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Archive for May 2013

Father's Day Chalkboard Printable

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Father's Day is only a few weeks away, which I have been reminded of since my Pinterest feed has been full of Father's Day projects and printables.  Looking through all of the pins, I was a little disappointed at the selection.  I love a good chalkboard printable, but there were none to be found for Dad's Day!  So, I made one...hope you like it!

Click on the link above to be taken to Google Drive.  Click on the arrow in the top left of the screen to download.  

Printable is 8x10", but will print out well in a smaller size too.


A Perfect Summertime Treat

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I love our neighbor.  Not only is she very nice and offers to take our dog for walks sometimes, but she has a gorgeous nectarine tree that hangs halfway over into our yard.

Nectarines are my favorite fruit.  I have been watching and waiting for these babies to ripen so I can pick and eat them!  There are so many nectarines that I can't just eat them all, so I figured out a way to use up quite a few of them... Nectarine Cobbler!

This recipe is so easy and so good.  Last time I made it, my mom came over every morning for a week to have some for breakfast.  Granted its only about a minute drive for her, but still!  It's that good.

  • 10-12 Nectarines (Enough to completely cover the bottom of a 9"x13" pan)
  • Yellow cake mix
  • Stick of butter

  1. Slice nectarines and cover the bottom of a 9"x13" pan.  
  2. Spread cake mix evenly over the nectarines and pat down firmly.
  3. Cut the stick of butter into pieces and spread evenly over the cake mix.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

And there you have it!  This is the easiest dessert to put together.  You can substitute other fruit (peaches, apples, etc.) for the nectarines.  I have thrown raspberries in with nectarines and that was really good too!  Finish with a scoop of ice cream on top and you're good to go!

This recipe was featured at:

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Super Easy Pasta Salad

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My birthday was last week...happy birthday to me! I used to love my birthday and make it like, a week long extravaganza.  Once, I even claimed all of May to be my birthday month and told my mom I could do what I want all month long.  So, when May started off and I felt like this birthday was going to be a little lackluster (why is it when you get older birthdays aren't as fun?!), I thought to myself, "Hey, what gives?  It's a reason to celebrate and have fun so go for it!".  And so, last week was "Birthday Week" once again.

First, we went to Palm Springs for a weekend, because I wanted to be somewhere that I knew would be warm and sunny.  Bonus that it included a casino, great pool, and shopping.  On my actual birthday we went out to dinner and bowling with friends.  Super fun!

The best part of my birthday week festivities included a semi-surprise party/BBQ.  My oh-so-sweet husband let it slip that we were having a BBQ for my birthday, but kept the details a secret (the semi-surprise part).  I wanted to make something to contribute, while still being able to relax and enjoy our company, so I knew just the thing to make.  My super easy pasta salad. 

I usually look for recipes that are quick and easy because let's face it, most of us do not have ample time to spend in the kitchen.  I love it when a recipe with little work and a few ingredients turns out delish! This recipe did not start out that way.  I saw a recipe on Pinterest that looked so good, but when I saw all of the ingredients, I said forget it.  Determined to make something similar and just as yummy, I came up with this:

  •  Small (1 lb) box of orzo pasta, cooked according to directions on the package.
  • 1 bottle of Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing
  • 1 (8 oz) jar of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup of roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup of Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 (3.8 oz) can of sliced black olives
  • 1 (4 oz) pkg feta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded parmesan/mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  1. Once cooked, transfer the orzo to a large bowl.  Stir in half the bottle of dressing  and garlic powder and mix well.  Place bowl in the refrigerator until all of the pasta is cooled to about room temperature.
  2. Add in the tomatoes, red peppers, parsley, olives, cheeses, and remaining dressing and mix together thoroughly.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

This pasta is so so soooo good.  You can eat it the day you make it, but it just gets better with time.  When you refrigerate it over night, it gives the pasta time to soak up all of the delicious flavors of the dressing and add-ins.  I made it on Saturday for our Sunday BBQ.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

My birthday was wonderful!  My hubby did a great job planning and putting together the BBQ for me.  Spending time with my friends, family, good food, and fun was the perfect way to celebrate! 
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Maxi Skirt Tutorial

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring is in full swing and I love it!  Something about sunshine, warm weather, and the days getting longer just makes me happy.

