2-1-14 links
1. I’m thinking of attempting this romantic side braid if I can ever get the hang of French braiding.
2. This pretty bow belt looks like a fun little weekend project.
3. Do your headphones turn into a tangled mess in your bag? Make an earbud organizer.
4. Time to get ready for Valentine’s Day with a DIY heart sweater.
5. Create your own industrial-chic wire storage bins.
6. If you need a little bling in your life, this embellished baseball cap is just the ticket.

I’m loving this line of affordable and simple bags.

When can I move in?

Pretty vases.

This tweed motorcycle jacket looks perfect for spring.

Recipes I’ve pinned lately: Dark chocolate raspberry chunk muffins, scallion challah bread, oven-baked parmesan zucchini chips, za’atar roasted carrots with blood orange dressing, roasted broccoli grilled cheese.

 

Sometimes when I’m out at a bar I’ll order a whiskey sour, and I’m usually disappointed because despite the name, it’s not sour at all. Depending on the bar, it’s actually pretty sweet. So I’ll warn you right off the bat that my version of this drink actually lives up to the name. If you don’t like your drinks sour, just add some simple syrup to taste to sweeten it up. It’s a straightforward drink, but the blood orange adds a fun (and colorful!) twist. Blood oranges are only available for a couple of months, though, so get ‘em while you can. If you miss the availability window, just substitute regular orange juice.
blood orange sour cocktail recipe

Blood Orange Rum Sour

1 1/2 oz blood orange juice (1-2 oranges)
1/2 oz lime juice (1/2-1 lime)
1 1/2 oz white rum
ice cubes
simple syrup (1:1 sugar dissolved in boiling water, cooled)

Add blood orange, lime juice, and rum to a glass with 3 ice cubes, stir to mix. Add simple syrup to taste.

blood orange sour cocktail recipe

blood orange sour cocktail recipe

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I posted recently about slouchy knit hats, and I finally finished knitting mine during a couple episodes of Downton Abbey. It turned out exactly as I’d hoped, which I’m kind of surprised by considering that I combined patterns and sort of winged it at the end. Unfortunately that means that I don’t have a pattern to share, but I suggested some in that link above.
1-30-14 outfit 4
How do you guys feel about tucked versus untucked shirts? I couldn’t decide, so I tried it both ways, and even attempted a halfway-tucked look, which didn’t really work.

1-30-14 outfit 1-30-14 outfit 1

This is my very first gel manicure, done myself. I was sick of my manicures chipping after only a day or two, so I bought a gel manicure kit and lamp when they were on sale. So far I love how shiny and durable my nails are, and I’m on day two without any flaws, which is definitely an improvement. I’ll be sure to report back on how well my manicure lasts.
1-30-14 outfit 3
1-30-14 outfit 2
Sweater: Thrifted (similar)
Shirt: Target (old, similar)
Jeans: Thrifted
Boots: Madewell (modified with my DIY studded bootstraps)
Necklace: Made by me (tutorial here)
Hat: Made by me (similar)

 

giant whiskey-glazed cinnamon roll
Lately I’ve had a fierce craving for cinnamon rolls, which is weird because I can’t even remember the last time I had one. The heart stomach wants what it wants, though. I tried to resist, and then the other day I was at Ikea, and I figured I’d just give in and have one of theirs, and then my craving would be fulfilled. Yeah, that didn’t really work out. Their idea of a good cinnamon roll and mine seem to differ wildly. So I found it totally unsatisfying, and realized I’d just have to make my own. And cover it with a whiskey glaze. Oh darn, what a tragedy, right?

giant whiskey-glazed cinnamon roll giant whiskey-glazed cinnamon roll

Giant Whiskey Cinnamon Roll Cake

Adapted from here.

Dough
2 and 3/4 cups (345g) all-purpose flour, divided
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package instant yeast (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup (120ml) water
1/4 cup (60ml) milk (cow’s milk – I used skim)
3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter
1 large egg, at room temperature

Filling
3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

Whiskey Glaze
1 cup (120g) powdered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk or cream
1 Tablespoon (15ml) whiskey (I used Bulleit Bourbon)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Make the dough: In a large bowl, stir together 2 and 1/4 cups flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly mixed. Set aside.

Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to the touch, about 115-120F degrees. (If you get it too hot you’ll kill the yeast, so make sure to check the temperature with a thermometer if you’re unsure.) Stir the butter mixture and then the egg into the flour mixture. Add the reserved flour a few tablespoons at a time, until a soft dough forms. You may not need the full 1/2 cup. When dough gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency, it’s ready to be kneaded. Knead with a dough hook on your electric mixer, or by hand on a lightly floured surface, for about 3-4 minutes. (Check the gluten window to test whether your dough is ready.) Form a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. The dough will slightly rise.

Make the filling: After 30 minutes, roll the dough out in a 15×12 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough.

Spray a 9-inch round pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Cut the dough into six 2-inch wide strips using a pizza cutter or knife. Loosely roll up one strip and place it in the center of the pan. Make sure to keep it loose so the dough has room to expand as it rises. To keep the filling from coming off the dough when you pick up the strips, coil them before you pick them up, then wind them around the center roll, starting each strip at the end of the previous one to make one giant roll. You can crimp the ends of the dough together or just overlap them. Continue until you’ve used all six strips. The dough shouldn’t fill the whole pan, which is fine since it needs room to expand.

**If you want to make your cake the night before you’re going to bake it, stop here, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight, and then proceed to the next rise in the morning. Or, you can skip the 60-90 minute rise by allowing the cake to rise at room temperature for 12 hours/overnight, but food safety experts wouldn’t recommend it because of the egg in the dough. If it rises too much overnight, gently press down a bit before baking the next morning.**

Loosely cover the cake with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes. To give your dough a nice cozy place to rise, you can heat your oven to 200F degrees, and turn it off. Put the dough inside the oven and allow to rise until it has nearly doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the oven and preheat to 350F. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. After 20 minutes, loosely cover with foil to avoid heavy browning. Remove from the oven.

Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes. Right before serving, drizzle with glaze.

Make the glaze: Sift the powdered sugar and salt into a bowl, then whisk in the milk/cream, whiskey, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over rolls.

Cake is best enjoyed the same day, but will remain fresh covered tightly for up to 4 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

For the glaze, the possibilities are endless. You can leave out the whiskey and salt and replace it with milk to make it a standard vanilla glaze. Increase the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon. Or you can replace the whiskey with maple syrup to make a vanilla maple glaze. If you like almond, replace the vanilla extract with almond extract.

giant whiskey-glazed cinnamon roll

I’m happy to report that this definitely hit the spot. My craving is gone, and I’ll never be tempted by Ikea’s $1 cinnamon rolls again.

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Sometimes I can be really indecisive, but the best part of this clock is that you never have to make up your mind on the design. If you get sick of it, just wipe it off and start over. I did all of my designs in white, but there’s no reason you can’t go nuts with colored chalk, too.
DIY chalkboard clock tutorial
Here’s how to make your own chalkboard clock.

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