Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cappellino - Part 2

I have been making lots of crochet items this year. I have done some experimenting with new ideas and stitches.  Here are few things I have come up with. 

Let me know what you guys think. I have also been wondering what type of
 pricing I should put on these types of items. 

What would you pay for something like theses?

Does it matter to you if it's homemade or not?

In the next post I will putting up a pattern for one of the new headbands so stay tune :) 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Life's Lemons

I know it has been awhile since I have done any posts. My sweet husband, the love of my life, was injured in a very serious accident in the beginning of March. If you want the full story you can see it here...
It is truly a huge miracle that he is alive. 
He is getting better but will be in rehab for a year.  

I am so blessed to have him in my life still! 
Please, please, please watch out for individuals on bicycles!! 
Share the Road :)

They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade... well after these "life lemons" I decided that lemons are overrated so I went for some different fruit. After months of living in the hospital, I was missing fresh fruits and veggies. Once we got home one of my friends hooked me up with a terrific deal on strawberries and blackberries. 

A full flat of strawberries for $6
And a full flat of blackberries for $5
I knew it was time to make some freezer jam!!

I also added a few extra things to give my jam some variety...
 like cherries.
And yes even a little bit of lemon. 

I made a lot of different kinds of jams.

Starting from the left:
- Blackberry
- Black Strawberry (Blackberry & Strawberry mix) 
- Strawberry 
- Strawberry Lemonade (Strawberries with lemon juice and bits of lemon rind)
- Vanilla Spice Strawberry (Strawberries with vanilla extract & cinnamon)
- Cherryberry (Strawberry Cherry mix with a little vanilla extract) 

They taste so yummy on toast and PB&J sandwiches... I have also started mixing in a tablespoon of jam with my vanilla yogurt in the mornings for breakfast!! Yummy

It felt good to take a break from doctors and hospitals. (I like kitchen/blog therapy!!) 
It's easy to forget how blessed we are to have the time, the resources, and the ability, to do the things we enjoy. After all sometimes it's just that hint of lemon that reminds us of how
 fantastic the sweet things really are! 

- Craft Hard

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ahoy Little Cupcakes

Recently I was asked to make some cupcakes that incorporated the theme of Lighthouses. I said that I would do it (knowing that there must be a zillion tutorials about this sort of thing on pinterest.) To my surprise there wasn't that much out there on lighthouse cupcakes. I knew I wanted something that was large enough to stand by itself and look like a lighthouse but also not take over the entire cupcake. I also didn't want to make them out of fondant.

So here is what I came up with. :) Hope you enjoy this little tutorial!!

What you will need:

2 boxes of cake mix -  one chocolate and one butter cake mix
1 box of Mini Cup Ice Cream Cones (I found them at Walmart)
1 box of Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups (6 rolls to a box) 
1- Jar of Cream Cheese Frosting
1- Package of Graham Crackers  
1/4- Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
Yellow and Blue Food Coloring
Hand full of chocolate chips - For melting

1. Break your Graham Crackers in half and place them in a food processor
2. Add 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
3. Mix until it resembles sand. (Remove any large left over Graham Cracker parts... some of them just hang around on the top of the mix and never get broken down)
4. Add 1/4 cup melted butter and mix until well incorporated
 (I only used the crumble for 24 of my cupcakes)

5. Mix your batter and fill cupcake liners as directed. Cover batter with crumble. Then bake as usual.
6. While those are baking scoop out a little less than half of your frosting and put into a microwavable glass. (one that will allow you to dip things in)
7. Microwave frosting for 30 seconds. (If you dip your spoon in it should just coat the spoon)
8. Take out your cones and carefully dip your cone into the frosting glaze.
9. Make sure you get close enough to the top to cover most of your cone.
10. Let any extra frosting drip off and gently scrape excess on the side of the glass.

11. Carefully flip the cone up and grab the bottom edge with other hand. Set it down on a foil lined baking sheet. I only did one package of cones so I dipped 21 cones.
12. Unroll your fruit roll-ups and cut into small strips. (You may have to play around with length on some of these to get them right. The bottom stripe is one full length of strip and the top stripe is 3/4 a full length of strip. After they are all cut carefully wrap them around the cone.
13. When they are all wrapped with the fruit roll-up I put them in my refrigerator to harden.
14. After they are hardened, mix yellow food coloring into the remaining melted frosting (from dipping your cones)
15. Carefully remove your cookie sheet from the fridge and dip the top parts of your cones in the yellow to "light" your lighthouse.
16. Make sure you let them drip and carefully scrape off any excess or the frosting will drip all over your top stripe.

