Sunday, December 23, 2012

Grandma's Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Every year my grandma would make a bunch of yummy treats.  Now that her health isn't what it was, she rarely makes them any more, so I asked her if I could copy her recipes.  One of my favorites are her peanut butter balls.  Since I made a batch this year, I thought I would share it with you.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 sticks melted butter
  • 12 oz package of chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients, except chocolate, in a mixer.

Form into small balls and chill in a fridge for an hour.

Melt chocolate chips.  Dip balls and place on waxed paper.

Keep chilled until served.

I also made two different fudges (milk chocolate and butterscotch) using the recipe on the back of the Kraft Marshmallow creme jar and some oreo truffles using the recipe from here.  For the truffles, I also made some adding some broken candy canes inside and on top to keep track of which ones they were.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2 Little Hooligans Casserole Carrier

Another one of my homemade gifts that I made are casserole carriers.  I made four.  I used the tutorial from 2 Little Hooligans and I did the same changes as suggested by Homemade by Jill.  They were pretty easy  and speedy to put together or at least they would have been fast if I wasn't making four at once.  Another change I made was that I only put Velcro on the flaps that would be on top so that it would have more flexibility for different sized dishes.  I jostled the carrier with a dish in it to make sure it would hold and it did.

I'm really glad I decided to use the cotton webbing.  I think it really helps to break up the pattern.

Now just two more gifts to sew.  I hope I can make it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gingercake's Play Mat/ Messenger Bag

This year for Christmas, I'm making most of the gifts.  One of the first ones I got done were for my two nephews.  I wanted a gift that would be fun and practical. I made them a fun car play mat that folds into a messenger bag.  I used the tutorial from Gingercake.

For the main fabric and what would be the roads, used some discarded jeans from my large jean supply.  I had a couple scraps I wanted to use for the "city blocks" from Monaluna's Taali collection.  

I also purchased two more prints to give it more variety and I didn't have enough of the other two.  I found a really cute collection at Hancock Fabrics with cats, dogs and various forms of transportation called M'Liss Pets.  I really wanted to get a couple yards of this one for the girls.

I learned that I do not like fussy cutting.  It feels too wasteful for me and I can never decide the best place to cut.  Other than that, it was really fast and easy.   I forgot to take a picture of the first one I finished till the morning after I wrapped it, so oh well on that one.

I used some old jeans for the main fabric/streets and an old belt for the handles.  I also used regular snaps instead of magnetic snaps, because I didn't have any.

In the tutorial, she suggested hand sewing the side panels by hand, but my hand sewing is atrocious so I sewing it with my sewing machine with a bobbin of clear thread that would be on the play side.

I love how they turned out.  I hope my nephews get a lot of use out of them!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Baby Bibs a Plenty.

Last month, I was approached by one of my husband's coworkers to make some bibs for her to send to a relative in Australia, who was having a baby boy.  I finally finished them last week and got around to blogging about them.  I found this amazing tutorial and used that as my base.  I made one to see if my client liked it, which she did, but she also wanted it embellished.  With my sewing machine under the weather, I couldn't embroider anything, so I went to pinterest (as always) to get some inspiration.  There were two that I really liked (here and here).

On the monster one, I put the teeth on the bottom edge of the back so when it is folded up into a crumb catcher, the monster would have a cute little mouth.  The tie one I ended up having to create my own template, but that wasn't very hard.  On the other four I used various sizes of vintage ric rac that my sister gave me.  I had a really hard time finding boyish fat quarters where I looked in town, but I'm happy with how they turned out anyways.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sugar Baby: Pastry Cream and Fruity Bavarian Cream

The Bavarian cream recipe called for pastry cream and called for pastry cream, so we did a two for one, especially since she said the pastry cream is only good for two days in the fridge.

The pastry cream seemed really easy and we didn't have any problems.  We chilled it overnight before making the Bavarian cream and tasted what was left on the spoon.  Pretty tasty.  The next day we pureed some blueberries and made up the fruity Bavarian cream.  It also was super easy.

The next day after the girls went to bed, we remembered we were going to have it for dessert with the girls.  We decided to just eat it ourselves since the pastry cream recipe said it was only good for two days in the fridge.

It looked lovely and the taste was okay.  The texture bothered me the most.  I think a different fruit probably would have been better.  Overall, I thought it was alright and we might try it again with a different fruit, but probably not.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Waves and Whales Dress

When I saw that Project Run and Play was getting ready to hold auditions, I knew I had to come up with something for it, since I haven't sewn anything but pajamas in recent history and it is a dream of mine to compete on it.  So many ideas went through my mind.  I considered dress up dresses of all kinds including using a scalloped vintage apron pattern as part of the skirt.  

