Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pregnant Belly Cake - Again

Are you getting tired of these? I hope not, they are so cute. I get a lot of requests for them. This one is in teal and brown.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I saw where you could take an ordinary, everyday washer and make a cute necklace out of it and you know I just had to try it (can't remember where I saw it exactly, sorry - I really like to give credit where credit is due).

But there are lots of places on the web (here is one of many). You can just SwagBuck it to find more (scroll down to the bottom of the page to use Swagbucks).

[Note: most of them used something called 'Diamond Glaze,' but I couldn't find any so I used 'Triple Thick' found at Hobby Lobby.]

The one that I saw used scrapbook paper, but I didn't see any scrapbook paper that I already had that I thought was jewelry worthy (so I used a scrap piece of fabric).

I traced the washer onto the backside of the fabric and cut just inside the line. I "glued" it on with Mod Podge and then coated it with Triple Thick. (I used 3 coats, it said to use 2 coats with something porous - so I followed the directions, but then I handled it too soon - didn't follow those directions too well - and I had to add a 3rd coat to fix my mess-up).

This time I allowed it to dry for 2 - 3 days (to make sure I didn't mess it up again). I then threaded a black "hemp-type" cord (found in the jewelry supply section of Hobby Lobby - already had on hand) through the hole and added a magnetic clasp (also found in the jewelry supply section of HL - also already had on hand).

Didn't have the right shirt on to wear the necklace to show you how it looked on, will try to do that soon. Not sure if you can tell, but the 'washer' part of the necklace looks very shiny (thanks to the Triple Thick) and more jewelry like. I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sock Monkey Crazy

We had twin boys born to a couple from our church. I made them burp cloths using some adorable sock monkey fabric that I bought (and had no idea what I was going to do with it when I bought it). [Tutorial for the burp cloths coming soon.] I just had to make them sock monkeys to go with the burp cloths.

The twins had older sisters so I made them each a sock monkey too (I loved it when people remembered my older two boys when the younger two were born). I tried some cute striped socks for the girls' sock monkeys. I think they are cute, but I still like the traditional ones the best. (Also, the striped socks were harder to work with.)

Pinewood Derby Cake

Last Saturday (Feb. 20) our Cub Scout Pack had their annual Pinewood Derby Race. I saw this cute cake online and made it for the Derby.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I forgot about this

I was looking for some pictures and I found this. I made this purse a couple of years ago for a friend of mine for Christmas (I guess you figured that one out).

I love this video - the music is great too!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ami's Amazing Chicken Dip

My friend Ami makes this great Chicken Dip (not sure what the real name is, but you know what I think of it). I've had this dip several times when Ami made it, but I always failed to get the recipe. (Yeah, I know - I don't know what's wrong with me either.) But thankfully I've got this other friend, Amanda, who was thoughtful enough to get the recipe and post it on her blog (you can get the recipe here). So, thanks to Amanda I had a chance to make it myself (see above picture). Anthony (4) loves it, just without the pickles (he means peppers).

I love spicy food, so I have been adding extra peppers to mine before I eat it. I also used block cheese and shredded it myself (I prefer block cheese, it melts better and it is cheaper, plus it gives the boys a job to do when they want to help out).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I have posts coming...I promise!!!

With the boys being out for snow, I've not had much of a chance to craft and even less to blog (the boys seem like they are always on the computer). [I limit their time, but with 4 boys - it still takes awhile.]

Also, we don't have t.v. (we have a t.v. set and dvd player - so they are not totally deprived) and since we found Hulu, the computer is being used more and more by DH and the boys. [There's also Joost and Fancast, but Hulu is my favorite.]

I have gotten a few projects done and even more 'started,' I'll try to be back soon with pictures and maybe tutorials.

Have a great winter!!! And don't go stir crazy (like we are).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do you ever wonder... your body can be physically awake and yet your brain be asleep? I have been trying to crochet today and I have had to take it out and redo a section several times (not necessarily the same section - and it's filet crochet, which I find very easy and I have done this for years). What's wrong with me? Could I be dangerous to myself or even kids?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's the Big Deal?

I have a confession to make. I have seen Amy Butler fabrics on line. I have wondered what the big deal is. They are cute, but I've seen other cute fabric too. I wondered what makes Amy Butler fabric so special and then...

...I saw it in person.

Let me tell you that the internet does not do her fabrics justice. They are extremely cute. I love it!

She even has a few free patterns, scroll down the list to the bottom and you will see where you can get some of Amy's free patterns.

What do you think of Amy Butler?

Drip Beef

Have you ever tried one of those recipes that looks good, sounds good, but then when you make it yourself and try it, you are very disappointed? Well, this is NOT one of those recipes.

