Friday, September 30, 2011

Candy Land Extravaganza

My youngest daughter kind of gets a raw deal each year for her birthday. She has a fall birthday and she didn't get a big birthday party for the first two years.  Until the kids are in school, we tend to keep parties to just family,  but with 23 cousins, but fall is when her cousins are in school and life becomes a whirlwind.  So this year we decided to do a big family party and invite everyone.  Much to our delight, many more than we expected came to celebrate her big day!

She had a Candyland theme party, stolen in it's entirety from my friend Tiffany.  Tiffany even gave me the adorable idea and wording for the invitations.  She loaned me the decorations for the party too.  The only thing that was my own idea was the cake, which I will focus on in today's post, but I have to show her invitations.  Thank you, Tiffany, for letting me copy your party idea!

The invitations:

The birthday girl with her special cake:

The cake:

The details:
I had the girls pose for their game pieces.

Candy hearts

Gumdrop Mountains and Peppermint Stick Forest

Gingerbread Plum Tree

Lollypop Woods

Ice Cream Floats

Home Sweet Home

More details:
Rainbow Trail

a view of the chimney
the ice cream cone fence

Mountain pass between the gumdrops

The inside:
Rainbow colored white chocolate cake with vanilla cookies and cream filling.

It was a fun party for a sweet little girl!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome to America!

A friend of ours has been working tirelessly for I don't know how long to become a United States citizen.  (Yes, there are still those of us who think this is the greatest country in the world to call home.)  He and his wife have 2 beautiful boys and despite the long hours of work to support his family and the long days of attending to the needs of her sons, they filled out huge piles of paper work and went through intense interviews and test.  I can't begin to understand the process because I wasn't a part of it, but they tell us it was stressful and long!

On September 16, 2011, Greg, who was born in Poland, was sworn is as a citizen of the great United States of America!  I had the privilege of both attending the naturalization party and making a dessert for it!  We are so proud of you, Greg; welcome to America!

Celebrating Greg's heritage and his future!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tennis, swings, ice cream, and petticoats

Several weeks ago, my mother was cleaning out her fabric bins and asked me if I wanted any of it.  I can't say "no" to fabric, so I drove to her place and found some treasures!  One of my favorites was a perfect vintage red, white and blue tennis print.  My mom thought I might like it for pj's, but the fabric was too cute not to make little tennis dresses.   I had a family photo session coming up and thought they'd make a perfect wardrobe option.  My sister-in-law is one of the most talented photographers I know and she did a great job capturing perfect moments and I loved that the girls were able to wear some of the dresses and outfits I made for them.

Tennis Dresses

Had to make one for the doll too.

She loves purple, so this little wrap-around apron dress I made for her was just up her alley.

She even picked out the fabric.  Lucky girl.

I made these dresses for them earlier this spring.  There are petticoats underneath and I love the contrast between the soft lace and bold stripes.  (I should have probably told my younger daughter that the ice cream tastes better than her fingers)

These little petticoats make me smile and the girls love wearing them.  They're so very girly.

This one was trimmed with sateen eyelet lace.

You can't tell from this particular picture, but this petticoat has chantilly and embroidered bridal lace.
You can see it better in the ice cream picture, but I love this picture so I had to share it!

There. I've shared 3 of my summer sewing projects and I can't tell you how much I love Jess's work at Olive Avenue Photography.  If you are looking for absolutely stunning pictures of your family, I cannot recommend anyone better in the area.  She's amazing and she just happens to be MY sister-in-law.  Lucky me!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Captain Cake!

What's more American than Captain America himself?  He's a super hero made in the USA, protecting the innocent, upholding justice and allowing us an excuse for a fun cake and birthday theme.  My fun little friend, Sam had his 4th birthday party this last weekend and he chose a Captain America theme.  I had the sheer joy of seeing his reaction when he and his very nice mommy came to pick up his cake.  His face and body eminated sheer excitement and joy.  I've never seen a better reaction to a cake than his, and that sweet little boy made me feel like a superhero for just a moment.  Thanks, Sam!  And happy birthday to you!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

She's a Movie Star!

