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Today of all days, we wanted you to feel all the love there is in the world for you. Close your eyes…take a deep breath….can you feel it? It’s there….let it fill you up!
Our dear friend, Kristen, is soooo good at making things special and pretty. We know she especially loves Valentine’s Day and LOVE, so we asked her to make something for you that would make you feel so so so so soooo loved on this special day for celebrating love. And boy did she deliver….
Let’s be little girls for a minute….
Close your eyes and pretend Kristen invited us all over to her house….
….it’s clean and white and lovely there….
….and of course we’re all dressed up because we like to feel pretty…..
…and Kristen has made a beautiful little party for us….
With pretty linens and decorations……
…and a pretty white chair for each of us….
….with pretty dishes…
….and pretty treats……..
and ooooooh those lovely vintage linens……
And all we have to do is walk in to feel all the love and time she’s put into it…..
just for us.
And in case our hearts aren’t full of love yet, she made little reminders…..
And all we have to do is be 100% ourselves and drink juice from twisty straws and eat cookies and sit together and love each other.
Pretending is fun. I just might keep doing it for a while…..pretend with me.
Let’s be together and love each other today.
YOU, my dear, YES YOU….are so very very VERY loved.
Happy Love Day!
PS Find more of Kristen’s loveliness here: http://www.ellaclaireinspired.com/
Are you ready for this?? We have been working on this little project for the better part of this year, and we are sooooooooooo excited to be introducing it to you…FINALLY!!!
This, dear ones, is Patrice.
She is lovely and kind and gentle and feminine and funny and nurturing and good….and so so BRAVE. Seriously the more I learn about her, the more I am absolutely blown away and inspired. She has so many talents….ONE of them is that she can do just about anything with yarn or thread. She makes the most beautiful things, and fills them with so much love that you can feel it when you see them.
Patrice came to Brave Girl Camp in October 2010. At camp, there’s a whole lotta paint and Mod Podge and collaging, and a lot of Brave Girls (Patrice included) learn all about how to use those things. She loved learning that stuff, but her language is still fabric, needles, thread and yarn.
This spring, Melody and Patrice sat down together and made a plan for Patrice to make some of Melody’s art into stitchery patterns! Patrice has had a busy year (understatement of the century), but she made 5….FIVE!!!! Four of the patterns are inspired by Melody’s art, one is something that Patrice designed. They are all beautiful and inspiring and absolutely LOVELY stitchery patterns! AND they are all available in our Shoppe!
Look at the paintings/collages and Patrice’s interpretations! Both versions absolutely take my breath away!
Starting TODAY, these patterns will be for sale in the Brave Girl Shoppe!!
So without further ado…here they are….aren’t they LOVELY???? I am in love with them!!
This first one reminds be of our Maria who always says “who cares?!” Who cares what everyone else thinks! As long as it is right and true and good, do what is in your heart!
This one makes me think of little girls everywhere….every little girl is born with a little sparkle in her eyes and twinkling lights all around her. This stitchery and its message is a reminder that whether the sparkle has been taken away or lost, it is restorable….that we ought not be afraid of it or worried that it’s lost forever.
“Go where the peace is” is a phrase that goes around and around and around Brave Girls Club. It’s one of our favorites, and I think Kathy explains what it means best in this little blog post.
“Homemade Life” seems like it’s everything we all want life to be….all wrapped up in those 2 little words….I love the flowers and the hearts and I LOVED watching Patrice stitch it!
This little birdie….singing her little heart out….makes me smile every time I see her. I love her, love the colors and LOVE the words. What a perfect reminder!!!
And if you don’t know your way around stitchery, DON’T WORRY! Patrice has outlined the instructions and even given sample of each stitch, so you won’t feel lost. I have never done a stitchery in my life, but I am soooo excited to try one of these!
A couple years ago, we went through a rough patch financially…..a really rough patch that lasted a couple of years. (That’s such an easy thing to say. It was not easy.) During that time, Christmas was a challenge. At first, I dreaded it….knowing we wouldn’t be able to buy gifts. Then I started doing some research and found lovely (and inexpensive) homemade gifts. We worked really hard both of those Christmases and I think that Christmas became even more lovely and we grew to love our family and friends even more because of all the time and thought we put into their gifts. Here are some of the things I made that we gave to our families in those 2 years:
For my niece-to-be, I used this pattern to make a couple pairs of booties. I think these are soooooo adorable.
