How I made Lian’s pinafore… a semi tutorial…

Kathie sent me this piece of dainty batiste embroidered fabric from a vintage baby dress (I’m pretty sure) but I was sort of intimidated to use it. I absolutely adored it and didn’t want to mess it up in any way! The best way to do that was to just “look” at it and not cut into it… BUT… I really wanted to use it for Lian’s red Christmas dress, so I put all my fears to the side and just jumped in. The first thing I had to do was get the creases out of it. I used my steamer and got them out…

This is how I envisioned it as a pinafore… I’m sure you can tell what it’s going to look like, right? If not, hang around and by the end of this post, you’ll know!

If you click on any of the pictures, they will enlarge.

This was my fabric piece… cut off at the top to make it the right length for a pinafore skirt…

I finished off the ends of the fabric by pressing them under and then topstitching the edges. Then I gathered the top edge of the fabric with 3 rows of basting. It was super delicate so I had to be very careful when I pulled up my threads…

Next, I measured around Lian’s waist and pulled my threads to “almost” that length. I didn’t want the pinafore to meet, but have about a 1/2″ space between the ends. I took a scrap of paper and put it down on my sewing machine and then laid the gathered skirt on the paper. Stitching through the paper would hold my gathers in place and stabilize it.

The stitches perforate the paper and make it easy to tear it away…but wait until you have your waistband stitched on… again, it’s a good stabilizer and keeps things from shifting…

I cut a piece of the batiste fabric to use as a waistband, and stitched it on.

NOW you can tear off the paper!!! Finish the back of the waistband with tiny hand stitches. I could have stitched it on the machine, but decided to do it by hand.

Next comes the bib part. I didn’t want to cover up ALL the red on the dress, so I used a piece of heirloom lace I had for the bib part and some dainty cotton lace for the straps. I did add a section of the “strap” lace to the bottom of the bib to add a little bit of length… This is how it looked…

I centered it on my waistband and stitched it on by hand…

…then finished up the backside by hand too…

Here’s what it’s looking like so far…

Next I pulled the straps to the back and pinned them in the right place… then stitched them down…

Here’s a look…not totally finished, but getting there…

You can see the back part of the pinafore waistband that is pinned in the back.

I decided to sew some soft Velcro on the band and add a “pre-tied” bow… that makes it SO much easier to dress the dolls…

Here’s the back all finished…

I think the red dress by itself is very pretty, but some might think it’s too plain without the pinafore. I was playing around and I’m going to include this little “belt” for a different look to the dress. It just slips on the button on the back on one end of the piece of lace and then loops onto the button with the other end of the lace… If the winner doesn’t use it or like it, it’s no big deal… I just thought it was kind of cute on the dress for a different look.

So, that’s how I made Lian’s pinafore.. now who’s going to try one?

Linda reminded me about the Fashion Show we were going to have… remember? I asked you to send me 1 or 2 pictures of a doll you have that has a favorite Christmas dress on. It can be a doll dress you made, or bought… doesn’t matter. It can be a new picture or an old one…Tell me why it’s your favorite and I’m going to show them in a post soon…

Well, I better get to bed… I never did get that nap, Joy!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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Follow along with me as I make 11 Christmas gifts…

Once again, I’m sorry I didn’t get to to your comments… I read them but didn’t have a spare moment today to answer them. It seems my life is going full throttle right now…and I’m about ready to put on the brakes. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy doing things, and when I’m in the midst of things, I don’t think about it, but when I get to the close of the day, and I see how much I didn’t get done, sometimes it bugs me. Today was one of those days… want to follow along with me as I made gifts for our Staff Christmas party?

I’ve shown how to make these “Brownies in a Jar” before, and I’ll give the link to that post at the bottom, but I knew there wasn’t going to be ANY time for sewing today, so I decided I’d bring you along as I was “making a mess” in my kitchen… And BOY, did I ever make a mess…

I could have gone and bought something for my gifts, but I much prefer homemade ones… I looked in my closet and I had enough glass jars to make 11 gifts… exactly what I needed!

Here’s a quick overview of what was happening in my kitchen, but as I said, I’ll put the tutorial link at the bottom.

Nuts in first, then chocolate chips, brown sugar and white sugar…

I told you it was messy…

It’s pretty hard to be neat when you’re working with flour and cocoa.

