Babycakes Mini Muffins

Babycake Mini Muffins
For Christmas this year Bella asked for an Easy Bake Oven, with her Gluten allergy, I felt like the oven would be disappointing. One day during the last month we found ourselves at the JC Penny Store, we walked through the Home Appliance section and on one of the the end caps was this cute PINK Babycakes Mini Muffin maker. It is cheesy, and yet another appliance that will be stored under the cabinet or left on the counter to get in the way. The basic idea is that it has 8 wells to pour batter into and then is closes to create perfect round top muffins. Little Bit LOVED it, so Grandma went on the sly and got one for her. The recipe book that comes with it is not so helpful, all gluten recipes. Our first attempt we used a gluten free chocolate cake mix, it worked great. There was too much batter, we (I) made four batches, that does not seem like much but each batch takes 9 minutes and my helper lost interest after the first batch.

So this morning I sat down to create a gluten free recipe that would make about 2 batches, which is perfect cause the first batch get gobbled up as soon as it is cool enough to eat and than the next batch is ready by the time you have eaten the first.
Babycake Mini Muffins
Gluten Free Babycakes Fruit Muffins
Makes Approx 16 mini muffins

1 Egg
1/3 - 3/4 cup rice milk (start with 1/3 cup add more if needed after mixing in dry ingredients for good pouring consistency)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Frozen banana thawed and mashed or 1/2 cup Apple Sauce or 1/2 cup Fruit Preserves
6 shakes of Cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar (if you used perserves you may not need any additional sugar)
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix (this is what we had on hand, the mix is good cause it already has Baking Soda and Xanthan Gum in it)

Whisk together all of the liquid ingredients before adding dry ingredients (start with 1/3 cup  milk add more if needed after you finish mixing in the dry ingredients to create a  good pourable consistency or to extend the batter to get 2 batches).

Babycake Mini Muffins
Use spray oil on the muffin maker, the machine is non stick, our first batch stuck a little. We use a half cup measuring cup to pour the batter into the wells. DO NOT OVER FILL, the lid will come down and make a super big mess. I try to get A to under fill.We are still practicing.
Babycake Mini Muffins

Close the lid and set a timer for 9 minutes. Check to make sure they are done, Carefully use a spoon to remove the muffin, both the muffins and the maker are HOT.

Spray the oil on the maker and refill for another batch. Gobble down the first batch.

Go off and play, expect mommy to finish up.

In my experience, Gluten Free breads are good for the first day, then they get weird, moist gooey or super dry. So the Babycakes may be wonderful, it is easy to wipe down and it makes just enough to enjoy with no leftovers.
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Yum Yum Yummy

I am not a baker, my sole purpose in the kitchen is to make coffee. Yesterday I decided I needed to step to it if I wanted any Gluten Free, Lactose Free yummy treats for the holiday.

Yummy Food


Thanks to Dot at Food Whirl's twitter messages there was an amazing cookies recipe, originally posted at Delicious Delicious Delicious. The Chocolate, Cinnamon and Peanut Butter Cookies  recipe is NOT gluten free,  I subbed in Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour and dark chocolate chunks. The dough was super stiff and did not bubble up and melt flat like wheat cookies. Next batch I will probably add an extra egg and more baking soda. If I have it in the fridge I will add some Xanthan Gum, which is supposed to help make gluten free flour less absorbent or something (it is in all the GF bread recipes). The cookies taste great and look good but they are a bit heavy.

Yummy Food


PIE!

What is a holiday without Pie! My children informed me that they prefer Pumpkin Pie to Pecan Pie. FOOLS! I made both.

I used a the Gluten Free ready made crust from Whole Foods, these crusts are not dairy free. The crusts have butter, which does not seem to bother my daughter (butter should have very little lactose if properly made), very good cause I am no crust maker.

Dairy Free Pecan Pie recipe came from Dairy Free Cooking, this recipe does not use corn syrup, just brown sugar. Pick you poison I guess. My mom gave us whole pecans in our holiday gift bag, so Arabella took the time to make mandala style designs on the top of the pecan pie. I followed the recipe, the only sub I made was to use tinned Coconut milk for the soy milk and the margarine and GF Flour. The top of the pie crusted beautifully before the middle was done, I hovered a bit to make sure the crust did not burn.

Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie recipe came from Food.com. This is a pretty basic recipe, I subbed in tinned Coconut Milk for the liquid part. I think it could use a bit more sugar, it almost taste healthy and maybe more spice. The crust did get a little too brown by the time the center was done, I should have lowered the temp to 350, I think 400 was too hot.

