Tuesday, June 18, 2013

{Create} Fabric Hairbow






As much as I craft you would think I could make a decent ribbon hairbow.  But the thing is - I really stink at making ribbon hairbows.  I just can't seem to get it right - even when I follow really great tutorials.  So instead, I dug through my fabric stash and created this little bow.


I love it.  
It's so simple to make.  
It will be the perfect accessory to your girl's summer wardrobe(or yours!).  
Just follow the easy instructions below!!!

You'll need:
 a small square of fabric - about 6"x6"
a hair clip
some trim or ribbon for the center
a glue gun
a sewing machine/thread/scissors/etc.

STEP 1:
Cut a 4"x2" rectangle out of card stock for a pattern.  You don't have to do this, but I like to so that I can position it anywhere on the fabric.  Cut out two rectangles.

STEP 2:
Pin the rectangles right sides together.  Place marks 1" apart along one of the long sides.  
Preferably in the center.  This will be your opening for turning.

STEP 3:
Use a 1/4" seam allowance and stitch around the rectangle, leaving the 1" opening.  Clip the corners.

STEP 4:
Turn it right sides out and topstitch the opening closed.  Press well.


STEP 5:
Now, scrunch up the center of the bow.  Just fiddle with it until you like the way it looks, then top stitch right over the folds to hold it in place.  



 STEP 6:
Select your trim and wrap it around the center of the bow - gluing it or hand sewing it in the back.  Lastly, glue the clip to the back of the bow and enjoy!!

Happy Sewing!
jessica

Monday, June 10, 2013

{Educate} Sew By Number

Hey!  Well, I've been changing things up a bit around here.  A new look and a new sense of organization.  Now all of my posts will fit into one of four categories - which you can browse using the tabs beneath my header.  Decorate.  Create.  Educate.  Nourish.  

We have decided to homeschool in the fall - and so I'll be coming up with lots of crafts and projects for children.  You can find them under the Educate tab.  Today I wanted to share this super simple activity - which can easily be used for either gender.  
It also makes a great rainy summer day activity ;)
While we love lacing cards, with their sturdy frame and nice laces, we had a little difficulty grasping the concept of moving from one hole to the next.  So I decided to print out some pictures, punch holes around the edges, and number the holes.  Kind of like connect the dots with sewing.  
They have been a hit!  So here's how you can make your own!

Step 1:  Find a free printable coloring page through Google.  You can choose a character your child likes, or use something relevant to your unit in school. Print this picture onto card stock.

Step 2:  Cut around the picture - leaving a small border.  Punch holes around the border.

Step 3:  Number the holes.


Step 4:  Give your child some yarn and either a large darning needle or a piece of pipe cleaner folded in half and twisted to make a "needle".  I actually like the pipe cleaner option because you can make the eye as large or as small as you like, and your child can practice threading the needle.  Tape one end of the yarn to the back of the card.  Then start at number 1 and sew sew sew!  

Enjoy watching your child learn to sew!
xoxo
jessica

Monday, May 13, 2013

{DIY} Faux Boat Wood - how to make painted wood look chipped and old


I have been in love with boat wood for a long time.  The vibrant colors, texture, and the story - salvaged wood that's been a part of countless voyages on the sea...it all appeals to my sense of style.  Unfortunately, it's really expensive.  So, as the Officer and I were discussing our headboard options, I pointed out that I'd really looooooove a boat wood headboard.  We studied several photos and realized we couldn't think of any distressing method that would create the look we desired. 

It doesn't look sanded or faded. 
It looks like it's been chipped away.  Now, for a moment I actually considered painting the wood then taking a chisel and chipping pieces off... it was a crazy DIYer moment.  

Thankfully we did more research and came across a very simple technique that worked perfectly.  Lucy of Lucy Designs demonstrates this method, and even though she's not trying to emulate boat wood - it creates the same effect.  And here's the best part:  the only tool you'll need is a block of wood.  I'm talkin' a hunk of a 2x4.  I think anyone can come across one of those.  

Once you've found a block of wood and selected your paint colors, simply pour one color of paint onto a paper plate, dip the wood block in it, and slide it across your wood in a long sweeping motion.  Follow the length of the board.  It will create this really cool weathered and chipped look.  Once the first layer has dried, paint another layer - continue this method until you are happy with the results.


We painted the boards in groups of 3 or 4 so it would look like some of them came from the same boat.  The entire project only cost us $20, because the wood we used was from reclaimed pallets. 
 
The Officer also fashioned that awesome anchor from some of the scrap wood - he's amazing.
I know this style isn't for everyone - but we really love our eclectic, beachy, colorful bedroom!  Hope you had a great weekend!!
jessica

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Barndoor Baby Gate

Well, I can't believe it but next week little Miss Lila turns 1!!  She has become extremely mobile...including walking :)  So a few weeks ago it was time to put up the baby gates.  
Our not-so-lovely-but-thankful-we-have-it military housing comes with the really steep stairs.  With really sharp edges.  
So we needed to stop little Miss from climbing them (and she IS a climber!).  I'm really not a huge fan of the plastic baby gates...they don't have a lot of character and are really expensive for what you get.  So my crafty husband searched the internet for a better solution and came across this lovely barndoor baby gate plan from Remodelaholic.  He used mostly pallet wood - so they were very inexpensive.  Like most everything else in our house we decided to add color.  In fact my daughter has been known to punish her dolls by making them wear all white or all grey...the horror!

