Sunday, December 14, 2008

holiday cookies

hi there! i've been busy trying to get our house in order for holiday guests and stoking our new wood stove - which was finished just in time for our first winter snow! the kids had a ball playing in the cold yesterday, and came inside for mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows. add in a teething baby and i've had no time for any crafty fun.

i did, however, finish my swap package for sew liberated's holiday traditions exchange! i want to share it with all of you too. the rules are to include a handmade ornament, a favorite holiday recipe, and a tradition "tutorial" plus any extras you'd like. we haven't established any family traditions so far, the kids are so young and we've been in transition for the last couple of years. but one tradition i have kept for several years is attending my friend's cookie exchange.

cinnamon crackles are my go-to recipe. i first tried them in a taste of home cookbook probably 7 years ago. so, here's a "tute" on making them.

cinnamon crackles

bake: 10-15 minutes
oven: 350*
makes: about 6 dozen

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract

2 1/2 c. flour
1 Tb. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 c. sugar for rolling cookies - i use vanilla scented sugar

in a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening, and sugars. add egg & extracts; mix well.















at this point, i had made biscuits in the preheated oven, spread with pumpkin butter and placed on a santa tray for the littles to sample. this helped curb the begging to help. and gave me something to snack on while waiting for hot cookies!

combine the next eight ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture.














shape into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar. place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. i like to use parchment to make it easy to clean up.





























bake at 350* for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. cool on racks.















for my partner, i made a cookie apron, which i sent along with a felt gingerbread ornament, this tutorial, and some vanilla scented sugar and fresh baked crackles. i'm hoping she will enjoy them as much as i do, and maybe make them part of her own holiday tradition.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

150 comments!

WOW. that's all i can say. thank you all for coming by to visit me. and for all the nice comments about the scarf. the winning number was 129, allison, congrats!

for anyone who would like to try making your own, here's the details. i used two red heart yarns, mistelle (in mint) and symphony(in magenta) and size 11 needles. the stitch couldn't be simpler. cast on 12, or 15 if you'd like it wider. then k1, yo, k2tog. repeat. that's it. over and over and over until it's the length you want. and then bind off in knit. weave in ends. yay! a new, soft and squishy scarf! i've also made this in wool, which looks more rustic. here's another example. and the yarns i used - well, they came from my gigantic stash, and i know for a fact the symphony has been discontinued. but i think you could substitute about anything you want.

i had so much fun yesterday checking out all the giveaways. there were some fantastic prizes out there! thanks to sewmamasew for setting it up and for just being cool.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

finally!

here it is! the fabulous giveaway prize!

a handknit scarf, made by me, it's super snuggly and soft. it's a combo of two soft acrylic yarns, which means that it can be washed (that's a bonus for us moms, who can't wear anything for five minutes without a little wiping something on it)

in my three minute "photo shoot" this morning, i attempted to get a great shot of me wearing the scarf. so my camera was perched upon the step stool, which sat on top of the high chair. and i got two pictures before the kids found me.

hope you can tell what it looks like, hope you like the colors (pale blue and raspberry), hope you'll come back tomorrow and leave me a comment for a chance to win!

still waiting...

my me-time yesterday never did happen. wood stove woes, troy spent the entire day trying to get the stovepipe in place and still isn't finished. then he went to get water (we are so rural we have to haul our own water!) and he had a blow out and ruined a tire. so i didn't get anywhere with my sewing. i did a lot of knitting though! and this morning before we leave for preschool i am hoping to get photos taken. we'll see...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

anticipation

ok, it's sad, but i actually had to bargain for some me time this weekend. i have so many almost finished projects and i can't take it anymore! my husband is off every other monday, so tomorrow i should get a good sized chunk of sewing excitement! more importantly, i have got to get some family photos taken for our christmas cards, so i can get them ordered.

my first turkey came out great! i'm not sure why i always thought making a turkey was such a big deal. i mean, i roast chickens all the time. and i cheated a little and used an oven bag, so it stayed nice and juicy. we kept it simple, mom rubbed some olive oil on it, a little thyme and s&p, and 3 hours later, perfection. yes, my mom helped me. i have to admit, i hate messing with raw meat. and what's the deal with that turkey neck/penis anyways? ewwwwww.

we also made smashed red 'tatos, and my fave thing to do with them is throw a few baby carrots in while they boil. it adds nice color with the red skins, and sneaks some extra veggies in. troy hates cooked carrots, but doesn't mind them like this. i made some rolls, which didn't rise like they should, and corn and voila! we had our second turkey dinner of the week.

so, don't forget to check back on wednesday for the big giveaway! i'll post the prize on tuesday so you have extra time to dream about it. yeah, i'm nice like that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

fat and happy about it

happy turkey day! hope you all got stuffed on yummy food. we followed our tradition of spending the day at troy's mom's, where she makes 50 pounds of potatoes (no joke) and they all get eaten. he's from a rather large catholic family, and they all descend upon bert's farm every year. now that us "kids" have our own kids, it's a madhouse. at one point there were almost twenty little kids jumping on the trampoline!

anyways, great food. i made a spinach and strawberry salad with a poppyseed dressing, and i took over some of my (failed to set up) pepper jelly that we poured over cream cheese and devoured with crackers. there were stuffed mushrooms, there were homemade rolls, does it get any better than that?

i left early so the boys could take naps, thinking i'd get some sewing done. but alex never did fall asleep, so all i did was organize my fabric shelf. and laundry. sigh.

