Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Three Things.

1. I completed a few projects, but have no pictures to share. Yet. They are gifts. One for one person who reads this blog. And one for the other person who reads this blog. Both have birthdays in February. Oh, and a third gift for the daughter of one of the blog readers, who also has a February birthday!

2. I have come to realize that in order for me to feel accomplished at the end of the day, I need to create something. Each day I *need* to make something. Even if I don't "complete" it, something needs to be started.

3. I quit my 365 project. This is my third go 'round, and my second failed attempt. I am not into it. I began it the third to as a reason to pick up my camera, but it has turned into a reason to not pick up my camera. My self portraits are usually arm's length and taken at 11pm. Frankly, they suck. I'm mad at myself, but I think I was more annoyed with myself for such shitty shots.
I need inspiration in the worst way. It almost hurts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I came upon this kimono tutorial a couple weeks ago. I really love it. So simple. The pattern is so easy and basic that it welcomes bold fabrics and cool patterns. I bought a fabric that I love (and Abby too!) big, bold pink flowers with sage stems. Very pretty. I had black binding, so I used that.

Everything was going perfectly! Until it was finished and I realized I measured incorrectly and therefore cut it incorrectly. It didn't fit! So bummed and annoyed with myself.

I had to correct this immediately! I promptly started on another one, measuring correctly this time, using old pillowcases that my dad gave gave me for scrap fabric. Since I had no more binding, I made the binding using extra pillowcase fabric. The tutorial calls for 1/2" binding, but my binding maker only makes 1/4" binding. I knew that would be a pain in the rear, but I did the best with what I had; not too bad, but would definitely go for the wider binding next time!

It came out really cute, but I don't think Abby likes it much. Too bad because I love making them. Anyone know a little person who needs a kimono?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cupcake Critique.

I know, two blogs in one day. Total craziness, right? (Especially considering this whole potty-training non-sense that's going on in my house!) Well, I have several things that I wanted to blog about and they're building up. The more they build up, the less likely I am going to blog about any, so I figure two in one day is a good thing.

And so, onto today's blog #2:
A few weeks ago I picked up Martha Stewart's February magazine. Admittedly, I only usually buy the Halloween and Christmas Martha mags because she kinda annoys me. Not the way Rachael Ray does, but in the way that she's the MacGyver of crafting. Just use dental floss, a thumb tack, and several skeins of yarn and voila! A bookcase. Anyhow, I was instantly drawn to the pretty picture on the cover: vibrantly frosted mini cupcakes in the shape of a heart. Too cute!

I have this habit of buying a magazine like that and letting it lay around my kitchen for weeks and weeks. This magazine was no exception. Usually during breakfast & lunch I look at it. Over and over. And over.
Finally I decided it was time to get off my ass and make one of the cupcakes. I had super black spotty bananas and decided to give the Banana Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream a go!

The Review:
The cupcake itself: YUMMY! Deliciously banana-y. Delicious texture too...I actually went out and bought the cake flour as opposed to my usual unbleached all-purpose. The only change: I used diced walnuts instead of pecans (Why? Cheaper, and, well, I don't really like pecans.)
Will make the cake again. Definitely!

The frosting: Don't forget to take an aspirin to thin your blood with this mofo. 3 sticks of butter! THREE! Oh, and lest I forget to mention the 80 gazillion steps. Make the caramel, cook the eggs whites over double-boiler, whip egg whites, whip butter separately. PAIN. IN. THE. ASS. The caramel itself was very good. The icing, while everyone who ate it enjoyed it and complimented on how "light" it was, wasn't that wonderful to me. Perhaps it was all the work, or maybe it was the thinning of the arteries that supply blood to my brain as a result of eating the frosting, but I just didn't think it was worth it. On the plus side, it wasn't too sweet, which a lot of people like (I am not one of them), on the negative side, 3 sticks of butter (which, in my opinion could've been reduced by half!), heavy cream, sugar, and egg whites.

I Heart Aprons.

I don't know why, but I like wearing an apron. Part of it may be due to the fact that I'm a slob and most of my clothes have some sort of stain on them. The other part may be that it's pretty convenient to wear something that you can wipe your hands on. The main, and least practical part is that they're just pretty! I'm not one for looking "pretty", really. I don't wear make-up everyday. My hair is either down and frizzy or up in a clip and frizzy. It's mommy hair. But, I can put on an apron and instantly transformed into feeling pretty. Weird.
I mean, they're utilitarian (score!) and they're just nice to look at. I had an apron for awhile that I didn't like. It came from some one I was no longer friends with and it bothered me that I thought of her every time I put it on. Plus, it just wasn't pretty.

