Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's a Witch!

Having a girl is so much FUN! As I was looking at Halloween costumes for her I noticed a theme. Almost all of them had tutus for the skirt. So I decided to just make my own. I found the purple witch hat and decided we'd have a purple witch instead of a black one. It helped that the jacket came in purple too. Then I made this easy tutu with black and orange tulle with purple ribbons and just added leggings underneath. She loved it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Going along with quick, easy projects I've discovered a new sewing love- SKIRTS! Not for me, for my 18 month old. The first one I made was this easy wrap around skirt. I lined it with coordinating dots. Let's face it, she's not going to keep those chubby knees together so the inside is going to show.
Then I got on a roll. I discovered that I could make an easy skirt in about a half hour out of scraps I had from other projects.

How many skirts does an 18 month old need? I want to keep going but I should save some fabric for another size. I also made two coordinating skirts for my nieces with just the main color and the band fabric switched. I forgot to take a picture though.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm a Carpenter!

Ok so I only did the painting. Saws freak me out. I'd like to keep all my fingers. About a year ago my friend saw these shelves in a catalog. For a three foot shelf it cost $99. Each. She made some herself for her living room. A few weeks ago she wanted to make more for her kitchen and I joined her. She cut, I painted.
Here is a close up of one of mine. I made three and they cost about $60 for all three. Much better than $300. The most expensive part was the corbels.

Here are all three on the wall in my living room. I need to figure out a better way to decorate them and I need to put something behind them, especially the lowest one, but I'm happy with the way they turned out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remember when...

I used to quilt? Remember how I used to actually post? I feel like those days are getting few and far between. I haven't quilted since about June. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I have a super busy 18 month old. I feel like I need short projects because it may be awhile before I get back to them. I need projects I can finish in an afternoon.

Also, I'm to the place with quilting that I don't know what to do with the quilts I make. I've thought of making baby quilts (short and sweet and can easily be finished quickly). Do I really need a lot of baby quilts? I thought of selling them on etsy. Do people really pay that much for them though? Also, none of my quilts are perfect and I'd feel bad if people expected perfection and I had made a mistake... which is the rule and not the exception.

All that being said I have been working on several projects in the past month. Keep checking back this week as I will post them here. Most are craft things, but the biggest project that I've recently finished is not a craft item, but the longest and most important one.

Back in June my husband and I bought new couches for our family room. Our old ones were falling apart. I loved those couches when we bought them, but over the years my tastes have changed dramatically. I wanted something neutral that I could update through the years with colors and pillows. We went with boring beige. I'm in the process of making and buying pillows to brighten up the room.

Have you seen all the cute ruffly pillows out there? The ones that cost anywhere from $20-$60 each? Even when they are only made of felt? You have got to be kidding me! There is no way I can afford that. I need about 4 of them. Again, do people really pay those prices? So I did what I had to do. I made it myself.
This was my project yesterday afternoon. Notice the boring beige couch in the background. I plan to recover the pillows in the same boring beige fabric as the couch in a not so boring fabric soon. Anyway, this pillow cost about $4 for the felt at the most and the pillow insert cost maybe another $4. I'm not really sure since I had the felt from another project where I way overestimated the amount I needed. I bought the pillow insert a long time ago as well.
I found a similar pillow I loved for $45. I didn't have a pattern for this as I was just borrowing the basic idea, but here is my version. It took less than an hour to make. I'm not sure how long as I stopped to answer the phone, comfort a 7 year old who was worried about his French report today and stop my 4 year old from hugging my 18 month old too much (yes, that's a serious problem in our house.)
Anyway, check back over the next few days to see what else I've been working on!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jalapeno Jelly Recipe

I've had a request for my jalapeno jelly recipe. This makes about 5 half pints.

3/4 pound jalapeno peppers
2 cups cider vinegar, divided
6 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
green food coloring (optional, but recommended)

Wash peppers; drain. Remove stems and seeds. Puree peppers and 1 cup vinegar in a food processor or blender. Combine puree., 1 cup vinegar and sugar in a large pot. Bring to a boil; boil 10 minutes stirring constantly. Stir in liquid pectin. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Stir in a few drops of food coloring (I forgot to do this once. The jelly turned out a more yellow green color than brighter green. It looks more appetizing with the food coloring). Ladle hot jell into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Use 2 piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

I also made some yellow pepper jelly. Green, red or orange peppers can be substituted for yellow peppers.

