Monthly Archives: April 2009

Ruffly Coin-Purse

It’s too small to be a clutch… but too big for Barbie’s luggage. 

I bought a couple of coin purses just like the a few years ago on clearance at Forever 21. Originally, I was planning on covering them in beads and sequins, but when I came across one this weekend, I decided I’d just make my own.

The fabrics are from my Mom’s Fat Quarter Reject pile (I had used part of them on a previous shirt), there’s two (the main part and flap, and the ruffle). The inside is fully lined with a thin layer of fused plastic. It needed to be a little sturdier than just a piece of cotton if I was going to throw in coins, forks, cell phones, Carmex, scissors etc. 

Why is there ribbon lining the top flap? Because this was my first attempt at ruffles and I sewed that part together 3 times. Do I even have to mention that all three times were uneven? Not to mention that in the three times I sewed it, I still managed to NOT get all the ruffles sewn in, requiring me to hand sew a few areas. So the ribbon… it’s hot glued on. I know, that sounds incredibly tacky, but I promise you can’t see the glue. 

Also, the button is just for decoration and covers up a small snafu. 🙂 The flap and body connect with a snap.

I plan on making more of these, more detailed instructions coming!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

How can you not bake something from the Pillsbury Dough Boy? I love him.

I also love my Wilton Mini Muffin pan. It makes everything taste better.

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs sugar (Splenda)
  • 2 tbs grated lemon peel (lemon juice)

Muffins

  • 1 pkg Pillsbury Pumpin Quick Bread
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs butter, melted
  • 1/4 chopped pecans (didn’t use)

DO IT:

  1. Heat oven to 350F. Spray muffin tray or put muffin papers in pan.
  2. Beat cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl with electric mixer until soft. Add egg, sugar and lemon peel. Beat until smooth.
  3. Empty pumpkin bread mix into large bowl. Remove 3/4 cup dry mix and set aside in small bowl to make topping. Add milk, oil and egg to remaining bread  mix in large bowl. Stir 50 strokes until blended.
  4. Fill each muffin cup with about 1/4 cup batter (adjust for mini-muffin pan). Make indentation in batter with small measuring spoon sprayed with no-stick spray. Put 1 heaping tablespoon cream cheese mixture in center of each muffin. 
  5. Add melted butter to reserved dry mix. Stir with fork until crumbly. Add pecans. Crumble about 1 tablespoon over each muffin.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes (I baked for 18). Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove muffins from pan. Place on baking rack to finish cooling.
  7. Eat. Store extras (if there are any) in fridge.

Brown, Buttons and Brooke Shields

More sewing!

I made two more shirts, from patterns I previously used. 

This another design from the McCall’s Brooke Shield’s Signature Collection. I used the same pattern, but made sure I cut enough fabric for the shirt. Since it’s a kids pattern, I had to make some educated guesses for my size. I added a half inch to each middle seam, then one inch to all outside seams, and for the bottom I added four inches. Also made notes on the pattern. 

The tricky part was making sure the collar/interfacing was the correct size. Because the seam up the middle, I had to add one inch to the middle of each facing piece. Then I went to sew up the middle seams and thought I’d be a genius and make sure the shirt had enough room, sewed them at 3/8 instead of 5/8 (like the instructions say). Then I realized that to make sure the facing fit correctly that I’d have to go back and sew those seams again, at 5/8. 

My mom and I had a blast picking out fabrics. We dug deep into her quilting extras to find all four fabrics to match. We had even more fun picking out buttons (see previous post!). I ended up choosing two different buttons, two of one and one of another. They all have a leather look to them, they match the shirt very well. 

This shirt sewed with pretty much no complications, and this time, I didn’t have to add any fabric to the sides. 

I’m calling this one the Machine Hippie, because the fabric reminds me of machine/robot parts. Those are… Ok, I just consulted my Dad and he said they are called “gears” – you know, the round things with the divots around the outside. 

Anyways, this time around, this pattern was much easier. On the red/black one, I made my own bias tape, this time I bought matching tan bias tape. For fun, I used a zig-zag stitch around all the outside seams. It gives it just that extra pizzaz.

Anyone else ready to tackle the Swim Suit?!?! I’ve got some 80’s patterns calling my name. And some fantastic fabrics to match.

SEW Many Choices

Is it just me, or are choosing buttons like, the funnest part about sewing?!

SEW many choices.

Who Writes Clothes Patterns Anyways?

I cannot stress enough how fantastic my mother is. Clearly my lack of patience does not come from her. 

I learned to sew in 4th grade, it was my first year of 4H, and I believe my sister was working at a fabric store at the time. I remember my mom teaching me to sew, and taking a sewing class at the fabric store. Pretty sure the only thing I made that year was a blue shirt, it was cotton, and other than that I don’t remember much about it – except I got a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair!!! And to get to the ISF, you have to enter at the county fair and wow the judges (who were usually mean old hags to gave you a blue ribbon for the Teddy Bear you sewed from a pattern and said it should have a story about the bear’s life attached, while giving a purple ribbon to the girl who sewed some other stuffed animal from a KIT [you know the kits I’m talking about, think middle school home-ec]) and get a purple ribbon. 

