Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I think this has been in Target stores for a while but I just discovered them right in time for Thanksgiving, the Giada De Laurentiis line for Target.  And I wanted to share my find.  I got the set which was on sale a few weeks ago and then had to go back for the oval 2-qt. baker.  I love this off white color and the handles.  Anything you cook/bake looks yummy in them.  And they are ceramic so they bake very evenly and look great on the table.

I've used them so much already.  I've made cornbread with honey butter pictured in the little ramikin, pumpkin pie, an insane 3-hour pumpkin bread pudding recipe I saw on TV, the Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoe recipe, left over turkey pot pie in the oval baker and in the large mug for an individual portion, etc.  I love them!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October Birthday Cake

For monkey pants' 6th birthday I decided on a gingerbread house sort of theme since she was dressing up as Gretel for Halloween. We made it a fairy tale costume party. I tried to keep the cake as simple as possible. I figured a nine inch round with a fondant bow around it and a gingerbread house on top made with a kit wouldn't be too much work. The only thing was that I couldn't find any gingerbread house kits. Finally on the day before the party I found some Halloween kits that I had resolved to get and redecorate. But on a last minute trip to Costco (my favorite store) I was saved by this well priced ($10.00) gingerbread house kit that was already assembled! It's a Christmas one but I just added some fondant details to make it a little more Hansel and Gretel like.

I have to admit, I was going for speed while decorating the gingerbread house and while I thought it was fabulous that the white icing was included in the kit I could not make anything neat looking with it. It took me a while to do a horizontal line successfully without it falling down and after a couple failed attempts at dots on the roof I abandoned that decorating detail. The snow on the roof, I wasn't too concerned about making it look pretty. It would have been good to have some candy canes and maybe some ladyfingers or other candies on hand to decorate but honestly, I was just happy to get done and on top of the cake.

I also decided to decorate around the cake table with candy. Now, my kids have been well deprived of candy all of their short lives, so this was a big deal for monkey pants as you may be able to tell from her reaction. Apparently, not so big of a deal for the other kids who actually have candy in their kitchen pantry. Except for the gummy bears and gingerbread man cookies -those were quite popular. And am I the only one that likes lemon drops? I think my husband tried to tell me I was old for liking them. What?!

She almost has a frightened look on her face. I think she's thinking, "Holy crap, how am I going to control myself!"   And then, "I'm going to eat this part first".

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Crafting has been slow the past few months and I must admit I searched high and low for Hansel and Gretel costumes online and couldn't find any so alas, I was forced to make them myself. Yes, it's true I didn't want to do it. But here they are, and of course after they were done I was so glad I made them myself.

I was a little concerned no one would be able to tell who they were dressed up as, but everyone recognized them as Hansel and Gretel right away.

I used M6187 Misses'/Children's/Girls' Storybook Costumes pattern from McCall's view D. Can I just say how ridiculous the retail price is on these patterns now a days! $18.95! I did get at the "normal" 40% off price at the local chain sewing store, but that is still $11.37. Two days later, all McCall's patterns were on sale for $1.00 but of course this one was gone in the kid's sizes. I did buy the misses size at the dollar price in case I decided to make myself a costume later. Now, I see you can get this online from McCall's at a sale price of $4.99; much more reasonable.

Although the instructions were good, the bodice of the dress was huge as usual. I made the 5-6 size (my daughter just turned 6). I even took in an extra inch and half or so in the back along the zipper line and I still had to fold it over when I tied it in the back for it to fit snuggly. The skirt was also a bit on the sort side and not very full, I thought. So, if you are looking to make this, measure your child well and I would go down a size on the bodice and up one size on the skirt. Also, the pattern called for a ridiculous amount of yardage on the skirt. I'm still trying to figure out if I misread this somehow, but you only need less than half of what it says.

We're always running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get out of the house. I took these pictures with the car running, baby in the car and just noticed my husband buttoned the suspenders to the wrong front button on the lederhosen. Typical. Also, ignore the white leggings on Gretel; they were just for the cold.

