Saturday, February 27, 2010

More than a Hill of Beans: No Sew Fabric Wreath

I'm very excited about happening upon Vanessa Christenson's blog yesterday!  She's got a great sense of style and some awesome tutorials on her blog, including this No Sew Fabric Wreath that I've just added to my to-do list. 

Now, I'm stepping away from my computer so I'm not tempted to purchase one of the many tutorials for sale on her etsy site

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Onesie Sample Sale!

I'm having a sample sale at my Etsy Shop!  I need new samples, so you get a deal!  Now's you chance to get a customized baby onesie at a great price.  Prices as marked at a 50% off discount!  Act fast, because there's only ONE LEFT, and it's first come, first serve!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What a reWreath!


Over the weekend, I finally updated the bare wreaths sitting on top of my bookshelves.  I bought two grapevine wreaths from Michaels back in January, and added the white berries, which I purchased for this purpose at AC Moore back in September!  I used thin floral wire to tie the berry vine to the grapevine, and I was impressed at how quickly I finished.  I'm not sure if they're complete yet, but they certainly look better than before. 

Have any ideas of what to add?  Post a comment!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Alton Brown Came to Town

Hey foodies!  Last Friday, Alton Brown came to town to give a celebrity lecture supporting the Indian Creek Foundation, and I enjoyed being in attendance.  Alton entertained by mixing three recipes and a continuous Q&A dialogue with the audience.

Sadly, this is the best picture I got.  Having lost 50 pounds, he was a little more difficult to catch on camera (certainly not because of the quality of my little point and shoot.)  I hope that he comes out with a weight loss cookbook soon!   I'm guessing it won't contain my favorite recipe that evening: a 5 minute chocolate cake!

Alton whipped 8 eggs, 5 1/2 oz of sugar and a pinch of salt in a mixer on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes.  Then, he added 7 1/2 oz of melted dark chocolate until combined, and continued with 1 1/2 oz of all purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons of expresso powder and 2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Now here's the fun part.  He added the cake mix into a N2O charged cream whipper, then filled a glass coffee cup with the now aerated cake mix.  The glass went into the microwave for 45 seconds on 90% and out came cake!  I wish I could have tried it...and I was totally ready to make this cake when I got home, but I didn't have the $100 stainless-steel cream whipper. (The nitrous oxide cartridges are extra...)  Oh well. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

More than a Hill of Beans: Sewing Machine Cookies

I apologize for not piling up the beans for the first time last week, but fear not!  I've got a peace offering of cookies this week...well, sort of:

Earlier this week, while perusing the website of one of my favorite local fabric shops, Spool, I found this adorable sewing machine cookie cutter.  Such a perfect shape for those of us sewing inclined, and these cookies must be "sew" much fun to decorate, not to mention eat!  I'll surely be picking up one of these the next time I'm over there!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Back to the Crafty Office

Now that I'm refreshed by another long day...hmm...  Now that I'm finally nestled into my couch, computer on my lap, cat to one side and coffee to the other, I return back to work.  But only for the benefit of those of you faithful followers, biting your nails after the abrupt ending to my last blog post.  So without further ado, reference the picture and check out some of the cool stuff that sits on my desk!

1. Standard issue office writing implements.  Boring.

2.  My cell phone hiding my Swinging Cats Note Pad from boygirlparty.  I try to keep my cat stuff to a minimum, but the fab cats swinging on this brightly colored notepad always make me smile.  It's reserved for personal notes only!

3.  Speaking of personal notes, I like to leave myself little notes on this Mini Chalkboard from revelry.  Currently, it sports the words "out 2 lunch."  I still regret not having purchased a medium sized just doesn't fit all my big ideas!

4.  Postcards from Rome, Florence and Capri.  Strictly for daydreaming.

5.  At the beginning of the year, I searched for my favorite calendar on Etsy, and this one by greenkaijyu won!  Green was really sweet and customized the calendar so I could hang it up, saving valuable desk space!

6.  My favorite desk top item, the one I made!  Although I cheated a little by put a pencil holder inside of it to give it a little more rigidity, I love that I have something I made on my desk.  And I'm constantly using it!   Ah...if only I could be at home making more...


So for those of you faithful readers, bloggers, crafters and Etsy fiends that made it to the bottom of this post, what else can I add to my desk to submerse myself into a craftier world??

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Home Away from Home

Alternate Title: the Crafty Office

I have a cofession to make, I've been working a lot in an office recenlty, away from my craft table and sewing machine.  It's a bummer, but I've got my obsession with the smell of freshly purchased fabic to deal with.  To top it off, I recently subjected myself to a viewing of Confessions of a Shopaholic, which has lead me to the realization of my  second confession: I think I'm an Etsy Shopaholic.  So, this explains my necessity for a time consuming, yet money earning, day job.

In order to slip more easily back into my crafty life at the end of the day, I've been breaking down my cubicle walls with little bits of handmade goodness, to mask the stagnant office environment.  In addition to some of my Etsy paraphernalia, I have my pens, pencils, scissors and other office supplies handy in my fabric basket that I made.  Now that I've been up late blogging and watching double corks, the next thing I know will be the alarm ringing in my ear, so more info on my basket to come!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Highway Robbery

This evening, I took a ride through the blustery snow to get a leak fixed in one of my car's tires. Five minutes and $2 after entering the store, I left it with a repaired tire. Did I miss something? These days, you practically have to pay someone $5 to take $2 away from you. What a steal!  Tonight, I think I pulled off literal highway robbery!

Which reminds me, yesterday, my Valentine made an extra stop for me while we were out at Joann Fabrics.  I happened upon a sweet collection of Gutterman 100% cotton thread: 18 spools for $9.97!  That's 55 cents a piece for some pretty colors of quality thread.  I think I've gotten some stellar deals recently.  Hmm...I better go shopping again tomorrow to make sure my luck doesn't shift.  Check out my new colors:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Duck Inside

BEWARE of too much fun!  This blog post contains a video and a duck.

