yum! sour cherry clafoutis

The opportunity finally presented itself to use my mini tart pans. Doesn’t it look tasty…
*recipe from Martha Stewart’s website

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a productive weekend of crafting

I don’t know how it happens that I have all week off from teaching and I still don’t get anything done until the weekend.  Maybe it’s the break from reading or maybe its the energy from going on a bike ride Saturday morning or maybe it’s buying a second air conditioner.  Who can say?  All I know is that making progress on projects this weekend got me excited to get started on more new projects next week.  Here’s what I did:

1) I pulled out and re-stitched the quilt top. Now I need to cut out and sew the edgings and then figure out what to do with this quilt.  Ideas?

2) I made a headband. I saw the pattern at the beginning of the summer on pinterest (the pattern can be found here) and now that my hair is getting longer I thought having a few headbands might be a nice change of pace.  David tried to help me take a picture, but the camera ran out of batteries and then he got busy with his own project so I was left to my own devices with the big camera.

3) I updated the design of the blog (with David’s help).  Hopefully no picture is necessary for this one because you are looking at it.

4) I’m making a pie for my advisee who is here for summer camp and helped David carry our media unit up to the fourth floor (using the elevator of course).

5) I finally finished knitting a baby sweater for a friend who is due I think sometime this summer, but I’m not totally sure when.  They just haven’t had the baby yet.

This is the Jasper Cardigan from Kristen Rengren’s book Vintage Baby Knits.  I’ve been working on it since at least May.  It was a fun knit and helped keep me focused during the faculty meetings at the end of school.  I actually finished the knitting back in June, but didn’t have time to block it until a week ago.  The best part about this sweater is that I found the buttons for 20 cents at a hardware store today while I meandered around waiting on David.

February Madness

 

i think martha would be proud

I’ll admit girls’ JV basketball at a New England Prep school is definitely no March madness, but my final week of basketball was definitely hectic…one could even say MAD. Turn on your favorite ESPN announcer voice:  “Four games, all on the road, twelve girls, one absent manager, and two coaches.  Can they throw together a winning season?  What do you think Marv?  Well….”

Sadly, the answer is no.  Here’s how it went down.  We went into the week 3-4.  Our first game, well there’s just not much to say.  After two hours driving south, while watching the Blindside on some fancy buses, we started of the game slow and just never recovered.  Let’s just say, our score was 10.  That’s total score…We are now 3-5.  In our next game, we played the best game of the season.  There’s defense, with steals abounding.  We start rebounding and putting back second shots.  Kids are making assists and scoring baskets.  It was awesome.  Record 4-5.  Unfortunately the streak doesn’t continue.  Next comes the worst game of the season.  We did score 13 points, but they hit somewhere around 40…Record 4-6.  Alright, winning season is now out of the running, but do our girls back down.  Heck No!  Next day we turn around and take on another opponent.  It is an intense final game.  While we always have the lead, they are never more than seven points away.  The other team has quick hands and even quicker feet.   And despite their inexperience they somehow keep hucking up threes that go in, but my team, we have determination.  We also have clutch free throw shooters.  That’s right 6 for 6 from the line in the last two minutes.  WHAT UP!  It was a nail-biter and our girls totally stepped up to win.

In celebration of our season, the other coach and I had a pizza party for the girls.  It was a lot of fun, with comical awards and lots of crazy stories.  One of my favorite parts was channeling my inner Martha (by that I mean Martha Stewart) to make some pretty sweet basketball cupcakes.  See above.

Bad Bananas Become Beautiful Brunch

good morning saturday

The picture says it all.  Recipe again from Epicurious, the Banana-Macadamia Nut Muffins, although I used pecans.  I must say I prefer this banana muffin recipe that includes chocolate chips, but we had made it last weekend and I thought nuts were probably healthier than chocolate. People are probably starting to worry that all David and I eat are baked goods.  I assure you that we ingest fruits, veggies, grains, and meats too, but they are not as fun to photograph, make, and often eat.

