Monday, May 31, 2010

Pillowcase Dresses

I have a new tutorial for those of you interested in learning how to make one of these adorable pillowcase dresses for the princess in your life!

I have a 9 month old baby BOY and here I am designing pillowcase dresses!! Is it a sign?? well, maybe... but my husband and I won't be trying for baby #2 until the end of this year...I'll be sure to keep you posted. :o)

This pillowcase dress craze began when one of the moms in a local moms group I'm in asked me if I could teach a sewing class on pillowcase dresses.  She said she knew a lot of moms that would be interested in that class.  So, I started doing research to find out what they even were! LOL.  A few months later here I am!  Teaching three different pillowcase dressmaking classes and they are filling up so quickly!

The first class was last Saturday and I had six students!  Wanna see the dresses they made?   Click here.   In just three hours everyone left with a finished pillowcase dress for their little girls! :o)

I have created a step-by-step tutorial for a simple way of making this dress.  It only requires two coordinating cotton fabrics and some ribbon.  There are a lot of other pillowcase dress patterns and tutorials out there that require you to attach bias binding for the arm holes and I would NOT recommend that for a beginner.  Bias binding can be tricky and just requires more time and extra steps that are unnecessary.  My tutorial keeps it nice and simple while teaching you how to make french seams.  French seams give any project a clean and professional look.  So, following my print and video instructions you will be able to make a professional looking dress in a short amount of time.

You can purchase the print version of my pattern and tutorial here for only $3!
I will email you the PDF pattern/tutorial in less than 12 hours after your payment is received.
I have also created a video tutorial that serves as a supplemental resource to the print tutorial.  As an instructor I know that it can be tough (especially for beginners) to understand what to do just from reading the instructions.  So, for those of you who learn better visually I have created this video.   I am confident that if you read my instructions and follow my video tutorial you will be able to make this pillowcase dress time and time again!


Monday, May 24, 2010

You win and I win!

Today is May 24th!  My older sister's 31st birthday.  Wow... that means my 27th birthday is only 8 days away! (I digress).....ahem, Today is also the day I announce the winners of the Mother's Day Giveaway!

These two lucky ladies win quilted zippered cosmetic pouches!

and the winners are...... drumroll please.........................

1)Winner of the leopard print cosmetic pouch
2)Winner of the custom made cosmetic pouch- to be made from your selected fabric choice from our sponsor's shop- Quilting Lodge

1) teresamatz said...

David Textiles - Black & White Floral Toile

wow, what a kind give-a-way! thanks so much for the chance :)

2) Mary Beth Yokomi said... Timeless Treasures Poppy Lane Fabric Large Poppy Print

I will be emailing you ladies today to coordinate shipment of your prizes!  Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!


I won something too!!  Michele from Quilting Gallery hosts weekly themed online quilt contests.  This week's theme was Bugs & Birds.  I entered my Love Tweets! mini quilt and I won 2nd place! I'm not upset that I didn't win 1st.... because 1st and 2nd place winners both win! LOL.

We both won a copy of New York Times Best Selling Author, Marie Bostwick's new book, A Thread So Thin.
Yay! A new quilty novel for me to read! 
Thank you to all those who voted!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Black & White Quilt Along

Whether you are a beginning sewer or a beginning quilter I have a fun new challenge for you! Before you close this window... relax.... I'm going to walk you through everything step-by-step.  I will include written instructions and even a video tutorial if anyone needs it.
If you have always wondered how people actually make quilts this is your chance to stop wondering and start sewing!

Join me for the first ever Crafty Gemini quilt along!  We will be working on 5 different blocks (12" x 12" finished) I have designed using ONLY black and white fabrics.  Using only black & white fabrics will keep the color selection/matching part of quilting (that is often overwhelming) nice and simple. However, feel free to participate and follow along with the color combination of your choice.

I designed these blocks using the EQ6 quilting software I purchased from one of our sponsors, Quilting Lodge.  It is fabulous, user-friendly software for even the most beginning quilter to design blocks and quilts.  It allows me to make the blocks whatever size I want, and audition fabrics before I cut anything!

