Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: The Violets of March

The Violets of March
The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved, loved, loved this book! It's about a woman going back to the place she loved as a child after an unexpected divorce, where she finds a mysterious diary from 70 years ago that tells a story she soon realizes tells a similar story to her own life. There is mystery, heartbreak, and romance all in one.

This was a definite page turner. I could not put it down. I love books where I fall completely into the story, and this was one of those. I would put the book down and feel a bit of disappointment when I come back to real life. I am so ready to move to Bainbridge Island. It sounds just perfect compared to the current 105 degrees days here in Texas.

I loved the mystery of the diary she finds and discovering things out about herself and others in her life. I also readily identified with her, coming off a divorce and then finding love in an unexpected place. I always enjoy when a love story in a book makes me appreciate and love my husband all the more.

The only part I didn't like was that the witch Emily's husband left her for had my name, lol.

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Review: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've always loved this author's books, but this one just didn't draw me in.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Pixie Cone Puppets! Our newest design...

Here it is! This newest design from Sewing Chick Studio and The TipToe Fairy.  It's Walforf-inspired cone puppets.

They are so much fun to make!  My kids have loved to play with these puppets for years.  

This pattern is less daunting than making a full complete Waldorf doll.  And, once you're done, embellishing your puppet is a great way to use up small amounts of leftover trims or scrapbook embellishments.  

Need an amazing kid's gift for birthdays, Hanukkah, or Christmas? These are always a treat! I have yet to meet a child who doesn't light up the minute they see these puppets.

 Included in this pattern is a 22-page PDF with step by step instructions with full color pictures as well as printable pattern pieces. 

The pattern is now up at  Shortly, it will be available on my website and Etsy. 

Intended for ages 4 and over.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wow!! My pattern is trending at #1 on!!!

I woke up this morning to check my email and find the sewing newsletter for fun patterns to beat the heat, and in it is one of my patterns!! Out of curiosity, I go see if I've broken the top #20 on Craftsy's pattern trending list.  Lo and behold, mine is all the way up at #1.  I'm so excited!!  Wow!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spiral Swirlie Hot Dogs! Tutorial

I'm sure this is a totally weird tutorial, but my family loves them so  thought I'd share (eek...that's a bad runon sentence).  My husband stole one of my dowel rods for making korker bows.  Then, I found him slicing hotdogs into spirals on it.  Then, he went out and cooked them on the grill.  It was a last minute 10 o'clock at night right before our vacation quick and easy dinner.  As someone who is not a HUGE fan of hotdogs...these came out delicious!  So I thought I'd share.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Step 1 - Stick the hotdogs on some kind of skewer. Then slice around the hot dog in a spiral. Since it's on the skewer, you can slice all the way through to the skewer. (Sorry this picture is blurry.  I got the bright idea to share our spiral delights in the middle of his slicing.)

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Here is finished spiraled hotdogs. Ready for grilling!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
 Step 2 - Grill those suckers! It takes just a minute or two because they are spiraled and cook fast. Be careful with turning them and picking them up because they are delicate. 

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Step 3 - Voila! Finished hotdog -- prepare as desired.

 My kids love these things, except the baby - she's a little freaked out by them. I'm not sure why, lol. I don't know why, but these taste so much better than regular ol' hotdogs. I think it's the grilling of the entire thing inside and out, maybe.


Vacation & a little sneak peek!

I've been on vacation last week to the coast of Texas. The weather was great! We went to Sea World and then we spent several days in Corpus Christi. My kidlets played in the ocean for the first time.

Then, this week my darling Miss Em finally got her braces off after almost 2 years. Woohoo!

I have made a new pattern. It's a lot of fun! I need to put the finishing touches on the PDF, and it will be ready this weekend. For now, here is a sneak peek. My kids LOVE these! I hope yours will, too.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Review: The Lantern

The Lantern
The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great gothic tale set in the countryside of France. Ghost stories like these are always enjoyable. The author does a really good job in leading you down the path to what you think this story is all about. Then, there is a turn and you realize it wasn't what you thought at all.

I sort of identified with the main character and her relationship with Dom because my husband and I both come from other marriages. I know that curiosity of what went wrong in your spouse's former life and what was 'she' like, etc, when they don't want to share much of that information with you.

I loved how it went back and forth between the past and now, with the story of two women living in the same place.

