Morro Bay Weekend


We had been home for a little over a week after our two-week long vacation when we decided we needed a vacation.

Doesn’t that just sound extravagant and you kind of hate me for saying it?  

It isn’t true.  Well, only a little bit.  This weekend away had been planned long ago.

My husband’s mom wanted to get away from work and the end of June is a good time for her.  It is also a little bit of a birthday celebration for her.  She planned a weekend trip to Morro Bay area and invited us to come along.

We left Friday night and stayed at a friend’s house in Cayucous.  I am always amazed at how quiet it is there…and I love it!

We had an early start on Saturday morning.  We found our way to Frankie and Lola’s Front Street Cafe.  We’ve tried to go before but there has always been a line.  No waiting this time and the food was SO good.  I had a breakfast sandwich.  A “Da Bomb Sandoo” to be exact.  It was grilled and full of cheese but still tasted light and fresh.  That’s difficult combo to pull off.

Manorette FrankieAndLolaSandwich

As yummy as my sandwich (and POTATOES) were, the best part of the whole experience was that the tea selection was presented in rainbow order AND the teapot matched James’s shirt!

Manorette FrankieAndLolaTea


The early start wasn’t just to beat the line for breakfast.   We had an appointment for kayaking.  We booked our reservation with Central Coast Outdoors.  We’ve been kayaking before but I didn’t think about how cold it is in Morro Bay.  I just thought about kayaking and exercising.  Brrrr.  

Manorette foggy bay

We saw an impressive display of wildlife.  Seagulls, huge white pelicans, egrets, turkey vultures, and harbor seals to name a few (the few I can name).

Manorette egret and seals

Manorette birds

Manorette vultures

Manorette pelicans

It was a lovely way to spend two hours.

Manorette kayaking

We met up with James’s mom for lunch followed by a good bit of relaxing.  After that we checked out the Farmer’s Market.  Morro Bay has a very small market with many of the booths dedicated to crafts.  We picked up some berries and headed back to our hotel.  Before we got there we decided a little stroll was needed.

Manorette morro bay stroll

I’m still learning how to use my camera.  I love trips like this when I can take a million photos and just see what happens.  Here I took the same picture with two different settings.  I can’t decide which one I like best.  I really wish I could remember which settings I used…

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Manorette  tree setting 2

Before we left on Friday, I packed a picnic.  Very simple: Caprese salad with arugula and BLTs.

Manorette morro bay picnicWith our berries from Farmer’s Market and a bottle of wine we were all set to enjoy the lovely surroundings.

Manorette baywood flowers

Manorette more baywood flowers

Manorette morro bay bird

Sunday morning was a little more leisurely.  After breakfast we drove to El Churro Regional Park.  We went on the Eaagle Rock Trail to find the Mariposa Lily for my mother in law’s iNaturalist collection.  We were now inland which was free of fog and much warmer.

Manorette eagle rock trail

The view from the top was worth the sweating involved in getting there.  

Manorette el churro park

We found the lily on our way back down.  A very pretty little bloom.

Manorette mariposa lily

From there we headed home feeling refreshed, relaxed, and a little bit accomplished from all the outdoor activities.  

Scrap Blanket


I’m not sure if it counts as a “scrap blanket” when I’ve made two blankets out of the same “scraps” but I’m going with it.

Manorette scrap blanket 1

This blanket might look familiar.  I used the same left over yarn I used for the Zig Zag Blanket.  That blanket turned out really fun.  I was tempted to make that same pattern again.  Then thought it might be tremendously boring to make the same blanket with the same yarn.  So I looked around for another idea.  I came across the Log Cabin pattern.  I’m not very fond of sewing together pieces.  To avoid that tedious task I just kept going with the pattern.  Around and around.

Manorette scrap blanket 2

I started with a stockinette, green square for the center.  From there I made striped logs pulling along a color from the previous log.  Green with red to red with grey to grey with black, etc.  I finished the whole thing with a green border.  In an attempt to make it look a bit more square, I added a single crochet edge.

Manorette scrap blanket 3

Manorette scrap blanket 4

I used Berrocco Comfort Solid and Heathers with size 10 circular needles.  I makes for a cozy, drape-y blanket.  Not dense but not too loose either.

Manorette scrap blanket 5

This cuddly blank is on it’s way to Project Linus.

Mother’s Day


We all loved our visit last month to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden so much that we decided to go again for Mother’s Day.  


