Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Black Shell Hat

I'm sitting in the hallway of the dorms, supervising study hall, so the best I could do to show my newly made hat is with pictures from my phone and playing in photoshop. The Hunger Games kept me occupied from California to Chicago. This cute little hat kept me occupied from Chicago to London.

Friday Foto - Flying Essentials (8 of 52)

Flying Essentials

I'm a little late with my Friday Foto, but Tuesday's better than no day! I snapped this picture with my phone at the airport. I had a busy busy weekend - flew to California on Friday (so no F.F.), recovered from jet lag Saturday, went to a dear friend's wedding on Sunday, and flew back to England on Monday (just arrived this morning). Phew! 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Yesterday was a very exciting day for me. I checked my email and found that I had been given a Liebster Blog Award! I haven't received an award since I was 13...and funny enough that award was for best student in Home Economics. I was slightly embarrassed at the time because sewing and baking weren't nearly as cool as surfing. But, I'm proud now!
As for the Liebster Blog award...what is it? After searching around a bit, I found out that nobody really knows its origin. This doesn't bother me a bit, though, because I also found out (Google Translator) that Liebster means "favorite" and is given to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. How honoured I feel to know that someone loves my blog enough to nominate me for this award! Thank you, Libby, for so kindly thinking of me.

Now, in order to be fully awarded, I must do a few things.

First, I must thank and link back to Libby who nominated me. She's got a great new blog called Truly Myrtle, does beautiful knitting, and was in the top 5 on Project Run and Play sew-a-long for her signature outfit
Second, I must paste the award onto my blog. You can see it above and in my sidebar. 
Third, I must nominate 3-5 other bloggers to receive the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. So, I nominate...
♥ Jerry and Kay
Yes, they are my parents, but that's not why I'm nominating them! I feel they truly deserve this award because they are full of all kinds of amazing, creative, and loving talent. Their blog is full of beauty: sewing, growing, and even constructing a flower press.
♥ Kara's Creative Place 
I've been following Kara's blog for a while now. I love all her ideas, crafts, tutorials, and upcycling. Some of my favorites include her treasure mirror, her jewelry, and her ruler basket.
Grow Creative
This is one of the newest blogs I've come across. Elise has beautiful watercolor paintings and sketches. I found her through a link party where she had linked up her first crochet hat pattern. It's first on my list of things to make next!
United Cakedom
Mmmmm...what else can I say. If you have a sweet tooth, you've got to visit United Cakedom! Yes, I like Lisa because she is a fellow American living in the UK, but I *love* Lisa because of all the yummy goodness she shares - cookies - cinnamon rolls - brownies - just to name a few.

Yay! It's now official... I'm a Liebster Blog Award recipient!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes Recipe

Only one more day until Pancake Day! I thought I'd share this recipe that we've used for years. I originally learned it from a friend who used to make us pancakes when we lived in Japan. They're somewhere between American style and UK style. They were so yummy...and still are! 

2 cups (270 g) flour
4 tablespoons (50 g) sugar
2 tablespoons (15 g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (7 g) salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) melted butter
2 eggs
2 cups (500 ml) milk

optional ingredients: 
a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg for a different flavor (mix with dry ingredients)
chocolate chips (mix with all ingredients)
blueberries or bananas (mix with all ingredients)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Combine butter, eggs, and milk in another bowl.
Add liquid ingredients to powdered ingredients and stir with a fork until it is mostly combined. It's okay to have a few small lumps. 

Heat a pan over medium heat on the stove and melt a bit of butter in it. I use a ladle to scoop the pancake mixture and pour it into the pan. You can make the pancakes as large or small as you like. You'll know it's time to flip the pancake when lots of bubbles appear in the batter. Take a spatula and flip the pancake. Cook on the second side for a minute or two. The pancakes should be light to medium brown on both sides when they're done. 

