October 2013 ~ Diane's Vintage Zest!

Spicy Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

A spicy spin on my Cornbread Stuffing that EVERYONE loves!

Sweet Potato Souffle for Thanksgiving

One of my most popular recipes EVER, and just in time for Thanksgiving!

DIY Painted Photo Backdrops

Super easy backdrops for your photo, plus a few tips!

Golden Sweet Corn Bread Mini Muffins

A sweet spin on traditional cornbread!

Easy Sweet Potato Pie (without a crust!)

The easiest (and healthiest) pumpkin pie recipe ever!

Get Inspired with Us Weekend Pinning Party #14 (I'm Co-hosting!)

Here is the Halloween linky party that I promised you!  I hope you join in to share your best pins and also find some great new projects and blogs (between mouthfuls of Halloween candy).  :)  Thanks for sticking around!

Here we go! Week #14... and it's time to link up your fabulous pins!!
Get Inspired Pinterest Link Party 
 Here's the rundown...
  1. You can link-up ANY pins that you'd like with the exception of Giveaways.
  2. This hop will now be featured on 6 blogs! We have 3 WEEKLY co-host spots and YOU could be next weeks co-host!
  3. The weekly co-hosts will be selecting the FEATURED PINS at each week's party.
  4. Every week, each FEATURED PINNER will be given the option to co-host the FOLLOWING week's party! :)
Our Featured PIN"s will be a REQUIRED re-pin in order to link-up the following week! That means, if you are Featured, and we have 60 link-up's that weekend, your PIN will be RE-PINNED 66 times including the hosts & co-hosts. The number of times your Featured Pin will get re-pinned depends on the amount of link-ups we have that week.
Yes, we're making it MORE FUN to Link-up with us :)

Happy Halloween!

I just wanted to pop in and say Happy Halloween!

Later on tonight, I will be co-hosting a special link party to celebrate the holiday (and my feature).  Be sure to come on back to join in on all of the fun.  :)


In the meantime, try to stay away from too much Halloween Candy...  Think of all of the yummy treats you could be making with it later!


See you tonight!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Pastry Overload!

I must say that for the last couple of weeks, it has been pretty quiet on the food front.  It is mostly because I have been cooking a lot at home and whipping up some pretty delicious recipes!  However, I'm back to my original form and there's more to add to my new blog!  Woo!


  • Activities: Estate sale, cooking hand pies!
  • Eats: Porto's Bakery, Gen Korean BBQ, Cream Pan


I had a yummy surprise waiting for me at home!  Mmm!  Read about these yummy pastries (and more) from Porto's Bakery right here!



I happened to see a sign for an estate sale and even though I knew that they would be around during the weekend, I decided to take a quick peek!  Is it strange that I love peeking through people's items?  I am doing it with appreciation for vintage items, so I like to think that I'm being respectful...

Anyways, I took only one picture before my phone died!  It's too bad because there was a BEAUTIFUL antique Singer sewing machine on a built-in desk with drawers that had been already sold for $90.  I did snap a pic of this funny little German board game!


I bought a couple of old Life magazines for my dad, two records for me, and a couple of wooden spools.  So cute!

I'm so glad that my record tote bag had just enough room to fit these two records.  I'm might just have to sew another one!


On Saturday, I got together with my London and Paris travel buddy!  She helped me figure out my plans for the Mad About Plaid challenge and then we did a lot of chatting about different crafting ideas.  :)

Lastly, we made some handpies!

Mad About Plaid Challenge Plans!

This weekend, I spent Saturday with a friend and not only did we made some delicious handpies, she helped me to figure out the design for my next sewing project.  I was a little iffy on whether or not I liked my existing ideas, and all I needed was a thumbs-up from her.  Yay!

So, here are my plans for our Mad About Plaid Challenge!

In our announcement post, I included a bunch of inspiration photos for us all.  For some reason, I forgot to include my favorite of the runway looks: Coats!  Shame on me because they really are cute, but I just went back to edit the post.  :)

I especially adore the first and third looks!