The visits were just a few weeks apart but so many things were different.  Equally beautiful but not quite as over the top.

Still a good amount of yellow:


And fluttery purple flowers:


I take it back.  There is nothing subtle about this kind of masterful color work.  I’m still very impressed.


I thought we needed a little treat before our walk to celebrate the moms.  I made Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream.  I added mini chocolate chips to the batter and dipped the frosted tops in chocolate sprinkles.


In order to transport them I thought of a brilliant idea.  I would put them into plastic cups!  After a little play on Pinterest I discovered this is not an original idea.  I popped them in the cups, they didn’t quite fit, but it did the job.



You know how I like a bit of a theme.  I went with blue, not wanting to recreate the yellow drama from the last family gathering (He still doesn’t want to talk about yellow).  I decided on blue because sport cap water bottles where the only ones I could find in the mini size.  It just so happens that I really like blue and had lovely paper liners to use.

 I found a graphic that reminded me of the meadow.  I used it to make water bottle labels.


I even managed to persuade my printer to print the design on lunch bags.  I don’t think the printer was too terribly happy about it but it still seems to be working.


Each bag contained a cupcake, mini water bottle, cocktail napkin, and fork.


I bundled up some cherries and berries for an extra treat for the Mothers.  The pretty little jewels!


These little Chinese food take out boxes are one of my favorite things to use for food gifts.  Another bit of the theme printed on stickers.


We found a picnic table to gather around and dig into our baggies.  The cup and fork really made the cupcake easy to eat and didn’t leave us with sugary fingers or a huge mess to clean up.


From there we set off on a walk.  


A different trail this time.  It took us through a forest of redwoods.


Ending with the same glorious, grand finale.


Mom’s Birthday


I thought I’d share some of the decorations from Mom’s birthday lunch.  It was a yellow affaire.  Every party needs some kind of theme to make it cohesive and festive.  Yellow seemed appropriate, it being Spring and one of Mom’s favorite colors.

Manorette yellow party flowers

We started off by munching on Bruschetta and sipping Arnold Palmers from yellow striped straws.  I made simple arrangements of daffodils and mums in large and small mason jars.  I don’t know what the wonderful lime green bits are but they added a great amount of whimsy. For more greenery I added parsley.  Pretty and useful, right?

I have a thing for cocktail napkins.  I have built up quite a collection.  I bought these for some French themed something or other, I think.  

Manorette bruschetta

For lunch I spread a piece of fabric I brought back from Thailand and added woven chargers.  I wrapped a yellow polka dot napkin around the knife and fork tied with a ribbon and accented with a bloom.

Manorette yellow table setting


Yellow cupcake papers for the richly chocolate cupcakes topped with yellow polka dot sprinkles.  Yes, I picked out the yellow sprinkles from the mixed jar.  Worth it!  I like the drama of the tall candles. You know what else I like? Chocolate Cupcakes!!!

Manorette yellow party cupcakes

A Walk in the Garden


I teased you with a “spring explosion” last time and here it is.


After Mom’s lunch we went for an outing to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.  I’ve been there before but I don’t think I’ve ever been there at this time of year.  It was shocking!  The amount of yellow gorgeousness happening in the meadow was seriously shocking.  This was actually upsetting for my five-and-a-half year old nephew who had had enough of yellow after the yellow themed birthday lunch.  I didn’t take offense because I know at least Mom and I liked the yellow.  (I’ll share that yellow soon.)

He didn’t even want to “taaaaaaalk about yellow”.





He was consoled by being put in charge of the map.  He is a detective-explorer after all.  He expertly lead us along the paths.



There were beautiful blooms everywhere but my favorite part was definitely the meadow.


I wanted to run across it with a long skirt billowing and a wide brimmed straw hat on the verge of flying off my head.


I did not do this, having no such costume and not wanting to be kicked out. So instead I took a gazillion photos.




When we had had our fill of yellow we headed home with a quick stop at the Mission Rose Garden.  


Another excellent representation of spring as well.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from the stroll among the fragrant blooms.






One last bit of yellow




We celebrated my mom’s birthday over the weekend.  I had the family over for lunch and then we took a stroll in the most gorgeous, Spring explosion ever (photos soon).

So if I’m going to have everyone over for lunch I will need to think about some food.  My sister-in-law announced that she wanted to try a recipe for Caprese Pasta Salad she found on Pinterest.  No one would say no to that!  So I followed along with an Italian-ish theme.  I made Antipasto Salad with homemade Italian Dressing and Bruschetta.  The salad was fine but the Bruschetta is something to talk about.


