Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Come one come all

Hello fellow Utah'n friends!

If you're available this weekend come up to Farmington to the Piper & Chloe boutique. A bohemian Anthropologie style show that will feature some of my items along with other talented artisans! Situated in beautiful home and started by a talented and kind group of sisters and mother. Come check it out. You may find some great Christmas gifts or ideas for your own creations.

Check out the blog here. http://www.piperandchloe.blogspot.com/
And get the directions before you go there. I got lost trying to follow their instructions as long as some friends who tried coming this spring :)

They have a playroom for those who need to bring their kids.

November 6th and 7th. Friday, 10-7pm and Saturday, 10-5pm 46 Robyn Way Farmington, UT
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

How-to Grape style

A brief DIY grape juice and grape jelly from an amateur home-preserver, using a juice steamer.

To read about my failures/successes with this, read my personal blog here.

Equipment needed:
--Juice Steamer
--Quart sized mason jars
--new lids

STEP 1: I used Concord grapes from my backyard.

STEP 2: Cut them directly off the vine. The kids loved helping me with this. It only took about an hour to cut at least 15 pounds of grapes.

TIPS: They can be stored in a cool place, covered, for a few days before using them. But don't let them sit too long or they'll ferment or start to shrivel or split. I kept them in a cooler outside.
A friend suggested to me that it's better to wait until after the first frost to pick them because apparently they taste better.

STEP 3: Rinse the grapes. Pick out the bad ones (those that are shriveled, wet, or sticky).

STEP 4: Weigh out about 4 pounds of grapes. Yields about 6 cups of juice.

STEP 5: Place in the steamer basket. Make sure you plug the tube with the stopper clip.

(pictured: not the steamer I used but very close model). They have 3 compartments. The bottom unit that you fill with water that sits directly on the stove unit. Then the juice catcher compartment with a tube connected to it. Then the steam basket where you place the grapes. Then it's topped with a lid.

Time-saving TIP: You do NOT have to pull each grape off the vine individually. I just put the whole grape vine in, stem and all. It does not go through the holes into the juice. You could fit about a pound more of grapes in the steamer basket if you de-vine them but I was too lazy to cut them all off. Some people think it affects the taste of the juice, that's up to you to decide.

STEP 6: Set stove to high heat. Steam the grapes for about 1 hour, or until they are completely mooshed and shriveled and depleted of juice. Discard what remains or throw in your compost pile.

TIP: Be sure to not let the water in the bottom pot boil off completely. Re-fill as needed.

STEP 7: Place the tube into a sterilized mason jar for long term-storage. OR a plastic pitcher or other clean container (for temporary storage only). Release the tube clip and let juice drain into container. Can as usual. I skipped this step to continue on to make jelly.
TIP: Because it was 1 am by the time I finished two batches of juice (about 12 cups of juice total) I waited until the next day to make the jelly.

STEP 8: You can freeze the juice in very clean quart sized milk/juice jugs for about 6 months.

How to make jelly:

Equipment needed:
--Homemade or store purchased and prepared juice
--8 half-pint sized mason jars
--8 brand new lids and rings
--pectin, liquid or powdered

I apologize for the lack of photos. It was my first time canning and I did not want to stop and take photos after each step.

1. Follow the instructions on the pectin box.
2. I sterilized my jars in boiling water. I sterilized the lids in almost boiling water. The rings don't need to be sterilized.

TIP: One way to know jelly is ready to go into jars is that it coats a spoon nicely while stirring.

3. Be sure not to disturb the finished jars, once sterilized and sealed, for at least 24 hours. Wait and wait with excitement to check if they are sealed.

4. You're done! Enjoy!

Here were some very helpful websites that I referenced often in doing research before I began the whole process.

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/steam-juicers/Mehu-Liisa-Recipes.pdf Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BYU Mint Brownies

Better than
BYU Mint Brownies

Well, not exactly. In my college days I worked at BYU in the Cougareat pastry kitchen. Not only did I learn how to completely botch recipes like Creme Brulee, week after week, I was able to eat way too much cookie dough :) And I still managed not to gain weight. Ah, the life of a busy college student.

