sewing

Bohemian Baby Doll Dresses for my Little Girls

I made my two little girls Bohemian Baby Doll Dresses using the pattern from Elegance & Elephants. http://eandepatterns.bigcartel.com/product/bohemian-babydoll-pdf-pattern They turned out super cute! Fifi wanted to sleep in hers 🙂  She also wants to wear it again today, but I need to wash it because she spilled a little bit of food on the bodice last night.. I told her she can wear it around for the morning but in a bit when we get ready to go out she’ll have to take it off so it can get cleaned.. I plan on making a bunch more for both girls in different fabrics.  I have a few fabrics in the wash and dryer (forgot to do that last time I washed a bunch of fabric) and I have some more fabric that I just ordered specifically to make this dress.  It is so precious.  Perfect sweet and innocent dress for a young girl.  I really do love it.

My pretty little girls in their new dresses

My pretty little girls in their new dresses

I subscribe to the Oliver & S blog posts.  The other day I got an email from them where people guest post about what their favorite Oliver & S pattern is.  Well, it happened to be from a blog I never heard of before, (not that I have head of them all!) but she had some really cute photos of a pattern I had so I wanted to check it out.. http://hungiegungie.com I was browsing through her posts while the kids were sleeping, she and her sister make so many cute things!  I came across this one post and I absolutely fell in love with the dress!  As much as one can fall in love with a clothing pattern and fabric 😉  http://hungiegungie.com/2014/07/30/swiss-dot-babydoll/  then I saw this one!  http://hungiegungie.com/2015/04/08/bird-dress/  so, so pretty..  I checked out her etsy and asked her a few questions then decided I would just buy the pattern… and as luck may have it I was looking online at fabric and found the same bird print, so I ordered some to make the girls matching dresses.. But in the meantime I was itching to try the pattern out.. So I got some fabric from my stash and sewed up some little pretties for the girls.  I used Spring Hare by Lewis & Irene and the pink is another fabric from that line.  I bought them at my local fabric store, Fabrics Plus, when they were having a 30% off sale recently.  I lined the inside of the bodice and flutter sleeves with just a plain white cotton.  It’s probably Kona, which also bought at that store.

two sweeties in their new dresses

two sweeties in their new dresses

They came together pretty easily.  I had a difficult time with the little flutter sleeves and the lining on the first dress.  I did Little Biscuits first.  She is in a size 2 so all the pieces are small! I did a straight size 2 for her in the bodice and skirt.  I did the first sleeve the way the instructions called for and it was a pain in the butt!  So the next sleeve I decided to do the other method recommended which was so much easier!  There is a link on the instructions once you buy and download the pattern.  There is also a video here https://vimeo.com/48015148 that shows how to do it.. It was nice being able to see and read what I was supposed to be doing. The internet is such a great resource!  Especially since I don’t have a large community of mama’s and grandmas who pass down all their sewing knowledge!  The second sleeve came together like a breeze and then Fifi’s dress was completed in about half the time.  There are only 6 pattern pieces so it isn’t a difficult one to figure out.  I had cut all the pieces out for both dresses at once.

Little Biscuit modeling her new dress Mama made

Little Biscuit modeling her new dress Mama made

So, once I finished Little Biscuits dress I took a break to eat something and got started on Angel Pies.  For hers, I did a size 6 bodice with a size 7 skirt.  She’s thin and lanky so I wanted to make sure it would be long enough.

My Angel Pie in her new dress Mama made for her.. and Miss O's sock on the stairs

My Angel Pie in her new dress Mama made for her.. and Miss O’s sock on the stairs

They are both happy girls!  And I’m happy they turned out so cute.  I know the print is very Spring-ish but I’m thinking as long as they want to and can fit they can wear it whenever.. In the Autumn and Winter we can just add a long sleeve tee underneath or a sweater, and some leggings or long socks.  Can’t wait to make some more.. but first I have an embroidery to finish up and get shipped out to a customer 😉

Pretty Miss O with little baby Biscuit

Pretty Miss O with little baby Biscuit taking selfies as usual!

My 3 little Rice Crackers.. Little Salamander wanted to be in a photo too since his sisters were!

My 3 little Rice Crackers.. Little Salamander wanted to be in a photo too since his sisters were!  Love his little squinty eyed smile.. looks like it’s almost time for a haircut!

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recipes

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Saturdays ago ended up being my last weekend of the 2015 season at the Anacortes Farmer’s Market.  The heat was really wearing me down with this pregnancy.  Each Saturday I would come home exhausted and feeling sick for the rest of the day.  I think in my older age (compared to the first 5 pregnancies of mine) the heat was really kicking my butt!  And it has been uncommonly hot this summer in the Pacific North West!  The last Saturday after market I ended up just laying in bed for the rest of the day!  Not fun.  I had plans on doing 3 more markets but I decided to cancel because I didn’t want to go through that again.  So I may be doing the Holiday Market in November (right now I’m on the wait list, as they are full!) but I may just wait and start back up next spring.  So a big thank you to all who came out this summer and supported local artisans and farmers!  I had a fun, although short, season!