Monday, November 24, 2008

i've been busy!

completed this week:

strawberry freezer jams - plain, strawberry-orange, and strawberry-banana, three jars of each. i plan to give these as gifts for our neighbors, postman, and librarian. and anyone else for whom i need a last minute gift. if i get really ambitious i'll bake some bread to go with them. yum.

washcloths - the princess crown is part of a christmas gift for my niece and the pooh bear is part of a baby gift for a friend. i loved the crown, i learned how to make a bobble! and while i'm not crazy about the bear(or image cloths in general), they went with a winnie the pooh theme for their nursery, so it's appropriate.









i've also been working on aprons, scarves, quilted list takers, and ornaments and i'm making some pumpkin butter today. i'm planning a photo shoot this weekend, for my NEW etsy shop! yes, i am jumping on the etsy craze, and plan to have craftytammie.etsy.com open by the giveaway day dec. 3.

in between painting all the trim upstairs and cooking my first ever turkey. eek. why do i always do this to myself? oh yeah, because i thrive under pressure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i am so excited to say,

i'm having my first giveaway! as part of sewmamasew's giveaway day on december 3rd, i will be choosing one lucky person from my comments to receive an extra special prize, handmade by me! make sure to come talk to me that day for your chance to win!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

looking for a neat gift for me? check out these wristlets, i want one! i met katie through a fabric swap, and i am in love with her bags and scarves. so what are you waiting for?

finished!

i made this pillow for my farmer mother-in-law's birthday. i had found the pig panel thrifting, not sure what i wanted to make with it, but loving it anyways. the pillow has a tiny bit of quilting on it. i machine quilted the front panel border, and did a little decorative hand quilting on the picture. i also did some rows along the back, just to give it a little interest. the kids love it, which is what i hoped for. i'd like to see a few tussles over which grandkid gets to use the pig pillow at grandma's house! i just hope she actually liked it, because now it's sitting in her living room staring at her!

i would like to get some sewing time in this week - but we're back to home improvements, painting trim and crown moulding. my sweet husband got the new doors hung today. they look great! i think that i'll plan on staying up late a few nights, just to make some progress on gifts. only about 6 weeks left, and knowing myself, i will be scrambling to finish. i did complete a few of my swaps early, which is a relief! i have a dishcloth ready to go tomorrow. and the fun part about that is knowing i will have mail coming my way too! i love seeing what i get in fabric swaps. next year i'd like to be in a quilt blcok swap, but i am too swamped to take that on right now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

pretties

here's a look at some burpcloths i made for a friend's baby girl. i used some vintage fabric (from the square swap i was in a few months ago) and sewed them on gerber diapers. and lucky me i had a mesh gift bag left from my own daughter's birth, i think some onesies came in it, and being the packrat i am, i've saved it for four years :) anyways, it fit perfectly to wrap them up in. i love it when i find a use for something like that, i feel so vindicated!

as promised!

i have a few photos to share! i participated in a handmade for baby swap, and i got my package on saturday! all the way from australia came this adorable ensemble. she made the pants from a repurposed chenille bedspread, that she hand dyed. the super cute monkey is made from baby socks and i love that she put a z for zach on the backsack. how funny that she included a nappie from that part of the world! thanks so much minimonty!

and here is what i made for the boy baby i got in the swap, my second baby blanket. it's backed with a blue dot just a shade darker than the background of the train print. i rounded the corners and now i'm trying to decide what to send with it. a ball would be fun but then i need a bigger box to send it in! his mom crochets but doesn't knit, so maybe i will knit him something. anyways, the deadline looms, so i need to get it wrapped up today.














finally, here's a pic of the first quilted list taker i made. it was my sample, so i used some cheater fabric i'm not in love with, but it still turned out ok. just not my style. i will try to finish the three on my table right now and post them later today. much cuter, i promise!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a space of my own

wow! i finally got my craft area! it's nothing glamorous, just a coleman table set up with my iron and cutting mat, sharing space with our guest bed. i've already realized it's not too practical, since i can't have the iron on while the littles are afoot. but it sure beats running up and down the stairs every time i need to press a seam! it will be great for late night work. and of course, i still need to organize better, a lot of things are just dumped on my shelves. but i can walk into my laundry room now, hooray!

to celebrate having so much designated space to lay out work, i have already completed 2 disappearing nine patch blocks - not sure what i will do with them yet - and a quilted list taker! i am putting the finishing touches on a butterfly mobile for a gift, and then i plan to knock out a baby blanket. i feel so inspired! photos coming soon.

speaking of inspiration, sewmamasew is having handmade holidays again. i already see there are several projects i must make. fabric basket, anyone? elsewhere, these toadstool doorstops are awesome! i think i loved everything on her site, especially the ricrac flowers, so check out hannah while you're looking. also on my new faves list, happy zombie. you're welcome.

Friday, October 31, 2008

more family traditions

it used to be, in my family, that on christmas eve we would be make turkey tacos (from frozen thanksgiving meat), tamales (which we would get from our favorite mexican restaurant) and my nana would make her "guacamorle" as she says it. we'd eat tons, and play cards! hearts, crazy eights, whatever. this was something my mom and i always looked forward to all year. you had to make sure you saved enough turkey in november for the feast. here's the recipe - turkey tacos are just turkey meat rolled into a corn tortilla and fried! yummy with guacamole, and also cold out of the fridge in the middle of the night! the night always ended with us getting to open a gift. or sometimes, all the gifts!

as we got older and went away to school and married and moved around, this tradition has sadly become a memory. but one i will always remember! and just a note - target carries market pantry frozen tamales that rock! my fave are the chicken chile, but the beef are really good too!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

more swappy goodness

in the interest of keeping myself sane, i am NOT going to join this swap, but i thought i'd put it out there, in case you, dear reader, don't have three kids under age 4, a head cold, and an unfinished paint job in your living room...

check out the happy scraps swap!

falalalala!

if you're already in the holiday mood, like me, run over and join the swap at sewliberated. we don't have a lot of "traditional" traditions in our families, but i think that's what makes it special and fun. like, how my mother in law waits until a day or two before christmas and then goes out on her farm and finds the ugliest cedar tree around, cuts it down, and plunks it in her sun room. then she throws tinsel at it , hangs lights and pretties, and voila! christmas time is here! the smell of the fresh cedar is great, and with a fire in the pot belly stove, full tummies and some good beer, we have a great time.

i'll be sharing more of these unique bits of our holiday lives over the next two months, and i'd love it if you'd share too. leave me a comment, or post about it on your own blog! and don't forget to join the swap, sign ups end november 9th! and i've set a goal to make one handmade thing for each special person in my life this christmas. look for lots of links to tutorials and pics of completed stuff. i'm in the crafting zone, i tell you!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

yummy

i wanted to share my most favorite cookie recipe, just in time for holiday baking! these cinnamon crackles always come out perfect for me, and i just love the way they taste. i've found that fresh peel works better than dried, the dried seems to stay crunchy and i don't care for that. but these always have a place on my cookie trays!

