Friday, December 2, 2011

Blessing dress

In my sewing, I have purposely avoided clothing, because I didn't want to deal with difficult patterns and frankly, I was scared! No longer, I say! I wanted to make a blessing dress for our new little addition, and when I saw this cherry blossom organza I was done for. I knew I had to make a dress.

The pattern I used was actually one for a simple cotton dress, though I used a lightweight satin and organza. I layered the organza over it all because I liked the way it looked better than the satin on its own.


 I figured I could work on it little by little, but I should have known better. I cut out the pieces and 12 hours later I had a dress. So much for spreading out the enjoyment!


 Isn't that embroidery delicious? I kept everything else simple so it could take center stage on the dress.


I still have to make booties and a headband, but I am so happy with how it turned out.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Carseat cover

Since we found out we are having a baby girl, I knew the carseat we used the first time around was not going to work. The fabric was blue with brown accents. Cute, but not what I wanted for my girl!

I got my original idea for it from,  you guessed it: Make it and Love it! She really is so talented. I won't even begin to do a tutorial, since on my end there was a lot of ripping seams and fudging pieces together and such that Ashley's tutorial does more justice. Having used the old cover as a template made the job a whole lot easier, and so I am glad I did it.

I wanted the fabric I picked to be somewhat neutral, in the case our next one is a boy. So I picked colors/patterns that would work for both. But let me tell you, I LOVE these prints. I found them all at Fabric.com.
 So darling, isn't it? I can just imagine a little tiny baby snuggled up in this already.
 Like Ashley at Make it and Love it, I wanted to reuse as much of the original carseat as possible. If you notice, the edging as well as the brown panels in the canopy are the same as the original. This made my job a lot easier and saved me several hours of work.
The deconstruction of the seat took about as much time as the construction, about 13-14 hours in all for both, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I think my husband would not be happy if I were to do it for myself, so if any of you want it done and don't need your carseat for a few weeks....



lets chat. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Homemade vanilla wafers

 Over in this house, our little guy LOVES vanilla wafers. With all his heart.

I did my little google search, and found this recipe.  The best part, no high fructose corn syrup found in most sweet things nowadays!

So the question is... homemade or store bought, which is better?
Ingredients:
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
    temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
We start with combining the butter, sugar and salt in the mixing bowl. Make sure the butter is at room temp, it blends much more easily.


Mix on medium speed until creamy.
Reduce the speed to low, the add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until blended. Then add the flour until a smooth dough is formed.
Drop the dough out on the counter and divide into 4 equal portions.
Roll the dough into logs. The original recipe calls for 7 inches and 1 1/2 inches around, but we like the mini version, so I rolled them out longer making them about 3/4-1 inch around.
Next, roll them up in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours. This step is very important so the dough will keep its shape when cut.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap one of the logs and, with a sharp knife, cut it into slices about 1/4" thick. Place on baking sheet.
Bake only 1 sheet at a time, just until bottoms start to turn a golden color. The original recipe calls for 12 to 15 minutes. Mine come out perfect just under 12 minutes. All 4 logs made about 3 baking sheets worth of wafers. So maybe a 4 day supply in my house.

Now, when they are done, you don't want to let them cool without loosening them up from the pan. Otherwise they will stick, and then crumble when you try to scrape them off. The trick I use is immediately after coming out of the oven, I use a spatula to carefully push the cookie. I don't try to get under it, but dislodge it from the cookie pan. Then I just leave them there to cool all the way.

So what did we think?
Definitely a hit!  

Homemade wins! They came out almost like a shortbread cookie, and very good. A great mix in for ice cream or yogurt. Perfect size for little fingers and mouths, plus no worry about processed/unhealthy ingredients. It gives me peace of mind knowing exactly what is going into the belly of my little guy. And another item I don't have to buy. Just ingredients I already have in my pantry.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baking Mixes

I think I need to start looking at blogging as a daily ritual that I need to do in order for me to keep up with it. I miss a few days, days turn into a few more...then several weeks go by.

Anyway, cooking has been the method of creation the last few weeks as I have been trying to figure out ways to reduce my grocery bill.

First off, have you noticed how expensive bisquick is?? Worry no more, I found a recipe on Food.com to make your own. And believe me, its easy.

