Anthem Printable – More Americana

Well, I sort of really loved the “Sweet Land of Liberty” printable I made last weekend.  So I’m following it up with another printable along the same line this week, but with the national anthem in mind.  

And you know that all good things come in threes so I’ll have to make another.  What’s your favorite patriotic song?  What printable do you want to see next?  Let me know in the comments!

–Martta

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Memorial Day Printables

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I hope everyone has great plans for grilling and spending time with family.    But we don’t want to forget what Memorial Day is all about, remembering our heroes in the military.  In honor of that I made a quick printable. 

Well after that I was on a bit of an Americana printable roll so inspired by an image I found here, I made this printable.  Hopefully the original artist thinks that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

And then because all good things come in threes, I rounded it out with another of my favorite patriotic songs 

Hope you are having a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

–Martta

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Top Posts of the Year

Happy Blog-iversary!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been up to it for a year already.  We’ve loved sharing our projects and culinary adventures with you.  But which ones have been the most interesting?  Well, as voted by you, with the most number of hits, here’s our top ten parade:

10. Fabric Flower Hair Clip

7. Little Girl’s Tank Dress

6. Amy Butler Cosmo Bag

And last, but not least, running away with the top prize is………….

1. Gold Dusted Mini Chocolate Oscar Statues 

 What will the next year on the blog bring?  Who knows?  But I can’t wait to find out!

— Martta & Heather

Strawberry Jello Pretzel Dessert

Happy Fourth of July!!

I wanted to share this dessert our family eats every Fourth of July. In all honesty, I would eat this all day long and skip my meals! I think because I only make it once a year, it is really something we look forward to overeating every Fourth.

My Great Aunt & Uncle held the Fourth of July festivities at their home every year. At least 30-40 family members would gather for delicious food and our own personal fireworks show in the street after dark. This strawberry jello pretzel dessert was always included, and I tried to get to the front of the food line so I wouldn’t miss it! After we moved from California to Texas, I knew I had to find out how it was made, and continue this tradition with my own kids.

So here we go!

Ingredients:

The crust:

2 cups chopped pretzels (about 4 cups unchopped)

3 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup melted butter

The creamy middle layer:

8 ounce block cream cheese, softened

8 ounce container Cool Whip, defrosted in refrigerator

1 cup sugar

Jello layer:

6 ounce box strawberry Jello

2 cups boiling water

Begin by coarse chopping the pretzels in a food processor, or large knife if you don’t have a food processor. I used my small Cuisinart mini chopper so I didn’t have to get the big one dirty. 😉 Combine the pretzels, melted butter, and 3 Tbsp sugar in a bowl, then spread in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Bake the crust in a 400 degree oven for 7-10 minutes. Let cool.

While the crust is cooling, combine the cream cheese and sugar for the creamy layer. Once well combined, whisk in the Cool Whip. Set aside and prep the Jello. Dissolve the Jello mix with the boiling water, and let sit in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. You don’t want it to set, but it should start to thicken. If it is set too long, your top layer will look lumpy, instead of pouring on and self-leveling. Have no fear, if this does happen (we all know how we can get distracted by kids, TV, phone, Facebook, etc) just use another box of Jello and 2 cups water (partially set) to pour over and even it out. You will have a thicker Jello layer, but who is going to complain about that?!

Cream cheese & sugar combined

Cream cheese & sugar combined.

Cream cheese, sugar & Cool Whip combined.

Jello dissolved & cooling

While the Jello cools in the fridge (we haven’t poured it on yet), use a spatula to spread the creamy layer over the pretzel crust. Use care, or you will tear up your crust. I had a few loose pieces of pretzel come up, but they were easily hidden below the creamy layer. Be sure to spread the cream all the way to the edges of the pan, touching the glass! If you leave a gap, the Jello will seep to the bottom and make your crust soft and mushy… Ewww. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound good.

Once the Jello is starting to thicken, take it out of the fridge and stir it to break up any chunks that may have started to form. You should be able to pour it right over the cream layer and watch it self-level. Cover with cling-wrap and chill until Jello is completely set.

Now dig in! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Let us know if you liked this recipe, and share this with your friends and family!

