Burlap Monogram Sign

ANNOUNCEMENT – To purchase one of these signs, visit my Etsy store: Bayou City Burlap!

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My friends Dan and Amber are getting married next weekend on a boat and I can’t go…I am so bummed.

 

Well, I am really only partially bummed because I am going to Seattle for the Issaquah Salmon Festival with my family so I am pretty excited about that. Anyway, I wanted to make them a nice wedding gift and since I have been eyeing those painted monogram signs, I thought I would give one a try. But I wanted to use burlap because it rocks and would give the gift a cool yet fancy look.

 

I decided to make it 24″ square so I got some 24″ basic stretcher bars from the art supply store. They are about $1.50 each and easy to assemble. Or you can repurpose an old wooden frame if you have one.

 

Then I laid out burlap and cut it about 3 inches larger than the frame on each side. I used blue painter’s tape to mark the inside of the frames, where the words would be. Next time I will also put the tape on the outside of the frame because it would have been much easier when it came to wrapping the burlap around the frame.

 

 

Next, I used my cricut to cut some contact paper for a stencil.

 

 

I used 3 different colors for this…dark brown, gold, and black. Also, I like using makeup sponge applicators for stencils because they are cheap and I can just throw them away after and not worry about washing a bunch of brushes.

 

 

**Helpful hint – when you are doing stencils, make sure you dab the paint on directly from the top…don’t brush side to side. Otherwise you might get it under your stencil. And even though contact paper is sticky, it is possible to mess up the stencil!

 

So I started dabbing.

 

 

The first layer I put on was the dark brown with a little bit of gold mixed in. The second layer I put on was half black and brown. The third layer was half brown half gold. I like doing the layers because it makes it look a little dimensional. When you are doing stencils on burlap it is important to put something under the burlap otherwise your table will get full of paint! And you don’t want to dab a too much of paint on the burlap at once or it will look weird and thick.

 

 

Now the first stencil comes off…how pretty!

 

 

Then I cut out the other stencil and started dabbing.

 

 

Oooooh looking nice!

 

Next I cut natural colored muslin and batting the same size as the burlap.

 

 

I wrapped the muslin and batting together around the frame tight and stapled it (sorry I forgot to take a pic of this part!). Then I wraped the burlap on top and staple it. I decided to wrap them separately to ensure they were all pulled tight enough and there weren’t any wrinkles.

 

 

Lastly, I tucked in the edges and added a hanger and a little note. Though the note turned out to be upside down…whoops!

 

 

And the final product hanging up…

 

Here’s a close up of the lettering:

 

 

This project was super easy and I think it came out amazing! I can’t wait to make another one.

 

**UPDATE*** – I’ve made a bunch more burlap monogram signs! You can check them out HERE, HERE, and HERE!

 

Until later, happy crafting!

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Aromatherapy Heat Pack Tutorial

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I have been thinking about making aromatherapy heat packs for a while and when I needed a gift for my friend Kelly’s birthday last week I thought I would give it a try. Turns out these are super simple!
I made them in two sizes – large (23″ x 6″) and small (12″ x 6″). The large one is big enough to fit around your neck and the small one is nice and compact to hit a little spot.
Basically you make an inner pouch to hold the rice and then you make a pillowcase for it. All seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless specified.
First, the inner pouch…
For this part I used unbleached muslin but you can really use any cotton fabric….but don’t splurge on a print because you won’t see it!
  • For the LARGE – 1 piece of muslin 6.5″ x 40″
    • or if you don’t have a piece that big, use 2 pieces that are 6.5″ x 20.5″ and sew them together at one of the narrow ends to get one big 40″ piece)
  • For the SMALL – 1 piece of muslin 6.5″ x 20″
Note: all the examples will be for the larger size but the smaller one is made the exact same way.
First, fold the narrow sides together.

Then sew up the LONG sides. DON’T stitch up the 4th side!

