Saturday, October 22, 2011

Teddy Bear Titus

This cute baby is Titus; he is sporting the Teddy Bear hood I made for him. Isn't he sweet? Titus is the son of my friends Tyler and Lacey. I couldn't get enough of squeezing those cheeks when we visited them last month.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chocolate Ganache in a Jar

I love ganache! It is my first choice for chocolate frosting.
It tastes incredible, and is super easy to make:
Chocolate Ganache
* Equal parts dark chocolate chips and heavy cream
* Clean jar with lid, large enough to easily accommodate chips and cream
1. Pour cream into the jar. Microwave (without the lid!) until cream is very hot, but not boiling.
2. Add chocolate chips. Screw lid on tightly, and shake shake shake!
3. When it's all blended, you have ganache, easy as that.
You can store it in the fridge in the same jar you made it in, no need to dirty a mixing bowl or food processor. While it's warm, you can pour it over cakes, cookies, or cupcakes for a smooth, shiny glaze. If you chill it, you can roll it into truffles. I've heard you can whip it into a fluffy frosting, but I like the glaze so much I never tried whipping it.

I invariably have some left over. And you don't just throw out homemade ganache! I make hot chocolate with it or spread some on bread to give Suzy a treat.
With the latest batch, I had very little left, so I let Suzy scrape the jar. Yum:

She was a happy girl.

Num num num!

Chocolate-induced bliss:

All good things must come to an end...

...but that doesn't mean she has to be happy about it.

But she can be consoled by knowing she sports an awesome chocolate mustache!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vintage Linen Covered Lesson Plan Book

Every school year I cover a lesson plan book. I consider it a necessity. My favorite lesson plan book is a Ward. It has the perfect layout, but it is homely:

So homely that I would plunge into depression looking at it's grim industrial face everyday. So I pretty it up with a cover made from a vintage pillowcase.
It's a very easy, no-sew project that you can finish in less than an hour, depending on how handy you are with a glue gun.

1. Gather your supplies: lesson plan book, pillow case, 2 pieces of white felt, ribbon, rotary cutter and/or scissors, and a glue gun. Not shown is a piece of coordinating card stock.

2. Glue the felt to the covers. I line the bottom left corner of the felt up with the bottom left of the front cover, not going over the spiral.

The felt will hang over the other two edges, like so:

I find it is easier to glue the felt down first, then trim the edges.

Do the same for the back cover.

Now open the book, and use the edges as a guide to cut off the excess felt.

3. Cut off the hem (the double thickness on the open end) of the pillow case. Center the open book on the case. If you are using a thicker pillow case, you could cut it open around the edges and only use half. Generally the vintage ones I like are very thin. The pattern has more oomph in a double layer, so I keep it intact.

4. Cut a slit in the pillow case to the immediate left of the spiral, from the edge of the case to the book cover. If for some reason you sneeze and cut a notch out like I did, brace yourself to go forward with the project anyway by reminding yourself that the Japanese consider imperfections enhancements to beauty. If you know for a fact that the Japanese do not believe that, don't tell me.
Fold the top and bottom edges over the cover and glue in place.

5. Trim off the fabric of the folded edge that hangs over the left edge of the cover. This will reduce thickness for the next step.

6. Fold the left edge of the pillow case down. Tuck the corners in neatly, like you're wrapping a present. Glue it in place.

7. Take your coordinating card stock (I used a file folder) and cut it generously enough to cover all the raw edges on the inside cover.

Glue down.

8. Like in step four, cut another slit, but to the immediate right of the spiral. It makes a little tab the width of the spiral spine.

9. Fold it up...

...and tuck it under the spine.

Repeat steps 4 through 8 for the right side.

11. Decide where you'd like the ribbon trim to be. I tend to prefer it one-third or one-quarter of the way over from the spine, though depending on your pattern and trim, you may like it better centered or nearer the left edge, or running horizontally. A less busy print or solid may look nice with ribbons of a variety of widths or colors. Secure it with a few dots of glue.

12. Open the cover, bring the ribbon down, fold it under, even against the edge of the card stock. "Wouldn't it be neater to add the ribbon before you glue down the card stock, so you can hide the ribbon ends under it?" you ask? I applaud your discernment. I hope one day to have your talent for foresight.

13. My favorite part! Every year I choose a theme verse for my teaching and write it on the inside cover. This year I chose Matthew 11:29. It has always been one of my favorites, but I saw it in a new light when I was looking for verses about teaching. To teach my daughter well, I have to first learn from Jesus. I also pray that I will have His gentleness and humility in how I teach Suzy. And when I feel burned out, I can be reminded that He is the rest for my soul.

The embellishment on the inside is an arrangement of flowers cut out of scraps of the pillow case. I attached them with a glue stick, easy as pie.

If you can't read the above page, it says, "Teacher: Momma, School: Penland Academy for Young Ladies, Room: guest, Grade: first."

Here are this year's book and last year's book side by side:

When you're done, you'll have one-of-a-kind lesson plan book.

A pretty, cheerful lesson plan book makes me a happy teacher!

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