Monday, May 30, 2011

Garden on Memorial Day

I've been using my garden as an excuse for not blogging a bunch lately and so I thought I would share it with you.  Also, its kind of fun to chronicle how it grows over the summer.  The top picture is of the full garden, fence and all.  In it are sugar snap peas, broccoli, green beans, lima beans, carrots, yellow onions, red onions, cabbage, cherry tomates, beets, roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, red peppers, green peppers, jalapenos, banana peppers, pickling cucumbers, salad cucumbers, pumpkins, and zucchini.  Phew!  Did you catch all that?

The middle row on the left are 2 cucumber seedlings.  The middle top are green bean seedlings with a picture of some of the cabbage and beets below.  Then on the right is a pepper plant growing my first pepper of the season!

The bottom row is a picture of my grapes (already here) and then on the right is one of my 2 marble pots.  This pot has all my herbs in it. There is basil, thai basil, 2 kinds of rosemary, flat parsley, curly parsley, cilantro, spearmint, thyme, chives, sage and dill.  The other pot (not shown) is full of lettuce.  I also have a couple small pots that contain more cucumbers, peppers (green and serrano) and my potato bucket.

All of my seeds started sprouting the last 2 days.  It is very satisfying to put a seed in the ground and then watch it sprout into a big plant.  I can't wait to pick some veggies and eat them!  I also hope that by including Peanut in all of this that she'll be more willing to eat the veggies versus when we buy them from the store.  So far she's just excited about the pumpkins.

Stay tuned for more garden updates!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lavender Sugar Scrub

This is the last gift I made for my Sister in Law's baby shower.  It's a lavender sugar scrub by Maybe Matilda.   I thought it was important to include something for her.  Anyone who's been pregnant knows how draining and uncomfortable it can get at the end.  I thought this could help her feel better, even if just for the length of a shower or two.   I ended up having some extra and so I used it in the shower.  It was really nice and made my skin feel really soft.  I hope to do some more homemade beauty products in the future.

P.S. - I'm sorry I haven't been posting much recently.  I'm feverishly working on my Sister's wedding gift and have spent a ton of time getting my gardens set up.  I finally have everything planted.  Yay!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Onesie Dress

Yet another thing I made for my Sister In Law's baby.  I just love how it turned out.  I used this tutorial from Love To Create.  It was super easy and I love how it looks.

First I folded my onesie in half and drew a line across.

I measured around the body of the onesie and added 1 inch for seam allowance.  Then I cut a strip 2 1/2 inches by that measurement.  I sewed it into a tube and pressed open the seam.  I then pressed it with the seam in the middle before turning it.  After I turned it right side out I repressed it with the seam in the middle.

I cut my main piece to be 42" long and 9" wide.  I made a bottom hem then did a gathering stitch along the top.  I pined it to my "belt" piece and sewed it around.  I then carefully pinned it around my onesie and sewed along the top.  

Here is my final product.  I was concerned about the purple fabric at first but I really liked it once I saw it all finished.  Sorry  I didn't take more pics of the process.  Sometimes its hard to remember to stop and take a picture before moving on.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bucket Potatoes: Day 1

Spring has finally sprung here in South East Michigan.  We have finally passed the danger of frost and so for the past week or so I've been working in the garden every day.  I've planted tomatoes, pepper, peas, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, beans, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, and broccoli.   Today I put in the herbs (12 kinds!) and started the potatoes.  I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to gardening, but I've heard that potatoes are easy.  After doing some research I decided the best method that worked for me was growing them in a bucket.  This is how I set it up.  Check back later for updates on whether or not it works.

I used a bag of potting mix (8.99), 2 yukon gold potato seeders (.39 each) and a 7 gallon bucket from the hardware store (4.99).

First I put a couple inches of potting soil in the bottom of my bucket.

Then I put my potato seeders with the chits facing up in the bottom.  If you don't know about chitting (I didn't) I suggest you google it like I did.  It's easy!

