Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Working on a shopping cart cover tutorial

Sinus infection = yuck.  I have a horrible sinus infection, probably from taking Mollyball to the dang pediatrician for a well baby visit a few days ago.  I'm hoping I can skip a doctor visit and I get well fast as I have too much to do.  A paper due next week, a test next week, garage sale and Halloween this weekend...and....hubby just informed me it's his turn to bring breakfast for a meeting this Friday morning, and I have to make something else for a potluck for Friday lunch.  Yeesh!!

On another note, Molly ball is up to almost 16 lbs. I like to think it's all that yummy mommy milk, lol.   She is so heavy now, I avoid carrying the car seat anymore, just her. 

I'm almost finished with my shopping cart cover tutorial.  You know those big fluffy things babies sit in grocery carts or high chairs?  I just got my safety stuff in the mail today - from StrapWorks!!  They were very fast in shipping as I ordered on Sunday night and got it today.  And their prices are very reasonable, as well as shipping. 

I did not want the regular ol' plastic buckles that were just two pieces.  I wanted a three-sided one that would fit between their legs and around their waist, so I found the one pictured above at Strapworks. 

And I had to get this adorable ribbon on webbing.  I thought it was too cute.  But they have sizes and all kinds of colors of different webbing as well. 

Anyway, for my tutorial, if you want to get ready for it, get yourself one of those clips and a yard or so of webbing, plus a yard of plush foldover elastic as pictured.  I found the same elastic as I have at Kids In the Garden, but I have never purchased from them so I don't know how fast they are at shipping.  I'm sure you can find it other places such as Sewzannes (great WAHM!) and SewShoppe.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jester Fleece Hat Tutorial

This is my favorite hat to make kids.  It's super easy to whip out for a gift, and you can change it up a bit.  I'll be making the jester version out of one color.  You can make the jester out of multiple colors put together.

I'm also basing tutorial on my 6 month old.  I'll measure my older kids and give head circumferences and hat length at the bottom for those, so you can easily make this for just about anybody. 

1/4 yd polar fleece fabric (this can probably make 2-3 hats depending on size)
sewing needle

1.  Measure your child/baby's head.  My 6 month old has a head circumference of 17 inches.  For the length I chose 8 inches, as I vaguely remember reading that was a good hat length for a baby.  It also gives me 1.5 to 2 inches to work with to hem.

2.  Cut out two rectangles that measure 1/2 the circumference by the length.  So I cut two rectangles each 8.5 x 8 inches.

3.  Sew up 3 sides, leaving the bottom open.  I used a serger, if you don't have one, I suggest zigzag stitch to allow for a bit of stretch.

4.  Hem bottom of hat.
5.  Make the pom poms.  This is how I make fleece pom poms.  I cut 2 strips of fleece roughly 2 inches wide by whatever length you want.  A good estimate is 12 inches, it will create a full pom pom, less and your pom poms might come out puny. I recommend 8 to 12 inches in length.

Cut into the strip on either side, not cutting through to the middle, all the way down the strips.  Once that is done, take both ends of your strip and give it a little tug to stretch it out just a bit.  Next, take your needle and thread and roll the pom pom down the middle about 3-4 turns, then pull the thread through a couple times.  Continuing doing this until the entire strip is rolled up.  Pull the needle through a few times until it feels secure, then tie off.  Now, fluff your pom pom to hide the center.  Make a second pom pom the same way. 

6.  After making the second pom pom, attach each one to the points on the hat.  I usually run the thread up through the inside and through the pom pom about 4-5 times before I tie off.

 And you're done!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leche Quemada?

I think I spelled the right, and quite frankly, I'm too damn lazy to actually google it.  It's burnt milk candy in spanish!  So long story short, when I was a kid there was this little ol' chain of mexican restaurants called The Monterrey House in DFW.  So yummy!  And they put these delicious little candies in the bottom of the chip basket.  They were like sugar that melted in your mouth.  Well years later, I've been trying to figure out what those little candies were.  I finally figured it out...leche quemada.  And I found a thread buried somewhere on the internet precisely about those little Monterrey House candies and a they posted a recipe that takes 4 hours.  Four hours?  Are they kidding me?  This recipe is like fudge.  Can you imagine 4 hours of cooking something like fudge?  Who has time for that?  I made it in the microwave in about 30 minutes.  It came out the right consistency (ok ok...I did have to figure out the microwaving as it took about 3 rounds of microwaving and whisking), and it tasted just like I remembered.  I'm also too lazy to find the recipe right this moment, so if you're curious look for leche quemada recipe and it's the one with a four hour cook time.  You'll find it, don't worry, it's very rare to find a recipe for that candy online for some odd reason -- there's like 2 or maybe 3. Once I am fully conscious later this weekend (a certain baby just woke me), I'll see if I can figure out how to add my special microwaving technique to the recipe and post it. 

