Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Bowl Week- Post 2 (Stuffed Football Toy!)

This weekend is not only the Super Bowl, it is also the birthday celebration of a sweet little boy who is turning one year old!  He is the son of our close friends, and we are so excited to be celebrating this milestone with them.
His party theme is of course football, I mean, how could they NOT do that theme with the Super Bowl being in our own city this weekend?  He also was dressed as an injured Peyton Manning (complete with neck brace) for Halloween.  What a cutie!
So, along with his other birthday gifts I whipped up this toy football using a few scraps, some stuffing, and embroidery floss.

To get started, print off this FREE pattern for the football panels. If you want a larger or smaller football, just use the general shape, or you could mess with your printer settings to shrink or enlarge my pattern.

Cut out four pieces from your fabric.  I used a heavy home-dec weight fabric, but you can really use whatever you have on hand that is sturdy.
I varied the direction I cut mine out since it had stripes- this gives it extra visual/textural interest.

Then, begin sewing your panels together.  Take your first two pieces and put the pointy ends right side together.  Use as close of a seam as you can!!!  I also used a double stitch instead of a plain straight stitch to make this more durable. (DESIGN NOTE- if this is for a tiny baby, you could add "taggies" if you want.  Just stick them in between the seams and pin!)
Very close seam- see how its inside the edge of the presser foot?
Reinforced stitch!
After you sew the first two panels together, turn it right side out so you can carefully lay down the third.  Be sure the points are all sew over as we don't want a hole in the tip of the football!
Adding third panel- right sides together!
Third panel attached!  Starting to really look like a football!
Now simply add your fourth panel.  Then you have all four panels and one side open.  Turn the entire football inside out and line up the open ends right sides together.  Sew them, but leave a hole in the middle (about 2 inches) for turning/stuffing.
Inside out- carefully sew the last home together!  Don't forget to leave an opening!

Now you need to turn it right side out and stuff.  Be generous because you want the football to be relatively firm.  (DESIGN NOTE- if you want to make it more interactive, you could add some crinkly sounding plastic, bells, etc. inside.  Stuff them into the very middle though so they aren't felt on the outside!)
All stuffed.
Sew the opening shut using coordinating thread.  Don't worry about it looking perfect- you will cover this part with laces!
Now, get some embroidery thread (I used off-white for a vintage feel).  Use all 6 strands and double them over so its nice and thick.  Sew the end parts and a couple of criss cross parts!  Then hide your knot at the end.

And that's it!  You're done!  Mine took about 20 minutes from start to finish, including taking photos.  So if you wanted to make one for each kid coming to your Super Bowl Party, you just might have time to whip through these this week!  It would make a great gift any time of the year for a little one- including girls.  I am thinking of making LJ a pink one- she would love that!  You could also do this as a doggie toy as long as your pet doesn't chew things up- the stuffing or fabric could be a major doggie choking hazard if they do!

In other Football Related Crafting, have you seen Little Becky Homecky's football beanie hat?  It is adorable!  Go check it out!!!

Remember to join me all week as I post something every day Super Bowl Related!

Are you a follower yet?  If not, join the fun!  When I reach my current goal I will do another giveaway!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Super Bowl Week- Post 1

I grew up and live in the Indy area, so I've got to show some love for the first ever time we are hosting the Super Bowl!  It really is an exciting time for our city.  So, this week I am going to post something Super Bowl related each day.  It could be a recipe, decoration, etc.

For today, I am going to do some work for you- if you are planning on hosting a party, that is!  I usually post original recipes only, but today I am going to give you a list of yummy, crowd pleasing appetizers that are some of my favorites.  Hopefully it will help you plan if you haven't already!!!

photo credit
1.  Marinated Cheese
This is a HIT every time I make it.  It's a little bit of work to layer the cheese in the pretty arrangement, but you can do it a couple days before if you need to!!!  Beware the garlic breath afterwards :)

2.  Raw Veggie Pizza
This is a family tradition around my house.  It is a standard rule that you bring an extra one that belongs only to my dad because he loves it so much!  It's a great alternative to a veggie tray if you find that too boring.  And it uses crescent rolls- what isn't good with crescent rolls???  *This one is easy to customize to your taste- change what veggies you use and how you season the cream cheese mixture!

3.  Easy Stuffed Mushrooms
No recipe needed here- just buy some baby portabellos, take out the stems, fill with your favorite flavor of soft cheese (like Alouette), top with bread crumbs, and broil until bubbly and browned on the top!  EASY!!!!  And everyone loves these so make a lot!

