Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Charity dresses

This post is a long time coming but I promise it will be worth the wait.  Every January the Craft Club chooses a charity and bases that month’s craft around the needs of that charity.  We have made quilts and blankets for kids in hospitals, crocheted red and blue scarves to show support for Special Olympics athletes competing in Illinois, and made quilted pet beds for animals in shelters.  It’s a great way to give back to a world that has given us so much.
 
This year we chose to make pillowcase dresses for Dress a Girl Around the World.  This amazing organization is part of Hope 4 Women International.  The objective is to create a simple and easy to care for garment for a little girl in need.  These dresses will travel all over the world to countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and even to young ladies right here in the United States.  “We dream of a world where every girl has at least one new dress” is the mantra this charity is based on and it reverberates in the heart of each person who sews a gown for these little ones.
Every girl deserves the dignity of owning one nice dress.  A garment that fits correctly, gives them a sense of pride, keeps them covered with a renewed feeling of safety.  Some of these young ladies live in societies where woman are not respected as they should be and these dresses show them that each of them is loved and cherished.  Pastors in villages where these dresses have been donated report that these garments give the girls a protected and cared for appearance which may discourage a would-be predator.  Additionally, a Dress a Girl Around the World tag is sewn in a visible location on each dress so that others know that this girl is under the care of an organization, hopefully adding another level of safety for her.  It’s amazing that one dress can add so much beyond what we think of in a garment.
These dresses are made from new pillowcases and can be made in less than an hour by even the most novice sewer.  The website provides you with links and PDFs to walk you through sizing your dress, cutting armholes, sewing the shoulder ties, and even ideas on how to embellish the dress to make it unique.  You can purchase a new pillowcase or make your own using the super simple Sausage Pillowcase technique.  Cotton is the fabric of choice for these dresses for many reasons: it’s strong and durable, soft on the skin, easy to both sew and wash, breathable, and offers coverage for the girls, no see-though fabrics here!
With only a few simple steps the pillowcase is transformed into a cute yet functional dress for a girl to be proud of. We chose bright colors and patterns of cottons to really brighten their days and help them enjoy life as a child.  These are children after all and they deserve a touch of wonder in their world.  We added pockets, ruffles, and buttons, embellished with rick-rack and embroidery, even made our own bias tape for some of the shoulder ties to keep the dresses up-beat and happy.  Along with the colorful fabrics we employed bright threads and stitch patterns, using all of our faculties to show these sometimes forgotten girls that we are thinking of them and are working to improve their lives, even the smallest amount, when they cannot.
I am so proud of these Craft Clubbers I worked with on this craft.  We made 23 beautiful well-made dresses for this charity!  Everyone worked hard as a team: some cut armholes and measured pillowcases for sizing, others sewed in elastic and worked on the shoulder ties, and still others sewed pockets and tags on the dresses finishing them off and getting them ready to be donated.  A few of us were so inspired we made a few extra on our own to add to the growing pile.  Twenty-three dresses were donated yesterday to our Illinois Ambassador to be provided to little girls of all ages.   Pinks, blues, yellows, purples, and greens of every shade, beautiful hues that I hope bring smiles to the faces of these deserving girls.  I wish I could travel with these amazing Ambassadors to these countries to hand deliver a dress to each of these young ladies.  To make even a greater impact, so show them personally that we care about them, that we want them to have the best future there is.  Perhaps someday I will be able to go, to give and receive hugs, but until I do I will sew pillowcase dresses with love sewn in with every stitch I take.
If you have a great idea for a charity we can help through crafts please let us know about it in the comments.  Be happy and healthy out there, always do your best!
Kelly 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Doggone Dirty Craftin Linky Party

Rhinestone Beagle



Cheryl @ Sew Can Do has a great post of "just because we can, doesn't mean we always have to make everything handmade" and it turned out wonderful.  Plus my birthday is coming up and I want a My Little Pony themed party too!


This quick, vegetarian, and really quite colorful recipe for Mexican Stuffed Peppers looks so simple.
Simply Stacie helps put a fast and yummy dinner on the table in no time!



OK Well I'm in fall mode so that means tons of pumpkin recipes. 
Jennifer @ Sweep Tight posted a delish looking one for Pumpkin Mousse Parfait!

Head over to Super Duper Kids Blog to find out how to make your own
American Girl Doll sleeping bag.  Perfect for those chilly nights coming up.