For my 3-year-old niece, I made a homemade memory game. I used funny pictures of members of our family to make her memory cards.
Here are a few different ways to make homemade memory:
For my 4-year-old nephew, I made a superman cape out of flannel receiving blankets I had lying around.
I think this homemade superhero costume is darling….
For my 5 and 7-year-old nieces, I made little purses out of placemats…here are a couple of tutorials on those:
I think these little bags are darling, too….
This bag would be darling for a child OR an adult.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but we have LOTS of old jeans lying around that are just begging for a new life.
For my son, my husband, Jeff, made blocks out of wood by cutting them into different shapes and sanding them.
I don’t have a tutorial for this, my only advice is don’t try to sand these by hand. You’ll quit. : )
For my sister-in-law and her husband (who LOVE Thai food), we put a basket together of ingredients they would use in curry, which they make all the time.
You can put baskets together for lots of things…here’s a movie one:
For my mom, mother-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law, I made bath soaps and sugar scrubs.
I was just at Michael’s this week and saw a bunch of pretty little jars you could put something like this in….they were each only $1!
Here are a couple of tutorials for homemade bath stuff:
Salt or Sugar Scrub
And what about these bath fizzies? Use an ice tray for the mold!
Who wouldn’t love a pretty (and yummy smelling) bar of soap in one of these adorable little wraps?
My brothers all got their favorite treats in ridiculous quantities.
Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels for Tucker:
No-bake cookies for Jake:
And Brownies for Luke
Here are some other food gift ideas:
Who wouldn’t love a tin of this delicious caramel corn??
And these are adorable gifts that could be used right away or saved for a while…
Thinking about making all those gifts and all the time I spent making them and thinking about my loved ones makes me want to put more effort (and less money) into my gifts again. Christmas is absolutely delightful when you give gifts that mean something…something that takes thought and effort and time…..I just might do it again this year!
Here are some other ideas I found that I am in LOVE with:
Wash Cloth Puppets – if these aren’t the most adorable things on the planet, please tell me what is…
Crochet Ball & Blanket – I think these are sooo sweet….
SHIRT POCKET QUILT
I know 2 toddlers who would spend ALL DAY putting stuff in these pockets and taking it out again, then putting it in and taking it out, and over and over and over again. It’s the little things. : )
Roll-up Crayon Holder
Perfect for the car! Well…in theory it’s perfect.
I love the shape of these…..so cute!
And what about this for new parents…can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up changing my clothes after giving my kids baths. Plus this would be super fast and easy to make. Ten minutes tops (and that includes a snack break). : )
Teatowels with Handwritten Recipes
How tender is this? I love it.
Don’t these bookmarks make you happy?
A Handmade Apron
This first pattern is the only one in this entire blog post that isn’t free, but isn’t it lovely?? I’d pay for the pattern!
And if you have a little girl who needs an apron, this one is soooo cute!
CLICK HERE for tutorial from raechelmyers.com
We have made these ornaments several times – they smell soooo yummy!!
Fabric Journal Cover
Who knew Shrinky Dinks could turn out so beautiful!? I loooove these pieces!!
Tiny Sewing Kit with Pincushion
Embellished hotpads from the $1 Store!
I love these by themselves…..add a loaf of bread and you’ve got a new best friend!
So beautiful and simple. I think it would be lovely to be on the giving OR receiving end of these….I also think it would be amazing to stamp messages onto the rocks.
Pretty Monogrammed Pincushion
Knit Glasses Pouch – so cute!
Handpainted Tea Towels
If you’re like me, you always think that acrylic paint will wash right out of projects…..but you know it won’t come out of your clothes. The truth is, you can paint something with acrylic paint, let it dry (you can put it in the dryer if you want to feel really good about setting the color), and wha-la!
One of my very favorite wedding gifts was a glass casserole dish with our new last name etched into the bottom….I love all of these personalized gifts that look so hard, but are really quite simple.
If it were me, I’d use a stencil, since I’m not really comfortable handpainting anything. I love this.
We found several different tutorials we love!
I love the ones at the bottom of the picture…looks like the letters are formed with a whole bunch of french knots. Love it.
