Sunday, May 30, 2010

Buttercream Frosting

After our scrumptious hamburgers for lunch today, the whole family decided we needed something sweet for an afternoon snack. We hadn't had cupcakes since Aly's birthday at school, so we all agreed on those.

I used a new frosting recipe this time and it is definately a keeper! I forgot that I was out of regular milk, which I use in my usual go to frosting recipe, so I substituted evaporated milk. I don't know if it was that substitution or if I just got the proportion of butter to shortening just right this time, but this is definately better than my usual frosting. Also, I don't usually (ok, so I never) sift my powdered sugar, but I did this time.

Buttercream Frosting
1 stick softened butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar- sift after measuring
2 tablespoons evaporated milk

I use my paddle attachment on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for this. I love that I can turn it on and just walk away. Beat the softened butter and shortening together for a few minutes to be sure they are well combined and creamy. Add the vanilla. Measure out 3 cups of powdered sugar into your sifter and sift that into your mixing bowl on top of the other ingredients and beat well. Add your evaporated milk, beat again. Add the remaining cup of sifted powdered sugar and just let that whip for a few minutes. Check to make sure the consistency is what you like. Mine was perfect but if it is too stiff, add a tiny splash of milk, if it is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.

I love how pretty they are too. The girls said they looked like blue roses. I just used a Wilton 2D tip and piped it on really fast, not trying to make them look professional or anything. I am so much faster with piping than using a knife or offset spatula to frost cupcakes. And these are definately prettier.

Cherry Cuteness

This is more of an entertaining post than a tutorial. But, I promise to make another one and post a tutorial to go with it.

Ok, so I'm sure several of you out there have been in this situation before. Here is the conversation I had with myself earlier today while ignoring the screams, whiney voices and the word "Mommy..." for the billionth time.

I want to sew. I really have to clear off my sewing/ dinner table first, it's a disaster.
This is taking too long, I want to sew NOW. I'll just shove the rest of this to one side. OK, now what am I going to sew?

Oooohh, look at this pretty cherry fabric, it would make the perfect apron. I know, it can be my first apron for my Etsy shop.

I dig through my pattern stash and choose a cute new pattern I bought ages ago but have never used. Spend the next 15 minutes (ok, 30 with the billion and ninety sixth time I hear "Mommy" today) cutting out the pattern pieces I need.

Ok, lets get this all laid out and cut now. Darn, not quite enough fabric; need something to go with it!

At this point I commence to wandering around my house, digging in my fabric stash, digging through it a second and third time. Then I hit up the girls fabric bag; still nothing! I lay my pattern pieces on it again; nope, the piece of fabric hasn't grown since the last time I looked at it. Now I am wishing Donna was home so I could see if she had something to coordinate. Thought about breaking in her house (with my key BTW) and stealing some. Too bad her hubby was home sleeping and might not appreciate that.

OK, I don't care what I make, I am making SOMETHING with this fabric tonight. Maybe a skirt for Abby, she has been asking me to sew something for her, but will she actually wear it? I guess I can always put it in my Etsy shop if she won't.

I proceed to cutting and sewing! Just a simple skirt with a cute ruffle.

Wait, does Abby like ruffles; better ask first!

Me "Abby, do you like ruffles? You know, a little row of fluffy fabric at the bottom of a skirt?" I demonstrate.
Abby "Are you making me a skirt?"
Me "Maybe, might sell it though, because you probably won't wear it anyway."
Abby "But Mommy, I love that fabric, please don't sell it, I promise I will wear it."
Me "Ok, so do you like ruffles?"
Abby "I don't know, let me think about it."
Me "No, I need an answer now please."
Abby "No, I don't like fluffy stuff." 2 second pause "Wait, I changed my mind, I was just joking you, I really do like ruffles."
Me "Are you sure?"
Abby "Yep, I'm sure."
Me "Ok, you can go play now"

Ok, now for this part, I swear I am NOT lying. This was our first morning conversation.

Abby "I LOVE IT! Thank you Mommy!"
Me "You're welcome baby girl. I need you to try it on so I can fix the elastic to the right size."
Abby puts it on and says "But, why did you make it fluffy? I don't like fluffy stuff."
I just sigh and shake my head. Then she insists that she likes it anyway and will wear it.

I really couldn't live without this little goofball in my life. She is definately an entertainer without even trying.

That's my little Mini Me!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm being Featured Today!

I'm being featured today over at Quilt Story! Go check it out. I feel famous, in my own world at least. Yeah, it doesn't take much to make this girl happy.

Be sure to check back there often to see the story behind all of the wonderful quilts she is featuring.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side is having an online Blogger's Quilt Festival May 21-28, 2010. There are already some awesome quilts listed and this is my little addition. I just finished this quilt earlier this month. It is definately my favorite quilt I have made so far.

I used the pattern by Possibilities - Petals & Paisley found at Quilters Treasures. I actually only used that pattern for the blocks and then just kind of sewed as I went for the borders and back because I was running short on fabric.

You can read more detail about the history of this quilt HERE and HERE.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beaded Earrings and Bracelet

Today I discovered that I really really like making earrings!
The girls and I made these for my MIL for her birthday. I bought a string of pretty blue, green, and hot pink beads yesterday at Hobby Lobby (quite possibly the best store on earth). We took the strand apart and added some beads and supplies from a beading kit I got for Christmas one year and created this pretty little pair of earrings and matching bracelet.