Anyway, I also learned to make and love BYU mint brownies, which are pretty famous in Utah County. My mother-in-law has a pretty dang good recipe that is close to theirs. Well, actually, it's better than theirs. It's true. Try it for yourself to if you don't believe me. For the first BYU football game this season, I made some in honor. Instead of the typical green mint frosting I made these blue. And of course, I needed to top them with some BYU cupcake flags.


**Use one (or two boxes, dependent on how thick you like them....we like 'em thick) of regular brownie mix and bake as directed in a 9x13 glass pan.
OR from scratch...
1 cup butter
2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips, optional
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
melt butter, add sugar, vanila and eggs. Blend well. Stir in flour, cocoa and salt, mix well. Then add chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until set.
Do not add frosting until brownies have sufficiently cooled.

Mint Frosting:
4 Tbsp butter, melted
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp mint extract
food coloring
milk to the right thickness
Directions: Mix together and spread over brownies. CHILL for 1 hour.

Chocolate topping:
Melt 6 Tbsp butter and 6 oz (3/4 cup) of chocolate chips. Spread over frosted layer. CHILL, about 1 hour, cut into squares when chocolate no longer looks "wet", but not too stiff or it will crack.

Enjoy!!! Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 28, 2009


I am featured here on the Piper & Chloe Showcase blog! The boutique is on November 6th & 7th in Farmington, UT. Come check out my stuff and other artists (like the Wingborg Sister's) designs! Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


PUMPKIN WAFFLES (or pancakes)

I made these for my son's birthday today. I would suggest not drenching them with maple syrup like I did because then you can't taste the wonderful pumpkin flavor. Both of my kids ate them up! Thanks to my SIL Steph and her roomie for this recipe! They are delicious! Not too sweet or heavy and still capture that autumn flavor.

1 cup flour
2 T firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg (optional)
1/4 t. salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 T butter, melted

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients until well blended. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Griddle should be set at 350 or frying pan over medium heat. Butter the pan. Or spray waffle griddle and make into waffles.

(My roommate, Mary, the founder of this recipe, loves to put whipped cream on top of them. But they're great with just syrup) or just sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!
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Fabric Birthday Countdown Chain!

It is still in "prototype" form and will not look exactly identical to this one, but it will be pretty close. I decided on using 10 removable and re-usable loops in a darling birthday fabrics. Other holiday and occasion chains are being worked on and will be added to my shop sometime in the near future.

If you'd like to win this please enter in the following ways:

Here are the RULES:

For your first entry, leave your first and last name initial in a comment.

For a second entry please look at the previous post about the Cowboy party for Bonne Nouvelle. Then leave a comment on that post.

For a third entry, add Bonne Nouvelle, the blog, to your Google reader, blogroll or Bloglines. Then leave a comment on either blog stating that you did so.

For a fourth entry, post the giveaway to your blog. Then leave ANOTHER comment with a link to your post (not just your blog) so that I know you posted it!

For a fifth entry, become a "follower" on the Bonne Nouvelle blog. Leave me a comment on either blog to let me know.

This ends on Thursday morning at around 10 am!

Enjoy and good luck to you!! Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Homemade Kids Cowboy Birthday Party

For my son's cowboy themed 5th birthday party, I wanted it to be fun, playful, with a homemade and vintage feel. And I wanted to introduce a new line into my shop and this was perfect place to try it!

I tried to pay attention to every detail to make it feel like an authentic kids cowboy party, complete with a surprise pony ride at the end!

The first area of focus: FOOD!

Root beer drunk with red/blue striped straws from jelly jars.

And lemon water for the thirsty cowboys.

Mustard and ketchup served from more jars.

Apple slices, hot dogs, baked beans, carrots and chips were served in pie tins (as many as I could collect in a week).

Pumpkin spiced cupcakes topped with the western themed cupcake toppers from my shop.


I quickly learned that hosting a birthday party for boys can be particularly exhausting, keeping up with their eagerness to let out out their energy physically certainly kept me on my toes. I had planned three GAMES, two parts of which were broken by the boys. Luckily, they were not major breaks and they had fun doing it!


1st casualty: Note the fringed pennant bunting on the left. Meant to be a decoration. Well, to me, it did look really nice strung between a pole and a stick to be representative of a finish line, controlled by me. However, to a young boy, it meant a breakable finish line found in races, to be run through, a representation of victory! My fault. I should have known better. But it did give me an idea for something else to put in my shop.

