Monday, May 27, 2013


Thank you to the brave men and women who have served our country, and for the sacrifices you have made for us all.
Happy Memorial Day

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Easy Apron Tutorial

I have a friend who swears she can't sew garments or aprons. This in spite of the fact that she pieces fabulous and intricate quilt blocks on a regular basis.  You know who you are and this tutorial is for you:>)
This apron is a breeze to make, It's basic, but you can do so much to embellish it that it can be almost anything you want it to be.  Add a ruffle to the bottom, a crochet doily or vintage hankey at the neckline, and personalize the pocket. The list is endless. But it all starts with the basic apron.
I used an old tie on apron for the pattern. You probably all have one of these hanging in your kitchen. Adjust the width or the length any way you want to.
I begin by folding the apron in half lengthwise and lining up the fold with the fold of a piece of muslin that I have ready. No, I didn't iron it, unless it's really badly wrinkled, it doesn't matter.
 I like to line my aprons with muslin, I feel the apron does a better job of protecting my clothes with two layers of fabric and it just makes the apron less flimsy feeling.
cut around the old apron, being careful not to cut your apron strings off of your pattern!
Do you love how out of focus some of these photos are? Me either, but I haven't perfected the technique of using my left hand to press the shutter button while my right hand is busy. Lol. Sorry.
 If you want to, use your straight edge and rotary cutter to even up the bottom, and sides.
Lay your lining fabric on the fabric that you want to use for the front of your apron. I dug through my stash and found this pretty rosy blue fabric.  You can do this with about a yard of fabric.
 Cut out the floral fabric using the muslin lining as a guide.
 Lay the muslin on top of the print fabric, and sew the two together on 3 sides, leaving the bottom open. You will be sewing all around where I show the dotted line below, and make sure your patterned fabric is facing inside, because you will be turning the whole thing right side out after you sew the sides together.

 See how these don't match exactly? It doesn't matter. Really, I think it is better to try something and not worry about perfection than it is to be so afraid that you will make a mistake that you feel too intimidated to try at all. This is an apron, I swear, when you are done you will not be able to tell that your edges were a teeny bit off. choose one of the edges to follow and sew. I used a 1/2" seam.
 I left the bottom open.
 Trim the corners, just cut them off leaving enough fabric that it will stay sewn up.
Then turn the whole thing right side out.
 Use a knitting needle or dowel to poke the corners out , they don't have to be perfect:>)
 Iron the apron
 Turn up the muslin side evenly about an inch, and iron,
 Turn under the patterned fabric to match and iron,
 this is how the hem looks, ironed and ready to stitch.
 Sew across the bottom, I also top stitch about 1/2 inch all the way around so that when you wash the apron it stays flat without ironing.
 Use some 1/2 inch or larger double fold seam binding for the ties. I made my own, there are numerous tutorials online, but you can purchase cute bindings just as easily.  Just measure the ties on the apron you used for a pattern or measure the curved part of the apron you just made and add plenty to tie at the neck and in back. better to have too much than not enough.  These ties are each about 68" long and you need two lengths, one for each side. Allow enough to tie around the neck, and then encase the curved part of the apron in the binding and leave the rest to tie behind you.
 Sew the entire length of the binding, as close to the edge as possible.
 I made a quick pocket by cutting two matching halfish circles using a plate as a template. I also made a little ruffle to add to the top of the pocket. I sandwiched the ruffle between the two semi-circles, with the print facing inward. Sew across the top and then most of the way around the circle,leaving a 3-4 inch opening to turn it right side out. Iron, turn the rest of the seam inside and finish stitching. Top stitch the pocket onto the apron leaving the top open.

 Voila! A cute apron that is fast and easy. Having a few of these in your favorite colors and fabrics makes cooking more fun. You can whip one of these up in less than an hour once you know how to do it. And they make cute gifts for friends. And the friend who needed this tutorial should be checking her mail in the next day or two:>)
Happy Birthday Trish!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Trip Around the World Quilt and a little bit of random

I finally finished the scrappy trip around the world quilt. I ended up machine quilting it because it has wa-a-a-a-y too many mistakes in it to warrant money spent on having it professionally quilted. 
Can I just say though, that every time I walk into the bedroom this quilt makes me unreasonably happy?
I am completely besotted with it mistakes and all. How can you not love the cheery checks?
I pair it with my yard sale and thrift store vintage white pillowcases.  I don't care if they come in pairs or not, I love the drippy lace and soft cotton. Sometimes I even layer them like petticoats. Earl prefers *ahem* less lacy cases on his pillows, but sometimes I slip a little lace on his too. Just a little.
In other news, I've been rimming the raised beds with flowers in preparation for the tomatoes, basil, zucchini and peppers that will fill the middle of the beds.
 I may have gotten a little too much sun today, but oh it was glorious!
 The garden is really beginning to glow.
  I have so many projects on my to do list in the next few weeks it is ludicrous, including starting to remodel the bathroom, reworking the flower beds, and painting the pergola.  We are hosting the appreciation dinner for our church's christian education department and I want to make it a magical dinner under the stars. It will be heavily influenced by my Party time Pinterest board.  
Now it's off to dinner with my sweetheart, he's taking me to the local barbeque palace to do some research on the party menu:>)
Are you putting in a garden this year?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Scenes from the yard

