27 April 2011

happy birthday ice cream cake

my mom turns sixty in two days and we're having a family dinner tonight (at babe's - my favorite!) to celebrate. i'm in charge of the cake this year and i'm sticking with tradition.

my mom has been making (at her children's request) an ice cream cake for birthdays for at least twenty years. the recipe comes from a church cookbook, which are the best, really, and i thought i'd share it with you today. it is easy peasy to make and tastes amazing, especially in the summer.

here's what you need:

1 stick of butter or margarine
24 "chocolate and cream cookie sandwiches" (we all know what that means)
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (it really is best to buy the cheap store brand ice cream that comes in a rectangular box. you'll see)
hot fudge sauce (or caramel sauce)
8 oz. whipped topping (again, we know what that means)

start off by pulsing the cookies through a food processor until they reach a coarse sand-like consistency. set aside.

in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the stick of butter (or margarine) and pour into the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan.

setting aside 2-3 tablespoons, gently, but firmly, press the cookie crumbles into the butter. you want the butter to permeate the crumbles to form a deliciously hard bottom shell.

pull the ice cream out of the freezer and open the box on all sides. this is why the store brand works best - it is easy to access and cut.

starting lengthwise, cut 1" slabs of the ice cream and place on top of the cookie crumble base. as you near the edge of the pan, begin to cut width wise to fill in the small gaps.

use a spatula to smooth the ice cream layer. i usually put the pan in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up before the next step.

while the ice cream is firming up, melt the hot fudge sauce in the microwave. generously drizzle the top of the ice cream layer with the chocolate. you could mix chocolate and caramel here. that would be awesome. again, i usually put the pan in the freezer for a few minutes before the next step.

spread the whipped topping over the chocolate sauce and get carried away with making pretty waves with your spatula.

sprinkle the reserved cookie crumbles over the top of the whipped topping and you're done! if you want to get fancy, you can do some more artistic flecking with the chocolate sauce. i attempted this and it looked not so great. i covered it with more cookies. who's going to complain?

it's definitely not the healthiest cake, but i'm sure you could make substitutions for almost everything. i'm used to making it exactly as my mom did in the 1980s, so i'm hesitant to try new things, but let me know if you do!

i'm off on vacation tomorrow morning. my sister and i are taking my mom, her sisters, and a lifetime family friend to fredericksburg, texas, where we've rented a 1905 pioneer limestone homestead for the weekend. there'll be lots of cards, wine, laughing, and shopping. i cannot wait!

if you've been to fredericksburg before, do you have any winery suggestions? we're going to have a day devoted to wine tastings and have only narrowed down one definite location.

be good and have a great weekend!

25 April 2011

regional dialect meme

word nerd alert.

this meme has been around the blogosphere for quite awhile, but better late than never, yeah?

here's a bit of background: everybody sounds different. this linguistic exercise is an attempt to share with your online friends how you say what you say. i was born in ohio and my parents are from the north, but i've lived in texas for thirty years. can you tell?

and now i'm going to go hide under the covers because i can't believe i actually did a video. or that i am sharing it with the internets. what's gotten into me?

here's a list of words and questions if you want to participate!

aunt, route, wash, oil, theater, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, new orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pajamas, caught
  • what is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  • what is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  • what is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  • what do you call gym shoes?
  • what do you say to address a group of people?
  • what do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
  • what do you call your grandparents?
  • what do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
  • what do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  • what is the thing you change the TV channel with?
if you've made a meme video, please leave a link - i'd love to see it! (yes, that was thunder in the background. the weather in texas is crazy right now)

22 April 2011

my hipstamatic (earth) day // 04.22.2011

happy earth day! i hope you're able to get outside and enjoy nature today. keith and i had our garage sale this morning and, despite forecasts of thunderstorms all day, it turned out to be perfect weather.

i am far from having a green thumb (my supervisee has to water the one plant in my office because i always forget), but i am definitely an admirer of blooming gardens. keith is trying to convince me that as soon as i have a house, i'll be outside in the dirt everyday. i'm skeptical, but i have to admit the scent of his roses was quite pleasant.

i literally just now noticed that two of the flowers have spiders on them. and that's why i think i'll leave gardening to others.  

20 April 2011

architectural ambition

straight away, let me just say that this is a completely self-indulgent post. remember how much i love the royal tenenbaums and their house at 111 archer avenue? remember how i mentioned that i used to doodle floor plans on graph paper when i was ten or so?

well... i found my beloved floor plans the other day while cleaning for an upcoming garage sale with keith. they were tucked into an old school folder and as soon as i saw the faded yellow color under a pile of papers, i knew what was inside. and i was giddy.

here's an example of an early work, if you will. for some reason, i always included a small home office for a psychiatrist (i was really into growing pains and i liked that dr. seaver worked from home). i also like how i added fringe to all the rugs. heh.

one summer, we went to florida and my cousin drew saw me drawing and requested his own house. he was a pretty cool and wacky kid, so i made it a super fun place to live. my perspective could use a little work, yes? those floor lamps in the living room look a tad wonky.

this was supposed to be a private boarding school for five musicians. oddly enough, i only made two bedrooms. and there's a bathroom in the kitchen.

this house was special because this is where i was going to live with my 7th grade crush, who just happened to like hockey. we were going to be so happy. and we were going to have a ton of kids, apparently. i loved the idea of an indoor/outdoor fountain and the wraparound porch.

eventually, i got more sophisticated and began to include landscaping. i think this was supposed to be the house from wait till helen comes

this was my absolute favorite, though. in my mind, i can still picture imagining how awesome it would be to have a sunken living room. notice the home office and the indoor/outdoor fountain. i guess i had definite ideas about what should be in my house.

looking through these drawings brings back so many happy memories! i absolutely loved planning out different spaces and i was convinced that i would be an architect or an interior designer. i did start college as an interior design major, but realized quickly enough that i liked to decorate for me, not for others.

thanks for indulging fond recollections of my architectural ambitions!

