Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Morning photos

I took these pictures the other morning. I love these grape hyacinth, I wish they lasted longer as they are already drying up and disapearing.

I just happened to notice 3 butterflies hanging around them and grabbed my camera to snap a few. I could actually see their little "tongue" going in and out sipping the nectar of the flowers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hoping to win some cute fabric

I had to throw my name in the hat to win some pretty fabric, can you blame me? Anna Maria Horner is one of my favorite designers!

Thrifty make-over

Last year I bought this cute pegged board at the local Goodwill. I think I paid $2.50. It was painted a yellowy gold and then antiqued. Not bad, but for my purpose it needed a fresh coat of paint

I think I have a pretty good eye for seeing the potential in something, although if you ask my husband, he might say I see a things through diamond encrusted bright fuchsia colored glasses. Don’t even get him started. In addition to that, I always think things will take ½ the time that they actually do. What can I say, I’m an optimist(Okay, maybe not all the time, but when it comes to my crafty projects, I am.)

Here's the before:

Anyway, I have had it sitting in the garage for several months and felt inspired to work on it. I had some old paint, an aqua color and decided to use some of that, 3 coats worth. This is one rare project that actually took me less than the time I thought it would take. From painting to hanging it was about 1 hour.

After I got the shelf secured on the wall I got Miss P’s blessing day dress to hang on it along with a matching bonnet, a tiny crystal bracelet and some crocheted booties that my mom made. I am so pleased with how it turned out.

Flower Power

I just love runuculus, they remind me of peonies which I also love! I took these last year in our backyard, they have yet to make an appearance this year. I love how vibrant the colors are. No photoshop here peeps, it's all natural! Even down to the bugs!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Telling the tooth

My Church is involved in the Festival of Trees again and have asked for donations of handmade items to be sold so I decided to put my collection of scraps to good use. I came up with these little tooth fairy pillows.



Learning Curve

A while back I was asked to do some upholstery work for some family-of-family (you know like a friend-of-a-friend deal). Something I have never done before: 4 cushion slipcovers with piping and zippers. I had the existing seat cushions, but the back part, I had to make from scratch. I took apart one of the existing slipcovers to make a pattern from it, and left the other one to be able to go back and look at the construction of it.

Did I mention it was velvet? It's very hard to sew with, because it's very easily crushed and once it's crushed ...it's crushed, you can't undo crushed velvet. So you get this mottled look on the fabric.

Oh, and the piping? I had never made piping before. That part was okay, but then getting it to look right once I got the whole thing together was a challenge. After ripping apart the puckered seams for the 10th time, I was nearly in tears and beginning to foam at the mouth. Deep breath. Little prayer. Calm.

When I let my mind think about the entire project ahead of me, I started to stress out, but if I just thought about one small step at a time, It was okay. And prayer, ....prayer helps everything - yes, even sewing! (My mom taught me that!)Well, as soon as I finished the first slipcover I fit it onto the cushion and when I went to zip it up....pop! The zipper broke.

GARBAGE! (that's my dad's favorite swear word.)

For a first timer, I think they turned out relatively well. (As long as you don't examine the zippers in the back too closely! After starting the project I noticed that the fabric was quite faded in some areas, thankfully my client didn't mind and thought it gave the pieces a vintage feel. She was happy with them and in the end, that's what's important.

Chore Chart

I have had several projects that I wanted to get check off my to-do list and here's one of them. My Sis-in-Law, Carrie, works at Tricks gym, as the assistant teacher in their CampUs classes. She is amazing with kids! She is one of those women who know just what to say to a kid to snap them out of a funk or stop a meltdown before it starts. I know it's selfish, but I'm sometimes glad she doesn't have kids yet, because if she did, who would help me with mine!!!???? Someday she is going to be an amazing mom. So recently, she came to me with an idea for a chore chart for their class, but didn't know how to make it happen. So we worked together and with the help of my trusty sewing machine, we did it!

