Sewvivor – Who La La Hoots (Who La La Crafts)

I know, I can’t believe it, I’m blogging. Say what?! What can I say, life is busy and it is easy to push things aside. So what could possibly be so intriguing to make me stay up till almost midnight describing something I recently quilted? That’s right, it’s Sewvivor and I thought this year I would throw my name in for consideration!

Since I tend to only blog once a year, I will give a brief summary of what has been happening since October of 2013. My twins turned 5, one lost two teeth this last week and I have been sewing…a lot! I’ve always been interested in quilting and dabbled in it periodically over the years, but as of the last year I have been honing my skills and challenging myself to try new things. My most recent experimentation into the crafty unknown was a swap mini quilt I recently did for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap (Round 2).

Finsihed Mini

My initial quilt design had to have foxes because of my partners Instagram name. I used Elizabeth Hartman’s adorable Fancy Fox pattern. I love it.

Fancy FoxFancy Fox Three

 

Then I have liked the Economy block ever since there was an economy block along on Instagram a few months ago. I followed Rita of Red Pepper Quilts tutorial.

Fox and Economy Blocks

The last piece in the puzzle was teeny tiny paper piecing. My partner really liked tiny piecing and I recently came across some rubber stamp paper piecing templates at Goodwill. Thrifted and crafty? Yes please! I’m very much a novice at paper piecing, but have been looking at different tutorials on YouTube to help boost my confidence.

Thrifted stamps

Teeny paper piecing

The last two blocks were a partial dresden and a block I pulled from Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi. A wonderful Zakka project book that oozes cuteness.

Finished top

One final detail took advantage of some English paper piecing and basic applique.

EPP and Applique detail

Overall the mini isn’t perfect, but it stretched me past my comfort zone and made me a little bummed that I didn’t make one for myself! My partner loved it and even blogged about it. I was blushing all day!

 

I’m still here!

Tonight of all nights I choose to blog, but since I’ve been uncharacteristically glued to the television for the last couple of hours and taking a break from sewing, what else could I do but dust my laptop and fire her up! It’s interesting watching the results, President Obama’s camp waving flags and smiling, long sedate faces at the Romney camp. Whatever side your on, winning or losing, left or right, the thing to take away is that the country is split in two when it comes to political views and we aren’t going to get anywhere unless we work together. We don’t have to convince each other that your wrong and I’m right. My best friend who has starkly different views than me,  mentioned that we could listen to each other and learn where the other is coming from. You hear that Washington?  Just a little?

I know I’ve have been more than slacking lately, well at least when it comes to blogging. I have to say, when the twins started preschool I thought I would have more time on my hands. Ummm…yeah.  Meetings, auction, committees, conferences and volunteering, oh my! Add this to the list of things people never tell you until after you have kids, like how your bladder will never be the same, etc. When my daily to do list goes up on the chalk board everyday, blogging gets pushed down to the bottom. Plus it is also holiday craft fair season, which keeps me sewing up into the wee hours of the morning for days on end. I had my first bazaar last Saturday and it went pretty well, definitely excited to do some more and to get over my nervousness and start my Etsy shop. Two things keep me from jumping in. I’m not sure what to put in my shop policies regarding returns and complaints, it just makes me nervous. Then shipping, what do you charge for shipping? Do you charge a flat fee and just eat it if you under charge? I know these seem inconsequential and I will get over them soon, because I need to start selling some stuff or my husband is going to blow a gasket if one more craft store bag comes into this house! Here’s a little taste of what I’ve been working on and some pictures of my booth!

I managed the Weekender bag!

A cute lunch bag, I can’t wait to make more!

Needle books!

Even bakers get the blues.

PIes in jars for a bake sale, one guy bought a whole case!

Coffee cozies, my husband thinks these are nuts, I sold a bunch. Ah ha ha!

Bunting made with vintage linens.

My booth!

A few of my wares!

You can see a little of my Sugar Plum garland.

My kid’s reward for letting me sew so much.

Doing craft fairs is certainly a lot of work, but when my husband texts me and tells me that one of the girls says, ” Where’s the owl paper? I need it for my craft fair!” Classic!

Hopefully it won’t be so long next time, if it’s been awhile come looking for me, I may be trapped under my ironing board or stuck in a school meeting!

Why so quiet?

