eat! craft! live!

Baking, crafting, mama-ing and taking photos of it all. When I remember.


the first real decision of the wedding

S08_81591_wacc2Some minor wedding-related news: the bridesmaids’ dresses have been officially picked out! Woo! I know this is very exciting for y’all out in internet-land. I feel very good having accomplished, or at least decided on, something concrete. Yay!

I must say, I wasn’t even intending to make any concrete decisions, it just sort of happened, in that way you get dragged along to some rollerskating party you didn’t even want to go to but all your friends were going and then you ended up having a great time anyway. Well, sort of. I was just perusing the bridesmaids’ offerings online, when I noticed my matron of honor on Google chat. We chatted and she asked me if I had dresses picked out yet, to which I responded…uh…maybe? I sent her a link and she loved it. So I sent the link to my sister, the maid of honor, and she loved it too! And thus, a bridesmaids’ dress decision was born. (And yes, I have a matron of honor and a maid of honor. I call them my best ladies.)

So they’re going to look like that one up there, photo courtesy of David’s Bridal, classiest wedding dress store ever. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* (Hey, I’m on a budget and not afraid to admit it.) The color is, I believe, “truffle.” Or, in normal-person-speak, “brown.” Only imagine that the person wearing it doesn’t look quite so…model-y. And has brown hair. And imagine that the sash is tied behind because sheesh, in front? Really? Also imagine that the little peekaboo skirt and sash aren’t that interesting shade of…pink? Peach? What is that? Instead, imagine they’re a lovely shade of green. Or blue. One of those three down there. What do you think?


I was looking for something a little more in between the darker green and the really pale grayish green. *ahem* Between “clover” and “honeydew” that is. But maybe blue? Or, rather, “capri?” I’m so glad my future happiness doesn’t rest on the color of my bridesmaids’ underskirts.

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wedding nightmares

yum! (by bookgrl)

Literally.  I dreamed last night that it was three days before the wedding and we had totally forgotten about it.  I think I may have had a dress, but we had forgotten to invite anyone and hadn’t prepared for food or anything else.  And in my dream, I was standing in my kitchen trying to make wedding cupcakes only the cupcake papers were too big.  They were, like, the size of my cat food bowls, and the cakes inside were tiny and I was trying to pipe frosting in and the cups kept getting bigger and the icing kept changing shape.  And at one point in my dream I thought, "Well, I guess we’ll save money on invitations!"  Um, y’know, since we didn’t invite anyone.


Edited to add: I should mention that in my dream I wasn’t frustrated at all and I found the whole thing to be hilarious. I guess that just shows how much we care about the actual wedding! Maybe we should elope? ;)


DIY wedding

bouquet (by bookgrl)

Wedding planning is well and truly underway!  The date and location have been (more or less) set, and we are in the process of determining what we’re going to end up doing ourselves and what we’re going to leave to the pros.  (And by "ourselves" I mean mostly "myself," which is fine.  I’m just that kind of girl.)  Hopefully, with all the DIY-ness, and all the time we’ve got, there won’t be as much of that frantic last minute craziness or too much settling for less-than-perfect because we’re under a time constraint.  (I say that now of course…)

There are a few things that I have definite ideas about and others that are only the vaguest wisp of a thought in my head.  Like, of all the things to be thinking about, I’ve already decided that I’m going to knit myself a wrap to match my wedding colors.  I even know what yarn I want to use!  (Maybe. If I can get it.)  But do I know what the wedding colors are yet?  Um.  No.  The wrap though – in addition to being fun and gorgeous and tremendously indulgent, it’s also practical – coastal Maine is not known for its steamy tropical weather!

So, for your amusement and my desire to endlessly make lists, here is the list of us vs. the pros.

In one corner: Our fab DIY selves!

  • The location.  This is probably the biggest thing, and the biggest money-saver, combined with food (below).  When you have relatives who live on a grassy hill overlooking the ocean, how can you not have the wedding there?  Plus, it’s going to be a very small wedding, so there’s really no need for an army of resort staff or a wedding coordinator or any of that.  We’re going to keep it real, yo.
  • The food.  Another huge money-saver.  I can cook.  My family can cook.  We love to cook!  Plus, catered food is so expensive!  And not necessarily any tastier than what we can make ourselves.  We’re good, dammit, real good.
  • The cake.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  The cake.  Or, more accurately, the cupcakes!  I’ve been reading Smitten Kitchen’s wedding cake posts recently and they’ve inspired me.  Yes, I know I’m the bride and maybe I shouldn’t be making my own cake.  But I’m going to practice.  And practice some more.  And then some more.  And make them ahead and freeze them.  I’m going to practice that too…  I have a feeling we’ll be eating a lot of cake over the course of the next year.  (Not too much, of course, I’d like to be able to wear a wedding dress and not a giant sack.)  It’ll be great though.  For reals.
  • The decorations.  I like making things involving plants and ribbons and stuff.  And I’m not a big fan of overly elaborate decorations, so we’re going to keep it pretty simple.  No swans sculpted out of ice diving into seas of aspic with tiny floating shrimps on a bed of seaweed.
  • The invitations.  Dude, I craft with paper for extra income.  I think I can handle this.

In the other corner: the pros!

