Jan 31, 2011

Make Ahead Monday-Cookie dough

I know that this is pretty much a no-brainer but I thought I would include it just in case you hadn't thought of it-Make Ahead Cookie Dough Balls.  You could buy the premade cookie dough from the store or you could just make your own.  I make a batch or two of my favorite cookie dough, scoop it out into dough balls and put on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Now these can be frozen and bagged up to bake at a later date.  You bake them exactly the same as fresh dough only add a few extra minutes.
 Why might this "Make Ahead" work for you?
-Maybe you have to bake cookies for an event but don't have time to bake them all right now but you do have time to mix up dough
-Maybe you are like me and can't have a whole batch of baked cookies lying around your house, but if you only bake a few at a time then you are less tempted
-Maybe you have a weakness for fresh baked cookies-now you can have just as many as you want whenever the mood strikes.
-You could bake a few of a bunch of different types of cookies all at once (if the baking times and temps correlate.

The recipe for the dough balls pictured:
1 1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 400F.  Cream sugar, butter and shortening together.  Add eggs and mix a little longer.  Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Mix to form dough.  Mix together cinnamon and sugar.  Roll dough into balls and dip into cinnamon sugar. (This is where you could freeze them)  Bake for 8-10 minutes (HINT: snickerdoodles are not good crisp.  They taste the best when they are soft and fresh-don't over bake, just bake until the edges are lightly golden).
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Jan 29, 2011

A better blog button-one that is actually working now (sorry about the non working button)

Thanks to my sister in law for posting my button on her blog I realized that it had a horrible white background which is not what I wanted.  It has been fixed and you can get a new and improved version on my sidebar or right here.  Sorry to anyone else that may have hated the white background.

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Jan 28, 2011

3 Ways to Repurpose a T-shirt for Valentines Day

I know, it's February in a couple of days and it's Valentines Day in a couple of weeks so I had to hustle to get this done and posted (for all the last minuters out there-maybe I should change my blog title to "Last Minute Crafter").  If you like this then you will love how easy it is (made from recycled t-shirts and a pair of kids jeans and a sweater I bought from Walmart).  Here is the supply list-sewing begins on Feb 2nd.
2 XL or bigger t-shirts (in different colors if you want different colors)
1 pair kids jeans in your child's size
1 Cardigan sweater (I got mine at Walmart for $3.50)
Thread in a coordinating color

Go right to the tutorials:

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Purse Makeover

This is my old purse:
 This is my new purse:

The pattern is by Jen Giddens.  It is super easy (took about an hour to make) and you don't need any specialized sewing skills to make it.  However the pattern does not include any directions for cutting the purse handle (no measurements of any kind) so you do have to come up with that on your own.  I also am not super fond of her instruction style but overall it was worth the $9.00 I paid for the pattern and I plan to use it over again. 
 It makes a cute small under your arm purse that is perfect for holding all your (new and improved) essentials.
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Jan 27, 2011

Mini Calander Makeover

After making a new checkbook cover (see next post) I decided I wanted to keep my purse makeover going and redo my little purse calender.  This is hardly even worth posting it is so simple but who says crafts can't be simple right?  So here it goes.
1. Start with a calender that has a plastic cover.  Take the calender out and lay it out open and flat on a piece of scrapbook paper.  Trace the calender and then cut the scrapbook paper to size.
 2.  Fold your scrapbook paper in half and make a center crease.  Now open it up and run a line of double sided tape all around the outer edge and a couple of pieces in the middle.  Place your calender on it and press to adhere.  Trim any edges if necessary.  You could add stickers or a name or any other embellishments to the front.  Anything that is super 3 dimensional I would add to the plastic cover because otherwise your calender won't fit back in.
 3.  To create a ribbon tie cut a piece of ribbon 22" long.  Fold it in half to find the center.  Place the center fold on the outside of the calender cover just where the inside pocket edge is.  Sew over it with your sewing machine (back and forth a couple of times).
 4.  Now replace your calender inside and tie the ribbon on the front.  DONE!!
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Jan 26, 2011

