Thursday, January 24, 2013


If you're looking for delicious holiday treat that only uses a pound of butter, then I have the perfect thing for you!

When the Husband first requested this a couple of years ago for a Christmastime treat, I asked my Mother-in-law what recipe she uses (this was a childhood favorite of my husband). She sent me a link to a recipe by Michael Symon - except(!), she uses a different recipe for the syrup - both of which are found below. I've made this with both walnuts and pistachios - pistachios are my favorite!



(Baklava recipe by Michael Symon. Baklava syrup recipe by Kathy Crapo)


For the Baklava:

  • 1 pound pistachios and/or walnuts, coarsely ground, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1 cup ground zwieback crackers or breadcrumbs
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 40 or so sheets of Phyllo dough (thawed, if frozen)

For Baklava Syrup:

  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Combine the nuts, cinnamon and ground crackers in a bowl.

Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the butter. Layer 14 pieces of phyllo in the dish, brushing each piece with butter before adding the next (keep the remaining dough covered with a damp towel). Sprinkle a quarter of the nut mixture over the dough (about 1 Cup). Layer 5 pieces of phyllo on top, brushing each with butter before adding the next; sprinkle with another quarter of the nut mixture. Add 5 more phyllo pieces on top, brushing each with butter, then add another quarter of the nut mixture, 5 more pieces of phyllo with butter, and the remaining nuts.

Layer the remaining 11 pieces of phyllo on top of the nuts, brushing each with butter; brush the top piece with extra butter. Cut into the baklava to make strips, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Then make diagonal slices, about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create a diamond pattern. Bake until golden, about 1 hour.

Bring the sugar, honey and water to a boil and cook, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and boil 2 more minutes, then let cool slightly.

Pour the syrup over the warm baklava; let soak, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight. Garnish with nuts.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wheelchair Bag Tutorial

We made these wheelchair bags to take with us for our Activity Days trip to the Pocopson home in December.

Here's a quick tutorial!

What you'll need:

~ A sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper (This will be your template)
~ Approx. 1/3 yd of Main fabric
~ Approx. 1/3 yd of Lining fabric
~ Thread
~ Sewing machine
~ Scissors

Step 1: Using the sheet of paper as a template, cut out two rectangles from your main fabric and two rectangles from the lining fabric.

(This fabric reminds me of the 90's......)

Step 2: From the remaining fabric (main or lining) cut four strips 2 inches wide x 12 inches long.

Step 3: Straps - Fold fabric strips lengthwise with right sides together.

Starting at the folded side of one end, sew across and down the strip of fabric with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. 

Clip corners and turn inside out. (I used a wooden chopstick for this step...It was a perfect tool.)

Press straps.

 Step 4: Bag - with right sides together, starting with a short side, sew three sides of the rectangle using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Repeat with the lining fabric.

Press the seams flat near the opening of each pouch.

Clip corners.

Step 5: Turn the sewn lining fabric pouch right side out.

Insert it into the main fabric pouch. 

Sandwich and pin the straps between the main fabric pouch and lining pouch, two at each end. Make sure they're lined up with one another. The length of the strap should be tucked between the two layers. 

Sew around the edge of the bag with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving a 1 inch opening for turning. I also back-stitched at the start and finish AND at each strap for reinforcement (optional, of course).

Step 6: Gently turn the bag inside out.

Stuff the lining inside the bag. Pin or press the edge around the bag opening. 

Sew 1/8 inch from the bag opening around to close the hole. 


(Demonstrating the bag's use on the girl's shopping cart....)


Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Blessing Dress or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

The Blessing Dress or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I know what you're thinking people: Stacy must be sitting on her hands doing nothing, nothing! Or dead. Whichever.

Not so!

I'm totally a lazy blogger though.

Taking pictures.

So much work.

Editing pictures.

So much more work.

Writing.....well, I have been doing that, but more on that later.

Until then, you can read about this lovely blessing dress I made last month...which was clearly not for me. I have a boy, people - who is six months old (can you believe that? No? Me either.).

Why did I agree to this? Well, the story is that back in May, my ward had a cake and service auction to raise money for the youth's summer programs. I made a cake (natch) and offered my services as a seamstress for a little girl. A friend of mine won my services but held off on taking me up on it, knowing that I had just had a baby and not wanting to take up too much of my time. It was always on my mind though and I felt like I just needed to fulfill that obligation ASAP.

I got a call from my friend in November. She said she had the perfect opportunity for me to perform my service - her sister was in need of blessing dress - the blessing was on December 30th.

I was going to spend December in my hometown in Oregon, where I wouldn't have much to do otherwise so I agreed.

My friend's sister directed me to this blog post about a blessing dress she thought was just what she was looking for - the skirt part anyway. That post referenced this tutorial.  The original post never says how the skirt was actually made, so I had to figure it out on my own. It turned out to be a bit more challenging than I had originally thought...

I drafted my own pattern for the bodice (which she wanted to be simple) using the measurements that I'd been given. This baby was premature so she was smaller than any of the patterns I had access to. I drafted my own pattern for the little sleeves as well (I use this tutorial), wanting to keep them light and airy, so I used the same chiffon I used for the ruffles. They were planning to have the baby wear a little sweater over the top of the dress and I wanted to cut down on fabric bulk (I used Taffeta for the bodice and skirt).

(Buttons, my arch nemesis.)

The ruffles were the most challenging aspect of the dress. There are twelve and each had to be hemmed all the way around. Easier said than done. I think the buttons are the scariest part to do, though - you mess those up and you've ruined the whole dress!

Overall, I think the project turned out well - and my friend's sister absolutely loved it!

 Did I mention that I had to make two? Yeah, I made two. Twin dresses for twin baby girls.