Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mini I-Spy Doll AND Tummy Time Quilt

Here is the mini I spy quilt I made for my goddaughter. Part of the Baby Shower gift basket. I made it big enough for tummy time, but small enough to use as a doll quilt when she's a little bigger, about 32"x 32".

I adore I spy quilts, but I really hate quilting, so mini is perfect! I decided to round the corners, use a zig zag stitch and embrace the quirkiness of my quilting skills. At least on the second attempt, the squares all lined up!

I've also finished my first I Spy crib quilt for sale. This one is not quirky at all! Just plain cute. I'm debating about listing it in my shop. I really love the cotton candy colors!

And last but not least, this little gem that's already been snatched up! I used a simple, self binding method and I think it may have won me over to quilting! It's so much easier.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Girly Baby Shower: Candy Buffet, Dolies and Tissue Paper Flowers

I finally organized the long-awaited shower for my little goddaughter! Our theme was "sweet" with super-girly decor and a candy buffet. I used glass jars, milk jugs and bowls to display the candy. The little sugar tongs were a nice (and sanitary!) touch.

I taped multiple doilies together (on the underside) in varying sizes to make runners for the candy buffet. I also cut small doilies in half and quarters to embellish the brown paper candy bags. I think they might be my favorite touch! The saltwater taffy, gourmet mini lollypops and cotton candy were some of the biggest hits.

I made the doily bunting with large and small doilies and craft string. I used two sizes, folding some in half (and gluing with stick glue) and leaving some round (either tape onto string or sandwich 2 doilies and glue) in a random pattern. I left about 4-8" between each. 

The tissue paper flowers were made from a Martha tutorial. Rather than floral wire I used white twist ties. For the bunting, you just cut down the tissue paper into quarters and tie them onto string before fluffing them out.

Here are our guests of honor; Mama and Little A, and the basket of goodies I made as the gift. I can't wait to show you what's in that basket, but this post is getting a little long!

Little one enjoying her teething ring. Babies LOVE these! They're my favorite shop item. I think...

My little Peanut and I. What a darling. I'm so lucky to be her godmama!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pinto Beans, Sweet Potato and Quinoa in Tomato Broth: Better and Faster than it Sounds!

This is my favorite soup recipe. I found it in Mothering Magazine, and then adapted it to our taste. It's so nutritionally dense, it's hard to believe that it tastes as good as it does! I'm making it tonight and thought I'd share.

Pinto Beans, Sweet Potatoes, and Quinoa in Tomato Broth

1 1/2 cups canned pinto beans
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1/2 t dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, finely diced, with juice
1 orange sweet potato, peeled, diced small

Rinse pinto beans and set aside.

Place quinoa in small pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil, immediately turn down to simmer, cover, and cook until quinoa has absorbed all liquid (about 15 minutes). Keep warm.

Heat olive oil in 4-quart pot over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook until soft around the edges (4-5 minutes). Add garlic and chipotle chile and cook 1 minute more. Add cumin, oregano, bay leaf and a little salt and pepper. Cover with remaining stock and diced tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes to allow stock to become well-flavored. Add sweet potato and simmer 10-15 minutes more, until sweet potatoes are tender.

Add pinto beans to broth and bring back to a simmer. Divide warm quinoa among deep bowls. Ladle hot broth into bowls. 
Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt, avocado and green onion. If Daniel's not into it,  I'll add crushed tortilla chips to his soup as well.

The Mothering Recipe calls for a roasted chipotle pepper in the soup and suggests topping with lime, cabbage, feta or radishes as a garnish.

Apple Picking!

While pet sitting for a friend of ours, we discovered she has a huge apple tree in her back yard! So, naturally, we came back with bags and picked everything we could.

Here's us sorting and washing in the yard. We made some yummy canned honey-maple apples, but I don't think I'll have time for anything else. It's been a busy Fall so far!

This is the syrup recipe I made up for canning them:
3 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Maple
1/2 Cup Honey
Cinnamon to Taste

You can use any recipe for canning whole/diced apples and substitute this syrup recipe for a traditional sugar syrup recipe.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Fundraising Program!

I am so excited to announce my new fundraising program for schools and non-profits! I love to support my community, and I hope that this gives a fun and useful new option for families and organizations. You can support local and handmade, buy a unique gift and at the same time earn money for your program!

