Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Make Your Own Peanut Butter (or any other nut butter)

Making your own peanut butter is super easy.  You can buy bulk peanuts at a grocery store or Costco (I buy them in the bulk bins at the Giant Eagle Market District at Settler's Ridge - love those bulk bins!).  I buy the XL roasted peanuts without salt.  Just dump them in the food processor and turn it on high and stand back and watch the magic!  Process until it is as smooth as you want.

That's it!  Add salt to taste.  You can add honey, cinnamon or whatever else takes your fancy.  You can do the exact same thing with almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds or whatever you like.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Condensed Milk Painting

I found this idea on Pinterest awhile back while looking for ideas for entertaining the kids.
The older Little Man likes to paint.  A lot.
He would paint everyday if I would let him.
This is a super easy thing to do, however, if you don't want condensed milk everywhere, 
I suggest towels on the floor and close supervision. 
It didn't take long before we were painting on our bellies.
That is usually the best way to paint, according the the younger Little Man.
Bath time immediately afterwards is necessary, at least at our house,
but that just means that you can start painting
faux goatees and temporary tattoos, courtesy of Daddy.
They had a blast, so we'll most likely do it again.
Outside sounds like a grand idea.

Anyway, just mix food coloring into condensed milk.  The mini muffin pan worked great.
It takes rather a long time to dry, but it dries thick and glossy. 
It stays sticky for awhile, though, so you can't really stack them up afterwards.
Don't leave them on the floor, or your dog will try to lick the paint off.  Ha ha. 
It sort of crystallized a bit after awhile too, so I scanned these in order to save them.
I am thinking I'll put a selection of our paintings into the annual photo album,
Then I won't have to feel guilty about tossing them at some point.

As you can see from the last photo, there was plenty of paint left, 
so one can is more than enough.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

More Striped Quilts

Hello again.  I've been quilting some more.  It just takes me a lot more time that it used to!

After I made this quilt for my nephew, I figured I'd make a couple more for my kiddos.  They liked the puppy on it and were excited about having one themselves.

It is pretty easy and quick to put together the top.  This time I hand stitched on the applique and I embroidered their names on the bottom. 

I had trouble with quilting the first one.  The top just kept wanting to shift down, so by the time I got to the bottom edge, it had shifted a good half inch or so. What in the world?  I swear I used to be better at this quilting thing.  I finally figured out that I needed to adjust the pressure dial and I took it the whole way down to zero before it seemed to work okay.  It turned out alright, though.  I just had to trim the sides down a little more than I wanted to.

And wouldn't you know it?  The older Little Man didn't even want his quilt.  In fact, he came right out and said so and he wanted it off his bed.  I was annoyed with him so I asked if I should just throw it away then.  He said yes.  So I folded it up and its been in my closet ever since.  The younger Little Man could care less about his either.  Figures.  They really would rather have "cozy" blankets instead.  Whatever.

To be fair, he does have the hand quilted quilt on his bed and he's perfectly happy with it.  Perhaps he just couldn't see a reason for having another one.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Stripe Quilt

I have finished another quilt. Amazing!  Actually, the sad thing is that I finished this quilt a month ago.  Ha ha.  I'm just now posting it.

I made this quilt once before, but I ended up giving it to my sister when she got married 3 years ago.  I would have made her one, but I knew there was no way I'd get it finished in time with a one-year-old and a job, so I gave her mine and started another one to replace it for myself.  So yeah.  Its been sitting around my house since 2010.  

I finished the top in a relatively decent amount of time, since its really not that hard to do.  Then I took it up to my parent's house to baste it (they have lots of folding tables around and I like to clamp the bottom and middle layers to the tables and then pin).  Then I folded it up and never got around to doing the quilting.  When I finally tried it, it was wrinkling up and I felt like the whole thing should be taken apart and re-ironed.  Darn.

So I did.  I took out all those pins and re-ironed the whole darn quilt and got it basted again.  This time, my walking foot was doing a terrible job.  I bought one online that was supposed to be a Brother foot, but it turned out to be some cheap generic foot.  So I bit the bullet and bought a genuine Brother walking foot at a local quilt store and got my machine serviced while I was at it.  No more excuses!

It took me so long to finish this quilt that honestly, I would be perfectly happy not to see it again for a good long while.  The poor thing was filthy from never having been washed in the last 3 years and laying around in my living room with two dirty little boys for months.

But it is done!  Yay!  Just a simple cross hatch again with random lengths of black and white for the binding.  I should have taken a few more detail shots of it, but I was so over the whole thing that I didn't bother.  Ha ha.   

Now on to the next unfinished project!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crib Sheets

This is something else that I've been making.

Since I don't have a whole lot of time for making anything any more, I love making crib sheets.  They are super simple and super fast.  

