Friday, May 30, 2014

Free Printable: "Best Teacher in the World"

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I used to be a middle school sewing teacher. While I never expected gifts from any of my students, the thought was always appreciated. I want my kid's teachers to know how much we appreciate all their hard work too. The last day of school for my kids is today (YES!!!!), so a few days ago I went to World Market, one of my favorite stores, to find a few gifts for their teachers. As I was browsing around, inspiration struck, and I decided to create a few printables to go along with world-themed gifts.

I would have loved to buy each of their teachers a cute globe, but those were out of my price range. So we found cute little globe balls in the toy section, a World Market candle (the sea salt and coconut smells divine), and an Italian soda. I'm pairing those with my framed "Teachers Make the World a Better Place" printable, and a hand written note from my daughters with the phrase, "You're the Best Teacher in the World." I hope the teachers will like these!

If you'd like to create something similar, here are the free printable files to help you out! All I ask is that before printing, you either pin to Pinterest or become a follower of my blog via PinterestInstagram, Facebook, RSS or Google Friend Connect.

Choose your size and click to download:

Click to download:

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Modern Sewciety Podcast Interview + Blog Makeover


Have you heard of Modern Sewciety? It's a podcast hosted by Stephanie, and she interviews various bloggers and designers from the sewing industry. It is SO fun to listen to these interviews and get to know some really inspiring people behind the scenes. I love giving them a listen while I sew. 

I was interviewed earlier this week, and if you'd like to hear it, click the play button below (or you can visit this link to download it). It's about a 25 minute interview, and my segment begins at minute 44:18 (about half way through the podcast).


Have you heard that I'm getting ready to lauch Sewvivor Season 3? Some initial details are in the interview! The first step of preparing for Sewvivor was to give my blog a little makeover. Here is a before picture:

What do you think of the new header and other design elements? I was ready for some fresh new fonts, and I'm obsessed with the calligraphy craze. I did the design myself, and I just hope it doesn't look too cluttered. I finally updated and organized all my sewing projects, recipes, and printables. And you can click on the Sewvivor icon at the top right to find all the latest Sewvivor posts. Look for more info coming up in June!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Works in Progress, Small Finishes, and Life

It's been a few weeks since I've had a big finished project to post on my blog, so today I thought I'd share a few WIP's (works in progress). I've shared all these pictures on Instagram, my favorite place to share and follow other seamstresses on what's happening behind the scenes.

I recently took on the undertaking of sewing Amy Butler's Weekender Bag. I LOVED doing the quilt as you go method. More details on my experience with the whole process coming soon!
I made this tiny Swoon block, and added it to one of the main pocket panels of my Weekender. It measures 4" which for the first time making a swoon block probably wasn't my brightest idea! The block is designed by the talented Camille Roskelley, and the dimensions were modified and shared with me by my friend Amanda from Westwood Acres.

One of my favorite projects I have made in a while was with this new line of Arizona fabric for Art Gallery, by April Rhodes, due to release at the end of May. I was super lucky to be asked to sew for April Rhode's quilt market booth. Click here to see what I made!

This little deer has been a fun project to work on over the past few months. I am ready to quilt it now, and I plan on making a mini quilt to hang up in my sewing space. It's a great portable project- I always take it with me when I am sitting at my daughter's dance and gymnastics lessons. It's all reverse needle turned applique, which doesn't involve the use of a machine at all. The idea, and stencil pattern are from my sweet friend Mary Dugan of the Molly Flanders blog.


Speaking of Mary, she brought over some darling fabrics for my kids a few weeks ago. My 6 year old immediately HAD to make a stuffed bunny with this bunny fabric, so I found a template on UCreate and we whipped it up in about an hour after school one day. She got to help a lot, with the ironing, a little machine stitching, and most of the hand stitching.

Last month, our church had its General Conference meeting, which is a big satellite broadcast in which we get to listen to the leaders of our church give wonderful talks about Christ and inspiration about life. I didn't go too crazy with any projects since I wanted to listen with real intent, but I did make a little felt ball garland for my sewing room, and some felt hair bows for my girls. (Tutorial found on Oliver + S).

