Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lip Balm Factory

I have been busy this afternoon making peppermint lip balms! In truth, it really only took about an hour. I got the recipe here and I am in LOVE with it! It might even rival my favorite lip balm of all time (from this company). I used peppermint oil, but perhaps next time I'll try lemon - I think that will be delicious and amazing. If you're feeling economical (and maybe a little bit lazy) I have been dying to try the lip balm kits found here. If you do, let me know how they turn out.

And why so many lip balms, you ask? I'm in charge of making holiday baskets for the doctors at work again. So there will be no MDs in our unit with chapped lips... :) There was even a little left over for D and I to have our own little pots too!

So, if you're looking for a largeish-quantity, fairly economical, home-made but not-from-the-oven (read: fattening), quick holiday gift (or if Santa is looking for stocking-stuffer ideas), this is for you!

Project Facts (ish):

* I don't know how much volume the pots hold, but it's a generous "serving." I bought them, and all the other ingredients, at Rainbow Grocery (aka Heaven on Earth) for $.79 each (you can totally find them cheaper online, but I was pressed for time).

* The labels are wedding leftovers from Paper Source. The 1.5" labels fit perfectly!

* I melted all ingredients together in a tin can over a pot of simmering water (to keep our pots nice and mess-free).

* I one-and-a-halved the recipe and made 17 pots (with some leftover, maybe could make about 3 more?).

* Supplies and ingredients came to around $23 (and like I said, you could do this much cheaper).


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Crabby Dog

My sister-in-law has a pug, who she likens to a crab. We're always on the hunt for crab collars or something we can decorate Izzy with. But with no luck, I finally took matters into my own hands.

Browsing at Ikea, I happened upon this fabric and immediately knew its destiny! Apparently it was hot off the truck and people have been anxiously awaiting this fabric.... huh? I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. "First cut!" (think Mary Katherine Gallagher).

This is an actual cut from the fabric:

And this is a crab cut from the fabric and appliqued onto some kona cotton.

I even attempted piping and a zipper... but there ended up being a lot of hand sewing to compensate for the multiple imperfections.

I think it turned out great - probably the gift I am most excited to give this year! I think Izzy will love it! (and his mama too)

*This is a Christmas gift, so don't tell her!*

Thursday, December 02, 2010

MoMo Quilt Complete

I love this quilt! I am so happy with the way it turned out. AND I didn't have to do any cutting since I used pre-cut charm packs. I backed it with a solid lime cotton/linen (see it here). Gives it a nice heft.

I've been snuggling up with it for a couple weeks now, but haven't been able to photograph it properly. It is cozy, I'm telling you.

And how good is this guy to me? Schlepping it to the park so I can take a photo? I love him even more than the quilt.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stripey Stockings

I was kinda over these stockings from a few years back. It was time for a new set.

I mixed my favorite white cotton/linen with a red kona cotton (sorry, forgot the name), and a little pinkier-red woven (don't know the name of that one either). But I bought all the fabrics at Peapod, of course.

D has been working a lot lately, which is why there's so much crafting going on. Poor guy, every time he comes home from a long day at work, he has to endure another decorative surprise. At least I haven't painted any walls (though I've certainly thought about it!).

I hope he likes our new stockings! Santa promises to fill it with good things.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Advent Calendar Revamp

It was really bugging me that my Advent calendar had one too many days. As I learned, December 1st through 24th mark the days of Advent (duh). And December 25th marks the start of the 12 days of Christmas, which end on January 6th, Epiphany.

Plus, D didn't think it looked particularly "Christmassy." Bah Humbug! So anyhow, I had to do something about it.

It's crooked, isn't it? Ok, I'll redo it again...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Heather Ross Onesies

I have been making these forever, I can't believe I haven't posted about them yet... or have I? There were some leftover onesies from a baby shower I recently attended. So I took them home to spruce up for the little one (we don't know if it's a boy or girl yet!)

I have a tiny, precious stash of some Heather Ross fabrics, and this is how I think they are best used:

This might be my all-time favorite fabric for children:

And a little doggie in a sweater. Too much.

An afterthoughtish peek-a-boo on the backside (a peek-a-bootie, if you will) that I love:

When I reincarnate as a baby, I will want to wear these.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Advent Calendar

I am well ahead of schedule on this one! Yay! I wanted to mark our first Christmas as a married couple with something special. An advent calendar!

I was too excited that I couldn't wait until daylight to take photos... I'm love the fact that this was 100% made with pieces from my scrap bin. I really didn't have a plan in place, I just started going for it one night (bee-in-my-bonnet fashion). Luckily it all worked out.

