rainbow of Baby Clothes

I went to Jamaica to visit an old friend of mine who happens to have a 15-month-old daughter and is seven months pregnant with her second, a little boy.

So when I decided to go down to see her, I knew that I would be making baby clothes as gifts for her little munchkins.

I searched the internet for ideas and I decided to make a version of this dress Made By Rae for the girl:

Rainbow Dress

And a version of this little onesie by Crap I've Made for the boy:

Applique Tie Onesie

My mother and I discovered this adorable little quilting shop in Belmont, where I got the perfect fabric for my projects. This is what I came up with, using the same fabric from the Rainbow Dress for the ties on the onesies:







And just for fun, I decided to draft my own design for an applique bow tie, in case he has a particularly fancy night out he needs to dress up for:





The dress I modified a bit, doing five tiers instead of four, for a more even color transition:


I couldn't get the baby to model the onesies, since he hasn't been born yet, and they're much too small for his big sister to put on, but she was kind enough to model the rainbow dress, which she ran around the garden in all evening:


 I knew putting blue at the top would make her blue eyes pop!
The straps were a bit big (she'll grow into it) so we fastened them behind her shoulders with a twist tie, giving her a bit of a Snow White collar look. It was adorable.

Running away!

She even had the perfect shoes to match!

Sewing baby clothes is just too much fun!