Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

It's that time of year. You know, the time when if you have a garden yourself, you probably never want to see another zucchini again. Or, if you are lucky, like me, the time when a coworker keeps bringing in zucchini because THEY never want to see any again. Enter blueberry zucchini bread! It's moist and delicious and uses a cup of shredded zucchini per loaf! This bread also freezes well, so feel free to stock up on the spoils of summer and enjoy this year round.

To make my version of Blueberry Zucchini Bread you will need:

2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup oil (if you are watching the fat and calories you can substitute 1 cup of applesauce)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 bread pans by greasing them and giving them a light coating of flour.

Ina large bowl, mix together all of your wet ingredients, including your zucchini. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (I usually set aside a tablespoon of flour to toss with the blueberries before I add them at the end, it help to keep them all from sinking to the bottom of the bread).

Add your dry ingredients to the wet bowl and gently stir until a batter forms. Add your blueberries and stir until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into your prepared bread pans (batter will come about half way up the pan).

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the loaves comes out clean. Set on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the pans and allow to cool completely before wrapping it up.

This recipe also makes great muffins, mine usually take 30 minutes or so to bake. If you like a muffin with an extra crispy top, just sprinkle the tops with a little bit of sugar, or cinnamon sugar before baking. Yum!

What's your favorite zucchini recipe?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Funky Fabric Storage Ideas

I have been on a real craft supply organizing kick lately. My craft space is small. REALLY small. It's just one teensy corner of our living room area. I have an old desk I salvaged from the trash room of our old apartment that serves as my main craft space. I'm still debating painting it or something as it could sure look a lot nicer. Having such a small space for crafting when you write a blog filled with different types of projects is a real challenge, and is one of the reasons that since moving into this apartment I seem to be struggling with where to put things so they are really accessible.

In addition to being ready to use, it's also hard to find a way to store your supplies that also inspires you to use them. If you have everything hidden away, it's easy to just leave it hidden and forget about it (especially if things are just stuffed randomly into a bin). So, I thought I'd gather up some ideas for storing fabric to inspire all of you to join me in getting organized without losing all of my crafty inspiration!

One way I like to store smaller pieces of fabric is to roll them up and store them in a basket. The basket above is filled with some of my fat eighths. To keep it looking neat it's important to use fabrics that are similar in size (it looks messy if your fabrics stick out of the basket at several different heights). I make sure I pre-wash my fabrics before I store them so that if I'm feeling inspired I don't have to stall my progress by waiting to wash the fabrics later. Keeping some small bits of fabric in bright colors like this in a place where I can still see them makes me want to use them without leaving them lying on my workspace in a pile. Keep in mind that fabrics can fade and gather dust, so this storage solution is best for fabrics you are planning on using in the near future (I rotate out fat eights and fat quarters pretty quickly, so this is my ideal storage solution for them). You can check out this post for some ideas of projects that use smaller fabric scraps.

What about fabric storage for larger yardage? Yardage you may have purchased without even necessarily knowing what you are going to do with it (not that any of us would EVER do that, right?). It is important to find a way to store this in a way that it is still easy to see what you have, but find a way to protect it from dust, dirt and fading. Below are some of my favorite ideas:

I love the idea of using an old filing cabinet to file your fabric! I originally saw this idea on Sew Many Ways, but have since seen it several more times on Pinterest. The idea is simple: Fold your yardage and lay it over filing folders inside the cabinet. This method keeps your fabric protected from dust, etc. while still making it very easy to see exactly what you have and be able to take it out to use (no stacking huge piles to dig through later!).

It would also be easy to color code your fabrics with this method, as each fabric can be pulled out like a file!. You should check out the Sew Many Ways blog for more great craft room ideas--I am Super Jealous of her craft space!

If you are lucky enough to have a craft room with some closet space, then this idea from Bobi Law Designs might be right up your alley. Skirt hangers are used to clip fabric to be hung without ruining the ironing job! If your closet has doors, it will also protect your fabrics from excessive dust or fading.

For some of us with limited space and resources, there is always the old standby: Neatly fold your fabrics and stack them into a cubby/drawer/basket etc. My desk has a drop down door that used to have some pretty unpractical filing contraption attached to it. I removed that and cleaned out the cubby and now I keep my larger yardage stacked neatly down there where it won't get faded and gross.

For more great ideas on organizing your fabric stash, check out Pinterest!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shark Week 2013 is coming!

Hey all! If you were reading the blog around this time last year, then you already know that I kind of LOVE Shark Week (a weeklong extravaganza on Discovery Channel). Shark Week 2013 is coming soon (begins Aug. 4th), and I will again have a bunch of sharky crafts to share with you, so stay tuned for the undersea adventures in sharkiness!

Pictured above: DIY Shark cupcake toppers

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Fun

I'm back from another hiatus and thought I should share some of the non crafty things I've been up to in my absence, we can't be crafty all the time, right? These photos were taken from my Instagram account.

1) I participated in the Portland Heart Walk and personally raised over $200 dollars for the American Heart Association. My office had a 4 week walking challenge prior to the heart walk to challenge us to be more active every day and help break us out of our sedentary work lifestyles. Many of us still take an afternoon walk together most days of the work week. I also attended a fundraiser for the Vital Life Foundation, it is a foundation that my company founded and supports to benefit the local community and the residents in our long term care facilities.

2) The hot weather has seen the husband and I going on many a date night to avoid cooking at home and making the place extra hot (Portland is a place that doesn't seem to believe in air conditioning, almost no rentals have it and very few homes have anything above a window unit). It has been a good excuse to spend time together having fancy Happy Hour food and drinks though, so I can't complain too much.

3) Hen party with S'Mores! Leave it to me and my friends to find a great place for a bachelorette party that serves DIY S'mores with a little campfire and everything! I think I may need to get one of the little cast iron "campfire" things myself so I can make my own table top S'mores in the future.

4) Summer in Portland means lots of boats on the river and bridges being raised to accommodate them. It's kinda cool to watch on the weekends (and it makes me thankful I don't work on the other side of the river during the week).

Finally, the hus and I attended the wedding of a couple dear friends last weekend. They were married in Cathedral Park near the St. John's bridge here in Portland. We decided to use my talented husband's painting gifts and create a large painting of the bridge for them to hang in their new home. I'm pretty proud of my guy for being so talented and I know the bride and groom were really touched by the gift. I'll be honest, the only thing I had to do with this is it was my idea, I'm no painter. I just had to share this with all of you as I love the painting and like to brag a little every now and then :)

What has the Summer had in store for you so far?