Friday, September 28, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Trick or Treat Bag" Pattern & Tutorial...

I love fun, quick projects and this one certainly fits that description! I've made eight of these Trick or Treat Bags for my grandchildren in the last few of years, but because of the population explosion in our family four more are required. The candy corn Trick or Treat Bag version below could be suited for either a little boy or little girl depending on fabric choice! This one is for a little man...

The final measurements for this bag are 7 inches wide by 8 1/2 inches high by 3 inches deep with 13 inch handles. The bag has plenty of room for goodies but is easily managed by little hands.

Because I've had problems recently with people copying my blog posts and patterns and publishing them on other sites, I've chosen to have you email me for the pattern for my Trick or Treat Bag. Once I've sent you the pattern and you have your fabric cut out, you can follow the step-by-step instructions below.

To request the pattern, simply type "Trick or Treat Bag" in the subject line of the email you send to me {my email address is on my sidebar}, and I will send you the pattern in a return email. No need to hurry to request this pattern -- the offer of the free pattern is good throughout the 2012 Halloween season. If you choose to request the pattern, I ask that you leave a comment below. My creativity is fueled by your kind comments, so please follow this one request! 

For Pattern: follow instructions above
1/2" seam allowance
Refer to photos for visual help.
For tips on how to applique go to this blog post.

Cut Out Fabric

Strap Construction

1. Fold straps in half lengthwise and press.
2. Fold edges of straps toward the center fold line and press.
3. Tuck 3/4" x 14"  fusible fleece into strap fold and press to attach fusible fleece.
4. Top-stitch strap 1/8" from both edges. {Refer to photo below for steps 1-4.}


5.) Attach fusible fleece onto front and back.
6.) Before you begin: A fusible web (such as Wonder Under) should have been applied to the back of the candy corn frame and each section of the candy corn. For more information on appliqueing, go here. Position candy corn frame onto bag front. The top of the frame should be 1 3/4" from the top of the front. The sides of the frame should be 3" from each side of the bag front. Iron to adhere fusible web, then stitch frame to front using a machine blanket stitch, a zig-zag stitch, or straight stitch.{See photo below.)

7.) Arrange and center candy corn pieces onto the frame. Remove middle and bottom pieces, press top piece to frame to adhere Wonder Under, then applique using the machine stitch you've chosen. Start and end your stitches at the bottom of the candy corn piece -- those stitches will be covered up with the middle piece. {See arrow below.}

8.) Arrange and center middle candy corn piece over the top piece. {Note: Use the dashed lines on the pattern pieces as a guide. The top of the middle piece should be brought up to the dashed line on the top piece. The bottom piece should be brought up to the dashed line on the middle piece.} Iron middle piece to adhere Wonder Under, then machine stitch that piece to frame. Again, start and finish your stitches at the bottom...

9.) Finally, place the bottom candy corn piece over the middle piece. Press and stitch.

Attaching Straps to Front and Back

10.) Pin straps to front and back, right sides together, 2 1/2" from side edges. Baste.

Assembling bag

11.) Bag front and back: With right sides together, pin bag front to back. Stitch sides and bottom seam using a 1/2" seam and pivoting at the bottom corners as illustrated in the photo below. Lining front and lining back: With right sides together, pin lining front to lining back. Stitch sides and bottom seam, pivoting at the corners, and leaving a 3" opening at the bottom of the lining. Press seams open as best you can. {See photo below.}

12.) Gusset or "boxed corners" on bag and bag lining: To make gussets put your hand inside the bag and fold the bottom corner into a point where the bottom and side seams meet. An easy way to make sure seams are aligning is to push a pin through the middle of the top seam. The pin should exit the fabric in the middle of the seam below. Pin. Measure down to where it is 3" across in width. The halfway point (1 1/2") should be in the middle of your seam. Use a pencil or disappearing ink marker to mark the stitching line.{See photo below.}

13.) Stitch across the marked line, back-stitching at the edges. Check the gusset to make sure you are happy with it, then trim away the excess fabric to avoid bulk and zig-zag the edge. Treat the other corner in the same way. Repeat with lining.

14.) Turn bag right side out and press. Place bag into lining right sides together. Match seams and pin. Sew around top of bag with a 1/2" seam. Turn bag right sides out by pulling the bag through the opening in the bottom of the lining. When bag is right side out sew the "opening" in the bottom of the bag lining shut.

