Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apron Inspiration

I haven't sewn an apron in a while. I know, right?! It was our love of aprons that first initiated this little group. Well, I am anxious to get the sewing machine out because when I saw this apron from Anthropologie, I was instantly inspired. I'm a little in love with it. Nope, A LOT in love with it.

Don't you just love the vertical ruffles on the bodice?? And the flower? Love it! Must sew now!

EDITED: Well, someone was way ahead of me and has already put together a tutorial for this apron! Lucky for us! Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I love this mother/daughter/doll apron set

This was my last pre-prego project. I wouldn't have made a custom mother/daughter apron set 5 weeks before my baby was due (energy level of a 35 year old at 35 weeks was 0%)... except it was commissioned for my sweet friend Tiffani from her mother-in-law and I teach Tiff's adorable daughter in my preschool and love that girl (and all her sass!)

but I'm glad I did and it turned out so cute. I used Cindy Taylor Oates, More Retro Aprons pattern book. This apron is really feminine and reminded me of the Funked Out Apron (which I loathe), but it was so much easier to follow and I love the end result. One nice thing about this apron is that it accentuates your bust whether you have one or not. It's so delightful and girly.

And what's the point of having a hostess apron without a little girly bling. Tiffani is the kind of girl who is always wearing cute things in her hair - so I figure this might get more use then a cute apron. It was my first attempt at rolled flowers, (Thanks Christie for the tutorial) they are easier then you think.

This is the apron I made for her 4 year old. I used the 5 ruffle SSC Anniversary Apron idea to make this one. I just had to make it a little smaller and I made the top double sided.

This is the bling I made for this apron. I blogged about this flower tutorial a long time ago and made all the flower cutouts and ironed them all with wonder under, but never assembled the flowers. I love that I had flowers ready to go in the right colors to match this apron.

I wish you could see the back of this better (all my models were at school or taking naps) but they are super long straps attached at the top and thread through loops at the sides. I got the strap idea from Cindy Taylor Oates Little Retro Aprons for Kids. The edges of my ruffles I left serged.

This one I threw in just for fun, it's made from scraps and took no time at all. The pattern I got from Cindy Taylor Oates kids apron book. I love it because it's cute and matches the daughter apron. 

What would the doll apron be without it's own little bling? I even put a pin on it so she could clip it to her dolly's hair. This project actually turned out to be a lot better then I anticipated.

It actually helped pass the time 'til this little cutie came along... Now I know what busy is.

a last minute Christmas Craft

I don't know if you remember my skeleton tutorial from Halloween, but I decided to use the basic idea and create the same type of craft for Christmas. Here is what I did:

I bought 3 cheap frames from Wal-Mart (they cost $3 each), 2 are 8x10 and one is 8x 12. The frames were black or dark brown so I bought a can of cream spray paint and went to town on them. I didn't sand them or use a primer (they are a cheapy plastic) and a few places it cracked, but it actually made them look cooler.

I also bought a pack of 10 Christmas clothes boxes for $3, using the glass for a template; I traced and cut them out. The ribbon came off a gift someone had given me. So it cost $0. I cut 4 pieces the same length and threaded them through the frames.

Don't forget to use a spacer so there is equal spacing on the ties. This is my camera battery charger (it was closest). Then I tied the ribbon in knots and cut the edges.

Here it is all assembled and hanging on my wall. Total project cost $12 - $15 

Another cool thing is the Costco photo store online has a gallery that you can buy prints from. This frame is 16x20 and I think it cost me $2.49 to print this from the gallery. It was ready for pickup the same day I ordered it. I already had this frame and I think it's fun to buy prints that fit frames you already have and switch them out for the holiday.

Here is my holiday inspired wall. I love how it turned out. I didn't get it done in time for Christmas, but it's ready to go for next year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hot Chocolate Cupcake with Peppermint Marshmallow Filling

Now that the stress of the Ward Christmas party is over I feel like I can finally get into my holiday baking. I'll save the bulk of it for next week when the kids are out of school, but I wanted to do a little bit for a family dinner we had last night. I thought about it (probably way too much) and decided I wanted to create my own little hot chocolate cupcake. Mmmmm, hot chocolate. I could drink hot chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I used a Devil's Food cake mix to keep it simple, but you can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe. The peppermint marshmallow cream is my favorite part. It gives the cupcake that perfect little peppermint zing that you get from real hot chocolate when you melt a small candy cane in it.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Marshmallow Cream Filling
Yields 24 cupcakes

1 box Devil's Food cake mix

Bake according to the instructions on the box. Allow cupcakes to cool.