Simply put this quilt along is like 5 FREE quilting lessons where I will walk you through everything.  All you need to do is whip out your sewing machine, some fabric, and accept this challenge!  Trust me... you can do this! So, put away all your excuses about not having time...and let's get to work.....let's make a quilt!

 Black & White Block #1:
(Will turn out 12.5" x 12.5" but will measure 12" x 12" when sewn in a quilt )
 The block I designed contains sample fabrics. You don't have to use these exact fabrics...simply stick to the overall design.  For example, notice that the lightest fabric makes the windmill part of the block.  This allows the windmill to pop since it is next to a dark fabric.

Here's how you make it:
 Decide on your 3 fabrics.  2 should be dark and one should be light. 
Cut FOUR, 4 7/8" x  4 7/8" squares of one of your dark fabrics and your light fabric.
Cut ONE 4 1/2" x  4 1/2" square of your other dark fabric.

Place one dark square and one light square on top of each other with pretty sides touching.
Pin one corner to keep the fabric from moving.
Take your ruler and measure diagonally across the square.
Mark this line with a pencil.
Use a 1/4" foot to stitch 1/4" to the left AND to the right of that pencil line.
(Repeat these steps for all the other dark and light squares.)
Place your ruler back on the pencil line you made earlier and slice your square right down that pencil line.
Do this to all your other block units so you should end up with 8 total half square triangle units.

Open your blocks and press the seam towards the darker color.
Trim your dog ears, please!
The picture on the left shows the dog ears circled.
The picture on the right is what your half square triangle block should look like with no dog ears.

Use this picture to arrange your blocks in the correct orientation.

Sew all the pieces together and you get a super cute windmill block! 

Come back soon... for Block #2!

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Busy Bee

I haven't forgotten about you all.. I have just been swamped with work.  I just posted my June 2010 sewing & quilting class schedule for those of you living in the North Central Florida area.

Classes will be offered at Cootie Coo Creations in High Springs, FL.  Check out the schedule for registration and pricing information.

Some classes include a pillowcase dress, a zippered cosmetic pouch, flirty girl half-apron, and a fold-away quilt.
Aside from my classes I am busy designing new patterns and tutorials that I will have on the website and here on the blog soon. 

Speaking of designing... remember the commissioned quilt I was finishing up? Well, I hand-stitched the binding on and mailed it to the lucky recipient- my friend's girlfriend.  She will receive it tomorrow and I am so anxious to hear what she says... or screams.  I will accept screams as a thank you.

Here it is completed.  What do you think?
Only other thing I've been doing is making homemade bread from scratch.... here are the loaves I made today for the rest of the week. Yummy! I made this loaf just a plain whole wheat loaf to make sandwiches with.  I added two eggs and that gave it such a creamy consistency inside.... this is a keeper!

That's all for now people... but trust me... I will be back soon.. and with something fun! Hmmm.. I'm thinking... a quilt along.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Black & Brights Anniversary Quilt

Nope... I haven't finished it yet.  Well, the only thing I have left to do is finish hand stitching the binding on the Blacks & Brights Anniversary quilt I was commissioned to make by one of my old law school friends.  He contacted me a few weeks ago via Facebook to order a custom made quilt... for who? His girlfriend, of course!  Their anniversary was creeping up and he wanted to give her something handmade.  That's where I come in! Aside from some color and theme suggestions he awarded me "full creative license and discretion to make a masterpiece."(his own words)
One of my favorite things about doing custom made items for customers is that most of them will trust my judgment and creative eye.  That's when I am most comfortable creating a piece of art because I don't have to question my every decision wondering whether or not I think they would like this or that. 

He suggested I incorporate Black (her favorite color), and bright accent colors like Teal, Purple/Lavender, Yellow, Orange, etc.  Here are the colors I decided on.
I know.. I know... what the hek is she thinking?!  That's exactly what I thought after I cut out these strips and stood there looking at them. I continued anyway.  Why?  Because I designed this quilt in the EQ6 quilting software I purchased from our sponsor, Quilting Lodge and it looked good on my netbook screen.