I don’t have an exact recipe for this but I’ll give you the basics:


Grape or cherry tomatoes (I used half heirloom)


Goat Cheese

Olive Oil

Balsalmic Vinegar


Fresh Basil

Salt and Pepper

Slice baguette into about 1/4” thick discs.  Place discs on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toast in oven.  Keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to be too crunchy.  

Cut tomatoes in half or quarters depending on size, chop up garlic, and place all in a bowl.  Add a glut of oil and a splash of vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Chop up some basil and toss that in too.  Stir.  (I did this part the night before and I think it made it a little extra amazing.)

When bread looks delicious, remove from oven and immediately spread on goat cheese.  Spoon over tomato mixture and enjoy.

TIP: I used the tomato mixture as the “T” in a BLT and it was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had.

One more shot because…yum!



Dad’s Birthday


It is my dad’s 70th birthday.

Every year we ask him what he would like for his birthday.  He says something along the lines of “family time”.  So that’s what we give him. Of course, he still has to open presents!  Making something sounds very appealing to me.  Cookies are a good option and they can be just for him.  He can decide if he would like to share.

Thinking about Dad’s birthday has made me very nostalgic.  I kept thinking about when we were kids and when Dad was in charge of preparing a meal it would be breakfast.  No matter the time of day.  It was usually eggs and many times with interesting additions (eggnog springs to mind).  There were a few French Toast episodes as well.  While these memories were floating around I started looking for the right treat.  I came across a recipe for maple cookies that sounded very fitting and delicious.

I made a few alterations and I’m calling them Mapledoodles.  Very much like a Snickerdoodle but with a richer flavor. (Recipe below)

It makes the most fragrant dough.

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I scooped out little one-inch balls with my cookie scoop (I love this thing).  Then rolled them in a mixture of white sugar and turbinado sugar.  I like the sparkle I get with turbinado sugar but it seemed like too much of the thick crystals to only use that.

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I think it was the right choice.

Here they are ready to go in the oven.  After rolling them in the sugar I flattened them a little with my fingers.  Maybe next time I’ll press them with a spoon.  Although the finger marks do emphasize the handmade quality.

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See the lovely sparkle when they come out of the oven?

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This recipe makes A LOT of cookies.  Which is good because they are SO yummy!

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Glamor Shot!

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Here they are all bundled up.  I used Everyday Occasion wooden basket and cello bag.

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Another great memory is cheesecake on Dad’s birthday.  I don’t know how often this actually happened but when I think of Dad’s birthday I think of Mom making cheesecake with mini-chocolate chips.  I attempted it this year.  I used Martha Stewart’s NewYork Cheesecake recipe and added about of cup of chips tossed in flour.  It is luxurious.  The edges are a little darker than they should be but it didn’t matter.

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Makes approximately 60 cookies

For the cookies:

1 Cup butter, softened

1 Cup packed golden brown sugar

1 egg

1 Cup real maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste because I am currently obsessed with it)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

4 Cups all-purpose flour

For decoration:

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

1/4 Cup turbinado sugar


Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment paper.  

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.  When smooth add egg, syrup, and vanilla.  Mix until blended.  

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add flour to butter mixture until completely blended.  

Scoop batter into one-inch balls and roll in combined sugars.  Place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and let cool on wire rack.


Chocolate Chip Scones


Chocolate Chip Scones were an answer to a serious problem.  It is January and cranberries are no longer spilling from grocery store shelves (at least not around here) but I am still in need of delicious scones!

The Cranberry Orange scones were such a hit that I made them every weekend in November and a few times in December.  I suppose I could be making them with dried cranberries as the Barefoot Contessa originally intended.  It just doesn’t seem right after tasting the beauty of fresh cranberries.  So this is where the chocolate chips come in.

I have a recipe for Chocolate Chip Scones that I’ve been using since junior high. However delicious those scones may be, they do not compare to the tremendous moistness of the cranberry ones.  (The original recipe calls for about half the butter.  Nuff said)  So I thought I would try chocolate chips in place of cranberries and vanilla extract instead of orange juice.


