donut pan idea no. 51: top of the muffin to you!

Donut pan idea no. 51 is muffin tops! Like the ones Elaine and Mr. Lippman sold at "Top of the Muffin to You!" in a Seinfeld episode titled (what else) The Muffin Tops? A donut pan makes it very easy to bake up nice, wide muffin tops with only a bit of a "stump" in the shape of a donut on the bottoms. Perfectly engineered for it, really.

My friend Sheri recently shared a photo of some black and white cookies she baked, and I had just made Drake's Cakes in the donut pans, which ended up in silly email exchange about all of the great food references from Seinfeld. Along with the cakes and cookies, there's Elaine's "Big Salad", the Mulligatawny soup, the babka, Kramer's wayward Junior Mints, and probably many more than that. All so funny, but when our family friend Anna was here yesterday she reminded me of the one that trumps them all: pudding skin singles. So unappetizing, and so hilarious!

The first episode of the very first season of Seinfeld aired 23 years ago today, if you can believe that. No better time than now to make a batch of muffin tops!

Go to "read more" below to read more!


going's on

David is out of the country right now and I am using these lonely nights to get myself organized. I have this frantic feeling lately of only having a few precious hours a week to pursue some of several things I'd like to work on. I've resorted to listening to my Buddha Machine to help me stop feeling so scattered. It's so unlike me to be so unfocused. I truly need to have my hands in the pie to feel like I am keeping the Tiffanie Turner train running. The donuts give me that satisfaction when I'm working on them.

Current to-do list items, none of which there is time for:

•Finish preliminary book proposal work. I'm zooming in on two publishers for now and trying this approach.
•Get down to the planning department to search for existing drawings of a new project I'm starting.
•Buy a new drafting program to the tune of 2.5K.
•Start the new project.
•Paint. After years of half-assed brainstorming, I finally had a little epiphany which marries my watercolor style with subject matter I want to paint and is meaningful to me.
•Help David plot our escape from this apartment. 
•Keep on making the donuts.

And, if I want to be truly present with the kids during summer break, I think it's time for another social media fast. I know it was good for me before. Hard, though. And I've been really wanting to start sharing the Instagram photos I take, but there is no way I can live a good life while spending more time on my phone. 


Here's a sort of full-circle-small-world-thank-you-social-media-and-also-a-life-lesson story for you regarding the egg piñatas:

•A week or two after I brought them home, the egg piñatas went back up at Rare Device due to popular demand. 
•That same day I got an order for ten piñatas from Australian stylist Megan Morton for a pop-up shop she was curating for the month of May in Sydney. After deciding to take the risk and send the real egg shells into Australia where they could possibly be confiscated at customs, the overnight shipping required to get them there for the remainder of May ended up being too prohibitive. It kinda kills me, because if they had been hanging in that pop-up shop, they probably would've been in THIS VOGUE AUSTRALIA LIVING BLOG ARTICLE. Face palm, at minimum!
•I'm pretty sure Megan or her people saw the piñatas in this photo by Victoria of lovely SFGIRLBYBAY in her Instagram feed, so I thanked her for that.
•Victoria shot the photo of the piñatas at Makeshift Society, where a small selection of my eggs are hanging in the Rare Device pop-up shop.

Cuckoo! Should I have paid the almost $200 to ship the eggs (and also eaten the cost of the eggs themselves)? Was that a huge missed opportunity? Would it have somehow led me to a lifetime of piñata mass-production? Hmmm.


And finally, something just plain cool:

Remember the braided basket I made with the help of my friend Anna a few months ago? It was a classroom art project which turned into a loooong DIY adventure. Recently, that little basket has gotten some serious exposure. 

In late April it was featured in Redesign Revolution's 15 Ways to Reuse T-Shirts.

Then, a few weeks ago, Kelly from Design Crush and Capree from Curbly both kindly featured the basket on the same day, and then it exploded on Pinterest.

