Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

I apologize for disappearing. I have been crazy busy. As in, almost institutionalizable, crazy busy. I was in charge of a Super Saturday crafting event that consumed most of my time, and as soon as that was over I had about a day and a half to throw together the family Halloween costumes before the ward Trunk-or-Treat. Let us just say that I had to let go of my perfectionistic desires and accept that I wasn't going to wear these to Comic Con- just going trick-or-treating.
We tried for a quick family photo. For some reason, those never turn out. Want proof?
Hopefully soon we will get a better one. Until then, there you have it- Luke, Leia, their Mom and Dad, and Yoda. Perhaps next year Monkey won't cross-dress for Halloween:)
Tiger loved his costume. He went around telling everyone he was Luke Skywalker.
He took his role as a Jedi very seriously and refused to smile for any pictures. (He was quite into posing though).
Kitty liked being Princess "Arreya"
She did come home from her preschool celebration looking a little bit more like Darth Maul though. Fortunately, she let me wipe it off before she went trick-or-treating.
This little girl really got into the trick-or-treating experience. Long after the other two were done and sorting through their loot, she was still out on the streets. I kept asking if she was done and she would say no and carry on. I finally had to point out that most of the lights were out and it was time to go home.
Monkey was the cutest little Yoda ever. She really liked her three fingered "monster"gloves.
She also quite enjoyed eating the spoils of her labor. If she had her way, she would have already finished off her, Tiger, and Kitty's treat stashes.
And for fun, here is the cake that I made for a friend who has a Halloween birthday.
 I was feeling a little candy corn inspiration for the inside. It was made with a white cake mix (half dyed yellow) and a Pumpkin cake mix. I layered it with a light cream cheese frosting and then covered the outside with the Wilton Buttercream icing.
It was quite tasty. I may have eaten more than I should. But that is usually the case:)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Easy Free Costume Idea

The idea is free, and the costume is free, provided you already have a white t-shirt, purple paint, and paint brushes. Or purple fabric markers. But the best part is that it is easy. You too could be a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater.

1. Find an old white t-shirt you don't care about. If yours is like mine, it's your husband's old cell biology conference t-shirt with a big nerdy picture and a pretty blue stain on the front. In which case you turn it inside out and backwards. Voila, blank canvas.

2. Stick something up the shirt so that your paint doesn't bleed through and stick the front and back of your shirt together. You could just put the shirt on and paint it while you're wearing it, but as entertaining as that would be to watch, I wouldn't vouch for your results. I recommend cardboard. I used an empty cereal box.

3. Paint. I free-handed mine, but you could definitely use stencils. But then you don't get to make up your own font, which would be a real shame.

4. Admire your handy-work. A hearty "Ta-da!" would not be out of place here.

You're so welcome ; )
p.s. I'm sure that my purple person was definitely inspired by something specific - some odd cartoon show, perchance? - but I really have no idea where I came across said inspiration. Bonus points if you can figure it out.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Long Time Ago...

A long time ago (a few weeks at least), in a galaxy right here, we decided to go with a Star Wars theme for our family Halloween costumes this year. This may have involved Mom needing to watch some movies so that she knew what was going on. But now that I am all caught up:)...
I have procrastinated working on their costumes until yesterday. While I was making the beaver hat for Kevin, I had the thought that I could adapt the pattern slightly and make Kitty a nice wig with some instant side buns.
 I finished it after she had already gone to bed and resisted the urge to wake a sleeping child. This morning she found it and knew it was hers and had to put it on. She can't wait to be "Princess Arayah" (those darn L's are so hard to say when you are little).
This hat is actually quite warm. It is too bad we don't live somewhere cooler- this would be the perfect answer to how to stay warm and still show off your Halloween costume.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Are there any Beavers in the House?

My husband just got back from his first week at Wood Badge training. He loved every minute of it. He is in the Beaver patrol, which apparently means he gets to eat first. Sounds good to me:) The Eagle and Bear patrols had received hats from their patrol guides, so I looked up beaver hats:
 Like it? I found the pattern here, and watched Youtube videos to figure out how to do the stitches and the terminology that I didn't know. I can now read a crocheting diagram:)
This is the back view, with his little tail. Now he can go back to Wood Badge in style.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Soupy Tale

Once upon a time I had a baby (OK, this may have happened a few times). But on this occasion, my sister came to visit and made me this soup. She got the recipe from someone who brought her this soup after she had a baby. Just listening to the ingredient list doesn't sound all that appealing, especially if you aren't a tomato-based sauce person, which I am not. But somehow, someway, this soup ends up being exceptionally tasty. As in, eat three bowls and debate a fourth tasty helping. It is also a sneaky way to get vegetables into children. Curious what the recipe is yet? Not to worry, I shall share.

Hamburger Soup
1 lb hamburger, browned with an onion (I added some garlic cloves too)
1 large can V8 cocktail (I just poured some from a bottle until it looked good)
2 cans cream of chicken or cream of celery
1 lb shredded carrots
Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and simmer on the stove or in a crock pot for several hours.

How is that for simple? I put mine in the crock pot in the morning and and just ignored it all day. I probably had it on for 7-8 hours. I usually serve this soup with some crescent rolls. They have the same post-partum background. I am pretty sure that our family shall be forever grateful to to wonderful person who originally brought my sister dinner that one night. I didn't have time to make the rolls yesterday, but this is my go-to recipe for rolls when I do make them.

Crescent Rolls

¾ cup lukewarm water
3 tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
Mix and let rise.