For the Hansel costume, I didn't have a pattern so I used the oliver + s sailboat skirt and pants pattern. I only had the 4-8 size and my little boy just turned three but he's more like the size of an infant. He can barely manage to keep a size 2 pant from falling down his bum. So, I tried to size the size 4 pattern down to a size 3 the best I could, knowing at least that oliver + s patterns are well fitted and not ginormous like McCall's. I crossed my fingers and hoped it would work. At first my goal was just to make brown shorts but I started adding little details I copied from my husband's childhood lederhosen. Yes, he really had some. And they weren't for a costume. At the end, I was actually impressed with my little lederhosen pants which doesn't usually happen. Most of the time, I have lofty goals and the reality falls short of my vision. I'm still patting myself in the back on this one.

At the last minute, I decided to dress as the with from the Hansel and Gretel story trying to scrounge up my old clothes which wasn't too hard except for the skirt. I had just gotten rid of all my skirts from the 90's. So, I sewed up the bottom part of the storybook Misses pattern using the largest size for fullness and adding length to the skirt. I added a yellow piece of fabric to the top of that and used a white embroidered apron I have as decoration in kitchen. The sweater unfortunately is my own, as is the hair.

My little boy took some convincing that I was still mommy, but he kindly insisted that I not put on the "gump" which after two days we figured out was the witch's warty chin.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Super Why Cake

My little boy's favorite show is Super Why on PBS. His options are somewhat limited and very guided ; )  Trying to keep it simple.  Fondant, 2-tier cake with simple cut out decorations and printed Super Why figures on toothpicks.

Monday, June 21, 2010


When I saw this particular selection of fabrics (Flora and Fauna by Patty Young -the nicest person ever) for the Kyoko dress pattern, I knew I had to make it. And not for monkey pants either. For my little niece who just turned four and because she has this same cute hair. And I have no shame in being a complete copy-catter.  I'm also excited that some of this fabric will be/is available in knits.  I know the green flower print is one of them and that's my favorite.

This dress was really simple to make: no button holes, no zipper, no collar, no cuffs. Just mostly straight stitching, some gathering, and binding. And you know I love making that binding with my little binding tool.

I also felt the need to make a little tag for it mostly to identify the size of the garment in case it eventually becomes a hand-me-down or something.  I used the June Taylor Fabric Sheets for Inkjet Printers folding in the outer edges and folding the entire tag in half.  It's a little on the stiff side but certainly prints well.  I'm not sure how well they hold up in the wash as I've yet to use them for anything I've kept.  But it's a quick solution for custom tags.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Has anyone seen my pattern?

Actually, the real reason I haven't made anything is because I was going to make the Kyoko dress by Modkid and I cut the pattern out on my fabric, I have the pattern pieces, but I can't find the instruction booklet!  What the hell did I do with it.  I swear, when things get lost within the perimeter of my own house and I can't find them it makes me want to drive myself to the loony house.

So, I've narrowed down the possibilities of where it can be: 1) It got lost in the shuffle of one of my purses as I am constantly switching the contents of one purse to another in a futile effort to be fashionable; 2) one of the house midgets took it and used it for a craft project, coloring on it, glue-ing it, and cutting it into a million pieces, 3) it is exactly where it should be; I just can't see it as my eyes are stupefied and blinded at the site of organization.

What to do!?  I need it. 
It's for my niece's fourth birthday next week. 
I have no Plan B. 

-- Update 6/4/2010 --

So I still can't find the instruction booklet. My latest theory is that a 2-year-old fanatical environmentalist in my house decided to throw it in the recycle bin. I decided to try e-mailing Patty Young about my problem and much to my surprise she was able to help me! She offered to mail me a copy of the instructions. It made me so happy to read that in my e-mail this morning and to know that there a such nice people out there.

Internet Give-Aways

OK, the reason I haven't made anything lately is because I've been wasting all my time entering Internet give-aways.  Just kidding.  No actually it's true.  Tea collection recently had a whole weeks worth of giveaways on Facebook for their 8th anniversary, yesterday another for See Kai Run shoes.  Cedarworks playsets had some a while back including a fund raising raffle for a school.  I even suffered through a terrible live web meet for a homeschooling core curriculum (I've been considering home schooling) last Tuesday. 

