cocktail

Too Cute Tuesday: Tablecloth Lunch Bags

Every Tuesday, it’s a craft, a cocktail, and friends. To join the fun, check out Facebook at www.facebook.com/toocutetuesday. To see archives of past TCT evenings, see www.toocutetuesday.com. And to start your own chapter or join ours, contact Nicole.

This craft was sent to us by Dorrie, who couldn’t make it to see it through. But overall a great idea using 1) inexpensive materials and 2) good design.


A man sewing. Nothing sexier.

Materials
Plastic-y tablecloth (what Martha would call ‘oil cloth’)
Scissors
Pins
Measuring tape
Sewing machine

Cocktail of the Night: The Wolf Pack (invented by Chef Dan)
Irish cream (3/4 oz.), irish whiskey (1 oz.), 1 oz. heavy cream, 1 oz. milk. Mix and add splash of soda water and whipped cream on the top.

1. Beg on all social media outlets for an air conditioned place to sit at during the day. Have boyfriend’s mother see Facebook post and offer to lend you her spare AC for the summer. Decide you love social media (and your boyfriend’s family) even more.

2. Have boyfriend (AKA Chef Dan) show up at Craft Central right before the fun with a surprise. Install in window and press start.

3. Since you can now cook without the fear of melting yourself, cook up some apps while Dan makes the night’s cocktail.



This is what happens when you decide to 'eyeball' fabric measurements...one side shorter than the other. Craft fail.

4. Get out the sewing machine and several plastic tablecloths ($2.99 each at a local discount store).

5. Cut one large rectangular piece and two small rectangle pieces. These will serve as the width of the bag and two sides, respectively. For a much better visual and more specific measurements, check out the original craft on Martha Stewart’s website by clicking here. Note: We just eyeballed it.

6. Sew the sides on first making sure of two things 1) that the small rectangles are both lined up with each other on opposite sides and 2) that you press the two printed (read: nice) sides together to sew so your clever (or not so clever) stitching is hidden.

7. Set the bottom of the two rectangles (creating the square bottom) last. If there is some error, this is a much easier area to hide/fudge it.

Optional: If rolling it closed isn’t enough to you, you can get a velco strip to stick on a hold it closed. Or do the Martha and use a clothespin (though most everyone on the site sort of agreed the clothespin was a bit lame/impractical).

I was so proud of Dan because this was his first session with the sewing machine. “That was fun.” he said. Either the guy 1) adores me or 2) the craft was good. “This is a cool bag. I needed a lunch bag.” Dan said. Ok, so maybe it was a little of both. Seriously though folks, easy!

Aren’t we cooled off, and crafty?

Too Cute Tuesday: Ribbon Belts

Every Tuesday, it’s a craft, a cocktail, and friends. See all the posts at www.toocutetuesday.com or join the fun on Facebook at www.facebook.com/toocutetuesday.

Jen, the crafting convert. She says she may actually wear this.Let me start off by saying that my real-life friend Jen is supportive about most things in my life. Two things she doesn’t usually do are 1) read this blog and 2) attend Too Cute Tuesday. “I just don’t like it,” she says. Of Too Cute Tuesday, not the blog.

When I told her we were making ribbon belts and it would be easy, she decided to come. She made not one but two crafts. “Hey, this is kind of fun.” Yeah, Jen, that’s why we do it! “You should put this on the blog.” she said, as she added a ribbon to my dog Gidget’s neck. Yup, that’s the idea…

So if you want a craft that 1) takes 15 minutes. and 2) will convert a skeptic, this is your week. Remember it doesn’t have to be a belt. I can be a bracelet or one of those luggage straps.



Materials
Ribbon (Enough to go around your waist plus a few inches for sewing error and/or future fluctuations
Needle and thread (we used white)
Scissors
Loop things (if the hardware store doesn’t have D-rings… it’s near the bungee cords, ropes, and other items in the ‘holding stuff down on a car’ section)

Towards the end of the night, we all get silly and start putting ribbon belts on everything...