That was a text I got from my gal pal the other day. She was probably wondering why I wasn’t pestering her with a deluge of snarky texts. We do love our banter! The answer is I was struck with a horrible case of Eustachian tube dysfunction caused by seasonal allergies. The whole thing was beyond weird, I had no symptoms of my allergies except for an earache which promptly turned into intense throbbing and a trip to urgent care. A pile of allergy medication and pain pills later, I had to endure 4 days of horrible pain and stabbing ear popping once the medication finally started to work. I was not a fine companion, I will admit. It wasn’t as bad as labor, I had twins without pain medication, but at least with labor you’re working towards something. In the end you will have cute, crying, slimy babies to hug. With a throbbing ear, not so much. Luckily, the ear is on the mend and the pain has finally gone away. I was skeptical believing my doctors that it would go away with our antibiotics, but of course they were right as they calmed me over the phone when I was worried when my ear was leaking.

Mmm, pile of medication.

So the crazy ear thing is my excuse for not getting too much done over the past ten days. I did get a few minor things done. I read the entire Little House on the Prairie books, it’s been a long time! I made some coffee cake muffins the other day using Ina Garten’s sour cream coffee cake recipe, I replaced the sour cream with some fat free plain greek yogurt and they turned out delicious. I don’t have pictorial proof of said muffins, however, because I over filled the muffin cups and they looked…well…not so good. Lesson learned, don’t over fill muffin cups. They served their purpose though by making the house smell nice and yummy when the assessor came. No funky house here!

The girl’s and I also went to Oaks Park for preschool day, we met their cousins and had a nice time going on some rides.

See aren’t they cute?

The girls are also getting ready to go to school (insert angels singing OOOOOOOOooooo) which will leave me with some unaccustomed free time. I’m hoping to fill it with going to the gym, sewing and generally getting my s*&% done without constant interruption. I decided to make little bags for school. I used a wonderful free pattern for a poochie bag by the Happy Zombie, you can find it here. It’s a great little bag that only takes 3 fat quarters to make! I used a coated cotton for the liner, so the girls can use it for a wet bag if they have any accidents at school. I also used flannel, which looked cute, but made for a bulky bag. Next time I would opt for something a little thinner.

One done and one in progress!

Done and packed!

I got my machine back from the shop, they could find nothing wrong with it and when they tried it the seams looked straight. What the heck? I jumped right into this project and it was working fine for me. My next project is the Amy Butler Weekender bag I mentioned a couple of posts ago. Except when I was working on the piping last night, what came back but that wonky stitching. Gah! I am currently waiting for my sister in law to deliver my mom’s extra machine, yeah! Hopefully it will see me through the holiday sewing season and perhaps I can save up enough to get an upgrade.

In my last post I promised a chili recipe that finally satisfied my husbands picky palette. I’ve fiddled with it a little bit and think it’s a winner. It’s made with ground turkey which lightens it up a bit and has a lovely rich quality from cocoa powder and molasses.

Turkey and Bean Chili adapted from Everyday Food makes 8 servings

  • 4 strips bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (7% fat)
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced garlic cloves
  • 1 medium fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced. Use two if you like it spicy
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 3 T cocoa powder, unsweetenend
  • 4 t ground cumin
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes in puree (28 oz each)
  • 2 T unsulfered molasses
  • coarse salt
  • 3 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • toppings of your choice; cheddar cheese, sour cream, chips, crumbled cornbread, cilantro etc.

Use a big pot, 5 quarts! Heat over medium heat, add bacon and cook until crisp and brown. Raise heat to high and add turkey, cook, breaking up the meat, until now longer pink.

Add onion, garlic and jalapenos; cook until soft, stirring often. Stir in chili powder, cocoa powder and cumin. Cook, stirring until fragrant.

Break up tomatoes with your hand and stir them in, along with the puree. Be careful here, I sprayed tomato all over myself! Add molasses, 1 cup of water and 4 teaspoons of salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, partially covered 30 minutes.

Add beans and continue to cook until meat and beans are tender and chili has thickened. About 30 minutes. Serve with toppings of your choice. This is a yummy one and it tastes even better as leftovers! Enjoy!

The sewing machine is here, let’s hope it works! Hopefully my next post will have a picture of my new weekender bag!

Did I do anything this week?