She started with scrapbook paper, cut to size and laminated to make a small board. We went to the fabric store and picked up some clear vinyl, which we cut into rectangles. I stitched the vinyl rectangles onto the board to make pockets. She already had little cards with the classroom jobs on them, which fit into the little windows. She has wooden tiles with the students names on them which will be stuck under each window with velcro so they can rotate them each week. They can remove the job cards or change them as needed.



Sounds easy right? Well I had to cut out 36 rectangles out of the vinyl, sew 6 rectangles onto each board (6 different boards), with double stitching on each rectangle and single stitch around the perimeter of the board to finish it off. Then I had to pull all the hanging threads back thru to the back of the board and tape them all down.

If you live in the Sacramento area, check out Tricks for gym, dance CampUs and swimming too!

Oh Baby!

I had a baby shower to go to and being the procrastinator that I am, I didn't even think about the gift until the afternoon of the party. (Even though I had been to Target at least 5 times after recieving the invitation in the mail!) I am terrible about that! I decided to go to my stash of baby bibs, but wasn't really happy with the selection I had on hand. I decided to try and sew up a couple before I had to leave.

I am especially pleased with how the cherry one turned out. I made a little girl's apron with the same fabrics last year so the bib was made with the scraps from that project. I just love the color combination.


I already had this one made, so I added it in the gift too.


My Process

I had an order for 2 aprons so last week I quickly put together some new designs and just love how they turned out! I thought I would share my process for designing an apron. I like to start with a base fabric and 2-3 simple complimenting fabrics. I was given free reign on color choices and pattern.


Most of the fabric I use is purchased at JoAnne Fabrics, but when I can't find something that inspires my project, I check out the quilt stores, they usually have a wider selection and carry more of the "designer" fabrics. After I gather the fabrics for the project, I sit down to sketch out a design. When I'm happy with the design, I decide which fabrics I will use where and add in a rough sketch of the fabric so I can get a visual of what it will look like.


I start cutting out each piece in it's chosen fabric. I didn't use a pattern for this one, I just made it up as I went. I cut as much as I can using my rotary cutter and mat, it goes much quicker than with scissors.


After all the pieces are cut out, In my mind, I seperate the piece into 3 sections: bodice, torso, and skirt. Sometime I have to write out each step of the process so I don't forget to do something and have to rip out a seam. (For this apron I was going to add a loop to hang a dish towel on, but I forgot to add it to my steps. Oops! By the time I remembered, it was too late!) I complete one section at a time and when they're all done, I sew them together.

Here's the finished product:


Sometimes when I am in the middle of sewing a project I tweak the fabric choice a bit or add a little something. Here, I switched the pocket to the other side and I think I switched the neck ties fabric. I also came up with this pocket detailing from one of my favorite shirts that has this ruffle all the way down the front. It's so simple, but I love it.


Here's an upclose view of the front:

Do you see that little piece of red thread sitting there. It's bugging the heck out of me, I just wanna reach my hand through the monitor and pick it off! Ugh!


So there you have it! It's probably not the normal process of a pattern designer, but it works for me!

Here's the other half of that apron order:



Thanks to my sistas to being such fabulous models!

Apron Giveaway Winner

I made this apron for a giveaway I had on my other blog. Jessica, the lucky winner, came over and picked out the base fabrics and then I played with the design a bit. I have made several aprons now and was feeling confident enough this time to forgo a pattern. I changed up the front and the neck ties, and added a pocket. All my own design! The entire thing is fully lined.

I went for a "scrappy" look with the neck ties:


Pintuck detailing on the bodice:


Added a pocket on one side:


I love the how colors and patterns look together on the bottom ruffle!


Berry Delicious!

Once a summer we try to get up to out favorite U-Pick Berry Farm in Camino and stock up the freezer. It's quite a drive up the hill and the berries aren't all that cheap, but we do it as family and I figure we're making memories for the kids, so you can't put a price on that.

