Saturday, March 31, 2012

Amercian Girl Doll Clothes

I am doing my very first craft show.  Actually it isn't really a craft show.  My friend is starting a unique shopping experience where she will showcase some of her own things and invite local artists and crafters as well.  We just consign our stuff over to her so we actually don't have to sit there during the open house.  She is doing this in her family's century old barn.  She has antiques, refurbished furniture, and home decor items.  She asked me to make items to put into the first showcase which will be coming up next weekend.  Along with homemade lotions and things she has asked me to make American Girl Doll Clothes.  So I have been rather busy this week.  Cutting out and sewing up clothes.  I don't have girls to make fun things for so I normally make things for other peoples daughters.  So this was fun to make cute outfits to make little girls happy.

These are three sets of panties and petticoats.  They are somewhat of an old fashioned thing.  But the petticoats really help some of the dresses look really great on the dolls.

This is a pink bathrobe. 

Here is a 70's style jeans and top.
I made the jeans out of recylced jeans. 
So they have that nice worn effect;

Here is an early American style blouse and skirt.
This will look great with a petticoat underneath.

Here is a fleece jacket and boots. 

You can see the hello kitty print on the back!

This denim dress is also made from recycled jeans.
The front closes with Velcro.  The buttons are for decoration.

A nice summer dress from seer sucker.

Another great summer dress made from seer sucker.

I am still making a few more items.  As I get things done I will post on them.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pumpkin Bunting

I knitted a bunting to go along with the pumpkin hat and booties for my friend.  I was very surprised at how fast it knitted up.  Either it was a very easy pattern or I am finally getting a little faster at knitting.  It probably is a combination of both.  I found the pattern on   Lion Brand Yarn website.  Go to free patterns and type the pattern number listed below.
Pattern #: kja-shellBunting
I used large sew in snaps on the bottom so she could use it in a car seat.  And then snap it closed when she was just out and about. I accented with pastel green buttons to match the leafs on the hat and booties.
Here is the picture with the bunting and hat and booties altogether.  I am happy with how they all turned out.  I think I will knit up another hat and booties for my sister in law who is due a couple of weeks before halloween!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Canning Pinto Beans

Every March I can pinto beans.  I can up 4 lbs of dry pinto beans each year.  This lasts me one year and I normally run out in March.  It just happens the first time I canned them was in March so I normally run out at the end of February or the beginning of  March each year.  I like to use my pinto beans in chili, add it to taco meat, I mash them to use as refried beans, or to just plain eat.  I always can them in pints because it is the perfect amount to add to my chili or to add to 1 lb of ground venison or turkey for tacos. 

First you need to pour your beans into a large stock pot.  Either soak over night or do the quick soak method.  I do both methods depending on whether I remembered to do it the night before.  Today I did the quick soak method.  You cover you beans with 1 inch of water.  Bring the pot to a boil then put the lid on.  Turn off the heat and let sit for one hour.  To soak over night cover the beans with 1 inch of water.  Put on the lid and let sit over night. 

Drain the water off and then fill it back up with new water covering beans with 1 inch of water.  Bring back to a boil and then simmer for one hour.

Drain as much water off as possible.  Then with a slotted spoon fill your clean sterilized jars 3/4 full.  You don't want to over fill the jars.

To make juice I combine 2 quarts of tomato juice with 2 tablespoons of chopped onion, 1 tablespoon of canning salt, and 6 tablespoons of sugar.  Bring this to boil.  I fill the jars to the top of the beans.  This way I make sure I have enough juice to cover all the jars.  Then if I have enough I go back and fill the rest of the way.  If not I fill the jars the rest of the way up with boiling water.  Leaving a 1 inch head space.  If I have left over tomato juice that I canned I use that.  If not I just buy canned tomato juice.

Clean the rims of the jars well.  Boil new lids and place on the jars.  Tighten the rims. Can the pinto beans at 11 lbs pressure for a dial gauge or 10 lbs pressure for a weighted gauge for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. 

Let sit on your counter for at least 12 hours to make sure they all sealed.  If any did not seal place in th fridge and use up within the week.