And THEN I somehow discovered a site called Craftgawker, and its offshoots Dwellinggawker and Stylegawker. I submitted the basket and a few other tutorials to these three sites, and it's just been nutty since then. 

If you are a blogger who has a craft or design project you really believe in and you want to show it far and wide, I suggest you submit that project to Craftgawker. The submittal interface is so, so easy, and if your project is accepted it's downright exciting. You might even see your readership climb, a little bit!

This probably sounds like one big brag. Well, it totally is, but it's also me sort of being amazed that something like a basket made of t-shirts could take off like this. I mean, it's just sitting in my friend Randy's bathroom acting as a towel holder now, because he won it at our school auction. It is really pretty to look at though.


Those are the going's on with me. What's going on with you?



donut pan idea no. 50: pavlovas

Welcome to the world of pavlovas! Pavlovas are like meringues, but totally not, the difference being that pavlovas have corn starch added in, which gives them super light and crispy outer shells with soft, addictive marshmallow centers. They are very easy to make, and when baked in donut pans can be served as little pavlova cookies or more traditionally prepared miniature pavlovas, with the addition of whipped cream and berries. They are truly divine. I had no problem whipping up this recipe three times over two days last week for a test kitchen run, then the recipe photos, and then for dinner guests because it was so, so easy and let's face it, these things go down fast. They are made of air!

The only tricky thing about baking these donut-shaped pavlovas (or any pavlovas for that matter) is the cooking time. Nearly an hour of baking, followed by more time cooling in the oven to keep them from deflating. The surface will crack, and they are fragile, but sturdy enough to bag up to give to a friend.

If you click on "read more" right down below you can see the full tutorial. This is a good and easy one!


the walk

So much is getting ready to change here. We have just a week more of walking to school up and through the Panhandle. The past three years have been a blissful testament to a way of life David and I designed for our family. Slow mornings and slow weekends, with bursts of excitement here and there when opportunity presented itself. Harder on David than on us, but more or less on our terms. 

There is only one more week of just Oliver and I on our own, doing what we want. There is a lot of conversation between us, but none of it makes me have to put on my thinking cap like when Stella and I talk. No more incredibly simple days. We are at the end of early childhood in this house. Having Oliver when we did made us so much older, but it made me way younger, too.

As with the past two years, I am really looking forward to this summer vacation. We have two great trips planned, bookended by a lot of hiding from the cold inside our apartment. I cannot wait. I've found some architectural work, but I hope to strategize to keep it from interfering with our time together. I don't really know how that'll work yet. I am just super emotional about everything this week, all the while acknowledging that I've had it really good for really long. Change is brewing, for sure. Maybe it will still all be really good. Fingers crossed.

I don't know if anyone out there reads this here blog for more than basket-weaving tutorials, but if you do, I expect there will be a little more mommybloggging over the coming months. Have a great weekend. xoxo


showtime: history repeating, elbo room, may 14, 2013

Last week I had fun performing our "History Repeating" act with the Showgirl Chorus. It's a heavily Bob Fosse-inspired piece choreographed by the one and only Bombshell Betty. We had a ball. I always feel a little empty if I don't do a solo piece at a show, but I filled the void by drinking a few stiff margaritas and stuffing my face with chips when I came offstage, because there is NO FOOD IN THE MISSION after 10:00 on a Tuesday night! Boo. Anyway, it was a great show. The crowd was huge and ready to laugh, which is always awesome. I can't wait until next month when we'll be performing as half men/half women and I MIGHT be reprising my flamenco act if I can fine tune it to fit the theme of the June show, which is "taboo".

Here are the ladies of the current Showgirl Chorus, representing different eras of fashion. I'm dressed as sort of a 50's teenybopper, but really it's all about THE PONYTAIL for me. My friend Maya, a.k.a. Mama Fou, a.k.a Fulbright scholar, a.k.a. founder and fearless leader of the incredible Fou Fou Ha, gave me a few of these hairpieces last year. One I turned into my removable braid for my Frida act, the other one has been sitting in a drawer. Until now. Now it is the M.V.P. in my entire arsenal of burlesque costuming. I LOVE THE PONYTAIL. I really didn't want to take it out when I got home. My own hair, on that blessed day it gets that long again, will never look as healthy and strong as that fake ponytail does, but it sure has me excited for my hair to be longer again.

