Pumpkin Latte Cookies

Apparently, it’s a big deal when Starbucks comes out with their Pumpkin Latte in the fall.  Personally, I’m more excited about the Salted Caramel Mocha or the Eggnog that comes later, but I usually have one or two of the pumpkin before the season is over.  They’re good, just not something I wait eagerly for at the end of summer.

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When I started seeing the ads this year, it occurred to me that the pumpkin/coffee combination would make an excellent cookie.  To add another to my string of recent cake mix based recipes, I started with a spice cake mix and ended up with something I could eat a plate of.

Pumpkin Latte Cookies

18.25 ounce box spice cake mix

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee, ground fine

15 oz canned pumpkin

10 oz cinnamon or vanilla chips

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Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.  Combine the cake mix, spices and espresso powder.  Add the pumpkin and mix well.  Stir in the chips.  Drop by spoonsful onto the pan, then flatten slightly with the back of a greased spoon.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  They don’t spread much during baking.  Cool completely.  These stay pretty sticky, so be aware of that when storing.

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The coffee flavor is fairly subtle, so if you want it stronger you’ll want to increase the espresso powder.  Just don’t make the mistake my husband did and eat a whole bunch of them then try to fall asleep.

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Coconut Coffee Creamer Fail

I started drinking coffee in my late teens.  I worked in a store with people, mostly older than myself, who always had a pot going in the break room.  I started adding a little to my hot cocoa, then pretty soon I was adding a little cocoa to my coffee.  One day, the cocoa disappeared.  One thing that has remained constant all those years is that I cannot drink it black.  I want to, but I’m just a sugar and cream kind of girl. 

I especially love the flavored, bottled liquid creamers, but I’m pretty picky about the flavors.  Hazelnut – no.  Anything mint – no.  Fruit flavors – definitely no.  All of the vanilla, caramel and some Irish cream are on the yes list.  The fact that I made snowmen out of some of my creamer bottles might be a sign that I buy a lot of the stuff.

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I recently found one I like where I can actually pronounce all of the ingredients, but I’ve wanted to try making my own. 

There are lots of websites and blogs with recipes, but they all seem to be pretty similar to the ones I found at SheKnows.  They start with sweetened condensed milk, which I would eat with a spoon if it was socially acceptable, and whole milk.  I’m sure that they are delicious, but I went a different direction.  That’s where things went awry.

I wanted to make coconut creamer.  And I didn’t want to use whole milk.  I had a can of cream of coconut and some coconut-almond milk.  It made sense in my head.

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I put all the ingredients in a jar and shook it for a while.  Pretty, right?

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I stuck it in the fridge for the night.  The next morning, it looked like this.

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Not so pretty anymore, and frankly, a little unappetizing.  I wasn’t ready to give up yet though, so I shook it until I was dizzy.  Coconut cream has a high fat content, so those solids in the bottom weren’t going away.  I decided I didn’t need that fat anyway, so I measured a tablespoon, the amount of creamer I usually use, off the top. 

Just for comparison, this is what my coffee normally looks like.

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This is what my coffee looked like with my homemade coconut creamer.

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The only way you could tell I had added something was the shiny layer of grease on top.  Yum.

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Needless to say, I went back to my bottled creamer.  I might attempt it again sometime and actually follow the recipe.  For now, I’m rationalizing my store-bought creamer by saying I need the bottles if I’m going to make more snowmen!

Friday Favorites–Weddings

Next Wednesday, June 29th, my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.  It’s been 20 great years, but it feels like it was only yesterday that we were two kids, heading off to start our life together.  Now we HAVE two kids and a lot of road behind us.  There was really no choice in my favorites this week.  It had to be weddings.

We were married back in the days of the white guest book and feather pen.  I’m kinda glad to see we’ve moved on.  This Birthday Calendar Guestbook from The Bright Life is pure genius.

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Wedding or not, this Tree Pedestal Cake Stand from OnceWed is beautiful.

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This Embroidered Love Pillow from Growing Home would be a fun bridal shower activity and a lovely gift for the bride.

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It might be worth it to have this many bridesmaids just to make this rainbow.  And all the flowers match!  From The Knotty Bride.

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Coffee Bean Favor Bags from Intimate Weddings.  How do I get invited?

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For some reason, I just love the idea of these Mini Pinata Favors from Ruffled

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I don’t remember ever seeing Save the Date cards before I got married.  If I were going to have some though, I’d want them to be just like these from Weddingbee.

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There’s just something elegant about a black and white wedding cake.  Add some red, like this one shown on Project Wedding, and I might swoon a little. 

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I’ve noticed a trend toward smaller veils lately.  This Mini Veil from Emmaline Bride is just right.

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I love flowers, and especially wedding flowers, but whoever came up with bridesmaids carrying clutches instead was brilliant.  Etsy seller jennalou06 offers a Design Your Own option.

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My New Desk Set

As part of my office beautification project that started last week with my husband’s new coaster, I finally made myself a Mug Mat.  I’ve made lots of these at this point, but didn’t own one.  I was still using a sad little woven coaster my daughter made a LONG time ago.  Even she was ready to see it go.

