Monday, February 11, 2013

My first sewing tutorial!!! eek

Okay here goes!!! This will be my first and hopefully not last sewing tutorial! This whole idea of a sewing tutorial is quite scary to me but I'm going to complete this post whether it takes me 10 minutes or 10 years! I've been doing lots of sewing since I got my new sewing machine back in November! Its been tons of fun! I've made cute little clutches, hats, skirts, apliqued shirts, toys, tote bags and some other random things however I usually use everyone elses tutorials and never really create something all my own! Well I've finally created something that I'm proud to say is not something I found on someone elses website and I will teach you how to do it!!!

Its a Peasant Baby Skirt they are super fun and easy to make as you can whip up 3 or 4 during nap time and actually feel like you've accomplished something! Some of those bigger and more daunting projects seem to take lots of time and I'm one of those people who likes to see lots of fast results! So from start to finish this project took me between 30 and 40 minutes!

fabric size 8 in. x 40 in.
tear and wash stablizer
wing tip needle
bobbin thread or embroidery thread

Peasant Baby Skirt Tutorial
First and foremost you will start out with a piece of cotton fabric (prewashed...I learned the hard way) and it should be 8 inches by 40 inches (you can play with the 40 inches as this can be smaller or larger and not make much of a difference)! You are going to sew down both of the long sides to create a edge that does not need to be hemed. I'm not a fan of heming things and I like the way this looks so this is my go to stitch to keep things from fraying and have a finished edge! My new sewing machine is all fancy shmancy and you can pick what type of fabric you are using (woven light) and it sets things accordingly (tells you the tension, which needle and which presser foot)! You are going to be doing a zig-zag stitch down the long edge and you are going to adjust the stitch length of the zig-zag to 1.0 which is in the bottom left of the picture!
After you've adjusted your stitch length you are going to sew straight down both edges. This can be tricky because when you start sewing on your fabric it sometimes likes to bunch all up and jam your machine so I usually put 1/4-1/2 in of my fabric on the other side of my needle so that this doesnt happen!
You can see in the picture below how your edge is suposed to look (and you can see that the first part of my edge isn't sewn so that I didn't jam my machine). If your machine is just creating a zig zag and not encasing the edge completely then you do not have your fabric positiond in the right spot so adjust and try again...Maybe it would be best to try this technique with a scrap of fabric to figure out what you are doing and once you've figured it out go from there.

Continue sewing all the way down both long sides of your fabric until you have pretty little edges like so! Next you are going to get out your wing tip needle and bobin thread or embroidery thread. The wing tip needles looks super indimidating and slightly like a midevil torcher device but I promise it's really easy to use and can create some Ahhhhmazzzing details that you wouldn't be able to have without the needle!  The wing tip needles cost about $3 and the bobin thread is $0.50 a bobbin (you will need 2 one for your bobbin and one for the top of your machine).  I bought both the needle and bobbin thread in the Viking Sewing Gallery at my local Joann Fabrics.

So insert your needle and make sure to securely insert it with the handy dandy screw driver your machine should have come with...I learned the hard way that if you just insert it by hand it will come out and destroy your project which then makes you really angry...and we don't want angry ladies and gents with scary wig-tipped needles walking around! Then thread your machine with the bobbin thread and insert the bobbin thread into your bobbin case and there you have it!

Mid-evil torcher device...AKA Wing Tip Needle
Bobbin Thread
My machine comes with so many snazy features its super hard to decide which ones to use and which ones you can use with your wing tip needle! So for this partiular project I've chosen row three number 27 (it looks slightly like a flower on the fabric) I've also used Row two numbers 29-36 and Row three numbers 24-36 for different effects.  
P.S. when using a wing tip needle its supposedly called heirloom sewing....Fancy huh???

Different stitches my sewing machine comes with.