So, I haven't won anything yet.  Nevertheless, I will persevere in this time-wasting endeavor.  And, if you would like to do the same with your time, here's a giveaway from GummyLump toys for three mini Automoblox cars.  You can kind of see a regular size car in my "Old Nursery" post on the wall shelf if you use a really strong magnifying glass.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Frida Top

I don't typically go for the super cutesy girly patterns with frills and all kinds of fabric combinations, but the truth is, I can't really stick to one style either. And, I just had to make something with this butterfly print from Sandi Henderson's latest fabric collection, Meadow Sweet, I decided to try the Frida Modkid pattern by Patty Young for a nice summery play shirt.

The pattern instructions come in booklet style with full color pages, photos, and great illustrations. It includes sizes 2 to 7. I did View A with the capped sleeves from View C and omitted the pocket. I made up the 4-5T size for an average weight but slightly shorter than average five and a half-year old. I did add maybe 3/4" to the length of the top/dress section. I like the snug fit on the bodice and sleeves, the length turned out good too. If I make another, I might make it just a tad longer for more of a tunic effect.

The bodice and sleeves are lined, which is easy to do. However, as usual, I was in a hurry and tried to take a shortcut on the sleeves by not lining them and simply serging the elastic right onto the edge, planning on folding it over twice to conceal the seam and topstitch. That did NOT work, OK. And, as I had only purchased a fat quarter (18"x22") piece of the yellow fabric, I couldn't start over, I had to unpick (I know that's not the right term, but you know what I mean) the entire serged elastic off the edge. Very dumb. So then, I lined it, made a casing for the elastic just like the instructions said to do and it turned out fabulous plus at least an hour of wasted time.

Yet another use for the bias tape tool -straps.  I love this tool. It makes neat folds, saves your fingers from getting burned by the steam of the iron, and saves time.

Monkey Pants loved the shirt and decided to wear it for three days in a row. The only complaint was that the bodice/dress seam that is not enclosed in the bodice lining started to bug her. It may be worth the trouble to enclose this seam in the lining. I just had her wear it with a nice white cotton camisole or a long sleeve shirt since the weather has been a bit chilly anyway and this way I don't have to smother her with sunblock when she goes out to play. Long sleeves in the summer is one shortcut that does work for me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Etsy bummer

I have a couple of things I made a while back and some patterns that I was wanting to put up for sale on Etsy. When I went to create an account for "MakeMeStudio", I was kind of surprised when Etsy said that user already existed. So then I thought, oh, I must have created it a few months ago and I forgot. I tried every yahoo e-mail account I ever created to see if it was linked to the Etsy account to no avail. Finally, I realized, someone else must have created the account, although it appears to be unused. I tried sending them a "convo" message through Etsy, but no response.

By chance, a slim chance I know --is this your Etsy account? Are ya using it? If not, can I have it? Pretty please.

Doesn't hurt to ask, right.

-- Update --

The owner of the Etsy account has contacted me and was nice enough to offer me the account. Hooray for nice people!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010


When my now 5-year-old went to daycare, she was a super drooler and I couldn't stand it when I'd pick her up and the whole front of her outfit was soaking wet. I put every mismatched and sometimes hideous multi-colored holiday themed bib I had received on her to keep her clean and dry. Lucky for baby #3, I refuse to make him look like a rodeo clown in a gigantic lobster bib. So, I created some small bibs in the same simple and practicle white style as the burp cloths for every day use.

This bib is good for newborns upto about six months, the height of the spit up and drooling months. It is about as easy to make as the burp cloth with a little more work on the snap ends.  Here is a free pattern. It doesn't really need instructions, but if you'd like to make one or two and you're not sure how, here they are.

MMS Bib Pattern

  • white flannel - (2) 8"x8" pieces or 1/4 yard (if you find one more expensive than another, buy the more expensive one).

  • white knit baby terry cloth - (2) 8"x8" pieces or 1/4 yard (that's the fine stuff, not the towel material you'd want to use to dry a wet dog).

  • 36" x 1 1/2" white knit (or as I would call it, T-shirt material, you know, the stretchy stuff) for edging.

  • A couple of ribbon pieces or pretty fabric scraps at least 7" wide
    Stick to these fabrics and you will have a very soft-to-babies-skin, thin and effective bib.

