December 6, 2011

Getting Back into the Swing of Things...

Where have I been for the past month plus?

Loving on this sweetie!

Our fourth child was born on Halloween. So that makes our family even stevens; 2 boys, 2 girls. She is an absolute angel. Although, life with four kids (one being a newborn) is BUSY! Stay tuned for some new posts and a free download soon.

October 25, 2011

Guest Post at Young and Crafty!

Today I am so happy to be guest posting at Young and Crafty. It is the hair bow tutorial for the Little Ladybug Costume. Check it out!

Aren't those the cutest little ladybug antennae you have ever seen?

October 21, 2011

Frosted Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

If you are a chocolate and peanut butter lover, watch out. This recipe combines three of my favorite things. Soft peanut butter cookies, Reese's peanut butter cups, and chocolate frosting. The peanut butter cup is hidden inside the cookie and is a delightful surprise when you take a bite. I use the full sized cups and cut them into fourths. Or, you can use the miniature Reese's pb cups, one per cookie. But those require lots of unwrapping, which is why I use the bigger cups. You can also buy unwrapped pb cups that are in the baking section. I have also hidden candy kisses inside, and that is delicious too. So whatever you prefer, or have on hand to go inside will work great.

To start things off, you need a good peanut butter cookie recipe. I have tried many over the years and this one is my favorite by far. The recipe comes from my husband's grandmother, whom I never had the privilege of meeting. She loved to bake and sew. I know I would have adored her. So, when I discovered her peanut butter cookie recipe, I knew I needed to try it. I was delighted. They turned out to be the perfect peanut butter cookie. They are soft and melt in your mouth, you can't have just one! Her recipe does not call for the frosting or peanut butter cups, those are my additions and they take the perfect cookies over the edge into scrumptiously gourmet!

Here is what you need:

Cut 3 peanut butter cups (per batch) into fourths. Set aside. This recipe yields 2 dozen cookies. So if you are doing that many you will need to cut 6 pb cups.

Cream together peanut butter and butter until they are a uniform color.

Add sugars. Cream together.

Add egg and vanilla.

Sprinkle in baking soda and salt, then mix. I like to do this rather than mix the salt and soda with my flour. One less dish to dirty and it gets mixed in just fine this way.

Add your flour.

I like to use a scoop to form my cookies. That way they are all uniform in size and bake evenly.

Scoop 12 cookie dough shapes onto your cookie sheet. I like to use my silpat.

Press a 1/4 pb cup into each cookie dough shape.

Pinch dough up and around the top of the pb cup so that the cup is hidden under the dough.
Bake @ 350 for 10-12 minutes. I bake my for exactly 12 minutes and they come out perfectly!

While these are in the oven, you can whip up your chocolate frosting.

Here they are right out of the oven.

Broken in half to reveal the chocolaty surprise in the middle. They are divine, just like this. You could totally stop right here and just eat them. Adding the frosting is so delicious though. And if you are bringing them to a party, they are show stoppers. Who could pass by this?

People who are allergic to peanut butter. That's who. Everyone else will be taking one and they will disappear right before your eyes. That is assuming they even make it to the party and you and your kids don't eat them all first!

So for the final step, frost the cookies. Then for fun, sprinkle some crushed pb cups on top for a garnish. They make them look extra tempting and taste delicious too. Here's the recipe. And at the very bottom, I have included a link to download a cute 4x6 recipe card. Enjoy!

Frosted Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Cookie Dough Recipe:

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup flour
6 - 8 regular sized peanut butter cups cut into fourths

1. Cut peanut butter cups into fourths. Set aside.
2. Cream together peanut butter and butter. 
3. Add sugars
4. Add egg and vanilla
5. Sprinkle in baking soda and salt
6. Add flour
7. Scoop 12 equally sized balls. Press a fourth of a peanut butter cup into each ball. Pinch dough up and over each cup so that it is covered.
8. Bake @ 350 10-12 minutes
9. Cool. Frost.
10. Sprinkle broken up pb cup candy pieces on top for garnish.
yields 2 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Frosting Recipe:

1/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 or 4 tablespoons milk

1. Combine cocoa and sugar. 
2. Add butter, vanilla. 
3. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Here is the recipe card. Just click on the caption below the photo. Remember, this is for personal use only. Thanks!

Link to Download Recipe Card

October 18, 2011

How to Line an Alligator Clip

This might seem obvious, but here is my method. The clip is 1 3/4" and I bought a box of 100 at Sally's for about $6.

