Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Tutorial - Pico de Gallo

This is a treat for your entire family!  Super easy to make and super tasty to eat.  Grab a bag of tortilla chips and get ready for a crunchin' munchin' time!

Recipe:
3-4 Tbsp lime juice (I used fresh squeezed)
equal amounts of tomatoes and sweet onions (3-4 tomatoes and 3/4 onion, about)
Cilantro (as much or little as you want)
Salt

Chop up the entire tomatoes, insides and all (it helps with the juice)
Chop up onions to the size that you like, I happen to like bigger chunks
Chop up fresh Cilantro, Yum!
Squeeze limes
Add the amount of salt that you like, I like mine saltier

Let sit in the fridge for a couple hours for the flavors to blend...
OR
if you can't wait that long, go ahead and enjoy it right away.

Enjoy your simple yet delicious Pico de Gallo!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Ohhhh...deliciousness!  I was given this recipe as a wedding gift and love it!  I don't make it very often, so when I do it is definitely a treat!  I am certain you will love it, too...

Recipe:
Cream together:
1/3c. butter, softened
1c. sugar
1 egg
1tsp. vanilla extract

Add:
2c. flour
2tsp. baking powder
3/4c. milk
1/2c. sour cream
1c. fresh or frozen blueberries (folded in when the rest is mixed)

Topping:
1/3c. butter, softened
1/3c. brown sugar
1/3c. flour
1/2tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tops bounce back after being touched.
Take one hot out of the oven and smother it in butter and you've got yourself a 5 Star muffin!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday - Gathered Clutch

 Isn't this the cutest!  I love it!
 First, pick out your favorite fabric for the outside.  I love the bright colors in this fabric.  
Cut a 6"x7" rectangle.
Crease down the center, long way, simply by folding it and pressing the crease w/fingers.  
Pin down the center.
 Now you will sew a straight seam down each side of the pin, having the foot alongside the pin.  
 Do Not backstitch!!
Make sure to leave about 5-6 inches of thread off the ends for pulling the gathers.
 Take one of the strings from the first seam and pull gently to create gathers.  
Do this on both ends of both stitches, top and bottom.
 This is what the gathers look like.
 Now you need to press the gathers in place.  
Do not iron! 
*Pressing is setting the iron down and lifting it back up.  Ironing is moving the hot iron all over the fabric.
 Another weird placement of picture that I couldn't figure out how to rotate.  Anyway...
Trim up the sides of the gathered fabric to make them even, which makes it much easier to work with.
 When I trimmed my edges the size measured 7"x5 1/2"
You are going to take your contrasting fabric for the band, and cut it 2"x7".  An inch longer on each side.
 Fold the band in half, length wise, right sides together.  Sew a seam down the side, being sure to back stitch at beginning and end.
 Now turn the band, right sides out.  (skip over next two pics for now and go to the white band pic)
 Your clutch measures 5 3/4"x...
 6"
 Iron the band flat, with the seam in the middle.
 Pin the band over the gathering seams and pin in place.
 Stitch close to the edge on the white band, top and bottom.  If, by chance, some of the gathering seams show, just snip them.  Those don't matter right now as the band stitches are now holding the gathers in place.  It probably won't happen, but it did for me on one of my clutches and I just snipped the showing stitches and didn't have a problem.
 Trim the white band even with the clutch.
Now go back up to those two pictures we skipped over.  Trust me, I have had quite the deal with my posting today and have nearly thrown my computer out the window.  Thanks for you patience!
 Find a coordinating zipper.  I chose a red one.  
Cut it down to 1" shorter than the width of your clutch front.  So, this one was cut down to 4 3/4" (the width of clutch is 5 3/4")
 Here are all your pieces now.  Let's go over the measurements of each piece:
Zipper - 4 3/4"
Gathered front and flat back - 5 3/4"x6"
Two flat inside pieces (white) - 5 3/4"x6"
Two small white pieces for zipper ends - 2x2"
 For the 2x2" zipper ends, fold the ends toward the middle and iron down.
 Put the zipper ends inside the zipper end pieces and sew along edge being sure to backstitch
 Cut the ends even with zipper
*Note how I have the zipper partially open at all times.  This is very important!
 Place the zipper, pull side down, in the center of your gathered front piece.
Place the inside white piece over these, like a sandwich, and pin in place.
 Switch your foot to the zipper foot.
Sew along the top edge as close to the zipper as possible, without sewing in the zipper teeth.  
Don't worry if you get frustrated.  I did, and still do, but it gets easier...
If you don't have a zipper foot, I recommend one, but it's not life or death.  You can still work with a regular foot.
 Press the front down and...
 Sew the gathered front down along the zipper on the outside, shown above.
 Do those same steps with the remaining flat front piece and inside flat piece.  Same sandwich and stitching...
 Now for the fun part!
Pin your front/back pieces together and your inside pieces together and stitch a 1/4" seam all the way around, leaving about 3" open in the inside pieces for turning the clutch right sides out.
Snip the corners.
 Once you get your clutch turned right side out, iron out your inside pieces and stitch the bottom along the edge to close the opening. 
Finish getting your clutch smoothed out and corners pointy...
 For the zipper pull:
Cut a strip of fabric 1"x5"
Fold the long sides toward the middle and...
 Sew close to the edge to close it up.
 Angle the end
 The angle helps to pull it through the zipper hole better.  Make the pull even and then stitch right close to the red zipper pull so that the white fabric zipper pull does not move.  Angle both ends evenly.
Like this.
Now you have completed your gathered clutch!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and have fun making one for yourself or for someone special!  Once you have done one, they are easy peasy!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Baby Blanket in a Snap

 I like quick and fun projects.  This Baby Blanket is super easy and really cute.  I purchased two different coordinating flannels at 1 yard each.
 Lay them out (after ironing out the wrinkles), right sides together, and trim up the sides to make the two pieces the same size.  I took off maybe an inch of one side, so there shouldn't be much taken off.
 Pin all the sides together, leaving about 6 inches on one end open.  An easy way for me to remember to keep that 6 inches open is to face the stick pins another direction and start sewing on one end of the opening and ending on the other end of the opening.  Easy peasy.
 Here I am pinning the flannel together.  I am sure you can see that my house is not in perfect order as I have three kids...   :)
 And, my sewing table.  Remember to back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam.  I use a 3/8" seam.
 No idea why this picture is sideways.  I tried to fix it and then gave up.  Just turn your computer if you need a better view. he he he
 Snip the corners, but not the stitches.  This makes the corners more pointy when turned right side out.
 The corners snipped.  Wonder who's behind the camera???
 Jake is!! 
 He is my 6 year old son.  Love that kid.  He was super eager to be my photographer for these pictures.  I'd say he did a great job!
 After the corners are snipped, you need to utilize the 6" opening and turn the blanket right side out. 
 And iron it to make it nice and smooth.
 Fold the opening ends under 3/8" (just like you sewed the rest of the edges).  Pin it in place.
 Now you can close the opening without anyone knowing there was an opening!  Just sew close to the edge (see pic above) all the way around the blanket, being sure to back stitch at start/finish of seam.
 Now you can decide how to 'quilt' the blanket.  I chose to use my darning foot to quilt around some of the animals.  Or, you can sew straight lines in the blanket.  However you choose is fine.  The purpose of this is to keep the blanket in place and stop it from shifting. 
Now you have a cute baby blanket for a gift or for yourself!  How fun and easy is that!!  This blanket, along with a girly blanket I made, will go to the Children's Hospital here in the Denver Metro area.  Some sweet baby in the NICU is going to be cuddled with this blanket and that makes me smile...