Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sewing: Minky Backed Baby Quilt for WeAllSew

I have been trying to hold myself back from quilting. My rationale is that I have enough stash, lists, patterns and ideas with knitting, crochet and sewing to keep me busy. At least until my girls are "too old" to wear what I love to make them.

But since Audrey started quilting it's been too much to resist! I gave in. And for my first quilt (since high school) I made a sweet minky-backed and bound patchwork baby quilt. I love a minky backing for a baby--why not make it extra cuddly?

Audrey was kind enough to help me with some of the piecing. Spray basting made it a breeze to work with the minky (no stretching or slipping!).

The full tutorial is on the BERNINA Americas blog, WeAllSew: How to Make a Minky Backed Baby Quilt.

I purchased most of these fabrics at my local Jo-Ann (the Art Gallery Coquette Collection Blossoms was from my stash), but I found some of them online. Here are some links for you:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

FYI: I'm in the New Fat Quarters Book (Giveaway)

Hi Friends. It was a very happy mail day when this book arrived in my box. Fat Quarters: Small Fabrics, More Than 50 Big Ideas is a fantastic book, which lives up to it's title. There are so many great project ideas in here! And I'm giving one away so be sure to scroll down and enter.

Not only was I thrilled to have a copy of this book for my own sewing scheming, but it's the second book to which I've contributed a project! It's so exciting to see my work in print. I have two projects in the Babies & Kids section: My Child's Fat Quarter Reversible Apron

And a little baby dress made entirely of fat quarters.

I had so much fun developing these projects (over a year ago) and I hope others will enjoy sewing them too.

This sweet dress has a vintage vibe, which I love for babies, but it could be modern colorblock too. 

The apron lends itself to all sorts of creative possibilites, especially given the pom pom trim. I love giving these as birthday gifts.

And just wait until you see all the other projects! This book will spur a whole new fat quarter binge.

Would you like a copy of Fat Quarters: Small Fabrics, More Than 50 Big Ideas for your very own? You can enter in the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Crafting: Easter Bunny Banner and Free Bunny Template (Tutorial)

Note: This post is sponsored by the We R Memory Keepers HSN Party Pack. All opinions are my own. 

I'm getting Spring Fever in a big way with some sunnier weather. Bulbs are pushing through the ground, trees are budding, I'm dreaming of Easter dresses, and I'm craving Spring colors. So I decided to bring Spring indoors with a new Easter Bunny Banner, in one of my favorite combinations: pink and yellow.

Lucky for me I received a We R Memory Keepers HSN Party Pack last week with more than I needed to whip up this cute banner. Except for the bunny silhouette. I traced it in Illustrator, but I've got the the file to share with you.

The The 1-2-3 Punch Board Party Collection will be available exclusively on HSN starting next Tuesday, March 24th. The 1-2-3 Punch Board Party Collection on HSN is the only way you can get the 1-2-3 Punch Board and Banner Punch Board, which make cutting gift boxes, envelopes, bows, and three kinds of banners super easy. I love that each of these tools cuts a variety of shapes but they aren't larger than they need to be. The collection also includes a 12"x12" paper pad of colorful two-sided card stock in fun graphic prints, packaging tape with fun phrases, two colors of baker's twine and an idea book with all sorts of projects to get the wheels turning.

So let me show you what I came up with. I've got a quick tutorial so you can make your own Bunny Banner.

You'll need:

  • The 1-2-3 Banner Punch Board (part of The 1-2-3 Punch Board Party Collection )
  • 2 pieces of 12"x12" pink and white striped card stock (included in The 1-2-3 Punch Board Party Collection )
  • 1 piece of 12"x12" pink and white polka dot card stock (included in The 1-2-3 Punch Board Party Collection )
  • 2 pieces of 12"x12" yellow and white polka dot card stock (included in The 1-2-3 Punch Board Party Collection )
  • Bunny Silhouette Template (you can download the bunny silhouette jpeg file here and the bunny silhouette .svg file here with multiple images)
  • Your favorite adhesive for paper (I used a glue stick)
  • Baker's twine (included in The 1-2-3 Punch Board Party Collection )
To make the Bunny Banner:

Cut the pink and white striped card stock into 6"x12" pieces (you should have four pieces). You will use these to cut four 6"x8" pennants.

Insert the pink and white striped paper so it is aligned with the 8" line near the top of The 1-2-3 Banner Punch Board.

Insert the cutter in the grooves at the side with the cutting blade to the inside of the shape and make two cuts to create the pennant shape.

It doesn't get easier!

To create the flag shapes, cut the yellow and white polka dot card stock into 6"x8" pieces. (Cut each of your two pieces into two 6"x12" pieces, and then trim them to 8".) Then insert the card stock so it is centered on the 1-2-3 Banner Punch Board and pushed all the way to the top. Insert the cutter in the grooves at the side with the cutting blade towards the top and make two cuts from the outer edges to the center.

