Saturday, April 9, 2011

Update: Doorway Puppet Show Theatre

It's time to play the music!  It's time to light the lights!  
Introducing one of the most adorable and easiest sewing projects on the planet:  the Spring-rod Doorway Puppet Show Theatre!  I made this puppet show set for my brother's family for Christmas. I wrapped up movie-style popcorn cups (Target), microwavable popcorn, the puppet show curtains and spring rods, and a set of dinosaur puppets (Costco) for the kids. We stacked all the gifts together and attached a tag that read,
 "We hope you enjoy the SHOW!" I have been making these for a few years now, but I have tweaked my old version just a bit. In the past, I used spring-rods to hold the curtains, but inevitably the children would lean on the bottom curtain, making it fall down. So to make it sturdier, I decided to use two stall-sized shower curtain rods and they hold up much better under the wrath of a two-year old. And, they still fit in almost every doorway in my house since you can screw them in and out to adjust the size.

This time around I added two skinny curtains on each side and I think it looks great. What you need for this project are two stall-sized shower curtain rods, a valance, two matching skinny panels on each side, and a square curtain for the bottom panel. Choose cute fabrics and decorate with coordinating ribbon and you have yourself some fantastic-looking fun. And the best part of this project is how well it stores- simply fold up the curtains!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Burned-edge Flower Pins

I learned how to make these beautiful fabric flowers and now I'm obsessed!
These are burned-edge flowers and you can make them into pins or headbands or hair clips or purse clips or shoe clips or cards.  The possibilities are endless!

The first step is cutting coordinating fabric circles of graduating sizes from 100% Polyester fabric. The polyester fabric singes well along the edges.

Light a candle, and carefully singe the edge of a circle, while rotating it until the whole circle is singed. Trust me on this- it sounds scary, but it's not- just try it and you'll see that the edges will curl up pretty quickly. (I tried to get a picture, but burning flammable fabric with one hand and taking a picture with the other proved to be a really dumb thing to do:)

Your circles will look sort of like these.

Layer the circles together graduating from smallest to biggest. Find a pearl, charm, bead or button you like. Then, using a needle and thread, just sew the whole flower together in the center while attaching the bead.

I made most of mine into pins by hot-gluing craft pins (Michael's) to the back, but I have seen these types of flowers on headbands and hair clips too. Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How to Make Cloth Diaper Burp Cloths

I always thought using cloth diapers was the best thing for soaking up spit up, however it wasn't always attractive to have a burp cloth hanging off my shoulder. Adding a little bit of flannel to the center strip of a cloth diaper makes these both cute and functional. And have you checked out flannel lately? It has definitely come a long way from the little checks and baby bottle selection I used to see. Thank you for giving us options people!

If you are a beginning sewer, this is a perfect project for you! It's very simple.

You will need:

- a pack of cloth diapers (usually comes in a 10 pack).

- 20" by 6" of flannel per burp cloth.

- 40" of coordinating ribbon per burp cloth (you sew the ribbon on both sides of the flannel).
- coordinating thread.

Simply prewash and dry your diapers and flannel to prevent shrinking.
Looking at your diaper vertically, fold the outside edges in to meet the lines on the outside of the center padded part. Pin the edges in place, like so:Sew the folded part in place, along the inside vertical line, and on the top and bottom edges (to close the two pieces). This makes the outside edges thicker and more absorbent. Next, measure and cut your flannel, leaving 1/2 " extra on either end, to tuck underneath so you won't have a raw edge. Iron the 1/2" fold on both ends. Then pin the flannel in place with the top and bottom edges folded under, and sew around all four edges. (The side edges will be raw at this point, but you are going to cover them with ribbon!)Next, measure your ribbon, leaving 1/2" extra on both ends, iron it folded under so it stays while you sew (just like you did with the flannel), pin it in place, and sew it up and down either edge. Ric Rac Option: If you want to make a ric rac ribbon, you will sew the ric rac onto the ribbon first, and then fold the top and bottom edges under, pin in place, and sew up and down both sides of the ribbon to secure. Super Cute!A stack of burp cloths makes a great baby shower gift!

Melting Crayon Art

This art project is super fun for children of all ages, and is extremely simple to do!
You will need:
-light cardstock
- Crayons
- hot pad
- electric griddle set at lowest temperature setting Simply plug in your electric griddle and start with it set to the lowest heat temperature setting. Put a piece of cardstock on the griddle and start to draw with a crayon. If it is warm enough, the crayon will start to slide and melt as you draw, spreading into neat patterns. If the crayon doesn't melt as you draw, turn up the heat setting until you achieve the desired result.

Young children should be supervised exceptionally well for this project! I had my three year old (who draws with her right hand) put a hot pad on her left hand so she wasn't tempted to touch the griddle, and if she did, it wouldn't burn her.

My kids loved doing this! We hung them in the windows and they really lit up with the sun going through them, sort of like stained glass. Have fun!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Banner

I cut the squares of fabric 4 1/2" by 6 1/2" so that after a 1/4" seam on all sides, the finished squares were 4" by 6". First, I traced the letters (backwards) on the back side of Heat n Bond. Then, I fused it to black fabric and cut the letters out. Next, I sewed the aforementioned squares together, and ironed the letters to the squares, with the Heat n Bond side down. Finally, I sewed the top of each square between double folded bias tape, and I had an instant, reusable Happy Birthday Banner!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Preschool Graduation Caps

I made these graduation caps for Madeline's preschool and they were a hit. The tassle was gone before the ceremony was over, but that's okay! The kids loved them.
If you want to reproduce some, you will need paper bowls for the caps (the bigger, the better), square plates (I got my colorful striped ones at Target), yarn for stringing, fruit loops, and a large brad for attaching them all together. Happy Graduation!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Peppermint Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

I cut this recipe out of a magazine a few years back and have been staring at the beautiful picture every time I open my homemade cookbook. So I finally decided to try it for a cookie exchange and it was DE-licious. You will be so happy with the result. But just a warning- cut them into small squares or you will be sick. They are that good.

(Courtesy of Food Network)

20 chocolate wafer cookies (Oreos)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, room temperature

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
1/2 cup crushed candy canes (see Cooks Note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust: Process the chocolate wafers in a food processor with the butter, sugar, coffee, and salt until fine. Evenly press the crust into the prepared dish covering the bottom completely. Bake until the crust sets, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl; heat at 75 percent power until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir, and continue to microwave until completely melted, up to 2 minutes more. Blend the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream together in the food processor until smooth. Scrape down the sides, as needed. Add the eggs and pulse until just incorporated. With the food processor running, pour the chocolate into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

For the Glaze: Put the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in microwave safe bowl. Heat glaze in the microwave at 75 percent power until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir the ingredients together until smooth; add the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over the warm cake and scatter the crushed candy canes over top. Cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. Cut into small bars or squares. Serve chilled or room temperature. Store cookies covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Cook's Note: To crush the candy canes, remove wrappers and place in a resealable plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to roll and break the candy up into small pieces, about 1/4 inch or so. (I personally think this is a joke. I tried it and it didn't work. I found a ziplock and a hammer to be much more appropriate!)