24 September 2011

in the groove

I don't know if I'm starting to worry Adam a little bit or what ... but I just came home from a quick run to Walmart with t-shirts and fabric to make 2 more t-shirt/skirt playdresses. This is new for me. Really new.

The two shirts are pink (one dark, one light) and the two skirts are a really soft corduroy in two different shades of blue with flowers all over them. I'm totally in love with this fabric, not to mention that I'm stunned our Walmart is actually carrying fabric again (it was just brought back after about 3 years of nothing) and it's even really cute! Yay!

I have SM's Christmas dress done except for running it through my friend's Serger and hemming it. I've been itchy to do something else but needed more bobbin spools for my sewing machine. After going to both little fabric shops in town and Walmart 2 or 3 times, I finally found the ones I need today so I can get going on switching between projects because I don't have to rethread my one bobbin spool with a new color every time. I have the squares cut and pinned for the Christmas present doll blankets - I can finally start sewing them all together, and now I also have the two extra dresses to make. Those aren't waiting for Christmas - they're short sleeves so the girls can wear them right away. They need new playdresses anyway - they're outgrowing what they already have. RG gets SM's hand-me-downs but SM needs new dresses because she has now outgrown all the hand-me-downs we got from friends.

20 September 2011

Height Chart & Chalk Board Menu

Pinterest (love that site!) reminded me of a couple of craft projects that I needed to do, so we got the supplies on Saturday at Home Depot

First up: Oliver's Height Chart

We made these for the other kids years ago
It is one of my favorite things we made for the kids
I wanted a physical way to record their height
but didn't want to use a door frame, because when we moved, we would not be able to take that with us
So we made these charts out of fence board, spray paint, a measuring tape hot glued down the middle
I like the way I did the names on the other kid's better
I can always change it later (nothing a little paint won't fix!)
Then you record their heights on one side and pictures of them at that age on the other
We measure the older kids every 6 months
It is fun to see how much they've grown!

Project #2 Chalkboard Menu

Ever since the kids started school, as soon as they get home they ask
"what's for dinner"
and then they ask that again every two minutes or so
either because
they never listen to my answers
or they forget just 2 minutes later :P

So I made a menu board for the week
That way they can quit asking
It also helps me with planning!

Fence board, primer, sanding, spray chalk board paint
let dry and done

I was so happy when they got home from school yesterday
"What's for dinner?"
I pointed to the board and they didn't ask again
YAY for things doing what they are supposed to do
Now, what question are they constantly going to ask now that I have solved that one??

18 September 2011

Christmas project 5

This project is half done ... or it's 2 projects with 2 more to go. I'm making winter/Christmas playdresses for my 4 girls. I got the idea last year from someone I went to church with - she bought a cheapo t-shirt from Walmart for her daughter and attached fabric to the bottom for a skirt - voila! A playdress!

I got the turtlenecks on clearance from the boys' section for 2 bucks apiece last January, and made sure I got them in the sizes I'd need now. They actually might last until next year as well, which would be awesome. The two big girls have red tops and the two baby girls have white, because that's what they had in the correct sizes. The new baby will have a different style - I'm not going to attach her skirt to a onesie because new babies go through onesies so fast. She may get a jumper - I'll wait and see after she's born.

I ordered the green fabric from fabric.com, and had to order some more because I didn't know if it would go with the red or not. Obviously, it worked. I'm waiting for round 2 of my fabric order. Basically, I cut the fabric into a rectangle measured to fit onto the shirt, and then sewed it with one seam which I attached at the side. A friend showed me how to do a gathering stitch, which I didn't know the first thing about but I do now! She also let me use her serger, which I very much appreciated. I hemmed the dresses at mid-calf and did a wide hem so they're pretty long, and the length can be altered next fall so they could still fit next year. White tights, black shoes, and we're in business.

The idea of making the top of a dress (armholes and sleeves) is still rather intimidating and there are a couple of other things about skirts that I need to figure out (how to put in an elastic waistband). But the t-shirt/skirt dress - I'm good! When the rest of my fabric gets here, we'll see if I manage to do the other two by myself!

