Tuesday, April 19, 2011

april showers

good morning! well, afternoon. i spent most of my morning adding things to my etsy shop; my closet is packed to the gills and beginning to overflow onto my desk, my chair, my floor, so it's time to dig in deep and get rid of some things, no matter how attached i may feel. i'll post in a bit about the stuff up for sale - if you're interested in anything, leave a comment and i'll hold it for you.

as for today, i'm combatting another rainy, chilly day with one of my favorite outfits of all time. this little red dress has been in my closet, completely untouched and all but forgotten, for probably two years; it was a little big when i bought it, and by the nature of the way i organize my closet - by color, starting with red and ending with black - it's all the way to one side of the closet, and gets kind of hidden by the wall. it fits much better now that i've put on a few pounds, and the strength of the corduroy allows me to cover it with the mess of flower brooches i've amassed, via etsy, bonanza and a few thrift stores. my new favorite collection.


dress: on sale at anthropologie (a long time ago)
belt: thrifted
brooches: thrifted, etsy'd, bonanza'd
tights: man on the street
shoes: urban

someone asked for the cupcake recipe, so here it is! it's adapted from the vanilla cake we made at the bakery where i used to work. without further ado -

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs , at room temperature
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
3 large egg whites , at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

preheat oven to 325. sift together flours, baking powder, soda, and salt; set aside. cream together the butter and shortening until soft and no chunks remain; add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. add egg and vanilla and mix juuuuust until combined. in three additions, add flour, then water, then flour, then water, then flour and mix until just barely combined. whisk up your egg whites and cream of tartar in a separate bowl until they are white and frothy and no yellow remains - NO peaks, though. fold this in to your cake batter and scoop it into cupcake cups, about 2/3 of the way full. makes about 30 cupcakes. bake for 10-12 minutes, until they just start to turn golden and a toothpick comes out clean. i actually don't know how many minutes this was - i just kept an eye on them.

pastry cream

2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
cherry whiskey or brandy (optional)(but highly recommended)

put milk and 1/4 cup of sugar on the stove on medium - high. meanwhile, whisk the remaining ingredients together until they're pale yellow and well combined. once the milk starts to boil, take it off the stove and add it to your egg mixture, bit by bit, whisking furiously all the while, until it's combined; pour the whole thing back into the pot and whisk it on medium heat until it starts to BOIL. once it's boiling, KEEP IT GOING for another 2 minutes at this heat to get rid of the starchy taste from the cornstarch. pour it through a seive into a bowl or tupperware, cover it with plastic, and let it cool.

take about 1 cup of strawberries and cut them into pretty small dice. mix this with about 1/2 of your pastry cream, and set aside.

take a big star pastry tip and insert it into the cupcakes; twist, and pull. you'll pull out a little tube of vanilla cake. you can keep this for munching, or making a trifle with your leftover pastry cream and strawberries! yum. put your pastry cream/strawberry mixture into a piping bag and fill the holes you've made. ta da! i plan on topping these with a lavender buttercream, or maybe even just whipped cream for the sample ones.


all right, that's all from me for today. stay warm, stay dry, and i'll see you tomorrow!

xo audrey


  1. This look is Completely Fabulous!! I Love all of your flower brooches so colorful and Happy!

  2. love love love those brooches!

  3. I love how vibrant the red of the dress is and what you've done with the brooches. This is so gorgeous and creative!

  4. Hah! The brooches are brilliant! And as a fellow hoarder of vintage enamel floral brooches, I intend to steal this idea. I MEAN pay tribute to this idea.

  5. Such a good idea! I do not have nearly enough flower brooches to do this though! The bright red is so pretty!

  6. How you have placed those brooches is just so gorgeous, I am in awe!
    Thank you for your sweet comments. Your idea about the slides in light boxes is so good, I really want to work out how to do that! I'll let you know if I figure it out

  7. i'm overwhelmed .. that is so clever and lovely how you arranged all the brooches on the dress and then to see the cupcakes -- well it's all just to much for me ;P

  8. Wonderful collection of flower brooches. They look like a well tended garden that came to life. Stunning!

  9. are you kidding me?! I truly gasped when I saw your outfit. And it's 1:30 in the morning here. A gasp is a big accomplishment. It's just....so...lovely. I would have never thought to do this, but all the broaches make it a completely different dress, and so unique and wondrous. Plus red corduroy HELLO. Sexy.

  10. oh i love what you did with the pins. i have a great collection of pins and would never think to do this. clever, clever girl.

  11. Oh wow, found you through Already Pretty and I'm stunned by your styling of this dress. The red is such a saturated shade and looks wonderful on you with the teal tights and the shoes! But of course you had me at the brooches - hands down gorgeous. I'm following! xo

  12. I found you through Already pretty too. Love those brooches! I'm totally stealing this idea :))

    14 Shades Of Grey

  13. Hi there! i found you through stylelist.com and am actually currently working on a blog post about flower brooches....I hope you don't mind if I throw on one of your pics (with a link back to your blog, of course.)! I absolutely love that style! So excited to read some more. :-)


  14. thank you so much everyone! i really appreciate all the sweet words!

  15. @thefunkyjunkie of course not, i'm flattered to be included! thanks!

  16. audrey, the way u combined the colors with ur brooch collar extravaganza of awesomeness, rock on!

  17. ok wait, i just realized u were standing in front of a wall of albums sorted like my wall of cds! holy music batman!

  18. I've discovered your blog from Keiko lynn's Blog, and i love It! last month I bought a pink tight but I never wore it, because i have no idea of wearing it with.. I saw some of your posts of your blog and I got inspired! I see you love coloured tighs too! You give me lovely ideas about how to wear it!
    I'm following you, I'll happy if you follow me back if you like mine of course...
    Kisses Alinne