Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easter Time and Packaging Ideas

I always seem to have great luck around Easter time getting some unique and colorful packaging. I stopped at a local Aco this morning and found these metal planters with the Easter goods. I am always drawn to baskets and container items, and thought the pink ones would work great for displaying products, which they would. I got a pink one with this in mind, but as I drove home I thought of my accessories sets and my constant struggle to come up with retail durable packaging. I usually end up with less then inspiring cello bags, however not this year!

I did a test run with a cosmetic pouch, mini coin purse, tissue cozy, pocket planner, eyeglass container, it looked PERFECT, it will actually hold a lot more then that but that was a pretty good mix of products. I needed to put some tissue in the bottom for height then add a basket bag and probably a bow and this will make an awesome gift set for my products during the holiday season.

They also had these mini metal pals, complete with metal and wooden handle this size will be perfect for smaller sets of 3-4 items. Best part about these little metal holders they were .50 cents each, I hurried back and scooped up all the pink tins, white buckets and then got a few of the yellow and blue ones as well.

I came home quickly found other nearby Aco's and off I went, the first one I went to did not have Easter items, sigh home to Google again. This time I called 3 nearby stores, the last one informed me she remembered those from last year and the store I got them from had them still most likely, which also explains the price point, did I mention these were only .50 cents each...sigh. I am going to go back to the original store and get the rest of the yellow buckets and a few more of the blue. Right now I have a total of 24 containers which is a great start, remember I have to fill these all now with product. It is nice to get an idea and have plenty of time to put it into action, I will be debuting these offline in the fall.

Updated on 4/7/11: I got these cuties at Target in the "dollar bins" at the front of the store. Cardboard boxes, that are about 6" wide x 3" deep x 4" tall, I have already made up some new sets to put at Yellow Door. They also had little metal buckets in varying colors, with a bow on the front, I think these are actually too narrow for me so I am not sure they will work for my items, but they are really cute and the bow could be changed out for a matching look.

Completed gift baskets, I found some bags at Michaels, with coupon 3.00 for 16 bags, great low cost packaging idea.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Olive Tapenade

I have been staring at this giant bottle of olives in the back of my fridge for a few months now. Never tell your husband to pick up olives when he is on his way to Costco when you only need 1/4 cup...sigh!

Olives are one of those things I don't like unless they are in something or on top of something like a Greek salad. These were close to getting tossed this week, however I know they were expensive and I remembered we just had a tapenade at restaurant and I thought maybe this idea could use them up...finally!
  • 1-1.25 cups pitted Kalamata olives, can be a mix
  • 2 TBLS Capers
  • 2 TBLS garlic, or 2-3 cloves
  • Generous shakes of dried Parsley
  • 2 TBLS Lemon juice
  • 2 TBLS Olive oil
Rinse and drain olives and capers place in food processor with rest of the above ingredients, blend to a consistency for spreading or dipping.

Chill for a few hours or overnight, great on crackers served with cream cheese or goat cheese. You can salt and pepper to taste but I would hold off on the salt until the flavors have time to blend. I found the brine from the olives and capers made this salty enough. With my olives it was a bit on the bitter side, you can cut this by using different olives like green.

I actually made a double batch for snacking on the weekend, this would be a wonderful appetizer as it is easy to serve. BTW, I still have enough olives to make at least one maybe two more batches, I really think it is the never ending bottle of olives.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pattern Tester I Think Sew

I was recently asked to be a pattern tester for I Think Sew, which seemed like a fun opportunity so I joined right in to pattern testing. I Think Sew offers a variety of PDF patterns for totes and for baby items. I had purchased a child backpack pattern a few years back for my small child, I found the pattern both easy and fun and I Think Sew was super helpful with a few questions I had.

Onto my testing experience. I was given a new bag The Martha Market Bag, which is a large bag that would be great for the market (obviously) among other things. I think this bag would be a great beach bag it is roomy and light weight I think I will be testing this at the farmers market which will be coming soon in my city (yay).

I read the pattern a few times before even beginning, usually I actually sort of skip this step as I have enough experience to just dive in, really most times I buy patterns I need dimensions and detail directions not too much the sewing directions.

I had to purchase some home decor weight fabrics, since I most work in cottons I did not have a heavy enough fabric to do the project. I settled on a bright coral print with a retro inspired brown and white leaf motif, this had a coordinate solid and I paired these with brown webbing for the handles.

As I begun I kept a notebook near the computer to make notes as I went. I did actually have a few places I had questions so I made those notes to offer my suggestions for further clarification to the pattern. Thought I would show a few sewing tips that I used to make this tote.

Sewing an X at the top of a bag handle gives some reinforcement to seams that will see lots of action

A magnetic seam guide can be helpful when sewing a larg seam. I usually use 1/4 for everything, this called for 1/2 inch my guide was placed accordingly, keep the fabric flush with the guide for perfect seams.

In the end I have about 4 areas I would have to like to see just a little more instruction, or an added idea. I will be sending my pictures and ideas along for their consideration. I would totally do this again, it is fun to do something different and maybe help another along the way.

You can find I Think Sew bag patterns in this etsy shop "Sewingwithme3".

Friday, March 18, 2011

2011 UFO FInished - Laura Gunn Fabric Pillows

Another 2011 UFO done, well nearly...done enough to be put to use. I still may go back and do some more beading on the birdcage pillow, but for now the less is more and calling it done.

These are my favorite two chairs to seasonally embellish, ready made pillows that I often cover make this easy to change out as I desire. These chairs are great for entertaining as they make an nice conversation pair and are also easy to slide on our hardwood floors, as an added bonus when needed they are a great height to our dining room table, for really big gatherings.

