Mary

Bigelow Tea, Oatmeal Apricot Bars & Downton Abbey

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MeAndMyTea #CollectiveBias

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With the start of every new year the thing I’m most excited about is the start of another season of Downton Abbey! I know this season is the last so I’m looking forward to seeing how they wrap up the story I’ve followed for years now. Each week I get together with some friends to watch the show. We get out the fine china and create a different tea and baked good pairing. Today I’m sharing the recipe for one of our favorite combinations, Oatmeal Apricot Bars with Bigelow I Love Lemon tea. I picked up my tea at Walmart where they have a big selection of Bigelow varieties.

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Oatmeal Apricot Bars

These are super easy to make! To get started, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Add 1 1/2 sticks of semi-softened butter (3/4 cup) and mix until uniformly crumbly.

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Press 2/3 of mixture firmly into a 9×13 pan. Stir an 18 oz. jar of apricot preserves and spread over top. Try not to disturb the bottom layer, but don’t worry if some of the crust gets pulled up by the jam.

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Crumble the remaining flour mixture over the top and press down lightly.

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Bake for 35 minutes until edges are light brown and bubbly. Let bars cool before cutting.

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Then brew yourself some tea, pinkies up, and enjoy the show! Our favorite tea with the bars is Bigelow I Love Lemon. It tastes like tea with fresh lemon juice (and it includes a daily dose of Vitamin C!). The tart tea goes well with the sweet apricot bars, especially if you add a splash of milk to your tea. If you prefer a less bold lemon flavor, Lemon Lift is a combination of lemon and spices that’s a little more subtle. Both teas are caffeine free and each teabag comes in individual foil packets.

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Are any of you readers fans of Downton, and do you have a favorite tea to drink while watching? Let us know in the comments! And, if you’d like to find out more about Bigelow Teas and all the varieties they offer, check out their site here!

Stamped Christmas Gift Tags with Expressionery

Today we’re partnering with Expressionery for these adorable stamped gift tags! Every year I like to make a box of baked goods for our UPS, Fedex, and USPS delivery guys as a thanks for the million Amazon.com boxes they deliver each year, especially at Christmas! This year’s box includes chocolate dipped oreos, bourbon balls, and butterscotch bars. To finish off the box I used the Merry Christmas banner stamp to create a gift tag and wrote in the delivery guy’s name (kid names are blurred in the photo, but it looks perfect in real life).

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For presents to our kids I used the Inspector Elf stamp. I thought this one was a lot of fun. One night we asked our kids what they thought elves might be named. Then I cut out squares of craft paper and stamped them, then used a calligraphy pen to write in the names of the different elves the kids had suggested. Then I used rubber cement to glue them to the packages like an actual approval sticker. The stamp can be customized for both the wording on the top and bottom, and for the elf name. I chose to leave mine blank but if you want to have an elf name put on the stamp (like the name of your elf on the shelf) you can do that!

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The stamps are high quality self-inking stamps that come in their own little muslin bag. The stamps have a lock on them that’s great to prevent your 3 year old from stamping elf approvals all over your dining room table (I discovered the lock too late).

Expressionery-Tags

One of my favorite parts of ordering from Expressionery is the preview window! As you customize your stamp you get an instant preview of what your final stamp will look like.

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There are tons of stamp designs to choose from and right now you can get 30% off by using the code VERYMERRY!

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Leather Photo Frame Ornament with HP Envy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SaveYourMemories #CollectiveBias

HP Title Image

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we’re getting into the Christmas spirit! Every year we try to make new ornaments for our tree. This year I decided to put together a photo frame ornament with some fall photos of my sons I snapped on my smart phone and printed with my HP Envy 4512 All-in-One Printer/Copier/Scanner purchased from Wal-Mart.

HP Walmart Aisle

I just picked up the new printer today and had it set up and printing photos from my phone in 11 minutes. I realized that I have over 2000 photos on my phone and I have print outs of…none of them! With this printer, I can snap a photo then wirelessly send it to the printer from wherever I’m at in my house. This will be great for sending photos to family members in our Christmas cards this year. To print the photos I just used the HP All-in-One Remote app from my phone. The app worked smoothly and I was able to print my photos without ever using a computer. Here’s just a few screen shots showing the main app screen. I just selected Print/Share, then Photos, then selected the photo from my camera gallery. After selecting the photo I hit the printer icon in the upper right and then selected Print and out it came!