The girls were jealous and wanted to make earrings for themselves, so I told them we could go let them pick out beads for themselves and make some soon. These dangle earrings are the perfect beading project for kids because they are strung onto a wire instead of a wiggly piece of plastic. And, they have something really pretty that they made really quickly so they didn't get bored from a lengthy process and lose interest.

I had a few green and blue beads leftover and that inspired me to make these 2 pairs to list in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Challenge Complete

Just not sure I did a whole hour every day, but at least I did make something, which is more than I would have done if I hadn't joined the challenge. And in my defense, I did force myself to actually sit down and sew. I was just already started on another project that I needed to finish up first before I could start on Kids Clothes.

I had finished the shorts a couple weeks ago, and had the pattern and fabric picked out for the top as soon as I finished the shorts. Just couldn't seem to get around to acutally cutting them out and making them. The shorts and neck band of the shirt are made from a skirt I picked up for $1 at Goodwill, and I just love the Cowgirl fabric by Michael Miller that Aly picked out at Hobby Lobby.
The pattern I used for the shirt is Simplicity 2918. The pattern is acutally for a jumper, but I shortened it and eliminated the contrasting bottom hem to make it into a fun summer top.

I actually didn't realize the button in the front was just for show until I started sewing it all together. I like the look of having the front button functional and the back just one piece, but this definately functions better since I can just move the buttons over as she grows.

The shorts are Little Smarty Pants from Favorite Things pattern company. It was $14 which is quite a bit more than I am usually willing to pay for patterns, but this one is well worth every penny. The fit is amazing and they go together really nicely too, without being just your standard elastic waist shorts. They have super easy mock cuffs, slant pockets, waist tabs. The pattern also has options for belt loops and back pockets, but I haven't tried either of those yet.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Haircuts for a Cause

Mine went to Locks of Love and Aly's is going to Pantene Beautiful Lengths who has it made into wigs for women with cancer. Pantene's cause really hits home with me because my Aunt Jane had breast cancer and had to go through the hair loss along with all of the other side effects that come with the treatments. Locks of Love requires 10" minimum and Pantene only requires 8" and that's about all Aly had that she was able to cut off. I am just happy we were able to help two great causes and a new look for ourselves at the same time.

Before (Abby was feeling left out of the haircut process and wanted to be in the picture too)

Eating Ice Cream at Scoops after the big chop!
Love their bright chairs and walls!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kids Clothes Week Challenge

I joined in for Kids Clothes Week. I have a shirt I have been wanting to make Aly from her super cute cowgirl fabric she picked out. I have everything in a ziploc bag waiting to be cut out but just haven't gotten to it yet. This challenge is exactly what I needed to motivate me to start on it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Feedsack and Family quilt

Well, I finally finished the quilt I was making for MYSELF!

This was also a very frugal quilt. I only spent less than $15 total, including the thread. Now I wouldn't pay even that for a plain throw to use for myself on the couch, but to be able to produce a piece of living history to use and then maybe pass on to another family member one day, I think that is pretty thrifty.

I started with a quilt that came from somewhere on my Daddy's side of the family. With it's solid fabric top and 4 random pieced fabrics on the back, this was definately a quilt made out of necesity not one to be used for display somewhere. Jay and I used it on our bed in the winter until last year when it was too badly torn to use anymore. I couldn't very well just throw it away, I had to re-use it for something. So, I took pictures, then carefully disassembled it. I used the blanket that was in the middle for my batting, and also one of the large pieces of white from the back for the border of my quilt. After cleaning this piece really well, I could make out the shape of an eagle with it's wings spread and the words Corn Starch, but only vaguely.

I also had some gorgeous fabrics from my Great Aunt Bertha, my Mama's aunt. The solid dark teal, the white print, and the teal flowers (my favorite of all) are all from her fabric stash. So is the lighter teal binding. Apparently she had used the solid teal, teal flowers and lighter teal to make something out of and these were the scraps. The white one with the print was an actual feedsack, still sewn up. How cool is that!

So like any good quiltmaker or sewer, I decided to use all of these family pieces along with a few of my own to make a new quilt. I purchased the red fabric at
Heirlooms and Comforts quilt shop in Central, SC, and Donna at Mudpies and Memories with a little help from Angel helped me choose the green paisley backing at Hobby Lobby. Donna really had to convince me to buy it and even promise to buy it from me if I hated it the next day. It ended up being the perfect fit for the quilt. Except for the fact that I should have bought 3 yards but miscalculated and thought I only needed 2 yards. Oops! So, along came the stripe running down one side of the back, which I also turned out to absolutely love. Reminds me of a railroad track.

Almost forgot, this is the first quilt I have ever actually machine quilted. I string tied both of the quilts I made for the girls. I love the look of actual quilting and how they get all crinkly after washing them.

Whew, I finally have all of this documented so that when I am old and senile or laying somewhere with daisies growing on top of me, whoever ends up with this quilt will know the history of it. I have also completed another one of my goals for the new year to finish at least one quilt this year.

I think I'll be sticking to clothing for a while now. Aly is loving being a designer and having expensive taste in fabric designers, mainly Amy Butler and Michael Miller. What can I say the girl definately knows a good thing when she sees it.