Friday, June 24, 2011

Great Blog for Great Recipes

Good Evening All!

As you may have noticed, I tend to post about sewing projects rather than recipes like my other fellow Mamas. I seem to always struggle when it comes to coming up with ideas for dinner. I recently discovered a fantastic blog full of fantastic recipes! Believe it or not, I stumbled upon the blog from a craft blog, - you may remember me mentioning my slight obsession with Jess' Craftiness is Not Optional blog - she and a friend have a recipe blog: C & J's Good Grub.

I've tried two recipes so far from their site: The Sweet and Sour Chicken and the Cowboy Quesadillas. Both recipes turned out deliciously!

The Sweet & Sour Chicken, was pretty easy as stated in the recipe. The only thing was that it was a bit messy dipping the chicken into the cornstarch and egg. But it wasn't that big of a deal. I took her suggestion to add pineapple at the end, because I had it on hand, and Cupcake is a fan of pineapple. I liked the addition, but I think it would have been totally fine without the pineapple. My husband thoroughly enjoyed it even saying it tasted almost as good as chinese take out!

The Cowboy Quesidillas were just as successful! They were super easy. I used the pre-cooked fajita chicken strips which made the process that much easier! I just threw everything together, mixed it up and put it in the tortillas. My husband enjoyed this one as well and so did little Cupcake. I was a little weary because I'm not the biggest fan of barbeque sauce, but it worked out fine. The taste wasn't too overwhelming and mixed well with everything else. It has a great mixture of tasty foods like corn, beans, and tomatoes that Cupcake sometimes doesn't eat on their own but gobbled up inside the cowboy quesidillas - yee haw!!

I can't wait to try out more recipes from their blog.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fun Summer Clothes

Good Evening, Jennifer here to share some fun summer clothes I've been working on.

First, I'll start with the Prudent Baby Snappy Toddler Top/Dress. I have to start by pointing out that Prudent Baby is a fantastic site! I love it! I love everything they offer. They offer tons of different DIY ideas for "small fries," including free tutorials and downloadable patterns. I loved the Snappy Toddler Top and knew I had to try it out. I didn't have snaps on hands so I ended up using buttons. This was my first time I tried using the button-maker hole feature on my machine and, with some coaching from Mama Sara, I figured it out! It was fun to just press a button and watch my machine work its magic. The first one I created was out of some fun fabric I found at Jo Ann fabrics and turned out pretty well. It definitely took me a lot of time and there was some frustration here and there, working everything out, but I am so glad I stuck with it. I loved how it turned out!

Don't mind the wrinkles I didn't iron out before I took this picture!
I was so happy how this top turned out that I used every last bit of this fabric I had left, and made a bigger version! I gave the smaller version to a friend for her daughter's first birthday and kept the larger one for little Cupcake.

Such a great little model I have!
After I completed these two tops, I was still pretty obsessed with the Snappy Toddler Top and wanted to try the dress version. I used some more fabric I found at Jo Ann that I was so excited about. I bought the fabric not knowing what I wanted to do with it, but once I was able to get this top down I knew I wanted to make this dress out of it. I used some orange bias tape to finish the hem and the arms and was a bit nervous about this process. I had used bias tape before but never felt like I really got the hang of it and kind of dreading the idea of bias tape. I took a look at this fantastic tutorial from Smashed Peas and Carrots and it finally all made sense to me! Once I figured it out and was able to use it on this project, I fell in love with bias tape! It isn't as hard as I made it out to be and it is so cute! So thank you Maggie!

Cupcake in her new dress. She wasn't really feeling the modelling session.
I made it a little shorter than I would've liked, but it looked cute with some bloomers underneath.
Lastly, I created another project for my friend's daughter. This dress was the same as the Feeling Groovy Dress that I made for Cupcake. I finished it up by making a matching hair clip, again, using Jess' Poofy Fabric Flower tutorial (I told you I was obsessed with them!). Here is the final product:

Matching hair clip
Happy 1st Birthday Quinn - I hope she enjoyed the homemade goodness (I also gave her the hooded towel we made) I sure enjoyed creating them!

I'm currently working on 4th of July shirts for Cupcake and her two cousins based on a great tutorial from Make It and Love It, another fabulous blog! Can't wait to share.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Travel Tote Tutorial

Sara here and this is my first official tutorial so bare with me!

This summer on Kojo Designs and Delia Creates they had a series called Color My Summer on their blogs as well as a contest.  After Crafty Mama Jennifer (who made an awesome wall hanging to enter into the contest) told me I should enter something and with some help from my hubby I made the Travel Tote for DJ Ark.  I ended up in the top 11 and was so excited!!!  I also entered it into the Prudent Baby "Use Your Words" Contest, but unfortunately didn't win.

So here are the steps to make your very own Travel Tote!!

I found a tote tutorial that I loved and couldn't figure out how to embellish the tote to make it my own. My husband came up with the idea to make a travel tote with the United States on it so that every time we went to a different state we could color in the state with fabric markers.

Gather your supplies:
  -Exterior fabric (I used a home decor weight fabric to give the tote some stability): 2-15" x 15"
  -Lining fabric (I used a travel themed cotton fabric): 2-15" x 15"
  -Handle fabric (same as out exterior): 2-4" x 21"
   -Embellishment:  For this I simply printed an image of the United States on fabric.  I read somewhere that you just need to add something to stabilize the fabric (I ironed on freezer paper, but Heat 'n Bond would have been a better choice since I ended up using it later) and you can send it through your printer with no problems.  I was slightly nervous, but I thought I would give it a try before I went out to buy transfer paper.  Let me tell you, it worked like a charm!

Now how to assemble the tote, which is reversible!!!