Have a happy & safe 4th of July!

– Heather

Fourth of July Bunting Tutorial

I know that flag garlands are just all the rage this year and I think they are adorable too, but when I think of the 4th of July, I think of red white and blue bunting hanging on porches and and gazebos in the park where a brass band is playing.  Not that I have a park with a brass band playing, but surely there must be one somewhere in America?!  This is the classic bunting look I’m after – even if I don’t have a porch or a brass band.

I’ve looked for the “just right” bunting for a few years, but I’ve always seemed to come up short.  So this year I decided to take matters into my own hands and make bunting myself.  Here is the tale of my adventure in bunting land.

I started by searching the Internets.  I mean, everything is there right?  I must say, it’s really short on bunting tutorials.  I did find a few, namely here and here.  The first method calls for box pleats to bring in the red fabric, but I felt that the red portion was still too wide and didn’t quite give me the traditional bunting look.  The second method called for gathered sections and a fan fold for the red section.  The fan fold, while a great look, created such bulk at the center of the piece that I couldn’t even get the casing over it!  So I came up with my own method that’s a cross between the two.

For this project I’m making six bunting pieces that are 25″x12″.  I chose these dimensions for a few reasons, first off, it fits the space I’m filling and, second,  a 25″ finished length happens to come out with a really nice cutting length.  For this project you’ll need

  • 1 yard red fabric
  • 1 yard blue fabric
  • 1 2/3 yard white fabric (This fabric will also serve as the casing)
  • coordinating thread
  • Grommets (optional)
One of the main problems I had when I was testing this project (aside from the massive bunch of fabric in the center of the piece) was that the outer most layer – the blue layer – tended to buckle and turn inside out when sewn to the casing.  I’ve solved this problem by adding 40% to the length of all the strips.  The extra length allows for a nice wavy finish to the blue layer.  With a 25″ finished length, this addition comes up to a very nice 36″ in length.  If you are making a larger bunting, play around with the length addition a bit – for smaller bunting widths, you’ll need less.  On to the cutting!  To make one bunting, you’ll need a strip 5″ by 36″ in red, white and blue as well as a white casing piece that is 5″ by 25.5″.
I then sewed each of the strips together with a 1/2″ seam.
These straight seams are so fast to sew – it’s the ironing on this project that will slow you down.  If I wasn’t so OCD I wouldn’t have finished the edges on the back, but I just had to do it!  On the back side of the piece, fold the raw edge up to the seam line and press.
Then fold and press again for a clean seam.
See!  No raw edges showing – don’t we all feel better?  Let’s stitch this down now.
Pretty soon you’ll be swimming in a bunch of bunting pieces.
And so will the sewing machine
Once all the strips are together and the edges are finished, make the casing.  Begin by sewing a 1/4″ fold line on to the casing.  If you’re good at eye balling the 1/4″ fold for pressing you can skip this step, but I think we’ve already covered that I’m OCD, so here is my sewn casing.
I’m sure that the observant among you will notice that I’ve picked up a new ironing board cover – it makes such a difference!  I guess it was time to get rid of the one I got when I was in college!  Fold the raw edges in – don’t forget the ends!
Sew a gathering stitch on the red strip of your bunting at 1/4″ seam allowance and gather the piece until the red is about 10″ in length.
Place the right side of the casing on the wrong side of the bunting and begin pinning on one end.
When you get to the center gather, stop and begin pinning the casing from the opposite side of the bunting.
You will end up with a big bunch of fabric in the middle, with nicely pinned edges.

Not to worry, we’re going to pin the middle down.  Pull up the very middle of the gather and pin it to the center of the casing.
But there’s still a section gapping out on the left and right of that pin!  Next, pull the middle of the gathered piece between the pin you just placed and the pin already on the casing.  Pin that center between the two pins.  Continue making these pleats until both sides are pinned down.  You’re going to end up with a hot mess of pins in the center of your bunting.  This is normal!
Get thee to the sewing machine!  Your machine can sew through this mess – just go slowly and make sure your needle doesn’t hit a pin.
You CAN do it, I promise (This is what I tell my machine).  Try to keep all the raw edges facing one direction or a sneaky one could end up on the finished side of your project.
Next fold the casing over to the front side of the bunting using your previous sewing line to line up the edge of the casting to the front of the bunting.  In a break from OCD land, I didn’t pin this, but you are more than welcome to do so.
Take it to the sewing machine and top stitch in place, making sure no sneaky raw edge gathers get out!
You can add grommets to the bunting if you’d like, but I think leaving just the casing on gives you more options.  You can string these bunting pieces together or use them individually to decorate a table or some chairs.
Now where are my fireworks and hot dogs I’m ready to celebrate!  Hope you enjoy!
–Martta