It is Pioneer Woman's Drip Beef. You can find the recipe here. It is delicious, it is fantastic! I wanted to make it, but the whole time I was very apprehensive (afraid that I would get my hopes up just to have them smashed).

I prepped it Saturday night and put all the ingredients in a crock-pot liner and placed it in a bowl in the fridge. Sunday morning I put the liner in the crock-pot and turned it on before going to church. When we got home from church the house smelled wonderful. (Even hubby said so.)

Sorry that I don't have a picture of my Drip Beef, it smelled so good coming into the house and we were all starving - I didn't even think of a pic until we had devoured it. I made PW's Italian Drip Beef. The only thing that I think I did different was I used homemade Beef Broth (that I had in the freezer) and I put mine in the crock-pot instead of the oven (she suggests that you can do that). If I was going to be home, I think I would have tried it in the oven.

Try it, I don't think you will be disappointed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

All Good Things Must Come To an End

Our local newspaper sells their 'End Rolls' really inexpensively. These are the rolls of paper where there is not enough paper to do another run, but there is still some paper left.

So occasionally I go and get one for the boys. It is great to just roll out a long piece of paper and let them get artistic. Sometimes they trace each other, sometimes they draw maps, house plans, or whatever suits their fancy.

Several years ago when I was an education major, the newspaper would give these to teachers, education majors, etc. Not sure if they still do that or not, but they are not expensive. Especially for the amount of paper you get.

They have 2 sizes, the regular newspaper width and a smaller version for the newspaper inserts.

It's really good for craft projects too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cakes, Cakes and More Cakes

I had to make 3 cakes for this weekend. I did a birthday cake (supposed to look like Hannah Montanna's guitar) for a 4 yo girl. Her birthday party was supposed to be last Saturday originally, but due to the snow, it was rescheduled for this weekend. Frank's family also had their family birthday party scheduled for last weekend - where his sister lives (2 hrs. away) and it was rescheduled for this weekend. So I had to do 2 cakes for Friday, we were gone all day today and I have to have the last cake for tomorrow. Luckily I was able to do most of tomorrow's cake yesterday and finished up the details after we got home tonight. So I am officially done, I just have to deliver the last one tomorrow.

This was supposed to be 2 shades of purple, but it turned out pink and purple. I also had never used whipped cream frosting (only buttercream) and it was harder to work with than I thought. It is not very consistent, the stars that I made didn't keep their shape very well, you have to keep it and everything that you are using with the whipped cream frosting cold, the gel or paste food coloring doesn't mix in well but the liquid food coloring makes it too runny. All in all, it was o.k., but it was not one of my best cakes.

The next cake I made was for a baby shower, it was a 3 tier cake with fondant. It took forever. The cake had to travel for over an hour, so I took it to the lady in 3 separate boxes for her to assemble the cake when she got there (I thought it would travel better - I hope it did). It was a 'Pea in a Pod' cake in pink and green. She wanted stripes, polka dots, something similar to a harlequin design, and a pea in a pod.

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the completed cake (I didn't think to ask the lady to take one for me once it was assembled). :o( Maybe you can imagine it.

Top layer

Middle layer

Bottom layer

The last cake (and quite possibly my favorite) was a birthday cake for a 13 yo boy. (He is a Boy Scout and his mom said she wanted it to look Boy Scoutish or outdoorish.)

I am out of pretzel sticks, so before I deliver it tomorrow, I am getting pretzel sticks and making them to stand in the middle of the rock circle (like firewood).

To say the least, I am all caked out. I don't even want to smell cake or frosting for awhile. I have another cake to do later on this month. Maybe I'll be ready by then.

The worst thing about cake decorating is that you can't do much ahead. I want the cakes fresh, so I wait until the last minute to make them. You can't make the whipped cream frosting ahead of time because it will become weepy, you can't do the fondant ahead of time because it will become brittle. So I started baking cakes on Wednesday and started decorating cakes on Thurs. Alternating baking, cooling, cleaning the pans and utensils, baking again, decorating first cakes, cooling cleaning, you get the picture. 3 cakes in 4 days.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tutorial: How to make a ruffle without a ruffler

I have 4 boys and other than sewing an occasional baby gift for a girl (and the gifts don't all have ruffles) I didn't see the need in a ruffler. I've heard other women that absolutely love their ruffler attachment for their sewing machine, so if you have one use it, if not you can still make great ruffles. (Not sure what they cost, but even if it was cheap, I didn't see me getting my money's worth out of it.)

But I do make an occasional ruffle and here is how I do it...

I get a length of fabric (1 1/2 to 2 times as long as what I will be sewing it to). Hem one long side. The long side that isn't hemmed I do a basting stitch about 5/8" away from the raw edge.

