Monday, January 31, 2011

Anthropologie Inspired Headband Tutorial


Last New Years Eve, with no real plans in mind, I was over come with a need to make a fancy headband. Earlier in the week I had tried on one at Anthropologie, which while I adored, I didn't want to spend 32$ on it. Yeah. So I did my best with no real time to make something similar. This is what I came up with. I'm quite happy with it and it was easy peasy. So here are the steps.

 (click on the image to enlarge)

You'll Need
-felt scraps
-2 inch satin ribbon (I had a spool but I think you should be safe with 2 yards)
-head band
-glue gun

1. fold ribbon in half lengthwise

2. fold ribbon in a loop

3. fold and loop ribbon on top of itself while twisting a couple times (this took me some experimenting to figure out how I liked it) take a stitch to secure it in place.

4. fold and loop and twist and stitch more until it's as full as you like then cut the ribbon and secure the thread with some knots

5. repeat until you have three rose-ish things

6. cut some felt circles a little smaller than the roses, you just don't want them sticking out

7. figure out where you want the top rose to go, I put the head band on looked in the mirror and noted where I thought it would look nice

8. glue the first felt base onto the underside of the headband, then glue the first rose to the headband and felt base, repeat with the other two roses

9. look at your creation, wear it and feel all fancy.
  
So there you go, now you can make your own rose headband. Or if you're my sister, you can look at mine while it's on my head, ON MY BIRTHDAY, and ask to borrow it for later that day.


-Marissa
 Rae Gun

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Finds: Year of the Rabbit


We're just a few days away from the Chinese New Year, and this year will be the Year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit is said to be a symbol of luck and good fortune, and with predictions calling for a calmer, more peaceful year, it should give most of us a chance to pause and catch our breath after a hectic Year of the Tiger last year. I, for one, am very much looking forward to it! Plus, bunnies are just plain cute. Here's some of my favorite rabbit inspired items to celebrate the coming year.

1. Gray Rabbit Doll by Timo Handmade
2. Baby Bunny Collage by Whistle Bird Collage
3. Woodland Bunny Bookend by Graphic Spaces
4. Rabbit Catching Falling Stars Personalized Print by Baby Zoo Art
5. Bamboo Rabbit Clock by Decoylab
6. Bunny Ears Beanie by For Stitches Sake
7. Bunny Baby Gift Set by Tadpole Creations
8. Time to Fly Print by Loxly Hollow
9. Bunny Ears Felt Hair Clip by Liven
10. Sleeping Bunny Pillow by Green Thread
11. Bunny Coat by In the Wishing Wood
12. Fleece Baby Bunting by Elle L Chill


- Shannon

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies - A Classic Treat

After searching high and low for many years for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that didn’t turn out flat cookies, I developed this one. Refrigerating the dough and not using too much butter is the key. This recipe incorporates cocoa powder for extra chocolate flavor. For regular chocolate chip cookies, leave it out and
increase the flour by 1/3 cup.

Ingredients:
¾ cup butter, room temp.
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat the butter and sugars together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Slowly add flour a half cup at a time, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Stir in cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Scrape sides of bowl and beat well. Add chocolate chips. Refrigerate cookie dough for at least 20 minutes.

3. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper if desired. Drop rounded tablespoons about two inches apart on cookie sheet. Return dough to the refrigerator in between batches. Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 13 minutes or until tops are firm but edges are still soft. Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cookies set
for 5 minutes before removing with a thin spatula.  Enjoy!


- Jen
  Punte Bella

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Singer Zigzag Chainstitch Sewing Machine

Running my Etsy shop I sew a lot. My little nieces see me sew all the time and in fact the littlest one would sit in a sling and later on my lap for hours while I sewed. That being said I knew that some day I wanted to get them a sewing machine. When I saw this ZizZag Chainstitch Sewing Machine by Singer at Joann Fabric I knew I wanted to try it (with a 40% off coupon of course). I ended up paying around $13 for it.

 What I Liked 


The short of it is, as a TOY (not as a machine to really sew and create things) this is fantastic. We mostly use the chain stitch which comes unraveled if you pull on it. But since it's just a toy in my house for the girls to be like Aunty this is perfect. It has a plastic guard that goes all the way around the needle so they can't hurt themselves. There is no bobbin so you don't have any thread jamming problems.

Things To Keep In Mind


That being said, my nieces are 2 and 3 (the box says it's for ages 6+) on it. They do need help but I was able to teach even the little one to guide the fabric lift the presser foot and push on the pedal. This is a toy that at least for the little ones you'll have to be around to help them start and switch fabric or positions.

