Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Toddy Cold Brew System

I love coffee - doesn't most everybody? Starbucks is my Achille's heel and I stop practically every time I'm anywhere near the place. Pricey - but soooo good!

I'm the only one at my house who drinks coffee so when I brew a pot it usually goes to waste.

I've tried the pod coffee machines. I had a Black & Decker Home Café Coffeemaker, but I didn't really like it. Not only was the coffee fraking (I watch a lot of Battlestar Galactica) expensive, but what would I do when I had company?

So I bought the Hamilton Beach BrewStation Deluxe. It's a pretty nice machine - I guess. I like it, but I still end up wasting most of the coffee 'cause I don't normally drink more than one cup.

One day, while I was at Rouses (our local grocery store), I happened to come across Cool Brew® Fresh Coffee Concentrate. I almost bought it, but then I wondered how good could that be? Coffee concentrate? Yuck! But after reading the label, I thought it did sound kinda delicious - if it really worked! Here's a description of coolbrewing from their website:

"CoolBrewing is a process by which the most flavorful essence is extracted from freshly roasted coffee using absolutely NO HEAT. The coffee is brewed very slowly using only cold water. With cold water brewing, the most flavorful oils are extracted leaving behind the bitter acids. This ensures the richest possible flavor with the least bitter taste. The essence is 100% natural. CoolBrew® has no preservatives, so it must be kept refrigerated to preserve the flavor. This explains why it's "Always Fresh!"

I didn't buy it, but when I got home I started doing some research. Don't cha just love the net?! I read the reviews about it on and what'da know? It really does makes a good cup of coffee! I wouldn't be wasting a whole pot of coffee anymore.

But then...

While I was researching Cool Brew®, I came across the Toddy Cold Brew System ($30 w/free shipping if you have Amazon Prime). Even better! I could make the concentrate myself with any coffee I wanted. Purty neat!

Product description from
"Using your favorite brand of coffee, cold-brewing the ground beans produces a coffee that is naturally low in acid--approximately 67 percent less acidic than coffee brewed by conventional hot-brew methods such as a Mr. Coffee-type system. The super-smooth coffee concentrate that may be refrigerated for up to 14 days without any deterioration in taste or freshness. And, there's no waste. Cold-brewed coffee can be made one cup at a time, and at the strength you prefer, simply by adding steaming hot or iced cold water or milk. It's also microwavable. Using your favorite brand of coffee, cold-brewing the ground beans produces a coffee that is naturally low in acid--approximately 67 percent less acidic than coffee brewed by conventional hot-brew methods such as a Mr. Coffee-type system. The super-smooth coffee concentrate that may be refrigerated for up to 14 days without any deterioration in taste or freshness. And, there's no waste. Cold-brewed coffee can be made one cup at a time, and at the strength you prefer, simply by adding steaming hot or iced cold water or milk. It's also microwavable."

I've had it on my wish list forever now, and a few days ago I got it!

How it works:
1. Insert the plug to the outside bottom of the plastic container.
2. Make sure the filter is very wet, then put it in the inside bottom of the plastic container.
3. Pour 2 cups water into plastic container.
4. Add 1/2 pound of coarse ground coffee.
5. In a gentle circular motion pour 5 cups of water.
6. Add another 1/2 pound of coarse ground coffee.
7. Wait 5 minutes and pour 3 - 3 1/2 more cups of water. Press any grounds down with the back of a spoon - try not to stir, but make sure there aren't any pockets of dry grounds.
8. Cover with a paper towel and wait 12 (or more depending on the strength you want; but the acidity & caffeine will increase the longer it cold brews) hours.
9. Pull the plug while holding the plastic container over the glass decanter. It makes 48 ounces.
10. Pop the lid on your decanter and stick it in the icebox. It'll keep for 2 weeks! You can freeze it too. The instructions suggest pouring it into ice-cube trays; then simply pop one cube in your cup and add boiling water. Easy!