-Plaid Challenge Collage - Coats

For the fabric, I perused my entire fabric stash and only found a purple plaid flannel.  Not exactly what I was looking for...

Then, I remembered that I bought some clothing to refashion for $1 each from the swap meet.  Remember my Pink Portrait Blouse from the Refashioning Challenge?  That was one of my $1 finds and, lucky me, there was a plaid jacket in the box!


To incorporate another trend, I also bought some pleather on sale last weekend to mix with my jacket.  I'm thinking about using it for elbow patches and for the top half of the jacket, but I'm not sure if I will be able to Franken-pattern it very well.

Halloween Celebration Trick & Treat: Deep Dish Snickers Cookie Tart with Pretzel Crust & Bloody Eyeball Punch!


I can't believe it is finally time for Halloween!  It is truly one of my favorite holidays, and not just because it is the start of the entire holiday season.  The costumes, the candy, and parties...  there's just to much fun to be had!  Since I am a huge fan of baking and coming up with new recipes, this year I made both a dessert and a spooky punch for a Halloween celebration that we will be having.  In keeping with the chocolate-centric theme of the holiday, I used Snickers bars in my cookie tart!  For my spooky beverage, I floated some creepy edible eyeballs in the bloody punch.  I'm so excited to share with my Halloween Trick and Treat with you!

First up, is my Snickers Deep Dish Cookie Tart with Pretzel Crust!

P.S. - This would be perfect to use up leftover Halloween candy (if you can manage to find any)!

This time, I think I really outdid myself!  The recipe is chock full of contrasting flavors and textures.  I mean, it's two of my favorite opposite desserts in one: a cookie AND a tart!  While the cookie and the chocolate bits are sweet, the pretzel crust and the peanuts are a salty surprise!  The crispy crust contrasts with the soft cookie, the melted chocolate, and the chewy caramel and nuts.  Speaking of melted chocolate, after the Snickers are baked, they stay ooey and gooey even after the dessert has cooled.  Super delicious!

The bloody punch is one that I created for the whole family to enjoy...  assuming you don't mind a few bloodshot eyeballs bobbing up and down in your drink!  They're actually super tasty, so remember to stay tuned for the recipe at the bottom of the post.  Eye'll be watching!

Snickers Deep Dish Cookie Tart with Pretzel Crust
A Vintage Zest original

Saturday Synopsis!

This weekend, I'm getting together with one of my fave gals!  You may know her as my travel buddy from London and Paris this April.  We'll attempt to make some handpies or empanadas or Cornish pasties.  Or at the very least, chat about life, while we attempt to make them!

It will be like a flashback to the time we ate these...  Yum!

Here are last week's posts in case you missed any.  :)

SoCal Social 2013 Recap!

I had so much fun this weekend shopping, meeting other bloggers, learning a bit, and making new friends at the SoCal Social!  Thanks to Bev from Flamingo Toes and Viv from The V Spot for organizing an amazing event.  :)

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen a few of these pictures, but there are lots more pictures to share!  Then, I'll introduce you to a bunch of the nice girls I met and give you the links where you can win swag of your own!  :)

For the first part of the day, we did our swag walk in Old Towne Orange.  We met in the middle of the square, where there was a beautiful fountain.  In fact, later in the day there was a wedding taking place right where we met!  We were given a lanyard with our name badge, an empty tote bag, and a map to find our way around.  Then we set on our way!


We first stopped into Tea Leaf Cottage where we picked up our first bit of swag (yay!) and we perused the wares.  This was so pretty!


Next door at Provisions, I had to admire the beautiful ceiling, wood paneled wall, and light fixtures.


We were treated to beer and beet pickled deviled eggs.  Yum!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Shopping, Eating, and Blogging (need I say more?)

This weekend was such a great one!  I had the pleasure of attending the SoCal Social, of course, but it deserved its own post!  But don't go away, I have lots to share including one of my favorite fabric stores and shopping!

