Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Craft of Christmas Past

October is almost over, which means I (and maybe you too) have only two months to get my crafting butt in gear if my loved ones are going to end up with anything handmade from moi.  Lucky for them, I've had my thinking cap and my crafting pants on and already have a headstart on the handmade craft of 2012.  But that's not what we are talking about today.  Today, I offer you a Craft of Christmas Past. 

There have been many Crafts of Christmas Past - the year I took a semester of Pottery ranked up there in handmade gifts, as did they year I took Sewing 1 at JoAnne's and made all my girlfriends some pajama pants.  But today's Craft of Christmas Past is truely my favorite so far - the Owl Ornament Craft.

I found this adorable idea on the Burda Style website which included a FREE PATTERN and directions.  I wanted my owls to be a little larger and longer than the original pattern, so I made the necessary alterations and set to work.

The most time consuming part of these little cuties was hand stitching the beaks, because I'm a perfectionist, and I had to get perfect little triangular beaks.  But with a Law & Order SVU Marathon to keep me on the couch for an afternoon, they were finished in no time.

I personalized the owls for my nephews.  I had grandiose ideas of making an annual ornament for them and embroidering their names and the years.  Well, they will always have 2009...

If you are new at sewing, this is a great project to enhance your straight sewing skills.  Super fast, super easy and super cute! 

Now off I go to work on Craft of Christmas Present!  Get it?  Christmas Present!  Because it's for the Present year!  And it's a Present!  And it's Christmas!  And scene.


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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Baked Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

It's mid-October, and the weather is just going to get colder.  This means it's grilled cheese and tomato soup weather.  And boots weather.  But today we are going to talk grilled cheese.

The one thing that frustrates me about grilled cheese is that I have to grill them individually (depending on the size of your pan/griddle) so they rarely are ready all at once.  So I either serve the sandwiches separately so each person gets their sandwich piping hot, or everyone waits until all the sandwiches are ready and they are lukewarm by then.

Enter the Baked Grilled Cheese method!  I about fell off my chair when I read about this on AllRecipes.  Duh!  They are cooked all at once!  Out of the oven and served up hot all at once!  Even better, they are super fast, easy and the variation possibilities are endless!  As a full time working mama, I need some easy, fast, no-brainer meals to fall back on.  These sandwiches fit the bill!

This Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese variation gets two thumbs up by my husband, and my 20-month old happily gobbles it up too.

Ingredients with very rough measurements:
Bread - 2 slices per sandwich
Cheese - I've used Provalone and Mozzarella.  Sliced or grated works.  Two slices or small handfuls per slice of bread.
Rotisserie Chicken - Small handful per sandwich
Classico Traditional Basil Pesto Sauce & Spread
Baking Pan

Step 1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2.  Butter one side of each piece of bread.  Lay bread butter-side-down on baking pan.

Step 3.  Open the Classico Traditional Basil Pesto Sauce & Spread and stir until mixed well.

Spread desired amount of Traditional Basil Pesto Sauce on the un-buttered side of the bread.  Note: A little of this stuff goes a long way.  Start with a small spoonful, and add based on preference.

Step 4.  Add cheese.  I was using shredded Mozzarella when taking these photos.  A single slice of cheese works fine too.

Step 5.  Add chopped chicken.  I used rotisserie chicken, but if you want to cook chicken breast and slice it up, that works too.  See -- so many variations!

Step 6.  Add another layer of cheese to cover the chicken.

Step 7.  Spread the Classico Traditional Basil Pesto mix on the other slice of bread (the non-buttered side) and place on top of the sandwich, buttered side up.

Step 8.  Place in your preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes.  After 6 minutes, flip sandwiches and bake for another 6 minutes.  Check them regularly on the second 6 minutes - my oven tends to start to burn the edges after 4 1/2 minutes on the second round.

Remove from oven and serve!  These kick your Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup nights up a notch!  Enjoy!


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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baby Shaming

There's not nearly enough Baby Shaming on Pinterest.  Case in point:

Two baby shaming photos, two of the same photo about Beyonce, and one dog shaming photo.

Dog Shaming is hilarious.  They look so guilty, and their offenses are too funny.  Recently, a friend mentioned something about Baby Shaming on Mommy Shorts, so I had to look in to it.  Just as, if not more funny. 

