I hope all of you ghosts and goblins had a very Happy Halloween!
Here is a tutorial on how to make these wonderful and easy bird wings for your child's next costume party -- they would also make a great addition, and add a little variety, to your child's dress-up wardrobe!
My daughter had a Halloween animal parade at school last week, and I knew it would be the perfect opportunity for me to 'spread my wings' and make my very first costume from scratch! Since moving to CA, we have become very familiar with our backyard friends, the hummingbirds. So, it only seemed natural that my daughter dress-up as a hummingbird for her parade.
Keep in mind, these wings can be transformed into any winged creature of your choice by changing the fabric colors: owl, duck, swan, toucan, flamingo, parrot, raven, dragon, to name a few....I could even see this being easily translated into a skirt to make a mermaid!
Here's what you will need:
Fabric, scissors or rotary cutter, tape measure, fabric pen or chalk, elastic and a sewing machine with thread.
Measure your child's 'wingspan'
Have your child stand with arms outstretched...if you have a wiggle worm, you can always use one of his/her long sleeved tshirts for your measurements. Measure from the middle of the back, down one arm to the middle of the back of the hand. This will be the top of the wing. Next, measure from the nape of the neck (where the collar of a tshirt would normally lay) down to the tailbone. This will be the length of the wing. My daughter wears a girls' size 5/6 and her measurements were 18" X 14".
Cut out the wings
Take your wing material, fold it wrong-sides together. Mark a length coordinating with the top of the wing measurement and then, creating a right angle, mark the length coordinating with the length of the wing measurement. Once those lengths are marked, draw a curve from the 'tailbone' to the 'hand' to finish the shape of the wing. Here is what mine looked like.
Hem the wings.
Make a 1/4" hem all the way around the edges of your wing (it doesn't need to be neat). Repeat for the second wing.
Cut out the feathers.
Now, we all know I am not the best follower of instruction, I think this also means that I am not the best giver of instruction...so bear with me here....take your feather fabrics and fold them into an accordion shape from selvage to selvage (as if you were going to cut out paper dolls...).
Once the fabric is folded mark a line 3 inches down from the top of the fabric (this will be the length of your feather -- you may need to adjust the length based on the size of your wing, a bigger wing will need a bigger feather, etc.).
Using this line as your guide, freehand the shape of a feather. The tip of the feather should touch the marked line. It is important to leave at least a 1 inch space at the base of your feather shape to ensure that it will sew properly to your wing.
After you have your feather shape drawn, it's time to cut. First, cut across your 3 inch guide line, then again around the feather to trim the excess fabric.
Sew feathers to the wing
Once you have cut around your feather shape, unfold the fabric to reveal a strip of feathers! Beginning, at the bottom of the wing, sew this strip to the wing material, following the shape of the wing. Trim any excess feathers and save for another row. Continue this way, cutting and sewing until your wing is covered in feathers. You will want to overlap each row enough to cover the previous row's stitching. Do the same for the next wing -- keep in mind that the second wing will be the mirror image of the first!! Why do I mention this? Because I made the mistake of sewing the feathers to the wrong side of the second wing....
Note: you may find that you will need to piece together excess feathers trimmed from previous rows in order to make them fit on a different row. To do this, simply line up the feathers to be connected, right sides together, and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance. Iron seam open and continue adding feathers to your wing.
Once you have the wing covered, it will look something like this:
Trim off these excess.
If you don't have a rotary cutter and mat, just use sissors to trim the feathers even with the wing. If you do have a rotary cutter, flip your wing over (wrong side up), line up a ruler along the wing's edge and swipe away! DO NOT Trim the feathers along the bottom, curved edge of the wing!
Top stitch the wings
After you have trimmed off the excess, you will then need to top stitch along the edges to keep the feathers laying nice and neat. No need to top stitch along the bottom, curved edge.
Stand back and admire your work!!
OK! You're on the downhill stretch!
Attach elastic loops
Hold you finished wing against your munchkin and mark the spot where his/her wrist hits the wing. Next, measure your child's wrist and add an inch. Cut a piece of elastic with this measurement. Fold to create a loop and sew together to secure. Next, sew the elastic loop to the marked spot on the wing. Repeat for the other side. (sorry, I don't have pictures for this....)
Attach wings to your munchkin and watch them fly!
I ended up sewing the wings to the sleeves of an old tshirt so that now all my daughter has to do is slip on the shirt when she wants to play. But, if you would rather take a less permanent approach, you can simply safety pin the wings along your child's sleeves.
Accessorize away! We painted a paper towel roll black, punch two holes and added an elastic loop to create the perfect hummingbird beak. I also fashioned some of the left over feathers onto a hair clip, which gives it that finishing touch :)
I have some burlap material left over from my sew simple project. I also have A LOT of black paint left over from my paint the town project. And, I have this ugly terra cotta pot that was not doing my fern or my kitchen any justice....
I combined the three, and magic happened! Here are the FOUR (yes, four!) easy-peasy steps to make make your pot eye-catching (in a good way)!
Paint the rim of your pot.