I don’t think I did any Pinterest recipes this week. I got a stack of Everyday Food magazines for free, so I ended up raiding those for recipes.  Seriously, did I do anything this week, except try not to lose my mind? A normal day usually consists of breaking up a few twin fights, but throw a 9 year old boy into the mix and things can get interesting. I do enjoy seeing my nephew, but by Friday, the kids were getting a little used of each other so fighting was becoming more and more frequent. Throw my 35 year old somewhat excitable down syndrome sister into the mix, let’s just say I haven’t had a lot of time for extra curricular activities. Thanks goodness for weekends (nephew with his pops), naps/quiet time (twin A is asleep, twin B happily playing in play room), Harry Potter marathons (sis is happily watching) and VH1 top 100 songs of the 90’s (great background music for blogging)!

Here’s my nephew…asleep in a box.

I did clean up my craft room, if you’re lucky enough to have a crafting space all your own, you know how it’s in a constant state of mess. The severity of the mess is what is up for debate. After volunteering at my church garage sale, my craft room became the dumping grounds of any new treasure I found and anything that my husband didn’t know what to do with. It’s clean now and with my sewing machine in the shop for some sort of mysterious sickness (*sniff*), perhaps it will stay decent for a little while. I didn’t start any new projects this week, but I finished a few, which as you know can be a challenge!

I attached hardware on this vintage letterpress tray and hung it up for a new thread holder. I love it, much more room!

I did see this pin I found on Pinterest awhile ago. I was thought it was such a cute dress and then I realized I owned the pattern and had even cut out the dress, just didn’t sew it yet. Do you ever do that? Luckily I finished it this week.

I finally finished this dress for my friend’s daughter. I had cut extra fabric for a second bow for a matching headband. I still have to make the companion doll dress. Give me another year.

This is what my machine is doing. See how the straight stitch is wonky? That’s not going to work for me.

Hopefully they can fix the wonky stitch on the machine. I have a lot of projects coming up and I can’t really shell out the clams for a new machine. One of the projects I want to do is make a new carry on bag for our upcoming trip to California. I have several serviceable bags I could use, but what’s more fun staying up late, sweating, bleeding and swearing over an ambitious sewing project? Nothing, that’s right. I have thought about hitting a discount store and looking for a Pan Am like, weekender retro inspired bag. I love those things, you don’t even know, it’s probably the main reason I watched the show. Here are my two options. Let me know what you guys think! Bag A or Bag B? It will used to haul a bunch of snacks and entertaining items for the twins.

Bag A or Bag B?

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I’m hoping to have a garage sale next weekend with only 4 days to prep for it. Did I mention I’m a little crazy?

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Pinterest Successes and a Fail Update

Today was the last day of volunteering at my church garage sale, what a ride! I have to say it was a lot of hard work but any excuse to organize crap that isn’t my own is a win in my book. Now, since I’m all motivated and on an organizational high, let us hope that I can use it on the garage and my craft room.

Remember the seed bomb project I did a few weeks ago? I wasn’t sure if it would be successful because some of the seed bombs had started molding. I was testing them for a friend as a possible wedding favor. Well I planted a couple of the moldy ones and guess what happened?

It grew! Success!

We ended up making another couple of batches and added less water, making it almost a damp crumble, but still easy to roll into a clay ball. Over two hundred seed bombs later, three people and staying up till almost 3am, we got them all done and packaged up. So I would say this Pinterest project became a success!

All done!

I had a meeting for Demarle at Home this week, which means cupcakes. I always bring cupcakes, sometimes a cake, but if I don’t show up with something they may not let me in! Not really! I really do it for selfish reasons, I love to bake and I love to see people enjoying my food. So I’m not doing them any favors really, all my guinea pigs and food testers are helping me. I’ve been eying a particular cupcake recipe on Pinterest, but was waiting for blueberry season. So here is the  link to the wonderful recipe for lemon blueberry cupcakes with a lemon curd filling and a mascarpone frosting from There Goes Cupcake.

Get in my belly!

I only changed a few things, and got a yummy cupcake. This is a big recipe and will make 2 dozen cupcakes. I ended up baking a pan of 20 mini muffin cupcakes and about 10 full size cupcakes. I followed her cupcake and frosting recipe and I made a 1.5 version of the lemon curd. She suggested doubling it if you like a lot of filling, but it would have taken 12 egg yolks and I had to leave a few eggs for breakfast!

Lemon curd at proper consistency, coats a back of a wooden spoon.