The gate at the bottom of the stairs had to be hinged in the center - there wasn't enough room to open it all the way.  

It simply folds neatly against the wall.
(don't you love that handrail...?) 

My thanks to the Officer for his mad woodworking skills. 
I love them, and they add just a little more character to this big white box we live in...that I'm very thankful for ;)
xoxo
jessica
p.s. Be happy with what you have and you will have plenty to be happy about.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

{Recipe}Twice-baked Butternut Squash with Feta, Sage, and Cranberries


I feel like butternut squash gets overlooked.  It's kinda like a sweet potato, but more complicated...so I think people just run away.  But to me - it's a wintery evening delight.  Even the name - butter + nut, makes me feel all warm and toasty...so if you've been unsure of what to do with this vegetable in the past - let me suggest you give this a try!  Here's what you'll need...
1 butternut squash
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
butter
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350.  If you have a large squash, cut it in quarters length-wise.  If it's a small one you'd do better just cutting it in half.  Scoop out the seeds and score the flesh.  Dot with butter and roast until a fork can easily pierce it (this takes about 30-40 minutes).  Remove the squash and gently scoop out the flesh and place it in a bowl.  You should be left with little "boats", that you will soon fill with deliciousness...
Increase the oven temp to 400.
Add the sour cream and sage to the squash in the bowl and blend with an immersion blender (or mash it up really good by hand if you didn't make it to the gym today...)
Then gently fold in the feta and dried cranberries.
Scoop this mixture back into the squash boats and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Put the squash back in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes more, until it's a little bubbly and the cheese is just starting to brown.
Hope you enjoy this recipe - and let me know - what's your favorite way to cook butternut squash?
xoxo
jessica

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My favorite Japanese fabric store!

As many of you know, Japanese import fabrics are kind of a big deal.  So when I found out I was moving to Japan, I was excited about the prospect of finding awesome Japanese fabric.  
Well, it wasn't that easy.  
Just like in America, there are all different kinds of fabric stores here - some with designer fabrics, some selling the lower end items.  But FINALLY, about 3 months ago while my mom was here, we discovered the best fabric store.  

It's called Swany and it's located in Kamakura- about 15 minutes from my house.  In the main building it has three floors of gorgeous fabrics - Liberty of London, wools, home decor, laminates, quilting cottons (although no Anna Maria Horner, I'm pretty sure her designs are way too colorful for the Japanese).  

There's also a bargain annex, with really great prices - because the regular stuff isn't cheap. 

If you thought you could come to Japan and buy Japanese import fabrics at a better price - you'd be wrong.  Everything is expensive here, which is why it's kind of amazing that they have an entire building dedicated to markdowns and discontinued.  I couldn't take any pictures inside -that's very frowned upon, but I thought you might enjoy seeing where I go to pump up my stash :)  And let me just say - thank your lucky stars Americans, that you have Joanns, or Hobby Lobby, or Michaels.  Shopping in those places makes crafting and sewing so easy, and (especially compared to here) inexpensive.   But it is a neat experience to learn about the Japanese way of sewing and crafting.
Happy Shopping!
xoxo
jessica

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Fighting Gator Quilt - my WIP...


Well, I've been really busy working on this quilt...but I couldn't show it to you because it was my Christmas gift to the Officer!  In case you didn't know, he went to UF for grad school and we are serious Gator fans.  I've been wanting to make him a Gator quilt for some time now, but I couldn't find any inspiration that I liked.  I don't really care for any of the Gator printed fabric...so I wasn't sure what to do.  Then, while my mom was visiting, she was telling me about a paper-piecing class she and my sister were going to take.   
That inspired me.  
To be able to piece anything that I could draw?!  
Wow, that seemed perfect.
  
Well, let me tell you - it wasn't perfect and it was a lot of work.  
Creating your own pattern for paper piecing can be rewarding, but it is not for the faint of heart.  I had to completely set aside my constant desire for instant gratification sewing, and realize I was in for the long haul.  
I looked at this pic for inspiration:

And here's my original drawing onto several sheets of graph paper I had taped together.
(I just snapped this pic on my phone)

I then had to lay tracing paper over this original, divide it into squares, and then draw each individual piece.  It took 375 pieces to produce the final gator (and he's only 19"x26").
It was worth it though because I'm really happy with the result.  
Here are some up close pics:



I appliqued the F onto his jersey.

What you see in this post is just the center panel of the quilt - here's a drawing of the concept for the entire quilt.
  
I still have some work to do :)
It was extra challenging to make this lil' guy because I didn't want the Officer to know what I was doing.  So that meant I had to work on it while he was at work...and I was home with the girls...not such an easy task. :)  But it was a labor of love, and it will certainly be a one-of-a-kind quilt.  

In case you're wondering, I'm not really planning on making any more of these - I'd have to charge $1000.00 to make it worth my while(totally not exaggerating).  Unless Coach Muschamp calls me up and orders one...I might make an exception.  Or Tim Tebow (are you reading this Timmy?).  
In another post I'll share some of my tips for paper piecing - I learned a lot, but am certainly no expert.  So tell me - have you ever paper-pieced anything?  How did it go?  I certainly ripped out many many pieces in order to get it right...
Hope you have a great day!
xoxo
jessica
p.s. Go Gators.

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