Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Big Girl Bed! Part 3 - Constructing the Bed - a tutorial!

The bed!  I  must say constructing this bed was quite an undertaking, and totally worth it.  When I decided it was time for the clever girl to have a big girl bed, I immediately thought of constructing one instead of purchasing one.  This is mostly because I had the idea for a bed made with recycled doors a while ago and was just waiting until the right time to put that idea into action.  As I have probably alluded to in other posts, we are in the process of building a new house.  The property on which our new house is being built is around the corner from our current house, and actually had an existing house at the time we purchased the property.  That house was built in the late 1930's and though the house itself was not worth salvaging, there were items within the house that were!  Like, for instance, the doors!  When I saw those doors the idea of a bed made with re-purposed doors jumped into my head.

Though I don't consider myself to be a "woodworker", I do know a thing or two about working with wood.  I was that one weird girl that took wood shop for 2 years in junior high - the ONLY girl that had taken that class up to that point and until that particular teacher retired!  What's that about?  I also have a dad that is pretty handy and did some wood crafts from time to time.  Anyway, I liked it and have stayed somewhat handy with tools.  Truly, it is an important thing for a girl to know how to do, at least on a basic level, in my opinion.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Big Girl Bed! Part 2 - a Pleated Bedskirt tutorial

As you may know, I have been working on making the clever girl a big girl bed.  After finishing the quilt, I started on the bedskirt.  I unfortunately did not take many pictures of the process of making this bedskirt, for which I apologize.  I'll do my best to explain the process in this tutorial.

Here is a better look at just the bedskirt.  Please ignore the numerous wrinkles.  I actually starched and pressed the entire bedskirt once it was finished, but then it got buried in my sewing room under other projects so hence, wrinkles.  I am hoping they will eventually fall out as I didn't feel like pressing it again!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Big Girl Bed! Part 1: The FINISHED Quilt!

It is time, past time honestly, for the clever girl to move into a "big girl" bed as opposed to the toddler bed she has been using.  For one, she is simply getting too tall for the toddler bed.  But just as important, there is another baby coming, and he will need the crib!  So I got all DIY about the entire project and decided to design and sew a quilt and bedskirt for her new bed, plus design and build the actual bed.  Yes indeed, sometimes I get a bit nutty with my "I could do that" attitude.

Let's start from the top:  the quilt.  If you have been reading my blog for a bit, you know about this quilt.  It started from a pattern for a twin-sized quilt, but since I wanted to build a full-size bed, I made an extra row of squares.  I also created a border around the entire quilt.  It didn't really need this border for sizing, but I thought it would look more finished this way, and I don't think you can really have a quilt that is too big.  I love that it actually covers the entire mattress.  Perfect.  You can read the initial posts about the quilt here, here, and here

While I originally wanted to get this entire project done by Christmas, I quickly realized that I was setting a goal that would cause me way too much stress and was pretty much un-attainable.  So, I decided to relax about it and just get the project done as soon as I could.  Much better! 

I created the back of the quilt and unfortunately failed to take any pictures!  For the quilt back, I used the fabric that I used for the very first square I made, which can again be seen here.  Then I brought the entire thing to my local quilting shop for the actual quilting.  If you happen to live in Houston and enjoy quilting or sewing or other fabric crafts, I highly recommend visiting Tea Time Quilting.  The shop is family owned, and you will likely visit with the mother or one of the two daughters that run the shop while you are there.  They are lovely and super helpful.  One of the daughters did the quilting.  She did a beautiful job.  I seriously got all teary-eyed when I picked it up.

Now it was time for the binding.  I had a little trepidation about doing a quilt binding, as I seem to often hear about people who make these beautiful quilts and then never bother to bind them because it is such a pain.  I could have had my quilt binding created and attached at Tea Time Quilting, but I chose to do it myself, just because that is the sort of person I am.  I found two GREAT tutorials online, which helped a lot.  You can find them at Red Pepper Quilts and Crazy Mom Quilts.  Whereas my mom always hand-sews the back of the binding to the quilt, I knew I would wash this quilt a zillion times so I followed the instructions for machine sewing the entire thing.  And honestly, it wasn't so bad!  I just followed the tutorial instructions step by step, went slowly, and it worked!  I did a major happy dance when I accomplished this feat.  Not only had I sewed on quilt binding, I had FINISHED the quilt!  Yippee!

The last thing I did was create a tag for the back, which was just more of the yellow fabric where I personalized the quilt for my clever girl.  I call this the "sunshine quilt".  I love this quilt.  I really think it is just a really happy quilt.  The clever girl was keeping an eye on the progress the entire time and loves it.  In fact, when I finally put it on her bed, she said, "Oh, Momma, you did a BEAUTIFUL job!"  That's my girl!