19 April 2011

the exceptional internet // 04.19.2011

i've been slacking on promoting the brilliance of the internets. here's a small remedy.

man, how much do i love dyna moe's hipster animals? as the tumblr accurately describes, "it's like richard scarry characters went to a grizzly bear show." yes! | via boing boing

this stars of facebook vid cracks me up. i think i'm a foodographer. i don't know what to think about that | via swissmiss

Altoids "Curiously Strong Awards" from Marc Ritzema on Vimeo.

i need this mac keyboard shortcuts print by etsy seller birdAve | via whorange

i am totally loving sfgirlbybay's newest feature, separated at birth, where interiors are matched with fashion photos. they're all dreamy.

if i knew how to hack, i'd follow matt richardson from MAKE's instructions and construct an awesome replacement button | via doobybrain

i'm not gonna lie, i would probably pick up a few of these books by designer christophe gowans if they were real. i'm digging the suburbs cover | via boing boing

the thought of these spiderweb-covered trees existing on the same planet as i do freaks. me. out. | via neatorama

have you stumbled upon anything exceptional lately?

17 April 2011

le apartment // living room

first off, thank you so much for all your wonderful and sweet comments on my kitchen post! it's always nice (and reassuring) to receive positive feedback on my kooky sense of style.

today we'll take a peek at the living room. there is a lot (a lot, a lot) of stuff crammed into a tiny space. it's not that i have too much stuff, it's just that i have too small a space. yeah, that's it.

my front door is just to the left of the tv stand/buffet and my office space is just behind the small wall with the mirrors.

this yellow and pink chair is the first piece of furniture i picked up for this apartment. i got it at a local thrift store and because my volunteer at work also volunteers at the thrift store, i got it for $50 instead of $100. it was a haverty's floor sample and is missing one button. i got the needlepoint throw pillow at a garage sale at least ten years ago.

do you recognize the suitcases? i originally left them at a thrift store, but i kept thinking about them and went back to rescue the pair. without consciously knowing so, i've begun to collect ceramic owls.

more thrifted finds! the needlepoint was from the same shopping trip as the suitcases and the daisy plate was from an estate sale a few weeks ago. the print is my attempt at screen printing.

i procured this amazing vintage gooseneck lamp last year from a friend's co-worker who was leaving the country and had to sell most of her possessions. the brass is a tad tarnished (even after rounds and rounds of scrubbing with brasso), but i love its great color and whimsical cattail details.

the larger of the two lady baltimore suitcases is used to display my favorite travel photos: strawberry field (no 's') in liverpool, various beatles stops, and paris.

if i had to choose my favorite vintage needlepoint in my apartment, this psychedelic lady would be it. this is another case of oh, i'm not sure if i love it or hate it, so i'll just leave it thrift store mentality. i obviously came to my senses and went back and rescued it -- and it was 50% off when i went back, so hurrah!

the bunting over the window was made with recycled felted wool sweaters and binding fabric. 

all of the pillows on the couch are handmade because i could never find anything crazy enough for me, i suppose. the floral pillows are reversible and were made from anthropologie napkins. i made the owl pillow from recycled felted sweaters. the quilt is a lap quilt i made last year from anna maria horner's garden party fabric.

the quilt on this side of the couch was my first quilt and it was made with denyse schmidt's county fair fabric. i love it so much -- and so does lola! she can usually be found perched upon the couch pillow, looking out the window. i knitted the little monsters a few years ago using this pattern; they are also a favorite of lola's, as evidenced by one of the eyes coming out of its socket.

this little corner is almost a corner of childhood in a weird, hopefully non-creepy sort of way. the prints are from the amazing catherine campbell, a.k.a. my folk lover. my blue kidrobot display case has looked a bit bare ever since i moved my dunny collection to the office. i'll just have to get a few more, yes?

my mother has recently started a complete home organization makeover, which means i have had to collect all my odds and ends that have been in my old bedroom for years and years. one of those items was my very first big boy in the form of a bank.

this portrait is part of a new collection i've started: random estate sale portraits. i don't know why, but i love coming across old painted portraits at estate sales. they make me sad and nostalgic and i can't bear to not purchase them. i don't know if that's cool or creepy. the clock was picked up at the first estate sale i went to, years and years ago.

a few more childhood memories interspersed with thrifted finds. i love the slide viewer, the camera, and the musical bank - the car moves up and down as the the music plays. i got the white lockers at ikea to store my dvd collection.

i got this art deco buffet at an auction a few years ago and i love it so much. it has tons of storage and charm. please take no notice of how small my television is. it's sad, really.

another growing collection: nesting dolls.

i've been picking up sets of nesting dolls whenever i can find them. i have a set from london, russia, and germany and i've gotten a few more at estate sales and thrift stores.

my favorite set is the circus-themed set. i got these at an antique store in jefferson, texas and paid more than i normally would have, but i couldn't resist.

i got this amazing orange vase/container (?) as a birthday present last year. i love when my friends recognize my style!

above the tv is my colorful board game from 1942. please ignore the thumb tacks holding it up for now - sigh. i almost died when i found the two small needlepoint children on either side of the game.

they have got to be the cutest things i've ever seen! (if it's not obvious, i'm a girl and i live alone. a little bit of cute is okay for now, yeah?)

for now my thrifted $25 kroehler slipper chair is (inconveniently) in front of the tv stand. i'd like to reupholster the chair (is that sacrilege?), but it will have to wait. the hand-hooked rug on the floor was from my grandparents' house.

so, yeah, that's it. my cramped and full and sunny and colorful living room.

thanks for reading!