Now this was a really random project... Jessica from Craftiness is Not Optional is making a dollhouse for her daughters. It's amazing, and I can't wait to see it finished. Once day while looking at her progress on instagram, I had a sudden urge to sew something for the adorable sewing room she has set up. So I made this tiny mini hexie quilt. I paper pieced the hexies, which are 1/4". The whole "quilt" measures 2" x 4" or a little less. lol.

The teenage girls at my church did a fundraiser auction a few weeks ago to earn money to send them to Girl's Camp. Members of our church were asked to donate items for sale. I decided it would be fun to make earrings, since they would probably sell for a couple dollars a piece. I knew there would be plenty of big ticket items. I made 20 pairs of earrings, and they all sold for a couple of dollars, success! 

Oh.... and then there's these quilts, that are on the WIP list for when all of the above are finished. (There's a pickledish, a woven hashtag, and a ruched quilt in process here). One thing at a time!

Stay tuned for Sewvivor Season 3. Planning is in the works, and more details will be share coming up in June. I am SO excited about this Season!!!


And the last little project I've been working on is growing a baby! In just 4 weeks he will be here! I have been getting super organized these last few months so that even after he comes, I should be able to keep sewing and taking care of my kids, all on a somewhat organized routine. At least I hope that's how it'll go, hahaha. We've had a wonderful year full of music lessons and practice, dance, gymnastics, soccer for the boy, church, plus getting all the kids on a great chore routine. I know we won't be able to keep up the same pace for next year, but I am grateful for this year. It's been very productive and full of blessings. I feel I've finally struck a healthy balance between mothering and blogging. It's been more mother focused and less blog focused, but along with that I've found more time to sew... So I just blog when I have something to show, and I'm loving it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Quilted Ruffle Duffle Bag + Arizona Fat Quarter Giveaway!

When I got an email from my friend April Rhodes asking me if I'd like to participate in the blog tour + giveaway for the release of her new fabric line Arizona for Art Gallery Fabrics... my head just about popped off! YES!!! 

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If you're a fabric lover like me, you've probably heard of her new line called Arizona for Art Gallery Fabrics. It is magical. I am crazy about her frontier-like, geometrical designs.  I love that they are gender neutral. Seriously, these fabrics were SO fun to play with. I have a list of about ten things I'd like to make with them! The hand (feel) of Art Gallery Fabrics is so different than most other cottons. It is soft and buttery. I am just swooning over these fabrics. 


 I used my Ruffle Duffle Bag pattern to show off April's fabrics. This was my first time making a quilted version of my bag, and I LOVE how it turned out! (If you want to make this bag... hang in there! Details are coming)!


I used a diamond quilting pattern on the front pocket, quilted with a #50 weight Aurifil floss. And here's a view of the side of the bag.

I used one of my favorite prints called Arid Horizon. I lined it with Token Triangles. I am so excited about how this happy little accident happened... the shapes lined up better than I planned!

I made a quilt-as-you-go version of the pocket, and added it to the inside. On the outside it would have clashed with the already amazing shapes that April designed. I love how it stands out from the inside of the bag.


So.... are you in love with these fabrics? There are several other prints that I didn't even show you! I'm so excited to give away a whole FAT QUARTER BUNDLE of April's amazing Arizona fabrics! To keep things simple, this giveaway is only available to enter on Instagram (my apologies for those who don't have an account). 

And be sure to check out the whole Arizona Fabric blog tour so you can see what else is being made and enter to win a Fat Quarter bundle!
Thursday, May 1 - Anna Graham / @noodlehead531
Friday, May 2 - Shelley Figueroa / @figgysstudio
Saturday, May 3 - Julie Herman / @jaybirdquilts
Sunday, May 4 -  Erin Sobon Sundet / @sewbon
Monday, May 5 - Jenna Brand / @howtobejenna
Tuesday, May 6 - Kelli Ward / @truebias
Wednesday, May 7 - Rachel Howard - @familyeverafter
Thursday, May 8 - Delia Randall / @deliacreates
Friday, May 9 - Kelly Costas / @cutcutsew
Saturday, May 10 - Rachel Gander / @imaginegnats
Sunday, May 11 - Devon Iott / @missmake
Monday, May 12 - Mary Dugan / @marysdugan
Tuesday, May 13 - Shannon Cook / @soveryshannon
Wednesday, May 14 - Penny Layman / @sewtakeahike
Thursday, May 15 - Katie Blakesley / @swimbikequilt



