Monday, March 19, 2012

A more literal form of nesting...

 In an attempt to make myself sit down more during these last few days of pregnancy, I started making these little amigurumi Easter Eggs.  For some reason I can sit down if I think - "oh I'm going to sit and crochet" instead of "oh I need to sit down and rest"...what that says about me I don't know, but it's obvious I'm not going to be a master at meditation anytime soon.

They are super addicting and very simple - I've made 6, but am pretty sure I'm going to go for the full dozen before delivery.  I love using that variegated yarn, I think it kind of makes them look like dyed eggs.

We think they'll be the perfect squishy soft addition to Lila's first Easter basket :)
  You can find the free pattern here.
Happy crocheting!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiney day...

This was the scene on my kitchen counter this morning as I prepared breakfast and worked on my very first amigurumi project - Easter Eggs!  The weather has turned all bright and sunshiney, and we're ready to welcome spring just about as much as we're ready to welcome this baby.  I've been doing a lot of nesting getting ready for baby and for my parents arrival - which is in one week!!!!
I may or may not have a new tutorial for you before baby comes - but just wanted to say hi! I'll post pics of my finished eggs and a link to the pattern soon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to Close a Pillow Using Your Sewing Machine

All of the pillows I've been making for the guest bed are knife-edge pillows.
Simple clean lines, and super easy to sew, but I thought I would demonstrate how to close one of these suckers once you have it stuffed.  You could, of course, close it by hand - but every time I do that it seems to come undone at some point.  
Here's how you can create pretty professional-looking pillows!

Step 1:  Before you stuff the pillow, press the open edges under about 1/2" - 
when it's stuffed it will look like this:

Step 2: Then use a straight pin and pin the center of the opening closed - be sure the head of your pin is facing left(the point will be facing your machine) to ensure easy removal while sewing.

Then pin it closed to the right and left of the center pin.

Step 3:  Lift your presser foot as high as it will go and wedge the pillow underneath it - about 1/4" ahead of the opening, and far enough in that you will get a 3/8" seam.  

Here's the trick.  Keep your left hand on the pillow and apply pressure towards the machine while your right hand guides the pillow through the presser foot.  Go slowly and keep the edge of the pillow lined up with the edge of the presser foot (an easy way to make a 3/8" seam).  

Continue this until you sew about 1/4" past the edge of the opening.  

Then cut your threads and you're done!  

This may take a little practice, because the pillow will want to shoot out towards the left - but that's what your left hand is there for.  
Be firm and count it as your upper body workout for the day.  
Once you master this technique you will love it.  Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to email me: jessica(at)sewhomegrown(dot)com.!!
Happy Sewing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Grain Free Pumpkin Blueberry Muffins

This week I am attempting organization by baking and cooking lots of things to stick in the freezer for after the baby comes.  Last week I made these grain free muffins, which turned out pretty good, but I wanted to tweak the recipe a bit.  They are packed with protein and fiber from the coconut flour, eggs, and pumpkin.  This recipe will yield 24 muffins - I froze 12 to eat at a later date.  If you want the more healthy version omit the glaze...but it sure does taste yummy.  
Hope you enjoy them!!

paper cupcake liners
olive oil non-stick spray
muffin pan
12 eggs
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple flavoring
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 cup pumpkin purée

1 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

1 cup frozen blueberries (coated in flour)

2 T. melted butter
1/2 lb powdered sugar
1/8 c. of milk
splash of coffee
1 tsp of maple flavoring

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the liners in the muffin tin and spray them with the non-stick spray.  If you don't do this you will only get about 1/2 a muffin because the other half will be stuck to the paper liner.

Mix the wet ingredients well using a whisk.
Then place all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, whisk together, then sift into the wet ingredients.  Mix well.
Place frozen blueberries in a Ziploc bag and add 1 T of coconut flour.  Close the bag and shake to coat the blueberries in the flour - this keeps them from turning the batter a yucky color and from becoming squishy.
Add the blueberries to the batter and mix very gently.  
Fill each paper liner to about 1/8" from the top - they don't rise very much.  Put them in the oven to bake for 15-18 minutes - just until the top feels firm when you touch it.  