Mickey Minnie Printables Preview

To make the photo frames, I picked up some leather scraps from my local upholstery shop. The leather is super soft and feeds easily through my sewing machine with a rolling foot. To get started I cut a back rectangle at 3.5″ x 4.5″ out of the leather. Then I cut a front frame the same size and cut out a center rectangle leaving a 5/8″ border all the way around. Then I cut a piece of clear vinyl to 3.25″ x 4.25″.

Photo Frame Materials

I first sewed the vinyl piece inside the frame using my longest stitch length and a rolling foot on my sewing machine. Then I sandwiched the back leather piece, the photo and the front piece together and sewed 3/16″ all the way around the frame. When I got to the top I inserted a 9″ piece of ribbon behind the photo and in between the layers of leather so it was caught in the line of stitches.

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If you want to be able to change out the photo, sew a line of stitches on one side of the frame piece, then stack it on top of the back piece and ribbon and sew the other 3 sides together (so you have 1 open side and 3 closed sides, but stitches all around).Then I glued on some holly leaves cut from grosgrain ribbon and little red buttons. Now we’ve got this memory of the boys preserved for every Christmas!

Final Frame Image

If you want to have some Christmas decoration fun without putting together the photo frames, click the links for these free and adorable Mickey and Minnie stand up characters! Happy Christmas crafting!

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Football OREO Cookie Balls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OREOCookieBalls #CollectiveBias

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When a friend has a party I always like to bring a special homemade treat. If I can come up with something that fits in with the theme of the party, even better! I thought these football shaped OREO cookie balls would be perfect to snack on while watching the game.

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I stopped by my local Walmart to pick up ingredients. In the photo above you can see they have tons of flavors of OREOs in the cookie aisle. You can use any flavor OREOs in this recipe as long as it’s not OREO Double Stuf. I love peanut butter and chocolate so I went with the peanut butter flavor.

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OREO cookie balls just require a few ingredients and are pretty easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 pkg (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
    • 36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
    • 4 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
  • Make it!
    • MIX cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.
    • SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan.
    • CUSTOMIZE it with your own ingredient additions or decorative skills.
    • REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.
  • Optional ingredient: White chocolate for the football laces decoration.

Oreo Process

I put the OREOs in my food processor to chop them up into fine crumbs, then mixed in the cream cheese. After mixing I made the football shapes and froze them for 10 minutes. I melted my chocolate in a tall narrow cup in the microwave, then used a cake tester to skewer each football and dunk it into the chocolate. I used the tip of a knife to gently pull the football off of the cake tester after dunking. After the chocolate hardened I used a frosting bag filled with melted white chocolate and a round tip to pipe on the design.

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These were a big hit at the party I took them to! Guests were wondering if they came from the fancy local chocolate shop. There are tons of different flavor combinations or shapes that you can make to customize these for any holiday or party. For more holiday OREO Cookie balls recipes, check out this link and let us know if you have any favorite OREO cookie and chocolate combinations!

 

FREE Single-Size Cadet Cap Pattern!

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Today I’m sharing my free cadet-style hat pattern! This tutorial first appeared on the Britex blog last fall. Just download the pattern from Craftsy here (you’ll need a free Craftsy account) and we’ll get started. I’ve used two fabrics provided by Britex in my hat, a beautiful midweight herringbone olive & espresso wool for the exterior, and a silky smooth chocolate brown rayon/cupro for the lining.

02 fabrics

Finished Size:

The base of the hat measures 20 7/8″ and fits a head circumference (measured from the middle of the forehead to the widest part of the back of the skull) of 20 1/4″, the average size of a 5 year old.

Fabric Requirements:

– Lining fabric: 12″ wide x 16″ tall
– Exterior fabric: 24″ wide x 11″ tall (plus optional interfacing, see note below)
– Brim interfacing (72F Peltex 2 sided fusible ultra firm interfacing by Pellon): 6.5″ x 4″

For the exterior use a medium or heavy weight fabric. If your fabric is a medium weight like the wool I’ve used for this hat, fuse it with interfacing to give it more structure. I’ve fused the back of my midweight wool with Pellon 906 Fusible Sheerweight. Canvas or twill (the navy/gray and brown hats in the title image are twill) are fine with no interfacing. For the interior, the cupro made for a great finish for the inside of the hat. It’s silky smooth, pressed beautifully, it’s anti-static (great for a hat lining), and breathes well. You can find out more about cupro here. It was tricky to work with at this small scale with lots of curves so it did require slow stitching and lots and lots of pins to keep it in place. For the lining you can also use the same fabric as the exterior (minus the optional interfacing), or quilting cotton or any other light weight fabric.

