Friday, March 30, 2012

A Bear-y Cute Lunch

Sorry... couldn't resist the title :) I decided to surprise the girls with a little fun on their lunch plates yesterday...

How cute is that?!? I saw the idea on Pinterest (from Mini-eco, originally from KidsSoup). The original uses banana slices for the ears and muzzle, but my oldest has a sensitivity to bananas  something she inherited from my husband  so I used crackers covered with strawberry jelly instead. The original idea also uses cinnamon and sugar on toast, but I used peanut butter on bread. And I added some mini chocolate chips for the mouth.

The girls went crazy when I set these on the table. They wouldn't eat them until they were sure that I had taken pictures of each bear. Want to put a smile on your kids' faces this weekend? This one is a winner :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Point of View Feature and Theme for April

Thanks to everyone who linked up their Pinterest projects at the Point of View Pinterest Link Party last Friday. If you haven't taken a few minutes to check out all of the great projects that were linked up, be sure to go take a look.

This month's feature is these adorable Paper Daffodil Straws from Melissa of Bless This Mess...

So cute! Melissa's Pinterest inspiration was a Martha Stewart tutorial for daffodil candy cups. Melissa thought they would make great straw embellishments in a smaller size (and she was absolutely right :) These would look great on any springtime table.

Make sure you check them out!

We have announced themes for the next two months of Point of View. The theme for April is Teacher Appreciation/End of School. Hard to believe that school will be over before we know it! The next reveal and link party will be Friday, April 27th. Hope to see you there! And to get a head start on things, the theme for May is Summer/Vacation. Point of View is all about your interpretation of the theme. We can't wait to see what you come up with.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Little People Applique Tote Bag #2

If you saw my post on Friday, you know that I had to make another Little People applique tote bag because my youngest was so smitten with her older sister's bag that I made. I didn't want it to look exactly the same, so I changed the hairstyle...

Pretty cute, huh?

I think it's a pretty good representation of this Little People girl...

image source
What do you think? Did I get it right?

So here are both bags side-by-side...
Still in love with this project :) If you want a few more details on the bags, check out my post on the first bag. I've already got my next applique project planned out. It's an Easter project. I have a few more projects in the works right now that need to get done first. Hopefully I can squeeze it in before Easter gets here!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Point of View and Pinterest Link Party!

Welcome to this month's Point of View reveal! The theme for March is "Pinterest". This month's theme gave everyone a chance to make that project that they pinned months ago or create something inspired by one of their pins. Take a look at the awesome projects the members of Point of View have come up with this month...

Ashlee from I'm Topsy Turvy
Gwen from Gwenny Penny (Click HERE to read more about my Little People Applique Tote Bag)
Lorene from I am Just Lu (Our guest this month... Thanks for joining us, Lorene!)

As always, you can check out each of the projects by visiting each of the blogs listed above.

My project is a Little People Applique Tote Bag...

I mentioned last week that my Point of View project for this month is one of my top five favorite things I've ever made. This bag turned out better than I ever could have imagined. I adore it, my oldest daughter loves it, and my youngest was so jealous of her sister's bag that I had to make another one (and I changed up the hair on the second applique. I'll share the second bag next week). The applique was inspired by two Pinterest pins... a painting of a Fisher-Price Little People girl and this cute applique how-to. The tote bag itself is just a larger version of my Reusable Snack Bag with French Seams tutorial. Click HERE to read more about my tote bag.

Today we would also like to announce Point of View theme's for April and May. April's theme will be "teacher appreciation/end of school year". May's theme will be "summer/vacation". Get your thinking caps on... we want to see what great ideas you come up with!

Now it's your turn. Do you have a Pinterest project that you would like to share? We would like to invite you to join the Point of View Pinterest Link Party! It doesn't have to be a new project... If you have a Pinterest project in your archives, link it up! We want to see what you've created. Something new this month... you can link up to the Point of View link party on any member's blog and your link will show up in the party on all of our blogs! Add the Point of View button to your post so that others can join the party. And remember, by linking up you have the chance to be featured by one of the members of Point of View next week!

