Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's a BIG day for my little Etsy shop :)

A few weeks ago Alicia from La Famille wrote on her blog that she would like to share some love with some fellow Etsy shops by featuring them on her blog. 
 She said she would choose 5 shops, one for each day this week.
 And guess what? Today it's me!
 Alicia is super talented and has a fantastic Etsy shop herself.
 She was featured in Country Living Magazine last month!
 How cool is that?
So hop on over to La Famille today and share my excitement
and check out the other crafty goodness as well!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tick Tock......:)

Kristina with April and Sofia :)

Well, the shower was SO much fun and now all that is left to do is wait.
Wait for little Evie to make her debut.
 Her beautiful little cousin Sofia is 2 weeks old now and I know she can't wait to meet her BFF :)
The colors we used were soft pink and yellow.  I made bouquets of pink and yellow Gerbera daisies and placed a princess wand with rhinestones and satin ribbons in each one.
I found cute little metal buckets at Target in the dollar bins in stripes and butterflies that matched the colors perfectly. I lined them with pink & yellow tissue and added pink, yellow and white meringues on the tables. I also used my Martha Stewart crown punch with some cute polka dot and flower 2 sided scrapbook paper to make crown confetti for the tables.

We had Italian Pasta Salad, Chicken salad with dried cranberries and pecans, and Grilled Chicken Cesar salad. Cut up fresh fruit with cheesecake dip and chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! Of course we had pink lemonade and iced tea :)

Regena sent us these darling vintage princesses and cupcake liners that totally tied everything together.

The tissue covers as favors were a big hit and they looked really cute on the table :)

We played a few games :)
And little Sofia snuggled with her Auntie Michelle. Seriously....how cute is she?

My beautiful daughter (yes, she's wearing a tiara!) The mother of the princess should have a tiara too...right?
I HAD to show a close-up of these shoes she received from one of her dear friends. I mean just look at them! Adorableness right?

My mom made this same crocheted blanket for Kristina when she was born. (And she still has it !) Now 28 years later, she made it again. This time she used the colors of the new baby bedding for the cross stitched little animals. It took over 60 hours just to do the cross stitching. Totally a labor of love.

Auntie Sandra makes the most awesome "Diaper Cakes". This one is made up of diapers and a "Princess" hooded towel and washcloths. So adorable!

To be able to sit back and just watch the interaction between Kristina and her lovely friends is such an overwhelming feeling for me. To see how her friends genuinely love and care for her makes me so proud to be her mom. One thing I've learned by having 2 children myself, it's that each child is an individual. God has entrusted us with these children and it's our responsibility to teach them and guide them as they mature. But they are who they are and we can't take any credit for that. Our 2 children came from the same gene pool but are completely different. Both of them wonderful and unique. Both of them have married such amazing spouses and both of them are fantastic parents to their children and that really makes my heart happy!

Kristina and her cousin Michelle. They are 1 year and 1 day apart in age and grew up more like sisters than cousins. I can only hope that Sofia and Evie share that same closeness throughout their lives :)

Kristina with my mom and her Auntie Sandra!

It was a truly lovely party!

OK....so let's have that baby now!!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Girly Goodness :)

I'm writing this on Friday, but scheduling it to post on Saturday. By that time, I'll be at the baby shower and there won't be any danger of my daughter seeing any of this before the party!
So here's what I've been up to this week:
I used this great free pattern from Sew4Home for this adorable set! I had to change it a bit because I couldn't find the double loop stop so I turned it into a 2 sided drawstring bag instead. I also added this darling pink twill ribbon that I borrowed from my scrapbooking stash. I cut the twill ribbon into labels and stitched it on.  I found the fun heart shaped suspender clips here on Etsy.

This is what is looks like with the pacifiers and leashes inside :)

I used the free tutorial from Lemon Squeezy Home to make this Hand Sanitizer Holder. I made mine 2" shorter and 1/2 wider to better fit the Target brand hand sanitizer.

It attaches easily to your purse or diaper bag! No more digging around when you have your hands full to begin with!

