Sunday, January 16, 2011

More Scarves

I promise...these are the last. For a while anyway. As long as there are no more winter birthday parties this year. I made 3 scarves this weekend. The first was another skull and crossbones one that turned out much better than the one I made for B (fusible interfacing works really well!) but it was still a pain to sew around those all those curves on 2 ply fleece.

These second and third scarves are for a set of twin boys that aren't very much alike at all. Each scarf was made with that boy's favorite color and a pattern that suits his personality and interests. I hope they like them. They'd better like them! =)

Sewing all these straight lines was a snap after the skull and crossbones! I used fusible interfacing for the pointy parts, which made it much easier to sew them on. As a newbie to the stuff-- and being exhausted and in pain with a wrenched neck-- I didn't think the whole process through and ended up ironing the interfacing to the ironing board in addition to the fleece. Oops! Don't do that. (I think a new sewing board cover will have to be my next project.)

Now I'm going to take some more Motrin, grab my heat pad, and hit the sack. I hope your weekend was as enjoyable and productive as-- but less painful than-- mine. My goal for tomorrow is to (finally) finish little D's quilt and curtain. My first attempt did not go well and I still have some unpicking to do. *sigh*
Good night!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Skull & Crossbones Skater Scarf

My 8-year-old is a skater wanna-be and thinks skulls and crossbones are pretty awesome. For Christmas, I made him this scarf. It was pretty easy and, for the most part, turned out the way I had planned, but let me tell you what I learned: detailed sewing on fleece is not easy. I had a hard time getting the cut out parts to keep their shape, and those eye and nose cavities drove me nuts! See how they're lopsided? Oh, well. I finally just sewed each of the eyes on with an "X" and called it good. Next time, I think I will try using Heat & Bond. Has anyone tried that on fleece? I'd love to hear any other ideas for getting those pieces to stay while I sew them on.
Even though it's not perfect, I think it was a successful experiment and now know what not to do when I make 3 more this weekend for his friends' birthday presents.

To make your own skull scarf:
  • Cut 2 pieces of fleece, each in different colors (one for the back, one for the front), to the size you want your scarf. I used one I already had as a guide.
  • Find a picture of a skull with crossbones you like. Size it to fit on your scarf, print it and cut it out. The one I used can be found here.
  • REVISION: added step- Iron on some fusible interfacing behind the parts you want to cut out.  This makes sewing around the shapes much easier.
  • Trace the pieces onto your top piece of fleece near one end of the scarf and cut them out.
  • Cut out the nose and eye pieces. (Mine aren't the right size or shape. I'll do better next time.)
  • Pin your top piece of fleece to the bottom piece, iron the area with the fusible interfacing sandwiched between, and sew all the way around the edges using at least 1/4 inch allowance.
  • This is the tricky part: arrange and pin the cut-out skull and crossbones and carefully sew them down as close to the edge as possible.
  • This is the trickier part and why I think I iron-fused the parts the next time: tack the eyes and nose down and carefully sew them down as close to the edge as possible...and then you're done!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Best Bread EVER

It's not entirely my original creation (it's based on a recipe in my Kitchenaid book) but I have been asked for this recipe many times. It's super easy if you have a Kitchenaid mixer and if comes out great every time! This is the same basic recipe I use for the sweet rolls, and you can use it for dinner rolls, breadsticks, etc. Enjoy!

2 loaves

6-7 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar (or ½ cup honey)

3 ½ t salt

3 pkgs. (2 T.) active dry yeast

¼ cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups very warm water (120* to 130*)

Place 5 ½ cups flour, sugar or honey, salt, yeast, and butter in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and PowerKnead Spiral Dough Hook to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 20 seconds. Gradually add warm water and mix about 1 ½ minutes longer.

Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, and mix about 2 minutes, or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl. Kneed on Speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rest about 20 minutes.

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf. Place in greased baking pans. Brush each loaf with vegetable oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. (You can refrigerate dough up to 12 hours.)

