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Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Little Bit of Dirty Laundry

First on the “laundry list” is Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all.  I hope by now everyone has cooked, digested, cleaned, and shopped until they dropped!  That is what Thanksgiving weekend is for, right?  Of course,  for sharing a great day with Family and having the biggest feast of the year! 

This Thanksgiving was extra-special as my oldest daughter, Lauren, came home from college to spend the holiday with us.  This is the first time she has been away and it was a few months since we have seen her.  How exciting, right?  I was on pins and needles(no pun intended being a sewing blog) as I waited the minutes ticked slowly as she came through the front door!  What is a mother to think?  Does she look more studious? Gained the Freshman 15 pounds?  Is she tired or well-rested?  Ahhhh, there she is and still looks like my Lauren! 

As she entered with her duffel bag, backpack, purse, and Ipad, there was a mesh-type bag filled with…wait, what?  Laundry?  Could it possibly be?  A flashback of a Hollywood movie with the returning college student flashed before my eyes.  Hi, Mom, yes, I ahhhh, brought home my laundry!  REALLY, REALLY.  The laundry bag was filled with dirty laundry and her bed sheets, too!  Wow.  I am one lucky Mama!

After the shock, I did notice this plain laundry bag had seen better days with the tear in it.  The distressed laundry (bag) would put any Mother wondering how their offspring could keep such a hideous sack in their dorm room!

Well, off to the sewing room. Yes, not the laundry room.  I DO have my priorities, yes I do! Winking smile

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I found some denim-like fabric and some Hawaiian fabric as contrast.  I thought the denim fabric would be sturdy and hold up to many laundry loads.  The top of the laundry bag has a drawstring to keep everything contained.   I also sewed up a matching little drawstring bag to place her detergent pods, color-catcher, and fabric softener sheets…

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Lauren’s new Laundry bag filled with clean, fresh laundry!  In case you were wondering…..yes, I succumbed and did the laundry, too.  I was well-informed that laundry is boring, time-consuming, and costs money?  Just passing that information along.  I did not know that. Smile with tongue out

To think of the tuition, dorming expenses, meal-plan, and miscellaneous costs of going away to college, Lauren has learned all about dirty laundry.  As I mentioned before I am not only a lucky Mama, but definitely one proud Mama…. My daughter IS learning things in college!  Yes, indeed!

 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fun Journals

Quick and Easy, Fast and fun, scrap-busting, and sewing tease all-in-one!  These are all great descriptive terms for this project!  With the holidays fast-approaching(really?!?)this is a great little stocking-stuffer or just because gift!

I made these 2 fabric-covered journals for my oldest daughter, who is currently away at collegeI don't know smile.  I wanted to make something for her and her roommate.  This fit the criteria for the moment.  What college student doesn’t need a journal to keep lists, keep track of homework assignments, and secretly-encrypted on the pages “Call Mom & Dad”?

How fun to personalize these journals to one’s personality and themes!

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I searched the web for some great tutorials on these and there are a bunch!  I choose this one because it is removable and a new composition book can be inserted when all the pages have been used and in the event of that a Starbuck’s Grande Latte is spilled on it!

http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2011/09/fabric-covered-composition-notebook.html

Yep, a black/white composition book and some scrap fabrics is basically all you need.  So, go ahead and make one or two(or three). 

You know you want one….

Monday, July 30, 2012

Smaller Cake Mixes? Why?

My daughter took the Wilton Course 1 class in June.  Her last class she had to bake and take an unfrosted cake with her to class.  Sierra was going to decorate the cake during that session.

Sierra and I are currently taking Wilton Course 2 which is definitely a more advanced cake decorating course, working with fondant, gum paste, and royal icing!  We will be decorating our cakes tomorrow for our final class.

Why? am I telling you all this. Hold on, I promise, you will understand…. Whether it be a Wilton class or just any day, cake baking in our household is a “thing”.  I bake lots of cake throughout the year.  Cakes are celebratory, holiday-making, and turns an ordinary day into something special.  It always has in our home.  I am very picky when it comes to cakes.  I almost  NEVER buy a cake from the bakery.  I really LOVE(and so does my family) the cakes I bake and decorate. 

Well, corporate America has done it again….. Most standard box cake mixes are 18.25 ounces of yummy goodness.   To my disappointment, cake mixes are now approximately 15 ounces.  Yes, my friends, the 3 ounces makes a huge difference.  Smaller, flatter layer cakes, sheet cakes, bundt cakes, less cupcakes, get the point?  When one bakes, you want a full to the top of your pan cake!  These  smaller cakes are now an embarrassment to your dining table or the next pot luck!

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It’s not just Betty Crocker, it’s Duncan Hines as well!

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I have been baking cakes since I was in junior high school!  I know exactly how high and fluffy my cake will bake in whatever pan I use.  It’s been done so much that I just know… Now, I don’t know!

