Monday, May 28, 2012

Lil Man Tie Banner


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It is true, the little men don't ever get enough recognition.  I know in my family of 3 girls and one boy, the girls are always over shadowing my Little Man.  We are constantly trying to find something fun for boys and I think we have done a fabulous job with our newest in the hoop design.  Our Lil Man Tie Banner is here and just in time for Father's Day.  It really is so cute.  With Jacki's little Man being Christened on Father's day it is the perfect embellishment for his after party.  I was so excited when she digitized the file and couldn't wait to stitch it out and make it super cute for his big day.

This design stitches out quickly because it has a raw edge.  It is just an applique so there aren't any special instructions to have to follow.  We used Peltex as our first layer in the applique.  If you have never heard of or used Peltex, it's awesome. Peltex is an ultra firm, smooth and resilient stabilizer.  It's really easy to cut with scissors or a rotary cutter and has no grain, so you can cut it in any direction.  If you type "peltex" into your search engine it will come up with tons of places you can purchase it. I usually just get mine at Joanne's though.  :)
If you have never done a raw edge applique on your embroidery machine, no worries, click here for a quick tutorial on how to do it.
If you have never done an applique of any kind then click here for a tutorial on regular machine applique and a free download of an applique you can practice on.

We thought it would be cute to add some little buttons to the collars of our banner pieces.  I bought these little buttons at Walmart for .67 cents.

Then I used my favorite fabric glue, Fabritac, made by Beacons (also available at Walmart)  It is sometimes labeled fabri-fix but, always made by Beacons.

Just place a dot of it on each point then press your buttons on.
So Cute!

I'm all about big bows for my fancy schmancy girls but, I thought bows were a bit much for this little man so, I just folded a strip of ribbon in half and tied a loose knot in one end then slipped it through the hole punch in the design.  I pushed the other two ends through the next banner piece's hole punch and tied the second knot.  Once the knots were in place, I just tucked the two tail pieces back through the hole punch so they were not visible from the front of the banner.

It was absolutely adorable but, then I thought it would be even more adorable with a little mustache as a spacer.  So....
I loaded our Mustache Applique design into the machine and stitched it out onto a piece of Peltex.
I added a step in (and I apologize for not taking more detailed pictures).
After the placement stitch I pinned a piece of fabric to the back of my hoop.  I folded the edges in so they had a more finished look.  I placed the pins on the front of my hoop not the back so the back was still nice and flush and would stitch easily.  I then placed a piece of press and seal over the back just to make sure the fabric wouldn't get caught on anything.  Next I placed my fabric on the front of the hoop as usual and ran my stay stitches.  I then trimmed my fabric on the front and back before running the satin stitch outline. 

This is what the back looked like when I finished.  So simple to run the ribbon through for the banner.

And the front, just as cute as ever.

We can't help but love it.  We hope you and your man (big or little) do too!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Easy Peasy ~ Ruched T-shirt Shrug


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I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods but it's already blazing hot here in Georgia and after running around all day in a cropped sweater over my strapless dress, I decided I needed a better alternative. (If only I was that girl who felt comfortable running around half dressed...I am not.) A thin, short sleeved t-shirt sounded so much more appealing.  All day as I walked around sweating to death I dreamed of how I could revamp a nice, cool, thin, lightweight t-shirt into something fabulous for these miserable southern summer months.  This is what I came up with.  :)
(ps..these adorable jersey maxi dresses are only $12 at my Walmart)

Here is the shirt I decided to use.  It already had these 3 little rosettes on it.  I thought about removing them but, in the end loved the way they looked and left them on.

Fold your shirt in half.  Make sure it's nice and smooth.

Cut your shirt the desired length.  I cut mine 15" long.  You may want yours shorter or longer depending on your height.

Open up your shirt and cut, only the TOP layer, straight up the middle

My shirt kind of flared out and I didn't like it so I made it a bit more narrow.  It was originally measuring 18" across the bottom and I wanted it to be 12" so I took 3" off of each side.  I measured 3" in and made a little mark with my disappearing ink pen.

