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Friday, November 22, 2013

Halloween Recap: Costumes Costumes Costumes!

As Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, here is a recap of Halloweens past, and of the fun costumes I made the kids this year.  How fun to reminisce about these tiny costumes I made in years past, and how much the kids grow from year to year.  I can't believe how big they are getting!

Drake was only 4 weeks old for his first Halloween.  What better costume for the son of a football coach than to BE the football?  I made this pattern up myself....a front and back of brown fleece, a big plastic white zipper and some grosgrain ribbon for the stripes.  And a fleece hat to match.  So of course we went to the football game.  He's soooo tiny!  

Look at the difference a year later!  A little cowboy! I made a tiny little vest, complete with an embroidered sheriff's badge.  And chaps!  Tiny, baby sized chaps!  Again, I just made up a pattern, tracing a pair of his pants, fringing the edges and adding a velcro closure in the back.  Add a hat and boots, a "cool dude" shirt that his Pops gave him, and Viola!  The cutest cowboy in the land.

Curious George has always been a favorite of mine.  For this costume, I followed a pattern, Simplicity 2506, adapting it a bit to make a little George.  The body is a fuzzy fleece type material, with felt ears, hands and feet.  I embroidered the t-shirt and cut it short so it was the correct proportions.  Add Daddy as the Man in the Yellow Hat....perfect! I made the hat and got his pants from Goodwill, and the rest was his!

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!  His birthday is pretty close to Halloween, so I did dual duty with this one.  I made him a long pants jon-jon with an appliqued Mickey that he could wear to his Mickey Mouse birthday party, and then layered Mickey shorts, hat, gloves and yellow shoes to complete his outfit.  He still loves Mickey to this day!

The year of Robots.  When he said he wanted to be a robot, I did some serious brainstorming.  I just love this costume.  I started with a long sleeve t-shirt, sweatpants, and a milk jug.  I found a tutorial sort of like this one (can't find the original), covered the shirt and pants with duct tape, cut the top off of the milk jug to make the hat, and covered it in duct tape also.  I then added stick on foam panels and shapes on the front and the arms.  I got a strand of LED battery powered Christmas lights, poked holes all around the front panel and stuck the bulbs in there.  I ran the wires through the arm and taped the battery pack in the wrist, so he could turn the lights on and off, and make them blink!  The "eyes" were flickering pumpkin lights.  I attached them with velcro since their on/off switch was on the back of the lights.  He was his very own flashlight for trick-or-treating!  A great bonus was that I could see him really well at night!

My sweet little violet!  I actually had this pattern by Simplicity in my stash.  I added a petal collar, the tiniest green tights you've ever seen, and crocheted her a yellow hat like the center of a violet!  (I'm all about dual-duty...she still wears this hat!)

I feel like my kids have grown 5 years in the last 1.  They just seem so big and grown up!  My sweet boy wanted to be his Christmas elf for Halloween.  The child has a countdown calendar to when "Grady McGee" is coming to visit, the day after Thanksgiving.  He wore Hanna Andersson striped PJs, with flannel shorts and a flannel top I made following this See & Sew PJ shirt pattern, deleting the ruffles, lengthening it, and adding the slits on the sides.  I embroidered the snowflake, and sewed on the belt and bow tie.  

This will probably be my last year to pick her costume, so I chose Dorothy.  I just made this pattern up by cutting out a circle skirt and attaching a bib and straps.  I crossed the straps in the back and had them button to the skirt.  I made matching bows....who can resist these pigtails?!!  And of course, gittery red shoes, a basket for "Toto", who was played by her favorite panda, and a tutu underneath the dress to make it really poofy!

I just love making costumes and creating characters out of my little ones!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Snack Packs!

Back to school time is so fun.  So much excitement, new markers, backpacks and SNACK PACKS!  Drake needed a snack pack for school that was separate from his lunch box. 

I found this tutorial on Pinterest (of course).  It calls for a fabric called PUL (Polyurethane Laminate), which is used in cloth diapering.   There's some discussion as to whether PUL is food-safe.  The FDA hasn't evaluated it, since it's primary use is for diapering, not food, but the Babyville website states that it is BPA, PVC and Phthalate free.   I put the snacks in little containers inside of this snack pack, so the food isn't directly touching the fabric anyway.  I just like the fact that it's easily wiped out, and is machine washable.  

