Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Handmade for Clark

I have to share more of Rebecca's handiwork by posting this adorable ensemble she sewed for Clark.  We love it!  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fruit Juice "Jell-O"

Did you know that you can make jell-o out of fruit juices? It is a healthier dessert or snack for kids and adults. I bet kids would love them cut into cute, festive shapes and in a variety of colors.

The recipe is simple: 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin to 1 cup of juice. For example, in the recipe bellow I used 4 cups of White Grape Peach juice and 4 envelopes of gelatin and it fit in an 8"x8" pan.

Mix 4 envelopes of gelatin and about 1 cup of the juice in a bowl and set aside. Heat the remaining 3 cups of juice on the stove until it just begins to boil. At that point, pour the hot juice over the gelatin mixture and stir until all gelatin is dissolved. Pour into an 8"x8" pan and chill for 3 hours or until firm.
For perfect shapes, dip the pan in hot water for a moment or two then turn it onto a solid coolish surface like a granite counter top or glass cutting board. Cut into shapes and serve cold.
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Monday, January 31, 2011

Handmade for Clara

Rebecca sewed an outfit for Clara when I was pregnant. Clara wore the outfit for the first time today and it is absolutely adorable. There's nothing like hand-sewn clothes. I took some pictures in the lovely winter afternoon sun that flooded our living room today both to show off the cute baby (about the only "creative" thing I've had time for lately) and to celebrate Rebecca's handiwork.

Thank you so much, Becca. It's good to have friends like you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Peace, Love, Joy & A Crappy Quilt

For all of my good intentions, I did manage to do 2 of my many ideas for Christmas projects this year. The pillows were all made from toweling from the French General Lumiere de Noel line by Moda. I embroidered the words on with my Janome embroidery skills.

What was not so skillful is the quilt. It was fun designing it and making the Christmas Tree squares, but if you look closely there are all kinds of mistakes. We cuddled underneath it with a cup of coco anyway. :)
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100% Italian Cotton Boxer Shorts

I am the lucky beneficiary of these beautiful fabrics.

I have a friend who works at a factory where they make dress shirts out of the finest fabrics from Italy. They are custom made and cost $200 a pop. The leftovers are usually sent to the garbage can but Jessi has been taking them home & sometimes gives them to me. They are generally small pieces, about 1/2 a yard or so. Very rarely I will get over 2 yards in one cut. This makes me really happy. And I have even more than are pictured here.

I love how they come in these perfect bundles in an array of colors!

I do have a problem knowing exactly what to do with them all. I donated a lot to making aprons and bonnets for the upcoming Trek trip for the youth. But, Adam and I have been walking around in some pretty savvy underwear! Boxers!

This is a pair I made for myself. I had a lot of fun picking neon thread and purple fabric for the tie.
These are some really comfortable threads. Any ideas on what else I can make with these???

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Diaper Bag

This pattern came from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones. I also use some of her Love fabric.

I love all the space and pockets. I use it for a temple bag.
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Adam's Winter Projects Part 2

This is a french side table. The cabriole legs were a new challenge for Adam and they turned out perfect.

Once again, the hardware can really change how a piece looks, and we both loved this lion head. It reminds us of door knockers in London and lion head soup bowls filled with French Onion soup.

Notice the decorative boarder along the drawer.
This is also made from mahogany and plans are found on the New Yankee website.
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Adam's Winter Projects Part 1

My husband Adam was busy in the garage for most of the holiday season making many things that beautified our home.

I love relaxing in a bath with a good book and so he made me this. It is quarter-sawn oak, with a danish oil and a few coats of oil urethane.

I love this dresser he made for our bedroom. It is a 7-drawer chest made of mahogany. Plans for this chest can be found on the New Yankee Workshop

I especially love the brass hardware. They really set it off nicely.

My art teacher painted this beautiful oil painting of the two of us, but Adam made the frame. Again, quarter-sawn oak, danish oil, but finished with a lacquer.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Halloween Again!

I've got a few things in queue, but until I get those organized, I need your help again with the

4th Annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest!

Every year, my husbands family battle it out with pumpkin carving prowess to see who is the most creative/funny of all. The winner gets bragging rights, which is as good as cash to them (I include myself in that statement). If you get a chance, please click on the link which brings you to the contest page on my husbands burger site. The votes will be tallied on Halloween night.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New coffee table

My husband and I made a rustic coffee table with plans found at and we LOVE it! If you do not have a miter saw, Home Depot will cut the wood for you. Then all you have to do is follow the plans and drill in the screws to put it together. While sanding we rounded some edges and put some grooves it it to make it look worn, then finished it with Early American stain and a satin clear finish. Ana's site has a lot of cool furniture plans and they are all free so check it out!

Ghastlies Reversible Place Mats

I had a little time this weekend to work on a project and so I went for these. They are incredibly easy to make and useful. So, they are a good project when you are short on time. I had been wanting to use this adorable fabric, The Ghastlies by Alexander Henrey. It came out last year, but you can still find it online in a few shops.

I made these reversible so that I could use these all year (per Adam's recommendation. He doesn't like to have a lot of stuff in a box that you only get out once a year. A good point.)