Yummy Food

Hopefully there will be pie to bring to my dad's house tomorrow, last night we had pie for dinner. PIE is healthy, I went through a dozen eggs yesterday and nuts and coconut milk and beta carotene. All very good for you. Hubby asked if we had any veggies yesterday, only if baked beans count. Yeah for the holidays and yeah for yummy food.

Going to the Birds

Felt Bird Experiment


Okay I am moving on, this holiday season feels pretty over, at least from a making standpoint. I need to think about spring and what is better than birds and birdhouses. So to that end, I started searching for patterns of plush birds I could fiddle with and make my very own. I found a lot of patterns for flat birds (no gussets) and some folks who are making 3 -D birds and the Spool bird pattern.

So I just started with a traditional shaped bird, slopey back and tummy added a gut gusset and a head gusset. Kinda liked them, my cat LOVED them, which is why they are covered in hair and other gunk. I thought they needed a tail. I added a tail to the last one and called it finished, I can't find that one, thanks kitty. They felt more like ornaments for the tree, I think I was still in Christmas mode.

So I made one of the Spool birds and it is too fat, too big and too puffy. I like the one back seam and how the tail was part of the body but ...

Let's modify! I put the pattern on a diet and reduced the overall size, then I significantly changed the tummy gusset and the tail, much sleeker. I added a head gusset but it looked wrong I kept changing the shape of it, still wrong. Finally, hubby suggested I make the head seam "correctly" or on the inside and let the other seams show. I knew I married him for a reason, he makes the hard choices. The inside head gusset made it look like a bird head instead of a bird with a hat on. On the last one I added some legs, that are seriously weird and I need to work on them.

Felt Bird Experiment


Still not sure if this will get past the prototype stage but if you have been looking for some bird tutorial here are a few I looked at:

Here is a very cute mobile and tutorial using the Spool pattern made by Jen at House of Wood.

Retro Mama has an adorable Partridge pattern, just right if you need to make yourself crazy before Saturday.

Here is a cute Robin pattern from Bird's Party

Lunarcy

Lunar Eclipse Silly


What could be more fun than waking your seven year old up for a lunar eclipse on the longest night of the year. Arabella was so game, she understood the concept of solar eclipse, it took a bit to get that it happens to the moon too. We set the alarm for 2 am, we brought out our sleeping bag, pillows and bunches of quilts and made a snuggly bed in the truck. We only saw about 4 glimpses of the moon as it flashed through the cloud cover but that was enough.

We giggled, laughed and make silly jokes that can only be made  at 3 in the morning while you are getting sneaky glances at the moon, snuggled into the bed of your truck with your family. Daddy keep hushing us cause he was afraid we would wake the neighbors, silly daddy the neighbors should be outside with us. I missed our big girl and I hope that my mom took her out to watch the night show.

Lunar Eclipse Silly

Made in America--Kinda



Why is a Jeep Commercial so heartbreaking? I saw this ad and the words made me cry. I don't give a rat's backside about Jeep, they are cashing in on a moment, a realization that as a culture we have lost something.

We all have our soap boxes and I realize mine is a bit shaky. For all of my buy local, support the arts and grow your own foodism--I feel like a hypocrite, in a very big way.

This holiday as I make make make our gifts I realized that even if I am making the final product, many of the components are not made in America (MIA), they are made in China (MIC) or Japan or some other country far away.  Since the ones MIC don't have a disclaimer, they were probably made by children and prisoners.

This leaves me in a quandary, do I abhor all things manufactured outside of the USA? I think I allow myself to temper that thought with the fact that there is not a MIA option. As an artist, crafter, educator and local/online shop owner, I support the making of things. The things I make and sell feed my family, not feeding my family is not an option.

Thinking sucks.

Comedy Of Errors

Magnets 2010

Have you ever had an idea, then bumbled your way through figuring it out, spent way more than you anticipated and yelled at your kids because it was all for them?

That would about sum up the holiday gifts we (I) made (are making) for my daughters' friends and teachers.

Idea!! Magnets are cool but who wants them for just the refrigerator. I want to make a necklace with magnets that kids can swap (cause I am so over silly bandz).

Research: I see it on etsy, looks doable. A lot of folks use bottle caps, those make me nervous they have sharp edges and you fill them with epoxy, yuck! I see that they now have an epoxy style sticker, still sharp edges. My best bud has a 1 inch button maker I can borrow. DONE! Let's order the magnet button supplies (100 is the minimum, we don't have that many friends, we will give multiples) and something that we can make into a pendant.

