Friday, July 29, 2011

Kitchen Confession

I'm in the mood to repaint my kitchen.  I love the color, but right now it just looks like a dark hole. *sigh*

Dark walls, dark cabinets and dark furniture.  I need something lighter.  

I think a kitchen full of white cabinets is beautiful and open looking.  
There's no way I'm going to repaint our current cabinets, even if Kevin were to jump on board with the idea.

So the walls it is.  Now to go through the agony of picking out just the right color.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

This is a favorite in our home.  Even my daughter who doesn't like peanut butter begs to eat 'just a little more'.  These are the kind I grew up eating instead of the marshmallow kind thanks to a recipe from my grandma.

1 C Light Karo Syrup
1 C Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 C Creamy Peanut Butter
6 C Rice Crispies

Get all your ingredients measured out and ready before you start.  Making these takes just a few minutes.  However, they can be messed up easily if you let the sugar cool while measuring out the peanut butter.  (Say 'hello' to Mr. Experience!)

In a large pan, combine Karo syrup and granulated sugar and heat.
Stir until well blended and bring to a low boil.
As soon as your sugar is just starting to bubble, remove from heat and add peanut butter.
Stir until nice and creamy.   (This does not take long.)
Now add your 6 C of Rice Crispies and stir well.  (It may help to switch to a wooden spoon or at least something other than a silicone spatula.)
Stir and incorporate to rice cereal completely and then pour into a 9x13 dish.
Spread evenly and then let cool.

These are SO good!  (Dangerous if you like peanut butter.)  Make sure you have a tall glass of milk to go with these.  We can go though one pan in about a day and a half - and that's with rationing out portions.  Although, I will admit to being the biggest consumption culprit.  :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Infant Car Seat Canopy

Here is a copy of the guest post I did for Sawdust and Paperscraps.  I wanted to have a copy here so everyone could find it easily.  Enjoy!

This project all started when I stumbled across the site while looking for baby gift ideas.  I have this awful, incurable disease that makes me think I can make just about anything I could buy.  This time was no exception.  Here is one of the covers I've been able to make and it really was easy!

What you will need:

Sewing machine
1 ½ yard of  main material (fabric A)
1 ½ yard of contrasting material (fabric B)
Sewable Velcro
Straight pins
Water or air soluble fabric marker
Tape measurer
Straight edge
Embellishments (large buttons, ribbon, fabric for yoyo’s, ect.)

Not necessary, but nice to have:

Rotary mat
Rotary ruler
Rotary cutter
Serger and thread

Let’s get started.

Main Body of Project: 

Working with your main fabric (fabric A), first, lay it out in front of you and decide how you want the finished cover to look.  The cover will be roughly 34” wide x 42” long.  Does the material have a distinct pattern to it or does it not matter?  (Mine has a cute bird pattern to it and I wanted to make sure this was running vertical and straight.)

Lay the material wrong side up.  Now fold over one side (the length) 19 inches.  Smooth it all out and make sure it is straight.

At this point, we need to get our rectangle drawn out.  A straight edge is needed for this and a rotary ruler really comes in handy.  Measure 17” from the fold at the top of your material and several points down the length of the fabric making marks with your water/air soluble marker.  The total length will be 42”, so keep making your marks down your fabric until you get there.  Connect the dots once you have all your marks in place and make sure everything is square – top and bottom.

Now to make the rounded corners at the top and bottom. 
At the top, measure from the corner you drew back toward the fold 10” and make a mark.  From the same corner, measure down 10” and make a mark.  You will now free hand a rounded edge between these two marks.

The bottom needs a rounded edge as well.  It’s the same process, just a slight difference in the measurements.  From the bottom corner, measure back toward the fold 10” and make a mark.  Again, from the bottom corner, measure up 14” along the line you made and make a mark.  Now start free handing your curve to connect the marks you just made.

Pin along the lines you’ve drawn on your fabric to keep it from shifting while cutting.  Now cut and you should end up with this.

We’re now going to mark the locations of the straps.
Measure down 18 ½” along the fold and make a mark with your fabric pen.  From this mark, measure over 3” and 5 ½ “ marking each place.  Draw a line connecting these two marks.

Repeat on the other side of the fold.

Okay.  Remember that yard and a half of contrasting fabric (Fabric B)?  Now’s the time to get that out.  Lay it out just like you did the main fabric A:  wrong side up, fold over roughly 19” and smooth out.  We are going to use the piece we already measured and cut from Fabric A as our pattern for cutting Fabric B.  Line up the folds of both fabrics and smooth Fabric A (the pattern piece) over Fabric B.  Pin Fabric A in place.

Now cut.

Unpin everything and separate Fabric A from Fabric B. 
Lay Fabric B out on a flat surface wrong side up.  Lay Fabric A right side up on top of Fabric B making a sort of material sandwich.