The cold brewing process can be a little messy - make sure you position the plastic container over the decanter before you pull that plug! You have to use a coarse ground coffee beans, if they are ground too fine, it will clog the filter. Make sure to rinse the filter (no soap), it's reusable up to 10 times and needs be stored in a plastic bag then put in the icebox. It'll keep for 3 months. The Toddy system can be put in the dishwasher for cleaning - except for the filter. The instructions don't say, but I wouldn't put the stopper in the dishwasher either; I suggest washing it by hand.

The instructions that came with the Toddy, are very basic; you'll have to play around with it a bit to find what coffee/water ratio works best for you. I followed the Toddy directions and the coffee came out a little too weak. When mixing, Toddy recommends using 1 ounce of concentrate to every 3 ounces of boiling water. Even though I don't like my coffee as "thick" as most in South Louisiana, by following those directions, I find it didn't have that strong of a taste. Although, my Mississippi friends probably would love it! Lol! My solution was to add more concentrate and less water. But I need to work that ratio out a little better. I want to be able to add more water and less concentrate.

The coffee does tastes incredibly smooth too and not the least bit bitter. It's the smoothest tasting coffee I've ever had!

The Toddy has a good rating on and I suggest if you're thinking about purchasing one, make sure to read the reviews for tips from other buyers - like cold brewing your used coffee grounds a second time. I found that little helpful tip after I threw away my batch of used grounds!

You can find all kinds of recipes online too. Just Google "cold brew recipes". You'll get like 164,000 hits!

If you don't want to fork over $30 for the Toddy, no problem. You can make your own Toddy. Google "homemade cold brew coffee" and around 40,100 results pop up. One of my favorites is from Malcom McFarren at INeedCoffee. I think he may have figured out the cheapest method by using two Taco Bell 32 ounce cups, a soda bottle, and a piece of cardboard! It looks like something a College student put together. Go check it out!

Or you can head over to youtube and search "cold brewed coffee" for tons of cool coffee videos!

I really like my Toddy. It's so easy to fix a cup a coffee from concentrate. I just measure out enough for one cup, boil some water in my teapot and I'm done. It takes about 3 minutes total. A fresh, hot cup of coffee! If you want iced coffee, it's even faster; just add some ice and cold milk!

I still need to work out my favorite combination of coffee and water - but that's no biggie. I don't think I'll be using that big Brewstation again anytime soon - not even when I have company! Why would I want to go back to drinking and wasting pots of bitter-tasting coffee?

Have Fun!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ground Meat & Carrots

Ground meat & carrots over mashed potatoes

A truly old-fashion and delicious Cajun meal is ground meat and carrots. Everybody who lives "down da bayou" or in South Louisiana has eaten ground meat and carrots at some point - and usually it's a favorite. It was my husband's favorite when he was a kid (he still loves it!), and Serenity (who is a very picky eater), gobbled up three (toddler-sized) helpings tonight! It's a kid-friendly meal for sure!

I see food labeled "Cajun" just because a bit of hot sauce, hot peppers, or hot spice is added and think: that's
not Cajun cuisine! People from Louisiana don't necessarily use a ton of hot sauce or peppers, or hot spice in our meals. The best way I can describe a "Cajun" meal is: flavorful!

We start almost every meal off with onions. We also use diced bell peppers, parsley, garlic, & celery for most of our meals too. In fact, we use those ingredients so much, you can find a prepared mix of them (or most of them) at every grocery store in South Louisiana. Saves lots of time; no more chopping! It's called "Creole Seasoning". Most everyone uses Tony Chachere's (Tony C's) too. It's like a Cajun's version of "Season All", and we use it in just about everything. It can have a bit of a kick, but you don't use a lot - moderation is the key! If you don't have Tony C's on hand, then just use salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and whatever else you feel like adding at the time. We use all kinds of spices, but that doesn't mean we use
hot spices in all our meals!