There are probably multiple baby shaming opportunities each day in our house, but today was special.  Little man was coloring in a coloring book on the floor, as I was ordering some books (for him) online.  I glance over to see he has migrated to the couch and is furiously concentrating on the cushion.  The off-white cushion.

And while I was all, "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" I couldn't put him in timeout because A) this was a first offense and we had never had the "we don't color on the couch" talk and B) I was distracted at the time and the whole situation could have been avoided had I not been ordering books (for him) online.

So I hugged him and said, "We don't color on the couch." as he was pointing and smiling proudly at his masterpiece.  I had to capture the moment, and thought a baby shaming photo would be a perfect way to capture the moment.  Here is the mugshot.

Two lessons I've learned today:  1) Coloring should only be done while strapped in to a highchair.  and 2) The My First Crayola triangular crayons are indeed washable.  We will buy only these crayons until he is 12.


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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Self-Binding Baby Blankie

I'M ALIVE!!  Again, I've been so MIA, and I've missed you!  I have this thing called a day-job, and sometimes I'm sent on business trips.  Away from my family, away from my sewing machine, away from blogland.  Le sigh.  It's been a long month or so.  I hope my absence hasn't made me completely obselete!

But I'm back.  And I have a fun project to share with you!  I'm not a quilter, but I pinned this binding trick by The Crafting Chicks:

I should back up a bit - when my mom was visiting over the 4th of July, I dragged her to G Street, since we were shopping in the general vicinity.  As we were browsing, a particular fabric caught her eye.  She did a double take, but it was, indeed, a fabric featuring the characters from my son's absolute favorite TV show: Yo Gabba Gabba (Dah-bah?!).  I pounced.  I bought more than I needed.  When we got home, I layed it on the ground, and my son faceplanted on it, giggling and yelling "DAAHBAAAAH!"  Just his excitement alone gave me the motivation to get to work on a blankie for him.

I found the right Minky for the job from Minky Delight Fabrics and off I went to cut out the blanket.  Sidenote - do you know that there is not really a standard for baby blanket dimensions?  I found that very frustrating.  I'm a pattern girl, and if there isn't a pattern, give me exact, correct, precise dimensions for me to go on.  My Google Search left me with too many options.

I ended up cutting the Minky and batting to be 30" wide X 36" long and the Gabba fabric to extend 2.5" from each side - I wanted a 2" binding on the green side.  This is where I deviated from The Crafting Chicks method - I didn't want to have a thick binding (top fabric + Minky + batting folded over itself twice) so I eliminated the bulk by just folding over the top Gabba fabric.

I took the Gabba fabric and pressed 1/2" under on all sides.

I then folded that edge under again 2.5".

In order to get the right fit, I unfolded it and placed my Minky and batting inside.  I trimmed an excess fabric that overlapped the pressed edge.

I improvised the next few steps, and I tried to document it in photographs.  I first folded in one of the corner edges - the triangle symbolizes where the folded fabric originally was - it's now been folded inside.  This eliminated the appearance of the double layer of fabric.

It looked like this, once folded under - much cleaner. 

I pinned the self-binding to the Minky and sewed 1/8 inch from the edge of the Gabba fabric.

 This is where I fudged a binded corner.  I took the remaining square edge/flap, and tucked a triangle inside.  The black triangle below symbolizes where the original fabric originally was.  Like I said, I improvised.  Fake it til you make it, right?

I finished by edge-stitching all the way around the outside, and then tacking the diagonal corners down.

What can I say, I seek progress rather than perfection!  :-)

It's not my best work, but my son loves it, and that's all that really matters, right?


Remember how I said I bought too much of the Yo Gabba Gabba fabric?  As luck would have it, there was just enough to make a pair of Huck Finn pants from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross!  Since the 24M size was too short for my 19M guy, I lengthened the pattern by 2 inches.

UHaul packing paper makes GREAT pattern tracing paper.  More durable than tissue paper, but just transparent enough to see the pattern lines underneath.  Who knew?!

 The fabric on the blanket was loud, and on the pants it's even louder.  So ridiculously cute!

I put him in the pants and he did an adorable 19-month dance, chanting "Daahbaah, Dahbah, Dahbah!!" which is really all I need to feel like an accomplished human in this world.

Yes, he is a Certified Hunk.
I really need to make a ton of these pants out of the fabric scraps that I've been hoarding over the years.  Friends with babies better look out.  They might just end up with a random pair of Huck Finn pants in their mailbox in the coming months! 


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