Gidget gets a ribbon collar from Jen. Note: Stapling is like sewing, only quicker.

Cocktail of the Night: Deck Fluff (make up by me): pink lemonade, vodka, triple sec, seltzer. Mix and say “Ah…”

1. Get ribbon at local craft store. At local hardware store, have an impossible time finding the D rings that Martha Stewart said you would. Buy the plastic tie things and hope it’ll look cute anyway.

2. Mix Deck Fluff and have friends arrive with pizza.

3. Measure length of ribbon you desire (for your belt or other wearable ribbon accessory) with a few extra inches. Sew one end of ribbon onto middle of plastic thingee. On the other end, fold overslightlyand stitch so it doesn’t fray in the future.

4. Done.

The plastic thingees were 30 cents each and the ribbon was 50 cents a yard. Less than a buck for a belt, collar, or anything else you would want to wrap in a ribbon. Now that’s what I call a bargain!

Here are the original, very exact instructions:http://www.marthastewart.com/article/ribbon-belt-and-bracelet

Aren’t we crafty… and slowly converting the masses?



Too Cute Tuesday: Paper Beads

Every Tuesday, it’s friends, a craft, and a cocktail. Want to get involved? Start your own TCT chapter, read old Too Cute Tuesday posts, or join the fun on Facebook.

Christie: Official DJ, bartender, and beadmaker... all at once.Dorrie found this paper bead craft awhile back but we were waiting for our wallpaper connection to come through. Tonight, Dorrie had to work late and other people were gone, so it was just Christie and I.

No doubt we have all made these paper beads a million years ago when we were in elementary school but with more grown up materials, they are still fun now.

Linked here is the original post. (You have to click through and see how these beads could come out. Inspiring!) That said, we did ok.

Materials
Wallpaper book
Scissors
Glue (Elmer’s is fine- squirt glue preferable)
Takeout chopsticks (or some other disposable round wooden object)
Twine/string

Cocktail of the Night: Christie’s Mix: Some mixture of grenadine, lemonade, rum, orange juice and/or triple sec



1. Have the longest week ever. Get to the point where you are almost dellerious with stress. But wait, it’s time for Too Cute Tuesday!

2. Have friend (Christie) show up at Craft Central and make you a cocktail and remind you that it’s time to craft! Stick nachos in the oven and take out the wallpaper book Dorrie got from an interior decorating friend. Note: Primitive patterns would be something my sister would enjoy.

I'm finally relaxing... just what my doctor would have ordered had she known I was going insane this week. Thanks Too Cute Tuesday!3. Cut a piece of wallpaper out of the book. Fold in half four times, creating thin strips of the same thickness.

4. On half of each strip, make the strip pointed. A straight edge would help if you could find it. Walk around the house looking for it and, when you can’t find it, take the nachos out of the oven and decide to ‘wing it’.

5. Starting at the thick end of each strip, roll the paper around a chopstick, using glue to hold it together.

6. Sip cocktail and watch Youtube music videos while rolling your beads. Trade beads with your fellow crafting friends for variety.

7. String the beads on the twine, knotting where you want the beads to stay. Depending on the length, you can either end up with a necklace or a beaded curtain. Decide the original posts beaded curtain must have taken forever to make so settle on a necklace.

Thanks Too Cute Tuesday for getting me out of my stressed out funk. Aren’t we crafty…. and relaxed!

Christie showing her final product. We exchanged beads with each other for a variety of colors.



Too Cute Tuesday: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes From Smitten Kitchen

Every Tuesday night, it’s friends, a craft, and a cocktail. Nothing like accomplishing something small while hanging out with friends. (Let’s face it—everyone is busy on the weekend but Tuesday…people could stand for a bit of weeknight fun!) Feel free to suggest crafts to us, start your own Too Cute Tuesday chapter, or otherwise participate either on this blog (all the archived entries are at www.toocutetuesday.com) or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/toocutetuesday.

Awhile back, my friend Kate/enthusiastic supporter of Too Cute Tuesday sent me the cutest little cupcake recipe involving chocolate, beer, whiskey, and Baileys. For two weeks now, we’ve been meaning to make these cupcakes.