A wonderful example of this is ground meat and carrots. It's a quintessential Cajun meal! It's not a "hot spicy" meal - but it
is bursting with flavor! I would normally use fresh carrots, but if you're pressed for time or just want a real quick meal, this is how I prepare it:

2 pounds of ground chuck
3 or 4 cans of sliced carrots
1 - 1 1/2 cup of Creole Seasoning
Worcestershire sauce
Tony C's
Garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon ketchup
French bread

While browning the ground meat, add Creole Seasoning, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, Tony C's, and garlic powder. I like to add a little bit of fresh ground pepper, but it's not necessary. Make sure you cook the meat real good -
no pink! Once the ground meat is done, drain off the fat, then continue to brown it a little longer until it's a nice dark caramel color. You can add a couple more dashes of Worcestershire sauce too if you want (I do). Next, add the cans of sliced carrots (the juice too!) and cook on medium-high heat until most of the liquid is gone. I like the "sauce" that is left over after everything cooks down. If you don't like that, then keep cooking until all the liquid is gone. It takes around 15 to 20 minutes. Now add the ketchup - be sure you stir it in there real good!

That's it! You're done! Most Cajun's eat it over rice, but I like it with mashed potatoes too. Serve it with a hunk of fresh french bread and let me tell you; talk about one happy family!

A quick word on the ketchup: taking the advice of my friend Teensie, I added a tiny bit of ketchup to entice Serenity to eat some - she's a picky eater, so I didn't know if she'd turn up her cute little nose and refuse to eat it or what, and she
loves loves ketchup. Well it worked - Serenity ate it up!! I didn't find it changed the flavors at all, if anything - it enhanced them! Mm-mmm GOOD!

BTW: If you don't have (or can't get) Tony C's, add whatever seasonings you want, but I wonder how it would taste if you add McCormick's Grill Mates® Hamburger Seasoning? We use that sometimes in our hamburgers and it's great. Maybe I'll try it one day!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Crayon Wallets

Last night I finished more Crayon Wallets for a couple of my friend's toddlers .

I really like this pattern. I found it on Etsy at JCasa's shop. Jennifer
Casa's PDF "Child's Coloring Wallet" pattern is only $7. The wallet is very easy to sew; you definitely don't have to be an expert. Jennifer gives you permission to sell the wallets too. Go have a look around Jennifer's store; she has a few other PDF patterns for sell.

I put a mini notebook in each wallet since I couldn't find a blank notepad like the Jennifer suggests at
Wal-Mart or Target. I wonder if I could find one at Office Depot or Office Max? Jennifer recommends using the middle pocket for the kid's masterpieces, and I thought the middle pocket was perfect for stickers too! I used washable crayons (is that one of the greatest inventions or what?) for all the obvious reasons, but also because the crayons will rub off on the interior fabric and using washable crayons makes cleanup easy. I made the cute little fabric buttons using a button kit.

My costs
Child's Coloring Wallet Pattern - $7
1/2 yard of fabric - $3 (I used fabrics I already had; I guesstimated how much a 1/2 yard would typically cost)
1/2 yard Pellon Fusible Decor-Bond - $4 (Around that price at Wal-Mart)
Cover Button Kit (5 pack) - $2
Mini notebook - 49¢
Crayola washable crayons (16 ct.) - $2 (I wanted the extra crayons for Serenity to replace any broken ones)
Lg. pack of elastic ponies w/free hanger - $4 (Around that price at Wal-Mart)

It seems high, but these are the initial costs. I won't have to buy the pattern again, plus I have two more buttons left in my kit, a ton of elastic ponies left, I could buy the 99¢ (or less) pack of crayons, and I have a lot of scrap fabric so I won't have to buy more. Actually my costs were much cheaper, but that's 'round-about what it'll cost if you start from scratch.

Here are a couple of pictures of my finished Crayon Wallets:

The John Deere is for Jeshua, Dora is for Cobee Lynn and the Mermaid wallet is Serenity's!

They fold up small enough to fit in your purse. Perfect for restaurants, doctor's office, airplanes, or whenever your little one is bored!

I found another cute "Crayon Wallet" ($6) by GetSassed on Etsy and decided to buy that PDF pattern too. Along with a PDF pattern for a Crayon Art Folio ($6) by Ginia18. I want to make all three and see which one I like the best - or should I say which one Serenity likes the best.