Have I mentioned Spring is my favorite time of year:>)

Monday, May 6, 2013

S'mores cupcakes

I'm willing to bet most of us have a pinterest board somewhere just full of luscious looking desserts and recipes that we plan to try. I have several.  Not that I am necessarily the one who will try them out. You know I live with a man who bakes right? I am one lucky girl:>)
So, back in January our church had a silent auction to help fund a mission trip to Africa for a group of our young mom's. They are going to help out with some building projects, and they are there right this minute doing what they can.  Earl decided that he would auction off a Dessert of the Month.  It would give him the chance to try some new recipes without the downside of us gaining a ton of weight by eating all those delicious new recipes. The winner gets a dessert each month for a year.
Enter the Pinterest board. Oh he has had fun! The lucky bidder is happy as a clam every month and we get to try some new goodies without being overwhelmed with too much to eat.
Aprils D.O.M  were S'mores cupcakes.  He printed off the recipe, whipped up a batch....and they were so bad he had to throw them away. I kid you not, it was not cooks error, there was something wrong with those cupcake. Very wrong.
Proof that just because something looks gorgeous in a photo it doesn't mean you will want to eat it.
But he liked the concept, it was a great concept. Graham cracker crust, chocolate cake, melty chocolate ganache on top of the cupcake and a light, fluffy meringue on top toasted to perfection with his creme brulee torch. So he switched out the chocolate cake recipe for a new one and used his favorite Italian meringue recipe for the top.  Success! These are so good, and not as much trouble to make as they sound like. Sure, they have several components but none are hard to make and the results are worth it.
The cake recipe itself comes from a website called The Best moist chocolate Cake, the batter may be the thinnest cake batter I have ever made, but it works and it really is moist and the chocolate flavor is superb. Use whatever graham cracker crust recipe you have and just put a thin layer in the bottom of the cupcake paper, for the ones I made today, I didn't even bother and I didn't miss it, but if you must have it, know that crushed graham crackers sprinkled over the ganache would work too.
The ganache is simply a 10 oz package of chocolate chips and a cup of heavy cream melted together while you stir it on top of the stove. Easy as can be.  Bake the cupcakes, cool, dip the tops in the ganache let it set up a bit and pipe Italian meringue on top in big swirls. The recipe that Earl uses is  Julia Child's Italian meringue, but you could probably put a dollop of marshmallow cream on top and toast it. Use a little kitchen torch and these are ready  to share. Victoria declared these the best cupcakes that she had ever eaten, I don't know about that, but they are pretty darn good:>)
Have you tried anything from your Pinterest recipe board lately? Any failures or favorites?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mother's Day

I'll admit, this is a shameless plug, but I have had enough people request these pillows over the last year that I thought I would give a shout out. I just listed 2 more of the heart and home pillows in the etsy shop. Because home is where your mom is right? :>)
Gingham piping, polka dot sides and damask print back. With red vintage button flowers in the garden.

These require a lot of hand work so there will only be two for now. 
 Have you got your Mother's Day gift for mom yet?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. ~Proverb

Happy first day of May! My favorite month of all.  Full of family birthdays, sunshine, warmth and flowers. It's the month I pretty much live for the rest of the year.
Sure, Autumn has it's charms, but it's a season that eventually leaves me cold. 
Summer is nice but, it can drive you indoors if you aren't a fan of the heat. We will not discuss winter.
At all. 
 I happily turned the calender to a new page this morning. I have a late day at work, which means I was able to take a beautiful morning walk with Earl, listening to the birds sing and watching the sun come up through the trees. Heaven.
The windows are thrown open and the birds are serenading me right this minute.  It just makes me happy.
 These primroses were on the clearance rack at Kroger, seems a bit premature, but I'll take it! Half off primroses are not to be ignored:>)
It is supposed t be in the upper 70's and sunny today, and the flip side of enjoying the morning sunshine at home is that I will be trapped inside a windowless building until nearly 7p.
C'est la vie, it will still be light out when I get home and I plan to set up the outdoor table and chairs by the garden with a cup of decaf and enjoy what is left of this first day of May.
What are you doing today?