Then I decided to go with something more everyday wearable.  My sister gave me a little bit of vintage fabric for my birthday.  I thought it might be enough for a skirt and I remembered Laurel's outfit she wore for her party.  It was an overall dress with a long sleeve shirt and leggings, super cute!  That was just the right thing.   First, I was going to use an overall pattern and turn it into a dress, but I didn't quite like how I pictured it would turn out.  So next I remembered one of my Ottobre Designs had what I thought were overalls, but they were pants with suspenders.  I almost started with that and worked it into a jumper, but again it wasn't quite right.  So I decided to see what I could find on pinterest (nothing) and then google images.  Finally, I found the perfect pattern and it was a free tutorial!

It was Untrendy Life's Stitch In Color Summer Dress!  I paired a fun whale fabric with turquoise.  Instead of binding, I used orange jumbo ric rac.  Her tutorial was really easy to follow, except I was a little confused on what size to cut the front, so it is fairly narrow.  I might seam rip it and redo it later, but knowing me, probably not.

For the shirt underneath, I used Violette Field Threads' pattern Elise Shirt.  It is a great pattern, because it is super simple and has so many options.  I was going to make leggings to and even cut some out, but when I tried the shirt on Eleanor, I decided that more color would be too much.

She was startled by the popcorn popper being turned on.
Over all, I love how this outfit turned out and Eleanor does too.  She calls it her princess dress.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Super Simple Advent Calender

Now that our girls are a little older and are starting to understand and be more interested in this whole thing called Christmas, I decided to make an Advent calender for them.  I was inspired by yet another pin on Pinterest.  It caught my eye because it is based on a book we already have. 

The link took me here, where they had a reading plan already made up.  She mentioned that she was going to print off the list then cut it up to put into her advent calender, so that got me thinking.  We didn't already have an advent calender and I didn't want to spend much money or time this year making one.  So I took the list, copy and pasted it into labels in Publisher, printed,cut them out and folded them in half.  Then I took some ribbon and clothes pins and made a super simple advent calender.  In a moment of extra insanity, I decided to decorate the clothes pins with glitter, so now there is glitter everywhere thanks to the girls "helping" me.

I thought that since I put forth the effort to make the labels that I would share them with you.  You should be able to download it, if not let me know and I'll email it to you.  Feel free to use it any way you want.

(By the way this is my 50th post!)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sugar Baby: Crème Caramel

Otherwise known as flan, as I read through this recipe, I got pretty nervous with words like steady hands and immediately.  Being nervous was quite appropriate, since we had some difficulties.  It took us three tries to make the caramel sauce.  The first try we ended up with dry sugar.  All the water boiled out.  We tried again after doing a little more research.  This time we saw that it still was just crystallizing instead of caramelizing.  On the third try, Michael realized that we weren't getting it hot enough so we adjusted and it finally worked, only this time we probably over did it.  Then it took us too long to divide it up between the ramekins and it hardened up so we couldn't coat the whole bottom.  The custard part was pretty much just like the Crème Anglaise and went fairly smoothly.

Here they are before I removed them from the ramekins.

I had some difficulty getting them to come out, but out they came.  I think it is so cool that it looks like this one has a heart on it.  As you'll notice the rock hard burnt sugar liquefied somehow.  It came as a complete surprise to me.

None of us really enjoyed the end results.  I found the custard to be too egg like in its taste.  The best part was the caramelized sugar sauce and I would have like that to be a little less runny.  We probably won't be making this one again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

EvgieNev Wall Decal

Recently, I won a pretty awesome giveaway, so I thought I would share what I did with my bounty.  I got a wall decal from EvgieNev.  I picked out a beautiful design with bird cages, but it was too big for the space I wanted it in, but that wasn't a problem at all.  They were super amazing to work with!  They shrunk it down and I also got to customize the colors.

It came right before we left to visit my parents for Thanksgiving, but as soon as we got home I started putting it up.  Here are some befores of my girls' room.  

It was fairly easy to put up, time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but mostly easy.  I tried to follow the directions as closely as possible and it did get faster/easier as I went.  Although, the birdcages were super hard.  It took me part of an evening and part of a morning to do.

I just love how it all turned out!  While I'm at it, I might as well show off a few more details in the girls' room (since it was clean at the moment I was taking pictures).  Most of the decor items in there I made.