I also found an awesome, healthy pancake mix, also from Food.com.

I started out just making 1 batch of the recipe so I could get a feel for it and I wouldn't waste ingredients if I messed up!

Once I made up the dry mixture, I put it in a gallon ziploc bag. I am forever losing my recipes in my humongous pile of recipes, so I printed out the recipe, cut it, and taped it to the front of the bag so I COULDN'T lose it. Works like a charm.

And my grocery bill is just that much cheaper each month.


Homemade Bisquick Mix


6 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening

Sift flour, baking powder and salt 3 times into a large bowl. (I don't have a sifter, so I just wisked it for about 5 minutes).

Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. (Very important. I didn't cut in enough the first time and got bits of shortening in my dough)

Store mixture in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 months.

Use whenever your recipe calls for "Bisquick mix".



Homemade Pancake mix

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon baking soda

Additional ingredients for pancakes
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

OR
Additional ingredients for Blueberry Banana Pancakes (AWESOME)
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
3/4 cup blueberries (I use frozen)

In a bowl, combine the 1st 5 ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

To prepare pancakes: In a bowl, combine egg and milk. Whisk in 1 cup pancake mix. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until 2nd side is golden brown. Yields about 6 pancakes per batch

OR

To prepare blueberry banana pancakes: In a bowl, combine egg, milk and banana. Whisk in 1 cup pancake mix. Fold in blueberries. Cook as directed above.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tutorial: Basic waterbottle holder

This week I have been working on making water bottle holders for my church's young women to go to girls camp. They go every year, and this year I was put in charge of getting them ready for the girls. So I'm also doing a tutorial for you!
This is a very basic holder, so I finished it in about 20 minutes from start to finish. If I were making one for myself, I would certainly add a lining and use more sturdy fabric.

You'll need to start out with 2 pieces of fabric, one 10"x9.5" and one 2"x45".
We are going to start with the body of the holder. Fold the piece with right sides together so that the 10" sides are lined up (9.5" side is folded in half).
Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew down the length and one end of the square with a straight stitch.

When you are done, it should look like this.
Next, change the stitch on your machine to a large zig-zag (if you have a serger, you can use that instead).
Follow the straight stitch you just did, keeping to the outside of the stitch. This provides stability to the seam.
The next step is to create a square bottom on the bag to accommodate the water bottle.
Using the end you sewed closed, pinch the corner flat so that the seam on the end bisects the triangle you have made.
Going about an inch down from the point, pin straight across. This will be the guide you will follow to sew a line.
Sew a straight line all the way across.
Repeat with the other side.
If you were to turn it right side out at this point, the bottom would look like this.
Next we head over to the ironing board to prep the strap and the hem of the bag portion.

Fold the top of the bag over 1/4" (with wrong side out still) and iron.
Fold over again 1/4" and iron again.
If you don't typically iron your sewing projects, I highly recommend it as it helps keep the fabric right where you want it without a lot of fiddling on your part.

To iron the strap, start out with the strip of fabric wrong side up. Fold it in half and iron down the length of the strip.
Now I like to make things go as fast as I can, and ironing is the most tedious for me. This next step helps it go much faster.

Open the strip you just ironed and fold one edge in to meet the middle crease.
Iron down the length again.
Next, on the side you haven't ironed, fold that side in to the middle crease then fold again at the middle crease. Iron down the length. I do this a little at a time to make sure the fold stays.
So at this point, it will be 1/4 the width you started with. Sew a straight stitch all the way down the strap.
Next we are going to attach the strap to the bag and hem the bag at the same time.

Slide the strap up under the fold you created in the bag.
Fold over so that strap is coming up away from the bag. Pin to keep it in place.
Repeat this on the other side. I lined it up with the point on the bottom to make sure I was even with the other side.
Going slowly, hem around the edge of the fold you created. Going slow allows you to keep from catching another part of the bag in your seam!
Once you have sewn all the way around, turn it right side out so we can place a seam to stabilize the straps.
Use the smallest zig-zag stitch and sew right along the edge of the bag where the strap comes out. Repeat on other side as well.
It should look like this when you are done.
 Place your bottle inside, and go for a walk!