DIY Tufted Headboard

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After scouring the market for a new headboard, Mr.P&P and I decided we would have more fun (and save $) by attempting to make our own.  So, here it goes!

Shopping for upholstery fabric was really fun.  JoAnn Fabrics had tons of options and they always have great coupons.  We selected this soft beige color with a subtle sheen.

Next, the shape!  So many great options available:

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We selected the Belgrave option and got to work!

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After selecting a shape, we trimmed the MDF for the perfect base.

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Then, we drew a grid for pre-drilling our button holes.

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To save cash on the padding, we opted for a foam mattress topper we found on Amazon.  This worked perfectly!  Only a little trimming was necessary and we didn’t have to bother with multiple layers, etc.  This mattress topper was about 3-4 inches thick.  Perfect for tufting!

 

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I found pre-strung pewter nail head trim at JoAnn Fabrics.  This queen size headboard required a few packages to get around the top and sides.

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Our dog, Karma, was very confused by all of the crafting going on.  She’s not used to getting a view of my crafting projects in progress.  Working on the floor was the easiest.

You can see in the picture (above) that we used a french cleat to hang the headboard.  Perfect fit!

 DIY Buttons! 

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To have the perfect buttons, we had to make our own.  I picked up a DIY Button tool and got to work!  It turns out that the lid of a K-Cup is the perfect stencil for these 1-3/8 inch buttons.  

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Also, waxed thread is a MUST! It took a little teamwork to get the upholstery needle through the fabric and foam and finally to pull the thread tightly and staple it down to create the perfect “tufts.”  But it was a memory we will have forever… and we have a great memento to show for it:

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Making our own furniture was so fun! I highly recommend it! Research and a little muscle made the whole experience super fun.  I love the final result!

Zucchini Bread…YUM!

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I am so excited to share this adventure in baking!  Our local farm share  had so many zucchinis in the fall that I had to think outside the box and find a way to put them to good use.  I heard people either love or hate Zucchini Bread…and I must say, after this baking experience, I am on the ZB-Lover side of the debate… especially with chocolate chips and a few walnuts added for a delicious crunch!

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini – grated (approx. 2 cups)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
**Optional: 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
3. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl.
4. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar in stand mixer.  Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.  Mix well.
5. Stir in zucchini, nuts and chocolate chips.
6. Pour batter into prepared pans.
7. Bake 40-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
8. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and allow to completely cool.

Grating Zucchini?

Step 1

Cut both ends off of the zucchini and scrub it with a vegetable brush under warm running water. Make sure to remove any dirt from the outside of the zucchini since you will keep the skin on for grating.

Step 2

Set a standup box grater on a plate or cutting board on the counter. The plate or cutting board will catch the grated zucchini.

Step 3

Shred the zucchini by continuously running it over the large holes of the grater.

Karma’s Hand-Stamped Tote

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I took my stamping skills to a new level with this project!  My inspiration for this craft came from a genius subscription-based craft company called WhimseyBox.  I found their fabric stamping tutorial incredibly helpful.

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I found an inexpensive canvas tote bag at my local A.C. Moore Craft Supply Store.  This one is particularly useful for Karma’s overnight trips to the Doggie Hotel or road trips with us because it has 2 large front pockets, perfect for a leash or treats (or both!)

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After printing my desired image, I used a #2 pencil to cover the image with lead.  Then, I flipped it onto the blank carving block and rubbed the image to transfer the pencil marks.

Then, the carving begins!  A great craft to get out some aggression!! :)

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An inexpensive brayer was necessary to get even amounts of ink on the stamp.

I used an oil-based fabric ink in White and Orange.

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Ta-Da!  The final product is both practical and fun!  I love that having Karma’s name on her sleepover bag is helpful to Doggie Day Care and an edgy expression of creativity.   Useful art is the BEST!

Personalized Luggage Tag

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I made this personalized luggage tag with Echino Decoro Fabric “Buck Turquoise” and Dear Stella “Honey Crisp/Twiggy Brown”.  It was my first project with a button hole.  My new sewing machine makes this a breeze!   The button hole makes the perfect way to attach the ribbon.