4.  Catherine's Guacamole
This is my easy recipe- everyone always loves how chunky it is.  I make a BIG batch!  You simply mix the following together in whatever quantities please you (but I've listed what I typically use)
-4-5 ripe avocados, cut into approx. 3/4" chunks
-2 large tomatoes, cut into 3/4" chunks
-1/4 of a large red onion, finely chopped
-a GENEROUS handfull of fresh cilantro, chopped or torn into smaller pieces
-juice of one lemon or lime
-salt to taste

5.  Buffalo Chicken Dip
This is your typical football fare in dippable form, yum!  But really fattening, be forewarned!  It might make you feel better to dip celery in it...

So there are a few recipes to get you started.  Feel free to link up your favorite football season appetizer below to share more ideas!  Don't forget to visit me all week long for my Super Bowl Week Posts!!!

Are you a follower yet?!?!?!?  Please join up- I will be doing a giveaway when I reach my current goal!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Giveaway Winner!!!

The winner of the giveaway celebrating 50 followers is.............

Comment #5 by Alison Laitas!!!

Alison gets to choose from boy's PJ pants, girl's ruffle pants, or a crocheted lace scarf for herself!!!  Congrats!!!

My next giveaway will be to celebrate 100 followers- please help me get there and you will get a chance to enter again!

"Kitty Love" Valentine's Day Dress Tute

I call this the "Kitty Love" dress- I happen to NOT love kitties...but my 2 year old little girl?  In L-O-V-E with any cat she comes across.  I don't feel guilty not having one though since I'm allergic.  And cats are mean- they abandon you!  Dogs, on the other hand, are always happy to see you and make you feel good.  I wonder if there is a whole segment of psychology where they know everything about you based on what pet you like?  Anyways, you are here for a tutorial so I will get started, haha!
This dress was inspired by the vintage looking kitty cat fabric that I found at Joanns and knew LJ would love.

I wanted the whole dress to have a vintage feel, so I looked at a bunch of Shirley Temple photos and knew it had to be short, have puffy sleeves, and a poofy skirt.  Done, done, and done!


You will need:
-3/4 yard of main fabric (PREWASH!)
-1/2 yard of complementary fabric (PREWASH!)
-about 10" of pre-ruffled lace
-about 20" of 1/4" elastic
-3 tiny buttons
-sewing supplies (machine, thread, etc.)

First, cut out 2 of each of the following free pattern pieces on the fold.
Back of bodice

Cut four each of Front Bodice (For the button hole side, leave pattern as-is.  For the button side shorten by 1/2" on neck side)

For bodice ruffles, cut out:
1 9.5"x3" strip of main fabric
1 8.5"x3" strip of main fabric
1 5.5" piece of pre-ruffled lace
1 4.5" piece of pre-ruffled lace

For skirt, cut out one piece (or piece together to total)
14"x56" (This is a SUPER short skirt- retro style!  If you want it longer, add a few inches to the 14" measurement.)

OKAY...now that you have all your pieces, let's put it together!  (Use 1/4" seams throughout)

First, sew your bodice pieces together at the sides.  Do this for the outside one and the lining so you have two like the photo below.
Be sure to iron those seams flat!
Then, go ahead and make your bodice ruffles.  Iron the two main fabric ruffle pieces in half lengthwise.  Then use the longest stitch length and tightest thread tension to ruffle them up to 5" (longer piece) and 4.5" (shorter piece).  Then, to hold the ruffle in place and to add more "flair", sew the pre-ruffled lace pieces on top.
Center the bottom of the lace right where the stitch will be.
You will end up with two of these:

Okay, now get back out those bodice pieces and lay them right sides together.  Sandwich the ruffle pieces in between, being sure that the longer/shorter ones are on the correct side!  Also be sure that the ruffles are facing the correct side so the lace shows on the front of the bodice.
Ruffle sandwich- zero calories, mmmm!
Pin and sew the following seams- back neck, front neck (where the ruffles are) and button plackets.  Leave the arm holes and shoulders open for now!  Snip the back neck so it will lay flat, then flip it all right side out and press.
Don't cut your thread on accident!
For this next part, it's a little hard to explain.  Take the shoulders and line them up, right sides together.  You will feel like you are twisting things up funny, but it will work out in the end.  Be sure the seams line up.
Don't catch the ruffle when you sew!
Turn right side out and press.  It's getting there!!!
Now, let's make the sleeves.
Zig-zag the long side of the sleeve pieces.  Then tack it down to make a 1/2" casing.
Sew a ruffle stitch along the large curve of each sleeve.
Cut your elastic into two 10" pieces and thread each through the sleeve casings.  Then attach and trim of excess.
Then sew the short seam on the bottom of the sleeve.  Double stitch over the elastic!  Go ahead and ziz-zag over the edge to keep it from fraying.
Now, pin the sleeve onto the OUTSIDE piece of the bodice.  You can adjust your gathering along the top as needed to fit.  The bottom parts should be pinned flat.
You can see how the gathers are at the top of the sleeve, and the rest is flat.
Sew both of the sleeves on this way.  Then, attach the lining.  I wanted to find a way to sandwich the sleeve between for a perfect finish- I'm sure there is a way but I couldn't figure it out!  So I just did a serge-like stitch to attach the lining.
"Serged" and ready for a trim!  It's stitch 11 on my Singer machine.
Sew on your buttons and button holes- I used three, but depending on what you can fit you may have more/less.  I just loved these little tiny heart buttons!

Now your bodice is complete!

For the skirt, go ahead and hem the bottom (I know, I know, you are supposed to do this lat, but its so easy when its nice and flat!)  I used a zig-zag stitch on the edge of my fabric, and hemmed it 1/2".

Looks nice!
Now you need to carefully pin the skirt to the bodice, and sew on.  I used the "surge" stitch yet again!  You will be sewing the button plackets together at the base of the bodice.  I went over that twice to be sure it was very secure.

Then you are DONE!!! Put your dress on your little one and let her enjoy!  I put a little crinoline under it that we have so it poofs out more- feel free to do that if you have one- it looks just fine without though!
I always get funny poses like this when I tell her to "model" for me, haha!

If you want the matching hair clip, check out this tute that I was inspired by, created by the letter 4.
Thanks for sticking through this long tute with me!  I hope you enjoy!  If you make one, please link to it in the comment section, I would LOVE to see it!
Don't forget to join my current GIVEAWAY!  You can always join me as a follower, on Facebook, and on Pinterest!

***This pattern for personal use only!  If you are interested in using the pattern to make a profit, please contact me for details.***

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Look, upcoming projects, and giveaway!

I updated my background a bit and changed some colors around- nothing to crazy!  I am still considering a few options for a new overhaul of the blog though!

Sneak Peek!

Coming soon...a Valentine's Day Dress Tutorial (with pattern pieces if I can get it to work!) and the box pleated window valance for the nursery!

Have you entered the giveaway yet to celebrate 50 followers?  If not, be sure you are a follower and then go HERE and leave a comment!

I have also started up a Facebook page, so you can click HERE to follow there as well!  Please do, so I don't feel like a loser with no friends, haha!

Thanks for your support!  And keep an eye out in the next day or two for the dress tutorial!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well that was fast- giveaway time!!!

*This giveaway is now closed!*

WOW!  You guys are the best.  I just made it to 50 followers in the past hour...so you know what that means!  GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!

So here is how it works- in order to be in the drawing, you need to be a follower (in any form, RSS, Google, etc.) and you need to COMMENT on this post.  Some people missed out on being entered into my last drawing because they didn't comment!

The prize will be your choice of one of the following, made by me for you!  Winner will be chosen via random.org on Friday, 1/27/2012
-Little boy's flannel PJ pants
-Little girl's ruffle pants
-Women's crocheted lace-pattern scarf

Thanks for making my day start off great- it always feels so good to reach a goal!  My next goal will be a whopping 100 followers.  I know you can help me get there.  I will definitely make it a great giveaway then!!!

Do you "Bento"? (How to make a shaped egg)

Do you Bento for your kids?  Bento boxes are really fun.  They can range from works of art that take a lot of planning and time to make...
Credit: http://wickedhowtos.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/bento3.jpg

...to relatively simple ones that are very practical to do and your kids will still think are "cool!"
Credit: http://0.tqn.com/d/childparenting/1/0/G/4/-/-/About_school_lunch_box_bento2.jpg

Bento boxes are common in Japan, where even adults get in on the action (minus all the cutesy themes).  There are a ton of the boxes out there.  I bought this sweet one for LJ.
If you do a search for Bento box ideas, they are all over the internet.  I am planning to share some of my Bento ideas here from time to time too.  SO, I thought I would start with one of LJ's favorite Bento Box items- a shaped hard boiled egg!
Star eggs!

