Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Special Request

Amy gave me some extra fabric this summer hoping I would make a pair of pants and jumper top for Little E.  I was excited to pull this together and love the fabric she chose.  Both prints are a lightweight corduroy perfect for fall.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Soft Texture Book

I co-hosted a baby shower at the end of the summer with a baby book theme, so the girls encouraged me to try making a fabric texture book as my gift. It was time consuming, but oh so fun and the new mama-to-be was just thrilled with it. She was secretly hoping I would sew something!
I combined the concept from two different tutorials to make the book. First, I used this tutorial from Everyday Celebrations as the inspiration for the theme using various colors and textures.

Then I followed the tutorial from Lella Boutique for the construction of the book itself. I chose 10 colors so I would have 12 pages total including front and back covers and then I did the rag edges to finish it. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Jeans and Tunic Top

I knew I would sew something for Baby K's first birthday, but it wasn't until a few days ago when her mom commented on the ruffled jeans I made when I knew this had to be it.  I also made a peasant style tunic top to make it a complete outfit.
Although here is proof that I sometimes have to make this stuff up as I go along.  I misjudged the width of the sleeves and didn't have fabric or time to redo them.  I was ready to toss it in the trash when my best friend encouraged me to just figure out something because she knew I could.  I knew I needed to add a band of fabric to increase the width/circumference of the sleeve, but didn't want the inset panel of fabric to look pointless so I added these cute little pleats.  A contrasting fabric would have worked, too, but I didn't have anything that really went with this dark pink.  I am thrilled with how the pleats turned out.  I hope K likes them, too : )

Monday, October 22, 2012

Peasant Dress

I just love a sweet peasant dress as a tunic or dress this time of year.  I paired this one with her ruffled jeans in our family pictures yesterday and couldn't be happier with the result!  Thanks to Liz Davison of Yellow Umbrella Photography for this image.  Tutorial for the peasant dress found via Prudent Baby.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I finished two more valances for Mom and Dad's new house this week and Dad was kind enough to hang them right away. I'm sure there will be more at some point, but Mom is taking her time with decorating decisions. A blank slate gives you a lot of choices. I don't blame her!

 It's hard to pick a favorite, but I think this embroidered silk, slate gray fabric may squeak out the win. This is in the guest bedroom with the blue gray walls and white furniture. I love it.

And this bold indigo and off white pattern is in the little woman's room with its gray walls and white furniture. Very sharp. And yes, it's called her room : )

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

We have been in Greenville several years and have never found our favorite, go-to, perfect Sunday night, I don't want to cook, Chinese take out.  And now it looks like we won't have to.  I found a new recipe for sweet and sour chicken and it was incredible!  It's not exactly healthy, but I don't think General Tso's chicken really falls in that category either.  I did serve the chicken with forbidden rice and stir fried broccoli, peppers, and bok choy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To Do List

I'm trying to stay ahead of my to do list this Christmas season, so when Shutterfly sent me a code to try some new cards I was more than willing!
Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Forbidden Rice Salad

This one even surprised me. I had an assortment of leftovers in the fridge and a destination in mind, but it turned out even better than I was hoping.  I worked with what I had, so I'll do my best to judge the quantities, but know that you can fudge this to make it work for you.

Combine the following in a medium bowl:
2-3 cups cooked forbidden rice (also called black rice) - brown rice would work, too
1 cup edamame, cooked and shelled
1 small sweet potato, baked peeled and chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 TBS fresh cilantro, chopped
sesame seeds for garnish

I prepared the dressing in a separate bowl before adding to salad:
3 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS honey
2 TBS orange juice
1 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS sesame oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

Add as much or as little dressing as you like.  I ate it right away and it was delicious and of course it's even better if it sits in the fridge for an hour or two. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pacifier Clips

Two friends requested some pacifier clips for their little girls and I was happy to make them!  I used this tutorial and it think it's one of the most versatile I've found.  The ribbon loop on the end makes these clips work for the Soothie style that doesn't have a ring.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Christmas in July

Shutterfly sent out a coupon for free cards and I couldn't resist getting a jump start on Christmas! I usually prefer to send our Christmas cards with recent family pictures taken in the fall, but friends and family will be happy to see this sweet face at any age.