Sewing wasn’t my passion, made some stuffed animals in middle school and some contact paper purses in high school, ok and I re-sew tshirts every once in a while, but make clothes from scratch?! One of my New Year Resolutions for 2009 was to learn to sew from a pattern. My mother is a quilter, former crafter of all varieties, and also knows everything (or so it seems!) about sewing. 

At Jo-Ann’s we found this fantastic magazine called CraftStylish.

As soon as I saw the black dress gracing the cover, I knew I had to make it!

If you need some ideas for recycled projects, definitely go pick up this magazine! It’s got a lot of great ideas inside. You can also find more fun ideas at CraftStylish.com

Here’s my take on the dress:

 

I wore this dress out for my 24th birthday, told many people that it was my 34th birthday, and they all told me I dont look a day over 19. I call it my Hannah Montana dress!

I wore this dress out for my 24th birthday, told many people that it was my 34th birthday, and they all told me I don't look a day over 19. I call it my Hannah Montana dress!

This shirt is made from two men’s shirts. Here’s a hint the magazine doesn’t tell you: If you’re using two different shirts, make sure they button the same direction. I learned the hard way. My solution: add snaps to the top half of the shirt, the button still shows, but the shirt snaps instead of buttoning. Also, I definitely recommend using men’s shirts. I tried to make another one from two black women’s button-ups from the Walmart clearance rack, but it turned into a shirt because the women’s shirts are too short, no matter what size.

Moving on to patterns.

My first attempt at sewing from a pattern was this red and black boho/hippie tunic.

I call this the Angry Hippie. I took measurements before I cut the pattern, but the top is a little big. So the next one I will have to adjust my pattern to make the top smaller. I highly recommend this pattern - its easy and looks great!

I call this the Angry Hippie. I took measurements before I cut the pattern, but the top is a little big. So the next one I will have to adjust my pattern to make the top smaller. I highly recommend this pattern - it's easy and looks great!

That shirt was relatively easy, Mom helped out a lot, explaining things and showing hints/tricks. I bought more fabric to make the shirt again in a brown/flowery pattern. Next up was The Evil Shirt.

This shirt was the devil. Who writes these patterns anyways? And WTF is a placket? Plaket? I dont even know how to spell it, but my mother referred to it frequently.

This shirt was the devil. Who writes these patterns anyways? And WTF is a placket? Plaket? I don't even know how to spell it, but my mother referred to it frequently.

More about The Evil Shirt. Collars are not fun. First of all, I worked on this shirt for like 7 hours one day, and then got to the point where I needed to make button holes and put it away. Button holes? That seems scary. We have two sewing machines, my mom uses a big bad Viking (with like 60 different stitches), while I stick with her travel machine, a Janome Gem Gold (12 stitches!). She had never made button holes with Gem, so I got the book out and figured it out. I woke her up because I was so excited about making button holes. We spent like 20 minutes making buttonholes on various pieces of fabric, “practicing” we called it. 

Once again, I measured myself before I cut out the pattern. Cut out according to the size chart. When I got it all sewed up, it was way too big. It looked like a night-gown. I took in about two inches on both sides, and another four off the bottom (it came down to my knees, not flattering). And that was good enough, so I put it in the wash and… it shrunk. It’s like 2-3 inches shorter than it was before I washed it and went from a flat woven fabric to having a waffly pattern. So… I recommend this only if you want to tackle collars and shrinkage (this probly won’t happen to you, make sure to read your fabric label at the store!)

Next up if a gorgeous number from the Brooke Shield’s Signature Collection from McCalls circa 1985.

Altho you cannot see the back of this shirt, its made from four different pieces of fabric. Four pieces of fabric from my Moms reject ThisIsTooUglyToPutInAQuilt pile.

Altho you cannot see the back of this shirt, it's made from four different pieces of fabric. Four pieces of fabric from my Mom's reject ThisIsTooUglyToPutInAQuilt pile.

This is a girl’s pattern. But I shop in the girl’s section at Target quite often so I wasn’t too concerned. My mom had made this shirt for my sister, so the pattern was cut at a kid’s 10. I knew that would be a little small, so I added about a half inch all over, and I would have added more length wise, but these were just fat quarters, so I didn’t have much to work with. I got the sides sewn up and it fit, but I wanted a little more wiggle room, so I found a couple more scraps and added a 2 inch strip on each side (which came to 1 inch on each side with seam allowances). It’s still a little short, but I wear a lot of high-waisted pants/skirts so I’m not too concerned. 

Also, my favorite part of this project was picking out buttons. Buttons are essential.

In conclusion, if the pattern doesn’t say “easy”, it’s full of gibberish. But I have many more to tackle! Many more blogs to come!

