Monday, September 30, 2013

DIY - Girls Dress to Posh Kitchen Apron





I am SOOO in love with this rehab to fab DIY that I want to do more and more and more of them...I was a little scared at first with the idea of "winging" it, but honestly, this was almost TOO easy to not do again and again!

I hope this tutorial and pictures are helpful!!


SUPPLY LIST:

Old dress (either with or without a lining)
Seam ripper
Color coordinated thread
sewing machine



STEPS:

1. Find a dress either in your closet or at the thrift store - I got mine at the thrift store for 3.00. This particular dress was lined, and at first I was afraid that this would make the transformation more difficult, however, in the end I LOVED the way the lining worked out and really made the apron look chic and polished.
 

BEFORE:

I found that a wide strap dress with a tie back is the easiest way to do this apron. No additional cutting to make a tie back or neck opening.

2. Begin by splitting the side seams of the dress, both on the outside material and the lining. Split the seam so that the tie back is still attached to the front side of the dress, so you wont have to re-sew the ties on.

 
 



3. Once you get to the top, split the seams at the bodice to separate the front and the back. Remove the stiches holding the shoulder straps on the BACK side of the dress - the strap ends removed from the back side of the dress will be sewn together later to make the head opening.


4. When you have split the dress apart, you will have the front side of the dress (which will be the apron) and the back side of the dress which is scrap or can be used for pockets for the apron front. Turn the dress front "inside out" So that the right sides are together. Pin and stich the lining and the dress together and turn back to right side out.


 
(This is why I liked the idea of the lining after all  - it gave a really nice finished edge.)





5. Sew the shoulder straps together where they were removed from the back side of the dress. If you have a surger, use it here for a nice clean edge. I don't have one, so I just used my zig-zag stich and hoped for the best :-) not too bad if you ask me!!




6. You can stop here if you want!! You have made a functional and very pretty apron in probably about 15 minutes (30 if you count the time it takes to seam rip the sides). Mine looked like this when I finished:

 



7.....However, I though that it would be fun to add a big wide pocket in front, using the white lining inside as a peek-a-boo element. I used the back side of the dress and cut what looked like a rough rectangle of the pink and white.





8. I put the white a little higher than the pink since it was going to be a peek-a-boo, and then with right sides together, sewed around the sides and bottom. I turned right side out, and then sewed across the top, attaching the white to the pink - this whole section now was going to become my pocket.



9.  on the front of the apron, I pinned the pocket down where I wanted it to go, and sewed around the edges, I did a double lined seam to add a little element of fun, but I think I am probably the only one who will notice it!

 
10. I sewed down the pocket a little off center to make 2 pockets that could hold baking goodies and tools. The white peek-a-boo piece really turned out nice, and I was glad I did it this way.
 
 
 
11. Once you have finished,  trim all the random threads and you are ready to go! This is going into a baking fun box for Victoria! Thinking this will be a good Christmas present!!
 







Happy Crafting!!!





Thursday, September 26, 2013

Death by Oreo Overload Cupcakes



These, very possibly, are the best cupcakes.

 Ever.

Like, EVER EVER.


I was asked to make some cupcakes for a co-worker who was going to be working in our office this week. I normally don't bake during the week, so it was a treat to her that I baked on a Wednesday :-)

I was originally going to make chocolate covered cherry cupcakes, but my friend said she wasn't a fan of cherries (even though they were for her sister!) so I found a random recipe for Oreo Cupcakes. It looked really good, but the recipe called for a boxed chocolate cake, and on this particular Wednesday I was feeling like SHM (Suzy Home Maker) and wanted to make my own chocolate batter. But I wanted to elevate it a little bit and try a new chocolate cake recipe.

WIN!

I will for sure be using this chocolate cake recipe going forward!


THE BREAKDOWN

  • 24 Full Size Oreos + 18-20 Oreos for adding into batter and frosting (depending on how "Oreo" you want it, you can do more or less)
  • 24 mini Oreos for placing on top of Cupcake
  • Cupcake Liners
  • Chocolate Cake Batter
  • Frosting
 CAKE BATTER INGREDIENTS
 
 
 
(If you don't want to do the SHM version, feel free to use boxed mix! Make according to directions)
  • 1 + 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1 cup hot coffee (Or hot cocoa)
  • 10 smashed Oreos
 
FROSTING INGREDIENTS
 
 
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 + 1/2 stick), room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 +1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line your cupcake tins with liners and place a full size Oreo at the bottom of the liner - set aside.
  2. In a stand mixing bowl, add in the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until all the dry ingredients are combined. (I used my paddle on my stand mixer)
  3. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla and continue beating on low until the batter is smooth.
  4. Once smooth, remove from the stand mixer. Add the hot coffee or cocoa and stir in with a spatula.
  5. Put about 10 full size Oreos into a large Ziploc bag and beat with a rolling pin until coarsely broken up - you can also use a blender to do this, but the Ziploc baggie works great!
  6. Add in smashed bits of Oreos and blend for 1-2 minutes longer.
  7. Scoop the batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until done. Place a toothpick in the center of the cupcake to make sure it is baked through.
 