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Car Seat Cooler

Every good idea I have for baby gear or wish list type item is usually found through a quick Google search.  This time I just didn't want to pay the $50 plus shipping price tag!  I knew I could make one.

With our heat wave, I decided the little woman needed a car seat cooler.  I found a picture of exactly what I wanted, but she didn't provide a tutorial (she's now selling them herself, so I don't blame her!).  I did study her pictures and come up with a design that would work for our car seat.  It's basically a strip of fabric with pockets that each hold an ice pack.  I freeze the ice packs over night and bring the whole thing with us on our day out and about.  Whenever we park the car, we put the ice pack in the seat to keep it cold while the rest of the car cooks in the sun.  When we return, the ice pack comes out, and she gets in a cold seat.  SHE DOES NOT SIT IN THE SEAT WITH THIS UNDER HER.  It's either the ice pack or her, never both : )  Just wanted to put that disclaimer out there.

It's a few layers of fabric sewn together with bias tape around the edges and pockets on one side. 

I sewed the top layer with two pieces of home decor fabric (so it's thick and sturdy) with some fleece sandwiched in the middle for insulation.  Each pocket gets a frozen ice pack.

The back layer is a thin poly/cotton blend so the cold can travel straight to her car seat.

And the entire thing fits perfectly in her seat.

For the price of 6 ice packs, fabric from my stash, and a few hours of my time, the little woman is much more comfortable this summer!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes

The Little Woman likes pancakes for breakfast, but I'm always looking at her plate and thinking about how I can get the most bang for my nutritional buck so to speak.  Her "juice" is a smoothie made from fruit (usually some combination of bananas, pineapple, strawberry, peaches, or apples) combined with water and dark greens like spinach, rainbow chard, or kale.  It tastes delicious, is packed with real fruit and vegetables, and has no added sugar, artificial colors, or flavors.  I drink it for breakfast myself.  Win Win.

So back to the pancakes.  I have a classic pancake recipe I've made for years and while at least they are homemade, they could be better.  I tweaked the recipe this week to include whole wheat flour, oats, flax seed, and blueberries.  They are delicious!  Even the husband agrees.  I made the batter last Sunday and just kept the bowl in the fridge for the next few days and made them as needed.  An even easier option is to make the batter and cook off all of the pancakes at one time.  Cool and freeze between layers of waxed paper.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup honey (raw local honey is really good for you!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Combine all ingredients except blueberries and stir just until combined.  Heat griddle or nonstick pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil (my preference).  Drop batter by heaping spoonfuls and add a few blueberries to each pancake before turning.  This usually makes 16 - 20 pancakes so feel free to cut the recipe in half if needed.  We top ours with honey or a little powdered sugar!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Baby Gifts

We are well into the season of life where pregnancy announcements are made, baby showers are hosted, and sweet little ones are born. It may just be more fun than wedding season!  It also gives me plenty of opportunity to sew some gifts like these burp cloths, pacifier clips, tag blankets, and bibs.  I tend not to sew clothing items as shower gifts because babies come in so many sizes.  And sometimes the functional every day items like a pacifier clip or a burp cloth are just what a new mama needs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Paisley Pillowcase

A pillowcase dress actually made from a pillowcase : ) This color scheme is a bit of a departure for me but the wedgewood blue is so pretty and I just love the paisley print. I found a new pattern for pillowcase dresses that will be my new go to although I overcompensated a bit on length for this one.  It will pretty through the fall, I suppose.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I was busy with my sewing machine last week so we have a few fun new outfits to model this week at the beach.  Tonight, we started with this romper and I can't wait to make more.  I found the pattern from a great little shop on Etsy (Pink Poodle Bows) and have another ruffled top and shorts pattern along with a dress to try from her.
The shorts are even.  I think she was just standing at a funny angle.  That, or it was all the running she did all night!  She didn't stop moving.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Shirred Dress

I combined a few tutorials (here and here) for shirring and came up with this cute dress in pink gingham. And really, nothing says summer more than gingham!  I decided to practice my french seams for the body of the dress.
And also added a folded band of white fabric to the bottom - first because I barely had enough pink fabric for my tall little toddler and second because I don't like hemming!
I think she liked it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my husband's all time favorite desserts.  Chocolate and hazelnut just push it over the top.  I knew I wanted to make one for his birthday dinner, but didn't find any recipes that met all the requirements.  Instead this is a combination of three different recipes and one tutorial on how to peel hazelnuts.  Who knew?