I used my yard stick to draw a straight line from my little mark, up to the end of the sleeve on each side.

I placed a few straight pins along the line to hold the two sides in place and sewed a new seam along the line using an overlock stitch on my sewing machine.  A serger would work great too.

Then I used my pinking shears to cut the excess fabric off from each side.

You know how when you call your mother in law and ask for a recipe and she gives you a list of ingredients along with the instructions of "oh, that's nothing, just a little of this and a little of that"  well...
This next part I just kind of eye balled.  (sorry) I know how annoying that is.  lol
I trimmed off the sharp corners at the top and bottom of each side then rounded off the middle with the sides touching about 1" below the armpit line. If you have a shrug you like you can always use it for a reference for this part if my (a little of this, little of that) instructions aren't doing it for you.  

Next I cut the bottom excess of my shirt into 1" strips using my rotary cutter.

This is what they looked like when I opened them up.

Then I ran a long loose basting stitch straight up the center of each one.

Here's a super easy trick to get your strips to ruffle.  If you lightly hold your thread and let it run through your fingers as you sew it will cause your fabric to ruffle as you sew.  You can control how much it ruffles by how loosely you hold the thread.  Genius!

Next just place the ruched strips along the edges of your shrug and pin in place.

 Last sew a straight stitch directly over the basting stitch and that is it.  If you love the look of the rosettes, try adding some of our ITH Breathtaking Blossoms.  They would be so pretty with this project.
Either way it's so easy and what's even better is it's SO much more comfortable for the hot summer months!

Now I'm off to go get all the maxi dresses in every color from Walmart.  lol


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Military Service Set


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We have a new design set that I am so excited to share with everyone.
But first, I have to say a lil something :)

I love my job.  I honestly have been blessed.

 They say "Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life."  Isn't that the truth? 

I have been fortunate enough to meet some seriously amazing people through selling these designs - and several of them have become the best friends I could ever ask for.

I also love the fact that every design that I put online makes someone happy down the road.  It may be the person that purchases the design...or the person that buys a finished product with that design on it...or the lucky person that gets a special personalized gift with one of my designs.  

No matter how you slice it - somewhere down the line...someone is thrilled, and that just makes me smile.

This set that I just made is one that makes me happy.  I just know that releasing these designs will spark all kinds of wonderful projects...and hopefully make a lot of people smile.

I want to send a very special THANK YOU to Deirdre Hayward for stitching out the PERFECT project example...and an even bigger thank you to her husband for serving our country.  

Isn't this just perfect?  I sure think so.  If you would like to purchase one, I am sure she will make one for you.  

Here is a link to her site Bee's Bowtique.  

She makes some seriously adorable items!  

You can also 'like' her facebook page to keep up with her latest creations.

This design - along with all the other branches 
of the military are included in this set.

You will receive all of the following in 4x4, 5x7, & 6x10 sizes.

You can purchase the entire set here:

this is what is included:

Home is where the Air Force sends us
Home is where the Army sends us

Home is where the Coast Guard sends us

Home is where the Marine Corps sends us

Home is where the Navy sends us

Hope you love this set as much as I do!
Feel free to link back to any finished projects using this design...
I just love seeing my work in action :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sugar Cookie 101 (for the non caterer)


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Have you ever wondered how those bakeries make those perfectly glazed and decorated sugar cookies?  We have a great bakery in the little town next to ours that makes the best sugar cookies.  Word must have gotten out because the price has gone up from .50c each to $1.50 each over the past two years.  Fifty cents was pushing the limit for me so when I found out they had gone up to $1.50 that was all it took for me to figure out how to make them myself.  I scoured the internet searching for the different ideas and tried a lot of recipes until I finally tweaked things enough to call these the Perfect Sugar Cookies.


The Sugar Perfect Cookie Recipe
1 1/2 C. softened butter
2C. Sugar
6 eggs
2 T. baking powder
7C. flour
1/2t. salt
3t. vanilla extract
2t. almond extract

**this recipe makes 50 cookies using a 3" cookie cutter

Soften butter.  I like to get mine about half melted so it creams really easy.

