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Free Motion Embroidery

17 Jan

Free motion embroidery Kukui nut

Last year I made a gift for my daughter’s teacher, who was my son’s teacher, who happens to also be my husband’s aunty.  Anyway, she’s special and I wanted to do something special.  I’ve always wanted to try “drawing” with my sewing machine.  It was a small space and I thought it would be faster than doing an appliqué.  I really hate preparing my fabric for appliqué.  It’s a Kukui leaf and nuts, which has special meaning to her and her class.  
IMG_2510

Until tonight, I had no idea there was such a thing as “free-motion embroidery.”  I’ve been wanting to do more with it since this first project and now I’m really inspired!  If only I had the time to go with it.

 

 

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Gifts for Tweens Are Hard

17 Jul

I have a ton of tween nieces.  All fabulous.  They are so hard to shop for.  The cutesy stuff no longer applies and the stuff they want often comes with that picture of an apple on it; and I wouldn’t dare try to buy clothes for them.  I decided a bath wrap was kind of spa-ish (I saw lots of ideas for spa baskets…but no one ever really uses that stuff) and functional.  I like functional.
Tween gifts Bath wrap tutorial

I found a bunch of tutorials, but this one made the most sense to me.  This one inspired the ruffle.  As always, I followed it loosely.  Many tutorials call for terry cloth, but I like the large and super plush towels that Costco & Sams club sell.  Plus, they are huge!  I cut off about a third of this towel.

My favorite part is the ruffle…although it killed two of my sewing machine needles.  I free-motioned her name to personalize it.  I think tweens are probably over appliqué.  I kind of want one now.

Easy Drawstring Bag Tutorial

11 Jul

I’m usually a room parent for my kids’ classes, but I opted out this past year since I spent a good portion of my pregnancy in the horizontal position.  I know the amount of time and work that goes into helping out the classrooms, so I wanted to thank them some how.  I found a great tutorial for drawstring bags online.  I think it’s one of the easiest around.  I filled them with a bag of cookies and a thank you note.

Drawstring Bag Tutorial Teacher Gift

They would work for teacher gifts too, but we ended up doing personalizing water bottles instead.  Thanks to my sisters for their Sillhouette & Vinyl.

Teacher Gift Ideas

You could make a bazillion of these for so many things!  Here’s the link to the tutorial:

Best drawstring bag tutorial!

Chicken Fruit Vegetable Wheat Bread Thing Recipe

28 Feb

I don’t even know what you call this.  But, my kids requested it for lunch after we had it for dinner, so I figured it was blog worthy.Now, I am no pro in the kitchen.  I can’t taste something and tell you what’s inside.  I call my sisters in the middle of new recipes all the time for translation.  But, since I’m married to a pretty healthy eater (who totally imposes his healthy views on his family…sheesh!), figuring out  something that’s a step above the taste of cardboard gets me pretty excited.  And for the record, we (the kids and I) do enjoy cookies, french fries, candies and pastries whenever we get the chance.

There’s a “topping” and a “spread” and the bread.  I really wanted to make bagels for the first time for this, but I didn’t have the time, so I bought (well, my sister picked it up from Costco for me) the bread.  Although I did make bagels that night and I am in LOVE.  But, this bread is awesome anyway, I love it.For the “topping,” I just chopped up apples, cucumbers & threw in Craisins.  You could change this up depending on your crowd…more veggies, more fruits, whatever!I cooked some chicken breast in my super awesome oil core electric skillet.  It keeps it really moist.  If I didn’t do that, I’d probably boil it so that it doesn’t dry out.  Just dice it up.Then, I tossed it all together.For the “spread,” I just combined some cream cheese, ranch powder & some milk.  I creamed it together as best I could.I toasted the bread.  You don’t have to, but it does help keep the bread firm so that it can hold all the toppings.

Swipe on a little of the spread, scoop on your toppings and that’s it!  Kid’s love it!  Hubby loves it!  I love it!  It’s easy!  I’m happy!Pretend not to notice the paper plate.  It was an “I don’t wanna do dishes” kind of night.

Here’s the breakdown:

Makes about 10-12.  In my house, that’s about 4-6 servings.  It just depends on your eaters.

Toppings:

1  apple

1/2 Cucumber

3/4 C of Craisins

2 Chicken Breasts (I added nothing to the breasts)

Spread:

Approx 4 oz (a block is 8 oz) of cream cheese

1/3 packet of a powdered Ranch sauce

About 1/4 C of milk.  Add milk slowly until you reach a peanut butter-like consistency.  I used powdered milk because it was all I had, but I bet whole milk would taste great…or even heavy cream!!

Any bread will do.

If you do make it, I’d like to know what you think.  Or at least what my kids could call it in place of, “that thing you made with the sauce and the bread and the stuff on top.”

Enjoy!

Armoire Makeover for Sewing & Fabric Organization

17 Feb

My super-Craigslist-finder sister found these awesome (and kinda ugly) armoires for $40.  In Hawai’i, we don’t have very many options when it comes to furniture.  Pressed board furniture does not do well here.  Solid wood furniture is preferred, but it costs a FORTUNE!  It’s often cheaper to buy quality furniture on the mainland and ship it here via ship cargo.  The best furniture finds are usually at Costco.  But, you’re limited to the type and it’s only seasonal.

