8.15.2014

Doing Good with Just Between Friends {Plus a Giveaway!}


For those of you who've been around for awhile, you're getting very used to my frequent love songs to Just Between Friends Fort Worth. It's just about sale time {eeekkk!!!}, so its time for another installment of why I'm infatuated with JBF. 


First, some JBF basics. JBF is a consignment sale for children's clothes, gear, accessories, and all that other stuff {and kids do seem to come with a lot of stuff} that you could need for your little ones. There's also plenty of maternity clothes and gear too! This sale is the largest of it's kind in the state of Texas! It's held at the Will Roger's Memorial Center and open to the public August 30-September 6. Here's a link to the full calendar.

Now, on to why I love JBF. They are committed to giving back to the community. Unsold items are donated to local organizations meeting the needs of moms and kiddos in our community. In addition, JBF is committed to giving back through the Wall of Wishes.


This sale, the Wall of Wishes is benefiting NewDay Services. NewDay Services provides:

1) Non-intrusive chaplaincy through the family and juvenile courts2) Educational and life skill programs for children and adults to cope with their circumstances3) An introduction to other community and faith-based service providers to broaden their network of support.

The Wall of Wishes is like an Angel Tree. Upon entering the sale, you'll see a board with request. Grab a card, shop for the item, and JBF will take care of getting it to NewDay. What a great way to help support programs working in our local communities!

Now, for the giveaway!

JBF is offering a $15 Gift Certificate to the Fall Sale. $15 goes sooooo far at JBF! Use the Rafflecopter to enter. And be sure to check out the rule below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Winner will be notified via email and have 24 hours to respond. If they fail to respond, a new winner will be chosen.
  • Winners can only win once per sale.
  • All entries will be verified!!!


JBF Fort Worth has compensated me for the post. Both the opinions and text are my own. I truly get giddy talking about the wonders of this sale. I would not work with them if I wasn't in love. More questions? Check out my disclosure page!


7.25.2014

Enchiladas Verde Cups {or dinner in 45 minutes or less}



Quick, yummy, and toddler friendly is the name of the game for my dinners. Really, its toddler friendly but still something my husband and I actually want to eat. These Enchiladas Verde Cups fit that bill. They are ready in 45 minutes. Emma thinks its so fun that her food is in a tortilla cup. Let's face it...my husband thinks the same thing!

So these cups are a much cheaper alternative to those cute little pre-made tortilla cups you can buy at the store. All you need is a small pack of tortillas {easy to find on sale for less than $2} and you can make 12. The store bought cups are like $4 for 6!

You'll need:
9 tortillas
Green enchilada sauce
Small can of diced green chilies
1 lb. ground chicken breast
6 oz monetary jack cheese, shredded {or pepper jack if your kiddos can handle the heat}
4 oz low fat cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp lime juice

Preheat the oven to 350.

Start out by browning the ground chicken with the cumin and chili powder. You could substitute ground turkey or ground beef if you can't find ground chicken.


While meat is browning, use a pizza cutter to cut 9 tortillas into fourths.


Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Squish in three tortilla pieces into each cup, overlapping so there's no gaps. This will create your cup.

Once meat is browned, stir in cream cheese, green chilies, and half of enchilada sauce.


A note about the enchilada sauce. This stuff from Frontera is amazing. If you aren't making your own, its so worth the extra cost to get this bag rather than the store brand canned stuff. I wish that Frontera was paying me to say that. But they're not...its just that good.


Add a little less than 1/3 a cup of the mixture to each of the 12 tortilla cups.


Drizzle remaining enchilada sauce and then add shredded cheese.


Tent these beauties with tin foil. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove tin foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and browned.


Serve with a salad and you've got yourself a yummy meal in 45 minutes or less.

3.31.2014

Dancing Ribbon Rings Tutorial

I first shared this fun 30 minute craft tutorial over at The Ribbon Retreat. The provided me with the materials in exchange for this tutorial. Check out my disclosure page if you have any questions!


Little Miss has really gotten into singing and dancing lately. Her songs go a little something like "sing....song....sing a sing sing.....song." I can't handle the cuteness and hilariousness of it all. She also busts a move to nearly any song that comes on.

In an attempt to build up her opportunities for imaginative play, I've been looking for toys that foster creative play {and don't have batteries!}. These Dancing Ribbon Rings fit that bill. They are great for promoting imaginative play, movement, and altogether silliness {my favorite!}.

These great little Dancing Ribbon Rings couldn't be easier to make. You'll need:

Plastic or wooden rings {mine are shower curtain rings for $1.19 at Target}
Variety of ribbon {I used Grosgrain 5/8" in Ocean Blue, 1/4" in White, and 3/8" in Tutti Frutti, and TRR Chevron 7/8" in Apple Green and Pink)
Hot glue/glue gun
Scissors
Something to seal the ribbons {lighter, fray check, heat tool}


Start out by wrapping your rings in ribbon. Secure the ribbon at the beginning and end using a dab of hot glue.


