at home with a hanasaurusrex


FREEBEE FRIDAYS at hanasaurusrex.com

Hi all!

Do you know about FREEBEE FRIDAY over at my other website, hanasaurusrex.com? If not… here’s your chance to check it out. For the rest of February I’ll be offering a free printable download every Friday!

The week it’s Zombie Valentine cards! Brains…. Braaaaains!!!

hanasaurusrex zombie valentines



our wonderful 2 year anniversary weekend
January 25, 2011, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Fam, Haps | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yesterday was mine and my husband’s 2 year anniversary! Yay!

We decided to celebrate it at the same hotel we stayed at on our wedding night, the Sheraton Waikiki, and lo and behold, not only did we stay in the same hotel, but we were able to reserve the same exact room—overlooking nothing but the ocean. It’s gorgeous… pricey, but absolutely stunning.

We started our two-day stay-cation (that’s what they call a vacation here on the island when you don’t leave, but you get away) with a 5 am hike up to the pill boxes in Lanikai to photograph the sunrise. I’ll spare you the gory details of my poor night vision self (we forgot flashlights) trying to make my way up a ridgeline hike with nothing but half-moon light and my husband’s hand to guide me, thank God for my husband, an experienced hiker and the most understanding man in the world! When we got to the first pillbox, which is a concrete bunker on the side of the mountain, we rested and set up the tripod to take some photos of the sun making its break.

sunrise from the pillboxes, lanikai

sunrise from the pillboxes, lanikai

daybreak over lanikai

laniaki from the pillboxes

hannah busekrus

second pill box, lanikai

We hung out for about an hour and then headed down the trail to grab some breakfast Crepes No Ka ‘Oi, in Kailua. They had my favorite coffee, Illy, and delicious crepes. I had a breakfast crepe with scrambled eggs, turkey and jack cheese, and we ordered the Lovers’ Delight crepe to share; it had sliced strawberries, bananas, Nutella and whipped cream. Um-yeah… Yum.

illy coffee

crepes

We shopped a bit in Kailua and then went to church. After church we headed back home to finish packing and then drove down to Waikiki to check into the hotel, change and get ready for dinner.

We had dinner at the Wai’olu, which is the restaurant in the new Trump International Hotel. It was really nice to be the only two people in the place practically the entire evening. The staff was super attentive and we shared a couple of really special moments together. Watching the sun set over the ocean in Waikiki on the same day we saw the sun rise over the ocean in Lanikai, and the unbelievable moment when the restaurant’s stereo began to play “our song”, the song we first danced to at our wedding, Sade’s “By Your Side”, and we danced to it once again.

sunset

anniversary kiss

I had the deliciously creamy Black Truffle Risotto with Mascarpone and Parmesan… LJ had the Linguine Alla Pescatora, and the chef honored us with a happy anniversary plate of Tiramisu on the house.

black truffle risotto

tiramisu

We had plans to go back to our room and drink a couple of bottles of champagne and party all night, but ‘alas we were burnt out from a full day of activities so we ended the night on an intimate note, each of us relishing the comfort of the king size bed and down pillows.

On Monday, our actual anniversary day, we awoke to the sound of the waves, coffee and our dessert crepe, which we could not finish the day before. I took some pictures from our balcony with my Nikon and my iPhone as we maxed and relaxed.

poolside umbrellas

noodles exercise class

catamaran

oceanview instagram

pigeon

When checkout came, way too early, we headed down to the poolside bar, shared some beachy drinks, ogled the tourists, enjoyed the view and beach breeze.

drinks

diamond head

catamarans

After sitting in the sun for an hour I totally felt like chillin’ with some of my favorite ice cream, Nutty Coconut, and the hotel just so happened to have a Baskin Robbin’s in it (the mark of a fine fine hotel ;) so we grabbed a scoop. Then we walked over to the International Marketplace, which is where we so fatefully met a little over 3 years ago. We wandered around, haggled with the marketeers for some fine jewelry (ha!) and after some lunch we headed home, where I proceeded to take a 3 hour nap!

Whew! What a wonderful weekend.