I cut out my fabric tops from some Christmas fabrics…

I will be using some rubber bands, jute (string) and some decorations to tie on. Usually I hand draw little designs on the card stock with the directions, but today I had to go for quick and simple…

I took the fabric circles and placed them on top of the jars and held them in place with the rubber bands. Even them out so the gathers are nicely distributed.

I took the jute and tied it around the jars where the rubber band was… get it just below the screw on lid…

I printed out the directions of how to make the brownies and used a pair of decorative scissors to cut them out… then I punched a hole in them to run my jute through.

I picked a decoration and tied it onto the jute in a bow, adding just a drop or so of clear glue to hold my bow in place…

I got into my stash of Christmas bags and put one jar in each… I didn’t use tissue paper around them, but just on top…

I passed them out at the Staff Christmas party tonight and everyone seemed pleased… YAY!

Now, if you’d like to see the actual tutorial on how to make the Brownies in a Jar, step by step, you can click HERE

I know this is supposed to be a doll and sewing blog, but sometimes it’s just not!!!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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~ Sweet Potato Souffle ~ A recipe you NEED to have in your files…

Actually you need to TRY it, not just have it in your files… if I ever had a recipe that I put a “fantastic” guarantee on, it would probably be this one. It’s got to be one of my all time top 10 recipes… maybe even my top 5! Don’t let the name fool you…it’s not anything super fancy and hard to make… it really should just be called a Sweet Potato Casserole, but I guess that sounded too plain to the person who submitted it to the cookbook.

My day was super busy with “things” and I knew I would have to show you something I was doing instead of something I was sewing, so this ended up being today’s post. Depending on how “things” go tomorrow, there may or may not be a Saturday post. We are getting ready for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner for our church and I’m helping (or in charge) of the decorating. I’ll find out in the morning. I wanted to get some of my food prepared ahead of time because I’ll be cooking 2 turkeys on Saturday!!

Anyway, IF you need another side dish, this one will score you big points from your guests. I like it warm or cold..it doesn’t matter to me! When Thanksgiving is over, if you find me looking for leftovers…there is sure to be a heap of this on my plate… and then again for breakfast… until it’s all gone… :o(

It’s very simple to make and I’ve got pictures of all the steps… so I hope you’ll give it a try, if not now, just sometime… :o)

Here is a picture of the recipe straight from my little paperback cookbook… See that scribble up in the top right hand corner? That’s supposed to be a star helping me remember this is THAT recipe that I love! I don’t need to be reminded anymore!

You’ll need 3 cups of cooked sweet potatoes… my neighbor always gives me these great big things and I peel them with a vegetable peeler and then slice them in big chunks… put them in a pan and cover them with water… and cook till tender…

When you stick a knife in them and it easily goes in, they are done…

Mash them with a potato masher or whisk…

Measure out 3 cups and plop them in a mixing bowl…

Add 1 cup of sugar and mix well…

Add 2 beaten eggs… (oops, I forgot to beat mine… but it’s okay) Mix well…

Add 1 TBSP of Vanilla…and mix well…

Then add 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) of melted butter… and mix well…

Use a casserole dish or a foil pan, (like mine since I’m taking it to a dinner at church) and butter the bottom and sides…

Pour your sweet potato mixture into your dish… and smooth out…

Now for the TOPPING! It’s so good!

Mix together in a bowl: I generally use a fork but you can use your fingers if you like… (then you get to lick them!)

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup of flour
1/3 cup melted butter

It should look like this…

Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potato mixture using your fingers…

It should look like this…

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

The ONLY thing better than a big pan of Sweet Potato Souffle….

…is TWO pans of Sweet Potato Souffle… (I made a double batch!)

I hope you’ll give this a try sometime… I haven’t been eating sugar, but I plan on having a helping of this! (she gives a REALLY BIG SMILE!)

I’m baking mine on Saturday, so it’s in the frig and ready to go, but here is a picture of it baked, from last year’s Thanksgiving dinner at our house…it’s the dish in the bottom left corner… YUMMY!! (and don’t forget Linda’s pickles!) (HERE)

CIMG4613

See you (maybe, tomorrow…)
Blessings, Jeanne

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Have you ever tried Spaghetti Squash?

I know, I know, you were expecting a post on the latest from Felicity… Well, I can tell you what’s new. Nothing. Sorry. My day was filled from the time I got out of bed until now…it’s 5 minutes till midnight. I just went into my sewing room and started gathering tiny leaves and looking for a piece of trim to use on the hat, and a ribbon to tie on it… and then decided…It’s almost midnight…don’t start on this now and do a rush job just to get a post from it… so I listened to myself and decided to write about something else.

