Bandanna Dress & Tutorial

I've had this dress idea in my head for a few weeks.  I've looked around the web and couldn't find any how-to's.  So I went to cutting and sewing and love the end result.

3 Bandannas
Trimmings (opt)
Button (opt)

I like loose fitting play dresses for my princess--it has room to grow and lots of room to twirl, flip, wrestle with her brother and Dad.  The skirt needed to be attached to a shirt to get the effect I wanted.  I also wanted the bias look of the triangles of a bandanna.
I got a 5 pack of shirts for $6.25 at Walmarto
This needed to be brought in a bit.  I made general guidelines with permanent marker.
 Straight stitch down the lines.
Serge next to straight stitch, or trim and zigzag
Ta-Da a more fitted shirt.
Fold Bandanna in half, and cut down the center.
For each half measure 4 inches from center and make a notch.
Do not skip this step!
Line up two different trianagles, right sides together
at the notches.
Sew from notches to end of skirt, leaving the 8 inches in the middles 
(the 8 inches will be gathered later and sewn to the shirt at the waist)
Zig-zag the edges, unless you like to change your serger thread
I serged the top of the skirt because it won't be seen.  Sew a long
stitch around the top of the skirt--pull to gather and pin right
sides together (shirt & skirt)
Flip out--and wahlaa--a bandanna skirt.
This still looks like a boys shirt with a skirt on it.
Sew a little trim around the sleeves and neckline.
Add some elastic just above the hem on the sleeve--pull
tight the entire time you are sewing to get the gathered look.
Make a flower, this pattern worked well. I left one triangle out for any embellishments.
I like it.
She has been twirling since she tried the dress on and hasn't stopped (hence the fuzzy photo)
She loves how it spreads out when she sits down.
This was a fun easy project.  It turned out exactly like I imagined.


Easter Eggs

I love Easter, but I don't like too much commercialism surrounding religious holidays.  When I was in kindergarten I remember making baskets out of balloons and strings.  After some searching I finally found a good way to make them again. And my budget for decorating right now is almost nothing.  This project cost me about $2---for the balloons.  I had the string on hand, given to me from a garage clean out, and the glue I am thinking is from my hubby's college days.
This was a great project for my little helper.  She wanted to play in the glue more than actually doing the project, I'm always glad to have her help. I would suggest doing the project outside, or put a lot of freezer paper or newspaper to protect surfaces--you are working with glue! 

You will need: yarn or string, I used embroidery thread.  I cut 30-40 3 foot strands.  A balloon, blown up to 6-8 inches, and some glue.  Mix 1 part glue to 1 part water.  I mixed it in a paper plate--making it really easy to lay the string in and pull off any excess liquid. (There are no pictures of the process, because my hands were too sticky to pick up a camera)
You can lay it on in a random pattern or...
wrapped around the balloon.  Either way let the balloons dry overnight.
Cut a hole somewhere in the balloon and let it slowly deflate.  You may need to help the stuck strings.
You'll love the way these look.
Hang them from the chandalier to get an impressive little nest.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

My MIL, who thinks she can't cook, is a really great cook.  She made this for us and we couldn't stop eating it.  So good--comfort food without the guilt.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1/2 C Chopped Onion
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 TBSP butter
3 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 jar salsa (16 oz)
2 C cooked shredded chicken
1/2 C chopped red bell pepper
1/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 C vegetable oil
6 Corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 Avacados, sliced
1 C shredded Cheddar cheese

In dutch oven, cook onion and garlic in butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender.  Add chicken broth, picante sauce, shredded chicken, bell pepper, pepper and bay leaves.  Bring to boil.  Cover; reduce heat to low.  Simmer stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.  In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot.  Fry tortilla strips in oil until light golden brown.  Drain.  Divide tortilla strips among 6 serving bowls; ladle soup over strips.  Top with avocado, shredded cheese and sour cream.  Makes 8 cups.


I-SpY Swap 2

Because I can't wait any longer, and because I love my quilt it's time to do another I-Spy fabric swap.

Here are the details:

  • Cut 20 4" squares out of 10 different fabrics (no flannel please), please make sure the item can be "spied" easily in the fabric- meaning be careful how you cut the squares.  No licensed prints please.
  • DO NOT prewash the fabric.  
  • Mail the swatches to me by April 10th I will mail them back by the end of April.
  • Send a self-addressed prepaid envelope with your material.  It should cost the same as what you sent, because it will be the same amount of fabric coming back to you

We already have a few in the pot, but the first 10 to sign up are in!