Another reason why I love Spring is that I get to ditch my dreary winter wardrobe and break out my spring and summer dresses and skirts.  I really dislike wearing pants.  I don't know why really, maybe I find them a bit uncomfortable, maybe I just think dresses are prettier, or maybe I just hate cold weather.  Okay, it's all of the above.

Anyway, with all of this glorious warm weather, I have been itching to make a new maxi skirt.  These skirts are easy and rather quick to put together and here's how:

What you will need:
  • Your favorite maxi skirt to use as a pattern
  • 1 1/2 - 2 yards of fabric (I prefer using a cotton jersey knit.  I got mine from Girl Charlee)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Sewing Machine
  1. Fold your fabric in half, right sides facing each other.  If you are using a fabric with a pattern like I did, make sure the pattern matches up on both sides.  Take the maxi skirt you are using as a pattern and lay it on top of your folded fabric.  

  2. Cut around the maxi skirt you are using as a pattern, leaving a 1/2" extra on all sides to allow for seam allowances.  Once your skirt is cut, pin the side seams.
  3. Serge or sew up the side seams using a 1/2" seam allowance.  If you do not have a serger, first sew up the side seams using a straight stitch, then sew again with a zig zag stitch to prevent the material from fraying.  
  4. For the waistband, measure the top of the fabric you just cut and double it.  Mine measured 16", so doubled it was 32". Cut a piece of fabric that is 1" smaller than the waist measurement by 16".  My waistband piece was 31" x 16".  
  5. Fold your waistband piece in half, right sides together, and sew (zig zag stitch) or serge up the side to create a tube.  Turn right side out and fold the tube inside of itself until it is in half and the edges of the fabric are lined up.  

  6. Pin your waistband to your skirt, right sides together, at the raw edges.  Once pinned, serge or sew with a zig zag stitch around the skirt using a 1/2" seam allowance. 

  7. Serge along the bottom of the skirt.
  8. Try on your skirt (almost done, yay!) to determine the length of your hem.  Press inward and press the side seams to the back.  Hem the skirt to your desired length using a straight stitch.
  9. Done!  Enjoy your fabulous new skirt and hopefully some sunshine to go with it!
I am in love with my new maxi skirt!  It is my favorite thing in my closet right now, and the best part is I made it myself! Yay!
This tutorial was featured at:

Six Sisters' Stuff


All Things with Purpose

This tutorial was shared at: huckleberry love, watch out, martha, the blissful bee, not just a housewife, emmy lane, glamorous affordable life, mercy ink, raegun ramblings, dukes and duchesses, the train to crazy, serenity now, the stitchin mommy, mad in crafts, or so she says..., wait till your father gets home, thirty handmade days, live laugh rowe, seven thirty three, and sew we craft, the princess and her cowboys, a pinch of joy, craft-o-maniac , sew many ways, the jenny revolution, the dedicated house, see vanessa craft, a glimpse inside, the winthrop chronicles, home stories a to z, i should be mopping the floor, skip to my lou, petals to picots
More the Merrier Monday

How to Create Subway Art Using your Silhouette Cameo

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Mom has been shopping around for a large piece of subway art for her new house for a while now, so I thought I would surprise her with one for Mother's Day. 
As a single mom, breast cancer survivor, and in general someone who doesn't give herself enough credit for all of the wonderful things she does, I wanted to remind her with this inspirational quote to: "Always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as beautiful as you've ever imagined". 

After finding the perfect quote, now came the task of actually making it!  Making your own hand painted subway art is pretty simple to do, however it can be very tedious and a little time consuming.  That being said, I absolutely love how a hand painted version looks over simply printing out some vinyl letters and adhering them to canvas. 

