Saturday, February 25, 2012

And the Winner is....

The winner of the Baby Blanket Giveaway is....

Jen Richards @ New Mommy Confessions

Thank you everyone that participated! I look forward to doing more giveaways soon  :)

Welcome to my new followers! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pacifier Clip Tutorial

I'm getting in a few more crafts before our Disney World vacay. This week I made hair bows, baby shower name tags (for the Mommies-To-Be!), and pacifier clips. Of course I found lots of inspiration on Pinterest, check out my boards

First were the bows:

I cannot believe how easy these were to make, I am embarrassed to admit how much I have paid for hair bows in the past. But not anymore! I bought the alligator clips at Sally Beauty Supply for $2.99 for a pack of 12 (it was actually a little less since I am a Beauty Club Member, which is free for military by the way!). I have a plethora of ribbon and crafting felt here at home so I was able to play around and create what I wanted. NO sewing machine was needed, just lots of hot glue!

Today I pulled out my sewing machine to work on the pacifier clips. The best tutorial I found was here, she did a great job with it! I did things a little differently so I put together my own how-to:

 What You Need
Ribbon at least 7/8" wide, has a pattern on both sides, grosgrain
Mitten Clips/Suspender Clips (found at Joanne's Fabric)
Sew On Velcro, 3/4" wide
Fray Check

1. Cut your ribbon, I tried out different lengths. I ended up liking 12 inches best, but I also made a shorter one at 8 inches. Apply Fray Check to the ends and let it dry.

2. Cut your Velcro, you will need a 1/2 inch piece of each (so 2 pieces total, one soft and the other rough).

3. On the ribbon, fold over one end 1/4" and iron. Fold it 1/4" again and iron. Take one piece of Velcro and place it over the fold you just made, make sure it is overlapping the fold! Then sew it on. I tried a few different stitches (the picture shows a straight stitch) and I liked my zig-zag stitch the best.

4. Take the second half of the Velcro and sew it 1 inch from the piece you just sewed.

5. Fold over the top end of the ribbon 1/4" and iron. Slip on your Mitten Clip. Then fold the ribbon 1/2" and sew.

Congrats, you just made a pacifier clip! How super easy was that?? Here is Little Miss modeling my latest craft (notice the hairbow I made in her hair too!). Even though she hasn't used a pacifier since she was 6 months old, she doesn't mind chewing on them LOL!

Little Miss demonstrates why you want the ribbon to have a pattern on both sides: Both sides of the ribbon will be visible; the underside when the pacifier is in her mouth and the topside when the pacifier is hanging down.

Don't forget about the Baby Blanket Giveaway! It ends at midnight tonight (well, technically Saturday morning) and I will post the winner tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Trip to the ER and T-Shirt Applique Tutorial

Since yesterday was a duty day for Hubs, I decided to make it a DIY day here at home! My plan was to finally get around to doing the t-shirt appliques since I bought the shirts back at Christmas time....

T-Shirts - I used long sleeved ones I found on sale
Cotton blend fabric
Coordinating thread
Fusible Interfacing
Lots of Pins
Iron & Ironing Board
Spray Bottle filled with Water
Sewing Machine

    Search the internet (ahem, Pinterest!) to find what design you want to put on your shirt. I found the letters here, the elephant here, and the mouse here. All of them can be found on my Pinterest board too!
    Cut out the forms you want, pin them to the fabric & fusible interfacing. Then cut them out. 

    Iron your fusible interfacing to the fabric, there is an excellent how-to here. I couldn't possibly explain it better myself plus she explains why you need the interfacing to begin with!

    Now for the fun part: pinning the form onto the t-shirt. Remember to use lots of pins!

    At this point Little Miss started getting rambunctious so I laid all the shirts out and planned on sewing everything after her bedtime.

    In the meantime, we went to the gym. I was doing my strength training workout as normal, yesterday was back, triceps, and chest. I was doing an exercise on a suspension cable machine when something malfunctioned: the weights went up, they didn't come down. Since I am such a genius (note the intense sarcasm in my voice) I stuck my hand in the machine and BAM! the weights came back down...on my hand. Ouch. Of course I was totally embarrassed and sucked it up to finish my workout. My hand hurt but it wasn't anything I couldn't deal with. I get to my final exercise and it requires me to bear weight on the portion of my hand that I hurt. This is where the immense pain kicked in. At this point, my trainer happens to be walking by and notices that something is wrong. We iced my hand and he looked it over, since I could open and shut my hand he didn't think it was broken but said I should get it looked at anyways. Ughh. So I called up a nurse friend who said the same thing, so off to the ER we went! They took x-rays and all that jazz, everything came back okay. It was just swollen and bruised. Phew. 

