Some cool spring day fun.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Good morning! The sun is shining here today and it is slowly warming up. After I post this I am getting pretty and Wednesday and I are going out to play! But, before that I have a photo tutorial to share with you. I had it in my mind to make Wednesday's Easter basket this year, to go along with the eggs I made her and the soon-to-be-felt-food I am making her. I had a few issues though. It needed to be big enough to hold two dozen soft eggs, it needed to be light enough for her to carry and comfortable enough for her to want to carry it. I kept going back to papier mache for simplicity. I re-examined the mailbox I made her and found it to be light enough so, I went with it. The next snag was how to cover it. My head was not in the place to make a slip cover for it like the mailbox but I knew I wanted a nice soft look. Enter this tutorial from Love 2 Create. It was inspiring in both its simplicity and prettiness. Over the course of the weekend I think I made about 160 felt rosettes.
Oh and of course, I made a couple of nifty buttons to go along with the link up. Feel free to use them, comment on them or ignore them. I gotta say, they were the most difficult thing I have done creative wise in some time. I hope you share some of your crafty endeavors. Finished, WIPs, recipes, you know, whatever you had fun creating this weekend!
Friday, March 26, 2010
I have a new obsession. (I know, like I need another one of those.)But, I felt it was necessary to learn. Digital scrapbooking. I love it. I mean LOVE it. I do not love it more than traditional scrapbooking, I am too, tactile to give that up. But, for things like blog design, holiday cards, business graphics etc. This is brilliant. It took me two days to get to where you see the header and buttons are now. I am sure I will be tweaking them in the coming weeks but for now I am pretty darn happy with what I come up with on my first try.
I managed to find a ridiculous amount of freebies with some googling. Not all of them are Shabby princess either, but all of them are awesome! My favourite elements (In case you can't tell)are the torn bits of paper and the aged pieces. There are some really pretty feminine elements I like too but for now, I can't get enough of the fake masking tape and staples!
I can't direct you to any good tutorials yet because I just downloaded a but load of files and then began to resize and layer them in Photoshop CS2 until I figured out what I liked and what I was doing. It is itimidating, I hemmed and hawed and asked for help on Twitter before even trying to download anything. It was just so overwhelming. But, I plan on doing some fun stuff with the blog soon and I really wanted some cool looking buttons. I haven't made those yet, but maybe this weekend when I have my Easter sewing done (Ack! One more week!)
What I can do is leave you the two links I used for the most plentiful freebie downloads. There is the ever famous Shabby Princess freebies. I say ever famous because as far as I know their freebies are synonymous with getting started in DS. Also, they are great for us beginners as absolutely no cutting and pasting are required for the elements. (I mean each element and alphabet piece is it's own individual file.) The other site I got MAD freebies from was from ComputerScrapbook.com I must have received hundreds of dollars worth of free downloads, (with a lot of patience) just for signing up for their newsletter (which tells you about more freebies!) I did find a couple more sites but they didn't really have what I was looking for, but you might for serious though, just google free digital scrapbooking elements and you're golden.
And now, I must go and join the physical world and do my dishes, fold my laundry, play with my babe. Check out some other Creative Spacers @ Kirty's when you have a moment for the digital world. I hope you have a fantastic weekend!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
This was a labour of love but it was worth it and I am excited to have a new tutorial for you.
A few notes before beginning:
- To Modge Podge the fabric to the eggs took me about 3 hours from beginning to end and I did sixteen eggs. The flowers were easy peazy and the threading took only minutes as well.
- The Modge Podging makes the eggs strong enough to be collected by little ones on Easter but pretty enough to collect in a bowl or thread on a garland. If I hadn't already sewn up two dozen fabric eggs this is what I would have done for her to collect.
- I did notice after all was said and done that the darker/brighter the fabric the better it looked when dried. I did up four to begin with and almost didn't finish because I wasn't sure if I liked them with the paler fabrics. As soon as I added the bright yellow and purple though I loved them.
- Also, you want to talk frugal? These scraps are the size of quarters and the eggs came from a couple weeks of baking.
- I wasn't sure if you would want to make the same flowers I made, but just in case I made a quick video tute because pictures would have taken too long to show you what a video does in 1:30s. Also, don't laugh when you see me burn myself.