Reality: I am cheap, I don't want to order bezel pendants, so what else would work? Dog tags out of stainless steel, much less than pendants.

Dear Mommy

To the gifts you keep forever, written by my 9-year-old for her little sister, a gift to me for my birthday.

Handmade Shopping til Dec 24th

Find Sloth Craft Holiday gifts and others crafty artists all month at these amazing locations:

Naked Art
3831 Clairmont Avenue
Birmingham, AL 35222

Monday thru Saturday 10:30 - 7, Sunday noon - 4



Craftland 
235 Westminster Street
Providence RI 02903
Craftland Show is a month-long annual holiday sale in downtown Providence, RI that celebrates all kinds of sparkly handmade objects and the 170 artists who make them.



Atlanta Events 
 


Spruill Gallery
4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road
Wednesday-Saturday, 11am - 5pm





Young Blood Gallery
 636 N Highland Ave. Atlanta, GA 30306

Arts for All Gallery at VSA arts of Georgia
Suite R-1, 57 Forsyth ST NW
Atlanta, GA 303903

Open Every DayNovember 26th - December 30, 2010
Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
 
 

Support the arts,
 purchase one of a kind handmade gifts for the holiday!

Delivering Ornaments

Before I leave for the West Palm Quilt show I have to send out the first batch of my ornaments to galleries. Here is where you can find the exceptionally awesome stuff I make.
Naked Art, Birmingham, AL
They just moved into their new location
3831 Clairmont Avenue
Birmingham, AL 35222

Craftland 
235 Westminster Street
Providence RI 02903
Craftland Show is a month-long annual holiday sale in downtown Providence, RI that celebrates all kinds of sparkly handmade objects and the 170 artists who make them.

Atlanta Events 
Spruill Gallery
Opening Reception: November 18
 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road
Atlanta, Georgia  30338

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Work of Our Hands Artists Market will be held from November 18 – 21 at The Cathedral of St. Philip. This acclaimed show features nearly 90 local and regional artists. Proceeds from the show support the Emmaus House and the Agape Center.

Indie Craft Experience
November 20 + 21 at Ambient Plus, 11am-6pm both days.
The Holiday Shopping Spectacular will be our 11th show and will feature 100 of the best indie crafters from the Southeast and beyond! Can't wait!
Opening Reception: Friday, November 26th - Black Friday - 4 -9 pm  
November 26th - December 30, 2010
Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Young Blood Gallery
 636 N Highland Ave. Atlanta, GA 30306
Gotta Get back to makin' stuff!

Ann Rosener WPA Photographer

  video

Once upon a time I was a photography teacher and I created a bunch of presentation to share with my students. 
Here is some info on Ann Rosener

More images and a bit of info at Shorpy Historic

Ann is not the most famous WPA photographer but she is certainly out there and her images are powerful documents of our country in a time of crisis.

Georgia Quilt Show 2010

Four years into doing shows and I think we created out best booth ever. My other mother, Barbara, insisted that I create a layout for this booth. Two weeks ago we were in Chantilly and I was a wreck, I keep rearranging the fixtures and I was never quite happy.  It took a lot of paper, crumble up and recycled, before I came up with a good open design.
So here is my paper draft:
Layout GQS Booth 
So amazingly enough, it did not fit quite as drawn cause there were poles in the back, which I thought I accounted for and power cord issues BUT!
Here is the finished booth:
Georgia Quilt Show 2010 011
And Another View:
Georgia Quilt Show 2010 015
Wow! it took a long time to build this booth, mostly cause it was so different from our previous booths but I really love it and folks can see all the wonderful patterns and fabric.
Just as an aside, we did cover all the understock and boxes before the customers arrived.
Thanks Mom Barbara for pushing me to build a better booth. And Thanks Georgia Quilt Council and all the amazing folks who stopped in to shop, this was our best show this year!

Odyssey of the Mind Characters

Pippi Longstocking


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde transformation


Oliver! - 'What you starin' at?'

A "Very" Cool Quilt

One of our customers just emailed me some great pictures of a quilt she made using Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric. There are now three lines out by the amazing children's author.
I bought the fabric from you earlier this year and firstly made a cot quilt for a baby grandson. Then I made this larger single bed quilt for 2 year old William. Just wanted to say thanks - the fabric is great quality and easy to sew with. The colour are bright and very effective together.
Although I also bought some of your panels, I decided to make the pictures in this quilt with applique. The appliques are mostly from the Hungry Caterpillar fabric, too. i'll do some with the panels next!
Hungry Catapillar Quilt from Customer

Alison, Thanks for sharing! I love the applique.
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Egg Muffins, Yum!

