Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CRAFTS: tutu dress

The tutu dress is finished! Took me quite a few hours yesterday, though a lot of that was just indecision on color patterns. I had a problem at the store when buying materials, instead of just being able to grab white crochet bands, they were in color pairs and the white was paired to a dark brown, which wouldn't have worked with the dress at all. They also had purple there, so I decided to grab that. The purple came with pink - not my favorite color combination. But, what else could I do?

So yesterday I couldn't decide how to layer them to look correctly. I tried quite a few ways on Katie to see what I liked. I also had the problem of them being thinner than I remembered, so if I layered them like I wanted to so they wouldn't be see through when stretched, it would be a very small top. Fine for now, but the dress isn't for now, it's for later (the skirt is about five inches longer than her legs are!

I also had planned to sew them together. As a test run to see what I liked put together best, I threaded them through with pink ribbon to make them stick together - and ended up really liking the pink ribbon look, so I decided against sewing (would have been much harder anyway) and did ribbon.

The whole dress, from the 4 crocheted bands, the ribbon, the flower, the tulle, etc costed almost $10. These dresses cost over $30 on craft sites and aren't available in stores, so I think I did well. Really, I used leftovers from her last tutu on half of it, so it costed even less.

Here's how the finished dress ended up:

Monday, August 29, 2011


Cooking: I made a few things yesterday that came out really well (in fact, almost everything I made is already gone today! I didn't even get pictures.) I made, for the second time, a three cheese ricotta pasta bake. I modified the recipe a bit, adding different cheeses and mixing all the ingredients in with the noodles instead of layering like lasagna. It turned out really good, like effortless stuffed shells (took a whole five minutes to put together once the noodles were cooked!) It's definitely something I plan to make more of often.

I also made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, since I didn't have enough chocolate chips to made plain chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate is getting so expensive now. The two combined tasted a bit strange, though that may have been because I combined two different recipes. However, they did turn out good - so much so that they're rapidly disappearing! I also made brownies, but they were gone within like three hours of cooking!

Crafts: I keep wanting, every day, to start practicing crochet, but Katie makes that difficult. It's really hard trying to learn something new when a baby is also whining. So while I'm waiting for a few quiet moments to start practicing that, I'm going to make a tutu dress for Katie for later. It's going to be a long tutu skirt with the crocheted top that's really popular right now. They're pretty expensive to buy, but pretty cheap and easy to make! I'm just waiting on a trip to walmart to pick up some  elastic crocheted headbands, a decorative flower clip and a spool of ribbon to make it. I'm hoping to get white headbands for the top and make light and dark purple tutu skirt. This won't fit Katie now, but hopefully in a few months she'll grow into it. I don't want to make just infant sized things, since she'll grow out of them before she can really do anything but lay down. The tutu dress will be able to fit her for quite a few months when she grows into it, since the top will be stretchy and the skirt doesn't have to stay ankle length. I'm pretty excited for how it comes out, since it looks great in my mind. I just hope walmart has white headbands, I can only clearly remember pink which won't work at all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CRAFTS: Tutus!

I got my tulle yesterday! It was the bright side to a sucky day. Last night when Katie went to sleep I started working on the tutus. Hers took about an hour to make, Bear's took about 20 minutes. I used light pink and white with shocking pink as a highlight color. It ate up almost the entire light pink and white spools, though I didn't use much of the shocking pink. I had just enough of the colors to make Bear's little tutu as well. Katie's is triple layered, which made a really full tutu.

The tutus I want to make her are long and multi colored, but I figured for now while she's a baby it would be cute to do little ballet type ones in light pink.

Here's how they came out (I was really happy with them!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

COOKING: Shephard's Pie & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Somehow, I managed to make dinner and dessert today, even though Katie decided that she was in no mood to be patient today! Everything I made was done in shifts.

Dinner was Shephard's Pie. I never made it before myself, but Bill loves it and it's a quick, simple thing to make. I did it as the recipe said, but I think it's missing something. Didn't taste quite as it should. Of course, I still think that if it's called Pie, it should be in a pie shell, but apparently I'm alone in that...

Cookies were harder to accomplish. I mixed all the dry stuff together, then held Katie. Once she would sit, I mixed the wet stuff and then held her again. Put her down, mix the two together, then put it in the fridge. I nursed Katie, put her back in her swing, and started baking the cookies. I got through two pan fulls before I stopped, picked her up again, and then made the last.

Despite how much time it took, these are the best cookies I ever made. They're especially yummy when warm and gooey, but still very good when cooled down. I'm very happy with them! Usually my cookies aren't quite sweet and they're missing something big. I added 1/4 cup more sugar today and that seemed to do it perfectly.

Friday, August 19, 2011

CRAFT: Supplies

Today I gathered the rest of the supplies I need to start making tutus. With only $8 left to spend of the money I have this week, I was hoping walmart would, for once, have some cheap craft supplies. Luckily, they did! I needed some thick ribbon to be laced through the tutu and for a big bow at the back - I grabbed 10 yards of classic, girly light pink ribbon to start off with for $3. I also grabbed 1 1/2 yards of 1/2 elastic and 3 yards of 1/4 elastic - the first for Katie and the second for her bear, for 97 cents each. The ribbon and the 1/2 elastic should be enough to make three tutus with, so that's quite a good deal. I also grabbed some big craft cutting scissors while there, since they were only $1 and the last big pair of scissors we had were destroyed by Sophie when she was a puppy (she ate the rubber handles! I still use these scissors, but they're insane to work with - definitely time for a new pair!)