Check back for more about the Big Girl Bed project!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TWD: Baking with Julia - Boca Negra

This week's recipe for Tuesday's with Dorie was Boca Negra.  Seriously, readers, this is one of the most decadent things I have ever eaten.  It is amazingly delicious and guess what?  It is really easy to make!!  How is that for a perfect dessert?  I served this at a dinner party.  One of the comments was, "I could eat the entire pan!"  Though honestly, I don't think you really could, as it is a very rich, chocolatey dessert.  Regardless, I agree with the general thought!

Baking with Julia describes boca negra or "black mouth" as an intensely chocolatey cake.  Intense is the word here.  There is a ton of chocolate in the cake and not much else.  Well, enough other ingredients to make it super moist and dense and the kind of cake that when in your mouth, you can't help but moan a little bit.  I am not exaggerating here!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A "New" Infant Carseat Cover!

We chose the above sage colored carseat before the clever girl was born.  The actual seat has not expired yet, so we are able to use it for the clever baby when he arrives (sometime in early April)!  I am thrilled to not have to purchase another carseat, but thought the old cover needed some sprucing for the new baby.

A local decorator fabric store is going out of business, so I zipped over there and chose this fabric!  The fabric with yellow, grey, and black dots is called "Candy", and the black fabric with white giraffes is called "Stretch".  I thought they would make a fun carseat cover!  I purchased 2 yards of the "Candy" fabric and 1 1/2 yards of the "Stretch" fabric, and ended up with way more than I needed, but I am sure I can make use of the extra.  I also used some cheap white cotton fabric that I happened to have on hand for the inside lining of the canopy, 3 packages of canary yellow wide double fold bias tape, some small bits of batting, and Wonder Under double sided adhesive. 

I found a tutorial on Make It & Love It as to how she recovered her carseat and decided that was exactly what I would do!   Her actual carseat is a little different than mine, but the general idea is the same.  I took about a zillion pictures of the original carseat cover with all pieces intact, and then as I slowly took deep breaths and ripped apart the original cover, I took a zillion more pictures.  I have to admit that starting to rip the cover apart was probably the most difficult part of this entire project.  As doubt crept in, I bravely pushed it back and reminded myself that I knew I could DO THIS.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Cupcakes

The clever girl asked if we could bring the cupcakes to the Valentine's Day party at her school.  Of course I said "YES"!  And I immediately thought that Red Velvet Cupcakes would be the perfect treat.  You might recall that last April I made a Red Velvet Cake and found the recipe to be a bit drier than I prefer.  So this time I used a different recipe and it WINS.  Super moist and yummy cupcakes!  If you care for information about the original recipe or the history of Red Velvet Cake, click on my Recipe Index above and go to the Red Velvet Cake recipe there.  Also, that recipe uses cooked icing, whereas this one uses cream cheese icing - a north-south rivalry as to which is "right". 

The clever girl was my sous pastry chef for this endeavor.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

T-shirt Dress

When the clever girl goes on field trips with school, she is supposed to wear the school t-shirt.  I get it.  It is much easier to identify all the kids as being in the same group if they are all in the same t-shirt.  However, the clever girl abhors this type of t-shirt.  They are simply not stylish enough for her.  Plus she knows her mom is crafty and can probably do something to make the shirt better.

The clever girl's previous school shirt has gotten too small, plus I made it sleeveless so it wasn't totally appropriate for a field trip in January.  The next sized shirt was a kids 6-8.  The clever girl is a 4 but I went ahead and purchased a 6-8 as I figured it would give me something to work with.  When I brought the shirt home I asked the clever girl to try it on for me.  She immediately started re-designing it.  "The shoulders are too big, Momma", she said, "and it is almost long enough to be a dress!"  (There is nothing the clever girl likes to wear more than dresses).  And when I started taking in the sleeve width, she said "we could put a button there, that would be cute!".  My little designer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

TWD: Baking with Julia - Focaccia

This week's recipe for Tuesday's with Dorie was Focaccia.  The dough takes a long time to rise and I got a later start on it than I intended, thus this post is rather late on Tuesday, but here nonetheless!

The focaccia dough is actually rather simple to make, however it has two short rises (1 hour and then 45 minutes) and then a VERY long rest time.  Long as in 24-36 hours.  And even though I had read the recipe in advance and knew about the long rest time, I somehow couldn't make myself get up and get it prepared so that it would be ready in time for a Tuesday morning post.  Oh well!

The dough itself is made of water, yeast, olive oil, flour and salt.  It is mixed together and then divided into three balls to rest in oiled ziplock bags in the refrigerator.  Take it out of the refrigerator, let it rest on the counter for another hour to get to room temperature, and you are ready to actually bake some focaccia!