First up, the hazelnut shortbread cookie crust:
(from Pig Pigs Corner) - converted from metric just for you!
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 TBS confectioner's sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup hazelnuts, peeled (see this tutorial if yours have the skins on like mine - it's not as simple as you would think)

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg.  (I added 1 tsp vanilla at this point also.)  Add flour, corn starch, and hazelnuts.  Mix just to combine.  Press into the bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch spring form pan and bake at 325 F for 15 minutes.  I used all of the dough and made a thick crust.  Feel free to use less.  This will only par bake the crust.  Don't expect it to brown.

Next, the cheesecake:
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon zested (I omitted this because of the chocolate and hazelnut)
1 tsp vanilla extract
I added 1/2 tsp almond extract

Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer with paddle attachment until soft and lump free.  Add eggs one at a time, then slowly add sugar.  Add sour cream and extracts.

Pour mixture over cooled crust and wrap bottom of spring form pan in foil.  Then place in a large baking dish or roasting pan and pour boiling water about 1/3 of the way up the sides of the cheesecake.  Water baths are a pain, but it made for a super creamy, moist, and crack free cheesecake.

Bake for 45 minutes at 325 F.  Cheesecake should set, but may slightly jiggle.  You just don't want a big "wave".  I usually turn off the oven and let cheesecake sit for another 30 minutes with the door closed, then cool completely on the counter.  Chill for several hours or overnight before moving on.

Finally, the nutella ganache:
Place 3/4 cup nutella in a heat safe bowl.  Warm 1/2 cup heavy cream in a small sauce pan until just shy of boiling.  Pour cream over nutella and slowly stir to combine.  Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.  Pour over cooled cheesecake.  I had more peeled hazelnuts (about 1/2 cup) leftover, so I toasted them and finely chopped them in the food processor, then sprinkled over the ganache.  Return to fridge to set up.

A little hazelnut liquor (Frangelico) in the cheesecake or the ganache would have been nice, too!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thread and Bobbin Storage

I found this blog post for thread and bobbin organization at The Creative Homemaker via Pinterest.  The husband built the shelf for me, I painted it and added the nails for bobbins, and then he hung it for me last weekend.  Although my favorite part is the tip about using plastic tubing to wrap around those loose bobbin threads!  I found 5/8 inch (outer diameter) tubing at Lowe's for about $0.60 per foot.  I only used a few inches so far.

About 90% of this thread came with Grandma's sewing stash with her machine.  I think she liked blue and green, don't you?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dresses for SJ and Little E

A certain little girl had her first birthday the other week. It was just the excuse to sew another dress. It's a tad tight on Delaney since Miss SJ is just now turning one. Cute nonetheless.

Little E got a new dress, too, but I didn't get a picture of Delaney trying it out first.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tie Back Pillowcase Dress

I loved this navy and white polka dot fabric as soon as I saw it! I added some preppy kelly green accents for this first dress, but I have enough left over to do another one with red accents for summer.
 This was my first experience using bias tape to bind my sleeve openings (and I'm in love!) and also making my own fabric tie.  A lot of dresses call for ribbon ties, but once I used the green on the hem I had to make a matching tie.
Toddlers don't make the most cooperative models.
But at least the dress is cute!
My second version is coming soon, but it will have to wait until a certain little girl opens it on her first birthday before I can post pictures!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Dress

My first a line jumper!  I still need a lot of practice on button holes, but her cuteness makes up for any imperfections.  Even if she wasn't in the mood for standing still.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

General Tso's Chicken

I found a great recipe for this typical take out treat and it was a big hit last night!  Check it out here.

I used a combination of white and dark meat because we had it on hand.  Also, I forgot broccoli at the store so we used red peppers and green beans.  Overall, pan frying the chicken made a huge mess, but it was so delicious I'll risk it again.  Just as good as the real thing minus the MSG!