Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some Recent Sewing Projects

This is just a speedy catch-up post on a couple of projects I haven't shared. The first is a little outfit I made H for our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. I had decided I didn't have time to make one this year, so I went to a couple of local boutiques to buy her something, but ultimately decided I was just too darn cheap to spend $60 on an outfit she might only wear once. (She may actually end up wearing it for a second time, if it doesn't get too cold this week.)

Anyway, I ended up at JoAnn's instead, hurriedly picking out fall fabrics.  I'm not sure if I've ever matched a polka dot with a print before, but I love it in this outfit. Both pieces were from free patterns, both quick and easy as pie, and I have to say, this outfit is one of my favorites! Just sweet, fun, comfortable for her to wear, and looked like a million bucks on her.



I wasn't sure about this pants pattern but it is a WINNER. I will be making it again. You can find it at Modest Maven.  The top is from a pattern (really more a tutorial) I've made lots of variations of, the Marilyn Slim Fit Peasant Dress pattern from Create Kids, which you can download free at fabric.com.


In the past week, I have made H two Christmas dresses. She also still has one from last year that fits. I'm not really sure why I think she needs so many!  I really, really wanted her to have a green Christmas velvet Christmas dress for her to wear in a photo shoot we were having done over the weekend. (Green looks SO pretty on her -- red, however, is not really her color.) I searched everywhere only to find that if you want red, you're in luck, but the only green velvet dresses readily available were eye-wateringly expensive (see cheapness reference, above).

So again, I went on a hunt for local fabric, not having time to shop online. I did not opt for velvet, because I'm a little scared about sewing velvet and didn't want to try something new on short notice. I found very little, but ultimately came up with this green and navy plaid at Hobby Lobby. The hand feel of the fabric is a bit rough (it is a homespun) so I was hesitant as to whether it would be Christmassy enough, but I like the way it turned out.

Mind you, I hated every second of sewing this dress. It was from a pattern I paid for, which irks me because it was a dreadful pattern. There were several steps left out (!), photos with no helpful detail, and writing that was just plain confusing. I won't link to it here because I don't want to slam anybody on my blog, but if you want to know where I got it so you can avoid it like the plague, message me. Obviously, I finally figured it out, and so I might eventually make it again, but I will probably only make the sleeveless version, because the method for attaching the sleeves is really hard (and confusing).

Aaaaanyway, here it is on the hanger:



And here it is on H, paired with some wildly inappropriate footwear. ;-) I promise it will be styled a little better when it goes out in public.



The hilarious (not really) thing is that she ended up not wearing it in the photo shoot because it clashed with the background. Oh, well! She will look pretty at church!

Then on Sunday afternoon I cashed in some "me time" N has been owing me to whip up this little number. It was the total opposite -- a delight to make! It was also a paid pattern, the Junebug Dress from Craftiness is Not Optional. (I actually got it as part of the Southern Institute Sew Fab Pattern Bundle -- what a deal!) Jess never disappoints. Her writing is so clear and her photos are great for showing you exactly what to do. Also, the clever way she puts the dress together is really simple. I thought this might be a bit fiddly to make because of the chest flap, puffed sleeves, and buttons, but it came together quickly. I realized too late that I should have made it a size smaller, but that was totally my fault.


I also like this one because it is pink and blue instead of traditional Christmaswear, so it can be more of a "winter" dress, as opposed to just a Christmas dress. Not that it ever snows here! :-) H likes the sparkly buttons, which she considers very fancy. 

So that's what I've been up to lately! Now time to catch up on the laundry pile. ;-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Recipe: Crockpot Cranberry-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes


I love fall! Summer here seems to last so long, those first cool days seem like a dream come true. Once the nights start getting chilly, I like to have a fire in the fireplace and start making hearty fall recipes like chili and stews and roasts.

This is one you can make in the crockpot and it couldn't be any easier.

Crockpot Cranberry-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes 

2 lb pork tenderloin, rinsed and patted dry
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces
1 can of cranberry sauce (whole berries)
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp if using dried)


  1. Put the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes into the bottom of the crockpot.
  2. Put the pork on top of the sweet potatoes.
  3. Sprinkle the tenderloin with sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the top of the meat.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4.
  6. Serve over wild rice.