According to Fed Ex's website, my package of tulle should get here around Wednesday. So hopefully by Thursday (depending on how Katie is that day) I'll be able to do my first tutu for her.

I also found some hot pink and sparkling ribbon spools that I want to get next time. I think they would look great combined into a tutu, with the sparkling one integrated into the tulle and the hot pink linked through the waistband. They'd also do well for hair bows, so hopefully I can grab them soon. There's also some fun ribbon in a $1 bin, maybe sometime when I go and Katie isn't asleep on me, I can sit and take a look through (of course the sale section would be on the bottom shelf!)

I'd love to make a trip to Hobby Lobby at some point, since their ribbon and fabrics are supposed to be cheaper than most other places and they always have coupons and discounts on top of it, but I most likely won't be going there any time soon, so walmart will have to make due for now, and I'll most likely have to put off my fabric crafts until I can find a cheaper place - a quick browse through walmart's sparce collection of thin fabrics told me that I wouldn't be affording anything there for quite a while, and I'd rather spend money on nicer fabrics. It's a shame there's no craft stores in this town!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CRAFTS: Gathering Supplies

In my eagerness to begin crafting, I looked through website after website to find good prices for spools of tulle. I finally found BBCrafts, which is a wholesale wedding supply company that serves many businesses - and since they usually sell in bulk, they have much cheaper prices than other places, especially the overpriced places around here like Joann Fabrics and Walmart. I also found some off-site recommendations for them so I wasn't just jumping into a sell site blindly. So today I ordered a few spools of different colors, and will hopefully get them sometime at the end of next week. Meanwhile on my next shopping trip, I'm going to grab two sizes of elastic (1/2 inch for Katie, and 1/4 for Bear) and some thick pink ribbon. Once I have all of these things, I'm going to work on a short ballet style pink and white tutu for Katie and her Bear. Hopefully that ends up going well, and I'll work on longer tutu skirts in different colors - I ordered bright turquoise, lavendar, hot pink, black, purple, white, etc, so there should be some neat combinations to make!

 It should hold me over until I find the ribbon that I like and with a good enough price - at walmart and Joann's I see one spool of ribbon costing 3-5$! I got 25 yards of tulle for only $1.50, so I'm assuming there must be better places to find ribbon for lesser cost, especially because I'm going to need lots of different kinds of ribbon. Hopefully I'll be able to collect quite a few spools soon so I can start making hairbows and flower headbands. I also want to get a hot glue gun soon, and thankfully they're not too pricey.

The hardest part about crafting isn't the learning, it's the gathering of supplies! So much can go into a single project. I can't wait until I have drawers full of everything I need so it's easy pickings for projects, but for right now I'm completely bare in the craft department and with only a small amount of money alloted to this, it's a slow journey to be able to afford everything I want to make. Fabric will be the toughest, as it's hard to find anything good on sale or cheap. The walmart kinds that I grab for a few dollars each tend to get eaten by my sewing machine because they're so thin, and I need to make layers for the dresses from the thinness. Maybe I'll just have to wait until Joann's have a fabric sale, or find a better place to buy. For now, I do have lots of clothing I need to go through and get rid of some, maybe I could upcycle a few things and work on those as projects.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I just thought of an awesome shirt-tutu combination that would work with just a few small alterations to the shirt (it's a shirt that I have absolutely no hope in ever fitting in ever again). It's not an infant type outfit though, so it'll have to wait a few months to be worn by Katie. I guess that's one upside of her growing up, there will only be more and more things that I can make her!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

COOKING - Dinner 8/16/11

Just a quick update as Katie is laying on my right arm and attempting to fall asleep...

I worked on making fish fillets in my stillet today. i've only worked with fish twice before, once came out pretty smushy and gross and the other time without flavor. So today I tried again! Success! They came out a nice brown color and were very flavorful. I used butter and margrin (for the pan), lemon juice since we don't currently have fresh lemons (at some point I want to do a lemon fish bake!), celery salt, sea salt, black pepper, goya spice and onion salt.

I was disappointed that they all broke into halves though, I just couldn't get the flip right.

I put the fish fillets ontop a bed of spinach and paired it with parmasian noodles (not my own). I was pleasantly surprised, especially because the thought came out of no where, how good the spinach tasted with the fish. Definitely something to do again!

Here's how it all came out:

COOKING: Last year's/this year's experiments

Last year I was really into pies (who am I kidding, I'm still into pies!) so I made lots of them:


Coconut Custard:

Blueberry Crumb:


Then there's the chocolatey things. Here's my Hershey Dark Chocolate Cake and my Triple Chocolate Cookies:

I also attempted a chocolate mousse, which sounded yummy, but ended up not being too good. Here it is on top of vanilla ice cream:

Chocolate Covered tux Strawberries:

Katiekakes: (chocolate cupcake with powdered sugar)

And then there's one of my favorite things I ever made, but will never make again because it took me roughly five hours to make: Cinnamon Rolls!

And in the world of cooking, I tried quite a few diffent appetizers and meals; deviled eggs, pizza, cheesy chicken parm, Taco Rings, Homemade Sauce, Eggplant Parm, Pasta bake, Chicken Eggplant sorrentino and a few noodley creations:

chicken eggplant sorrentino:

turkey stir fry:

Pasta bake with ricotta:

Taco Ring:

Homemade Sauce:

Chicken Parm:

That's all the things I have pictures and records of. Hopefully I can work on improving some of these and making more difficult things as well now that I'm going to be cooking again.