Examples of things your wing tip needle can do! How exciting!!!
Please, please, please get a scrap of fabric and play around with your newfound needle and thread to see which designs you like and how it feels using this different needle.  The needle basically punches holes in your fabric making super cool designs. There are some examples above and below on pieces of scrap fabric I had!
The left stitch alows you to insert a lovely little ribbon as an additional detail!!!
After threading your needle and playing around with your machine you are going to line up the bottom edge of your fabric with the presserfoot OHHH and you are going to need some tear and wash stablizer behind your fabric (if you don't use the stablizer it doesn't look nearly as pretty...I tried doing that and I wouldn't recommend it). After putting your stablizer and fabric together go ahead and pick which fancy stitch you are going to use and sew all the way down your fabric...thus creating a beautiful edge for your tiny baby skirt.

After sewing all the way down tear off the stablizer! The rest will come off in the wash...hense the name tear and wash! Genuis I know!!!

Next you are going to fold your fabric in half short sides together and the wrong sides of the fabric will be facing one another. Sew down the wrong sides of the fabric using a 1/4 in. seam allowance. (so in other words you are sewing on top of the right side of the fabric...its hard to tell in my pictures because my fabric is lightly colored and doesn't show up all that well)

I then usually cut really close to my seam just because I'm weird like that...actually its because then when I turn it I can sew another 1/4 in. seam without any problem. Then turn your fabric inside out so that the right sides are facing one another and then sew all the way down again with a 1/4 in. seam allowance which creates a really nice french seam and you have no fly away strings and shedding! If you are not a fan of french seams then by all means please skip the french seam part and just sew right sides together and either surge or zig zag your ugly edge!

The above picture is my pretty finished french seam...also the french seam makes it look a little less messy! So now you have a rectagle of fabric with pretty finished edges and a french seam!

Take the top of your fabric and fold over 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch to create a casing for your elastic. Since the top edge of your seam is already finished you don't have to fold down and iron and then fold down again and iron...I don't like to iron...I actually really dislike hate therefore I create the pretty edge and then only fold down once and I know I'm bad but I don't iron the edge and I just guesstimate it and hope for the best...if you feel so inclined to iron be my guest! Then you will sew right above your finished edge all the way around your skirt!

Leave around a 2 inch opening so that you can thread in your elastic! As a general rule of thumb I've been told to measure the childs waist to determine how big you would like the skirt to be however my elastic is super super stretchy...I think its defective... so I made my elastic smaller than the waist...I think I cut my elastic to be around 13 inches or so and its a very stretchy skirt and fits well on my one year old...who is a boy and who is large for his age! So it really depends on the elastic you are using! Try it out first to make sure it will be stretchy enough!

After threading through your elastic (use a safety pin) then sew both sides of your elastic together using a zig zag stitch or go over it numerous times using a straight stitch! I do both sometimes...I'm a little paranoid my elastic will come apart)! Now the last step is to sew your hole shut and clip off all your strings and there you have it! An adorable baby skirk with a cool detailed edge! These light weight skirts are perfect for summer and I think I might make myself one...or something similar! We shall see!

This tutorial can be adjusted to fit smaller or larger children! Just adjust the size of your fabric based off the size of your child! Good luck and happy sewing!!! Hopefully I will soon put up a picture of a cute cubby baby wearing said skirt! :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Grocery shopping

I went grocery shopping yesterday for the first time since December 17th!!! Thats crazy! I made it almost a whole month without grocery shopping and could have lasted longer however we are started a detox diet thing where we only eat fresh produce and such and well after almost a month of not grocery shopping well you don'y really have anything fresh! So I went and bought lot and lots of fresh food for the next week or two!

I do believe we could have eaten off of what is in our pantry and freezer for at least another month or two! It just shows how much excess we have!  I have more food than necessary and yet I continually go grocery shopping every week! It's kind of insane! I need to become more organized and create meal plans for the week and only buy the absolute necessities and I feel like then when I go to the grocery store maybe I won't buy everything I see on the shelves!

