SEWERCAKER SEWERCAKER SEWERCAKER SEWERCAKER SEWERCAKER SEWERCAKER

Monday, August 30, 2010

Top Secret Project Revealed!!!

I was just given permission from Jessica @ Sweetie Pie Bakery to show off the new pattern I got to test!!!
All of the things above are included in the pattern as well as a cute set of measuring cups. 
There is this darling cookbook with actual recipes for Cherry Pie, Macaroons...
No-Bake Cheesecake, Cinnamon Rolls...
Peanut Butter Cookies, and Fudge Brownies.

The pages are printed onto printable fabric.  You can buy it at your local craft store, or do like I did and use THIS homemade recipe and your own fabric.  I had one piece of fabric munch up in the printer.  I saved it and ran it through the wash to test the photo-quality fabric.  The black came out GREAT, the color- barely visible.  Keep that in mind if you try the home recipe yourself and keep things black and white if you plan on throwing them in the washer.
This is the cookbook cover I made following the pattern...
This is the cover I changed a little to add my own style.  Either way they are soooo fun for the kids to play with.
The canister sets are absolutely adorable!  You sew flour, sugar, and brown sugar to put inside, then sew beads to the tops to make them look more realistic.  LOVE IT!!!  Jessica is SO smart!  And isn't that ric-rac adorable!  The canisters didn't actually have labels.  I added those, again my own preference.
I actually made three sets:  Blue and Red for Grandma Campbell's play kitchen, Teal and Hot Pink for Janet's play kitchen, and this Teal, Red and Black set for my own Emmalee's play kitchen.  She loved the brown sugar SO much I can't seem to find it however hard I look. 

If you are interested in this pattern you can find it for sale HERE for only $6.99!

Thanks again Jessica for letting me be a pattern tester!  You did a great job.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yes, They Are Fingernails!

Not real ones, but some totally rocken' awesome nails my daughter Madison (AGE 12!!!) made last week!  The darling girl was so thrilled to be going to her first boy-girl pool party that she spent a whole day making these nails for the occasion.  I can't believe the girl!  First, that she would make nails for a pool party-she had to know they would be popping off with all the boy-girl chasing bound to go on.  Second, for the creativity!  Whatever skill I have, she wins!  Hands Down!  I will be mercilessly put to shame when she is older.  She will be painting crafty circles around dear old Mom!
I do not have a very good camera and could not seem to get a good picture to show the EXTREME detail she went to.  Madison started out by painting this walmart-bought set of glue on nails a sea blue.  Next she painted little goldfish swimming.  Not only that, but she made one hand a continuous scene- fish half on one nail, the other half on the next!  She finished them off with glue and real sand at the bottom.  Oh, I almost forgot the confetti bubbles :0)  I just can not explain to what level I was shocked when she showed them to me.  I have paid ladies to paint things on my nails.  Those ladies had YEARS of experience and the nails came nowhere close to looking this good!
One more picture to attempt to show you the TALENT!  Can you tell that mommy is proud!?!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Classroom Gear Bags

My good friend, Mrs. Sonia, asked me if I might be able to come up with some of these bags for her classroom.  They don't have lockers or even cubbies under their desks and needed a place for the kids to keep their folders.  I was astounded to find that they are sold at the teaching supply places for over $20 a bag!!!  I don't know where those teachers work, but our public schools don't pay enough for an order of 30 bags at that price!
I grabbed fabric from Walmart for $1.50/yd and gave it a try.  I will admit, there is one spot that is tricky on these bags, but for the most part, they are easy and stress free.  I added the vinyl pocket for a name tag, and....BAmM!  Done!
Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled was I to find that my serger (man, am I in love) proudly stitched like a champ!  This was my sample for a test run.
It worked fine, but it had to stretch a little too far for comfort.  I was told to use canvas for the chair covers and canvas doesn't stretch.  I think it would have worked fine on standard kindergarten chairs, but these ones had very wide backrests.  They were wider than even the 1st and 2nd grade chairs. 
My first sample was 12" wide.  I was glad I did a fitting instead of making batches that did not fit.
This was my second attempt.  It was slightly bigger and fit GREAT!  I made the bags 15" wide and the pocket is 10" deep.  The vinyl pocket for the names is 3 1/2" tall, 10" wide.  I wanted the teachers to be able to simply print their student's names on regular paper and slip them right in.  No fussy cropping.

