Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Project: Easy yarn pull toy for dogs

Here's a quick project you can make that will provide oodles of fun for you and your furry friend. 
Materials: Yarn - I used Lionbrand thick and quick
Use  3 different colors for easy braiding.  I started out with only 2 colors but I am not an expert braider and got confused quickly so I did 3 different colors instead and it worked out much better.
1. Cut about eleven pieces of yarn 24 inches long from each color.  You will have a total of 33 pieces of yarn.
 2. Take all 33 pieces and tie a big knot.  Then start braiding the yarn together. save room at the bottom to tie another big knot.  Voila!  Your yarn pull toy is complete and ready for action!
step 1 - notice furry paw in picture

Step 2 - braiding complete & about to tie final knot

Bebe testing out her new toy!

Bebe guarding her toy

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Annie's Strawberry Shortcake

Crafty Annie is back with a yummy dessert that she sewed up!  check out her rendition of strawberry shortcake:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Recipe: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts

Brussel sprouts are great for fall/winter gardens.  I am considering a vegetable garden this year so I thought a few recipes involving the veggies would be a good motivator.  Brussel sprouts are a delicious way to get more fiber and vitamins in your diet.

Recipe: Roasted Brussels sprouts with walnuts
  • 2 lbs brussel sprouts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Wash sprouts and rip outer leaves
  • cut sprouts into a uniform size, leaving small ones whole
  • boil sprouts for 5 minutes and pat dry
  • place sprouts in roasting pan; coat with olive oil and vinegar.  Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Roast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning
  • add chopped walnuts, roast for 5 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Project: felted soap

What is felted soap? it is a bar of soap wrapped with wool that has been felted.  The result is a soap and washcloth in one.  Wool has natural anti-fungal properties and will retain its freshness.  The wool helps the bar of soap last longer.

When making felted soap, it's best to use cold process or hot process soap bars; melt and pour does not work as well.  This is a great project for soap scraps, and also ugly bars of soap. Once they are covered in wool, they become very pretty and unique.

Jenne G from Harlequin Feltworks showed me how to felt. At first, I was unsure of how to handle the bar of soap and wool but I soon got the hang of it and it was fun!

  • wool roving (either sheep or will need at least 50% wool content in your roving for this to work)
  • bucket of warm slightly soapy water
  • soap
How to felt your soap:
1. Remove any rough edges from soap by bevelling
2. rip apart pieces of roving to create a "bed" for your soap.  Lay pieces flat horizontally and then overlay with vertical pieces.
3. place your soap on top of this bed, and wrap the bar with the wool so it is completely covered.
4. sprinkle water on the wool so that it is saturated.
5. Once wet, start to gently press the wool into the soap.  Continue to do this for about 4 to 5 minutes until the wool is condensed and matted and feels stuck to the soap
6. Dunk in water and rinse the soap out
7. Let dry overnight before use.

My first felted soap!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's for Lunch?

My bento box posts have been really popular so I have decided to make it a regular weekly feature.  Here's one of my lunches this week:
egg omelette with spinach and mushrooms, roasted potatoes, edamame salad, and carrots and tomatoes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Soap Swap photos

Soap is officially coming out of my ears!  I won a gift certificate which I used to purchase 10 lbs of melt and pour soap base. And I also got some great new molds I can't wait to try out.  I can't wait to make more cool soap creations!  And last week, I participated in a soap swap and got back some really fun great soaps which I can't wait to try!  I love seeing all the different packaging and ingredients that people use in their soaps.  Below is a soap swap photo and also a photo of the new molds I got.

Nova Party Soap Swap

Dog soap mold
"manly" animal soap

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sewing Project: Square bottom canvas bucket

Hooray for a little crafting time! Here's a little square-bottomed canvas bucket i made last night. The design uses a Jordy bag style to get the squared bottom. I kept the height short so it would have a chance of standing on its own (and it does!), and the two little handles on either side are sewn onto the outer fabric with a tight zig-zag stitch.

The FO is about 6.5 inches all around (height, width, length).

I purchased both the outer and lining fabric for close to nothing at a remnant/outlet store -- woo hoo! (The colors look a little washed out in the photos; It's a light lime/chartreuse and a real chocolatey brown.) I'm thinking about making a set of three, in different sizes using the same fabric.

Now, if only I knew what to put in it. Any ideas? Smiley

Here’s the tutorial:

Step1: Cut fabric

Start with a rectangle, folded in half. Measure the cuts by determining how big you want your box to be. To make a six inch box, follow these measurements (Thanks to craftydeb!):

Start with a 12x18 rectangle - folded in to a 12x9 piece*

It breaks down like this:
For the width: 3 + 6 + 3 (the 3's being for the sides)
For the length: 6 + 3 + 3 + 6 (the 3's being for the bottom)

* Don't forget seam allowances.

