Sunday, February 28, 2010

Everything Tote

Heather Ross

I ADORE Heather Ross - her fabric, her tan, and her book:


There are so many practical, cute, and unintimidating patterns and projects in this book. I think it is a book that I can really see myself using every pattern that is in it. I have already made some good headway - my most recent project: the Everything Tote:

I should have taken a picture holding it so you can see how big this thing is. It is HUGE. But it is also unintruding. I thought at first it would just be used as a weekend bag, but the way it slouches as you wear it make the size hardly noticeable. It is so lightweight and easy to carry, while it carries everything :)

I made one for my sister as well that I made into a diaper bag. I added a lot more pockets and made them deeper. I also added a key ring. It was really cute, but I sent it home with her without taking pictures for you to see.

Old Pattern, New Skirt

I have really gotten a lot of use out of this skirt pattern. The first skirt I made from it turned out really well and it was a great use for the Kaffe Fassett material I bought at the Houston Quilt Show. The next skirt I made was also a great way to utilize some beautiful material, but I had a few issues with that darn invisible zipper. After a bit of a struggle and some not very nice words on my part we are friends now.

Last week I found this material particularly striking at Sew Crafty and purchased a nice little bundle, brought
it home, and for the third time pulled out this reliable pattern. I finished this skirt in no time. It is probably my best invisible zipper, thanks to this VERY detailed tutorial.

But then I was unsure about that ruffle on the bottom. Is that too childish? I go back and forth about it. I can't decide if I should loose the bottom trim and ruffle altogether or just leave it. Your thoughts? I get caught up with how fun it is to make this skirt and add things like ruffles and forget about what is "cool." :)

Anyway, I think this pattern is TOTALLY worth the $11. It is a great basic skirt pattern to go off of and make so many different variations with. Let your creative curiosities loose and make a skirt for yourself! I am already planning my next one!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Making your own Stamp

I had the idea of using parts of the very pretty and probably very expensive wedding invitations I receive and making a wedding card out of it. I couldn't justify just throwing all that pretty paper and ribbon away. So there it is:

But mainly this post is about stamping and making your own stamp. I've been wanting to make one to stamp on the back of the cards I've made that says "Made Especially for You" or "Uniquely yours" or something like that. I bought the tools for $16 at Hobby Lobby, which I'm sure you could find cheaper, but I was just ready to have them. I printed out the image I wanted to cut out and traced it with pencil. Then I immediately put the paper face down and rubbed the pencil off onto the surface of the rubber block (at Hobby Lobby for only $1.99). Now is the fun part. Using all the different tips of the Lino cutter, cut away around the lines of pencil marks leaving the pencil marks raised. This takes some practice so start with big, thick lines and work your way to smaller ones. Then you have your very own, unique stamp!


So I made that stamp to put on the back of the cards I make. Also, here's a better picture of how to do it. I printed out the letters "Made Just For You" and traced them with pencil and transferred it onto the stamp by placing it traced side down and rubbing the words off. Same with the flourish design (which was surprisingly easier than the text).

You can tell it's not perfect, but practice makes perfect.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My favorite place to get prints.

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• Mpix promo codes do not appy to orders placed through ROES.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Artisan Bread

Here's a recipe for the bread that I absolutely love. I recently mentioned it in another cooking post on my personal blog here. This bread is SO EASY. Requires no kneading, no special attention. It makes 4 loaves but you don't have to make them all at once. And the bread itself is crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Great for dipping in olive oil, for soaking up sauce or gravy, or for spreading with butter just for the heck of it. Try it. You won't be disappointed.

1 1/2 tbsp yeast (about 2 packets)
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
6 1/2 cups flour
cornmeal, water

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups warm water. Let it sit for a minute or two. Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover but not with airtight lid. Let dough rise at room tempeature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours). In our house, which is cold in the wintertime, I usually let it rise 3-5 hours.

Get ready to bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as 2 weeks.

