Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lowes "Creative Ideas" Magazine

I've been getting this FREE magazine from Lowes for about a year now and am really liking all the home improvement/gardening project ideas inside. This month I am especially excited about their do-it-yourself outdoor fire pit, something I am currently wishing for in my own backyard. (They also have free magazines for Outdoor Living and Woodworking if you're interested.) You can view (or subscribe to) any of their current issues of all three magazines when you go their home page and scroll to the bottom. There is a PDF section that says "Read Current Issues" where you can click on one of the three magazines.

Happy Home Improvement Dreaming to You, too!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Black Apple Dolls

Here is my favorite version of all the dolls I made. I made four total, but I don't want to post the other ones. They are going to be gifts. I have a few more in the works too so I'll post all of them later.

My review of this doll pattern:
It's the best! I highly recommend it to anyone. So easy and quick (my favorite kind of project). This is a great way to use up your scrap fabric which I think is a huge bonus. I only had to purchase the felt.

I just can't get over her pearl earrings. My favorite part!

I like this one too.
I'm a big fan of the striped legs. One of the other dolls I made has it too (red and white). Looks like tights.

*****And I will be painting faces as soon as I purchase fabric paint.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dress opinion...the rest of the story

Now I have to tell you the rest of the story concerning my dress opinion post. I actually had already made a dress out of that funky black/green print fabric when I posted it. However, I was not happy with how it turned out. I thought I would love the pattern, but once I had it finished it did not look the way I had hoped for myself. Instead of helping camoflauge some problem areas, I felt it worsened them. Therefore, I sent out my pleas for some differing opinions.

Well, I was completely ready to make another dress pattern, go buy more fabric and start completely over. However, when I went back to Wal-Mart that piece was GONE!!!! I had even seen some other color combos of that same type fabric and they were gone too. So even though I was going to be brave and do a dress, I now have to salvage my old dress and settle for only a skirt.

I'll be fine with it and just use that second dress pattern with some other fabric down the road. I think I want to make it in that black and white combo on the pattern envelope. I really do like it. I'll add a black top to my new skirt and it should be a great little outfit. The top I am going to try is either Butterick 6085 view D or Simplicity 4487 view C or F. I found some nice black rayon type fabric that should look really good.

So thanks to everyone for your opinion. I'll post pics when I actually finish the top. A couple more days for us and the kids are back to school. Hallelujah!! Maybe I can finish up somethings that I thought I could have already completed by now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm making one

I've seen these dolls mentioned on several blogs before and I just love them. But I'm way too cheap to pay $40+ for one. Imagine how happy I was when I came across the pattern online. Sweet!! I'm not into doll making, but these are too cute and so modern that I must give it a try. L is getting one very soon. The creator was kind enough to share her pattern. Thank you, thank you!

Want to make one too? See instructions here

Wouldn't it be cute to make the doll's dress out of fabric from one of Baby L's outfits?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dress Opinion needed

O.K. here is the deal--I am sick of most of the dresses in my closet. I want to make some new stuff but I need someone else's opinion besides my children and my hubby.

I found this awesome knit fabric at Wal-Mart--$1/yd. and you could wad it up on the floor, leave it there for a couple days and then put it on without a wrinkle anywhere. Gotta love that! I'm just not sure what to do with it. I'm afraid that it might be too much for an entire dress for a woman who isn't 25 anymore.
Here is the pattern I was thinking of using with the fabric--along with a solid black piece.
McCall's 4510
I like the Black and white version view C--possibly with the sleeves from the purple dress view E.

So tell me what you think. My other option would be to just make a somewhat flared skirt, elastic waist, and pair it with a black top.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A little mention....

Last night my friend, Abby, told me she was browsing one of her favorite blogs and saw my bird mobile mentioned. Cool! I did some browsing around myself and it looks like it will be one of my new favorites. Great inspiration.

See post here

{note to self: stop cutting corners on the photos posted on creative chicks blog. People actually look here. People besides my sisters and I}

Monday, August 18, 2008

Raspberry Jam and Homemade Bread

One of the easiest things to home preserve is jam--any flavor just about. All I do is follow the recipe included in the SureGel or Ball Fruit Jell Pectin boxes. They have recipes for both freezer jam, jellies, and cooked jams included. I prefer the freezer jam just because I have the storage for it and it takes a little less time. This is my raspberry jam that I made from the raspberries I grew in my garden. If you have never had homemade raspberry jam you are missing out. And I guarantee that you will never buy store bought raspberry jam again once you do try it. This is the only jam that my kids will eat. And if you have homemade bread (which I am making this morning) to spread it on it is like heaven!

I have been accused of not sharing a secret ingredient or tip about how to make this bread, but I promise I am not holding anything back. I've tried to put down as many of the little tricks or tweaks that I do so that you can have a successful outcome.

Here is the bread recipe that I most often use:

White Wheat Bread— from Toastmaster (bread machine)
1 ½ c. warm water
2 Tbs. oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. dry milk
3 c. bread flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. active dry yeast

Mix all together. Let raise 1 hr. Divide into loaf pans, cover, and let raise another 45 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

**This is a bread machine recipe, however, I do not like how the bread turns out baked in the bread machine. So if I were to make it using my bread machine I would put it on the dough setting, and once that is complete divide the loaves and put in loaf pans, cover and let raise for the 45 minutes and then bake it in the oven.

**If you have a mixer like a KitchenAid or other brand, I mix all together except for the flours in the bowl. Let the yeast activate for 10 minutes or so and then mix in the flours. I have a bread setting on my mixer that "kneads" it for about 3 minutes before I let it raise the first time.