Peppermint Marshmallow Cream
1 small (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream
1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 candy canes, crushed to powder
2 TBS cream or milk

Cream the marshmallow cream and cream cheese together until smooth. Put the candy canes in a heavy ziplock back and crush it to powder (or you can grind them in a food processor or blender - I'm just lazy and don't want to wash another bowl). Be sure to make it into powder, you don't want any chunks because it makes it hard to pipe into the cupcake. Add the candy cane powder and cream. Mix until nice and smooth.

Using a long piping tip and a pastry bag, pipe the filling into the cooled cupcakes. I show how to do this here.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
* adapted from allrecipes
1 1/2 packages of cream cheese (12 oz total)
1 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups of heavy whipping cream (minus the 2TBS used for the filling)

In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream with cream cheese mixture.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, making them look like the whipped cream on hot chocolate. Sprinkle some cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix on the top of the cupcakes and add a small candy cane. And enjoy!

** You can also fill the cupcakes with caramel instead of the peppermint marshmallow cream to make Caramel Hot Chocolate cupcakes. I had a few cupcakes left over and I think that is what I'm going to do!

(PS - You'll probably have left over frosting. It goes great on graham crackers or any other cake recipe. It's also yummy as a little topping on Maren's recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Cider syrup. It's my most favorite frosting recipe ever!)

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Card Holder Anyone?

Meg over at Brassy Apple created this adorable Christmas Card holder. Can you guess out of what? Embroidery hoops? Yeah. That's what I thought... but you'd be WRONG! Dollar Store burner stove covers... I know crazy right? But how clever is that. They are magnetic, makes sense. She modge podge paper over the cheesy prints they come with and strung it together with ribbon. What a fab craft to do for the holidays and so EASY. These would make great inexpensive gifts. You could make a snowman with magnets and let your kids decorate to their hearts content. She also has a clip of little news segment she was on where she shares all kinds of other ideas of what you could do with burner covers. Check out her tutorial.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I love this time of year

Ok. So this clip made me cry - but that's not hard to do at 9 moths pregnant. I'm a ticking time bomb and cry over commercials, or just no reason at all... not so happy about being a walking leaky faucet, but I do love 'good will t'wards (women &) men and the kindness that people show this time of year"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Makia Craft Night

A couple of weeks ago I won a free craft night for 10 from Makia Creations on Sugardoodle! Sweet!! I was so excited! Who better to share the craft night with than my Secret Stitch sistas. Because I'm a little obsessed with all things snowmen, I chose this supercute snowman craft.

I was so surprised at how quickly I got the huge box of supplies in the mail. It felt like no time at all. When I opened the box, there were all the supplies, neatly wrapped and packaged. It was awesome! We had everything we needed to complete the craft.

The wood snowman pieces are in the wrapped paper. Underneath that is a bag containing cute paper and wood button and nose pieces. The individual bottles of mod podge, stain, super glue and a paint brush are in the little plastic bag up top. All the supplies were already sorted, packaged and ready to create! It was the easiest craft night ever!
I live in a town house, so it was pretty tight fit. But I think we're used to that by now. :)
The girls painting, mod podging and glueing away.
Nikki, in the green, is the craft queen. She was our go-to girl for all things mod podge. (I have such a hard time with that stuff! It always bubbles. Maybe I just need more practice.)
Below are the finished products. I love how everyone of them was different in their own way.
Thanks so much, Makia Creations, for providing us an awesome, stress-free craft night!

Check out all the other sweet crafts they have available here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

make your own elf

If your wanting to do your own Santa's elf on a shelf - here is a great site Pink and Green Momma if you want to make your own. She makes these adorable ornaments out of wood beads, pine cones, and pipe cleaners. I think I'm going to have to make a few of these for my tree this year with my daughter and son. They will love these, or we can skip the tree and let them hang around the dining room chandelier.

Thanks for sharing such a great idea MaryLea.

Spool Garland - how festive is your tree?

I found this the other day at Joann's - it's like their holiday mascot. He is so cute and at 60% off it feels almost criminal to leave him there. So in the spirit of sewing and holidays...