Additional Notes:

– Cut all pieces with the grain of the fabric running vertically.
– All seam allowances will be 1/4″ unless otherwise noted.
– For more sizes, follow me through any of the options in the upper right corner of my blog homepage to find out when the multi-sized pattern is released.

After you’ve downloaded and cut out the pattern pieces, line up the letters for pieces A, B, and C and tape the pieces together. Cut the fabric and interfacing as noted on the pattern pieces. In the photo below, you can see all the pieces together.

04 pattern prep

Brim assembly:

To make the brim, place the two pieces right side together and sew along the outside curve. Clip every 1/2″ around the curve, making sure not to cut your thread. Turn right side out and insert the brim interfacing between the layers with the seam allowance all pushed the the bottom side of the brim. Press both sides of the brim with steam to activate the adhesive in the interfacing. Topstitch the front of the brim 1/4″ from the edge and again 1/2″ from the edge.

03 brim assembly

Hat exterior assembly:

With right sides together, sew together the two edges of the upper hat band. Then fold the lower hat band in half and sew the back edge together. (left photo below) Flip the upper band right side out, and with the narrower upper edge facing down insert it inside of the lower hat band so right sides are together (middle photo). Line up the seam on the the wider part of the upper band (marked “back” in the pattern) with the seam on the lower band. Pin all around then sew together. Fold open and press all seams.

05 hat band assembly

Next, pin the top of the hat to the upper hat band. It’s helpful to crease the hat top in half across both the length and width, and use the crease lines to match up the front/back/sides. Pin those 4 areas first, and then fill in with additional pins. The oval will want to stretch where it’s cut on the bias, so be extra careful in those areas. After sewing all the way around, remove the pins and flip right side out. The hat will look a little frumpy still, but we’ll be adding some top stitching soon that will make all the seams nice and crisp.

06 hat top assembly

Hat interior assembly:

For a fabric that frays easily, fold the back of the hat band lining under twice toward the wrong side by 1/4″ and stitch down (what I did with the cupro below). Otherwise, just fold the back under by 1/2″. The raw edges will be covered later. Next, with right sides together, sew the front edges of the lining together. Then, starting with the front of the hat and working toward the back, pin the band lining to the oval top lining. The back seam will overlap by approximately 1/4″. Sew together, then remove the pins and place the lining inside the hat exterior with wrong sides together. Optional: If you’re concerned about stretching, staystich the outside edge of the oval top before assembling the lining.

07 lining assembly

Final assembly:

Line up the top seams of the interior and lining pieces and pin all around, starting at the front and working toward the back. It’s easiest to place the pins just inside the top seam then out through the bottom just below the seam allowance. As you pin, press all the seam allowances toward the bottom of the hat. Sew three lines of topstitching, one just below the top seam, one above the middle seam and one below the middle seam. For each line of stitching, start where the white arrows below indicate, just past the open vent in the lining. When you come back around to the back, overlap the lining pieces and finish the seam. (The reason for the vent back rather than a fitted lining is that in testing, we found that if the lining stretched even an 1/8″ when sewn to the top oval, it wouldn’t line up correctly to the exterior. This design eliminates that issue.)

08 topstitching

Next, fold the back and sides of the outside of the hat toward the center by 3/4″. Then fold the lining toward the center so the edge is just below the exterior by 1/8″ so all raw edges are now hidden. At the back vent in the lining, overlap the two open edges then fold them over toward the inside together. At the front of the hat, insert the brim. Mark the center of the brim with a pin and line it up with the front seam on the upper hat band. The brim should be inserted 1/4″ all the way around. Curve it gently as you pin to each side and it will stick out like a normal hat brim. As you pin down the brim, fold the exterior and lining cap pieces toward the center as you just did with the sides and back. The brim will push up on the bottom hat band so that piece will be folded under 7/8″ rather than 3/4″ like the rest of the hat. Make sure the lining extends past the bottom hat band so you catch it as you sew around.