A Knit-tacular Baby Shower – Yarn Cake

This week my friend Bethany and I hosted a baby shower for 2 of the ladies in our knitting circle—Aloha Knitters. That’s right, 2! Kathey is having a baby girl and Chanda is having a baby boy; Kathey is due any day now!

yarn cake

We are actually the Windward group of Aloha Knitters. We always meet on Wednesday nights at 6pm, but we recently changed the location where we meet to ChadLou’s coffee and ice cream shop (i know… awesome combo) in downtown Kailua. Haaha… I said “downtown Kailua”. If you live here on Oahu, you’re laughing now. If you live here on the windward side of Oahu and you knit; we would love to have you join us!

I joined the circle last summer, and the first thing these ladies wanted to teach me was how to knit a wash cloth. An easy pattern consisting of a basic cast-on, K2’s, yarn overs, K2tog‘s and a bind-off, but I never actually made one—I went on to bigger and better things… Bethany’s laughing now, but anyhow… when I asked Kathey what I could make her for the baby she said, “wash cloths”. Unfortunately, though, I didn’t have a lot of time to knit wash cloths. So I kinda stressed about what I could give them, both.

Oh yes, the baby shower… lovely it was. Since we’re a small group, instead of a cake we did cupcakes from Cake Couture, voted the best cupcakes in Honolulu. They were in a word… YUM.

table placement

cake couture cupcake

cake couture cupcake

Only with cupcakes we didn’t have a centerpiece—no cake. I’ve seen the diaper cake at nearly every baby shower I’ve been to in the last few years, and although they are a creative way to give the mommy-to-be a crap-ton of diapers (yes, my word and no pun intended.) they leave me, personally, something to be desired as far as aesthetics go. So I decided to go a different route. Luckily for me we’re a group of knitters, knitters who love wash cloths, and I knew exactly what I could do! A yarn cake!

The yarn used to make said wash cloths is the very affordable 4-ply cotton yarn made by Lily Sugar and Cream. It comes in a variety of colors and is usually available at Wally-Mart here on the island. But I wasn’t so lucky to find all the colors I needed there, and had to go to another store, Ben Franklin, that sells a suspicious similarly named yarn, Peaches and Cream. Thankfully, they had the remaining colors I was looking for because, if you know me at all, you know I was doing all this just hours before the party.

 

baby shower yarn cake

Cake: With my 8 skeins of yarn and some ribbon in hand I fashioned my two-tiered cake like this. First, I formed a plastic bag into the shape of a skein, taping it so it wouldn’t expand (but you could also use a can, I thought of that later, again… just hours before the party). Next, I made a circle with 5 of the skeins, I placed the fake plastic skein into the center of the circle, and tied kitchen twine around the circle’s outside middle, pretty tight. This held the skeins together and also gave them a sweet whimsical shape. I did the same for the 3 skeins used to make the top-tier, minus the plastic bag.

 

yarn cake ribbons

Ribbons: I cut just enough ribbon to wrap around each tier, cutting one end at an angle. These two pieces of ribbon hide the kitchen twine. I used double-sided tape (DST) to attach the ends together. I cut a short piece of ribbon to make another ribbon tail, cutting one end at a matching angle, attaching it with DST. The bows I cut separately out of ribbon also; one piece, approx. 6″, for the bow. For this part of the bow I folded it into a loop, overlapping the ends slightly, pinching the whole thing in the middle and then stapling it. I cut another piece of ribbon, approx. 2″, for the piece that makes the bow center, folding it over the middle of the bow, hiding the staple and closing it with DST.

The bow on the top was made in a similar fashion. I couldn’t staple through all the layers, though, so I used DST to make all the closures. I made 5 ribbon loops of the same approximate size, your size can be determined by the size you want the bow. The placement is hard to describe so I’d say once you’ve made all your loops just play around with the placement before you tape it all together. The last loop is the center of the bow, and again, the size you make it is relevant to your bow’s overall size.

Making it stable: I inserted the top bow using a piece of floral wire wrapped through one of the middle layers of the bow, not tightly twisted, just loosely bent. To secure it I pushed the wire into the inside edge of one of the top-tier skeins. I also cut and inserted 3 pieces of 6″ of floral wire into the side of each top-tier skein, somewhere near the middle, pushing it through, into the bottom tier, until I could no longer see it sticking out.

