Saturday, January 26, 2013

The making of a "Holiday Tree", A nostalgic craft project

As I was planning new craft activities to do with my girls for Valentine's Day I had a nostalgic moment! I pictured myself as a small child sitting on my mother's kitchen table in Manti, Utah. What sat on the table next to me is what inspired this blog post. It was a darling tree that my super talented, crafty mother had created. It was made out of a branch from a tree, but was decorated for Easter. I remember as a child that I loved this tree! So I decided to try to replicate it for my kids. But I want mine to stay as a more permanent part of the decor in my home by changing it's decorations for each holiday. That's how I came up with the name "Holiday Tree". I thought it would be fun to decorate it with different ornaments for every month/holiday. Since my girls love to do craft projects with me. It will be a great activity to do together. When I asked mom what was her inspiration for the original tree, she said she wanted to make something cute to decorate for the Easter Holiday. But that "back in those days there wasn't a Walmart close, so you made your own decorations!" I did the same thing she did by using a real branch as the tree part and we decorated it for Valentine's Day. Here are some pictures of how ours turned out! I spray painted a #10 can white so it would go with any color decor since that part is permanent. I used Plaster of Paris to secure the branch inside the can. And when it sets up it's heavy enough to support the tree. Then we made lots of different decorations out of felt, paper, stickers, bows, ribbon, tulle and pipe cleaners. My kids love the tree and I think they will enjoy making and changing the decorations for the different holidays/seasons.
It will also give us future crafting projects by making new ornaments for the different holidays.

Now if I could just find the picture of me and  my Mom's original tree. (The nostalgic part) I can see the picture in my mind, but I wonder what happened to the picture...Maybe someday I will find it and post it. Until then, here are my girls with their new Holiday Tree.

How to make a dress up "Pill Box" hat, tutorial!

I'm pretty sure I want one!
My little girl was recently invited to a friends Tea Party. She was most excited to go and of course none of the dress-ups we already have would do! (It's just a good thing mom knows how to sew, and has ample time for making new duds!) I used this opportunity to spend some time with just her. Dad happened to be home when this occurred so I was able to take just her to the fabric store. She loved being able to pick out all of the fabrics and decorations for her new outfit and spend time with Mommy. And it was a great Mommy/Daughter Date! Besides the Tea Party, at school she is having a special hat day. They get to bring a hat and tell about it. I love, love, love vintage style! So my daughter and I decided on a "Pill Box" hat for her dress up, get up. My girls call them "Fancy Lady Hats". We came home and started on the hat. I have not made one before and I don't know if there are any tutorials out there already (didn't look), but they went together so easily. And they turned out so great that I thought I would share what we did.
Things you will need:
Poster board (or other stiff product to hold the hat shape) I'm one for using what you have so be creative and recycle if you can.
Glue: I used my trusty hot glue gun. I like things to stick immediately. (I think I'm impatient!)
Fabric: We chose some taffeta, some satin, "fancy lady fabrics"
Embellishments: Flowers, Jewels, Ribbon, Feathers and of course Netting to adorn the hats.

Okay, 1st step: Cut a strip of poster board as shown, this makes the "box part"/ring part of the hat when you connect the ends. This piece just needs to be long enough to fit the size person you are making this for. I like my pill box hats to be smaller than the circumference of their head, so they sit off to the side.

Then cut a circle also out of poster board, this is the top of the pill box hat.

Then using scissors, make snips about 1/2-3/4" into the circle of the hat all the way around.

Now fold all the snips inward so it looks like this.

This is a side view of the snips folded in on the top of the hat.

Now cut a strip of fabric big enough to cover the poster board strip. Lay the poster board on the wrong side of the fabric and fold the fabric over on one side of the poster board and glue the fabric down, then repeat the gluing process on the other side so the poster board is completely covered with fabric. Then I cut the fabric off the ends so it was flush with the poster board. (Make sure only to glue on the back side, not on the front, as the satin is thin the glue would show through and make it bumpy if you glued the front.)

This shows one side glued down.

This shows the poster board completely covered by fabric and ends cut flush.

Then measure your strip by wrapping it around the top circle to see where to glue the ends together. Then you can either trim the excess strip off, or I left mine on and just doubled it part of the way around.

Then I glued the ends of the strip together. Folding the outside end under so it was a pretty end not a frayed end.

This is the poster board strip covered with fabric and attached to itself ready to have the top added.

This is a circle of satin fabric cut about 1-1/2" larger than the poster board circle and a circle cut exactly the size of the poster board circle of something soft (I used a scrap of Warm and Natural Quilt Batting)to finish the top. 

Now glue the batting circle piece to the top of the poster board circle.

Now lay the fabric piece on the counter, wrong side up and then lay the hat top down on the fabric and place glue on the snip folded sides and wrap the fabric up onto the snips and attach. (Keeping the top flat and folding the fabric around the sides. They will be hidden but the top is not, so keep the top flat and wrinkle free.)

This is a view of the inside of the top after gluing the fabric to the snip sides. 

