Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tips for stitching out the Princess Masks (Great for Halloween/ Dress Up/ Mardi Gras too!)


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I thought I would just do a quick blog post on how I stitched these out and share some tips with you.  There really is no right or wrong way to do whatever works for you.

It really isn't any harder than a regular applique!

I just love these masks.  Sure, I have a biased opinion..but seriously...what is not to love!

You can purchase the digital files here:

You will receive all three of these masks.
Each mask comes in 4x4, 5x7 & 6x10 sizes.

The 5x7 size fits children (as pictured below on our adorable model) but also fits my face.  But the 6x10 size might be a little better if you are planning on using these for adults.  I think the 4x4 would be adorable as party decor, a matching mask for a doll...or even stitched out on a garment. are the tips that I came up with along the way.

First mask - I hooped 2 layers of tear away stabilizer, ran the applique portion and trimmed my fabric.

when I finished the mask and pulled the stabilizer away it left little fuzzies all around the mask (pictured below).

There is nothing wrong with probably looks fine to most people.
You could take a marker and color in the fuzzies.
I have issues...and didn't like the fuzz.  I also thought that it needed to be a little more sturdy since I know my daughter will put these on and take them off a million times in the next week alone.

So, for the next 2 masks..I did it this way.

I hooped 2 layers of heavy weight water soluble stabilizer.
First I ran the placement stitch for the design.
I then floated a piece of heavier cut away stabilizer  (You can use hard felt too) with my fabric on top of that.

I didn't take a picture of this part - but I trimmed the fabric only until I had the main pieces of the mask fabrics done..and then went through and trimmed the thicker stabilizer.  Trim as close as possible to the stitches so the final satin stitch covers the edge of your felt or stabilizer.

then I just ran the rest of the design.
I left a little more edge on the inside of the eyes to make sure that the pattered fill stitch had something to grab on to...but the parts with the satin stitch didn't need it.

As you can see from the picture above...they are stunning without any embellishments.


everything is a little more fun with sparkle and feathers!

Special thanks to "Bee" and her Mommy from Bee's Bowtique for the awesome 
"action" shots.  Here are some examples of what these masks look like
with the perfect amount of "Bee-dazzling"

You can skip the step of the holes to run the elastic through and attach them to a stick for a Mardi Gras look...
any way you choose to make them, they are so much fun!

Thanks for stopping by!!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lasagna Nachos = heaven


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Have you ever made something new that you though would be good..but then blew you away with yumminess? 
I just did it. Lasagna nachos. 
I saw something similar at some point somewhere on the web..but I don't remember where...I tried looking this afternoon, but couldn't find it.  So I winged it.
That's pretty much how I roll in the kitchen anyway.
I just wing it or make do with whatever I have.
I will likely be five pounds heavier in the morning, but I don't even care. 

I didn't take pictures of the steps -  but these were so easy to make.

first i took some bulk sausage and browned it with a couple tablespoons of minced garlic and about half of a chopped onion.

I made some sauce the night before and had some left over...about 2-3 cups I think.  I mixed that in with the sausage.  You don't want it soupy...just enough to coat the sausage plus a little more 
(you can use ground turkey or beef - whatever you choose - i just happen to think sausage adds more flavor to sauce)

I took the lasangna noodles and broke each one into thirds and boiled them for about 8 minutes.  You want them to be not quite done..a little chewy.

Heat a skillet with oil.  I used canola oil because it is what I had..maybe you like to fry stuff in another type of oil.  I don't try stuff very often..but this tasted great.

I kept the heat on medium and tossed a little noodle in there to see if it was ready...little sizzle and I knew I could get started.

I took the noodles and friend them until they were golden brown - and then put them on paper towel to cool and soak up some grease.  i sprinkled them with a little salt while they were still wet with the oil so it would stick.

Once they were done, I put some parchment paper on a cookie sheet and preheated my oven to 350.

I did a layer of noodles, some meat sauce, lots of mozzarella cheese, more noodles, meat sauce and cheese.  I stuck them in the oven for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese..took them out and topped them with chopped tomatoes and tore up some fresh basil.

These are seriously sinful...but worth every bite.


Let me know if you try them!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick and Easy Photography Tip for Pictures of Clothing


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Don't you love it when you hit the point of the evening where you get enough done to justify going to sleep (in this case 1am for me) and then remember that there is a luau the next day at your daughters preschool?  I do.

