Thursday, June 17, 2010

DIY: Recycled bottle torches

Hello hello. Still no baby. Will you call her and tell her it's not so bad out here? I know I'm feeding her all sorts of delicious foods and it's probably pretty warm and snuggly in utero, but c'mon! It's been ten days, little lady. What're you waiting for?

As you can imagine, I cleared my schedule to make room for our stubborn little nugget's birth, so it's been pretty quiet around the Bargalow. Had I not been making projects to distract myself from the fact that the most monumentous event of my life to date is about to happen, I'd have gone insane long ago.

One of said projects is the recycled bottle torches I mentioned in last weekend's post, and all in all, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out:

Recycled bottle torch

We had a little trouble finding some of the hardware listed in the original tutorial ... namely, the split ring hanger and the copper top plate connector. But thankfully, with the help of some very nice sales associates at the Home Depot (thanks, Charlie and friends :) ), we were able to concoct an alternative hardware setup, including ground wire clamps (for around the bottle necks), a smaller diameter threaded rod (1/4", to fit in the ground clamps) and insert nuts (for mounting into our wood posts). We also added some nuts and washers for decoration and added stability, but you could just as easily (and safely) leave those out. Here's what our hardware looks like up close:

Recycled bottle torch

Pretty sweet, eh? I can't wait to fire these babies up and enjoy a little twilight patio time. Preferably with a baby to snuggle ...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A whole new world

Have you seen this video of a little guy hearing for the first time? I came upon it via Cup of Jo and highly recommend a little watch. Perhaps you'll cry like I did.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lost camera photos

This guy took a series of cute photos to be read should his camera be lost and found. I like them and thought I'd share. If you can ignore the string of inane and unnecessarily mean comments underneath, perhaps you can enjoy it, too. :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy weekend!

Crayon carvings of football superstars for the World Cup by Diem Chau. Photo courtesy Craft Magazine. Read more here.

Happy weekend, my friends! Got any big plans? I'm just waiting to go into labor, watching the World Cup with Ronaldino, designing a friends baby shower invites (she's having twin girls in just a couple months!) and embroidering some animals. I'm not gonna lie. This overdue baby situation is pretty agonizing. Thankfully, I have distracting things like this blog, my design work and sewing projects to keep me occupied until that little squirmy meatloaf in my belly decides it's time to join us on the outside.

See y'all next week (maybe with a baby?). Until then, here are a few of my favorite finds from around the web recently:

An “Eat Seasonably” calendar. Handy!

A church pew headboard

Can't stop listening to this song by The National … and this song by Band of Horses

A family photographs themselves each year from 1976 to the present. See the results here

A transparent iron!

We are so making these recycled bottle torches for our patio

Pointillism in crayons

Cutest. Tourism Bureau. Video. Ever.

Midcentury time capsule found in London

Quiches in cups!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recipe: Donut Muffins

Friends, let me introduce you to the donut muffin. It is buttery and sweet. It is blatantly decadent. It is ridonculous.

I stumbled upon the donut muffin by way of another blog and posted them on this blog as part of a weekend entry. Like most of the baking recipes I post on this blog, they became a nagging fixation. "When are you going to make those donut muffins?" was a question I often asked myself. Well, it seems an overdue baby and a life of limited physical mobility as a result made the conditions just right last night, as I cranked 'em out while listening to/watching reruns of Ghost Hunters on SyFy (no judging).

The basic idea is this: Make a really good batch of from-scratch muffins. Dip said muffins in butter and roll in cinnamon sugar. Prepare your taste buds for ecstasy.


For the muffins:
24 Tbs. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 lb. 11 oz. (6 cups) all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1-2/3 cups milk
1/4 cup buttermilk

For dipping:
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter; more as needed
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
To make the muffins

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

In a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Combine the milk and buttermilk.

With a wooden spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Then mix in a third of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry. Mix until well combined and smooth, but don't overmix.

Grease and flour a standard-size muffin tin. Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup, about 1/2 cup. Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 min.

Melt the butter for the dipping mixture. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, dip them into or brush them all over with the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Makes 24 muffins

And that's it, my friends. Ron ate his while saying things like "Oh my god" and "wow" and upon eating mine, I had to agree with his sentiments. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My First Treasury

I made my first treasury for Etsy's Treasury East! Check it out (if you're so inclined).

Pretty artwork, great cause

If you're like me, the oil spill makes you pretty upset. It's a true tragedy, travesty and debacle. Why not alleviate your worries and anger with a beautiful piece of artwork from unitedthread? Not only are the pieces absolutely gorgeous, but 50% of all sales will go towards the National Wildlife Federations work related to the oil spill restoration efforts, which you can learn more about here.
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