Monday, March 22, 2010
I know last week I posted the bare minimum, but the weather here was so very wonderfully unseasonal we couldn't bear to stay inside and because of the fresh air we couldn't stay up late (at all)to blog so it just kind of petered out after Wednesday. Well, seasonal weather is back and the skies are grey so here is to hoping for a full week of posting with a couple tutorials thrown in for good measure.
On Friday I baked some cupcakes for a family get together. I made the carrot recipe from Martha Stewart Cupcakes and it was so good. The cream cheese frosting pictured is my own recipe though made so that I could pipe it on. You can find it here or on my new recipes page. It is thicker than the recipe I used for the Creepcakes and the Tank Cake. They were very tasty, I mean uber-tasty!
Do you like the purple backpack? I made that Saturday morning for Wednesday's cousin's seventh birthday. I wanted to make her something but I didn't have her measurements and aside from being really bright at school I was not too sure what she was 'into'. So I made this drawstring backpack and filled this bag with a jump rope, sidewalk chalk and bubbles. I hope she liked it!(Every seven year old likes purple right?) It was made from my own design because every tutorial I found confused the heck out of me. I am not a technical reader! So, I decided it was so easy, fun and gosh darn cute that I will be making at least one more for Wednesday and you can expect a tutorial for it because I decided the basic design could use some modifications.
Sunday was the day of the ruffler foot. This actually wasn't as stressful as I am remembering. Problem was I pulled it out after two hours of trying to shirr and realizing that my machine would have none of it. No matter how much I fiddled with upper tension, lower tension, hand winding the bobbin, machine winding the bobbin. My machine just does not enjoy sewing with elastic thread and that is something I will have to get used to. So, to make myself feel better I pulled out my forty-year old Kenmore ruffler foot and started to teach myself how to use it. After I got past all of the technical jargon I managed to get it to plait beautifully on ever stitch regardless of stitch width. Unfortunately, anything else just didn't look very good. But that is okay, my gathering foot works really well for less full ruffles on most medium-thin to thin materials. Wow what a gorgeous full ruffle from the foot though. I just might come up with something for Ruffle Your Stuff yet. Although, I think I only have a couple days left. Sigh.
Last but not least. I stayed up until midnight last night finishing up these beautiful eggs. I also have the first part of that tutorial photographed but I don't have what I thought I had to finish it so that will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow. But it will be worth the wait, I promise!
p.s. What do you think, would this make a good link event? My Crafty Weekend I mean. I think it would. next week, expect a McLinky. :)
Happy Monday Folks!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I made some carrot cupcakes this weekend for a family get together and since it was close to Easter I wanted to make them a little bit fun. Cream cheese frosting is not necessarily known for it's pipe-able properties. It is definitely known for being delicious and pairing perfectly with carrot cake though so it was only natural I thicken it up some how to make the pretty little bird nests you see pictured.
This yields enough to pipe small nests on about ten cupcakes and spread another ten. (The cupcakes I made were very muffin like without frosting so I chose to leave some bare for snacking.)
2 cups icing sugar
1-8oz package of cream cheese (Softened)
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
cream (Optional, use only if you find consistency not creamy enough)
With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together.
Add vanilla and colouring
Add icing sugar slowly until well combined.
Add cream tsp by tsp if consistency too thick. Alternatively add more icing sugar if it is not thick enough.
Put into icing bag and use immediately on cooled cake/cupcakes/cookies.
This is not so stiff you cannot spread it nicely, but if you want it creamier add another 1/8 cup of butter and cream by the teaspoon until it reaches desired consistency.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Want to make one of these? The skirt, not the gorgeous kid, this is a g-rated blog!
For the next few days the tutorial will be located here at Confessions of a Seeing Dork. How cool is that? I have been reading her blog since shortly after I started this one. I cannot remember which one of her many awesome (and uber thrifty) tutorials lured me in as she has so many. Re-purposing and refashioning are the main themes which would explain why I love it when her blog pops up in my dashboard window. Oh and giveaways, this woman is uber generous! Always giving away handmade items, would be a good idea for you to visit her often!
Hope to see you there!
Monday, March 15, 2010
You have heard of Bavarian Cream Pies? Well, this is the Ovarian Chocolate Cake.
