Friday, January 28, 2011

New fun project

Right around Christmas, I bought myself 3 new patterns that I found online.  Two are for tops and one is a skirt pattern. 

I'm not sure how this is going to go because I'm not always great at following instructions - I mostly sew by the seat of my pants.   Ha Ha.

I'm starting with the Funky Peasant Blouse pattern by Lila Tueller Designs.  Wish me luck.  Lots of luck.

I've been drooling over the Gypsy Bandana line by Pillow and Maxfield for Michael Miller for several weeks so that's the fabric that I'm using.  I absolutely love it.

I've taken my measurements - bust, waist, and hips - and what I'm wondering is where do they get the pattern measurements?  Because my body seems to be 3 different sizes.  So, basically to pick which size I'm going to sew, I closed my eyes and pointed.   I'll keep you posted along the way.  It may take me awhile because I'm going to take my time with it and be very careful.
Today, I cut out the tissue pattern. :)

What fun project are you working on right now?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

50% off sale

My big 50% off Clearance sale on scented sachets and hair accessories is still going strong.  You can get some wonderful sachets for your closet or to tuck into a drawer OR perhaps pretty flowers for your hair.

They are all marked 50% off in my etsy shop.  No more will be added, as I'm discontinueing both lines, so shop now!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Last weeks sweet treat!

Last weeks sweet treat that I made for my family was Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes.

I used this recipe that I found on and had wanted to try for awhile.  I know it calls for a cake mix and in this post, I rambled on and on about only making things from scratch, but what can I say.  I'm a hypocrite.  LOL  It's so sad.  But I really am trying to stick to the made from scratch rule.

Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs


1.Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt; set aside. Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add 1 egg and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips; mixing just enough to evenly combine. Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls; place onto a baking sheet, and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.

2.Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

3.Beat 3 eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer to break up. Add the cake mix, water, and canola oil; continue beating for 2 minutes on medium speed. Spoon into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each 2/3 full. Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.

4.Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake portion of the cupcake (not the cookie dough ball) comes clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

So, basically, you're making the cookie dough part from scratch but using a cake mix for the cupcake part.  I didn't put any icing on them because when we ate them fresh out of the oven, they seemed really sweet and didn't really need icing.  But, the next day they didn't seem as sweet and could have used icing.  A chocolate buttercream would be yummy on top.
If you use this recipe, be sure you freeze the dough balls really good - at least 2 hours or else they will cook with the cupcakes.  They turned out pretty good for me.  Although, I didn't like the cake mix cupcake part.  If I make these again, I'll make them all from scratch. 
One of the blogs I follow (So, I'm in Texas Now) makes alot of cupcakes and she always posts the recipes.  Here is her's for the same kind of cupcakes.  Her's look way yummier.
These are very kid friendly - my son loved them!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The post I've been dreading - Why my Christmas wasn't as merry and bright as it should have been

My husband tricked me into buying a new car.
Now, I know what you're thinking.  A new car is fun and great.  Yes, it is - sorta.

Here's the whole story (in condensed form - yes, this really is the condensed form).

Two years ago I bought a new SUV, a Hyundai Santa Fe which is a smaller SUV, not a giant Suburban.
I got rid of my 7 year old Honda minivan which had 'issues'.  It took me months to decide what to buy and I test drove about 10 different cars and/or small Suv's.  I did tons of research and then decided what I wanted to pay.  I then spent about 2 weeks negotiating via email with 2 different dealerships. 

You should know that I don't do that sitting in the dealership for 5 hours while the salesman speaks to his "manager" about the price I want to pay and then just buy the stupid car at an unfair price just to get out of the dealership and away from these aweful car salesman.  I only negotiate via email now.  The only time I spend at any dealership is when I test drive and when I pick up the car.  It usually takes about 30 minutes to do the paperwork and then I'm out of there.  Plus, we finance through our credit union so there's none of that "being approved" crap.

Anyhoo, I bought the Santa Fe completely by myself.  My husband didn't even see it until he went with me to pick it up.  Having to deal with the car salesmen gives him stress fever blisters, so I didn't think he should have to suffer.
From the moment he saw the Santa Fe, he loved it.  He kept saying that if I changed my mind and wanted to get a Nissan Altima (my 2nd choice), he would sell his truck and take the Santa Fe.
Unfortunately, in the 2 years that I've had the Santa Fe, it's had several mechanical problems - which were all under warranty - causing me to take it to the service dept. of the dealership, to be fixed.  And, instead of ranting about my experience there in great detail EVERY single time I took my car in, I'll just say that I was disappointed by the service dept and fed up with going there.  I had never had to deal with a service department like that before.  It was really a bad experience for me.

At the beginning of December, my car had yet another problem and I was standing in my kitchen ranting and raving when my husband suddenly said, "there's a guy at my work who wants to buy my truck, I'll just sell it to him and you can go buy a new car."  Then he ran to the phone and within 5 minutes had made a deal with the guy.  I was still standing in the kitchen with my mouth open. 
At this point, I didn't really feel like I could say, "no thanks".

There it was, 2 1/2 weeks before Christmas.  I had gifts to wrap, a house to clean, Christmas dinner to plan, teacher's gifts to finish, a school party to prepare for, plus tons of other things going on - oh, and did I mention, a kid home sick with a temp of 101.6?  And there I was, researching current mid sized family sedans, making a list of the 4 I liked, deciding which features or packages I wanted and going to each dealership to test drive.  Oh, did I mention, our credit union was having a 'sale' on finance charges and I had to make a decision and purchase by Dec. 30th to lock in the rate.
So, no pressure or anything.

