Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Whoopie Pie Recipe - Pumpkin w/ Cream Cheese Filling

So it's been a long time since I've posted- here is another whoopie pie recipe (no pictures again, sorry).

Ingredients (Makes approx. 2 dozen)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I use saigon cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Drop by scant tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets (Remember you need an even number).
3. Bake for 10 to 18 minutes (usually 13-15 min. for me) or until springy to the touch. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

1. Cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and cinnamon until light and fluffy.

2. Spread a tablespoon (or so) of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in covered container in refrigerator (because of the cream cheese).
Note: Modified from a recipe put out by Libby's Pumpkin.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beaded Animal Contest - August 2013 Edition

3D beaded animals are a lot of fun to make - and now I have a better camera to document the process so I'm going to make another tutorial!

I have it narrowed down to these three:

- Owl
- Porcupine
- Manta Ray

Please let me know your vote either by commenting below or emailing me at jetreese (at) gmail (dot) com.
Anyone who votes by the end of August (8/31 11:59 PST) will have a chance to win the little guy, and I will ship it to you (if it can be mailed from the US Post Office- international is okay too, but I'm cheap so the wait will be longer...)


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Home Sweet Home(ish)

So I've managed to disappear again- this time because I'm closing on a house south of Seattle next week:

My future home

There will be lots of projects coming along with it (many of which will be added here), but I'm very excited to have a home again.

Also, I will be doing another South African beaded animal poll (and giveaway) here in the next week or so to celebrate.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Herbed Soda Bread

Sorry, no pictures for this one - but I promise it's very tasty!

Makes 1 approx. dinner-plate sized loaf


-         3 1/2 cups flour
-         1 Tbsp sugar
-         1 tsp salt
-         1 tsp baking soda
-         2 tsp dried herbs (I used Italian blend)
-         4 Tbsp butter (room temperature)
-         1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Time Commitment:

 ~1 hour (including baking time)

How to Make it Happen:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and herbs.

2. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Using my fingers actually works the best for me, but a fork works as well.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add buttermilk and gently mix by folding the flour over the buttermilk until it’s just combined. It should not be runny or dry, so adjust flour/buttermilk ratio as needed.

4. Shape dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times to shape it into a round loaf, but don’t over-knead or the bread will be tough. Because there’s no yeast in soda bread, kneading doesn’t help it.

5. Place loaf onto a lightly greased baking sheet and cut approx. 1 inch deep cuts to form a cross on top of the loaf. This helps the bread bake evenly, so don’t leave out the cuts.

6. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 deg F, then lower heat to 400 deg F and bake for another 25 minutes. To check for doneness, turn loaf over and tap the bottom to make sure it sounds hollow.

7. Let bread cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then dig in and enjoy! Quick breads are best eaten soon after baking, so it’s best to make right before serving, but the day of is also okay.

Note: Adapted from this recipe Caraway Soda Bread 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to Make a Cylindrical Pillow


-         Approx. half yard fabric (I used fuzzy cow print- it hides imperfections wonderfully)
-         Needle & thread
-         Scissors
-         Circle template (I used a plate)
-         Stuffing

Time Commitment:

 ~ 1 hour

How to Make it Happen:

1) Choose a plate to use as a template- this will be slightly larger than the end of the pillow (because of seam allowances). Trace around the plate to create two circle pieces and cut them out. Cut a rectangular piece of fabric that is approx. 1-2” shorter than the circumference of the plate and as long as you want your pillow to be (mine is a 7” diameter circle and about 14” long).

Step 1- Pattern Time

2) Sew a seam along the long edge of the rectangular piece, leaving about a half inch seam allowance.

Step 2 - Make a tube

3) If using furry fabric: Turn cylinder right side out and tease fluff out of the seam using a needle or pin. Be careful not to tear your stitches or you’ll have to sew another seam!

Step 3 - Fluff seam
4) With cylinder turned wrong side out, sew one circle to the end of the cylinder tube (leaving a half inch seam allowance). Because the circle is slightly bigger than the cylinder, it will bulge out when the pillow is stuffed.