When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust loaves with flour. Slash top with sharp knife 2 or 3 times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam (this is what will give the bread it's crusty yummy exterior). Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool.

Yeild 4 loaves.

- If you don't have a pizza stone, stretch rounded dough into oval and place in a greased nonstick loaf pan. Let rest 40 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Place pan on middle rack.
- If the dough is refrigerated, it will need a little longer to warm up before you bake it. Maybe an hour, maybe 90 minutes depending on the temp of your house. Ours is cold, so it takes awhile.
- This dough will keep in your fridge for up to 2 weeks, so you don't have to make it all at once if you don't want to.
- I wish I could find the link for this recipe. There was an article about it in the New York times a couple years ago and our friend referred it to us.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Andy and I were down at the beach in California a few weeks ago and collected many different shells. He really wanted to do a craft with them and I was a little weary of doing a seashell craft seeing as how I relate them to cheesy beach houses decorated in the 90's. But my smart little Andy came up with the idea of making them into magnets. It was all his idea so I give him all of the credit. We just filled them with plaster of paris and let them set for about 15 minutes. We then dropped a magnet on top of the plaster and waited for them to set completely. Aaannd that's it! It was so easy and I thought they turned out really cute. Another seashell craft I loved is found here on Martha That'll be our next project.

Gnocci with Summer Vegetables

I got this recipe from Martha Stewart. It is surprisingly delicious! Adam and I thought it sounded good enough to try sometime and after we made it once, it became a regular in our house. It is a great way to use a lot of basil leaves from your plant. It only takes like 15 minutes to make. & just look at all those colors! It is a very healthy and hearty meal. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do.
Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchini or summer squash, or one of each (about 2 pounds total), quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 package (15 to 16 ounces) frozen gnocchi
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add squash and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid, drain gnocchi and transfer to skillet. Toss gnocchi, adding enough cooking liquid to create a sauce. Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, butter, and lemon juice. Serve!
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Haylee Baby Shower

I used nest plates and bowls, etc. and made these napkins using my embroidery machine. They each have a different bird or nest on them.

Instead of games everyone gathered around a table cutting out images from Alexander Henry's Zoo material. I prepared the fabric by ironing it onto the fusible web, so guests just came, cut and ironed on. After they left I secured each critter with some clear thread. Haylee picked the best one for a prize and the winner was: the third onesie from the left, Tiffany's.
Of course I forgot to take pictures during the party!!! I really need to try and think "pictures" more. Adam took all these photos for me before and after guests arrived.

Congratulations Haylee! Thank you to everyone who came! It was such a lovely occasion.

Haylee Baby Shower

I made a twig chandelier out of branches that I bought for my Halloween party and were, miraculously, still thriving. I secured the branches together with wire that was wrapped with brachy looking paper so that it blended in. I found it at Michael's.

I hung paper birds and little paper planes from it, taped fluttering butterflies to it and some ribbon.

It was hanging from our regular chandelier.

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Haylee Brown's Baby Shower

We had a baby shower for Haylee Brown this weekend. She is due to have a little boy February 23rd. I decorated with a theme of birds and paper planes.

This chocolate bird was easily created using a duck cookie cutter, tracing it onto wax paper and the following the outline with melted chocolate and filling it in with swirls. Let dry & them peel off and place on the cupcakes

"Name Storm"
They do not have a name yet, so I had a little station for quests to write down name ideas.

We had birds and paper airplanes everywhere.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

No Strings Attached

I made the "Super Quick and Easy Baby Quilt" from Patchwork + Quilted Gifts (same as Rebecca's unicorn quilt). It took me much longer than I expected, but the skill level is VERY easy. However, I made mine much bigger than the throw size blanket. This project was also pretty cheap, because I found my fabric for less than $2 per yard. This is one of my first times to attempt to sew and I have caught the bug! Rebecca added the initials for me and they turned out great :) She also helped me cut all the millions of strings in between the dots with no strings attached. Muchas gracias Rebecca.
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