First, you hard boil your eggs just like normal.  But DO NOT put them in an ice bath or allow them to cool in the pan completely.  You need them pretty hot for this to work!  When they are hot, they are very pliable and will take the shapes.  ***Use the large or extra large eggs.  Small ones won't fill up the shape.***

I use tongs to get them out of the still hot water.
Use tongs so you don't get burned!
Then, turn on the cold tap water for peeling.  This way, as you peel your very hot egg, you can occasionally run it under the cool water when your fingers can't take it any more!
Once your egg is peeled, you need to put it into an egg mold.  These are pretty cheap and can be found at the Asian grocery, or of course, online.
My egg molds.
Be sure to put your eggs in with the "fatter" side in the bottom, sticking up tall.  They won't work if you put them in sideways.
Right side up, Mr. Egg!
Then you simply put your lid on, being sure the sides are snapped down tight.
Sometimes you really have to push it down to close it!
Then place in your fridge for a while.  I usually do it overnight.  BUT- if you want to make a bunch of these, say, for an appetizer platter (how cute would these be as deviled eggs?) then I would leave them in for at least an hour or two, and check to be sure they are completely cooled before removing from the mold.  Otherwise, they may snap back to more of an egg shape.  If you think you'll make a lot of these I would buy more molds since they are so cheap!
Cooling time!
After cooling, you will have a beautiful egg...but it might have some scraggly edges to remove.  This is normal and they rub right off!
Scraggly star
Pretty star!
I slice it in half and put it right in the bento!  You could garnish it though if you wanted.
And that's it!  Shaped eggs are so easy and cheap to make...and just might entice your picky eater to get a little protein.  So try something new and fun in those lunchboxes or afternoon snack plates!

Remember to become a follower!  I am VERY close to my goal and next giveaway!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Apple Pie Muffins

I really wanted a muffin the other day.  I mean, REALLY wanted one.  But I wasn't sure what I had on hand to make them with.  In my true "why not" fashion, I decided to invent my own recipe.  I do this often with cooking, but that is much, much easier than with baking.  I did look at a few muffin recipes I have to get an idea of how much liquid, flour, baking powder, etc. that I wanted so that helped.  Anyways, they turned out so yummy on the first try that the 2 dozen I made were gone in one day!!!  (I must admit, I probably ate like 7 of them myself- but no judging, I'm like 9 months pregnant people!)
So here is my recipe.  Enjoy!

APPLE PIE MUFFINS- makes about 2 dozen muffins
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 6oz container vanilla yogurt (or plain would work) *Note- I had a reader try Greek yogurt in this recipe and her muffins turned out dense, so you might want to stick with regular yogurt!
1 large fuji apple, cut into small cubes (method below) or two small apples
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
Garnishes- wheat germ, and turbinado sugar
Use the real stuff-its better!!!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix together room temperature butter and sugar.  Then beat in egg.  After that, add in the apple sauce and yogurt.
We get local eggs- they are so much fresher!
In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients, except garnishes.  Stir well to combine, then add to wet ingredients and stir.
Add in your apple last.  Here is how to cut them fast!
Make four cuts to slice off the "meat" of the apple.  You should be left with a square core.
Slice each of those into 1/4" thick slices.
Lay those slices on their sides, and cut them into thirds.
Then dice them up into cubes.
After the apples are mixed in, put the batter into your muffin pan.  I used liners with non-stick spray since this is really apple-heavy and it helped them not stick.

Sprinkle each muffin with wheat germ (adds folate and a nice nutty flavor) and turbinado sugar.
Then they are ready for the oven!
Keep an eye on them since every oven is different and muffins can finish pretty fast.  About 15 minutes should do it though.  You will know they are done when you push gently on the center and it springs back.  If it leaves a dent, they need to stay in a bit longer.

Now the best part- EAT THEM!!! LJ had a little buddy over for a playdate, and I had to send some home with him because he loved them so much!
Blowing on her hot muffin- but she didn't want to wait!

Hmm, how can I get MORE muffins? (thought going through Jack's head and the doggie's head)

Remember to become a follower!  I literally have just a couple more to go before my next giveaway, yay!!!  So if you like the blog, please join in on the fun and share with your friends!