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I started lots of fun projects this weekend – a wreath, two new embroideries, a book, and a blanket.

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Strawberry season is in full swing in Buffalo, and I really wanted to take advantage of it in my baking. I’m working on a recipe for a gluten-free strawberry cake, but for now I kept it simple with a sweet strawberry shortcake-like creation. I made gluten-free yellow cake cupcakes, fresh whipped cream, and a compote of fresh local strawberries and fresh rosemary. They were delicious! Sweet, fresh, and a little woodsy.

Here is a simplified recipe:

Strawberry Short-Cupcakes with Rosemary

12 ct. your favorite yellow cake cupcakes*

For the compote:
6-8 large strawberries
1 sprig rosemary
Splash of orange juice

Chop the strawberries into smaller than bite-sized pieces. Chop a small amount of rosemary into tiny pieces. You’ll want about 1/2 teaspoon. Add the strawberries, rosemary, and splash of orange juice to a small sauce pan. Simmer on low for 5-10 minutes.

For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, or cream will become lumpy.

Using a teaspoon, hollow out a shallow hole in each cupcake. Drop a dollop of whipped cream in the center, and a small spoonful of compote on top. Enjoy!

*I used a basic gluten-free recipe and reduced the sugar and the vanilla to give the cakes a heartier taste. They’d also be great with traditional shortcakes, or regular sweet cake.

We are currently in the process of converting our dining room into a library/reading room. We almost never used the dining room as it was, and it seemed like a great place to create a little reading nook and keep all of our bookshelves. This is also the first room you walk into in our house, so we needed an entryway table for mail, key basket, etc. I found an old elementary school-style desk and a 3-drawer nightstand to use next to the door. The nightstand was seriously scuffed and scratched on the top surface, so I sanded it, painted it a beige-y color, and created a polka dot paper doily pattern on top. I love it!

I love the library.

A series of 4 cards I made with hand-lettering and ribbon trim. I’m planning to work on the lettering a bit more and then have photo polymer plates made for letterpress. I think I’ll combine the printed greetings with pretty fabric trim and maybe some ribbon designs cut out of linoleum. I’ve also made some coordinating lined kraft envelopes, one of my favorite finishing touches for any stationery.

I’ve got a story today about Rosie that makes me really happy to be her dog-friend (if that’s a thing).

It started at the craft store, where I was picking up embroidery thread and papers for a couple projects I’m working on for my friend’s brand new baby girl. In the value section on the way to the register, I spotted one of those wooden paddle toys with the rubber ball attached and couldn’t resist the fun little distraction. I know it’s silly, but it totally seemed worth my dollar at the time. It was also USA themed, which generally makes things more awesome. I played with it the first night I got it, and it almost instantly broke. Eh, oh well. I moved on pretty quickly, as you might imagine.

The next night rolls around, and Stuart takes Rosie outside for an evening “bathroom” break. What does he come back with? A better paddle toy! The best part – Rosie found it. She was sniffing around in someone’s recycling and pulled this out. She brought it to Stuart and he brought it upstairs to me. It was like a sweet little present from Rosie! Maybe it sounds crazy-dog-lady-crazy to you, but I genuinely think she recognized it as similar to the one I had the night before and wanted me to have it.

What a friend!