Monday, January 31, 2011

Quick Birthday Idea

My mom’s birthday was on the 14th of this month. Since I wasn’t able to find that one thing I so wanted to get her, I decided to make her up something for her special day until I was able to get my hands on the other great gift.
Using a ruler I drew lines horizontally on a piece of plain white fabric, about 1/2 inch apart.
Then, sit down at your sewing machine and stitch over the lines you just drew. If you want to save on starting and stopping your lines, when you get to the end of your line stitch down to the next line and go the other way over the next line. I think the picture below will show it better than I’m explaining it.  (Or at least I hope so)
I hadn’t decided what size frame I wanted to use so I made this kinda big. If you already know the size frame you want to use just do enough to fit your frame.
I ended up laying the glass from my frame on top of my fabric. Then I made a mark an inch in from the left side of the glass. (Can you tell what I’m making yet?)
  • DSCN1284
Next, head back to your sewing machine and starting at the mark you just made, sew a RED line vertically, all the way down to the bottom line. (Bet you know what it looks like now right?)
I wrote a message on the top lines in pencil, and then had the kids sign it. After hand stitching the message and names with black embroidery thread I pressed it with a hot iron.
Now you're ready to frame it. Cute right? Took about an hour and was a great stand in gift until I locate the one I have in mind for her, but can’t seem to find anywhere at the moment.
Looks just like a piece of paper, only this one wont fade or turn yellow.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hard Lotion Bars

I feel in love with these when I picked one up at a flea market booth two weekends ago. Smooth, creamy and hardly any scent at all makes it a perfect lotion.

Guess what? I was able to find the recipe online, and with a little bit of a tweak from me, made up my own lotion bars.

Here’s what ya need to make your own:
4 TBS beeswax beads
4 TBS shea butter (or cocoa butter if you want more of a scent)
6 TBS coconut oil

Spoon all of this into a microwaveable bowl in the above order.
Next, heat for 1 minute at a time until everything is all clear and melted nicely. In the picture below you can see that not all of the beeswax beads are melted. Stir it well, and scrap the sides and bottom so that the beads are down in the melting butters and heat for another minute, maybe a minute and a half.
Once everything is smooth and melted, pour into your desired, plastic containers.
Set aside and let cool completely before slipping your lotion bars out of their containers.
You can store these in a ziploc bag or a container with a lid. Just don’t put them somewhere it’s warm. They will melt again easily.
These are great for anywhere you can use lotion. But I use them as chap stick. It’s the best form of it I’ve ever used. You can even use these for mild cases of eczema or psoriasis .

They are soft enough you can break off a small piece and rub it between your hands or over your legs, or you use the Lotion Bar just like a bar of soap to apply.

Oh, before I forget, if you want to add any scent to these use whichever essential oils you like AFTER all your butters and oils have melted, NOT before. Remember to mix it well before you pour into the molds. 

Your skin will thank you. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Coming your way.

I love this picture. Though if you actually used a needle threaded like that you'd never get your first stitch in, let along a seam. :)

I've been sewing like crazy the past few days. I'm taking pictures so I can post tutorials here, but it's going to take another day or two before I'm ready for that. 

I'm still here, I'm still sewing!
As soon as I finish up the two projects I'm halfway through I'll be back to posting.

Until then, go back and have another look at the cool picture above. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pleated Zipper Pouch Tutorial.