Beautiful Wire Nest Necklaces
Maybe I’m late to the game, but I didn’t know there were special pens for writing on/painting ceramic! The possibilities are endless….but they obviously begin here with the mustache mug….
Here’s another spin on the mug…
While we’re putting initials on things, how about a towel? I think this would be especially awesome for a coach. Only don’t make his towel say Greta. Initials would be cool, as would a mustache. And now we’ve gone full circle.
Knitted Golf Club Head Covers
Golf Accessory Bag
BBQ Spice Rubs
Shrinky Dink Dog Tags
Do you ever see something and think, “why didn’t I think of that!?” I love these cute little tags.
Leather Kitty Toy
Homemade Dog Biscuits
On my best friend’s 23rd birthday, I made big plans to make a big cake…..a tiered cake.
I baked the cakes in the morning, and planned to put them together a few hours before the party that my husband and I were hosting. Except when I went to take the cakes out of their pans, they were stuck. I had lots and lots of yummy cake that was stuck in cake pans. I couldn’t see any pretty way to get them out. So I did what any girl in her early twenties would do.
I called my mom.
Like always she had the perfect solution – cut it all up and put it into icecream cups….as if I’d planned to make birthday parfaits all along. Genius.
Sorry for the horrible picture…we were obviously singing happy birthday. Also, that’s the birthday hat….she hit a lot of people in the head with that during the party. On accident, of course. What you really want to see is the delicious birthday cake parfait.
So….here’s the thing…..if I can mess up a simple cake, I can certainly mess up an apple pie.
And we all love pie. What we don’t all love is making pie. Especially fruit pie.
And you can’t be sure about how it’s going to turn out.
UNLESS you make everything separately and turn it into a fun little pie parfait! We call it “Deconstructed Pie” … you’ll call it “stress relief” or “deliciousness in a cup” or “wondefulness”. Doesn’t really matter what you call it.
Start with the the filling….melt 1/4 cup butter with one can of frozen apple juice concentrate…..
put it on low and let it melt together and reduce a little while you work on the crust…..
First gather your ingredients:
3 Cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 1/4 cups regular (not butter flavored….trust us) shortening
1 tsp Vinegar
1 beaten egg
6 1/2 Tbsp Cold Water
Mix the flour and salt together, then cut the shortening in with a pastry cutter until it’s crumbly (don’t worry too much about it….the actual name of this crust recipe is “never fail pie crust”. It’s reliable.
So back to the pastry cutter, cut it until it’s crumbly. They say it should be “pea sized”, but really it should look like this:
Okay I guess that’s sort of pea sized. Just a note: there is really no substitute for a pastry cutter. Fork, banana masher, fingers….they’ll make you feel like you’re not doing it right. Get a pastry cutter and make yourself feel better.
Then mix the egg, vinegar and ice-cold water together (measure the water from a bowl of ice water, so it’s super cold!), and add it to the flour mixture. Then mix it til it’s all moistened…don’t overmix it.
When it looks like this:
Put it onto your floured surface and form a ball….
And like any pie crust, roll it out….
Looks like any regular old pie so far, right?
Here’s where we change that:
Cut the crust into strips or pieces or whatever and put them on a cookie sheet, then sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. No perfection required.
Then bake it at 425 degrees for 12 minutes or until it’s well browned.
Mmmmm….you’re gonna want to taste this…it’s goooooood!
You can set the crust aside (if you trust yourself enough to look at it while you finish the filling…if you’re like me, you’ll have to put it away.). You’ll be breaking this up into slightly smaller pieces right before you serve it, so don’t worry if it breaks.
Now we can finish the filling….
Remember the butter and juice concentrate we put together on the stove a while ago? By now it hopefully looks more like this:
You want it to be syrupy. Then you’ll add the apples.
We used 2 golden delicious apples and 6 granny smith apples. You’ll find that the golden delicious apples sort of melt away and turn into yummy applesauce, while the golden delicious keep their form. They all add to the end product.
You’ll want to add about 1 Tbsp of cinnamon and if you feel like it isn’t sweet enough, you can add Agave or sugar or honey to taste. (Ours was sweet enough without anything else.)
Cook them down until they’re tender and look like this:
Mmmmmm….the juice makes them sooooo appley!!! Yum!