For FREE quick and easy Crayon Roll tutorials, check out:
Frugal Family Fun Blog for a felt roll
Skip to my Lou shows you how to add Rick Rack to a Crayon Roll, and a how to make an easy Crayon Roll out of felt.
I like this crayon roll from The Pleated Poppy too.

Go take a look at my Valentine Art Tote tutorial. I designed a crayon wallet using a placemat from Target!

Have fun!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LeAnn's Senior Pics

Since I talked about the Senior pictures I took of LeAnn in two posts I decided to create a post with some of the pictures I took of her four years ago. These are the pictures Kelsey loves of LeAnn (me too!) and was always begging me to take some of her "just like LeAnn"! Unlike Kelsey, I had to make LeAnn pose for me! If I would've left the picture-making decision up to her, she wouldn't have let me take so many! Isn't that unfair?! That time, it was me begging her to keep shooting! I have no idea why - LeAnn is very photogenic and takes beautiful pictures!

The year LeAnn graduated was the year I got my fine Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera and ever since, I'm practically never without it! I haul it just about everywhere with me. It's gotten so beat up 'cause I'm not nearly as gentle with it as I should be. But despite all my abuse, it's still going strong and taking excellent pictures!

I've added a batttery grip (I highly recommend you buy one for your SLR!) and a unique
Recycled Seatbelt/Vintage Marigold Camera Strap I got from a super store, Souldier Straps that I found on Etsy. They sell straps for guitars, cameras, and they even make belts! Go check 'em out.

I'm so proud of my camera (can you tell?!), I should take a picture of it - but what camera will do it justice? Maybe the Canon EOS 40D 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera I've been salivating over lately? Hmmmm..... it's a thought. Lol!

Anywho, here's some pictures of my beautiful girl, Yam (Serenity's nickname for her)!

All my pictures are taken outdoors since I don't have a studio or anything! So the picture of LeAnn standing in front of the horses is real! I had her climb up a ditch/embankment and pose pretty for me! Paige, my sister, is in the car; she was too scared to get out 'cause there were "No Trespassing" signs posted. Instead, she helped by saying, "Here horsie, horsie"! Too funny!

These were some of the last shots and LeAnn was getting so aggravated 'cause she didn't want to take pictures anymore. I snapped off the picture on the top left while she was fussing at me. I think it came out pretty neat! The one on the top right was also taken in-between her fussing at me. I'd interrupt her and say "Smile!" - so she'd stop her gripping and flash me a smile - then start right back up again! Lol! I enjoy picking on Yam a lot - it's so much fun! The picture on the bottom right is a real smile. As she was climbing down the train car, something me or Paige said made her smile so I got lucky when I captured this shot!

These were also taken by Terrebonne General under the overpass that goes across the Intracoastal Canal.

This one was taken in our backyard on top of a friend's old truck. I love this one!

Looks like I'll be taking Bethany's (Kelsey's older sister) pictures next!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kelsey's Glamorous Photo Shoot

I finally took Kelsey on her "just like LeAnn's" photo shoot yesterday. We had a nice time driving all over Houma and Thibodaux stopping at some really cool places to get great shots, and then we had a delicious supper at the new Chinese resturant in Houma.

The pictures came out good and Kelsey looks beautiful in every single one of them - of course! I told Kelsey she has to tell everyone that I'm awesome! Lol!

I have a feeling I'll be doing this again soon for a couple more of my friend's tweens...

Here's just a few of my MOST favorites 'cause this post would be waaaayyy too long if I tried posting all of them. And before I forget, I was right when I said in my last post that I would get tired of taking pictures before Kelsey got tired of posing for them. Good thing the sun going down allowed me to STOP and get some rest! Lol!

Four years ago for LeAnn's graduation pictures, I took some of her on the railroad tracks at the end of Devil's Swamp Road in Thibodaux. When Kelsey and I drove to the same place, there were around 10 train cars on the tracks and "No Tresspassing" signs posted. We were so disappointed - no cool railroad pictures - or so we thought! On the way home, while driving over the bridge that is in the background of the pictures, we both saw these tracks at the same time. Strange that I have never noticed them before! I've only gone to Thibodaux, like, a few hundred times in my life!

