Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All Day Tote

Lotta All Day Tote

The "All Day Tote" from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing took me almost all day to make, but it was fairly simple. Lotta's patterns are some of my all time favorites. The complicated parts were the parts I made up myself and where I modified the pattern.

I got the fabric from the Loft. It was part of my twelve pounds. The outer is a really soft corduroy.
All Day Tote Inside

The lining was a great find- about three yards of Robert Kaufman "Cherished Memories." I also used bits of an old curtain to make the pockets. The curtain was one of those with the rubbery backing. This should make the pockets waterproof. Kinda useful for frosty diet Coke.
all day tote 1

Above was my first "All Day Tote" made two years ago for my sister-in-law. I think this first one came out neater, but it was so floppy. I quilted the newer bag to make it stand on it's own.
It Stands By Itself!! All Day Tote

It stands! But, the trade off is a lumpy looking bag.
This bag is for Dawn. She made me those awesome scarves for Christmas. I am finally returning the favor with a bag for her knitting supplies. I modified the front pocket of this pattern so that it would hold knitting patterns and notions.

I had half a mind to make the front have many little compartments for needles and such, but decided against it. I like a bag that is flexible for many uses.

So, here's a question...have you found an interfacing that makes a good stiff bag without the bulk?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tie One On: Spend No Money


Remember that 12 pounds of fabric from the Loft that I washed and folded on Friday night?
Yeah well, I didn't use any of that for this project. The theme of this month's Tie One On is "No $$." So, I stuck to the rules and used some scraps from my stash and an old sheet.

I didn't use a pattern either. That explains the wonky pleated pocket on the side.
In Place of Pins

Still, I am pleased with this apron and it will serve it's purpose just fine. You see, I park cars for my church in the summer months. My wonderful church is walking distance to the famous Hollywood Bowl and we provide "no stack" parking for every single concert all summer long. 100% of the money collected goes towards the many programs at our church including our work with AIDS patients and the homeless. Sure beats a bake sale!

This apron will replace the free Home Depot apron I usually wear. Plenty of pockets for tickets and change. Plus a secure pocket for my own keys.
So, if you are local or visiting LA this summer and you have the good fortune to attend a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, I hope you will consider parking at Hollywood UMC. If you see a lady with a tricked out apron- that would be me!

If your interested in participating in this months Tie One On, there is still time. The deadline is May 1. This month there is a give away too! Check it out!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights
And, a load of darks as well. That there is 12.5 lbs. of fabric from Michael Levine's Loft in downtown LA. What a lovely place to go on a Friday after school. There were no crowds and plenty of help!

Everything has been washed and is just waiting for my vacation!

By the way, I happened to toss a couple of microfiber dish towels into the load with all the fabric. The towels grabbed up most of the strings and fuzzies that come with washing new fabric! Now, that's a happy accident!

Hope your weekend is filled with discoveries and fun as well!

Frugal Friday: Just A Little Something

Dreaming of Paris

One of my favorite blogs The Shabby Nest is having a frugal decorating linky party today.

I have pretty much decorated my apartment to the hilt. In small homes, you have to be frugal with space too!

Where do you go when every table and shelf is done?

How about the door knobs!

I made this little photo pillow for my sister-in-law out of scraps! Flickr has great photo editing tools. I was able to tint the picture pink and make the edges of the image fuzzy. The French quote came straight from a google search of "romantic quotes in French."

Here's the secret: I didn't use special photo fabric at all! I simply ironed some fusible web (Wonder Under) on the back of regular muslin. I left the paper on and cut the fabric and squared off the corners so that it would feed smoothly through the printer. (I know this pillow will never be washed, if you are using a printer for something that will be washed, I recommend using the special photo fabric.) After the printing has dried, peel off the backing and iron the image onto the pillow fabric.

The pillow construction is just a simple rectangle with ribbons sewn on.

Once my vacation starts-10 days!- I plan to make one of these for us!

For more frugal decorating ideas check out The Shabby Nest!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Old Favorite in a New Home

Wallpapered fridge

I have some new ideas for my blogs and come vacation (two weeks!!) I am going to switch it up a bit. Anyway, I am moving the non teaching posts from my old blog over here. Cliff has been doing all of the cooking for nearly a year now. (I know! I am so lucky!) When I go on my summer break, I am going to take back the reigns and this may be my first meal. It's an old favorite of ours. I hope you enjoy!

Weight Watchers Make It in Minutes: Easy Recipes in 15, 20, and 30 MinutesThis is a cookbook that I borrowed from the library. It was so good that I needed to own it. It has lots of easy, varried, healthy dishes. Every recipe has a picture. I love that.

We use our George Forman Grill almost daily, so I modify my recipes for that.

Here is a favorite:

WW Make It in Minutes Salmon with Fresh Tomato-Basil Relish

2 tomatos, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil ( I have used a couple of cubes of frozen Basil from Trader Joes.)
1 small garlic clove minced (Again, I use frozen garlic cubes from Trader Joes.)
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
Mix together in a small bowl. Set aside to let the flavors mix. You can also warm this up if desired.