It's pretty hard to stay away from the photo booth at Elbo Room when I've got my face (and hair) on, so of course, these.

No action shots from this show that I know of, unfortunately. I forgot to give my camera to someone. Hopefully something will show up, but in the meantime there are a few stills from when we performed this act back in December 2011 here. So cute.


donut pan idea no. 49: drake's cakes

Up there with our donut madeleinessweet tamale donuts and little cherry pies for best donuts ever to go with a cup of coffee are these donut-shaped crumb cakes (a.k.a. Drake's Cakes to this New Englander and Seinfeld fan). They are as good as they look, and can be delivered perfectly from the donut pan to your mouth due to the shape. I love this one, a lot.

Click on "read more" below to get the full story!


menu: the anniversary party

spiced olives + herbed olive oil almonds

glasses of kölsch, albariño, a nice rosé + prosecco


three amazing pizzas from ragazza
asparagus w. green garlic, preserved lemon, ricotta, ricotta salata + an egg
pork belly w. tomato, calabrian chilies, beet greens + pecorino
pizza margherita for the kiddos

i've made this on three different occasions in the last week

if you like bacon, you will love this salad


assorted bi•rite cookies

balsamic strawberry + salted caramel bi•rite ice cream

We had such a nice time at our tenth anniversary party last Friday night. It was super-intimate, with just four couples, one two year old redhead, and our own party of four. We live in a hotbed of amazing food right now, so between cheese, treats and ice cream from Bi•Rite Market, a growler of beer from Magnolia Brewery and pizzas from Ragazza, pulling the menu together was fast work.

There were a lot of other people we would've loved to have celebrate with us, but I decided that the last thing I wanted to deal with on our anniversary was other people's kids making a ruckus with our two loud and stompy angels. A little ruthless, but sometimes you've just gotta do what you've gotta do. It was a wonderful little get-together. Ten years is really something to celebrate. 

This weekend we'll do a little more celebrating. Our friends will be watching the kiddos most of the day Saturday so we can get down to SFMOMA before it closes until 2016! There is a Lebbeus Woods exhibit we've been dying to see (I was introduced to his work way back in architecture school and have followed him since), and then there is The Clock, which I don't really understand yet but have heard a lot of buzz about. Then we'll see where the rest of the day takes us. 

Have a great weekend, and be sure to come back on Monday because I just made a really great donut pan recipe that I can't wait to share with you.



ten gifts for ten years

Para mi marido después diez años.

1. paper
a card declaring my love
2. cotton
prepaid dry cleaning for four shirts
3. leather
4. flowers
tiny air plants
5. wood
6. candy
7. wool/copper
copper wool for the cast iron
8. bronze*
9. pottery*
10. tin
(his first one shown here is amazing)

*loosely interpreted
**learn David's drip coffee method here


the lucky winner

The online random number generator has done it again, and picked a winner who I think is a sweetheart in real life. Sheri Silver is the proud owner of two brand new donut pans and a little crafty gift package from me. I happen to have met Sheri at Alt Summit in January of this year and had a nice long chat with her about all sorts of things. She is the creative and quite frankly, gorgeous lady who writes Donuts, Dresses and Dirt. With a name like that, it's about time she get some donut pans! Sheri, I'll send you a note later today and get your address from you. Yay!

Here's the randomizer shot by the way, the only one I ran:

But wait, there's more! Wilton has offered to send out another set of brand new donut pans to another one of you kind folk who entered. This one I'm hand picking. I'd love to pick my friend Beth who entered on the corner blog Facebook page, but I know she already has a set of pans, so I'm choosing REBECCA GUTH who commented that she has entered all four of these pan contests and has never won. You won, Rebecca! Email me your mailing address at sfcornerblogathotmaildotcom and we'll get those sent off to you!