Then, cut three different colors of ribbon per ribbon ring. You'll want them to be between 2 and 3 feet long. I cut a notch for a nice extra touch. You'll want to use your sealing method of choice on each ribbon end to prevent fraying.


Knot your ribbon at the middle to your ring. I think three ribbons of various lengths and thicknesses per ring is a good look. Feel free to add more or less!


Hand them off to your tiny dancer and watch the crazy moves! It's that simple!


These can be made in a huge variety of colors and sizes for a whole host of needs. I'm already thinking they would make great party favors! They are also perfect for Easter baskets!


3.24.2014

Magic Pillowcase Tutorial {or how cool was I in the third grade!?!}



Emma's Ruffled Strip Quilt needed a coordinating pillowcase. The folks at The Ribbon Retreat provided me with the fabric in exchange for this tutorial. Check out my Disclosure page if you have questions!

Between the second and third grade, my family moved from Northern to Southern California. I did not take the move well, at all. In attempts to get me plugged in to my new community, my mom signed me up for dance, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, basketball, and sewing lessons.

Of all things, my mom decided that sewing lessons should be apart of the making me feel like I fit in. I took them for about a year. Anyone else wondering about how this helped with the fitting in thing? It sure didn't! Girl Scouts saved me. I put away my sewing machine and never looked back.

That is, until I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. They wanted me to pay how much for a blanket I could make myself!?! I am so glad that I pulled that sewing machine out. It's allowed me to develop a wonderful hobby and make some great things for my little girl. I am so proud to have a momma made quilt headed to her big girl bed.

What's all this have to do with today's tutorial? Well I'm reaching back to a lesson learned in the third grade. It's called the Magic Pillowcase. What makes this pillowcase magic is that all of the seams are encased. No finishing seams and no worrying about fraying through the multitude of washes that bedding requires.

You Need:
3/4 yd main fabric (Essential Dots by Moda in Peony)
2 inches trim fabric (Dottie by Moda in Teal)
Rotary cutter, ruler, and self healing mat
Sewing machine and thread

Prewash and iron your fabric. Trim off selvedges to make all the fabrics the same widths.


Fold your cuff fabric in half, wrong sides together. Press.

Repeat for your two inch strip.


Unfold the cuff fabric and place it, right side up, on a clean work surface.


Place your main fabric on top of the cuff fabric.


Place the trim fabric on top of the main fabric. Make sure all three edges are lined up.


Grab the bottom of your main fabric and roll it up until it is about four inches from the top.


Take the bottom of the cuff fabric and fold it up over the roll. Line up the bottom of the cuff fabric with all the other edges. Pin all layers.

Now sew along that edge (with all four edges) with a presser foot seam allowance. You'll create a tube. Pull the tube right side out.


Fold the fabric in half, like a pillowcase. Trim your edges to make sure everything is even.


Now, you'll encase the side and bottom seams using French Seams. Start by folding your fabric so it looks like a pillow case, wrong sides together. Pin the along the raw side and the bottom and sew using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance (that's fancy speak for a little less than 1/4 inch).



Turn the pillowcase wrong side out. Press well. Then, sew along the bottom and the once raw edge using a presser seam allowance. This will encase your seam. Now you've made a French Seam.


Turn your pillowcase right side out, slip in a pillow, and you're all set!


This pillowcase is holding up great, wash after wash. I love that there's no exposed seams.


3.18.2014

Ruffled Strip Quilt Tutorial {or a big girl room in the making}


I first shared this tutorial over at The Ribbon Retreat. I have a big old crush on this quilt, so I wanted to make sure you all got a chance to see it! The Ribbon Retreat provided me with the fabric for this quilt in exchange for a tutorial. Questions? Check out my Disclosure page!

My daughter is getting to the age of transitioning from a crib to a big girl bed. Thankfully, she is showing no signs of crawling her way out and is quite content with her current sleeping arrangement. We have a convertible crib that we'll transition to a toddler bed. While we were blessed with a hand me down Pottery Bar bedding set that has served us well, I'm excited to use this bed transition as an excuse to get some momma made into my little miss's bedding.



The finished quilt is a generous toddler 67X42 inches. It's a bit big for a toddler bed but great for growing with the kiddo. I envision that in years to come she'll use it as a lap quilt.



I am a relative quilting novice. This quit design is perfect for novice and expert quilters alike. You can make this quilt a breeze by buying two jelly rolls to avoid cutting. The strips make cutting and sewing fast. The ruffles give the quilt great texture and a little something different.