This past Christmas my mom bought me an apron that I love it's made of fabric with vintage appliances on it. And bows on the pockets. Very cute! I like this apron because, as previously mentioned, I'm a slob and it's got a full bib. With the arrival of this apron, I tossed the ugly, old-friend gifted apron.

Despite the new apron, I often oohed and aahed over a fabric that my friend (not the old friend, but a friend who as been around for quite some time) gave me for my birthday. I swear, if I was a fabric, this is the one I'd be. It's pale blue and white polka dots with cherries and chocolates and cakes. And it's just lovely. It's everything I love all in one precious fabric. This friend also gave me Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing. I don't know if she did it on purpose (knowing her, she did) but how could I not use the fabric for the apron in the book!?

This apron in the book was easy peasy to put together. The instructions are flawless and so fun because so much is left up to you! I had fun with the pocket, although admittedly, I put the ric-rac on as an afterthought, so the edges will fray, but that'll just give it more charm. I did make the width of the apron a few inches larger than Amy recommends because, well, I'm a bit wider than the average woman. I love the thickness and length of the apron strings. Perfect for a substantial, pretty bow in the back.

I added the little pink and red ric-rac ruffle, and thought that 2 inches would be enough, I was wrong, but I don't think it looks *too* bad. Would've looked better if it was 3 or 4 inches, but I still love it! It's pretty and I smile when I look at the apron.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time there was a little girl who fell in love with the mass-produced $80 princess dress at the Disney Store. The little girl begged and pleaded for this dress to be hers, but her evil mother refused her requests. Not being 100% evil, her mother offered to make the little girl her very own, one-of-a-kind princess dress. The little girl reluctantly accepted the offer.

As the quasi-evil mother scanned pattern websites, ebay, and etsy, she came upon this pattern for quite a reasonable price. For you see, the little girl's mother was also thrifty. The mother found this pattern and asked the little girl which dress she would like.

The pair ventured to the fabric store to select fabric for the main part of the dress, since the girl's mother already had the contrast fabric purchased from a thrift store for only $1.00.
The little girl loved a beautiful fabric that is used to make saris, but the mother couldn't rationalize spending $45 on the fabric, so the little girl found another fabric that she loved just as much as the sari fabric, and it was only $4.99/yard!

The girl's mother was very surprised at the choice. Instead of it being pink or red or purple, the little girl happily settled upon a royal blue fabric.

The dress took some time. The mother toiled late nights for about a week to create the gown. There were some missteps, since it was often well past midnight, and the mother's eyes began to cross. The mother was very pleased with the darts, but completely unsatisfied with her zipper installation. Overall, the dress was pretty easy to complete and the mother even added some decorative details like ribbon and flowers!

The little girl's eyes grew large as she saw her completed dress. She was so happy and excited and this made her mommy feel very proud.

And they all lived happily every after. Until the little girl asked for a Cinderella dress next.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Doe! A Deer.

I've been on a pajama bottom making spree! Well, if you count two pairs of pants in two days a spree. And I do, so it is.

Me & Abby went to Joann's the other day to pick out fabric for the princess dress she wanted. (That's another blog post, I'm sure.) We passed Sponge Bob fabric and she wanted it, so I just thought I'd make her some pants. I bought a yard, but probably should've purchased 1 1/4 yard.

Her pants were super quick to throw together. I just followed a vintage kids' pattern I thrifted during the summer.

My pj pants were made from an old/barely used sheet. My husband thinks this is hysterical and called me Maria Van Trapp; hence the title (although, technically, she made clothes from draperies.) Anyhow, the pattern I have for pj pants is ridiculous. The pants are huge. Not like, oh, "they're big,"big but like, "oh, have you lost about 200lbs?" big.

So, I deconstructed a favorite pair of bleach stained/holey yoga pants and used them as a basis for a pattern. I made a bigger seam allowance since the yoga pants are knit fabric, and the sheet, is well, sheet. They fit pretty well. The only qualm is that the waist isn't really form fitting. I think that's because the yoga pants had a drawstring and I just gave the sheet ones an elastic waist. Either way, they're comfy.