Get your pins ready for this next step.  Starting in the center and working your way out to the edges you are going to pin and smooth, pin and smooth, and pin and smooth until you have used up every last pin you own.  (At least it ‘s going to feel like that by the end of this step.)  Ideally, your two pieces of material should match up perfectly.  Do a quick check around the edges just to make sure this is the case.  If not, re-pin in that area or, worst-case scenario, get the scissors out and do a little trimming.  Set this aside for a few minutes.

We are now moving on to the straps that will hold the cover in place on the car seat handle.

From your leftover fabric of both A and B, you will need to cut 2 – 3” x 7 ½” rectangles (giving you a total of 4 rectangles).  This is another time the Rotary tools will come in handy, but you can definitely get by without them.

Place one Fabric A and one Fabric B right sides together and stitch a ¼” seam around it leaving a small opening to turn.  Trim your corners and turn.  After you have turned the strap right side out, topstitch around the edges.  Make sure you close the turn opening as you go.

Next comes the Velcro.  I just eyeballed the length I needed by holding it across the end of each strap and then cutting.   You will need to decide at this point if you want to have the contrasting material showing or if you want the main fabric showing on the straps.  This is just a matter of personal preference.  Once you decide this, the Velcro can be attached to the straps. 

For some reason, having the ‘hook’ side on the top and the ‘loop’ side on the bottom makes more sense to me.  (Fabric A will be showing on mine with Fabric B on the inside.)  Once again there isn’t really a right or wrong on this.  **Do remember, though!  You have to have one on the front and one on the back for the straps to work right.** Play around with it a little and get a feel for how the straps will attach.  That should give you a better idea of how you want it to work.

Now to mark the straps for attaching them to the cover.  Here is a lovely hand drawn diagram to show you where to make your marks.  (Heavy sarcasm, but you get the idea.)

Do this on both front and back of both straps.
The top line on the straps will be your guide for placement on the cover.  Remember those lines we drew on the cover 18 ½” down the middle and 3” over?  Find both of those lines and match up the top line on each strap.  Pin the straps in place making sure they are both straight.  (Wonky straps just won’t do!) 

Now, sew the straps in place.

There are several ways one of these covers can be finished.  I chose to do a rolled hem on mine, but I realize not everyone has a serger available.

Here are a couple of other ideas. 
Use bias tape around the edge.  This will give a very polished look to the cover.  You can make your own or purchase some at a fabric store like Joann’s or Hobby Lobby.  If you choose to make your own, just remember to purchase enough fabric to accomplish this.

Another idea is to sew the cover right-sides-together leaving a hole for turning and then topstitching around the edges.  This would be a change at the beginning of the whole process, so one would have to make the decision early.
This is always the most fun part of a project for me, and sometimes the most agonizing part as well.  Here are two examples of what I’ve done to give the straps a more finished look.
Fabric circle + fabric yoyo + large button
Simple grosgrain ribbon bow with button
Nothing too complicated, but both add a little something to finish it all off.
Whew!  I think that’s it!
Good luck! And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Canning and Some News

My parents plant a garden every spring.  I can't remember a summer that didn't involve sweet corn, green beans, beats, potatoes, asparagus and a host of other fresh veggies.  How sad is it that at 32, this is the first year I can actually remember really participating in putting the green beans up for the winter.  (shame, shame, shame!)
So very glad we where in visiting at the right time!  I now have 28 quarts of green beans in my pantry ready for those pesky winter days.  I feel confident enough now to can solo.
Prep work
Enlisted help
Seasoned and ready for cooking
Also, if you look on the right side of the blog, you will notice that I was featured on One Pretty Thing!  Thanks to Crystal over at Fussy Monkey Business for the heads up on that one.  Very exciting news!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Mini Vacation

This summer has been a lot of fun so far.  I'm also finding how much the school year really helped me with having 'extra time' when I wanted to get projects started/finished around here.  So, I may not have many new projects through this summer, but I am busy.

We headed in to Indiana to spend the July 4th weekend with my side of the family.  It's, of course, complete chaos when we are all able to get together; but, it's also a lot of fun!  The kids and I got to stay for another week and had a blast!  Time alone with Papaw and Nonnie is rare and precious.

The main past time while there was swimming.  My kids are like little fish in the water.  The older 3 can all now swim without any aid.  My 6 yr old was even diving off the diving board this year!

Mom purchased a tent for the kids to play in as well.  You can see it in the background of the picture below.  They had so much fun running and playing in the woods - even making little houses for the fairies that live there.  (I forgot I took most of the pictures of this with my mom's camera.)
The older kids got to pic the last of the blueberries with Papaw - in the rain.  Couldn't take my camera out (for obvious reasons), but I did get them puddle jumping.

One of our last nights there, we were able to go to the county 4-H fair.  It's amazing how excited the kids can get over a 30 second ride.  The kids had fun on the rides and we adults enjoyed watching their reaction to it all.
A great visit and a lot of great memories made.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Guest Posting

I'm guest posting over at Sawdust and Paperscraps today.  Join us for a little Christmas in July and get a jump start on your gifting ideas!


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