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Monday, May 5, 2014

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pork Salad Recipes + Mexican Chocolate Cake


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When I lived in Provo, Utah while attending college, I probably ate at Cafe Rio once a week. I miss it so much! And that's why I had to learn to make a copy cat version myself... I simply cannot live without it! I actually prefer Cafe Rio's version to my own- since its only about $8 for a salad and I don't have to make it! Ha! Oh I miss that place :) If you've never been there, you've GOT to try this recipe. It's a lot of work, but totally worth it. There are several great copycat recipes floating around the internet. I haven't found one that has ALL the components of the salad PLUS a shopping list all together. So for my own sake, I compiled it all into one place, with all my own tweaks and preferences. Feel free to change it however you like it. I even have a printable shopping list HERE. And not that you'll be hungry afterward, but I included my favorite Mexican Chocolate Cake recipe too! This is a fun Cinqo de Mayo meal!


COPY CAT CAFE RIO PORK SALAD RECIPES
*Tips: Begin the pork and make the salad dressing the night before, for maximum flavor. For the cilantro, wash and chop it all at the same time, saving a few sprigs for garnish. Store chopped cilantro in refrigerator and use as needed in multiple recipes. Make everything else in the order that follows...


Sweet Pork:


Marinade Ingredients-
1 can dark soda* 
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large ziploc bag
*(I prefer Root Beer, but you can also use Coke or Dr. Pepper)

Pork Ingredients-
2 pounds boneless pork loin 
1 can dark soda*
Garlic Salt

Sauce Ingredients-
1 can dark soda*
1 small can diced green chilies
1 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 cup brown sugar
water as needed

Directions-
1. Make the marinade by combining the soda and brown sugar in a large ziploc bag. Place the pork loin and marinade inside and refrigerate overnight, turning over if possible.
2. In the morning, drain the marinade and place the pork in a crock pot. Add the root beer and garlic salt. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. 
3.Drain liquid and shred pork.
4. Make sauce. In a blender, combine 1 can root beer, chilies, enchilada sauce, brown sugar and water as needed. Pour over shredded pork and stir. 
5. Cook on low for 1-2 additional hours.

Creamy Tomatillo House Dressing:


Ingredients-
1 packet Traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
2 tomatillos, peeled and diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsley chopped
1 clove garlic
1 lime (to taste)
1 jalapeno, fresh or canned (to taste)

Directions-
1. Mix first 6 ingredients in blender. 
2. Add fresh squeezed lime juice and jalapeno according to your taste. (I love limes, but I don't like the dressing to taste too "limey," so I don't use all the juice from one lime. If you don't like it too spicey, remove the seeds from your jalapeno).
3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cilantro Lime Rice:


Rice Ingredients-
2 cups white rice
2 tsp butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 lime, freshly squeezed + zested
2 (15oz) cans chicken broth*
2 cups water*
(*4 cups powdered chicken stock + water can be used in place of chicken broth + water)

Sauce Ingredients-
1/2 lime, freshly squeezed + zested
4 tsp sugar
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Directions-
1. In a pot or rice cooker, combine the rice, butter, and garlic. Saute until the butter is melted, the garlic is brown, and the rice is golden. Add the remaining rice ingredients (salt, lime juice and zest, and chicken broth). Stir.
2. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or follow rice cooker instructions. 
3. Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the other half of the lime juice + zest, sugar, and chopped cilantro.
4. When rice is tender, remove from heat, and the sauce, and fluff.

Black Beans:

Ingredients-
1 TB olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 (10oz) can tomato juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 TB fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions-
1. In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat, then cook garlic and cumin. Be careful not to burn the garlic! 
2. Add the beans, tomato juice, and salt. Stir until heated through.
3. I like to take a potato masher and break up the beans just a little.
4. Stir in fresh cilantro just before serving.

Pico de Gallo:

Ingredients-
5 roma tomatoes
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 lime

Directions-
Wash and chop all ingredients. Mix it all together!