  • The clothes.  I can’t sew, and I don’t know anyone who can, or at least not well enough to entrust them with my wedding dress!  Plus, I already found a really cute one online for cheap(ish).
  • The flowers.  I won’t pretend like I know how to make a bouquet, even though I did fake it once, for my good friend’s wedding in Mexico.  Anyway, I’ve got to go to a florist to get the flowers, so they might as well bundle them all up with ribbons and stuff for me.
  • The photography.  This is huge.  I have a hunch we’re going to end up spending as much on photography as on everything else combined.  I’d photograph the darn thing myself if I wasn’t, y’know, in it.  But photography is really, really important to me (really) and I want good pictures.  As it is, I’ll probably have my camera with me.  Hopefully, I’ll be having so much fun I won’t even think of using it!
  • The rings.  I don’t do metalsmithing.  ‘Nuff said.

I’m sure there are vitally important aspects I’ve left off (guestbooks!  favors!  personalized bottles of water!) and I’m sure it all seems a lot simpler having not actually done anything yet, other than spend my workday lunchbreak perusing The Knot, browsing dresses online and trying to decide between shades of green and blue…but it’ll all come together in the end.  And it will be fantastic.  I just know it.

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wedding cupcakes?

tiers (by ChrisB in SEA)
tiers, originally uploaded by ChrisB in SEA.

Well, many people will be happy to know that we’ve actually started thinking about planning the wedding.  Finally!  I know, I know, we’ve been engaged a whole, what, two weeks?  Less?  But the first question out of everyone’s mouth is, of course, "Have you set a date?"  And the answer to that is still a resounding no.  But!  We’ve thought about it.  We’re thinking next late spring/early summer in Maine.  And I’ve actually spent the past hour or so following link after link to various reception halls, caterers, flower shops and photographers.  It’s like a magical bunny hole that I’ve somehow fallen into and left my level-headed, down-to-earth self above ground while this new, giddy, girlish me looks at pictures of wedding cakes and squeals.

This post was supposed to be about donut muffins, but I need to work on the recipe a little before I post it, because I think there was a major butter mishap with the ones I made this morning.  I almost went right ahead and made another batch with the potential butter mishap repaired, but then I realized that two people don’t have any need at all for two dozen muffins.  (Although we seem to be making quick work of the dozen sitting on the counter…)

So how did I get from donut muffins to wedding planning?  I got a save-the-date card for a friend’s wedding in January.  (Why did we get mail today?  It’s a holiday!  The trash men came too…  I was confused for a bit and thought perhaps we were off by a day and we were really supposed to be at work instead of laying around the house, eating donut muffins and playing with the kittens.  But no, it’s really the 4th!  Um…right?)  Anyway, her very cute little save-the-date card jump-started my wedding planning brain and off I waded into the treacherous waters of long-distance wedding planning.  There’s so much to do!  I love this beginning bit of planning any major undertaking, where the possibilities are endless.  For instance, we just decided that we want to have wedding cupcakes, instead of a traditional wedding cake.  Yay!  One decision down…a whole bunch more to go…

Psst…if any of you out there in internet-land have any advice on wedding planning, particularly about Maine, I’d love to hear it!


remember how I said it was going to be an exciting night?

ingredients (by bookgrl)

soap? (by bookgrl)

I’m finally getting around to posting about the recipe I used over the weekend to make some delicious salsa!  I knew I wouldn’t get a chance on Tuesday because we had a very busy evening.  Right after work we had a secret special errand to do (which I’ll get to at the end) and then we went to our homebuying class!  The class was really interesting and kind of depressing.  Basically we came out if it thinking, "Man, we are never going to be able to buy a house!"  But I’m sure things will improve.  I just know it!  Anyway, we didn’t get home until really late, at which point I collapsed into bed with no further thought of blogging.  Then last night I collapsed on the couch in a similar fashion, after making some yummy pesto risotto from this book, again.  Anyway, who can even think about blogging with a tummy full of risotto and kittens sleeping on you?  Seriously.  I mean, if you could crawl out from under there (especially with a headache, which I had) then you are a stronger person than I, and much more resistant to cute!

So!  Here it is, finally.  Our salsa came out a little on the bland and too-tomatoey side, but I think that’s largely to do with us completely forgetting to measure the tomatoes until it was too late and we’d already dumped them into the pot with everything else.  Oops.  We didn’t think we had enough so we added some more at the last minute, and I think that was probably a mistake.  I must add here that when canning it is very important to follow the recipe exactly.  (Do as I say, not as I do!)  There are reasons for doing things exactly like they say and even if you’re not sure what they are, do them anyway.  It could make the difference between a winter full of yummy home-preserved goods and a winter full of spoiled jars of inedible food, or worse, botulism.  Yay botulism!  So!  Don’t substitute ingredients or change the amounts of things unless you’ve been canning and preserving for long enough to know what you’re doing and know that it’s OK.  Please!  Thank you!

salsalicious (by bookgrl)

Fresh Vegetable Salsa
from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

7 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped, cored and peeled*
2 cups onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
8 jalapeƱos, diced (remove the seeds if you’re a baby about spiceyness)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste (5.5 oz.)
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine all the ingredients.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.  (I’m going to write a post about how to do that in the very near future.  I promise.  It’s just a little more than I can get into here at work…shhh…)

Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot salsa.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 20 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Makes about 10 8-ounce or 5 pint jars.

*To easily peel the tomatoes, dip them in boiling water for about 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water.  The skins should slip off easily after that.

Um.  Yeah. (by bookgrl)

So that’s what it looks like when it’s done!  Not bad!  I’d love to try another recipe, maybe one with fruit in it – anyone have a favorite?

And, in case you didn’t notice the pretty ring on my finger, or just didn’t think anything of it – we’re getting married!  That was our secret special errand that we had to do after work on Tuesday – pick up a big hunk of sparkly, ooh yeah! It’s really gorgeous and I love it!  And the boy who gave it to me! Wheeee!