Not Too Pretty To Eat

My mother insisted it was not right that I make my own birthday cake, and demanded she help. I let her. 

The parents always made birthdays special, one of my favorite traditions was The Cake. My mom would make whatever cake we wanted! And by, ‘whatever cake we wanted’ I mean we got to choose the cake color and frosting color. I always picked angel food. Purple, teal, black, she always made the perfect cake. When I was two, she was still into Wilton cake decorating and was making me a Pink Panther cake. I didn’t want to wait for the cake, so when it was cooling on a rack on the table, I snuck in the kitchen and ate about 3/4 of it. I don’t regret it. And every year she reminds me that she had to make me another cake. Thank you, Mom!

A few months ago my friend Karess sent me this link for a Rainbow Cake. Genius. I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it myself.

Here’s what went down:

 

Separate the batter into X amount of bowls. I choose 5 colors. Also make sure your pans are sprayed well so the cake pops right out.

Separate the batter into X amount of bowls. I choose 5 colors. Also make sure your pans are sprayed well so the cake pops right out.

 

Make your colors! We used LOTS of food coloring - all from your generic four-color box of liquid red/blue/green/yellow. Use as much as you like!

Make your colors! We used LOTS of food coloring - all from your generic four-color box of liquid red/blue/green/yellow. Use as much as you like!

 

Scoop the batter into the pans. Try to make each pan equal. We used bigger spoonfuls, next time I will try smaller. Shake the pans, hit them on the table a few times, to get the air bubbles out. Bake cakes.

Scoop the batter into the pans. Try to make each pan equal. We used bigger spoonfuls, next time I will try smaller. Shake the pans, hit them on the table a few times, to get the air bubbles out. Bake cakes.

 

 Add filling! Perfect Cake Filling: 8oz box of cream cheese, 1 package of instant pudding, 1/3 cup of milk, 8oz (1 container) of whipped topping, 4tsp flavoring (optional, use any flavor - I choose raspberry extract)

Add filling! Perfect Cake Filling: 8oz box of cream cheese, 1 package of instant pudding, 1/3 cup of milk, 8oz (1 container) of whipped topping, 4tsp flavoring (optional, use any flavor - I choose raspberry extract)

Frost cake. Decorate. Use lots of sprinkles.

Frost cake. Decorate. Use lots of sprinkles.

 

Eat.

Eat.

Eat more.

Eat more.

 

See how delicious the cake looks, and keep eating more.

See how delicious the cake looks, and keep eating more.

Stop being jealous, go make your own cake.

Sock Monkey Apocalypse

Its April 5, and Des Moines, Iowa received a weird April mini-blizzard. Going outside was not an option, so I parked myself in the kitchen and Aunt GiGi’s Craft Corner exploded on the floor and table.

Sock Monkey Collection SmallA few weeks ago I came across some Sock Monkey patterns on The Internets. I have a small sock monkey collection, various sized monkeys, keychains, and my mother even made me a pillow case with sock monkey fabric (you can find it at your local fabric store)! But why not make my own?! 

Here’s the two patterns I referenced: Sock Monkey 1 | Sock Monkey 2 

Since I’m not really into following patterns step by step, I did things a little different. 

First of all, I didn’t use socks. I used sweater tights from Target, one red with pink argyle stripys and the other purple/black sparkley/turquoise stripys. The red pair had actual feet – there was a heel section in the tights (just like socks that have a heel/toe color variation), the purple tights didn’t have a toe or heel, so thus making them reversible. It worked out very well, also allowed me to have some extra fabric when I effed up. 

Both of the links above have you stuffing the monkey torso and closing it off, then creating arms/tail/mouth and sewing each of those items on the outside of the body. I followed those directions on one the red monkey, but on the purple one cut tiny holes in the torso for the tail and arms before stuffing, then sewed the appendages IN to the monkey, THEN putting his torso stuffing in. I would definitely recommend that step, it makes his seams smoother. 

McCalls 9060 Pattern

Fabulous.

Lets backup a little bit. Sometimes I don’t plan ahead, this was one of those times. I’ve been planning on making the Monkeys for a couple of days because I had the tights, but didn’t think it all the way through. I never bought stuffing! Luckily my mother had a tote full of unfinished snowmen/Santas/turkeys from when she did craft sales 15 years ago. So I had to spend a good half hour rummaging through our basement to find the tote. Not only did I find stuffing, which is being recycled from previous projects, but I also found some old patterns. One of them was a cute square shaped top from the ’80s with from the Brooke Shield line with McCalls.

Back to the Sock Monkeys. 

I’m very happy with how they turned out! The project was pretty easy, and perfect for a cold and snowy Sunday in April! Plus they are absolutely adorable. 

 

Hi! Were Aunt GiGis latest creations. We need names! We wont claw your face off like real pet monkeys!

Hi! We're Aunt GiGi's latest creations. We need names! We won't claw your face off like real pet monkeys!