Sweet Pepper Jelly

7 sweet yellow peppers
1 jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar, divided
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1 package powdered pectin
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups sugar
yellow food coloring (optional- if using another color pepper make sure the food coloring matches the color of pepper you are using)

To Make Juice: Wash peppers; remove stems and seeds. Pureehalf the peppers and 3/4 cup vinegar in a food processor or blender. Puree remaining peppers and vinegar. Combine puree and apple juice in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain pureed mixture through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Measure 4 cups juice. Add additional apple juice to make 4 cups if necessary.

To Make Jelly: Combine juice, powdered pectin and salt in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar stirring until dissolved. Return to a boil. Boil hard 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Stir in a few drops of food coloring. Ladel jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Pillows

I haven't had much time for quilting lately. I need short, easy projects that I can start and finish during nap time. Over the last few days I've made some skirts for my daughter. I think I'm addicted. I can make one in less than a half hour. I recovered a lampshade. I made these pillows: I needed some pillows for my living room couch. The fabric is by Sandi Henderson from her line
Meadowsweet. I love the fun, bold pattern. I made four. Two for my couch and two for my chairs in the same room. The orange pillows were bought at Ross for super cheap. I'll post the skirts and lampshade another day!

Friday, September 10, 2010


I saw a pillow very similar to this when I was shopping this weekend. I wanted to buy it, but it was $30. I'm too cheap to spend that much, so I made it myself. It's a fun way to add color to a room without spending very much money. I need to make another one for this room and then also a red one. I need to experiment with different shaped petals. I used the basic idea from this tutorial. The one I saw at the store was all felt like the one I made, but I also like the flower in different fabric than the pillow cover. It stands out with all felt in real life much better than it does in the pic.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I finally finished that hutch!

Remember this ugly orangish wood hutch? Well, I finally decided what to do with it. What I wanted was a sofa table, not a hutch. I got such a good deal on it that I originally planned on putting table part behind my sofa and figure out what to do with the shelves later. Well.... then it was too tall for behind the sofa. After months of debating back and forth about what to do or just sell it I decided on Saturday to paint it.
Here is the finished product. I restained the top and then painted the bottom an added a glaze. I think I'm going to like it. The top is now housing a fleet of Tonka trucks.
Now, I have some lamps that need refinishing. They are currently an ugly 70s brown. I had wanted to pain them teal, but I'm thinking that will be too much when placed on top of my "new" table. So do I do black or white? The fireplace in this room is white and I have a few picture frames that are black.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I don't ever want to look at another tomato again. Yesterday I had 25 lbs of tomatoes that needed to be used. It took about 7 hours. What did I get? 8 pints of salsa and 6 quarts of spaghetti sauce. And I did something to my back when I was pulling the spaghetti sauce out of the canner. I think I just turned the wrong way or something. Was all this worth it? NO!!!!!!! Maybe I'll think differently on a night when I don't have time to cook. I had my husband pick up some refrigerated tortellini on his way home from work. I made different pasta sauce for that. Jeff wanted to try what I had just bottled. NO WAY!!!! We aren't going to be digging into this for a long time. I wish tomatoes came already peeled.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

For my Sous-Chefs

It's been a busy week so far. The first day of second grade for my oldest, more canning, dental appointments, back to school night and FSA stuff (I'm the co-chair for our office). I did manage to get some sewing done last week though.Sorry, I can't move the pictures around and I'm too lazy to retype stuff. This is the apron I made for my oldest. My boys always want to help me cook and are quite the mess makers so they needed aprons.
I love boy fabric. It seems like it's becoming more available now too!

I decided to make one for me while I was at it. I still need to make one for my four year old, but I just couldn't resist this fabric any longer. Ignore the way it looks totally misshapen on my floor.
Remember the dilly beans I posted last time? Well.... I realized an hour ago I need to make more. They are suppose to sit for 2 weeks before you eat them. We opened some today and I was thinking my 4 year old would maybe eat 4 or 5 with lunch. Nope. Between he and my 15 month old they ate the whole jar. They are a little on the spicy side. Why knew a 15 month old would like them so much?