Gwenny Penny - Point of View
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Gwenny Penny - Point of View"><img src="" alt="Gwenny Penny - Point of View" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Little People Applique Tote Bag

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I have a thing for Fisher-Price Little People (they've shown up here and here). I've been planning some sort of Little People project for a while. I wasn't sure what medium it was going to be, and I've had several ideas floating around in my head, so there may be more projects to come :) My oldest just started taking an intro to ballet and jazz class through our town rec program, and she needed a little bag to carry her ballet slippers to and from class. Add to that the fact that I've been dying to try Maureen's applique tutorial. And on top of that, this month's Point of View theme is "Pinterest". All of these things started coming together, and the Little People Applique Tote Bag was born...

This project was inspired by two Pinterest pins. The applique image itself was inspired by this painting from Escape Adulthood...

The applique how-to came from Maureen of Maureen Cracknell Handmade...

I love this bag. It is seriously in the top five favorite things I have ever made. I had no idea that the image of the finished project in my head was actually going to work on fabric. And, of course, my youngest really wanted a bag after she saw her sister's, so I'll be sharing another one of these next week (with a different hairstyle :)

For the tote bag itself, I used home dec weight fabric and followed my Reusable Snack Bag with French Seams tutorial (minus the hook and loop tape, plus two straps, and enlarging the bag itself). The finished bag is about 9" wide and 10" tall (not including the straps).

The applique pieces are cotton with two layers of interfacing on each piece. I used fabric paint to create the eyes, nose, and mouth. I also added a 2" x 3" rectangle to the back of the bag with my daughter's name embroidered on it.

I absolutely love this project, and I plan on doing more applique in the future. It's so much fun. It's like putting a puzzle together. And the outlining with the black thread just makes everything pop. I love that you can use the stitching to add details like the bangs. This adds a whole new element to my sewing projects, one that I'm going to be using a lot!

Now it's your turn... Check out this month's Point of View collage and link up your past or present Pinterest projects at the Point of View Pinterest Link Party! We want to see what you've been up to!

I'm linking up...

monogramSkip To My Loukojodesigns

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pin It: Try Something New

Just like last Friday, I'm posting some inspiration in preparation for this month's Point of View reveal and link party on Friday, March 23rd. This month's theme is "Pinterest", so start working on that project you pinned months ago and get it ready to link up next Friday!

This week's Pin It inspiration is "try something new"... a new technique, a new method, a new craft. See if any of these pique your interest...

Ever carve your own stamp? I love this little cloud. Find this stamp carving tutorial on teal + tea.

Ever think about doing your own screen printing? This is a simple way to get started. Check out this DIY screen printing tutorial using an embroidery hoop, screen printing ink, mod podge, and sheer material (like old nylons) on Strings to Things.

Afraid of buttonholes? Give it a try (I know I need to :) This video from Prudent Baby walks you through sewing a one-step buttonhole with your sewing machine.

Who here wants to learn to crochet? (I do, I do!) Check out Crochet School over at Craftyminx. There are twenty three lessons that walk you through from the basics to different stitches to reading patterns. This is a great resource.

Have you heard the term "quilt as you go"? With this method you can easily make a queen or king size quilt top and quilt it as you go. No need to send it out to the long arm quilter. Sewtakeahike has a four part sew along that walks you through the process.

Did any of these pins tickle your fancy? Itching to start a new project and try a new craft? Next week's Point of View link party is a great excuse to get started... just saying :)

* Please, please, please... if you are interested in pinning one of these projects, either click on the picture and repin from my board or go to the original source and pin from there. Please don't pin from here. These are not my projects. Proper pinning etiquette is so important to make sure that people get credit for their work. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A DIY Blog Makeover

The new look on my blog has been up for about a week and a half, but I haven't said much about it yet. This one was a DIY project. I felt like my sidebar was getting unruly and longer and longer and longer. I also wanted the look to be a little more cohesive. I'm really happy with how things turned out, so I thought I'd give you a little tour of what's new :)

I changed the header a little bit. I took a new picture and added a darker band and lighter text. I think it makes a big difference...
Old header

New header

My "Tutorials" page is now organized into categories. I used Windows Live Writer to create this page. If you haven't downloaded it yet, I really recommend it for things like this. It's so easy to make a table and add links to all of the pictures.