17. Finish baking and cooling your cupcakes. They should look like the cupcake below. (I love how the crumble looks like rocks and sand!)
18. With your remaining frosting add blue food coloring and mix well. Scoop into a ziplock bag and carefully cut a tiny hole at the bottom (remember you can always cut off more but you will hate it if you cut off too much.
19. Slowly squeeze zigzags across one side of your cupcake.
20. Grab a butter knife and pull the frosting around so that it covers the one side of the cupcake.
21. Use your knife to tap the frosting... creating "waves"
22. Place a small amount of icing on the bottom edge of your lighthouse to hold in place.

1. For the other cupcake I wanted something a little different So I drew a picture of an anchor and then placed wax paper over it. (I placed all of this on a small cookie sheet)
2. Take about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and place them in a mug. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir... continue increments of 30 seconds until chocolate is fully melted.
3. Scoop chocolate into ziplock bag and cut a tiny... (I mean really tiny hole) in the bottom!! You can see how tiny that hole is in the photo.
4. Carefully squeeze the chocolate on to the anchor shape. Try and work quickly because your chocolate will harden in your bag!!
5. Continue until you have made enough for your cupcakes. (make a few extra just incase you break some)
6. Place them into your freezer for at least 10 minutes. This will help them become nice and hard.
7. Meanwhile create fun little circle patterns with your frosting on your left over cupcakes... make swirls or waves or whatever makes you happy. (Just remember to go light of the frosting unless you want to have to make an extra trip to the store to get more)
8. Remove your chocolate anchors from the freezer and carefully pull them off the wax paper and place them on top of your cupcake.

That's it your done :) Enjoy your beautiful cupcakes!

- Craft Hard

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Practical Valentine Gift

My husband is a very practical man. He loves things that are going to be useful as well as inexpensive. I think that is why I have finally come to realize our idea of romance is quite different from each others perspectives. So this year I have tried to put myself in his shoes so that I can be more "practical" with my gift giving. 

As I was pondering over the practical gifts I could give him I noticed his bike lock bag was falling apart at the seams... in every literal sense of the word. (You can see from the photo below that it's true.) 
I decided that it couldn't be too hard to just make him a new one. So when I was at the dollar store I came across this black and red backpack. Now keep in mind it was made out of a very cheep rain poncho type of plastic and the back of the bag was lined with thin styrofoam and the same material as reusable grocery bags. I knew if I used enough layers of this I could make it work.  
Besides what did I have to lose except a dollar and a little bit of time. :)

The poor little thing had so many holes in it I was surprised he hadn't lost his lock already. 

I started the process by disassembling the bag piece by piece. 
I cut the straps off, unpicked all the seams, salvaged the zippers, and ended up with a big flat piece that would work for most of the bag. 
 After all of that I realized that I needed an accurate pattern so I unpicked all the seams to the bike bag itself and used it as a pattern. Needless to say it worked out awesomely!! Wahoo for success.

And the hubby said he likes it and I did a very fine job :) 

Happy "Practical" Valentines Everyone!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh How Charming

Ever since I was little I have been obsessed with miniature items. I used to love playing with Polly Pockets. I had a fascination with small detail. If you know me you also know that I love sweets!! So when you mix miniatures, sweets and crafting you get... Mini Sweet Charms.

 I have to give the credit to Mondo from Project Runway All-stars for getting me started on making these charms.  In one of the episodes of All-stars, Mondo is sporting a cute lollypop miniature necklace. So I decided that I would make one. (I forgot to take a photo of the lollypop necklace that I made, I will post one later, sorry) I found a plethora of online tutorials on how to make these cute things. Since I haven't done the clay thing in awhile I got it out and got to work!! You might remember my last clay play time I made a wedding cake topper.

Here are my versions of the sweet creations.  

Just so you get an idea of how tiny they actually are :) 

Getting hungry yet?