Make your own checkbook cover

I was in need of an entire purse makeover.  This was step one on my list.
I got my inspiration from here via Skip To My Lou.  I used all of her measurements but added my own spin on her original creation.  Here is a tutorial for my version.
2 pieces of outer fabric 7x8"
2 pieces of fusible interfacing 7x8"
2 pieces of 7x7" fabric for inner pockets
2 pieces of 7x3.5" interfacing
1 piece of ribbon 8" long
1 piece of small elastic 4"
1 button
Optional: if you want to add a second pocket to one side then you will need:
1 piece of 7x7" fabric (coordinating color)
1 piece of 7x3.5" interfacing
 1. Start by making your inside pockets.  Fold one piece of 7x7 fabric in half and press to make a center crease.  Open up with wrong side up.  Place interfacing on one half matching it up to the center crease. (I cut mine a bit small on accident so mine doesn't line up with the opposite edge like it should).  Press with an iron to adhere interfacing then fold the fabric in half sandwiching the interfacing in the middle (right side of fabric should be to the outside).  Top stitch along the top (folded) edge (1/8").  Repeat with the other pocket...

 and the third (optional) pocket if you are making one.
 2.  Next begin assembling.  Start by placing the optional pocket on one end of an outer piece (on the right side, fold to the top).
 3. Next place one of the two pockets directly over top of the optional pocket.
 4. This is when I placed my loop of elastic.  At first I just placed it there but I was afraid it might move when I went to sew it so I took the top pocket and the elastic to my sewing machine and did a quick basting stitch over the elastic to hold it in place. Then I replaced the pocket.
 5.  Now this is an optional step as well; I wanted to have one of those plastic dividers for my checkbook because I have duplicate checks.  I had one in my old wallet and since I was going to be using this for my checkbook now I cut out the plastic divider piece from my wallet.  I was thinking that you probably could use a piece of an overhead (one of those clear plastic sheets they use on projectors) as well.  If you decide to use one then place it on the pocket (lift up the elastic) and place the elastic piece on top.  I put my plastic divider about a 1/4 inch from the bottom.  Mine was a bit small because I cut it out of my old wallet.  If I was making one from scratch I would have it a bit bigger. (look close to see the plastic divider-it is hard to see because it is frosty)
 6.  Place the other pocket on the other end.
 7.  Place your piece of ribbon across the top pocket (in the middle).  Make sure you let the ends hang over the edge.  That way you will be sure to catch it when you are sewing.
 8. Now lay the other outer piece over the top.  Line up all your edges and pin.  Place a pin on each side of the ribbon and on the elastic to ensure they stay.  Also make sure your plastic divider stays in place as there is nothing to hold it (so check it before you sew).
 9.  Now sew.  I started with the bottom and sewed a 1/2" seam.  Repeat on the top only leave and opening for turning.  Sew the sides with a 1/4" seam.
 10.  Clip your corners and all the edges except the opening.
 11.  Turn right side out and press. (This picture is before I pressed it with my iron).
 12.  Last top stitch around the entire square (this will allow you to catch the bottom of the plastic divider and keep it from flopping open).  Add a button on the opposite side of the elastic on the outside.  I started by coming up through the fabric just under the edge of the button so that I wasn't sewing all the way through all of the layers.
 13.  Here is the finished product from the inside.
 Your check register goes in the top...
 with any extra, used pages tucked under the ribbon.
 Your checkbook slides into the first bottom pocket.
 The second pocket can be for receipts or money if you want.
 That's it.  Pretty simple and really cute

 Happy sewing!!
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Jan 25, 2011

Introducing "The Binky Bag" by Small Fry & Co.

A new and cute way to keep track of your babies binkie.  Tutorial coming soon.
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Jan 24, 2011

Make Ahead Monday-Biscuits

I am not promising that this will be a regular feature on my blog ( I don't want to promise something I may not be able to maintain) however I have been thinking about "make ahead" ideas and so when I do have some to post it will be on Mondays.
Today's "Make Ahead" idea is biscuits.  I love biscuits for breakfast with jam, as biscuits and gravy or along with a chicken or beef stew.  I wouldn't say they are hard to make, but time consuming if you haven't really planned ahead.  So this is what I do now: on a day when I have some time I make a full batch or a double batch, cut the biscuits and put them on a lined cookie sheet.  Then I put this in the freezer until the biscuits are solid.  I bag them up in either certain quantities or in one big bunch and store them in the freezer.  Then when I am wanting biscuits I just pull out as many as I need, put them on my cookie sheet and bake.  They only take a minute or two longer to cook from frozen and...
you have fresh, golden fluffy biscuits whenever you need.
Here is my recipe with a few additional hints to make "AWESOME" biscuits.
2 1/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (cold)
1 cup milk