I saw this spool garland at Nutmeg Designs. How cute is that? It marries two of my favorite things holidays & sewing. Actually my kids have individual trees in each of their rooms and I was thinking how much fun this garland would be to make with my 8 year old. Her tree is pink - so really these colors are perfect.

It looks so easy - I just have to figure out where to get the wooden spools now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keep Calm rosette frame tutorial

I think I'm a bit late jumping on the Keep Calm train, but I just kind of noticed all the cute variations out there on the "Keep Calm and Carry On" saying. I thought it'd be a cute gift for my crafty friends to create a "Keep Calm and Sew On" print. Then I thought it'd be even cuter to put in it a frame with a cute flowery touch. Below is a little tutorial on how to create this simple, cute, inexpensive frame for a gift or to add a little decor to your sewing room.

First of all, here are the prints you can use. Just click on the print, it should come up in a new window, and then right click on the picture and save to your computer. Then you can print out in any size you want (up to 5x7 with no resolution issues) or get it printed at Costco or other printing place.

I thought it'd be fun to add a little Christmasy one, since we finally made it to the most wonderful time of the year! Just click on it, it'll come up in a new window, then right click to save to your computer.

Now on to the tutorial. Find your frames. I purchased these $1 frames from Michael's. They hold a 4x6 print. Paint them whatever color you want. Let dry.Rough them up a bit, if you'd like. These frames are really light, so you can't really see the roughing up I gave them. But it's there, I promise. If you want to distress them with ink or paint to further emphasize the roughing you gave them, go right on ahead.

All ready for embellishing.

Now for the rosette. Collect strips of fabric or ribbon and other embellishments like buttons, pearls, jewels, etc. Start by tying the end of the fabric in a knot.
Hot glue the knot to the frame where you want the center of your flower to be.
Then start twisting your fabric and circle around the knot and glue the fabric to frame as you go. Twist and glue, twist and glue.
Twist and glue until you get your desired flower.
Create other flowers and bling them up with jewels, buttons and pearls. Go even further with some tulle or other silk flowers. There's no limit to your creativity!

Here's another one I did where I added some tulle. Just bunch tulle up and glue it on before you add the rosette, or shove it in wherever you want and glue down. I love how just the smallest addition of tulle gives it a little more umph.

To make a bow to hang your frame, hot glue strips of fabric, tulle or ribbon to the back. Let dry and tie in a bow or knot. Hang your frame!
Or, if you prefer, prop it up!

So there ya go! Super easy, super inexpensive, super cute (at least I think so). Go ahead, make some for your own crafty friends. (SSC sistas, sorry to spoil your Christmas gift. :))

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I saw the tutorial for a super easy ornament wreath on Eddie Ross last year that I knew I wanted to make it for this year. I grabbed some pretty ornaments on clearance after last Christmas and saved them. It turned out to not be enough, so I picked up some large jingle bells from Michaels. I had some plastic ornaments on-hand, but they didn't really work. They kept getting stuck and the ornaments wouldn't lay quite right. It was super easy and turned out just like I was hoping! I love it...lots. Here are a few tips I have, in case you want to make your own:

1. Use glass balls. The plastic ones break off, even if you glue them.
2. Definitely hot glue the top on or they will fall off. I learned the hard way.
3. Buy more ornaments than you think you need. The more the better, in my opinion.
4. The wreath gets pretty heavy, so be sure to have a wreath hook to hang it on.
5. Find the large jingle bells if you can. It makes a fun little jingle every time you open the door.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Santa's Elf of the Shelf

I wanted to start a new tradition this year and read up on a few people remember as kids (the internet is full of them), I heard one on the radio a few years back about elves that doorbell-ditch and leave Christmas jammies, which has become one of our favorite traditions... lots of squealing and running (my kids). 

This year I was reading about nostalgic adults that had versions of the same tradition where an elf sat on shelf and reported the kids behavior to Santa, what a cute idea. A few weeks later in the bookstore I found a mass produced version of this holiday tradition. I didn't really care for the book, the dollar store looking cheaply made elf, or the price tag... so I decided to come up with my own story and elf.

I considered making my own elf, until I saw these at Marshall's, They are elves made by Annalee Dolls. They are adorable and completely bendable. I think I picked up a 9' elf for $14. The faces are fabric and painted on, I think they look impish and like Whoville people from the Grinch. 

Anyway, next I came up with a poem to read to my kids and begin our new tradition. I would love to share it with you as well - if you want to start this fun tradition too, please feel free to us it.

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