The nice thing is they are interchangeable so depending on what sweet I am feeling that day I can switch them out and put them on a necklace. If I am feeling really sweet I can show them all of on my charm bracelet. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Leather and Lace

So You Think You Can Sew
Finals: "Contestants Choice"

Well this is it... this is the big one!! I can't believe I have made it to the finals. There has been so much talent shown by all those who have competed. I feel so honored to be in this last round because of all of you who have voted so far! I have felt such love and support from family and friends. Thank you to all the new followers and commenters who have encouraged me along the way. I have gotten wonderful e-mails from other contestants wishing me luck and I appreciate the spirit of friendship and kindness. Also a huge shout out to those who have featured me on
 their own blogs. This whole process has been a wonderful experience in helping me push myself. 

Thank you to Ashley from Mommy by Day Crafter By Night 
for putting this together for all of us! 

Voting starts January 25th at 8:00 am EST and 
ends January 26th at 8:00 pm EST. 
You can vote from your computer, your phone, and your ipad... well anything that lets you cruise around on the internet really. You can only vote once per device. 

So here it is, the final project.
Inspired by the many beautiful lace dresses I have
 been seeing on pinterest.

Total Cost: Less than $20 which means my husband is happy and so am I.

 The side zip makes for a seamless back. 

The collar is all stitched in by hand.

I really don't know how to juggle, I think that is why I was laughing the whole time.
I was trying to avoid being hit with the falling oranges. :)

Hope you enjoyed following me on this crazy journey!! Thanks again for your support and your votes. 

If you are wondering what we are playing for, here are the prizes. 

The 1st Place winner will receive:

The 2nd Place Winner will receive:

The 3rd Place Winner will receive:

How to Make the Dress


2 Yards of Cream Lace
2 Yards of Black Stretch Cotton Poplin Spandex blend 
7 inch black Zipper
Hand Sewing Needle and Thread 

Step 1: Start with 2 yards of your black cotton poplin. Fold in half. 
Step 2: Find a dress that fits well and closely resembles the over all shape you want to achieve. (If you don't have a dress like that, then jump down to step 4.)
Step 3: Trace a chalk line around the skirt. (Remember to leave room for your hem as well as your seams.) I didn't include the top yet, only the bottom portion of the skirt.

Step 4: Find a shirt that resembles the type of basic silhouette you are going for. Trace the outlines of the shirt making sure you account for seam allowances and the zipper. (This is how I began for the shabby apple knock off dress) Follow the basic outline of how a skirt would fall. Shown in the above photos.
Step 5 - 6: Move the sleeve area over and trace the curve that is on the shirt. (I will show you how to do the sleeves in a minute)
Step 7: Taking the same shirt from above you are going to place it on top of a piece of paper. 
Step 8: Trace the outline.
Step 9: Add an extra .5 to an inch to the cuff part of your sleeve. (This will help when trimming for your seams) Also add room for your seam allowance on the top and bottom of your sleeve.

Step 10: Cut out the one side of your traced sleeve, stopping at the half way point.
Step 11: Fold over on the halfway line. (Make sure to get the angle right)
Step 12: Trace the other side.
Step 13: Cut out your sleeve pattern
Step 14: You should be able to place your pattern under the original sleeve to make sure you have accounted for your seams. 
Step 15: Place sleeve pattern on your fabric and trace with chalk. (You don't have to add extra space to this one because you have already accounted for the seam allowance.)

Step 16: This is what it should look like when you are done chalking.  
Step 17: Cut out your dress and sleeves.
Step 18: I separated my pieces and cut out basic neck lines.
Step 19- 24: Line up the bottom of your dress with the shell pattern on your lace fabric. (I messed up and cut my lace before I pinned my hem.) DON'T DO THAT!! Cut your lace after you pin your hem. That way the lace will hang down slightly lower than the hem of your black lining. Make sure your hems are equal and straight. 

Step 25: Now place your black fabric overtop your lace.
Step 26: Cut out your lace leaving at least 1.5 inches around all sides. Carefully sandwich your two lace pieces between the two black pieces of dress. (Just like an Oreo) 

Step 27: Now that your hem is pinned it is time to pin your sides.
Step 28: Fold back your lace on so that it lays flat to both sides of your black fabric. 
Step 29: Pin in place.

