Bake

August and Everything After

HOOOOOORAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY.    Hang on, let me say that again.  HOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!   Whew!

Okay. What are we celebrating you ask?  SCHOOL STARTED!

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So very happy to have the older zombies occupied during the day.  The littlest is still home but he is not nearly as much trouble when he’s by himself.

 

Now that my crafting time has been freed up a bit I have been plugging along on some projects I’ve had on the back burner since before we moved.  I’ll post a few sneak peeks

 

 

 

 

Not much I can say at the moment on some of these and others aren’t finished yet so they’ll have to wait too.

I am desperate for a breath of Autumn right now.  It’s so hot and humid right now, bleh.   I would love some cooler breezes and the first hints of Halloween!  I can’t wait!  I hope to be back soonish with an update or two to some of the sneak peeks.  See ya!

What I’ve been up to

A little snapshot of what’s been going on around here.

 

  1. Blackberry-Blueberry Sauce

 

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2. Growing Zucchinni’s

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3. Growing a few other things in a mostly finished raised bed.

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4. Killing my second (!) lavender plant of the season. I can’t seem to keep these damn things alive….sigh

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That’s been most of what’s going on at our house in the last little bit.

More excitement will be coming our way here soon. We have a double digit birthday coming up soon! The oldest zombie is almost a whole decade old.  I can hardly believe it!  School starts soon, thanks be to all the powers of the universe!  Seriously, it’s been a looooooooong summer… and I am ready for a little bit of peace during the day. Bye for now!

So, it’s been a while

Yeah so it’s been over a year since I posted anything.  Jeez…major blog fail.  It was the usual suspects. Selling a house, moving into an apartment that felt like a cave, buying a house long distance, moving again…. you know how it goes.  It’s been tricky but I’m glad its settling down again.  And I have a new house that is twice the size of our last one, and boy is that a good change!  I would post pictures but we haven’t done much more than unpack boxes, paint one room and cut down the out of control landscape out front.  Still, I’ll give you a peek at my sewing space.

 

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It’s still in our bedroom but it’s off to the side and all the fabric and supplies get stored in my closet so it is not so much in the way.

I will try to post a bit more often now that things are settling in. Maybe even a tutorial or something.  Maybe don’t hold your breath though, wouldn’t want anyone to suffocate ;)….

 

Pirate Bash!

Well, here it is!  The pirate party post! You may be aware from previous birthday posts that I have a small problem with doing small celebrations.  They always end up….bigger!  Our littlest zombie has not had one of the grand celebrations yet so I thought it was his turn.  I asked him what he wanted and he said “Pirates!  Arrrrrr!”  I said, “Okay!”

I started combing the interwebs for ideas and found a few I liked but that needed tweaking but not a whole lot was inspiring me for the party, but then during one of my many shopping trips to Target I happened to find all of their Pirate party plates, banners, napkins and cups on clearance!  Wooohooo!  That was all the inspiration I needed.  I knew it was fated.  So I began in earnest.

Every pirate has to fear waking the plank, so that was where they started.  There may or may not have been someone throwing water bombs at them as they tried not to fall into the sharks.  That fed right into the deadly alligator swamp rings.

 

I found a gator and shark fin shape that worked, printed templates and cut some trials in wood.  It was a bit much for a one day use item so I reserved the rest of the sheet of wood and switched to foam board for the rest.  Much faster to cut and painted as well.  They were a bit tricky to keep stapled to the stakes but it worked out in the end.

 

 

 

The rest of the wood sheet became a sailing ship with lots of peg legs sticking out of it for a ring toss game.  The legs are just spray painted dowel rods with caps on them.  I made all different sizes so it would be a bit more challenging for the older cousins.

 

 

I saved some cans from my soup making over the winter and gathered a few more cheap cans of tomato juice and spray painted them brown, added some mixed up plaster of paris inside them to keep them steady, glued light brown foam to the top and bottom to make them look more barrelish and I had a knock the barrels down game.  We threw in a pick the duck and get a prize game for the littlest ones and it was quite popular, it was pretty hot.

 

 

Me and the little one went begging at all our downtown restaurants for any wine corks they may have.  I managed to pull together just enough for the sailboats.  I found some neat little wooden craft sticks that had circles on them and they worked perfect for sandwiching the corks between them and hot gluing them in.  A skewer for a mast and foam for the sails (no pics of these, naturally )  and you were ready to race your cousin on the blue sea (vinyl gutter with end caps)

 

 

Dear Bake made her delicious cupcakes with the most awesome skull decorations for the tops!  Our sweet sister-in-law helped mix up the birthday cake and me Bake and our mom (with input from the zombies father) decorated the birthday cake when it was finished.