Christie and Sarah get ready to follow directions. Isn't it good to be back, Sarah?

Christie and Sarah get ready to follow directions. Isn’t it good to be back, Sarah?

It worked out perfectly that we decided to make them when Sarah was visiting. (You may remember Sarah, who moved to St. Louis about a year ago and started a Too Cute Tuesday chapter there.) Sarah arrived in Maine just in time to get unpacked and craft with the group.

Materials

Sue stirs the ganache. Really it's melted chocolate and cream but doesn't ganache sound way fancier?

Sue stirs the ganache. Really it’s melted chocolate and cream but doesn’t ganache sound way fancier?

For Cake:
Cocoa powder
Flour
Granulated sugar
Two eggs
Baking soda
Salt
Two sticks butter
1 c. Guinness
2/3 c. sour cream

For Ganache Filling:
1 c. bitter or semisweet chocolate
2 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
1-2 tbsp. Irish whiskey

For Frosting:
One stick butter
1-2 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Baileys

Special equipment you may need to borrow from a friend: cupcake tin, cupcake liners



Cocktail of the Night: Guinness (otherwise you’re wasting 6 perfectly good ounces of beer)

Dorrie takes out the cupcake centers and we slowly eat them. Much better than donut holes.

Dorrie takes out the cupcake centers and we slowly eat them. Much better than donut holes.

Basically we followed the recipe from Smitten Kitchen which was perfect. Click here to see it for yourself!

Christie and Sarah did the cupcake mix while Sue and I had time to do the two smaller parts of the project: the ganache and the frosting. (By the way, we used all optional alcohol.) Dorrie showed up in time to take the centers out of the cupcakes (we used the little pointy things you can pipe frosting with, worked well) and frost the cupcakes.

Note: Stick the ganache in the freezer when it’s done and stir every ten minutes until thick. Meanwhile we had only put it in the fridge so it didn’t cool quickly enough. We ended up pouring a little too early because it was past 9 at night and, being a school night, crafters had to head home.

27 cupcakes later, we got to eat the cupcake centers and enjoy every surface being covered with chocolate and frosting. Messy but totally worth it, and great to be crafting with Sarah again!

Yummy dessert and visiting friends… aren’t we crafting and having fun at the same time!



Too Cute Tuesday: Wine Tasting

Every Tuesday, it’s a craft, a cocktail, and friends. To get in on the fun, check us out on Facebook or read all the posts at www.toocutetuesday.com. Comment, suggest crafts, or start your own TCT chapter. It’s fun!

When my friend Sue said her wine expert friend John would be in town and asked if I’d want to hold a wine tasting/lesson instead of our usual craft format, I knew I’d be crazy to say no. I also knew I’d be doing this writeup on Wednesday.

On my way to Craft Central, my car broke down on the side of the road. I called up and John and Sue’s husband Andrew came and rescued me. They popped open my hood and started talking about belts and fluids. Andrew kept going in his car and getting liquids to pour in and John told me that before becoming a wine person, he was a mechanic. That’s versatility!

After making my car safe enough to drive to my favorite garage, we left it and off we went to Too Cute Tuesday.

At the beginning of the wine tasting, look how excited Sue looks. As the person taking the picture, you can't see that I am also pretty darn excited.

After this incident, John didn’t skip a beat and we all had a great experience. Here’s how you can approximate it without your own car mechanic/wine expert on hand:

Andrew: smelling the bouquet or checking if something is in his drink? When wine and dog ownership intersect...Materials

6 bottles of wine, shoot for the same kind of grape and same year but different regions. We did Cabernet Sauvignon in 2008-2009 vintages from four regions of the world.

Baguette, fancy crackers, and fancy cheeses: both palate cleansers and dinner substitutes.

Ideally one wine glass per wine type per person. Ideally, the same glass size and shape. We only had three per person so we worked with it.