Sew the second circle to the other side of the tube, leaving an approx. 2 inch opening to stuff the pillow.

Step 4 - Sew ends on (don't forget to leave a hole for stuffing)
5) If using furry fabric: Turn cylinder right side out and tease fluff out of the seam using a needle or pin. Be careful not to tear your stitches or you’ll have to sew another seam!

Step 5 - More fluffing

6) Stuff the pillow firmly, then hand sew the rest of the pillow closed. Your pillow's done!

Step 6 - Stuff & sew closed!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

To Boston With Love - My flags

So I'm starting a new job tomorrow, which means that the tutorial for this week (already delayed) will be delayed again...

But I wanted to share part of why my schedule has gone completely out the window- a modern quilt guild in Vancouver (guild project page) decided to make quilt flags in honor of Boston after the recent Marathon bombing. I found out about this project way late, but wanted to be a part of it (I went to college in Boston & used to volunteer for the Marathon). Here's my contribution:

My flags hanging in the MFA- still shot from To Boston with Love Flickr group

My flags:

Flag 1

Flag 2
Flag 3
These were sewn completely by hand, so they took quite a while to do. Anyhow, just wanted to show part of why I've been very very late in postings. Check out the exhibit if you're in the Boston area, or look on the MFA website- thanks to the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild for putting this together!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Peanut & Caramel Chocolate Brownies

*Sorry, no picture of these, you’ll have to use your imagination (or better yet, just make them)

Makes one 8x8 pan.


-         1/2 cup melted butter (yes, make sure to melt it- the microwave works fine)
-         1 cup packed dark brown sugar (light brown is also fine)
-         2 eggs
-         1 tsp vanilla extract
-         1/2 cup flour
-         1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (special dark if you can find it)
-         1/4 tsp baking powder
-         1/4 tsp salt
-         1/2 cup chopped peanuts (plus 1/4 cup or so extra for topping)
-         Caramel topping for drizzling over finished brownies

Time Commitment:

 ~1 hour (including mixing and baking time)

How to Make it Happen:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease an 8 in x 8 in baking pan.
  2. Mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs.
  3. Combine dry ingredients (except peanuts) and mix into wet ingredients until well blended.
  4. Stir in peanuts and transfer to baking pan.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from edges of pan. A toothpick in the center will come out clean.
  6. Transfer to cooling rack and drizzle caramel topping over the brownies while they are still warm. Sprinkle caramel with extra chopped peanuts.
  7. Let cool and enjoy! These will stay good covered in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:  These were modified from the Mmm-mmm Better Brownies recipe found on


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Make a Beaded Leaf Headband


-         Floral wire (30 gauge)
-         Wire cutters/Pliers
-         Seed beads
-         Elastic headband
-         Felt (enough for backing your beaded leaves so the wire doesn’t poke you)
-         Needle and strong thread (button thread works very well)

Time Commitment:

 ~6-8 hours for a palm-sized leaf bundle

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1- Choose headband

1) I just bought a blank headband with a built-in place to sew in my leaves- you can also make your own by sewing a piece of felt to a strip of elastic or elastic headband.

Step 2- Prepare your wire

2) This is the start of your leaf. Take an approximately 3-4 foot piece of wire for a leaf about as long as your thumb and twist the wire as shown so there is a piece just over twice as long as you want your leaf to be (the right side wire in the picture) and a long side that you will use to build up the leaf (the left side). The loop at the bottom should be a few inches long as it acts like the stem of the leaf (which is how you’ll twist the leaves together).

Step 3- Add beads

3) Now, string enough beads on the right side so that it is about a fingernail length shorter than you want the final leaf to be (there are the white beads in the picture). String lots of (blue here) beads on the left side- these will be used to add bulk to your leaf.

Step 4 - Begin wrapping the leaf

4) Take the left side wire and wrap it around the short wire at a 45 degree angle- around the front, around the back, then down the right hand side. Wrap the blue bead wire around the bottom of the leaf (front-back-front) straight across, which will keep the bottom of the leaf flatter. The 45 degree angle at the top will give the leaf a pointed tip.