This is a view of the top of the hat after gluing the fabric to the snip sides.

Now glue the fabric down to the inside of the snip sides to finish the top. Folding the fabric over the snip sides and gluing it down.

This is what the top looks like all covered with fabric and ready to attach to the ring strip.

Now that the top and ring are finished, it's time to attach them to make the hat complete. I did this by placing glue all the way around the bottom of the ring as shown in picture. 

Then I placed the top inside the ring and held in place until the glue dried.

This is the hat completed. Now comes the fun part, adding the pretty stuff!!

Now I attached white feathers to the top of the hat as shown.

Then I attached a piece of netting for the veil.

Then I attached a big ribbon flower with a glitzy button in the center.

Then I attached two alligator clips to the sides, inside the ring to hold the hat in place on the child's head. (Because they are small and I like them to sit off to the side they need help staying on.)

Here is the hat completed!

This project was pretty simple, fast and lots of fun to do with my daughter! Dressing up is just the best!! I don't know what I'm going to do when they get too big for dress-ups.
Below is the pink number I made for my little girls Tea Party.

Lots of Pink!

Ready for the Tea Party!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kacey's Dresses, Update!

I must tell you that I feel like a little kid waiting on Christmas! I am so excited to announce that we are 1 week away from the launch date of my first dress. I have one design coming out Feb. 1, 2013 with Shabby Apple. (My other 4 designs will launch in March.) I have seen the photo shoot pictures and the dresses, I am in love! And I can't wait to share them with you! Just one more week and you can see part of what has kept me busy for the past year. Mark your calendar for Feb. 1 to check out the Shabby Apple website at to peek at my dress.

Friday, January 18, 2013

G-Rated Valentine's Day!

My daughter says "This is so romantical mommy!"
I love Valentine's Day! Not because I need a special day to show the One I Love, that I love Him. Because I do try to show Handy Husband that I love him, no matter what day the calendar says it is. But, Valentine's Day is just fun! You get to go overboard and spoil the one you love. Well today's post is about a Valentine's Day that my family shared two years ago. I was 8 months pregnant and money was a little tight so we decided to keep our Valentine's activities "in-house". I'm so glad we did! I wouldn't recommend doing this every year, but it was a fun night. We got to share this special day with our kids and they loved it! My girls and I planned a special candle light dinner for the family. We decorated the table with Valentine's Day decorations. The kids really felt like they were included in a holiday that they normally are not. The food we made was all red and hearts inspired and ate by candlelight. We did toasts with red Kool-Aid in fancy wine glasses. We made our own heart confetti. And Fancy Jello for dessert. If you have small children I would recommend doing this at least once!

Our table setting.

G-Rated Jello!

The toast!

Of course we had to have a balloon!

The family Valentine's Day Dinner

This was part of my gift to Handy Husband. I made a special book for him that I put memories and stories from our relationship from dating to current. (Just in case I get dementia when I get old and he has to read it to me so I remember! I love "The Notebook!!") This gift was inspired by that movie.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Creme Brulee Squares in a Pyrex!

The other day I had the opportunity to acquire some fresh, raw cream from a friend of mine who has a milk cow. Let me tell you...."That was the best Creme Brulee I have ever eaten!" All I can say is, it's a good thing I'm back to Zumba daily again, because as much of this deliciousness as I have eaten, would pack on the pounds! I wish I could have my own cow, but that just isn't going to work right now. So I will get it from my friend! I had much more cream than normal, so I did a double batch. (Not a good idea, because then I want to eat a double batch!)  I had only enough Ramekins to make one batch at a time and I needed to get it done all at once. Well I tried something new, and it worked out, so I'm sharing! I used the excess in a Pyrex 9x13 Pan and put that 9x13 into a bigger cake pan and then filled around it with water. And it cooked just as good! So if anyone wants to make Creme Brulee and don't own Ramekins...this works! I like the presentation in the Ramekins better, but if you don't have any or if you want to serve a crowd this method might just be for you!

This is the larger cake pan I used for the water bath. I put the 9x13 pan inside this pan, then filled around it with water. (Be careful not to get water into your Creme Brulee!)

I cut squares with a knife then they slide out nicely with a thin, flat metal spatula.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Laundry Room Ruffled Curtain Door! (Otherwise known as concealer)