One of our families favorite ways to enjoy the berries is over vanilla ice cream or better yet, homemade vanilla ice cream. So summery and delicious! Another one of our favorites is my mom's recipe for cobbler. It has become a "signature recipe" for my side of the family. I made it the other night with some frozen berries for the grocery store, but it's always better with fresh berries. Paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it is berry perfection in a bowl.

It is so, so, so easy to make! I hope you like the recipe!


Berry Cobbler

Berries - enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan, 2 berries deep (this is usually about 2 bags of frozen berries from the grocery store) If you are using frozen berries, let the berries defrost in the pan before preparing the recipe.


2 C flour

2 C sugar

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 to 2 cubes cold butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. One at a time, mix in the eggs with a fork until the mixture is a crumbly texture, you want a "sandy" constistency. Do not over mix. Sprinkle it over the berries (layered in your 9x13 pan) and gently pat. Now take your butter and cut it into thin slices and lay over the topping. It will seem like a lot of butter, but trust me don't skimp! Now bake for about 1 hour of until the cobbler top is golden brown.

I made some the other night but wanted to leave some for my dear hubby to eat so I made some personal sized ones using my ramekins. This would be a great idea for a dinner party. Just be sure to have a good quality vanilla ice cream on hand, it is a must!


A new apron for me.

I have made several aprons for friends, but never for myself so I decided it was time for a new apron! I like how it turned out!




I Scream

The inspiration for this bib was Miss P, of course! Boy is she a screamer! At church, in the car, at home...okay, pretty much anywhere. Sometimes for no reason at all, seriously this girl can belt it out, and loud!




Giant Cuppycake

I offered to make the cake for our friends daughter's first birthday and made the same cake that I did for my own little Miss P's Party.


Miss M was a little hesitant at first. And rightly so, after all it was as big as her head! But by the end she had devoured half of it. I think it was a hit!


I know that cupcake pans are so popular right now, but you don't really need one for this size. I used a 10x10 pan and one strawberry boxed cake mix. After it was cooled, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and froze it. I then cut in in 4 squares and stacked them on top of each other. I didn't use any filling, I figured her little body didn't need even more sugar pumping through her veins. After they were stacked I began carving them into a cupcake shape, much like they do on Ace of Cakes. When I had the shape I wanted, I started "icing" the bottom half with cool whip. For the top half, I colored more cool whip with red food coloring until I got the right shade of pink. Then I iced the top with it. Easy Peasy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mini Quilt

I love sewing, but I don't have time or supplies to really get into quilting right now. I have 2 different ones that are sitting unfinished in a box somewhere. So, having never actually finished a quilt, I thought I would start out with a small project that I might actually be able to finish this time. I had some fabric scraps left over from some bibs I made a while back, that I had thought about making some yo-yo's out of. I made the yo-yos and some circle appliques from Anna Maria's tutorial and made this adorable little quilt for Miss P's Doll.

Thrifting Finds

I love to go to thrift stores! I don't get to go very often, but today I was driving by one and thought I'll just run in really quick! Whenever I go, I always check the linens section for fabrics or vintage linens, I have never really seen anything. That is until today.......

I just love this vintage pillowcase! It only cost me $.75 and the vintage ric-rac which according to the original packaging sold for $.15 in it's day, cost me $.25. I had to laugh at that one! The embroidery stitching must have taken the owner hours and hours. Each stitch is perfect. The colors are so cool and soothing. The edge is finished with scalloped tatting. So sweet. It has a few small stains, but nothing that a little oxyclean can't handle. I love the color of the ric-rac. I will have to find a special project worthy of it, possibly an apron......keep watching to see!

You will probably laugh at me for this one, but the pillowcase smells so good! Of course I will wash it before we use it, but it smells like it just came off someone's clothes line. Then, I think, I will use it for MissP's bed.