I'm realizing that maybe advent calendars don't have a "25" - oh well, this one does!

So what goes in the tiny pockets?

Love notes?

Gift cards?

Chocolate? Yes, perfect size for chocolate...and diamond earrings...anyway! Just kidding.

I've also seen advent calendars that have a little "object" that you transfer from pocket to pocket as you count down to Christmas (like this one). Maybe I'll make a little gnome or something... but I sure do like the chocolate idea! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tiny Pies

Look what I made today! Tiny hand pies!

We're having a potluck at work tomorrow, and since I had the day off, I made these tiny hand pies. And since I used Trader Joe's piecrusts and Trader Joe's cranberry apple pie filling (in a jar, such a cheater), they were super easy. A bit time consuming, but easy.

I wasted some of the dough making these crappy ones, which are too big and fell apart when I picked them up. We'll just have to "confiscate" these.

p.s. I also made this today for lunch - so good & so easy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

In the Works

I've got my Christmas music going already and am working on a holiday project - made 100% of materials from my scrap bin - including Fray Check & the batting! This kind of project makes me want to high kick!! And I just might.

Here's a preview:

Hint: It needs to be completed by 12/1

Final project posted soon (hopefully).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pinned and Ready, the Accidental Quilt

It's not typically my style to go so bold and pattern-y, but I just loved the way all these fabrics (from Wonderland by Momo, which is totally "2000 & late" by now but whatever) coordinated. The quilt will be 75"x62" and was made with 7 charm packs, totally the way to go if you're A) new to quilting, B) a little bit lazy, or C) love a particular line of fabrics and thing the patterns are interesting enough that they don't have to be cut/rearranged into quilting blocks (I'm B) . It will most likely be added to my growing stockpile of quilts.

(if you're wondering why all my photos are in this Polaroid-esque style, it's because the lighting in our house is no bueno. And the Polaroid effect makes me a hipster and also masks my little lighting problem...See that little tiny bit of light in the upper left corner? That's about all the direct light we get in a day - and that will be gone by the time I finish this post - so there you have it.)

I bought these fabrics earlier in the year and since then, they've mostly just been sitting on my sewing table. The other day, I thought to myself, "I should really start working on this and get it off my table... OK, I'll put together just 10 squares, and then I'll go do something else." Well, 10 became 20 became the whole stack.

And then I laid them out to see what they'd look like all together. And since the pieces took up the whole living room floor, I thought to myself, "I should just put together 2 rows to see how the process will go and get some of this off the floor." And so 2 became 4 became all the rows!

About 7 hours later, the whole top was put together and pressed. And that's how it accidentally came together. I'm backing it with my very favorite linen/cotton from Peapod, that just arrived in the most perfect shade of green!

Pondering how this should be quilted... I'll post the finished product as soon I get there.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hold Everything & Roast Tomatoes

This year hasn't been so good for tomatoes in California, but my mom had a nice little backyard crop. And thankfully, they're still plentiful in the farmers markets.... because you must make these immediately!

It will take you all of 4 minutes to prepare. You do have to roast for 3 to 4 hours, but when these puppies come out of the oven, you will thank me. You will, I'm telling you.

Juicy, sweet (I mean, like candy sweet), and healthy (did that kill the appeal?)! They're better cold, but I am totally not discriminating.

Here's how you do it:
  • Preheat your oven to 275F
  • Cut your medium-sized tomatoes in half (cut top to bottom)
  • Toss them with a little olive oil
  • Put them on a cookie sheet, cut side UP
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Roast them in the oven for 3 to 4 hours
  • Take them out when they're wrinkly and a little syrup-y
  • Send Sara a thank you note
So easy. So delicious.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dry Spell

I've had a bit of a dry spell. We've been traveling and not much creating has been going on around here. I did make a baby quilt for my friend's new little girl, but did I take a photo before sending it off? No. I forgot. But, I have another one very similar, so once that's complete, I'll show you that one (does that sentence have too many commas?).

Because I am so awesome, I break the dry spell with reusable snack bags (!) that I will probably not use (or reuse). Not that I'm opposed to it - these particular ones are just a bit too juvenile for me to bust out in the nursing lounge without having to defend... Anyhow, I made them with a former nursing friend in mind. She dislikes (and doesn't use) plastic snack baggies, so I'm going to send these to her for some testing out/feedback. She and her two little ones can try them out.

Enough talking, here are the bags.

Some new orange polka-dot fabric, lined with royal blue ripstop, and Velcro to close it up. It would have been awesome of me to make them sandwich-sized. Woops - next time.