Peach Pie

are those peaches sweating because they known their pie-fate or are we having CRAZY humidity...no kidding, I did not wash those that it pure humidity dew

It’s the simple things in life that truly bring me the most joy, like baking.  I love baking, especially pies.  It’s such a fun process, making the dough, rolling it out, preparing the insides.  Today, David and I have two college friends coming to visit and I thought what better way to greet them than with a freshly baked peach pie.  It’s a recipe I love from Gourmet magazine (also on Epicurious) called Honey Caramel Peach Pie.  The only thing that would have made it better would be to have picked the peaches at a pick your own place, but we still haven’t scouted out the pick-your-own farms yet.  I guess some more fresh picked flowers from the NMH farm will have to do.

hot out of the oven

create your own fireworks

Back in Gill just in time for the celebration of Fourth of July.

the start of the finale

The weekend started off with a bang.  On a tip from one of David’s coworkers, we headed out Friday night to the local fireworks show at Greenfield, the ‘big city’ of Franklin county, boasting a whooping 18,000 people.  Incidentally, this was the budget of the fireworks show.  We learned this from overhearing the man behind us continuously repeat the refrain, “Pretty good show, but think of how many people could have been fed on $18,000?” and “There’s a $100 one” when the big ones would go off.  While I will agree that spending upwards of $20,000 on colorful explosives does seem excessive, it was probably one of the better fireworks shows I’ve ever attended.  The show started slow, with a good ten to fifteen second between fireworks, but once it got started it was really impressive.  We also heartily enjoyed people-watching prior to the show.  The highlights were the father, daughter, and friend trifecta in front of us.  It began with a heated argument about who could use which blankets, with the daughter informing her father, “My blanket my rules.” Then her friend broke her glow necklace all over herself and her friend comforted her by saying, “Whatever you do, don’t lick it” and “It won’t burn through your clothing.”

before baking

After all that excitement, however does one celebrate on the actual Fourth of July?  Thanks to a little inspiration from the airport’s Cinnabon, David and I decide to create some explosively good cinnamon rolls.  After four hours of mixing, rising, baking, and frosting, we shared an incredible brunch of cinnamon rolls, bacon and eggs.  I think our forefathers would be proud.

after baking

On the way to the grocery we decided that no Fourth of July is complete without at sparklers.  After searching the grocery we decided ask where to find sparklers. David: “Do you sell sparklers?” Girl: “This is Massachusetts.” She was looking at us as though we just asked her to sell us pot and answered as though, “This is Massachusetts” was an appropriate answer to our question.  Eventually she told us that it is illegal to sell fireworks in Massachusetts so we would need to go to New Hampshire to buy fireworks.  I’m pretty sure she felt a little devious divulging this top-secret information.

Birthday in the Woods

David has just discovered that this is no ordinary cake

I really love birthdays, it’s something I get from my mom.  Maybe it also has something to do with having a required time to bake for people you care about.  This year, I  was a little bummed on David’s behalf because we moved just a couple days before his birthday. The community here has been really welcoming and gracious to join me (and the many of you on facebook) in wishing David a happy 26th birthday, but I’ll be honest, I was a little bummed not to be able to throw a party.  This is coupled with the fact that David convinced me to give him his birthday present a couple weeks early so he could take it on the family vacation…he got a new shock-proof and water-proof camera…and thus there were no exciting presents to open. So I had to be a little creative this year to make his birthday feel special.

My first plan was to create a birthday banner.  I got the idea after seeing a New Year’s banner on the Purl Bee’s website, but found a banner I absolutely love in Alicia Paulson’s book, Stitched in Time.  So using that pattern I created this colorful birthday banner.

Happy Birthday David!

Since no birthday is complete without a cake.  I also made a chocolate cake, with chocolate malt buttercream frosting.  The cake is/was delicious, recipe courtesy of Dorie Greenspan, Baking, this may just be my favorite baking book, in case people were wondering.  Since I had forgotten wrapping paper and really wanted to wrap up David’s new camera so he had something to open for his birthday, I hid the camera inside a plastic bag, inside a plastic container, inside the cake. Here’s a look at my handy-work…

Is that a camera in a cake...indeed

But alas, my plan was foiled.  When David got home from work, we thought it would be fun to go for a quick walk before dinner and cake.  Since it was a sunny day, David wanted to bring his new camera so he could take photos that we could then send to family/friends.  I tried to assure him, without letting on my secret, that his camera would surely turn up and we should just go on a walk.  I thought the coast was clear, but when we got home he began his search anew.  I finally insisted, with a wink, that if he was patient his camera would probably turn up later.  He assumed I had wrapped the camera.  Then when he went to cut the cake, I encouraged him to use a soft-hand.  He immediately turned and asked, “Sarah, is my camera inside the cake?” To which I began laughing.  What can I say, I’m not great at keeping secrets under pressure.