Now the really tricky part: Pricing!  I always struggle with how to price things.  I am a cheep, penny pinching person.  I can make just about anything I need so I have a hard time with how much a lot of useful things cost.  I struggle with selling crafts I make because you simply cannot make money for the time you spend.  I figure, if I worked at McDonalds or something, I would get paid around $10/hour.  In an attempt to be strong, I have started trying to sell only things that I can charge $10 an hour for... charge $10 AND still sell them for a reasonable price.  That said, I charged $4.00 a bag.  I really think, given the price of the canvas ($7.99/yd full price at Joanns), I should have charged $5, but simply could not imagine paying that much.  I suffered stomach pains charging as much as $4, but the teachers jumped for them at that price.  I guess it is low compared to the others out there.

The bags seemed to be a big hit.  All the kindergarten teachers ordered and half of the first grade.  You can guess what my craft table looks like right now, right?  Miles of Piles.  If it weren't for my pile of dirty dishes in the background I would have taken a picture to show you.  For now, just use your imaginations :0)

Need classroom gear bags?  I will make you some.  I will have them on my Etsy site in the next day or two.  
I recommend duck cloth canvas or heavy denim so they last many years of Kinder-Abuse :0)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hairbows Finally Finished!!!

I finally finished my hairbows today.  I had a couple of friends over and asked their opinion.  Their final vote was to leave off the tulle on the "Back to School" bow, but keep it on the others.
I cut out wooden shapes on my scroll saw, painted, floated, and glued them on. 
The Lady Bug was my original inspiration.  It was just so cute!  It didn't seem right to put a button or gem on the bow when the lady bug was so darn cute.  I searched every store in town trying to find a suitable bug.  No luck.  That was when I decided to take the dive, even though the antennae would be a royal pain, and cut out my own ladybugs.
Then I figured, if I am cutting Lady Bugs, I better cut something for the pink and brown bow too.  A princess crown was really the only acceptable answer :0)
The Back to School bow was going to have corkers and the pencil in the middle, but as I was painting the bug and the crown I really felt in my gut that this bow would be profoundly jealous if it didn't get a custom paint job as well.  Thus the paper was born.  It was really so fun to paint these mini shapes. 
It took me a whole week to work out the kinks, but I am so happy with how these bows turned out!!!  Now I can get something new on my Etsy site!!!  Not tonight though...that can wait till morning, right?

This project was linked up HERE:



Punkin Seed Productions


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Fun Day!!!

I have been totally glowing from the thought of my serger working again.  Plus, I have been absolutely thrilled that my dear sweet husband was able to fix my singer!!!  Bless HIM!  Given that, I had to try this shirt re-do.  

Back in April Madison and I went to half-priced Saturday and found this shirt for $2.  I wanted to make something for Emmalee out of it, but Madison claimed it for her own.  Now, months later (after a closet deep-clean), she gave it back.  I have had it in my procrastination pile for about 3 weeks.  Since I have been craving a little sewing time lately I decided it would be quick enough to squeeze it in. 

Let me just say that I love this pattern, at least so far!  It is so simple and cute!
I just folded the shirt along the middle of the front, laid the pattern on top, and cut it out with my rotary cutter.  I did the same to the back, then again to the sleeves.  I cut off the ties and made them the casing for the elastic that runs around the waist. 
I am not sure I like the elastic look in the front on this particular shirt, but the project came together so easily.  It is Sunday Fun Day because I only cut the thing out Friday, ran around like mad on Saturday, then woke up at 6am Sunday so I could finish this little project for my little project to wear to church.  I was delighted with how easily it came together.  I was in absolute HEAVEN running my serger around it's buttercream yellowy threads.  You know I LOVE yellow, right?  And this shade of yellow is heaven :0)
My only sadness was that this re-made shirt looks almost identical to the original, just 6 sizes smaller. 
 I guess it is a good thing.
 The little piece of tie that was left was made into a bow for the back.  I went to all this work sewing each tie on, then realized that the front of the shirt snuck under the needle from the bottom side-accidentally sewing the shirt shut :0/  I unpicked it all, sewed the ties on again, tied the bow, then tacked the bow in place (I hate bows that are constantly coming untied!)
It was at that point I realized, I could have skipped half of all that. 
I should have just tied a bow and sewed it on!!!
Duh!
I guess I know better for next time!