Friday, August 13, 2010


I will admit it. I'm one of those strange people who like canning. I don't really like cooked fruit or jam (except very rarely on hot homemade bread), but my kids like jam. I like to can different things. This week I've done pickles and dilly beans. I forgot to take a picture of the dilly beans until they were already on the shelf in the storage room (next to the Western Family canned pineapple). Behind the beans is jalapeno jelly, which I love on crackers or tortilla chips with cream cheese. I can't wait to make more later this season when the jalapeno peppers are ready! I also am excited to try a few new things like red and yellow pepper jelly and possibly peach chutney later this season.

I'm not really sure why I like canning. It does make me feel domestic. I only canned one thing last year ( I had a newborn + the swine flu), strawberry jam. Last year was the first full summer in this house and when I put the canner on the stove I realized I had a problem. The canner is too high for the microwave. It was on a Saturday when my husband was home and I realized I needed two extra hands. Two to pull the canning pot out and my two to put the caning basket in and out of the hot water bath. This year I have been using the burner on the BBQ but that presents another problem...... it takes FOREVER to boil and then when I put the cans in it takes another 10+ minutes to get to boiling again. Any suggestions?

Anyway, since no sewing has taken place at my house (think 15 month old) I thought I'd post my recipe for dilly beans.

Dilly Beans

2 lbs green beans snapped and washed
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 sprigs dill
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
4 TBL course salt

In 4 one pint jars put one clove garlic, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper and one sprig dill. Turn jars on their sides to add green beans. In heavy pot boil vinegar, water and salt. Add to jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

Yield: 4 pints

The past few days I've had two sous-chefs that help me snap beans. I see aprons in their near future!!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

We All Sew

I'm being featured on this week as a favorite blog. Make sure to check them out for lots of great sewing ideas!
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In a Sewy Mood

I finished painting my sewing/laundry room yesterday afternoon. Today I'm doing about 2 weeks worth of laundry. I hate laundry. I don't mind the putting in the washer and then transferring it to the dryer, but I hate folding and putting it away.

Having not really sewn in about 6 weeks I'm itching to get back to it. We still need to put new linoleum down in there, but I can start putting fabric back in the cupboards and drawers and start setting things up.

Of course, I have about 10 quilts in progress and fabric to make ties for my boys when I figure out what I'm going to line them with. However, I also have fabric for a few quilts that I haven't started I'd like to get working on. Plus I've seen several quick projects recently I would like to do. One of them is this:

Petal Pillow Tutorial

Don't you love it! I want to make one for a chair I have in my entry.

I also bought this Amy Butler fabric at the top of the page. Blogger won't let me pull it down. I'm thinking it would be a super cute apron. I need some fabric for ruffles first though.
I also have a pillow pattern (but no fabric yet) for a super cute pillow for my daughter's room that has flowers made of ric rac + tons of ric rac trim. Can't wait to do that one!
Now.... to finish the final clean up of the laundry room so I can get started.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's about TIME!!!!!!

It's about time I finished a quilt, don't you think? I made this one for my newest niece. I've had it quilted for about 6 weeks, then the laundry room situation happened and it didn't get bound. My niece was due on the 18th of this month, but surprised us by coming last Thursday. I hurried and bound it on my garage sale, $20 Bernina and took it up to the hospital.
I love the velvet ric rac. This is it after it's been washed once. No rolling!

I ran out of backing so I had to piece a little.
I think this is the last quilt I will be making as a gift, at least until my kids are older. I'll be working on other things, but with three little kids, one of them not quite 13 months I can't handle having deadlines to finish. It was a nice thought though!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quilt Festival

I joined Amy's Creative Side's quilt festival. Here is my entry!
I don't know that I have a favorite quilt, but this is one I love. The is the first quilt I made for my baby girl one year ago. I love the bright fun colors of Bubblegum Basics. I had had the pattern for several years just hoping I'd have a baby girl to make it for someday. I always love to use ric rac. It's just a fun, happy quilt.
Don't forget to check out the other quilts in the quilt festival!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Garage Sale End Table

This table was another garage sale find I found last Friday. I think I paid $8 for it. I forgot to take before pictures until I had primed the legs. They were forest green before.

Here is a close up of the top.

I decided to paint it turquoise. Apparently I can't get enough lately.

Then I put a faux glaze on top.

And here it is in my house. Not sure what I'm going to put on top.... or if I'm just going to end up painting it black, but I do need to add more color to my room.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Framed Pear

One thing I'm always on the lookout for at yard sales is picture frames. I found these cute chunky frames and there were two of them! I didn't know what I'd use them for and then saw this. First I spray painted the frames. They were a flimy white color. Do you know the one I'm talking about? White washed or something? Anyway, they're black now. Then I got some scrapbook paper I liked and just glued it to the cardboard in the back.