I got super fancy on my first attempt with iron-on vinyl and a peek-a-boo window...

However, there was a major design flaw...

Pretzels falling out the back when shut is no bueno. I should have made the inner flap shorter than the outer, and put the Velcro on the outer flap. But I hated the black binding, it was too labor-intensive, and now I have a reason to can the design.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Pre-Travel Projects

Speaking of pre-travel sewing, I made these before our trip last month to New York.

They're coffee cozies, in case you were wondering.

I have been eyeing this butterfly fabric for a while, and now it's my Peet's-size coffee cozy. (I have an assortment in my purse for various sized cups)

And a little piggy cozy for our friend, who some affectionately refer to as "Pork" - I don't get it, don't ask. I just go along with it :)

Are you almost sick of this fabric? Hopefully not, because I still have some left. Bear with me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pre-Travel Sewing Project

Often times, I feel this strong urge to make something just before we leave for a trip (We're going to Thailand and Singapore, by the way - last-minute idea). It doesn't necessarily cut into packing time, or make us late, but it just is part of the packing process.

Today, it was imperative that I try out my ability to make zipper pouches. It just was. I used my funky new hot pink fabric I bought at Bolt in Portland.

Here's the little money purse I'm taking along as my wallet. It's a bit silly-lookin', but it gets the job done.

And here's the little upgraded boxy pouch that is now my makeup holder.

And now we can depart :) See you next week!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Malia's Birthday Duvet

My little baby niece turned 9 today!! How did that happen?!

My sister and her family just moved into a new house, and she got a nice new bedroom which she is decorating in a beachy/ocean theme. So, naturally, she needed a new duvet cover to go with the room.

This give me an idea!

I chose "beach glass" tones of Kona cotton - blues, greens, gray, and cream.

I backed it with a sheet in the same hue.

If I was super-awesome, I would have made it into a quilt, but... I might have needed 2 more months to wrestle that beast into a quilt. But I love the way it looks, just as it is. Rumor has it, it's already on the bed! Yay!!

Happy Birthday, Malia! I love you.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Buried Treasure

I'm in use-it-up mode right now, trying to simplify my life/home. I found some leftover quilt squares from this quilt hiding in one of my "crap baskets." And lookie - enough to make a little bitty baby quilt!

I pieced the batting , backed with natural/grayish linen, quilted horizontally, and bound with the fabric originally included in the quilt kit (but never used). Everything was already in my stash. Nothing was purchased. Yay!

This quilt kit was so extra awesome because there was enough leftover fabric to also make 2 of these quilts! (I gave one as a baby gift, and now he calls it his "Sara Cano blankie" - it's pretty much the kind of thing I live for).

I think this quilt kit is oficially dead. I'm OK with that. We had a good run.

So, now instead of quilt squares in a ziploc baggie hanging around the house, I have a whole quilt hanging around instead :)

Friday, August 06, 2010

F Pillow

I had a more creative (read: racy) title for this post, but I'll keep it clean...

Almost a year ago, I made these pillows to match our then-new sofa. I had a third pillow form that I've been hemming and hawing about since then. I made the top earlier in the year, but couldn't figure out what to back it with (not enough blue corduroy). I would bring out the top, get frustrated, and then put it away.

So, while I was looking for fabric for a different project, I came upon the red/pink and knew instantly that it was the one (I'm talking like I found true love or something of actual importance)! It tied in perfectly with the other two pillows. Plus, it matches my inspiration board that also hangs in the room (inconspicuously). And it happened to be the perfect amount of fabric required.

F stands for Fiore (our last name)

the back

I feel like it needs a little red accent on the front, like a little appliqued heart. But then D reminded me that I'm not big on hearts. Oh yeah.

Super high kicks for this project. I love it, I love it, I love it!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Blueberry Jam

We needed more jam like a hole in the head, but I had a bee in my bonnet, and you know how this story ends.

The recipe was found in this most awesome book. It took about an hour to make and yielded only 4 jars of jam, but I'm fine with that. It's so delicious and thick and pretty!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Marshmallows, First Draft

Canceled from work again, I have to find ways to keep myself busy.

What better way than to try my hand at marshmallow-making?

I used this* recipe and Tahitian vanilla from our honeymoon. What I loved about this recipe is that it required no candy thermometer. Next time, I'll mix it up with some different flavors. But for now, I have about one million marshmallows to finish up first.

And yes, of course I tried them in s'more form. They browned and melted quickly, but they made for a pretty decent s'more....and I know my s'mores.