(The next generation of designers.)
There are very few things in my life that I dread. One that I do have a hard time keeping up with is my laundry. "For the love of Pete!" How many times do children need to change their clothes in one day?! And they are never clean when they are done, they can't be worn again (in most cases) and small children cannot do their own laundry. So what is to be done? Well I say do your best and when all else fails conceal!! We use concealer on our faces to cover zits and dark circles, why not the laundry? LOL! I had to do something! Today's post was prompted by someone whom I love dearly inquiring about what was going on in my laundry room?, Was my washer broken? Why was there such a pile of laundry in there. Well for starters I must give you a little background. My laundry room is about the size of a closet. It has a shoot that collects laundry that we throw down from under the sink cabinet in the upstairs bathroom. But this small space leaves very little room for sorting. And I got one of those sorting racks from Walmart one day thinking it would solve the problem, but it sort of made it worse because it takes up more space and you can't shut the door. So I had my handy hubby take the door off, because it kept getting in the way. Problem solved right? Well..yes...until a completely innocent someone is standing in the kitchen and then unknowingly turns to their left and WHOA ! They get a full on look at what is going on in that laundry room...and sometimes it's scary!! So to remedy this situation, I do load, after load, after load, and then when that still isn't enough. I made the Laundry Room Fabric Curtain Door! (Otherwise known as concealer!!) You may remember a few blog posts ago I made some new curtains for my kitchen windows out of cream colored burlap. So I just continued this theme by making a curtain that covers the laundry room door when I want it to, then can be removed if I want it open. I hung it using a shower curtain rod, it's completely removable (no holes or screws required) if I ever want the real door back, and was simple, pretty quick and cheap! Here are some pic's of the problem area.

The Before: Notice the pile of dirty clothes on the floor. (I'm embarrassed to say that on the day that said purely innocent loved one witnessed said horrifying sight....the pile was much worse!) So now ya know, if the drape is up the laundry is down, LOL!!

               And the After: Pretty good concealer if you ask me, I think I even got the color right!
                   Now just a few sprays of Febreeze (Burlap smells funny!) and we're good to go.

The next task will be to organize and hang up my collection of aprons (the glob of things piled on one hook in the corner!) How many aprons does one need? Oh..yeah...I sell aprons, it's my job to have lots!! Looks like I've got another job on my house organization "to-do" list. (I told you my house is not organized and decorated like I want it to be. It's a work in progress!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Valentine's Day Fabric Flower Topiary Tutorial

If you are like me and love to sew, and you like to do it often...You inevitably find yourself being overcome by scrap fabric! Ahhh!! I feel like my scrap fabric pile is starting to develop an evil laugh. And at some point it will grow arms and legs and come after me. (If you feed something long enough, that's what happens right?) Ok...I'm exaggerating just a little bit, but because I sew so much I have a lot of scrap fabric, therefore I am always trying to think of projects that will "eat up" some of those scraps! I'm sure by now you have all figured out that I love fabric flowers. (I love them almost as much as I do ruffles, and you know how I feel about ruffles=my very fav!) I love getting rid of scrap fabric and I love fabric flowers so today's DIY project combines these two things. This project was inspired by a friend of mine who made the most beautiful fabric flower bouquet for her daughter's wedding. It was unbelievably beautiful, even though it was made of fabric flowers it rivaled any real flower arrangement I have ever seen! (And it will last forever, unlike my wedding bouquet that I have tried to save for 13 years now...Let's just say it doesn't look as beautiful.) So when I saw this bouquet it inspired me to make something out of fabric flowers to display in my home. (Since I have no weddings in my near future.) Today I made a Valentine's Day themed Topiary out of Fabric Flowers. You also, probably know by now that I also love to make things without having to buy anything. So today's project was done without me buying a thing! I used only things (scraps) I already had around the house.

To get started I just made lots of fabric flowers. I made them out of all the Valentine's Day colored scrap fabrics I could find in my "evil" pile. (Pinks, reds, whites, prints, solids etc.) I made lots of different types of flowers to make it interesting and give it more dimension and depth.

Then I made a ball using some old paper packing paper, I smashed it up into a ball as shown here:

Then I completely covered the ball of smashed paper in duct tape to give it some strength and hold the circular shape.

Then I went outside and found a stick. (It was from a branch off my Christmas Tree, I just peeled off all the small branches that went out to the side leaving only the vertical branch as shown)

I then inserted the stick into the ball of paper and secured it with duct tape so it stood straight and firm. Notice the ball of paper is now completely covered with duct tape and is ready to have the fabric flowers attached!

Then I just started attaching the fabric flowers to the duct tape ball using my hot glue gun. Completely cover the ball with the flowers. Try to place the flowers so you cannot see the duct tape ball. If you have small spaces where it shows through, I just glued a button, glitter gem or colored it red or pink with a Sharpie marker.

I also used some satin ribbon I had to wrap around the stick to make it look prettier and tied a bow at the top of the stick.

For the base of the topiary, I used a glass jar, placed the stick inside and placed many glass gem rocks to fill the jar and hold the stick/topiary in place.

1/26/13: Update, After having the topiary on the table for weeks now, I have changed the base to a bigger, pink watering can and used Plaster of Paris to secure the topiary stick inside the watering can. (My kids jump around A LOT! And it was fine until they started jumping and then it would tip over. So after using the bigger base and the Plaster of Paris, it's not moving!) So I would recommend using a bigger base container and Plaster of Paris is heavy when dried, it works perfect for a solid base.

Keep placing the flowers on until the ball is completely covered.

This is the end result. Not bad for using scraps around the house!
Now I have a new Valentine's Day Topiary to go with the quilted table cloth I made years ago. And my scrap pile has gone down some!! (Maybe it won't eat me today, he, he!)