Next I put just enough potting mix in to cover them up.  Then I watered a whole bunch.  Now I wait to see little potato plants popping through!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Running Stitch Blanket by Purl Bee

Another gift for my Sister In Law is the running stitch blanket by the Purl Bee.  I really love the idea because its an easy blanket, but the running stitch adds a personalization to it.  I also considered embroidering the baby's name on the solid side, but decided against it.  I know they have decided on a name but what if she comes out a boy?  Or what if they look at her and decide she looks like a "something else?"  I just figured it was better not to take any chances.  I know the Purl Bee did hers in all cotton, but I like the one side of fleece and one side of cotton.  It makes it a little thicker, but not too thick.  Since you can't really see the running stitch very well in this picture here's another one where you can see it better.

I had bought a specific green to match the green in the blanket, but could not find it for the life of me.  Of  course the day after I finished the blanket I found it.  I'm not sure if that's how your life goes, but it sure is how mine does.   Maybe it's something that gets better with age, though I doubt it.  I'm still plugging away at my sister's wedding gift.  Only 2 weeks left to finish it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Turtle crinkle taggie blanket w/ Tutorial

This is a taggie turtle I maid for my sister in law's new baby.  I was inspired by this turtle, though it turned out very different from it.  It crinkles, since that seems to be the "in" thing among babies these days.  His top is fleece and the underside is cotton (of the pillow sham variety).  The "tags" are pieces of ribbon.  The crinkle is made of a piece of a Tostitos bag.  I felt it was appropriate since I made him on Cinco De Mayo.  I had to wait to give the gifts to my sister in law before I could share them.  This is one of 4 things I made for her baby shower.

So, let me show you how I did it!

What you'll need:
Scrap of fleece
Scrap of Cotton
12" of Ribbon
Empty chip bag or something equally as "crinkly"

Cut the ribbon into 4 4" long pieces. Cut an oval out of the cotton, fleece, and bag for the body.  I drew my oval and cut it out on paper first and used it as a template.  Cut 2 head pieces out of fleece.

Put the 2 fleece head pieces together and sew around the edges, leaving the bottom straight edge open.  Trim and turn right side out.

Lay the fleece oval down first.  lay the head on the fleece where you want it facing inward.  Then, fold the ribbon pieces in half and place them where you want them matching the raw edges of the ribbon with the edge of the oval.  Put the cotton on top and then the plastic bag on the very top.  Pin all the layers together.  Make sure you put pins where the ribbon and head pieces are so that they don't move.

Should look like this.  All of the pieces of ribbon and the head should be sandwiched in between the fleece and cotton layers facing inward.  Next you're going to want to sew around the circle  through all the layers.  Make sure to leave a hole open along the bottom for turning.  I marked my starting and stopping point with the Green ball tipped pins.  If I don't mark them I tend to sew the hole way and then have to rip some of it out. 

Next, turn the turtle right side out.  I top stitched around the edge to close up the hole and to make it look more shell like.  Now, if you wanted to you could stop here.  He's a functioning turtle toy.  The next step  just makes him cuter, in my opinion.

Next, flip him over to his tummy.  Draw 4 circles scattered along his belly using a pencil.  Then, set the stitch on your machine to the smallest stitch possible.  The smaller the stitch, the more it puckers as you sew.

Sew the 4 circles following your pencil drawings. This will give him four bumps along the top of his shell.  Trim your threads and your done!  Now, if you did use a pencil to draw on him I suggest you wash him before handing him over to your baby.  I don't think it would harm them, but I also don't want any sick babies!