I absolutely DO NOT recommend this as a 'first sewing machine'. This is a toy. It would not be good for older kids who actually want to construct anything. It should be thought of as similar to a toy iron. It looks like the real thing, the kiddos can go through the motions and pretend to sew, but it is just a toy. They say you can tie off the stitch and it will hold but I don't believe it and the reviews on Amazon make that sounds highly unlikely. It is a plastic toy so I'm not sure how long it will last but I would think a knock off the table may end it, another reason it's more of a supervised activity kinda of toy.



I'm really happy with it for our purposes. I hope I've helped those of you who have wondered about this machine when you've passed it in the store or have been considering getting your kiddos a sewing machine or toy sewing machine.

- Marissa
  Rae Gun

Monday, January 24, 2011

3D Paper Snowflake Tutorial

Some days it's simply too cold to go out and enjoy the snow.  On those days when you're stuck inside, why not enjoy the beauty of snowflakes  indoors?  Here's an easy project from our Winter 2010 issue:  a new 3D twist on the classic paper snowflake.





Materials:
2 Paper Squares (I chose 8.5” x 8.5” (ca. 21 x 21cm) for this tutorial)
Scissors
Tape
Wire or staples


How To:
1)  Fold paper corner to corner to make a triangle.

2)  Open folded triangle and fold outside corner to center. Make 2 cuts along each edge as shown. The ones shown here are about ½” (ca. 1,25 cm) apart. You could also choose to either add more cuts – in that case a larger square is recommended - or to bring the cuts closer to each other. Either way, the cuts on either side should run parallel to each other. Make sure though to not cut all the way – you still want the individual pieces to stay attached to the main body of the square.

3)  Open folded triangle. Bring edges of smallest square together and tape.

4)  Flip the square over and pull next smallest square edges together, tape. Repeat steps 2 – 4 for each corner.

5)  After all four corners are done your paper should look like this. Repeat steps 1 – 4 for your second paper square.

6)  Lay one square on top of the other and twist so that all 8 3-D spindles are showing. Secure in the center with a staple or wire. I used wire and kept it long so I’d have a way to hang it.

Now decorate!


- Ahmelie

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Finds: Valentine's Day Finds for Mama and Baby

While some may complain about the commercialization of Valentine's Day (or any holiday for that matter), I have loved seeing all the red and pink lining the shelves of every store I wander in and every website I stumble upon. So to join in the celebration of love here are some of my favorite Valentine's Day finds for the babies and mama's in all of our lives.

1. Red Silk Headband by Kirevi888
2. Cupie Softy by ABShoppe
3. Raining Love Skivvies by Small Threads
4. You are the Best Part of Me Necklace by BD Designs
5. Rosette Hair Clip by Nature Tasty
6. Heart and Hands Postcard by Le Papier Studio
7. Heart Ring by Esoterica Bazaar
8. Valentine's Day Outfit by Ginger Louise Clothing
9. Heart Hair Clip by Chew Chew's Closet
10. Conversation Heart Soap by Karen's Soap
11. Ribbon Toy by Wood Pond Designs
12. Envelope Clutch by Patkas


- Marissa
  Rae Gun

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beautified Coupon Holder Tutorial


I know that a lot of people set some money related resolutions and goals for 2011, so I thought it would be fun to share this tutorial for how to beautify a small accordion folder. Since most of the options out there are pretty boring hopefully having a pretty carrier will help you stay on top of couponing, your envelope cash only system or other money organizing goal.

(click on the image to see a larger view)

What you'll need:
  • small accordion file (I found a bunch in the 1$ section at target recently sometimes the dollar store carries these)
  • bias tape (I made my own out of fabric but you can buy plain bias tape in packages)
  • fabric (use a scrap or if you're buying some a fat quarter is plenty)
  • a heavy needle (I used a 100, something for denim would be good)
  • fray check
  • paper clips

Steps
1. Get your supplies together. Remove the elastic from the folder.

2. Trim the width of your fabric to be the same as the width of your folder.

3. Wrap it around so you can figure out the length of the fabric and then trim.

4. Trim and pin the bias tape to one of the short edges of the fabric. For the part that goes on the inside of the folder I just sandwiched the main fabric in between the bias tape. If you want a strip across the back (on the outside trim two).