I had leftover lemon curd anyway and no complaints from me. It took all my self control to not eat it with a spoon…in front of my fridge…with the door open. I also had a lot of leftover frosting, since my family was visiting, I thought I would bake a cake mix cake and fancy it up with some of my leftovers yummies. When I made the lemon curd, I sieved it and was left with a pile of candied lemon zest. I saved it and added it into my cake mix giving it a little extra zing. I also beat the heck out of my cake mixes in my stand mixer, waiting until they turn pale yellow before I bake them. I think it gives them a lovely pound cake like texture. Pour, bake, unmold, slice in half, fill with lemon curd, decorate with leftover frosting and raspberries! Delicious!

Homemade frosting and filling do so much for a cake mix!

The last Pinterest recipe I made this week was lemony shrimp salad with couscous, I ran out of regular couscous and had to sub in the dreaded Israeli couscous. Luckily my twins know not to stick it up their noses now, they have not forgotten the extraction balloon up the nose. For this recipe I cooked the couscous in boiling water for a few minutes until tender and mixed in with the remaining ingredients. It was super fast and delicious. I would definitely make this one again, but I would suggest making it a day ahead of time  or earlier in the day so the flavors have time to absorb. The leftovers were great, so much in fact that I forgot to take a picture of it, we ate it too fast!

Wish me luck this week, I will be watching my nephew all week, as well as my twins and then my sister (who has Downs syndrome and needs constant supervision)  later this week and all weekend! It will be a rambunctious full house here this week! Let us hope I can get some of them to nap! Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Pinterest Successes (and maybe a fail)

When Pinterest became so huge, it became the bane of husbands and boyfriends everywhere. Finally a time suck for us woman (and some men too!) that could rival video games or World of Warcraft! Insert evil cackle here! With the vortex of time lost, it can be said that Pinterest, though time consuming is ripe with crafty ideas, delicious recipes, witty e-cards and a plethora of other goodies.  Since I’ve been on Pinterest for almost a year, I have  quite a few successes and failures under my belt. This week I limited myself to a couple of Pinterest crafty projects.

The first was a result of my husband volunteering to help with a friends wedding favors and me hijacking graciously volunteering to help. The bride’s approaching nuptials have her busy and stretched, so favors had her stumped and willing to throw in the towel. My husband suggested putting flower seeds in some sort of burlap like fabric and accented with a cute tag. Isn’t he a keeper! I then suggested that we try making DIY seed bombs, a form of guerrilla gardening. Seed bombs look like coca powder covered truffles but really contain clay, soil, flower seeds and water to stick it together. They can be thrown from your car window onto ugly freeway green strips and a little rain and sun later you get flowers! Or you could take your seed bomb and lovingly tend to it in a cute pot and enjoy the flowers on your windowsill, which is what we are going for with these wedding favors. I found the tutorial on how to make your own seed bombs here. I modified the recipe a bit, maybe to it’s determent because I need to make at least 200 of these bad boys. Instead of using straight flower seeds, I opted for a seed mix which contains only 20% seeds and 80% inert matter. So I thought I could reduce the amount of soil I put in and leave the rest as is. It was a messy project and I think it turned out ok, but I won’t really know until we plant a couple and see if they bloom. My first batch turned out a little hard and a few of them have started to mold. Hmmm. I don’t think this qualifies as a success or a failure yet. A little time and tweaking is in order. UPDATE: my wiener dog, Chloe found test plant seed bombs in the backyard and thought they were the best toys. My husband has since chased her down, extracted the bombs and replanted them. Maybe the dog slobber will aid in the germination.

Seed bombs.

Chloe or the seed bomb killer.

The next project was for my nieces’ birthday party. I bought a couple of over priced pillowcase kits (groan, next time I will cut my own!) that came with draconian instructions, confusing and no pictures. Imagine my glee when I found this tutorial by the Twiddletails blog on how to make the easiest pillowcases! She uses a burrito technique with french seams (aka no exposed seams) along with a lot of pictures! My type of tutorial! I made two pillowcases, so the first one was riddled with mistakes and took a long time to make. This is one of the repercussions of midnight crafting, I’m wiped so little mistakes have led me to have an extensive love/hate relationship with my seam ripper. The second pillowcase turned out beautifully and was done in no time. Now I can whip one of those babies out in 20 minutes. Think of the possibilities, Halloween, Christmas, flannel, cotton! So that last line wasn’t actually me, that was my mom. I think she is envisioning a closet full of themed pillowcases. Perhaps not, but at least now I have to tools to do so!

The finished product