Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Fairy Garland

One of the greatest things about having little girls is that a part of me gets to stay young. From watching them play school to house & dress-up, everyday is a new adventure. I wanted to share with you a great project for spring. It inspired our girls to pretend they were fairies under a ribbon of flowers.  Be it for a party or bedroom, this super long fairy garland is a sure try for anyone. I think that you will really enjoy this fast, simple, & inexpensive project.

You will need 5 pieces of 9x12 felt, ribbon (uncut), pipe cleaners, wire cutters, a marker,
& a good pair of shears.

I used classic rainbow felt that was made from post-consumer recycled
plastic bottles. Hip, hip, hooray! And at less than a dollar a piece, who can beat that?

Divide your 9x12 felt into 2 inch sections.
Then from those, take 2 and cut them in half again, like the picture below. 

These 4 pieces will create 1 flower or 8 petals.
(And one 9x12 piece of felt can make 3 flowers.....Yes, we do math too:))
Fold each one of the four smaller rectangles in half.
Then, draw a petal onto the fold to keep them connected and cut.
I made a template to show you the basic shape, but you really don't need one.
By the end of this project, you'll be making petals with your eyes closed....;)

Place the four sets on top of each other and twist loosely with a pipe cleaner that has been cut in 1/2.

After your first initial twist to secure the flower petals together, start spreading them apart.
Refold the flowers onto each other as needed. You can do this by taking the petal 'behind' and pulling it slightly in front of the petal before it. When you get the shape desired, tighten the
pipe cleaners to a more secure & tighter twist.
(But don't cut off the excess pipe cleaners. You will need them to secure your
flowers to the garland.)

Look at your flower!!!
 Now make a whole bunch more!
After all your flowers are created, lay your ribbon out and place your flowers as you like.
Simply twist your pipe cleaner around the ribbon & flatten to secure!

With about a foot in between my flowers, I was able to create a 6 yard garland!!!

It was a fun project to make!
I hope everyone is inspired to play around and create their own garlands.
They're great for bedrooms, parties, & porches!
Hope you enjoyed, Happy Trails:)

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Mini Table Runner

I'm pretty sure all of you can see by now, I love to sew.  And.... I love to have a bazillion projects going on at once. Anyone who checks out the Etsy shop will notice a couple new items, plus whatever's featured on this blog. Maybe, they think to themselves, "how much time does she have?" But, the truth is, I start 500 things and work on them a little at a time, so sometimes I'm able to finish 3 projects in one day. I wanted to post this mini table runner, for one, how cute it is, and two, how fast it was to create. It literally took all of an hour and couple minutes to make. When everything is pre-cut, projects move very fast. (Meanwhile, I know you all have read about my scrappy quilt and yes, I'm still working on it. Maybe subconsciously this was a preliminary - "let's see how it goes thing".) Still.... I had so many remnants of beautiful fabrics, I didn't want to use them as 'scraps'. I made a bunch of 5" squares instead. Now.... I really would consider this my first attempt at quilting, even though it has no batting in between and I did not top stitch.  It still came out beautiful. My biggest critics, my children, love it & my seven year old wants it to decorate her dresser. I am truly the most flattered when I hear, "Mama, can I have it?" So on with the photos!

Laying out the 27 blocks- I used a yellow floral, geometric fabric for the backing.

I started by sewing the 9 blocks together, creating each row.
Next, I stitched the rows together. When combining the back piece to the front,
I placed right sides together and left the ends, (12.5 inch sides), open.
Then, I reversed the runner to the right side, pressed and stitched the
ends closed.

Pretty enough for the kitchen table for some Spring decor,
wouldn't you say?

The completed mini runner is 12.5" by 38.5". (This was with a 1/4" seam throughout.) It was fun to work with laying out the pieces and sewing them together. I hope this inspired you to make a spring table runner and brighten up your homes, just as it did mine! To happy sewing!

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Beets!

Who doesn't love beets? Really.....Let's be completely honest.  From lowering cholesterol to possessing anti-aging qualities, this amazing earthy item is a good source of protein & fiber too. The root & leaves prevent coronary artery disease & stroke. Plus, your getting vitamins A, C, E, K, & B6!!! Can it get any better?  Yes it does! Beets are cancer cell fighters! Hip, hip, hooray for beets! So..... I thought I'd tell you about two wonderful recipes that will allow us to use every part of this super veggie. I owe great thanks to my amazing sister for the pickled beets recipe & our mom for getting us hooked!

Pickled Beets
Beets are usually sold 3 per pack.
Buy the smaller beets, because the really large ones have more of an earthy flavor. 
(That's big sis information:))
Wash them thoroughly and cut off the stems leaving a couple inches.
Also, do not cut the end of the roots.
Place them in corning ware with one inch of water and cover with foil.
(You could use your glass lid, but I like the foil because it allows a little steam to escape.)

Cook for about 2 hours at 350.

Your beets should be soft, but not so soft that they fall apart.
(Pierce with a fork if your unsure.)
Get them out of the juice and onto a regular plate.
Let them cool to room temperature for about an hour before peeling.
Don't forget to enjoy your beautiful, pink fingers:)
(P.S. If you make this when you color your eggs, save the dye!
It makes a beautiful deep rose.)
Slice them about 1/4 of an inch and place in a bowl.