Maybe you are the type of person that can just say "Ugh...missed the boat on that one.  I'll do something for the next fun day."  I am not that person.  So...what's another night with 3.5 hours of sleep?  I am sure the day will come all to fast where my kids will be older and I will be wishing to have these crazy days back.

So - I figured I would take the opportunity to snap some pictures for a quick blog post at 2:30am.  That's normal, right?

First I stitched out my 

onto a shirt and bedazzled it with hotfix rhinestones.

One of the things that I have done for a long time is help people out and give pointers with shooting pictures of their products.  I am BY NO MEANS a professional..and I have never claimed to be.  I just like things to look good, and lets face it...a picture is what sells your product.  

It drives me nutty when someone has an amazingly beautiful outfit that they have made, use their cell phone to take a picture of it... laying on their carpet... with a shadow of themselves over it... and THEN use that as their listing picture.

SO - I am finally going to get to the point.  

First option - take it outside.  Natural light will give you the best pictures - and nature is your best backdrop.

That is not always an option.  Weather can be stinky and uncooperative..or it is freezing cold..or is is 2:30am, lol.

First - get a big piece of something.  Open up a cardboard box, use a piece of foam board - maybe a big picture frame..anything really...and drape a piece of fabric over the back.

(but if you don't - use a sheet)

then just prop it or lean it against something.  
You can put it on a tabletop or desktop - or on the doesn't matter.

lay your garment on the fabric and smooth out the wrinkles.  
See how the shirt kind of sticks to the fabric?
pretty cool, huh?
I had a skirt to go with didn't stick, it was too heavy.
I just used a couple straight pins and pinned it to the fabric.

Now, it is time to take your picture.  I had all the lights on the the room..and I have a floor lamp in my office with the shade off to give me extra light.  
My MIL gave me a set of OTT lights for my birthday..haven't set them up yet (p.s. how dorky am I to have been so excited about lamps as a present..hahaha).
The lights are expensive, but you can also buy the bulbs.  I didn't do it here, but I have plans to get one for this lamp so I can have natural light for 2am photoshoots.

but this looks pretty good, right?

Now all you need to do is crop your picture, rotate it a little if needed, and add a watermark with your company name!

You can download Picasa as a free photo editing tool.
It is really easy to figure out...and did I mention FREE?

Hope this helped a few people out!
Have a great day...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Easy Summer Dessert - Fruit and cream and pound cake trifle


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Don't you just love summer desserts?
I do...especially those that don't require me to turn on my oven in this blazing heat.
This light and fresh dessert looks like I slaved over it for hours, but it really was quite easy.
I have to mention, you can make this even easier by using cool whip or even canned whipped cream and leaving out the pudding.  I just happen to love fresh whipped cream..and thought the cake would taste good soaked in the pudding.

this is what you will need for this recipe:

Heavy Cream
Powdered Sugar
Vanilla Extract
Instant Pudding
zip lock bag
fresh fruit of your choice
pound cake or angel food cake

Fresh Whipped Cream

first, put your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer
to make sure it is really cold.  
the recipe that I use for whipped cream is simple.

1cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
1 table spoon of vanilla extract

Measure your cream
I multiplied this by 4 and it was just enough for my trifle bowl.
maybe I would have had a little left over if I had some self control and didn't help myself to a few heaping spoonfuls while making this!

Mix the cream until peaks form.
I start off slower and then gradually move to full speed when the cream starts to thicken.  Otherwise it tends to splash.
This is what "peaks" look like with a stand mixer.
add your powdered sugar and mix
add your vanilla and mix.

Be sure not to over mix the cream...otherwise it will get lumpy...which isn't good!
Stick the whipped cream in the fridge while you get your other ingredients prepared.
I used strawberries and blueberries to make a red white and blue 4th of July themed dessert - but I am sure this would be tasty with all different kinds of fruit!
Wash and slice your fruit.
I soak berries and grapes in this fruit wash for awhile.
Lots of times you can find it in the produce department...otherwise, look in the laundry detergent - dish soap area of your grocery store.
this is what the bottle looks like of the brand that I use.
(I probably should have taken a picture of the bowl in the background.
You know those things that you never knew you needed until you get it?
this is one of those things!
It is a bowl with a handle on one side, and then you can see the gary part is a strainer.  I soak my fruit in there, and then just pour the water out.
I bought it on sale when the company was featured on 
I absolutely love it.

