Sunday, October 30, 2016

a fun Halloween party

With my steampunk Cinderella outfit on,
I was ready for a party with a few friends,
nothing too fancy: snacks and drinks.
Of course, Halloween requires some decoration,
nothing scary here, just fun and silly,
black, orange and crow!

I was so busy getting everything ready, I forgot to write something on my chalkboard easel...
Decor is good but food is more important!

I made gougeres (delicious cheese balls), warmed up some mini quiches, 
set a cheese tray (no pic of that one), and Mon Cheri set up a meat tray 
(no pic either, it was a busy night!)
For desserts, I made some mini apple pies (using the same recipe than my original pie),
purchased some Florentines and meringues from my favorite French patisserie.
And Miss C. made some beautiful cupcakes that her friends devoured.

(set on top of my ORC drink stand, totally work for cupcakes too!)
Now for the drink side of the party:
more orange, black and crows of course!

We served many kinds of beer (elegantly display in the beer carrier I made last year)
and some cider sangria (that did not turn out, I would not recommend it!).
For the kids, there were a lot of drinks stored in crates just below.
It was the perfect little gathering with friends.

Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 29, 2016

a much cooler Cinderella

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays,
it is all about eating sweet, dressing silly and
hanging out with friends.
Over the 20 years I have been here, I have always celebrated
at least once, every year (up to 4 times in graduate school!).
I have quite a few costume that I made over the years,
I reused and repurposed most of them.

This year, I am revisiting my Cinderella costume.
I sewed it about 7 years ago when Miss C. was still in preschool,
and was dressing up as a princess most days.
It was a very traditional Cinderella dress, all blue.

I wore it with a big petticoat (actually the one from my wedding!),
gold shoes, white gloves and a blue headband.

(wasn't she the cutest?!)
Well this year, I am going with a steampunk version!
I find steampunk so interesting and fun,
it can be quite dark, but I like
my Halloween campy and not scary!

So I literally pulled up my skirt and petticoat (thanks to some useful sewing clamps),
put on some boots and heavy socks with a little lace details,
and that took care of the bottom half of the dress.

Then I added big black belts, one at the waist,
the other across my upper body.
I attached a few accessories to these belts: my grandpa's pocket watch,
an ostrich feather purse and a fan.

(if you have read "Waistcoats and weaponry " by Gail Carriger,
 you know a fan is a weapon! Miss C. is reading the series and truly enjoys it)
No steampunk is complete without gloves, so I put on my Vivienne Westwood leather gloves, 
there is even a cute embroidery on them 
(I purchased them about 25 years ago)

I added my original black neck ribbon and glitzy earrings.

All dressed up and nowhere to go?
So I hosted the party.....
Come back tomorrow to check it out!
"update: it is here"

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Baking corner {One Room Challenge} week four

Time is flying by, it is already week 4 of the One Room Challenge!
I am making over a corner of my kitchen
to transform it into a baking corner,
you can read more about it in week one.

Last week I left you with my "station wagon" cabinet.
Well I caulked, primed and painted the cabinet,
and it looks like it belongs in the kitchen,
I used the same paint color that I used to paint all the other cabinets a few years ago,
so there is definitively a continuity between the cabinets even 
if the door/drawer style is slightly different.
I also installed the same hardware on the drawer as the rest of the kitchen.

Then I started working on my pull out trash system for the bottom of the cabinet.
As a reader pointed out last week, there are many systems for sale,
but after reading many reviews, it seems really expensive for sometimes a poor outcome.
So I went with the home version, and
 I followed this tutorial from Cristina of "Remodelando la casa".
She was the one who inspired me in my kitchen upgrading,
so I knew I could trust her work.
And it totally worked, I have a nice drawer, the trash can fits in,
it slides in and out, perfect!

(the trash bag box fits perfectly on the half shelf in the back,
 that means more space under the sink!)

The little difficulty that I am now encountering is attaching the drawer to the door,
but I am sure I will find a way.
I still need to find a top for the cabinet,
I am using a large cutting board right now, but it is only temporary.
I also need to work on the shelves above,
as seen on my inspiration board:

from ORC week two.

It is going to be a very busy week end!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

the almost perfect apple pie

Since taking a new baking class at the French cooking school this summer,
I have been practicing my pie making technique.
I used the "pate sucree" many times with success
for la tarte aux fraises or tarte au citron meringue,
but I had never really mastered the traditional pie crust.

Well this is true no more!
After my original peach pie from l' academie de cuisine,
I baked a few more and they all turned out really well,
so proud of myself!
The difference: using 1/2 butter, 1/2 shortening, instead of all butter.
I was originally against it but really it is totally worth trying.
The dough is perfect, easy to work with and 
more importantly tastes good.

I make the dough the night before, divide it into 2,
let it rest overnight in the fridge (in plastic wrap),
roll it out one at a time (the other still in the fridge),
and put the uncooked pie back in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking it.
13.5 oz AP flour
3 tablespoon sugar
4 oz butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup ice water
(in the kitchen aid, not the food processor so there is no change of getting warm!)
The last trick: no cutting the pie until it is totally cooled down,
now that part is totally torture,
but it is the way to go if you want filling in the pie....
it can be reheated if you like it warm without "danger" of an empty crust!

Happy Pie!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Baking corner {One Room Challenge} week three

We are already at the half way point of the One Room Challenge,
it is going way too fast, but I can see progress!
I am working on updating a part of the kitchen to make it into a baking corner,
you can see my inspiration board here.
Removing the previous countertop/shelf and trash can took mere minutes,
so right way I put the new base cabinet, tada! So much better.
OK still pretty rough, especially the side of the cabinet!
So I purchased a cover panel to hide the particle board
(even painted, it would still be ugly!)

Because I do not always work linearly,
I primed and painted the other side and front of the cabinet
as well as the drawer and the door.

Then I installed the side panel and started to install the molding
to match the island: the station wagon treatment!
Since the style of the door is different from the rest of the kitchen,
I want the side to be similar to the island.

I had to do this first, before attaching the cabinet to the wall
for proper placement.

(the green part will be covered by the base board!)

Now I need to calk, prime and paint the side,
I feel like we are on our way to a cute baking corner.

Next I need to come up with a way to attach the door
as a drawer so that we can have an easy access to the trash,
busy weekend ahead!

Coffee, bunny and Easter eggs

Can anyone have too many bunnies, really? OK, maybe, but I am not there yet! I changed my cocoa station from last winter to a spring coffee ...