Then easy peasy….put some crust in the bottom of a parfait cup, then put come filling in, then crust, then more filling, and icecream (or any cream for that matter), and for good measure, add a little crust to the top to make it pretty. We also added a little drizzle of caramel sauce….because why wouldn’t we. You can find that recipe here…just follow the link and look for the modification to make caramel sauce.
Just as delicious as pie (or maybe better), with flaky, crunchy crust and perfect filling!
Hope you try it – let us know if you do!!!
Perfect Deconstructed Apple Pie
3 Cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 1/4 cups regular (not butter flavored….trust us) shortening
1 tsp Vinegar
1 beaten egg
6 1/2 Tbsp Cold Water
Mix the flour and salt together, cut in shortening. Mix the vinegar, egg and cold water together then mix them into the flour mixture until it starts to form a ball. Then turn it onto a floured surface and roll it out. Once it’s rolled out (about 1/8 inch thick), cut it into strips (don’t worry about perfection), and put the strips on a cookie sheet. Bake them at 425 degrees (f) until it’s golden brown. About 12 minutes. Set aside.
1/4 cup butter
1 can apple juice concentrate
2 golden delicious apples (peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces)
6 granny smith apples (peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces)
1 T cinnamon
Sugar or Agave to taste (optional)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
In a large sauce/saute pan, melt 1/4 cup butter and 1 can apple juice concentrate together. Simmer on medium-low until the mixture thickens and becomes syrupy. Add in apples, cinnamon and sugar or agave (if wanted), and lemon juice. Cook until the apples are tender.
Crumble (not TOO small!) some of your crust pieces into the bottom of parfait cups, then add some filling, then more crust, then more filling. Garnish with a little more crust and caramel sauce for good measure. (Caramel recipe here – look for the modification to make caramel sauce instead of caramel corn.)
Let me start off by saying how much we love you. We really do. And we love doing giveaways, but one thing we hate about them is that we can’t give a prize to everyone. So we got together this morning and talked about how much we’d like to give a prize to everyone…..so we are!
If you entered this contest, you can send an email to email@example.com and they will send you a coupon code for our store for $10 off of $50! YAY! Now everybody wins! Be sure to put “I won a coupon code” in the subject line, so they can easily see you! (This coupon is good all the way until December 10th.)
Now to the winner of this fun giveaway….since I couldn’t possibly choose a winner, today I used random.org to find a winner…..here’s what came up:
So the winner is number 146…..which took some counting, but I got there. This is what comment #146 says:
Mary O’Neill says:
I would like to win what Andy Wahlstrom wants so if she didn’t I could send it to her for her daughter, can I do that anyway, some how.
And this is what “Andy Wahlstrom”s comment says (a few comments above):
Andy Wahlstrom says:
I would choose a gift card from your store. I want to give this to my adult daughter who has gone through a very financially trying year.. She is a kindergarten teacher (taught 19 years), has three boys and she includes artistic creativity for both her class and her children almost daily. She is the one who told me about BGC and your website became the one peaceful place in her day. You have posted one of her bird creations on a prior daily mailing. Keeping artistry and creativity alive for children is a real calling for her. Thank you for your consideration!
It’s not a long story, but isn’t it a tender one?
These three women all linked together in this weird and wonderful way. We are SO excited to be sending a gift card to Andy Wahlstrom’s sweet daughter, and soooo thankful for this beautiful story!!!
This is what it’s all about, isn’t it? I love it.
I am soooooooooooooooooooo excited about this giveaway! I guess there are a thousand things I could say right now, but probably all you want to hear is how you can enter this awesome giveaway….so here it is….
1. Go to our Shoppe – www.shop.bravegirlsclub.com and take a look around until you find something you’d like to win!
2. Come back and comment telling us what that something is. (The something you’d like to win.)
3. On Monday we’ll pick a winner….that person will win the thing they chose!
YAY! Fun giveaway, right?
Just to get you started here are some of MY favorite things from the store:
I looooove my sweatshirt….I wear it all the time….
Actually we all do…. : )
Love my keychain…obviously I use that every day…I love looking down and seeing it. Plus it’s high quality…I love that it’s well-made and pretty and heavy – not cheap and breakable. Know what I mean?
And the book….oooooooh this beautiful Daily Truth book….I love it so much…
And the cd! I love this cd!!
