Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cutest Little Things!

I have a had a bag of rice sitting on my sewing table for weeks with intentions of making some rice-filled bean bags for the kiddos. I figure they can double as boo-boo bags that can be warmed or cooled to help little ones boo-boo's feel better.

So, I was finally motivated when I started cleaning up my scraps and I found some scraps from a set of Me and My Sister quilts I made a few years ago. I was instantly inspired!

Look how CUTE those are! I was in love as soon as I stitched the last stitch! I used some ribbon from my scrapbooking stash to add some interest for a child or baby.

The backs of each bag are made from a fun lime-green minky fabric with texture bumps on it.  It's so soft and wonderful; so much fun for a baby.

I filled each with about 2/3 cup of long grain white rice (uncooked, of course), and then hand-stitched the the opening to finish them up.

They are now ready for some good tossing and flipping and all of the wonderful things kids love to do with bean bags.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mini-Me Bag

I had scraps leftover from my French Country Bag and I decided to try making a Mini-Me Bag of that one. It's so cute! But getting it finished almost killed my machine.

It started simple enough.  I got the zipper assembled and sewn to the panels. I put a binding on the pocket and attached that.


Then I attached the handles with a cross-stitch "x" pattern. While doing this my machine got tangled; literally. I was using a Coats and Clark thread spool, which I don't care to use but the color was right. I don't like using them because there have notches on them that the thread gets caught on while sewing. I didn't realize that's what was happening and the thread kept pulling tighter and tighter. I stopped stitching and looked up to find the culprit. I fixed the thread and tried to re-thread the needle and it wouldn't move.  It was locked in a right-stitch position.  Errr!

I thought for sure I'd broken the machine.  I tried everything and couldn't get it corrected. My last ditch effort was to just try sewing and see what would happen.  Huge Sigh of Relief!!! It worked! I was back to work.

I finished attaching the handles and then used a zigzag stitch and a finishing stitch to complete the bag. I had to get it done so I could move on, so last night I got a dirty look from my husband as I sat at the sewing machine and he headed off to bed. I feel so much better! I was able to get it done! Phew!

Such a fun little purse! I still have some scraps, though, so I guess there's still a little more work to do to get all of them done. So much fun!

I'm linking up today with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finished Friday! Glad I was able to get a finish in this week. Looking forward to seeing others progress.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BlockBuster Block #5

This was a tough one! Not because the pattern was awkward or because I wasn't thrilled with the colors (I mean, they're pink! Who could be upset about that!) but because it was super challenging to make a flower out of this pattern with the fabrics I had to work with.

There was actually a couple of times I thought, maybe I should break the rules I set up for myself and get a different fabric into this one. Or, maybe it's time to break down and get one of the Oops packs with extra fabrics in the colors of the blocks. But NO! I must be strong! I must resist the easy route and find a way to make this work!

And I did it!

I try and try to draw pictures and plan it out but it just doesn't seem to work for me. I guess it's kind of like me trying to use a pattern; just doesn't go well. So, I figured out what I could get out of the fabric I had and I cut; I know, it's scary.  Totally worth it! It took me back to my teaching days when I would plan out my daily lesson on my way to school and it would end up being amazing! That's how I felt about the end result of this block.

I'm so excited about sharing this one at the LQS for the block of the month group. So glad I got to share it with you. I was starting to worry I wasn't going to get it done in time, I was procrastinating so much with it. But I made it! Yeah!

Linking with Freshly Pieced today for WIP Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing what everyone is working on!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Animal Alphabet Quilt

After completing my last alphabet quilt, Learning the ABC's, I decided I wanted to try another one with a slightly different method. My Mom had this panel in her stash and she let me have it so I could "play".

At first I thought about making a book, which I think was its original intent, but it wasn't squared up so I needed to separate the squares and thus was FORCED to make a baby quilt out of it; so hard! I figured it gave me a chance to practice some more trapunto.

Look how fluffy those blocks are! The texture on this quilt is amazing! It was so much fun to make this! I used 2-ply poly batting underneath all of the letters and sashing, whereas last time I sewed it onto the letters only. I think I liked it better on the letters only, but it sure made it fluffy! I feel like the jaguar is looking at the camera.

The alphabet border was a bear to track down. I looked and looked and couldn't find the right thing. I finally tracked something down at a LQS and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  Ironically, after I got it all finished I was searching my Mom's stash for something else and I found more fabrics from this line.  Oh well, now I have more to work with on another project. I used what was left of the alphabet fabric on the back along with the leftover gingham.

I decided to hand-bind this one.  It was small and quick, so it was fast to finish.  I added one of my tags rather than making a label, which is such an awesome alternative when you want to date a project without doing a whole label.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finished Friday. So glad to have a finish to share, and I'm hoping there will be more coming soon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Adding to my Etsy Site

I feel like a fledgling eagle trying to figure out how to fly in the soaring skies ahead of me.