I am linking to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring

Here in Ohio we normally welcome spring with temperatures in the low 50's.  Today we welcomed spring with a high temperature of 83 degrees Fahrenheit!!  We have been wearing shorts since last Wednesday.  This is not normal temperatures for Ohio in March.  But it is a warm welcome.  We have had such a mild winter and now a very warm March.  It makes us wander when the bottom is going to fall out and when that last snow storm is going to hit.  We are hoping that we won't have snow on Easter.  Which has happened before.  I have a picture of me and my brothers in our snow suits with a snowman.  We were holding a sign that said Good Friday April 9th.  We just hope that old man winter has left for the season and that spring is truly here!!

We have been tilling gardens and even planting a few things.  I have been running outside and taking my kids biking.  My son has been working with his goats and training them for harness and pack.  It is so hard to imagine that I got sunburned yesterday and today.  I need to make some sunscreen to use.  Which is so odd for me to even think of making sunscreen in March.  I normally start to make it the end of May or beginning of June. 

It has been so nice that it has s been hard to focus on doing school.  My kids are so lucky that we home school because they got to enjoy this wonderful weather.  We even saw our first snakes of the season.  Not my favorite especially when one was very big.  But they came out to enjoy the sunshine too!! We saw 2 Eastern Garter Snakes like this one below.  One was quite large and the other a bit smaller.  It was very curious and kept coming towards us.  Which really freaked us out.  I am not a snake person.  It eventually turned around and went the other way.  This was the third snake I saw in about 10 minutes.  I had seen enough snakes for the day so we promptly left the trails!

I hope everyone enjoyed their first day of spring.  We certainly did!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Recycled Jean Jackets

These jackets are true to the title Jean Jackets.  They are made out of old pairs of jeans.  An ordinary jean jacket that you would buy at the store is not truly a jean jacket.  It is a denim jacket.  They are made out of denim material.  The jackets I make has no cost in them accept for the zipper and thread.

I take old pairs of jeans and cut them up.  I am not very particular at it and want it to be random.  Then I sew the squares and rectangles together using about a 1/2 inch seam.  Then I press the seam open before I sew on the next strip.  I keep adding pieces together until I get a piece large enough for my pattern piece.  I repeat this process until I have enough all my pattern pieces cut out. 

Then I top stitch over the seams using a fancy stitch on my machine.  This really helps lock the jeans into place and gives it a nice decorative stitch.  Next I applique or do machine embroidery in the squares and rectangles.  This jacket is a Disney jacket.  I only used machine embroidery on it.  My mom has a Disney embroidery machine.  Most of these designs are in the machine.  She also has a few embroidery cards that has Disney designs on them too.  I made four of these jackets.  One for me, one for my mother in law, one for my sister and law, and one for her daughter.  We wore these when we went down to Disney world several years ago.  Each person chose what Disney designs they wanted on their jackets.

One sleeve was a Mickey sleeve and the other was a Minnie sleeve.

Once I have all the applique and embroidery done I sew the jacket according to the pattern directions.

Any place that the pattern tells me to top stitch like the collar, for the hem, or around the cuffs, I use a decorative stitch in accenting thread.  This fall jacket that I made for myself is mainly appliqued with a little machine embroidery added in. 

The decorative stitch I chose for this looked like a leaf. I also used a variegated thread that was in fall colors.

I get cute buttons to accent the theme of the jacket.  Here I used pumpkins.  I made a winter themed jacket that I gave away.  It had snowman buttons on it.

I plan on making a few skirts for myself using the same method.  When I do I will take step by step photos and post a tutorial and how I do this process.  I love these jackets and get many compliments on them.  People down in Disney World asked us where we bought our jackets and were disappointed when they found out I had made them. 

I always have a large supply of old jeans.  People know I make things out of them and are always giving me their old worn out jeans.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Allergy Season

I know when my son comes in from outside and he looks like he lost a fight with Rocky Balboa it is allergy season.  Before he went to bed tonight I took one look at him and marched him right into the shower.  His face was all red and blotchy.  His eyes were red and one was almost swollen shut.  The other was all puffy.  Allergy season has come early this year.  With the mild winter we had things are starting to bloom early.  When you have a kid who is allergic to tree pollen and grass it makes for a tough spring.  So after he got all washed up I spread hydrocortisone cream on all the red spots.  Covered him with my homemade aquafor, put allergy eye drops in his eyes, had him use his steroid inhaler, and took a dose of benadryl.  The poor kid. 

