Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Spy Bean Bags

Another birthday party and another opportunity to make a gift. I considered a tote bag or a superhero cape, but I wanted to make something new.

I started thinking about bean bags, which I have made in the past, but with a twist. I liked the idea of making small bean bags with an I Spy window. After goggling I Spy bean bags, I was surprised to find many people making them.

My idea was to make a set of bean bags that would be fun to play I spy with, but also to play with as bean bags. 

I started out with a larger bag (6") and window (4") and ended up remaking them smaller. 

I used a 4.5" back, 2.5" window, and 1.75" strips to frame the window 

These bags went together quickly. I used my Teflon foot to glide easily along the plastic.

For the contents, I found different objects around my house and also from JoAnns.  For each bag, I collected ten different items. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

New hair accessories

A Frozen inspired headband was one item I planned to make. I found a great sparkly blue and a organdy greenish ribbon. I layered them for the best color. Then I took the organdy, folded in half and stiched loosely in order to gather it together. To form the flower, I started making a center and wrapped the ribbon around in a circle. Afterwards, I glued on a felt circle to the back, added glue to the layers and a gem in the center. Previously purchased snowflakes completed the headband. Each embellishment was hot glued on. Hopefully they will stay.

To match a new to us dress, I took some of the Genie's satin fabric and gathered it with a running stitch. Wrapping around worked well.  It was thicker than the ribbon. Again, I glued a felt circle to the back and added glue in between the layers. This can be used as a clip or clipped to a stiff headband.
After making some Halloween hair bows, I purchased more embellishments.  One was a fairy. We chose some purple ribbon and created a flower. It was even thicker and stiffer than the fabric.  It think to will hold its shape well. 

Finally I dipped into the snowman pack and made a quick bow with snowman. I add velvet to the alligator clip so help it stay in my daughter's hair.  I started making these hair bows for my older daughter when she grew out her bangs. They stayed in perfectly. It's interesting how they stay better in some hair than others.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Turkey Preschool Snack

It was "turkey" day at preschool and our turn to bring in snack.  I couldn't ignore the theme for the day!  Based on some other turkey food ideas, I put together cheese and crackers, apples and carrots.

3 round crackers
3 flower shaped cheese slices, cheese first sliced with cheese wire, cut with cookie cutter
Carrot feet and beak - slices of baby carrot, small wedges out for feet, quarter wedge for beak
1 raisin split for eyes
Apple skin for turkey waddle
5 apple slices

I made a "test" turkey the day before and showed it to my daughters (4,10) and some friends aged 12. Everyone knew it was a turkey and right away asked if they could eat it. The cheese scraps went to them too after I cut out the flowers. 

The preschoolers seemed to like the turkey snacks too and after school I gave one leftover turkey to my teenage son who seemed to enjoy it as well. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

Francesca of Swink Girls Quilts nominated me to be a part of the Around the World Blog Tour.  How cool is that?!  Francesca and her mom, Kim co-author their blog and do some amazing things.  It's always a pleasure to catch up with them.  Here is Francesca's Around the World Blog Tour blog post.  Thanks for the nomination, Francesca!

1. What am I working on? 
This is a good question.  I prefer to get going on a project and complete it quickly, but that doesn't always happen.  Today I'm working on laundry...the fact that I am a mom to three and wife consumes most of my time.  One project that is unfinished and seems to be ongoing is a unicycle and hula hoop quilt.  I think the idea was great, the putting together has felt uncertain as well as the colors.  As I work on it and then don't work on it, I wonder if we still like it enough to finish.  Moving my sewing room this summer certainly slowed down my creative process as well.  I don't have a design wall at the moment and less space.

Before the next RMQG meeting, I intend to make a flower block like the ones in this blog post for a charity quilt.

2. How is my work different? 
I'm not sure my work is different from what is out there.  I like to look at people's pictures and read about their inspirations.  Possibly one difference is that I use fabric that is easily available to me.  It may be from my massive stash or from one of the local stores that are nearby.  I rarely travel for fabric or order fabric.

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 
My very first blog post that I wrote had to do with making cookie cutters for unicycle cookies.  I had searched quite a bit for a cookie cutter and found they did not exist.  I wanted to provide the information to others who might be searching too.  I have always taken pictures of things I create.  Probably the biggest reason is that most of what I make ends up leaving my house.  Once I wrote my first post, I went back and created many posts from old pictures.  
Another reason I blog is for myself.  I enjoy going back to what I've done in the past, particularly for recipes.  I reuse my recipes from my blog posts all the time.  I enjoy making tutorials and showing the process for what I create as well.  This is especially true if after looking around, I couldn't find the information myself.  I enjoy helping others in this way and many times I end up using this information again too. 