I found the perfect red and white striped pillowcases at the thrift store along with some blues to match. Each only cost a buck. Cheaper than making gunny sacks, quicker too and eco-friendly by re-using already existing items. I hung them up with vintage looking clothespins that I'll use for this project later.


I gathered jars of all sizes and shapes, including vintage carafes. The kids had to drop the pins into the jars successfully. That only lasted a few minutes when the third game station was knocked down by one of the cowboys.


It was the "Jingy bag toss" game, as my children call bean bags. I stacked cardboard boxes atop each other, that had shaped cut-outs to throw the bags into. I made these bags with burlap cloth simply sewn together and filled with dried beans from my food storage. I wasn't able to photograph the game before it was bulldozed and before the boys started playing target practice, using each other as the targets.

I was the candy giver of bandanna wrapped mints for the lucky winners (all of them) purchased at the party supply store, Zurchers.

And last but not least, my aunt and uncle surprised all of the children by bringing their pony over. Each child was able to take a few turns around the yard. It was a surprise to me and treat for everyone!!

For the party favors each child received a red bandanna, a handmade felt sheriff star, all inside a paper sack with handles and their name hung by jute. In addition, they each were able to choose a red or blue lined cowboy hat.

As party favors they each went home with a bag full of goodies. These little bags are actually made out of one of my husband's old shirts. They had a perfect pattern and color for this party. I simply pinked the edges, sewed them on 3 sides, filled them with a plastic baggy full of treats and a plastic pony, and tied them with jute. A last minute idea that came together nicely.


Now onto the most time consuming work, the decorations. Of course, I had to make a birthday banner, Howdy banner and pennant banners. I specialized this birthday banner (pictured above with pony) with red, white and blue fabrics to match the theme. I tried incorporating the food tables and game displays to be decorative as well. I really wanted the entrance to set the stage for the whole party.

I lined our empty driveway with balloons, clearly marking our house as the destination. I taped the balloons to vintage water carafes to add to the atmosphere.

The guests were greeted with the Howdy banner and party favors. And in the distance you can see the pillowcases hanging on the line, like you're stepping into the old time west! In addition, I hung vintage lanterns found in my grandmother's basement around the yard to add to the western ambiance.

It was a hot day full of laughter, tears and your typical birthday party energy. It was an exhausting week putting it all together and the only regret I have is not taking more (and better) photos. Enjoy! Print Friendly and PDF

Look out!

I am excited to be participating in this show again because it has a classy and yet hip style to it with a bohemian twist. It was like walking into a handmade Antrhopologie store displayed in a beautiful French-y home. The dates for this show are November 4th and 5th in Farmington, Utah. More details to come later. I would love for you to come and visit these shows. I know there will be great stuff at each one! Eye candy, drooling and inspiration for your own projects may stem from coming and I would love the support as well! I hope to see you there! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, April 10, 2009


Welcome to Bonne Nouvelle!

Bonne Nouvelle literally means good news in French. But on a more personal note, it was our metro stop while we lived in the center of Paris for a year. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. I hope to bring some of this French experience to the shop!

I love to sew, create and discover. I love to be inspired by others work. I love fabrics, textures, colors, designs and combinations of all of the above. My two children are my inspiration and my patient student husband likes to sit back and observe.

I am always learning and progressing in this process of creativity. I hope you enjoy the ride along with me! I am usually making changes for the better. This blog is a place to follow my thoughts, activities, and newest successes and....failures.

With my background in theatre, I’ve always enjoyed a bit of drama and presenting. As I have planned parties and get-together’s I noticed I liked to add an extra touch of elegance, whether it be matching food, the aroma of burning oil, soothing music or beautiful or appropriate d├ęcor. It turned into a production! I wanted people to escape the reality of their stressful lives for just a moment and enjoy being together, just like going to a play or an opera. Or perhaps allow my children, along with others, play a part for an afternoon as a cowboy, artist or chef.

My goal is help you take the stress of planning and producing this atmosphere and collaborating with you. I’ll be your PARTY STAGER! I can help you plan and decorate your next birthday party, for you the young or young at heart; baby shower, bridal shower and so on! I want to help create the look and feel you want to have at your next celebration that you may not have the skills or time to create on your own. I want it as you like it, staging your good news, or Bonne Nouvelle! Print Friendly and PDF