November 16, 2009
I found enough white fabric from my Grama T stash to make the dress, but I wanted it to be a little fanci-fied. I decided to use the handy decorative stitches on my machine o' awesomeness to detail the fabric. It is hard to see in the picture, but the flower stitching in rows with white thread was something I added. It took longer then I planned, but turned out pretty cool:
I had fun trying out more fancy stitches on the bodice and sash, and did elastic-thread smocking on the back of the bodice. I didn't have a pattern, but smock-y dresses don't need to be too tailored.
I finished it off with little daisies on the skirt here and there, and then made a yellow and white bracelet to match. We put a huge Shauni-flower (that's just what we call it now, Shauni!) on her head to get the whole Cindy-Lou-Who thing going on, and then she was so cute it hurt a little:
And there you have it! That is the thing I am most proud of making over these last 6 months or so. Now I just need to get my craft room all back in one location and I can make baby-clothes and bows and whatnot like a madwoman. Right now half my crafty-room items are in the almost-finished craft room in the basement, and the rest are mixed in with a lot of junk in my old craft room upstairs, soon to be Ellie's room. It's amazing how much easier it is to do things when they are all organized! Plus, sometimes it's just fun to go look at all the colorful things on their shelves or in their cubbies.
I'll keep posting now- I have Christmas projects and wedding jewelry coming up on the never-ending list o' projects.
I had a baby, she is the cutest ever, I made a bunch of stuff after things got back to semi-normal-ness, and by the end of the day will post pictures of at least one thing I have made lately. By saying that here I have now committed to it.
Aaaand now I am out of time. But I'll be back...
March 19, 2009
March 3, 2009
It's a recipe for Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad O' Goodness. A few weeks ago I went to the Sunflower Farmer's Market in Orem. (Thanks for the tip Tiffany!) Kind of like Trader Joe's for all you Cali folks. You can buy various marinated goodness by the pound, so I loaded up a pound's worth of marinated sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts. After careful comsideration of what exactly to do with these tasty treasures, I came up with this recipe. I hope you like it...
Mix it all up in a ginormous bowl and eat it. Mmmmm. I put some in the fridge and some in ziplocs in the freezer. It is nice cold or hot.
February 13, 2009
February 12, 2009
Now the name is set in... fabric. Unless we think of something we like better that can be spelled by rearranging the blocks...
February 11, 2009
It's all thanks to Spandex. This is rather shocking in light of my history with the stretchy sparkly fabric. One time in high school during cross country practice I made a wayward comment about Spandex involving the drill team, which was overheard (and misunderstood) by a very indignant Drill Team coach, who then passed the information on to the rest of her team. This lead to my being forced into writing an apology to the entire drill team on behalf of the cross country team, and getting cussed out in the halls by some drill teamers who were very defensive of their Spandex. (Who then turned away in unison and marched down the hall, arms flapping and heads bobbing in time to their marching... no, but that would have been a lot cooler...)
So who would have thought my saggy pants savior would have come in Spandex form?! I am humbled. And now, to show my new found respect for the elastic fabric of the gods, here is my...
This is a picture-riffic tutorial on how to make maternity pants that actually stay up! It's true! They'll be there to cover your rapidly expanding bum through it all- the sitting and standing, the bending, the climbing of stairs... you get the idea. Let's begin...
*one pair of jeans, preferably low rise with a bit of stretch
*one big ol' piece of Spandex- not too thin a piece, preferably the kind that stretches up and down as well as side to side. (check out SpandexWorld- they have a minimum purchase requirement, but you could get extra to make a swimsuit... you know, for that time far off into the future when you decide it is safe to wear a swimsuit again...)
*plus a tape measure, thread, pins, all that sewing stuff
I have made a bunch of these now, and since they do- to some extent- grow with you, the specific size of the jeans you start with doesn't matter too much, as long as they are a few sizes bigger than you wear while not all knocked up. Really it's all about whether or not your preggo thighs want to fit into them or not that really matters.
STEP ONE: measure around your jeans about one inch or so below the waistband, all the way around. Now subtract a few inches from this, and you have the length for your Spandex measurement.
STEP TWO: Cut a rectangle from your spandex measuring 12 inches x the measurement you got at the end of step one.