Add fresh parsley, salt, olive oil, and crushed garlic to your liking.
Last, add 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar.
Lightly, toss and coat your beets.
They can stay fresh in your fridge for up to three weeks.
Don't forget to seal it with a lid or everything will smell like
pickled beets!

I love my beets on toast for a light lunch!

And next......

Beet Greens
Take your beet greens and cut them into 2inch pieces. Let them soak in cold water while you do the next steps.

Cut up 2-3 strips of bacon. Place in a non-stick skillet and cook until lightly brown.
(Don't feel guilty about the bacon grease.....remember that it will be balanced out with the
cholesterol fighting leaves:))
Add 1/2 a chopped onion.....
When the onions are softened and they start to brown, add 1 minced garlic clove, (or more if you like).

Add half a cup water and 1 Tbsp of sugar.
When it's boiling, add your beet greens, reduce your heat and cover.
It may take 7-14 minutes for you greens to tenderize, so pay close attention. 
And last......add your cider vinegar, (3 Tbsp), if you really like the pickled flavor.
This makes a great side dish!

Hope you try & enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Has Arrived!

Happy first day of Spring! Here, in Northeast Ohio, we are enjoying a record breaking 83 degrees! It's just beautiful outside and I had to share some inspiration! Trees are waking up from their winter nap & everything is turning bright green. Take a look at my neighbors beautiful Magnolia tree! It was such a sight to wake up to.

Our peach tree has beautiful pink flowers. I can't wait
to see the blossoms. 


The rose bush that makes the best syrup!

And last, I hope you forgive me. I fibbed in a recent post.....
Usually, I will plant my salad the last 2 weeks of March, but
we have been enjoying warm weather for sometime.
About a week ago, I planted some lettuce in a raised bed and
covered it with a large glass window.
Take a look at my seedlings!
It truly made my day:)

No matter how much we love this weather, most likely it'll snow again.
In the meantime, I will be basking!
After all, it is Ohio;)
Happy Trails!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bias Tape Bound

Bias Tape - A narrow strip of fabric, cut on
the cross grain.

Remember the first time you learned about something you thought was 'tough', & wasn't?  Or, how great that feeling was when you finally got the concept of how something was created? Awhile ago, I had a dear friend tell me all about bias tape and how simple it was to make. It wasn't until I started different sewing projects that I realized how important it really is. From finishing edges to adding a retro flair, I am truly in love with this amazing little thing.

So, I thought I'd share with you something you already knew.... There are not that many fabric choices for bias tape! I want to give a big THANKS to The Colette Sewing Handbook for breaking this down into easy steps. Sarai Mitnick gives us a hands-on way of looking at fabric & through folding and sewing, we are able to achieve making our own trim. Best of all, you don't even need alot of fabric.

Pay attention to matching those lines up. (And don't forget to offset the first row.)
 This bias tape is 2" wide to fit the little gadget below.
 I wanted to post it to show how tricky it looks.
Check out the website for the on-line tutorial. It's great too!

This little tool saves a TON of time, and at 7 bucks, you can't beat it!
Just iron as you pull!

My finished product!

So happy with my polka dot bias tape:) I just can't wait to use it! For more fabric choices, I recommend using a fat quarter at your fabric store. They go anywhere from a buck to two. It's a price you can't beat!

I hope everyone had a great Saint Patrick's Day!
(sending you all a little Irish Blessing)

May you always have
walls for the winds
a roof for the rain
tea beside a fire
laughter to cheer you
those you love near you
and all your heart might desire!

Happy Trails:)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Never enough skirts

A girl can never have enough skirts. Right? Or at least that's what I'm telling my girls. Skirts are the most versatile piece of a woman's closet. With the mere change of your top and shoes, your skirt can go from park to party in a flash. Check out these two little numbers I made while enjoying the sunny day from my craft room.
I love my little Diva!

And yes, I made the hat as well:) Keep eyes on the Etsy shop for those additions
coming soon!

Warm weather is all about the bright colors we lost during winter. And inevitably, Spring will be here before we know it. My green "Spring" skirt was actually a dress that my little, little one outgrew. Because of the size, I obviously had to add material to the bottom.  It was just too beautiful and vibrant, it had to be re-used.  Originally planned to be a shoulder bag, I thought, "Ahhh, forget it." Why? You ask... Because we can never have enough skirts!

No matter what, always remember to do the hem last.
It allows for mistakes and adds a professional finish.

I think everyone should make a Spring/Summer skirt. Pull out those sewing machines and head to your nearest fabric store. Get two coordinating fabrics, elastic, & thread. You can follow a pattern or there are some great on-line tutorials that'll help you get the project going. I love for their "lazy days skirt" free pattern. Even though it's for little girls, it shows you the simple concept of how a skirt with elastic is made. Nothing is more rewarding than the feeling of creating a one of a kind! Once you see that the 'rectangles' are super easy to piece together, your closet will grow immensely. To happy sewing!