Between Dec. 10 and Dec. 30th, I was a little stressed.  Of course, there were glitches.  Guy backed out of buying the truck causing us to have to put an ad in the paper.  Luckily, it was not a hard truck to sell and we ended up getting a good price for it.  The dealership that had the car that was my #1 choice didn't want to negotiate at all - kept sending me the MSRP.  Bless their hearts.   I don't pay full price for anything.
Christmas was in the middle of all this.  I was stressed with a short temper.  My DH was stressed.  There was some screaming.  My sweet son had to put up with us.  Although, I do think that it's good for him to see us stressed and screaming because that's real life sometimes.  I think it's good for him to know that yes, we get angry but we still love each other.  And the bad times blow over.

Now the bad time has blown over and we managed to get the car before all the deadlines expired.  We got a REALLY good price on the car - WAY better than I expected.  I was actually shocked by how good of a deal we got.
But, to be honest, I think I would have rather bought later under less stress so that we could have had a nice quiet, relatively stress free Christmas.  All the stress and frustration takes all the fun out of the whole new car thing.  I've had it about 3 weeks now and I'm finally started to enjoy it.

So, that's my aweful story.  It feels good to get it off my chest.  Now I can enjoy the new year and figure out how to work all the buttons on my new car.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Teacher Bottlecap Pincushions Ornaments

I had big plans this year for the really cute pincushion ornaments I was going to make my son's teachers for Christmas.  I started planning them months ago.  The thing is, I should have started SEWING them months ago.  As it was, I barely finished them in time for the last day of school before Christmas break.

These ornaments were for his art, music and Spanish teachers.  They are made with bottlecaps that were about 2 inches in diameter. 

For his art teacher, I did a color mixing theme - blue plus yellow equals green.    The side of the ornament has a red heart and the word "ART" embroideried.  I also used blue and yellow buttons on the back to hide the ribbon. 
My son had a book about mice mixing paint when he was little that he just LOVED and that's where I got the idea.  Plus his art teacher is really cool and I thought she'd get a kick out of it.

For his music teacher, I did a big musical note - sorry the first pic is so blurry.  I thought I had gotten good pics of these.  The side has hearts sewn on and music notes embroideried.

For his Spanish teacher, I did poinsettia's inspired by the Mexican Christmas story "The Legend of the Poinsettia".  I cut out the 'petals' and sewed them on with seed beads in the middle.  I was pretty excited about this one because I thought it was clever.  I embroideried the word "hola" on the side.

For his regular teachers, I made each of them an ornament similar to these in this post here.  Plus, we gave them gift cards to the bookstore.  Here is one of the ones I made:

How about that?  It matches the box :)
I had intended to make each of them 2-3 ornaments but ran out of time. 

They all seemed to like them - or at least I hope they did.  His teachers are all really good and I know they work really hard.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


First, it started to snow.

Then, it started to stick.

Then, Ben built a tiny snowman :)

Now, we have 2-3 inches of snow (just guessing) and we're waiting to see if tomorrow is a snow day.

And this past week, my sweet hubby celebrated his 54th birthday with his loving family.  Only one more year until he can get the senior discount at IHOP.  Woohoo! :)
I got his cake this year at Cakes by Sara, here in Tyler.  I had tasted her cakes twice before and they were wonderful.  This weeks b-day cake was no exception - it was yummy delicious.  And she added lots of extra icing like I asked,  for the b-day boy.  I highly recommend her cake shop if you're in the East Texas area and need a cake - or cookies, which are also yummy good.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My pretty new bracelets

I love bead crocheted bracelets. 
They're pretty, easy to wear, and made with about a million tiny seed beads. 
And since I can't do crochet of any kind and have no desire to learn how, I periodically go searching on etsy for someone who does work that I like so that I can buy myself a pretty new bracelet.

And find such a person, I did.  Shortly before Christmas, in fact.  The name of the shop is Morning Sky Jewelry and that's where I bought this sweet chartreuse and white striped bracelet - not to wear for Christmas but because I LOVE bright green and knew it was something that I could wear all year.

Mary Ann sent me my bracelet and I loved it.  It fit perfectly.  It slips right over your hand so there's no clasp to worry about and it's a perfect little bangle.

Then, after Christmas (which was a tad more stressful than usual), I decided to treat myself again with this red "LOVE" bracelet I had been coveting in her shop.  I've worn it for 2 days straight.  I don't even care if it matches what I'm wearing, I just like to wear it.

Ignore the old lady's hands who are modeling my bracelets.  I have no idea who that is but she must have broken into my house and tried on my new bracelets and then taken pictures of them.  :)

So, thanks Morning Sky Jewelry.  My new bracelets make me feel pretty.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two interesting realizations

You know how in the back of your mind you know something, but for some reason, you just never really admit it to yourself or acknowledge it?  Or maybe you just hope it will go away.

Well, I have 2 such realizations to share with you.   (They're kind of strange.)

The first one is - I'm a terrible bow maker.  Here's my proof:

And I really tried with this one.  I think I need professional help.  And it's not just my apron bows either.  It's all bows. 

My second realization is that I think I finally have to admit to myself that my lovely Betty is crooked.  Gee, you're asking yourself, maybe that's something I should share with my doctor.  LOL

Betty is my dress form that I use when I take pics of my aprons.  I think she's crooked and I can't figure out how to fix her.  She's pretty old - I got her from a garage sale many years ago and the previous owner had her for awhile.  I'm thinking I may have to break down and get a new one this year.  :(