Speaking of the Monterrey House.  I feel the need to apologize to them for my 6 year old self who threw up a lovely shade of pale pink milk all over one of their tables once.  My mom had taken me to the dentist and then we met my dad at the restaurant.  Well...let's just say no one told me not to swallow the fluoride.  It was not pleasant, and I think my poor mother died of embarrassment.  I did feel much better after said puking and had a lovely plate of cheese enchiladas and that yummy candy. Sigh...oh the memories of childhood.

Halloween 2010

We went to Mr E's Fall Festival tonight, so costumes had to be done a week early - during my midterms, when I also have an 8-10 page paper due next week, not to mention the neighborhood wide garage sale I signed up for next Saturday - plus my stupid professors are still requiring us to post our regular ol' homework (WTF?).  AAAAAHHHH!!

Here is a silly pic of Mr. E attempting to eat a donut on a string.  He got icing literally up his nose and in his eyeballs, but he won!

This year my only real costume to make was Miss Em's.  She informed me last week she wanted to be a 1950s car hop, complete with roller skates (thank goodness we already have those). Mollyball is going as a spider - a super easy costume I made for Mr E for his first Halloween.  We are debating on calling her Charlotte or Aragog.  In lieu of my husband's love for all that is Harry Potter, I think we are going with Aragog.

You can't really see her costume (I'll take a better pic tomorrow), but this is such a cute pic of her and daddy I had to share.  For the baby spider costume you can easily make this in a couple hours with a serger.  Make a black interlock hoodie from your favorite hoodie/sweatshirt pattern.  Before you sew up the side seams, make 4 tubes stuffed with fiberfill the same length as arms and put two under each arm, sewing them in the side seam.  Then in about 3 locations, take black embroidery thread and run it through to connect the 2 fake legs with the arm hole for stability.  Then make a matching pair of sweatpants. Voila - baby spider!

Now for Miss Em's Car Hop costume.  I had so much fun with this, and used no patterns (um, well I used a pattern I made for the hat, but other than that - no patterns).  I didn't make the shirt.  We used one of her old t-shirts that was almost too short, and I ironed an "E" on the shoulder.

Her skirt is a simple circle skirt.  I added a ribknit waistband just to finish it easy.  I also trimmed the hem in a pink polka dot grosgrain ribbon.  The petticoat, which there is not a picture available yet, is a layered skirt.  It consists of a rib knit waistband, a 3 inch woven layer, than a 6 inch layer of nylon tulle and another 6 inch layer nylon tulle.  The outer layers of tulle are the scratchy stiff stuff - they really add bulk to make it poof.  The top tulle layer is three strips sewn together of the stiff tulle, gathered - each strip is  6 inches x the width of the fabric.  The bottom tulle layer is twelve strips sewn together of the stiff tulle - same measurements.  Then, I did the exact same thing with the softer tulle under those and attached.  Then the side seam was sewn together, and finally the knit waistband was attached.

The apron was next.  I basically cut a rounded half apron shape, then cut several strips 4 inches wide x width of fabric and folded over and made a ruffle, then attached it.  Next, I wanted straps big enough for a decent sized bow.  I cut straps 3 inches x the length of fabric, attached and then topstitched along top edge of apron. 

From other 1950s car hop aprons, I saw examples that had all kinds of things like poodles to "'50s" appliqued on one edge, but I thought a cupcake was cute and was sort of carhop-y.  So I drew my own applique, sewed it, then blinged it with hotfix crystals, and finally ironed on the "E" to complete it. 

Next, we needed a name tag.  This is super easy.  I cut a square of the "icing" fabric from the cupcake and used pinking shears.  Then folded it as above, added a couple dots of hot glue to keep it that way.  Next I made the name tag out of foam and foam letters, and added embellishments, then hot glued a pin backing, and attacked the whole thing to the shirt.  (That adorable ribbon flower embellishment was found in a 2 pack at Joanns near the trims and ribbons.  They had all kinds including adorable pink ribbon elephants - so cute!)

The thing that scared me the most was the pillbox style hat.  I used this wonderful Threadbanger tutorial and pattern.  I made mine backwards because I sort of wanted a cross between a pillbox and garrison cap to give it a waitress-y feel.  Surprisingly, it was very very easy, and came out exactly as it should.  I was down to the wire on this one.  I had one chance and 30 minutes before it was time to pick up kidlets from school.  It was so much fun, I'm tempted to make one myself just to wear (hubby has a thing for women and hats, lol).  They are super fun to embellish too.  I punched holes in either side and attacked clips to Miss Em's hair.  For the hat embellishment I made a tiny pinking sheared square, folded it, hot glued it, and added the ribbon embellishment and one last sparkly foam "E."