STEP THREE: With right sides together, fold the Spandex rectangle in half so the 12" sides are touching. Sew a seam along the 12" side. (See the picture, my words are not working...) You should now have a Spandex tube. Try it on around your middle and make sure it is snug. Then take it in or taper the seam or whatnot as needed. In my example I needed to take the seam in more at the top then the hip area, so it tapers at the top. Just how snug to make it depends on how thick and stretchy your fabric is. The point is to make it stay put without your needing to hold it up while still not crushing your internal organs. Cut off extra seam allowance from the side seam.
This pic shows the seams:
This one shows how the tube should fit, (and what I have learned in my Photoshop class...):
STEP FOUR: Really quick before you forget, hand sew the zipper of your pants closed about halfway down the fly, like this:
STEP FIVE: With right sides together, pin your Spandex tube to your pants. The tube is smaller than the pants, so stretch the tube to fit as you pin. Make sure to line the tube seam up with one of the side seams on the pants. Now, hopefully to clarify and not confuse, I'll explain what you should have here. Looking at the pants you should see the pants inside the tube, and the tube is inside out and upside down. (The part you measured for your hips is on top and pinned to the jeans, the part you measured around your rib area is scrunched up awkwardly around the thighs of the jeans. If that was confusing just ignore it...)
STEP SIX: Use a zigzag or some stitch with a bit of stretch and sew the tube to the jeans about 1/2" from the top. (look at the picture above...) Start at one side of the fly and work around until you get to the other side of the fly. Don't sew over the zipper. Your machine won't like that. Also be careful for metal rivets or snaps or things like that as you sew.
**Reinforcing all seams by sewing twice or something is recommended since they will get a lot of strain put on them as you get freakishly huge**
That's it! Pull that panel on up and ta-da! Enjoy your pants! You can wear them before you get too big by zipping the fly like normal and folding the waistband over your hips to keep your pants firmly in place, like a belt. As you get larger and larger, you can unzip the fly (to the point where you sewed it shut at least) and pull that stretchy tube o' fun up to yer armpits there under your shirt.
Here are the pants worn with the waistband folded down:
And here they are worn with it pulled up:
Now go do some squats! No, that sounds tiring. Maybe instead put on your stretchy pants and go eat some brownies while you watch American Idol. Yes. Try that.
February 10, 2009
I've stopped making sense... time to move on...
A month or so ago my sister-in-law Jenny invited me to go "bead" with her. We met at her mother-in-law Alice's, where I discovered that the gem fair goes on all year long. I brought my own meager stash to work with and then marveled at the sparkly-ness of Alice and Jenny's stash. It was pretty awesome.
After forcing my mind to focus on the task at hand, rather than the sparkles around every turn, I decided to make a necklace out of some chain I had bought at the gem fair last year. I had never used it since I was unsure if the lighter silver wire I had for wire-wrapping would look odd with the dark charcoal-ish chain. Jenny convinced me to go for it, so I rummaged through the large pearly beads from my Grama T's stash, supplemented them with some crystaly ones and rock-ish ones from the same stash, and Jenny came up with the perfect deep purply Swarovski crystals to tie it all together. It was all kinds of fun to have Jenny there to consult as I figured out the layout- James and the boys, helpful as they are, don't have quite the feedback I am usually looking for when I am making something. ("Sure hon, looks nice," James offers while his eyes never leave the computer screen.... "I don't like purple," says Toby... you get the idea.)
I was pretty pleased with the outcome! The pictures are the best I could get- it is harder than it looks to photograph jewelry.
Woo! Thanks, Alice and Jenny!
February 9, 2009
To begin, here is a link that you will love. (Or else!) It's the Top 100 Tutuorials of the year as ranked by http://www.thelongthread.com/ It is full of crafty goodness, so stick your kids in front of some Disney and get to it! (What? No.. that's not what I really do... that was just a joke...)
I recently made the kimono from a tutorial on the list. It is the 0-6 month size for a friend's baby shower gift. (I missed the shower, but late gifts are still fun, right?) Now I just have to deliver it before I decide to keep it for my baby...
No, I won't keep it. I'll just make one for Ellie also and then my friend and I can have matching wise-yet-comfy looking baby girls.
Enjoy the tutorial fun!