*a couple notes on this recipe.
  1. I know it sounds weird, but the gelatin smelled kinda funky (it was brand new from the store). The funk was enhanced by the heat of the sugar mixture, but did go away once the marshmallows cooled. I still think I smell it a little (could be in my head), and for this reason will probably add a stronger flavor in the future.
  2. These set up quickly! You won't be able to make two flavors at once unless you separate out the ingredients at the beginning. And BTW, I needed a 9x13 pan to fit all the fluff.
  3. Do yourself a favor and lightly dust the plastic wrap with powdered sugar after putting it in the dish, and before dumping in your fluff. I had a sticking situation yesterday, but fared OK in the end.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Another Bib

I simply couldn't let those blue polka-dot scraps go to waste, could I? I love this bib. So much so, it makes me want to start drooling and eating pureed peas.


The colors are a bit distorted, but trust me, it's a good one. I also used leftover scraps from the backing & binding of this quilt.

See how it matches the burp cloth I made? A little gift set!

And my favorite part of all is the binding. I bought it last year at the SF Quilt Show for $.50. I hadn't used it since this post, but I knew it would come in handy. Turns right into binding with my handy little bias tape maker.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Manly Baby Bib

More free time + giant scrap bin =


My favorite part is that the blue bit is corduroy! Can you stand it? And someday it will be crusted with rice cereal or something pureed like that...But I'm OK with it.

By the way, there is no "baby" case you were wondering...
I just like small projects, that's all. Making a bib for a grown man is just too big an undertaking.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good intentions, Fulfilled

Almost a year ago, I wrote this super-lame post. I remember having a bee in my bonnet (surprise!) that day and, well, the motivation was short-lived.

Now that I have no wedding to plan, I keep getting canceled from work, and all my baby gifts are made, I had no choice but to take care of unfinished business. My original intention was to make a lap quilt or even twin-size, but I settled for a baby quilt. But I truly love it!! Simple and modern with a traditional pattern, and I tried to go unisex...not sure about that one.

all washed and crinkly:

the back:

Today, you get real photos! Yay! But that's only because I had semi-decent light. It's 50" x 40", backed with an Anna Maria Horner print.

If you were a baby boy, could you rock this quilt? Or do the flowers push it over the edge? Maybe it's better for a girl who just isn't the tutu type.

I think a high kick is in order. *high kick*

Friday, July 30, 2010

5 Minute Ice Cream

Thinking in my car is usually a pretty dangerous thing... not dangerous for drivers, but you can be sure I'm brewing a plan in my head that must be executed immediately upon my arrival home. Naturally, I threw down my bags, fired up the double-boiler, and went straight to work. In 5 minutes, I was done.

Yesterday's drive home inspired this: Machine-Free Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream (Marilyn, this one's for you)

Which literally took me 5 minutes to make. I had made this Banana Chocolate ice cream a couple days ago, and I was pretty pleased. I substituted Kahlua for the Bailey's, which didn't freeze so well because Kahlua has a higher alcohol content than Bailey's. And so I simply ended up adding more milk, which helped it better solidify. But the taste of alcohol was quite pungent. Drunky Monkey Ice Cream, we'll call it.

On this second go-around with the raspberries, I used Frambois, which has similar alcohol content to Bailey's. The taste of alcohol is much more subtle, and since I was too lazy to blend up the frozen raspberries, there are little chunkies, which I prefer.

As far as ice creams go, this one is fairly low-fat (if you worry about that sort of thing). Only 2 oz chocolate chips and regular milk will do. The rest is just alcohol and fruit. And the great thing is, since there's no machine involved, you don't need to pre-freeze your ice cream-maker bowl! So, it's total instant gratification - that is, if you can wait the 4 hours for it to freeze. Do yourself a favor, make it before you go to bed, and then it will be ready first thing in the morning. I like to call that multitasking!

The yield is smallish, so if you don't like it, no worries! But if you love it, you can experiment with lots of flavors without all that commitment. :) Enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Girls

Well, they're not MY girls, but I like to call them mine. :)

And I'm especially proud when they wear the things I've made them.

Here's Maile in her way-too-big-for-her skirt and her 3 shirt. "Maile, how old are you?" and she hold up the OK sign with her little hands.

And Malia, who built her whole outfit around the headband I mad her (mom). *Snif* this makes me so proud.

I'm not yet done with the hipstamatic and polaroid photos, so just ride this thing out with me, ok?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Get Me Some Honey, I Have a Pot

We bought this. We had to. We had no choice.

You can see why. Now we need some honey.