    I woke up today and my hand is much better, I can actually move it around alot more. It still hurts when I move it the wrong way but I am not in nearly as much pain as I was last night. So I decided to finish up my project!
    1. Sew on the appliques. Go slowly! I used a zig-zag stitch and I go over the applique twice. 
    2. For the bows, I hand-stitched them onto the applique after it was sewed onto the shirt.  
    3. Sit back and admire your work :)

    This project was very easy and didn't take long at all. It would have been even quicker if I didn't have a toddler to chase around hehehe. But she sure does make a cute model!


    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Pinterest Review: Trying Out Sock Bun Curls!

    Thanks to Pinterest, I came across this tutorial about how to use a sock bun to get curls. My hair is board straight, zero wave or curl. I have thin hair but I have ALOT of it! In order to achieve beautiful, cascading curls I have to use heat like a curling iron. So this tutorial intrigued me: amazing curls with no heat? I decided to give it a try.

    Attempt #1: I did just as the tutorial stated. After 10 hours of my hair being in the bun, it was still damp when I took it out. So my hair fell flat in a matter of minutes.

    Attempt #2: I decided to go with 2 sock buns, think Princess Leia. One bun turned out great, the other one had creases from the ponytail holder. I ended up wearing my hair half-up so it covered up my mistake.

    Attempt #3: 

    I used 2 sock buns but stacked them this time. I had them in for about 12 hours. Please ignore the mess on my bathroom counter...
    The bottom layer was very slightly damp, I wonder if I need to use a thicker sock. It wasn't damp enough to ruin the waves though!
     No creases from the ponytail holder this time. I made sure I didn't wrap it as tightly.
    View of the sock bun 'do from the front.
    I pinned back some of my front layers (check out how here) and Voila! hairstyle complete.

    Overall, I was impressed with the outcome. This will be a great summer hairstyle since it comes out more as beachy waves instead of cascading curls. To be honest, I wasn't expecting curls with my hair. The waves held up well all day too.

    I tend to take a shower before bedtime quite often, so having an easy hairstyle I can 1) Do without using heat, and 2) Do the night before to save time in the morning, I am a fan!

    *Everyone's result will differ depending on your hair. I have a friend that I know personally used this and ended up with the curls that I was hoping for. She also has wavier hair than I do and its shorter. Anyways, just try it out for yourself to see what you come up with!*

    This Pinterest review inspired me to add more posts like this to my blog. Next I plan to review a make-up tutorial found here

    Did anyone notice how much better the photos are on this post versus my older posts? Hubs bought me a new camera: Canon PowerShot SX130 IS! I am still learning how to use it but I am IN LOVE with it. Since I am still a novice, I have some funny outakes to share with you all. I was trying to take pictures of my hair/outfit combination and kept reviewing the picture immediately after I took it. What ended up happening: instead of reviewing I ended up taking shots by accident! Note how my head is cocked to the side like I am confused and thinking hard....

    Don't forget about the Baby Blanket Giveaway I have going on!

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Reintegration? Preparing for Deployment? What is Going On Here?!

    Hubs came home this week after a 5 week underway and now the next event on the horizon is the dreaded deployment. While it is so great to have him home, it is tough not to think about having him be away for so long again. I feel like we just got off the deployment roller-coaster, I mean July wasn't that long ago right? Our relationship survived the deployment like a champ; we didn't get into any arguments and we were able to make the most of emails, care packages, Skype, and phone calls. Reintegration was rough, I am not going to sugar coat it. To be honest, I don't feel like we were able to complete the reintegration process before Hubs left again in December (or was it November?). We still have issues we are working through and it almost seems like a waste of energy to worry about them because we will have to go through this whole process again at the end of the year.

    I am trying my hardest not to be frustrated and just focus on making the most of the time we have left together. I have a few good things going for me: I have a few trips home planned, I have a few visitors coming to see me, I have a smart plan for the extra money we will make, and most importantly THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY OUR LAST DEPLOYMENT! I learned a few things on the last deployment so I know what to do to make it through this one. For one, I think I kept myself too busy last time. I need to spend more time at home and crafting is a great excuse for me to do that! I have discovered I really enjoy making things like baby blankets, clothes, and wreaths. My big plan for the deployment is to make Little Miss a bedding set for her "big girl" bed! I plan on focusing more on Little Miss: I want to start doing some home-schooling activities with her once or twice a week. Not to brag, but she can count to 15, recite the alphabet, and she even recognizes the letters & numbers now. She is showing me how eager she is to learn and I need to nurture that. I am not one of those pushy mommas, but if she hows an interest in something I want to do all that I can to indulge it. In January, I started a new workout routine where I am working on building muscle and getting lean. With the help of my trainer, my body fat is in the ideal range for my age and now I want to look as strong as I feel. In 2 years, I have lost 65 lbs. I think I look better than I did in my high school/college years. I want to keep heading in a positive direction and see just how much I can improve my body and health. It really helps me get past the frustration I feel about deployment when I think of all the things I can accomplish. This is an opportunity for me to learn and grow as a person, how many times in your life do you get that chance?

