Monday, July 30, 2012

Pinterest Project: No-Sew Ruffle Tote

Pinterest is one of my favorite websites.  I spend too much time surfing that site but I always find something there that inspires me to get off the couch and make something.

I found a tutorial from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom for a No-Sew Ruffled Tote and I knew it was something I could probably do without too much cussing or bloodshed.

"No-sew" projects are wonderful.  You can work with fabric but not have to get out the owner's manual for the sewing machine you got two years ago and is now collecting dust.  Not that any of us here have that problem, right?  Right.

I went to Hobby Lobby (cue angels on high singing) and got my materials.  Since I also wanted to make this for my Iowa friend for her birthday, I went looking for fabric that I thought she would like.  She is a cat lover so I wanted to find some fabric that would go along with that theme.  I was lucky enough to stumble upon some.

Here are the materials I used.

There's a calculator and ruler board for measuring and figuring out your fabric lengths and make your ruffled row marks.  (Not that I used that crap or anything.)  You also will need a tote bag, good sharp scissors (be careful, this is where the bloodshed could factor in), fabric (I used 4 different patters), ribbon, and glue gun.

I also used these essential crafting tools.

Coffee for focus, chocolate for pep, and a brand-new iPad for cheating, I mean, to follow the tutorial.  Yes, I am the proud new owner of an iPad.  Can you believe it?  It was an anniversary present to me from my wonderful (this week) bosses to celebrate my 15 years of working for them. They knew I've wanted one forever and it was cheaper than writing a bonus check.  So that worked out all the way round.  I've named her Bellatrix.  I just decided that right here and now.  Yes, I love that Harry Potter.  And Bellatrix has the best name out of all the characters.  Anywho...back to the tote.

You are supposed to measure the size of your bag and the size of your fabric and then mark your bag so you know where you need to follow your line across.  I started with this step.  I measured and cut my fabric.  Made the marks for the lines and it just didn't look right.  So I went back and used the method I have used for years and years, sometimes it even turns out well.  I eyeballed it.

This is the first row.  I only burned myself about 5 times on this row.  The cussing was the worst part.  That's why I never do videos.

See my marks?   Here's the first row done.  No bloodshed but I do need to remember to stock up on some aloe lotion.

Second row.

You do have to move quick once you start putting down the hot glue.  There's a section in this second row that didn't get ruffled up as much as the rest of the row because I was too busy cussing and peeling the drying hot glue off my fingers.

Third row.

Hey, it's starting to look like something now.  Still wasn't sure that "something" was gonna be something cute.

Fourth row.

Almost all done.  I would say that this whole measuring, cutting, glueing, ruffling crap portion took around 30 minutes so it's not a project that takes forever.  Once you start ruffling, and not burning yourself, it goes pretty fast.  

Now it's time to add the ribbon.  I now wished I had had some ribbon that was a little bit wider but I used what I had.  

Now that's cute.  I can see all the flaws and errors but I don't think the un-trained can.  Or if they can, I hope they keep it to themselves.  This was my first crack at this, you know.

I was almost finished but wanted to add some pretty flowers to set it all off.  I grabbed my Big Shot and some felt and made some flowers.  Hot glued the flower layers together and topped them off with a button.

And here you have the end result.

I think it turned out really cute. My Iowa friend likes it.  She uses it as a lunch tote.  These totes will probably be what I make as Christmas gifts for my friends this year.  I just have to prepare my fingers and my family's ears for it all.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Ear Piercing

Bean asked a couple of weeks ago if she could get her ears pierced.  I never did it when she was a baby because I was afraid she would have problems with allergic reactions like I always did  and I also wanted it to be her own decision.  So once when she was smaller and asked about earrings, I told her that she could have them when she decided she wanted to do it.

When she first brought it up, I wasn't ready.  I said that she would have to hold off until after the big family to-do at the lake for the Fourth of July.  She was fine with that and frankly I thought maybe by the time that was over, she would forget about it.