Thought I would share our favorite breakfast with you! The girls love this and it is fast enough to happen on a school day, requires almost no prep and the leftovers are a hit for snack or another breakfast.



Ingredients:
Organic Free Range Eggs (we use the whole dozen)
Gluten Free Pre Cooked Sausage (We Like Wellshire Maple Pork) or Lunch Meat
Spray oil

Muffin Tin
Fork
Small Bowl, If you don't like eggs with visible yokes.

Prep:
  • Night Before: Pull the sausage out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge.
  • Morning of: If you are using lunch meat or want to add peppers or cheese dice it up into small chunks.



    • Set Oven to 350

Spray your muffin pan with a spray oil. This helps keep the eggs from sticking to the pan and make cleanup a breeze.


Crack one egg and deposit the egg into one muffin compartment (is there a better term for that?). I break the yoke with a folk. If you don't want the yoke to be so evident then crack the egg in a bowl and give it a good mix with the fork first (sometimes the eggs that are more mixed will stick a bit to the muffin pan). That is what I did on the bottom row of eggs.


Slice half of a sausage link in with each egg, gently press down so that the egg covers the link.

OR add whatever good stuff you like with eggs: peppers, cheese, salsa. Press gently into the egg.

Cook at 350˚for approx. 20 minutes. This is a personal decision. The girls like runny eggs so I will occasionally pull it from the oven after 15 minutes. If I know we are eating at home.

Serve up or if you are late for school tell them they can eat them in the car. After the egg muffins are cool, I put them in the fridge for another breakfast or snack.




Why do I love these so much!
  • The pan is usually easy to clean up, more so than my cast iron after making eggs.
  • I can walk away from the eggs once they are in the oven, which makes for a great breakfast that I don't have to hover over. 
  • It is already in serving sized bits. 
  • It is not messy to eat with your hands (if needed). 
  • The girls love it!
  • Oh, and it is a power packed protein meal that sticks a bit better than toast.

Castle Peep Quilt Kits & Summer Camp

For the Knoxville AQS show I made up the Castle Peep Quilt kit from Andover. It was a great hit and I have a few left in all of the colorways. The quilt kit shown in the pattern is in green, but there is also a red-orange-pink color way and a blue colorway. I made more of the green but sold more of the blue, go figure. It only takes about 30 minutes to make and looks super cute.

The kit includes all of the fabric for the 44 x 50 top and binding
  • 1/2 yard of 4874
  • 1/2 yard of 4871
  • 1/2 yard of 4872
  • 1/2 yard of 4875
  • 7/8 yard 4876
  • 1 5/8 yard 4373
I love the Lizzy House designs and this summer she is sponsoring a Castle Peeps Summer Camp with fun downloads and great ideas for her fabric. Run over and visit with her and then hop over to our shop and pick up your supplies so you can make some of the cool project she is sharing.

Izzy and Ivy come to play

Have you heard of the cool children's clothing designer Izzy & Ivy? Well they are one of my new favorites. Their patterns are easy to make, and the go up to size 14, which means I can make an outfit for little bit in size 6 and her big sis in size 14.

We have a bunch of her patterns in stock and we are working on samples of many of them. I will post pictures as soon as they are done.

Avery Olivia Dress

is all about sweet shirring, and girly ruffles.
The middle ruffle is pieced so that you can include all of your favorite fabrics.
This is an easy to sew dress that any girl would love.


 Beverly Bell Top

This was one of our most popular patterns this past week at Knoxville and I am working on a sample right now.

This is a fun Babydoll top....with a twist!
The stripes swirl around the skirt of the shirt.
Jack n Jill Hat

So sweet and can be made for a little boy very easily, our sample is made with the Be a Man fabric. Sized up to a 22 inch head, so can be made for most adults.
Macy Giggles Dress

Easy and breezy as a bright spring day. As refreshing as a child's giggle.
This sundress is cute enough for a party, and comfortable enough for play.You'll love how fast this dress comes together.Make it with or without pockets, and with a thin or wide band on the skirt.

We are also working on a sample of this one. Can't wait to show off the cutie pies in my life wearing clothes made from these adorable patterns.

If you life the Castle Peep fabric from Lizzy House, so does Izzy & Ivy her most recent blog post shows off a redone bedroom for her little one.