Think I'll go Pinteresting to see if I can come up with a creative solution for my meal plan delima!
Happy Sunday!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Its been a while

Its been a while since I frequented my blog...I do however frequently write lovely eloquent and amusing blog posts whilst trying to fall asleep however they never do seem to make it into the blogosphere. However tonight I've made time and this post will be neither lovely, eloquent or will be more of a rant I suppose so if your not into ranting today don't read it! :)

I read a post on Natural News that was...interesting...a bit conspiratorial...but I wasn't really interested in the conspirasy theories this man had I was however interested in the list of school shootings that are tied to psychotropic drugs that was on there.  Since I worked in the counseling field and saw some of the very negative effects of these psychotropic drugs (I did however see some positive effects of them as well).  I do not think that I would EVER put my child on these medications due to the negative effects that I've seen.  The reason this list is so intriguing to me is I'd love to see what kind of background these adolescents had. I'd love love love to do one of my 2-3 hour long intakes on these kids and their families to find out all about their lives...what kind of parents did they have, did they come from split homes, were they involved in church?  What kind of toddler were they? How did they act as a child? When did problems start arrising?  What were the parents first steps in dealing with the list of questions would go on and on and on...(I am a questioner by nature if you havent figured that out already)

I feel like we have a lot to learn from the Amish and Menonites you don't see any of them going out on shooting sprees, using psychotropic medications (or even having the need to use psychotropic medications), and their children grow up to be respectable people. What is it that they are doing? 

I also feel like parents have a lot to do with the way their children are behaving these days.  The television and video games have become the babysitter.  Church and God have completely been taken out of the picture. They expect society to raise them instead of stepping up and raising their own children.  It is just scary to me how some parents choose to parent their children and then our societ is dealing with the product of their poor parenting skills.  I am not saying that all the parents of those adolesents were terrible parents but it just makes me wonder would it have turned out differently if they had different parents, hadnt been on psychotropic medications or had been heavily involved in church and learning about God? I would like think yes especially to the last one!

When I was working in the counseling field I had one specific family that I worked with where the poor parenting was just passed down from generation to generation.  The mother was raised by abusive druggies, and she became a non-caring druggie and raised a rapist, a gang member/drugie. How can a cycle like that be broken?  After I started working with them the mother became clean and started to turn her life around but her children were older adolesents and didn't care or ever try to change their behaviors.  It infurated me working with them because it seemed like an endless cycle that cannot be broken and it was part of what started to burn me out, working with families that are not willing to change.  I did work with a few awesome kids that I feel like will make something of themselves but the majority of the kids I worked with I felt like would just create another generation of beligerent, non-caring, defiant children.

I know that this blog post is not making the most sense and I'm beginning to ramble and become more and more blah....some day maybe I will collect my thoughts and post things that make more sense....or that are nice and fun to read but I've been in a funk and this is what I'm choosing to say I just need to get it off my chest! I know that I need to focus on me and my family and how my husband and I are going to raise our children so that they will not be a menace to society and I know we need to do that through Christ as the center of our lives! There's no other way to do it!

Friday, October 19, 2012


I just love those big blue eyes!!! :) and I could literally eat those cheeks!!! Love love love this child!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Clutch it...

I've been in quite the sewing mood as of late!  I've made six fleece toddler hats, two taggie blankets, two medium tote bags, one large tote bag, one bucket purse, and three clutches! I have to say that I'm most proud of the little clutches and the tote bags! They are super cute and really easy to make! Maybe I'll post a tutorial on how to make the clutches! There's a really great tutorial for the tote bags found here so there no need to make a tutorial for that! :-) AND they might not actually be used as clutches but they would make perfect make up bags, pen holders its just a good all purpose holder of stuff...I've posted a couple of pictures of the clutch/bag things so hope you enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Beetroot Cake

This post was originally started way back in July or August and I am just now completing it! I guess that tells you how crazy life has been around here!  The little one is on the move crawling all around getting into everything!  I've been canning a bunch, cooking a lot, spending lots of quality time with friends, going on dates with the hubby, squeezing those sweet baby cheeks, practicing the piano and many other things! It's been fun but busy! So here goes to hoping I'll be blogging more in the near future!