I took a look at the pollen count for today.  And no wonder he was a mess.  It is in the medium range for our area.  It is supposed to be high on Thursday.  You can check the pollen count in your area by clicking on my local pollen count link.  Type in your zip code and it gives you the pollen count.  It is nice because it also tells you what types of pollen are high for that day too. 

This time of year I begin to make sure I have plenty of benadryl, claritin, hydrocortisone cream, allergy eye drops, home made aquafor, oatmeal milk bath, and any thing else I can use to help prevent and alleviate my son's allergies. 

From what I have heard the pollen is supposed to be real bad this year.  So I am hoping if I keep stocked up and keep on top his allergy medications we can make it through unscathed!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Insulated Water Bottle Carrier

I have been wanting to make my kids water bottle carriers for a while.  I saw a great tutorial for one a while back that was insulated with Insul-Brite.  It looked pretty easy to make.  I have a ton of scraps of fabric I just needed to purchase the Insul-Brite.  Insul-Brite is a batting type material that has a metal woven into it.  The metal refracts the heat or cold back to the source. It is used a lot in hot pods.  You can use it to insulate anything that you want to keep hot or cold.

I found the tutorial here. I adjusted the size to fit my water bottles.  The author made hers to fit purchased water bottles.  I wanted mine to use with our reusable water bottle. I am giving the dimensions for mine.  If you want one to fit a purchased bottle of water follow the link for the tutorial. 

First out of cotton fabric I cut two rectangles 9 inch x 12 1/2 inches.  And two 4 inch circles.

I got the measurements by measuring the height of my water bottle and adding an inch for seam allowances.  I measured the circumference of the water bottle and also added an inch for seam allowances.  I measured the diameter of the water bottle and added 1/2 inch for seam allowances for the circle.

Next I cut out the Insul-Brite.  I cut this into an 8 inch x 11 1/2 inch rectangle.  And a 3 1/2 inch circle.  The Insul-Brite is cut to the size of the water bottle. 

With right sides together sew the top of the carrier in an 1/2 inch seam.  Press open and place the Insul-Brite inside.  Butt it up against the seam.  Fold the carrier back over and line up the edges.

Pin the edges together and quilt it together.  Be sure to mark what side has the shiny metal part of the Insul-Brite.  This side needs to be facing the inside against the water bottle.  I quilted it by sewing vertical lines about 1 1/2 inches apart.  It was pretty easy because I just followed the lines on the fabric. For the circle put the Insul-Brite in between the two fabric circles.  Quilt the circle in the same way.  I sewed following the lines of the fabric once again except for the circle I spaced them 1/2 inch apart.

Next sew the side seam of the carrier.  I followed the tutorial by making a french seam.  This is done by bringing the wrong sides together and sewing a 1/4 inch seam.  Then turn the carrier wrong side out and sew a 3/8 inch seam.  This encloses the raw edges of the previous seam.  Overcast around the edge of the circle.  Make sure you also mark the side that has the shiny side of the Insul-Brite.

Pin the circle to the bottom of the carrier.  Make sure the Insul-Brite side of the circle is facing the wrong side  of the bag.  When you pin it to the bag this side will actually be facing out.  Sew the circle in place using a 1/4 inch seam.  Overcast the edge of the seam.

Turn the bag right side out.  Cut a piece of ribbon 42 inches long.  The author sewed twill tape to the back of the ribbon to give it more structure.  I found some iron on hem tape in my stash.  So I ironed that on to the ribbon and then topped stitched along both edges of the ribbon.

Sew the ribbon on the inside of the carrier on opposite sides.  I folded over the bottom edge and sewed a 1/2 inch square to secure it.  Your water bottle is now complete. 

After making my first water bottle I made a second one in a little over 15 minutes!! 

My kids loved these. They slung them over there shoulders and toted them around all day. We tested them out today and I was totally amazed.  We filled the water bottles half way with ice and filled with water.  Five hours later the water bottles still had ice in them.  I have an insulated water bottle and my ice melted in mine after an hour.  Seven hours later my son said the ice has melted but the water is still cold.  Granted it is not 95 degrees Fahrenheit out but if after 5 hours they still had ice in them I am sure they will keep cool during the summer as well. 

Now I am going to have to  make myself one.  I think I might make a large picnic bag with Insul-Brite in it to keep our food cold!

