Oct 31, 2014

F.F.F. - It's Halloween!!!!!!!

Today is a half day at school, which is awesome because it's HALLOWEEN!!!!
Since the kids will be home early, I started searching online to find something fun and not to hard to make that the kids can do with me. It was a tough decision with all the wonderful ideas that are out there, but these are the two I settled on. 

Those should occupy us for an hour or two, and be a nice addition to the sweet table for when our friends come over.  I'm also cutting up some apples and serving them with caramel dip.  Should be yummy, but kind of plain compare to all caramel/candy apple variations I came across. 

Like these sinister looking candy 

Don't like the candy crunch?  There's a
caramel version by Spoon University

Maybe you like caramel, but the black turns you off.  
You could try these

And who could resist the beautiful and drool worthy
Or a

Finger's crossed my kids won't see these.  I don't have time or the inclination to make candy apples today.  I'm sticking to my cut up apples and dip.  

Oct 29, 2014

1927 Singer Sewing Cabinet Restoration Pt. 3 - removing the treadle frame and drawer supports.

It's been an all out eternity since I've posted anything about Freddie Mae.  But I haven't forgotten her.  If you've not read about my lovely singer sewing machine "Freddie Mae" and her restoration, be sure to check out the other posts here.  But if you're all caught up and ready for an update, read on.

Where were we?  Oh yes, I had finished the restoration of the sewing machine head, and was ready to move on to the cabinet.  I believe I also waxed poetic about why disassembling a piece prior to restoration is a pretty good idea.  

But how does one disassemble a vintage Singer sewing machine cabinet?

First cover your work surface, remove the drawers, then flip that puppy upside down.

With everything unscrewed you can remove the drawer frame.  Cringe at the dust and spider parts.

Separate the top of the cabinet from the treadle frame.  It should just lift off, but it'll be super heavy.  It is cast iron after all.

If you've gotten this far without finding copious amounts of dirt or other cringe worthy findings, and your finish is pretty good, you could stop disassembling here, give everything a good cleaning and a coat of wax and put it back together.

Or, if you're like me you could move onto the next stage. 
(Coming Soon)

Oct 24, 2014

F.F.F. Monster Bento Edition

Halloween is just around the corner, so why not have some bento fun monster style?

Some monster lunches are cute.
(Like this bento monster for my daughter.)

Others are Strange.
(Like this one for my little guy.)

And some, even have parts to arrange.
(Like this build your own monster lunch for my big guy.)

All three lunches have:
  • corn dog, (removed from the stick and cut into pieces)
  • pretzels
  • carrots and cheese, which are both more for garnish than nutrition
  • fruit and veggie pouch, and milk to make up for that lost nutrition.
  • candy eyes
  • ketchup for the kids who like it
  • toothpicks for the build your own
Don't miss a single F.F.F. 

Oct 22, 2014

Charging Station - Free Cut List and Diagrams

A while ago, I posted pictures of my Charging Station.  Today, I give you a cut list and Diagrams.

Finished Dimensions:
7 3/4" H x 14" W x 12 1/4 " D
This charging station was built using scraps I had on hand.  The measurements below, reflect the measurements of those scraps.  This plan could be modified to suit a variety of material thicknesses.  Please make any necessary adjustments for material widths before cutting out your pieces.  

Warning:  Some chargers and devices produce quite  bit of heat.   Build at your own risk.

**There may be a tutorial or additional plans for using new wood in the future, please check back.**


  • Scraps, I used scrap 1 x10 boards, 1/4" ply and some hobby boards.
  • glue
  • nails
  • 2 small hinges

Cut List: 
From 3/4 " plywood or board 

  • 2-7 3/4" x 12 1/4" (will become sides)

 From 1/4" ply 

  • 1 -5 3/4" x 13" middle shelf
  • 1 - 9 7/8" x 13 bottom shelf

From 3/8 ply or board

  • 3 3/4" x 12 1/2" back
  • 1 - 4" x 12 3/8" top shelf
  • 2 - 3 3/4 x 3 7/8 dividers

Don't miss my other free plans!

Oct 20, 2014

Mama Gets a New Dress - 1950's Style

If you've been following along with any of the 1950's girls dress posts, then you knew I was also working on a dress for myself to wear to my cousins 1940-50's themed wedding, and here it is.

