Friday, April 1, 2016

The Best Apple Pie Ever :: Recipe by Audrey's Apron

I've always been more of a cake and cookie baker but am determined to conquer pies with homemade crust. This week it was apple pie -- recipe courtesy of Audreys's Apron blog. Truly a beautiful recipe with simple to follow instructions. 

I made a double batch of Audrey's pie crust recipe (link supplied in the apple pie directions) in my Breville Sous Chef food processor and it is great dough to work with. Rolled out beautifully and was pretty pleased with my first ever lattice crust. These pie crust rings from Taste of Home have been waiting patiently in the pantry for many years and they really did make the process faster and easier. Lots of butter in this recipe but if I'm going out eating apple pie, it better be the Best Apple Pie Ever ... right?!?!

My hubby strolled through the kitchen, sniffed the pork roast in the crockpot, tasted the cinnamon-y, nutmeg-y, syrupy pie filling that coats the Granny Smiths and the lattice crust and said, "I'm not going to fit into my clothes!" That makes two of us. Also, one of the great pleasures for me with baked goods is grating fresh nutmeg into the mix. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it for the pure, intense fragrance and flavor it adds.

Thanks, Audrey, for sharing this gorgeous recipe. It's a keeper!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Carry-All Pincushion :: Pattern by Noodlehead's Anna Graham

I was so happy to finally make one of the great projects from Anna Graham's "Handmade Style" book. I've wanted one of the Carry-All Pincushions since I got the book and finally took the time to sew one for myself.

It is so cute and so handy. Although I cut up some fat quarters this time, I really like that it lends itself to scrap busting.

The pattern recommends using crushed walnut shells in the stuffing, which help keep your pins sharp. It also lends some weight to the pincushion. I found a good-sized bag at Petco for around $8 and, since I do like making pincushions, I know it'll go far.

I opted to make a separate little bag to hold the crushed walnut shells. This last photo shows it before inserting the bag and stuffing with polyfill.

Love it, Anna ... great pattern, great book!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Holy Bat-mania Baby Quilt

There is nothing like a new baby in the family to spark your creativity. To celebrate my new Great-Nephew who arrived at the end of December, a Batman-themed quilt was the only way to go.

The darling, colorful superhero words fabric from Joann's was a great beginning, offering up many colors to include. And, of course, a bat symbol applique had to be center stage.

I like to embroider the baby's name and birth year on their quilts. The year had already been embroidered on this quilt top when he finally made an appearance a week beyond his due date on the 29th. (Tommy, come out of the bat cave!) By then I had decided if he waited until 2016, the 5 was going to be X'd out and a 6 embroidered next to it.

Welcome to the world, sweet baby boy, Thomas Maverick. Aunt Janie loves you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gadget Guard :: Pattern by Dog Under My Desk

We had given the granddaughter a MacBook Air for high school graduation and as she started college last week, I realized she needed a carrying case for it. I purchased Erin Gilbey's pattern for a Gadget Guard from her store at Dog Under My Desk. The true beauty of this pattern is that you measure your device -- any device -- for a custom fit. 

Used solid black drill cloth for the entire back, the top front above the zipper pocket and the handles. She had requested short handles on it and these I added myself using another case we had as a pattern.

There is a pleated, expandable zipper pocket on the front.

The case fits her laptop like a glove. It's an amazing pattern. My MacBook is larger and I think I need to make one of these for myself ... something else to add to the never-ending To Make list!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Monogrammed Coffee Cuff

Needed a quick gift this morning and this little project is amazingly fast and easy. Plus it's a great gift for guys, which is always a bonus. This link will take you to my original post with step-by-step instructions.

Monogrammed his initials onto the shirt cuff with my embroidery machine ...

Here's what the lined inside looks like ...

Along with a handwritten tag tied on with ribbon, I'm going to include a Starbucks gift card. Fast, easy and personalized!