Step 5 - First leaf done!

5) Keep adding beads and wrapping until you’re happy with the size of the leaf. To end, wrap the blue bead wire around the base of the leaf and trim it flush. Bend the short (white bead) wire down the back of the leaf, wrap it around the base of the leaf, and trim flush. One leaf down! Repeat until you have enough leaves for your headband (I used ten leaves of varying sizes).

Step 6- Bunch of leaves

6) Gather your leaves by twisting their loops together and arrange as you see fit. Now it’s time to assemble the headband.
Step 7- Add felt
7) Cut a small piece of felt and sew it in place around the twisted wire loops. This will keep you away from sharp wire ends and make the leaves look more finished.

Step 8- Sew onto headband
8) Sew the leaves onto the headband, and try on your work!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

How to Make a 'Stained'-Grain Footstool


-         Wooden Footstool
-         Acrylic Paint (works best in a dark color- red works very well)
-         Sandpaper
-         Brush
-         Polycrylic (my replacement for polyurethane)

Time Commitment:

 ~ 30 min – 1 hour (plus drying time)

How to Make it Happen:

1) Sand the bare footstool to remove any splinters (having pieces come off will spoil the effect). Note that you can use this technique on any bare wood furniture, but it will work the best on long flat pieces of wood with a knotty grain. This footstool has a pretty plain grain, so the effect will be subtle.

Step 1- Prepare for painting

2) Brush acrylic paint onto the footstool- I use a nearly dry brush on the legs, since I’ll just be distressing them. Cover the top of the stool with a thick layer of paint to make sure it really soaks in.

Step 2- Paint top with a thick coat of paint (then thin coat on the legs)

3) Lightly sand the legs to give them a distressed look, then sand the top of the stool in the direction of the grain until the wood grain shows through. This gives the top of the stool a ‘stained’ effect in the grain. Seal the wood using polyurethane (follow manufacturer’s instructions), then relax and enjoy your new stool!

Step 3- Sand and seal!



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to make an 'Antique' Painted Wood Picture Frame


-         Wood Frame
-         Acrylic Paint
-         Sandpaper
-         Stain
-         Brushes (I use foam)
-         Polycrylic (my replacement for polyurethane)

Time Commitment:

 ~ 30 min – 1 hour (plus drying time)

How to Make it Happen:

1) Here are the materials I used- substitute sizes & materials as you like (as long as the frames are made of wood). Note that these are from my Hanging Sign Frame tutorial- this time I’m only going to finish one of the frames.

Step 1- Wood frames
2) Brush acrylic paint onto the frames- you don’t have to cover every square inch. Let the paint dry, then use sandpaper to rub sections of the paint off the frame. By sanding the frame to bare wood, you give places for the stain to soak into the wood.

Step 2- Paint and sand

3) Brush stain onto the frame, wipe away excess. The frame will have a dappled, distressed look. Let the stain dry, then coat with polycrylic (following manufacturer’s directions). Your frame is done!

Step 3- Add stain and seal


Sunday, April 7, 2013

How to Make a Ribbon Wreath


-         Foam wreath form
-         Pins
-         Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
-         Ribbon & Fabric
-         Flowers/Garland Decorations
-         Hanging hardware

Time Commitment:

 ~ 2-3 hours (depending on how hardcore you get with decorating)

This project is based on a wreath I saw at the Longwood Gardens Christmas Displays, and has been modified for a spring wreath!

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1- Get the right base
1) This is the kind of form that works best- if it’s not smooth, the ribbon will look bunchy. It can be harder to find, but it’s worth it.

Step 2- Start covering

 2) For this wreath, I am using strips of fabric and will cover them with some ribbon. Wrap the fabric or ribbon tightly around the form and use straight pins to hold them in place.

Step 3- Ready for outside decorations

3) The ribbon part of the wreath is finished! If you don’t want to decorate the outside of the wreath, then you’re done at this point- but I’m adding fake flowers and ivy.