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Chocolate Chip Scones

Makes 8

2 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling

1 Tablespoon  baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

12 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup half and half

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the egg wash:

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoons water or milk

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture.  Mix with your electric mixer on low until butter is the size of peas.  Measure half and half in a measuring cup, add eggs and vanilla.  Lightly beat wet ingredients.  With mixer on low, add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients.  Mix until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Sprinkle more flour on top of dough and pat into a disk approximately 8-9 inches in diameter.  Cut the disk into 8 pieces or cut into circles with a biscuit cutter.

Place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

Shirt Blanket: Part 1


“I used to be a ballet dancer” to quote Billy Elliot’s grandmother.  I studied ballet for twenty-ish years.  The result, among many good character qualities and a hatred of tights, is a large pile of shirts. 

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Anyone who has been part of a team or club for a significant amount of time can relate to my current problem that needs solving.  I didn’t want to get rid of them.  Tearing them up for dust cloths was very much out of the question.  They have just been taking up space.

My solution?  Make a blanket.

Yes, I know this will still take up space but will have the added benefit of being useful.  Yes, I know shirts are useful but only if I were still ballerina size.  As a blanket, the shirts will be useful for many years and even have the potential of being an heirloom.  That is if anyone is interested in the fact that “I used to be a ballet dancer” in decades to come.

I started by searching out all the shirts.  Once I felt confident that I had assembled the whole collection, I laid them out on the floor.  Wow that’s a lot of shirts.

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I took some measurements.  The largest design would allow for a 14” x 14” square.  I also confirmed that I could cut that size out of the smallest shirt.  I was five-and-a-half when I started dancing.  Some of these shirts are small.

I want to add some detail to the blanket.  I’m going to do this with strips of black flannel fabric in between the squares.  This will frame them as well as separate the colors that might otherwise clash a bit.

After quite a bit of shopping by foot and shopping online I found a plaid flannel fabric that incorporates the black and colors from the various shirts.  I will use this for the back.

Now came the scheme.  Hours were spent laying them out in the actual pattern.  HOURS.  With all the pieces decided I got to work cutting the shirts into squares.  Even after subjecting her to the HOURS of layout planning, my mom volunteered to cut out the black strips.

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Next will be assembling all the pieces.  Then attaching the front to the back sandwiching the fluff.  Stay tuned….

Oh yeah, I did end up with a pile of dust cloths after all. 

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Cranberry Orange Scones


IMG 0655Cranberries! They are just so pretty and look like they are about to burst with flavor or color.  The color varies so much it is like they are little capsules of color.

Last Thanksgiving I made real cranberry sauce for the first time.  It was amazingly easy and even more amazingly delicious.  This year I wanted to enjoy these beautiful berries for more than just one day.  As soon as cranberries showed up in the grocery store I bought them.  No real plan in mind.  Lucky for me, the same week one of my favorite blogs, Everyday Occasions, posted a recipe for Cranberry Orange Scones.   It is modified from the Barefoot Contessa recipe, which has dried cranberries.  I ended up making a mix of these two recipes.

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Orange zest adds a very subtle flavor to this buttery, creamy dough.

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Here they are all ready for the oven.  Who knew that’s what the inside of a cranberry looks like.

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Ina suggests an egg wash and sprinkle of sugar before baking.  I didn’t do this because I was going to add an orange glaze. I didn’t want it to get too sugary.  It does leave them looking a little pale though.  I think I’ll try the egg wash/sugar combo without the glaze next time.

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Orange zest in the glaze makes up for the paleness.  The finished product is moist with a great tang from the fresh cranberries.  My husband ate one and said, “How many of these can I have….all of them?”  I think I will be making these a lot!

Cranberry Orange Scones

Makes 8

2 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling

1 Tablespoon  baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

12 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup half and half

1 cup fresh cranberries

zest of half an orange

For the egg wash:

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoons water or milk

For the glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of half an orange


In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture.  Mix with your electric mixer on low until butter is the size of peas.  (I used my hands to combine the flour and dry ingredients.)  Measure half and half in a measuring cup, add eggs and lightly beat.  With mixer on low, add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients.  Mix until combined.  Fold in orange zest and cranberries.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Sprinkle more flour on top of dough and pat into a disk approximately 8-9 inches in diameter.  Cut the disk into 8 pieces or cut into circles with a biscuit cutter.

Place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (if desired).  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes.

To make glaze, stir together orange juice, zest, and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over slightly cooled scones.



About Manorette
I'm Margaret and I like to make things: in the kitchen, on my knitting needles, with the sewing machine, and for the home. Manorette is a delightful home to share my inspiration and maybe some goof ups. It is never a grand manor.