Friday, October 24, 2008

gifty goodness

here's my first apple picking tote! i have another almost done, just a few more seams to go. i carried this one around while i ran errands last week, and it held up pretty well, so i am going ahead with plans to make them for christmas gifts. they are very floppy, best for groceries or, well, apples!

i also embellished a store bought tote i had on hand for my niece. a sweet squirrel holding a flower, some satin ribbon trim and her name spelled out in beaded felt. i plan to fill it with books for her gift this year. my daughter said it was beautiful, so i am hoping lyla will like it as well.

i am also about finished cleaning out the laundry room. one shelf of fabric and some notions remain. now that the upstairs is carpeted, i am moving everything back to the guest room. my plans for a craft table i found on craig's list fell through, so i am rethinking the room's design a bit. but i am so glad to have space to fold laundry again!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

baby fever

i finally finished it! the maya quilt is done. and quite cute, if i do say so myself! i can't wait to make another one. i have a nephew due in a little over a month, so my next blanket will be for him. i have a sweet doggy print picked out, along with some vintage yellow rickrack and probably a gingham binding. also on the machine right now are two apple picking totes - they are almost done and i can't wait to show them off!

speaking of babies - i just found out a good friend is expecting baby #2! yippee! for them and me, because now i get to make more baby gifts!

and finally, there are babies in need, and i want to help. do you knit or crochet? if so, consider making a cap for save the children's knit one save one campaign. i've only made one baby cap before, so hopefully i can come up with something wearable and warm. the pdf packet includes patterns for both knit and crochet. i have some beautiful yellow yarn i think will work well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

be my partner?

aargh! i missed the signups for the winter sassy apron swap! i've been meaning to check on it, and missed it by a couple of days. and of course, this one is awesome and all about cookies. grr. did anyone else miss it and want to be my partner? the swap is for a cookie themed apron, and you need to include a cookie cutter and a cookie recipe, plus any extra cookie things you'd like. let me know and we can swap addresses!

i made another batch of applesauce last night, only this time i reduced the amount of sugar and cinnamon and i'm much happier with the results. i also made an apple coffee cake, and have eaten about half of it by myself. not good, people. i was wanting to drop a couple pounds so i can fit in my winter clothes (they are all prebaby sizes, i've been knocked up for the last couple years!). between that and my new hankering for hot wings, i'll probably have to get a whole new wardrobe. maybe my new apron could cover it all up?

Shenandoah Costume GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Shenandoah Costume GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!
this costume is gorgeous. how she can bring herself to give it away, i do not know. i just hope she gives it to me (and emma)!

Monday, October 13, 2008

get it done, already

so, in an effort to once again reclaim my laundry room, i am putting out a new to-do list. up first, the oliver & s lazydays skirt. since it's so quick, i think i will try to make one for each of my nieces, in fall/winter fabric, and hopefully reduce my stash a bit. i have a lot of suiting that i think may work well for this. maybe not, the first one will tell the tale. i'd also really like to make the apple picking tote from purlbee for my mom (and myself), it looks fairly simple as well. i am just having a hard time finding two fabrics i like together in my piles. amazing, that i could have laundry basket after laundry basket and still not have anything that coordinates right.















of course, the actual item that will be tackled first is my maya quilt - it's so close to done, i'm ashamed to even still be writing about it. the poor baby is like three months old already! i ran out of thread on my very last quilting line. seriously, halfway across, my bobbin gave up and there wasn't enough on the spool to finish. so i picked up thread the next day and in the morning light, realized late night sewing doesn't always mean the straightest seams. so i ripped out half of them, and haven't had a chance (or made myself) tackle it again. i used a straightedge and a marking pen, so i'm not sure why i was so crooked. better luck next time (tonight?)

Friday, October 10, 2008

juicy bits and pretty things

are you still visiting me, even though my craftiness has dwindled to a halt lately? if so, thanks. i promise to do better in the future. for now though, let me share this great site that's new to me! juicy bits has a wonderful tutorial on making felt crowns. which i had wanted to make for the party last weekend. i didn't care for any of the felt colors they had at walmart, but now that i've found this tute, i have to try to make it, it's too darling! tomorrow i am going to be in lawrence, alone! and i'm going to hit all of the stores i never get to, like hancock's and hobby lobby and michael's! so cross your fingers i find some beautiful felt to make christmas gifts with.

and craftsbury kids is having another giveaway, which i can't help but try to win. check out littleida for more information about all of the fabulous stuff they're giving to one lucky winner!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

baker in training

last night i started on my cakes for this weekend. we have a party to attend saturday, and then our own party on sunday. i was planning a sheet cake for sat and some kind of tiered round and cupcakes for sunday.

but my daughter really wanted to help me make the cakes. and after she recited an entire scene from strawberry shortcake where s.s. meets angel cake for the first time and they work together on a cake for apple dumpling... can you see where this is going? so i let her help me after her brothers went to bed.

and it was so much fun! we haven't done anything like that in awhile. i've tried. but with both of the older kids together, they always start to fight and the "supposedly" enjoyable experience becomes a big headache. but she and i, one on one, was a blast. she cracked the eggs (about as well as i do) and she pretended to read the recipe ("we need 4 cups of milk and 4 eggs") and she informed me that making chocolate cupcakes was hard work. she wore her little apron and stayed up late helping me work. i always pictured that we would have three girls, and this is exactly why i wanted that. what a doll.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

party prep!