5. With the bias tape pin position the bias tape with the right side of the fabric facing you and wrap it over the flap of the folder. Use paper clips to hold the fabric in place. If you want a strip across the back just align it so that it is on the other side of the fabric but pretty much in the same place as the bias tape that's on the inside. Now it's really awkward, but sew (with a heavy duty needle) across the bias tape. If you use a zig zag stitch you don't have to be that perfect. Also I was really nevous so in the beginning I used the hand wheel to stitch the first couple of stitches and then I went really slow. So now the flap should be covered. (note I was dumb and pinned all around the folder first but that's unnecessary and makes your life harder, so it may look a tad different in the picture)

6. Wrap the fabric around so it's flush find where the round thing is that the elastic hooks on and mark the length.

7. Sew a button hole. Cut it and pop the round thing through it.

8. Now paper clip bias tape all around the folder sandwiching the edges of the folder between the bias tape. You might want to fold it in some places to get it to lay better. (Even though I wasted time and had mine in multiple pieces you can just use one piece and it should turn out better than mine, I realized this after I had already cut pieces)

9. Stitch all around. Go slow you may have to use your left hand to move the other parts of the folder so they don't get caught on the edge of your machine.

10. Poke a hole where the elastic hole was. If you want you could put an eyelet, but I thought it was too bulky and my eyelet thing is packed.

11. Fray check the hole. Replace the elastic

12. Fill with coupons or cash and take control of your finaces.

I hope all of that made sense. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them.  Or if you can explain a step better, please share it in the comments.

Here are a few coupon sites I like:
http://www.grocerycouponnetwork.com/freebies/
http://coupons.com/
http://smartsource.com/
http://www.redplum.com/
http://www.freebies2deals.com/

-Marissa
 Rae Gun 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mexican Inspiration: Chicken Chili with Sweet Cornbread

My 10-year-old sister made up a song about this soup because she likes it so much. It’s a cinch to make, and kids love to help out. A comforting slice of cornbread is the perfect side.  If your jars and cans of soup ingredients are different that those listed by a few ounces, don’t worry – the beauty of soup is that it isn’t too precise. Add a romaine salad with diced red pepper and your family will hug you!

Chicken Chili with Sweet Cornbread
Ingredients:
For Chili:
1 13oz. can chunk chicken breast in water, drained or 1 1/2 c. diced cooked chicken
2  15.8oz. cans Great Northern  beans, drained
1/2 of a 16 oz. jar salsa (any kind)
1 32oz. box chicken broth
Grated Cheddar or Pepperjack cheese, for serving

For Cornbread:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup yellow ground cornmeal
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Directions:
1) Start by making the cornbread. Center a rack in the oven  and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9” round cake pan with nonstick oil spray.

2) Whisk together flours, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add egg, milk, and oil and stir with a spoon until batter is homogeneous – be careful not to over-mix.

3) Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes and slice into pie wedges.

4) While cornbread is baking, combine all chili ingredients (excluding cheese) in a large saucepan. Cover and place over low heat. Allow to heat until cornbread is ready.

5) Serve soup with cheese and cornbread wedges with butter and honey.
 
 
- Margeaux
 
Mux Originals

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Wonderland Stained "Glass" Ice Ornaments for Your Backyard

There is just something special about the morning after a snowfall, when the trees are gently covered with powdery snow, and the icicles are glimmering in the morning sun. It’s truly magical! But why not add a pop of color to Mother Nature’s wonder? Create your own “Winter Wonderland” using a very simple technique - and your freezer! Patience and everyday food dye (and gloves) will leave you with a kaleidoscope of colors and some unique and ephemeral decorations for your yard.

Best crafted on a freezing day during the winter season, it’s a great snow day activity with the kids! Make ornaments to adorn tree branches and Shepherd Hooks, or create ice string “lights” to drape across pine trees. 

Since these will last only until the temperature reaches above freezing, once the ornaments begin to melt, the colors will evolve, allowing Mother Nature to take over and become the artist. So gather the kiddies, simmer the hot chocolate and get ready to create your own “Winter Wonderland.”

Supplies for Large Ornament and Variations

Water
Freezer (or, if it’s below freezing, leaving your molds outside would work too!)
Disposable Multi-Purpose Plastic Gloves
Smocks for the Kiddies
Paper Towels for Quick Clean-Ups
Plastic Candy Molds or Small Paper Bathroom Cups
Food Coloring (set of 4)
Clear Plastic Cups
Measuring Cup
Plastic Spoons
Styrofoam Plates
Black Acrylic Yarn or Black Cotton Crochet Thread, size 10 or 3, for hanging
Scissors
Measuring Tape
Pen for Marking Cup for Cutting
Plastic faceted beads (optional)

Preparation:
Before you do anything, make a little room in your freezer! Any level area will do. If it’s not quite level you will have food dyed water all over your freezer. Trust me.

