Saturday, October 22, 2011

Abby's Boots

Made these little boots for my niece's baby shower today.  You use two coordinating fabrics that have been quilted together.  I got the material from the Quilt Cabin in Colby.   Doris Mote did the quilting.  I thought they turned out really cute.  They were actually not too difficult.  Here is a link to Curby's Closet to get the pattern:  "Too Cute to Kick Off" Boots.  I made the flowers from felt.  I found an easy tutorial.  Here is the link:  Easy Felt Flowers.  They were so simple to make and looked great.  The tutorial recommended using coins to make a pattern for the flower.  I used dimes to make a small flower.  Maddie and I made a larger flower for her using quarters for the template.  We are going to make it into a hair clip for her.  I have definitely found another fun thing to make!
Saturday, October 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies


So I was trying to think of something to make for church potluck tomorrow, something that I had the ingredients for and something that my son, Evan, could help me with.  My husband Matthew teases me that I always make brownies for such occasions.  My sister-in-law Stephanie teases me that I can't just make a plain brownie.  Well, I plead guilty on both counts!  Evan and I concocted these peanut butter brownies, and I think they are going to be good.

To make, start with any brownie mix for a 9 by 13 inch pan size.  Make the "cake-like" brownie recipe (add three eggs instead of two).  After your batter is mixed, add 1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips before placing in pan and baking according to package directions. 

We frosted them with peanut butter frosting--I'll include the recipe below.  That seemed a little too plain, so I melted 1/4 cup chocolate chips with 1/2 teaspoon shortening in the microwave and drizzled it over the top.  I'm hoping that the chocolate on top won't be too crunchy when we try to cut them.  Whatever the food equivalent to "curb appeal" is, though, I think these brownies have them!

Peanut Butter Frosting (From Betty Crocker)

1/3 C. Peanut Butter
3 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Beat sugar gradually into peanut butter.  Add vanilla and milk and beat until smooth, using additional milk if needed.
Friday, October 14, 2011

"Manpron," an Apron for a Boy!

As I was completing aprons for my girls, I had the idea that I could make an apron for Evan.  I ran the idea by Matt, and he thought it was a good idea.  He thought, though, that we needed a different name for the item than "apron." So, here is my project--a manpron for my little guy.  Start by obtaining some measurements--length from chest to knee (or however long you want it to be), width at chest level, width a few inches above waist (where the apron will tie) and length from chest to where the apron will tie.  For my above-average height five year old, chest was 7 inches, waist 20 inches, length 22 inches, and about 8 inches for the chest to waist measurement.  I actually forgot the last measurement and ended up "winging it." This was not wise, because I had to take the apron apart at the end and take an inch off the top.  So, don't forget to get all of your measurements first!
For simplicity, I added an inch to each measurement to allow for seam allowances. You can be more exact if you like.  You will want a rectangle that is the length of your manpron and folded to equal half the width at the waist.  Make sure that the fabric is "up" if the fabric is directional. 
At the top, measure 1/2 of the chest measurement (4 inches for Evan).  Then measure down and make a mark where the waist will be.  Draw a curved line with a fabric marker from the top to the side.  I drew the line in blue, so it is a little hard to see here.  Pin the material together and cut out the shape.
This is what you will end up with.
I used a coordinating fabric for the back of the manpron so that it could be reversible.  I folded the front of the apron and then traced it onto the coordinating fabric and cut out as described previously.
Cut two 3 by 28 inch strips for the tie straps.  (I used this measurement from the pattern I used for my girls' aprons.  This could definitely be shorter.)  Cut one 2 1/2 by 21 inch strip for the neck strap.  You then need 15 inches of 1/2 inch elastic for the neck strap.  Fold the tie straps and neck strap in half lengthwise, right sides together, and iron.  Using a 1/4 inch seam, sew the side and one end of each tie strap and the side of the neck strap.  Cut corners (on the ends of the tie straps) and turn right side out; press. Now for the pocket. I wanted a large, divided pocket in the middle of the manpron. You could use any size and location that you desire. I cut an 11 by 13 inch rectangle out of each fabric.
For the pockets, fold in half, right sides together.  Using a 3/8 inch seam, sew around edge, leaving an opening to turn pocket right side out and press.  Topstitch across top of pocket.
Place pocket on front of manpron as desired.  I centered mine and placed it 6 inches from the bottom.  I drew a chalk line down the center of the pocket to divide it into two smaller pockets.  Pin in place and sew around pocket and sew dividing line.
This is what you end up with.  If you are making the manpron reversible, place pocket on the back side as well.
For the neck strap, attach a safety pin to the elastic and pull the elastic through the strap until the end of the elastic is even with the strap.  Sew the end (1/4 inch or less).  Continue to thread the elastic through the strap until it is even with the opposite end of the neck strap.  Taking care to keep a hold of the elastic, sew the other end as well.
We're almost there!  Take a look at the front and back of your apron.  If you're like me, chances are that one is slightly bigger than the other.  I found that the one that I cut second was a little bigger.  Pin your straps to the smaller of the two.  I pinned the neck strap 1 inch from the side of the manpron on the top edge.  Pin and baste the strap. Pin the tie straps 1 inch from the top on each side and baste in place.
Leave the pins in place about an inch from where you will be sewing the front and back of the apron together.  This will give you extra stability on the straps.  Tuck the ends of the straps into your pocket so they will stay out of the way.
Place the back of the manpron (the side without the straps attached) on a table, right side up.  Place the front of the manpron on top, wrong side up, and pin in place.  Sew with a 3/8 inch seam, leaving a 4 inch opening to turn the manpron right side out.  I like to back stitch several times at the opening--that way your stitching will not come loose as you pull the fabric through.
Before turning the manpron right side out, clip the corners and the curves.  To clip the curves, cut notches about an inch apart along the curved edge.  Turn right side out and press.
 
At this point, you could hand sew the opening or use some heat and bond to close it.  Since this item will be used by a boy, I decided to top-stitch around the periphery.  This will help to reinforce the seams.  Hooray!  Another project complete!



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