One of my best customers ordered up a fun cake for her daughter.  I could not have been more pleased when she said it was a movie star themed party, because I immediately had a great idea.  She is one of those great people who gives me a theme or idea and lets me fly with it.  When I have that kind of creative freedom, it gives me a desire to go the extra mile.  The painting details are fun to do and take a little extra time and care, but I think it adds a special touch.

So, for you, dear Kate, I've made a devils food cake with raspberry cream filling.  Hope your birthday makes you feel like a star!
The "granite" is black fondant painted with gray, white and silver flecks.

The gold detail was done with a paintbrush and a mixture of gold shimmer dust and a tiny bit of vodka.  The vodka changes the dust into a liquid paint and also dries faster than water.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall for a new wool handbag

Fall is a perfect time to add a new purse or handbag to your wardrobe, especially when your old one is almost 3 years old, and its bottom corners are wearing so thin that you can see your floor when peering inside.  Yes, my most favorite purse in the whole world is at the end of its life and even though I'm still getting compliments everywhere I take the poor thing, it's time to (sniff) let it go.

My friend and I were having yet another craft day and she had a really cute purse made of cotton.  She got it from a seller on Etsy, of course.  I shopped around on the website and couldn't find one that I really liked that had a zipper closure.  They all had a single magnet snap and I don't feel terribly secure walking around town with all my contents secured by a single magnet.  So, what did I do about it?  Of course, I decided I needed to make one.  

I found some extra wool from a dress I made last year (that didn't turn out very nicely), so I went to work on a new fall purse.  And my friend generously gave me some leftover cotton fabric she bought from IKEA that made a perfect lining for the bag.  If you sew and you like it, continue reading for the tutorial.

Wool Handbag with tie and zipper closure.

You will Need:
about 1½-2 yds. (depending on width) wool fabric or fabric of your choice
½ yard cotton lining
2½ yd interfacing
12" purse zipper
thread, of course

Out of wool fabric:
1.      Cut two (2) rectangles measuring 20” x 12” for MAIN BODY
2.      Cut two (2) rectangles  12” x 6” for TOP TAB
3.      Cut two (2) rectangles 10”x 4” for ZIPPER CLOSURE
4.      Cut one rectangle 40” x 3½” for SHOULDER STRAP
5.      Cut two (2) rectangles 20” x 6” for FRONT TIES.   Fold in half lengthwise. Cut off one end of each folded piece on an angle (slightly more than a 45 degree angle), with the sharper point toward the fold. 

Out of cotton lining:
1.      Cut two (2) rectangles measuring 20” x 12” for LINING
2.      Make a small clip or notch at the center of the along the 20” length of the MAIN BODY LINING.  This will be the TOP.
3.      Any inside pockets you want to add.  (Instructions not included in this tutorial)

Out of fusible interfacing:
1.      Cut four (4) rectangles measuring 20” x 12” for MAIN BODY and LINING
2.      Cut two (2) rectangles  12” x 6” for TOP TAB
3.      Cut two (2) rectangles 10”x 4” for ZIPPER CLOSURE
4.      Cut one rectangle 40” x 3½” for SHOULDER STRAP
5.      Cut two (2) rectangles 20” x 6” for FRONT TIES.  Trim to fit the FRONT TIES.

Sewing instructions:
1.      Iron on interfacing to all pieces.

2.      With one ZIPPER CLOSURE” piece for the zipper closure, fold in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew ½” seam along the short ends, so that the length is kept open.  Turn to outside and iron flat.  Repeat with matching piece.

3.      Fold the SHOULDER STRAP in half lengthwise, right sides together and sew ½” seam along the length of the strap.  Turn to outside and iron flat.  Tuck the ends of the shoulder strap in by ½ inch, iron and baste closed, so that all the edges are finished.