 
FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cream together softened butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add vanilla, then add powdered sugar slowly until blended well.
  3. Put 10 regular-sized Oreos in a Ziploc bag and beat the bag with the rolling pin until the Oreos are very fine (You can use the food processor or blender to do this step)
  4. Add to frosting, blend on low.
  5. After cupcakes have cooled frost using pastry bag and tip, or a simple knife or mini-spatula.
  6. place one mini Oreo on top of frosting as decoration.


These are AMAZING!!!


Enjoy and happy baking (and eating!!)



 





 

 

 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Little Girl's Nail Polish Gift Box




I don't know about you, (or the little princess in your life) but we LOVE nail polish and nail art and nail stickers and nail jewels and....well, you get the idea.

So I wanted to create a fun "grown up" box of nail stuff for Victoria that was all her own (but to be used with adult supervision, of course!). I was wondering around the dollar store and found some things that would go perfectly in the blue pencil box I also picked up.

(Awwww....see her diva picture in the background?? So cute!)

Anyway, here is what I included:



  • 5 bottle of nail polish - mostly sparkly!!
  • a nail brush
  • a pack of sticker nail covers
  • a toe separator for those awesome pedicures
  • polish and flower sticker pack
  • stick on nail jewels
  • a pair of warm and fuzzy foot socks
  • a pumice stone (its never too early to learn feet maintenance!)
  • Nail polish remover wipes (she is 5 after all - no spills!)

I love this idea for her because it makes her feel grown up and special, as well as it is contained and I can (mostly) count on it being kept in a neat box instead of all over the floor or bathroom or kitchen table.

This also is a great idea for quite mommy/daughter time, as well as something to do with her girlfriends who come over, or when the weather isn't so nice. Not to mention, it forces her to sit still for a decent amount of time and allows me to do an extra chore or make a meal.

These little boxes would be great for gifts for a girls party, sleepover party or even for a bachelorette party (with more high-end products).

You can tailor these to each girl (or your one special princess) with a name put on with stickers or paint to really personalize it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

DIY Fall Wreath - Dollar Store items!!



So, I love to get crafty around the holidays, and I love to make the house festive, much to my husbands rolling eyes. Secretly, I know he loves it, so he just smiles and nods when I say I am going to do something crafty to make it feel more holidaesque!

This week, I wanted to do something for fall, and I thought a wreath was a perfect idea. Last year, we just had a simple mini scarecrow on the door, which was great, but I really wanted to get into something MORE fun...plus, it gave me a reason to use my gluegun this week!

I went to the dollar store (Which, by the way, is a great place to find tons of stuff for crafts) and was looking for stuff to make a wreath that had more of a modern feel, but the particular element I was looking for they didn't have, but the beautiful silk flowers were calling my name, and I just couldn't resist!






I picked up all these items and created my wreath for $12.00 - I am so excited about this fact that I just had to start it at 10pm last night.

Items needed: (I bought from the dollar store)

Floral Wreath
  • 2 rolls of Fall themed wired ribbon
  • 4 stems of Leaves (each stem had about 5-6 branches of leaves)
  • 5 stems of different fall colored floral stems

Stuff I had at home:

  • Hot Glue gun



To put together:


  • I took a piece of the ribbon and made a large loop for the hanging section, and once I knew what was up, the rest was easy!
  • I scored the plastic around the smaller stems of my floral bunches, and snapped the wire, leaving about 1-3 inches below the bloom or leaf. I decided to hot glue most of the stuff to the floral wreath instead of trying to insert the stems, because I didn't want green floral stuff all over my floor and because it was going on my outside door, I didn't want to chance the wind pulling it apart.
  • I did the base of wreath with the leaves, putting them in all different directions and some around the side to fill it in, but didn't fully cover the green - I knew I was going to be adding other stuff, and I didn't want to "over do it" -- haha
  • Next, I started with my bigger flowers and sporadically placed them to start covering some of the green areas, again on the sides as well, to fill in.
  • I took one roll of my fall wired ribbon and made a few "bubbles" and hot glued into random places, to give the wreath a little fuller look. I only did two places with the bubbles, because I was going to attempt a big bow for the bottom. :-)
  • Once I got my big flowers in, I started poking in my smaller florals, using dollops of hot glue to hold it in. On some of my stems, I did poke it into the wreath and used hot glue around the stem and below the bloom before pressing in, like in the below picture:



  • Once I got my florals and leaves on, I made an attempt at a bow, making it with 4 loops on each side and a long tail. I hot glued that sucker on, and added a few more blooms in the center (see what I mean about "over doing it"??)
  • Then, as if by magic, it was complete! I had just enough volume and florals and I knew that it was perfect and any more would ruin it :-)

I took it outside and hung it up - it looks FANTASTIC!!





 


I now want to make a million more of these!!

Happy Crafting!!




Monday, September 16, 2013

DIY Football baby onsies

So once I wrote the blog entry last week about doing the iron on transfers for my sister in law, I decided I wanted to do some for my son. Since it is football season and all, I figured what a better way to do something crafty and make cute football gear for Jackson at the same time?



 
 
 
 
So the last time I was at the store, I picked up a 3 pack of long sleeved onsies and a 10 pack of transfer paper from the craft section. It was not the same type of paper I used for my sister in laws baby tie onsies, and it was neither blown away by the result nor unhappy - just moderately ok with the results, but knowing it will be on a baby who will eventually throw up on it, I was good with it :-)
 
 
 
Items needed:
 
  • As many as you want to make of Onsies (I did three long sleeve)
  • Transfer paper
  • Iron/Iron board
  • scissors
  • Printer
Here is the brand I used for these transfers:
 
 

 
How To:
  • These were pretty simple, and because they were going on onsies, I opted to do each logo in a 5x8 print section, so one sheet of transfer did two logos.
  • I went online and did a yahoo image search of the logos I wanted, then "flipped" the images in a paint or picture program, and saved them.
  • I opened up the print function, the two images I wanted, and printed them out, with the image on the "non-glossy" side (make sure to check your directions - each transfer brand has different directions)
  • Once printed, I quickly cut around the image in preparation to transfer. I placed the logos in the middle and with my iron on high, I pressed HARD into the transfer and to the onsie.

 
 
 
I was happy with how they turned out, kind of like a "burn out" effect, but I think that if I had left the heat on a little longer and pressed a little harder, that the coloring would have popped more.
 
And, as it was, Jackson did throw up all over his Ravens onsie not long after I put it on him...Good thing we still had two more to change in to!!
 
 
 
I will probably come up with a few more types of transfer ideas for onsies, just because they are really simple and easy to create using Yahoo images and a paint program. Stay tuned and we will be surprised together! :-)
 

Friday, September 13, 2013

DIY monthly tie Onsies

Baby Shower Gift Basket
 
 
 
 
So when my sister in law found out she was having a boy, I was SUPER excited, since I was also having a boy and we just knew they would be the bestest cousins ever! I wanted to come up with a really awesome gift, something crafty and home made, but something also very useful to her.
 
I knew she was very much into the "milestone" photos, and even did her weekly "baby bump" photo using a T-shirt and a calendar of weeks on it, which she marked with a red X. Everyone looked forward to these photos!
 
So, I decided to put together an awesome gift basket, and include a 12 month set of onsies, each one having a month on it, because I just knew she would love to use these in her milestone photos for my nephew. She of course loved them, and it at least is a gift that you know will get used!!
 
 
Things you need:
 
  • blank Iron on transfer sheets (A 3 pack is all you need for these)
  • a color printer
  • scissors
  • iron/ironing board
  • 12 onsies - 3 in 0-3 months, 3 in 3-6 month, 3 in 6-9 months, 3 in 9-12 months
    • Depending on the season/weather, you can opt to do a few in long sleeve
  • Click here to open and save the PDF for the necktie printable
    • (This PDF is from How to Nest for Less, which is linked here. Her version is for stickers, while these are for more permanent application)
 
 
OPTIONAL:
  • Sewing machine
  • white or color coordinating thread
 
 
How To:
 
**Make sure to set up your iron on transfers so that the adhesion side is NOT the part you print on - depending on your printer type and how your paper is fed, you may need to insert "shiny" side up or down.
 
  • Open the PDF and select your printer settings. Each page will print 4 neck ties
  • Once you have printed the ties, use the scissors to carefully trim around the ties
  • Starting with month 1 and going up, pair the month with the appropriate sized onsie
  • Pull out the ironing board and get to work! make sure to apply even and heavy pressure onto the tie, to make sure the tie is attached and fully fused to the onsie
  • After all the ties have been ironed on, use your sewing machine and do a simple straight stich around the tie. I did a line of stich across the "knot" and the tie itself to give a more polished look
  • Fold or roll neatly, exposing the number of the month outward for best presentation
  • Present onsies in a gift basket, box lined with tissue paper, folded square and stacked, tied with ribbon etc. - The possibilities are endless!
 