Here's a sample brochure for your browsing pleasure!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

DIY Craft Room/Office Makeover Revealed!

Finally, I'm done. Well...mostly. I still need to reorganize my closet, but it's good enough for now!

My desk. Notice the pipe-cleaner decor by Daniel.

I'm ever-so-pleased with how the red/turquoise/blue color scheme turned out. It's subtle since it's mostly in the accessories, but gives the space a little creative 'pop'.

I love the kid-friendly crafting space. With the junk pile we had going on before, I was always shooing Daniel out or stressed because of the mess, but now he is a crafting-machine! I love, love, love the small lack shelves at his height. Anything I want him to be able to reach himself goes there and he can just help himself.

The best part for me is definitely the shelves above my sewing table. They look nice, store a ton of fabric and other bits and pieces and keep things close by, but out of the way!

My beloved Lack shelving holding my fabric stash!

A plastic tray holds all my sewing notions

Storage is everywhere! I have so much storage now, some of it is even empty! I have plastic drawer units and hanging shelves in the closet, boxes and buckets, and shelving everywhere. How dreamy!

Pretty much everything is from Ikea which kept cost down and the look consistent, which I think makes a small space look bigger. Hooray for an efficient, pretty space to create in!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An Updated Tutorial: Making Your Own Beeswax Cloth for Reusable Sandwich Bags

I've been surprised at how many people are finding me as they try and figure out how to make their own beeswax cloth. It's very simple, but time consuming and messy! I felt that since this has been such a popular subject I should update the tutorial with better photos and instructions.

Beeswax (I have a 1/2 lb chunk from a local producer, but you can also use a pure beeswax candle)
Paintbrush (I use a fan shaped brush. Once you use it for beeswax, that's all it will be good for, so don't spend a lot of money or use your favorite!)
Cotton fabric

1.) Melt a small amount of beeswax, over medium-low heat, in your pan. Once it's melted, keep the burner on at low heat.

2.) Dip your paintbrush into the beeswax and gently sweep across the fabric. You'll start with very light pressure and then firmer as it cools. When you dip again, ensure the hardened wax melts again. A very light coating is enough. The beeswax will soak through on the fabric, so it's best used as a liner, with the beeswax side facing in.

This is the perfect material for reusable sandwich bags. Most that you see are lined with petroleum products, unless they are 100% cotton. The beeswax is also better at keeping food from drying out than just plain cotton.

Washing Instructions:
Handwash in cold water with mild dish soap. Warm water will melt the wax! I prop ours open to dry on our dish rack and they're good to go by morning.

Tutorial: How To Make Your Own Labels the Easy and Cheap Way!

***This tutorial has been upgraded! Check out my latest post HERE to save yourself a couple steps***

I reaaaaally want to order some labels for myself. Like badly. But, with such a small business I have to be reasonable about costs and blah blah blah. If you want to order some, there's a helpful blog post on MADE.

So I decided to make my own. I looked around for tutorials and did some reading but when it came down to it, I just winged it. Please forgive the terrible camera broke!

Iron on Transfer Paper (I just used the t shirt kind)
Ribbon, twill tape or whatever you like best. Just make sure it's iron safe!
Jars or containers for storing

1.) In Keynote or Powerpoint, arrange your logo in rows. I printed out a few test sheets to get my labels the right size. FLIP YOUR IMAGE! I may or may not have forgotten this step and wasted a sheet of transfer paper. If you're using a Mac, use keynote. Powerpoint for Mac has no 'flip' feature to make your logo a mirror image. Print onto transfer paper according to package directions.

2.) Cut ribbon lengths and cut out labels from transfer paper. My ribbon was about 1 inch wide by 3 inches long. Lots of room to fold over and stitch into seams.

3.) Turn on the iron and arrange labels on your ribbon. It should be placed just below the middle so that when you fold it in half it's on the front side. I started with one at a time and then realized I could easily do 5 across at once.

4.) Iron those suckers on. Like crazy. When you think you might be scorching the ribbon, wait another few seconds! Wait for them to cool completely and then peel off the paper backing. I've decided to leave them on and just peel them off as I use them. I store my extra labels and my extra iron on tags (I kept some separate so I could make horizontal labels as well) in a little jars.

I'm pleased with how they turned out and finally my products have proper labels!

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