These were taken at St. Martin Law Office's grounds off 311. It's so beautiful over there and so perfect for pictures! I think practically everybody in Houma gets (or wants) their pictures taken on those amazing grounds! Here's some historic information about the property I found on St. Martin's website:

"The Law Offices of St. Martin, Williams & Bourque are located on Historic Crescent Farm, which was founded in 1827 by William Alexander Shaffer and was the center of operations for the Shaffer family land holdings. The present building occupying the site was constructed in 1849 and was the centerpiece of a cane farm that included its own sugar mill. Crescent Farm continued to be a major producer of sugar cane until the 1920's and was eventually acquired by corporate processors in the 1930's. In 1969 the house and its current surrounding acreage were acquired by a private landowner who undertook the restoration of the house and the extensive landscaping of the grounds. In 1986, Crescent Farm was acquired by St. Martin, Williams & Bourque, which has occupied and maintained the premises ever since."

These were taken by Terrebonne General under the overpass that goes across the Intracoastal Canal. The dead end road used to go over a really cool bridge that would opened in the middle, and then both halves would stand straight up to let the boats pass! It was such an unusual bridge. It was even featured in a movie years ago when I was a kid. In the movie, there was a dramatic car chase, and the getaway car had to make an impossible jump over the bridge while the two halves were opening up to escape from the cops! Wow! Evel Knievel stuff, huh? Well, of course the getaway car made it! The cops that were chasing the car tried to do the same thing, but fell into the Intracoastal - duh! Didn't they know?! I wish I could remember the name of that movie! Anyways, the bridge (and the one beside it) was taken down years ago to make room for the overpass, and now the dead end spot makes for a neat picture! While I was taking pictures, a tug boat passed by (going pretty fast for a tug boat), and Kelsey wanted to take a picture with it in the shot, so we ran over there before it disappeared! Quick thinking Kelsey!

Bridge Edit: Kelsey's Grandmother, Mrs. Sherry, told me some really interesting information about the movie that featured Houma's unique bridge. This is what she emailed to me:

"The name of the movie was "Fear is the Key". It was filmed in 1972, starring Barry Newman & Suzy Kendall. I was working in the lounge of the hotel where the crew was staying. I got to meet them all, as they would stop by for food & drinks every evening. I was amazed that Barry Newman was a little twerp. Suzy Kendall could eat soup off his head if it weren't for his elevated shoes, lol! The really interesting crew was the stunt drivers. They didn't seem the least worried about that bridge jump. I can't recall their names now but they were a trip!"

Isn't that neat? But man, I must've watched the TV version or something of this movie - I was only 1 when it came out!

More pictures taken at St. Martin's.

These were taken at St. Martin's too. The first one reminds me of an old 70's picture - you know how they all look red 'cause they are so old? Hush! No "Girl, you're so old" jokes! The black and white shot is one of Kelsey's favorites 'cause she says it looks like a cool creepy scary movie! Lol! It does too! She looks so sweet... but cunning too, and hey look! What's that she got hiding behind her back?!

These are just random shots. The red brick picture is from Downtown Houma and I just love the color so I pulled over and we got a few quick shots. The second one is the front of a really nice neighborhood that's being developed in Thibodaux. I love how both of them turned out - beautiful!

These were taken at a Catholic Church on the way home from Thibodaux. I can't remember the name of the church, but the first thing I noticed about it was the beautiful brick. So we hopped out the truck and in less than 5 minutes I had these gorgeous shots! The first one is Kelsey's FAVORITE! She keeps going on and on and on and on about that photo! It is pretty awesome!

I know it was Kelsey's Glamorous Photo Shoot Day, but I couldn't resist - I had to snap off a couple of Serenity too! In the first picture, she's holding a handful of Black-Eyed Susans that Kelsey jump into a ditch to pick for her - thank you Kelsey! In the second picture we are at St. Martin's, and when Serenity saw Kelsey posing against the brick, she had to copy her - how darling is that?! She's wearing her newest leotard tutu from Whimsy Ranch. Isn't it beautiful? I love it! Serenity calls it her "elephant ballerina" outfit and tries to twirl on her toes! Too cute! If you have a Darling Daughter, she'll love love a leotard tutu from Whimsy Ranch!

