Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pine Cone Snowflake Wreath

As we wind down after Christmas (I literally just took down my tree last weekend!!) I've been looking for ways to transition into Winter around our house (basically be lazy and not put everything away!).  Before the holidays began I made this Pine Cone Snowflake wreath that I had seen all over pinterest.  I've been dragging around a bag of pine cones from our first house we lived in 10 years ago and was super excited to finally use them!  It was pretty tedious to make, but I love how it turned out and made it the focal point of our front room above the piano.

I found the instructions on how to make it here.  The only thing I'd add to their instructions is to use shims to reinforce the arms of the snowflake.  They get really heavy with all of the pine cones and I didn't have access to industrial strength cardboard!  I also didn't worry about printing a huge template to trace - dC and I free-handed the snowflake pattern.  It doesn't have to be perfect, the pine cones covered up the imperfections - and each snowflake is different in it's own way right?  

Here's what the back looks like - not very pretty, but that's why it's the back!  dC added a heavy duty wall hanger to the shim I deemed the "top" to make it easier to, well, hang!

I'm linking to:  Craftberry Bush and Lines Across

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's Sew Sunday--Sweater Mittens

For Christmas dC got me a new sewing machine!  I have been in a sewing slump since my old machine was acting up - having a new one meant that I could get back to having some fabric fun.

I'm not proclaiming to be good at it, I just like to follow patterns, sew straight lines and fix things!  I've made all of the curtains in our house (straight lines) but now that I have this fancy new machine, I'm going to dive into some different types of projects and maybe some not so straight lines!

Today I am making Sweater Mittens.  They are sooo fast to make.  I had an old wool sweater in my closet that I no longer wore due to a hole.  I had grandiose ideas of felting it and making it into a pillow, but as Fender and I were walking home from school, I felt his little hands as we crossed the street and they were freezing!  He had lost one of his mittens and it was time for a new pair! 

If you'd like to make them too, here's what you'll need:
An old sweater (Thrifting for this would be fun!)
freezer paper (my new best friend)
sewing machine
matching thread
the hands you'd like to mitt

Begin by laying out a piece of freezer paper and trace the hand in a mitten pattern onto it.  Leave a good 1/2 inch seam allowance around it and make sure to leave an inch allowance at the wrist.  Aren't Fender's little fingers cute?

Cut out the pattern and place on the sweater.  I used the bottom edge of the sweater since it had a naturally knitted pattern I thought would be cute for the wrist of the mitten.  Using a dry setting, iron the freezer paper pattern shiny side down onto the sweater.  The plastic on the shiny side creates a temporary bond to most fabric.  Fender added a little decoration to his pattern!

Cut out the pattern through both layers of the sweater.  Remove the freezer paper re-iron onto another area of the sweater and cut out the second mitten.  Cutting through both layers saves a lot of time, since you'll need 4 patterns for 2 mittens.

Putting right sides together pin the mittens with pin heads facing out for easy removal while sewing.
Then starting at the bottom edge sew a straight stitch around the perimeter of the mitten.  Slow down around the thumb and raise and lower the presser foot turning the mitten each time to create a smooth, round corner.  Be sure to lock your stitches at the edges when you begin and end.

I went around the mitten twice just to ensure the sweater stitches were locked and wouldn't fray.  Cut any extra seam allowance off to remove the bulk.  Repeat for the second mitten!

PS~I would normally use matching thread, but I used contrasting so you can see the stitches (curvy and imperfect for sure!)

Turn right side out and press the seams to finish the mittens!  They are as warm as the sweater you made them from!

I'm linking up to Funday Monday!  Check it out on the link above!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Preserving Jellied Cranberry Sauce

I've converted dC into a cranberry sauce eater.  He hasn't been a fan, but this Christmas I decided to branch out and make my own jellied sauce from scratch.  Since cranberry season ends in December, I hit my local grocery store and bought some in order to preserve this deliciousness of the season.  And since dC got me 3 new types of  Weck Canning Jars for Christmas I could not resist trying my hand at canning the sauce!

You can find the recipe for the Jellied Cranberry Sauce here.

I love while the cranberries are cooking they begin to burst. At times it sounds like popcorn popping!

Using the Weck jars is a bit more complicated than the typical Ball jars since their lids are glass they are not self sealing. The end result is so pretty that I'd use these forever!  There is a great tutorial over at this blog how to use the jars. 

There are only two things I would add specifically to preserving cranberry sauce.  First it would be to strain the sauce into another container before ladling them into your jars.  This will help in consistency of flavor and is a lot less messy. 
The second would be to skim the pink foam off the top of the jelly before pouring in to the jars.  It just keeps the jelly clear and a beautiful deep red color!

I hope you take some time this season to preserve some of your favorite flavors!  Happy Canning!

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