Friday, December 12, 2008

Real Gingerbread

I have lots of cookbooks and lots of gingerbread recipes, but this one from King Arthur Flour is one of the best I've tasted in a l-o-n-g while (since Grandma Dovie made gingerbread!). Best of all, you can make this with whole wheat flour and you can't tell!

King Arthur Flour Gingerbread
  • 2 1/4 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour, or 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each cloves and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger (optional) <- I didn't use any of this

1) Grease and flour a 9" square pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F. ( This was too thick for my taste in the 9-inch pan so I used a 12 x 7 or so dish.)

2) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

3) Melt the butter in a heatproof measuring cup. Add the molasses to the cup, and pour into the dry ingredients in the bowl, mixing to moisten.

4) Add the water, stirring until everything is moistened. Whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Stir into the batter until it's evenly combined. Stir in the crystallized ginger.

5) Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan.

6) Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before slicing; gingerbread is best served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

You can find the original recipes with pictures here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Finished Object

I have finished Janine's Tea Set apron.

I think the sashes are long enough that she should be able to wrap them around and tie a nice bow in the front.

The teapot and cups are machine appliqued.

Sometimes it helps to be an engineer with all that drafting and design training. 'Cause, no sir, that is not bought scallop trim. It is custom drafted, cut and sewn for this particular apron.

I am my own worst critic, but even I think this is kinda' cute. I particularly like the graphic quality that the Amsterdam material imparts to the appliques. It looks vintage and modern at the same time. Janine did a great job picking out the materials.

She has an entry on her blog at

Friday, December 5, 2008

Drumroll, Please

The winner of the fruit cocktail apron is commenter 26, who is Theresa.

The winner was picked by the random number generator at

Thanks to all who posted a comment and thanks to sewmamasew for hosting the giveaway. Wasn't it fun?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Design Process

I'm designing and making an apron for Janine of the The Pink Teapot. She wants it to have the same color pallette as her blog. So here's the fabrics she has picked out. The pink is Amy Butler. The black is Kona Black. The print is called "Amsterdam" and is by Cranston. I've washed everything and ironed it.

A big plug here for They have the best selection of fabric and their staff is so nice and helpful.

It needs to be pink with a black scalloped edge:

Got that part done.

It needs a teaset appliqued on it.

Well, I got the teapot done. I'm thinking about
a button on the top of the lid as an accent. This teapot was quite difficult to applique. Lot's of curves and turns, but so far it looks pretty good.

I didn't think that the print would work for the applique. I thought it was too big in scale, but it's lending itself to the design pretty well.

The applique is about 4 or 5 inches in height and about 6 inches in width, including the handle.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's Blog Give-Away Day

It's the Fruit Cocktail Apron!

This is a half apron, made of medium weight purple denim and trimmed in a coordinating fruit and flowers print. Everything was pre-washed before construction, so you won't have any shrinkage problems. All of the bias tape trim is double stitched to keep it from fraying in the wash. ( I learned that one from personal experience!) The overlay makes 3 pockets so you have lots of room to put your potholder or oven mitt.

This is a nice slim fit and won't make you look like you ate all the holiday cookies.

A couple of closeups for detail:

The print pattern.

Detail of bias tape trim.

This is an easy one-size-fits-most and should easily fit up to a women's 2x size.

Leave a comment and I will randomly select one person to receive this apron.

Due to shipping cost, I need to restrict this to the US and Canada only.
Comments added until midnight today, EST will be eligible.

Holy-moly, have you folks seen that list at sewmamasew! I'll leave the comments open until Friday.

Thanks for stopping by Dovie's Aprons. Come back soon.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Watch this Space!

I'm participating in blog-giveaway-day on Dec. 3. This is hosted by

Of course, the giveaway item will be a fabulous apron. Pics to be posted soon.

Be sure to check out sewmamasew's wonderful guide to handmade gifts during the month of November. There are tutorials for d-i-y-ers as well as links to shops and sellers.

Don't forget to stop by here and post a comment on Dec. 3.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grand Opening

It's the grand opening of my etsy store!!!!