 

We had a decorate your own eyepatch and booty bag event the day before (somehow no pics of this either  :/ )  The day of we made pirate names and wrote them on post-it notes and taped them on (yay for last minute ingenuity!)   We also decorated our faces!  This was one of the funnest things we got to do.  The adults jumped in on it too, probably had more fun than the children with it 🙂

 

 

 

Don’t you just love her glare?  Pirate perfection!  The little zombie in the last pic is our dear friends’ baby, she is too sweet!

The birthday zombies outfit was made partially by me. It was hard to get a good shot because he was in constant motion, lol.  I took a plain white t-shirt from target and removed the pocket and added some eyelets and leather laces and cut the sleeves on the sides.  I made the vest from scratch and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.  I’m thinking I’ll tweak it a bit and put it out as a pattern for sale.

I think everyone had a good time and the little pirate is still talking about his party (pretty good for 3 yr old goldfish memory)    A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped make the pirate party a success!  You are an awesome crew!

 

That’s the news for now, be back later with some house projects that have been going on at the same time as Birthday Madness!  See ya!

Quick Fix for a Messy Stencil Job

Hello!  I survived the winter!  Yay!

As I believe I’ve said before, I have a bit of back log of quilts for new family members but I’m happy to say I’m approaching a finish on one.  She’s not quite a year old so not it’s not too late.

Anyway, the initials I made for the quilt didn’t come out exactly as I wanted.

I took a font (can’t find the name of the one I used or I would credit it) that was mostly right and then fixed what was wrong (for this project) in Illustrator, brought it over to my Silhouette and cut them out in freezer paper.

 

 

Print

 

This is what they should look like. Nice sharp lines.

 

 

I used Martha Stewart paint in Rose Chrome (lovely color) .

 

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I mixed a fabric medium with it but the thing about that paint is it really doesn’t need it, so I ended up with a runny paint that seeped a lot under the stencil.  I redid it without mixing in the fabric medium so I could get the coverage I needed and pulled the stencil off.  I touched it up the best I could but still had lots of paint out of the stencil shape.  So I let it dry and heat set it the next day.

 

You can see in these pictures the seepage.  It looks much worse in person.  The color of the paint doesn’t show true online, it’s more lavender on the quilt.

 

Then I went to the fabric store and bought a spool of Gutterman thread in the right color and satin stitched the edges of the letters to sharpen it up and it really did help quite a bit.

 

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Sorry there are not so many pictures on this post but if you find yourself in the same pickle this is a quick way to clean up a messy stencil job.  When I get it finished and gifted I will do a post on the whole thing. There also might be a Pirate birthday for a baby zombie coming up soon so stay tuned for some birthday madness. Happy Spring everybody!

Netflix is sucking my will to live… aka Snowed in all week with children

Snow

 

I managed to make it out of my bed today and sit at the computer and write this, so today is already a win in my opinion.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR SPRING.SERIOUSLY..I  C A N’ T  W A I T…..  We’ve been snowed in for a solid week now and I’m all done.  You think I would be using this time productively somehow, since almost all crafting I do is an indoor sport kind of thing, but no…  the white blanket of snow has smothered all ambition and frozen my creative spark until all I want to do all day is lay in bed and watch Netflix.  I need to interact with the world to draw inspiration and although snow looks like a blank canvas it doesn’t do a thing for inspiration.

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I haven’t even been able to enjoy my new (to us) car.  This is the newest car we’ve ever owned and I would like to get used to driving it but not in the snow ( I haven’t even made one payment yet and I’m not wrecking it until it’s at least half paid for thank you very much).   Sigh…. So I’m forcing myself out of bed and into crafting something (anything at all) in the hopes that the momentum will carry me forward and spring will arrive more quickly.

Speaking of spring. I’ve been plotting out my garden already.  This year’s garden will likely be a limited affair.  I suspect home improvement projects will take up most of my time so I’m planning with that in mind.  The girl zombie wants sunflowers and I have to grow some basil.  My sage, oregano and (perhaps) thyme will be coming back and hopefully the lavender I stored under the house will pull through all right.  Might grow some lettuce, no zucchini this year though.  I still have 24 bags in the freezer.  No tomatoes or peppers this year either.  Low maintenance herbs and pretty flowers will do just fine I think.  I can’t wait for the first tender leaves of spring, hands buried in sun warmed earth, the smell of it as it wakes from it’s long sleep.  The winds that pick up and blow just a little chill and though they aren’t any warmer than fall you can tell the difference just by feeling it on your face.