Step 4- Hot glue gun time!
4) Cut flowers and ivy, leaving an approximately 1/2”-1” stem to glue to the back of the wreath. Decorate until you’re happy with the look, then add the hanging hardware to the back of the wreath.

Step 5- Tada!

5) Hang your wreath and enjoy! This can be made with a variety of ribbons and decorations, so modify as you like!


Monday, March 25, 2013

How to Make a Hanging-Sign Style Picture Grouping


-         Wood Frames
-         Pliers
-         Screw Eyes
-         S-Hooks
-         Screwdriver (to help turn screw eyes)

Time Commitment:

 ~ 30 min – 1 hour

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1 - Assemble players

1) Here are the materials I used- substitute sizes & materials as you like (as long as the frames are made of wood)

Step 2 - Add screw eyes

2) Screw the screw eyes into the frames until the threads are fully embedded in the wood – I find it easier to turn them by using a screwdriver.

Step 3 - Squish S-hooks

3) The S-hook on the left is straight from the package, and the S-hook on the right has been squeezed by pliers (make sure the hooks aren’t completely closed, or you won’t be able to assemble the frames).

Step 4 - Frames ready to be assembled

4) Use four screw eyes per frame – here are two frames ready to be fastened together using the S-hooks.

Step 5 - Finished frames

5) Fasten the frames together using the S-hooks, and hang using wire or a picture hook!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

How to Re-Cover a Ball Clasp Clutch Purse


-         Ball clasp purse (Note: it is much easier not to scratch the metal in Step 7 if the metal clasp section has some sort of decoration- like the purse I use here. It doesn't mean the smooth ones are bad, just that it's harder to do)
-         Pliers
-         Hammer
-         Screwdrivers (straight head, small thickness)
-         Needle & thread
-         Fabric (for cover, lining, & outdoor type fabric for interface)

Time Commitment:

 ~3-4 hours

How to Make it Happen:

Step 1 - Examine patient and assemble operating tools

1) A note of warning – these metal edges are very sharp, so wearing leather gloves is recommended while you remove the metal clasp from the fabric. Getting the clasp removed is labor intensive, so be patient and work slowly or you could damage the clasp.

Step 2 - Clasp surgery

2) Slide the thinnest screwdriver into the slot between the metal clasp and the purse, tapping the end of the screwdriver with a hammer to force the clasp open. This is the longest part of the process, and you can wiggle the screwdriver slightly to bend the clasp open. It doesn’t need to open very far- only enough that you can slide the fabric free. Repeat for the rest of the clasp- the curved sides (where the screwdriver is wedged in this picture) are the hardest to open.

Step 3 - Ready for new fabric

3) The clasp is now free from the fabric –use the old fabric to make a pattern for the replacement fabric.

Step 4 - Using pattern for new pieces

4) Cut out the new fabric (Note- Leave room for seams on the bottom and err on the side of making it slightly too large, since it’s easier to trim than to try to stretch the fabric if it’s cut too small)

Step 5 - Make seam

5) Sew the new fabric section together (the seam will run from hinge to hinge on the clasp). To make sure the seam won’t show in the finished purse, layer the fabric as follows (pile will run from top to bottom according to the picture):
Lining (wrong side up) - Lining (right side up) – Interface (wrong side up) – Cover (wrong side up) – Cover (right side up) – Interface (right side up)

Turn the purse right side out (so that the cover fabrics are visible). The clasp will be attached so that the lining fabric shows on the inside, and the seam will be invisible!

Step 6 - Add edging stitch

6) Run an edging stitch along the outside of the fabric bundle (where the clasp will cover). This helps make reassembly easier, and gives the fabric a bit more thickness for the clasp to hold on to.

Step 7 - Reassembling the purse

7) Reassemble the purse (taping the fabric temporarily in place as you go, which will make positioning it a lot easier) by using pliers to re-close the clasp, holding the fabric in place. To keep the pliers from scratching the clasp, you can cover them in fabric. Work carefully, especially in the corners (which are hard to close again).