He really liked basking in the sun next to our pond with his own kind.  He felt very much at home there. Too bad he got shipped off to New Jersey.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eyelet Lace Dress

I just love this dress.  Before I added the pockets I was picturing minnie mouse, but I really think the pockets offset that.  I got the idea from an adorable romper at Carters.  I just loved the eyelet lace.  They didn't have it in Munchkin's size so I set out to make it myself.  I'm not quite ready yet to make overalls/rompers yet so I thought a dress would be cute.  I also didn't want the hassle of dying the eyelet lace and decided accenting it against a bright color would be really cute.  I can't wait until its nice outside and I can take better pics.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Proof: The Eyelet Lace mock up

This is proof that I'm still working over here.  Yesterday I worked from 12 midnight to 1 am (so it does count as yesterday!) on something that's not worth showing (though, I will if you ask nicely).  I didn't get another chance to work on anything because I was busy doing housework the rest of the day.

Today, I completely scrapped that idea and moved on to this one.  This is the beginning of a new dress pattern I'm making.  It'll have eyelet lace on it, but you'll have to wait to find out where.  I spent a couple hours today drawing, measuring, and cutting out the pattern.  So far I've spent 1 hour on cutting out the pieces and sewing.  Not too bad for 1 hour's work.  I'll see how it fits on Munchkin before going any farther.  I'm not sure about how it'll fit on her and the proportions.

Stay tuned!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Shirred Dress

This dress is 1) the bane of my existence and 2) my project for KCWC day 3 (and now 4).   I had a heck of a time with the shirring.  It was my first time and perhaps my last (though I don't think so).  My biggest tip after this endeavor is to perfect the tension before you start sewing on the actual dress.  The proper tension setting is of utmost importance.

Peanut is wearing this dress right now and it fits really well.  A tutorial will be posted later.  Just let me catch my breath and start the next project.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pajamas into Coat: A Tutorial

I had these pajamas in a bag of clothes I got from Freecycle.  If you aren't familiar with freecycle, its a group you can join where people give things away in order to keep them out of landfills.  Not everything is "trash".  Most often its stuff they just don't want anymore.  So, I got a bag of clothes in 4T for Peanut and these were in it.  Spring is here (finally!) and so I don't really have a use for fleece pajamas.  What I do have a need for is a spring coat for Peanut to play outside in when its cooler and/or windy.  Enter in the Pajamas into a Coat craft!

What you'll need:
1 pair of fleece footie pajamas
3-4 buttons
coordinating or matching thread
sewing machine


First thing I did was try them on Peanut and mark where her waist was with a pencil.

Then I ripped the seams on the zipper with my stitch ripper down to well below my mark.

I actually ended up using a new t-shit of Peanuts to gage the length.  I marked the bottom of the shirt and added an inch.  The shirt was pretty long, so the coat ended up being the right length.

I then rolled up a 1/4 inch along the bottom then another 1 inch.  I wanted the bottom to have a wider hem to look more like the bottom of a regular coat.  I did a 7/8 inch hem from the bottom. Its not so important that the inside is straight, but that the outside hem is straight since that's what people will see.  So, focus on sewing straight along the bottom rather than making sure you are straight along the inside fold.

Next I cut 4 1"x5" strips out of the scrap material from the bottom half of the pajamas.  I then folded them in half right side out and pinned them.  I put them in my machine and did a straight stitch down the middle of each one.

I then trimmed the raw edge really close to the seam.

Then I laid out my 4 strips along with my 4 buttons to decide placement.  You could also do 3 buttons if you wanted.  It just depends on how you want the spacing to be.  It's also hard to tell, but my buttons are different.  

I used a pen to mark where I wanted each button to be.

Then I hand sewed the buttons on with my blue dots right in the middle of the button.

Then I took my strips and tucked them in the buttons and pinned them onto the other side where I thought they gave enough tension to stay on.  I sewed the strips on running the stitch across each strap 5 times (down, up, down, up, down) 7/8 inch from the center edge of the coat.  I then went another 1/4" out and repeated for strength.  I trimmed the strips 1/4" out from that.

Here is a close up of the 2 seams and how I trimmed it.  Also note the factory made wavy hem up towards the top.  Good to know even the factories aren't perfect stitchers!

The finished product!  A simple coat for Peanut to wear outside.  I went from something I probably wasn't going to use to something Peanut needed.  Total cost to me $0.

