Tune in soon for the details on this cutie...
Monday, February 28, 2011
Tune in soon for the details on this cutie...
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Weekends should come more often - that's for sure.
Billy had to work EARLY on Saturday morning, so we got up (I dropped him off so I could have the car!) and drove through the icy morning to UP. After getting back home, I took Bentley for an early morning walk - burn off some of his energy first thing! I put his hunting jacket on since it was COLD that morning!
We walked around for almost 30 minutes, Bentley tasted almost everything on the ground, and did his potty business too. We also practiced our good behavior skills, like sitting and laying down when asked and stopping for a sit at every corner. He did alright. :)
Friday, February 18, 2011
Here's the detail on the pocket - I love the lace, and I also added a decorative stich across the top to hem the edge.
The original pattern had a zig-zag in the middle of the skirt all the way across, trimmed with the lace. I thought it looked kinda stupid, so instead, I just connected my two halves (top and bottom sections of skirt) and sewed them together with the same decorative stich as the pocket.
At first, the top bib section seemed very small! But when connected to the rest of it, it came out just fine. My sister is a relatively small person anyways....:)
And then the back - I didn't cross the straps as originally shown in the pattern since I thought I didn't have enough material. It actually would have worked, though.
The reason I didn't send this stuff to my sister in time for Valentine's Day was because I wanted to make sure the apron fit. I measured it to me, but she's a bit smaller than me, so I wasn't 100% sure. And why gift an apron that doesn't fit? So when she comes to visit us next weekend, I'll give it to her, have her try it on, and I'll be ready to fix it to fit her perfectly!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Day 3: The Oven Mitt
After "mastering" the first two pot holders, I decided it was time to up the ante. Bring on the oven mitt!
I still had plenty of red and white fabric, Insul-Bright, and (most importantly!) the ruffly border, so I was all set. I printed out a pattern online and got to work! I cut out two 9" by 15" rectangular pieces of my red and white fabric and two pieces (same size) of Insul-Bright. For the inside of the mitt, I used a red and white fleece leftover from my Christmas stocking. If you don't have fleece, regular fabric will work great. Mine is just super soft inside now! I also cut out two pieces of ruffly border, about an inch longer than the bottom pattern width (the cuff).
Now for the assembly. The basic idea is to make two separate identical pieces (each with three layers - inner fabric, insul-bright, and outer fabric - and ruffles), quilt the three layers together, and then sew the two pieces together in the right shape.
I first centered my ruffly border on my outer fabric, and sewed it on the edge. The fabric was right side up and the ruffles didn't hang over the edge - they were pointed "up" away from the edge of the fabric. This was done twice (once for each side). Then I lined up my insul-bright and inner fabric, and hemmed a short side of the inner fabric over the insul-bright edge on both pieces (this gives you a clean edge, and will sit up against the ruffly border).
Then I pinned my outer fabric right side UP (with ruffles) to my inner fabric right side DOWN (with insul-bright), lining up the bottom edges. Holding the layers together flat, I started to machine quilt - sewing through all 3 layers in a certain pattern to keep them from wiggling away from each other. Instead of vertical or horizontal lines, I followed some of the designs in my red and white fabric. Repeat for the other side.
Once both your sides are lined up and quilted, lay them on top of each other, with outer fabric facing each other (your inner fabric - my fleece - should be facing up at you on one side and facing the table on the other). Once you sew your shape, you're going to turn the whole thing inside out to have clean seams. Put your pattern on top of your fabric stack (face down) and trace with a sharpie, marker, or fabric pen. Make sure your pattern is centered on all layers of fabric, which have a tendency to shift as you machine quilt. Then sew along this line, through all layers of material, starting at one side of the cuff. I also sewed through the ruffles, to make them meet, and reinforced them by backstiching at the top and bottom.
Then turn your mitt inside out (so that the right sides are out) and inspect - any areas need reinforcement? Did the thumb-fingers joint work out? Make sure all stiches are snug!
Finally, with right side out, sew together the cuff (your ruffles haven't been sewn to your fleece-insul-bright layer yet). Sew 1/4" to 1/8" from the edge, sealing in your ruffles and layers.
That's all there is to it! :)
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Here's the history - a couple of weeks ago, on a Fabric Depot trip with Jackie, I decided to sew an apron, and why not make it for my sister? I saw a terrific red and white print, and decided I could make it for Valentine's Day. So now you know what Day 4 will be, but in the meantime, I'll show you the "accessories" I made to coordinate. I primarily used the red and white fabric, but had some pink and white fabric already to add to the collection.
Part 1: The Heart-Shaped Pot Holder Mitt
So what goes great with aprons besides pot holders and oven mitts? Well first I googled heart-shaped pot holders, because it was for Valentine's Day, after all. I searched through many links, but kept coming across this Martha Stewart project: http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/heart-shaped-pot-holders. It works as a flat pot holder, but also functions as a mitt, since you can slip your fingers into the contrasting pockets and fold the heart in half. Snazzy, right?
So I got some white bias tape and got to work!