So those are things I already have. If I were going to enter this contest, here are some things I would ask for:
I looooooooooove love love love love the Chipart tools. They are so much fun to play with. I feel like I can make things without knowing how to draw or paint, know what I mean?
These folders are so lovely to me. If you have to organize something, what better way than in pretty folders?
I will say that the photos here don’t do them justice…..these are stunning in person.
Love this tray!
Okay, I could go on and on….can’t WAIT to see what you have your eye on….Hope you win!!!
You know you want one of these right now…..
You may feel intimidated by the idea of making cream puffs or eclairs. I know I was. Until I watched Chelsea (my sister….Kathy’s daughter) make them.
They’re not so scary….and even if they were they’d be TOTALLY worth any hyperventilation.
First, gather your ingredients…..
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Start by mixing together the best (and easiest) part, to get your self confidence up and also because it needs time to thicken. That’s right….we’re making the filling.
I suppose there’s probably a real custard recipe out there somewhere, but this one is soooo yummy and soooooooooo easy you might not want to bother being fancy with custard.
We make filling by mixing 2 packages of instant jello with 2 cups of cream and 1 cup of milk. Don’t over mix it. One time we mixed it in a blender….only for a few seconds, but it was enough to make it so stiff that we couldn’t even use it….(I mean, don’t get me wrong, it certainly didn’t go to waste….we took care of it.)….just….for this, mix it with a wisk and let it thicken on its own while you work on the next step…
This is all going to look a little weird….just let it be weird and trust me….it will get unweird (and delicious)….
Start by putting 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of water to a boil. Once it’s boiling take it off the heat and add the flour and salt (which if you’re a responsible little girl, you’ve mixed together before hand) and mix it until it forms a ball.
I told you was going to be awkward, but keep stirring and it will come together and start to look like this…..
Now it’s going to start looking REALLY bad….and it’s going to feel uncomfortable and like you’re doing everything wrong. If that’s how you feel, then you’re right on track.
What you’re going to do is let your little ball of dough cool off for a minute (we’re never too technical about how long we wait….maybe we even wait just for formality’s sake. I think the point is not to scramble the eggs. Seriously though like 4 minutes is long enough)…
Then add the eggs one at a time…and mix it in. Or cheat and do 2 at a time. No one is grading you.
The point is mix in the eggs.
You are going to think you’re doing it wrong….because it will look wrong…..and it will look separated….and like it’s never going to come together. One minute you’ll want to give up and the next….
wha-lah…..it’s all better. (I wouldn’t lie to you.) Just keep stirring.
Then put all your dough into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag would do just fine)…..and cute a fairly large hole in the top….then pipe your little cream puffs onto a cookie sheet. Some tips:
1. If your cookie sheet is not nonstick (double negative! so would you say simply “stick”?) it should be greased. It’s going to be hard to pipe onto something so slippery, but they’ll stick if you don’t.
2. These are going to puff up (obviously), so make them small and spread them out….like so:
3. You may have to get fancy to get the cream puffs to form….Use your fingers, dipped it a little water, to pinch the dough off and to smooth them out on top if you need to.
Then bake them…..425 degrees (f) for 20-25 minutes or until they’re golden….like this:
Now it’s time for that delicious filling you made….don’t worry….if you’ve had a couple little tastes, there will still be plenty. : )
For this you’ll need a piping bag and a sharp tip for filling…..(I can’t think of a substitute tool…..can you think of something else you could use??)
Fill up the piping bag, then jam your tip into each cream puff and squeeze the bag to fill up each cream puff.
Don’t be stingy. Nobody ever complained that their cream puff was too creamy.
I suppose you could stop there, but why would you when these beauties are just begging to be topped with chocolate???
So…whip some ganache together by warming 1/4 cup of cream……warm it til it bubbles around the edges. It won’t take long….
Then pour it over 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips….the hot cream will melt the chocolate chips….
Again, you might think it will ever come together….keeps stirring….it will…and if it doesn’t, put it in the microwave for 5 seconds….
Again with the piping bag (or ziplock) ….drizzle these babies with chocolate……
If you showed up with these at a party, we’d be best friends. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way. Give them a whirl……
1. Mix together vanilla instant pudding mix, cream and milk. Cover and refrigerate to set.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
3. In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased nonstick baking sheet (otherwise grease it).
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
5. When the shells are cool, either split and fill them with the pudding mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the pudding into the shells.
