Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lined Simple Apron

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving.  Our was quiet at my mom's, but pretty perfect.  It's the first year the boys went back for seconds and thirds.  They normally eat a holiday hot dog, but this year both boys ate the Thanksgiving dinner.  It only took 9 & 7 years ;)

With the holidays in full swing, I figured some of you may want or need a quick little gift idea. It would be adorable paired with a cookie or brownie in a jar recipe.

I say it's quick because I made it in about two hours.  For me that is terrific.  I'm sure for an experienced sewer it may be an hour project, but I was impressed with my efforts of one evening.


  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • thread
  • fabric pen or pencil for marking
  • iron
  • 2 coordinating fabrics, 1 yard each
  • additional piece of fabric measuring 28" x 12"; this fabric is for the neck strap and waist ties so it can be one of the above fabrics or another coordinating fabric
First wash, dry, and iron the fabric.  The apron will be washed, so you don't want it shrinking afterwards and getting all wonky....yes that is a technical term.

Second, trim any loose threads.  With the smaller piece of fabric cut two 28" x 3" strips (for waist ties) and one 24" x 3" strip for neck strap.  I left you a little bit extra on the supply list in case of error.

Fold the strips with right sides together lengthwise and sew a seam, making a long tube.  With the neck strap you can leave both ends open.  With the waist ties, sew one end closed. 

Turn the straps right side out.  There is no easy way to do this. I use a pencil or knitting needle to help ease the fabric through the tube.  It takes patience! Iron all the pieces and set aside.

Now onto the body of the apron:

Trim pieces to 22" x 36". With right sides together layer front and back of larger rectangles.  Pin in place to avoid shifting.

Measure 6" down from the top and mark with a dot.  Then measure 5" in from the sides and mark with a dot.  Connect the dot to a make a 45 degree angle and draw a line.  This makes the angle on the top of the apron.

Here comes the trickiest part....and it takes a bit of thinking.  You want to position the waist ties and neck straps.  Fit the unfinished end of the ties into what will be the side seam, on the inside of the two pieces of fabric. Pin in place.  You won't be able to see the ties when you are sewing, but when you turn the garment right side out, they will be in place.

I measured by side straps down about 4 inches from the bottom of the 45 degree angle.  You really want to take a few minutes to play with this.  If want them higher or lower you can adjust accordingly.

You also want to place the neck strap in the same way. Pin in place.  This is a bit easier, as I just placed them at each end of the top of the apron. Remember the neck strap will be on the inside of your project as you are sewing.

Now sew together the seems.  I started at one side of the bottom hem and worked by way around, leaving about six inches on the other side of the bottom hem, for turning the project right side out.

Finally, turn the opening at the bottom to make a seam and stitch.  I ran a top stitch along the entire bottom hem to make the seam look intentional.

All these measurements are approximate for an adult.  You may need to lengthen or shorten the neck strap, waist ties, or length of the garment to fit the person who it is for.

I like it because it is lined with a coordinating fabric and gives a very finished look.   Also I used both fabrics on the neck strap, since technically it can be considered reversible, and to give it a fun look.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mini Pumpkin Breads

Here's an easy recipe for left over pumpkin puree.  I bought the big can of pumpkin puree, but only needed half of it for my pie.  I didn't really want to make two pies (mainly because I would eat them both).  So I used the rest of the pumpkin to make quick mini pumpkin loaves.

This recipe was given to me years ago by a fellow crafter.  I believe she said it was a Weight Watchers recipe.  All I know, is it is delicious and requires little effort.  The original recipe is two ingredients: cake mix and pumpkin.  I added vanilla and cinnamon to mine just to bump up the taste.


1 box of spice cake mix (carrot works too)
15 oz. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well blended.  Pour into desired cooking pan. (Batter will be very thick.)  I used a mini bread loaf pan, but you can use a cupcake pan or bundt pan too. 