Did you notice Serenity's boo-boo on her nose? She kept saying, "Nose hurts", my poor baby! She was involved in a tricycle accident at Lizzy's B-Party. I guess I'll be seeing plenty more of those soon while she learns to ride her new training bike!

Kelsey was great the entire day and did an wonderful job of posing pretty for all her photos! Love you lots Kelsey!

Well that's it for now, more later!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lizzy's Horse Ensemble

For well over a month now, I promised to sew a Tiered Flouncy Sundress by Tie Dye Diva & Monkeysbug (from of course!) for Lizzy using some really cute horse fabric from Hobby Lobby. I kept putting it off because it seemed something was always distracting me. I've been pretty busy lately, which is surprising 'cause I'm not usually! I've been going here & there everyday it seems for, like, ever. And when I do have a sewing moment, I've made things for Serenity and kept putting Lizzy's outfit on the back burner - which was so not fair to her since I promised to make it a long time ago (well over a month is like years to a tween). But she never hounded me about it. I know if I was in her place I'd be calling everyday wondering where my outfit was at!

A new week comes around, forever has gone by, and no outfit. Well her birthday was on Saturday and I knew I better get it done - or else, right? So, typical me, I waited until almost the very last minute and to zip together this very easy dress. That's the horrible part - it only takes a short time to sew it together! So anyways, it's now Thursday night, I got Serenity all tucked in bed, and I'm watching old episodes of Leverage (BTW, awesome show and the season 2 premier starts on July 15th) while I start on the dress. I'm in my "sewing zone" putting the pieces of the dress together, and guess what happens? I'm sewing the pieces together completely wrong! Ugh. It's a tiered dress, so that means the top pieces are smaller than the bottom pieces, and I was sewing it upside down! How in the fraking world did that happen? My zone was destroyed and I didn't get anymore sewing done that night.

Friday rolls around and I left the house around 4PM and didn't get home until almost 10PM. I took Serenity and Kelsey to Chuck E. Cheese's, shopping and ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. We had a great evening, but I knew I was going to be up late another night sewing. Finally, though, finally I got it all together and it came out so cute!

Here's Lizzy at her Birthday Party wearing her new outfit!

All the patterns I used to make her horse ensemble came from

The Tired Flouncy Sundress by Tie Dye Diva & Monkeysbug has got to be my favorite summer dress! It's so easy to sew (it really is) and Lizzy loved it.

The fabric headband is a FREE pattern offered by PatchworKids. Easy peasy!

The Messenger Bag is by Aivilo Charlotte Designs. It can be made in three different sizes, Lizzie's bag is the smallest one. I think that size makes a sweet little purse for tweens or teens. I got the purse done earlier this week - I make sure not to leave it for the last minute, just in case I had any problems since it was my first handbag. Who knew it would be the dress I've made around 8 times that would give me the most problems? I only made a couple mistakes on the purse and I had some problems with the pockets, but Lizzy never noticed them! All my friend's little girls liked it, so I have a feeling I'll be making a few more tween-sized purses!

Before I went to bed to catch a few Zzzs before the B-Party, I made Lizzie's little brother, Jeshua, a pair of shorts using the Betsey & Joey Shorts Pattern by Nanoo Designs. They are the non-reversible version and came together very fast! Great pattern! I'll be making more of these shorts too!

I need a picture of Jeshua wearing them!

Here it is late (or early?) again, but no sewing today! Instead, I'm taking Kelsey on a little photo shoot around town. That's something else I've been promising to do and never got around to it. Kelsey loves all the senior pictures I took of LeAnn and wants to do the same thing. I'll never have to beg Kelsey to pose for me! She likes nothing better than having a camera pointed at her. I'll get tired of taking pictures of her before she gets tired of posing for them - and that's saying a lot. I can, have and will always take tons of pictures!

Ciao for now!