Remember the cute owl purse I made a few days ago? I've been using it ever since and I really do love it, even though it was a pain in my backside to make…arrgh, a redo of that pattern will be forthcoming. I made a pleated zipper pouch to match.
I’ve seen this design online from time to time but have yet to find a free pattern or tutorial for one, so I decided to wing it and make my own. I do love a challenge.
First, a list of supplies you’ll need if you want to make your own.
  • 2 outer pieces of fabric, cut 5 1/2’’ by 9 1/2’’
  • 2 lining pieces of fabric, cut 5 1/2’’ by 9 1/2’’
  • 1 piece of lining fabric, or contrasting fabric for the pleats cut 5 1/2’’ by 7’’. If you want more pleats just add on a few inches to the length, for example my piece would be cute 5 1/2’’ by 9’’.
  • 1 – 8’’ zipper.
Take one piece of your outer fabric and measure in 2’’ from the left side and make a mark, then measure 2’’ from that mark and make another mark. Cut this rectangle out. You’ll end up with 2 pieces measuring 2’’ by 5 1/2 and one piece measuring 5 1/2’’ by 5 1/2’’.
The 2nd 2’’ by 5 1/2’’ strip isn’t pictured here. Just set it aside, you’ll come back to use that piece later.
Now on to the pleated part of this bag. Take the fabric you’re going to use for your pleats and turn it so that the short side is on the top and bottom, long edges to the sides. Then pinch at little bit below the top of the fabric and fold the fabric over and up. Pin in place.
Continue doing this until the length of your fabric is folded into nice, even pleats.
Press this flat with an iron, but don’t run your iron over your stick pins. The heads of them will melt and you’ll end up with a weird crease in your fabric where the pins are.

Now take this to your sewing machine and run a basting stitch along the pleated sides. Make sure you have your pleats positioned for when the fabric goes under the pressure foot the pleats will be flattened towards you. If you turn it the wrong way the pressure foot my try and lift the pleats up and your basting stitch will ruin the pleats.
Now, take out all your pins and press with a hot iron again, making sure to get it as flat as possible.

Pick up your outer fabric you cut a 2nd piece out of a few steps ago and lay it beside the pleats you just created. This will be the front of your pouch.
Start with the short piece of outer fabric, and place it right side over your pleats. Sew in place, being careful not to catch any pleats under the seam.

Repeat this with the larger piece of out fabric, on the other side of the pleats. Here’s a picture with the short side attached, right before you attach the bigger piece to the pleats. Press the seams (on the inside)  away from the pleats when you’re finished.
I decided to add interfacing to my pouch at the last minute. So if you want to do that just cut 2 pieces of fusible medium weight interfacing 5 1/2’’ by 9 1/2’’. Iron them onto both pieces of your outer fabric now.

Remember that tiny strip of fabric we cut out of the front piece? Get it now and cut it into 2 pieces that measure 1 1/2’’ by 2 1/2’’.
Turn them wrong side up, and fold the short edges in towards the middle, and press with an iron.
Ready for the zipper? Of course you are. Take one edge of your zipper and place it in the middle of your folded pieces and fold the top down on the zipper and sew in place from top to bottom over the zipper.

Repeat with the other side of the zipper. You can skip this step if you like but this is a handy step for making your zipper fit better in your pouch.
Once your zipper is ready, you’re ready for the assemble of the pouch. Open your zipper, with the teeth facing down slip it between one piece of lining fabric and one piece of outer fabric, right sides together. Sew a line as close to the zipper teeth as you can get without hitting it. (Use your zipper foot if you like, sometimes I get lazy and don’t change the foot on my machine)
Repeat the above step with the other side of your zipper. Sandwich it between lining and outer fabric with the teeth facing down inside the fabric.

Turn your bag over, with the outer fabric facing up and this is what your bag should look like.
One last step. Open your zipper half way. DON’T FORGET THIS. You’ll not be able to turn your finished bag right side out if you do!!! Place the outer fabric together, right sides facing each other, and the lining fabric with right sides facing each other as well. You should have a funky looking square/rectangle.
Sew around all 4 corners, leaving a 3 or 4’’ gap for turning.

Turn your pouch right side out through the lining and zipper. You can hand stitch or machine stitch the opening in the lining closed at this point. Make sure you push out your corners as best as you can so the bag has a neat finished look.
I think it matches my new purse perfectly. I like how the pleats can be almost like a ruffle but a little less whimsical.
I see more of these in my future!

Creations by Kara           Link up you latest project every Wednesday on the Elle Belle Creative Your Way Wednesday link party!
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Monday, January 17, 2011


For those of you following the Sour Dough Bread Starter, it's time to go ahead and feed the thing. Actually it was time Sunday or Monday night, I'm a tad behind; my apologizes.