I use a serger first and then stitch up the seams with my sewing machine. I think this reinforces the edges a little better. If you don’t have a serger, you can add a zig zag around the edges if you like. A little extra stitching to prevent a rice catastrophe never hurt anyone. :)

Look…you still have an open side!
Measure out the rice in a large bowl.
  • For the LARGE pack you need 3.5 lbs of white rice (not instant!).
  • For the SMALL pack you only need 1.5 lbs.
  • Add the essential oil of your choice. I used Eucalyptus. For the large pack I used about 25 drops and for the small one I used 12. But use your own judgement depending on how strong of a scent you want and which oil you are using. I bought my oil at Hobby Lobby in the candle/soap making section, but anywhere that has candle/soap stuff would probably carry a few scents at least.
Drop the oil on the rice and mix with either a spoon or gloves. You are not supposed to get this on your skin! And it burns when you even get traces of it in your eyes…ask me how I know.
Then add the rice to the open end of the muslin bag. If you have a funnel, save yourself the headache of little rice grains everywhere and use it. Otherwise you can make one out of cardstock…I did.
Then sew up your pouch!
Now, for the outer case…
If you already know how to make a pillowcase using the “tube method” then you know the next few steps. If not, I will walk you through it.
  • For the LARGE – one 14″ x 21″ piece of fabric for the main part and one 8″ x 14″ piece for the edge
  • For the SMALL – one 14″ x 11″ piece of fabric for the main part and one 6″ x 14″ piece for the edge

FYI – I am using the paisley fabric for the main part and the orange fabric for the edge.

What the fabric looks like if you are making the LARGE size
What the fabric looks like if you are making the SMALL size

First, place the edge piece right side up and match up the 14″ sides of the fabric, right sides together.

Then from the bottom (C), roll up the main piece (B) about halfway up towards the top (A).
Now, take the bottom of the edge piece (C) and fold it up to meet the top (A). Make sure B is in the middle of the roll, otherwise you might sew through it.
Now sew up the A,C side. DO NOT SEW THROUGH THE B SIDE or it won’t work!!!

Once the A,C seam is sewn, turn it inside out.

And you will get this…

Notice now how you have no seams for the edge of the case and it is nice on both sides of the main fabric! If you have made pillowcases and haven’t done it like this you have been missing out!

Iron out the edge piece on both sides and put a 1/4″ seam thorough it (on the edge side, not the main side). This just helps hold it in place.

Now lay your case right side up with your edge to the left. Fold the bottom side to the top.
Pin and sew.
 Turn the case inside out and iron.
Insert the rice pouch.

And DONE!

Here are the two different sizes:

And that’s all there is to it. Like I said, these are really simple to whip up and would be great gifts! I read somewhere that you can also freeze them and use them as cold packs, but I haven’t tried it yet. Let me know if any of you have.

Until later, happy sewing!

 

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Cleaning time!

So the huge mess in my sewing room finally broke me. Picture a dump truck plowing into a Joann’s fabrics, and then the store gets hit by a tornado. That is what the room looked like. Seriously… I am not the neatest person but when it gets to a certain level of disorganization I can no longer function and I don’t even want to sew or craft because there is crap everywhere.

Here’s the before….

I should point out that this is only ONE of the rooms where all my sewing stuff it. It has managed to take over a whole other room (which would be a guest room if I ever had guests) and part of a tiny hall and part of a 3rd room. It’s sad…so today I finally found the time to do something about it. And 8 hours later this is what I have…
And I would like to point out that my sewing stuff uses less area of the guest room and I have gotten it all out of the hall and the 3rd bedroom. Yay! And I like the giant cutting table in that location…I have been really challenged as to how to configure this room mainly because of that 4′ x 8′ table. But let’s try this for a while…it just might work.
I still would like to do some decorating…it is pretty boring but at least I can sew again!
Until later, happy sewing!

Yummy Hearty Zucchini Muffins

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I originally came across this vegan-friendly recipe when my friend Jenny convinced me to go vegan for a few weeks last spring. It was a really interesting experience and it opened me up to different ways of cooking without eggs or milk, which is helpful when you are trying to make something for people with food allergies. I also love that you can make such moist and tasty muffins filled with fruit and veggies without the use of oil or butter! They have been tested among healthy and junk food eaters alike…all with positive results. Just don’t mention the word “vegan”.

Ingredients:

Dry
1-1/2 cups wheat flour
1-1/2 cups multigran hot cereal or unprocessed bran
5 tbls ground flax seed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup raisins

Wet
 5 tbls water
1 tbls vanilla
3 cups shredded zucchini (one medium zucchini equals about 1 cup)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 ripened bananas mashed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and the wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. To help make it go faster, I use a small food processor for the zuchinni and carrots. But if you want bigger pieces of zuchinni, you might want to chop them by hand.