Dragonfly Dress

I LOVE courtneycourtney's dresses! I just can't seem to get enough of them! They are so cool, unique and VERY comfortable. Here's Serenity wearing her newest dress:

Isn't the dragonfly print just darling?! Courtney does all her own silkscreens and designs herself so it makes each dress special and a one of a kind find! Did you know she was Cool Mom Picks of the year for 2008?!

Her newest silkscreen design is a pair of orange cowboy boots. Of course, I had to buy Serenity a dress with the new design! You can check the dress out here. It's designed a little differently - it has little cap sleeves instead of flutter sleeves. I love the flutter sleeves because since it gets so hot down here in the summer, I figured the flutter sleeves would be cooler. But I really like the look of this dress, so I'll just let her wear something else on our hottest days. I'll have pictures up of Serenity wearing it as soon as I get it.

Don't forget to go have a look-see on Courtney's blog for all her latest updates and her newest post of Serenity!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tropical Capris & Elephant Tank Top

Growing up with Rosy is a custom boutique line of clothing and jewelry created by Karen Deilke. She has some wonderful PDF patterns (with excellent step-by-step photos) on one of my favorite sewing websites, I have several of her patterns and they all have clear and concise instructions.

Her newest pattern, Ruffled Bum Capris ($9.95 on, was listed for sell just a few days ago. They are so cute and absolutely perfect for the Summer! Every little girl loves ruffles!

I made Serenity a pair today and they came out darling! I also made my very first rolled hem on my new Singer QuantumLock Serger. Yay for me! LoL!

[Okay here's a little side note about my serger. When I first got it I found it to be very intimidating (it's got FIVE threads for gosh sakes!), but I'm getting the hang of it. Like learning how to do a rolled hem - which was MUCH easier than I thought it would be, so I guess now that means I need to start tackling other stuff the thing can do! It has a very poor rating on - but mostly because of threading issues. I have no idea what those reviewers are talking about since I haven't had any problems threading my machine. In fact, I find it pretty easy to thread.]

Now that's off my chest, let's get back to the capris!

They came together pretty quick with no problems. The top and bottom edges of the ruffles have rolled hems, but you can just as easily hem them instead. You can customize the look of the capris however you want. You can add ruffles to the entire back, or to the top and bottom, or just to the bottom of the capris. I decided to do the top and bottom ruffles:

Aren't they cute?

When I thought about making the capris using that very colorful tropical material, I was thinking how Serenity's pretty bright pink tank top (Target $4) would look perfect with it. Then I remembered the brand-new huge black stain down the front middle of the top. I tried OxiClean to get it out, but whatever it is won't come out! So, I used Kimberbell Kids' tutorial How To Applique The Easy Way ($6.95 on to put an elephant applique over the stain. Then I noticed another stain so I put a heart applique over that one! And voilà! Here is Serenity's finished outfit:

You can't see the heart too good, it's right under the elephant's trunk.

I love they have the best tutorials over there! Buying from has fantastic rewards too! You can earn points with every purchase you make and use them to get free stuff! I learned how to really sew from using the PDF tutorials on their site. I've learned quite a few tips and tricks too!

BTW, Kimberbell Kids' tutorial, How To Applique The Easy Way is anther great pattern and I've been using it a lot lately. I've made a few tees for Serenity using it. It's become one of my favorite tutorials!

I love the convenience of a PDF pattern. The helpful step-by-step photos most of them have, showed me exactly what I had to do. But I think what I like most about their PDF clothing patterns is how the patterns grow with your child. Most of them are for sizes 2-8, so once your child grows out of a size 2, you don't have to pay to buy the pattern again! Just print out the next size on your printer! Talk about a deal! You can't do that with a store bought pattern unless you're willing to go through the hassle of tracing out the pattern before you cut it.

If you're looking for great boutique style clothes for your little one (or crafting ideas), try heading over to It doesn't matter if you're a beginner sewer or an expert, trust me - you will be able to make darling outfits using their tutorial patterns!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother's Day

I had a wonderful Mother's Day! I spent time with my Mama, Daddy, Paige (my baby sister), LeAnn (my cousin who I've raised and is like a daughter to me) and Serenity. The only person missing was Terry, but he had to go back to work. He did get me a cool Mother's Day gift before he left: a brand new Garmin Nüvi 760. I love gadgets!