I love this first fabric collection by artist Laura Gunn, her fabric is from Michael Miller and I have quite a bit put away to use for home decor projects for myself like this one. I also have a pieced small quilt that I was hoping to applique a tree on it and hang it above these chairs. I am actually unsure I still want to do that so I have this rather simple pieced quilt I am deciding what to do to finish.

I actually sort of followed some pictures on Laura Gunns blog when she did this fabric release. I sized them to fit my 18 inch pillows that I already had, below are just a few things I did to make the pillows.

I almost always do a quilted top for my pillows, the stability and weight the batting provides to the completed pillow is worth the effort. My pieced pillows with some simple on point grid quilting to hold the batting to the top, I only use batting and the top, no need to back it as it will be enclosed.

Auditioning thread colors, just unfurling thread and laying randomly on piece to be quilted will give a good visual to the finished item.

I marked with white pencil a cross hatch design to be quilted, I only quilted the 2 accent fabrics on the side.

Finished quilting

I then did some free quilting to the motif design, just enough to hold in place.

Birdcage pillow, below beaded details, I beaded most of the aqua and fuchsia bird cages.

Lantern Bloom Pillow with quilted detail below

Makes a lovely pair, I just used a faux chocolate suede for the back and made them in an envelope style to change out with the seasons.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daylight Savings + Sunshine = Grilling out

Hooray, we did our first grilling out of 2011, it was still quite daylight at 6ish and about 50 degrees so it seemed perfect to go outside and grill and make all the neighbors jealous.

We usually are able to sneak in a grilled meal even in the winter however this year in MI we have had a lot of snow and a lot of long cold spells so I think it has been since about November that we last grilled.

Chicken on the menu, a simple go to grill recipe that also works under the broiler.
  • Chicken tenderloins
  • Bacon
  • Barbeque seasoning, personal fave Penzeys BBQ 3000
Sprinkle chicken generously with seasoning, wrap in 1/2 slice bacon, sprinle again with seasoning.

Grill about 6-8 minutes per side on medium hot grill. Serve as a main course or a hearty appetizer. I don't often buy bacon and will just get 6-8 slices from the meat counter.

Can summer be far away?

Monday, March 14, 2011

UFO - Finished Love Quilt

Hooray, every year I pretty much make the same resolution, to finish up UFO's, those "Un Finished Objects" or projects that taunt me with their incompleteness. After reorganizing my sewing space I was inspired to try and stick to this goal.

First, though hopefully not the last of 2011 is this Four Patch Posy quilt in Amy Butler Love fabrics. I sashed each block with a navy and coral, and completed with a fabric from the Love line, Midnight Garden.

I usually send out quilts to be quilted, for me the fun is in picking out and planning fabrics, and the piecing. Consequently I have loads and loads of pieced tops needing to be quilted. I sent this one out and on a lark got it back in 3 days. I am super inspired to get about 3-4 more smaller ones to get ready as well and hope to blog about them IN 2011.

Quilt is backed in a salmon and pink big dot print from the Joel Dewberry line "Deer Park" I love how it compliments the pinks and corals in the Love flower motifs.

Close up of some of the blocks. The machine quilter did a great job, quilting on top was done in navy, a block design repeated on each block, and then amazing free motion work in the borders an sashings, way better then I would have though of doing and much better job too!

Full Quilt, I used a large scale print for the blocks, this was cut into 4 repeats and the blocks are mirror images of each other when sewn together. I had actually done a mini look at the construction technique in this earlier blog post.

I have also been playing with a few of the new AB fabrics from Soul Blossoms. This pleated tote and snap clutch will be at Yellow Door later this week.

Joining a few link parties this week with this lovely quilt, check out Quiltstory and Crafting with Karina to see it in action!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ironing Station Makeover

Last week I did a show and tell of my new sewing space and was inspired to finish moving the last items into place. I managed to convince my husband to go out to the garage with me through about 5 inches of snow and bring in the old kitchen island. The island was in need of a little more TLC then I had recalled as it had lots of dirt and dust from over 5 years in an old garage (our garage is more a giant 2 car storage shed, we do not park in it). So I got out bleach and cleaned it THOUROUGHLY before bringing it inside.


It fit just about perfectly and the doors open as well, I thought it might be too tight but it works. I now have a taller spot to iron and a lot more practical storage with shelving down below and underneath is about 6 inch clearance so I have room to grow, thinking under the bed plastic bin will fit underneath should I need it.

I had 4 more of these decor shelves so I installed these as well, next my favorite little 2/1.00 baskets in some matching colors gives me LOTS more options for storage. I will still play around with placement of items but so far this is a great addition to my new room.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Grunge is Still Alive Treasury Feature

Great grunge treasury which apparently is just about vintage these days. Thanks so much to etsy shop Xamantha for featuring my "Urban Grunge" large tote.

Urban Grunge Large Tote $38.00

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Random Wine Review Hogue Cellers

We are wine drinkers more then beers or liquors, which we really don't drink. We also mainly drink wines under 10.00 unless the occasion calls for something more or it is a dessert wine like Icewine (which we LOVE).

We have had really good luck the last few months with late harvest Rieslings from Washington state. The most recent is from The Hogue Cellers, it is a 2009 Late Harvest Riesling, it was on special for 10.00 at the local market, reg price was 12.99.

I think this is best chilled very cold it was crisp and citrus-y and great for just drinking I had a glass while preparing dinner and it went down very easily. I found it to have a lemony grapefruit aftertaste that was quite pleasing. I think it would make a great wine with appetizers or pizza if you are having a casual evening. For 10.00 bucks it was a great find I think we will going back to grab a few bottles, will be nice for summer evenings grilling in the backyard.
Related Posts with Thumbnails