09 pinning final

Sew all the way around the hat with a 1/4″ seam and decrease to a 1/8″ seam across the brim. Below you’ll see what the interior looks like when flipped out (left), and the finished bottom seam (right).To curve the brim, use an iron and steam it over a curved object or steam it and use your hands to curve it while still warm.

10 final stitching

And that’s it, you’ve made a hat! Find a cute model and you’re all set.

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You can also play around with color blocking or adding a decorative band (see title image for examples). Thanks for checking out my hat pattern! If you liked this tutorial, be sure to check out my other free tutorials at Craft Buds!

 

Fabric Book & Baby Dress Plus Fabric Giveaway!

 

Birch Fabric Homestead

Welcome to the Craft Buds stop on the Birch Fabrics Homestead by Emily Isabella blog hop! This new line of organic knit and cotton fabric features a gorgeous color palette and vintage-feel illustrations. I love the peachy pink and aqua with pops of mustard, gray and navy together. The cotton fabric I used has a lovely silky smooth feel to it, perfect for the baby I borrowed for this photo shoot :).

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The fabric book is made with the Homestead Patch number panel for the pages, Homestead Main as the outside cover, and Clouds Mint for the inside cover. The pages have 2 layers of muslin sandwiched inside to give them a little more bulk and keep the images from showing through to the other side. It’s just the right size for a baby to hold and chew!

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Here you can see the full book page spreads(click the image for a larger view).

Homestead Book

I also made a dress with Clouds Mint using Simplicity 1207, a vintage pattern Simplicity recently re-released. It’s a simple A-line dress with contrast top and tiny puffed sleeves.

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The scallops in the top of the dress match the clouds in the fabric perfectly and I love how the dress turned out with a vintage modern look.

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If you want more Homestead Fabric inspiration check out the links below for the full blog hop!

Giveaway

Birch Fabrics is hosting an amazing giveaway, 1 yard of each print from Homestead! This organic line comes in both knit and quilt-weight cotton poplin and there are 12 prints total. Just use the tool below for your entries. Good luck!

Win 1 yard of each print from Homestead by Emily Isabella!

Grown Up School Supplies with Expressionery + $250 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!

You know when your kids go back to school and you’re just a little bit jealous of their shiny new school supplies? Sometimes it’s nice for the adults to get some new supplies too! Our friends at Expressionery recently added a huge variety of great items for yourself or to give as unique gifts. For back to school time, they sent over a notebook, notepad, weekly agenda pages and adorable paper and binder clips in a cute little bag. The fun part is that it’s all personalized with my name so it feels extra special!

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I appreciate that the items are packed securely with extra attention to detail like the gold and white crinkle paper used as packaging. It’s a fun surprise to open the box and see everything so pretty and neatly organized!

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They’ve got tons of cute designs to choose from on their website for the products you see here (and more)! These would be great to use at home or in the office to make being organized more fun.

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You can even choose your product and type in the personalization and immediately see what the final product would look like! It’s a lot of fun to play around with the different fonts and layouts exactly to your specifications.

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You can check it out now and use the coupon code SUMMERSALE for 30% off the entire site right now, plus free shipping on orders over $50!

 

 

Giveaway! $250 Visa Gift Card

Through September 12, enter Expressionery’s contest for a chance to win a $250 Visa Gift Card!

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Expressionery: Grown Up School Supplies

Etsy Giveaway from Most Precious Gift: 5 Winners!

Today we’d like to welcome Ashton Tennial, owner of the Etsy shop Most Precious Gift and newest Craft Buds sponsor! Most Precious Gift carries a variety of adorable headbands, hair bows and more!

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Ashton was inspired to open her Etsy shop by her three spunky little girls (5, 4, and 2). Ashton says, “I have been blessed to be a stay at home mom for the past two years. I have always been a crafty/artsy person. One day I decided to try and make my own hair bows for my daughters and everything snowballed from there. I really enjoy what I do and take a lot of pride in my work.”

Most-Precious-Gift

Ashton is offering a giveaway to FIVE of our readers to pick out their choice of a headband or hairbow. Just leave one comment below telling us what your favorite item from the shop is. Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on Monday, August 17. We’ll use random.org to choose the winners (EDIT: Winners have been chosen, thanks!). And if you want to order something right away, use coupon code FREESHIP25 for free US shipping on order of $25 or more for the month of August.