Put on your gloves. Pour water into different cups, and add a drop or two of food coloring to each cup, depending on how translucent you want your ice. Using your spoons (one for each cup) stir your mixture.

Large Ornament
1. Pour colored water into the plastic candy molds. Place molds in the freezer.

2. While you’re waiting patiently for the shapes to freeze, pour clear water in the bottom of a Styrofoam plate, until the bottom is full, and water is beginning to creep up the sides.

3. Cut a 10 inch piece of yarn, fold it in half and tie a knot at the bottom. Insert it into the water so that the loop sticks out.

4. Place the plate carefully in the freezer.

5. Once your plate of water is almost frozen (where there ice on the surface, but you can still see water moving at the bottom) crack the ice by tapping it gently. By doing so, you are creating small “shards.” Place the plate back in freezer while you are getting the stained ice ready.

6. Fill another Styrofoam plate with warm water and keep it handy. You also need an empty plate to temporarily place your circles as you are working.

7. Take out your molds, and pop out the ice from the mold.  If they don’t pop out easily, quickly dip the mold in the warm water. Repeat with other shapes.

8. Take out your plate of clear ice shards and place your colored shapes anywhere you want in the ice shards. Place entire plate back into the freezer.

9. Once completely frozen, take it out of the freezer, bundle up and start transforming your yard into a Winter Wonderland!!

Variations

Simple Shape Ornaments
Pour dyed water into your candy molds, and place a yarn loop in each for hanging. Set them in the freezer. Once frozen, pop them out and hang them on a tree.



String of “Lights”
1. Cut your bathroom cups so that the stand about 1/4 tall. You can measure and mark your cup before you cut so they are all about the same size.


2. Cut a length of cotton crochet thread; approximately 1 yard. If you like, you can string and knot faceted plastic beads onto the thread for extra sparkle.

3. Completely fill each cup bottom with colored water, and place them on a plate.

4. Lay the piece of string in the small “cups” of water, making sure that it is soaking along the center of each one. Push the string down into the water with your gloved finger, spacing about 6 – 8 inches of yarn between each cup. You will have excess string floating around your plate.

5. Place plate in freezer.

6. Once completely frozen, carefully take them out of the freezer and peel off the cups (dipping them in warm water if necessary). Drape them across pine branches, for a holiday light effect!

Once your “stained glass” ice ornaments have melted, don’t forget to discard the leftover yarn!


- Angela
  Angel Fish Boutique

Sunday, January 16, 2011

'Hot Cocoa' Pudding Cups

These clever mugs of ‘hot cocoa’, are, in fact, layered chocolate and marshmallow puddings. Easy enough for kids to assemble, they’re the perfect winter treat. I haven’t included specific amounts for the ingredients, because mug sizes vary and you can make these for any number of people. Just estimate amounts and you’ll be fine.

Ingredients:
-Chocolate pudding
-Whipped topping (or sweetened whipped cream)
-Marshmallow crème
-Marshmallows

Directions:
1. Stir some marshmallow crème into the whipped topping. For two servings, I used about 1 cup of whipped topping and 2 tablespoons of marshmallow crème. The marshmallow crème won’t completely blend into the whipped topping. Just stir until it breaks up into small flecks - squishing it with the back of a spoon helps.

2. Set out your mugs, and spoon a layer of chocolate pudding into the bottom of each. Spoon a layer of the whipped topping/marshmallow crème mixture on top of the pudding layers. Repeat until the mugs are full, ending with chocolate pudding (I did 3 layers of chocolate pudding and 2 of the whipped topping/marshmallow crème mixture).
Tip: Spread the last layer of chocolate pudding carefully so that it completely covers the layer beneath.

3. Press a marshmallow into each pudding cup.

4. If you like, you can refrigerate the cups until firm, but they are just as
delicious if eaten immediately!


- Margeaux
  Mux Originals

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Welcome to our new blog!

As we begin the new year, we at MHC are very excited to be starting a new adventure:  the MHC blog.  Through our digital magazine we bring you seasonal ideas in decorating, crafting, cooking and living the handmade way.  Through the new blog, you can look forward to this and more and on a daily basis!  We will be bringing you more frequent doses of the latest handmade fashions and home decor for kids, fun craft projects to do with your children, interviews, tips for living green, and much, much more.

We hope that you will enjoy the MHC blog, and that this format will make it easier for us to connect with all of you, our readers.

Sincerely,
The Staff at Modern Handmade Child
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