January 26, 2009
This last year or so I have been building my kitchen braveness. I have discovered that there really are a bunch of easy things to make that require pretty minimal time and effort. I know, who knew? Bread (thank you oh mighty KitchenAid), croutons, soup, pasta, and now... granola bars. It was quite a shock to learn that these things don't grow straight into their packaging on a special Wal-Mart farm somewhere.
I had tried granola bars before, but the recipe was a bit involved for me and didn't turn out like I wanted. I decided to try again (mainly as a way to distract the kids from destroying one another on this endless snow-bound day). I found what is perhaps the easiest recipe in the world on allrecipes.com, and before I knew it we were basking in oaty goodness.
**The link is having issues, so here is the recipe in a nutshell, or go to "easy granola bars: at allrecipes.com :
3 c. quick cook oats
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 T. melted butter
4 c. mix ins o' some kind
Mix it all up, press into cookie sheet or 9 x 13 pan, bake 20-25 min, depending on how crunchy you want them, at 350. Cut a few min. after it comes out of the oven- before it cools.
Here are my sidenotes to the recipe:
*I have no idea if my oats were quick or regular, as they are in a huge #10 can marked "oats" and that's all. I think they were regular? Whichever kind was on a huge sale about 3 years ago at Albertsons. That cleared things up, huh.
*After the oats, sw. cond. milk and butter were mixed I put half into another bowl so we could get two different kinds of mix-ins. Half was butterscotch chips/dark chocolate chips, and the other half was golden raisins, tiny chopped pecans, and a little bit more oats.
*Just go ahead and figure the amount of oats, cond. milk, and butter called for plus 4 c. of mix-ins.
*I used a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and then sprayed that with Pam just for the heck of it. After they came out I cut them with a pizza cutter (again sprayed with Pam, because needless grease is just fun) and then lifted the whole parchment sheet onto the counter to finish cooling.
*Once cooled I wrapped them individually in plastic wrap and then put them all in a big ziploc. I got 20 from my batch, but I cut them pretty huge and will cut them smaller next time to make 30. You can make a ton and freeze a bunch if you are feeling ambitious.
And that's it! Not too tricky! Now go on and make some granola bars. Go on now, you know you want to.
January 23, 2009
You see the skills you learn? Invaluable.
So, here's what the heck that has to do with today's post. My awesome Mac died, I got a new computer, and I don't yet have Photoshop on it. I took pictures of recent projects, but need to crop them and such before I post them, so until then, please enjoy this exercise in the fine art of BS:
Here is a painting I have been working on. I haven't picked up my oil paints in years, but I think it all came back pretty quickly. Just like riding a bike.
The gesso I used must have been old- the paint is cracking pretty badly. The woman in the picture wasn't so much posing for me as being a crazy window-peeping stalker-type, but I thought I'd make lemonade out of that situation by using the time she spent staring eerily though my craft room window to get some painting done. Besides hollering "Cats! They're everywhere!" or random bouts of eye twitching, she held still for hours. Although, before I could get her eyebrows done, she heard sirens a few blocks away and took off running. Oh-well. I should really call the cops and report her tomorrow, since I suppose the whole situation was really pretty creepy. Hey, and I have a pretty good picture to identify her by now, don't I?!
I don't know where the insanity which fuels my thinking process flows from, but there seems to be an endless supply. Fun times.
January 15, 2009
Back to the topic- I thought I would blog a bit about the happiest place on earth. No, not Disneyland. (How many people actually think that, anyway?) It's...
Gracie Lou's Quilt Shop in Salem!
Yes, it just might be the happiest place on earth. Twenty bonus awesome points each to Lauralee and Shauni for introducing me to it. Here are a few resons why...
It is bursting with so many cute things that your wallet won't know what hit it... and you won't even care. Here are a few of the fabrics:
Those are a small few of the cute fabrics they have. They also have flannel fabric in similar cuteness, ric-rac the likes of which you have never seen before, fringy pom poms, buttons of all shapes and colors, ribbons, patterns, etc.
Also, they have on display throughout the store quilts, aprons, skirts, purses, etc. that make you realize you need to start a few new projects. Then they offer free classes on how to make these. (You pay a $20 deposit to sign up, which is returned as in-store credit to get the fabric for your project.) They have a million of these classes every month. See these cute aprons? Don't you suddenly feel the urgent need to make them?