I dislike alligator clips that are completely covered in ribbon. These, I have found, are very difficult to actually clip into the hair. That I why I leave the bottom metal exposed. Also, lining you alligator clips makes them easier to attach to bows and has a more finished look. I've used grosgrain and satin ribbons. I don't think it matters. Actually, I use the least expensive ribbon that I have that matches.

October 17, 2011

Homemade Ruffle Skirt for Halloween

It all started with a pair of leggings.

I bought them at Swiss Days in September. They needed something really cute to go with them. So to my Pinterest board I went for inspiration. 
I found two that I really liked. One here and another here.

I combined tecniques from both to create this adorable skirt for my 22 month-old daughter. I didn't take pictures of each step, but you can read the other tutorials (both are excellent) to help you figure out how to make this. 

I used an old t-shirt from my 4 year old son that was green to go underneath. This was the perfect size for the underskirt. I liked using a t-shirt because that means no hemming the bottom and no sewing and underskirt.

Rather than hem my ruffle layers, I folded them in half. I hate to hem. My hems never come out even and I always burn my fingers with the iron. So, I'd rather get a tad extra fabric to avoid hemming altogether. 

Once you finish sewing all your ruffles to the underskirt. You need to make a casing and add the elastic. This is a heavy skirt, so I made the elastic a bit snugger than usual to hold it up.

I found the matching shirt at Walmart. It had all the colors I wanted.

Then I made this funky Halloween bow to match.


There was just enough fabric left over to make a baby skirt. So I decided to whip one up for my brand new niece. I attached it to a onesie and made another smaller bow using the same ribbons.

This would be fun to do for any holiday. I'm thinking of making something similar for Christmas. I hope you've been inspired!

October 15, 2011

Halloween Costume Inspiration: Little Ladybug Skirt

So far I've shown you how to make the Little Ladybug wings and bag. Now it's time for the skirt.

Every little ladybug needs a skirt to twirl! Here is mine. Really it is so very simple. I already had this skirt. It was purchased at Old Navy. I have seen red pettiskirts all over the place. Right now they are at my local Costco. I saw one at Gymboree the other day. You can also find them at various sites online. 

I used sequins for the spots. Originally, I was going to cut them out of felt, which would totally work. But my 7 year-old convinced me to buy the sequins at the craft store. I am so glad he did. They are already cut out and ready to go. They only cost $1. Plus they add some shine to the costume, which is fun. They have little holes on top, so when I first started, I began sewing them on by hand. I quickly realized that sewing was going to take FOREVER. It's a Halloween costume after all, so gluing rather than sewing is just fine!

Here is how you make it into a ladybug skirt:
Red tutu or pettiskirt
Hot Glue gun--lo temp!

1. Attach sequins to skirt using a hot glue gun, in a pleasing pattern. Make sure the glue gun is low temp because you are gluing it so such thin fabric (otherwise, your fingers will be blistered!). I only glued the sequins to the top layer.

That's it. Easy right? It does take a bit of time. I got out the extension cord. made myself comfortable and glued these on while sitting on the couch watching a favorite TV show after my kids were all in bed.

October 14, 2011

Halloween Costume Inspiration: Little Ladybug Trick-or-Treat bag

This bag came out so much cuter than I could have predicted. My 22 month-old daughter loves it and calls it a purse. I made it using the leftover fabric from the wings. I am keeping it nice until Halloween, but after that I plan to let her use it whenever she wants.

I don't have pictures of each step, but I do have a detailed tutorial on how to make a trick-or-treat bag.  If you are confused about the steps refer to that tutorial. One main difference is that working with felt is so much easier. You don't have to press or hem anything.

Red Felt
Black Felt (we used sparkly)
Black Ric Rac
Hot glue gun and sewing machine, black or red thread.
1. Cut out two pieces of red felt. I cut my 10"x10" which is a perfect size for a toddler.
2. Cut out a strap. I cut mine 2"x19" I wanted it to fit over her shoulder, like a purse. And I only did one strap on this bag. You could do two straps and make them shorter to be hand held instead.
3. Hot glue ric-rac along the top edge of each fabric piece allowing a bit to hang over the edge on each side.
4. Place two felt pieces together with the ric-rac to the inside. Sew along 3 sides. Trim ric-rac
5. **optional. Pinch corners into a triangle and sew a straight line to make the bag more of a rectangular box shape (please see my trick-or-treat bag tutorial. **Refer to the optional steps)
6. Leaving bag wrong side out, pin the strap to sides of bag about an inch from the top. Sew a rectangle to hold it in place.
7. Trace several circles in the black felt. My bag has 12 spots. I traced a lid for my pattern and used a white crayon to trace on the wrong side. Arrange the spots in a pleasing pattern (the felt sticks to each other)
8. Hot glue the spots in place. And now you are done!!