4.      Fold each FRONT TIE piece together lengthwise, right sides together.  With the first piece, sew along the edges leaving the flat end open to turn.  For the second piece, cut 1" off the flat end, making it one inch shorter than the other piece.  Sew as you did the first piece.  Trim corners. Turn to outside, using a blunt dowel or chopstick to push out the corners.  Iron well.

5.      On one MAIN BODY piece, the 20” edge will be the TOP and BOTTOM, and the 12” edge will be the SIDES.  On the TOP, measure and mark 4½” from the edges of each side.  I clipped a small notch.  Sew two machine basting stitches between the notches at ¼” and ¾” seam allowance.  Pull threads to gather between the notches.  Repeat with other main body piece and each of the LINING pieces.

6.      Taking the MAIN BODY and the TOP TAB piece, working from the outside edges, pin the TOP of the MAIN BODY to the 12” length of the TOP TAB, adjusting the gathers to fit between the notches.  Stitch together with ½” seam allowance.  Repeat with other side.

7.      Using the directions for installing a zipper, sew a purse zipper onto one ZIPPER CLOSURE piece, making sure the zipper is along the folded side of the ZIPPER CLOSURE.  Repeat with the other size so the zipper fits evenly between the two ZIPPER CLOSURE pieces.*

    *(please note that I didn’t install the zipper until the last step and it was a giant pain, so I’m adjusting my steps, so you can avoid the same problem I did and not have to sew it in by hand on the ends.  Please also note that my pictures represent how I did it and not how I’m instructing you to do it.)

8.      Pin and baste one raw edge of the ZIPPER CLOSURE to the free length of the TOP TAB, right sides together.  Repeat with the other side.

9.      Pin the TOP of the LINING to the TOP TAB, right sides together, so that the ZIPPER CLOSURE is between the LINING and the TOP TAB, adjusting the gathers between the notches to fit the same as the MAIN BODY.  Sew in place with ½” seam allowance.

10.  Line up the raw edges of the FRONT TIE pieces to the sides of the MAIN BODY, extending up to the TOP TAB by ½”.  Make sure the FRONT TIE pieces are placed so that the folded side is toward the TOP and the seamed side is toward the BOTTOM.

11.  With right sides together, pin together the MAIN BODY and the LINING pieces (that are all connected by now) and sew together along all the edges with a ½" seam allowance , leaving about 6” open in the bottom of the LINING so you can turn it right side out.

12.  Iron seams open.
13.  Along each corner on both the MAIN BODY and the LINING, fold so that the seams line up and pin seams together, as pictured.  Measure 2¾”from the corner on each new folded edge and mark with a pin.  Using a straight edge, draw a straight line from each marking and sew along the line, so the corner is cut off.  Trim corners off.

14.  Turn through the opening in the lining so that the lining fits inside the handbag. 
15.  Iron ½” seam allowance into the opening in the LINING and stitch closed, either by hand or machine. (I did it by machine, but you may like a more finished look inside).

16.  Line up the bottom edges of the TOP TAB so that the MAIN BODY and the LINING match up.  This is rather tedious.  Top stitch along the edge where the MAIN BODY meets the TOP TAB, stopping and restarting at the edges to avoid sewing over the FRONT TIES.

17.   Center the SHOULDER STRAP edge at the side seams of the TOP TAB and top stitch in place.  It’s best to stitch from the outside, even though you can’t really see what you’re  doing, you can kind of feel where the fabric starts and stops.  It makes for a cleaner look on the outside.

18.      Tie the FRONT TIES together. 

inside view

update 11/19/11:  I made this bag again and decided not to gather the lining.  Instead, I matched centers, and trimmed the bottom to the top on a diagonal so that it would match the shape of the bag.  I was much happier with it this way.

I also added some reinforcement on the bottom.  A piece of lightweight plastic works well.