The tutorial is relatively easy to follow, but I made some of my own changes as I went along. My "pocket" fabric was a little thin, so rather than just using one layer and edging with bias, I cut out that shape on the fold, which gives me a double layer of fabric. Instead of using a couple layers of cotton batting for substance, I used a batting called "Insul-Bright," which has some insulation qualities. This will keep my dear sister's fingers from getting burned through the mitt when in the hot oven! Also, I had read several other tutorials about machine quilting your layers, which looks pretty cool, so I quilted my heart together with horizontal lines about an inch apart. Not bad! Here's my finished product - front and back!
Unfortunately, my sneaky little puppy decided that the pot-holder-mitt looked tasty one night, and managed to sink his little teeth into a small part of the bias tape edge before I snatched it away and disciplined him properly. So before giving the mitt to my sister, I have to re-bias an inch of the edging... oh well. Good it's going to family!
Don't forget to come back tomorrow for Valentine's Gift Part 2!!
Monday, February 14, 2011
We started it with a trip to Whole Foods (yum!) and he picked out a nice bouquet of purple tulips for me! (Excuse my poorly-lit area and my simple phone camera.) You might recognize the vase if you were at our wedding...
Billy had found recipes while I was at book club, and decided on manila clams in a garlic-white-wine sauce, salad, asparagus, & rack of lamb. So here are the clams, about to be steamed!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Anyway, prior to our fiesta, I decided I'd finally make a dessert/treat that I'd read about for days, and had been wanting to make for months. They're called Cake Balls, and as it turns out, they're should be called nightmare balls.
The idea is basic, and sounds tasty - bake cake, crumble it and mix it with frosting, form balls, dip in chocolate, decorate, and eat! The reviews were amazing - everyone loved them and although they admitted it was work, everyone agreed it was worth it. So here goes!
I bake a chocolate fudge cake and mix with whipped cream cheese frosting. No prob. I refridgerate mixture for couple hours as suggested. Later, while talking to my mom on the phone, I start making my "balls" (they had to be football shapes, to celebrate the game!). No prob.
I put the little footballs in the freezer (as recommended), carefully stacking two cookie trays with the help of a wire rack. They stay there overnight, since it was already 7pm and Billy was home from work, ready for dinner. No prob. They looked like little poops, but here they are, ready to freeze.
The next morning (SuperBowl Sunday), after making breakfast (pancakes with bacon - more on that later!), I gather my supplies to start dipping my footballs in chocolate. I always burn chocolate when I try to melt it in the microwave, so I melted it with my double boiler, which I've done plenty of times before. I start dipping, but the first two are gloppy and uneven - no smooth chocolate running down the sides of the football, no shiny layer of chocolate coating hardening nicely on the cookie sheet. Just gloppy. So I decide that to get more liquid chocolate, I'll add some butter, right? Wrong. A tablespoon of butter later, my chocoate seizes. Damn! I put it aside (saved for some brownies or chocolate cake) and proceed to get very frustrated. This was supposed to be easy!
After a short while, Billy convinces me to try again, with new chocolate. So here comes Round 2, but the first couple footballs prove that my chocolate has not improved, or my technique is still off. I then decide that crying is the best solution - what else can you do when your great and adorable idea doesn't work, and you feel like a kitchen failure? :)
Luckily, my good husband didn't let me mope on and on, and with some kitchen trickery of his own, coaxed the chocolate to a smoother, more liquid-y consistency, and forced me back into the technique. Dipping was still not so successful, so I just dropped the footballs in the bowl one by one, rolled them in chocolate, and scooped them out onto my wire cooling rack. It was a hot (steamy from the double boiler), messy, and rather frustrating process, but I managed to coat about 90% of the footballs before running out of chocolate (if only I hadn't seized my first batch!).
Back into the freezer for the footballs, a shower for me, and then I whipped up some powdered sugar glaze for the final touch. I iced laces onto about half of the footballs - plenty to take to the party.
So after finishing up our chili and prepping our baked spinach-artichoke dip, we headed off to Chris' house, ready to stuff our faces and watch the game. We had a great time (Go Packers!) and ate plenty. Everyone loved the dip and chili, and they really enjoyed the little footballs too.
Looking back, my failure was limited to the chocolate dipping part, a problem I could have avoided if I had made a point to read an article or two on "tempering chocolate." Knowing the basics of how melted chocolate works would have saved me time and tears. Oh well... maybe next time? Nah.
The moral of my cake ball story? Kids, don't try this at home.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
At one point during our walk, Bentley finds a big stick (more like a mini log or a small tree branch) and picks it up. I don't know what he was thinking -
"I can't wait to take this home and chew on it for hours!" or maybe "I'll bring this to a nice beaver so that he can use it for his home!" Either way, he was determined to take it somewhere, which turned out to be just back to the grass where he found it!
After we met enough dogs (including a lamb-dog!) and peed enough times in the grass, we walked back home, plenty exercised. Bentley decided he had moved his little legs enough and promptly found a cozy spot on the couch!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
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coming up soon... my first crafty accomplishments.