I spent a little time yesterday going through our master list and coming up with more clever, practical, and/or delicious donut pan ideas which I cannot wait to do. Thank you all for your enthusiasm about this project! It's really nice to know there are people out there who enjoy it like I do. It sounds like the giant candy necklaces were the favorite this time around!



birds & blooms

Tomorrow is our ten year wedding anniversary! I can't believe it. Ten is one of those numbers you strive for, ten years are a real, poignant marker of time. Marriage is as hard as they say it is (even harder), and I'm so proud of the work we've put in to keep our ship sailing. Tonight we are having close friends (the ones without kids, because this night is about us!) over for dinner and drinks to celebrate. Then over the weekend it's time alone with David and then Mother's Day alone with Stella which is a tradition I treasure. I have some work to do to prepare for all this celebrating, so I'll leave you with this for the weekend.

This is my friend Anna Branning's new book, Birds & Blooms of the 50 States from Chronicle Books. It's a wonderful book full of her Dutch Door Press state bird and flower prints, which she and her business partner Mara started working on in 2008. The book release party was at Rare Device last night where I snatched up a few copies. I can't stop flipping through it, it's so beautiful. Anna's designs and graphics are gorgeous, intricate, and spot-on. You can pick a copy up online or at Rare Device and probably lots of other bookstores, too. You can also get the individual prints from the book (as well as their amazing textiles and cards) here at their Etsy shop. Congratulations to Dutch Door Press and my dear friend Anna (and also to my colorful pal Bridget Watson Payne, who happens to have edited the book)!

I shot the photos for a step-by-step look at the letterpress process for Anna and the Chronicle Books blog a few weeks ago. You can see that here. It's a fun and interesting process.

Have a really great weekend, everyone, and a very Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. I hope you get whatever you want (or need) on Sunday! xoxo


round up: portion control

Stella has a vast collection of miniature foodstuffs. These are my favorite ones to play with.


shop restocked

I've just stocked my little Etsy shop with my newest egg piñatas. A few others have traveled down to Makeshift Society in Hayes Valley for the Rare Device pop-up shop, so you can check them out there, too! xoxo


four dozen (closed)

I think it's safe to call myself Donut Queen now. I'm feeling it.

We've made it almost halfway through our 101 DONUT PAN IDEAS. I can't believe it! It all started almost exactly a year ago when I was given a set of pans and made our very first donut pan project. It's crazy that it's taken a year to get through this first four dozen. Obviously I'm obsessed. Everyone in this house is in tune with the donut pans so I've got a lot of help and no shortage of ideas.

Here are links to twelve most recent donut pan ideas:
frozen pizza rolls

To celebrate, I'm doing another nice giveaway. Wilton, the company that makes the pans I use, is sending the winner a brand new set of donut pans, and I am going to be sending the winner a little surprise package of handmade items that you may or may not have seen here over the last few months. 

If you'd like to enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below. I'd love to hear which donut was your favorite out of this last dozen (the sweet tamales were mine-I'll make them again and again), but that is not required to be entered in the contest. I will randomly select and announce the winner next week, but please leave your comment by 5:00 p.m. this coming Friday, May 10th. If for some reason you have trouble commenting here (I hope not, but some people tell me they do), you could try leaving a comment on the corner blog Facebook page instead and you will be entered.

Here's the fine print from Wilton:

Contest is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States of America, Washington, D.C.(excluding US territories and possessions) or Canada (excluding Quebec), who are eighteen (18) years of age or older. Void where prohibited by law.

Thank you to my friend Danielle for naming me the Donut Queen, and to my friend Randy for placing the crown on my head. And as always, thank you to my friends and supportive readers who share my enthusiasm for this ridiculous but highly satisfying (and delicious) experiment! xoxoxo

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