no time for sewing this week - i have birthday cakes to make! if you've never seen my cakes before, you can check them out here. this should be an interesting project. i haven't decorated any cakes since our youngest started walking and getting into everything! he turned one today, happy birthday zach!

so here's the plan. my daughter said she wants pink frosting and white frosting with a heart on top (have you seen cinderella 3? she has) and cupcakes and sprinkles too. cousin lyla loves girly, and zach won't care, food is food. i'm planning a tiered pink and white cake for the girls, and some kind of blue smash cake for zach to tear into. maybe a princess crown on top of the cake? or just flowers everywhere? i do know that i need to get busy, i have a lot of cake to bake tomorrow! chocolate fudge cake with cookies and cream filling and buttercream icing, with ice cream on the side, of course. luckily, the menu is pizza, and salad bar, so i don't have to worry about cooking too.

i'm not sure what i'll do about decorating. my sis-in-law got a pinata, that should be a lot of fun! i really hope the weather is nice so all ten kids can be outside. i want to draw a huge chalk maze on the sidewalk and driveway, and do bubbles and all that stuff.

i did make some fabulous applesauce with all the apples my MIL brought us. i filled up the crockpot and got two jars to give as gifts and a big bowl for us to enjoy! and as a bonus, the house smelled delicious too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

cool site

if you've never heard of craftsbury kids, it's a great place to find gifts for the kids in your life. tons of adorable, handmade, one of a kind toys, dolls, and other stuff too! to learn more about the artists who contribute to their site, check it out here. i get their emails, which let me know about new items or sales going on. thought i'd share, as they are giving away a ton of loot!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarsaparilla Skirt & Vest GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Sarsaparilla Skirt & Vest GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

this is way too cute. i can see emma jane riding around the living room on her stick pony already, i hope i win!

tag, you're it!

in case you've been wondering what that little bar is on the right - i've been playing tag! dish rag tag, that is. this is the 2nd year (my first) and it was a lot of fun. 300 people all over the country compete with each other to knit a pattern and ship it, yarn, and goodies to the next on their team. whoever gets it back to the start first wins! there are lots of prizes for other things, like most battered box or most stuff crammed inside. my team is looking like we may come in 4th! the pattern will be posted once the race ends, so be sure to check out her site. the cloth was a nice pattern and easy to knit, but not boring. i know that i will play again next year.

sassy apron

this is the apron i got in the fall swap. i love the bias trim, and the tiny floral fabric. it's a different style, i don't have one like it, so it's a perfect addition to my (ever growing) collection! thanks!

flirty apron

this cute apron came a few weeks ago, and i love it! i may have to make one like this, it's very flattering on. she also sent matching hot pads - that look like pies! they have lattice tops with the apple print underneath. i am so copying her idea!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

it's all her fault

i have been cleaning like crazy - i have another pile of things for charity and a few bags of trash. when did i become such a pack rat? tonight i went through an entire crate of paper scraps. like, card stock, and note cards i stamped, and all of the cards from our wedding, and photos from grade school. i plan to scan them in and post them on facebook. in one of our class photos, my bff in grade school, jennifer davenport, has on a mork tee-shirt! too funny!

anyways, what does that have to do with craftiness? i suppose it's that for years (and years), i've burdened myself with all of this stuff. feeling like it's my responsibility somehow to reuse and appreciate every little bit of ephemera i come across. but no more! i am decluttering. i also realized how much of this ridiculousness comes from my mom. i found a newspaper clipping, of my horoscope on the day i was born...pinned to a scrap of gift wrap, which i assume was a baby gift. my mom wants every thing to be a celebration. everything has special significance and any event is a reason to surprise someone. so blame her for the piles of stuff in our home.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

show and tell

first - the apron i made for the flirty apron swap. i made it with the duet pattern. it was easy and cute - although sewing those busy patterns was hard on my eyes! does that mean i'm getting old?



second - an apron i made for emma - i love it! she looks so cute in it!

and finally - a squirrel applique from the long thread. so fun and quick! i put one on a tee for emma, and another on a tote bag. i can see making more of these, i'd love an owl. and a bunny. and a cat. and a dog. and a horse...

Friday, September 12, 2008

looky!

first, some polka dot loveliness that i received in the square swap. there are so many cute fabrics, these are just a few, i can't wait to start playing with them. it was a great swap, thanks katie for hosting it! i may start one of my own, anybody interested?



second, photos of my sassy apron. i started out with the lorelai pattern in "a is for apron" but i kept messing with it. the theme was fall, and she liked red, so i decided on the cream/red/brown combo. it reminds me of gingerbread men. i made a patchwork hot mat and sent some recipe cards, including sour cream apple pie.

















finally, work on the maya quilt progresses, slowly... i am ready to applique on the dots, but i am stumped about how to quilt it. squares? diamonds? do i quilt through the dots or go around them? i've never "quilted" before so i am nervous and looking for a simple, pretty way to finish it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

take a break

i guess, for now, i am on vacation? i hope to get back to my craftiness soon, but they just put in our new carpet and now i need to put our house back together! i also have some painting to finish up. see you soon!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

so far behind!

i know, i know. i've missed you too! we're just super busy around here with the house - new carpet is coming next week, and i tiled the bathroom and entry hall. so soon i will have pictures of our new home. meanwhile, i have been hard at work on my dishcloth for dishrag tag - the sequel. i got the box yesterday and mailed it off today! it's a cute pattern too, with a seed stitch border. but i can't share it yet! it will be posted at yarnmiracle when the race is over. go team!

i am also anxiously awaiting my vintage sheet swap package. i found some great fabrics, i can't wait to see what i get in return! 200 6 inch squares should be coming soon, maybe i will finally get around to making that quilt.

finally, i have been working on my craft space. i am making a curtain to hide my thread and notions drawers from tiny toddler fingers. i unpacked a lot of my stash into piles sorted by color and pattern. i am loving the idea of a polka dot/gingham quilt. i've started thinking about christmas gifts too, so i need to get some kind of a game plan.

i need to post about my apron swaps too, but i don't have photos to share yet. please bear with me!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

deep thoughts?

