Chocolate Oil Cake – My Go To Recipe

We have food day at work tomorrow. The last two times, I’ve stopped off at the store to pick up a veggie tray on the way to work because I had meeting the night before. I had a meeting tonight, a conference call, but it ended early so I am making something!! I decided to make a Chocolate Oil Cake. Sounds kinda gross, right!?! But if you have never made one, you are missing out! No eggs, no milk and a wonderfully moist cake! This is the cake I make when I haven’t planned (or usually forgot to plan) anything. I always have the ingredients I need on hand. I also love this recipe so I don’t have to get out my mixer. To make the cakes you will need:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flower
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla abstract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix.

Dry ingredients

Add all the liquids and mix well by hand. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking pan Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cake batter

Let cool completely and ice as desired.

cake

I often buy a canned whipped frosting (easy!) or will sometimes dust with powered sugar and/or chocolate syrup. I’ve even been known to make icing before. Not sure yet how I’ll frost this cake of mine but I know I won’t be making the icing. I may send my husband to get canned icing. He loves me!

Tidal Wave – The beginning

I’ve been looking at this pattern for a while and decided I wanted to knit this stole. It’s a simple design but I’m a slow knitter so it will probably take me forever to finish! The pattern is called Tidal Wave Sampler Stole and it’s a free Red Heart pattern. I am not a big Red Heart yarn fan and usually substitute it with another brand yarn. However this time I am using the recommended yarn – Boutique Unforgettable. I chose the Echo colorway. It’s soft and and is knitting up fairly nice.

Title Wave

Not a good pic, but you get the idea.

I don’t know if I’ll time to knit on it every night but hopefully I’ll get some done. My plan is to post another progress picture next Monday. If I didn’t make any progress, I guess I’ll repost this one again. Let’s hope I actually get some knitting done!

 

Christmas Coasters

I made coasters for a gift swap. I’ve made coasters like these before and posted the tutorial in my Happy 4th of July! post. I love the pictures on this scrap paper and wanted to make some for me but couldn’t find the paper. :( I have no clue what brand the paper is or where and when I bought it. I really like the round pictures with the square tiles.

Christmas Coasters

Christmas Coasters

One thing I have noticed about these coasters is if you leave a wet glass sitting on them for a while, it leaves a white ring on the coaster. However once it dries, the ring goes away. I’ve been using the first set of coasters I’ve made since this past July and they still work and look great! I’m thinking I should sell these on Etsy but the postage is horrendous! They are so heavy. Although if I could mail them in the small flat rate box through the USPS, it would be affordable. Hmmmm…something to think about!

Sew Easy Lined Curtain

Three of my granddaughter’s favorite things are rainbows, hearts and flowers. She loves them so much that she wanted to name her little sister Rainbow Heart Flower. Unfortunately for her, Mom and Dad had another name picked out. She didn’t get to pick her little sister’s name but she does get to pick how she decorates her room and she chose rainbow curtains!

Sew Easy Lined Curtain

I decided to make a lined curtain for her window. I had made one for her when she was a baby but that was 5 years and one apartment ago so she needed something new. I let her pick out the material, bought room darkening liner and got ready to sew. I didn’t have a pattern but it’s just a flat panel curtain with no pleats so wouldn’t be too hard to make.

I measured the window and added 12 inches to the length. The width of the fabric was perfect for the window. I didn’t need to cut it down or add to it. I wanted a fairly large hem at the bottom so I folded the end 6 inches up and ironed a crease. I then unfolded the fabric and folded the end up to the crease, ironed it and sewed the hem. I did the same for the liner fabric but I cut the liner fabric about 4 inches shorter at the top. I wanted to create a rod pocket with just the fabric because I thought it would be too bulky with the liner fabric.

Sew Easy Lined Curtains

The bottom hem of the curtain

 

Once I had the bottoms hems sewn, I pinned the fabric right side together and sewed the sides together. Some blogs I read said they sewed the bottom together as well but I liked the look of having it open. After it was sewn, I turned the fabric so the right sides were facing out and ironed the sides flat. I did cut the liner fabric down a bit along the sides before turning it so the sides would lay flatter and be less bulky.

