4th of July and My First Attempt at a Victoria Sponge

Hey There!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Fourth of July!

The fellow and I  went down to my folks’ house for a picnic, and it just poured the entire afternoon.

The weather station said it was supposed to be a pretty, clear, albeit hot day. Thankfully, my dad had hurried out and put tarps over the picnic tables as soon as he saw storm clouds rolling in.

When we got there, The Fellow helped my father pull the tables into the garage, and we just moved the whole shindig inside. Despite it being a wet afternoon, we had fun.

Moonshine in a Teacup

All of the neighbors came over and brought a dish to share. My father made some of his famous homemade ice cream (strawberry this time), and Mama asked that I bring something to complement it.

Now, I’ve been re-watching Downton Abbey lately, and I always keep an eye out for what Mrs. Patmore is putting onto those trays she sends upstairs. One thing I’ve noticed as a reoccurring treat are these sweet little layer cakes topped with powdered sugar. From where I’m sitting, it looks like a Victoria Sponge Cake

After watching the Great British Baking Show, I figured, why not? I would swap out the raspberry jam for strawberry, and it should go together nicely. I didn’t quite put together that I was making a British classic for our 4th of July celebration until it was too late (oops!).

Victoria Sponge | Moonshine in a Teacup

Sticking with the BBC theme, I went off of Paul Hollywood’s recipe which had been converted into U.S. measurements.

This was my first experience with a Victoria Sponge, and I’m not sure if it’s the way the cake is intended to be or if it was the conversions or maybe the temperature of my butter may have had a bit to do with it,  but my cake was more the consistency of a crumbly shortcake than a sponge.

I had way too much whipped cream left over after filling the two layers, so I went big and frosted the top and piled it with strawberries for decoration.

Overall, the recipe was still a success. It was a yummy summer dessert, if not what I was expecting. I think I may want to play around with this cake some. I’ll probably end up making a few versions before I settle on one I like.

Can anyone out there confirm the texture/consistency this should be? What are your favorite shortcake or Victoria Sponge recipes?!

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4th of July

Hey There!

Happy 4th of July, y’all!

I love the 4th of July because it’s such a low-key holiday. We’re heading down to my folks for some delicious picnic food and to catch up with the neighbors.

MiaT will resume normal posting on Friday. In the meantime, I hope that you all have a fun, safe holiday!

What are your 4th of July plans? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Year Daddy Buried the Easter Eggs

Hey There!

How was your Easter? I hope it was fantastic!

On Easter morning, we picked up Grammy and headed over the mountain to my parents’ house for our traditional ham dinner and Easter egg hunt.

This year my mother was excited about my brother and I taking on making the deviled and pickled eggs. After much debate among the family as to the best way to make deviled eggs (My brother’s vote for hot sauce in the yolk mixture did not win), I brought these lovely pastel eggs.

Pastel Deviled Easter Eggs Moonshine In A Teacup

I love how my  mother decorates her table for each holiday, and this year we used the DIY Easter Napkin Ties from last week’s post.

After dinner, we had our annual Easter egg hunt. Yes, we’re nearly 30 and married and that Easter egg hunt is going nowhere. My folks love it.

Every year, my father gets trickier with his egg hiding. Remember that episode of Gilmore Girls when Taylor lets Kirk hide all the eggs for the Stars Hollow Easter egg hunt, and he doesn’t make a map? That’s what it’s like. Every year. We always end up looking for those last three eggs.

Now, since we do this every year, and the egg hunt area is relatively small, I have a pretty good idea where the eggs tend to wind up. This year though Daddy went into full-on stealth mode. I actually took pity on the Fellow’s sad 6 eggs and showed him the correct way to look for the invisible eggs.

My father had buried some of the eggs along the base of the trees covered in fallen pine needles or leaves.

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Can you find the Easter egg?

After we located all of the eggs, we regrouped on the deck to do a final tally and open our winnings.

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Then we went back inside to warm up, drink a little coffee, and enjoy some family time before heading back home.