I cute the pear in half. About 2/3 of the way through the knife wouldn't go any further. Yes, there was a huge "pit". A little cement disk to give it weight. I had to carefully peel one side of the pear off so that I could peel out the "pit". The I glued the good half of the pear down with E6000. No, this one is not centered. It was at one time and then I accident picked it up too soon. It left a small glue trail and I ended up positioning it slightly off to cover the glue. Oops. Then I didn't totally notice until it was very dry.

I think I like the red pear better. Never mind the recalled infant Tylenol on the counter and the phone cord in the background. My husband thinks the whole thing is somewhat strange. His question: "why would you have half a pear hanging out in a picture frame?" He didn't have any better ideas though..... I think he secretly likes it though!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


My first sewing machine was a Bernina 830. When I was growing up my mom had a hateful White. She also hated to sew and this just aggravated it. It never worked the way it was suppose to and finally when I was 19 she decided it was time for a new one. She just wanted one to make mending not as frustrating. She called a neighbor of ours who was a home ec teacher at a high school and asked what she recommended. She swore by Bernina and also told my mom that the school she taught at was in the process of getting new machines. She said they were trading their machines back to Nuttalls but were able to sell the machines to people who wanted them for the cost Nuttalls would pay them. My mom decided to buy one and I did also. I bought my Bernina for $250.

I didn't sew at the time, but I had taken sewing classes when I was growing up. I had always liked to do crafts and decided in the future when I wasn't so busy with collage I might like to sew and it was a good opportunity buy a good sewing machine at a good price.

Fast forward 7 years. When I was 26 I was looking for a quilt for my then 1 year old's bed. What I really wanted was super expensive. I had always gone into quilt shops because I liked to do embroidery and make it into pillows of frame it with fabric in a picture frame. I decided I would try to make my little boy a quilt for his bed so I could make just what I was picturing in my head. I found I loved to sew. I think it was transforming beautiful fabric into something useful and loved and also providing heirlooms for my children.

Although I loved to sew, I didn't love my machine. It hadn't come with an owner's manual and I never felt like I knew how to really use it. Whenever I would go to Nuttalls for any sort of sewing machine pieces I would eye the other machines, thinking there was no way I could ever afford a computerized one. I knew that for some reason the Bernina 830 is in high demand and maybe I could sell it and use the money toward another machine, but I knew I was still really short for what I wanted. I did some Internet searches and found a Bernina Virtuosa 150 on ebay. I had checked a few local Bernina dealers and found that this machine was selling for about $1400-1500 used. I found it on ebay one night for $450. The auction was just closing. I showed it to my husband who got on another computer to look at it too. I put in a bid not knowing that he did as well. He outbid me and won it for $456.

To say that I didn't stalk the UPS guy for the next few days would not be true. It even arrived during nap time and I accidentally woke up my kids with shrieks of joy. True love. It was so smooth. There was no guessing about the settings. Everything worked perfectly. I sold my Bernina 830 on for $454 about 4 hours after it was listed and have never looked back.

Over the last 3 years whenever I have mentioned I used to have a Bernina 830 and sold it people have questioned why I would ever do it. Honestly, I have never once missed it. Never.

This weekend my husband and I went to a garage sale. We went to one that we hadn't planned on going to, but was on the way. When I got there the first thing I saw was a Bernina 830. Guess what they were asking for it........$20. I'm totally serious. I asked the lady if it worked and she assured me it did. Of course I didn't need a sewing machine... I do have three already, but could I really pass this up?
I felt guilty. Did this lady know what she was practically giving away? Should I alert her? I decided to buy it. I am now the proud owner of another Bernina 830. I used it tonight. It runs like a dream. It is super smooth. It only has the basic foot, but it was definitely worth more than the $20 I paid for it by far. I don't know what I'll do with it....... but who says there is no such thing as hidden treasure!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back to the Shutters

Here are my finished shutters. I'm thinking we are going to hang them up a few inches.

Sorry about the open entertainment center. My three year old would not have appreciated me pausing his Talking Word Factory show so I could close the doors. This picture is to show how much space we have between the top of the shutters and the ceiling.