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  • Link up any project you want as long as its made by you.  That means sewing, painting, recipes, photography, DIYs, and anything else creative you can think of. 
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  • We would giggle with delight if you would grab our button!  No pressure though; it's not mandatory to participate. 
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lemon Zucchini Loaf Love

I don’t know about all of you but I am still working through my summer zucchini bonanza.  Those big yacht-sized ones will keep for weeks, patiently waiting to be shredded for bread and muffins.  While too big and fibrous for frittatas and stir-fries, the big boys will never be turned away when offered up by generous neighbors, they can be stored for an extended period of time to keep the summer seasonal baking alive until fall comes. I learned this year to cut out the porous core with the seeds to keep from shredding them into the finer textured quick breads like the lemon one below.  The guinea pigs love the cores and make quick work of them when offered up as the daily veggie treat.  But if I am making a hearty loaf that can stand up to a good smear of whipped cream cheese I will go ahead and leave them in for bite and loaf stability.

I wanted to try a new zucchini recipe or two this year to keep it exciting and keep my poor husband from suffering from zuc burnout like last year.  I made tons of quick breads, frittatas, muffins, stir-fries, and even grilled it up on the bbq.  A new recipe I tried that really woke up the taste buds and didn't make you feel like you were eating yet another heavy spice laden slice of quick bread trying to hide the fact that it contained zucchini was this Lemon Zucchini Loaf.  I wanted one that was bright and fresh but did not have a gaze on top. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good glaze; it can truly take a loaf from a simple snack and elevate it to cake status.  But this loaf was going to get sliced and packed in my husband’s lunches and a glaze would end up adding a soggy factor that I didn't want since it could end up sitting in a truck for several hours before being eaten, we do have to keep up "the wife who bakes the yummiest things for her husband" ideals.  If I was serving this at a party or event I would definitely splurge and top this wonderful bread with the tart and yummy glaze.

This recipe yields a dense loaf that is very reminiscent of a pound cake but without the butter.  The lemon is bright and clean and coupled with the density make this almost dessert like without a heavy sugar load.  With only one cup of shredded zucchini in the recipe this loaf could be baked anytime of the year when you need a little something for a treat or to give as a gift.  The recipe is from Sunny Creek Farms.

Lemon Zucchini Loaf

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, or egg substitute equivalent
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan; set aside.  In large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In medium bowl, beat 2 eggs well, then add canola oil and sugar, and blend well. Then add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend everything well. Fold in zucchini and stir until evenly distributed in mixture.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and blend everything together, but don’t over-mix.  Pour batter into prepared 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  My oven runs a little on the cool side so I bake for 55 minutes.  This loaf does not really get a golden top while baking but the sides get a nice caramel color to them. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

This bread isn't too sweet and the lovely lemon flavor really shines through.  Brunches, Sunday mornings, or hostesses with the mostesses would all benefit from this simple slice-able treat.  I think I will go cut a slice and try to move on through the paper-piecing technique Anita taught me this past weekend.  She is such a great teacher and my star piece makes me very happy!  I am going to work on learning how to make my own piping to finish it into a pillow cover that I promise to share, but I have to finish it first! Good thing for baked goods and rainy days, they make for great crafting!

Keep it homemade out there, I know you will!
Kelly    

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Doggone Dirty Craftin Linky Party

Rhinestone Beagle



Deborah @ Three Dawg Lady Designs gave yet another reason to love zucchini.
Zucchini and yellow squash fritters!






We both agree that all girls are superheroes so why not check out this adorable costume tute from Vintage Violet Style to make sure they are appropriately dressed.


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  • Link up any project you want as long as its made by you.  That means sewing, painting, recipes, photography, DIYs, and anything else creative you can think of. 
  • Please NO ETSY SHOP links.  I already spend way too much time shopping there. 
  • We would giggle with delight if you would grab our button!  No pressure though; it's not mandatory to participate. 
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Calling all Howl-oween Crafters!


It's that time of year again that we look to you, the amazing crafting community, to volunteer to be a part of our annual
Rhinestone Beagle


We are looking for a few good crafters to guest post for our 4th year of the craftathon.  You can do anything from scary snacks and creepy costumes, to trick-or-treating trinkets and disturbing d├ęcor.  Simple to complex, anything goes.  We just ask that it’s a you-original creation or at least a fresh take on an old favorite.

So if you're passionate about Halloween like we are, or if you just have a spectacularly spooky idea you want to share, here’s what you do. 

  • Send a quick email to rhinestonebeagle@gmail.com letting us know you want to participate before September 27th with your name, a brief description of your craft and your blog url.  
  • Then get started on your tute.  We will need you to have the finished post emailed to us by Sept 30th.  That way we have time to work out any kinks that may arise.
  • Don't forget to take lots of pictures detailing your process and in true RB fashion if you have a dog please try to include them in one of your pics along the way.  We will also take any other animal friends in the pics if you have them, be they furry, scaley, feathery, or of the smooth hide variety.
 We will also be doing a special giveaway, just for the crafters that participate.  Who doesn't love freebies?!