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut the butter in 1 tbsp sized slices and add to the flour.  Using a pastry blender or two butter knives cut in the butter until you are left with small chunks. (HINT: don't cut your butter too small.  The flakiness of the biscuit depends on the size of the butter chunks so don't get carried away).  Pour over the milk and mix with a fork until the dough comes together.  It will be sticky.  Dump dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead only a couple of times to ensure everything has come together.  (HINT: over mixing/kneading will result in tougher biscuits).  Flatten dough ball into a round disk (not to thin-about 3/4" is perfect).  Cut biscuits.  (Here is where you would freeze them).  Bake at 450F for 8-12 minutes (slightly longer if frozen).
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Jan 21, 2011

Quick and Easy Cute Photobook

Here's an idea for those who aren't exactly scrapbook savvy or who don't have a lot of time to create a full on scrapbook.  I ordered a couple of these flip books from Snapfish.  They are 4x6".  The price varies depending on how many pages you get.  I wanted to make a "sister book" for each of my girls with different pictures of them together.  I knew it would never get done on my own so I ordered these instead.  Mine have 45 pages in them (that is the max you can get).
 I didn't want to just have it be a plain boring book so I did a bit of decorating.  I made a simple cover with scrapbook paper scraps and stickers.  I stuck it to the front (inside the cover) with double sided tape.  I added some ribbon to the ring binding and a cute paper clip.
Inside on the back of each page I wrote the details and the date of the pictures.  Simple, easy, a few steps and a cute little photobook. Anyone can do that!!  Get preserving those memories.
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Jan 19, 2011

Snowman Sew Along Day 3 (today we finish)

It's the last day of the sew along-and the funnest day.  Today we are putting all the fun finishing touches on our snowman.
1. Start with the scarf.  For the scarf I cut a long piece of fabric (3 x 44”).  You could use fleece or felt too or even a real scarf.  Tie around your snowman’s neck.  Secure with glue if you would like (I didn't secure mine that makes it so that I could change it if I wanted to).  I tied mine in a double knot.  Cut slits in the ends to look like fringe.
 2. To make the mittens I used one of Small Fry’s mittens as a pattern.  (If you don’t have small mittens around don’t panic.  You could free hand one, or find a clipart one and enlarge or reduce the size to what you want). 

 3. I traced a pattern on paper first...
 then cut out 4 mitten pieces. 

 4. Turn these right sides together and sew a 1/8” seam all around leaving the cuff part open.  Clip to the stitching between the thumb and the rest of the glove (this is very important if you want it to look right when you turn it).  Clip the rest of the curves with small slits (don’t cut your stitching).  Turn right side out. 
 5. Stuff so they are fairly firm.  Slide onto the ends of the dowel (I couldn’t get the dowel to go through the stuffing so the dowel is behind the stuffing at the back of the mitten).  To secure I first put some hot glue around the dowel where the mitten ends and pinched the mitten around to stick to the hot glue.  Next I put a rubber band around the end of the mitten for extra hold. 
 6. Now pull the coat sleeves over the mittens to where you want them and adhere with hot glue.
 I tied an extra strip of fabric around the top of his hat to coordinate everything.
 7.  Last comes the garland and chalkboard.  For the chalk board I cut a piece of foam core board down to 9 1/2 x 7 1/2" (that was my size-yours can be whatever you want).  I spray painted it with chalkboard spray paint.  I took the other half of my dowel and also spray painted it black.  Once both were dry I hot glued the dowel to the back of the board and wrote my words. For the garland I used a piece of ribbon (36" long).  I tied it around each hand of the snowman.  I spray painted a few clothes pins black as well and sanded the edges once they were dry.  For the garland decorations I found odds and ends around my house (2 mismatched socks and a pair of winter gloves) and then made a second scarf (just like I made the first one).  You could add anything to the garland and have your sign say anything.
 And there you have your finished snowman.
I am adding a linky party for anyone who would like to show off their snowman from now until the end of the month.  Hope you enjoyed the sew along. 
To go back to the instructions for days 1 and 2 click here:

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