It has nothing to do with dolls, but it will make your tummy happy. Have you ever tried Spaghetti Squash? I can honestly say, up until probably 6 months ago, I had never tried it. I thought surely it must taste icky. Well, a lady at the Food Pantry served it for lunch one day and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. AND…it’s come in pretty handy as our “pasta substitute.”

When my hubby finished with 5 1/2 months of Chemo, in May, he decided he wanted to make a change in the way we ate. He wanted to give up the major carbs…Pasta, Potatoes, Rice, and Bread (when they are digested, they all turn to glucose (sugar) and he was trying to get all the sugar out of his body. Oh AND we gave up Sugar too. So we started on this new adventure. It was much easier with us both doing it. He was doing it for his health and it’s been a pretty good fit for both of us. It was hard at first to get used to this new way of eating, but now it’s gradually become easier to prepare things. It’s been successful for us too. He has lost 54 pounds so far and I have lost 26. He was able to get off his Omeprezole (Acid Reflux) and his high blood pressure medicine. He is much more disciplined than I am… I had a piece of cake at a wedding, when I had some company recently, I had a slice of cheesecake, I even went to Cool Spoons when Deb was down visiting and had a dollop of yogurt in the bottom of my cup with fruit and nuts on it… Occasionally I’ll have croutons on my salad and a piece of toast from a multi grain bread that I LOVE! But it’s mostly sticking to the plan we started back in May… He very seldom ever cheats… I mean E-V-E-R!

Well, enough on that… I wanted to show you how I make the Spaghetti Squash. Linda asked about it the other day. It has become our pasta and it’s pretty versatile… I’ll show you how I do it with quite a few pictures. (maybe everyone makes it this way, but I had never heard of doing it like this and think it’s very fun and easy to do.)

I tend to get a spaghetti squash about this size… you can see it on my dinner plate for size reference.

They are very hard to cut open, so I generally ask my hubby to cut the stem end off…and then put the flat side down and cut it down long ways. (I was thinking you might be able to get someone in the butcher shop or the bakery department to cut it open for you if you don’t think you can do it at home… they are REALLY hard and tough skinned… ) Be careful if you do it yourself.

When you get it open, it will look like this…

There are lots of seeds and stringy “things” inside, so I take a spoon and scoop them out… they want to hang on to the squash, but with a little bit of scooping back and forth, you’ll get them out… Now the hard parts over… the rest is easy peasy!

Next, take a baking dish or a pan with sides on it and put them face down in it. Add enough cold water to them so that it comes up on the squash about 1/4″ – 1/3″ or so… it doesn’t have to be exact…

Put them in a hot oven (375 degrees) and bake them for about 30 – 40 minutes depending on the size you have. I tend to get this same size so I always bake mine at 30 minutes and they come out perfect each time.

You can pull them halfway out of your oven and poke them with your finger and see if they seem kind of soft… I actually took mine out, poked my finger on mine and it went through the squash… yep.. I think it’s done. You don’t want them to be squishy or mushy but be a little bit like “al dente” spaghetti… It’s one of those things you’ll have to figure out with your oven.

Drain the water out of your pan or lift them out carefully without getting your oven mitt or hot pad wet. Turn them over…

Take a spoon or fork and start scraping the insides out of them… this is the fun part… go all the way to the rind… It should easily scrape off and get all “noodle-y” like… :o)

I generally leave the squash in the rind, until I get both of them scraped out…

This is what they look like all cleaned out…

So now you can fix whatever you like. Monday night I made “Jeanne’s Broccoli Con Pasta.” Well, sort of… I cooked some chicken, added some steamed broccoli, microwaved 3 slices of bacon and chopped it up, and added it all in the same pan. I used a jar of light Alfredo sauce and mixed it all up… (next time I’m making Kristoffer’s Alfredo sauce recipe!)

Then I added my spaghetti squash..

This was my final dish!!! We really liked it!

Here’s a picture of the spaghetti squash when I used it and made regular spaghetti…

I won’t lie to you and tell you it tastes like Olive Garden’s pasta, but when you want spaghetti and need a “noodle fix” it’s pretty good! We like it and hope if you try it, you will too!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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