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I found a very helpful tutorial from Soubelles that includes step-by-step directions.

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This print makes me giggle!  I love this Buck in eyeglasses!

 

Kitchen Gear with Attitude

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For an accessory to my Father’s Day present, I embellished a pot holder with the same Echino “Buck with Glasses” Fabric.   I pre-washed and ironed a scrap to prepare for this project.

Trimming the fabric was tricky due to the repeating pattern.  I wanted to showcase a Buck in the bottom center.  Unfortunately, that meant there would be a small part of another deer peeking out on the side.

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I carefully folded in the edges and pinned the fabric in place.  Using a neutral colored thread, I slowly machine stitched around the perimeter to tack it in place.

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I found this Room Essentials set of 2 Pot Holders and Oven Mitt at Target.  I thought the tan was the perfect neutral background for my Echino Fabric by Etsuko Furuya “Buck with Glasses” (EF500 in Blue).

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Voila!  Here is a peek at the whole gift set:

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 This project was so much fun!  I love practical and personalized gifts and lucky for my Dad –  this one is both! :)

Awake Custard-Cream

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For a savory dessert, I decided to try my hand at English Tea flavored Ice Cream, or in this case “Custard Cream.”

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Now that I have attempted a few recipes, I understand that the ice cream techniques that include simmering egg yokes with the milk and sugar mixer before refrigerating overnight are actually “custards”.  While it takes some extra work and patience to wait to freeze the mixture until the next day, it is definitely worth it!  The result: the most creamy ice cream with texture and firmness matching any store bought ice cream.

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Since I am not a huge fan of Earl Gray Tea, I modified the recipes I poured over to substitute my favorite Tazo Tea: Awake English Breakfast.

Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart

1 cup whole milk
2 cups half and half (can use heavy cream for a richer ice cream)
3/4 cup sugar
5-6 Earl Grey tea bags
5 egg yolks

  • Warm the milk, half and half, and sugar in a saucepan. Remove from heat, place tea bags in the pan, cover and steep at room temperature for an hour. Remove tea bags.
  • Rewarm tea-infused milk. Whisk egg yolks together in a separate bowl.Slowly pour the milk mixture into the bowl with egg yolks, whisking constantly.
  • Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring and scrapping the bottom of the pan constantly until the mixture thickens to a custard and coats the spatula.
  • Cool the mixture, and freeze in your ice cream maker.

 

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After bringing the milk, half-and-half, and sugar to a boil, I reduced the heat to steep 5 tea bags for 1 hour.  Then, I cooled the mixture and added the egg yokes.  Finally, I refrigerated the mixture in a Tupperware overnight before pouring it into my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. (Major deal – I found this kitchen gadget on clearance a few months ago at Sur La Table – Of course, I could not resist the purple! It must have been fate!)IMG_6492

The result was delicious!  I am so impressed that this recipe created a great texture – as close to hard ice cream as I have ever seen in a homemade ice cream.  I think it is the “custard” (i.e. use of eggs) that makes this velvety texture that perfectly emulates store bought dessert!

Yumm-O! :)

My 1st Baby Blanket

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FREE PATTERN: available here from Lion Brand by Martha Stewart.

SUBSTITUTE YARN: Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima – Yellow Rose ($9.50/hank from yarn.com)

FLICKING TUTORIAL: available here by Very Pink.com

My Knit Notes:

5/5/13: A road trip project for my big trip to Florida for my swearing in ceremony (into the Florida Bar). Even though my “Sheldon” Bobble Sheep is yet to have any feet, I was adamant about starting this project for some mindless knitting in the long car ride from NY to FL. My husband and I are hoping on our first child in the next few years, so he encouraged me to start a baby blanket. :)

This is my first project using the “flicking” technique. I am an English knitter, so I decided in an effort to pick up speed and maintain contact with the right needle, I would try verypink.com ‘s technique of pivoting the right needle to hook the working yarn. While I have to admit it felt a bit awkward in the beginning, I am really loving the feeling now. It will take time to develop a consistent position for the working yarn in my right index finger. This will be key to maintaining a consistent tension throughout the work.