I am still working to strengthen my Etsy site and figure out what best works on the site. I have so many ideas and it's hard not to flood my page with all of them at once. But the scientist in me says I should pace myself and go slow so that I can truly understand what's best for my shop.

That being said, I have been adding items here and there over the last couple of months but haven't really posted much about it. The summer has just been so much fun! I am finally playing a little catch-up and have listed all of the items on my page here on the blog titled, Crafts for Sale.

Here's a preview of the most recent items listed:

I'd love to have everyone stop by and check it out.  Spread the word and let friends know. What works best? Vintage items? Crafting supplies? Finished products? Something I haven't thought of yet? I am so excited to see this project of mine accomplish success.

Thanks so much for the support! The blogging world has been so wonderful!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sweet and Savory French Toast

All growing up I thought French Toast was bread dipped in egg and toasted on the griddle.  It was only after it was cooked that you added cinnamon-sugar, powdered sugar and syrup and all those wonderful things.  My husband and I actually had a debate about the best method for making French Toast a couple of years ago, and I really stuck to my guns; convinced my way was the best. Oh, I hate it when he's right.

He pulled out the America's Test Kitchen cookbook and looked up a recipe that changed our lives.  I will never look at French Toast the same way again. I'm talking mouth watering, unbelievable, can't-have-enough, so good French Toast.

The only thing I struggled with was the leftover bread. So, I have modified the recipe to make a complete loaf of texas toast.  But, what do you do with the leftovers, you ask? Even re-heated the next day, these bad boys taste great! I simply cooked all of the toast and then froze the leftovers and re-heated them when we were ready.  Worked great and gave me two fun breakfasts in one. Fantastic! It would also be a good way to prepare for a busy school morning.  Have a batch of these in the freezer to feed the kids before they leave; quick, easy, no-fuss breakfast as they head out the door.

Sweet and Savory French Toast

1 loaf texas toast or other thick-sliced bread
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 1/2 c milk
1 lg egg
3 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs sugar
1 t cinnamon, heaping
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c  flour

Melt the butter in a medium bowl and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, gather all other ingredients and prepare/heat up the griddle. Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Spread your bread on a wire rack on a jelly-roll pan so they all lay flat. Place in the over for about 5 minutes. Pull them out and flip each piece over and put it back in the over for another 5 minutes. You want to the bread to feel dry to the touch but not dry out the center of each slice.  It keeps the bread from getting soggy when placed in the batter.

Measure out the milk in a measuring cup and add the egg and the vanilla.  Whisk together.  When butter has cooled to warm, add a small amount of milk while whisking to infuse the milk and butter. Add a little more and keep whisking.  Keep doing this until all of the liquid is in with the butter. This will prevent the butter from re-solidifying when the cold milk hits it. Now add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together until well blended.  Finally, add the flour slowly, whisking each addition to create a smooth batter.

Dip one slice at a time into the batter, covering both sides, and place it on the griddle.  Brown on each side for a few minutes (this depends on your griddle and your personal preference for how toasted you want it). Once done, remove it from the griddle and place on a warm plate while you toast the rest (I usually keep a plate in the microwave to put them on, nice little incubator). Continue in the same manner until all of the toast is toasted. Serve with eggs, fresh fruit, bacon, you name it!

**To freeze, I use the jelly roll pan to lay leftovers flat and place it in the freezer. Once they're frozen thru, I stack them and place them in a freezer bag. Pull out what you want and warm in the microwave for a minute or so. Yum!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fitting it all in

Summer is wrapping up for the kiddos around here and we have been scrambling to fit in as much summer as we can in these last couple of weeks. So many places offer summer event programs, and we have been trying to take advantage of as much as possible, including...

Making puppets. Going to the movies. Learning to roller skate. Building bug houses. Playing in mud puddles.

And, of course, going to the beach.

There was so much more mixed in there that I'm missing, but all in all, we have been having a blast this summer.  We've also been quite successful at avoiding the heat while still enjoying ourselves, HUGE WIN!

So, with all this going on, I haven't been able to get many pictures of what I'm working on. I'm almost done with my Vintage Stars Quilt top, I just need to complete the binding on my latest Alphabet Quilt, and mixed in between has been multiple little bags and a couple of large pillows for the couch. I also picked up a new project to make cushions for the outdoor chairs. Hoping to get that done soon.

I have also been busy in the kitchen. I have been trying to find recipes that don't heat up the kitchen too much, like grilling outside and crockpot cooking.  We have been eating some great salads and just last night we had a kickin' shredded chicken bbq from the crockpot.  Awesome!

Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to work on posting things. It's just a matter of finding photo time. I have also been working to put some new things on my Etsy site; you gotta come check it out! Some supplies and completed items, there's a little for everyone and a lot to choose from.

Hope everyone else is having a wonderful/busy summer as well.