Peanut posing in her new coat, which she says she loves.  Her hands are up because she's making a funny face while posing for the camera.

Monday, May 9, 2011

KCWC Day 1: Pants into shorts

I know turning pants into shorts seems like a really easy task, but I think it's something I take for granted.  Not everyone knows how to do it.  So, since today was mothers day and full of gardening activities I decided to start with something easy.   Peanut has an old pair of pants that still fit in the waist, but they are too short and the bottoms are tattered.  Solution? Shorts!  One pretty easy hem and she has something she can wear all summer!  So, here's how to do it if you are new to sewing.

The first thing I did was take a pair of shorts and used them as a guide as to where I wanted to hem my pants.

Using my shorts as a guide I drew lines on the pants where I wanted the hem to be and then an inch below to fold under.

Cut the pants on the bottom line

Fold the ends in 1/2" twice so the unfinished edges are on the inside.  The top line you drew should be right on the bottom edge now.  Pin around and repeat for the 2nd leg.

Sew a 1/4 inch seam around the bottom of each pant leg.  Trim the threads.

Voila!  Now you have a pair of shorts!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's day Stuffed French Toast

It has become Mothers' Day tradition in my house to have Strawberry Stuffed French Toast for breakfast.  I asked for it my first mothers' day and have repeated the request every year since.  What's not to like?  There's cream cheese, butter, cinnamon and strawberries in the middle.  I will post the recipe, but Papa B has it and he's not available.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco De Mayo Chicken Fajitas

First, Happy Cinco De Mayo!  May your day be full of Tequila!

Ok, now on to the good stuff.  I love Mexican food.  Tacos, enchiladas, rellenos, quesadillas, and...Fajitas! The onions, peppers, lime juice, and of course sour cream!  What's not to like?  We make both beef and chicken fajitas.  I have a recipe for each.  Tonight we chose chicken.  Always a good choice.  So, without further ado, here it is!

For the marinade:
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 medium onion, julienned
1 sweet red pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper julienned
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
Tortillas warmed
Salsa and sour cream, optional


In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first nine ingredients; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Drain and discard marinade.   In a large nonstick skillet, saute the chicken, onion and pepper in oil for 5 minutes. Combine the lime juice and soy sauce; pour into skillet. Cook  until chicken is cooked thoroughly and vegetables are tender. Spoon chicken and vegetable mixture onto tortillas. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

French Onion Soup (updated and modified)

Yesterday when I made the grocery list my computer was unavailable.  For those of you who don't know, I keep all my recipes in a document on my computer.  I have it in Dropbox (if you don't know what Dropbox is you need to find out) so I can see it on my phone, but it's not the most convenient thing. To make an already long story short, I forgot to buy the beef broth for the french onion soup planned for tonight.  Hence my "make it work" moment.  (I love Tim Gunn!)

5 beef bouillon cubes
4 cups of water
1 small bottle of white wine (these things are amazing to cook with. So convenient!)
3 Yellow onions
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter
French bread
1/4 lb swiss cheese

Turn the crock pot on high and put the butter in.  I cut my butter into smaller pieces to make it melt faster.  While the butter is heating up, peal and slice your onions into rings. Also, put the water in a pot and bring to a boil for your broth.  Once the water is boiling, remove from heat and add bouillon cubes.  Stir until cubes are disolved.  Once the butter is melted separate the onion rings and put them into the crock pot; stir to coat.  Once the onions are coated add all the other ingredients; stir. Cover and cook 8 hours on high (10 hours on low).  

Preheat oven to broil.  Slice your bread.  If your crock pot has a removable insert then you can just use your crock pot.  If not, put the soup into either individual bowls or an oven safe casserole dish.  Place your bread slices on top of the soup and top with the cheese.  Put in the broiler until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

This soup drove me crazy all day! The smell filled the house. I kept telling Papa B that he needed to come home so we could eat dinner. 

* This is a modified version of the recipe found on Crockpot 365.