I chose black, but any color would be fabulous. I only did one coat of paint because I wanted the terra cotta color to peak through in spots. I also left the bottom of the pot its original color so that it too would show through the burlap.
Measure the length of the unpainted portion of your pot and add one inch (you will need excess to wrap the burlap over the bottom of your pot) Measure with the circumference (at the widest point) of the pot.
Cut a strip of burlap with the measurements from step 2.
Glue Burlap to the pot.
I used Beacon's all purpose glue (which I use to make my daughter's hair bows). You could also use a glue gun...heck, I bet Elmer's would even work. Apply glue in small sections as you apply the burlap to allow you to lay the fabric as you would like. Once you get the pot wrapped, you will then need to fold the burlap under the bottom of the pot and glue. Note: this is much easier to do if you don't have a plant already in your pot....if your pot is occupied, slide it to the edge of a table, exposing a small edge of the underside of the pot. Glue and then rotate.
That's it! You're done! Now, sit back, grab a cold drink and enjoy your new pot!
I am not sure if you remember my post a couple of months back about attempting to slipcover our less than fabulous parson dining chairs? How the project came to an abrupt and somewhat sad end when I discovered that the fabric I wanted to use had sold out!? How I thought I would NEVER find another fabric that was so well priced and so well liked!? Never, say never!
I grumpily searched the internet for a few days trying to find a new fabric for my slipcovers -- my mother-in-law's sister-in-law (how's that for confusing!?) took pity on me....or just wanted me to stop complaining on my facebook page....and sent me a few links for discounted interior design fabrics. Through some further searching I happened to stumble upon this wonderful website: The Fabric Guru where, in their clearance section, I was able to find....yes, here it comes....the PERFECT fabric (even better than the first). The price was astounding and the design fit perfectly with the style of my decor!
So, I am happy once again and ready to knock out these slipcovers once and for all! As a reminder, I used BibbidiBoppidiBeautiful's tutorial for slipcovering parson chairs as my guide for this project. I have one chair completed, and although it came out with a couple of 'oops!' spots, I am confident that with a little tweaking each cover from here on out will be easier and better than the last! Overall, I think the transformation is awesome and definitely breathes some new life into these old chairs!
Before and After Shot!
You can see one of the oops! there in the back...it ended up much longer than the front of the skirt...but that can be easily fixed with some revised hemming :)
P.S.: if you leave a chair pulled-out for more than 30 seconds, toddlers are sure to come flocking!
Granola -- another one of those home made recipes I have had saved in my favorites for months. And when I headed over this morning to read the latest post of one of my new favorite food blogs: Baked Bree (isn't that just the most cleaver thing!?) and saw her recipe for Pumpkin Granola, I knew it was a sign!
Fortunate for me, I had ALL of the ingredients that the recipe called for on hand, so I dove right in! Another simple, quick and versatile recipe with a flavor reward that seems almost sinful! The kids begged for more -- and I didn't mind spoiling their dinner appetites with something wholesome, nutritious and down right fun....who doesn't love a granola bar!?
I decided to turn my granola into bars rather than making loose granola (you know the kind you sprinkle on yogurt or eat with milk) only because I thought it would be easier for the kids to handle and more convenient for me to pack in lunches. If you would also like to make bars, here's what you'll need to do: simply follow the directions listed in the recipe, and when it comes time to turn the granola out into the pan for baking, take a spoon a flatten/press the granola into your pan to create an even, solid 'granola cake.' I baked my granola at 350 degrees for 35 min to make sure all of that moisture from the pumpkin and applesauce was released.
When the granola is done baking, allow it to cool completely. I ended up lifting out my foil with the granola, placing the foil on a cooling rack and sticking the whole thing in the freezer....we were all too impatient to wait for it to air cool! Once the granola has cooled completely, cut into desired portions and enjoy! Store any remaining granola bars in an airtight container.
Of course you can add a number of different ingredients to this granola to make it just right for you: dried blueberries, cherries, apricots, raisins, sunflower seeds, pecans, coconut, peanut butter and.....um, did someone say white chocolate chips!?
So, head on over to Baked Bree and have yourself some of this awesomeness!
I read a while back an article on the top 10 kitchen blunders (don't ask me where, who, when or why I came across this...) and the one blunder that caught my eye was titled: Gooey Rice. How many of you, like myself, cannot cook rice to save their life!? Mine ALWAYS turns out sticky and gooey and totally unappetizing....I've tried less water, less cooking time, less heat, different rice brands...but no matter what, it is always the same gunky mess!
According to this article, the secret to getting the perfect fluffy rice is actually something quite contrary to what conventional rice cooking methods would lead you to believe....you have to add MORE water!?! That's right! The article went on to explain that the reason rice turns gooey and mushy in the typical 1:2 rice to water cooking ratio is because there is not enough room for the rice to move while it is cooking. As the rice cooks, the grains rub up against eachother in the crowded pot, which causes them to release more and more starch....starch = mush. The solution: boil your rice as if you are making pasta! This gives the rice enough room to 'dance' without rubbing shoulders with other rice grains in the pot!