Wanna see something gross?
this is a little sample of the water I poured out after letting the strawberries soak for awhile.

Okay - moving on.

Grab your pound cake or angel food cake.
I love angel food cake, and it is dreamy with this.
I chose to use pound cake because I was cutting stars to go with my 4th of July
motif..and it looked better.
Use whatever you like best.

I cut the pound cake lengthwise to get the most stars out of each piece.
I cut it about this thick.
then i used a small star cookie cutter
to make my shapes.
the leftover pieces I cut into cubes
to use in the layers of the trifle.
1 pound cake was all I needed.

Get your cream out of the fridge and scoop some of it into a ziplock bag.
Cut off the tip to use as a piping bag.  You can use a pastry piping bag if you like...but you have to clean it.  This one you can just throw away!

I piped a layer of cream into the bottom of the dish to give the strawberries something to stick to.
slide in your sliced strawberries (or whatever fruit you choose)
add in your cubed cake
get your pudding mix out and 2.5ish cups of cold milk
I used sugar free fat free instant pudding.
Yes, this in my mind justified the mounds of real whipped
I pour the milk into the bowl and slowly sprinkle in the mix with one hand while constantly stirring the whisk in the other to avoid lumps.
I used the recommended amount of milk at first, but then added more after it set while putting together the second layer.
top with a layer of fruit 

and then pipe a layer of whipped cream.
I forgot to take a picture of adding in the pound cake stars.  Sorry about that.
I just put them on after the cream.
Repeat the layers until you fill your bowl
and do your final layer of whipped cream.

Since it was the 4th - I wanted to make a star on the top.
You can wing it of you like.. I used my large star cookie cutter to give me an outline to follow.
(you can buy them online HERE - but I think I got mine at Wal-Mart.  that or JoAnn's)

place your berries on top

and enjoy your delicious summer treat!


4th of July Brownie and Fruit Kabobs


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Fruit and chocolate = yum.
We were invited to our friends house for the 4th of July, and I was put in charge of dessert.
Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person that could pick up a box of cookies and call it a day....but most of the time I'm glad that I'm not.
I honestly love to bake and cook...but what I love even more is to see people
enjoy whatever I've put together.
Kind of like Christmas....sure, it's nice to get presents.  However, 
my favorite part about Christmas (besides being with loved ones) is watching people open the presents that I picked out or made for them.
it's the best.
So, on to the point of this post.
I made 2 desserts for the party.
A delicious trifle, and then these kid friendly kabobs.

SO easy - and a HUGE hit..

this is what you will need:

brownie mix
(eggs and vegetable oil)
chocolate chips
Chocolate syrup
kabob skewers
fruit of your choice
(I used blueberries and strawberries for red white and blue)
shortening or non-stick spray
jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides
cookie cutter 

First I greased a large cookie sheet with crisco.
Make sure you get a good layer on there, because you want them to come out of the pan in one piece.

Next I prepared the brownie mix (I used 2 boxes because of the size of this pan).
Before kids I ALWAYS baked from scratch. Now, I am proud if I bake...and it is an added bonus ifI get to make it from scratch.
I prefer Betty Crocker Original Supreme mix if I used a boxed mix.
I also always add chocolate chips.  Simply because they are better that way :)
I used about half a bag of mini chocolate chips, Regular sized chips would work too.
spread the mix into your greased cookie sheet/jelly roll pan.
Bake according to the direction on the box or your recipe.
I baked these at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.
check with a toothpick to make sure they are done.
Take them out and let them cool.
Once they are cool, lay a towel over the top of your pan.
use the towel to hold the brownie when you flip the pan over.
I just tapped the back of the pan a few times and it fell out easily.
Keep this step in mind when greasing your pan!

I wanted to flip the big brownie again so it was right side up to cut.
I just put another towel on top and it made the process of flipping much easier.

Now - you can just use a knife and cut these into squares.
Since it was the 4th of July - I had to make them stars.
the cookie cutter went through the brownie in the center easily.
the outer edges were a little tougher.
I tapped a meat mallet to help the cookie cutter go through.
Now you just load your fruit, brownies and marshmallows 
onto the skewer sticks however you like.
Once I did that...I had to add some vitamins and Calcium.
They were for the kiddos you know 
Just drizzle the chocolate syrup over your kabobs and they are ready to go.

Super easy, (nutritious) and delicious!