Follow package instructions for baking.  For example, cupcakes take approximately 18 to 23 minutes, bundt pan will take 45 minutes or so.

The mini bread loaves took about 24 minutes.  Enjoy warm or freeze for up to 3 months.  Sprinkle with powder sugar to make it extra fancy ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Do you ever go to bed dreaming about food?  I do.  In fact most of my cravings come at night while watching T.V. with those commercials with the most appetizing foods.  Last night's craving came courtesy of my Words With Friends playing. 

You know how you have to watch those advertisements in between plays?  Most of the time they are annoying, and I don't pay attention.  However, one did catch my eye.  I believe it was a commercial for Ziploc bags and containers.  It featured oatmeal. 

Seeing how much I love oatmeal, I sat right up in bed and watched the whole 30 seconds worth.  Basically it was oatmeal with different toppings that can all be stored in Ziploc. 

Let me back up a bit.  I said I love oatmeal.  I mean I have a true love affair with it.  Whenever we travel, most hotel breakfast buffets include oatmeal.  Mainly because it can be made in vast quantities and disguises itself as the healthy option among all the pastries.  It's always on my plate, or actually in my bowl, for breakfast when we travel.  I also enjoy it weekly at home.

The best oatmeal I ever had was at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.  I joked with my husband that it was probably generic oatmeal that cost pennies, but it was so darn good.  Of course the buffet also offered toppings galore to adorn the piping bowl of goodness.  Every morning I changed it up.  Sometimes I would use just nuts while other mornings I added raisins and cinnamon.

OK, now that I have discussed my love for oatmeal, lets get to the recipe.  Last night I saw an oatmeal topped with some sort of baked apples.  Well this morning I woke up wanting it for breakfast.  So here is my version of apple pie oatmeal inspired by Ziploc.


1 c. prepared oatmeal, from scratch or the little microwave packets
1 small apple, peeled and diced
1 pat of butter, roughly a teaspoon
1 tsp. brown sugar
pinch of apple pie spice or cinnamon

In a small skillet over a medium heat cook the diced apples in a dry pan.  Stirring occasionally for about 3 to 4 minutes.  This just softens them a bit. The apples will still have a bit of texture to them, but that's how I like them.  If you want yours softer just cook them longer.

Meantime prepare your oatmeal and set aside.

After the apples have softened a bit, add the butter, brown sugar, and apple pie spice.  Cook for additional minute stirring to coat.

Top the oatmeal with the apple pie filling mixture.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Snovember To Remember!

Oh boy it's been a tough couple of days.  Everything started off great as can be this week.  We celebrated Brandon's 7th birthday on Sunday with family.  Monday was a normal day, and then Monday night Brandon made a birthday wish.....he wanted a snow day for Tuesday.

Well, we got it and then some.  I think he wished a little too hard.  In Hamburg we had a record snowfall of 84.5 inches (7 ft.) in approximately 48 hours.  Other surrounding areas received the same treatment from Mother Nature.

The problem with all the snowfall is first it's very heavy and regular plows can't push it.  Secondly, there is no place to put it.  City areas are actually trucking it to old parking lots.  Cars have been abandoned for their driver's safety.  The National Guard has been called in to help the efforts. 

This isn't even the biggest problem.  We are set to have the temperatures warm up this weekend.  Now the snow will melt, compact, become even heavier.  This makes for the collapse of roofs and major flooding.  If the storm drains can't handle the melting, water will back up into homes.  Ugh! 

With all this being said, I have to say we live in a great community.  Everyone pitches in to help each other.  Strangers offer food, shelter, clothing, to each other. Checking on neighbors and digging each other out. It really is remarkable! I am so glad to have moved home :)

For our household, Jay has had a few impromptu days off from work, but he has been working tirelessly here clearing snow.  The boys have had four days off of school, and some playtime with neighbors.  I have been able to clear out the freezer and rotate my food supply.  Even though I ran out of bread two days ago, and I am on my last half gallon of almond milk, we are just fine.