Anyway, back to crafting.  I’ve been trying to puzzle out how (and even if) one can make a quilt that looks like a vector drawing.  All smooth lines and shades.  The google machine is not turning up much that is helpful at the moment.  I feel like if there is any medium you could recreate one of those in it would be fabric.  Suggestions are welcome, naturally.

Other things on the crafting agenda are getting better at drawing. To that end my sweet husband bought me this for our anniversary:

intuosIt’s Wacom Tablet  Intuos pen and touch small.  It’s been pretty fun to play with and I think it will be useful in the long run.  For those who haven’t seen it before it’s a system for drawing digitally.  Useful for converting my own patterns into usable files.   It definitely reminds me that drawing is not a strong suit of mine, and that’s okay.  Practice will not make me perfect but it certainly will improve my skills.

I’m falling a bit behind in making quilts for the new babies of the family.  Sorry Ruby and Gemma.  I promise I’ll be working on it soon.  Really.  As long as they get them before they are 2 I figure it counts..right?

Well, that’s the news for now.  I’m off to attempt something (anything at all) to kickstart my art. See ya!

Robot Party!

January birthdays kinda suck.  No offense meant by that, but c’mon, it’s just true.  I mean, my own birthday is in early February which is almost as bad, but at least its one month closer to spring and one month further away from the Holidays.  It’s hard to muster the creative enthusiasm needed to properly celebrate a birthday so close to the Holidays but somehow we managed…and managed to do it twice, once for each side of the family.  Which is something I can very confidently say will not happen again.  Next year we’re thinking one party at a bowling alley, Chucke Cheese etc – which in the middle of January should be a festering cesspool of influenza…did I mention that January birthdays suck?

Anyway, the toddler successfully turned 3 surrounded by his family which is all he really cares about…that, and cake.  We settled on a Robot theme and this is what his day looked like:

Everything was inspired by these super cute printables and invitations found here:

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I used the cupcake toppers as mini banners that were attached to back of each invite and stamped each envelope with these adorable robot stamps, found here.

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These YumBot cupcake molds are really the only thing you need for a cute Robot birthday party.  Seriously, forget everything else and just buy these.  They are super cute and easy to bake in once you get the feel for baking time etc.  I found with my cupcake recipes, they needed to bake for 20-25 minutes but it is going to vary greatly based on how full you fill the cups and what recipe you use.  If you overfill these, it just looks like the have extra big robot brains, which only adds to the cuteness factor.  You really can’t go wrong.

imageI used this Wilton mold and candy melts to make the gears/bolts/screws…so much easier than trying to hand pipe shapes!

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To make these Brownie Bots, I used this square silicone baking tray.  I dipped each brownie in chocolate ganache and attached the eyes/gears etc while the chocolate was still wet.  Super easy, super cute.

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We had a robot making contest using different sizes of marshmallows, silver decorating spray, mini m&ms for buttons, pull n peel twizzlers for wire and tube icing to attach them all.  So many cute edible robots!

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Craft made him this unbelievably perfect Duck from Sarah and Duck along with these adorable Shallots.  If you haven’t seen Sarah and Duck, follow the link…like now.  It’s so cute it will change your life.

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A Robot photobooth and a Robot Dance Party rounded out the day which ended in tons of presents, treats and one happy three year old bot.

The Fruits of January are Shallots

Hi there!  Been busy, yada yada yada.  You know the drill.  Anyway,  I’m back with a tutorial!

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I made some of these little things for a certain adorable 3yr old I happen to know whose birthday it was recently.  They are super fast to make and very customizable.

 

So here we go.

 

Shallot Pattern:     Alltogethershallot

 

Print and cut out the pattern pieces

 

DSC02366DSC02368I used a tan heather craft felt I had on hand and I did the Fat Shallot first.  Transfer the circle marks to the felt pieces.

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Grab an embroidery needle with some thread.  I used pearlized cotton in white but you can use whatever floats your boat.

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Knot the end of your thread and poke your needle through from the backside of the piece so the knot is on the back side.  Bring it through and take a small stitch that doesn’t go through the fabric.  You can do this in felt but not so much in other materials.

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Continue in this way till you get to the top.

 

End at the level of the dots you marked on your piece.  Move over 1/4 to 1/2 an inch and run down the front the same way you went up.  Keep going till you finish the front in stitched lines.

 

 

Now for the eyes.   On the shallots I made for the little one I made the eyes out of felt and stitched them on.  For these I used safety eyes because they go faster and look a bit neater.  Here is how I make felt eyes so you can try it both ways.

 

Start with a squarish piece of your chosen color and cut in a spiral until you get the size circle you want.  Do the same in a contrast color and put them together.  Stitch them on with matching color thread.