Sew Easy Lined Curtain

Right sides together, sides pinned and ready to sew

For the top of the curtain, I folded the edge down an inch and sewed that to help keep the fabric from fraying.

Sew Easy Lined Curtains

Top of the curtain.

 

Finally I sewed the top down so it lapped over the liner and sewed it down. This create a pocket of just fabric but was also attached to the liner, giving it a little more strength.

 

Sew Easy Lined Curtains

Top edge folded over the liner, waiting to be sewed. There is about a 2″ pocket for the rod.

The last step was taking it over to my daughter’s and hanging it in my granddaughter’s room. Some light does show around the edges and from what I’ve read, that will happen unless you use room darkening blinds but it does keep a lot of the light out.

I hung the curtain while she was at Vacation Bible School so when she got home, she was surprised! She loves the curtain and her room is on the way to becoming the bedroom of her dreams!

Using Evernote to keep track of sewing patterns

I have been known to buy a sewing pattern, get home and find out that I already have that pattern. I have also been in a fabric store and wanted to buy fabric but had no clue how much I needed for a certain pattern. Then I would have to go to the pattern books, find the pattern number, find the pattern envelope, look for what I needed and then go back to get the fabric. I had to figure out a way to keep track of sewing patterns that worked for me. I decided to use Evernote. I heard about it at a workshop and originally thought I would use it for work but that never happened. I decided to use it for this since I can sync my Evernote files with my phone, computer and iPad. Also you don’t have to pay for the account. There are paid options but I’ve never needed any more storage so I have not idea looked into it.

So what do I do? When I buy a new pattern, I look it up online and copy/paste a picture of the front and back of the envelope to a new note in Evernote. I generally title the note with the pattern number, such as “McCall’s 6392″. It was easy to copy and paste the information from the McCall’s website. The Simplicity website was a little tougher. For the most part, I couldn’t copy/paste the picture from the front. I had to find an image online to copy/paste. For the information on the back of the envelope, you can open a pdf of it which can then be copied and pasted. I’m sure there is a better way to do that but it worked for me. I don’t know about other sites. Now whenever I’m about to buy a pattern or want to pick up some fabric, I have access to it on my phone.

Using Evernote to keep track of sewing patterns

I’ve also added the projects I want to complete with a materials list as well as where I can find the project. If it’s a project I have saved to Pinterest, or elsewhere online, I can add a hyperlink to Evernote otherwise I will make note of the book or magazine where I can find the project. I will admit that it did take me a while to realize I needed to make note of where I could find the project. For instance, I had a note that said “Fleece pants – 1 yd fabric”. Yet I had no idea what that was for! I’m sure when I typed the note, it made perfect sense to me but six months later, I was clueless!

I’m sure there are other ways to keep track of project information but this system has worked great for me!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July y’all! To celebrate, hubby and I are headed to WaKeeney for a cookout and fireworks with friends. We did celebrate with family last night though. My oldest granddaughter used to not like fireworks at all. Actually it was more the noise she didn’t like. This year though, she could not wait to shoot off fireworks! Mom and dad picked up some fireworks and came over to the house. My granddaughter had so much fun!

Firework fun!

I’m also happy to say that her little sister does not mind the noise at all! I was worried since she is only 3 months old. Of course we had ear protection for both girls which helped.

I did make some crafts for the 4th. I made this wreath, which I’m not really happy with and will redo before I put it away for the year. It looks much better from the sidewalk.

July 4th wreath

 

I based the wreath on this tutorial. I used a straw wreath instead of the wreath shown in the tutorial.

I also made some 4th of July coasters which I love!