    I am also very fortunate to have a great group of friends here to support me. You ladies know who you are and I cannot ever thank you enough for helping me maintain my sanity!

    Its that time again to put on my big girl panties, plaster a smile on my face, and fake it until I make it! For the next few week, I will do my best to ignore that little voice in the back of my mind reminding me of the inevitable. It does no good for me to worry and stress about events that cannot be changed. We've made it through one deployment, we will make it through another. We didn't quite ace the reintegration but luckily we will have another shot at it.

    Don't forget to check out the Giveaway I have going on right now!

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Baby Blanket Tutorial and GIVEAWAY!

    Today has been a very lazy day around here: Hubs is back at work, Little Miss is under the weather, and there is snow on the ground outside! Since I have no one to impress today both Little Miss & I are still in our pjs.

    Since she is not feeling well, she slept until 2:45pm! This gave me the opportunity to work on that baby blanket for the giveaway I promised. I ordered the fabric from Amazon so it was here by Thursday and I have been so anxious to put it together.

    Baby blankets are VERY SIMPLE to make. FYI: If you have a baby in the future and invite me to your baby shower, there is a strong possibility I will end up gifting you a baby blanket I made!

    Here is how I made my baby blankets:

    What You Need:
    Sewing Machine (I <3 my Brother CS-6000i)
    2 Types of Fabric,
       *I prefer using flannel on one side and minky fleece on the other
    Disappearing Ink Pen
    Sharp Scissors
    Pinking Shears
    Iron & Board

    How To Sew It:

      Cut your fabric. Like I said before, I prefer to use flannel on one side and minky fleece on the other. I don't like to make a huge baby blanket, hence why is it called a baby blanket. I want my final blanket to measure about 3 feet long and 2 1/2 feet wide (36" X 30") so I cut my blanket a little larger, around 38" X 32". So when I order the materials, I generally order 1 yard of each fabric. That way I have extra too!

      I took a scrap piece of the flannel fabric and grabbed my stencil. This time I chose an anchor. I traced the anchor on the wrong side of the flannel, cut it out, then pin it to the right side of the minky fleece. 

      Next you will need to sew down the anchor. I chose a zig-zag stitch and I go around the anchor twice. Go slow. Minky fleece is very slick so the slower you go the more accurate you will be. You can choose any sort of shape to stitch down, on the last set of baby blankets I made I sewed on the new babies first initial.

      Now to pin the blanket together. Place the right sides together and pin, about 2 inches apart. Then pin some more, making the space between the pins around 1 inch. The more pins the better, like I said minky fleece is slippery!

      You will need to leave a gap on one side of the fabric. This will allow you to turn the blanket to right side out.

      Now to sew. Slowly. Did mention how slippery minky fleece is? 
      In order to make sure I sew slow enough, I multitask: I remove the pins right before they would slide under the needle. This makes sure I go at least slow enough to remove the pins. Normally I wouldn't hesitate to sew over the pins but the minky fleece complicates things. Remember, DO NOT sew the opening closed!

      After you sew, you will need to cut off the excess fabric. For this I use my pinking shears. Hello, my name is Shannon and I love to use pinking shears whenever I can! You can of course use normal fabric scissors but how can you resist the zig-zags of the pinking shears?!

      Time for the fun part, turn your blanket right-side out through the opening you left. This is my favorite part because your blanket actually looks like a baby blanket now! 

      Turn on your iron to iron flat the edges all the way around the blanket. When you get to the opening you left, fold it under slightly and iron down.

      Pin the opening shut. 

      Now top-stitch around the entire perimeter of the blanket, this will close the opening you left. I will sew as close as possible to the edge, usually its a 1/4 inch seam.

      VOILA! You have just sewn a baby blanket! See how easy that was?

      Now for the best part: I AM GIVING THIS BABY BLANKET AWAY!

      Even if you don't plan on having any (more) babies if you are a milispouse like me, chances are you will be invited to a baby shower in the near future!