This is the snapshot of the design in the software.

 The quilt is one of my Big Block Quilts that come together relatively quickly because the blocks are 16" x 16" or bigger. The quilt is made up of rail fence blocks and two corner appliqué blocks.  One with a saxophone and the other with the American Sign Language sign for "I love you."(the design just shows a heart because the software doesn't have a block for ASL signs.)

(fyi- I'm working on some more Big Block Quilt designs and will be posting patterns and tutorials soon. Get excited!)

The message he wants me to include on the quilt label is:

"Let my love be a cover unto your heart and a comfort to your body."

Is that not THE cutest line ever for a quilt!??! I LOVE IT!

I sure hope she likes it!....Here is a quick look at the overall quilt.  I'll show you the final quilt in a few days when it's completed and shipped... stay tuned.  I'd really like to hear what you think so, drop me a line!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Remember when I first blogged about making bread from scratch?  Well, I am at it again.  This time I asked my husband to suggest the type of bread. His sweet tooth answered for him--Cinnamon Raisin.  Why was I not surprised? Maybe because this is the same man that has the nerve to tell me my Pecan Pralines need more sugar! Mind you... they are nothing BUT sugar.  I still ♥ him.

Today as the baby napped I started on his whole wheat Cinnamon Raisin Swirl bread.  I used what Troid, owner of Floating Island Gift Shop, taught me.  She is a fabulous woman who taught me (and some other mamas) how to make bread from scratch using her very low-tech method.  We didn't use a breadmaker or even an electric mixer.  Everything is done by hand using a bowl, a whisk, a wooden spoon, and of course your hands!  The recipe she gave us is very open to interpretation.  It gives you the basics of understanding breadmaking and then you can make any kind of bread you want!  It's fabulous!
Using her basics, I created this recipe as I went and was very delighted with the outcome. I hope you will try it and maybe add your own swirl twist to it.
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
-  Bread flour (I use King Arthur brand)
-  1 cup of whole wheat flour
-  1 1/2 cup of warm water (104-108 degrees F)
-  3 tablespoons of sugar
-  1/2 a packet of Fleischmann's Rapid Rise yeast 
-  1 cup of raisins
-  1 tablespoon of canola oil
-  1/2 teaspoon of salt
-  1 egg
-  Butter
-  Cinnamon sugar (ground cinnamon and sugar mixed together)

1.  Add the water to a warmed bowl (run it under some hot water so it will keep the temp. )
2.  Add the 3 TBL of sugar. Stir briefly to dissolve.
3.  Sprinkle the half packet of yeast over the top. DO NOT STIR. Cover bowl with towel and let rest for a few minutes.
4.  Check yeast to see if it's puffing up.  If the yeast is still grainy and not puffy, throw it out and start all over.  Inactive yeast will cause your bread to flop.
5.  Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and stir vigorously with a whisk for a minute.
6.  Add the salt and the canola oil.  Stir vigorously again.
7.  Add 1 cup of bread flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
8.  Stir in raisins.
9. Continue to add the bread flour 1/2 cup at a time until it is too stiff to stir and is hardly sticky at all. 
10.  Dump dough onto a floured surface and knead with your hands.
11. Add light sprinklings of flour as needed and continue to knead until the dough is nice and tight and feels like a baby's butt. (Troid's own words! LOL)
12. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise until doubled in size. (at least 30-40 minutes)
13. Punch down the dough to release the air bubbles, cover again and let it rise again.
14. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll it out just to make about a medium sized pizza round.
15. Spread some butter over the top and sprinkle a generous coating of your cinnamon sugar.
16.  Roll the dough up like you would a scroll and tuck the ends under.
17. Place your loaf with seam side down into a greased loaf pan and allow to rise for about 20 minutes. Now preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 
18.  If you want a nice sheen to the top of your loaf this is the time to brush on some egg wash.  Scramble the 1 egg in a bowl with about a 1/4 cup of water and brush this mixture over the top of your loaf.
18. Bake loaf 35-45 minutes.  Check for doneness by pulling the loaf out and tapping it on the bottom.  If it sounds hollow- it's done.  If it still sounds dense put it back in for a few more minutes and check again.
19.  When it's done, immediately remove it from the pan and place on a cooling rack to to rest.
20.  Cut it and eat it!  Just remember not to wrap the bread while it's still warm because it will get soggy.  Let it come to room temperature before storing it in a zip loc bag.  It stores well in the fridge and the freezer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Giveaway!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you fabulous mothers out there in blogland!!  This is my first mother's day...and I will say, I am so happy and blessed to have a loving husband and an amazing 8 month old baby boy.  Being a mother is the single most challenging and rewarding job anyone can ever have and I love every minute of it!