This tutorial uses a white, plain PUL, but my Joann's has a selection of cute Babyville brand printed PUL (Pricey, so use your coupon!), so I used it for the outside and also the lining.   

I cut out 4 rectangles as per the tutorial, and cut out the corners.

Stitched on the top edge band....

Temporarily glued the velcro in it's place and then sewed it down (love the glue stick!)

After stitching up the sides, the bottom corner cut-outs didn't exactly match up, so I trimmed them to match.

I stitched close to the top edge and then every 1/4" or so down the band.

I used my sewing machine's built in lettering stitches to put his name on a ribbon backed with interfacing.  This isn't the embroidery side of the machine, it's in the sewing side.  Perfect size font for a 1/4" ribbon.  I stitched this ribbon down the middle of the velcro band.

Finished view of the top.  Two little ribbon pulls help little fingers pry the velcro open.  Genius!

And the final's been great! Just big enough for an afternoon snack.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Embroidered Patch Tutorial - Backpacks and Lunchboxes!

Well, it's that time, back to school!  My oldest child started Junior Kindergarten this year, sniff sniff!  He's getting so big!  We went shopping, just the two of us, and picked out this backpack from Pottery Barn Kids (thank you very much, mall gift card!).  

I've made embroidered patches before, and knew this would be a great use to personalize his backpack, especially since there was no way to hoop it to embroider directly on it.  

First up, pick a design.  I found a free download for applique shapes, click here to download! It came with rectangles, rounded edge rectangles and ovals.  I added Drake's name and positioned it to the edge of my hoop (I wanted to save fabric and stabilizer).

Next, I hooped some tear away stabilizer.  Probably non-tear away would work better, but this is what I had!

I pinned my fabric really well to the stabilizer, making sure I had enough room to stitch my design.

Let's get to work! Ready, set, go!

I started stitching the rectangle, bad idea.  When it got to the satin stitch on the edge, it tore away from the stabilizer.  So I just used some sticky back stabilizer to stick it back in the correct spot. 

 ***NOTE TO SELF, AND YOU......stitch the name first!*****

I cut away the excess fabric, leaving just stabilizer hooped, and a rectangle of fabric.

Then stitched in the name (Remember, do the name first!)

Once it was finished, I tore away all the excess stabilizer, and then cut a rectange a bit smaller than my patch out of Steam-A-Seam.  Love this stuff!

Peel away one layer of paper from the Steam-A-Seam, stick it on the patch, and then pull off the remaining layer of paper.  

I unzipped the front pocket of the backpack, stuck the patch where I wanted it, and pressed it in place. 

The edges don't stick really well....the iron just won't heat up through the satin stitch well.  This is why I said cut a rectangle of the Steam-A-Seam a bit smaller than the patch.  I used a hot glue gun to run a thin line of glue around the edge to really adhere the patch well. and keep those edges from peeling back in the future.

Voila!  Personalized backpack!

Here's his lunchbox I personalized for him last year.  Same process.  It held up all year long.  (Laptop lunchbox, LOVED it!)

And here's my big boy, off to his first day.  Love you sweet boy!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mickey Mouse Calzones!

Oh blog, I'm sorry I've neglected you the last few weeks.  After the Hot Air Balloon Cake fiasco, I got straight away to making custom bows for various cheerleading squads, school spirit shops, and even a travel softball team!  Want to see pictures? Click here....and don't forget to "like" The Aimée Way on Facebook!

I'm always looking for dinner ideas that my almost-5-year-old will eat, and when I found a recipe on Pinterest for heart shaped calzones, I knew I could make my Mickey Mouse loving kid sooo happy!  The recipe is from, and is made with whole wheat flour, even better!  Click here for the recipe.

After making the dough, I rolled it out, and used a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter to cut out the shapes.

I filled each with a bit of pizza sauce, cheese, and cubed ham:

I used a fork to crimp all around the edges.  I think a bigger Mickey would allow for more filling, but this was the size of the cookie cutter... 

They puffed up quite nicely in the oven, though some of the filling came through the sides...

YUM!  They were a hit.  I even saved some and put them in his lunches the next week.