When dough has risen to the top of the pan, uncover dough carefully. Bake at 350* until done (it should sound solid when you knock on the top of a loaf). Brush with butter. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

About Me

I have so many projects that I want to finish, and a slew of new ideas. The problem is finding the time. Hopefully, I will be able to post a couple of things in the next few days, but in the mean time I'll tell you a little bit about me.
  • I'm 31-years-old.
  • My husband, A, and I have been married 11 1/2 years.
  • I have 3 boys: B is 8 and in 2nd grade, C is 4 and in preschool, and D is almost 2 and gets into everything. Together, they really keep me on my toes.
  • I am going to school to get a Paralegal degree and am planning on graduating in 2012. However, being the crazy person I am, I'm seriously considering adding a Marketing degree which will push graduation out another 2-4 years (depending on how much time I want to devote to it).
  • My favorite classes so far have been Psychology and Logic. I did not enjoy Criminal or Property Law. The class I am most excited about this semester is Digital Photography.
  • I have a tattoo of a frog on my ankle. It's not colored in, though, because that would have hurt too much.
  • In my spare time, I enjoy reading (especially a good mystery), watching movies (no horror), sewing, making jewelry, and exercising if I don't have to worry about constant interruptions.
  • I am the oldest child in my family.
  • I despise playing most sports and am not an outdoorsy person, but I love the sun and playing in the water.
  • I hate the cold. So what am I doing in Minnesota??? Good question! The truth is, we want our kids to grow up with grandparents and cousins. It's totally worth freezing our patooties off for a few months a year.
  • I enjoy most kinds if music and will happily skip off to a concert whenever our schedule and finances permit.
  • I played the flute in my high school marching band and taught piano lessons for a few years.
  • I hate jigsaw puzzles but love Sudoku.
  • Shoes make me happy. My favorite pair is red patent leather 3-inch heels. Beautiful!!
  • I spend most days in my pajamas if I don't have to go anywhere, especially in the winter. Why trade my favorite fleece pants if I don't have to?
  • My favorite color is blue. Green and red follow closely behind.
  • I wore braces twice.
  • I broke my ankle by stepping off the curb wrong when I was 6 months pregnant with our 2nd son, leaving me on crutches for the remainder of my pregnancy and a boot for a month after. NOT fun.
  • I went by my middle name for 3 years because I hated my first name (too many jokes).
  • Baking is way more fun than cooking.
  • I love pasta and cheese. Any kind of pasta and cheese. All kinds of pasta and cheese.
  • I don't eat red meat. Ever.
  • Bananas are gross.
  • I think cheesecake is the most perfect food. That, and avocados.
  • I love doing laundry but hate putting it away.
  • Cleaning the toilets is my least favorite job, but with 3 boys I end up doing it a lot.
That's me in a nutshell. My 4-year-old is saying he wants to play a game with me called "Clean Up the House" so I'd better get on that!

I hope you have a beautiful day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What's for Dinner: Potato Corn Chowder

This is a favorite of the whole family, and with a house full of picky eaters that is saying a lot!

  • 3 cups milk (I use skim)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups frozen Southern hash brown potatoes (the diced ones, not grated, although those would probably be fine)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can chicken or 1 cup cooked and chopped chicken (optional)
  • onion, salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • bacon bits (optional)

  1. Combine milk, soup, corn, onions and potatoes in a large pot and bring to boil on high.
  2. Reduce temp to medium low for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are soft.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in cheese.
  5. Serve and top with bacon bits and extra cheese if desired.

This is great served with a crusty bread or rolls.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What's for Dinner: Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

This recipe can be found on the Classico website. It's delicious! The pumpkin flavor is very mild, and it's a great way to sneak some vegetables in.

Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes


  • 1 jar (15 oz.) Classico® Light Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce
  • 1 pound(s) penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoon(s) butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jar 15-ounce pure pumpkin puree


1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and keep warm.

2. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper; cookuntil softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and Alfredo sauce. Add some water to get a desired consistency. Heat until all ingredients are heated through.

3. Serve over warm pasta. Top with parmesan and parsley.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Little Boy Book Bag

My 1-year-old, D, LOVES books. Being the 3rd boy, many of our board books have been...shall we say...well loved. I decided it was time to have some new books and a book bag of his very own, one that wasn't handed down or had one of his brother's names on it. So, for Christmas, I made little D this bag. I used leftover fabric for the the main part and scraps from the pillowcase/quilt/curtain set I am almost finished with for his room to do the handles. Matchy, matchy!