In a seperate bowl combine:
1 ½ cups water
¾ cup butter
½ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
3 tsp salt
Melt and mix together in microwave 2-3 minutes.

1 can evaporated milk
3 eggs, beaten
Yeast mixture (from above)
10 ½ cups flour (it usually takes more flour than this- just slowly add until you have a good dough consistency)

Butter your pan. Roll out into a pizza shape, spread with butter, and cut like you would a pizza. Roll into a crescent shape starting from the biggest end (stretching as you go). Let rise until double and bake at 375 for 14-20 minutes.

Most of the time, I cut this recipe in half. I also use milk instead of evaporated milk. If I ask my husband to make the rolls, I know they will end up being at least half whole wheat, and they are tasty that way as well.
Anyway you do it, it is a good way to end a day!

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Sleepy Halloween

A few weeks ago for a date night, my husband and I built this doll bed for Kitty using the plans from Ana White. I love that lady's website. So many things to build, so little space/time/money... 
I still haven't finished the bed yet. I need to pick up some more wood filler and then I will paint it white. Until then it is already well loved. Not only is it good for sleepy little marsupials, but I have seen a couple of kids sitting on it like a bench. It is certainly sturdy.
Yesterday, after watching General Conference, I had the desire to sew something. I've had a stash of Halloween fabric sitting around for a while now, and as I was looking at it, and then saw the bare doll bed, I suddenly decided that it was perfectly acceptable to have seasonal bedding. I may need to seek therapy for my Halloween fetish.
Meanwhile, I shall share with you how I made my mattress and bedding. (Mostly so I have a record and don't forget, but also in case anyone else wants a little more guidance in that department).
I started with some foam. I wanted a 1" thick sheet of foam that was 11"x 18 3/4". But foam can get pricey. Then I discovered at Walmart some Foam Seat Cushions in a 4 pack. They were 16" x 16" and, if I remember correctly, around $6 or so. Since I knew I was going to be making a few beds, that worked perfectly for me. I just cut the foam to the width I wanted and added a strip to the end to make it the correct measurements.
 I may have used a highly technical method for joining the two:)
 Then I realized that with adding batting, it would make my mattress fatter than I wanted, so I trimmed 1/2" off the length and width. If you want to spare yourself this step, just start out with the mattress measuring 10 1/2"X 18 1/4". This fits the modified version of the Ana White Farmhouse Doll Bed plan with only 4 slats.
 I wrapped quilt batting around one and a half times (because that is what I had and it looked good and covered).
 I trimmed along the long edge even with the side.
 Then I bent up the ends and trimmed the excess there.
 Then I stitched with a quick whip stitch around the edges.
 On the ends I tucked them up and in and gave it a nice boxy finish.
 Here is another view- I tucked the top down and folded up the bottom, with the sides trimmed so it was square.
 This is what it looked like when I was finished.
 Next I took some plain white fabric and cut two rectangles and 20 3/4" x 13". To get that measurement I simply added 1" for seam allowances ( 1/2" seam allowance on each side) and 1" for the thickness of my mattress to the size I wanted the final product to be.
 I sewed all the edges, leaving a gap to insert the mattress into, and trimmed the corners.
 To make the box corners, I opened the corners out and flattened them with the seams lined up in the center. Then I measured down until I had a 1" line and drew along that line with a fabric marker.
 I sewed along the line I had drawn and trimmed the corner. I repeated this step for all four corners.
 After I was done with that step, I turned the fabric so that it was right-side out and stuffed the mattress inside.
 I got the corners all lined up and everything where I wanted it and then used a blind stitch to close the opening.
All finished with the mattress!
After I had the mattress done, I needed some pillows. I wanted some good king size doll pillows for the Koalas to sleep on.
 This fabric is actually folded along the bottom edge. I cut it out at 8" x 11". If you wanted to sew all 4 sides then you would just add and extra 1/2" (and cut 2 at 8"x 6").
 I sewed along the edges with my 1/2" seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning and stuffing, then trimmed the corners.
 I even ironed before I stuffed my pillow:) Then I used a blind stitch to close the opening.
 For the pillowcases, I was using an end piece of fabric, so I did my measurements the long way. I started with a piece of fabric 17" x 6 1/2".
 I folded it it half and ironed it. Then I ironed the ends under- I folded it in about 1/2" and ironed, then folded it again that much and ironed again for a nice clean edge.
 I sewed along the top and bottom edges.
 Because I anticipate the pillowcases being taken off frequently (I know my children), I decided to do a french seam to finish off my pillow. I started by sewing about an 1/8" seam with the right sides facing out- this is after I folded the pillowcase in half so that it now looked more like a pillowcase.
 Then I turned the pillowcase wrong-side out and sewed about a 3/8" seam along the edge.
 Finished pillowcase after I turned it right-side out again.
For the sheet I took two pieces of fabric, 20" x 20". On one side I sewed some 1" bias tape about 2" down.
After I had the bias tape on one side, I put the two pieces of fabric right-sides together and sewed with a 1/2" seam allowance around the outside edges, leaving about a 3" gap. I clipped the corners, turned right-side out, and ran an 1/8" seam around the outside edges, closing the gap and finishing it off.
I ran out of fabric that I wanted to use for sheets, or else I would have made a fitted sheet as well.
My husband commented that it might be a little scary to sleep in. Hopefully Kawana and Kierra don't have too many nightmares.
 This was my first attempt at piece quilting. I went off of the instructions on this website and made 3" squares, sewn together with a 1/4" seam allowance. The binding instruction was not so clear so I found this binding tutorial to finish the edges.
 It is even reversible. Now I just have to finish the bed:)