    1. Sew ribbon/fabric onto one bib piece (I use the flannel as the top side).
    2. Layer two bib pieces together (flannel/baby terry cloth) and zig-zag baster around the outer and inner edges
    3. Make knit binding as described in previous Burp Cloth post
    4. Attach binding (for more detailed instructions, see Burp Cloth post) to neck edge on baby terry cloth side
    5. Attach binding onto outer edge leaving about 1" excess beyond each end of bib opening.
    6. Fold edges in and hand-stitch shut
    7. Attach snap to ends following package instructions or for better results, using a tool such as Dritz Plier Kit. This will save you a lot of headache with trying to get the snap to bite through the fabric just right.

  • Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Burp Cloths

    Babies need burp cloths, or as I like to call them -vomit cloths. I don't know about other babies, but my babies burp, spit-up, and outright vomit a lot. My first was an exorcist-style projectile vomiter. I didn't have one nice burp cloth. The dogs kept getting a hold of them an chewing them up (they're dogs -they like that kind of stuff). And, eventually the "spit up" was so bad, I just resorted to using bath towels and dressing poorly. No, I'm not even kidding. I could write a dissertation on this issue and how I now suffer from post-traumatic stress. But anyway...

    On this third time around, I decided to make myself some nice little burp cloths knowing that they will be my constant companion for many months to come. It took a long time, but I finally understand why flannel is really the best fabric for baby stuff -because they spit-up a lot and flannel absorbs it, pretty fabrics and minky dots do not. Other fabrics, like plain cotton or jersey soak through. Flannel absorbs well as does terry cloth which also catches runny spit up before it ends up on your lap.

    So, here's my recipe for this style of burp cloth:

  • 1 piece 18" x 7" white flannel (if you find one more expensive than another, buy the more expensive one).
  • 1 piece 18" x 7" white knit baby terry cloth (that's the fine stuff, not the towel material you'd want to use to dry a wet dog. Unless, of course, you have a serious vomiter and then OK, I will let you use the heavy duty towel stuff).
  • 36" x 2" white knit (or as I would call it, T-shirt material, you know, the stretchy stuff).
  • Pretty fabric scraps at least 7" wide or narrow and 18" long
    Stick to these fabrics and you will have a very soft to babies skin, thin but effective burp cloth.

    1. Cut the fabric pieces with the long side parallel to the grain.

    2. Cut the knit strip that will be used as the binding across the width of the fabric. In fact don't even bother measuring 36" across. Just take your ruler and rotary cutter (if you have one) and cut 2" strips all the way across as many times as the burp cloths you want to make.

    3. Use a 1/2" bias tape maker (Clover #12 for example) and feed your knit strip through it and iron. Fold in half and iron.
      If you haven't used this tool, it's super easy, just follow the instructions on the package
      By-Hand-Method: Fold strip in half, iron. Fold each outer edge to center fold line and iron. Then fold in half and iron. Really, just go buy the Clover tool because it's a pain to do this by hand with stretchy material.

    4. Now, you can apply some fabric accents to the flannel piece by positioning the fabric then flipping it over right sides together and sewing with a 1/4" seam allowance. Flip it back and iron flat. Don't forget to account for the 1/4" when positioning the fabric so you don't end up short on the outer edge.
    5. Stick the flannel piece to the terry cloth piece wrong sides together and pin in the middle and maybe the corners. Oh yeah, did I mention to clip the corners round. You can do that now.

    6. Binding:
      • Place the edge of the knit binding onto the terry cloth side of the burp cloth and start sewing about 1" from the beginning. Stitch along the first crease all the way around. Stop about 1" from end. Cut thread.
      • Take it off the sewing machine and fold the ends of the bias tape right sides together and sew together where they meet when placed flat on the burp cloth.
      • Finish sewing this last 2" section along the first crease.
      • Flip it over and fold the binding over to the flannel side. Top-stitch along the inner edge all the way around.
      That's it. If the top-stitching doesn't come out perfect on the other side, it will be camouflaged by the terry cloth and also remember that someone will soon be vomiting all over it anyway.

  • I have to add, so far I've only managed to make four. Pathetic. But I'm planning on making more so I can just pick off clean ones like Kleenex.

    And next up --bibs.