I’m using my Knitter’s Pride circular needles, size 8. I love that I can keep switching the length of the cable to accommodate the growing width of this project. I experienced my first splinter today. Yuck! Luckily my husband cut me a small piece of sandpaper to keep in my knitting tool pouch to quickly remedy this bamboo ailment.

5/16/13: Webs (yarn.com) sent replacement needles just in time. I suffered 2 painful splinters on my road trip while trying to use the damaged ones. Luckily, when I got home my needles had already arrived! No charge! Great customer service!

I’m struggling with the decreasing lace panels “C”s. I am not sure but it creates a different 3 hole pattern in the panel. Maybe it’s intentional. I’m not sure. My first and third rows of holes were aligned on all the “A” lace panels during the increase.

I have used 2 skeins so far, so I am happy that I estimated needing 4. The plan was to have at least 1 skein leftover for a baby accessory to match – a tiny hat perhaps!

It has been exciting to share this project with my mom, nana and sister on my road trip home to FL. It is special because my husband and I have baby plans on the horizon. :) it’s really exciting to start allowing myself to dream about this goal in my life. I’ve held off for a long time while we trudged through college, grad school, then law school. I want to work for a few years before I attempt the mom title, but at least this project is a physical representation of my commitment to achieve this lifelong goal.

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I am loving this lemony yellow! It’s called Yellow Rose. It’s quite silky – no knots formed in my hand wound center pulled balls. It’s soft and sweet!

Flicking is going great! I have found that wrapping the working yarn around my ring finger creates the perfect tension.

5/19/13: The final row is complete! Weaving in the ends must wait for another (more patient) day!

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  Check out this project and connect with me on Ravelry!

Rolled Hem Hanky

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I love creating handmade gifts.  For Father’s Day, I decided to step up my game and make up for my lost crafting years (aka law school) and get back to basics to create a special surprise for my step father.  He is the best dressed guy around, so a fun summertime handkerchief that would be a festive pocket square was the perfect project.

I started with a tutorial from the Purl Bee Blog.

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I used a great fabric called Liberty of London Tana Lawn Classic.  It is so luxuriously soft and silky, yet 100% cotton.  It was the perfect fabric for this project because it is silky enough to be displayed as a pocket square, yet soft enough to be used as a handkerchief as well.  This pattern reminds me of The Great Gatsby – which seems to be a hot trend this season.  IMG_6462

I also picked up hand sewing thread in white (for a great contrast on the rolled hem) and size 10 hand sewing needles.

IMG_6460It was useful to acquire a quilting square for this project.  It seemed like the appropriate time to add one to my toolbox, so I found this Quilt Square on Amazon by “Quilt in a Day”.  And of course, my handy rotary cutter was a blessing for this project (as cutting the perfect square on an exact pattern was necessary).IMG_6463

The rolled hem was really fun to make!  The tutorial makes it SUPER easy and straightforward.  I opted to use a few lengths of thread (about 20 inches each).  The instructions also recommend using one long 60″ thread as an alternative.IMG_6506

For a personalized touch, I added this embroidery detail.  I am still enamored with my new Brother 4200 PRW Sewing Machine that does all these fancy stitches.  I attached Scot’s initials in the bottom right corner.  I hope this handkerchief will be a useful addition to his dapper wardrobe!

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Heavenly Earl Gray Tea Cookies

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Wow! Heavenly Tea Cookies!

Nate and I recently discovered this incredible Tea House in Geneva, NY on the top of Seneca Lake.  It is a delicious British Eatery called DallyWater’s.  We passed by on our way to the Finger Lakes’ wineries and had to stop in.  We had the most delicious tea, pastries, and finger sandwiches – cucumber with mint cream cheese – my fave!  When they bring out your tea selection, it is accompanied by scrumptious tea biscuits.