It is very difficult to find fabric that is appropriate for boys anyway, and finding prints that are gray on white is rather difficult as well, so when I find some, I snag it for a sheet or two.  I've been making so many that I am now well-stocked for both the crib and the toddler bed.  Yay!

Fabric from top:  Michael Miller Dumb Dot Haze, WalMart sheet set, Metro Living Circles Grey, Hobby Lobby, ?

There are many different instructions out there for making crib sheets, but this is my method:

The toddler bed we have measures 27 x 51.  When I buy fabric, I measure the width.  Whatever the difference in width between the fabric and the mattress is added to the length and half of that measurement is the measurement of the square to cut out of the corner. 

So if the fabric is 44" wide, I add 17" to the length.  So I would cut my fabric to 44" x 68".  This also means that a 8.5" square is cut out of the corners.

If the fabric is 45" wide, I add 18" to the length and cut it to 45" x 69" and cut a 9" square from the corners.  See?  Simple.

I sew a french seam in the corners, which just means that you sew a 1/8" seam with wrong sides together, and then turn it out and sew a 1/4" seam with right sides together.  This way your raw edge is enclosed in the seam and there will be no fraying with the frequent washing the sheet will get.

Then fold the raw edges of the sheet up a scant 1/4" and iron, and then up a generous 1/4" and iron again.  Sew around and insert 1/4" elastic.


I also discovered that a twin sized sheet set can be cut up to be made into two fitted sheets and one flat sheet and of course, the pillow case is already included.  I got the sheets in the last post from a sheet set at WalMart and if I remember correctly, it was in the back-to-school section for $15.  Score!

It is a little weird that I get so excited about this.  But seriously.  Its impossible to find bedding for them that I'd actually want.  So yay!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Solid Quilt

Hey!  Look at this.  Two posts in one month!  Its a miracle!

I finished another quilt though.  Are you shocked?  Me too...

This one I started ages ago.  I wish I could remember just when, but it may have been before my first son was born (nearly 4 years ago!).  It was intended for him. 

This is a blatant copy of a quilt that I have loved at Serena & Lily - their Slate/Bay Blue Cabin Quilt.  They have several colors, but this one was my favorite.

In order to have the same look, it had to be hand quilted.  I wasn't quite sure how to baste for hand quilting, so I bought some fusible (I think it was fusible?) batting.  I smoothed the layers together and carefully ironed them.  I was concerned about it being annoying to quilt or how well it would hold together, but it actually worked quite well.  I did have to re-iron it once or twice after getting some of the middle section quilted, but it stuck back down and there were no real problems.  Perhaps hand quilting is a little more forgiving?

I used some 1" painter's tape to mark out the rows and then I quilted beside them with some pearl cotton.  It comes in several thicknesses, and I chose a thinner one, but I can't remember what size exactly.  That's the problem with taking so long to complete a project, isn't it?

It is approximately 45 x 60, but I did have to trim some off the sides to make the quilting line up right with the binding.  It turned out perfectly, though, and I and I am contemplating making a matching sham to go with it.  I might have to buy more fabric and I can't remember exactly what colors I used.  Kona coal gray maybe?  Who knows what the blue was.  I might have some extra of that.

I finished it at midnight and threw it in the wash (who can wait?).  I was a little concerned about the thread, but it is just fine and turned out wonderfully wrinkled.  Yay!  I shocked myself by putting it on his bed the same night and it is still there.  Do you have any idea how much time is in this quilt?  I figure approximately 50ish hours.  Yeah.  I might be crazy to give it to him.

So now I should really make another one for his brother, shouldn't I?  It seems wrong to give such a wonderfully hand made quilt to one son and not another, doesn't it?  Wonder how old he will be when I finish.  10?  15?  Ha ha.

You should really go check out Thimbleanna's yo yo quilt that she just finished.  Isn't it beautiful??

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Made a Quilt!

Sadly enough, I think its been two years since my last one.  Two.  Yikes.

This one was for my sister-in-law.  She had their first baby, a boy, in January.  She was doing her nursery in gray/white/yellow, so this is what I came up with.  It was inspired by this striped alligator quilt at PB Kids.

The puppy image I found in an image search and it was an embroidery design that I enlarged and used as an applique instead.

It was my first time doing machine applique and it was atrocious.  I did, however, have lots of help from two eager little boys who were intrigued by the idea of their Unkem Tim having a baby boy (our first boy cousin!) and they really liked the puppy on this quilt.  I did the applique with a little boy on my lap who was very excited to be helping.

The back of the quilt was done with a Riley Blake's willow dots fabric.  I loved the tiny pale gray polka dots and I did a matching crib sheet with it as well (which you can sorta see in the first two pictures).

I really liked the stripe quilt so much (and so did the boys) that I've decided to make them their own versions.  I've got the tops made and the puppies are half stitched on.  I just need to get some more of the polka dot fabric for the back.  We'll see how long it takes me to finish those!