4th of July Coasters

 

To make them I used:

  • 4 x 4 stone coasters I purchased at The Home Depot. They came in a package of 9 for just under $4.00. I only made 4 so I have tile left over for another set!
  • Scrapbook paper – I already had
  • Mod Podge
  • Clear acrylic sealer spray
  • felt for the backing

To make them:

  • Cut the paper to fit the size of the tile. I wanted some of the tile to “border” the paper so I cut it just a tad smaller than the tile.
  • Apply a thick coat of mod podge on the front of the tile and affix the paper. Let dry then add a layer of Mod Podge to cover the paper and top of the tile completely.
  • Let dry completely then spray the top and sides of tile with spray sealer in a well ventilated area. I put my tiles on a thick piece of cardboard and sprayed them outside. I let the first coat dry for about 10 minutes and sprayed another light coat of sealer.
  • Let dry for at least 24 hours.
  • Cut felt to fit the bottom of the tile.
  • Apply a thick coat of Mod Podge to the bottom of the tile and apply the felt. Let dry completely before using.

These are so easy and inexpensive to make! I’ll think I’ll make some for every holiday/season!

 

 

Crafty Exchange

I signed up for the Craftaholics Summer Gift Exchange. It’s the first time I’ve participated but I LOVE exchanges of any kind! For the exchange, you make a crafty item for your secret partner. Although I wonder if the person I was given is also the person who is to send me something. I’m not really sure but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I got to make something to give to someone else! We were to mail out items by July 1st, which I did, and that date made me think of Christmas in July so I decided to make a NOEL sign. I got the letters and paper at Hobby Lobby when I was in Topeka, because ours hadn’t opened yet. Luckily ours opened recently. You’ll see why a little later!

Christmas in July - Noel

It was very easy to make. I just used my trusty Mod Podge to glue the papers to the letters. I then cut the around the letters with an X-acto knife to neaten it up. Although I did learn one very important lesson. When working with patterned paper, make sure you have the letter and the paper going in the correct direction. Otherwise you wind up with this…

Christmas in July - Noel oops!

Oops!

Luckily Hobby Lobby is now open in my town so I could just run out and get another sheet of paper to fix it. Otherwise I would have had to drive 90 miles to get a .50 cent sheet of paper. That would not have happened!

So after the oops was fixed, I put a glossy coat of Mod Podge on all of the letters and here is the finished project!

Christmas in July - Noel

I thought about doing something else with the letters, such as attaching them together, but then I decided I would leave them like this so my giftee could do what she wanted with them. I’m going to make another set for me and incorporate it into my tea cart decorations. I don’t have a mantle but I have a small tea cart (table) that I decorate for all holidays. I will either attached the letters and hang them on the wall above the table or arrange them on the table itself. If I do the latter, I will add something to the back to help them stand on their own.

So I did get this off in the mail on July 1. I hope my partner likes this. It was the first time I’ve made something like this and it’s a project that anyone can do!

 

 

Paper Lantern

I pinned this 4th of July kids craft to make with my granddaughter. She comes over once a week and I like to come up with new activities to do with her. We started with red and blue constriction paper and I printed stars on white paper to use. She cut the construction paper but I had to cut the stars.

4th of July Lantern

Once everything was cut, she was ready to glue! 4th of July Lantern

She decided to glue all of the stars on one strip! I pictured distributing them evenly among the strips but what do I know! :) You might notice the creative cutting she did with the red paper. She likes to add her own touches.

4th of July Lantern

The final product turned out a lot longer than I had thought it would but she was pleased with it.

4th of July Lantern

I think it was a success!

Preschool Graduation

My granddaughter had her preschool graduation last night. There were seven graduating preschoolers and they were so cute in their little caps & gowns! They walked down the aisle to their seats and were so excited. The kids did a very good job.

The program was cute. They sang songs they learned this year, such as the Alphabet Song, Months of the Year and Fun in Preschool. Each student received a diploma and large bottle of bubbles. The kids were also supposed to each receive a balloon but one balloon spontaneously exploded popped so the balloons were used to decorate the classroom instead. The lead teacher said that in her 13 years of preschool graduations, this is the 1st time a balloon popped.

Each graduate gave their mom a yellow rose and at the end, they yelled, “Kindergarten here we come!” Then it was time for pictures and cake. I’m sure the kids thought the cake was the best part!

Preschool graduation

Looking to the future

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