Easter Bunny Cake.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On Easter Sunday, my parents and sister/husband gathered at our house to celebrate four birthdays, two anniversaries, and three mothers.  My sister, who is very talented and creative, made the cutest cake ever.  The photos don't come close to showing how spectacular this creation is.

I'm not sure she's even been doing cakes for a year yet, but from the looks of her work, you'd think she was born baking and decorating.  The cake itself is three layers of delicious chocolate, cupcakes are strawberry with cream cheese frosting, and the little eggs are white chocolate-dipped brownies.  Delicious!  And cute.  Just look at this bunny:

You can't see her little cottontail, but you'll have to trust me that it it's just as fabulous as the rest of her.  She's too cute to eat, so she's still hanging out in my kitchen, reminding me that while I am good at many things, I will never be half the baker that my sister is.

Reversible Shorts.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thanks to a cold and a sinus infection, my sewing time seems to have evaporated lately.  But I have managed to complete one very quick little project -- reversible shorts!

This project began with some cotton fabric that looks like linen from Superbuzzy.  It's got great texture and color, but it seemed a little thin to use alone, so I decided to line the shorts.  I had some Free Spirit / David Walker rocket fabric that worked well, but it was much too cute to just be lining.  So why not make the shorts reversible?

These are based on the MADE basic pants pattern/tutorial.  Although there's a separate tutorial for lined pants, those are not reversible, so I did my own thing.  I cut down the waist of the rocket fabric and folded the solid orange over to make a waist casing.  I did essentially the same on the hem, trimming the rocket fabric and folding the orange over before sewing.  Because there were already two layers of fabric, I didn't add pockets.  They look a little like pajamas, but Little Brother seems to like them.

The t-shirt is one I made a while ago.  It's an Ottobre Design pattern, though I couldn't tell you anymore which one.  I love the monkeys-in-spaceships fabric, which I bought from Felicitysiu's Etsy shop.

Fabric Easter Grass.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I can't take credit for this idea; that goes to April 1930s, who runs a fabulous shop and sews beautiful clothes.  A while back a bought a Singer hand-crank pinking machine from April.  It's a fun gadget, but best of all it cuts beautiful fabric Easter grass.  You start with some fabric -- I chose some that actually looks like grass:

Put it in the pinking machine and turn the crank to cut scallop-edged strips:

Easy as pie, before you know it you've collected a pile of soft, pretty Easter grass:

You could, of course, accomplish the same thing with pinking shears.  But that might hurt your hands a bit, and you wouldn't have the softly curved edges that the Singer pinking machine creates.

Put it in an Easter basket, and you're ready for the Easter Bunny.

Happy Easter!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Want to see my lovely family?  These are my greatest creations -- my marriage, and my children.  This is what makes me feel great.

Photos courtesy of Melissa Glynn Photography.

Fun with Actions.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I've been experimenting with actions in Photoshop Elements.  It's amazing what one click of a button can do to a photo.  You can get all sorts of looks.  Here are a few too many examples of actions (apologies for subjecting you to the same photo over and over again).   This is the original photo, which is pretty decent but could use a little pizazz:

For the sake of demonstration, I did not tweak the opacity at all.  You run the action, and his is what you get.  Also, I'm showing fairly subtle enhancement actions, not actions that give dramatic, artsy looks.

Florabella actions:




Paint the Moon actions:

Lucky Ducky.


Heart & Soul.

Which is your favorite?  

I find myself drawn to the brighter, more vibrant ones.  But the softer ones are great too.  There are so many amazing actions out there.  Running them is the easy part.  Choosing is the hard part.  I could spend all day playing with actions.

National Volunteer Week (April 10-16, 2011).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Big Sister and her grandparents kicked off National Volunteer Week by participating in a Little Helping Hands activity that involved shoveling gravel and improving the Relief Nursery of Central Texas playground.

During National Volunteer Week, as always, it is important to recognize the many volunteers who give generously and tirelessly to help others and improve our communities.  We celebrate the extraordinary impact that they, collectively, have on our communities.  We should each look to volunteers around us for inspiration and encouragement.  Most importantly, we must each challenge ourselves -- to find new ways to serve others, engage in our communities, and be better citizens.

Regardless of how you feel about President Obama, please read these parts of his recent presidential proclamation to kick off National Volunteer Week 2011 and think about how you can help:

America's story has been marked by the service of volunteers.  Generations of selfless individuals from all walks of life have served each other and our Nation, each person dedicated to making tomorrow better than today.  They exemplify the quintessential American idea that we can change things, make things better, and solve problems when we work together.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community groups.  From mentoring at-risk youth and caring for older Americans to supporting our veterans and military families and rebuilding after disasters, these everyday heroes make a real and lasting impact on the lives of millions of women and men across the globe.

Last year, nearly 63 million Americans gave of themselves through service.  Their compassion is a testament to the generosity of the American spirit.  In difficult times, Americans are coming together -- tackling our challenges instead of ignoring them -- and renewing the principle that we are our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper.

Today, as many Americans face hardship, we need volunteers more than ever.  Service opportunities tap the energy and ingenuity of our greatest resource -- the American people -- to improve our neighborhoods and our world. . . . 

During National Volunteer Week, we celebrate the profound impact of volunteers and encourage all Americans to discover their own power to make a difference.  Every one of us has a role to play in making our communities and our country stronger.  I encourage all Americans to help us renew progress and prosperity and build a brighter future for our Nation by visiting www.Serve.gov to find a local project.

Angel Lea's Eva Dress.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Since we had so much fun seeing the Gnomeo and Juliet movie and painting gnomes, I decided that Big Sister should have a gnome dress.  How could I resist making her a gnome dress when Michael Miller has the cutest gnome fabric ever, and coordinating dots?

I chose the Angel Lea Designs Eva dress pattern, which is reversible (though the gnomes and pockets are so great that it's hard to imagine having Big Sister wear it dots-side-out).  I love this pattern, and I can imagine making many more of these.  I especially love that the designer gave measurements, so I knew which size to make (why don't more indie designers do this?!).  I would have guessed a 6, but measurements pointed to 5, which fits perfectly.

The Eva Dress is super easy to put together, instructions are clear, and the result is crazy cute.  Just look how fun these pockets are:

I was already in love with elastic thread, and these pockets seal the deal -- elastic thread is the best thing ever (should have put that on my March of the Tools list!).  Big Sister came home from school with her cute pockets stuffed full of treasures.

I will admit to having some trouble with the very last step of the construction.  You turn the dress inside out, sew the hem but leave a 5-inch opening, turn rightside out, and topstitch.  Sounds simple enough, right?  I'm sure it has everything to do with my tired brain sewing way too late at night, but I could not figure out the turning part.  The first time I did it, I turned it inside out (right sides together -- confusing terminology for a reversible dress) correctly, but then I could not figure out how to turn it out so that the wrong sides would be together.  The second time, I could not figure out how to turn inside out correctly.  I came up with a work-around solution, and it turned out fine.  But I'm still stumped by the turning part and the fact that I sewed in the same place both times, yet I could never get it to turn right.  Oh well, it's finished, and it's irresistible.