I made this nursing cover from my own pattern.

I used boning to make the curve so you can see your baby easily.

I added pleats at the hemline to surround the baby rather than just hang straight down. My daughter in law had requested that feature on the one I made for her shower last month so I did it again for my daughter's cover.

These are the flannel backed burp cloths that I made. I read a blog post months ago, and I don't remember who's it was, but she said that having  the burp cloth completely sided in flannel acts as a magnet on your shoulder and keeps the diaper in place better. I don't know how many times I've had to bend over to pick up the diaper off the floor! I actually got pretty good at picking them up with my toes while I held a baby on my hip. It's amazing the things you can do when you have to :)

Just like the burp cloths I made for Sofia, I embroidered a small heart with an "E" inside for little Evie :)

And these are the tissue covers I made for party favors. I tried to use different styles of fabric and still keep everything pretty much pink!
Now it's time to par-tay! I'll post pics from the party on Monday!

Friday, May 27, 2011

There's just something about fabric......

I'll admit I have a weakness for fabrics. Beautiful, colorful, wonderful fabrics! I picked these up yesterday and I can't wait to get started sewing! There will be some new aprons and trinkets with special prices on my etsy shop in the next few days, so stay tuned!
 I'm dying to post pics of the girly goodness that I've been sewing for the baby shower, but I can't post any of that until after tomorrow. I don't want to spoil the surprise for my daughter :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to "oven bake" your bread machine dough: A Tutorial :)

Scroll to the end of this post for the recipe I use :)

I've mentioned before that I found a wonderful bread machine at my local thrift store for 5 dollars. It was dusty and "schmutzy" but it cleaned up beautifully and works like a charm. I actually bake bread twice a week and we dont' buy sandwich bread at all any more. When I originally bought the machine, I added the ingredients and let the bread maker do it's magic. What is no so magical is the weird shaped "block" of bread you get with that obnoxious hole in the bottom. For those of you who know my wonderful hubby, you won't be surprised to hear that he was not a fan of the large square loafs of bread. I had to cut down 2 sides of every slice to make them more of a "normal" size piece of bread and the pieces at the end of the loaf with the hole from the paddle were also not that exciting. So I searched for online info on how to make the switch to oven baking. I found a great article and I've never looked back! Now my loafs are the right shape to make my hubby happy and there is no paddle hole :) I even read an article about a woman who made bread to give as gifts one year and accidentally gave away a loaf that still had the paddle inside it!
Now I use my bread maker for dough kneading and bake my loafs in my oven. Any loaf style bread can be made this way. Oven baked bread is much different that bread machine breads. The taste will be the same, but the texture and crust will be very different.

My beautiful and trusty bread maker!
It's not hard to do at all (or you know I wouldn't be doing it)
First, make your dough in the machine on the dough cycle.
While the dough is "working" in the machine, spray your bread pan with olive oil. ( I use a 10" by 5" bread pan for a 1 1/2 pound loaf) I found this great ceramic bread pan at the thrift store as well.
I use well floured parchment paper as my work surface to keep the dough from sticking and it makes clean up so much easier :)

After your machine beeps that the dough is ready, drop it out onto your floured parchment paper.
Punch the dough down, dusting with flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. It's important to get all the air out of the dough or you could end up with large ugly air pockets in your loaf....and nobody wants that :) Once the dough is deflated, shape it into a flat rectangle.
Roll the dough up jelly roll style. You'll want it to be as long as your bread pan.
Place the dough with the seam down into your prepared pan. Cut a slit down the center of the loaf with a sharp knife about 1/2" deep, leaving about 1" uncut on each end.
Lightly spray the top of the loaf as well as the inside of the cling wrap with olive oil to prevent sticking when it rises. Loosely cover the loaf with cling wrap. (If you don't want to use cling wrap here, you can use a damp - but not wet - kitchen towel instead)
Place inside warm oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, close the door. I set my timer to 1 hour and check on it. Depending on the weather and the humidity sometimes it only takes an hour to rise, sometimes it takes 1 1/2 hours.
Once the bread has risen, take it out of the oven and carefully remove the cling wrap. Set oven temp to 350 degrees. When the oven reaches 350 degrees, bake the loaf for 30 minutes.
Remove your oh so yummy smelling bread from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes. (Try to control yourself and not pull off a huge chunk and slather with butter.......)