See that little button all the way over on the right directly under my picture? That's where you'll find my blog buttons now, and I created a new one. Love it!

Point of View has its own page now. This is where you'll find themes and dates for upcoming collages and link parties as well as links to previous Point of View reveals.

I'd really encourage anyone with a blog to get over their fear of HTML code. If there is something you want to try, make a backup copy of your HTML template first, then try it! If it doesn't work out, you can always go back to the way it was. There are so many HTML tutorials out there. Google anything you want to learn how to do and you can find the code for it. Check out my "Blog Stuff" Pinterest board for links to some tips, tricks, icons, and HTML code stuff.

But... if you don't want to take the time to learn or you're just too afraid to take the plunge or you want to do something that might be a little too complicated for a beginner, hire a professional. There are lots of blog designers out there with pretty reasonable prices. You can get a full makeover or just a new header or a snazzy nav bar. (This is where I'll plug my friend Kristin over at Simply Klassic Design. She did my previous blog makeover and was fantastic to work with. Check out her portfolio here.)

While I'm talking blog stuff, don't forget the Gwenny Penny Flickr Group! If you make something using or inspired by one of my tutorials, add it to the group! I would absolutely love to see it :)

One other thing that I haven't mentioned on the blog yet (even though I've had a button for it in my sidebar for a while) is that I am attending the SNAP creative blog conference out in Utah in April! I leave five weeks from today. I'm really excited to meet some of my favorite bloggers and blog friends in real life. And I'm really, really excited because I get to spend four days hanging out with this girl :)

I'll end this post with a blog-related warning/vent. About two weeks ago Blogger's automatic spam detectors mistakenly deleted my blog and about gave me a heart attack for almost 24 hours. Spam detectors are not an exact science and mistakes are made. The thing that really frosted my cookie, however, was that I didn't get an email from Blogger. I was given no notice, no explanation, and no information on how to resolve the issue. My blog just disappeared from my dashboard and the internet. Luckily I was able to do some research and figure out what hoops to jump through to get myself reinstated and prove that I'm not spammy. Let's just say that there were tears shed, but I am glad to have everything back to normal. So the warning... back-up your blog, folks. Do it now! Do it regularly. You never know...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This recipe comes from my mother. I'm not sure where she got it. She hasn't been making it my entire life, but I remember it showing up in the dinner rotation around the time I was in junior high. Soda bread gets its name from the use of baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent. Lots of times raisins are also added to this bread, but I personally don't like raisins when they are cooked in things, so if mom doesn't like it... it doesn't go in :) This bread is dense and chewy on the inside yet crispy and crunchy on the outside. Here's the how-to...

  • 2½ cups flour, divided
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I've made it with regular milk before, and it turned out fine.)


1. Measure out 2 cups of flour. Mix together with the rest of the ingredients. The dough will be super sticky.

2. Take the other half cup of flour and start adding it a little at a time as you knead the dough. I've done it by hand, but this time I used the dough hook on my stand mixer, and it worked great. Keep adding flour and knead until the dough forms a nice ball. It takes a while, but it's worth it!

3. With floured hands, form the dough into a slightly flatted ball and place on a greased baking sheet.

Using a very sharp knife, cut a cross into the top of the dough, about 3/4" deep.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes. This bread is kind of doughy and chewy, but you have to be careful because the center ends up way too doughy if you don't cook it long enough. I especially like to eat this bread warm with butter on it.

This is a fun recipe to pull out for St. Patrick's Day this weekend. Enjoy!

P.S. There hasn't been a whole lot of sewing going on around here lately. I just haven't been into it and really haven't had much time for it. But... this weekend I sewed my project for this month's Point of View, and I am absolutely in love with it. In the top five favorite things I've ever made. But you'll have to wait a couple of weeks to see it :)

I'm linking up...

Skip To My LouI'm topsy turvy tuesdays
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