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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Burnt Satin Flowers

You need scissors, a hot glue gun, satin or satin-type material, a lit candle, hair clip and embellishments (like buttons or jewels).

Cut varying sizes of circles from your material. The great thing about this is that the petals don't have to be a perfect circle. They won't end up that way once you burn them so don't worry about it! Hold the edges in the flame until they start to melt. Don't hold it too long or it will catch fire! When you have the number of petals you want start gluing them together in the center. Add your embellishments to the center. Glue to the hair clip.

For variation use more than one color. You can also add tulle to the flower.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

German Chocolate Cake

I got to make dessert for my dad's birthday. Because it's summer I had planned to make a nice, summery lemon poppy seed cake. But... at 1:00 a.m. if you don't have all of the ingredients you either make do with what you have (not possible this time) or you change your plans.
Growing up, I remember going to my dad's parents' house for a birthday dinner. The cake that my grandma served was the BEST CAKE EVER! My grandma can cook better than almost anyone else I know... no joke. I was in LOVE with that cake, and my mom made it for my birthday every year for several years after. Fast forward several years, and several store bought cakes or "homemade from a box and can of frosting" later I had lost my taste for it. Then I got a Hershey's cookbook for my birthday one year. I turned to the German Chocolate Cake recipe, and was ecstatic. I made it for a family birthday party, and everyone loved it. My mother-in-law's husband, whose family is German, raved over it, so I felt it passed the test. You can find the recipe on the Hershey's website under recipes. Search for German Chocolate Cake. (Sorry, it won't let me link it.)

Delicious Blueberry Muffins

It's berry season again! My family loves this time of year because it means that I'm making blueberry muffins from scratch again. They enjoy the ones from a box, but when do you ever see blueberries that small? It's just not right! These made-from-scratch muffins are better than the ones I've had in nearly every bakery and Starbucks. The recipe comes from an out-of-print book called All the Best Muffins and Quick Breads by Joie Warner. You can find used copies on these websites: Barnes and Noble and Amazon. All my favorite quick bread and muffin recipes are in this book, so I highly recommend it. In case you can't get the book here's the recipe. The recipe says it only makes 12, but I can usually get 18 with the larger blueberries. I also use the cupcake wrappers because it's easier to clean and serve that way.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon (I use Saigon cinnamon- buy it at Costco)
2 c. fresh blueberries
1/2 c. real butter
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1/4 c. sugar mixed with finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon

Adjust oven rack to top third position; preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat muffin pan with vegetable spray, including top edges: muffins rise above pan.
Thoroughly mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl; stir in blueberries.
Cream butter and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then milk and lemon zest. On low speed, blend in dry ingredients just until combined; do not overmix.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle lemon-sugar mixture evenly over muffin tops. Bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Turn out onto rack and serve warm. Makes 12 muffins. (I apologize for not having a picture of the muffins artfully displayed on a pretty serving tray. I have sons... which means as soon as the food is out of the pan it starts disappearing.)
TIP: I get the large crystallized sugar from the cake decorating section and mix it with the lemon zest. It shows up more and tastes better with a little crunch.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Decorating Flip Flops with Ribbon

Items you need:
2-3 different 1/4" - 5/8" coordinating ribbons or pieces of fabric
Flip flops
Hot glue gun
Directions for tied ribbon flip flops:
Get your ribbon and flip flops. Decide which color you want to start with and tie it around the strap near the bottom. (I didn't pre-cut the ribbon.) I cut the ribbons at an angle to reduce the fraying. I only used 2 ribbons so I did every other one. Keep going until the straps are covered.
Covered straps: (Showing children's shoes. Adult flip flops coming soon.)
Choose your ribbon. If there's enough give, push down through the hole, fill it with hot glue and the end of the ribbon. If there's not enough give then just place a dot of glue at the very bottom of the strap, near where you foot goes. Start wrapping, and continue wrapping until the entire strap is wrapped on both sides. Place more hot glue at the end- the way you did when you started. Put a bow or flower in the middle where your toe goes.
Bejeweled flip flops:
Get ribbon with sequins or crystals and hot glue it on the straps. I added a satin flower with a jewel, but you can add whatever fits your style.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Retro Fabric Headbands

For my daughter's birthday party everyone got a custom-fit headband.
22" x 4" cotton fabric
2" of 3/8" elastic
sewing machine
large safety pin
iron and ironing board

Cut your fabric. (I tapered it a bit on the end so it would fit under the head a little better.)
Fold material in half, wrong side out and iron flat.
Open up the material and sew 1/4" seam at the ends. Fold material back in half and sew (wrong side out) all the way down one side, back stitching on both ends. Make sure you don't sew the ends shut! (TIP- If you don't want to sew the ends shut you can use fray stop to prevent fraying.)
Put the safety pin on the end of one side. Push that down through the hole.
Sew the material flat again.
Get your elastic. Stick the elastic in one end and straight stitch in place, going over it several times to make sure it holds. Measure your head and sew the elastic in place. It should be snug, but not too tight. You may need to cut your material a bit shorter if your head is smaller or if you're making the headband for a child.

Homemade Pillowcases

A few years ago for Christmas my mother made all of the grand kids pillowcases. My youngest son loved his so much that he carried it around everywhere. I mended it several times, but it was literally falling apart because it was threadbare from overuse. I got 3 coordinating fabrics and got started. The finished size of a standard size pillowcase is 20" x 30". Cut the first material to 20.5" x 24.5". I cut the second material, which is the small strip in the middle, to 20.5" x 4". I cut the third material to 20.5" x 8.5". (This allows about 1/2" extra for the seams.)

Items needed:

  1. 3 pieces of coordinating material: Piece A: 20.5" x 30.5", Piece B: 20.5" x 4", Piece C: 20.5" x 8.5"
  2. Coordinating thread
  3. Iron and ironing board
  4. Scissors, cutting mat, ruler, rotating cutting blade


  1. Cut your material to size. Iron everything flat.
  2. Fold Pieces 2 and 3 in half lengthwise and iron them flat. Iron a 1/4" seam on Piece A on the top piece.
  3. Sew a seam along the ironed seam of Piece A.
  4. Place Pieces 2 and 3 together and sew them together.
  5. Sew that piece to the ironed seam on Piece A. Reinforce the corners with back stitching.
  6. Iron everything flat then sew the pieces together.
  7. Wash and dry and you're good to go!