A Mickey plate for a Mickey dinner!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Disastrous Adventures of the Hot Air Balloon Cake

I talked in my Valentine Ninja Cookies post about how Kelly Ripa feels like she can do anything if she watches it on TV....I'm sooo the same when it comes to creating stuff.  Yes, stuff.  Usually it's making things for the kids, or sewing.   This time it was THE HOT AIR BALLOON CAKE.  Cue sinister music....dun dun DUN.  

A friend asked me to make a cake for a baby shower, and wanted this hot air balloon cake made by Jessicakes.  Gorgeous, right?  She even has somewhat of a tutorial on her blog on how she made it.  So I'm all..."sure, I can do that!".   This cake is made up of (6) 6" round cakes and (3) 4" round cakes stacked on top:

So I got to baking.  All is well!  Cakes turn out perfectly, assembly is pretty easy.  I supported the cake with a cardboard cake board after the 3rd 6" cake, and then again under the 4" cakes.  (I ended up using (5) 6" cakes.  I think my cakes baked thicker than Jessicakes).  I also used bamboo skewers in multiple locations on each level to keep this tall cake sturdy, making sure I had one going through the entire center.

Look, level!

And because the cakes were thicker, this thing was taaaaallllll..........(look at all that MESS!)

So here it is.  Crumb coated, just about perfectly level.

On to modeling chocolate! This was fun.  I'd never used it before, but it's just chocolate candy melts mixed with corn syrup, and kneaded into a Play-Doh type consistency.  It rolled out beautifully, and I got this handy tool to help me cut out the shapes and run decorative lines on them.  I used a bit of icing to adhere the sugar pearls.  

I wasn't about to attempt that striped border, so I used solid blue in the same shape to give it the same effect.

The morning of the bridal shower, I adhered the chocolate pieces and added the topper.  I'm pretty happy with this cake at this point.  Looks pretty close to the original, yay!  Hmm.  It's leaning just a tad to the right, but that's ok.  Nobody's perfect.

From the back, not bad!  I get a call from my friend that she is on her way to pick it up.  Cool.  I think she'll like it!

My children had spent the night at my parents' house the night before, and my dear husband went to go get them so I had the house to myself.  I went ahead and sat down with a cup of coffee.  Sigh.  A nice reward after hard work. 

And then. 

I went upstairs for something and noticed the cake was leaning a bit more, I think? Maybe it was leaning before? wasn't leaning that much, was it?

Oh no! Oh my gosh! Someone help me! 

I get to the cake just as it TOTALLY falls over.  So here I am, by myself in the house, holding this cake with two hands.  The platter it's on is sliding all over the counter top, and I'm just frozen, trying to figure out what to do...trying not to cry or laugh hysterically.  I wish I had this on video.  

Carefully I transfer my hands so I'm holding it with one hand, and quickly take off all of the chocolate decorations.   I grab a plate, and in the fastest motion you've ever seen me move, I picked up the top blue part, stuck it on the plate and caught the cake again.  I separated the white cake at the cake board and put it on plates too.  

Did I mention that my friend is almost at the house to pick up the cake?  Holy panic.  What do I do?  The only think I could think of was to run to Publix and buy a sheet cake.  But they didn't have a plain one, so I got one with pink roses on it.  They were NOT easy to get off of the cake, and I realized I needed to put a layer of icing on top of this cake.  But of COURSE I don't have all the ingredients for another batch of icing. so back to the store I go.  (nerves.panic.hysteria)

And then, the icing I made would NOT stick to the Publix icing.  Finally I got it to smooth out just enough, added my decorations back on it, and Voila! New hot air balloon cake.  Definitely not as awesome as the original cake, but passable.  In a panic, in a pinch, it turned out ok in the end. 

I don't have a lot of pictures of the disaster, but here's a shot of the remains of the white part of the cake in the background:

I was able to salvage the blue part of the cake, and added a small hot air balloon to it.  The cake table was really pretty.  What a huge relief that it turned out ok.  I think my cake was not dense enough to stack that high, that narrow, etc.  Note to self, don't make this cake again.  I delivered the cake to the baby shower, came home, resumed my spot on the couch, but this time I had a beer.  Sigh.

I ended up salvaging part of the white cake as well.  I put the remaining hot air balloons on it, made a new topper and brought it to welcome my in-laws to Tennessee.  They just moved here, yay!  (Drake wrote "Love Drake Violet" on the bottom banner)

So I have to resign myself to the fact that I actually CAN'T do everything.  Remind me that next time, mmmkay?