Pour your starter into a plastic bowl, NOT metal, the starter doesn't like metal. :)
Now stir in
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 3 TBS instant potato flakes.
Stir and stir and stir some more. Make sure it's mixed well and that the sugar and potato flakes are dissolved as much as possible.
 Once that's mixed in you can cover your bowl loosely with aluminum foil or pour the starter into a mason jar and leave the lid of the jar slightly off the top to allow for air circulation. Either way you choose to do it, let the starter sit out for 8-12 hours.

After your 8-12 hours are up, stir this really well one more time. Measure out 1 cup of the starter and pour out the rest. Rinse out your mason jar, or whatever you've decided to store the starter in and pour your cup of starter in and seal it up tight. Pop this back in the fridge for another 3-5 days before feeding again.

In another 2 weeks we'll all be ready to make Sour Dough Bread and it'll be worth all the feedings and effort. Trust me!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cheesy Mac n Cheese

I’ve never made Mac n Cheese with a roux before, until the other day. It turned out wonderful and so cheesy I thought I’d share the recipe.
Melt a half a stick of butter over medium heat. Yes, I know my picture shows an entire stick and luckily I caught my mistake before it melted entirely. Smile
Sprinkle in 4 TBS or 1/3 cup of flour. This will make your rue and this is what will make your cheese sauce thicken.
Stir this over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. I use a whisk when making a roux, it’s great for when the butter and flour want to stick to the sides of the pan. Eventually it’ll look like this.
If you use real butter, not margarine, your rue will be very white, but I didn’t have any on hand so mine turned out very yellow.  NEXT, pour in 2 1/2 cups of milk. The higher fat content in your milk the creamier your finished product will be, so keep that in mind.
Stir until mixed. Now crack one egg into a separate small bowl and whip it up just a bit. Go back to your rue and whisk this around for about 5 minutes, or until it’s as thick as you like it. If you’ve ever made gravy from a seasoning packet you know the drill.
Once everything is thickened up, take about 1/3 cup of the roux and pour it into your slightly beaten egg.
You’re going to be ‘tempering’  the egg, so make sure you stir the egg mixture as you pour in the roux so that the egg doesn’t scramble.
Now take the tempered egg and pour it into the roux and mix it together well. When that’s mixed in, add 2 cups of cheddar cheese to the roux and 1/2 tsp of salt.
You can turn the heat off at this point. Everything is hot enough to melt the cheese, just stir so nothing burns.
Now you’re ready to dump in about 4 cups of almost cooked all the way pasta of your choice. DSCN1251
Mix until the pasta is coated with cheese and then pour this into a casserole dish. Sprinkle more cheese on top and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350.
So delicious.

My verdict: This is totally grown up mac n cheese. I think I went a little heavy with the cheddar so it wasn’t as ‘wet’ as I would have liked. But after 24 hours, there was not a single cheese covered noodle to be found!

The family verdict: Not a single one of the kids liked it, they even said it was too cheesy. As if there could ever be a such! I think if it were ‘wetter’ they may have approved.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The smell of home.

Look what I have going on in my kitchen.
The best Sour Dough Bread starter ever! I use to make it all the time and then life and having babies took over. Boy Toy mentioned Sourdough Bread awhile back ago and it reminded me that I’ve had this recipe sitting in my cookbook for a long time and that I needed to take it out and put it to use again. Want to do it with me?
Here’s the first step to the best Sour Dough Bread ever!!
Sour Dough Bread Starter
1 pk of dry yeast
2 cups plain all purpose flour
1 TBS sugar
2 c warm water
2 TBS instant potato flakes

Mix flour, yeast and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
Add instant potato’s to warm water and then stir this into the flour mixture.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil or wax paper and let this sit in a warm place for 48 hours.
When your 48 hours is up, measure out 1 cup and place in a covered bowl or mason jar with a lid on it in the refrigerator. Throw the rest away.
Feed your starter for a few weeks before baking your first batch of bread.
I’ll post how to feed your starter as soon as mine is ready to be fed!!!
Mine should be ready to bake around the first of February, I can almost taste it!