How to Add Pockets to Any Skirt! Tutorial and Free Pattern

 

Adding Pockets to ANY Skirt! Tutorial + Free Pattern

Welcome to Craft Buds any new readers following along with the Skirting the Issue! If you haven’t heard, it’s a month long event over at Simple Simon & Co. and we’re happy to be a part of it!

Today we’ll show you how to add pockets to an existing pencil, slim, or A-line skirt pattern with a free pocket pattern. In my example below, I’m using Simplicity 9825 for the skirt (it’s now out of print, but still sometimes available on Ebay or Etsy). Once you’ve cut out all of your skirt pieces following your pattern directions, add the pockets to the front piece of the skirt, then finish the skirt using the directions that came with your pattern.

To make the pocket, first print out my pattern here. I’ve included 4 pocket sizes in the pattern. In this example I used the second largest size that is a solid black line. Then follow the instructions below (click on the image to see it larger).

instructions

1. Cut out 2 mirror image sets of the pocket, 1 from the outer fabric and 1 from a lining fabric.

2. Line up the pieces with right sides facing out and apply bias tape to the inner and outer curves to enclose the raw edges. Sew along the open edge of the bias tape. Optionally, also sew along the outer edge of the top curve so you’ll have 2 lines of stitching that will match the bottom curve after step 3.

3. Place the pocket pieces on the front piece of the skirt, lining the pocket up with the top and side edges before you assemble the skirt. Sew them down along the outside of the outer curve. Depending on the angle of your skirt, you may have to trim off a bit of pocket top or side edge. The side and top of the pocket will later be encased in the waistband and side of the skirt as you can see in the photo below.

Adding Pockets to ANY Skirt! Tutorial + Free Pattern

 

Additional Information:

Fabrics were purchased from Fabric.com including Kaufman 21 wale corduroy in citrus and Anna Maria Horner LouLouThi Summer Totem Tart in quilting cotton. The bias tape (ordered from Amazon.com) is Wrights extra wide double fold bias tape in Mediterranean Blue. The shirt is a modified Sewaholic Renfrew and I’m mostly sure that the shirt fabric is JoAnn Fabrics interlock knit in royal. Original inspiration for the skirt came from Sloppop.nl. It looks like the skirt is no longer on that site, but you can still see a pin of it here. Thanks to my friend and fabulous photographer Jayne (check her out if you’re in the Indianapolis area) for letting me take photos of her modeling the outfit!

 

Adding Pockets to ANY Skirt! Tutorial + Free Pattern

 

Make a Skirt for Charity, Win a Prize!

This post is part of the Skirting the Issue blog hop, hosted by Simple Simon and Co. We are so thrilled to be a part of this annual event, which encourages readers to sew and donate simple skirts to girls in foster care, to help them feel beautiful. Oh yeah, there are prizes, too!

Skirting the Issue 2015

Summer Baby Sewing: 3 Piece Outfit

Summer Baby Sewing: Peekaboo Bonnet, Applique Onesie, City Gym Shorts

A couple years ago I bought a fat quarter of this great pink floral border print fabric (now hard to find, Erin McMorris’ Urban Garden line for Free Spirit) and have been keeping it for a special project ever since! With some careful cutting, I had just enough fabric for a coordinated 3 piece baby outfit. I love how it turned out, and how the border print keeps everything coordinated but it all looks a little different too!

Peekaboo Bonnet and City Gym Shorts Front-Back

First I made the Made by Rae reversible peekaboo bonnet. It’s a lovely pattern that comes together quickly, has no raw fabric edges and includes some really cute piping details. Above you can see both sides of the bonnet along with a tiny pair of Kid’s City Gym Shorts (it’s a great free pattern from The Purl Bee available here).

The shorts pattern starts at size 2 so I redrafted the pattern for 9-12 month size. I used the 2T inseam length (to make sure they covered a diaper) and took off some width and height from the top and sides. They were small enough that I just unfolded the extra wide bias tape from the legs of the shorts and used it to create the casing for the waistband.

City Gym Baby Shorts

To finish off the outfit I made a little heart applique (tutorial here). After ironing the heart onto the onesie I used a blanket stitch on my sewing machine around the edges.

Onesie with Heart Applique

And I know you want to see the whole outfit together on an adorable baby with some fabulous baby legs, so here it is!

City Gym Baby Shorts with Baby

 

 

 

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