Marshmallow Brownies

I love to bake--but I have a hard time digesting baked goods.  But these brownies are divine, maybe it's the extra frosting, or just the ratio of frosting to brownie.  My Grandma O introduced this recipe to me.  She found it in Reader's Digest I believe.  It's easy, and tastes amazing.
Cream butter, sugar and cocoa
Start slow, and mix mix mix--you can't over mix this part.
After the eggs & vanilla add the flour and salt.  I pour in my flour and add the salt on top.  You can kind of see it here.  Start the mixer slowly, and only mix until it is combined.  The trick here is not to over mix the flour.  You don't want bready brownies--if you do mix away.
This batter is thicker than you regular brownie mix.  Just smooth it out and put it in the oven.
After 20 minutes pull the brownies out and let your helpers put an entire bag of little marshmallows over the whole thing.  My princess had to test a few to make sure they tasted good.
After the marshmallows have been in the oven for 3-5 minutes they should melt together.  My little helper said that they became a family.  I put big dollops of frosting on the still warm marshmallows.  Then I spread and spread until it is even.  It is messy, but when it cools it is swirly and yummy.
Oh so yummy.  While I was spreading the frosting I gave my helper the spatula from the frosting.  When I looked up this is what I saw~
Hey! That's not what you are supposed to do with oh so yummy frosting. 

 Marshmallow Brownies (aka Best Gotta-Have-it Brownies)
1 C Butter, softened
2 C Sugar
1/3 C Cocoa
4 Eggs
1 1/2 C Flour
2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 C Chopped Nuts (optional)

1 bag marshmallows (mini work the best)
1 2/3 C Powdered Sugar
1/2 C Butter
1/3 C Cocoa
1/3 C Canned Evaporated Milk

1.  Mix together butter, sugar and cocoa.  Stir in eggs; flour, vanilla, salt and nuts.  Stir.  Pour into greased, 1-inch-deep baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

2. Cover with mini marshmallows and put back into oven and bake for additional 3-5 minutes. 

3.  Mix together powdered sugar, butter, cocoa & evaporated milk.  Add frosting. Frost over marshmallows while still warm.


Happy St. Patty's Day!

The only problem with having a girl that loves pink as much as my little girl is that she didn't have a green shirt for St. Patrick's day.   

I looked through my stash and found an old shirt.
 Used an old onesie and made a pattern--just like the 90-minute shirt.  But it couldn't be just a green shirt.
It needed sparkle.  We made a freezer paper stencil and added a shamrock.  She still wanted to wear a pink shirt underneath it--but at least she won't get pinched now.

 Happy St. Patrick's Day to Ya!


I-Spy Quilt Complete

 It's done!  I love love love it.  My little princess stood next to me during the quilting process asking if it was done yet so she could sit on it and look for all the things.  It wasn't hard--and it was fun to do.

25 total square=225 4" squares.  The sashing is 3 inches wide. I used several different colors from my scrap bin, and placed them in rainbow order.
The colorful binding brings the colors of the quilt together.  The white sashing calms the multiple fabrics down and the binding keeps it a fun quilt.
I used a full sheet for front and back.  There wasn't much waste with this sheet.  My MIL has requested one too--maybe another I-Spy swap needs to happen sooner than I thought :)


Beef Stew

It was a blustery day yesterday.  The temperature dropped around lunch time and it started to rain and hail, which meant it was a perfect day for stew.  Growing up I ate this meal a lot.  I think it was easy and cheap, my Mom said that it helped us stay healthy too.  The taste is so good that I decided for my dinner party to make yummy stew--not your typical fare for such an event.
You can use whatever beef you want.  I like london broil for my stews and chili's.  Some people have used ground beef or chuck beef.  I remember having this with venison and elk (elk being my favorite.) Just make sure it is bite sized pieces and it won't matter what the meat is. You can add whatever veggies you want to.  I used carrots, potatoes, onion and celery--again just make them bite sized.
Here is the process-
For me it began with defrosting and cutting into little chunks.
Dredge the meat in a mixture of flour and pepper (no salt yet)  Brown the meat in a little oil in a big pot (if you have a dutch oven it would work well.)
Once the meat is browned add in a whole yellow or white onion.
And celery, I love to include the leaves-it adds a great flavor.  If you kids want to help have them put the veggies in the pot and stir stir stir.  Touching the veggies helps them realize they are from a different planet and can be consumed.  My little girl would turn her nose up to these meal until we had her help with it.  Now she asks for the leftovers too.
When the celery and onions are sauteed add this stuff and enough water to cover.  Also add some chopped carrots and skinned, chopped potatoes.
Add more water and seasonings.  Parsley, salt, garlic powder, more pepper, a little more bullion if it suites your taste. Let it simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Stir occasionally and work on some yummy rolls for a side.

Beef Stew
1 1/2-2 lbs meat
1 large Onion
1/2 stalk celery
3-4 Carrots
4-5 medium potatoes (add more if you have a larger crowd, less if you are having less)
Parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder (let it simmer for a while before you add more--once the seasonings meld with the veggies something magical happens and it tastes delicious.

I'm sure you could crock pot this and it would turn out great.  I've read some recipes where they stick it in the oven to bake--I think that would make it great too.


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