Step 30: Continue around the edge of your dress. Don't pin the sleeves or the shoulders of your dress.
Step 31: When you come to the right side of your dress, about an inch below the sleeve line, start pinning for your zipper. Remember you are going to want at least an inch on both sides of your seams to pin your zipper in place later!! Just as a tip I use different colored pins to indicate hem lines, zippers, an straight seams. It helps me remember what I am doing when I get to my sewing machine. 
Step 32: Begin sewing your hem. Make sure you don't include your lace in the hem!!
Step 33: Right before you get to your side seams stop your needle, back stitch and fold your lace down and include it in your seam. (This will help everything stay nice) 
Step 34: Continue on to the edge of your seam, backstitch and then finish. 
Step 35: Now you are ready to continue up the sides.  

Step 36: I pressed my seams once I was done sewing them.
Step 37: When you get to the zipper portion of your dress back stitch a few times and then turn your stitch length to 4. Run your basting stitch up the zipper portion of your dress. 
Step 38: This is what your dress should look like when you are done. 
Step 39: Find your basting stitch portion of your dress and press
your seam open.
Step 40: Place your zipper on top of your seam so that the center of your zipper is aligned with your seam line. Pin in place.

Step 41: Sew in your zipper like it says on your zipper instructions.
Step 42: I used black thread but you could use cream.
Step 43: Once you are done carefully unpick your basting stitch. 
Step 44: Make sure you don't catch any of your lace!!
Step 45: This is how your zipper should look when it is done.
Step 46: Now we are moving on the the neck line. I carefully traced out a line about 7.5 inches wide. As seen below.
Step 47: Snip little tabs in the neck line so that you can fold it over more easily. (Don't snip too far or it will show on the other side and fray. 

Step 48: Use the same tab method for the outer sleeve part. Press down so they stay flat.
Step 49: Fold over your lace on your shoulder portion of your dress 
and sew down. 

Step 50: Sew down the tabs on your sleeves as well s the bottom portion of the sleeve. 

Step 51: Here is what it looks like when it is right side out.  

Step 52: Place your sleeve on top of your folded lace. 

Step 53: Cut out your lace, leaving your extra space for overlap.
Step 54: Make your lace tabs and iron down flat.
Step 55: Sew down your lace, around the outer sleeve edge. Try to stay on the line you previously sewed.
Step 56: It should look like this while you are sewing. 
Step 57: Remember to leave the other side of the lace alone. It will look like this when you flip it right side out.
Step 58: Fold your sleeve in half and sew the bottom piece together. (I like to go over mine a few times to ensure that it will hold) You don't want to rip a hole in the underarm area of your dress)

Step 59: This is what it should look like when you flip it right side out.
Step 60: Now gently open up the sleeve hole in your dress and slide the sleeve inside like the picture shows. 
Step 61: Pin in place while folding over your lace edge.
Step 62: It should look like this.
Step 63-64: Once pinned you can check to make sure it is right by pulling the sleeve out. If it looks like this, then you are good to go and sew it. 
Step 65: This is is also the time to sew down the tabs on your neck lines.

Step 66: Don't sew down your lace with your neck lines!! Make sure to leave it out.
Step 67: It should look like this.
Step 68: The back side... see how you don't see any stitch marks.
Step 69: Once everything is sewn down and ironed  it is time to cut the extra lace. 
Step 70: Trim your lace so that it is close to your neckline. Don't cut it too close because the lace will hang down when your dress is on. 
Step 71: Should look something like this.

Step 72: Cut out a scalloped edge from your left over lace. You will want 3 pieces cut. 2 for the front side and one for the back of the neck.
Step 73: Cut them by measuring the length of the neck lines.
Step 74: Place them on top of your dress to see how they will look the best. (I left a small gap between the lace pieces once it hit the bottom point of the neck line. 
Step 75: Carefully! Trim your lace so that it slowly gets larger as you move up the neck line. (See how I started really close to the edge on the bottom and got slightly larger as I went up.)
Step 76 - 79: Fold and iron the extra lace that is on your dress. Using a needle and thread begin by whipstitching your lace in place. Make sure you hit as many points on the lace as possible. Don't leave any gaps or it will look funny. Basically you are going to whipstitch your lace pieces together all around your neck line. Once you want to join the scalloped pieces together, try on your dress and safety pin together where it falls the nicest on the neckline. Whipstitch those and trim edges slightly. You don't want to trim too close though or you run the risk of ripping your lace.

Congratulations my friend, you just made a lace dress!!


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