6. Top with chocolate ganache
If you’re like us, then you love pretty jewelry…AND if you’re like us you struggle to know how to store it. We want to show you how we store ours…some of us are more organized than others, some of us are more artsy than others, but we all get the job done. Hope you enjoy it!
Malary keeps necklaces that she doesn’t wear very often on this pretty lamp….
Of all of us at Brave Girls Club, Malary is by FAR the most organized….as you can see from the way she keeps her earrings, rings and bracelets so nicely laid out….
I love this miniature dress form that Malary uses for her bracelets…
And this one is more of a decoration than a way to store jewelry, but I think it’s just LOVELY.
Kathy is next….she uses trouser hangers to keep her necklaces nice and organized….the awesome thing about these is that the rods are rubber coated, so everything stays nice and tidy in its place….
Kathy says she’s taken these entire things on road trips….she just throws the whole thing in the car on her clothes rod….how perfect!
Chelsea stores her earrings on this awesome frame….she bought the frame at Goodwill, painted it and stapled chicken wire to the back – perfect for earrings!
I’m not as neat as others….most of the time my jewelry is here and there…..I made this little stand out of 2 icecream cups and 3 plates that I found at a thrift store. I just used e-6000 (which is glue) to glue them together. It works well for my lazy self.
Here are my earrings which have been organized so that I could feel good about showing it to you. I love storing my earrings like this….my only problem with it is that my kids can reach the bottom and think it’s fun to get my earrings…. : )
I LOOOOOOVE the way Melody stores her necklaces….she has 2 vintage headboards that she hangs them on…..I love the way it looks…..
And I literally gasped when I saw this picture that Malary took…..isn’t it pretty? Just an old lamp with cool little hooks….just right for bracelets!
Hope you enjoyed our little tour…..here are some of the things we showed you (and some others)…these items are on Amazon.com, so you can check them out!!
*Brave Girls Club is an affiliate of Amazon.com
In case you didn’t already see it, here is our Halloween Hello….hope you love it!
So here’s what’s goin down with the Brave Girl Team tonight….
Marq and Melody are having a campfire together and sitting in the bucket of the tractor at the end of their long driveway. That’s where they’ll hand out Halloween candy to the little cuties that come trick-or-treating….
Kathy is waiting at home for her grandkids to stop by in their costumes….she lives on a highway in the country, and won’t be expecting many trick-or-treaters…. (though we all know she’ll be ready with treats if any show up!)
Jeff and I took our kids trick-or-treating, which lasted 20 minutes….long enough for us to go down our (short) street and back. Skipping the super creepy house in the corner, and the houses on each side of it. I just really didn’t want anyone to have nightmares tonight. (Me included.)
The fun seems to have run out…..which sometimes happens faster than we expect it to with trick-or-treating….so we will be sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and a great movie…which we will watch ONLINE! No movie purchase or rental required!!
(Just found out I can watch ALL these movies using our Amazon Prime account….trying it out tonight!!! We’re going to watch the Brian Regan one…)
Here are some favorites on Amazon that come highly recommended from the BG team:
I seriously LOVE every single one of these movies (with the exception of Hunger Games, which I’d like to like, but there’s something that gets me about it). The others though….love love love them.
Hope you have the loveliest Halloween!!!
My sister, Chelsea, is awesome at celebrations. She really knows how to make someone feel special by doing special things for them.
One of the things she does on her kids’ birthdays is takes pictures from throughout their lives and makes a simple little garland to hang in the dining room. She leaves it there all week, along with their birthday chair cover. Every kid gets remembered and feels super special for a whole week during their birthday time.
This month, we celebrated our little Lydia’s second birthday, and since I LOVE Chelsea’s traditions so much, I thought I’d give them a go…..on video even! (Unless you’re not IN to video and you want to get the written tutorial….in which case it can be found below.)
I was surprised by this first project…..the photo garland. At first I thought I would do it because it wouldn’t take long, but I wasn’t sure how much mileage it would get, or how interested Lydia would be in it. What surprised me was how special it was to me and how tender it was to make. I think we take more pictures these days than ever in history, but we (or at least I) hardly ever look at them.