i miss my sewing machine! i have had zero time to play, what with painting and obsessing over carpet colors. i am working on a scalloped baby blanket(BTR) for a friend's new baby. it is sewn, awaiting only the topstitching and some polka dot appliques. i am hoping to work on it friday evening. i am in love with it, even if my machine and i had a few battles during it's construction. i also made a tote bag for emma, the perfect size for a coloring book and crayons.

my biggest challenge lately is that if i can't make something that is completely fabulous, i don't feel like i should. there's enough crap in the world already, you know? do we need another stuffed animal? another pillow? i personally have too many bags - should i be making myself another? now, clothes, of course, are different. i always need new clothes! anyways, i have been considering that more as i think of projects. (don't make fun of me next week when i show off something frivolous, i'm just having a moment!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

more skirts

here's a look at the other skirt i made her. the skirt is actually pink, but she wanted to wear the purple shirt. she has very definite ideas about her wardrobe, let me tell you. it's cute too, but the upper band puckers around her hips. maybe it's too long? oh well, it's finished. onward!

twirly girl

well, the twirly skirt couldn't be easier to make. i think i should have made the bow out of the fabric, the ribbon is a bit too cutesy. i also think i mismeasured somewhere, the band at the bottom should be longer. it's almost too short, and it rides up in the rear. emma loves it though!

my favorite thing about this skirt was that there are only two seams that are'nt finished, the side seams, and i pinked those. so it should wash up without becoming a big mess of threads. if i make it again - probably - i will add a little extra in width in order to enclose those seams as well.

stash busting!

yay! i oiled my machine and it's running like a dream now! i finished a skirt for emma, using the tute at grand revival designs. the shame - i actually started this skirt for easter, but realized it would be too big for her to wear and set it aside. anyways, now it's done and fits her and she can wear it to preschool. i also cut out a dress i've been planning to make for her all summer, only i'm changing the fabrics to make it more fall-appropriate. new look 6796. and finally i cut out material for a twirly skirt, using the last of this floral that i've made an apron and lined a bag with. hooray!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

sewing woes

i am dying to sew. only, my machine is acting all sorts of goofy, i can't get the tension right and the bobbin thread is snarly. i believe that my brother would like some oil. only i don't seem to have any, and i'm not up to a trip to walmart with the three munchkins today. i do have another machine, an old sears/kenmore that i haven't used in years. i'm sure it could use some oil as well. i wonder if i could use the oil that came with my hair clippers?

i got some of my i-spy squares yesterday, fun animal prints and even a crocodile, my son's favorite! and i am excited to see what else is on the way. i also found some great vintage pillowcases at the thrift store. i am planning my apron for the sassy swap, i'm thinking red and cream ticking. it's supposed to be a more durable apron this time around, think holiday baking and all. so i'm planning the ticking with red gingham ties, maybe some embroidery or an apple pocket. hmm. and surprise, i'm using the same apron pattern! shocking, i know. didn't see that one coming.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

contentment

only thirty more squares to cut and i'll be mailing them out tomorrow!

now i have a bunch of cut up soft sheets that need to be made into something else. pajama pants, anyone? one of these days.

i'm not sure why i never realized this before, but i've been adding all of my favorite sites to my yahoo page. duh. the whole reason i started this blog was to group all the blogs i like in one place, but this is nice too. i can see at a glance if there's new content and since i check my email several times a day - that's how my hubs and i communicate while he's at work - i can keep up even better now! so if (like me) you're a few years behind the times, go check it out. another favorite thing is pandora (free internet radio) - troy got us a fm transmitter and we broadcast whatever we want to listen to through our stereo. isn't life great?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

go, me!

today i decided to spend the day in the kitchen. we've had generous neighbors and family delivering loads of produce. why plant a garden ourselves? i made two loaves of zucchini-pineapple bread, shredded and froze another 6 cups of zucchini for future baking, froze tomatoes, made refrigerator pickles, and made bierocks (or cabbage biscuits, as my husband's family calls them) my mother-in-law makes the yummiest cabbage biscuits. we request them all the time. homemade bread with beef and cabbage and cheese inside. but she doesn't use a recipe, she's just been doing it so long it's a habit. she tried to tell me how once, and mine came out awful. but we had this head of cabbage his uncle slick had given us from his garden.

so i found a recipe and gave it a try. they actually were pretty good for a first attempt. the bread was tasty, but i need to work on how much filling and how thin to roll the dough. they were misshapen and some of the cheese leaked out on a couple. oh, and i burnt them a bit on the bottom. i was letting them rise in the oven on 170* to speed things up and then i just increased the temp to 350* without removing them. so the preheat cooked them fast on the bottom. it made about 20, so i froze a bunch. but our house reeks. cabbage isn't the nicest smell when it's cooking.

i did get a lot of my squares cut today. i'm a third of the way done cutting squares for the sheet swap. i did some more painting and overall i am happy with how productive i was today!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

progress?

sorry for the spotty posting. we're knee deep in home improvements, so the only craftyness happening is in the form of organization. i am slowly getting the laundry room converted for my crafts. i think it's small size will help me to reduce my stash. i only have two shelves to devote to fabrics. yikes! some of it will have to stay in plastic tubs elsewhere until i reduce my stash.

i did get my i-spy squares cut for a swap i'm in. i am excited about making a quilt for my kids. i want to make them each one to keep in the car. even thought the last thing any of them need is another blanket!

today i am cutting out sheet squares for another swap. i have to cut 200! 10 each of 20 fabrics. i can't wait to see what i get in return! another quilt project in the making!

finally, i am hoping to make two baby blankets today or tomorrow. i am trying out the scalloped edge blankie from bend the rules.