Remove from the pan and place on a rack to cool completely. You don't want soggy bread.
You should wait at least 30 minutes before you cut into your loaf. I cover mine with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to cool completely. I've left it this way overnight and it doesn't dry out. Always allow your bread to cool completely. Putting it away warm will cause it to sweat and get moldy.
In the beginning I used one of those slicing guides to make sure my slices were even, but I've been doing this for a while now and I don't use it anymore, but they are helpful.
And I have 2 of these and don't know what I'd do without them! They keep your bread fresh and wonderful. I've never had a moldy or dry bread using these guys. You can find them at Walmart.com for about 13.00.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it seriously only takes a few minutes and it's sooooo worth it! And if you are giving bread away as a gift, it looks so much prettier this way too!

The Recipe
Makes 1 1/2 pound loaf

2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup rye flour
2 tsp salt
1 tblsp butter
1 1/2 tblsp molassis
3 tblsp honey
1 cup warm water

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Baby Shower Prep

Picked up some yummy pink fabrics yesterday to start work on my daughter's baby shower favors for this weekend. I know she's gonna LOVE the white with the pink glittered crowns! I'm loving the girly goodness!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Apron Giveaway winner :)

God's timing is always perfect. I like to say that "He knows what we need, and when we need it." I have found time and time again that in the big and small things, He gives me gifts. I try to really look for the gifts in my daily life. Even a butterfly that flutters through my backyard and rests on a flower for a moment on a particularly rough day or a parking spot close to the door at JoAnn's on a day when my legs really hurt :) Today feels like one of those kind of days in the sense that my second winner (Jan who is a no-reply blogger never contacted me about winning the apron so I had to choose another winner) just posted this morning on the Flirty Apron Swap blog that her apron package has been lost. And how fabulous is it that today she wins one here? It makes my heart happy :) So congrats to TeaLovingLady! Please email me with your address info and I'll get this apron off to you this week!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My 2nd Friday Night Sew In :)

For Mother's Day my darling Hubby took me to the Orange Circle to do a little antique shopping. I'm more of a window shopper these days because our home is small  cozy and there just isn't any more room to bring home any new treasures. I did find 3 yds of this wonderful medium weight red calico fabric. I'm sure it's not antique, but for 12 dollars for 3 yds, it was so worth it. It washed up nice except for a few yellowed spots I can cut around. For this month's Friday Night Sew In I wanted to make myself a new summer bag and I fell in love with the Indygo Junction "Bella Bag" IJ792. The pattern includes 2 sizes and of course I say - Go BIG or go home! So I went with the big size. I had no idea it was this HUGE! I took a picture of it with a soda can so you can see how big it really is. It would be a great tote for a day of fabric shopping, but for my everyday life, I'm going to make the smaller version. This was my first time using magnetic closures and I bought a package at Joann's from a company called Everything Mary. Um.....hey Mary....I don't think it would be asking too much for a bit of instruction? I mean seriously....how bout just a drawing? Something?
Anyhoo.....The pattern is not hard to sew, but it is time consuming. There is alot of cutting. For each piece of the bag you need to cut the fabric, the interfacing, the batting and the lining. That's alot of cutting. Then you need to baste each piece of fabric with the interfacing and batting before you even begin to assemble the bag.

Overall I love it. It's roomy and fits easily over my shoulder. I'm going to add some more pockets to the smaller version and this one is going to get listed in my shop. I'm going to make one of those little zipper bags to match and a tissue cover to round things out :)

It took me a bit longer than normal to finish this because I was loosing my mind to make sure all my fabric intersections were perfectly lined up! And I did alot of top stitching that is not in the pattern. I added the vintage metal button to finish it off.

So what did you do last night????