The Stuff
1 yard fabric for front or 4 fat quarters
1 yard fabric for back or 4 fat quarters
2 yards Peltex #70 by Pellon
any embelishments you like (I used Ric Rac, 1 pkg for each mat, 4 total)

The How-To:
Cut fabric for the front and back of mats 19"x14" (or 1" squared larger than you want the finished product to be).
Cut #70 into 4 pieces 18"x13"

Make sure you wash the fabric before you begin. This is important for place mats because you will almost definitely need to wash them later and the fabric will shrink and make the place mats wonky.
Place a front and back piece right sides together and sew around with a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving an 8" opening for inserting the Peltex pieces. Turn right sides out. To insert Peltex, roll up and insert, then flatten and work into corners. Sew the opening closed. Because the Peltex will roll a bit from being bound in a bolt, iron the mats with a steam iron and they flatten out in seconds.
To give the finishing touch, sew a 1/4" seam allowance around the mats. If you are using Ric Rac, attach it at this point.

this is based on a pattern from Amy Butler's In Stitches
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Christmas Cookies!

Ok - so Christmas is over but I made these cookies a while back and the technique is what is important here: Royal Icing. That is how you get those smooth, beautiful designs on cookies. It dries quite hard so the designs stay, but it is still soft enough to eat. A quick google search will bring up many recipes. Look for ones that use pasteurized egg whites vs. meringue powder, such as Alton Brown's. You can use different extracts for flavor. Also, powdered or gel food coloring is best.

Adjust the thickness of the recipe with water. Add more for an even spread such as in the solid green cookies above. Leave out water for a thicker consistency and more control for detailed work, such as the dots on the cookie on the far right. The one on the bottom with the blue dot right in the middle of the cookie had too much water in the blue icing and the dot became more of a blob.
It was really fun and easy to work with. The icing is very forgiving. I also used silver edible beads to decorate.

I think I will be making some heart-shaped cookies come February!

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Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Cookies

I made these tonight and they made my husband really happy. The recipe is very simple, only makes about 15 cookies, and is rather quick to make. It is a sort of s'more meets moon pie. I also think they would be fun to tamper with. For example, they look so mysterious its hard to tell exactly what's in there. I might try to add a dollop of peanut butter, perhaps a few drops of peppermint axtract in the chocolate, or use marshmallow cream next time.

It is also fun to do a google image search and see others' creative take on this crowd-pleasin' cookie. Recipe is from the Sept 2010 Everyday Food by Martha Stewart. And it is also below for you. :)
1/4 cup plus 2 T e/ flour, whole-wheat flour
1/4 t e/ baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon
3 T unsalted butter at room temp.
3 T light-brown sugar
1 large egg
9 large marshmallows, halved
9 oz (2 c) semisweet chocolate chopped (or choc. chips)

350 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl. in another bowl beat butter and sugar for about 4 min or until light. Add egg and beat to combine. Gradually add flour mix. Drop dough tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet 3" apart. Dip bottom of a measuring cup in flour and flatten cookies to about 2" in diameter. Bake until dry and set, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven, top each cookie with a marshmallow half and bake until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Flatten the marshmallows with a spatula. Let cool completely on sheet on cooling rack. Melt the chocolate in a deep bowl. Coat the cookie, using a fork to lift it out and tap on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place back on parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes. YUM!
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Strawberries and Cream

Inspired by Jen's recipe for berry sorbet (which is quite delicious and I have some in my freezer right now) I found this recipe for a strawberry version that uses sweetened condensed milk . . . and let me tell you this is so good. Period. I was just eating it out of the bowl before I ever put it in the freezer. I mean this is lip-smackin' strawberry heaven. So easy and is simply a must try. The recipe can be found here. And I can be found in the corner of my house, the spoon in bowl, dollop in my mouth, and crushing anyone with a mad stare who dares to feign a bite. Is that a bit strong? Just make your own and we can all be happy.

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Hand-stamped Muslin Ribbon

I finally got my ribbon in the mail yesterday from French Country 1908 and they are gorgeous! I will use them to wrap up Christmas gifts this year, and I might add the top, gown one to a dress project . . . we will see.

Looking at them in person made me think I might be able to make more myself. I did a bit of a google search and found this tutorial. There were others as well.

Now I just need to find out what type of glue she uses to attach the bling and then I'm all set to make more of my own. Any suggestions?

In the French Country 1908 shop she also makes gift bags, candles, and other goodies. You should check it out. Apparently she even has a deal with a NY shop to sell her items.
FYI, because they are being shipped from Canada they take a bit longer to get here. I got mine just over 2 weeks from when I ordered them and she quoted me 2-3 weeks.

If any of you have ideas on embellishing on this craft I'd love to hear them!
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Getting ready for baby!

My new niece is almost here!

Thanks to the infant dress pattern and the onesie idea from rebecca, I was able to make my own little dresses and onesies for baby emma. I just had to post them because they all came out so cute.

Look how cute the hearts and stitching is on this onesie that my mom did. Such a cute idea.