Last night after Jay already cleared about 4 ft the day before

I am so thankful for all the people in our community who are helping us.  From the police, to the plow drivers, to the workers who are at Tim Horton's supplying coffee for the first responders.... THANK YOU!

For all my fellow Buffalo peeps, hang in there.  For all my out of town friends, keep us in your thoughts.  We still have a bit to go for normalcy, oh and Thanksgiving is around the corner.  (I don't want to even think of the grocery store madness this week)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Quick Caramel Dessert Sauce

Tomorrow we our going over to my in-laws to spend the afternoon.  I am bringing an apple cake, but wanted a sauce to pour over the top.  Caramel sauce goes perfect with apple anything, but I didn't have heavy cream in the house.  I also did not want to make a trip to the store, seeing it is so cold out.

I rummaged the pantry and found a can of sweetened condensed milk.  OK, I have plan.  Condensed milk, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon equals yummy dessert sauce.


1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In a sauce pot over medium heat, simmer sweetened milk with brown sugar, whisking for about five minutes.  Add vanilla and cinnamon, and continue to whisk for another five minutes.  The sauce will thicken slightly but be very pourable. The sauce is very light in color, but the longer you cook it the thicker and darker it will get.  I liked mine a nice blonde shade ;)

 Serve immediately over ice cream, cake, pie, a flip flop.  Well not really of flip flop, but you get my point!

Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pin Cushion Teacups

I am finishing a few items for my last craft shows of the fall season.  One of my latest projects is pin cushion teacups. 

My mom has a huge collection of teacups she no longer wants.  She was going to just sell them, but I persuaded her to let me have them and put a crafty spin on it.  After browsing Pinterest, I found this really cute idea to make them into pin cushions.

Using fabric remnants, batting, and a little tacky glue, VIOLA!  These are perfect for anyone who sews, or just a cute little decoration tucked into a nook.


Tacky glue
needle and thread
craft batting
scrap fabric

  • Simply cute a circle of fabric twice the circumference of the teacup. 
  • Run a basting stitch along the outside of the circle and gather slowly.
  • Fill the gathered material with batting until smooth and firm.
  • Stitch the fabric circle closed and apply a little glue to the inside of the teacup.
  • Nestle the fabric puff into the teacup.
I did not glue the cup to the saucer, but you could if you wanted it all in once piece.  I would use a ceramic or glass glue for that.
The saucer also makes a great place to place bobbins, thimbles, or any other small notion while working on a project!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

This week Brandon is star of the week at school.  There are a lot of November birthdays in his class, so he gets to celebrate his a bit early in the month.  He loves this idea, basically because it extends his celebration to almost three weeks.

Brandon is having an Olaf party this year.  So for his treat at school he chose chocolate chip cookie cups with Frozen decorations.  I was able to find Frozen cupcake rings and snowflake candies on Amazon, yay!  Here's how they turned out.

The cookie cups are easy to do and are a fun alternative to a cupcake. Follow the easy steps below, and impress your friends and family this holiday season.

  • Start with your favorite cookie dough recipe (or a tub of store bought dough, I won't tell)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a muffin pan with cooking spray
  • Press about 2 tablespoons of dough into the muffin cup, pressing on the bottom and up the sides.  Be sure to hollow out the middle a bit to create a well.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and then take a spoon and knock down the center of the cup to re-create the well.  The bottom naturally puffs up during baking.
  • Bake for additional 7 to 9 minutes or until golden brown and the cups no longer look soft in the middle
  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, this allows the cup to cool and hold its shape
  • Using a sharp knife, carefully lift the cup out and allow to finish cooling on a rack
  • Dollop favorite butter cream recipe in the center of each cookie cup
To make it look extra fancy, pipe the frosting into the cup using a star tip and a pastry bag.  If you don't have a pastry bag, simply using a food storage bag and snip off the end, which makes a perfect hole replicating the round pastry tip.