 We looked rather nice I think.  Since I was in such a hurry to get this done, I don't have many pictures.

I used this pattern.  It went together nicely with few alterations.

The fabric, and the scraps.


We almost got everyone in the shot.  I wonder where big brother got off too?

Oct 17, 2014

Fun Food Friday - Jook/Juk

Just in time for cold and flu season.  Today's FFF is Jook/Juk, (Korean Rice porridge).  

This stuff is the go to food in Korea if you are sick, and in it's plain form is a great first food for babies.  Here in the US, I think it makes a nice alternative to chicken noodle soup when you aren't feeling your best.  As a bonus, it is extra gentle on yucky tummies, and it's pleasant creamy texture, is  just right for sore throats.

In it's most basic form, Juk is rice boiled in water until the rice is super soft and makes a traslucent creamy broth.  However, the variations are endless and Juk is often served with added meat or vegetables.  

Here are a few variations to try the next time you're under the weather.

Did you know, in Korea, they have restraunts devoted to Juk?

Check out this fun blog entry about Juk by Cute in Korea to learn more.

Oct 15, 2014

Finished 1950's Girl's Dress

Remember the patterns I showed you a while ago?  

Well, here is my daughter's  finished dress based on the Butterick pattern above.  

Above:  My sweet girl with her cousin Cash.

Left:  "Really Mom?"

Below:  My favorite picture.  Isn't the setting gorgeous.  FYI, this was later in the day and she was tired of wearing the crinoline.  I love how  this dress transforms to a 1940's style if you remove it.  She looks so grown up.  

Did you miss something?
Pt. 3  - Trick for well matched seams

Up Next
Mama Gets a new Dress

Oct 13, 2014

1950 Girls Dress- a few tricks for well matched seams

I was so excited when I found this fabric.  It met my daughter's requirements for "not girly" and was a nice small geometric that I thought would match well.  However, I made a huge mistake by not checking to see that is was printed on the true grain and guess what.  It wasn't.  What I thought would be a quick and easy match job turned into a nightmare!

Luckily, I have a few tricks to deal with that sort of thing, and that starts with the right tools: Lots of pins to help match pattern points, wax crayon to mark cutting lines, and chalk to mark seam lines and pattern marks.


I'm a huge fan of chalk, and always mark my seam lines when doing precision sewing.  For the center front piece below, I placed the pattern on the fabric so the center front fell at the center of the fabric design.  I marked the seam with chalk, then folded the fabric right side out along the center front.  Smoothed the fabric gently, then gave several swift taps along the seam line to transfer the chalk to the unmarked side.  Open it up a viola, all the lines have been transferred.

Lots of patience and some fiddling with layout, got  decent results for the shoulder seams above-left.  But nothing could give a perfect continuous pattern match on the center back, so I settled for a mirror image match.  Because the pattern wasn't true to the grain, I ended up sewing the seams from the seams I cared about by hand from the right side.  I went back with my machine to reinforce from the wrong side where necessary. 

With the bodice sewn, it was time to check and see how the skirt was going to fall over the petticoat. 
 Not bad.  though it is hard to get a good feel for the finished product with the seam allowances poking out.  

Up Next

Pt. 4 - Finished Dress

Did you miss something?

Oct 11, 2014

F.F.F - Golden Cherry and Ginger Jam (con't)

Today, I finish the Golden Cherry Tomato and Ginger jam I started on Friday.  If you missed the first part of this Fun Food Friday which has turned into a weekend edition, you can find it here.

We left off with a bowl of sugary cherry tomatoes resting overnight in the fridge.  The first stop in taking this sugary oddity to Yummyville, is putting it in a big pot.  Next, add matchsticks of ginger, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  I won't deny that I tasted the concoction at this point and had to fight the urge to add water to  make Cherry Tomato and Ginger Lemonade.  I will try that in the future.

With everything in the pot, it cooks until thickened.  Then goes into canning jars and is processed in a caning bath.  If you want complete directions, you can find them here:

The Verdict

Overall, this is yummy stuff and while it is really sweet, the ginger gives a nice peppery kick.  I cooked mine a bit too long, so it is thicker than I'd like, but still spreadable.  I wouldn't really call this a jam.  To me it has more of a marmalade texture especially with the ginger matchsticks and cherry tomato skins.  