Next, combine the wet into the dry and mix thoroughly. The batter will be thick.

Spoon the batter in muffin pans. I use greased silicone muffin pans because I found this is not a muffin that does well in a paper baking cup….you end up with pieces of paper stuck to the muffin!

It will make 2 dozen small-medium sized muffins. If you want to make larger muffins you will need to make fewer and bake them longer.

Bake about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. You should see some browning on the outside. Be careful not to rush and underbake these because they will be gooey inside (and I’m not talking yummy brownie gooey!) because the mix is so thick.

Notes:

I don’t like putting a lot of added sugar in my muffins so you can experiment with adding a little more if you need to. Everyone seemed to like it fine with the reduced sugar…originally it called for a whole cup! And I’m not really brave enough to try no added sugar. Also, the other versions of zuchinni muffins use white flour but I prefer to use whole wheat flour mixed with bran…I feel like it makes the muffin a little more hearty. I was that weird little kid that liked bran muffins over blueberry or banana-nut.

If anyone has any comments or suggestions let me know!

RACHEL’S BABY SHOWER GIFT

This year, I have decided to embark on an inititive to make as many of the gifts I give people as I can, since I have an obnoxious amount of fabric and I can usually find some time to spare. So far so good! This is what I came with for my friend Rachel for her baby shower.

 

As soon as they found out it was a boy, she chose the name Jesse. Rachel has a background in Marine Biology so she loves aquatic-themed stuff and that is how she decorated his room. So, I made this name banner to go along with the theme. This is the first time I have made one of these name banners with such a busy pattern. I did the two panels on the end so you could tell what the pattern was. I am very pleased at how well it turned out!

 

I have been thinking about making one of those hooded baby towels so I decided now was the time to try it out. I used the fish fabric on the border of the hood and for the monogramed J. I also added a little pocket on the side since I had a bit of terrycloth left. But I am super excited about how cute this came out…I even went out today and bought some more towels.

 

 

Until later, happy sewing!

Elegant Curried Chicken

I got this recipe from my BFF and made it the other night. Not only was it delicious, but it was really easy.

Ingredients
4 skinned de-boned chicken breasts
   - cut into medallions

1 pouch of onion soup mix 

2 tbsp olive oil 
2 large leeks
   – washed and sliced in rounds…use only the white/light green parts
1 onion
   – sliced
3 cups of hot water
2 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp tumeric
1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions
Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan, fry onion and then saute chicken, turning just once until lightly golden (about 5 mins).  Add leaks.  Sprinkle with onion soup mix.  Stir in water and seasonings and bring to the boil.  Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until chicken is tender.  Using a slotted spoon remove chicken, leaks and onion from pan to a heated platter.  Cover platter to keep warm.  Boil pan juices until reduced by half.  Stir in cream, boil until thick enough to coat a spoon.  Pour over chicken, leaks and onions. Serve over rice or pasta. Make 2-4 servings.
Notes

It calls for whipping cream which gives it that rich creamy taste, but I would rather use something a lighter in calories, so next time I think I am going to give it a thai flair and use light coconut milk and maybe thrown in some cashews and bits of pineapple.

This time, I did add a red, yellow, and red bell pepper in because I had them. But you can really add any other veggies you might have laying around. After all, the recipe is just a guideline! Or so my BFF says. :)

Melted Ribbon Flower Tutorial

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Last month when I made Alexis her bulletin board, I said I would post about making melted ribbon flowers. So since I had some time (finally), I thought I would do that now!

First of all, I should say this flower project was inspired my my sister’s friend Carrie. Carrie made some out of ribbon and some from satin and gave them to my sister for Hannah to use as hair bows.
They looked easy to make so I gave it a whirl. First I tried fabric…satin, organza, and who knows what else… But it proved difficult and after a couple of hours burning my fingers and lighting the fabric on fire, I did come out with a few decent flowers. I wasn’t really interested in pursuing this craft further though because it was kind of a pain.

But then Alexis wanted some aqua-colored gross-grain ribbon on the edges of her bulletin board. Because of the pretty floral patterned fabric we used, I thought her board could use a pretty flower on one of the edges. So I experimented with the ribbon to make the flowers.

