Tuesday, August 31, 2010

War Eagle Subway Art

I'm getting on my roommate's nerves.

Want to know why?

I walk around the apartment singing fight songs and cheers. And clapping. Lots of clapping.

(I also make jokes about her alma mater - the University of Georgia.)

And now, I have a "song sheet" which I can follow when I sing. Perfect!

Auburn University fight song subway art. It's a beautiful thing.

Can you tell that the background is a pale orange? And the top color is navy blue instead of black. These photos don't really do it justice.

I'm also working on a University of Alabama one for a friend. (Boo!) Other football crafts for this week: yo-yo headbands in my high school's colors; a beautifully covered stadium seat; a band parent bag. Other football crafts to come this fall: game day garland; team fleece blanket; and delicious treats.
I can't wait!

UPDATE as of September 27, 2011: We have opened our Etsy store, Sweet Begonia. Click here to check it out. We look forward to creating a canvas you would love to show off in your home, office, or at the next tailgate! Email us attemptingcreative at hotmail dot com if you have any questions or would like to request a specific piece.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Time for Football!!

Do you feel it in the air yet? Can you taste it?

It's time for football!!!

To say I'm excited is an understatement. I'm pumped. Ecstatic. Blissful. Jubilant.

This week, I'll be sharing a few football-related things - a seat cover, some art, maybe a recipe.

First up - some pillows! Remember the sketches I shared last week? Well, here they are!

What do you think? Totally football, right? I can't wait to share everything else. It's going to be a great week!

See something you like? Print it. Share it. Email it. But please, link back here when you do.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Snowbird Retreat

A few weeks ago, I spent a wonderful, relaxing weekend at Snowbird Retreat, a house on Smith Lake about an hour north of Birmingham. I'd been to Snowbird's sister house, Red Rooster Retreat, before and each time had a blast crafting, sewing, and chatting with some of my mom's friend - and celebrating one 50th birthday. (I hope I'm as cool as Alicia when I'm 50.) :)

So here, a few pictures from the weekend - relaxing, for this laid back Saturday afternoon - when I'm preparing projects for next week's posts.

110+ steps from the house down to the water. So we just took a boat from across the street - we got there by truck.

Red Rooster Inn - across the street.

Dreamcakes cupcakes for Alicia's 50th birthday.

Took a beautiful ride on the lake. I grew up in a town surrounded by water, so it's like going home. Except that we don't have floating docks. So that took me back for a second. They move when you walk on them!!

Have no idea whose house this is - we'll pretend Brad Pitt for the sake of the argument - but it's so cool!

A few years back, this area was hit by a tornado, destroying, removing or relocating some homes. This is one that never was cleaned up, so someone has nicely placed "legs" with ruby slippers under it. You know - the Wicked Witch's sister was hit here.

Where do you go to feel like you're home?

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh Boy Oh Blueberries

You know how you make a list of all the things you want to accomplish in a day - and then you plan to be finished with everything by a certain time so that you can move on to something that's exciting for you?

But then 40 other things pop up, completely messing up your timeline and throwing off the rest of your day - rendering you frustrated and upset that your plans have all gone awry?

That's today.

From Scratch Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Southern Living

2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Wash and clean your blueberries, removing any stems. Lightly grease a muffin pan--recipe makes 12 muffins--or place cup liners.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°.

Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in center where you will pour your wet ingredients.

Whisk together the milk, oil, and eggs until well combined. Pour into flour mixture, and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Spoon mixture into pans, filling two-thirds full.

Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Planning Some Pillows

I've been planning.

Can you tell?

Football season is coming up, and I've got an itch to decorate.

What kind of things should I do?

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peanut Butter + Chocolate = Oh My!

Yes, it's heavenly. Yes, I ate more than my fair share. And yes, it's easy to make.

And if I hear dirty talk of calories and diets, I'll just post more.

Peanut Butter Squares
adapted from Southern Living

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 (5 1/2-oz.) package graham crackers, crushed
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels, melted

1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Firmly press mixture into an ungreased 13 x 9-inch pan. Spread melted chocolate evenly over peanut butter-graham cracker layer.

2. Leave at room temperature 2 hours or until chocolate is set. Don't speed up the process by putting it in the fridge. The chocolate will just melt when you return it to room temperature, and you'll have a mess. Then cut it into squares and enjoy!

Like we did!


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ruffle Checkbook Cover Tutorial

I've been meaning to put up a tutorial for the ruffle checkbook cover for a few weeks now, but I keep getting distracted with other projects. So I finally made myself do it! (At midnight. On Sunday.) I'm totally dedicated to you guys like that.

Plus I had major insomnia from drinking like 6 glasses of soda that day.

I'm totally paying for that now.