Guacamole:

Ingredients-
3 avacados
1/2 sweet onion
1 clove garlic
2 roma tomatoes
1 TB fresh cilantro
1 lime
Salt

Directions-
1. Wash, chop, and combine all the vegetables. Mash to desired consistency. 
2. Add fresh lime juice and salt to taste.

Tortilla Strips:


Ingredients-
4 flour tortillas
olive oil
salt

Directions-
*If using unbaked tortillas, bake on both sides, until soft.
1. Cut tortillas into strips using a pizza cutter.
2. In a skillet, lightly fry tortilla strips in hot olive oil until crisp.
3. Remove from heat and place on paper towels. Sprinkle salt on top while hot.

Cheesy Tortillas:


Ingredients-
8-10 large flour tortillas
1 pkg Mexican shredded cheese

Directions-
*If using unbaked tortillas, bake on both sides, until soft.
1. Place tortilla in aluminum tin or on a baking sheet. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese on top.
2. Place under broiler until cheese is melted.

Other Components to Prepare:

Ingredients-
Leafy Green Lettuce, washed and chopped
Lime, washed and cut into wedges
Cilantro, sprigs for garnish
Cotija cheese

COPY CAT CAFE RIO PORK SALAD ASSEMBLY
*In this order, layer food into an aluminum tin. 
1. Cheesy Tortillas
2. Cilantro Lime Rice
3. Black Beans
4. Sweet Pork
5. Leafy Green Lettuce
6. Pico de Gallo
7. Creamy Tomatillo House Dressing
8. Guacamole
9. Tortilla Strips
10. Cotija cheese 
11. Cilantro garnish
12. Lime wedges


COMPLETE INGREDIENTS LIST
*For my own sake, I tallied up all the ingredients so I don't have to do the math at the grocery store every time I want to make this meal! (For example, nearly every component uses limes, so I tallied the total number of limes used). This list assumes you will make all 12 components of the salad. Just subtract any ingredients from any component you wish to leave out. Also, be sure to check your pantry- you may already have many of these things on hand. Or better yet- grow them in your garden!
*Tip: Download my shopping list HERE, and take it to the store with you! You're welcome :)

Dry Goods:
-3 cans dark soda (Root Beer, Coke, or Dr. Pepper)
-Garlic salt
-Ground cumin
-Salt
-Olive oil
-Brown sugar
-White sugar
-Mayonnaise
-1 pkg Traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix
-Chicken broth, 2 (15oz) cans
-White rice
-1 large can black beans
-1 (10oz) can tomato juice
-1 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce
-1 small can diced green chilis
-1 jar sliced jalapenos (omit if using fresh jalapenos)
-Large ziploc bag
-Aluminum tins 
(not necessary, but makes the experience feel more like a real Cafe Rio experience; can be found at most grocery stores)
-Fresh flour tortillas, 1-2 pkgs
(I love the kind from Costco that you cook on your own; could be located in the refrigerated section)

Produce:
-1 sweet onion
-8 cloves garlic
-7 roma tomatos
-2 tomatillos
-3 avacados
-5 limes
-2 bunches fresh cilantro
-1 or 2 pkgs leafy green lettuce 
-1 jalapeno (omit if using canned jalapenos)

Cold:
-1 pkg Mexican cheese
-1 small tub Cotija cheese (the white powdery stuff)
-butter
-buttermilk, 1 pint
-2 pound boneless pork loin (country style ribs work well)

MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
What makes this a "Mexican" chocolate cake is the mixture of chocolate and cinnamon! For an extra flair, try using a special Mexican vanilla (my favorite kind)!


Cake Ingredients-
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

Frosting Ingredients-
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
1.5 tsp cinnamon
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cake Directions-
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. 
3. In a saucepan, mix water, vegetable oil, butter and cocoa over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
4. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix well. 
5. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. 6. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Frosting Directions-
*While cake is baking, make the frosting. 
1. Combine butter, milk, cocoa, and cinnamon in a saucepan and stir over medium heat.
2. Once heated through, remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla.
3. Pour over hot cake, and serve warm.


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