Anyway, this piece is solid wood.  It’s very sturdy and all the drawers glide easily.  PLUS, it has the adjustable shelf clip thingys (I’m sure there’s a name for this) already installed.  Often times armoires aren’t outfitted for shelves on top.  And…with the push of a lever, the drawers all lock.  Perfect for little two year old hands and seven year old fabric lovers…who sometimes forget to ask before cutting up fabric.I broke up the hubby’s work day and told him that he needed to leave and pick it up within an hour and a half…nowhere near his office.  He was less than pleased (to put it nicely :)).  I was very happy!!!  He couldn’t park in his office building because it wouldn’t fit in the parking garage, so he parked at his mom’s apartment building and walked back to work.  All this in his “office attire.”  Thank you!In the beginning, I went after it with OIL BASED paint.  YIKES!!!!  Who knew it was so awful to work with?  I hated it.  I couldn’t stand the lines.  Now I know why everything grand-dad painted had those paint lines through them.  He was a painter.  I always thought he just used really good thick paint that left lines because it was so “quality” thick.  On top of that, I wasn’t even sure it would dry this month!  So, although I was very grateful for my dad’s free paint….I ended up stripping it all off the next day.  You can see here that I also attached paintable wallpaper to the doors and created a border with wood strips.  The wood strips were leftover toe kick boards from my kitchen remodel.  I just cut them on my table saw.This is how she looked inside before.And these are her insides after.  I used wrapping paper and Mod Podge.  I know it’s kinda wrinkly…but I wasn’t too worried about it because once everything’s in, it won’t show.  I had the same attitude with painting MANY coats on the shelves.  I just needed it to be “generally” white.

I drilled new holes on the drawers so that I could add knobs.  The knobs were brushed nickel, so I had to paint them.  I also removed the hinges to spray them black.Now, it’s not organized yet.  I just wanted to see if I could fit everything that I was hoping to inside.  I’m so excited!  Everything fits!  Anyone free to help me organize all my fabric into something that’s functional and pretty to look at????  All my favorite fabrics are in the drawers.  Did you notice that “keyboard drawer” and how it fits all of my sewing machine “stuff” perfectly?  I should probably screw a board on to the back of it so things won’t go falling off.In a nutshell, here’s how it went down.This was so fun.  I LOVE IT so much!!!  Now, to clean the house that was very neglected during this project. *sigh*

Feeling the LOVE

14 Feb

I started off Valentine’s Day in my daughter’s classroom. I had the kids make valentine hair accessories for themselves or to give away. They came out really cute. Wish I had a chance to snap some pictures.

For my kids, I sewed everyone a pillow case to go with their new pillow. I hate that it takes a whole day and a number of loads just to wash the pillows. I was at Wal Mart one day and I saw these “travel pillows.” They aren’t tiny like for the airplane. It’s almost exactly a standard pillow cut in half. It’s perfect for kids. They are really soft too. For just over $4, it was totally worth it. The best part, they are small enough to toss in WITH a load of laundry. Think of all the money I’ll save on utilities! I’m throwing all the old pillows out.For the girls, I used leftover fabric from their Christmas blankets. I never posted it in my “Gifts I Made This Past Christmas” posts, but here it is.Believe it or not, it’s exactly what she had on her Christmas list. “A blue blanket with snowflakes. And if you can put words on it that say, ‘Let it snow!” So, that’s what she got. Joann’s had a sale, during Christmas and their fleece was only $3!!!

For the boys, I just used GI Joe fabric that my son picked out a year (or two or three) ago for a blanket that was never finished. I put brown minky on the backs of theirs so that they would have a soft side too. If it wasn’t for cutting the fabric, these whipped up really fast. They were excited about it, so it made me happy. We had Family Home Evening tonight instead of last night, so they snuggled up on their pillows while we watched a short video.For dessert, I copied what my sister did for her family. I made heart shaped cinnamon rolls.I added a little twist and dyed the frosting pink. They were kind of ugly by the time the frosting went on since they cooled a little bit first. They didn’t ooze like they normally do. Anyhow, the kids were psyched, so it was worth it.The hubby and I are having our Valentine’s date on Friday. I’m looking forward to it! And with that, here’s a fun quote by a man I love and admire.“I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion. Any man who will make his wife’s comfort his first concern will stay in love with her throughout their lives and through the eternity yet to come”
-Gordon B. Hinckley

Gifts I Made This Past Christmas: Wooden Toy Airplane

12 Jan

My son asked for a wooden airplane.  I imagined a simple, sturdy, old style airplane. One that my grandpa Jesse might have made if he were alive.  Something like this:But then my wonderful hubby intervened made some suggestions and this is what we ended up with.I cut out all of the wood on my “I can’t believe it’s still alive” table saw.  The “safety” key does nothing.  The only way to start it up is to plug it in.  The only way to turn off the blade is to un-plug it.  Anyway, I was impressed with the tiny pieces I was able to cut without losing my finger.  All of the pieces were scraps I had lying around.He is happy and it was handmade with love, so even though it wasn’t the airplane I imagined, he loved it.It’s still lacking a paint job.  We just primed it so that he could decide how he wanted it painted.