By nature I am not a chocolate lover. That is not to say that I do not enjoy chocolate, but I am more of a liker than lover. Every now and then though, particularly when I am ovulating I crave sweets, usually in the form of chocolate. And about a year ago, I was craving it pretty bad so I made this cake. It has become a family favourite and I love to make it for special occasions like Father's Day (My dad is a chocolate fiend!) and like yesterday at my (not so)little brother's birthday dinner.
It is a devil's food cake with pudding between the layers, a mousse frosting and cookie crumb coating. It is a fairly involved cake, but totally worth it! Would you like to make one too? Oh goody! Let's begin.
Ovarian Chocolate Cake
Devil's Food Cake Ingredients/Directions
2 cups sugar
½ cup + 2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup boiling water
1 cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 deg F and grease two 9 in cake tins.
- Put cocoa in small bowl; add boiling water and mix until smooth. Let cool.
- Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes. Add egg yolks and mix well.
- Sift in flour, baking powder and baking soda, add cocoa mixture, sour cream, and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Whisk egg whites until stiff and fold gently into the cake mixture. Transfer to the cake tins trying to keep them as equal as possible.
- Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes. Let the cakes cool.
- Slice each cake through the middle to make four layers. Let each layer cool before icing.
Ingredients (I guess you could call them that)
1 box chocolate pudding (Fudge flavour works really well)
1 cup (250ml carton) 35% whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs sugar
1 box Oreo cookie crumbs (You won't use the whole box, closer to half but I didn't measure this step)
Prepare pudding according to package directions. Spread a thick layer to the edges on three cake layers. And stack to form four layer cake.
To prepare whipping cream put cream, sugar and vanilla in a bown and whip until stiff peaks form. (You can also substitute Dream Whip here if you so choose)
Add remaining chocolate pudding to whipped cream and ice cake top to bottom.
Now, the part that requires a little bit of patience. Adhering the cookie crumbs to the sides without making a giant mess. To do this I poured the crumbs around the cake on the cake platter and then with a knife slowly 'pulled' (for lack of a better word) them up the side of the cake until I was satisfied with how it looked.
And it really does look fantastic doesn't it? But, never mind that how did it taste? Like a little piece of heaven! The combination of fluffy chocolate cake and pudding make for an almost brownie like consistency that is the good kind chewy. Now, there is one little sliver left and I am going to claim it before my chocolate fiend of a father gets it!
This was the book that inspired this series of posts. I found it so randomly at a charity shoppe that I wanted to share it with everyone so that others may enjoy it if and when they happen upon it or even go looking for it.
The book is a charming book written with such a wonderful rhythm that I actually enjoy reading it to Wednesday, over and over and yes over again. She calls this "My Unicorn Book" and we read it together at least once a day but usually more. It is perfect for her attention span having only one or two four line rhyming stanzas per colourful page. I find that anything more than that and it is anyone's guess if she will stay interested past the first two pages.
But the rhythm in this one flows so wonderful, the verses just roll off your tongue.
The story is about a child that wishes for a unicorn and through sheer will and imagination, has their wish granted...sort of. She goes on an adventure that includes a magic wood, moat monsters and a dragon to mention a few. She (I am presuming it is a she but it could just as easily be a he) and her unicorn don`t stop until they need a nap.
Wednesday's favourite parts have to be the colourful yet scary trees in the magical wood, the howling and the moles that are "Like the Mole Sisters.". My favourite thing about this book is how the title is not I wish I HAD a Unicorn, instead the narrator makes something out of what she already has. Sounds like a familiar concept around here yes...
I pleased to find out when I Googled the author and illustrator that they are both Canadian. It is so rare I happen upon Canadian authors without being directed to them. Also in googling the authors (Kady MacDonald Denton also writes children's books as well as illustrates)I found The Library and Archives Canada website and is it ever wonderful. Canadian or not I encourage everyone to browse through the pages and take advantage of the services it offers. I can tell you that this will not be the last time I visit there.
Robert Heidbreder and Kady MacDonald Denton team up for one more book A Sea Wishing Day and it looks to be just as wonderful, I cannot wait to add it to Wednesday's ever growing bookshelves.