Thanks so much and don’t forget to stop by for our weekly linky party, Doggone Dirty Craftin, every Thursday!

Craft on!


 Anita and Kelly



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Glam pressing board tutorial


I've been watching a lot of sewing shows and online classes recently and have been coveting the table top pressing boards all the while. It was time to make my own and join the ranks of serious sewers around the interweb.  I've seen a bunch of tutes on how make simple pressing boards and they all do a good job outlining the steps but I added a couple special features to mine to bring this board into the luxury category.  Plus this board is doing double duty as the top surface of a drawer unit so I needed it to be able to be up to the task. It only took about an hour from start to finish.  Let's get started.

Supplies
2' X 2' piece of 1/2 inch plywood - They had this precut at my Home Depot but if you want yours a different size go ahead and cut whatever size you want.  I didn't want to have to break out the saw for this one and the size was just right for my needs.   I also didn't bother sanding the edges but you could if you want. This tute is done with the board right off the shelf. 
100% cotton canvas - 1 yard is plenty
100% cotton batting - bought mine off the bolt and only needed 1 yard total, get the really wide stuff for this measurement
Gripper fabric - a piece the same size as your board so for mine it is 2' x 2' square.   See step 7 for a picture if you've never used this before. 
Decorative nail heads - these are in the upholstery section
Staple gun with staples
Hammer
Glue gun
Scissors 

1. Cut two pieces of batting about 4" larger than the board. 

2. We are going to attach the batting to the first two sides. Start stapling the batting about 3/4 inch from the edge to the back of the board, working from the center outward on two parallel sides.

Every time you staple on one side your next staple should be in the same place on the opposite side of the board.  Tug on the batting each time to keep it taut.  You can also use your hammer to sink the staples so they are snug.  
Staple to both ends on your first two sides following an alternating pattern.

3.  Next trim your batting at the corners at a slight angle. This will help with bulk when we cover the board. You'll also want to trim the batting about 3/4 inch from the staples to clean it up.

4.  Now repeat the stapling in step 2 on the other two sides and overlap at the corners like below.  Make sure to trim your batting so its nice and neat. 

5.  Now you're basically going to repeat the stapling with the canvas to cover the whole thing with one slight difference. Before you get too close to the corner fold it in so you overlap and create a mitered corner.  Your canvas should overlap the edge of the batting.  I actually used it as a guide for my staple gun to but up against cuz you can feel it through the canvas.  This means your canvas staples will be slightly deeper toward the middle of the board. 

Trim your canvas so its nice and neat.

6. Now cut two more pieces of batting that fit the uncovered portion of the underside of the board and staple them in place. (Feel free to use scraps.) This is just to fill the void and make it more flush with outside layered edge.  

7.  The gripper fabric has two sides, one flat and one with nubbies which is the right side of the fabric.

Turn the edge under by 1/2 inch and stitch around the perimeter to have a folded nubby edge on all four sides.  It helps if you have a Teflon foot to keep it from sticking on your machine but a regular one works ok too.  Also make sure you are running the fabric over both the feed dogs to get it pulled through the machine evenly. 
Now use your glue gun to adhere it to the bottom of your board.  This covers up all the nasty staples and gives you a non slip bottom to your board. 

8.  Last step is to attach your decorative nail heads to the outside edge of the board.  Just nail them on with the hammer.  Mark each nailhead spot on the fabric so you know they will spaced evenly. I put 17 on each side but you can put more or less if you like.  This may seem like a lot of railheads to hammer in but I got in a rhythm and was done in about 30 minutes. 


Tada!  You've got a glam looking tabletop pressing board.  Here's a pic of the bottom.

I actually use mine as a tabletop to a drawer unit I got at ikea that sits next to my sewing machine.  It's so close I don't have to get up to press a seam anymore.  Hooray!

Gidget says she approves of the newest craft room addition. 

Craft on! 
Anita

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Doggone Dirty Craftin Linky Party

Rhinestone Beagle


 

Lisa @ Miss Alchemist has a quick recipe for yummy spa water.  
This would taste sooo good after a hot day in the sun!

Did you get featured?  Grab the button below.  We made it just for you!

Rhinestone Beagle
  • Link up any project you want as long as its made by you.  That means sewing, painting, recipes, photography, DIYs, and anything else creative you can think of. 
  • Please NO ETSY SHOP links.  I already spend way too much time shopping there. 
  • We would giggle with delight if you would grab our button!  No pressure though; it's not mandatory to participate. 
  • Show some love and visit a couple of the other crafty projects and leave some comments.  It's nice to know someone other than your family and friends is actually looking at your posts out there in cyberspace. 
OK here we go!