Precap (jump to):

I had no Friday meeting (woo!) so I hightailed it to M & L Fabrics to pick up some fake leather for our Mad About Plaid Challenge.  No exact plans yet, but I will be sure to share them when I figure it out.  :)

Anyways, I love this store because there is a HUGE selection for great prices!


It is impossible to take an entire picture of the store, so this is about half of the space taken from the back of the store.  Aaaaahhhhh!  So overwhelming!


Lest you think that it's crazy to get through, it is amazingly organized!  It is all in rainbow color order, which you know I love from my closet post.  I will show you just a couple of the rows of different fabrics that they have.

Minky/faux-fur/velboa.  I spy the velboa I used for my holiday cape!

Pinterest Power Party! (I'm Co-hosting!)


I last co-hosted the Pinterest Power party this summer back in June, and now that it's fall, I'm co-hosting again!  For people who have never linked up a post before, it is a great way to share your fabulous ideas and find some amazing posts from other bloggers.  They feature several posts, and in fact one of them is mine today!  Make sure to link up to four of your best posts.  :)

P.S.: The other co-host, MammaNene, is also in Stitch Once, Rip Twice!  We must be slowly taking over the blogosphere  ;)


Hey there, blog-land friends! It's Wednesday - and that means it's time for this week's Pinterest Power Party!! If this is your first time here, thanks for joining us! Each week, we host this party in order to focus on YOU - our fabulous readers! If you've got a DIY project, frugal gift idea, delicious recipe, or tip, link up!! We want to see them!!

Alrighty, are you ready to get to the party?! We are too!
Sew Much Crafting

Here are our little rules:
{1} Be a follower of your hosts and co-hosts {links below}!
{2} Put our party button on your blog post or party page! This will give our party more exposure which gives your fabulous links more exposure too!
{3} Pin the two links before yours! If everyone pins, we all get exposure on Pinterest!
{4} Please link up no more than four posts! They can be old or new - your old posts are still fabulous {even when they get pushed back by new posts!}.
{5} This is optional - but you don't want to skip it!! Be a follower of our Pinterest Power Party board - we'll be pinning each week's features as well as others that just catch our eye each week! You can follow the Pinterest Power Party board here!

 Chrissy @ The Taylor House: Pinterest | Blog

Danielle @ Sew Much Crafting: Pinterest | Blog

MammaNene @ Serger Pepper: Pinterest | Blog

Diane @ Vintage Zest: Pinterest | Blog


Each week we feature the eight most clicked posts from the last week's party - but since we didn't have any features last week, we've got a few extras for you this week! If you're featured here, be sure to grab a button for your sidebar - you've earned it!!

Sew Much Crafting

Are you ready to party and get your pin on?
Here are the features from last week!
 {1} Autumn Decorating Tips from Bebe & J
{2} Tips for Writing Blog Posts from Moms Make Money
{3} My Spooktacular House from The Wandmaker's Monther
{4} Pumpkin Pie Play Dough from Crystal & Comp

{5} Fancified Butter Cookies from Vintage Zest!
{6} Burlap Tin Cans from Successful Secrets
{7} Chai Spiced Pumpkin White Chocolate Muffins from Follow the Rules
{8} How to Transform an Old, Ugly Dresser from I Heart Hands-On

{9} Monstrous Tissue Pom Poms from Persia Lou
{10} Apple Kuchen from Creative K Kids
{11} How to Keep Recipes Organized from A Time to Freeze
{12} Free Halloween Printables from The Pin Junkie

Tutorial: How to Trace a Sewing Pattern

Two weeks ago, I shared a quick snapshot of the tools that I use to trace sewing patterns.  Today, I'm going to share a mini-tutorial on how I use them to make brand-spanking new copies of my patterns!

Tutorial: How to Trace a Sewing Pattern on Diane's Vintage Zest!