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tea menu

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I picked Coronation Chicken and Cucumber with Mint Cream Cheese. Nate picked Egg with Celery & Dill Mayonnaise. They were all so amazing!!! :)

This is my attempt to recreate the magic of those DallyWater cookies:

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I started with Tazo English Breakfast Tea and Earl Gray Tea – 2 bags of each.

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I combined the tea with Confectioner’s Sugar, Flour, Course Salt in a large bowl.  (I love my family heirloom PYREX mixing bowls! Makes me homesick for my Mom!)

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 Here is the recipe I used for general guidance:

Earl Grey Tea Cookies
from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

2 cups flour
2 tbsps finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from about 4 bags)
   **I used 2 Earl Grey bags + 2 Awake English Breakfast bags
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp orange zest, finely grated

Whisk together flour, tea, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest on medium speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined. Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper and shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Freeze until firm (1 hour). Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut logs into 1/4 inch thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 5 days. Makes 8 dozen.

Helpful Links: http://userealbutter.com/2008/12/04/earl-grey-tea-cookies-recipe/

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‘Downton Abbey’ inspired Lucy Hat

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I’m crazy about Downton Abbey!  I love the cloche hat – so stylish! So of course, I fell head over heels for this pattern!  It’s called The Lucy Hat.  It’s made with the most amazing yarn called Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in “Hickory” and “Tart”.  I had a difficult time tracking down these colorways, but ultimately landed a skein of each from Jimmy Beans Wool.  Woot! Woot!  (Even though the stock was listed as 0, it shipped to me the next business day! It certainly pays to ask! Excellent customer service!)

I tried to substitute with “Teddy Bear” and “Byzantine” – which are the similar but more muted than these.

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Wrap Stitch: I found the verypink.com tutorials helpful here. I was relieved to find that it wasn’t necessary to pick up the wraps in subsequent rows. What a relief! I think sparing us that challenge was kind of the designer. :)

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I just watched ‘Christmas at Downton’ last night.  It was fun to see all the cloche hats in action!  I love the post-war style; as the ladies’ clothes get a little more simple, their accessories have a chance to shine!  (Especially these hats!) My Season 2 DVD has a special feature, in which the actors discuss their characters’ style of dress throughout the season.  I love it!

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My Knit Notes:

5/19/13: This is my first experience with Madelinetosh.  This hickory colorway is everything I was hoping for. It has great color variety and richness. I was going to substitute with Teddy Bear, but I am so glad I didn’t. It was more solid color without the variation that I love a out Hickory. No shedding so far. It’s a quite durable fiber, which is perfect for a hat. It seems like it will stand up to years of use.

5/20/13: short rows done! Ready for the contrast color!

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5/21/13: stockinette in the round = knit every round. Why is this so confusing? I wish the designer would just say knit! This is the first time I’ve seen this straight knit referred to as stockinette in a circular pattern. I’m glad I was paying close attention to the model photo and realized there is no purling in the mid-section.

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5/25/13: I decided to make the body a bit longer than the pattern suggests. I went for 6.25 instead of 5.25 inches.  This is a testament to the customization you can achieve when creating garments with yourself in mind.  I love wearing hats low and over my ears a bit.  To suit me and to prevent tugging from making the top perfectly round, I added one inch.

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5/29/13: All done! Ends weaved in! I decided not to sew down the flap, I think its “adjustability” will be beneficial with use.

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I truly LOVED making this project.  I have my eye on a similar pattern that will use this same type of yarn.  I am a BIG fan of Madelinetosh after this and I can’t wait to order a blue hue for a hat for my husband.  It knit up very fast!  Since it is knit from the bottom upwards, the challenge of the flap is over right up front and then the easy mindless knitting of the body begins.  I loved the top decreases.  It adds a subtle sophistication to this project.  I also think that this pattern is so gorgeous because it is perfectly suited to this Tosh Vintage yarn.  It has enough firmness to keep a shape and enough stability to withstand use during wear.  I love it!

 Check out this project and connect with me on Ravelry!

 

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