Fields of Gold Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Fields of Gold Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

paint in my hair

and under my nails! i started painting this weekend, and we are ordering our carpet later this week. they did a knockdown texture on all the walls and ceilings, which turned out great. the walls were pretty wonky, so some of the seams aren't straight, but what an improvement over the tan paneling and knotty pine seams. and i'm painting all the walls and ceilings the same color so that it will help hide the flaws. they are putting in our windows today!

i also painted the laundry room shelves and walls, and now i am filling them up with my craft supplies. my goal is to use up enough of my fabric stash that it will all fit on one of the long shelves. i've decided to sacrifice my craft room upstairs in order for all three kids to each have their own room. we've been having the boys share a room, but now we're going to put the crib in the guest room instead. there's a closet up there where i can store my sewing machines.

ok, enough about home improvements! my pepper jelly looks like honey, but the pectin box said it can take 2 weeks for it to fully set. so i'm still hoping it comes out. i made another pillow for the living room. i'm in two fabric swaps right now, one for 6 inch "i-spy" squares and one for vintage sheets and fabric squares. i only have about half of what i need for that one, and i had hoped to go shopping the other day but that didn't work out so well. the kids were being unruly, so we didn't make it to the thrift store. maybe this week.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

we shall see...

well, i haven't made it very far on my to-do list. i've made some headway sorting through our junk and i've got a truckload ready to go to charity. and, as always happens when sorting through piles, i found recipes i want to try, and more unfinished projects. i did make the zucchini bread, it was wonderful and i didn't give it away. i plan to make another loaf (from the largest zucchini ever grown! seriously huge.) and i can't stop "designing" the upstairs, trying to figure out what color paint and carpet to get. exciting!! i've never got to make a room from scratch, it rocks!

so i canned some jelly instead. i had a bunch of assorted peppers, so i made a pepper jelly. green bell, yellow/green bells, jalepenos, and two italian peppers. my dad had picked them all from a friend's garden and i am hoping it turns out! every time i've tried canning, it's been a disaster in one way or another.

once, in our old house, i boiled out all of the water in my saucepot and my salsa jars exploded, what a mess. another time i made tomato sauce. it wasn't tasty. all that work and i didn't even like it. this time i tried my pressure cooker. i frightened our daughter when i released the pressure - she hates loud noises - and then when i popped the lid the water boiled up and scalded my hand. i can't believe i jumped back quickly enough to avoid burning my legs. oh, and i thought powdered pectin is what you bought to make liquid pectin with. it comes in a box like jello. but no, they are different. so will my jalepeno jelly set up correctly? we shall see.

Monday, July 21, 2008

helping hands

crafty plans this week include:

finish baby gifts for maya
make another set of cloth napkins
thrift shop for vintage sheets and fabric and cut squares
bake zucchini bread and banana bread for the sheet rock guys, who are awesome and almost finished!

i am taking our neighbor kirby with us when we go shopping, she's happy to get out of the house and i am happy to have help with the kids, it's a win-win! i told her i'd buy her lunch. but all i can think about it that i'll be able to actually shop! if i find anything good i'll let you know :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

ta-da!

this is starting to get boring. i need a new pattern! this apron is so darn comfortable though. i was thinking of altering it into a sundress, what do you think? you never see halters with a neck like that, do you? but it's really easy for me to wear. the kind that tie behind the neck always gap across my flat chest. anyways, this one has red topstitching, and guess what? i still have bias tape left over. two aprons, baby bibs, and it's still going strong!

and i made some cloth napkins, they were super easy. the prints are a little country for me, but they should hide stains well. troy took the kids for a few hours today, so i was able to get in some sewing time. although i did spend a chunk of it with the couch and the tv.


and really, how much can i get accomplished when my fabrics are all packed up and stored in the garage while we finish sheet rocking the upstairs? the end is in sight, i should be able to paint and set up my new craft area in the next few weeks!

Friday, July 18, 2008

crossing my fingers

there's a beautiful quilt giveaway going on - check out the link on the right! and get out your video cameras! the contest ends soon, so run on over.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

soaps and dreams

i think i found the soap molds i want! look at the buttons
and these patterns. and how cute are the animals?

i am only dreaming at this point. i have so many unfinished projects! i won't make the deadline for the craft fair entry this year. maybe next year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

procrastination...

a reusable swiffer cloth - knit from scraps! here's another style - sources say, this one is better. you better believe i'll be making one of these. i cringe every time i have to buy swiffer cloths!

a great idea for organizing your dp knitting needles found here.

a tute for a sewing machine mat with attached pincushion - what a nice way to disguise my ugly sewing table! i think i will make one of these.

and recently i saw the prettiest soap molds on another craft blog - but i cannot remember which one! she had just gotten them, kind of a round filigree if i remember correctly. i am dying to find them, i want to make gift bundles with knit washcloths and pretty soaps. any ideas?

Monday, July 14, 2008

my crafty to-do list:

sew two pillows for the living room - finished!
sew the kids pillows for the van
finish the hem on my tunic
finish the ties and pocket on my apron
finish emma's skirt
sew 4 napkins for swap - finished!
sew my swap apron - finished!
sew baby bibs and burp rags for baby gifts
cut squares for sheet swap!

whew. i'd better get started!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

another project to tackle

i am dying to make a recycled jeans bag for our daughter. the tute looks super easy, and i have a special pair of jeans that i had when my hubs and i met, with a long story behind them. ok, you've been warned. long, boring story.

i got a pair of calvin klein jeans my junior year of college. i wore them every day. they were my most favorite pair, ever. then troy and i got in a bad wreck in his truck back in 1996. i wasn't wearing a seat belt. i crashed into the dash and windshield, and hurt my face and leg pretty good. after i regained consciousness in the ambulance, they were asking me where i hurt and i said my leg. so they whipped out some scissors and started to cut my beloved jeans! i protested but got overruled. (we were both ok, just banged up, which was a miracle)

but my jeans now had a rip right up the side seam. i managed to cover the repaired seam with some ribbon - i was cool way before they sold them that way - and i still wore them every day. then a few years later, i cut them off to make them capris. and finally, they were out of style - the waist was too high - but i still hung on to them. they remind me of so much about my life then. how in love troy and i were when we met, and who we were back then. but most of, they remind me how skinny i was! heeeheee.















