Monday, May 31, 2010

June Challenges

Seasonal: Father's day
Dad rocks plaque (a fun craft kids can help with. You don't have to actually make a plaque, but you could paint rocks/make a rock family or rock dad paper weight and have a card that says Dad Rocks)

Oragami shirt card
Retro labels to go on a gift he actually wants

Make it, wear it challenge at Sew Mama Sew
If you make an item of clothing this month and submit a photo of it to Sew Mama Sew's photo pool (follow link above for more details), you have the chance to win a new sewing machine. I've been wanting to make some skirts since my church attire is severely lacking, so here are a few skirt ideas:
5 minute skirt
Bohemian skirt
Jeans refashioned to skirt
Tiered (girls' or womens') skirt

Crocheted Amigurumi Critters
The first is not actually a tutorial, but it has pics of the other creatures you can make. Get the free patterns (and a lot of other free crochet patterns) from Lion Brand after signing up for their site.

Recipe recommendation: Flour Tortillas
Per Lisa Wheat Flour Tortillas
Per Celia A better (white) flour tortilla
(The second is an improvement on my old flour tortilla recipe that I used for 8 years. I combined mine with another recipe and the texture is much better than my original. I imagine you can use wheat flour, though I haven't tried it.)

*tip to making tortillas: if your dough is too elastic and keeps shrinking back in, cover it with a cloth and let it rest 5 min. Come back and try again.*

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weigh in: Is this what we want?

As we're approaching another month end/beginning I wanted to hear what you think. Are the challenges helpful/inspiring? Should we keep on with it? Or would you rather just post individual posts saying what your goals are (with links/descriptions if possible so others can join in if they want) for the month? Do you like having the recipe recommendations or should I just stick to crafts?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wheels Quilt Finished!

I just finished binding Dean's quilt tonight and what a relief! Now I can finally do something else! (I have a one big project at a time rule so I'll actually finish projects!)

So for the details. I used this tutorial from Heather Bailey Design and actually found it more helpful than the Crazy Mom Quilts one I originally linked with the quilt challenge. I did 2 1/2 in. strips of the width of the fabric and I needed almost exactly 1/2 a yard of fabric. I sewed it with the machine to the front and hand stitched the back. My binding skills have vastly improved from my first quilts I made you girls for your babies. Sorry about that. =)

I originally chose a blue for the binding, but when I brought it home, Matt suggested a dark green might look better. I'm so glad I went with his advice. He has a better eye for design and color than I do, so I went and bought this dark green fabric. I love how it looks.

I do have the material to make Walt a similar quilt with brown cars backing, but it will be awhile before I can psych myself up for it I think.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Framed Silhouettes

For Mother's day I was planning on making some lip balm, but I got my order in too late and didn't get everything I needed so I decided on framed silhouettes instead. I will by using lip balm as lots of last minute gifts (birthdays (for little girls and women!), VT, Valentines etc etc)These silhouettes are something that I have wanted to do for a long time. I have been looking and looking for second hand oval frames for some time and just on Saturday I found  a nice big one so I can start working on one of these for my house. I based these smaller versions on this one. I put it behind the glass instead of on top because I didn't get time to go to the craft store to get the sticky dot things. My MIL loved hers so I will pronounce it a success. I gave her the green one since she has a lot of that green in her house. I did the other one based soley on what I really really loved and would love to have somewhere in my house, so if I can indeed give it up, I hope the owner (keeping it a secret for now) will love it just as much as I do.

Sorry,there is a little reflection on the glass!

You can probably find tutorials out there for a fairly easy way to do these silhouettes. I have a feeling I did mine the long way (although I still was able to do it in one relatively short sitting). I did mine in Adobe Photoshop (I think it is CS2 or somethine like that) and since I am not terribly well versed in it, the tutorials I found in my short looking weren't in depth enough for me so I basically used a black and white paintbrush to paint over pictures that I had taken of my children's profiles. Once I had done that and cropped it nice and close to the face, I copied them into a word document and sized them down to fit in this frame. I am going to have to figure out how to do this on a much larger scale since I want all three in a large frame (bigger than printer or scrapbook paper). Anyways! Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Is this on anyone's list? I have wanted to do this for a long time and I finally did it today. About a month or so ago we went for a shopping trip in the Sacramento area where we stopped at a Winco and stocked up on food supplies. I was excited to find everything I needed to make my own laundry detergent there. We normally buy a big thing of powder detergent at Costco and since I was running low on it Today I figured it was a good time to whip this up. I followed my SIL's tutorial found here. Here is the recipe:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap (grated, then food-processed)
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
1/4 C Baking Soda

After grating the bar soap (the kids called it soap cheese) I pulled out my trusty Magic Bullet to get it as fine as I could then I mixed it all  together in my big Costco laundry detergent bucket. I also wrote the recipe on the lid so I can find it easily the next time I make it and I also wrote down how much to use 2 TB/load.

I filled my bucket about quarter of the way (which was about 4x the recipe) and I think it will last at least twice as long as my big costco bucket and probably longer. I had originally bought 4 bars of soap 2 boxes of Borax and 2 boxes of Washing Soda. I ended up only using about half a box of the Borax and Washing Soda. So really this is WAY cheaper than buying laundry soap.

The "cheese soap" (pre-food-processed)

The kids loved helping with the whole process

Here is what it looks like all mixed together

Here is the bucket with the recipe written on it (also makes a nice drum)

Oh, and Buddy and Bella also insisted that I write on the bucket that it was made by us - so I wrote all of our names on it - just so we don't forget :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Celia's Recipe Cheat Sheet

Well, I updated my recipe cheat sheet today. After that quilt, it's nice to have a project I can complete in one day!