The photographic evidence that I actually made clothing that my children can wear:

Christmas project 4

Or maybe this is project 1 for round 2. I'll just keep going with the current count for now. Here are two sections of my felt garland - I have no idea how long it is. I just used the entire spool of ribbon and kept laying shapes on it until I ran out. I used Christmas cookie cutters as my stencils onto the felt, sewed everything straight onto the red ribbon, and decorated with glitter glue. It could go around the Christmas tree, across the mantel, or over a door. I haven't decided where I'm going to put it yet when we decorate for the holidays.

12 September 2011

Pumpkin Mousse and Gingerbread Pie

What started as a delicious cookies and dip combination turned into an amazing pie.  Lots of compliments and requests, so here it is. 

GINGERBREAD (two pie crusts and then some)
-Cream together 3/4 cup butter and 7/8 cup brown sugar.
-Stir in 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, and 1/2 cup molasses.
-Gradually beat in 2 eggs.
-Sift together 3 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp ginger, 2 tsp allspice, and stir into everything else.
-Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm it up before rolling it out. For cookies: cut out shapes, bake at 375 for 10 minutes on a greased cookie sheet. For pie: roll out and place in a greased pie plate, and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

PUMPKIN MOUSSE (enough for two pies)
-In a saucepan, stir together: 1 15 oz can of pumpkin (1/2 of one of those large cans), 1 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg. (I accidentally put it 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, plus some ginger, and it worked great.)
-Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently for five minutes.
-Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 tsp vanilla.
-Chill for at least one hour.
-Whip 2 cups chilled heavy cream into stiff peaks. Gently stir in half the pumpkin mixture until fully incorporated before folding in the remaining mixture. Chill.
-For pie: pour into the baked pie shell and refrigerate overnight (to stiffen up the mousse). If in a hurry, put it in the freezer for 45 minutes.

06 September 2011

Minny's Chocolate Pie

After seeing the movie The Help a few weeks ago, I was craving a chocolate pie. I know, I know...the chocolate pie is supposed to gross you out, but maybe it's the pregnancy thing. Anything chocolate -- especially fudgy-chocolate -- sounds divine. I went in search of a chocolate pie recipe, and after some searching, I found the gem below. It's the actual recipe used by the food stylist from the movie. I've made it twice now, and it's quick, easy, and tasty. I have yet to go at the whole thing with a fork, but I do have eight more weeks of pregnancy left, and I'm not saying no to anything!

1 1/2 C sugar
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/2 C butter, melted
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 refrigerated pie crust (or...I got REALLY bold and made my own!)

1. Place pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and prick the bottom and sides with a fork.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Mix sugar, cocoa, and butter in amixing bowl.
4. Add eggs and beat for three minutes.
5. Add salt, milk, and vanilla.
6. Pour filling into pie shell and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and middle is partly set.
7. Cool completely, then refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream.

A few notes:

  • I had the best success making the entire thing with the whisk attachment on my Kitchenaid. It seemed to hit the perfect consistency. If I did it by hand, I got a lot of bubbles that kept the pie from being as pretty as it could be.

  • Also, let the pie cool COMPLETELY before trying to put Saran wrap over the top; otherwise, the top layer will stick to the wrap. If the pie is cool first, it will peel off easily -- no sticking!

02 September 2011

back to work

Yeah, so, um ... my 12 Months of Christmas have not exactly gone according to plan. I'm chalking it up to the fact that I've spent a majority of this calendar year pregnant, along with starting to homeschool our older 2 girls.

Today, I finally just had enough and sat down and sewed my April project - a felt garland. I've had all the little shapes cut out for months, and bought the ribbon and thread earlier this summer. Last night I started pinning it and today I finished it. No pictures quite yet because now comes the embellishment with fabric paint and glitter, but that can't be done until after the kiddos go to bed. My girls MUST TOUCH EVERYTHING. Drives me nuts. But really, this puts me in a crafting mood. I actually want to work on more stuff. Part of nesting, since the baby is due in about 3 more weeks? Probably. But still. I'll take advantage of the motivation while I've got it - lightning strikes so rarely around here.

Anyway, so I missed 5 months of Christmas projects - April to August. I'm happy with the 3 projects I did at the beginning of the year, but I'm going to start over on the 12 Months thing. It's one of my bucket list things to do so it needs to be done right.