What are your favorite Easter traditions and Easter egg hiding spots? Tell me in the comments!

DIY Easter Napkin Ties (with Free Printable)

Hey There!

The Easter Bunny is hopping our way. Sunday is Easter, and I’m excited to share with you these adorable DIY Easter Bunny napkin ties (with Free printable) which will be gracing our table. The best part? They cost only $2.50 to make!

I figured after last year’s Surprise Easter Bunny Cake fiasco (which admittedly turned out fine, just not as planned), I would stick to something safer this year and make crafts and my deviled eggs.

My mother is one of those homemakers with a set of “good” dishes. Every holiday my entire life, I have eaten off of that set of Pfaltzgraff Remembrance dishes. From an early age, I have appreciated an artfully folded napkin. One restaurant we used to frequent, when we lived in Pennsylvania, had especially fancy folded napkins. I deconstructed that fold, so that I could recreate it at home. From that point on, napkins were my task along with setting the table. I thought I’d do a throwback to my old job and get a little creative with these Easter Bunny napkin ties.

DIY Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup

Now let’s hop to it!

For this project you will need:

  • The free printable Easter Bunny template which you can Download Here
  • Craft felt sheet. I used tan and white ($0.24)
  • Small white pompoms ($0.97)
  • Ribbon ($0.97)
  • Hot glue gun (I’m going to assume you have a hot glue gun and glue on hand.)

1. First things first. Plug in the glue gun and cut out the Easter Bunny template you downloaded.

It looks a little silly with the neck being so skinny, but when you trace the pattern, the lines tend to thicken up and it doesn’t look as silly. The thin point in the neck is where you will tie your ribbon. If the neck were thicker, when you pulled the ribbon tight, it would scrunch up the fabric and make the bunny’s body pucker.

2. Trace around the Easter Bunny onto the felt.

Be sure to trace as many Easter Bunnies as you have guests! I used a regular pen and made the side with the pen marks the back of the Easter Bunny.

Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup

3. Cut out your bunnies.

If you’re anything like me, you can’t cut a straight line to save your life. It’s ok. These are forgiving bunnies. Just do your best and no one will notice if one side of Flopsie’s ear is thicker than the other.

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4. Glue on the tail.

Use a bit of hot glue and press down the pompom. As always, be careful! My worst burns have been from distracted or quick crafting with a hot glue gun.

Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup

5. Cut your lengths of ribbon.

I have a confession. I’m a ribbon overdose-er. I’m bad for always cutting more ribbon than needed and trimming off the excess. For this project, I used ribbons cut to around 15″ in length.

6. Fold the napkin.

Lay your napkin out turned at an angle, so it looks like a diamond with your flatware in the center.Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup 4

Pull the bottom corner up over the flatware and meet the other corner covering the utensils, then bring the outer two corners up to meet the first two and hold tightly.

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7. Tie the ribbon.

Tie the ribbon around the napkin/flatware once, and then place the Easter Bunny over the first tie.

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Tie your Bunny’s bow and trim any excess ribbon.

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8. Enjoy your Easter meal! 

20 Gaelic Words and Phrases for Your St. Patrick’s Day Meal

Hey there everyone, I can’t believe that it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! What a perfect time to be finishing up the rest of our Ireland adventures. I have the last part of that series heading out your way Friday, wait until you see those photos!  Today I wanted to share with you a neat fact about St. Patrick’s Day.

(Read this next sentence in your best, cheesy game show host voice.) Did you know? The week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland as Irish Language Week! We heard a bit of Irish (Gaelic) on our trip but we didn’t try to speak it ourselves. We may just have to change that this St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick's Day Moonshine in a Teacup

Since we all celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (Irish or not), I’ve made a list of some key Gaelic words and phrases so you can take your St. Patrick’s Day dinner to the next level! Things always sound better in another language, don’t you agree?

(Click here  to download this free printable sheet for your dinner guests.)

