Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tunic-Style Shirt

Nothing is more comfy in hot weather than something that feels like you aren't wearing it at all.  Nudity without the embarrassment of exposure---that's what this tunic-style shirt feels like. 

And it was SO easy to make.  You make ONE cut. You sew TWO seams. Finish edges, sew in the elastic shirred waist (this isn't hard, but does take about as long as the rest of the shirt-making combined), and you have a new, fun, flattering top!

Start with the right fabric. I bought this as a remnant, so I don't know exactly what it is. I'm guessing it's a rayon challis. You'll want a fabric that is lightweight, drapes well and isn't too crisp or thick.

1. I began with a 60" width, 28" length piece of fabric, folded in half. 
(Fold is at the top of the fabric in this picture.)

2. Find the center along the fold. Cut an 8" slit (not a triangle!) from the center of the fold. 
This will be the neck of your shirt.. 

3. Turn the fabric inside out. Pin along both sides of the fabric, leaving 8 inches unpinned at the top (folded end) of the fabric. These unpinned openings will be your arm holes. (I realize it is hard to tell this fabric is inside out in the pictures because it is dyed all the way through. Trust me, it's inside-out.)

4. Sew the sides along the pins. Leave the arm holes open.

5. Finish the edges of the neckline, armholes, and bottom of the shirt. I used my serger to do a rolled hem because that worked well with this fabric.  You could do a traditional folded hem with a topstitch, or you could finish the edges with bias tape, for a more tailored look.  

6.  Put the shirt on. I realize the shirt resembles a tent-like poncho of some sort right now. Trust me--it will be transformed shortly. Stand in front of a mirror, and mark with chalk where you would like the top of your gathered waist to be. I am long-waisted, so I put mine up pretty high to elongate my legs.  Take the shirt back off.

7.   Use a straight edge to draw a line across the front of the shirt along the spot you marked.

8. Turn the shirt so the side seam is running down the center in order to continue to draw the line straight across the back of the shirt.  Here you see the front where I have begun drawing, and the back where I need to continue my chalk line.

9.  Now for the fun part. You will be making a shirred waist.  I did this for my One Yard Skirt and highly recommend THIS VIDEO as a tutorial for how to make as shirred waist. 
To do this on a shirt, your first line of shirred stitching will be along the chalkline you marked. Then you will move one presser-foot width down the shirt for each line after. 
I did 12 lines of shirring. You may only want 3 or you may want 15.  Stop and try on the shirt a couple of times as you go to see what waist width you prefer.

I totally want to make a dress version of this. This piece of fabric was a remnant, so I had to use what I had. But imagine the bottom of this about 2 feet longer...SWEET! Can't wait to try it!

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Orange Infused White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

I live in the Pacific Northwest, which means seeing the sun shining is a BIG deal.  I do not take it for granted. And, I get super excited for Summertime. I think the couple of days (well, parts of days) this week that we had bright, sunny weather are what inspired me to create these cookies. Oranges make things taste like sunshine. :)

These are not difficult cookies to make. I tried to keep the ingredients to those that we usually have in our cupboards anyway.  I didn't take tutorial pictures--it's a pretty straight-forward recipe.  I'll just share a couple of  pictures of the ingredients that make this recipe unique and delicious.

I LOVE zesting citrus. It's like the opposite of peeling garlic--I LIKE getting the smell all over me. 

Here are my microwave-roasted, sea-salted macadamia nuts cooling on my last little bit of wax paper. I had a hard time keeping some not-so-little 12-year-old hands away from these.  I can't blame him--they were delicious!

Okay here's the recipe:

Orange Infused White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
Zest of 1 large orange (don't skimp here)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used half all-purpose, half soft white wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 tsp salted butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup Ghiradelli white chocolate chips (I have tried other brands, and much prefer these)

1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. Mix butter, oil, and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add orange zest, and vanilla.
3. Whisk flour and baking soda in separate bowl, then add to the wet mixture. Mix well.
4. In a small microwavable bowl, microwave butter and nuts on high 30 seconds. Stir in sea salt. Microwave 1 more minute.  Cool on wax paper.
5. Stir nuts into dough.
6. Stir in white chocolate chips.
7. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls on greased or lined cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes. Cool on rack.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Dressed-Up Onesie

It has been Babyville around here lately. And I LOVE it! After the string of baby boys born (for whom I made bow-tie onesies), the baby girls are catching up!

I have 3 versions of The Dressed Up Onesie to share. I took pictures to make tutorials for 2 of them. The other, hopefully you can figure out using the info from the first two. :) 

Dressed-up Onesie #1- Ruffled edges

For the first onesie, you will need gathered ribbon-lace (1-2 yards, depending on the size of the onesie and the number of layers you want to put on the ruffle bum). 

Begin by folding one end of the ribbon under and pinning along the edge of the leg holes. Don't pin over the snaps!

Continue pinning all the way around both leg openings. 

Lots of pins produce neat, straight lines when you sew. Sew this in place.