Add whatever toppings you like: syrup, honey, peanut butter, butter...and enjoy!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Homemade Piñata

This is my homemade donkey piñata that has no name. I really felt like giving it a name because we spent so many hours together, but could not think of a good one and also thought I might get a little sad if I named it and then watched it get destroyed. So, I made it with the full knowledge that it wouldn't be around for very long. This was especially helpful when I started to think about the details. I wasn't too picky about the glue showing through or the stripes being equal widths. The pointy ears look more like horns and seem a little small, but I was okay with that. They'd just be knocked off later. I did have fun with two details, though. 

Mainly the flowers and the eyes. A donkey must carry something, right? So this donkey's carrying flowers. If I ever make one of these again, I'll definitely make the flowers larger, and more of them.

The eyes were cute when I first glued them on, but they became pretty when I added eyelashes. My three year old daughter really appreciated the eyelashes that made the donkey a girl. I must admit that I think the nose is pretty funny looking. My little helper insisted that the donkey have a nose, though.

One mistake I made was forgetting to make holes and string the rope through before I covered the piñata with crepe paper. But, it worked pretty well to just tie the rope around the middle, so I wasn't too bothered by my mistake. 

Overall, it was a success. What started as a cardboard box transformed to a colourful piñata. It was loved...and then destroyed. Actually, it wasn't completely destroyed. Only the head fell off, so I might be able to repair it and use it for another fiesta!

¡Feliz Cumpleaños a mi amiga!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Friday Foto - Wisley (7 of 52)

We visited Wisley Gardens yesterday and this caught my eye.

Recycled Piñata and Paper Basket

I got three great things in the post today...
1. diapers for my kids
2. brown packing paper
3. a large cardboard box

It's obvious what I'll use the first for. The other two are as follows...

I'm most excited to use the packing paper to make this awesome recycled paper basket recommended to me by my mom

And I just spent the last two hours using the cardboard box to construct a piñata for my friend's 40th birthday fiesta. It will be much cuter once it's covered with crepe paper. Hopefully, it won't fall apart before Saturday night!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Boy Welly Socks

Since my little girl's welly socks turned out so well, I went ahead and made some blue ones for my little guy today. At the fabric shop, I was convinced his boots were not navy blue stripes and got this bright blue fleece. It doesn't really match, but I still think they're cute...and he was so excited that he's got some, too! 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Welly Socks

I've been meaning to get some warm welly socks for my kids since October. They have warm-ish socks, but none to really keep their feet warm when it's freezing outside. So, a couple days ago I had an itch to stitch, some left over fleece from Halloween costumes, and was inspired by the snow we had last Thursday night. I took last year's pair of welly socks and somehow managed to make a new pair that fits my little girl. I guessed my way through the process and recorded my work along the way so that I could make another pair for my little guy if this one was successful. Here's how I did it.

1. I measured EV's foot and made a rectangly ovally shape for the sock foot.
2. I traced the welly boot to get the width of the top of the sock.
3. I determined the length of the sock top front by adding the desired boot height + 2/3 length of sock foot (including seam allowance). For the top sock back I added the desired boot height + 1/3 length of sock foot (including seam allowance).
4. I placed the foot pattern onto the outline of the welly boot and traced the corners so they would match up. I traced the sock top front to match the toes and the sock top back to match the heel.
Note: On each pattern piece, I added 1 inch total to the dimensions for seam allowance.

5. I cut a cuff according to the width of the boot front + back and added 1/2 inch seam allowance. I decided how high I wanted the cuff to be and added 1 inch seam allowance. Mine will be about two inches when it's finished.

Recap: 1 cuff pattern; 1 Sock Top Back; 1 Sock Foot; 1 Sock Top Front
6. With my fabric right sides together, I placed the patterns.

Then quiet time was over, so I took a break from the socks and skyped with Aunt Mary, re-enacted Cinderella, made dinner, ate dinner, put kids to bed. Back to the socks...

 7. I cut out my fabric - two of each for two welly socks.

8. I pinned the sock top front to the sock top back. I marked where to stop sewing with a green pin in order to leave the length of the sock foot at the end of the sock top. Does this even make sense? Hopefully the pictures will help.