I gave it a whirl this weekend and my rice turned out fabulous!! Fluffy, plump and the perfect tenderness! Here's what I did:
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil
Add one cup of rice
KEEP BOILING -- DON"T REDUCE HEAT!
Stir often to make sure rice doesn't stick to the bottom
Boil for about 12 min or until desired tenderness (you'll have to test...like pasta!)
DRAIN water completely from rice using a fine mesh colander....or, like i do, just hold a pot lid over the pot as you drain
Viola! The prefect rice! I can't tell you how elated I am to have found this -- no more goo! If you try this, let me know how yours turns out!
My daughter LOVES arts and crafts. My daughter, like most kids her age, also has an itty-bitty attention span. When the boys go down for their morning nap (which I don't think is going to last much longer....sigh) my daughter knows that it's arts and crafts time -- a.k.a. rifle through the guest room closet to see what we can throw together to make some sort of activity happen. However, because her attention span is so small, she ends up running through the gamut of crafts in about 20 min and spends the next 30 min trying to convince me to find more...as if i am purposely holding out on a treasure trove of crafts just to hear her beg and plead for them....
Well, apparently she knew more than I did. Low and behold, after the usual begging and pleading, she 'gave-up' and went back into the closet to retrieve the usual, apparently boring crafts (or so I thought...) only to come running out a few minutes later waving a little box in the air: 'Mom!! Look what I found! STAMPS!!!!' Hey, I was pretty excited by the surprise too! Stamps! Awesome! I had completely forgotten that I had bought a set of Christmas stamps and ink pads during last year's after Christmas sales. I guess put them in a place that I would most assuredly forget about them (although at the time I am SURE it was the best place for them!).
So, my daughter dove right in and started stamping page after page after page -- she actually stamped for a good 20-30 min and once I saw how much fun she was having I had to give it a whirl myself!! I was really impressed with the way the stamps looked on her pages and thought 'Oh, these are definitely going in the memory box.' (more on the memory box another time....) But then I thought, you know, it kind of looks like wrapping paper -- (lightbulb!) Yes!! I'm going to use these for holiday wrapping paper!
Here is what my daughter stamped:
And here is what it looks like all wrapped-up:
The boys were absolutely convinced that this present was for them...
Granted, stamping on computer paper has its limitations for wrapping paper: it's pretty stiff and you can only wrap small presents with it. But if you had your kids go stamp crazy on a roll of butcher paper...the possibilities become endless! Hey, I think I am really on to something here....craft time and Christmas wrapping paper shopping done at the same time!? I think I may even have her do some birthday, Easter, Valentines Day, etc .... and you know your kid's teachers and grandparents will go ga-ga over this! Who says toddlers aren't helpful!? Thanks Bean! Once again you've made Mama grin from ear to ear! :)
I love the idea of eating only homemade food -- having nothing in my snack pantry but flour, butter, salt and sugar -- the basics with which to create a bountiful array of homemade treats...but then reality sets in. Not to say that it's impossible to make every thing you eat from scratch (there are certainly enough food blogs out there to show me that it is in fact possible) but I seem to always decide that homemade snacks are just too complicated and reserved for those moms/dads out there who have the perfect angel children who will play quietly in the next room for hours while they toss around exotic ingredients for pleasure. But still, the idea comes creeping back, and I want so desperately to make it a part of my reality...
I have had some homemade recipes for store bought snacks saved in my favorites for months now and have never taken the plunge...until now! Bearing witness, for the last few months, to how many goldfish my kids riffle through each month, I decided to finally give 52 Kitchen Adventures' recipe for homemade goldfish a try!! And really, after thinking about it, I realized that making homemade snacks CANNOT be any more complicated/time consuming than toting around a screaming cart-full of hungry, tired kids through a mega warehouse -- all the while trying to weave my way through crowds of people, anxious to stop and clog all of the aisles in order to taste the latest products (and it seems that there is no avoiding 'sample day' any more...every day is sample day it seems...) and just when I think I've broken free, I'm stopped every 10 feet by curious twin gazers (...don't get me wrong, I like when people stop us to admire the twins, but sometimes....i'm in a rush!) Not to mention the back-breaking labor required to get EVERYTHING you bought (99% of which are....snacks!) into the car....whew!
Ok, back to the task at hand: you should really give this recipe a try! You can adapt it for a number of different tastes -- I had some odd and end cheeses on hand that I needed to get rid of, so I ended up making mine with Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Cheddar....delish! Next, I'm going to try pepperjack! But the flavor combos for these crackers are endless! The kids and husband LOVED these! I doubled the recipe and made enough to fill half of a gallon sized ziploc bag...and noticed that they were MUCH more filling than store bought goldfish. So, whereas my kids would normally go through 3 handfulls of fish at a time, they were completely satiated after just 4-5 of these gems -- wow!
I'm not as fancy as 52 Kitchen Adventures...I just used a pizza cutter and whacked out a bunch of squares...
Now that I know homemade snacks are do-able, headache free, nap test approved and loved by the little people in my house, I might just go all the way! Next on my hit-list....Pop Tarts!