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
My creative process generally starts with an idea or a need.  This may come from myself or from a family member or friend.  Then I look at Google images for more inspiration or use scrap paper and a pencil.  Sometimes I use pictures and a paint program to plan things out, sometimes paper and colored pencils.  Once for a Disappearing Nine Square I used construction paper and glue to make possible combinations and then my son helped me plan out how to put things back together.  Sometimes I just start cutting fabric and see what happens. 

My most favorite projects are ones that just happen.  Especially if one of my kids has an idea and I am able to create it right away.  The most recent one that just happened was the doll sleeping bag.  Small doll quilts were other things that happened while I was working on something else.  Last year just before Halloween I decided I could use a new hat and made one before going out trick or treating.  I have fond memories of my son asking for very specific costume requests for play:  elbow and knee covers with holes in them, cheetah costume, black mask, a cape, etc.  Those kind of projects I often used fleece, didn't finish any edges and was done quickly so that it could be played with right away.

Thank you!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Genie Costume

A Genie costume was requested this year. I love that my ten year old comes up with these unique ideas.  Last year we put together a sock monkey costume that I still don't know where the idea originated.

I am not opposed to purchasing a costume and I did look for one. What I found was that the child costumes were likely on the small side for her and the adult ones were not really appropriate. 

After looking at more genie costume images, I decided we could just make one. 

Remembering flannel lined satin existed and might be warmer alternative gave us a starting place. I figured copying some pajama pants she had would make easy bottoms. I did have her try on a pair of my pjs to get a lower crotch length and we used that as a guide too. 

The top gave me a bit of a headache. I wasn't sure how we should design it.  Finally I settled on a peasant top.  I looked at online patterns and used the pictures as a guide of what shape to cut. Then I made a top that wasn't right at all. After seeing where it needed to be bigger and contoured better, I tried again and it is acceptable. If I were to make another, I would probably alter things more and make the bottom lower. 

After we had working pants and a top, we went to JoAnn's to get some trim. There were many options to choose from. The gold circles for the top were stitched along black elastic which made it easy to add. The gold trim for the pants had no stretch, so I was more careful adding it. I sewed along the top edge of the trim with gold colored thread. I intended to sew along the bottom too, but liked the way it stood out from the pants and decided to leave it sewn to just the top. 

We did consider using some thin scarf like material to cover her midriff or around her hair, but decided against both. 

Fortunately I had ordered a nude long sleeve leotard for her the week before which arrived just in time to wear on our trick or treating around the village.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Treats

Being able to make snacks and treats at home for preschool has been great.  I have very fond memories of my mom making special things for me in elementary school and it is sad that we can no longer provide homemade things.  But I am finding that in preschool and also the upper grades, any food is just fine.

Halloween has so much potential for great themed food.  I wanted to make sure I was providing food on the healthier side and did search around for ideas.  I found some cheese cut up using mini Halloween cookie cutters and went ahead and ordered my own set.  The preschool teacher suggested Pretzel dipped in chocolate and sprinkle "Wizard Wands" and included those as well.

Halloween Shaped Cheese

Treats, cheese, cookie cutters

Cheese and mini crackers ready for preschool snack.  I found these mini cups in the baking area designed as muffin cups.  They were perfect earlier this month filled with a couple tablespoons of vanilla yogurt for apple dipping.

 Banana Pumpkin muffins with mini chocolate chips

Pumpkin and leaf shaped melon

Shaped melon, pumpkin, leaves

Some items are for the kids for snack and some are refreshments for the preschool families who come to attend the Halloween parade.

Cutting the cheese and melon with the cookie cutters goes very quickly and was easy enough.  For the cheese, I cut long slices with a wire cheese cutter.  For the melon, I made sure to cut at an angle to yield wider slices.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

Once again I sought out a pumpkin muffin recipe.  I hadn't found one worth repeating yet.  This recipe looked different because it used banana and I've always had good luck with banana.

I basically followed the recipe with a couple substitutions.  The second time I made it, I doubled the recipe and yielded 48 mini muffins (bake 11-13 mins) and 12 small regular muffins (bake 15-18 mins) at 350 degrees.

4 bananas
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
1/2 cup of applesauce/oil (almost all applesauce)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips (almost)

The first time I made these without chocolate chips and they are not very sweet and my family very much missed the chocolate chips.  The second time I added the mini chocolate chips and they are perfect.