Back in July or August I had a surplus of beets...what do you do with a ton of beets you ask? Well you pickle them, you roast them, you make baby food and then when there is nothing else left to make you research things to make and you find odd recipes one of which was homemade Chocolate Beetroot Cake! Insane I know veggies inside of a chocolate cake? Does the cake actually taste good? Is the texture that of a normal cake? Does it have a rich chocolate flavor like it should? ...Is it even edible??? Well yes...yes...yes...and yes... it is all of those things it taste great, it is the texture of normal cake, it has a rich chocolate flavor and it is most definitely edible! I would go so much as to say that it was very very good! My father-in-law brags about it to all of his friends and relatives and asks if anyone has ever heard of a beet cake...its quite comical! So if you ever have a large quantity of beets or just want to add in some extra nutrition to chocolate cake give this cake a whirl!

I used the recipe below as the base for mine and I made a few adaptations to it!  Next time I might not do the cream cheese icing and do a sprinkling of confectioners sugar instead as the cake was so good by itself. Everyone seemed to like the icing but I'm still thinking just confectioners sugar would be great!

Chocolate Beet Cake

From Straight From the Farm

1 cup butter, softened, divided
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar or regular brown sugar which is what I think I used
3 eggs at room temperature
2-3 oz. dark chocolate
5 medium beets (2 cups pureed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

8 oz. cream cheese softened
2 cups of confectioners sugar or less if desired
2 Tablespoons of beet puree

Make the beet puree by trimming the beets and simmering them for about 50 minutes, until tender. Drain the liquid and cool the beets (you can run water over them to cool them off.) Slide the skins off, then place them in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Let the puree cool slightly before using it in the cake.

Cream 3/4 cup of the butter with the dark brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Melt the remaining butter together with the chocolate, either in the microwave or in a double boiler over simmering water. Cool slightly, then add the chocolate mixture, beet puree, and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture (it may look separated at this point.)

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into two greased 9 inch cake pans; bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (I started checking around 25 minutes.) Cool the cake in the pan 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth add in beet puree to create that lovely purplish color!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What I've Been Doing...

I've been outrageously busy as of late!  In my last post you saw that we started swimming lessons and that consumed my life for four weeks! We had two weddings (both outside in the 100 degree weather) and I've been doing lots of gardening/canning!  We've spent time visiting friends and family, the little one got to meet his great, great, great aunts, and we've had many a play dates with lots of little people!

My father-in-law has a beautiful huge garden! He said that he wasn't going to plant a garden and well he did and its massive!  It could easily feed 5-6 families instead of the three people that live in his house! Well after his garden was planted he had to go in for surgery! He had knee replacement surgery a few years ago and one of his artificial knees got infected and he had to have it removed and then had to undergo 6-8 weeks of IV antibiotics and then will have his knee put back in! So that means that his garden needs tending to! He has some good friends that care for the garden and then he sends me down to pick veggies for him and usually whatever I pick I can keep!  I take it to him to see what he wants first since he's done the hard part but I get to keep tons of stuff! So he has 4 rows of green beans and each row was producing 2.5 five gallon buckets FULL of green beans! So one lady picked one row, two of his friends picked the other rows and I picked the fourth row! The two friends gave me most of their beans and I ended up having an entire trash bag full of beans, a five gallon bucket, a mop bucket, and multiple food lion bags! I also had an entire milk crate of beets and I've had 3 heads of cabbage that were probably 12-15 inches in diameter! I also had tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, broccoli and potatoes! EEK the veggies are coming out my ears!!!

So I've been canning like a crazy woman! I've canned 18 quarts of beans, 17 pints of beans, and I've frozen 10 quarts of beans! I also canned 6 quarts of pickled beets, 4 pints of beets and 4 jelly jars of beets! The week before that I had 7 food lion bags full of yellow plums from my grandmothers plum trees and I made plum freezer jam, plum baby food, and homemade plum ice cream!