Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011

I enjoy a good, quiet, low-key New Year's Eve.

At home.

No driving around where you risk running into all the drunken fools who get behind the wheel of a car. Or all the loud parties and craziness. Or feeling the need to dress up and teeter around in high-heels all evening.

I prefer sitting around in comfy jeans and hanging with a few folks.

(Photo of chili at the 1/2 way point.)

So again, for this year, I'm making my award winning* turkey chili and Chris is making spicy, Mexican chorizo (and non-chorizo) queso dips. We're gonna eat, drink and play silly games. Some of us may last until the stroke of midnight ... others may head home early. Either way, good food and company will be had.

Here's to 2011! We hardly knew ya' ...

*Basic recipe was given to a former co-worker many, many moons ago who won a chili cook-off with it. She was kind enough to tell me about it. :)

HOWEVER it has since been "tweaked" and is even better than the original. I could SOOOO kick some chili cook-off ass with this stuff ...

Happy New Year to you!

Be safe.
Have a DD or call a cab.
Don't start 2012 dead.
It'll ruin your whole year ...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Traveler

I was quite productive today.

My friend Suzanne came over for a little Soap Making 101. We whipped up some Lavender-Sage, Lemon-Sage, Green Tea & Honey, and Oatmeal & Honey soaps. I did a batch of Eucalyptus after she left. I was quite pleased to find a new supplier for the glycerin soap base. Saved me a little coin AND they do not feel the need to add antibacterial chemicals to it. Awesome.

THEN I whipped up a men's dop bag. I call it The Traveler.

Made from repurposed denim (i.e. jeans that ripped) and some pinstripe cotton for the lining. It's based up the Lawn Bag from 1-2-3 Sew. I had a happy accident while making the bag and I like how it turned out. The fabric tabs are different from the pattern and so the construction had to change slightly. All in all, I think it's a great bag for a dude to take whilst traveling. Gotta store your toothbrush somewhere!

And, yes, some of the bars of soap say "Mott's" on them. I like to use disposable containers as soap molds. They can be used a few times before they crack and need to hit the recycle bin. So they get to have more than a "use once and toss" kind of life.

Repurpose, people! THEN recycle!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Flame On!

Since the young recipient of this Christmas gift is not regular reader of my blog, I feel safe in posting a quick tutorial for you all and giving you a peek at what I'm working on.

THIS is one of the easiest kid or baby blankets you can make.
If you can sew in a straight line, you can make this blanket.

Here's what you need*:
1 and 1/3 yard - printed quilting cotton (42" wide)
1 and 1/3 yard - coordinating solid color fleece (60" wide)
coordinating or contrast thread
basic sewing supplies

After shrinkage, truing the fabric and what-not, this blanket finished to approximately 40" x 43" in size.

1) Launder all fabrics according to care instructions.
2) Iron your printed fabric and fold in half along selvage, then in half again. You're going to have to "true" the fabric before sewing. Especially if the awesome fabric cutter at your local big-box craft store cuts the fabric as such:

Seriously? Straight lines. Ever heard of 'em?
Anyway ...

3) Using your favorite method, "true" your printed fabric to make straight edges and nice, square corners.
4) Yes, your fleece will be quite a bit larger than the printed piece. I'm getting to that.
5) Align one of your now straight edges of the printed fabric with one of the selvage edges of the fleece, right sides facing.
6) Pin at center of edges and working your way outward to the corners, pin every 2" or so. Smooth your fabric as you go! The cotton and the fleece will want to cling together. You want to make sure there are no wrinkles as you pin.
6) After getting one edge aligned and pinned, begin working down one of the side edges the same way. Go back and do the other side before doing the bottom edge.
7) Yes, you're going to have extra fabric along the other 3 edges. This will be trimmed later. Keep smoothing out your fabrics as you pin!
8) When you do the bottom edge, leave at least a 10" section in the middle unpinned as you will use this hole to turn your blanket right side out. Mark the beginning and ending of the opening with two pins so you will know where to start and stop your stitching (see below)

9) Trim up the fleece to match the cotton print.
10) Stitch around the blanket, from double pin to double pin, with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Don't forget to backstitch where you start and stop!
11) Trim your corners and turn right side out through the opening. Using a pencil, point turner, or, if you have pointy pinkies like me, a finger, poke out your corners nice and sharp.
12) Since the fleece can be a little slippery, you're going to have to pin your edges again before top stitching. Don't forget to turn your seam allowances in and pin the opening closed. Like this:

13) Beginning in one corner, top stitch all the way around the blanket, approximately 1/8" to 1/4" away from edge.

Poof! You're done!

Thought this was a fun fabric combo for an angst-y (or trying to be) pre-pubescent boy. I think he'll like the angry flames! Grrr! His younger brother is getting one made from the blue tiger stripe!

* If you're feeling fancy, you can use coordinating yarn to "tuft" the blanket. This keeps the layers from moving around too much, but isn't really necessary as the fleece and the cotton stick pretty well together. BUT the tufting does look nice. I just didn't like it with this print. Did some other blankets with my cousin (for her girls) and we tufted with yarn in the center of the flowers on the prints we used. Looked nice.