I think we all spend at least a little time at the computer these days, but writing a blog, running an online shop and learning how to better edit my photos puts me in front of it probably more than average.  Therefore, the need for some pretty accessories was great.

Because my kids are a black belt and a nearly-black belt, I have a stack of karate-themed fabric in my sewing room.  I also have lots of law enforcement themed yardage, thanks to my husband and now my kids’ developing interest in following in his footsteps.  I rarely find any that reflects my own interests, so when I spotted some red, black and white sewing-themed fabric, I bought some just on principle.  Turned out, it made a perfect Mug Mat.

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Of course, I felt I needed a matching Coffee Cup Sleeve, in spite of the fact that I almost always drink my coffee from a Fiesta mug that it won’t even fit around.  I might have to throw it in my purse for my frequent occasional Starbucks visits.

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After I got the first side of these cut out, I grabbed one of the fabrics I had already used to cut out the backs.  Luckily, before I put scissors to fabric, I had an epiphany.  The backs could be completely different…these are for me, I can do whatever I want!

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I’ve been looking for an excuse to put red and turquoise together and I’m afraid I like this side better than the sewing prints.  That’s ok – my attention span is short.  The other side will be my favorite next week.

 

Because of the size of the strips I used to make these, I was able to cut two coffee cup sleeves from each combination.  If you’d like one of your own, they can be found in my Etsy shop.  Unlike mine, the two sides coordinate with each other!

Quick and Easy Fabric Coasters

If you’re still looking for something to make this close to Father’s Day, you’re going to need a simple, easy to make project or superhero-level sewing skills.  Personally, I had to go simple.

Coaster 1

My morning usually starts on the computer.  On the days my husband is home he often sits in the other chair, either working on the laptop or chatting with me.  There is ALWAYS coffee involved.  The caffeine addiction is something we share.  We had a couple of coasters the kids made with those weaving looms and stretchy bands years ago.  I think I could almost see through one of them.  I decided we needed something new and the kids backed me up.

To make one of these coasters, you need two squares of fabric, each 5” by 5” and a matching piece of cotton batting.  If you happen to have some InsulBrite left over from making coffee cup sleeves, that will work too.

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Lay one piece of fabric right side up, the other face down on top of it and the batting on top of that.  Stitch around the outer edge, leaving 1 1/2” open for turning.  Clip the corners.

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Turn right side out, pushing out the corners, and press.  Turn the opening to the inside while pressing.  Top stitch all the way around, close to the edge.

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If you have kids you’re teaching to use the sewing machine, this one is even easy enough for them.  Add a Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeve and Dad’s got a new desk set!

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First Anniversary Winners–What Did They Get?

Last post about my blogiversary.  Promise.  I just wanted to show you what I made for the two charming ladies whose names were drawn.  (Linda, if you haven’t received yours yet, and don’t want to see it, stop reading!)

Sue said she liked the Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeves and had found herself drawn to pinks and browns lately, so I made her this:

Sue

The other side of the sleeve is striped, like the mat.  I couldn’t just make her a little sleeve, so the mat was a bonus.  Sue already received this in the mail and seems quite happy with it.  Which makes me happy too.

Linda promised to keep her Forever Fabric Flowers dusted and even suggested she might get them to grow.  Here’s how they came out:

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The day I finished this, it was sort of snowing at my house, but more just dark and gloomy.  It was hard to part with these, but Linda was so sweet I couldn’t help it.

Thank you Sue and Linda, for entering and being such cheerful and enthusiastic winners and thank you all, one last time, for sharing the last year with me.  Time to move on to new projects!

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Oval Mug Mat Winner

I promised a drawing and I have a winner!  I know what you’re going to say, and yes, I know about the website that will randomly generate a number for you, I just didn’t use it.  I went old-school.  I printed all of the entries on paper, folded them up and threw them in an old canning jar.  Then I stuck my hand in and pulled one out.  After a Pooh with his hand in the honey jar moment, I’m happy to announce the winner of the Oval Mug Mat and matching Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeve is…

Diane! 

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I’ll be sending them off to her and hopefully she’ll enjoy them!  Diane has an adorable website of her own at All In Stitches.  She’s completed and reviewed several sewing patterns from other websites.  It’s always nice to see a real-world view of something before you make it yourself.  Congratulations Diane and thanks for your entry! 

Diane is still eligible to win the First Anniversary Giveaway drawing on Saturday as well.  Are you?  If you haven’t entered, visit the post here and leave a comment.  There are other ways listed there to gain more entries.  Don’t wait, it’s almost time to draw the winners!

Oval Mug Mat

I’ve been collecting one-inch wide stripes of fabric for the past couple of years.  My plan for them is to make a rag rug, but these mug mats have been everywhere lately.  It seemed like a good place to donate some of my stash.

Mug Mat 1

If you haven’t heard, a mug mat is more than a coaster, but less than a placemat.  The theory is, it can hold your cup of tea or coffee with room left for a little pastry or cookie to go with it.  It calls out to the girly-girl in me.  The ones I’ve noticed have been rectangular or square, but I decided to go a little different route and make mine oval.

