March 13, 2019

You Are Kneaded - Activity and Bread Recipe Packet

Bread is so delicious, so comforting, and so fun to make!
We recently had women's activity with the theme 
"You are Kneaded" 
and were able to share our mutual love of the glutenous stuff.  

I wanted to share a few pictures of all the beautiful bread we sampled, and share the bread recipe packet I compiled with best-loved, tried-and-true bread recipes from them women of our group. 

It was great fun putting together this spread.  We had over a dozen varieties of bread, plus cheese, salami and fruit.  And of course toppings like: herb butter, cinnamon honey butter, and homemade jam.  

Little tent cards were handy to identify all the delicious items.  Some of my favorites: Rosemary Garlic Braid, Brazilian Cheese Rolls, Orange Rolls, Danish Rye Bread, and good old fashioned white.  It was quite the feast! 

Plus, have you ever made bread-in-a-bag?  The recipe we used was modified from a website dedicated to toddler activities ;)  But us grown women loved kneading bread in bag just as much as toddlers, I'm sure! lol. 

And our cute friend Richard did a bread making demonstration.  He's been making bread for over 40 years!  And he gave us some great tips.  

So, is your mouth watering for some focaccia bread sticks and potato rolls?

And even though it isn't included in the .pdf, I wanted to share the awesome covers I made.  I printed text and stamped actual bread on the paper, using Speedball block printing ink and a rubber roller.  I love the way they turned out!

And, if you need a lift, here are some uplifting messages about how much you are "kneaded"!

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September 21, 2017

Felt Trick or Treat Bags: The Emperor's New Groove

My favorite part of creating Halloween costumes is making these custom, felt Trick-or-Treat bags every year.  We have quite the collection now that I've made them for Jessie from Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear, Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Frozen, Super Mario Brothers,

The entire bag is made from felt.  The stuff you can buy on the roll at the fabric store is typically made out of recycled plastic bottles, and it is pretty strong.  These bags have always held up really well when I make them from that material.  That, plus the ribbon enforced handles, ensures that these bags last through all the parties and trick or treating of the season, and long after that.

Two of Kronk's best lines are on the two sides of this Trick-or-Treat bag.  

And Yzma as the wicked cat with a funny high pitched voice looked great!

Not to mention her vials of poison :)

These two quotes from Emperor's New Groove can often be heard around our house:
"You Threw off my Groove!" and "No Touchy!'

Here I took a couple of in-process pictures.  I often trace images I find and cut them out of felt. 

Some pieces I sew down, some I glue down with a small amount of fabric glue.  Fabric glue is easier - and certainly works just fine.  I usually just like the way that sewing looks, but it does take longer.

And sewing them all together is fairly quick.  Again, you can find the full tutorial here:

I love how much these little sweeties get into Halloween.  They are the best!
Happy Halloween!!

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August 20, 2017

Halloween 2016: The Emperor's New Groove

Around here, Halloween is a family affair - with themed costumes, and silly fun that everyone participates in!
Before I get going on our costumes for this year, I wanted to share our family costumes from 2016 - because they turned out to be some of my favorite yet!

Back in 2000, Disney released what has become a family favorite, oft quoted around our house:
The Emperor's New Groove

If you don't know this movie, I highly recommend it - and for those of you who do, I hope you'll appreciate our versions of these fun characters!

Our sassy 4 year old was Emperor Kuzco - and she really pulled it off!  "No Touchy" was her favorite phrase, particularly when referring to her Halloween candy ;)

I used 2 large t-shirts to make her costume.  It worked so well!  I was really happy with the result.  I tucked the yellow shirt inside of the red shirt (which I cut to match the pattern I needed) and zig zag stitched them together.  With the remaining under part of the t-shirt I was able to make fringe leg wraps.  The sash and bottom of the shirt were scrap fabric. 

For both Kuzco's hat and Kronk's hat I got cheap foam construction hats from the craft store.  I cut off the bill and cut notches in the top so that I could hot glue in double thick foam sheets for the top of the hat.  It was heavy, so I added an elastic chin strap.  The earrings were double thick foam pages I cut into ovals and hot glued onto earring hardware.  Pretty easy - but so effective!