Recycling for Christmas


Those of you who make your holiday have already started, right. Since I make holidays for others I started working on our Christmas line back in March. I am prepping aluminum cans to the made into ornaments, earring & bookmarks.

My friends and family save all of their cans, but then I have to cut them down to make space. Usually I don't need thousands of cans but this year I went global and two of my ornaments will be in a VERY BIG CATALOG, which will remain nameless until the print date.

Here is a sneak at the glamorous back side of using recycled cans for creating art:

Once I get them all cut down and washed they head to the basement to be stored or if I still feel like standing for another hour I run them through the accucut. Making 500 items was easy, I think making 3000 may be a huge challenge.

Drink up and save your cans cause I need them to make Some Art.

Kokeshi Make & Take from Melly

Late yesterday I received an email from a customer that put a huge grin on my face.

Hello ladies!

I stopped by your booth at the AQS show in Knoxville and picked up your embroidery special - 2 DMC thread colors and a hoop, then you get the linen with the pattern stamped on it.  so cute!  Of course I'm addicted to embroidery now! Finished that cute doll pattern, and have downloaded several more :)  My question for you is:  I loved the linen that your free pattern was printed/stamped on.  What is it called?  And do you stock it in your store?  And do you stock any more embroidery patterns?

Thanks ladies - for introducing me to hand embroidery!  What fun fun fun!


Good Ferments Explode

This morning, I went to check on my ferments and there was a MESS.

Yesterday I added more flour, sugar, soda starter to my gluten free kinda Amish Bread starter. Some time during the night it oozed out of the loosely closed jar.



When I opened the jar this morning to pour it into a larger jar it EXPLODED!

It ended up everywhere. All over me, the floor. I am sure to find it for days.

The dough starter, which is one cup gluten free flour mix, one cup ginger soda stater, one cup sugar, has some kick.

Not sure how it will work when I bake with it but should be fun. I added another one cup of all after I moved it into a larger container. I will try to make a cake with it tomorrow.






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Food Allergies & Fermented Foods

Polish Sauerkraut (Kiszona kapusta)
I am crafty, right now most of my craft energy is happening in the KITCHEN. Yikes. I don't cook, I can make 3 meals really well and that is what we eat: Meatloaf, Spaghetti, Baked Chicken oh and Tuna Casserole, so four meals. I make enough for leftover and it is a really good week if I make three, otherwise we are likely to have cereal for dinner. NOT so right now! in the last two weeks we have seen new and amazing dishes like homemade gluten free pizza, homemade granola, sauerkraut the list goes on and it is really kinda fun. Some of the fun comes from the fact that the girls are old enough to clean the kitchen up when I am finished, some from moving outside of my comfort zone. I have been feeding a family since I was 16, that was my job. I made the list, went to the store and made all the meals. It was not really a huge bit of fun for a teenager and that is where I mastered my four meals.

So fast forward my life, married with kids, and in charge of feeding and watering, but there is a glitch, my youngest is allergic to milk and wheat (Dairy Free/Gluten Free are we!) and apparently so am I. I was not before I had Arabella, I ate bread and cheese all the time, was I tired, cranky, yes probably but many would say I still am, so how did I become "allergic" after I had my second child. Here is the story:

Fermentation Insanity

I have gone off the deep end. When I do things I tend to go overboard but this is a fun crazy new level, even for me.

A few weeks ago I went to Tennessee to see what I could see about eating real food. Well, I came back with a Jun scoby (fancy kombucha scoby) and some just started Mead. Today behold the top of my refrigerator.

It is crazy fun that maybe only I will eat.
From L-R:
Ginger Soda Starter
Blueberry - Cherry Soda (Day 1)
Kombucha
Mead
That is the first row anyway.

A "Very" Simple Quilt

Next month my nephew will celebrate his second birthday. Jacob will move from babydom to childhood and he needs a new quilt to go with his new status.


So what other fabrics to use than the wonderful designs of Eric Carle. There are now three fabric lines from Andover Fabrics showcasing this talented artist & children's author. I used fabric from all three to create this "very" simple quilt. This quilt & a kit with all of the precut fabric will be in at our booth in Knoxville next month. When I break down the show the "very" simple quilt & corresponding books will be on it way West to my delightful nephew. I hope he drags it through the dusty roads of his childhood and loves it dearly.


Eric Carle's newest line is called the Very Series and it has images from:

The Very Busy Spider
The Very Lonely Firefly, 1995

Featured in the panel:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, 1969
The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, 1999 
The Very Quiet Cricket, 1990





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