To make one, you’ll need this pattern and 1” wide strips of cotton fabric, each approximately 20” long.  The number you’ll need depends on whether you’re just making the mat or a matching coffee cup sleeve (you’ll find the instructions for the sleeve here).  I ended up using 26 strips to make both, which yields a sewn piece about 12” by 20”.

You don’t have to use 1” wide strips.  You can use a different size, or even a variety of sizes.  The only thing that matters is the your pattern pieces fit on the piece you wind up making from them.

Sew the strips together side by side with a 1/4” seam.  Press all the seams in one direction.

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Cut out the front and back (and sleeve pieces, if you choose), angling the pattern if you’d like the stripes diagonal.  Cut out one piece from cotton batting.

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Stitch around the pieces, close to the edge, so the strips don’t come apart.  Layer the pieces with the top piece right-side down, the batting, then the bottom piece right-side up.  Pin all pieces together.

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To finish the edge, you’ll need about 30 inches of bias tape.  Unfold one side of the tape.  Line up the edge with the edge of the mat with the other fold up and to the inside.  Fold the starting end to the inside 1/4” and the ending edge to the inside at an angle.

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Stitch all the way around the edge in the fold line.  You may need to trim the seam by about 1/8”, due to the bulk from all of the seams, so the bias tape will fold over it properly.

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Flip over.  Fold the bias tape over the edge so it just covers the stitching line.  Pin.  A lot.  Stitch around near the edge of the tape.

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I am terrible at binding.  But this is the back, so I’m not going to stress over it too much.

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I’m really going to have to make one of these for myself.  Not that I don’t love this one…

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But I’m not keeping it.  This is for one of you!  Tonight at 5 pm, Pacific time, I’m going to draw one of the names from the entries in my First Anniversary Giveaway and send them this Mug Mat AND a matching Coffee Cup Sleeve.  Sorry, but my kids already ate the cookies.  If you’re reading this before that time, you can still enter.  Just visit the First Anniversary post and follow the directions there.  I’ll announce the winner tomorrow!

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Love Note Coffee Cup Sleeves

Did you ever have a project that just seemed doomed from the start?  Did you power through anyway, sure that it would work out in the end?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, you understand my week.  Fortunately, it was worth the struggle.

This is a revisit to a project I showed you last month, Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeves, but a little more advanced version.  One thing I will say right up front, do NOT make this using burlap, like I did, unless you’re up for a challenge.

You’ll need two pieces of cotton fabric (or one cotton and one burlap, if you’re ready for that ride) and a piece of InsulBrite*, cut using this pattern, making sure you flip it over so the two pieces of cotton are opposites.  Don’t use the pattern from the previous sleeve, as this one is a little bigger.  One of the many lessons I learned along the way while making this thing.

You’ll also need about 14” of bias tape, a small piece of clear vinyl (cut from the pattern), two 5/8” or 3/4” buttons and a small piece of elastic or half of a stretchy hair tie.

*InsultBrite is insulated batting.  It has a shiny silver side and feels crunchy when you squish it.  If you’d rather use the batting/ironing board fabric method I used previously, follow the instructions here.

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Sandwich the upper edge of the vinyl into the fold of the bias tape.

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Stitch close to the edge of the fabric.  Cut the ends off even with the vinyl.

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Press one end of the remaining bias tape under.  Slide the left side of the vinyl into the fold, lining up the pressed end with the top.  Place the vinyl on the sleeve according to the pattern.  This part is tricky because you can’t pin the vinyl, so you have to hold it in place while you stitch around the remaining three sides, near the edge of the bias tape.  Fold the tape around the corners.

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When you reach the end, fold the end under.  I clipped off the corners so they wouldn’t show.  Stitch the remaining tape down so it matches with the top of the tape on the vinyl.

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Stitch around the three sides again, close to the outer edge.  Stitch the corners if necessary.

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Lay the piece with the vinyl on it down, window up.

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Add the piece of elastic on the straighter end, with the loop to the inside.

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Add the other sleeve piece, face down.

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Next add the InsulBrite.  Pin everything in place.

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Stitch around the edges with a 1/4” seam.  Back stitch over the elastic.  Leave an opening at the bottom the size of the vinyl window.

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Carefully turn right side out.  Press, turning in opening.  This is where my burlap got a little ugly.

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Stitch all the way around near the edge.  Ordinarily, that would be enough, but because my burlap went a little crazy, I also did a zigzag stitch over the edge to keep it from unraveling.

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Mark the spot for the button as shown.

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Stitch the buttons on, one on each side, sliding a toothpick under each so there’s room for the elastic to loop around.

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Here’s a page of printable love notes I made that fit inside the window.

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And, of course, it’s still reversible.

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The pocket is also a great way to give a coffee gift card.  Just know that the card is flat and the cup is not.

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Or maybe you just need to identify your cup.  With a unique sleeve like this, though, that doesn’t seem likely.

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