And if all the cuteness isn't enough, there's the shop dog to distract your kids from wanting to grab everything they see:
They also have a shop Grama who plays with the kids and gives them candy while the moms shop. She wasn't there this time, so I didn't get a picture.
And when you leave, they give you cookies. See there on the counter? Yes. Cookies.
Also, I am not sure if this perk comes along with spending a certain amount, but last time they popped a dinner-menu notepad into my bag with the fabric I bought. I checked on this to make sure I wasn't accidentally shoplifting stuff, but no- it was supposed to be there. Awesome.
I was drooling over the flannel selections today and trying to think of ways to justify the ten to twenty receiving blankets my baby suddenly seems to need...
Here's the address & phone number so you can go visit the happiest place on earth for yourself:
416 North State Road, Salem UT, 84653
After you go, call me and we'll sign up for a few classes together.
January 7, 2009
Here is the recipe I used, minus walnuts. My regular pans seem to have all disappeared, so I used a 9" cake pan. This lead to a bunch of 5 minute checks to see if the brownies were done. You can only do so many of those before you decide the uncooked batter in the middle can be kind of like a sauce, so that makes it okay to take them out right away. I dug right in and dished up a gooey heap, and am burning my tongue on chocolatey, battery goodness at this very moment.
Here is a picture of my fix:
Ahhh. It's all better now. Or it will be after I get a glass of milk, and a few more plates of brownie goo.
*Five awesome points to the first one to name what show the blog title came from and who said it to who. Or whom? I don't know.
January 4, 2009
Still confused about just what is is? Well, I have a tradition of giving James a chess set each year for Christmas. This year I forgot to get one until after I had spent all the money I had budgeted on his other presents. So, I made a set of chess pieces from our family. I admit, it looked a lot cooler in my head, but there it is. James is the king, I am the queen, Toby is the Bishop, Brady the Knight, Ellie will be the rook just as soon as we get an actual picture of her, and Duke is all of the pawns. It worked well that we had the pictures of us in the Vanguard-themed party hats from James' birthday. I should learn to take more pictures as I make things so I can have better tutorials, but I guess a step-by-step will do for anyone who actually feels the need to have one of these super-cool chess sets of their very own.
1. Find pictures of all the people/animals that will be used. You need to see their whole face. Crop them in photoshop so you have just the faces, each about 1-1.5" wide.
2. Still in photoshop, cut and paste each face onto a letter-paper-sized blank background. If you are having trouble getting the images to stay the right size after pasting, make sure the resolution is the same for both the original image and the background you are pasting onto. You will need to paste the faces multiple times so you get the right amount of images for all the pieces. Make: 2 of the king's face, 2 of the queen's face, 4 of the bishop's face, 4 of the knight's face, 4 of the rook's face, and 16 of the pawn's face.
3. Copy each sheet of faces you made, and then flip the images horizontally, so you have the mirror-images of each sheet. This will give you a front and a back for each piece.
4. Print the sheets of faces you made, and cut them out.
5. Using fimo (polymer) clay, shape the bases for the pieces. I rolled the clay into balls about 3/4-1" wide, and then smooshed down from the top all around so they had flat bottoms. If you want marbley pieces, fold two colors together before you roll it into a ball. Use whatever colors and designs you want to designate which piece is which. (crowns, horseshoes, castle towers, etc.) Make a hole in the top-center of each piece with the wire you plan on using to hold the heads on. Bake the clay according to package directions.
6. Use wire-cutters to cut pieces of thick, sturdy wire for the posts of your pieces. Mine were about 2.5-3" long. You can make them taller or shorter for different pieces.
7. Cut a piece of packing tape or clear contact paper the size of your head-pieces. Lay one cut-out head face down onto the sticky side.
8. Put a thin row on hot glue onto the top of one of your wire posts. Lay it onto the back of the head piece you have taped. Use the mirror-image cutout of the same head to sandwich the gluey-wire. cover with another pice of tape. Now you have a sandwich- tape, head, wire, head, tape.
9. Cut away the excess tape- now it should just cover the head-piece with a bit extra around it.
10. Put a tiny bit of glue onto the end of the wire with no head. Shove it into the hole on the fimo-clay base.
TA-DA!! See? No? Well, I'm sorry, but that's the best I can do without pictures.
Next time I'll take pictures so you have some idea of what the heck I am talking about. Tutorials work better with images.