Daddy took all of us to eat at one of my favorite restaurants when I was a kid, Chester's Cypress Inn in Schriever. It's a very old restaurant - my Dad used to eat there when he was a kid! It's been open since the 1940's and they serve the most delicious fried chicken, frog legs, livers and shoe-string onion rings. Lots of fried foods - but oh so GOOD! I wish I had taken a picture of the restaurant but I didn't even think about it at the time! You can see the restaurant in the movie "Easy Rider" that was filmed in 1969! Neat, huh?

I did get some pictures of LeAnn and Serenity and I LOVE the way they turned out:

Typical LeAnn bugging Serenity and typical Serenity being bratty! LOVE it!

I think I took a better picture this year than I did last year. I do like the picture I took of them on Mother's Day last year (their personalities come pouring out of this picture), but I could do without that cigarette in LeAnn's hand!

Awww! We were at the park on the Airbase - on top of that huge hill. BTW, anything higher than a speed bump is consider a hill in South Louisiana!

This next picture was taken in 2007 and it's one of the first pictures I have of LeAnn and Serenity. It wasn't taken on Mother's Day, but that doesn't really matter - it's still one of my favorite pictures of them!

They are so pretty and sweet!

Here's another one of my absolute favorites:

Someone once told me that looking LeAnn & Serenity's expressions in this picture made her think of a teen pregnancy poster you'd see at the welfare office! Too funny!

I had a wonderful Mother's Day! I got to spend it with the people I care about the most in my life and eat some delicious food! What can be better than that?! I did miss Terry very much, but I'm very lucky we got to spend our 10th Anniversary together so I'm not complaining too much!

Serenity's New Outfits!

I've allowed too much time to past before posting again! My husband Terry was home for two weeks and we've all been busy spending time together doing all kinds of stuff! I'll be posting about that soon - along with lots of pictures! Terry just went back offshore for 8 weeks and not only will I miss him like crazy, but now I'll way have TOO much free time on my hands!

I'll be posting more about Serenity's hair cream later too; this time I wanted to post the pictures of Serenity's outfits that I talked about in "Cute Kiddie Stuff" post.

Since finding courtneycourtney on Etsy I've bought THREE of her beautiful and comfortable dresses for Serenity! They are darling and perfect for any little girl! Courtney's designs are so original and if your little girl is anything like Serenity, she'll think it's lots of twirly fun to wear one of her dresses!

Serenity is wearing Courtney's new dragonfly silkscreen design - isn't it cute?! Courtney even posted pictures of Serenity on her blog. Go check them out! You'll find out Courtney's latest updates and see some awesome photo shots of the cutest little girls modeling her dresses!

This is Serenity's "I Am 2" dress. Serenity said, "Look! Number 2! 'Renity 2!" when she saw this!

And here's her "Captain Kidd" dress. I think this one is Serenity's favorite! She LOVES pirates! She ran around wearing this saying, "Pirate dress! Arrr!"

Another of my favorite shops is WhimsyRanch. Marie's leotards are just beautiful and soooo girly! I got Serenity one and she immediately wanted to put it on! Here's a picture of her wearing a stunning orange & aqua one:

Lots of hand-sewn sequins on this absolutely gorgeous one of a kind leotard tutu!

I bought another one of Elayne's beautiful pettiskirts too! I can't help it - they are PERFECT for toddlers! Just the right size - not too big or too long - just fluffy, twirly, & girly fun for your tiny tot! This one is called "Grape Jelly" and I made a Princess top from a pattern I got from Don't forget to check out Elayne's newest creations here on Ebay!

BTW, can you tell I've been playing around with Photoshop?!

So if you're looking for something totally unique, beautiful and very girly for your Darling Daughter, niece or Granddaughter, I highly recommend a dress from courtneycourtney, a leotard from WhimsyRanch, and a pettiskirt from Elayne at Twinstitches4u on Ebay! Go check all of them out today!

Well that's it for this post - but I won't wait so long to post again!
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