What else do I have coming up?  I spent moments everyday last week working on these hairbows.  Just wait till you see them!  I almost have them where I want them.  After that, I have oodles and oodles of chair bags to make for local elementary teachers.  I guess the schools just don't have even cubbies for their kids anymore.  More on that later!
Have a good Monday!

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Home Sign

Here is another of my Super Saturday samples.  This Home Sign was something I came up with after totally misunderstanding my mother-in-law's description of a craft from The Wood Connection.  Apparently she described the stand alone 2" thick wooden letters H-M-E (similar to this...)
but again, the letters H, M and E.  Then, instead of the "O" in the word "HOME", holiday shapes.
  I really don't know how it happened, but I heard...
vinyl letters and stick-on interchangeable holiday shapes. 

I caught the fire with this sign when I saw the metal at my friendly neighborhood metal supply shop.  I thought it would be so cool if the sign were made out of metal.  Then we could just attach the shapes with magnets!  We may actually go with velcro to keep the cost of the project down, unless I can find a sweet deal on the magnets :0) 
Ingredients:
Beaded plywood- 8x16
Galvanized metal-6x14
Vinyl lettering H, M and E
Various wooden shapes
Glue to attach the metal to the wood-I used E6000
Velcro or magnets to attach holiday shapes
Paint

Here are my shapes.  Oh!  I just remembered!  I never cut out the shape for January!  I will have to get on that.  I guess I was too busy making three shapes for August :0)  I made a flip flop too, but can you believe it!?!  I haven't finished it yet.  I still plan to throw on some ribbons and buttons on a couple of these, but you get the idea.
I figure the price to come in around $13 for supplies and to cover all costs. 
Not bad for a fun seasonal craft :0)

***Update***
In response to one reader's questions:
I bought my metal at Industrial Metal Supply.  They have locations in Phoenix and in California.  If you need a supply house closer to you, just search "metal supply" in Google for your area. 
I purchased "Galvanized" steel.  You MUST ask for galvanized or it will rust, must be steel-aluminum is not magnetic!!!  I ordered 24 or 26 gauge.  You can go with pretty thin metal since you are gluing it (with E6000 glue) to a wood backboard.  Be prepared to have it take 2 hours+ at the metal supply shop if you didn't call ahead to make your order.  They will want to know how many pieces you want.  The sheets of metal come in 8x4 and 10x4 foot pieces.  You buy the metal by the pound + pay a cutting fee.  I think I went with 36 metal pieces, costing me around $60 for metal and cutting fee.  The metal is cheep, the cutting fee was more than $40 of that cost. ** note** You have to keep in mind that when they cut metal, or wood for that matter, each cut takes away about 1/8" of the material.  That means that you either need to be ok with each piece being a hair short on both sides, or you need to plan that the last cut on each piece will be scrap.  That wasn't too much of a problem on the Home Sign, but with my 12x12 metal boards, I had to figure out if the extra board of metal was worth it.

OK, with all of that said, the backing was beaded plywood.  I like the look of the beadboard so I went for the higher cost.  It runs about $25 at Lowes.  You can make it a little cheaper if you use MDF.  If you get your wood at Lowes, they will rip the 4x8 sheets down to the 16" pieces for you so all you have to do is cut them down the other way 8".  **You do need to pay attention to the fact the beadboard has a lip that has to be cut off and Lowes can't do that for you**  You will know what I mean when you see it.
Home Depot will rip into strips also, but they don't have that nice button by the saw so you have to run all over the place looking for help.  I have actually decided to use Lowes for most of my wood buying now.  Their 2x4's are so much nicer, hardly needing to be sanded when making blocks and such. 

As for magnets, I ended up buying magnet by the roll at Micheals.  It was, oh...I can't quite remember. You get 3 sheets, 8 1/2x11, for between $6-8.  Madison and I tag-teamed it and bought them all with 40% off coupons so I can't remember exactly how much it cost.  I cut the magnet into 1x2" squares and we hot glued them to the back.  They are very thin.  At first I was worried if it would be strong enough to hold the shapes, but really it was great cause the shapes don't stick out too far like they would with thicker magnet.  They hold the shapes just fine.  Using the round magnets that come 50 to a pack for $6 would have added nearly $2 to the project.  Using the magnets from sheets was less than $1 each.