We'll start above Eleanor's bed.  The prints are from hours of scouring Pinterest for free bird printables.  The nest one is from here, the bird cage one is from here and the last print is from here, but I cut a pasted a bit to get it to look like that.  The stork with the heart was made using the book, Little Birds.  The little bird in the corner was supposed to be a door stop for my bedroom, but it wasn't heavy enough so it went into the girls' room.  I can't remember where I got the free pattern.

Over to Laurel's side, the tiny bird, mobile, and wreath were all made using the Little Birds book again.  The framed pictures is of a bear dressed up like a bumble bee that I cross stitched for Eleanor's bee themed nursery.  I used the pattern from this book, from which I also stitched the alphabet, but I didn't take a picture of it.  Other items in the room I made are the drapes, valance, and roman shades.

As always, Eleanor and Laurel decided to help out.  I hope you enjoyed a little peek into the only room in the house with any sort of theme or even close to being put together.  If you have any more fun bird ideas, I'd love to see them!

Monday, November 19, 2012

McCall Pattern 5830 Vintage Pajamas

While making the pajamas I talk about here, I decided I should use the other pajama pattern I have as well, since I wasn't sure I'd like the drop seat idea (as amusing as it is).

These are really cute two piece pajamas from 1944.  I wasn't sure about the idea of buttons around the waist, but the more I look at it, the cuter it gets.  Plus with my new snap pliers they shouldn't be a problem or too time consuming for us or Eleanor getting dressed.  Once again, decided to go with the footie variation.

I used my fun fox flannel that I also got for $2.99 from Joann's.

This one took me a lot longer than the last one, but not because it was more difficult of time consuming.  It took so long, because I cleaned to procrastinate on it when usually I use sewing to procrastinate on cleaning.  I must be sick.  

When I finally got around to finishing, it took me two days to sew it up.  Again pretty simple, though there was one spot that was confusing and I did wrong, but turned out better for me in the long run.  The biggest problem I had was that I didn't think the snaps all the way through.  Apparently, in a couple places the buttons are supposed to go through two buttonholes.  It was fine for the two side ones (thanks to my earlier mistake) I just added two more snaps on the shirt.  But the snap on the pants in the center didn't have anywhere to go.  To fix it, I sewed on another kind of snap to the side of the other snap, making sure it can't be seen.  For the most part that helped, but that snap comes undone pretty easy.

Laurel wanted in on the action too, again.
In terms of fit, the top is good, but the pants remind me of clown pants and they could be a little longer.  These are a lot easier for diaper changes than these ones.  I also think they are cuter, but I'm going to try to find yet another pajama pattern to use my flamingo flannel with.

FYI, Laurel is still sitting there.  Eleanor decided that she shouldn't be in the picture.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Laurel's Birthday Party

Today we celebrated Laurel's birthday.  I was too busy (playing, eating chatting) to take any pictures.  Michael might have of opening presents, but I thought I'd share what we did anyways since we got complements on the idea from my mother in law.  

We had a pancake bar brunch.  We had two skillets hot and ready waiting for our guests to choose what they wanted in their pancakes for my husband to make.  We had chocolate chips, blueberries, and strawberries.  We also had bananas and apples, but no one wanted to try them in their pancakes. There was also scrambled eggs, prosage patties and stripples (vegetarian sausage and bacon).  And since no birthday party is complete without cake, I made cinnamon roll cupcakes.  I got the idea from Pinterest and thought it was perfect for a brunch.


I was going to make them from scratch like the website, but I decided to go the lazy route and used pre-made cinnamon roll dough and cream cheese frosting.  Just open the can, pop them in cupcake liners and bake.  They turned out super and I love the way they made the house smell.

It was super easy and turned out really nice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sugar Baby: Crème Anglaise

For the fun of it (and I don't know how to put those fun little accents above letters), I looked up crème anglaise and according to Wikipedia it is "French for "English Creme"".  I found that pretty amusing.  Anyhow, with this recipe we had tons of options, from eating it straight like a soup to crème brûlée.  We decided to go with pain perdu or more commonly known as french toast.

This was the most involved recipe so far with a lot of whisking on the stove and in the mixer.  After what seemed forever, it was finally done or at least ready for us to make french toast.  I tasted it and it was like a soupy vanilla pudding.  I'd say fairly good.

Next, we dipped slices of french bread it and fried them.  As far as french toast  goes, this was pretty good, but I don't think it was quite worth all the work that went into it.  