Today, we ate dinner at my in-laws' house where my brothers in law cooked up a storm!  We ate ham, homemade potato salad, green beans, macaroni and cheese, spinach, and some chocolate covered fruits from an Edible Arrangements bouquet just like this one they bought their mother.  The food was spectacular as it usually is when I go over to a New Orleanian's house. 

We are just settling back in after a week long vacation and Summer term starts tomorrow and I've been working on a commissioned quilt (more on that in another blog posting).....just staying busy as usual.  So, I didn't have much money or time to get my MIL (mother-in-law) a gift.  To quickly solve the dilemma I Googled some quick gift ideas and came across a fabulous tutorial over at the Experimentalk blog on how to make a cute quilted zippered pouch. The craziest part is that I actually know her!!  This blog/tutorial belongs to a friend of mine and I didn't even know!  Anyway, I'm glad I found it and I thought I would pass it along to you all.

This pouch is perfect to use as a small cosmetics bag to carry just your essentials.  You could also make it bigger for a larger toiletry bag to take on overnight trips.  If you make it longer it would be a cool pencil case for kids.  The ideas and variations are endless!

In honor of all the fabulous Mamas out there I have decided to host not one... but 2 giveaways! Yipee for free stuff!  I am giving away: 1) one leopard print quilted zippered pouch like the one you see here and 2) one custom made zippered pouch. 

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is visit our newest sponsor- Quilting Lodge's store and tell me (by commenting below) which one of their dozens of fabrics would you like me to use to make your zippered pouch. Please also include your email in the comment so that I may contact you if you win.

Deadline to enter is May 23rd.  I will be choosing 2 winners randomly on May 24th- one of you will get the leopard print pouch and the other will get one made out of the fabric they stated in their comment.

So, what are you waiting for?? Head on over to the Quilting Lodge and start surfing through fabric choices...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Featured on Sew It To Me blog!

Woo-hoo! The ladies at Sew It To Me are featuring some fabulous tutorials on their blog today! One of which includes my super easy button earring video tutorial. These button earrings are a must have for any crafty person out there! They are also fabulous to make with your kids and can be used as little gifts at birthday parties. But you don't have to be a kid to enjoy this perfect go-to accessory... I'm 26 years old and have them in every possible color!  With an 8-month old baby tugging at my hair and ears, I love that I can still wear some kind of jewelry without running the risk of having an ear lobe ripped off!

Here is the video tutorial for you to enjoy! Let me know if you make these and how you like them...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Giveaway Winners Announced!

Sorry I am a day late posting these winners. We are on vacation to New Orleans this week visiting my husband's grandparents and spent all day yesterday at Jazz festival!  We are having a great time and my baby is spending time with his great grandparents and will even get to  meet a great-great grandmother!  Well, more info on my trip to come in a later blog.... now for the info you really want to read.

The winners are:

1) Custom laptop cover giveaway winner:

Rachel said... " This is awesome! Thanks for the idea! I know how you feel about having no time for anything. My son just turned 2 and my daughter is 6 months. I stay up very late for me time hehe"
Rachel please contact me at craftygemini{at} to claim your prize.

2) Vintage pinwheel coasters winner: 

misty said..." I follow your blog!! Love your tutes. I am also a facebook follower. "
 Misty, I will be contacting you shortly to coordinate shipment of your prize. 

Congratulations to both winners and thank you for continued support!  Stay tuned for more giveaways!!  
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