Monday, November 4, 2013

The rest of H's Ducky Halloween Costume



So, I had intended to get to this a little closer to Halloween, but I was too busy having fun! I showed you how I made the t-shirt part of H's ducky costume out of a much larger shirt here.  Here's how I did the rest! 


I used a combination of Alene's OK-to-Wash-It glue and hot glue for putting the feathers on the t-shirt.  Both worked fine (since I knew I would be throwing the shirt away, not trying to wash it), and of course, the hot glue dried much more quickly, so I used hot glue for the rest of the project.  I stuffed some wax paper inside the shirt before gluing so it wouldn't stick to itself.




I used an adult-sized Hobby Lobby blank tee to make the pants (for cheapness and ease). It was great not to have to hem them because I could use the hem of the shirt! I did make a mistake, though -- I used a leggings pattern instead of a pants pattern. This wasn't a problem, except in the waistband -- because the shirt fabric had way less stretch than the pattern called for. So I ended up with some bunching around the waist. I decided I didn't actually care, though. The pants fit fine, and I don't believe in perfection in Halloween costumes. :-)



For the ducky "tail," I started by basically making a giant scrunchie the size of her waist (out of the scraps from the yellow t-shirt). 


Then I cut strips of yellow tulle from a spool, around 22" long, and tied them onto half of the "scrunchie." 



I finished by hot-gluing yellow and white feathers to the top of the tail/tutu/whatever you want to call it!


The ducky feet were possibly even easier. I cut four pieces of orange felt into a "duck foot" shape and hot glued around four of the five sides of one, stuck it to another one, then stuffed the opening with polyfill. 


Then I took a piece of elastic long enough to go around her ankle, sewed it into the "duck foot" on both sides, and glued the remainder of the hole shut.

For the finishing touches, I used an orange foam visor I got at Jo-Ann's, plus some white and black "foamies" type foam and hot glue, to make a duck bill visor with eyes and girly eyelashes.

And I glued little white and yellow feathers to three small alligator clips to make feather barrettes for her hair.

The costume, front and back:

And in action! The whole costume took maybe an hour and a half to make. H was so proud to be a little ducky. She had the time of her life! 




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some Recent Sewing Projects

This is just a speedy catch-up post on a couple of projects I haven't shared. The first is a little outfit I made H for our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. I had decided I didn't have time to make one this year, so I went to a couple of local boutiques to buy her something, but ultimately decided I was just too darn cheap to spend $60 on an outfit she might only wear once. (She may actually end up wearing it for a second time, if it doesn't get too cold this week.)

Anyway, I ended up at JoAnn's instead, hurriedly picking out fall fabrics.  I'm not sure if I've ever matched a polka dot with a print before, but I love it in this outfit. Both pieces were from free patterns, both quick and easy as pie, and I have to say, this outfit is one of my favorites! Just sweet, fun, comfortable for her to wear, and looked like a million bucks on her.



I wasn't sure about this pants pattern but it is a WINNER. I will be making it again. You can find it at Modest Maven.  The top is from a pattern (really more a tutorial) I've made lots of variations of, the Marilyn Slim Fit Peasant Dress pattern from Create Kids, which you can download free at fabric.com.


In the past week, I have made H two Christmas dresses. She also still has one from last year that fits. I'm not really sure why I think she needs so many!  I really, really wanted her to have a green Christmas velvet Christmas dress for her to wear in a photo shoot we were having done over the weekend. (Green looks SO pretty on her -- red, however, is not really her color.) I searched everywhere only to find that if you want red, you're in luck, but the only green velvet dresses readily available were eye-wateringly expensive (see cheapness reference, above).

So again, I went on a hunt for local fabric, not having time to shop online. I did not opt for velvet, because I'm a little scared about sewing velvet and didn't want to try something new on short notice. I found very little, but ultimately came up with this green and navy plaid at Hobby Lobby. The hand feel of the fabric is a bit rough (it is a homespun) so I was hesitant as to whether it would be Christmassy enough, but I like the way it turned out.

Mind you, I hated every second of sewing this dress. It was from a pattern I paid for, which irks me because it was a dreadful pattern. There were several steps left out (!), photos with no helpful detail, and writing that was just plain confusing. I won't link to it here because I don't want to slam anybody on my blog, but if you want to know where I got it so you can avoid it like the plague, message me. Obviously, I finally figured it out, and so I might eventually make it again, but I will probably only make the sleeveless version, because the method for attaching the sleeves is really hard (and confusing).