The talented MrBeans plays the drum set in a two-man band called the Duck Inside.  So for the past week, he's steadily improved his airbrushing techniques creating some pretty cool band t-shirts for an upcoming show.  I, overcome with the excitement of my newest version of embroidery software, decided it would be way cooler to sew the duck on a t-shirt.  And cooler still?!  I created a video (with a little help from MrBeans) of me embroidering that duck!

Duck Embroidery 20x the speed of real life:

Quack!  Quack!

Now wasn't that fun!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Didn't Your Mom Teach You Not to Steal?


 Yes...but when I saw a cute fabric basket for holding pens and pencils on Etsy, I didn't want to buy something I knew I could easily make...  That's not really stealing, is it?

Here's the original "Pretty Flowers Tasket Set" that I spied on Etsy by Jenn Maruska Designs:

And here's my attempt at "creating my own version" of her design:


Overall, I'm mildly impressed on how my basket turned out.  I love the Alice in Wonderland fabric I picked out!  Though, I encountered a few bumps in my design-build process.  I began the "tasket" by encasing the rick rack between the two main basket panels, and that didn't work out very well when I went to sew them into a cylinder.  As you can see by my "fix" in the first picture, I wasn't really that worried about it.  I also didn't bother to calculate the correct size circle I needed for the bottom.  I just estimated, sewed...and it seemed to work!  Once it was finished, I thought it was very flimsy and fell over easily.  Well, it is only made from fabric.  I think that some sand or beans worked into the bottom would be a nice touch.  I really want to make one to use as a pencil jar for work, so I might try again considering some of these changes.

And don't worry, you won't be finding these for sale in my Etsy shop.  I'll leave it to Jenn to sell the official Jenn Maruska Designs tasket sets!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day!

Today is my first official Snow Day as a working adult!  There's nothing like getting paid to stay home and watch it snow.  But I won't be gazing outside all day...As you can see, I've got a drifting pile of stuff to shovel myself out of.  I've got an ambitious list to work on today, so talk to you later, and enjoy the snow!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Uses for Old Notions

It's snowing outside again!  And I've come up with a great use for one of my old sewing supplies.  Over the weekend, this old quilting ruler rested perfectly against the snow plowed path cut along my sidewalk.  I'll be out there again tomorrow with this handy, recycled device, measuring the day's progress, blizzard conditions pending, of course!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Meet Baby Silas!


Isn't he adorable!  Jennifer sent me this picture of her new baby boy posing for his birth announcement photo.  Is it possible that some of that cuteness is coming from the adorable onesie he's wearing??   Well, he's probably cute in whatever he's wearing, but I'm rather honored that Silas is hamming it up in one of my custom onesies.  Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowflakes and Cinnamon Buns


We're getting the storm of the century here in Pennsylvania with 20"+ of snow!  My backyard is a winter wonderland, and I can't wait to put on my snow boots, sit down in one of those chairs and have some hot chocolate with Frosty!  

Speaking on Frosty, I started out the morning frosting these Cinnamon Buns!  I picked this recipe from Food Network's Alton Brown because you make them at night then store them in the frig until morning.   Perfect for waking up to on a sleepy, snowy Saturday.  Unfortunately, I have to confess, I think I added too much flour, and they didn't rise the way they should have.  They turned out very dense.  This is my second cinnamon bun failure.  I'll give myself one more chance before I resort to Pillsbury's Grands!

For now, we're staying warm by the pellet stove while the snow swirls outside, right Zorro?

Friday, February 5, 2010

More than A Hill of Beans: Loops and Purls


As a 'jill'-of-all-trades, I've some experience that long, stringy thing called yarn.  This is, if knitting a couple of scarves counts.  Unfortunately, I'm more into stitches and basting than loops and purls, which goes to say, I didn't make this adorable apple.  (I purchased it from Paige of Little Bird Crochet on Etsy who beautifully constructed it for me!)  In fact, I really don't know much about yarn crafts.  Knitting, crocheting, two needles, one needle, casting, purling...whatever....  But when I saw these Spiral Rib Leg Warmers on the Purl Bee, I was a little upset with my lacking talents. 


It just so happens that these are exactly what I was looking for!  (I was looking for legwarmers?!?)  With the Blizzard of 2010 heading up the east coast tonight, I can't hire someone fast enough to make me these.  So much for keeping my legs warm in the snow...

Not all is lost in my inability to knit.  In fact, I find it fortunate that I don't sew and knit.  I can only assume that while us quilt-y girls (and boys) love our fabric, those knit-ty girls probably love their yarn.  So while I'm keeping my home skein free, a girl can still dream.  If I could choose some yarn tonight, I might pick up some of these, also from PurlSoho, for my legwarmers:

True to the pattern:  Manos Del Uruguay 5-ply Merino in Dove
Farmhouse Yarns  Lumpy Bumpy in Burgundy

Lornas Laces  Fisherman in Firefly

Monday, February 1, 2010

Something a Little Personal


Happy February, Everyone!  I'm by no means a romantic person, but this year I'm really getting into all the pinks, reds, flowers and hearts this month!  Maybe that's what inspired me to put up this new line of items into my shop.  They're called "Bean's Clutches" and they're adorable little wallets perfect for stashing your stuff when Aunt Flo comes to visit!  

I was sick of trying to stuff them into my sleeves or socks at work, so I came up with this cute little pouch made from beautiful oil cloth.  It definitely looks more like a change purse than a tampon case.  So stuff a dollar in there too and stop at the vending machine on the way back from the bathroom!  If you've got one of these, you know you deserve that candy bar!