Now pin (tucking under the raw ends) along the neck-line. On most onesies, the neck has a flap that comes around the front. Pull that flap back and start the ruffle under it, as shown. Some babies fat little necks actually stretch that out (I would know), and this ensures the ruffles cover enough of the neckline, even on the chubby babies. :)
Stitch this in place.

So simple and so cute!

I didn't take pictures of pinning each layer of ruffle for the ruffle-bum. But you get the general idea, right?  So stinkin' cute.

Dressed Up Onesie #2: The Ruffled Skirt

For this one, you will need a 35"W x 10"H piece of ruffle fabric, 1/2 yard of coordinating ribbon, and a flower embellishment (if you choose). 

First pin the ribbon to the neck of the onesie (under the shoulder flaps, as show in Onesie #1). Fold backwards about 1/2 inch, then pin in place. Repeat around the entire neckline. Stitch in place.

The finished neckline.

Pin right sides together on the ruffle fabric. Be sure all the ruffles are turned the right way, and pin them in place this way. This step is VERY important in order to have a nicely finished seam.

See how the ruffles all line up and are laying correctly? WIN!

I didn't photograph the next step: Sew a gathering stitch around the top of the fabric. Sew above the ruffle you want be the top ruffle of the skirt once it is attached. Pull the bobbin thread to gather to about 1 inch larger than the onesie waist .

Pin the skirt on upside down, wrong side out, to the waist line. Stitch in place, pulling out the pins as you go and stretching the onesie waist just a little to fit the skirt. Again, I am accounting for some chubby babies. :)

Turn down the skirt, stitch on an embellishment, and VOILA! Sweet cuteness!

Dressed Up Onesie #3: Pom-poms for Days

So, this is the one I didn't take pictures of as I made it.  However, making it is very similar to the Ruffled Skirt's process, only easier because you aren't working with ruffles. :) 

If you have any specific questions about how to put this type together, feel free to ask in the comment section. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"I'd be in a real JAM without my MOM"

I have the privilege of working with some super 12 and 13-year-old young ladies each week as one of their youth leaders.

A while back, they had the idea of making a gift to give their moms for Mother's Day. (Seriously, these girls are the BEST group!)   Since I know how to make jam,  I decided I could teach a canning lesson (the young ladies did the work!), make a fun tag for the jars, and Ta-da!--a homemade gift is ready that any mom would be excited to receive!

The tag has a front and back side, which we cut out and then pasted together. The back has room to write a note and sign your name. 

I have included links to downloadable files so you can print your own tags. Enjoy!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Strawberry Cream Pie

What did you bring to Easter dinner?  I made ham, my favorite rolls, deviled eggs, 
and Strawberry Cream Pie. 

I developed this recipe several years ago thanks to my dad. He LOVES strawberries. And he has a summer birthday, so he always asks for strawberry shortcake for his birthday cake.  One summer he tasted a blueberry cream pie I had made using a recipe from a Eugene, OR, Junior League cookbook as my base. My dad suggested that he would like it even more with strawberries.  So, a couple of weeks later I made him a Strawberry Cream Pie for his birthday. 

I love this recipe because it uses such basic ingredients. I will post a recipe for 1 pie. I doubled it to make 2 for Easter Dinner, so my pictures will show larger amounts. (Full recipe is at the end of the post, after the tutorial).

First you need to prepare your pie crusts. Store-bought pie crust works fine for this recipe, but I decided to homemake mine. I used a new recipe from that uses half butter and half coconut oil. It was GREAT. You can find it here.

Here are the ingredients for the filling. It is truly "as easy as pie," since you just beat everything but the strawberries together, then fold them in.

Here are the topping ingredients. The blueberry cream pie that inspired this one called for chopped nuts on top. I like nuts, but I didn't really like the idea of a nut topping from the start for this pie.  I did the cereal topping the first time I made the pie, and we loved it!
First step: mix together all filling ingredients except strawberries.

Second step: fold in sliced strawberries.

Pour carefully into the pie shell and bake in 400° oven 25 minutes.

While pie is baking, prepare topping by crushing 1 heaping cup of cereal into one heaping half cup. I like to do this using the bottom of a glass in a bowl or measuring cup.

Mix crushed cereal with 2 tablespoons of softened butter and 3 tablespoons of flour.

Spread topping on the pie and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.

It won't look a lot different after baking, but the topping will be crisped up and a bit darker. (My photos didn't capture this well, so you'll have to trust me).

Strawberry Cream Pie
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup (heaping) crushed Honey Bunches of Oats cereal (1 heaping cup before crushing)

1. Preaheat oven to 400°.  Set aside pie crust
2. Beat well with electric mixer: sour cream, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt, and egg.
3. Fold in strawberry slices.
4. Pour into pie crust and bake for 25 minutes.
5. Prepare topping while pie is baking: Mix all ingredients using a fork.
6. After pie has baked, spread topping on pie. Return to oven to bake for 10 more minutes.
7. Cool pie on counter at least 1 hour. Refrigerate uncovered until ready to eat. May be made 1 day in advance.

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