And there's your flag shape.

You should have four striped pennants and four polka dot flags.

Punching holes in the corner for stringing is super easy too. There are grooves at the top of the 1-2-3 Banner Punch Board for lining up the straight or angled top corner of your banner shapes. Then push down on the button and there you go.

Print my Bunny Silhouette jpg and cut out the bunnies to create template. Then trace the bunny shape onto the pink and white polka dot card stock and cut out. If you have a Cricut Explore or other electric cutter you can download my Bunny Silhouette .svg file and use it to cut out the bunny shapes.

Glue a bunny to the center of each yellow and white polka dot flag.

String your pennants and flags onto the cute mint green and white baker's twine and hang up your Bunny Bunting!

The 1-2-3 Punch Board and Banner Punch Board are available as a limited-quantity, one-time special on HSN in The 1-2-3 Punch Board Party Collection at a discount of retail pricing. This "Daily Special" on HSN will start Tuesday, March 24.

You'll have to hop on over. (Sorry)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cooking: Spanish Springtime Brunch for Book Club (Recipes & Printables)

It's teasing of Spring around here, which makes me want to celebrate it. What better way than with a brunch of delicious foods? Brunch is my favorite meal because it combines all of them. The menu can include breakfast foods, a salad on the side, and dessert of course. And brunch usually accompanies a special occasion. In this case it was a gathering of friends to discuss one of my favorite books: The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway.

I have loved Hemingway's writing since I studied it in high school. I find his economy of words and tight prose invigorating. And his stories have such romance. The Lost Generation and wars and romance and heartbreak. All set in beautiful European cities and rural landscapes. If you haven't read this book you should pick it up. (We read The Paris Wife along with it, which is a fictionalized account of Hemingway's first marriage and the time period in which he wrote The Sun Also Rises.) And then host your girlfriends for a discussion with brunch! I've got invites and a menu you can edit with your details, and all the recipes below.

You can find The Sun Also Rises Art Deco/1920s-inspired printable invitation file here (yes, it's a re-imagining of this Roaring 20s invitation.) It is a PDF, which prints two invitations per 8.5"x11" page, designed to fit in a #10 envelope (such as these metallic silver envelopes). Download it, edit it with Adobe reader, and then I recommend printing on bright white cardstock. There is a fan pattern for the back if you'd like to print double-sided. (Please note that "The Sun Also Rises" graphic cannot be edited.)

Because this novel is set in Paris and Pamplona I decided on a Spanish-inspired menu for our brunch. My husband and I took a trip to Spain a couple years ago this Spring and I loved all the delicious food! He had spent a couple years in Sevilla years before and had talked of their Tortillas and I became a big fan on our trip. So the headliner for this brunch was a Tortilla Espanola. It requires a good investment in olive oil and some tricky flipping in the pan but it's so worth it!

I served this with steamed asparagus and a rich Spanish aioli (lots of garlic). I was a little timid about the aioli but loved it on the asparagus as well as the Tortilla--yum!

I brightened these indulgences with a Spring Greens salad tossed with slivered almonds and my favorite Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette, and a Citrus Salad with Cinnamon-Cayenne dressing (trust me on this--so good!).

Finally, I served Garlic Marinated Shrimp. Not only is it pretty to look at but it tastes fresh and good too.

Such a pretty Spring plate. This would be a beautiful menu for an Easter Brunch. I may have to repeat it! Especially now that I have a tablecloth to go with it. (My tablecloth was sewn with IKEA Rosemarie fabric in grey.)

You can download the printable Spring Brunch Menu File here. It can be edited with Adobe Reader to match your own menu and then printed two-per-page on letter sized paper. You can also add the fan pattern to the second side of this printable to match your invitation.

I decorated with a "snake vase" I purchased at the Takashimaya Manhattan store years ago (when it still existed) to use for our wedding. I don't bring it out often enough. It's perfect for a long table.

I also printed photographs of Hemingway and his friends on their Pamplona trip to see the bullfights. I found these via his Wikipedia page. Fun to have them sitting in frames like some distant relatives looking over our dessert buffet. Hemingway was a handsome devil.

Speaking of dessert, I served Chocolate Croissants, Almond Croissants and Almond Horn cookies from Trader Joes (I always purchase part of my menu to give myself a little break in the prep) alongside a rich Drinking Chocolate. This recipe came from my wonderful friend, Lynda, who knows a good recipe! But it's incredibly easy (you make it in a crock pot!).

Now that your mouth is watering, you can click through for all the recipes. Welcome Spring and throw a brunch! It's such a luxury in a busy life to relax midday with good friends and good food. I'm still thinking about it...

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