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Fourth of July Pillow

Fourth of July is just one of my favorite holidays.  Mid Summer hot, food out on the grill and fireworks – I love it all.  So I’ve been working on loads of 4th of July projects at my house and this is the latest.  I took one of my favorite patriotic quotes and used a freezer paper technique to apply it to a pillow.

To make this nifty pillow, I needed the following supplies:

  • Pillow form – the one I used is 18″ square
  • 2/3 of a yard of Fabric
  • Paint and Fabric Medium (or you could just use fabric paint)
  • Paint brush
  • Freezer paper
  • Stencil inspirations – the star and quote
  • Tape
  • Exacto knife
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron and Pressing Cloth
I printed the quote on my computer with a combination of Impact (130 pt) and Savoye (144pt) fonts.  I found the five point star and pieced together an image until I had a large enough version for the pillow, about 13″ tall.
Cut two 19″ squares from the pillow fabric then pin and sew one side of the pillow fabric.  I wanted the star to wrap around the back of the pillow so I needed to have a side seam finished to achieve that result.  Next, tape down the stencil and cover with freezer paper and tape that down too.  Use a ruler and the knife to cut out the star.
Gently peel up the freezer paper from your cutting surface and lay waxy side down on your pillow fabric, centering the star from top to bottom and wrapping two of the points around the back side of the pillow fabric.  Iron into place, making sure to seal all the edges of the stencil to the fabric.
Now it’s time to break out that paint brush and your paints.  Since I didn’t have fabric paint, I added fabric medium to my paint.  This will allow me to wash the pillow later without having the design fade.  Mix the paint 2:1 with the fabric medium.
The fabric medium will thin the paint a bit, so be sure to off load paint from your brush before you paint the stencil – many thin layers are much better than one big thick layer that could creep under the stencil edges.  Luckily I only needed one coat of paint for my pillow – I wanted to have a slightly faded, not so perfect look.  So being lazy and only putting on one coat worked wonderfully with this plan.
Oh the waiting.  Right after I took this picture, I ran to the bathroom to grab the hair dryer and assist my star in the drying process!
‘Cause you know you want to see what the star looks like!  Did it work?!?  Yes!
I love clean edges.  Inspirationalized, I was able to move on to the more tedious part of cutting out the quote.  Make sure you save all those voids in the letters so you can add them in later!
Press this stencil on to the pillow with the iron.  Add in the voids for the L, b, e, and r by placing the letter, pressing, then adding in the void and pressing again.  Remove the letter, making sure not to pick up the void and you’ll find the void is perfectly positioned!
Mix the paint colors with the fabric medium and stencil as before.
I wanted the red to be very intense so I did do three coats with hair drying in between coats to achieve a dark enough color.  When I picked up the stencil after the last coat dried, I was really impressed!  I really didn’t think the little tiny void in the r would turn out, but it looked great!
Repeat the process on the second line of the quote.
Once all the paint is dry, grab your iron one more time.  Cover the design with the pressing cloth and iron the whole thing – you need to heat set the fabric medium in the paint with a final heating before the effect becomes permanent.
Then pin the right sides of the fabric together and sew around the edges being sure to leave an opening at the bottom to stuff the pillow.  Back stitch at the opening to reinforce the seam.
Turn the pillow case, stuff the form in and hand stitch the opening closed.  Then step back and admire your instant holiday decorations.  Yeah!
The pillow graced this chair for about 2 seconds for this picture.  I picked it up to check something and yup, it’s covered in Zoe dog hair.  Oh well, it was neat and clean for a little bit at least.  Now it just blends with the rest of the stuff in this house!
-Martta
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