I LOVED looking through all my pictures for photos of Lydia and remembering what she was like as a newborn, then first walking, and how she’s grown in the last 2 years. I even got teary-eyed looking at all the photos…SOOO if you don’t do this for your kids, do it for you. It was totally worth it.
Start by getting about 35 4×6 photos printed….the photos I got ranged all through her 2 years of life so far.
Then punch holes in the top 2 corners of each photo…
Next rip strips of fabric and cut them into 6 or 7 inch strips…
Use the strips to tie the photos together into a garland. When you get to the ends, just tie an extra strip of fabric into each end hole, so you can hang it.
Then hang it up!
I was surprised by how into this project all the kids were. They LOVED looking at it and finding each other and themselves….
Make one of these….it’s easy, it’s fast, and you will LOVE it!!!
The next project I worked on was a chair cover to make Lydia’s birthday chair…..
For this project you’ll need a couple different kinds of fabric, some trim, scissors a sewing machine, (and if you plan to make a flower like mine, you’ll need a small plate and a glass for tracing)…
Start by folding your chair cover fabric in half…right sides together….
Then lay your chair on the folded piece of fabric with the fold at the top and roughly trace around it. And I do mean roughly…you’ll want to leave room for the thickness of the chair as well as the width of the chair AND some seam allowance.
As you can tell, I’m pretty particular and precise about this kind of thing. (What I actually mean is the opposite of that.) It will work out. Trust me.
Cut your chair cover out…..ONLY cut on 3 sides….leaving the top folded will make things easier for you.
Set that piece of fabric aside.
Since I made this chair cover for my two-year-old daughter, I used a flower and the number 2…if it were a little boy, I would have done a spaceship or a star or something.
Here’s how I made that flower:
Turn the second kind of fabric over and trace a small plate…..
Then trace half a glass over and over around the edges of the plate outline to make flower petals. As you can see, the first time I tried to make petals, I put them too close together, and they didn’t fit right, so I had to move the glass closer in toward the middle.
Then cut a 2 out of the third kind of fabric. I sort of drew a 2 backwards and the wrong side of the fabric, then cut it out. If you want something that looks REALLY good, you could print it out and then trace that.
When my sister saw my finished chair cover, she was surprised that I used Lydia’s age on it. She just makes 1 Birthday Chair for each of their kids on their first birthdays and uses the same one every year. I will be doing that.
Before I get to sewing I have to tell you…..my mother always tells me I should have paid attention when she tried to teach me to sew as a young adolescent. Like most things, she’s right. I wish I would have. But I didn’t. And even if I had, I might still have turned out to be a lazy sewer…..haha….sewer is obviously not the word for “one who sews”. Steamstress seems WAY too advanced.
Whatever the word is, I am lazy at it. I rarely pin, I sometimes iron. If it really counts, I do.
What I’m saying is this is lazy sewing. Just fair warning. I hope it makes you feel good about yourself if you are also inexperienced and I hope it makes you feel REALLY good if you are better at sewing than I am.
Okay, so start by sewing the 2 to the middle of the flower. I used a zig zag stitch that turned out so bad the first time that I went around it again…
Look, I used pins. There’s hope for me yet.
Next sew the flower with the 2 to the RIGHT side of the chair cover. Again I used a zig zag stitch.
This was tricky because it was nearly impossible to keep the flower in the same spot – even with pins. It bunched up at the end and I had to remove some stitches to straighten it out. Even then, there was a little bit of a crease when I got finished, but I was satisfied enough with it.
Next fold your chair cover in half…..right sides together….and sew down both sides. One thing I do remember my mother teaching me is that when you are sewing something like this, don’t sew down one side and up the other….there’s a good chance it will end up crooked if you do. Sew from the top down on both sides.
Then cut the edges with pinking shears. It just seems like the right thing to do.
While your chair cover is still inside out, sew a hem. What I always do on hems is fold, then iron, then sew the hem….keeps things nice and straight without pins…
I had this pretty eyelet trim for the bottom….I just pinned that and sewed it on right over the hem….
Here’s what it looks like all done….not bad, even with my lazy sewing! I actually REALLY like how it turned out….
Even better when the birthday girl sits on it to eat her birthday cupcake!