Step 8 - Admire your work!

8) Your purse is done!

More admiring!


Note: I used one of my Spoonflower designs as a cover. The fabric can be found here:
Turquoise Honeycomb Fabric 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Whoopie Pie Recipe - Chipotle Chocolate w/ Whipped Cream Filling

Spicy Chocolate - Amish Style
Happy Pi Day! In honor of 3/14, here's a whoopie pi(e) recipe!

Makes approx. 2 dozen whoopie pies


Whoopie pie
-         1/2 cup butter
-         1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
-         1/2 cup sugar
-         2 eggs
-         2 tsp vanilla
-         2 Tbsp unsulfured molasses
-         2/3 cup milk
-         1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (special dark if you can find it)
-         2 1/3 cup flour
-         1/2 tsp salt
-         1 1/2 tsp baking soda
-         6 oz milk chocolate chips
-         1-1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (use 1/2 -1 tsp if you don’t want much spice)
-         1 tsp cinnamon

-         1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
-         3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
-         1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Time Commitment:

 ~2 hours (including baking and assembly time)

How to Make it Happen:

Whoopie pies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
  2. Cream butter until fluffy.
  3. Add sugars and mix.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla, and molasses, stirring between each addition.
  5. Mix flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, chipotle powder, and baking soda separately. Add to butter mixture in parts, alternating with milk.
  6. Beat 1-2 minutes until smooth, then add chocolate chips and mix to incorporate.
  7. Drop by Tablespoons onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes.
  8. Allow whoopie pies to cool completely before assembling. Since whipped cream only holds up a day or two, try not to make the filling until the day you’re planning to eat them. The whoopie pies will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days until you’re ready to assemble them.

  1. Using a chilled bowl and beaters, beat the heavy cream on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla to the heavy cream.
  3. Continue beating on medium speed until the whipped cream forms stiff peaks.
  4. Assemble whoopie pies by spreading a large dollop of filling on one cookie, then sandwiching it with another.
  5. Enjoy! These can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 days.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

How to Restain a Wood Chair - Partial Project!

NOTE: This post is not done, it only covers fixing wobbly legs at this point. It will be updated once I finish the chair!


-         Wood chair
-         Sandpaper
-         Stain
-         Poly coat (I use polycrylic, a water-based finish, instead of polyurethane)
-         Wood glue (to tighten joints)
-         Fabric-covered hammer or rubber mallet (to coax apart loose joints)
-         Clamp/rope (to hold joints in place while gluing)

Time Commitment:

  Ongoing for me (this post will be updated when I finish the chair)

So here’s the deal- it’s March, but it’s too cold to let the chair dry outside and I just moved…sooo, I’m just going to cover how to make the joints on your chair stable and secure for this post and update it when I actually finish the chair…

How to Make it Happen:

Today's patient

1) This is an old-fashioned kind of chair back that I love very much (it has two supports behind the back of the chair, and I think they’re really cute). First, check the joints on the chair- this one had two loose legs, so they need to be secured before worrying about appearances.

Poor chair- a science experiment gone wrong

2) Someone did a really horrific repair job on this leg. The metal bracket is actually split right at the corner, and someone tried to use what looks like wood filler or a combination of sawdust and glue. It’s all loose and wobbly.

Fixing the leg

3) I took the metal bracket off the chair and used a fabric covered hammer to knock the leg out of its socket (the fabric covering on the hammer head is to keep the hammer from denting the wood- you can also use a rubber mallet)

Gluing it back in place

4) Make sure the hole doesn’t go the whole way through the chair or you’ll have a puddle of glue on your furniture/floor. If it doesn’t (and it shouldn’t), fill the hole about halfway with wood glue and press the leg back into place. Glue that squirts out around the leg can be wiped away. Use a clamp, rope, etc. to hold the leg tightly in place while the glue dries.

Securing the legs in place

One leg is glued in place (you can see a blob of glue next to the leg in the lower right hand corner), and the other is being put into place. The chair is now sturdy, and when I update this post we will get to the restaining and refinishing of the chair…