For the handles of the bag, fold each strip of fabric in half and iron a crease down the middle.

Then unfold and turn each side so it lines up with the middle crease you just created.

Once both sides are ironed towards the middle, fold it in half again and iron.  You should have something that looks like this:

Sew each along the open side to create the handle.  Set the handles aside while you work on embellishing the tote.

For this bag, I wanted to add a personal touch.  This way I will be able to make a bag for each of my kids so each one can color in the states they travel to.  I wrote the words in a white fabric marker so it would show up well for when I was stitching away!

Now the time consuming part (or at least it was for me!).  Get a needle and thread and turn on your favorite show.

Once the words were on, I laid out where I wanted the image to be and ironed it on with Heat 'n Bond.  For added strength, I sewed along the edge (which I also used pinking shears to cut of the excess because I liked the look of that).

 To add the handles, fold the top of the exterior fabric down 1" and iron.  Pin the handles 3' for each edge.

Sew each handle on with two rows of stitching for added strength.

I forgot to take a picture of this next step, but it's an easy one so don't panic.  Take the two exterior pieces that you have attached the handles to and sew them right sides together (I used a 1/4" seam allowance, but you could use more).  For the lining fold the top of each piece down 1" (like you did with the exterior pieces).  Again sew these pieces with right sides together. Iron the seams flat for a more finished look once you are done sewing.

Now to create a flat bottom for the tote.  Mark a line 2.5" from each corner (created when folding the side of the tote to match up with the bottom of the tote) and sewing along the line.  Cut off the excess material.

Once you have the exterior and the interior all you had to do is sew them together.  Slip the lining tote inside the exterior tote and pin along the top.  Sew about 1/8" from the top to finish your tote.

You now have a great tote for all your future trips.  Each time you travel to a new state remember to color in that state.  Once DJ Ark is older I thought it would be good to use to learn where all the states are too!  I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Keep Calm...a tutorial!

Good Evening, Jennifer here with my first official tutorial! I recently came across this post on Tatertots and Jello's blog. I was immediately attracted to the "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" pillow. I loved it! It was so cute, and given my husband's affinity obsession with cupcakes, I decided I had to use this idea in some way. Then, it hit me, I also wanted to make something with this idea for a woman we know for the opening of a her new bakery!

I decided I would make a canvas with this saying on it and use the shop's colors. So here goes - my first tutorial!

What you'll need:
  • Canvas - I used 11 x 14
  • Main Fabric - I used a Fat Quarter
  • Accent Fabric - Mine ended up being a 9 x 9 sheet
  • Freezer Paper or Heat N Bond
  • Spray Adhesive (not pictured)
  • Sewing Supplies - rotary cutter, machine, iron, ironing board
Step 1: I originally thought I needed to use an iron-on transfer to get the "Keep Calm" text on the yellow fabric. Then, my fellow Crafty Mama informed me that you could easily print on fabric! To print on fabric, iron your fabric on freezer paper (shiny side up) or Heat N Bond (depending on how you'll attach your accent fabric to the main fabric). This stabilizes your fabric allowing you to place it in your printer and print your text directly on it!
Step 2: Create your image. I used the Keep Calm-O-Matic and Photo Shop to create my image. Place your stabilized fabric in your printer (I suggest a test page to make sure your place the fabric in the printer to make sure it prints on the correct side!). Print your image right onto your fabric! Go ahead, it's fun!

Step 3: For my project, my third step had to be to adhere my printed fabric to a second layer of yellow fabric. My fabric was too light and my main fabric showed through too much! I had adhered Heat N Bond to the back of the original yellow piece so I simply ironed it on to another yellow piece. If your fabric is thick enough, just skip this step.

Step 4:  Place the main fabric on your canvas, then place your accent fabric on top to give you an idea of how it will look. Trim your accent fabric to your desired size.

 Step 5: Pin your fabric in place, sew your two fabrics together. Depending on how OCD you may be much of a perfectionist you may be, you might want to hem your accent fabric, before sewing it to the main fabric, so it does not fray. You could also use pinking shears to trim it, whatever you prefer!

Step 6: Iron out any and all wrinkles you may have in your newly decorated fabric!

Step 7: Grab your canvas, spray adhesive, and fabric and cover your work area with the local newspaper you have hanging around. Place your fabric on the canvas to see where it needs to be placed, then spray the canvas with the adhesive. If you haven't ever used this adhesive, I suggest gloves! Otherwise your fingertips also end up a bit sticky (not that I know from experience!). Once you've sprayed your canvas, place your fabric on the canvas. Luckily, for a short amount of time, you can adjust the placement of the fabric if you make any placement mistakes.

Step 8: Turn your canvas over, and spray adhesive on the canvas edges. If needed, cut excess fabric.

Step 9: Hang up your artwork and admire!!

I was so honored to see that Mica at Confectioneiress hung up my project in her brand new shop! I also entered this project in KoJo's Color My Summer Contest although I didn't win, I was featured on their site! My husband suggested I make a few more, suggesting ideas like "a cookie," or "coffee," perhaps I will make it into a series.

I hope you enjoyed my very first tutorial and I sure hope it made sense. If you have any questions, please let me know!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Little Man outfit

When I saw Shwin & Shwin post a tutorial on how to make Little Man Shoes, I just knew I had to make them.  Then when I saw they posted how to make a Little Man Bow Tie Onsie, I knew I had an entire outfit to make!  Lucky for me I have a friend who is having a little baby boy in July, so I got started right away creating the new outfit.

Here are some pictures of my versions of the Little Man Outfit.

I bought a pair of khaki shorts to complete the outfit!  I wish DJ were small again so I could make him a little pair of these shoes!