How FUN are these!!! I wish I had thought to do them for my own son, but it was neat creating these, and I know my sister in law enjoys them! And as seen below, my little nephew does too!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How to Make....(The Best) Buttercream Frosting


I get asked a lot on how to make Home Made Frosting (or as I call it on my blog, "The Suzy Homemaker Way" - or SHM) so here is a quick tutorial.

 

Some things to keep in mind - this recipe will make more than what you would get in one of the store bought containers - depending on how much you need, you may have extra. And that's ok - Buttercream freezes well and can last up to 2-3 months if sealed tight and frozen.




  • 1 cup softened butter (I like using unsalted sweet cream butter)
  • 8 cups of confectioners sugar (Powdered sugar)
  • 6-8 tablespoons of whole milk or whipping cream milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons of vanilla, almond or other liquid flavoring (try mint!!)
  • Food coloring (optional) - you can use the liquid drops, but the little containers of gel color gives the colors a much richer shade

Start with the softened butter, and beat until nice and smooth. Alternate adding cups of sugar and the milk and flavor. The frosting will be THICK - but make sure its not so thick that it is not spreadable. Thin out using 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it is at your desired consistency.

This recipe makes about 3-4 cups of frosting.

On the thicker side of the spectrum, it is great for creating your crumb coat and plain buttercream tiers.

On the looser side, it is good for decorating cookies and using in pastry bags.

Get frosting happy and decorate!!


 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Home Made Baby Food - Part two

So, last week I posted about my new adventure into making baby food - I made a few things last week (see this post here. ) and yesterday I was at it again.

 



So this week, I went to our local farmers market and picked up some sweet potato's, butterbeans, squash, zucchini, peaches and pears and some baby red potato's. I am committed to continuing making baby food at home, and after last weeks success (mostly) I was able to whiz through this weeks menu in about an hour.

(View International Farmers Market FB page here.)


I started with roasting my sweet potato's in the oven, 350 degrees with a little water in the pan to keep them moist for about an hour. I also put in the baby red potato's, but more on that later.

 
I put my butterbeans onto a boil, and when they were nice and soft, threw them into the Baby Bullet, added a little water and made a beautiful butterbean puree!
 
 
 
 
I then sliced up my zucchini and squash, added a little olive oil and a touch of seasoning - yes, seasoning!! Its ok to introduce some flavor, even at a young age ;-) just make sure the seasoning isn't over powering and its nothing with a lot of heat.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Once my sweet potato's were done in the oven, I scooped out the centers, chopped up a boiled chicken breast and threw it into the blender. And what is sweet potato's without a little brown sugar and cinnamon?

Back to the baby red potato's: My goal was to make a "mashed" potato, however, it came out more like a potato paste, so I chucked it. I think mashed potato's are better fresh anyway.

I chopped and threw into the blender some apples, peaches and pears. The fruit medley was fantastic tasting, and it was "Jackson" approved when he taste tested!!




Overall, I am getting more confident with the process and learning how much of what will make how much of food.

Here is the breakdown:

1 bag of butterbeans: 6 containers of food and had 2 cups left over that I froze
1 small squash and 1/4 of a monster zucchini: 4 containers of food
1 chicken breast and 3 sweet potato's: 6 containers of food
2 each of peach, pear and apple: 6 containers of food

In addition, I still had squash, corn and the Brown Rice and Spinach from last week.

I also found that without marking the container itself (which I want to avoid so that I can re-use them) putting each different food into a smaller Ziploc bag with its contents is a lot more convenient and I don't have to stare at the container trying to figure out exactly what it is!

Everything stacked perfectly and fit great into the freezer.

I think next week I am going to actually create "meals" in each bag, so that the night before, I can take out of the freezer, place in fridge, and have it thawed and ready to go for the next day.

***AS A REMINDER - ONLY FEED YOUR BABY FOODS THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY YOUR DOCTOR - ALL BABIES EAT AT DIFFRENT STAGES AND NOT ALL BABIES ARE THE SAME, AND THERE ARE FOOD ALLERGIES THAT YOUR CHILD MAY HAVE. ALWAYS CONSULT A PEDIATRICTION BEFORE STARTING YOUR INFANT ON BABYFOOD; HOMEMADE OR OTHERWISE.***