So many projects, never enough time

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sewing a Super Hero Cape

Recently, a quilt went out to a new baby girl and I wanted to include something for her Super Big Brother. A personalized super hero cape seemed like a fun idea for an energetic 2-year-old.

I made an embroidered patch featuring his initial and appliquéd it onto the outside of the cape before stitching right sides together, turning, pressing, top stitching and adding the hook & loop closure. It was well received, as you can tell by the action shots ...

And then a co-worker ordered one for her 3-year-old nephew. When I was trimming the appliqué patch this time, I realized I had the ideal tool in a ruler -- the OmniArc by Omnigrid. The ruler has slots that allow you to draw the perfect curve with degree markings. The funny thing is, I've had this ruler for years but can't remember why I bought it. It made the process so much easier ... last time I winged it. 

With less than a yard of fabric, you can make your mini super hero's play time so much more fun.

Finished size: 
31-1/2" from top of strap to hem
25-3/4" from neck to hem
11-1/2" from outside edge of one strap to outside edge of the other
17" at widest point across bottom edge
1-1/4" wide straps
Appliqué patch: 3-1/2" center top to bottom and side to side at widest point
Embroidered gold shield: 2-5/8" high by 2-3/4" wide
Embroidered initial: 1-1/8" high
Appliqué placed approximately 4" from neck edge
Used the edge of a clear 8" glass plate to round the corners on the bottom of the cape and cut the neck hole.
Used a pill bottle to round the ends of the straps.

So many projects, never enough time ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Boating Potholders :: 3 Sisters Style

Playing games was a rite of passage in our home growing up. We had a great wood paneled rec room with a built-in bench full of board and card games. Scrabble, Mouse Trap, Uno -- and we always had a card table set up in the corner with an ongoing jigsaw puzzle. So it's no surprise that we all still love to play games whenever we get the chance.

A few years back, my sisters came to Arizona to visit and my middle sister brought a new-to-us game that was so much fun ... Like It or Lump It. If you can find it, definitely buy it. Basically, you try to earn points by giving another player a card with a subject on it you think they'll like (baking bread, roller coasters, Julia Roberts movies, trick-or-treating). You hope they'll like your card more than anyone else's. 

The sisters, my husband and I were playing and it was his turn to rate the cards we'd given him from Like It all the way down to Lump It. I had given him a McDonald's Egg McMuffin card and was absolutely sure that it would beat out the others for high score. One of the sisters had given him a Boating card and he rated that the highest. WHAT? I was so outraged -- and, yes, it could have been fueled by the lovely glass(es) of wine I had consumed -- that I shouted, "BOATING! BOATING? REALLY??? Right, because we go BOATING so often!" This was probably one of those you-had-to-be-there moments, but we laughed until we cried, at least one of us fell off our chair and at least one of us had to run to the bathroom from laughing so hard.

So all we have to say now is BOATING and hilarity ensues. The other family members think we're nuts and just shake their heads at us, but that never stops the hysteria from happening. The funny thing is, both sisters own or have owned boats and do go boating. Me 'n the hubs? No! No boats, no boating ... we live in the desert. Seriously, the closest he gets is bobbing a toy boat in the swimming pool.

I saw this cute Sailboat quilting block last month and just had to make the sisters some potholders that will remind them of BOATING at our house. I made the 6" block and added some borders, embroidered BOATING on one and 3 SISTERS on the other so they'd each have a pair. There is a layer of Insul-Bright batting inside to provide insulation from high temperatures. And I used my Handiworking labels for hang tags (custom-made by Lilla Lotta).

We love being "3 Sisters" so much that we we share a Pinterest board by the same name that we all pin to. It includes things we all have a fanatic love for like reading; things we know each other enjoy like teacups, photography, dogs, crafting; and, of course, many references to BOATING!

Love you my sisters. Use those potholders! They're washable, but if they get beat up, I can always make you more!!!

So many projects, never enough time!