Saturday, September 20, 2014

Super Hero Birthday

We have a friend who is turning four and is very much into super heroes. This theme has so much potential for gifting. I started brainstorming cape ideas and also offered to make a birthday "4" shirt.

From my stash I had this great Mavel print that was perfect for a birthday shirt. After looking at some other birthday shirts, I saw the idea of having a comic Pow! speech bubble behind the number.  I think it looks cool. I was going to use the Marvel font for the four, but it wasn't right. I ended up using a Super Mario Bros font. 

For the cape, I thought it would be cool to have the birthday boy's first initial on the back in batman colors. My husband suggested the batman shaped bottom edge. I had intended to follow a tutorial I had found earlier this week, but when I laid everything out, the dimensions seemed too small.  I loosely used a cape I had made my daughter last winter and used the plate tracing suggestions from the blog post. 

The "V" is from a superman font and has a great look to it. The circle is from an 8" plate. 

I took a few picture to help me remember the sizing for next time. Also, the points I made along the lower edge ended up being sewn less pointy. The outside is black and the inside is blue.


I asked my daughter to try on the cape a couple times. She was mostly cooperative, but admitted she didn't like the colors much. I asked if she'd come outside and wear it for pictures. She had a ball running around with the big flowing cape on. I think the birthday boy will enjoy it too. In addition, she did put in a request for a pink cape. 

It's been a long time since I've had a little boy and it was fun sewing little boy things. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cup and Bag for Preschool

For my daughter's preschool, she needs to bring a cup for snack each day. I think that is a great idea instead of using paper cups. When my older daughter went to preschool, cups were provided and washed. But bringing every time works too. Because they will bring home dirty or at the very least wet cups, a bag needs to be provided too.

One option, of course, is to use one of the cups we already own and use a plastic bag. But then we'd have no fun project. So I sought out a new cup that might even be fun. No such luck. Due to my plastic aversion, there aren't too many cup options. We already own stainless steel tumblers, but when I saw a stainless steel mini mug with double wall construction, I decided that would be a better option for us.  And after carrying bin after after bin of fabric when relocating my fabric stash, I knew I wanted to use up some of the PUL from diaper making days.

The little bag was super easy. I had a 7" zipper on hand and the PUL. I utilized a small bit of cotton at the ends of the zipper. 

For the mug, I read a bit about using paint or permenant marker on stainless steel. I wasn't sure what might stick. Finally I saw nail polish mentioned and thought that was worth a try. I wanted to write her name fancy, but my painting skills are not the same caliber as my sewing skills. After some test runs, I settled on a flower and added sparkle nail polish as the final coat. I did write her name on the bottom with more nail polish.  I hope it all washes well!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sackpack repair

My son's backpack was still in good condition, except for where the straps came through the pack.  I remembered making hand stitched eyelets long ago and thought that would be a good fix. Fortunately I have my free motion foot for quilting and using that helped a lot.

First I took a square of heavy interfacing and a square of black bottom weight fabric. I lined them up under the holes and sewed a couple circles.

Then I trimmed the excess fabric and cut a smaller circle in the center. 


Back to my sewing machine, I stitched from the center hole towards the outsides like a sun around the hole a few times.   

Finally I threaded the straps through the hole. It's a much tighter fit.  Hopefully they will last all year!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Plum Crumble Dessert Bars

We have been enjoying all the summer fruit harvest. Lately we get cherries, peaches, blueberries, and melon.  When I saw these small black plums from a local grower, I thought we'd try them out.  They are perfect for snacking, but somehow they weren't getting eaten quickly enough.  Looking around for recipes yielded all kinds of interesting plum items.  Finally I settled on these breakfast bars. It's interesting for me to try new recipes.  I liked that the bottom of the crust is baked alone first.  I did question the need for so much butter!  And more butter mixed with the plums.  Next time I would play around with the quantities and see what else works well.  After trying this version, I would call them dessert bars as they are sweet and remind us of apple crisp.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fruit Salad for camping

I decided it would be fun to take my daughters and three tween friends camping at a nearby campground.  We set up camp early in the afternoon and then returned with friends for pizza, a campfire, and snacks.  My daughter is the youngest of the bunch and isn't quite needing the constant stream of food that the older girls needed.  But I did realize the need for some snacks.

Because we were having pizza for dinner, I wanted something lighter for a snack.  S'mores were definitely on the agenda.  My daughter suggested fruit salad.  When I looked online at different camping food suggestions, fruit salad kept popping up in a waffle cone.  That sounded perfect!  I decided to get waffle bowls.  Half of the girls enjoyed the bowls too, the other half decided to throw them in the fire when done.  I liked the combination a lot.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies with banana and coconut oil

I've made chocolate chip cookies a few times substituting one banana for one of the sticks of butter. Today I remembered I wanted to try a half cup of coconut oil and one banana instead of any butter. The coconut oil is softer due to the summer temperatures, even in the a/c, so I didn't heat it at all.

I followed a basic chocolate chip recipe using two teaspoons of vanilla and one egg. I don't see many other variations. I did add one cup of oats, which I often do and did add almost two full cups of chocolate chips. I often only add one cup, but my helpers vetoed that idea.

I baked 10 minutes at 375 degrees and these have a very nice texture. The banana and butter variation seems more cakey. Banana only (no added fats) are very cakey. I think we will stick with the coconut oil.  As my daughter said, coconut oil is good for everything!  Even my feet!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Grocery Bag

End of year teacher gift ideas never come easily to me.  I searched around for some ideas and finally decided on a grocery tote. Mainly because I had just a bit of cute teacher fabric leftover from a Handprint teacher quilt I made last year and also because I see the value in fabric grocery bags.

I used a plastic Wegmans bag as a pattern.

Bag Parts
Front, back outside and 2 lining 16.5" x 13"
2 Side Panels outside and 2 lining 4.5" x 16.5"
Handles 2 outside, 2 lining 5.5" x 13" shaped and pleated
Loop 4.5" x 3"

First I started with front and back panels that were 16.5" x 13".  These were pieced in a basic log cabin pattern with 1" to 3.5" pieces.

Next I cut two side panels 4.5" x 16.5".

These four pieces went together to form the bag.  (Red side panel, pieced front, blue side panel, pieced back)

I formed the bottom of the bag by folding in the side panels into the bottom seam.  Here is what it looked like on the lining.

On the outside, the bottom looked like this.

For the handles, I followed the basic size and shape of the plastic grocery bag.  I cut a rectangle of 5.5" by 13".  I measured 2.5" in the center of the strap and also centered lengthwise.  With the strap folded in half, I started the curve about 3.75" from the edge and curved in to the 2.5" mark.  I copied this curve on the other side mirror image.

Need two straps, each with a lining.
Handles, turned and top stitched.

Handle position ended up having the inner edges of the handles 1.25" covering the side panels.  I put in a pleat because it seemed a bit too wide after all.  The finished size with the pleat was 3.5".

Next was a loop.  Cut at 4.5" by 3", then ironed in half lengthwise, each side folded in towards fold line and then folded in half.
Pieced Grocery Bag

Handles and loop is positioned right sides together with outside of bag.  Then I made a lining using the same dimensions:  two 16.5" by 13" panels plus two 4.5" by 16.5" sewing together (with opening for turning in one side seam) then folding in the sides into the bottom seam again.

Sew bag right sides together at top edges, flip, top stitch, and blind stitch lining opening for turning.