Speaking of Wednesday's bookshelves, you may have noticed the widgets in my sidebar. They are there as recommendations only. I will add books as we buy them, read them and if we love them. I thought it a great way to share with you what we are loving. Make no mistake, Wednesday's bookshelves are plentiful and i cannot wait to show you a picture but for now I am adding books as she loves the not as I do. (I have so many books just waiting for her to be old enough to absorb them!)If you use the links I make a minuscule commission (I didn't even bother finding out what it is I assume it is so small) but for anyone who does, it will let me know that you value my opinion and my head will swell.
Bonne nuit and happy reading!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Wednesday's first Easter egg hunt. This was last March. I was not nearly as crafty this time last year so I just bought some super shiny eggs and a bucket and threw them on the grass. She loved it. She was too young to really hunt so instead of making it hard for her we kept it simple. She loved it and when she would open them up and find some real fruit candy all the better. This year they will be one hundred percent less plastic but a zillion percent more awesomeness!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
As a precursor to a tutorial you will be seeing here shortly I did a quick photo tutorial on buttonholes. I did this for two reasons, the first being that I know buttonholes are incredibly intimidating to novice sewers. Seriously, how many projects did you/have you avoided because they required buttonholes? Or, you did do the the project but avoided any buttonholes and it just didn't turn out the same? That is why. The other reason is because when I searched for easy tutorials to link for you I couldn't find a single one that did not include using a buttonhole foot. I will admit, my machine has a buttonholer (It is so cool to watch) but not everyone has that option and I didn't want you to not make any upcoming projects because of that that little detail.
A manual button hole is super simple. I developed this method from scratch for the sake of the tutorial having never made a buttonhole before so that should tell you how easy they are. Below is a series of twelve photos numbered to the corresponding step below. Each step is so simple I almost thought about not posting photos but we need photos and then I thought about labeling the collage with one word of text but that was just not quite enough. So hopefully the numbered photos and the super simple written steps written below work for you.
1. Supplies: Scrap fabric, ruler, marker, razor blade (Or super sharp, super pointy scissors), button
2. Measure diameter of button.
3. Measure thickness of button.
4. Add together and mark on fabric.
5. With marked line on the outside of the needle sew a running stitch around the mark.
6. Check it out, a nice little rectangle guide.
7. Set zig zag width to 1.25 and use buttonhole/applique/satin stitch setting. Sew around running stitch. You might need to do this twice if your stitches are not close enough together.
8. With the center of the buttonhole lined up with the center of your foot and needle, set the zig zag width to its widest setting. Mine is 4 and it fit perfectly.
9. At the top and bottom of the buttonhole stitch approx 1/8" to give it some added resistance to wear.
10. With your razor blade (or super sharp super small scissors) slice down the center of your buttonhole, making sure not to get any stitches.
11. Check your button in your newly fashioned hole.
12. Tadaa! You did your very first buttonhole without a fancy machine foot!
If you have any questions, or if any readers have an helpful comments please feel free to share them! And with that, I bid you adieu and happy sewing!
Monday, March 8, 2010
This is one of my most favourite dishes. It is also one of my favourite vegetarian dishes as I make it with beans and veggie ground round. It is so simple and so good I cannot believe I have not shared it before now. It has become one of my comfort food dishes. It is also a fantastic way to use up pantry items and/or left over chili.
Tortilla Lasagna Pie
Tortilla shells 8" work well but if you have a pan big enough you could use 10"
1 pkg Veggie Ground Round or browned ground beef (1lb)
Can of your favourite canned bean (We like black)
1 Green or red pepper diced
1 Onion finely chopped
1 tbsp Cajun or chili seasoning + tsp cornstarch
2-3 cups shredded cheddar
You can also substitute one can (Or two cups of leftover) of vegetarian (like Stag Four bean Veggie) or meat-itarian chili for the beans, veggies, onions and seasoning.
Heat 2tbs oil in a pan and add peppers and onions. Saute until soft. Add veggie ground round (or pre-browned ground beef) and beans. Saute until heated through.
Mix spices and cornstarch with a cup of water. Add to bean mixture and cook until reduced to a saucy mixture.
Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese and stir until good and cheesy/gooey. Remove from heat.
Remaining shredded cheese
Pop in the oven @ 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly and brown on top.
Pull out and let rest a few minutes before serving.
Serve with salsa and roasted garlic sour cream (or plain sour cream).
A 9" pie feeds four adults, you could feed more with smaller slices (Like the one pictured) if you served a side like cornbread muffins or something similar. I love this dish though and I chow down on a big piece to myself!