And here is the only picture I got of my busy toddler holding the bag, looking at the camera, AND smiling. Of course, I had the setting on manual focus and was NOT quick enough to change the settings and capture the moment. Try as I might, I did not get a second chance at this shot. Oh well. You can kind of tell how cute she is ;)

Stay tuned for the tutorials on the bows. Here are instructions for the wings and skirt!

October 13, 2011

Halloween Costume Inspiration: Little Ladybug Wings

My daughter's Halloween costume turned out so cute, that I thought I would share some tips on how I made it all. First off, I will tell you how I made the wings, or as my 22 month-old called them her "backpack." Check back for instructions on the skirt and ladybug trick-or-treat bag! The hair bow instructions will be posted toward the end of the month.

I wanted the wings, or shell, to be realistic. So that meant no fairy or butterfly type wings that I saw on some store bought versions.

 I found inspiration at the Family Fun website here and here.

I didn't follow their steps exactly. I apologize for not taking pictures along the way. But it's not too hard to figure out. Here is what I did.

Red felt (I bought a yard and it was way too much. I used the extra to make a matching trick-or-treat bag. Maybe 1/2 or 3/8ths would be better.)
Black Felt (Hobby Lobby has sparkly felt in sheets. I bought 3 sheets of black sparkly and one sheet plain)
Cardboard from cereal box
Polyester Stuffing
1 yard 3/4" elastic
Scissors, hot glue gun, sewing machine, needle and thread (in red)

1. Find a large platter or bowl in a circle or oval shape for your pattern. Trace on felt 2 red circles (I used a black pen to trace). The size of platter you use will depend on how big your trick-or-treater is. My circle was approximately 16"
2. Cut out 2 large red circles Cut one of the red circles in half (to make the open wing look)
3. Disassemble cereal box so that it's flat. Using your pattern cut a circle out of cardboard then trim about 1" off the entire circumference.
4. Find a cup or smaller round object for your pattern for the black dots. Cut out 6 black dots out of the black sparkly felt.
5. Lay out your red circle that is not cut in half. 
6. Lay out your two circle halves on top until you like the look of the "wings" and so it lines up with the red circle.
7. Tuck plain black felt behind the circle halves. Trim bottom to make it rounded.
8. Using hot glue gun, glue together circle halves, plain black felt piece, and attach sparkly circles in a pleasing pattern
9. Turn the wings so that it is right sides together with the other circle. Sew all around the circle leaving a 3-4" opening in the bottom
10. Turn it right sides out. 
11. Using the opening in the bottom roll up cereal box and place it inside the wings.
12. Making sure the cardboard is on the bottom of the wings (plain red side) add stuffing until the wings are nice and rounded.
13. Hand sew opening closed.
For the Arm straps:
1. Measure your trick-or-treater's arms to know how big to make straps Add 1 inch for comfort and cut 2 lengths of elastic.
2. Make 2 casings for the elastic out of red felt that is a few inches longer than your elastic.
3. Sew casings. Turn casings right side out. See my Trick-or-Treat bag tutorial for detailed instructions on casings (the step where you make the strap).

Here are the steps:

4. Thread the elastic through the casing. And zig-zag stitch the elastic to each end of the casing. The red felt should be gathered.
5. Hot glue the arm straps to the back of the wings/shell.  I added a strip of red felt where the straps connected with itself for extra security, you can see it in the photo. I found that the hot glue holds up great with felt. If you don't want to glue the straps on, you could sew them on instead.

And you're done! Hopefully, between my directions, and the other tutorials on Family Fun, I'm sure you can figure it out. Like I said, stay tuned for instructions on the hair bows, skirt, and ladybug bag!

October 12, 2011

Freebie! Halloween Treat Bag Topper Printable

I found these fun Halloween treat bags at the grocery store and thought it would be fun to create a treat bag topper to match. I loved the shape of the bag. See my previous post about treat bag toppers to know how to use them.

I am happy to share this topper with you. There is a 5x7 size for the 5" bags and a 4x6 size for the 4" bags.

Just click on the captions below the picture to download the full resolution toppers.
Note: These are for personal use only. Thanks.

4x6 Topper
5x7 Topper

Fonts: LD Spray Stencil, LD Red Hatters Hand, LD Twylight