2 6oz salmon fillets (I use frozen salmon fillets from Costco.)
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper

I coat the salmon with a bit of oil and sprinkle on the seasonings. Then I grill on the George and top with the tomato relish. Just a few minutes and it's done.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

It's been so blasted hot here in LA- already in the 90's! Whew! You know what they say, "When life gives you sun, make sun tea!"
Good Earth Sun Tea
This Good Earth "Original" is the *best* sun tea I have ever had. My friend Phylis turned us on to it and we are brewing a pot a day! It's spicy and delicious. I fill my bowl, oh just about 8 cups more or less and add two tea bags. We start it out on the balcony in the afternoon and let it sit overnight or longer. We like it strong and spicy! Even the scent is delightful!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trash To Treasure Tuesday: The Devil Made Me Do It

Yesterday I told you about the Dueling Crafters Challenge hosted by Adventures of a Lady in Training. Well, here is my trash to treasure submission for that challenge: Drawer to Shelf!
Drawer to Shelf

After making the play kitchen out of a curbside nightstand, I had just the drawer left over. For more than a week it sat in the corner of our living room while I played "Angel Vs. Devil."

Angel- Toss it! You know Cliff hates clutter!
Devil- C'mon, you can make something out of it!
Angle- What can you make out of an old drawer? You live in a city apartment!
Devil- It could be a wagon!
Angel- A wagon! Are you on crack? Who needs a teeny tiny wagon?
Devil- It could be an under the bed storage drawer.
Angel- We have that covered already, bad feng shui anyway.

Meanwhile, I spent most of Saturday trying to get a handle on my fabric stash. Since my work space is also my bedroom, it really needs to be neat.

I searched flickr for fabric storage ideas and man! People have awesome creative spaces! Inspiring and frustrating at the same time.

Finally, out of the blue, I looked at the drawer, ready to toss it, when it looked like a curio shelf! Something about the curve at the front/top made the idea come to me.

Best of all, I had all the other supplies left over from the kitchen. It was so easy! I have a tutorial up on flickr. Really it's cobbled out of scraps, but the black paint covers it's flaws. Paint really is the ultimate tool in the repurposing arsenal.

I am just so please with how the shelf turned out. It really satisfies a need that I had.

The Devil made me do it and I couldn't be happier!
Drawer Shelf Cose Up

PS: Since I like to multi-task, I am also using this project for this weeks Trash To Treasure at Reinvented. If repurposing is your thing check out all the amazing ideas on this blog! And, if you are coming over from Reinvented, welcome!

Dueling Crafters: My Weapon of Choice-paint!

Balcony Workshop
Recently while perusing my site meter I discovered Adventures of A Lady In Training. Vonnie was inspired by Play Kitchen 2009 to challenge her readers to a Trash to Treasure competition! Of course I joined!

This competition has some real rules. The main part of the project has to be free. There are limits on how much you can spend on additional supplies. There is a flickr group called "Dueling Crafters" and there will be voting! This is sooo me! Since I stink at anything athletic, I have to get my competitive juices out somehow!

I have my project nearly complete. It is not at all what I thought I was going to do, but it was completely free! And, it satisfied a real need I had. Stay tuned for the finish project! I am even going to do a tutorial.

In the meantime, check out Adventures of A Lady in Training. Vonnie has a goal to make50 handmade things in 2009. My favorite so far, the devil pants she made for her daughter- adorable!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Upside Down Pineapple Cupcakes

Finished Upside Down Pineapple Cupcake

Upside down pineapple cake is my father's favorite. It was his birthday tradition when I was a kid. Nowadays, my mom is a tax preparer and Dad's April birthday is a bit neglected. Even I was late this year. However, I am making up for it by sending a box of Upside Down Pineapple Cupcakes!

1 yellow cake mix
1 can crushed pine apple in juice
1 small jar of maraschino cherries
3 eggs
some butter
brown sugar
cupcake liners

1. Preheat the oven following the directions on the cake mix box.
2. Put a small pat of butter in each cup and set it in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.
3. Add about 1/2 T of brown sugar to each cup.
3. Add a cherry to each cup.
4. Spoon in a bit of crushed pineapple around the cherry.

Before the batterBefore the batter

5. Drain the pineapple and save the juice.
6. Mix the cake mix as directed, however -substitute the pineapple juice for water in the mix. You may need to add a bit of water to get a full measure.
7. Spoon in batter into cups. You won't need much because the cups are pretty full of topping.
8. Bake about 15 minutes watching to see that the cupcake part is golden. Again, these are pretty moist so it may need more or less time depending on your oven.

8. Allow them to cool on a rack for a bit.
Baked and ready to flipStill in their wrappers
Unwrap and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday Dad!

It was my dad's birthday last week. I was so strapped for gift ideas that I delayed... and delayed. Once I missed the deadline for mailing something anyway, I decided to procrastinate some more. I am actually glad I did. I found a few things for him while at the garage sales this weekend. As the week went on I found more and more fun things to add to his package. It's amazing how things present themselves once the pressure is off.