Ok, so I’ve decided to share this most delicious recipe.. It is so, so good!  I said before that I usually always have a Ziploc bag or 2 of frozen cookie dough balls ready to go so when the mood strikes for a delicious home-made cookie it’s only 16 minutes away!  Depending on how big you make your cookie balls you may get up to about 60 cookies from the recipe.  We usually get somewhere between 4 and 5 dozen out of it.  My daughter likes to make the cookies bigger so when she makes them we have less.. I usually try to make them a bit smaller so they last longer!  And as always, use the best possible ingredients you can afford.  I especially recommend not to skimp on the chocolate as that is what makes this cookie the best! One 12 oz. bag each of Ghirardelli Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate Chips.

I got this recipe from my mom.  When I was 17 she used to volunteer at The Lincoln Theatre in downtown Mount Vernon and she got the recipe from them.  I have added a few different ingredients here and there over time to make it more mine.. Not much, but I like playing with things until I get the taste I love.  I really do think the chocolate helps make it extra special.  I’ve had them with other chocolate chips and they just don’t taste as fabulous to me.  But it might be just my tastes too.  I do prefer certain chocolates!

Can you tell I shop at Costco!  The jars in back hold flour, and sugars

Can you tell I shop at Costco! The jars in back hold flour, and sugars

Ingredients

Dry

5 1/2 Cups Flour

1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Salt

A few dashes of Cinnamon

A few grates of fresh Nutmeg

(any other spice you might like to add, such as allspice or about 1 cup of chopped up nuts if desired)

1 12 oz. bag Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks

1 12 oz bag Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Measure the dry ingredients into a large enough mixing bowl.  Stir gently with a fork or whisk.  When I add in the Cinnamon or Nutmeg I don’t usually measure.  I just eyeball it.  Sometimes I’ll add both, sometimes just the Cinnamon, sometimes I’ll throw in some other spicy spice 🙂  Usually I’ll do the spices more toward fall and winter and sometimes omit the spices all together in the warmer months of spring and summer.  It just depends on what I’m in the mood for.

The dry ingredients with just a sprinkling of cinnamon

The dry ingredients with just a sprinkling of cinnamon

Wet

1 pound (4 sticks) Melted Butter

1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar

1 1/2 Regular Sugar (I use organic raw type sugar, it’s less refined than white, not as fine)

1 Tablespoon Vanilla

4 Large Eggs

Getting the butter melted

Getting the butter melted

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan on the stove.  Watch the butter so it doesn’t burn.. You don’t need it hot, just thoroughly melted.  Measure sugars into your mixing bowl (I used a kitchen aid stand mixer with a paddle attachment) and add melted butter.  Mix until the sugars and butter are completely incorporated.  Add in the Vanilla.  I always put a bit more than the recipe calls for because I just love Vanilla!  Add in 1 egg at a time.  After each egg addition mix until incorporated then add the next.  Repeat until all the eggs are mixed in.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix.  If you are using a mixer you want to start the speed off on the lowest setting possible so you don’t get a big puff cloud of flour in your face or all over your kitchen counters.  Once the first addition of flour is just mixed in add more until all the flour in the bowl is gone.  Sometimes when I’m feeling hasty I’ll just empty the whole bowl of dry into the wet and turn the mixer on.  It’s not going to hurt if you add all the flour at once!  Just remember, start at a slow speed no matter how much flour is in the mixer!  After the dry and wet are mixed together you get to add in the chocolate!  My favorite part is taking a taste before the chocolate goes in!  and yes, I know it’s not good to eat raw eggs, and hopefully I will never get salmonella!  When you add the chocolate be careful not to over mix the dough.  One time I mixed it up too much and the paddle broke up a lot of the chocolate chips so my cookies turned into chocolate batter with chocolate chips, or double chocolate chip cookies.  Not that it’s bad, it just wasn’t what I was going for at the time!

Getting the Chocolate chip mixed into the dough

Getting the Chocolate chip mixed into the dough

You will now need to put your dough on your cookie sheet.  But before you do you either need to grease your cookie sheet with some butter, to prevent sticking, or use parchment paper to line the sheets.  I suppose a reusable mat would also work, but I have never tried one of those so I don’t know what the results would be like.  I prefer the parchment paper.  You can buy a roll in the baking section in most grocery stores.  I recently saw that Costco is carrying parchment paper now too!  I use a light color, shiny, aluminum cookie sheet with a slightly raised edge,  I do believe I bought those at Costco too!  Or they may be Nordic Wear.  Either way, I love them!  They also work great for cake rolls and Lemon cream cheese bars.

Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper for even cooking and so the cookies won't stick!

Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper for even cooking and so the cookies won’t stick!

So for now we just use a teaspoon, tablespoon, or a regular eating spoon to measure out the cookie dough.  I would love to get a cookie scoop but I haven’t gotten around to purchasing one yet!  Well, actually I purchased one from Michael’s a couple of months ago, but it was a piece of garbage that ended up breaking the first time we used it!  I do not recommend Duff’s cookie scooper from Michael’s!  Total waste of money.  Vollrath is the brand I will be purchasing (you can do a google search for a seller, http://www.webstaurantstore.com has a large selection and the prices seem pretty low)  they have many different sizes, each size is a different color handle.  I believe that is the brand I used when I worked in a deli kitchen a few years back.  They work great! I think for these cookies I would either use the red handle or the black handle scoop.

Measure a good amount of cookie dough onto your sheet.  You want to try to fit as many cookies as you can on the sheet because you will be freezing these cookies right on the pan.  Once all the dough is scooped out into as even as possible heaps you want to push an indent with your finger right into the center of each cookie.  This will help the cookie to bake more evenly and not have rawish center after the baking time is done.  But, if you like that extra gooeyness then by all means do not push the hole into the center. When my daughter makes the cookies she often forgets this step and they still turn out just fine!  We usually slightly under cook the cookie as well because she likes her cookies really soft and gooey.  You do not need to push the hole all the way to the sheet, but if you do, it will be ok.

The cookie dough divided up and proportioned as evenly as possible waiting for the freezer.  The sheet on the left is already frozen and waiting for the oven!  (See, Miss O forgot to push down the holes!)

The cookie dough divided up and proportioned as evenly as possible waiting for the freezer. The sheet on the left is already frozen and waiting for the oven! (See, Miss O forgot to push down the holes!)

You will probably have more than one cookie sheet of cookie dough so if they both don’t fit into your freezer at one time just put the first pan into the freezer for about 20 minutes then transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag for a more long-term storage.  At that point throw in your other pan of cookie dough so it too can freeze. If you prefer a different brand bag that’s ok, just make sure it is a freezer bag and not a storage bag or your foods can get freezer burn! Your dough doesn’t have to be completely frozen before you put it into the Ziploc bag.  They will finish freezing in the bag.  But you will want them completely frozen before you bake any.  Freezing the dough helps the butter solidify and the cookie retain its shape during baking.  If you just cook the dough right from the mixing bowl your cookies may end up being flat and pretty spread out.  You can also keep the cookies in the freezer for a couple of months to have fresh cookies on hand when you need or want.  As my kids have gotten older our frozen cookie dough doesn’t last longer than 1 or 2 months. Probably closer to 1. Though, when they were littler I could keep cookie dough a lot longer!  I suppose having 5 little mouths instead of 1 or 2 has also helped make the cookies disappear faster than before!

When you are ready to bake you will want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  When the oven is heated put 12 cookie doughs onto the greased or parchment lined sheet in 3 rows of 4 spaced evenly apart.  (see above photo of cookie sheet on the right)  Depending on size is how long you will want to bake them.  We usually start at 16 minutes and go from there.  If they are really small you may want to start at 10 minutes and check the doneness.  If they are really big you may need to go up to 22 minutes!  Just use your judgment.  If you like a more underdone cookie then check them early and often..  Take them out of the oven when they look like how you want them, either light in color or golden brown.. You just want to make sure you’ve baked them long enough that they are set and you will be able to pick them up once cool enough to handle.. It’s not fun when your cookie falls apart in your hand, though it still can be very delicious!

all baked and waiting for some eating!  We pulled them out at 16 minutes so they would be soft set.. Just the way Ophelia loves them!

all baked and waiting for some eating! We pulled them out at 16 minutes so they would be soft set.. Just the way Ophelia loves them!

During the holidays you can swap out the Chocolate Chips for different colored m & m’s.  At Christmas we use red and green; Easter or Spring time gets pastels; Independence Day red, white, and blue; etc.. I still prefer my Ghirardelli chocolate chip over the m & m’s but the m & m’s can be fun too.  Feel free to add chopped up nuts or switch out the chocolate for your favorite brand!  If you want nuts then add them in to the dough when you add the chocolate chips.  This is a great base recipe and a good one to play around with!  Make it your own!

All the photos were taken with my cell phone, so sorry for the not wonderful quality!  Also, I am not affiliated with any links or products in this post,  I just added them for your convenience.  The products I use and love and so therefore definitely recommend!

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