There are four aprons available for purchase. More will be added soon. Some are ones that have appeared here in the blog and others are newer designs.

Head on over to

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008


These are reversible aprons. They are made from those printed panels you can buy at your local fabric store. Only those panels are too thin to make a really useful apron. Please ignore that wet spot on the apron - it had rained the night before I took these shots.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Something Completely Different

And now for something completely different.....

I've made a business card case using the pattern from Amy Butler for inspiration. I didn't follow the pattern exactly and I used the scraps from other projects for this. But I'm pleased with the result. I'm considering this one the prototype. I've got some really, really nice fawn tan ultrasuede for a classy card keeper.

The unfolded version:

Here's the best part - it's washable. So after I've been hauling it around in my purse or had it at a show, I can wash it and throw it in the dryer. Press with an iron and it's has good as new.

Plus it's unique - it's easy to spot and not likely to sprout legs as some of my other cases have done in the past.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Coffee and Tea

The teapot applique apron. It matches the teacups apron. Great for mother/daughter, two friends or sisters that love to share tea. The material is lightweight denim, so it's sturdy too.

I just love this coffee print. The gingham trim really adds to this apron. It's a nice functional design.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Three Pies

It took all week. And I'm not sure I want to applique these pies on anything else, but I like the finished product. The pies are the stars of this apron. There are two pockets of the denim fabric, lined in the gingham trim. I didn't want the pockets to draw attention away from the appliques. The pies are an original design, although I did see an embroidery motif that resembled is somewhat somewhere on the internet.

This particular apron pattern is great for embellishment.

Isn't this just perfect for the baker in the family?

****Remember September 11, 2001 victims and their families****

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Dovie's Aprons was featured on The Apronista blog yesterday. Cool!

Even though my etsy store is very empty, if you see something that strikes your fancy, let me know.

If you're in the Raleigh/Garner, NC area, you can check out the aprons in person at the Garner United Methodist Church craft show on November 1, 2008.

Grandma (Dovie) would be proud.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cherry Pie

Posted by Picasa

How about a little pie to go along with yesterday's tea? This is a true vintage replication. I followed the 1955 pattern exactly. All the seams are bound in red bias tape. There are no exposed seams anywhere. It's even hand hemmed on the sides. I just couldn't stand hemming the bottom by hand, so it's blind stitched on the machine. The pockets are v-shaped and in the cherry print so that they blend in with the skirt and are lined in the red of the yoke.

So although the fabrics are not vintage, the look and the pattern sure are.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tea Anyone?

It's been a few weeks since my last update. I've been busy making aprons and getting my artworks ready for the show. Here's the latest: A butcher style apron with stacked teacups appliques.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Make it yourself

What a great idea!!!

The clothing company SANS had a knit top in their collection called the square shirt. They sold them as fast as they could make them. When it was dropped from the current designs, they made the pattern available to the public, along with a SANS label, all for $6.00.

Check out the article here:

Wouldn't it be great if other clothing companies would do the same?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Blueberries are one fruit where an apron can come in handy!

My neighbor has 2 blueberry bushes that are bearing heavy this year. It's not unusual to pick a gallon of berries from them every other day.

So what do you do with all of those berries. One of my favorites is the simple fruit crisp or buckle or cobbler (depending on where you're from).

Take about 3 cups of fruit - blueberries, cherries, peaches, apples, etc. Mix in about 2 or 3 tablespoons of cornstarch (flour will work in a pinch) and 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and cinnamon to taste. Mix the fruit with the dry ingredients until well covered. If the fruit is a bit dry, add a tablespoon of water.

Put in a baking dish such that the fruit takes up about half of the space in the dish, so that would be about a 6 to 8 cup baking dish or pan.

In a bowl, use about 1 1/2 cups bisquick (or flour), a stick of butter, 1/2 cup (or more) of brown sugar, 3/4 cup regular oatmeal, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixute begins to look like cornmeal - it may even start to look like cookie dough - that's ok too, it will still work.
Spread mixture over fruit. You can sprinkle with some brown sugar if you want.

Bake at 350 for about an hour. You can smell it when it begins to get done.

