Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
1 can Diet Cola + 1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix = Low-fat Brownie Heaven!
Any brands will do. I used the Pillsbury brand Devil's Food cake with pudding in the mix, and I used Diet Pepsi, but your could use Diet Coke. If you use the whole can of cola, your brownies will come out more like thick chocolate cake. If you use 10 ozs. of cola, you get the gooey fudgey brownies I have come to know and love. Cook them @ 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Maybe I'm the last person on the planet to try these... Maybe you already knew the secret recipe... But I'm guessing there are a few of you out there who are in the brownie dark, just like I was. My friend Katie told me about this old Weight Watchers brownie recipe last week, and I've already made them, twice. They're that good. No one in my household knows the difference. I have to go now... and eat that brownie!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Let me start by saying that the Taggies Brand blankets are protected by a patent and they may not be created for resale. I've heard that the Taggies people prosecute those who try to sell their patented products.
Choose ribbon that coordinates (or contrasts, it's your preference) with your fabric. For my 12 inch squares (this will be the approx. finished size) I like to use 5 ribbons per side. Be creative - use different colors and textures. I use various widths of satin and grosgrain ribbons, and also something that looks almost like a wide flat shoestring/drawstring type material (I'm not sure what it's called.) I've even seen ric-rac used.
Cut the ribbon into 5 inch strips. I use the first ribbon as my cutting guide for the rest of the strips to save time. Then figure out the placement onto the blanket. I like to be sure I have a satin on each side and a wide ribbon on each side. I start with the middle ribbon placement and work my way out to the sides. Leave at least one inch between the ribbons and the sides of the blanket.
Next, fold the ribbons in half and pin them between the two fabrics with right sides of fabric together. The ribbons should be pointing inward toward the center of the blanket. This seems odd if you've never made a blanket before. But in the end, you'll see we flip the blanket inside-out to incase the seams. Trust me, it works.
After all the ribbons are pinned, put a row of extra pins marking a 3 inch spot on one of the corners which will not be sewn. This step can be omitted, but don't forget to leave this spot open. (I always get busy sewing and forget! The pins remind me.) This is the hole we'll use to flip the blanket inside-out.
Now, start sewing. I like to use a 3/8 in. seam allowance. That's about the width of my presser foot, so it's easy to follow. But use whatever seam allowance you're comfortable with, just keep it as consistant as possible. Before you start sewing, do a couple of backstitches to lock the threads. (this keeps the threads from coming undone.) Straight stitch right on top of your backstitches.
Pause when you get to the pins, removing each one as you sew. (I have a friend who just sews straight over her pins and rarely breaks a needle. I tried this once and kept breaking needles! I always remove my pins as I sew.)
When you get to the corners, stop sewing - leaving your seam allowance before reaching the end of the fabric. Lift your presser foot and turn the fabric so you can sew the other side.
When you get to the row of pins, stop and backstitch a couple stitches to lock the threads in place. Now remove the blanket from your machine and trim your loose threads where you started and ended. Remove the pins, there will be one loose ribbon that you need to set aside and attach later.
Trim the corners, being careful not to cut your stitches.
Find the hole in your fabric, and pull the entire blanket inside-out, through the hole.
Insert a closed pair of scissors into the hole and use the tip to make your corners have perfect points. (There is a tool you can buy to do this if you're afraid you'll rip your fabric. I haven't needed one. Just be careful!)
Now tuck the raw edges of the hole inside the blanket, being careful to keep the edges straight across the top of the blanket, and keep the corner squared. Iron the seam into place, and iron the rest of the blanket being sure not to touch the iron to the ribbons - they will singe! I learned this the hard way. I pull the ribbons out slightly as I iron to keep the seam from being puckered or wrinkled.
Get the last ribbon and pin it into place. You can either stitch the hole closed by hand or use your machine.
I like to use my machine. Keep the stitching as close to the edge as possible, remembering to backstitch at the beginning and end.
If you use a coordinating thread, it isn't very noticable.
Now, change your needle to a topstitching needle (it's okay if you don't have one, use the largest needle you have on hand. You can even use the needle you've been using, but the results will be a little nicer with the topstitching needle.)
This step can be omitted, but it makes the item easier to launder. On either side of the blanket, start in a corner and stitch all the way around the blanket using your desired seam allowance. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end. Iron one last time.
One done, and one more to go!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Okay, I have a new favorite pattern! I think this one came out quite fabulously, if I do say so myself. It pairs nicely with Jackie Clark's Britches and Bloomers, don't you think? I had originally intended to sew a ruffled edge to the bottom, but after trying it on my princess, I thought it would be too long.