  • salann – salt
  • piobar – pepper
  • aran – bread
  • càise – cheese
  • feòil – meat
  • buntàta – potato
  • tì – tea
  • cofaidh – coffee
  • cèic – cake
  • An bhfuil ocras ort? – Are you hungry?
  • Cha toigh leam – I don’t like
  • Is maith liom – I like
  • An mbeidh níos mó agam? – May I have some more?
  • tá – yes
  • uimh – no
  • Is féidir liom Guinness a fháil? – May I please have a Guinness?
  • Bhí an dinnéar go maith. – Dinner was good.
  • Tá sé go maith. – It’s good.
  • Go raibh maith agat. – Thank you.
  • Tá fáilte romhat – You’re welcome.

Do you have big plans for St. Patrick’s Day? What about a special meal you always prepare? I’d love to try your favorites! Let me know if you use the above phrases and how they work out. Share the story in the comments!

Finally February

It’s finally February! It seems like January just dragged on and on. I apologize for the delay in posts. It’s been a busy week.

The fellow and I made the first batch of mead. It’s sitting in the craft room just  bubbling away. I’m anxious to see if it tastes good, but I’ve got a long while yet to wait.

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Happy little mead jug

Next weekend there is a SCA event, and I’m staying busy getting things in order for it. I have decided that I want to hand-stitch a Viking under dress and an apron dress. I’m moving toward more obtainable period colors (a lot of the fabric and color combinations we use now are a result of our accessibility to colored linen and while they are possibly in period – especially for the wealthy – they were not common), and I want to create some lasting garments. The goal is to have pieces which I can mix and match.

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All of the tiny stitches!

Right now I’m working on the apron dress (the outer layer) and it’s going well. I know that I cut it a bit small, but I plan to add extra side panels in a looser stitch so that they can be removed when I have a size change.  I hope with some luck to be able to wear it next week, but we will see.

On another note, it seems that love is in the air! I tried to hold out until February, but I put up some Valentine’s Day decorations last weekend. Yesterday I put up the bulletin board at work. I wasn’t sure if it was cheesy, but my team said that it was cute, and dinosaurs never go out of style! What do you think?

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Christmas Traditions

Well, friends, Christmas has come and gone. I hate to admit it, but I barely managed to get all of the gifts finished and wrapped with minimal last-minute panic. There always seems to be at least one gift that takes all the way to Christmas Eve to finish.

I have to say the Fellow did awesome with his gifts – a giant, fuzzy blanket (one of my favorite things) and a pour-over coffee pot – two things I’ve been wanting, but kept putting off getting myself. Those are the best types of presents!

Christmas Day stays stressful trying to make travel plans and get to two family gatherings.

Christmas Day the Fellow had to work, so I headed to my family’s Christmas. After a brief mix-up with directions, trying to meet up with Grammy, we finally made it down home.

My family always eats oyster stew for breakfast on Christmas morning. With us getting there a bit late though, we somehow managed to stay on coffee and missed the stew! I did get some yummy fried oysters at lunch though.

We exchanged gifts, and I got to open a little box that I’ve seen at least 24 times before, but this time it was on my pile of gifts – a tea towel calendar. As it says on the box, “Use it  as a calendar for a year; use it as a towel forever!” My mother gifts one to both of my grandmothers every single Christmas. With the purchase of the new house, she added me to the list.

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I had a wonderful Christmas time with both of our families and friends – good food, conversation, Christmas carols, and holiday spirit. And now Happy New Year!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, the presents are (pretty much) wrapped and under the tree, and everything is buzzing with the holiday spirit.

We’ve had a lot of fun activities at work: visits from Santa, Comfy-Cozy Day, Holiday Tie/Scarf Day, Holiday Hat Day, hot cocoa, pie-eating contests, gingerbread-decorating contests, gift exchanges, and more. It’s fun when everyone is in the holiday spirit.

I’m sorry for the lack of blog post last week. With the holidays, things are crazy but fun. I’m so excited to show you my Christmas decorations. Basically, everything I have came from my grandmother. She painted ceramics in the 70s, and I remember them being strewn around her home. I’m so excited to have them out at my house this year!

