Late Summer Projects: Baking, Blankets & Books

One of my good friends is hosting a baby shower next month and has asked me to help with the baking and cupcake decorating.  I consider myself a good baker primarily because I can follow a recipe without burning the house down, am usually able to adjust recipes for the high altitude, and look pretty good in an apron.  

So when my friend sent me the link to the fancy, piped-rose petal cupcake design she was going for, I thought, no problem!  Maybe I’ve never used decorating tips in my life, but with a little practice and a few You Tube videos, we should be able to nail this.   

Martha Stewart's piped-rose cupcakes

The first attempt delivered some sad, pink, doggie doodoo-like designs.  Here was attempt #2...

This one looks like a cerebrum

Thankfully these mistakes are yummy ones!  I like this design that my friend came up with...

Our masterpieces:

I know, I know, you want to hire us to cater your next party.

While we’re on the topic of “Ways in Which Betsy is Overly Confident,” let me tell you about another one of my fall projects… crocheting an afghan.  My amazing (and amazingly patient) Grandma Bev taught my sister and me how to crochet when we stayed at her house for horse camp (circa 1994).  My last crocheting project was a miniature baby blanket for my cousin on her 1st birthday; she’s a sophomore in high school now.  However, I took up knitting in college and am pretty good, so I thought crocheting an afghan would be a piece of cake.  (This is about as logical as trying out for the Olympic snowboarding team just because I’m good at figure skating.)  Needless to say, I am in over my head. 

Afghan pattern

Thankfully, I have two very helpful sidekicks. 

Good spaghetti, Ma!

Oh, is this not a tennis ball?

After dozens of attempts and a few tears, I think I figured it out.  Laila agrees that I’m getting the hang of it.

In other news, one of my coworkers started a book club!  I cannot express how excited I am.  Reading is one of my greatest passions and I have dreamed of being in a book club in my grownup life since reading Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons (one of my all time favorites) several years ago.  Our first book is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot), which has been on my list to read for some time.  I can’t wait to get started.

Here are a few of the books I read recently:

§  The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack
§  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
§  The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
§  The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
§  Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins
§  Anthem, Ayn Rand
§  Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter
§  Wild, Cheryl Strayed
§  The Price of Inequality, Joseph E. Stiglitz
§  Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult
§  Midwives, Chris Bohjalian

Other Books to read in the next few weeks:

§  The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
§  The Queen’s Vow, C. W. Gortner
§  The Magic Room, Jeffrey Zaslow
§  In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson
§  Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck, Eric G. Wilson
§  How Georgia Became O’Keeffe, Karen Karbo

P. S.  I can’t wait for fall!  


  1. I LOVED the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks! It really got me thinking and primed for grad school. What a heavy book to start off with though!--I'm thinking a fluffy Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang may need to be your next one. Happy reading!


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