This pattern was pretty easy. It did take me a little while to figure out what the pattern was instructing me to do, but after reading through it a couple of times I was good to go. There are 6 variations of this outfit in the same pattern package (which was part of my confusion) and it includes patterns for a top, skirt, and shorts. I purchased it in sizes 2, 3, 4, and 5 but it is also available in larger sizes.
I should tell you that this pattern runs big. Sara Lynn wears a size 2 in most clothes, but this size 2 is a bit loose on her. I'm not complaining - she's growing fast and I'd rather it be too big than too small!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This is my latest creation for Sara Lynn's closet. This pattern would be great for beginners because it is so detailed. I had no trouble sewing these up and this was my first time using this pattern. The ruffles were very simple to create and the elastic waistband was easy, too. You can find an excellent and detailed pattern review by Mary (aka the Craft Addict) over at Sew, Mama, Sew! Be sure to check out her blog here. It was actually her review that prompted me to purchase the pattern myself - thanks Mary!
I really like the way these bloomers turned out. They are actually pants, but the pattern could be easily modified into cropped pants or shorts. Next time, I will shorten them to just above the knee. No pants required for our steamy Alabama summers!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Just so you know, I am in container garden heaven! I found these gorgeous pots dirt cheap (like the pun?) at Costco. Last fall I planted this bed in pansies. It was pretty, but it was a pain to weed because the bed is so wide. This spring I'm getting smart. I weeded the bed one last time, applied some weed control, and I am bringing out the pinestraw. These are the flowers previously posted here in case you're interested.
For the most part, it's been a wonderful journey - taking an older home with loads of character and adding our own personality to the mix. It's a good feeling to be able to step back and see what we've accomplished with our own hands. But boy, my back hurts!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
This is my son, Daniel. My best boy. He is growing up so quickly! I can hardly believe I have a first-grader, and he'll be seven-years-old in July. Where does the time go? He recently lost another tooth and I immediately decided it was time for a photo-op. But my son had other ideas. He's at the age where he feels like he's too big to be treated like a little kid. One day last week he announced to my husband and I that he's a man now.
Well, here's my little man with a missing tooth. He still believes in the tooth fairy. If only innocence could last forever...
Friday, April 18, 2008
Have I told you how much I love this man of mine? I really do love him immensely. He is my soul mate. My bestfriend. He always seems to know what I need and goes out of his way to make me happy. One day this week he came home early and announced that it was "Happy I Love You Day." He brought me roses and petit fours - my favorite! I am a blessed woman.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
This blanket is for my daughter... my son wants to know when I'll make him one. Looks like I'll be crocheting for a while! It's a good thing I found a pattern I like. Happy crocheting!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Kimona Red Celosia, Melampodium (yellow), Black Dragon Coleus, and Lilac Madness Petunias.
Fortunately for me, this cold snap will be out of here by tomorrow and I'll be able to get my hands dirty again. It's amazing to me how happy I feel when I'm digging, and pruning, and watering, and weeding. It's good for the soul. Gardening makes me happy. And when I'm happy, I'm a better mother. And a better wife. And a better friend. A better me.
Monday, April 14, 2008
This is the first clothing pattern I ever tried to sew. It is an excellent choice for beginners because it is completely detailed, illustrated, and easy to sew. It is fully lined so there is no need to finish seams. Just be sure your sewing machine is capable of producing buttonholes.
I made the blue gingham one first - it was to be an Easter gift for my nephew, but since it's way past Easter, we'll call it a Happy Spring gift. The second one is beautiful blue broadcloth which will be the perfect weight for our hot Alabama summers. It is a gift for my cousin's baby who is turning 1-year- old on Saturday. I especially love sewing for babies. Baby projects are so small that they seem to sew up in a snap. And since my little princess started toddling around, I'm only able to sew during her naps or at night. This is definitely one of my go-to patterns for gift giving.
Bonnie Blue Designs has a number of easy to sew and fully lined children's clothing patterns. Most of their patterns come with variations for boys and girls in sizes 1-6 (all in the same pattern package.) I really like that these patterns come printed on heavy weight paper. I don't feel like I must be super careful not to rip the pattern after repeated uses. This one is called Holly and Hunter.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I am a stay at home mom (what an oxymoron! I'm rarely at home) with two beautiful children. A boy - 6 1/2 yrs. old and a girl - 15 mos. old. I've been happily married for almost 11 years to my high school sweetheart. Life is good. God is good! I'm blessed to have a wonderful family and many good friends.
I'll have more to share later...