So basically, we thought that this was a great recipe if someone is willing to do it for you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Laurel!

Today is Laurel's second birthday.  She is becoming such a big girl.  

She is the sweetest little thing and way too smart for her own good.   

We've been so blessed to have her these two years and look forward to seeing all the crazy clumsy things she does in the future. 

Maybe she'll get hair this year.

And I hope that poor blanket can make it through another year.

To celebrate we are going to have a pancake brunch and cinnamon roll cupcakes next weekend with a few friends and family, basically anyone who is willing to travel to see us the weekend before Thanksgiving (one of the side effects of a November birthday).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sewn Hats: Quick Snuggle Hooded Scarf

The weather here has turned decidedly more winter and low and behold my girls have outgrown all their winter hats.  I found this out when I tried to get them ready to be outside in 32 degree weather to 'help' Daddy collect firewood.  When their hats didn't fit, they got to wear mine, even though they were way too big, and I got to wear one of Daddy's.  The one Laurel was wearing kept falling over her eyes.  It was really cute.  Their coats have hoods. but they didn't want to stay on, so I knew I needed to break down and make something to keep their little heads warm.

Sometime this summer, I was given the book Sewn Hats, and from the start I knew I wanted to make the girls the Quick Snuggle Hooded Scarf by The Scientific Seamstress.

Right after lunch after we got back from walking down the hill in the cold with no hats (the car battery died while we were up there), I pulled it out and got to work.  I wanted to use my caterpillar fleece I used here, since it is so cute and it is the only fleece I've bought.  I had about half a yard and it called for two fabrics in half a yard each and I had two girls to make them for.  Wracking my brain, I realized I had a bunch of fleece blankets I rarely use and one that I've never even opened.  The unopened one was yellow and would be perfect to go with the caterpillars and I had a fun frog blanket and a gray one to use for the other.

The title says this is quick, but for me it wasn't.  My printer ran out of ink so it didn't print the last pattern page till I threatened it.  Then some things came up at my husband's work that ended up in my running around making a dozen beds and I didn't get back till it was time for dinner, then the girls bed time.  I usually don't sew after they go to bed because my sewing machine is in the room right next to them and I want to spend time with Michael.  All in all, I got one of the two cut out.

The next day we woke up to six inches of snow and still snowing, which tells me I had better get these hats made pronto.

Michael took this for my on his phone after dark.  I'm pretty sure those lines are the trails of snowflakes.
I got them done and love how they turned out!  I love how low they are on the back of the neck and thanks to the scarf part they stay on great.  They are so cute!  They make me think of winter bonnets.  The only change I made was that I top stitched around to help keep down the puff.  I like tidy seam edges.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sugar Baby: Lemon Gelato

I have to admit I was pretty excited when I saw this recipe in the book.  I've always wanted to try gelato and I love lemon desserts.  It was way easier than I expected.  The worst part was getting zest and juice from 4 large lemons, but so worth it.  It made the kitchen smell amazing!  We even got to make the recipe we had skipped since we had no need for it, which was the Simple Syrup.

After letting it cool overnight, we tossed it into our handy dandy kitchen aid ice cream maker and let it do it's magic.  Then viola!  Gelato!

It was a little strong on the lemon side, but still super yummy.  I don't think all the yogurt made it in so they could be why.  Definitely, making some sort of gelato again.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Simplicity Pattern 4130 Vintage Pajamas

I collect vintage patterns and have used some of them.  I love how they expand my sewing knowledge and their techniques create such a nice look and finish.  I found this one from 1952 (as well as another pajama pattern) in a batch of sewing patterns I bought.

And lucky me, it is in Eleanor's size, who just happens to need pajamas, plus I got a bunch of flannel for $2.99 a yard.  I didn't realize it at first, but they are drop seat pajamas, so I found that to be rather amusing.  I choose to do design #1 since it gets pretty cold here in Northern Idaho (and footie jammies are so cute!).  For the first pair I used a fun key patterned flannel.

They came too together rather easily and somewhat quickly.  I finished them within two days of not solid sewing.  I love how they have a back facing to conceal all the neck and shoulder seams.  I'm sure that will be a lot more comfortable for Eleanor.

It's a little big, but that just means I get to wait longer before she grows out of them.  I got to use my snap pliers for the first time.  I wanted it to be easier for her to get out for potty going, since I don't think she'll be using the drop seat (which I still find hilarious).

Laurel decided to get in on the action.

Here they decided I needed more action.  Such silly girls!