so that's the scoop, shovel. the flower fabric is going to be the lining, and i'm thinking of some appliqued flowers and maybe felt letters to spell her name, emma jane, across the front. yay, so excited!

more dishcloth patterns

first, a find from the thrift store! i adore old sewing notions. someday i will have a craft space where i can display and use them. i found this hem marker my last trip. so great.
i want to get my napkins done. my partner had absolutely no preference on color, so now i am confused about what i should make. i think i'll play it safe with white or cream, and maybe do some decorative stitching on one hem. i don't want to spend the time on bias trim without an idea of what their decor is, and choosing a patterned fabric is hard too. i may make some cool napkin rings. you use a tube of fabric and stitch d-rings to one end. voila, little napkin belts!










































i finished knitting a washcloth yesterday, the pattern is really cute diamonds but i had a hard time remembering which line i was on. it was from a book i read a few years ago, but i can't remember the title. the other stitch patterns are the kitchen cotton and raised box stitch. the striped is a combo of a bunch of leftover yarn, the orange is a diagonal checks, and i think the cookie jar is adorable. i found a pattern for a sewing machine cloth, and i may try that soon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

stormy feelings



we had a storm roll through tonight, strong winds and hail. we lost a few tree branches, but no major damage. it made me think about the people who have lost so much recently. photos, family recipes - those are the things that would hurt the most over time. i mean, i'd love a new wardrobe and furniture! but to lose the old wooden bowl my great gramma mixed her biscuits in would make me sad.

i did get my aprons sent off last week to lucy's apron angels. i hope that those little aprons, just bits of fabric and thread, will help heal some that are hurting. i sent the pink polka dot, with a knit dishcloth tucked in the pocket. i also sent one from my always growing collection, a very cute apron with a matching potholder. plus a note for each, with a recipe card for my favorite pasta salad. we love this so much we made tons of it to serve at our wedding! it's from taste of home magazine.

sweet-sour pasta salad:

1 16 oz. pkg. tri-color spiral pasta
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 red or green pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

dressing:

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar
1 Tbsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. salt(optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder

cook pasta according to the package; drain and rinse with cold water. place in a large serving bowl. add. the onion, tomato, cucumber, peppers, and parsley; set aside. in a saucepan, combine the dressing ingredients. cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. pour over salad and toss to coat. cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. eat entire bowl by yourself.

Monday, June 30, 2008

bringing sexy back


i think i will take a vacation from crafting this week. i laid ceramic tile in our kitchen yesterday, for nine hours straight, and my body hates me for it! the plus side is that it looks good, and puts us one step closer to completion after a year and a half of constant work. i should be able to finish the floor by the end of the holiday weekend. yay!

i am gearing up to make myself a couple of new nightgowns. don't worry, i won't be posting any boudoir portraits of myself - not on this site anyways! (just kidding!) i have this pretty cotton nightie i got when i was pregnant with my first. it was on the clearance rack at target for almost nothing, and it was a size xl. which, being pregnant, meant it was only too big in top. (and let's just be honest here - it would be too big in the top if it were a medium!) i wore this nightie through the second and third pregnancy too, and i am actually wearing it right now! it's way too big, the straps don't stay up and it's getting pretty ratty. i originally planned to take it up somehow, but it has smocking and embroidery and never seemed worth the effort.

so, as part of my "make me over, i'm a mom" campaign (which includes mandatory pedicures and buying clothes that aren't track suits), i need to upgrade my sleepwear. i found a few thin cottons in my stash that will be perfect for replacements. i am going to attempt to make a pattern from this one and modify it to fit me and my small boobies. and once i recover from the abuse i put my body through yesterday, i might be able to push the foot pedal on the sewing machine! owww. i didn't even know i had muscles in some of the places i hurt.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

our little princess



















i made this tutu during naptime today. i bought the spools of tulle ages ago, and this was the trial run before i make one for a gift. it's a success! i would have liked to add more tulle or maybe ribbons to it. the waist band is only just covered, a few more would be nicer and mean that you can't see the elastic. our daughter declared "i look george-ous!" which makes it so worth it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

bias bliss

i think for the summer napkin swap i will be using this tutorial. it seems like all i can think about now is using homemade bias tape on everything! i have some great black and white mini dot fabric to use. this time i will try this method, also in bend the rules sewing, where you stitch a tube and then cut your tape? it just seems to take me a long time to get mine made, so if this hurries the process that would be great!

i'm trying to plan out what i want to tackle next. my next project should be folding and taking stock of my stash. i'm not sure where i'll be storing it, though, so that makes it hard to get organized. excuses, i know! so for tonight, i will relax and bake an apple pie, and call it a day with some knitting. see you later!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

lazy days

how sad is it that i need to have a swap deadline to motivate me to work on a project? i've spent too much time today reading a celebrity magazine my MIL gave me yesterday! of course, i had already cleaned the house and van out before i began lounging, but still. i could be creating!



















i did my first quilting project this weekend. i had some baby bibs cut out and ready to sew, and thought, hmm, why not give it a whirl? so i did. i just started stitching around in a swirly pattern. i'm sure i did it completely wrong! but after washing and drying it, i like the texture it gives. there's a great how-to here. i'm not crazy about how the free-form quilting looks on the sports print, but i love it on the stripes!



















i didn't get the tutu made, but when we got to the party the birthday girl was already wearing one! so i was ok with it. it would have been a bit awkward had i showed up with my version, you know? but i have another one year old party next month, and i think i will try to make one for her. i have some pink and lavender tulle spools and the elastic just waiting to become a frothy party skirt!