**I usually grease my bowl with shortening before adding the bread dough. Then I put it in a warmed oven (start to preheat your oven, but turn it off after 1 minute or less of preheating) covered with a towel to let it raise.

**I double recipe this to make 3 LARGE loaves for my family. The 7 of us can consume one loaf at one meal really easy.

**If you have stoneware loaf pans, use them. I like how it cooks better than other loaf pans.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Photo Board

This was a really easy project for me! It took about 30 mintues to do!  I just took an art canvas, layered with with alittle batting and fabric.  I used a staple gun to hold everything into place.  
My canvas was about 12x18, so I just purchased a "fat quarter" of fabric so I didn't have any left over.  I got three different types of ribbon (1 yard each, should have got more so I had more options on where to place each color).

Total Cost : Around $20.00

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Little Girl's Eyelet Slip Extender

We were given some clothes from a friend of ours and M. found a skirt in the stash that she wanted, of course. However, it was a tad too short for her comfort zone. So we used Emily's eyelet slip extender idea and transformed that skirt for her so that she can now wear it comfortably.

Our slip is not separate, but I sewed it right into the waistband. I happened to use some eyelet lace curtains that had been given to me that I wasn't going to use as curtains and then just used that fabric to make the slip. I needed to adjust the elastic waist anyway and so that is why I did this way. She is happy with how it turned out and now she can enjoy this cute embroidered skirt for the remainder of the summer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Birds

Got a little sidetracked from my PA needlepoint and started working on a Bird Mobile to replace this Ikea one (see below) in my baby's room. It's been on my "to-do" list for a while and I'm so happy to have it completed.



I thought this would be such an easy project. And although I love it, it was a total nightmare. The birds are easy enough to sew. It's the balancing of the mobile that is a problem. Ridiculous!! I resorted to some unconventional methods and was frustrated most of the time. So take on this project knowing you need patience.

added some extras to this corner of her room also

My variations:
1. Used a sewing machine instead of hand sewing the birds. I'm not sure why the tutorial suggests hand sewing. Although lovely it's totally unecessary and very time consuming
2. Used double sided tape to seal ends of tails. Did not like how sewing machine topstitch looked lazy/impatient! Seems to be holding up just fine though.
3. Used clear jewelry thread to hang. (Others have used yarn, ribbon, heavy thread)

a view of thread I used to hang

and baby was more interested in step stool used to hang mobile.

and the corner of her room

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My little shop....

Still have more dresses and aprons to photograph, and need to finish up some details on others, but I thought I'd get a few items up and see what happens. Spread the word.

These are some of my favorite photos.

available at MyModern

Monday, August 4, 2008

One down.... to go.

Oh these pesky needlepoints! The saga continues and I've vowed NEVER AGAIN. But I think it looks pretty cool in the mix of my collection. In a pop art sort of way. Now to tackle Pennsylvania.

Yes, I CAN!

Our canning heritage starts way back--O.K. at least as far as our Grandma J. who always had a huge garden in Idaho Falls when we were little. They grew the best raspberries, among other things. She taught our mother how to can garden items and we in turn have learned over the years.

I'm sure that most of us haven't ever really done much canning until we each got married. We probably helped peel peaches, snap beans, or snitch raspberries during the canning process when we were younger and living at home. I guarantee we've all enjoyed eating the fruits of those labors. So a big thanks to Grandma J. and our mom for passing along those values and skills about home food storage and canning. 'Cuz if you've never eaten a home canned peach you are soooooooo missing out. (Even the most expensive best canned peaches in the store can't beat ones you can yourself.)

If you've ever thought about canning yourself then you need to get a couple resource books: The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving (this is THE canning Bible) or their larger volume Ball Complete Guide to Home Preserving. These are MUST HAVES if you are going to do any home canning.

August gets to be a busy month for my canning as my reserves are getting low and the gardens and Farmer's markets are loaded up with their produce. So here are a couple things that I've canned in the past 2 weeks. And I'm just getting started as peaches and pears will be ready here in the next week or so and I'm out of salsa and tomatoes.
Chili, recipe from the Blue Book--just add your own home canned beans (or store bought) and heat up. You are ready to eat on a nice cold winter day and it will taste like you've been slaving all day. This is probably my family's favorite chili recipe that I've ever made.Maple Syrup--I use the recipe off the back of the box of Mapleine Imitation Maple Flavoring.

Vegetable Soup, recipe also out of the Blue Book. My kids are not as keen about this recipe, but it is one of my personal favorites. You can also add cooked chicken chunks or browned hamburger to this if you don't want to be vegetarian. It is really good either way.

I just love how all the colorful jars look downstairs in my food storage area, lined up on the shelves. It also makes me feel a little better that if something disasterous were to happen to our family that we could "make it" for a bit.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Zucchini Casserole

This is a family favorite recipe and a great way to use the plethora of zucchini that may come out of your garden. If you've ever grown zucchini you know that it can take over and then you are trying to find recipients of your bounty.

Zucchini Casserole
Cook in water until tender:
6 c. cubed, peeled zucchini
1/4 c. diced onions

Mix together:
1 can Cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
1 c. sour cream

Add into above:
1 c. peeled, shredded carrots

Add all to drained zucchini and onion mixture. Mix thoroughly.

Mix in another bowl separately:
1 large pkg. herb stuffing mix (like Stove Top)
1/2 c. melted butter

Put 3/4 of the stuffing mix on the bottom of a 8x8 pan. Cover with zucchini mixture. Sprinkle remaining stuffing mix on top. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. **Note--I usually double this recipe for my family of 7 and put it in a 9x13 pan.


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