What You'll Need
1/4 yard fabric for checkbook cover outside (the multi-color dots in the top example, the persimmon print in the bottom example)
1/4 yard fabric for checkbook cover inside (the khaki in the top, white floral in the bottom)
Strip of fabric about 12 inches long (width is up to you) for the ruffle
1/2 yard fusible interfacing for light- to medium-weight fabrics
Matching threads - One should match the ruffle. The other should match the front of the cover
Rotary cutter or scissors
Cutting mat
Disappearing ink pen
Template - needs to be 7 1/2" by 14 3/4"

For the template, I taped together two pieces of paper, then measured a template with my ruler and cut it out. I've seen a few templates around Blogland for download. Those will likely work too.

Be sure to press your fabrics before cutting. This helps you get the best cut for the project.

Step 1 - With your template, cut one each of the outside and inside fabrics.

Step 2 - With your template, cut two pieces of fusible interfacing. You may wish to make the interfacing slightly larger than the fabric so you can ensure the entire piece of fabric is covered. In that case, just be sure to trim off any extra around the edges once you've ironed on the interfacing.

Step 3 - Being sure to follow the instructions on the package, attach the fusible interfacing to the backs of both fabric pieces (inside and outside).

Step 4 - Make the ruffle strip.

Again, be sure and press the strip of fabric with your iron.

Fold over the edges of the strip and pin in place. If you want to skip this step, you can, but be aware your edges my fray. You can also surge the sides or zig-zag. Lots of options here. I just fold and stitch.

Press the folds down, using some spray starch for extra crisp folds.

Following your folds, stitch 1/8 seams along both sides to secure the folds.

With your stitch size on the largest setting (I don't know if I did that here or not. I think I did), stitch down the strip of fabric in two places, off center. In the picture below, the far left stitch is the edge. The next stitch is the first run for the ruffle, and I'm sewing the second run. Do not backstitch. You need to be able to pull the thread.

When you've completed that, grab one of the threads from each of the two runs and gently pull. The material will begin to gather. Work the ruffles toward the center as you pull from both ends.

When you're happy with your strip of ruffles (more or less, tighter or looser, etc.), you need to place and pin it on the front of the checkbook cover. To find that spot, I measure to the halfway point of the piece of fabric. That will be the top fold of the cover. Then I measure down about 1 1/2 inches and pin it. You can play around with that amount if you want the ruffle more toward the center, higher, lower, etc. It's your thing; do what you want!

Then (back to regular-sized stitches here), stitch the ruffle in place by following (as best you can) the stitches you put in before to make the ruffle.

A note (that I'm still trying to remember) from reader Jan: Place your pins cross ways, so that if you don't remove one, there is no drama as your machine just sews over it and your fabric remains stable while you're sewing. (Thanks, Jan!)

And then you probably have a little of this number below. That's good! That's all right. You want that because that will help secure the ruffle when you sew the two sides of the cover together, which happens..... now!

Step 5 - With right sides of fabric together (interfacing outward), stitch on the long sides of the fabric with a 1/4-inch seam.

Step 6 - (First, ignore that my sides aren't even. Oops!) With your scissors or rotary cutter, trim the sides of your ruffle strip.

Step 7 - Press seams open. Then turn sleeve right side out, and press again.

Step 8 - On the outside fabric and with your disappearing-ink pen, measure 3 1/2" from each short end. Mark across the fabric using a ruler. Then measure 1/2" from each short end and mark across the fabric using a ruler.

Step 9 - If you have one, surge the short ends (where the two pieces aren't already sewn together). I don't, so I just did a zig-zag on the edges to stitch the material together and keep from raveling.

Step 10 - Fold the 1/2" line toward the inside of the checkbook cover. Iron at the fold, and clip the corners. (See photo.) This is to reduce bulk when you're sewing.

Step 11 - Stitch 1/2" from folded edge, ensuring you're capturing the fold. Now repeat these last two steps on the opposite end.

Step 12 - At your 3 1/2" mark, fold both ends of the cover into the center. Press with your iron. Now your checkbook will look like mine in the picture below.

Step 13 - Being sure to backstitch at both the beginning and end of your line, sew 1/4" seams down both long sides. (If you don't want to stitch in the middle, you can stop at the end of each fold and start again on the other fold. Just be sure to backstitch.) Then sew 1/4" seams along both short ends. Again, backstitch to secure your stitching.

Clip any straggling threads. Put your checkbook in, and you're done! Your very own custom ruffle checkbook cover.

Have any of you had a chance to make your own yet? Tonight I'm going to work on a coordinating sunglasses case - and maybe even a mini zippered bag.

And one day soon - I'll get back to crafts that aren't all sewing. Promise! :)


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