My favorite thing is this card:

It says "Sponge Cake Square Pans." My dad has a little Spong Bob collection and I happened to make him cupcakes as part of his gift, so it's absolutely perfect. It's made by this hilarious card maker Cara Scissoria. She blends kitch, current pop culture and retro graphics. They sell them at my video store. I never mind waiting in line because I can check out the cards. This one was a favorite last year.

Tomorrow, my recipe for upside down pineapple cupcakes!

Monday, April 13, 2009

What's Cook'n?

Love'n for the ovens! The two little kitchens have generated a lot of attention for this little blog O'mine! I would like to thank Kim of Today's Creative Blog, Toni of Design Dazzle, and Kari and Kijsa of Ask Kari and Kiisa for featuring my play kitchens on their blogs!

The best part is that I have discovered a bunch of new blogs as well. So, if you are coming over from any of these blogs, thank you! I look forward to checking out your blog as well!

Design Dazzle

Kitchen update: I took the latest play kitchen to church about a week ago. Sniff. Cliff and I miss it! Anyway, they put a notice in the program on Easter that it would be auctioned (silent auction) off for the Homeless Feeding Program. The starting bid is $100. I am praying that they are able to sell it! This will be the first thing I have ever sold. There were over 600 people at church on Sunday. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Easter

Eggs Lined Up
We've been busy in the Crayon Box. These were made by first covering a ballon with a layer of colorful tissue to a ballon. Then covering that with thicker school scrap paper (like newsprint without the news) and then another layer of tissue paper. When each layer had dried we cut the egg to make the opening and removed the ballon. Then the children embelleshed their eggs with more tissue paper decorations. Inside we added plastic grass and some Peeps. A fun Spring craft.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pantry Peer Pressure

My dear husband, Cliff, suffers through a lot of mess in the name of creativity. He's Felix and I am Oscar. Well, this month's Craft '09 challenge with Finny & Donk was to organize the pantry.
Here's to you my dear Felix!The beginning: Cramped, narrow shelves make this pantry a challenge to improve. Step one: Clear out junk. Stocking up on canned goods just doesn't work for me. So much expired food! The waste made me sick!
Step two: I lined the backs of the shelves with light blue wallpaper. Now it's so much brighter. I can see the stuff in here! Hopefully I'll see things before they expire now! I also designated shelves for spices/ oils, dinner supplies, more dinner supplies, lunch and breakfast, and there is left over space at the bottom for duplicates and overflow. Click here for notes on this photo.Step three: Containerize! This handy thing is from the Container Store ( a few years ago) and it does a great job holding those pouches of taco seasoning and such. The talking George Forman thing came with our first grill (Thanks Viv & Gordon!) and I still get a kick out of George reminding me to "knock out the fat!"
This John Deere lunch box was a gift from Cliff a few years ago- to remind me of my Grandpaw. It was too small to really use, so it sat on a shelf. Now it's going to be enjoyed daily holding our opened pouches of marinades and such.

Thanks for the inspiration ladies! Once again, blogging has motivated me to get organized.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Couple of Gifts

Crayon Roll Front

I started stitching these 1.5" squares to make a taggie for my friend's new baby. It wasn't working for me though. It felt too busy for a baby. So I repurposed it...
I Spy Crayon Roll
into the world's most labor intensive crayon roll for the big brother.

I Spy Taggie

Ahh! Much better. Bigger squares and a few tactile patches make it more baby friendly.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mouse House- WIP

Last Christmas I found this tutorial for a DYI book safe. I thought the idea was pretty interesting and filed it away for a rainy day.

The day is approaching! Only, instead of a safe, I am going to make a secret book mouse house.

This is my random thought process...
When I finally learned to read (in second grade) Pipa Mouse books were my favorites! I actually credit some of the illustrations for inspiring me to look at things creatively.

So, I ordered a copy of the book to save forever. Well, my tastes in literature have changed significantly in thirty years. I could barely get through one chapter of the controlled vocabulary. Akk! It was unbearable!The illustrations, they were still just as charming! This matchbox bed and acorn doll bed were just as I remembered.This mouse was also a favorite back in the day. My desk partner, Natalie, and I would set up little mouse houses in our school supply boxes. I would have hated to be my teacher! We would furtively set up their nests of crayon wrapper and feed them bits of eraser.

I tried to look up information on who made these little mice. The tag says, "The Little Mouse Factory - Hand dressed in the USA." Another tag says, Origional fur toys made in W. Germany." (The fact that it is real fur kind of creeps me out now.) I remember admiring the mice at a preppy shop in Schoen Place, in Pittsford, NY. I saved my allowance to buy this "Candy Striper" mouse.


Any how, I have been thinking about Christmas and my little cousins who are now getting old enough to play with little things. Combine cute mouse with a secret book house! I will make the matchbox bed. I have wanted to do that since, second grade for goodness sakes!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sara's Influence

During my staff meeting Tuesday I absentmindedly doodled. At the end of the meeting I looked down and thought, "That looks like something from Sara's Art House!"

If you haven't been to Sara's blog, your missing a colorful treat. I often read her blog in my beige apartment and dream of painting the walls.

Guess her influence has seeped in!