Want to make your own? You'll need:
3/4 yards of 4 different fabrics (Dottie by Moda in Baby Pink, Teal, Peony, and Bella by Moda in Bleached White)
1/2 yd of 1 fabric (Dottie by Moda in Spring Green)
1/2 yd fabric for binding (Essential Dots in White/Peony)
2 1/4 yd fabric for backing (Essential Dots in Teal)
2 1/4 yd of batting (from local craft store)



I'm going to call my fabrics A, B, C, D, and R (for ruffles). I'm a rather conservative pattern kind of gal. Therefore, I went with a repeating pattern of my fabrics. You could totally mix the order up to something  random if you are braver than I am. Do what seems right for your style and your fabrics.



Hands down the best thing about quilting is that you don't have to prewash your fabrics (yes, I hate pre-washing that much!). You should, however iron all of your fabrics before cutting. This will allow for a much more accurate cut and a better final product.



First, let's cut your strips. You'll need to cut 6 strips 3 inches wide by the width of the fabric (WOF) of A, B, and C. You'll need 5 strips 3 inches by WOF of fabric D. You need 10 strips 3 1/2 inches wide by WOF of fabric R. The increased width of R is to allow for the ruffling seams you'll run down both sides of the fabric.



Speaking of ruffling, it's the first thing to take care of. We're going to start by turning the 10 strips into 5 super long strips. Pin the short sides of two strips right sides together. Sew using a presser foot seam allowance. 

Press the seam to one side. Repeat this process until you have your five strips.




You're going to run ruffling seams down both of the long sides of each strip. If you have a preferred ruffling method, please use it. I'm a fan of setting my tension to the tightest setting and my stitch length to the longest setting. Leaving some seriously long strings, sew a stitch down the side, making sure NOT to back stitch at the beginning or end. This should magically ruffle your strip. If you aren't getting a tight enough ruffle, you can apply gentle pressure to your thread right after it comes off the spool. Repeat this process for both sides of all five ruffle strips. The long strings allow you to easily adjust your ruffle if necessary.



Now, it's time to piece the top. You're going to sew your strips together in your pattern or randomness of your choice, using a presser foot seam allowance. If you're following my pattern, it's A, B, C, D, R and repeat.



To start, pin your first to strips right sides together and sew. Press your seam (up, down, open...it's really your preference here). The take your next strip and continue the process.


When you hit the ruffle strip, use the stitch line on the ruffled fabric rather than the edge of the fabric as what you match your other strip up to. This will make sure that your ruffle stitches are all hidden and don't make an unwanted appearance on the front of your quilt.


Before pressing the seam, trim your ruffle seam down to the same height as your regular strip.



And this point, I recommend putting this chunk of your quilt aside and starting the pattern fresh again. This keeps things from becoming too unwieldy. Your very last chunk of quilt should be just an A, B, C chunk.



Now, go ahead and join the chunks of your quilt together. Use your rotary cutter to even up your quilt edges. Then, ta da! You have a quilt top all pieced!



Now it's time to talk quilting. I highly recommend using painters tape or masking tape and curved quilting safety pins to help in this process.



You'll want to cut your quilt backing about two inches bigger than your quilt top. For me, this was 44 X 69 inches. Then, cut your batting about an inch bigger than your quilt top (43 X 68 inches).



Find a clean, smooth surface to work with. Lay out your backing fabric, wrong side up. Work carefully to completely smooth it out. Place tape around the perimeter of your fabric to help hold everything in place.




Center your batting on top of the quilt backing.



Then, center your quilt top on the batting.


Now, it's time to get to work with your curved quilting pins. You should start in the middle and work your way out. Stagger your pins about every two inches. When pinning, keep in mind where you'll be sewing your quilting lines. You want to keep pins out of the way so you don't run into one and snap a needle.



Before you start quilting, change your bobbin to a color that blends in with your quilt backing. Roll your quilt up from both sides to get ready to quilt.



 I stitched in the ditch between B and C and on the top and bottom of R. Stitching in the ditch is just fancy speak for sewing in between the two strips. Start in the center and work your way to the top and then the bottom of your quilt. While you're sewing a straight line, you're going through a lot of layers. Sew slower than normal.



Once you finish quilting, use your rotary cutter to trim so the backing and batting are flush with your quilt top.



Lastly, you'll bind your quilt. I did a binding tutorial on my Cheater Chevron Quilt post. Check it out. For this quilt, I cut six strips 2.5 inches wide to make my continuous binding.



Throw your quilt in the wash with a tinny bit of soap and then dry. This will start the wonderful softening and crinkling process that makes quilts just so wonderful.



I'm personally thrilled that my little miss is still content in her crib. She's loving dragging this quilt all over the place with her. She has also asked to sleep with it every night. I call that a win! Although, I can't wait to see this little gem on her big girl bed!






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