Tres Leches Cake

Delicious for any occasion

Homemade Watercolors

For homeschoolers, or just fun at home

DIY Toothpaste

Great for good health, and a happy pocketbook

Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

Even picky kids will love these meat-less dishes

Sewing Projects and Tips

Even more tutorials to come soon

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cute Gathered Sleeves Make an Over-sized T-shirt Better- A How-To

The Princess earned a t-shirt during the summer reading program this year. She LOVES her shirt, but gets annoyed at how the too-big-for-her shirt hangs. So, I decided to fit it too her to make her happy, and so she wouldn't look pants-less during the parade she was going to walk in with the library!

Most of it is just cutting down and stitching back up, but we went for cuter, girlie-er sleeves.
Here's how to do it:

First, wearing the shirt inside out, (either you or the owner of the shirt...), mark where you will need to take it in and how far to shorten it. Take it off and pin up the sides nice and straight for sewing up. I also chopped off the arms, and marked where new ones would go. Sew up until the armholes on both sides. Loose the picture you took for your blog, and move on to the arms.

Make a pattern with paper half the diameter of the arm holes, a rounded edge, and a scant inch lip on the straight edge. Like this:
Use the original arms you cut off to cut out two new arms.

With right-sides together, pin the center of the new sleeve to the center seam of the t-shirt. (Straight edges together too!)

Start pinning and gathering the sleeves. The small straight edges will need to go against the straight edge of the t-shirt.

Sew it together, and enjoy it's adorableness.
You may also want to try the shirt on again, and hand-sew to adjust the way the sleeves lay in the profile view. (A) hasn't been fine tuned yet, and (B) has been tacked a bit:

[We also lost the collar, and added ribbons ;-) ]

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Six-Minute Chewy Caramels- Almost Turtles

Pinterest is all a flutter with microwave-cooked caramel recipes. When I think of chewy, gooey caramel I think of turtles, nothing is better with caramel than crunchy pecans. So I thought I'd give this caramel a chance, and whipped out some molds to experiment with. Here's what you'll need to make the caramel:
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C FIRMLY packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C light corn syrup
  • 1/2 C sweetened condensed milk (NOT a whole can! ;-) )
  • 1/4 C (half a stick) real butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla
 You'll also want a microwaveable bowl (I suggest glass, this mixture gets HOT.) You'll want it to hold at least 2 qts because the caramel will bubble up a lot. A silicone spatula is handy for stirring because it handles heat well, scrapes well, and cleans off easily. If making "Almost Turtles", you'll also need some finely chopped pecans, and chocolate to dip if you wish. (I did some with and without chocolate.)

You may pour the mixture into a prepared pan, then cut when set- or you may want to use molds. Either way you'll need to prepare your pan or molds a head of time with some non-stick spray. (Lining a pan with foil may also be helpful as well.) I also tried to put some pecans IN my molds first, but the caramel surrounded them- nice for having them in the middle- but you'll need to press some on top if you want them to look that way.)

Now, you can get your mixture cooking without being too distracted. Just dump everything in a bowl and mix.
Pop in your microwave and cook on high power for six to seven minutes, depending on your microwaves power. Stir every two or three minutes. You'll know when it's done when it is homogeneous and no longer grainy. And, well, caramel-y. =-)

Let sit for several minutes before pouring into your mold(s). You may want some toothpicks on hand to pop the little bubbles.

Let set in the fridge or freezer until set, then cut or unmold.

You can now cover some, or all, or dip, some in chocolate!

Wrap each piece in waxed paper to store. These are gooey!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Quick Tip For Storing Task-Specific Supplies

We've started making our own laundry detergent since I've found a mixture that you don't mix with water/need a bunch of extra space for. I don't have a laundry area or laundry room, but I did want to keep the ingredients and hardware used away from little hands and out of the way.
So, I bought a CHEAP set of measuring cups, a set of wooden spoons (used one for my "kit") and a cheapo grater so I could mark these tools and keep them in a plastic tub with the ingredients.
Now, this kit has a lid and is tucked away safely. I even have a bag of extra detergent that didn't fit in my container in there so I won't be searching for it later.(I even mix the detergent up in the tub too!)