Thursday, March 31, 2011

Family Scrapbook Challenge #2 - The Monochromatic Page

 Here are the entries for Challenge # 2 -  The Monochromatic Page. The rules were pretty simple. I wrote down 12 different colors and put them in a cup. Each contestant pulled out two colors. The goal was to create one page using only one color. Thinking that this would be maybe too big of a challenge,
I gave the option of making one 12x12 page in a solo color or a two page spread using the two colors they pulled.

 I pulled red which I do not use very often so that was a pretty big challenge for me. Red seemed obvious for a romantic page. I made my first shaker box for the challenge down there on the right inside the heart. I also crocheted a few hearts for the page-- pulling in one of my other crafty sides. All in all I liked how it turned out.

My sister Colleen won for the week with her black on black layout. I was jealous of the colors she pulled-- black or white. She made an awesome page. It was simple but she used alot of different textures to make it pop.

What is on the horizon for Challenge #3? Col set up a holiday theme. More on that as the judging comes to a close!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Family Scrapbook Challege #1 - Same Picture and Some Ribbon

My youngest sister, Maureen, came up with a terrific idea a few weeks ago. There are 6 people that scrapbook in my immediate family but we often do not make the time to craft like we should. Maureen already participates in online scrapbook challenges and really enjoys them. She finds they encourage her to craft and try new things. Well, don't we all want that?

My family agreed to host challenges. The rules:
1. Participation is volunteary from challege to challgne. We understnad sometimes we can be too busy to play.
2. The previous winner dictates the rules of the upcoming challnge
3. The family agrees on the time length (so far, it has been a standard 2 weeks)
4. The previous week's winner chooses who will be the judge for the pending challenge

 Clearly we are not stringent people-- we're just looking to have some fun, try something outside of our norm, and do a little more scrapbooking along the way.

Maureen chose the requirements for our first challenge. The requirements-- You must use the picture below somehow and use at least a bit of ribbon on the page.

I'll introduce you to my sisters since I have the picture right here : ) I an the blond on the top left. Next to me is my little sister, Maureen. On the couch is my sister Caitlin and her new puppy Lulu. Cait is 18 months older than me. Colleen is the oldest of my siblings there in blue. Directly behind us are some of mom's papercrafting books and magazines. Did I mention the whole family is crafty?

Moving on...

Here is my entry to Challenge #1:
I cut up the picture along with two other shots of us from the same day. The ribbon is mingled in with the paper punched borders that I used as "ruffles". There are 2 pieces of ribbon-- orange ric-rac at the top and the purple with white stitching strip there at the top of the bottom section. The quote is Dolly Parton. You would be surprised how hard it was to find a quote that involved rainbows and anything having to do with family, sisters, or friendship.

Excellent news, readers-- I won! I was really honored and had a ton of fun working on it. My prize? I got to set up the next challenge! This week, I have been working on my entry for Scrapbook Challenge #2- The Monochromatic Page. More on the rules next week. I want to wait for the judging so I can post my entry and a picture of the winning page with the requirements all together.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homemade Peppermint Patties


I found this recipe for Homemade Peppermint Patties and I have to say-- they are amazing! They melt in your mouth, which is delightful. I made them with milk chocolate, not the traditional dark chocolate... mainly because I didn't have any dark in the house and was too lazy to go out and get the right stuff.

I brought them into work for our St. Patty's day celebration and got rave reviews. Since I didn't have the recipe with me for my co-workers, I wrote up a variation to the steps. I have posted them here below... and who knows, if you make them, my explanations may be helpful. For the complete recipe, please see In Between Laundry. I did not want to re-print her work without permission!

Directions: Makes @ 100 patties, dependent on size
In a bowl, combine the potatoes, butter, peppermint, and powdered sugar and mix well (I used an electric beater). Add more sugar if your mixture is loose--it should feel like a tacky cookie dough. (I ended up using almost exactly 3 pounds.)

Lay wax paper down over a few cookie sheets (for easy cleanup later). Scoop teaspoonfuls of the dough and shape into patties. (The easiest way to do this is to scoop with an ice cream scoop or two spoons since it will be a little sticky. Once you have the whole cookie sheet covered, go back and pat them flat with your hands. The balls will lose their tackiness as you are scooping out the rest of the tray, making them easier to shape.) Refrigerate for a few hours so you can handle them to add the chocolate.

Melt the chocolates with the oil and dip the chilled patties, covering completely. This step takes some practice since the dough balls can melt with the hot chocolate. The best method I found was chocolate-ing the bottoms of each patty with a knife and going back once the sheet is done to cover the tops with chocolate. There are probably better methods out there, but I am a novice at baking. Chill until set.

Yum! Give it a try-- they are tooooo tasty!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beginner's Bias Tape Bag (by Prudent Baby)

I came across this super cute bag on Prudent Baby's website this week. Check it our for yourself-- I highly recommend it.

This pattern was amazingly amazing-- quick to work up and simple to understand. I also now feel like bias tape isn't as scary as I was feeling before. I made three of these bags this weekend. The tutorial shows how to make the smaller bag on the bottom that I have done in green and orange. It works up to be the size of a small handbag, using 2 fat quarters and 50 inches (or less) of bias tape. It fits my sunglasses, wallet, camera, phone, and chap stick easily. Jaime also recommends using a photocopier to enlarge the pattern to make a larger bag. I enlarged it to 200%. It took two yards of fabric and approximately 95 inches of bias tape.

After finishing the larger green-toned bag on the top, I ran out to the fabric store full of inspiration. I was invited to a baby shower for my good friend and her husband (also a good friend). I always have a secret giggle watching men struggling with carrying a diaper bag or holding their wives' purse. I was thinking it would be great to make a reversible bag for Kim and Jim-- pink for her and Superman for him. Kim is having a boy (her second) which means she is surrounded by super heros and blue all the time. The girl needs a good shot of pink in her life-- and I am just the pink-lover to give it to her.

 Here is how it came out! This is going to be my new go-to baby shower gift, I think. After all, it is the parents that are carrying the bag, not the kids. They should be something they want to have under their arm!

My one disappointment is that with it being reversible, I was unable to add any pockets. If I had more time, I would have made some organizers that they could use on the inside of either (so probably in neutrals like black or white). Regardless, they loved the bag and I was happy to give it to them!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Linders Skirt

Here is the fruits of my labor the other weekend. I spent a good amount oftime refashioning sweaters and things and I made this skirt!

A co-worker had given me the cotton fabrics after he had discovered a bag of scraps in her basement. I think she said she made curtains a few years ago. Anyways, her nickname at work is Linderes-- thus the skirt name.

I have been rapidly loosing weight all year so I do not have clothing that fits me to use as a sizing template for the underskirt so I had to improvise. I took a pair of jeans I had been wearing this week and cut around the waist and hip areas. I eye-balled the basic length I was going for and figured I could hem it if it ended up too long. I cut out two pieces (a front and back) and added a little to the top for the elastic casing.

This project made me realize how much I need a serger, by the way. Those ruffles were a nightmare but I can't help myself- I love ruffles. So as a next step, I went about sewing my ruffles. After making piles and piles of them, I attached the ruffles starting from the bottom hem and working my way up. I originally was trying to go for straight even lines but abandoned that idea once I had three rows up and loved the variation when you made them wavy.

Anyway, take the ruffles up to as high as you want them to go. I made mine a little high I think. My hips are looking a little wide there. Anyways, once you have a height you like, sew in your elastic and volia, done!