My friend did the vinyl. I paid her $2 a set.
As for the shapes, I cut them out of 1/8" hardboard (my new favorite since you don't really need to sand it after cutting and the fact that it paints so well-$3 a board from Home Depot). 
Making 36 kits, I used about 6.  The shapes we ended up with were a little different:
January- Snowman
Feb-Heart
March- 4 Leaf Clover
April-Easter Egg
May-Flower
June-Tie
July-Uncle Sam Hat
Aug-Watermelon
Sept- Apple
Oct-Candy Corn
Nov-Acorn
Dec-Baby in Manger
Birthday- Cupcake

Don't want to cut those out yourself?  I can cut them out for you.  I figured for my time this year and priced them just under $.50 a piece @ $5.50 a set plus USPS shipping.  If you are in Phoenix we can work out delivery or pick-up no problem.  We love a good reason to venture to the other side of the valley :0)


Please let me know if you have any more questions! 
This project was linked up HERE:
mmm buttonKeeping It Simple

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Found Them! I Found Them!

Remember these blocks?  I found the stickers!!!!  I bought one set, she has 4 left!
Click HERE to get to the listing, or search "mambi nativity" on Amazon.
They are $1 and cost $5 for shipping.
There isn't a picture, but the dear seller took a snapshot and sent it to me.
What a DOLL!

Did I mention...
 ONLY 4 LEFT...IN EXISTENCE? 
OUT OF PRODUCTION...
DISCONTINUED!!!

I did get a response from the company today.  Their comment was the equivalent of "Too Bad!  We no longer make those."

Get the picture?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Super Saturday Magnet Board

Here is another project I made up for Super Saturday.  I have these from Creative Memories...
 My mother in law, the darling, gave us these.  I LOVE them, get comments on them from everyone that comes over, but they are like $55 a piece.
The ones I made aren't totally the same, but I figure they come together around $10.  It is a good option if you can't quite afford the originals. 

Supplies:
Beaded plywood- Lowes @ $25 a 4x8 sheet
12x12 metal sheet-between $3 and $6 each depending on how many are ordered
(do be sure and purchase galvanized metal so it doesn't rust)
Paint color of your choice
Ribbon-always on sale 50% off at Hobby Lobby

Actual measurements:
Plywood-14" wide, 16" tall
Metal- 12x12
Did I mention that you can use a dry erase marker on the metal?  You can also write on it with permanent marker.  Permanent marker simply wipes off with a wet rag or sponge.  Use it to write your weekly menu or love notes to your family.  How about a job chart?
You are a scrapbooker?  You can put your whole page on the board, on display for everyone to see.  Or, you could grab some magnetic letters and let the kids take them in the car.
So many options for one simple project :0)

***Update***
In response to one reader's questions:
I bought my metal at Industrial Metal Supply.  They have locations in Phoenix and in California.  If you need a supply house closer to you, just search "metal supply" in Google for your area. 
I purchased "Galvanized" steel.  You MUST ask for galvanized or it will rust, must be steel-aluminum is not magnetic!!!  I ordered 24 or 26 gauge.  You can go with pretty thin metal since you are gluing it (with E6000 glue) to a wood backboard.  Be prepared to have it take 2 hours+ at the metal supply shop if you didn't call ahead to make your order.  They will want to know how many pieces you want.  The sheets of metal come in 8x4 and 10x4 foot pieces.  You buy the metal by the pound + pay a cutting fee.  I think I went with 36 metal pieces, costing me around $60 for metal and cutting fee.  The metal is cheep, the cutting fee was more than $40 of that cost. ** note** You have to keep in mind that when they cut metal, or wood for that matter, each cut takes away about 1/8" of the material.  That means that you either need to be ok with each piece being a hair short on both sides, or you need to plan that the last cut on each piece will be scrap.  That wasn't too much of a problem on the Home Sign, but with my 12x12 metal boards, I had to figure out if the extra board of metal was worth it.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Sometimes The Smallest Victory Is The Most Exciting!