You may not understand why it's necessary to trace a sewing pattern.  Here a few reasons why it is very helpful to trace rather than cut!

  • You may want to keep your pattern intact for multiple sizes
  • If you plan on sewing the pattern multiple times, it is helpful to keep the pattern from deteriorating!
  • Some patterns are double-sided or have smaller pieces laid within large pieces, and you do not want to cut through them.

Tutorial: How to Trace a Sewing Pattern on Diane's Vintage Zest!
My first double-sided pattern!  I used this for the Refashioned Pink Portrait Blouse.

What You Will Need

Tutorial: How to Trace a Sewing Pattern on Diane's Vintage Zest!
This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase using one of the links, a small commission will go to support Vintage Zest.  I will only recommend sites with products that I think you will love and enjoy!

A few notes before starting...
  • Depending on the type of pattern paper, I will use either the needle wheel or the blunt tracing wheel.
    • For patterns on thin tissue paper, I prefer the needle wheel because the needles poke precise holes of where to cut.  The tissue paper is usually strong and printed on one side.
    • For patterns printed on regular paper, I prefer to use a blunt wheel because it will not poke holes in the pattern since the paper is much tougher.
  • If you use the needle wheel, you should trace the pattern on a soft surface (like a large ironing board) so the holes can poke through.
  • If you use the blunt tracing wheel, you should trace on a hard surface (like a cutting mat) to avoid ripping or tearing your pattern.

Tutorial: How to Trace a Sewing Pattern on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Ready?  Now let's get started!

Peach Crumble & Plum Pie!

Remember last month when I made that fantastic Croissant Apple Bread Pudding with Coconut Crisp Topping?  Well, you may remember that I reserved the pie crust and apple pie topping for future recipes.  If you're wondering what I did with them (I know you were on pins and needles), you're in luck!

Here are the Peach Crumble and Plum Pie desserts that I baked!

This is the basically the picture that I left you with, and you probably thought that I was crazy for not just chucking the topping and pie crust in the trash.

Peach Crumble 8

Well, a couple of peaches + a few ingredients = this delish crumble!

I actually forgot to take a picture of this plum pie after it was baked.  Oops!  The next morning when the light was better, I was going to take the pictures.  However, a slice was removed as a midnight snack and not in the cute blogger styling way.  Oh well!

Here is the plum pie pre-baking.  You'll just have to imagine it with a little more of a jewel-tone and cute dollops of whipped cream!

Saturday Synopsis!

Right now, I am headed to The SoCal Social!  I am so excited because it is my first blogging event since Mimi G's conference back in July, and these ladies are serious DIY bloggers!  I'm ready to learn a lot and meet some fun new friends.  I just KNOW that I will have a great round-up post for you next week.  :)

Woo woo!

Here are last week's posts in case you missed any.  :)

Blog Business Cards & My New Domain Name!

Tomorrow, I am headed to the SoCal Social, and it will be my first blogging event ever!  It sounds like a fun time and not too intense.  Believe me, if it involved flights, hotels, conference schedules, etc. you could count me out.  This will be an afternoon shopping and getting to meet new friends!  Yay!

For that reason, and a couple of others, I decided to make some business cards for my blog!  I spied this post on how to make blog business cards, which I did not follow exactly, but it did help push me to get going.  Without further ado, my new business cards!

I designed them from scratch, and now that I have them in my hands, I will most likely make a few changes to the next batch.  However, I'm overall pretty pleased with them!

Out in the real world, when I mention that I have a blog, people are not sure what it involves.  Hence, I put together a mini project gallery on one side, along with my blog name.  It definitely gives a flavor of what I do on the blog!  I made this side glossy, which was a good choice.  Next time, I will most likely change up my projects to ones with better pictures.  Also, the badges need to be a little less transparent.

Garden Tour #2: Succulents!