I had planned to do a lining but time was short and I figured it really didn't matter that much since the fabric I used was denim-like and pretty heavy. I serged all the edges so nothing would fray. For the handles, I lined them up with the top of the bag before I folded it over twice, and then double-stitched around the top to make sure the handles are secure. This sucker is made to last! =)

For Christmas, I filled his bag with new board books that I had picked up at the dollar store, the dollar section at Target (love that place!), and on sale at Borders. It was a hit! Whenever we go out, I toss in a few books, some cars, a sippy cup and diaper, and we're ready to go. The bag is big enough to hold all the necessities, yet small enough that D can carry it around and pull stuff out while riding in the car or shopping cart.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Let it Snow Earrings

I had loads of free time during the holidays. It's amazing how easy three kids are when there are nine adults in the house (including kid-loving grandparents) and cousins to play with! =) I took advantage of this time to relax and start making earrings again. These snowflake earrings are my new favorites, especially the silver with pink pearls. You can wear them with jeans, your favorite sweater, or even a little black dress. They are perfect for the winter months.

What do you think? Would you wear them?
What else can I do with the leftover snowflakes (since I bought a bunch)?
All of these pretty little things are for sale in my Etsy shop,
along with other nickel-free earrings:

Please forgive my photographing skills. I know they leave a lot to be desired. Hopefully, the digitally photography class I'll be starting next week (yikes!) will help a ton. Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I got the best e-mail today!

I check my e-mail frequently, partly because the computer is in the living room that I'm in and out of all day, but mostly because I love to get messages. It's like getting real mail, but pretty much instantaneous and it comes all day! Anyway, I checked this afternoon and got a wonderful surprise: someone saw my snake scarf on Sumo's Sweet Stuff and posted it on their blog as part of their top 20 list for the day! Amanda at Today's Top 20 features creations from bloggers all over and compiles a ton of super cute stuff for you to peruse. It's fabulous! She has different categories-- Sew This, Craft This, Print This, and Eat This-- so there's something for everyone, along with tutorials and tips. So go check her out and have some fun seeing what creative craftiness is out there in the blogging world.
Today's Top 20

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sumo's Sweet Stuff- a favorite!

My snake scarf is part of today's Market Yourself Monday post on Sumo's awesome blog. Go check her out!

Sumo Sweet Stuff

Monday, January 3, 2011

Snake cake

C requested a snake cake for his 4th birthday. I was originally just going to do a dome cake and put his little plastic snakes all over it, but then I found this fantastic cake. Perfect! My sister had to rescue my frosting job and we improvised with the spots by using candies we had on hand, but the boys thought it was pretty awesome! We had a ton left over (it requires 2 bundt cakes) so we shared a bunch and ate the rest later. So fun!

Snake scarf

I made this scarf for my snake-loving 4-year-old son. I LOVE how it turned out! I would do the tongue a little different next time, but it's still cute.
I didn't take pictures while I was making it since I pretty much winged the whole project, but I'll describe how I did it.

  • 2 pieces of fleece for the body, roughly 4-5 feet long (depending on how long you want it) and 1 foot wide
  • 1 scrap piece of red fleece for the tongue
  • 8 coordinating buttons for the eyes (4 should be larger than the other 4)
  • 3 jingle bells for the tail
  • embroidery floss to sew the buttons on
  • Using a scarf that you like as a guide to determine the length and width, make a pattern on paper. The head will be wider than the regular scarf and the tail should be tapered.
  • Layer the two colors of fleece you would like to use and pin the pattern on top of both pieces of fleece. Of course, you could cut the pieces out separately, but I like to get things done quickly. =) NOTE: If you feel your fleece has a wrong or right side, put the right sides together.
  • Cut out the tongue. We serged 2 pieces of fleece together but it doesn't looks as finished as I'd like, so I will have to think about how to do it better. Maybe I'll just use a single piece of fleece and sew down the middle and into the fork for reinforcement.
  • Place the tongue inside the mouth, facing inward, so only the very edge peaks out to be sewn into the snake.
  • Pin around the outside of your cut-out snake, leaving an opening somewhere along the straight side of the body large enough to put your hand through so you can pull it right-side out.
  • Sew around the outside of the snake, except for the designated opening. I used the serger so the inside seam wouldn't be bulky, but a straight stitch would be fine.
  • Turn the snake right-side out, drop the jingle bells into the tail, run your finger along the inside seams to make sure they are pushed out all the way, and then pin all the way around the outside to keep them in place. Be sure to pin the opening shut.
  • Sew around the entire outside of the snake. When you get to the tail, leave one bell in the tip and sew around it. Then, you'll have to sew the other two bells into their own row. I'm sorry I don't know how to explain it better, but you can look at the picture to see what I mean.
  • For the eyes, put each of the smaller buttons on top of the larger buttons and line them up so you can sew them on all together on both sides of the snake. Sew them on nice and tight with the embroidery floss so they can't be pulled off, the you're done!

I hope this makes sense. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or need clarification. Happy sewing!