The villain of the show was my favorite costume - Yzma was played by my 2nd daughter, and she was SOO adorable!  Foam sheets again to the rescue for her hat - with a thick black knit headband to hold it all on her head.  The v on her forhead was felt, attached to the purple foam curl.
We thrifted the black dress, which I modified to fit her - and found a boa at the dollar store.

My favorite was the addition of the fake eyelashes and lipstick.  They really made the outfit :)

Kronk, the loveable henchman was my oldest.  Thrifted skirt, fabric sash, more modified tshirts, and knit arm arm and leg warmers.  Plus another foam hat I cut the bill off of.  A yellow straw and foam accessory at the top made a perfect Kronk hat!

My husband and I were Pacha, and his wife Chicha.  

Lots of thrift store items here - but all modified to fit our theme.  Plus, a simple hat out of flannel for Pacha.  Love this guy ;)

And last but not least, our baby - the squirrel.  Squeak Squeaken Squeaker, as Kronk would say.  

I took a brown hooded sweater she already had and added a felt tummy and felt ears.  The tail was a rectangle of faux fur I found at the craft store, sewn into a tube, stuffed, and sewn onto the back of the sweater.  

A little black nose, and there you have the cutest little thing you ever did see!

Not everyone knew who we were, but those who did gave us a great response!
We participated in a "Trunk or Treat" at our church, and kept the theme going with the secret lab:

Although this was time intensive, it was so fun to have the girls all excited to dress up together!  We had an awesome Halloween.  

Stay tuned for close up pictures of their trick-or-treat bags - my favorite things to make each year!  

And check out our other family costumes over the years:

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October 27, 2016

Sticks and Stones - A Quilt of my Own Design

I am REALLY proud of this quilt, and I am really excited to share it with you!  I spent a long time designing, cutting, sewing, quilting and binding this beauty, and I am so happy with the way it turned out!!

Quilting has been really fun for me over the last few of years.  Made even more fun by the fact that my mom has a long-arm quilting machine!  
After finishing up several antique quilt tops into quilts, I decided that I wanted to make a quilt, from the beginning, all myself!  

I really love many of the scrap quilts I've seen, and I needed to pare down my scrap pile, so I decided to create myself a pattern, and put together my own HST (half square triangle) scrap quilt!

Using triangle shapes in a powerpoint document, I started to arrange them, and came up with several different designs that I liked.  Below is the design I settled on.

Using this wonderful tutorial for making HSTs in bulk, I started the long process of sewing and trimming the hundreds of HSTs that I needed.  
I had quite a few blue and green scraps of fabric, so I arranged them according to those colors.

Then, I started laying out my quilt.

After I had my layout just the way I wanted it, I stacked the squares in each row, from left to right, and pinned them all together - including a piece of paper with the number of the row.  
That way, I was able to get it up off the floor, and keep it in order.

I sewed each square in the row together, as you see below.  It took a long time :)  I made sure to re-attach the number to the row once it was sewn together, so that I could remember the order.

You can see below I would check to make sure I had sewn things together correctly by laying each row side by side to look at the pattern again.  Once all the squares in each row were sewn together, I sewed the rows together.

I also used some HSTs to create a pattern for the backing.

Then, the fun (but stressful) part.  I agonized over what designs to quilt using the long-arm quilting machine.  I wanted the quilting to reflect the time I had taken to make it, so I was careful quilting it myself, and I spent a long time on it!  It was worth it!

I did swirls on the outer edge, pebbles in the squares, sunburst things in the pinwheels.  I did scallops between the zig zag border. 

Then I bound it with a bright color to complement the zig zag border.  I really LOVE how it turned out.  I'm willing to use most of the quilts I finish, but this one I've decided will just be for looking at, no for using :)

What do you think?  Are you a quilter?  Have you made your own pattern before?
It's a lot of work - but a ton of fun!

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