Super simple stuff! Have fun with it and bon appetite!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I have already finished the first part of my Easter gift to Wednesday...I am sure you can figure out what it is? This picture was taken the morning after the bulk of the construction took place. Which means I am about one third done. I still need to make a basket for them to go in as they are collected.
If you haven't been, you must drop by and visit Kirsty @ Kootoyoo and the other creative spacers.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
It is made from a pair of stretch corduroy pants that were from Wednesday's big booty cloth diaper days, some flannel remnants and a second pair of cords that I had originally hacked for the project and cut too short off the hop. But, aside from a wonky shoulder seam in the vest, I have to say I have outdone myself. I have never attempted anything like this and with much patience it turned out awesome. AWESOME! I buttonholed for the first time, sewed on flat pockets for the time, MADE A VEST for the first time, made and attached bows for the first time. I learned so many thing making this vest. Did I mention it was awesome? Okay, on to the construction instructions!
Pair of old pants
Fabric for pleating (3x the circumference of cut off pants + 6 inches just in case)
Chosen embellishments (if any)
Pattern (I used this one from BurdaStyle.com it was free and had easy to follow directions)
Fabric for outer and lining, can be the same.
Buttons x 3
Fabric for pockets (I used pant legs which I show you how to do below.)
Embellishments of choice
Super quick video on how to make pleats.
For those who know how, this is where you would make them.
I made the bows late last night so I did not take photos. They were super simple though. With right sides together sew a rectangle measuring twice the length you want your bow to be. Leave an inch to turn out. Turn out and top stitch. To make bow center fold a piece of fabric in half, open and fold edges into the center and fold again. Stitch down middle if small, sides if wide. Sew right side ends together and then turn right side out. Pull rectangle through the loop you just made and voila! You have a neat little bow.
Cut bottom off one pant leg. Then cut side seams off.
Now you have two pieces of fabric with one finished side each.
Turn over and fold to shape your pocket, I have given you an example but whatever works for you is fine. Pin and press.
I won't go into detail on the vest construction because it is done so well with the pattern. Just REMEMBER to sew these onto the front of your vest before you sew the front to the lining. I sewed my bow on after it was all done, a few hand stitches at the center and in each corner to keep it laying flat.
The entire affair was inspired by the pink cords I cut too short and Easter. The plan was to make a pretty little Easter outfit. I think I succeeded. It is a bit on the warm side being made of flannel, but 'round these parts Spring does not always mean warmth. And doesn't it look great with the pink rubber cowgirl boots?!
If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact me! Until next time, happy sewing!
Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts
Make it & Wear it @ The Train To Crazy
Hand Me Down Rehab @ Helping Little Hands
Get Your Craft On @ Today's Creative Blog
Thursdays Treasures @ Treasures For Tots
Sharing Ideas Wednesday @ The Trendy Treehouse
Hand Me Down rehab @ Helping Little Hands
Monday, March 1, 2010
The 2010 Olympic games are officially over. It is almost with a heavy heart that I type this. I had so much fun! And, like Bill Plaschke wrote in his article Canada is a Winter Games Wonderland written for the LA Time "For two weeks, you lived your anthem..." I did. We did. We were determined, successful, generous in spirit, welcoming hosts and patriotic to the core. We were with each athlete every step of the way and we cried tears of joy and tears of loss for every win and every almost-but-not-quite. We jumped out of our seats for the goals and the golds. We Twittered and Facebooked everything that we loved about those seventeen days. We traded our apathy in for honest to goodness caring and concern for everyone involved from athletes, to families of to spectators and everyone else and in between. And it was AWESOME!
And when Joannie Rochette won bronze in Women's Free Skate. To overcome the grief of losing her mom just days before to skate the two best skates of her life and end up on the podium. Winning a medal in an event packed full of phenoms from every country is an accomplished in of itself but to do it through the grief, wow. Not just wow though, she took home the Terry Fox award for her efforts and triumphs. Go Team Canada!
I am tempted to embed the golden goal video from the Canada-USA hockey game but I am sure many of you have already seen it. Let's just say I was dancing around here like a fool for a couple hours! Instead, I will leave you with a different sort of skating video, one more like Blades of Glory than the 2010 Olympics but still awesome!
See you in Russia!!!!!!!!!