I also loved how the author wove other themes from other works of literature into it such as Blake's The Poison Tree poem and the Bluebeard fairytale. As I delve into those ideas, I shared them with my husband and we had lots of great conversations on the meanings of these things. In fact, we are still debating on why Blake described his hate-filled apple as 'bright' in his poem.

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Review: The Long Earth

The Long Earth
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read any Terry Pratchett before, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Being a biological and anthropological nerd, I loved the descriptions of the evolutionary differences in this book.

One thing I did wish was that the mystery seemed to have a rather dull climax. These animals are fleeing the earths in one direction, and the reasoning just seems kinda, well, not such a big deal.

I also think the ending could have been woven more into the book. It seems the authors ignore a huge part of the story in regard to the "phobics" and then right at the end they throw them into the book.

I can definitely see this book as a movie with a bunch of the middle thrown out, lol.

Overall, I really enjoyed it.

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Cupcakes and Ice Cream Appliques

I had to make some new baby gifts in the last few weeks and thought I'd share my appliques. I love to make applique onesies, and these just came out perfect!

Download the tutorial here.

Usually, when I make onesies for gifts, I tiedye them before the applique, but I thought these would be better in white -- to really make those colors pop. Plus, this ice cream cone and cupcake are sprinkled with hot fix Swarovski crystals.

These are adorable cupcakes and ice creams appliques. The ice cream on this onesie is a double dipper, which I think came out totally adorable.

You can easily make these.  The tutorial has lots of helpful hints to applique.  It can look daunting, but once you've learned, it's so much fun!

 I've updated my applique tutorial to include the pattern for both this ice cream and the cupcake.  You can find them at the end of the digital pattern.  Just click on any of these pictures and it will take you to the PDF to download. 

My next post will have the boy appliques...but my sewing room has been in a bit of a frenzy with my microboutique and pattern designing, so...they are currently missing in action.  As soon as I locate them, I'll create a boy version of my applique tutorial with those patterns.  My favorite is the octopus with crazy eyes. 

Enjoy these! I hope you have as much fun making them as I do.

I'll be disappearing for a few days as we're taking our first roadtrip vacation as a family next week.  Last year, we had the house fiasco with the queen of bankruptcy and all funds we had saved to go on an awesome vacation last year were diverted to the "let's pay 2 months of back mortgage and a month of rent all at the same time" fund.  This time, we're going to San Antonio and Corpus Christi.  Living in the upper part of Texas, we don't see the beach around here.  We are all very excited to get to the beach, especially hubby -- he grew up on the coast.

The kids have never seen the ocean up close and personal.  I can't wait to see what Molly is going to do.  We're stopping in San Antonio for Miss Em, as she has had to make two dioramas of the Alamo, and I felt that she probably needs to see the real thing.  Mr E is so excited to go on a real vacation, he can barely contain himself.  Plus, we have a surprise trip to Sea World planned.  I think my dear husband is going to scare them into believing we are going to volunteer to pick up trash on the side of the road that day.  I'm going to have to video their reactions. 

And I almost forgot!  Be on the lookout for a post in the next week or two, I'm almost to my 500th post on my blog.  I can't believe it's been 6 years since I first started!  Anyway, I'll be having a few giveaways to celebrate.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tippy Toe's Sundress Tutorial

One of my popular tutorials is now an easily downloadable PDF. The Tippy Toe's Sundress. I love this dress because it's so easy to make, yet it comes out looking like you got it at a boutique.

You can literally whip one out in an hour -- complete with ruffled hem!

It's a quick and easy birthday gift.  You could even whip up a patriotic one before the fireworks tomorrow night. 

You can easily make a dress from infant size up to girls size 6 from 1 yd of fabric. For bigger girls up to size 14/16, you will need up to 2 yds of fabric for optimal "twirly-ness."

Just click on the picture to download the pattern.  Enjoy!!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Pill-o-Bow Dress

I have a new pattern available. Only $5!! It's currently only available through Craftsy, but I will soon get it on my website. Just click on the picture and it will take you directly to the pattern. It's a PDF file complete with illustrations and full color pictures. Also included is a chart to easily make your little girl the right size -- from a 6 month old up to size 7/8. Recently, I finished the Hula Hello Kitty dress in the picture for my 2 year old. She LOVES it, especially the ties when they blow in the wind. She twirls and twirls trying to catch her "tail." These are easy to make, and we get so many "oohs" and "aahs" for the big bow hanging down her back.

Look for some adorable little appliques to embellish for your little ones that I'm going to share as printable tutorials later this week.