While they are cooking, make the glaze, and right when you pull them out of the oven pour some glaze onto each muffin.  Let them cool for about 3 minutes in the pan - then gently transfer to a cooling rack for about 10 more minutes.  Then enjoy!!
happy baking!

My Top 12 Ways Moving to Japan is like Having a Baby

12. Everyone gives you advice about everything.
11. You must haul around a lot of extra luggage.
10. Upon arrival, you are exhausted.

9. Everything is much smaller.
8. You lose days of sleep.
7. There's a serious language barrier.
6. You are easily disoriented.
5. Everyone wants to come visit you.
4. You start to shop online - a lot.

3.There's a learning curve.
2. No one can imagine what it's like until they've done it.
1. It's really scary and totally unknown - but definitely worth it.
Here is a picture of us visiting the Great Buddah at Kamakura.  
Only about 20 minutes from our house.
 It is probably the coolest thing we've seen since we've been here, and I think it's the oldest thing I've ever seen.  They started building it in the 1200's!  
Hope you're all doing well!  I'm starting to get excited about Cherry Blossom time here - more to come on that later!  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

{DIY} The Letter Pillow

Today's post is brought to you by...
the letter L!

I mentioned it in my last post - our baby girl's name is going to be Lila.  
Lila Marian to be exact (Marian is my grandmothers name).
Do you remember on the TV show Friends, when Rachel has her baby Emma, they have a large letter E hanging on the wall?  

I've always loved that - so I decided to make my own!
Thankfully the letter L wasn't too tricky - if you have a name that begins with S or R...I'm not sure this is the project for you, but you could always give it a try!

This project was fairly simple - it took me about 2 hours, and I was stopping to take pictures.  If you're game to make your own, here's the stuff you'll need:

My finished dimensions are for a letter L - 21"x17" (those are the long sides of the L).  
Your trim should be only about 3/8" - 1/2" wide.

Step 1: 
Go ahead and heat up your glue gun now - then, with your fabric folded in half, selvage to selvage, begin to take measurements.  From the top left corner measure 8 1/2" and put a mark.  From the center of the bottom edge, measure up 8 1/2" and put a mark.  From the bottom right corner measure up 8 1/2" and put a mark.  Connect the dots by drawing lines to complete the L.  Cut along those lines.  
The top edge of the L will still be a fold - cut along the fold so that you have a front L and a back L.

Step 2:  
Lay the front and back pieces right sides together and pin along the edges.  When you sew, you are going to leave 2 openings.  One at the top of the L and one at the bottom right edge of the L.

Sew along the edge using 1/2" seam.

Step 3:  
Cut every corner diagonally about 1/8" from the seam.  This will make the corners pretty when you flip it right sides out.

Also clip the inside corner of the L to within 1/8" of the seam.
(If you are doing a different letter with more corners or curves be sure to clip all of them)

Step 4:  
Flip the letter right sides out and press it well.  You may need to use a ripper to gently pull the corners right sides out.  

Be sure along the openings to press the fabric in 1/2" to prepare it for closing.

Step 5:  
Stuff the letter with polyfil.  You want to give it some shape, but not make it too poofy.  Another option would be to use batting in the shape of an L - but you would have to insert it back in step 3.

Step 6:  
Pin the openings closed.

Starting at the top corner, sew the opening closed - using 3/8" seam.  Continue sewing around the entire letter.  This little flange or ledge is what you will glue your trim onto.

 This is a little bit tricky.  
The key is to go slowly and really guide the letter through the machine - kind of squeezing the stuffing out of the way as you go.
It should look like this when you're finished.

Step 7:  
Starting at one corner, glue the trim onto the little flange you made.  Go slowly and just use a small amount of glue

Step 8:   
Lastly, hot glue little pieces of ribbon or rick rack to the back to use when hanging.  I put one in the center of the top edge, and one in the top corner of the far left edge.

That's it!!  A sweet little letter to hang on the wall or put on a shelf or toss on a bed!!

Happy sewing everyone!!

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