I have two sets of these shorter shutters, bought at the same time. My husband thinks if I hang these above the others it will look like a portal though.

I also make this seed ball out of dried pinto beans and then spray painted it the same color as the shutters. This is the color I was thinking of painting the hutch, but I'm leaning toward not that color now. Not that I'm leaning toward any color right now.
I have a few more non sewing projects to show later. Hopefully I can get back in my sewing room soon......

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I found this hutch a few weeks ago and a garage sale for $40. I feel like I got a steel. Since then I've been looking on and have seen them for much more. I do have a delima though.....
We just ordered a new sofa and loveseat that are beige, these red ones are falling apart. We also have a beige wall. I'd like to paint the hutch. The wood is kind of an orangish color in real life and I need to add color to my family room. When I bought this I had planned on using the bottom half as a sofa table and painting it blue, like the color of the shutters. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the top half. Use it as shelves somewhere. When I got it home though the table top is higher than the back of the couch. Although I still like the idea of a blue hutch, I think it would take from the main focal point of the room which is our fireplace. I'll post pictures of that soon... when I get around to posting the finished shutters. So my question to you is this: What color should I paint this hutch? Black, white or something I haven't thought of?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The State of the Sewing Room Address

See this cute laundry room? Remember it. It's not mine. I can't move the picture where I want it. It won't let me copy and paste or slide it down so now I don't know how to move pictures again just mere weeks after I mastered it. This one is from Apartment Therapy.

My sewing/ laundry room is not in good shape. A week ago this Thursday was the last time I did laundry. A week ago this last Sunday I noticed some water coming from under the dryer.... yes, it had been 4 days since I had done any laundry. Prior to this I had smelled mold. I thought it was coming from the washing machine and had done several things to see where it was coming from but couldn't find the source. Once my husband started investigating the water situation this is what he found:

Here is my cutting table. Water had been slowly building up under this counter. I had to empty it of all my fabric. Fortunately nothing got wet.

Here is mold coming out of the wall.

Here are the pipes after my husband cut into the wall to see where the leak was coming from. It was the kitchen sink. Apparently over the last few years it has been leaking 2-3 ounces ever time it was used. Finally there was enough to make it seep out of the wall.

And no, the insurance won't pay for this. They said it was a maintenance issue. The plumber we hired to fix the pipe even called the insurance to tell them that unless we hacked into the wall once in awhile to check on our pipes there is no way we'd have ever known. Apparently they only cover pipe breaks. This same insurance company also paid when my brother left a hose on and running down my parents outside stairs to the basement and it flooded, but it won't cover this. We are switching insurance companies...... for next time.

So now that the pipe is fixed we (meaning my husband) have to replace drywall and rebuild the counter. Then we will have to replace moldy linoleum and paint. I want to paint a fun, clean color for the laundry room, but don't want something too bright for fear it will make my fabric look off. I really am wanting to do a tangerine color (now is the time to see the first picture.) Whatever I do it needs to coordinate with ugly 80's blue. That's what color the sewing counter and cutting counter are.

Anyway, I won't be sewing for awhile. Or doing laundry.... at least not here. I do have a few other projects to share though. I'll post those over the next little while.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Lately I'm into quick projects that I can do in an afternoon. Mostly because I may have an afternoon today and then not again for a few weeks. In a few weeks I have usually lost some steam to finish a project and am wanting to start a new one.

A week ago I went garage saleing. I found these shutters for $1 each and bought all four of them. I've seen people doing cute things with shutters on other blogs and thought it was a great way to take up quite a bit of wall space. The Nester used shutters HERE and HERE. Here is another use of old shutters.
I forgot to take a picture before I took the handles off. I did decide to spray paint them with oil rubbed bronze spray paint, but I'm thinking I'm not going to put them on again.
I need more color in my family room so I decided to do a lighter teal color. I spray painted them first.

They were a little shinier than I was hoping for so I decided to add a glaze.

I'm not sure which I like better. The glaze gives them more of an antique look, but I felt like the plain paint was a little too bright. Since they are already glazed I will hang them like this for now and if I don't like them a quick spray of paint will cover it back up again. I'm going to hang them above my mantel. I'll post pics as soon as they're up.
I've been doing a lot of garage sale shopping for cheap ways to decorate my house. I found a great deal on a hutch. I can't decide if I want to paint it white with a glaze, black or possible the same teal above. I'll post pictures when it's finished!