      Entering to win this blanket is simple and you will have multiple chances to win:
      1. On this blog entry, leave a comment telling me what crafty things you have been up to lately. Please leave your email address.
      2. Refer people to "Like" my facebook page and have them write on my wall saying that you sent them!
      That is all, see how easy it is to win? Its about as easy as making a baby blanket....

      The Baby Blanket Giveaway will run until 12am on Saturday, February 25th. On Saturday, I will tally up the entries and decide on a winner using

      Good Luck!!

      Thursday, February 9, 2012

      Craft To-Do List Complete! For Now...

      I feel very productive after this super busy week! I managed to complete all of my craft projects:

      This awesome pillow-lounger that a friend found on Pinterest! Little Miss loves it already. But this project reminded me that I am still very much a beginner when it comes to sewing and following directions. Even though I read the directions about 10 times, I still managed to mess up. This lounger is actually supposed to about 6 inches wider and a foot longer. I had to do some cutting and adding material and oh my goodness I thought I was never going to fix the damage I did. However, I learned a lot by screwing up. For one, I will NOT use a fabric as thick as this fuzzy fleece. While it is super soft, it was not easy sewing through all the seams. Plus the material shed and my house along with myself were covered in fuzz.

      I made a quick Valentine's craft for Little Miss to give her friends that I found on Pinterest. We have been going to toddler first art classes and I had all these paintings from Little Miss. As much as I would love to frame every one of them, I just don't have the wall space. So I found these super cute butterfly Valentines and decided to make them out of the paintings!

      I also made 3 baby blankets for an upcoming joint baby shower: a set of girl twins and another girl! I would show you the pics, but the shower isn't until later in the month and I don't want to spoil the surprise :)

      Since I can't share the blankets with everyone, I have decided to do a giveaway for a baby blanket! I have the material ordered and should have it very soon. Make sure you keep an eye out for the giveaway, I am very excited about the patterns I found! Even if you don't have a baby, these blankets make great gifts. And as a milispouse, don't we all know someone having a baby?

      Here is a sneak peak of the fabrics I chose: The whale print is on flannel and the stripes are on minky!


      Thursday, February 2, 2012

      Moroccan White Bean Turkey Chili

      I came across the most amazing chili recipe in one of my Pampered Chef cookbooks, so I tried it out tonight for the first time. Just one word to describe it: AMAZING! To make this recipe even better, I was able to prepare in 45 minutes and in my microwave.  


      1 medium onion
      1 jalapeno pepper
      1 medium green bell pepper
      1lb lean ground turkey
      1  1/2 tbsp paprika
      1  1/2 tsp curry powder
      1 tsp sugar
      3/4 tsp ground cumin
      3/4 tsp ground ginger
      1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
      1/4 tsp chili powder

      3 tsp of Garlic Garlic seasoning
      1/2 tsp salt
      2 cans Great Northern beans, drained & rinsed
      1 can tomato sauce
      1 can petite diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained
      • Coursely chop onion and jalapeno. Dice bell pepper. Combine onion, peppers, turkey, spices, Garlic Garlic seasoning, and salt in Deep Covered Baker; mix well. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 5-7 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink, breaking into crumbles halfway through using the Mix 'N Chop.
      • Carefully remove baker from microwave. Add beans, tomato sauce, and tomatoes; mix well. Cover; microwave on HIGH 14-17 minutes or until simmering.

      It. tastes. AMAZING. Did I say that already??

      To make this even better, per serving there are 190 Calories, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1.5g, Cholesterol 45 mg, Carbohydrate 22g, Protein 21g, Sodium 1320 mg, Fiber 6g. 

      I made this recipe because I like chili, but I wanted something a little different and I have been searching for more recipes that are healthier. Now I did edit the recipe a bit; I used Garlic Garlic seasoning from Tastefully Simple instead of 4 cloves of pressed garlic. I also used all the spices instead of the Moroccan Rub from Pampered Chef.  This recipe was also rather inexpensive; I had almost all the spices on hand (I needed cumin anyways!), the Great Northern beans I found at Walmart for $.68 per can and all the other canned good were cheap as well. The most expensive ingredient was the ground turkey but I stocked up on some last time it went on sale!

      If you do not already have a Deep Covered Baker, I strongly urge you to get one. I can't tell you how many quick, healthy meals I have been able to make in my microwave or oven with this stoneware. 

      I am not sure how much Hubs will like this "exotic" recipe. I am a HUGE fan of curry so I was instantly attracted to it. Good thing he will be deploying so I can make this all the time without worrying if he likes it or not :)