I actually did a 2 sided document with 3 columns on each side. I'll put it in a page protector to help lengthen it's life. Thanks for that tip LeAnne!

If you're interested in seeing the recipes I have on mine, you can go here.

Crochet Beanies

This is the crochet beanie I made for our YM/YW auction. It fit on Bella's head as well as mine. I love beanies that I can share with my little girl. I also like the colors of this one. I don't know why, but I really love the color grey. I think it turned out nicely.

In trying to come up with ideas for a beanie I found some really cute free patterns. I stumbled across this wonderful blog with tons of cute hat patterns. I started with the Jayde hat. But before that - I went to the yarn store where the lady there suggested I use a sport weight nylon yarn which is thinner than the worsted weight. I took her advice (I think she is a knitter herself) and wish I hadn't. Most crochet patterns still call for the worsted weight. So against my better judgment I tried the pattern with the sport wieght yarn and a smaller hook and ended up with a hat that fit my 6 month old. I knew it would be smaller, just didn't know how much. So Lou now has a new hat. It's pretty cute, but it almost looks like I messed up a bit. It is stretching a little above the mini brim. It's fun though - a little slouchy with a little brim. I wanted to add a fabric flower but haven't made up my mind yet.

Anyways, after that I went with my standby and made the hat at the top, but used a different flower pattern than I have done in the past. After the auction as I was cleaning up and organizing my yarn I decided to whip up this other cute pattern that I wanted to try. Here it is. I added another row of increases so I could wear it as well as Bella. It fits us both, but I think it looks better on her. I used two more of my favorite vintage buttons.

May the force be with you!

Here it is on me
(I would probably add still another row to make it fit an adult better)

Other patterns I want to try are Valeries Butterfly Hat and her army style hat. It is safe to say that I have been hit with the crochet bug again. I just signed up on Ravelry's free website and there are lots of cool projects on there. I ordered some yarn for an afghan for Bella and I can't wait to get started on that.


Felt Hair Clips

I signed up to make a donation for our Young Men and Young Women acution for their scout camp and various activities. Last year I made some felt hair clips so I decided to do the same thing this year. I also made a crochet beanie which I will show you later.  Here are the clips.

I used this tutorial for the rose clips. At first I didn't realize I was supposed to cut down the lines on the larger petal so my first attempts (the red rose) were a little sloppy. I finally figured it out on the pink one. I love the template for the clip covering in this pattern too. The clips stay right inside. I used to glue the little felt "sleeping bags" to my clips but since my glue gun is junk and since Bella isn't exaclty easy on her things the clips kept falling out. No falling out with these ones. My favorite clip is the layered circle rose with the clear vintage button as well as  the clip with one of my all time favorite vintage poppy buttons on it. I made a few duplicates for Bella! These are my favorite hair accessories because quite often I am in a hurry to do Bella's hair and this is the easiest thing for me to do. I just pop one of these in her hair to keep her hair out of her face. Also, one of my favorite projects because it is so fun and they work up pretty quickly (and I love working with felt :)


Refashion: Maternity Top to Girl's Dress

Here is another quick refashion I did for Bella. I took a maternity shirt that I had and took it in to fit her. It already had straps so I just took them off, shortened them and repositioned them with a criss cross on the back. I don't like this quite as much as the other one I made for her since it isn't as full. Bella likes it though, so I am happy.

Here is the before. If you look close you can see the saftey pin at the top where I have it pinned together to mark the new seam.

Here is the back with criss cross straps. I ended up having two seams since I used more than half the shirt so I centered the two seams on the back.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Challenges

Seasonal: Mother's Day
See April's challenge for links and ideas for presents.
Free customizable Mother's Day card print outs

Self: Reduce Recipe Clutter
Recipe cheat sheet (another found here)
Essentially puts the ingredients of your "go-to" recipes on one sheet

30 Meal Plan
Step by step directions to finding 30 meals your family loves and getting them all in one place for easier shopping, menu planning, and pantry stocking

Everyday Meals
(you have to register and enter in your recipes online, but once you do that you can easily create menus and it will calculate and create grocery lists for you)

Kid: Prepping for pre-school
Basically the challenge is to find, print out, and organize activities for your preschool aged children. Here are some sites you might find helpful.
Letter of the week
File folder games
Learning Page
If you're feeling really ambitious, you can build a Kid's Picnic Table or a Bigger Kid's Picnic Table

Recipe Recommendation: Dough-ntcha wanna try some?
Tried and true: Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls

These are divine. I've made tons of recipes of cinnamon rolls, but this is the best I've made yet. I've also used this recipe for orange rolls and used lemon pudding (since I didn't have vanilla pudding in my cupboard).

Something new: Ezekiel Bread
What is Ezekiel Bread? According to info barrel, "The bread itself was said to be a recipe given to Ezekiel from god while his people were under siege and he was forced to live in the desert for two years. The bread is said to be nutritionally complete, containing more protein than your standard wheat bread."

Their recipe is found here.

This recipe from Urban Simplicity looks superior, but it's more involved and takes longer than the other recipe.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May challenge TBA shortly (hopefully tomorrow)

Sorry folks, I have one boy with an eye and ear infection and another with the stomach flu. Anyone have ideas for May challenges? Requests or things you want to tackle this month?

Some ideas I have kicking around: a skirt for myself, the picnic table, a new recipe organizer, continue the photo books, activity ideas for toddlers (folder games and what not).

Any requests for types of recipes? I just got a new bread pan, so I was thinking something along the lines of Ezekiel Bread (I've been curious about it, but haven't ever made it. two variations are found here and here) or just a good ol' wheat bread. But I'm game for finding/posting whatever others are interested in.