I have over the years have been a huge follower and fan of Ann Byrnes aka “The Cake Mix Doctor”.   If you have never been a fan of baking, her recipes are SO SO easy and delicious.  Nobody ever knows its from a cake mix…..

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These recipes are all from a 18.25 ounce cake mix that I can no longer find!  There are all kinds of cakes, bars, and cupcakes that are decadent.  From a cake mix…..NOT anymore.

I found an article called the “Cake Extender” to add a certain amount of flour, sugar, eggs to make it equivalent to the 18.26 box.  Why bother?  The convenience of opening up one box and dumping it into the stand mixer are over.

Here’s the link, if interested!  http://caketrimmings.com/duncan-hines-classic-cake-mixes.html

Companies have made lots of products smaller over time and we have adjusted.  When it comes to baking, it is a science experiment.  The perfect amount of ingredients makes the cake come out just right.  Companies know that- so WHY did they change the cake boxes on me and millions of other bakers?  I would rather they have charged more money for the original size box.  I think that would be a much better compromise.

As for me, I am on the hunt for a box cake mix that is STILL 18.25 ounces.  The real bummer is missing out on all those delicious flavors.

What is this world coming to?

 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Horses Everywhere!

Strange name for a blog post is what you are probably thinking!  My family and I had the wonderful opportunity recently to visit a stable with lots of horses.   Considering we live in a residential area, this by far, was a huge treat for us.  My daughters just LOVED it.  My Mom and Dad have befriended a wonderful couple who completely love horses.  They live in a more rural area in a town called “Rio Verde”.  It is adjacent to Scottsdale, Arizona, if you are familiar with this area. 
Jo as I will call her(yes, she has an awesome name) and a loving, warm personality to boot!  Jo educated us on all things horse.  I didn’t quite understand the “horse lovers” club as I did not grow up around horses.  I did not have friends who had horses.  You see, I am completely horse-illiterate! 
Jo took us to the stables and there were lots of horses.  She told us stories about each one and I quickly could feel their unique personalities.  I was intimidated by their large, muscular bodies.  We brought lots of carrots to feed them and slowly I warmed up.  I am amazed at how beautiful they really are.  Their demeanor is very docile.  My daughters had NO fear and feed them carrots immediately.   I became in awe of these horses!  They truly are awesome.
I decided to make Jo an apron and matching oven mitt, horse-themed, of course!
The pattern is by Simplicity #2682, View C.  I purchased this fabric from Walmart!  The oven mitt is one of my favorite go-to patterns which is from this website http://youcanmakethis.com/products/featured-products/free-make-an-oven-mitt.htm
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My daughter, Sierra, modeling Jo’s apron!
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I couldn’t have a blog post about horses and not share with you some of our pictures.
This horse’s name is Sabana.  Don’t you just love that name and she surely is beautiful.  I adore her color.
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Fun was had by all!  Even the horses enjoyed our company(or maybe it was the carrots"?)  My family and I learned a lot that day.  I cannot wait to visit my new friends again.
Now Jo can never be too far from her horses, even when she is in the kitchen with her new apron and mitt!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sierra’s Desk Chair Makeover

Sierra’s Desk chair needed some loving!  I thought to purchase a new one and the fabric choices are minimal.  What is one to do?  I had some leftover fabric from another project I used in her room and decided it would work well for this chair!  I used Simplicity pattern # 5932 to assist me in my transformation.  What I love about this pattern is that it is easy and gives the look of “reupholstering”.  Not…. Little secret-it is faux.  Both pieces are encased in elastic and fit perfectly on the back and seat of the chair!!
Sierra's Desk Chair Before
Sierra's Desk Chair After
The backside of the chair with the elastic that holds it to the chair. 
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A little peek on how it all coordinates in Sierra’s bedroom!  She just LOVES it!!
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The question you all have been wondering?  Is she using her new chair to do her homework?  The answer:  Middle School=LOTS of homework, So  YES!!!
Score!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

American Girl Doll Bed and Linens!

Okay.  SO, how overdue is this post?  This was a joint effort that my Dad and I made for his granddaughter/my niece, Miss Kate, for Christmas.  Kate had a AG doll named “Lexi”, but we knew she was receiving another AG doll.  My Dad made a trundle bed so the new doll had a nice bed to sleep on, too!   Too cute!   My Dad constructed the bed and even came up with his own design-he made the pattern for it!   I love the trundle bed because he used basketweave molding and it looks like rattan/wicker and SO girly!! 
I made ALL the linens. Whew…. But I honestly had SO SO much fun sewing this all up.  The theme was brown and pink to match Kate’s room.  Once my Dad had most of the bed constructed, I took measurements from top to bottom and began my own pattern making!  I think I may have gone slightly overboard, but my niece is such a girly-girl(and so am I) so it had-to-be!  This was my first quilt and I am pleased with the way it came out. 
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All the bedding-I want my bed to look like this!  Love those little throw pillows!