Fall is upon us, and that means that the foliage will be changing.  And yes, the leaves do turn in California!  For me, the most exciting part of my mother's garden are her flowers and the vegetables she grows, which stop producing this time of year.  Remember, I shared a bit of her garden in this post with you?  I am encouraging her to grow squash this fall, but since she is not a squash-lover, I will not be receiving any of her extra crop.  :(  I totally understand because she has her hands full with all of the lovely succulents that she has to tend to year round.  By far, these are the plants that incite most of the "oohs" and "aahs" with guests.  This post is dedicated to the lovely succulents that she grows with a lot of work and care!

First of all, her backyard is paved so she does a lot of planting in pots.  I love her arrangements!

Succulent Garden 1

First, she buys bunches of succulents at the nursery and replants them into nicer looking pots.

Weekly Wrap-Up + New Website Announcement!

Although the weekend was a restful one, I definitely have a lot to share!

For one thing, I have an announcement to make.  It's rough around the edges right now, but I started a new blog called The Episodic Eater for all of my food adventures!  I will continue to share my foodie fun here, but you can head there to see ALL of the pictures, as well as more commentary on the restaurant decor/ambiance and the food itself.  It will basically be my chance to play amateur food critic!  I hope to see you there!

And now, back to today's regularly scheduled Weekly Wrap-Up post!

Precap (jump to):

Last Weekend

After New Orleans, I had some work to do over the weekend, so I was really delighted when my guy decided to make dinner. Garlic bread and lemon pasta!  The noodles were these fancy noodles with a thin hole in the center.  Delicious!

Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!

We broke open one of the caramel apples from New Orleans, which had been sitting on the counter taunting me...  It's so beautiful isn't it?  It is coated in Butterfinger bits, which was really interesting!

Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Monday - Friday

Here's a little sample of what I made in the kitchen over the week.  Some of these are from my Instagram feed actually, if you want to follow along!  I made a Ricotta & Fruit Bowl with peaches and pineapple, a batch of Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, Ropa Vieja (to be blogged about soon!), and some yogurt and fruit cups for the upcoming days.  Yum!

Weekly Wrap-Up on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Also, I developed a recipe that I cannot wait to share with you soon!  Here is a dark Instagram picture, so I don't give anything away too early.  :)

Announcement: Mad About Plaid Challenge!

It's that time again!  We have a brand new Stitch Once, Rip Twice challenge, and it's our last one of the year!  If you don't know about our sewing group, click here for more information and to read about our past challenges.

I'm always so excited to announce the winner of our member vote, and this time we had a definite favorite.  A few of the top contenders included making a holiday party dress and using embellishments to zhuzh up a garment.  This time the members of Stitch Once, Rip Twice will be incorporating one of the most popular trends on the Fall/Winter 2013 runways:


Yes, that's right! We are all...

The Rules

  1. Your garment can be for yourself or someone else, and there's no restriction to what type (i.e. dress, blouse, trousers, etc.).
  2. The garment can be made from scratch or refashioned, just as long as you use your sewing skills!
  3. Share anything you would like on your blog or on the group's Facebook page along the way.  That includes patterns, techniques, inspiration, project ideas, problems, and in-progress pictures.
  4. Have your finished garment done and posted by December 31st either on your personal blog or on the Facebook page.  The week after the deadline, I'll put together a wrap-up post with everyone's finished garments so we can all see!

If you have a blog, post the button above so your readers can join along too!

Lastly, to get the creative juices flowing, I rounded up a bunch of gorgeous looks that may just inspire some of our final garments!


Plaid in many different colors, scales, and prints can be found in these beautiful dresses.  There are also a variety of sleeve lengths, hemlines, and silhouettes.  Some are more tailored while others are more draped and easy fitting.  The one thing in common?  All of them are impeccably sophisticated!


There were a variety of tops that utilized lightweight fabrics to more structured wools.  Most of these mixed are with solid colors and have dramatically different silhouettes.  The colors and plaid patterns are so unique for each piece, that they all easily dress up a plain black pencil skirt or pants!

P.S. - You know how much I love the peplum, so the red number is calling my name!