Finishing Touches

15.) Tuck the lining into the bag. Top-stitch around the top of the bag 3/8" from the edge...

Now you've got a Trick or Treat bag for the little Ghost or Goblin in your life!
Do you see those scary spiders crawling all over the inside of the bag? 

Please remember:  To request the pattern, simply type "Trick or Treat Bag" in the subject line of the email you send to me {my email address is on my sidebar}, and I will send you the pattern in a return email. If you choose to request the pattern, I ask that you leave a comment below. My creativity is fueled by your comments, so please follow this one request!

Linked to:
Made by you Monday @ Skip to my Lou

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trick or Treat Bag -- Sneak Peak

A few years ago I created a Trick or Treat Bag and made a bunch for my grandchildren. Since that time four more grands have joined the family, so I'm in the process of making some more. Here's a peak at a couple of the trick-or-treat bags I've made in the past. The photos feature bags that are the same basic pattern with a few tweaks to make them unique...

Today I'll be working on a free tutorial for these cute Halloween bags. I'll publish tutorials for both versions in the next two days. These are sturdy bags that can be used year after year. They are the perfect gift from a grandma to her grands for Halloween!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ric Rac Recieving Blanket

A year and a half ago I published my Ric Rac Receiving Blanket Tutorial. At that time I featured baby boy fabrics, but within the next couple of months we're going to have a baby girl join the ranks of our family. She will bring the total grandchildren count up to 12 -- 6 boys and 6 girls!

I've enjoyed making some receiving blankets with a more feminine feel. I've loved the birdie craze -- these little trees and birdies against the pale pink background of this soft flannel fabric are so cute...

 Riley Blake "Pink Summer Song" Flannel

I used the same technique that I used in my tutorial to tuck the ric rac between the outside seams and tied this receiving blanket with a double strand of embroidery floss to keep the front and back fabrics from separating.

I attached a brown and pink polka-dot fabric to the back of the blanket. I love the way it plays off the flannel on the front in this fun way...

Here's another version with pink elephants and white ric rac. These girly elephants pose on a soft cotton knit fabric...

These are two of five receiving blankets I'll be making in the next couple of days. It feels so good to be able to relax at my sewing machine with a few quick projects!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lionus {the rag tag blanket} Pattern & Tutorial

Update: Lionus  -- the rag tag blanket
is now available in my Etsy store.

Goodness you've been patient. I promised this pattern and tutorial weeks ago! Fortunately, the last few days I had some time to tweak the pattern and create a tutorial!

Lionus {pronounced "Linus"} is an adorable, soft and cuddly rag tag sensory blanket for the adorable, soft and cuddly baby in your life. Lionus would be perfect for the baby who roars -- if you know what I mean. {Tag blankets have been known to have a calming affect on babies.}

Lionus can be made from any combination of fabrics and colors. I choose to use a variety of textured fabrics and ribbons, that include: cotton, faux fur, felt, faux suede, and satin and grosgrain ribbons. By interacting with and exploring the different surfaces of the blanket and ribbons, babies senses are both soothed and stimulated.

The Lionus pattern and tutorial will be sent to my readers free of charge for the next 24 hours. On Thursday morning I will transfer the pattern to the shelves of my Etsy shop and you'll be able to purchase it there!

Lionus' final measurements are 14" wide by 15.5" tall. 
He's the perfect companion to soothe a fussy or bored baby!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rubbermaid Bento Boxes & Toppers Give Away Results...

It's time to announce the results of the Rubbermaid
Bento Boxes and Toppers
Give Away!

I appreciate Rubbermaid's generosity in providing this fabulous prize!

The winner is...

Laura Kathryn!

Laura Kathryn, please contact me (email address on sidebar) asap and we'll ship those off!

Congratulations & enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Home is where the Heart is...

A couple of months ago I committed to adding punches of color to our informal dining area. This weekend I got around to decorating another wall in that room. My husband and I love maps. Recently I've been inspired by heart-filled maps found on Etsy that indicate where a family lives, but I had another purpose in mind as I shopped around for a map that would fit in this recently color-filled room. I found the perfect map on Amazon...

This beautiful map with its brightly colored states was just what I was looking for to compliment the colors on our new shelves. I was shocked to find that the total cost for this beautiful 22"x34" map was under $10,  including shipping! {Seriously!!!} I had it framed in a simple black frame with a white beveled mat. I wanted the focal point to be the map itself, not the frame...