And for the marvelous metric mavens (again, thanks craftydeb for doin' the math):

for the width - double the cm/in you want it to end up being when all is said and done....
For the length - triple it....
for the square cut out - cut it in half....

So if you want it to be 20cm square.. (just to make a nice round number for the example)
cut your fabric 40cm x 60cm
fold it in half to make a 40x30cm
cut out 10cm squares on the corner to get that "I" shape and then you are off and running!!  Again, if you want it to be an EXACT size make sure you add in a seam allowance..

FYI:  The bucket I made in this tutorial is a bit taller with a smaller base.

Cut squares out of the corners of the folded edge. For my six-inch box, I cut 3-inch (minus seam allowance) squares.

When you unfold the pieces, they look like big “I”s. (This is a good time to press your fabric if you haven't already.)

Step 2: Sew the outer fabric.

Fold the outer fabric piece wrong side out and sew down each of the long sides. Then, pinch the cut corners together and sew straight across (a la Jordy). Doing so gets you this:

Step 3: Sew the lining. Do the same thing you did to the outer fabric, but leave one corner open for turning!

Step 4: Make and attach the handles

For my handles, I cut two 6 x 3.5 inch strips of lining fabric.

Fold the edges, fold in half, and sew. Pink the edges.

Center the handle on the side of the outer fabric piece. (I put mine on the seam side because it was easier to center it) Using a tight zig-zag stitch, sew one side of the handle to the outer fabric.

Mark and pin the other side of the handle, and sew. This is a little tricky so be patient. Repeat on the other side.

Step 5: Sew outer piece to lining

With right sides together, lining inside of the outer piece, match edges, pin, and sew.

Turn right side out. Sew open corner of lining closed. Tuck lining into outer fabric, press the seam edge, and stitch around the top to finish.

Bucket Buddies!

If you make one, show it off!
This post is from:
I really liked it because the fabric reminded me of Ziggy's dog bed, which has the identical fabric and color scheme.  This bucket seems like it would be suited for holding pet toys

Thursday, September 8, 2011

hard boiled egg catastrophe

So making hard boiled eggs shouldn't be that hard right?  You just put eggs in water and boil them.  Well, this was the first time the eggs cracked on me while boiling.  Very embarrassing as hard boiling eggs is one of the easiest things to make!  Anyway, i figured out why the eggs cracked - they should be room temp before boiling.  I pulled them straight from the fridge and put it in the boiling water so the temperature difference between cold and hot caused the cracking.  Note to self: use room temp eggs or put eggs in water and bring to boil.  Anyway, here's a photo of the eggs - while boiling.  The parts that leaked out got cooked in the water and I was able to use them for the pink bento box below
...making lunch has been really fun lately!  This bento contains seaweed salad, home grown butternut squash, and purple rice from Taiwan.  I need to get the silicon dividers for my box - next on my list of things to get.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Doggie play date

We've had Bebe for about a week now.  Today she got her official dog tag (she was borrowing a tag with our address before), and she met one of her first dog friends in the area - Pepper the miniature schnauzer.  here are a few pictures of them meeting and hanging out.

The initial sniff

The two besties chilling in the shade!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Healthy Cupcakes?

Can cupcakes be healthy and good for you?  When they are made from soap you betcha!  I made this soap cupcake for Vereika.  The cupcake is vanilla buttercream, and the frosting, which is soap as well, is scented with tangerine essential oil for a lovely orange creamsicle like frosting!  The sprinkles are jojoba beads.  It may be a little awkward to use initially but it is all useable.  I love treats like this which are all the yum with no calories!

Here's another shot of it:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Blueberry Almond Smoothie

My husband makes smoothies almost every day.  He hearts them!  So when I saw this post on the Soapqueen blog, I had to feature it here.  Amber shares her new favorite recipe:  I had some homemade almond milk on hand (Learn to make your own here). Please keep in mind I don’t measure anything when I make these – so the amounts are approximate.

1 cup Almond Milk
1 cup Frozen Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter

Place blueberries, almond butter, and almond milk in blender. (My blender has single serving cups, so I can make one smoothie and toss a lid on and I’m ready to go). I like my smoothies thick like a milk shake you have to use a spoon to eat. If you’d like a thinner more drinkable smoothie, add more milk. Blend and Enjoy!

This recipe is from guest blogger Amber at

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Toasty Marshmallows (soap!)

Check these out!  Love these soap marshmallows.  The orange ones are scented with tangerine essential oil, the light purple ones are lavender essential oils, and the white ones are unscented.  I wanted to make green mint ones but I ran out of time.  These soaps are for the swap on Saturday.  Can't wait to see what others are making!