 

Safety eyes go like this.  I started with a background of white circle and poked the safety eye through that and the main piece.  It can be tricky to get through the felt sometimes so I poke a hole with a seam ripper and widen it a bit with some hemostats or something similar.

 

 

Once you have your eyes on you get to make a mouth for it.  I didn’t like the first one I tried so I changed it.  Stitch it down with matching thread and now he looks surprised.

 

 

Put your pieces together, matching tops and bottom points.  I don’t bother with pins when I’m sewing them because these are small and easy to manipulate by hand.  Sew with a scant seam (less than 1/2 inch) from marked dots down to the bottom point and stop.  Sew all pieces the same way.  When you get to the last seam, flatten out the piece as much as possible and follow the curve of the bottom past the end point over top of one of the seams that are already sewn.

 

 

You should end up with a bottom that looks like this.  No holes for the stuffing to escape.  You can clip the curves on the inside if you feel like it.  These are so small they don’t seem to need it.

 

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Front view.

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Now you stuff him.  Stuff him like you would any toy.  I used regular polyfill and stuffed him medium firm.

After that grab an embroidery needle threaded with a matching color thread and knot the end.  Poke your needle from the inside to the outside and leave a good 4-5 inch tail not pulled tight.

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The idea here is to take tiny stitches so they are not visible on the outside of the toy.  Like this:

 

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Run the stitch on the inside of the toy about 1/2 inch and bring needle back out.  Continue in as straight a line as you can till you get back to where you started.

 

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Tie the ends together and cinch down the top.  Tie a square knot and clip your thread ends.  I cut the extra at the top into “frondy” things.

I was slightly disappointed with how this one turned out.  The eyes were set too close to the top of the toy and the mouth too low.  Lesson learned.  Next time place them more in the middle.

 

Up next is the Tall Shallot which ended up fatter than the Fat Shallot. Figures.  I used a bigger size of safety eye on these and placed them more to the middle.  I think it helped for sure.

 

 

And then there were two!

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Last one is the Small Shallot.  This one is so small that I decided to just stitch a mouth on instead of stitching on a piece of black felt.  Play around with it and see what expression feels right for your shallot.

All the little blue dots on the shallots are easy to remove.  They just need a drop of water and they disappear.

 

 

And here they all are in their natural habitat!

 

 

Cheers for Shallots!

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

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Not that I actually run or anything

 

So, it’s Christmas Day and I may or may not have been drinking wine already but I have some thoughts I wanted to get out.

I’ve been realizing lately how I approach life can be a teensy bit helter skelter.  New project?  Head first, go!  Next holiday to plan? Head first, go!  Run, run, run, it’s a race my mind whispers.  Well, it might indeed be a race but it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

I’ve been trying to remind myself of this and believe me, it hasn’t been easy.  Especially when I see other lovely blog ladies who can hammer out projects in record time and I’m still re-threading my sewing machine.

But I’ve been feeling the need to plan things more carefully, not down to every tiny thing but just actually have a general plan in mind when I start, a cohesive vision. Maybe a goal or two, hell, why not?  So that’s my mantra for the time ahead   “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”    This isn’t to say I don’t want to pour my heart and soul into my craft, because I do.  I just want to have something to show for it at the end.  Enjoy the race, peeps. Just remember it isn’t a sprint it’s a goddamn marathon.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

 

 

Craft

Flogging my stuff, cause I can

Hey there!  I had lots of plans for posts this month. Tutorials, projects, pictures…yeah…well, life happens.  I happen to be somewhat busy these days.  My Etsy shop is doing a small and steady business that keeps me at my sewing machine and away from the computer,  kids are keeping me from developing some new ideas and Christmas is keeping me from losing weight…yeah, we can blame that on Christmas.  Anyway, I make no promises but I will try to do a few picture tutorials here soon on some easy tips that make sewing things easier.

So in the shop, I’ve got some new things listed for Christmas. Some awesome pillows, pot holders and ornaments as well as some new sizes of old favorite aprons. As always, I’m happy to do custom work.  If something strikes your fancy but you’d like it in a different color or you want to add a ruffle or personalize it, just send me a conversation on Etsy and we can work on it together to make it perfect.  I’ll close with some pictures of shop items and things we’re working on around here at house Craft.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

And this one isn’t for sale….yet.  For those unversed in the ways of the Force, these are the robes that Obi-Wan Kenobi wears.  Our oldest zombie is a confirmed and dedicated nerd, much to our delight.

 

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That’s the news for now.  Go buy some Craft Envy stuff.

 

 

p.s.  I’m unsure why the little images are blurry but if you click on them they come up at a nicer resolution.