This is where the fun part began. Our seven children and their families are spread across the U.S. from one coast to the other. I wish they were all closer, but that just isn't the case right now. I thought it would be fun to have a reminder on our wall of their presence in our lives even though we are far-flung. That's where the map came in. I ordered a vinyl wall sticker {very reasonably priced} from Vinyl Wall Expressions and placed it above the framed map.

I also ordered some teeny little red hearts -- about 1/3" tall -- from Vinyl Wall Expressions that I placed on the glass to indicate where the different members of our family reside...

The quote "Home is where the heart is..." rings true in my life. However, home, for me, is not so much a physical dwelling as it is a place where family gathers. I'm truly "home" when I'm surrounded by family -- no matter where that might be. This wall expresses that thought, and it makes me smile whenever I walk by. It also adds that spice of color that I hoped to incorporate in that room.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Homemade Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup

A couple of days ago I whined about our 92 degree weather and the long, dry spring and summer we have endured. Apparently my mother was wrong -- whining does help. Today it's 60 degrees outside and rainy. ;o)

As a result of this deliciously cool and wet weather, I am in a cooking/baking/canning mood. I canned 12 more jars of applesauce this morning, then I made some homemade noodles for some chicken noodle soup. This afternoon I prepared the soup, made some blueberry muffins, and baked an apple crisp. Mother nature isn't the only one that benefits from cooler weather -- my husband does too. (I rarely cook when it's hot.)

I thought I'd share my "Homemade Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup" recipe with you. Ordinarily, chicken noodle soup isn't my favorite. I like rich and creamy soups, but this particular recipe is one I've tweaked over the years, and the few changes I've made have made a big difference in flavor. It could actually be considered more of a "chicken stew" in that it satisfies the appetite more and has heartier ingredients than a typical chicken broth. I never worry about how much of each ingredient I use. I just use the ingredients listed, and if I make it one time with a little more of this or a little less of that, it doesn't seem to matter!

Ok, so here are my secret ingredients that make my Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup a little different than most. First of all, when I make this chicken noodle soup, I make my own noodles. Not only are they a cinch to make, but homemade noodles are a little thicker and heartier than store-bought, so the homemade variety add a little bulk to the soup. In addition, I dice up and add a sweet potato or yam. The sweetness of the sweet potato adds an element that is fabulous! Third, I use "Imagine Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth." This chicken broth is by far the best I've ever tried. I also add zucchini and yellow squash,which might be a little unusual. Anyway, below are all the ingredients. I will add amounts for each of the items, but remember -- that's just a suggestion! If you're not a fan of sweet potatoes or squash dice them very small, and try them anyway. You won't really taste the them individually, but you'll probably appreciate the combination of flavors.

Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup

2 chicken breasts** 
1 carrot
1 small can of shoepeg or white corn
1 celery stalk
1 small onion
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow or crookneck squash
1 yam or sweet potato
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. sage
garlic salt to taste
salt & pepper to taste
1 or 2 Imagine Free Range Organic Chicken Broth
homemade noodles (recipe below)
**Turkey can be substituted.

Make the noodles and set them aside. Dice chicken in 3/4" squares and saute with a little olive oil in large pot. While the chicken is cooking prepare your veggies. I dice my veggies into very small cubes. As you can see below the diced veggies are just slightly bigger than the shoepeg corn...

Set cooked chicken aside. Add a little more olive oil to your pot and saute all the veggies until they are slightly cooked. Add chicken and chicken broth to the pot. Add spices, garlic salt, salt and pepper to taste. Let soup simmer on the stove for about 15 minutes, then add the noodles and let the soup simmer for 30 more minutes.  

Homemade egg noodles:
Combine 1 beaten egg, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add enough sifted flour to make stiff dough, about 1 cup. Roll very thin on floured surface; let stand 20 minutes. Cut with a pizza cutter into 1/4 inch by 3 inch strips.  The noodles can be air dried by draping them on a plastic coat hanger for several hours. This alleviates the problem of the noddles clumping together because they are too moist. The beauty of making your own noodles is that it produces a noodle that is a little thicker (thus heartier) and a little bit dumpling-like. Love 'em! Below are some noodles just before I added them to the soup...

Here's the finished product -- a chicken concoction filled with delightful summer veggies and topped off with some big, fat egg noddles to give it a little bulk. Just the thing for a cool fall day...