I am linking to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eating From the Pantry

Tonight I noticed that my entire meal came from my pantry.  Several years ago our county fair had a category in the canning department for an entire meal.  The requirements were to bring 6 jars of food that would make a complete meal.  You would bring a juice, entree, vegetable, fruit, pickles, jelly and so forth.  I got first place in that category the last year that they had it.  It is fun to see how you can make an entire meal just out of the jars of food that you put up during the summer. 

I can juice to drink, meat, vegetables, fruit, jams, pickles, relish,  pie filling, and sauces.  Everyday I open up at least one jar of food.  Most days I open up and use 2 to 6 jars of food. 

This group of jars makes an entire meal.  The tall jar in the back is cider I canned in the fall.  The quart jar on the left is venison.  I made venison stroganoff with that.  The quart jar in the middle is candy dill pickles.  My husband loves to just eat them right out of the jar.  The quart jar on the right is apple pie filling.  I made an apple crisp with that.  The pint jar in the front is carrots.  We just ate them heated up with some butter.  The jelly jar is full of grape jelly.  Great on bread or homemade rolls. 

I love to look at my pantry this time of year.  As the shelves begin to get empty I can find some things I forgot I still had. It is nice to find a surprise.  Especially when it is something my family really loves. 

 As I look over my shelves I start to take totals of what is left. I am out of pizza sauce but I still have plenty of spaghetti sauce.  I still have plenty of green beans but I am running low on other vegetables.  This also helps me determine what to can during the next canning season.  Things that I ran out of early I try to make more of the following year.  Some things I seem to have for a couple of years so I can less of that the following year. 

It is so satisfying to be able to eat out of your pantry.  I know that the food my family is eating is healthy and safe and I am saving a lot of money!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Pleasant Surprise

Have you ever had one of those things that totally surprised you but in a good way?  Well that happened to me today.  I made a vegetarian lunch for myself.  I am not a vegetarian but sometimes I just want something other than meat but I still want the protein.  I decided to make some Black Bean Rice Burgers for lunch.  As I was whipping them up my youngest asked what it was.  When I told him he said "eew I am not eating that"  I told him that it wasn't for him and I was just making these for myself.  I had no intention of having my kids eat them.  I just wanted one and I was going to freeze the rest for lunches for myself. 

Well, by the time I had them made the smell was too inviting and he wanted one to eat.  I had also made baked onion rings.  I am still in total shock because my youngest is my picky eater.  Due to food allergies he does not like to try new things.  He ate down one vegetable burger and asked for a second one.  My oldest ate 2 vegetable burgers too.  I did get to eat one and some onion rings.  But now they are all gone.  No quick lunches for me in the coming weeks.  At least they did not go to waste.  I am so happy that I made a healthy low fat meal that is high in protein and fiber. And that my kids ate it!!!
Maybe I should tell him more often that what I am making is not for him and maybe he will start trying more things!!

Here are the recipes for my lunch.

Black Bean Rice Burgers
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained.  (I used spicy black beans)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I use a microwaveable pouch of long grain and wild rice, any  type of rice will work though)
1 small onion
Put these in a food processor and puree until well blended.
Remove from food processor and add 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of salsa. 
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  Drop 1/2 cup portions into the baking dish and flatten to about 1/2 inch.  Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until it will hold its shape when flipped.  Flip the burgers and bake another 10 - 15 minutes.  Serve on a bun with  cheese, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, or you favorite burger fixings.  These taste like a southwest burger.  They have a lot of flavor when you use the spicy black beans!!

Baked Onion Rings
Slice onions into slices and separate the rings.  Put in a bowl and cover with ice water.  Leave sit for 1/2 an hour.  Drain.  Dip onions into beaten egg and then into bread crumbs seasoned with seasoning salt.  Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pumpkin Hat and Booties

I have a friend who recently found out she is pregnant.  She is due towards the end of September.  I have begun to make things for her.  Since it is to early to find out what she is having I have been making things that are neutral for her. 

I love fall so when I came across the pattern for this cute pumpkin hat and booties I just had to make them.  I just used yarn that was in my stash and whipped these up.  I was surprised at how quick these made up.  I made them in just one evening. 

The pattern is from Lion Brand Yarn . 

They are just too cute!!
I can't wait to give these to her at her shower!!