Finishing touches: Well, since I was making this on the fly, I really didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about finishing touches, other than using the doily and cake stand you see in the photos. But now that I’ve had a few days to think about it, I definitely have a couple of suggestions that I may use if I ever make another one…

  • Finish your yarn cake with colorful glass bugle beads pushed into the top of the skeins using thin beading wire. Thread one bead on to 3-4″ of thin beading wire, bend wire and twist once securing the bead in a small loop. Press remaining wire into yarn.
  • For a less squeezed shape tie the kitchen twine not so tight around the top and bottom of each tier. Hide the twine with two ribbons placed at the bottom and top of the tier and secured with DST. Do the same for each tier. Finish by placing felted balls, threaded together like garland, around the bottom of each tier, in the colors of your choice.

I’m sure there are millions of ways out there you could make your yarn cake look even more like a real cake, sweet and yummy, moist and delicious!

Perhaps, someday, I should create a picture tutorial? But for now I am hoping, for the most part, if you look at the pictures while reading my descriptions they will help you, of course, feel free to ask me questions should they arise. I did search the web to see if this kind of textile cake had been made before, and although I couldn’t find any existing images that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been done somewhere… but that would be awesome if I was the first!

Regardless, I hope this post inspires someone out there to get creative with cakes… or at the very least makes them hungry!

And if you’ve made a cake like this or one similar, I’d love to see and hear about it!



free stuff on FREEBEE FRIDAYS!
January 14, 2011, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Art, Foodz | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

There a whole-lotta FREE love going on over at hanasaurusrex.com. Check out the my newest FreeBee Friday download! It’s a Foxy Cupcake Wrapper set… just in time for Valentines Day.

hanasaurusrex foxy cupcake wrappers

too cute and foxy!

Of course, cupcakes are a welcome site any day of the year…



Christmas Scones
matryoshka measuring cups

my lovely little matryoshka measuring cups

Every year for Christmas, I bake—see above picture of cute Matryoshka measuring cups. It’s a great option for gift giving in my husband’s large family, and who doesn’t love a yummy treat-you-can-eat?! Each year, though, it seems my ambitions grow larger and larger. And this year was no exception. This year I decided to bake scones. Scones, in and of themselves, are not really all that difficult. Add to the recipe: making 3 batches and 4 different flavors on Christmas eve and you’ve got a recipe for being up until 5:30 am Christmas morning, which it seems is becoming a tradition.

I was admittedly intimidated by scones at first, but after the first two batches I was on a roll. The flavors I chose to make where:

Smitten Kitten’s Meyer Lemon and Fresh Cranberries Scones
I followed this recipe for the amount of cranberries and lemon zest to use, except for the Meyer lemon part—it’s hard to find certain things here in Hawaii, so I just used regular lemons, BUT I used the Dreamy Cream Scone recipe for everything else… And I have to say, the Dreamy Cream scone is my new forever go-to recipe for scones. It is absolutely d-lish!

The next recipe I tried was Crystallized Ginger and Chocolate Scones (made with oat flour)
I followed this recipe to a tee, but the first batch of scones came out really crumbly, like falling apart. I tried the recipe again with the second batch reducing the amount of oat flour used (you make the oat flour yourself) adding in some coconut. The second batch only slightly less crumbly so for the third batch I went back to the Dreamy Cream scone recipe. Total winner! I decided to stick to this recipe for the remaining 2 flavors and 6 batches, which were…

 

crystallized ginger

crystallized ginger

chocolate chip dough

chocolate chips in the dough

Asian Pear and Pecan and Blueberry. Just going to show you can switch out ingredients, easy peasy, customizing this recipe to your little heart’s content.

blueberry scones

my favorite - blueberry

Another thing I did a little differently than the recipe was to increase the amount each batch yielded by cutting the scones in half once they came out of the oven. The recipe was true to it’s count, yielding 12-14 scones per batch. This is why I initially chose to make so many flavors and batches… but had I known that if I cut them in half i’d end up with double the amount, I think I would have saved myself by making only 2 batches of each flavor or only 2 flavors. When cut in half they make sweet little petite scones, perfect for tasting—great with tea and coffee too!

5:30 am and +/- 330 scones later… (yeah.) My husband’s family loved their tasty presents. And I am a scone master! Well, maybe not a master, but I know for the rest of my life i’ll be able to drop some scone knowledge on… well, on whoever is willing to listen.

scones

yummy Christmas gifts - scones

p.s. Surprisingly, the Asian Pear and Pecan were the favorite at our house…

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