Friday, June 20, 2008

i see stars



































yay! here's my apron for the independence swap (only 5 days late, how pathetic!) another two-tone apron, this time i chose to use matching thread for the topstitching because as i mentioned, she asked for no holiday. if i were making this for me, i would have used a third fabric, a flag print with matching stars. and probably red thread. but i think it's pretty cool and would work, if not all year, at christmas too. what do you think? i sent it along with a handmade card using red paper and the star fabric, some flag print paper plates, red napkins, and "fireworks" skewers.

i decided to send the pink polka dot to the tornado relief project going on in missouri. lucy's apron angels. i think it's a sweet concept, sending a handmade apron to women who have lost homes or property in a storm. she said the community was meeting their needs for clothing, etc., and this is just a gesture of support, woman to woman. and i know how happy i am when i get an apron in the mail, so i want to spread the apron love around! if you're interested, let lucy know!

i am so proud of myself for the way all of these aprons have turned out! i finished all of the seams with what i believe is called a french seam, so the rough edges are enclosed? or in the state fair apron, i used bias tape to cover the inside seams. they have a much nicer finish to them, and now if i could just get my stitching even and straight, i think my projects would look really professional. i keep blaming my machine, but it's probably just lack of practice.

chosen

so jc picked the state fair apron, and it will be on it's way today! what a relief to keep crossing things off of my list. at naptime today i should be able to complete the independence apron, a cute navy blue & star print two-tone apron. she was pretty specific in her request - no holiday (?) and no country. hmm. i hope this one will be modern enough to fit the bill, and i am trying to minimize the red so that it can be worn all year instead of just july. it does have red dots around the stars, but they're tiny and don't stand out too much.

i am also hoping to get started on the tutu for tomorrow's party. i've never made one, but it looks pretty simple. i have a gift to give her in case i don't get finished, tying all of those knots could be time consuming! knowing me, i'll probably be finishing it on the drive to kc tomorrow! i did find my washcloth stash, so that's another thing off of my list. phew!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

decisions, decisions

i decided to let my swap partner choose her apron, either the blue branch print (that is awaiting it's pocket and ties), the polka dot two-tone apron, or the red fair print (in the next post, scroll down). that's sort of fun for me, to see which one she likes best! so have fun "shopping", jc!




















this blue branch print has light green ties and pocket, and white bias trim. the green leaves have a red outline, white branches, and the grey-blue background has tiny specks in it. the photo's not very good (do i say that a lot? i need to improve my skills!) so it's hard to see.























i love the pink polka dots and i used bright pink thread for all the topstitching, which is really cute too. i made it using a fabulous video/tutorial on bernina's new site, the sewing republic. the author of the tute is handmade kate, her site is great, you should visit! there are other project ideas at the sewing republic, and they have added more each time i visit. cool stuff.

i am going to get all of the navy bias tape cut out tonight for my final apron of the week. it's going to be really cute, but my husband has asked me to lay off the sewing machine for the evening. he's trying to sleep and the noise was keeping him up. i'm actually the only one awake, which is prime crafting time for me, but he's just exhausted so i'll call it a night, and do some knitting while i watch a mighty heart.

i cannot wait to have a space to myself when we get our remodeling done! the dining table is just not working out! i have to work in short spurts of time, but i can't leave my things out because of our babies. we have a three year old, a two year old, and a soon to be nine month old. they all are very interested in the sewing machine. even the baby has crawled over and "helped" me by pushing on the foot pedal while i was sewing! luckily, no damage was done! so half of my time is spent dragging my supplies out of the laundry room. we should be done with the upstairs by the end of the summer, and i am so excited!

getting there...




















state fair print (with pies, watermelons, popcorn, pickles, root beer, etc...), red & cream ticking, and red speckled bias trim & pocket. i love it! i haven't decided which swap this one is going to yet. i am afraid it's not picnic-y enough for the independence day swap, and i have another one i think i like better for abby's summer swap. back to the sewing machine, more to share later!

Monday, June 16, 2008

coffee break

i am running so far behind! i had hoped to mail my summer apron swap today, but i am still working on it! i have the pocket and ties to finish. i have changed my mind three times! on my independence day apron (due yesterday, people!). i have three, partially finished aprons and i can't decide which one she'd like best! one is a state fair print, more of a bbq theme, and the other two have stars and flags. i made a gazillion yards of red bias trim, but it only looks good with one of them, and i'm digging through my stash to find something suitable. i decided that i will sleep on it, and pick one in the morning to complete. i'm getting nowhere tonight! the kids have been crazy, i think we're fighting a flu bug and i'm hoping they are feeling more like themselves tomorrow.

of course, i also have a billion other irons in the fire... i want to make a tulle tutu for my husband's goddaughter, her first birthday is this weekend. i promised two crayon rolls for a friend's children, i have to make those tomorrow! and we have a wedding reception to attend saturday, and i wanted to wrap some dishcloths with their gift. only, i can't find the stash of completed cloths that is hiding somewhere! aack! back to work!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

here it is!




















i finally finished my sassy apron. it's a week late, and i feel terrible about that, but i am so happy with it! she asked for a full, pink and brown or cupcake apron, and i just found myself intimidated about sewing for this person! (she's the sponsor for another apron swap i partcipate in) anyways, i wanted to make something really fantastic, but i kept changing my mind on what to do.










i made my own bias tape, a first for me. i did it by hand, but i do have a tape maker i need to figure out. i can see how making your own tapes could get addicting! i am looking at fabrics differently now. i also appliqued a cupcake to the pocket, and i left the edges raw so they would fray a bit. and i dyed a flour sack towel fucshia and appliqued more cupcakes onto it. i also knit her a matching dishcloth.


















do you ever dye your clothes? i love to play with it from time to time, and i always dye whites or creams that are dingy and not cute on their own anymore. it doesn't always work, sometimes it's splotchy, but i figure, you're not out anything but a dingy shirt! so i had an adorable cotton eyelet gap dress of my daughter's, but it was a faded pink. i threw that in along with a cream cotton cardigan of hers, and the towel, and they came out the most beautiful color! here's a tip, when you're dying a shirt, throw in a pair of white socks and you'll have matching socks for your outfits. if you're into that sort of thing.





















anyways, i copied the pattern from an apron i just received in the swap, isn't it darling? it's perfect for summer, lightweight and so cute. and get this, it's the first apron she's ever made. unbelieveable. thank you so much, teresa!

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