9. Here's what they looked like after I sewed them. I stitched about 1/4 inch seam.

 10. I pinned the sock bottom to the top.

11. I stitched the bottom to the top front and back, making sure to stop stitching right where the top met the bottom. 

12. I folded the cuff so that short ends met, right sides together. Sewed.
13. Next, I folded wrong sides together lengthwise, pinned raw edge to top edge of sock, making sure to line up the side seam. Sewed.
14. I turned the cuff up and the socks were finished!

If you make one, I'd love to see it!
Feel free to share a picture on my flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sunnystitching/

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Friday Foto - Ernest the Owl (6 of 52)

I took this with my phone which doesn't take the best pictures, but I thought it was so cool so it's my photo of the week. We went to Savill Gardens for lunch the other day and it was hanging in the entry way. What a clever way to use old boxes, right?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Felt Valentine Tutorial

This is how to make felt valentine pouches, pockets, purses, wallets, envelopes...I'm not exactly sure what to call them, but they're what my daughter is using to package her Valentine's Day gifts for her friends. I was originally going to use ziploc bags, but have been feeling so crafty lately now that I'm creating things on a regular basis. So, I made these.

What you need: Felt, Sticky Felt, Cutting Tool, Ruler, Velcro, Pencil, Heart Shape...

...and of course something to sew on or with. 

First, cut felt to desired size. My original piece was 9"x12" so I cut it in half in order to make two pouches from one felt piece.

 Next, fold 1/3 of each piece up. Since mine was 9 inches, I folded up 3 inches. Pin in place.

 Then sew in place. I used about a 1/4" seam. My thread was red and didn't show in the pictures so I added stitch lines to the pic.

 Next, place your velcro where you want it and stitch (or iron on) in place. I took the easy, lazy way and ironed mine on since that's the kind I had in my stash.

Then I used heart-shaped cookie cutters in two sizes to trace hearts on the back of the adhesive felt.

 Next, stick the hearts on the front of the pouch...and they're done! I let my little girl help with this part so that she could feel a part of making her Valentines.

 We filled them with our heart shaped crayons.

These were so easy and quick to make and I'm pleased with the result. Definitely much cuter than ziploc bags!

If you make one, I'd love to see it. Feel free to share a picture on my flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sunnystitching/

Sunday, 5 February 2012

B Boy Hat

It snowed last night! I've been waiting for snow for weeks now. It's been cold enough, but didn't happen until last night. It's so brightening and beautiful. We bundled up and spent the morning building snowmen, tossing snowballs, following footprints, and making snow angels. Of course, after getting wet and cold outside, we had to warm up with some hot cocoa. Yum. Our neighbours hosted and had some amazing Aztec chocolate. Sweet, spicy, delicious. 

While we were sipping our cocoas, their little boy took a liking to my little boy's winter hat, which led his mom to mention that they needed to get him a new one. I immediately offered to make him one...seconds later realised I had no idea how. I do this occasionally...get in a bit over my head. However, it's a good challenge and gave me something to do (other than cleaning the house or folding laundry) during the kids' afternoon rest time. I hoped to find a tutorial on one of the great blogs that I follow and it didn't take long to find this one from Made by Rae

It was so easy to make and I finished it in one sitting, almost before my little boy woke up from his nap, which is a small miracle. I used some brown fleece left from CW's spider costume so I couldn't make it two-toned. I think it still turned out really cute!

I added the letter B on top and the ends of the ties to help distinguish it from my little boy's hat which is also brown, fleece, and ear-flapped with a pom pom on top. Hopefully, the boys' teachers will appreciate this! EV was my model because I wanted to get pics before I gave it away. I bribed her with chocolate. This hat is definitely a new favourite. I have some other fleece left from the ladybug,  dragonfly, and bee. This could just possibly be the perfect way to use it up!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Friday Foto - Balloon (5 of 52)

C had a transparent yellow balloon. 
I took a break from basketball pictures for yearbook and snapped some of C through the yellow balloon.

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