Tweaks for Next Time
  •  Use less sugar and add pectin.  Like any jam that relies on sugar alone, this stuff is super sweet, so I want to try adding pectin and reducing the sugar content like you would with a strawberry jam.  
  • Grate the ginger and coarsely chop the tomatoes.  The skins on my Sungold Tomatoes are pretty tough, and I think this would help the texture.  
  • Wait until the last moment to add the lemon zest.  I think it looses it's vibrancy during the long cooking process necessary to make jam.
Do you have a favorite recipe or Fun Food you'd like to share?  Drop me a line in the comments and you might see it here on a future Fun Food Friday.

Oct 10, 2014

Fun Food Friday

This was my first year with what I felt, was a real garden and the one thing I've had plenty of is cherry tomatoes.  The variety I planted was Sungold, and it has been incredibly flavorful and more prolific than I could have imagined.  Which means by this point in the season, I tried them almost every way imaginable and I'm pretty sick of the things, but they keep producing.  

Now, I think I may have stumbled across the solution in this recipe for Golden Cherry Tomato and Ginger Jam from The Joy Kitchen.  I'm pretty sure this will get the tomato surplus out of my fridge and into my pantry where it can wait to bring a burst of sunshine to the dreary days of winter. 

The first step is to wash the tomatoes, slice them in half, add sugar, and let them sit for 4 hours on the counter, or overnight in the fridge.  I'm opting for the fridge, so looks like this'll be a Fun Food Weekend instead of a Fun Food Friday.

Oct 6, 2014

Sewing a 1940's-50's outfit pt. 2 the crinoline

By the time you read this, I've made not one, but 2 crinolines.  One for myself, and a second one for my daughter.  Considering you can buy one for around $40, I'm not sure I would ever do it again.  This was a rewarding project, but also a real pain in the tush-cus.  

So, why did I do it? 

The short answer is I'm cheap.  I hate to buy what I can make for less, and it just so happens I had an old wedding dress from a friend of a friend's first marriage, and it had tons of crinoline and lining fabric just waiting to be re-purposed.  That made my total expense for both crinolines less that $20.

The construction process was not complicated, but it was time consuming and super annoying trying to wrangle so much fabric.  It's also not something to attempt without a gathering foot, or a pleating attachment for your machine, or an insane amount of patience. 

Sorry folks, there's no tutorial on this one.  Sadly, there was too much of a time crunch. But here is a glimpse at the construction from the bottom up.  

The yoke is cut along the line of the dress through the waist and hips.  For my daughters dress, that means it is fitted with darts.  For mine it was gathered.  A wide strip of gathered and hemmed lining fabric is attached to the bottom of the yoke.  For my daughter, I used organza because it gave a little more umph.

The second layer was made up of crinoline fabric harvested from the wedding dress.  It was cut in strips so the width of the strips was half the distance from the yoke to the hem, plus seam allowances.  These strips were sewn together, gathered with a gathering foot, and stitched along the bottom of the yoke, on top of the lining/organza seam.  A second strip of gathered crinoline, was sewn to the bottom edge of the first, to create a tiered skirt.  I actually sewed the tiers together first, the attached them to the lining.

The first layer of tulle was cut, gathered, and attached in the same tiered manner as the crinoline fabric.  A second, final layer of tulle was sewn in a similar manner to the first, only instead of 2 tiers, it has 3 and is attached to the top edge of the yoke.  

The top of the yoke, was then sewn to a 3" elastic "waistband" and a hook and eye closure harvested from a bra extender kit was sewn to the elastic.  The back seam is left open for about 6-8" below the hooks and eyes. 

My Petticoat was done in a similar manner to my daughters, using light green tulle instead of blue.     

With everything assembled, the final step is to hang the petticoat on the mannequin and trim the bottom edge where needed so the layers are even.

Next up, 

Pt. 3 Matching Seams
Pt. 4 Finished Dress

Did You miss Pt. 1?
Sewing a 1940-50's Girls Outfit