This is how I make my subway art projects using my Silhouette Cameo:

What you will need:
  • Canvas in whatever size you'd like (mine was 18" x 24")
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Stencil Vinyl
  • Transfer Vinyl
  • Acrylic paint in colors of your choice (I used Liquitex Basics in Mars Black and Unbleached Titanium)
  • Large paintbrush to cover the background of the canvas
  • Smaller paintbrushes for detailing and filling in the stencil areas.

  1.  Use the Silhouette Studio to design the quote that you want for your art.  Use the grid to make sure your lines are all evenly spaced.  If your canvas is larger than 12" wide (like mine), you will have to rotate your stencil horizontally on the screen and split up your quote.  For example, one of my stencils said "ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE BRAVER THAN YOU BELIEVE, STRONGER THAN YOU SEEM" and the other said "SMARTER THAN YOU THINK, AND TWICE AS BEAUTIFUL AS YOU'VE EVER IMAGINED".  To make the two stencils, I made two separate files.  To fit my 18" wide canvas with about an inch of space on both sides, I set the size of the vinyl at 17" and centered my quote about 1/2" in on each side.  
  2. Cut out your stencil.  Since my stencil is larger than my cutting mat, I fed my vinyl into my machine without the mat.  To do this, select "load media" on your Silhouette instead of "load cutting mat".  Make sure the settings are correct for the type of media you are using (I had mine on "Silhouette Vinyl") and that the blade is on the right setting (mine was at a 2).  Now, cut it out! Once cut, weed out the letters on the stencil. 
  3.  Paint your canvas with whatever color you want your background to be.  I went for the classic black and white look, so I used Mars Black for my background.  Try to keep your paintbrush strokes going in the same direction, as it will look nicer and more professional when the paint dries.
  4. Once your canvas is COMPLETELY dry (I let mine dry overnight to be safe), it is time to transfer your stencil onto it.  Using your transfer tape, cover your entire stencil and smooth out any air bubbles with a scraper tool or a popsicle stick.  Run your scraper or stick over the entire stencil a few times with adequate pressure to make sure the stencil is adhered to the transfer tape.  Carefully peel off the transfer tape with stencil attached and place it (centered) on your canvas.  Go over the transfer tape and stencil with your scraper.  Since the canvas is hollow in the middle, turn it over and use the scraper on the back side as well to make sure the stencil adheres to the canvas completely.  Once you are satisfied that the stencil is attached, go ahead and peel off the transfer tape, leaving the stencil on the canvas.  Go slowly!  You will most likely have to smooth some of the stencil onto the canvas by hand in places where it comes up.  To me, this is the hardest part of this whole process!
  5. When your stencil is on the canvas, go over it a few times with your scraper again for good measure.  Now, get your paint that you want your lettering to be and have at it!  I painted over my stencil three times to get good coverage over the black background.
  6. Once the lettering is dry, peel off your stencil.  Since canvas is not completely smooth, there will be places where the paint bled through.  Get out your background paint color and a small paintbrush and go over those parts.  I know it's tedious, but it will be worth it! 
  7. Once your touch-ups are complete, let dry, hang, and enjoy! 

Hopefully this isn't too confusing, but if it is, leave me a comment or send me a message and I'll be happy to explain!

My mom LOVED her art!  And my husband even joined me in making one for his mom too!  

 This tutorial was featured at: start at home, petals to picots, mad in crafts

A Little About Me

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hey Everyone!

For my first post, I think I'll keep it short and introduce myself a bit.

My name is Alyssa, and I live in Orange County, California with my husband and chocolate lab, Reese.  Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a housewife, where I would craft and bake all day.  Well, fortunately for me, I have a wonderful husband who works hard and lets me live out my dream.

Aside from that I have a little crafty company with my best friend, Jordan.  Together we make up J & A's Handmade Lovelies

That's it for now, but stay tuned for more from my Oh Sew Crafty Life!

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