Touchdown!!!  That was the image I had in my mind Friday when I thought of blogging my cake-maker breakthrough.  I was preparing to re-baking my second cake that didn't turn out.  If you are a cake maker, you are probably familiar with Bake Even Strips...
I took my cake decorating classes 9 years ago.  At that time, I invested in a nice set of bake even strips.  These strips, when wet and wrapped around your cake pan, make your cake bake evenly and flat.  Sadly, mine met an unfortunate death early on.  I bought a new set to replace them, however, I noticed my cakes started to have a metallic taste to them from that point on.  I finally realized that the strips were the cause.  I won't get on that soap box of blame about cheap companies and their even cheaper products.  I shall resist. 

Since then, I have been on the hunt for a suitable replacement.  After totally ruining one cake Thursday, and not being totally happy with the way another came out, I had really hit my limit for frustration under all the pressure.  I tried the flower nail in the middle of the cake thing.
 
 You simply put a flower nail ($1.50) in the middle of a larger cake pan and bake it. The idea is that the nail will conduct heat, causing the cake middle to bake in the same amount of time as the edges.  The only success I had with this theory was with a 10" cake that had baked for 75 min. already.  The middle was still cold.  I ran to the computer, read that idea, shoved the nail in the cake, and it was done, baked to perfection, in 10 more minutes.  "Fabulous," I thought.  "Bake Even Strips.  Who needs them?"
Then along comes Mr. 12" Cake.  I went to the ususal craft stores carrying Wilton.  None of them had the lovely Cake Heating Core, said to be a must for baking larger cakes. 
You put this in the middle of the cake, batter surrounding it, and fill it with batter as well, then bake it.  The idea is that when the cake bakes, totally even and yummy, you take the plug out of the core, put it in the hole in the cake, and away you go.  COULDN'T FIND A CORE TO BUY!!!  Finally, totally exasperated, I grabbed three flower nails, and ran home to bake.
DID NOT WORK!
Long story short, ran back to the computer and desperately searched for one last recommendation before I started looking up therapists in the phone book.  Oddly enough, I was lead right back to bake even strips.  However, not the metallic store-bought kind, but handmade strips of towel.  Yes, that is right.  Regular bath towels.  Hmmmm.  "This is a pretty big cake and I really don't have much experimental time left....Whatever.  Where is a towel!?!"

I happened to have a ripped towel just lying there begging for a new purpose in life.  I grabbed it and started stressing all over again.  One thing that really made me nervous about the original strips was that they frayed over time.  I really wondered if they would suddenly catch on fire in the oven, or something.  Thinking about how terribly the towel would fray stopped me in my tracks.  It was about 8am Friday morning at that very moment.  I figured I could waste 1 hour and still be OK.  Dare I play around with Mr. Serger?
  He had been very cold towards me, pulling away from my coaxing fingers.  Alas!  With a little loven', a new needle, and the promise that He was the only machine for me, rather literally, SCORE! (this was where the touchdown image in my mind lead to a happy dance in the living room) 
My serger works!!!  It was really just me all along, me and that blasted new needle that was apparently a bum!
Look!  Look!  Do you SEE IT!!!  And how cute are those towel strips?  I mean really!  I didn't even care that the thread was red.  I actually really, really like the snazz of the extra color.
And here is my marble cake wearing her new fuzzy twirl  towel skirt!  Work it baby!  Thanks to these baken'-even-babies I got THESE...
all done and made THIS...
I took THESE flowers...
and flowered the cake after it was assembled. 
I must thank THIS darling 12 year old that helped me, along with her little brother (for a short while), cut out 200 fondant hearts.  Thank you also to dear hubby for staying up into the night helping in a very attentive way.  I really need to thank my dear friend Chamberlin, mother of 4-3 of them the same age*wink*wink* who came to help ME!  She peeled all the labels off my new cake plates.  LIFESAVER!
Even with all the help I had a long the way, I do believe our Gold Medal Winner is, hands down, Mr Mixer!  Terribly undersized, but such a trooper!!!  Couldn't have done it without YOU!  THANK YOU FOR NOT LEAVING ME LIKE SO MANY BEFORE YOU!
I really do need to invest in a stand mixer, but until then,
It's all you, BABY!

When I was setting up the cake, I was asked a couple times what my company name was.  I was like, "What!  I took weeks to come up with a blog name, another couple months for the etsy site name (and it was a real winner).  Now you want me to come up with a company name!?!"  And so it begins.  Have any cakey suggestions?  I am open :0)