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Next life I want to come back as an American Girl Doll!  I really had a lot of fun making this and it was really cool creating it with my Dad!  It was a team effort of 2 very intense hobbyists! 
Night, Night Lexi!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baking Bread and Eating it, too!

It has been quite chilly here in Arizona.  I guess because we had such a hot, long summer, someone is trying to put us in the holiday mood.  I know this kind of weather puts me in a baking mood- my family thanks me for it.
I tried this recipe I have been wanting to try-waiting for a cold day so I could put the oven on and have the house smell delightful!
After the dough rose, I braided it and then it must rise for another hour.  Isn’t she pretty?
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After the dough rose for another hour, I put an egg wash on the dough and placed some sesame seeds on the 2 loaves!  Oh, so shiny!
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After baking for only 20 minutes, the final product!
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This was a real lot of fun and SO rewarding after all the rises and baking.  There is nothing like the smell and taste of fresh, homemade bread.  Your family will LOVE you for it!  Score-now maybe I can entice my daughters to clean their rooms.  Clean room=homemade, sesame-seeded bread. I don't know smile
Everyone wins!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inspiration comes when you least expect it!

If you have a craft of any kind, I think you will agree.  Inspiration sometimes creeps upon you when you least expect it.  If you sew, you see this in any kind of fabric.  Not just bolts from the fabric store.  This is exactly what happened to me…..

I was just grocery shopping at my local Fry’s(Kroger) and they also have a home goods section.  I always puruse through there to see the new items and the lovely displays of plates and linens.  They have a shelf within there, that has their clearanced items.   I took a peek at the unwanted items and saw LOTS of blue/white placemats, trivets, and oven gloves.  I thought to myself “how boring” blue/white stripes.  I did pass it up and strolled along to the cereal aisle.   The blue/white linens, I swear, called me back!  I took a second peek and noticed the price on these linens were 25 cents to 50 cents!!  Really.  Well, I knew I had to make something with these linens.  It was a challenge and I was definitely up to it!  I grabbed a bunch and ran home, almost forgetting about unpacking my groceries.  (I did unpack them, unwillingly, SO boring)

Here is what happened in my sewing room!

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The blue/white straps on the apron and the apron pocket were cut from a placemat.  I attached the contrasting fabric to the oven mitt, placing insul-bright inside the fabric I added, so it will be well insulated.

I really like this pattern for an apron.  It is lined in the back with solid navy-blue cotton fabric.  It is a well constructed apron pattern IMO.  I think that is what I love about sewing aprons-you can make a better quality apron than you can purchase.  You can also add a little embroidery embellishment like I did on the apron pocket.  I added some coordinating fabric buttons on the neck straps, too.  Love that Open-mouthed smile

The pattern is http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m5643-products-8934.php?page_id=906&search_control=display&list=search

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I made this apron for a friend of my Mom’s and I befriended her as well!!  She loves to cook, is an artist, and has the most generous heart.  My Mom was visiting her today and will be giving this to her.  I hope she likes it!!

I am sure this will inspire some serious baking and cooking for her.  And….for me, too, with the exception of having a cute apron set to bake with!  The constant dilemma of loving to bake and also to sew…I don't know smile

 

 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmasy Pillow

Wow!  It is that time of year again.  I cannot believe it, can you?  We put up our Christmas tree, decorated the stair rail with lighted garland, decorated the kitchen pot shelves with more lighted garland, put the two little Christmas trees in the family room, etc.  Sound familiar?

When I saw this tutorial, http://www.thediydish.com/2011/11/make-bright-merry-home-decor/ I knew I had to squeeze in a little sewing time.  I did and completed my Christmas pillow!

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I love the fact that it requires little pieces of fabric, great use for scraps from previous projects !  Plus I am practicing a bit of quilting, perfect for my upcoming project. 

Now to writing those Christmas cards….Eye rolling smile

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Red

Little Red Riding Hood, that is!  My daughter chose her costume and I thought it was pretty creative being that at this age the costume selections start to get pretty edgy.  Sierra seems to always "morph” into her character.

The finished project from different angles!

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Little Red modeled for us before heading off into the forest….

 

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I have so much fun making costumes.  It’s almost as if I am the one wearing the costume.   The pattern for this is McCall’s 6187

http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m6187-products-11302.php?

My Halloween fun is definitely sewing the costume, for sure.  Just think-it’s calorie-free but full of fabric.  My kind of treat!  Ok. Ok.   I’ll admit there is always room for a butterfinger or two or three…..  Oh, the chocolate, the peanut butter flavor.   Yum. 

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