On our way into the grocery store one evening, she said "this weekend I can get my earrings".  Hold up.  What?  You remember that?  She did.

I said that we would have to see because getting earrings meant she would have to take care of them and I wasn't sure she would do that.

On Friday morning, she talked about it again.  I explained to her exactly what would happen and how she would probably feel.  She wasn't bothered.  She was ready.  I told her about having to take care of them and not being able to take them out for a few weeks.  She didn't care.  She wanted them.

So Saturday, along with my cousin Crispy, we set off to get some earrings.  She wanted the Hello Kitty pair. (I have no idea where she gets that from.)  But the salesgirl at Claire's told her that some others would be better for her because of allergic reactions.  I'm not sure if that's true because funnily enough, those pairs that were better against reactions also happened to be the more expensive.  I think that was a toss up but I didn't put up a fight.  So Bean picked out some pink sparkly flowers and climbed into the chair.

Look at that kid right there!  That looks like a happy and interested kid, right?  Well she was for a minute.

Then the piercers got to work.

Uh oh, it's starting.

And it's happened.  The ears were pierced and the crying began.

Thankfully, it didn't last very long and with Mommy feeling bad and caving in to a few other items at Claire's, the sobbing soon stopped.

So my baby is now my baby with pierced ears.  I know what you're going to say.  She isn't a baby any more.  That's what she says.

But you all are wrong.  She is my baby with pierced ears.  But they are cute ears.

She is doing really well with taking care of them.  She is supposed to clean and twist the earrings 3 times a day.  She has assigned the job of twisting to herself and I've been assigned the cleaning bit.  She loves to count and twist.  She once twisted four times and looked at me and said "is that okay or do we have to start over?"

"It's okay, Baby.  It will be fine."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pinterest Project - Firecracker Cake

Last week I found this recipe on Pinterest for a Firecracker Cake.  I thought it looked beautimous so I had to try it.  I'm not much of a baker.  I just don't have the patience for it.  But Bean and I made this cake together yesterday and we had a lot of fun and Bean proclaimed it the "best cake ever".

Standards are low when you're 4.

Here's Betty Crocker's.

Firecracker Red White and Blue Cake
All professional and whatnot.

Here's ours:

We had no patriotic sprinkles but life will go on.

Here's the full recipe and then I'll tell you how I changed it up a little.

box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
Red food color
Blue food color
container (12 oz) Betty Crocker® Whipped fluffy white frosting
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Generously grease 12-cup fluted tube cake pan. Make cake batter as directed on box, using water, oil and egg whites. Pour 1 cup of the batter into small bowl; stir in red food color until well mixed. Pour another cup of the batter into separate bowl; stir in blue food color until well mixed.
  2. Pour red cake batter into bottom of pan. Carefully pour remaining white batter over red batter in pan. Carefully pour blue batter over white batter. (Blue batter does not need to cover white batter completely; it looks better if it just forms a ring in the center of the white batter.)
  3. Bake as directed on box or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place cooling rack over cookie sheet. Turn pan upside down onto cooling rack. Cool cake completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. When cake is cool, divide frosting evenly into 3 microwavable bowls. Microwave 1 bowl of frosting uncovered on High a few seconds until smooth enough to drizzle over cake. With spoon, drizzle all of white frosting back and forth around cake in a striping pattern. Repeat microwaving second bowl of frosting until smooth. Stir in a few drops blue food color until well blended. Drizzle over cake, scattering frosting back and forth. Repeat with remaining bowl of frosting and red food color, making sure red, white and blue frostings can be seen on cake. Let cake stand at room temperature until frosting is set before serving.
Makes 12 servings

Okay, so what did I do differently?

I added some cherry extract to the red cake batter.  Yep, changed it up so much.

After all, there's nothing that says "America" more than imitation-cherry flavored cake and baseball, right?  Isn't that the saying?  Anyhoo...

It was scrumptious!  Maybe not the best cake ever but hey, my standards are low for a...nevermind.  Try the recipe.  You'll love it.