Container for dumping the wine (there is probably a better technical name for this and, while it is sad to throw it out, six people drinking six whole bottles of wine would not have made for a nice Wednesday morning)

Cocktail of the Night: Um… wine!



1. Line up the bottles (don’t tell people prices or specifics).

2. Pour small glass of each wine to excited TCT participants. First smell, then swirl the glass and smell again. Discuss how the smells change.

3. Take a sip and discuss how it’s different than the smell.

4. Go through different regions of the world (Chile, France, New Zealand, and the Pacific Northwest) and see how different the same grape can taste. Talk about what different people taste; it really does help you pick up on things you may not have noticed.

Yes, the social aspect and our palate cleansing were as fun as the wine part. Right Sue and Dorrie?

5. Cleanse palate in between tastings (or use it as an excuse to eat way more Brie than necessary). If you have less glasses than wines available, after the first three wine tastings, dump your least favorite. This way, you always have some wines for comparison.

In order of price now... interesting and unexpected!

6. Learn about individual wineries, cork variations (synthetic versus natural versus composite), and the kinds of bins wine can age in (oak, concrete, steel).

7. Towards the end of the evening, discuss which is most expensive. Have the person leading the tasting put the bottles in order of price.

At the end of the evening we had four different favorite wines between the six participants. This is apparently really normal.

What I found out in my first ever wine tasting ‘class’ is that there is no right or wrong way to taste something. It can be effected by the food we ate growing up, what we ate over the last few days, and even how we are feeling when we drink it.

The other part of it seems to be fun science experiment. Eliminate as many variables as possible (wine glass differences, year differences, grape differences) to just compare one variable: in our case, region of the world. Remember it doesn’t have to be expensive wine to be good. Ours ranged from $10-$25 a bottle.

Aren’t you quite the wine connoisseur now?



Too Cute Tuesday: Gnocchi

Every Tuesday, it’s a craft, a cocktail, and friends (eat something, drink something and be social). To read more, check out www.toocutetuesday.com (all the posts) or check out the Facebook page. (We usually put photo galleries and some extra stuff on the Facebook page.)

Inspired by this post at Readymade, we decided to carb it up this week with gnocchi. In May, we’re doing food as crafts. It’s technically making something and, quite honestly, spring is making us hungry.

Sam grating the potatoes. I told her to do something clever. To be fair, this is a hard situation to be clever.



Materials
Dorrie poking the dough. We had way too much fun with the directions on this one.Flour (1-2 cups)
2 potatoes (fairly large)
1 egg
Salt
Sauce of your choice and parm cheese
Large pot
Slotted spoon
Box grater
Peeler

Cocktail of the Day: Nicole’s Gnocchi Tonic (tonic water, triple sec, light rum)

1. Put a huge pot of water to boil with salt. Pour cocktail and pet dogs, though not necessarily in that order.

2. In the meantime, wash and peel both potatoes. Cut into 2-3 inch chunks and place into boiling water for about 10 minutes. Take them out with a slotted spoon (leave starchy water for later. Yum.)

3. Once cool (we ran them under cold water in a colander), grate potatoes and put them on a cookie sheet. Cover with salt (to draw out moisture) and wait 20 minutes.

4. While waiting 20 minutes, eat way too much bread and olive oil. Be thankful for friends who also love carbohydrates.

5. On floured surface, place potatoes. Dust flour on top. Make pile-o-potatoes with a hole in it and crack one egg. Poke with fingers. Massage dough together, adding more flour until it is less sticky, like cookie dough.

Cooking the gnocchi.

6. Cut into four pieces. Roll out to size of large sausage. Remark that the directions are kind of ridiculous. Cut in one inch pieces, rolling on fork to make more sauce-adhering surface area. While some people do that, try to get a picture of an elusive dog with the camera. (Gidget, the camera hating dog, made an exception of appearing in the photo above on account of the presence of food.)

7. Boil for 3 minutes in starchy water from earlier until the gnocchi float. Take out with slotted spoon and put in waiting sauce. (Dorrie and Sam brought a nice vodka one.) Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Aren’t we crafty, Italian-like, and well fed?



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