Total cost of car hop was  probably $20 for embellishments, fabric for skirt and hat, and tulle.  Everything else I already had in my stash.  

Later this week I will get a picture of all 3 together.  Mr. E was a home grown Jedi with white t-shirt, black sweatpants and last year's mama-sewn Harry Potter robe (He was Draco), topped off with a belt and a lightsaber.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

We're on solids!!

About a month ago we started solid foods.  Mollyball could not be happier as she was ready to rip the food straight from our mouths at dinner every night.  With my other children, I never did the stupid rice cereal.  I think it's bland and yucky, especially compared to mommy milk (which according to an anonymous husband "tastes like whip cream only lighter" ;) ).  So I tend to make my own baby food and use covered ice cube trays.  We start with pureed bananas and move down the fruits and veggies lines.

I just picked up this great OXO one at the Container Store a few weeks ago -- I love it, it lets you just pull out 1 or 2 without dumping the entire container.  And you can save a lot of money.  I pureed a can of Great Value carrots - 67 cents for the can, and it made an entire ice cube tray full.  I'm guessing based on the amount this is equivalent to about 4 jars of baby food versus about 42 cents for 1 jar of carrots. 

Once we move from the single veggies and fruits, I just use my mini Cuisinart and puree whatever is for dinner and freeze the leftovers in the ice cubes for another day.  I truly think this has given my children a great palate for food because they are not picky and will eat all kinds of veggies and try all kinds of things.   

In the last week Mollyball started getting bored with just single foods, and I wasn't sure what to do.  Then I saw some stew meat on quick sale at the grocery store Thursday and got a craving for beef stew, so that's what I made Friday night.  It was delicious, and absolutely hit the spot to my craving.  I sliced up a giant zucchini and let it and the potatoes cook down.  The potatoes were still around, but the zucchini cooked down to nothing and really thickened up the broth and made it so delicious.  She was not thrilled with just peaches, so I started giving her little spoonfuls of the broth of the stew, and she was in heaven.  After we were done, I pulled out the last little bit of meat and pureed everything that was left.  She LOVES this meal and with the zucchini cooked down to nothing, the puree is thickened to the right consistency for baby food, perfectly.  What I really liked about this was how hearty is tasted and how super fast it cooked -- it was done in about 2 hours.

Quickie Beef Stew
5 small Russet potatoes - peeled and cubed
1 can of sliced carrots (I usually put in raw, but this made it cook faster)
1 large zucchini - peeled, quartered then sliced
1 can of french style green beans
1 small package of stew meat
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Cut up potatoes and zucchini and started boiling in about 2 cups of water.  Brown the meat in a bit of olive oil.  Throw in the carrots and green beans while meat is browning and get it to a rolling boil before adding the meat.  Add enough water to cover everything.  Then, add spices, garlic, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer for about 2 hours on medium, checking to see if you need to add more water.

Serves a family of 4-5 easily.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Great Fabric Purge

Even though it's fall, we're having a spring cleaning at our house. And part of the cleaning is a fabric purge. So I've put a bunch of fabric on eBay I've had in my stash forever, most of which is very hard to find. Even the coveted Mermaid Surf fabric from Joann's a few years ago.

here's a link:
Fabrics on eBay

As soon as I'm done writing this dang sociology paper, I'm going to put up some crafty things on etsy for sale.

This weekend I should get a moment to post a new tutorial - I have two I've made - just deciding which should come first. Oh...and to post my new muffin recipe that is to die for - banana cream cheese muffins. Dear god...I just pulled some out of the oven a few moments ago and one just melted in my mouth. Yum!!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tiered Gown - Sewing Pattern

I'm mellowing out with the Janis Ian video from below as I write.  Doesn't it make you think of high school when you were such a dork? Sigh....

Check out this sewing pattern! It shows you how to draft your exact size for the bodice.  And it's empire waisted. 

I love the comment about the darts made for a B cup, I now feel like a freak of nature.  My nursing boobies have grown from C/Ds to DDD lately.  Of course, a few things have grown with my nursing...this is the thing I hate about breastfeeding, the weight gain.  Whoever claimed you lost weight was an idiot who lied. While I love breastfeeding so dearly, I hate this damn weight gain, especially in my upper arms, very weird.

I've been wanting a dress I could try out zippered nursing openings, and this bodice looks like I could hide them in the ruffle.  If I get a moment in a few weeks, I might try this one in a muslin and see how it turns out. 

Click the picture to get to the pattern.  Enjoy!