Aaaaanyway, here it is on the hanger:



And here it is on H, paired with some wildly inappropriate footwear. ;-) I promise it will be styled a little better when it goes out in public.



The hilarious (not really) thing is that she ended up not wearing it in the photo shoot because it clashed with the background. Oh, well! She will look pretty at church!

Then on Sunday afternoon I cashed in some "me time" N has been owing me to whip up this little number. It was the total opposite -- a delight to make! It was also a paid pattern, the Junebug Dress from Craftiness is Not Optional. (I actually got it as part of the Southern Institute Sew Fab Pattern Bundle -- what a deal!) Jess never disappoints. Her writing is so clear and her photos are great for showing you exactly what to do. Also, the clever way she puts the dress together is really simple. I thought this might be a bit fiddly to make because of the chest flap, puffed sleeves, and buttons, but it came together quickly. I realized too late that I should have made it a size smaller, but that was totally my fault.


I also like this one because it is pink and blue instead of traditional Christmaswear, so it can be more of a "winter" dress, as opposed to just a Christmas dress. Not that it ever snows here! :-) H likes the sparkly buttons, which she considers very fancy. 

So that's what I've been up to lately! Now time to catch up on the laundry pile. ;-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Recipe: Crockpot Cranberry-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes


I love fall! Summer here seems to last so long, those first cool days seem like a dream come true. Once the nights start getting chilly, I like to have a fire in the fireplace and start making hearty fall recipes like chili and stews and roasts.

This is one you can make in the crockpot and it couldn't be any easier.

Crockpot Cranberry-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes 

2 lb pork tenderloin, rinsed and patted dry
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces
1 can of cranberry sauce (whole berries)
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp if using dried)


  1. Put the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes into the bottom of the crockpot.
  2. Put the pork on top of the sweet potatoes.
  3. Sprinkle the tenderloin with sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the top of the meat.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4.
  6. Serve over wild rice.





Monday, November 4, 2013

The rest of H's Ducky Halloween Costume



So, I had intended to get to this a little closer to Halloween, but I was too busy having fun! I showed you how I made the t-shirt part of H's ducky costume out of a much larger shirt here.  Here's how I did the rest! 


I used a combination of Alene's OK-to-Wash-It glue and hot glue for putting the feathers on the t-shirt.  Both worked fine (since I knew I would be throwing the shirt away, not trying to wash it), and of course, the hot glue dried much more quickly, so I used hot glue for the rest of the project.  I stuffed some wax paper inside the shirt before gluing so it wouldn't stick to itself.




I used an adult-sized Hobby Lobby blank tee to make the pants (for cheapness and ease). It was great not to have to hem them because I could use the hem of the shirt! I did make a mistake, though -- I used a leggings pattern instead of a pants pattern. This wasn't a problem, except in the waistband -- because the shirt fabric had way less stretch than the pattern called for. So I ended up with some bunching around the waist. I decided I didn't actually care, though. The pants fit fine, and I don't believe in perfection in Halloween costumes. :-)



For the ducky "tail," I started by basically making a giant scrunchie the size of her waist (out of the scraps from the yellow t-shirt). 


Then I cut strips of yellow tulle from a spool, around 22" long, and tied them onto half of the "scrunchie." 



I finished by hot-gluing yellow and white feathers to the top of the tail/tutu/whatever you want to call it!


The ducky feet were possibly even easier. I cut four pieces of orange felt into a "duck foot" shape and hot glued around four of the five sides of one, stuck it to another one, then stuffed the opening with polyfill. 


Then I took a piece of elastic long enough to go around her ankle, sewed it into the "duck foot" on both sides, and glued the remainder of the hole shut.

For the finishing touches, I used an orange foam visor I got at Jo-Ann's, plus some white and black "foamies" type foam and hot glue, to make a duck bill visor with eyes and girly eyelashes.

And I glued little white and yellow feathers to three small alligator clips to make feather barrettes for her hair.

The costume, front and back:

And in action! The whole costume took maybe an hour and a half to make. H was so proud to be a little ducky. She had the time of her life!