These carolers on my mantle are probably my favorite. I love the way the wind is blowing their skirts. The lamppost lights up, but it isn’t close enough to an outlet for me to plug it in.

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I was so excited about having a mantle to decorate when we bought the new house. These milk glass owls have been with me since my first apartment, and they seem right at home.

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I don’t have a lot of surfaces to decorate, so I decided to make use of what I have and decorate the window sills. The nesting Santas and angel bell were a gift from my grandmother, and the box book was a gift from the fellow’s mother.

I was so excited to dig this ceramic Christmas tree out. Both of my grandmothers have one, and I’ve always loved them.

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And finally – the tree! I got my little 6-foot tree at Goodwill for $5.00. The balls are all vintage with one or two exceptions. The spindle at the top is my favorite part.

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The chair is an antique as well. It was my great Aunt E’s, and I love it. My mother was worried about the red with the blue of my room, but I think it works just fine.

Only 3 more days until Christmas!

Halloween: Lions and Vampires, Oh My!

First of all, I am writing this from the one piece of furniture in my newly purchased house. I am SO excited. All kinds of DIY and updates will be coming soon, I’m sure!

But for now let’s focus on this past weekend. Have I mentioned that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays? I think I may have just barely mentioned it once or twice . . . I love, love, love it!

I love DIY costumes, especially ones that allow me to bust out my special effects makeup. I try not to duplicate costumes, but I do sometimes revisit ideas.

High School and College Vampire Costumes

One of the costumes that I’ve done at least two other times in different variations is a vampire. This year I went as a half-starved vampiress looking for her blood donor.

My plan was full-piled Victorian hair, ruffled shirt, and vintage shoes. However, there was a last-second scheduling shift, and I was called into work two hours early, and I couldn’t dig out all of my costumes pieces. I ended up with my full hair and a flowery high/low dress with ruffled sweater and black boots. My boss told me I looked like one of the Vampire Diaries vampires.

The secret to my vampire look is always my Scarecrow fangs. They really kick it up a notch and are inexpensive. My set was maybe $15.00 at the local Hot Topic.

For our couples costume, (Have I mentioned that my fellow really, really loves me?) I was dead set on being a lion tamer from the circus and having him be a strong man.

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I couldn’t find a red and white striped shirt in a store whatsoever. I was going to order one online, but they were at least $25.00, and we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to make it to our party anyway, so I ended up grabbing a $7.00 lion accessory kit from Wal-mart just in case.

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Look. At. How. Cute. That. Tail. Is. Seriously, I could die from the cute. He actually kept it on for about an hour, which is much longer than I expected.

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We had delicious food, drank out of a giant pumpkin, carved jack-o-lanterns, went to a haunted house, and sang around a campfire. Absolutely everything I always want Halloween to be!

I can’t wait to hand out candy to the neighborhood kids next year!

 

It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus!

I know it’s not October yet, but I am so ready for Halloween. I broke out my dvd stash and watched Hocus Pocus over the weekend.

I don’t know why Sarah Jessica Parker gets such a bum rap. I think she’s the cutest. Her performance as the boy-crazy Sarah Sanderson is adorable.

Funny enough, for all my love of Disney, I didn’t watch Hocus Pocus until high school. If you’ve somehow missed out on this adorable Halloween classic, you need to check it out.

Speaking of Hocus Pocus, fall is also Renn Faire time! I’m not sure if I will make it out this year (Next week is Pirate weekend, and I really want to go, but it’s not looking good.), but a year or so ago I saw these lovely Sanderson Sister cosplayers at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. (If you know who they are, please let me know – I’d love to link over to them.)

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I also took advantage of the first crisp morning for an excuse to show off my shiny that just got back from being resized a mini-fall photo shoot. My fellow wasn’t around to be in the pictures that day.  I can’t wait to actually get our engagement photos taken!

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Nothing like tea and a good book!

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