Add your sugar and mix until creamed

Add your eggs, vanilla and almond extract and mix until creamy

Next, I don't know about you but I hate dishes.  I also can't seem to wrap my brain around how on earth that 2T of Baking powder and 1/2t of salt finds it's way into every cookie so I like to add my dry ingredients together in a gallon size ziploc so I can shake it all up.  Plus when I'm done there's one less dish to do. With 4 kids, I'm all about 1 less dish!! :)

measure your flour and place into your ziploc bag

Mix your salt and baking powder.
I always mix my small amounts of dry ingredients in an already dirty measuring cup.  

add it to your flower bag

Zip the bag shut and shake it up.  
You should use two hands...I couldn't take the picture and use two hands. lol

Mix your dry ingredients with your creamed mixture. I usually add about 3/4 of the bag using the mixer.

I like to add the last 1/4 and mix by hand.

Once it is all mixed together place the ball of cookie dough onto a piece of wax paper and wrap it up.  Then place the wrapped dough ball into your ziploc bag that you used to mix your dry ingredients.

Place your dough in the refrigerator.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Here's a random picture of the box from these melamine bowls that Jacki made me buy.  THEY ARE AMAZING.  If you have a Costco membership, GET THEM!!  They all have lids that seal tightly and a rubber bottom so they don't slip around on your counter when you are trying to mix.  They are light weight and the outside of the bowl is graduated making it so easy to grasp.
Ok, back to baking.  

This is my favorite picture... 
This is my sink after making these cookies.  Only 4 dirty dishes!!  
....moving on.
While your dough is in the chilling, you can make your glaze.


The easiest glaze you'll ever use recipe
1C. powdered sugar
1T. corn syrup
3 drops of lemon juice
3t. milk
additional milk to thin

**This makes enough to outline and glaze ten 3" cookies

place your powdered sugar in a bowl

add your corn syrup

add your milk

and a few drops of lemon juice

Now mix until it looks about like toothpaste.

**This is important**
Make sure you use GEL food color

Add your desired color.

 add a little at a time until your glaze is the color you want.

At this point your glaze should feel pretty thick because you are going to use it to pipe on the outline of your cookies.  You want it to be thick enough to hold it's shape until it dries.

Add some to a piping bag.  I am cheap and by cheap I mean frugal ;) I always use ziploc bags.
This is what you are going to use to outline your cookies. 

Add additional milk to your glaze.  You don't want it to be too runny but you want to be able to manipulate it easily and have it spread to the entire surface of your cookie.  I usually add about 3t. of additional milk. Cover your glaze with a tight lid so it does not dry out while you bake your cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Remove your dough from the fridge.  Place a hand full onto a piece of wax paper.

Cover with another piece of wax paper and roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness.

Cut out your cookies

This is how thick I like mine to be :)

Place your cookies on a cookie sheet.  You can grease the sheet if you want to make it easier to remove the cookies.  I didn't.  lol

Bake for 12 minutes

(I have a gas oven so I have noticed that things tend to take longer to cook in it.  Your cookies may be ready sooner.)

You can use the time, while you are waiting for your cookies, to thank your sous chef..

Isn't my sous chef adorable?  Clearly she was a great helper.
As was her sister Big Red who was very interested in taste testing but less interested in getting her picture taken.

Remove your cookies from the oven.  They will not be brown but they will be cooked.  Let them sit for a minute before removing them from the pan.  Allow your cookies to cool completely.
I always cool my cookies on a double layer of paper towels.  I'm sure some baker somewhere is cursing this blog post but, hey, it works for me.

Pipe on the outline of your cookies. Let them dry for at least an hour.

Spoon on your thinner glaze.  Use a plastic spoon or a toothpick to push it to all corners of your cookie.  If you see any bubble appear, you can use the tooth pic to pop them if you want.  I was too lazy to pop any on mine.  lol

Aren't they pretty?  Let them set for several hours until the glaze has dried.  

Pipe on your decorations.  

And there you have it.  The Perfect Sugar Cookie.  Now go get busy.
Mother's day starts in 2 minutes.