Cool or serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I don't have a formal recipe for this - I've always made it on the fly, as it always depends on the amount of fruit, how much juice it generates and how sweetness the natural fruit has.

That takes care of some of the berries!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An Orignal Design

This is my sweetheart apron. Scalloped edges and a sweetheart neckline. All edged in a dark pink/rose gingham. The tulip pockets echo the neckline. The main fabric of this apron is denim.

I make a lot of aprons out of lighter weight denim. Why have an apron if it's not going be do the job of protecting you while you cook or clean or whatever?

My etsy store is empty for now. I'm working on some new items for it. It's a wonder I can get any sewing done at all. In my garden, the green beans are ready to be picked, the tomatoes are ripe and the squash are nearly ready. And it all needs to be weeded. Got lots of banana peppers too.

Last night I did the "let's not mess up a bunch of pots and pans" dinner. I already had rice cooked from earlier in the day. I sauteed boneless chicken breast with onions and mushrooms and a shot of terriyaki sauce and some Mrs. Dash seasoning mix (we have to watch the sodium). When the chicken reach about 170 degrees F, I took it out and put it in a bowl with a lid to steam a bit. Then I sliced up 2 squash and 2 zucchini, sauteed with a bit of Smart Balance margarine. The liquid from the squash de-glazed the pan. I added a few cherry tomatoes and cooked until done. Then I added the chicken back in and heated for a few minutes. During the last 2 or 3 minutes of cooking, I sprinkled parmesan cheese on the squash.

This was really good. The squash, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes just taste like summer.

I have a KitchenAid commercial grade non-stick saute pan, about 14 inches in size. It came from Target. If you cook, you need one of these. It's great. Nothing sticks and it's so non-stick, when you rinse it out, there's only a drop or two or water left in it. Just remember to always wash it out by hand and don't use oil in it except as a seasoning element. It's perfect for cooking in one pan dinners.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Technorati Profile

Aprons from NeedlesandPens Blog

Here are the aprons posted to the now defunct blog.

Form and Function

This is such a practical design. The overlay is divided into three sections. This makes up the pockets. It might look a little blue in the photo, but it's actually purple. I was shooting in the middle of the day.

This apron is made from purple denim and a nice cotton print. It's an economical design as well. It would take about a yard if you were to make it in just one fabric. I used bias tape for accent but you could get away with hemming the edges.

If you're having an apron attack, check out the give away over at the apronista blog. You can get your choice from Rick Rack Attack, but the contest ends today.


Flouncy Apron

Another 1955 model! Kindly modeled by my neighbor. The top is denim and the rest is a print. You can't see it, but there is a small ruffle around the print skirt. Yes, those are yo-yo's on the pockets.

Another one from the Progressive Farmer pattern.

I made this one for my mother. It looks just like something she'd pick out for herself.


Two Pocket Retro Look

This was a nice one to make. It was quick, but it sure looks retro. It's very similar to one of my mother's patterns from the 50's. You can find this pattern online at:

You can either enlarge the image until it's the right size or use a grid to make a new pattern. I had to enlarge about 500%. You can use MS Paint to print it out. Keep in mind that there will be no registration marks and it's a lot like putting a puzzle together.

1955 Model

Here it is. The pattern is one of my mother's. I even took out some of the width or the thing would have been about 70 inches gathered up to about 25 inches. And lots and lots of bias tape. The pockets are under the peaks and button to keep them from gapping.

A cute design - it looks like the 50's - doesn't it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Move

This is the first post for my new blog. My old blog, is no more. Needles and Pens is the name of an art gallery in San Francisco. Who knew! I'm on the east coast and never heard of the place, but some folks are confusing the names and assuming that I'm connected with the gallery.

So the new blog is named after my grandmother, Dovie. She was a kind women, who sewed, cooked, canned, played the piano, knitted, did embroidery and made biscuits that nearly floated off the plate. (Also, Dovie as a name is unusal enough that it's not already taken on the internet!)

The next post will contain a synopis of the post from the needlesandpen blog.
Thanks for bearing with me.