This time the result was much better!
Here’s how I did it:
First, decide how big of a diameter you want the flower to be and cut strips a little more than half that length. My flower was about 5 inches, so I cut the strips 3 inches each. You will lose about 1/2 inch from each petal to attach them together. Cut the number of petals based on how full you want your flower. I think I used around 15-16 petals.
Then trim the edges to look petal shaped. Don’t worry about making them perfectly rounded, you won’t notice that once you melt the edges.
Now, use a tea light and first run the edges near the flame to smooth them out. You won’t even be able to tell where you cut them after you do this. And please be careful as to not burn your fingers!

Then lightly wave the center of the ribbon over the flame until it begins to melt a little and curl. It is better to start higher then move a little lower…you don’t want to melt the whole thing into a clump…you just want to get some bends in the ribbon. I would suggest experimenting with this part on some extra ribbon as to not ruin the specific pieces you cut out. This gross-grain ribbon worked so much better than the organza fabric I tried previously. You really have to leave it on the flame a wile before you will set it on fire. I didn’t try with satin ribon though, so I can’t tell you of those results.

While the petal is warm, you can shape it a bit. But be careful not to pull the ribbon, otherwise, you will get holes in your ribbon like this and you will have to start over!
Once you have all your petals melted, take out your thread and needle (yes, I am going to make you do some very basic sewing!). Put a knot in one end of the string and run the needle through each petal, about 1/4 inch from the edge.

Then pull the strings and gather the petals together.
Arrange the petals as you wish and then put a few stitches in the center from the back to the front of the flower, then tie off and cut the string. This sewing just gives it some extra stability. You can skip the sewing option and glue all the petals together, but I personally think it is stronger and looks more natural this way.
You can attach whatever backing you wish…a hair clip or a broach pin, depending on what you are going to be using it for. I only had these metal clips so that is what I used…otherwise I prefer alligator clips when putting then in little kid hair. I just put a piece of ribbon over the top and hot glued it from the back.
The last step is to add whatever beads you want. Here I went with 7 pearls because it was kind of a big flower.
I also made some smaller flowers, but I cut the petals in the shape of an 8. It works well if you are only going to use a few petals. I think this flower ended up being around 2 inches.
And there you go, easy melted flowers!
You can see from the (horrible!) picture below that I added the large flower to the top left corner strip of ribbon and three of the smaller flowers to the bottom right ribbon. One good thing about using hair clips is that she can take them off the ribons and use them in her hair!
I also had the idea to make the flowers into bulletin board pins, except I ran into the issue of thumbtacks not being long enough and I didn’t want to use the plastic top push pins because it would look weird…so I will have to work on that for another time.
Until later, happy crafting!

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MORE NAME BANNERS

A few months ago I made some name banners for my nieces and nephew, using appliques I cut out of fabric with my Cricut. They came out really nice…though I wish I would have gotten pics with a backdrop better than the carpet!

 

 

 

 

 

Well, the kids loved the banners for their room but I had to make more. This time I was smart and used my fence in the backyard. Amazing how much better they look outside!

 

 

 

 

It is amazing how different they look with different fonts and fabrics. One day I will start selling these on Etsy, when I get my act together! I have a few more to whip up as gifts though.

 

Until later, happy sewing!

Super Quick T-shirt Dress

School is back in session so I haven’t had many opportunities to sew in the past few weeks. But I have been working on a few things for my sister Christie here and there.

One of them was fix Hannah’s dress. She loves to jump on the trampoline and the side seam on the lower dress fabric just didn’t hold up. It is a super cute dress which was a hand-me-down originally purchased from one of those boutiques for $35! Crazy how high they can mark up something so simple!

Christie’s sewing machine wasn’t cooperating when I was in Seattle, I told her I would bring it home and surge it…which took me like 30 seconds. Piece of Cake!

Then I remembered I had a little pink shirt that was Hannah’s size so I found some matching fabric, copied the sizing from the original dress, and viola…

A cute new dress. And I think the shirt cost $2 and the fabric was probably about $2, so a $4 project, though I both supplies already sitting at home…not bad!

The cotton bottom should hold up on this one…even on the trampoline. I can’t wait until she sees it…she will be so excited!

Until later, happy sewing!