I then do another basting stitch right next to the first one, this one I sew 1/4" away from the raw edge.

Then I separate the bobbin threads from the top threads and begin to pull the bobbin threads (both at the same time).

It will cause the fabric to scrunch up or ruffle.

I continue sliding the fabric down the bobbin thread (or pulling the bobbin thread) until all the fabric is scrunched up.

I then lay it next to what I plan on sewing to. I gently pull out the ruffle I just made so they are the same width and begin to evenly space the ruffles.

When I sew it onto my item (diaper edge, bottom of a dress, skirt, or top, bottom of pant legs, etc.), I sew it between the 2 basting stitches. (After ruffle is secured onto item, remove basting stitches.)

There's how you make a ruffle. Now, go make lots and attach them to everything and then send me your pictures (or link to them in the comments section). By the way, did you know I love comments? I do, I do, I really, really do.

It's All in the Details

Here are a few more basement picutres that I have been meaning to post, but keep forgetting. (I also have several projects that I have completed over the last few months that I keep forgetting to take pictures of and post, will try to get to that real soon.)

Well, I found a light fixture that I like for the stairs down to the new basement. It looks like an antique lantern.

Frank did extra work to make things look nice for our new basement. Around the outlets he built them up with the reclaimed barnwood (he had to do that some because of the corrugated metal), then I used the metal plate covers.

Can you guess what the barn (faux birdhouse) is made of?

Crown moulding. Yep! I saw this idea several years ago (like 15 or so, so I can't remember where - sorry). Frank's brother is a contractor and I asked him to keep his eyes open for scrap pieces of crown moulding. Of course being the BIL that he is he had to ask 'why?' before he would agree. I told him I wanted to make decorative birdhouses out of them. So, he picked me up several pieces and actually made me some. Frank and I painted this one to look like a barn (I used to collect cow items and I thought it would be appropriate - now I can still use it). It was our first time using crackle paint (so it's not so good, takes a little practice to use that stuff - must follow directions EXACTLY). I will see if I can get hubby or BIL to do a tutorial for me on the faux birdhouses. (I guess you could make real birdhouses out of them, but I just wanted mine for decorative purposes only. Mine doesn't have a hole for the door for the bird, it doesn't have a bottom, and there are no hinges to clean it out. You see it would be slightly more complicated to make a real one, but it could be done.)

Basement Remodel Part 1
Basement Remodel Part 2
Basement Remodel Part 3
Basement Remodel Part 4
Basement Remodel Part 5
Basement Remodel Part 6

Monday, February 1, 2010

Boutique Style Burp Cloths

I love to give burp cloths as baby gifts. It is something every new mother can use (trust me - you can never have too many burp cloths). I know, there I go being practical again. The trouble with burp cloths is that the pretty ones that you buy in the store don't work very well (extremely thin and not very absorbent) and the one's that do work good, well...they're not very pretty.

So, my solution to that problem is that I purchase the cloth diapers (that make fantastic burp cloths) and pretty them up.

Sometimes I just give the mom a mixture, sometimes I stick with a theme (can you guess my theme in the picture above...greens and browns).

On the left burp cloth, I took fabric and covered the end just for a decorative touch. I then took a chunky letter stencil from my scrapbook supplies and traced a "B" (the baby's first initial) with a disappearing ink pen onto the same fabric that I used on the end of the burp cloth.

I then used heat 'n bond (not too crazy about it because it gumms up my sewing needle - I've heard wonder under is better - will try that next) and ironed on the letter. With a tight zig-zag stitch, I went around the edges of the letter.

On the middle burp cloth, I used some flannel camo fabric and covered the middle third of the diaper. (Before I did that, I embroidered a "B" on the camo fabric only.) I ironed the edges under the camo fabric about 1/4" first, laid the fabric on top of the diaper and used a straight stitch around the edges of the fabric.

The burp cloth on the right, I used a grosgrain ribbon (you know it's my fave) in greens and browns. I folded the cut edges under on the sides and straight stitched around the edges of the ribbon. Above that, I used a tan colored embroidery thread and did a large "B" in the background. Then I used a dark green embroidery thread in a smaller font and embroidered "Bradlee" over the center of the background "B."

I like to give them in trios. Just seems like a good number to give. I have seen these online and in boutiques for about $15 a burp cloth. I can make them for much less. I hope the moms like them, they are fun to make.

If you want to do this, you could make up several (in boy or girl colors/themes or neutral colors/themes) and have on hand for a last minute gift (you could always monogram it right before you give it). I have the intentions to do this, but never seem to get around to making any ahead of time (I'm a last minute kinda gal). These would be nice, even with out the monogram or embroidery if you don't have an embroidery machine.
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