February 24, 2013

Back To The Future

Seriously, we love these three films. They are great! Two weeks ago I bought a new Oliver + S pattern at our awesome local sewing shop to make for Nathan. I loved the raglan shirt and whipped him up one quick in a size 2T (though it's still a little large on him now). I think it took me longer to cut the pattern and fabric than it took me to sew it. Everything is faster with a serger (I love mine), but any knit clothing can be successfully done with a regular machine using a ball point or stretch needle (and a zig zag stitch).

I eliminated the front chest pocket from the pattern, and opted to do a freezer paper stencil instead. I recently ran across some wonderful bloggers who have made "film-inspired" clothing for their children in a series entitled film petit. SERIOUSLY cute stuff! These are some talented sewers! Steven and I are also fond of the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and I enjoyed looking at their spectacular renditions of Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane! If you are a fan as well, you must check them out!So cute!!!!

In honor of film petit, I decided to stencil Back To The Future on Nathan's shirt. In the future I will have to copy a whole character-look, as these women have. It looks like too much fun!

 To make a freezer paper stencil:
1. Draw design on matte side of freezer paper. (I traced printed out logo from online) ..stencil paper is easily available at your grocery store by the foil and plastic wrap. A huge roll is about $5.
 2. Cut out design with an X-Acto knife.
3. Iron design to t-shirt.
 4. Using fabric paint, stamp inside design.
5. Wait at least 10min, or until dry, to peel off your stencil (stencil only usable once).
6. After 24 hours, iron the front and back of your design to heat set.
7. Wash and wear.
 I'm not sure who had more fun at N's photo shoot....
...our little guy is such a hoot! What a character! We are just having too much fun here at the Hoover household!

Just cause I know you're going to love it, I also posted this shirt as a kick off to me sewing along (of sorts) with Rae and Dana for Celebrate the Boy 2013. During the next two weeks, I will be posting in their flickr pool (hopefully a lot) with more home-sewn items for Nathan. I am so excited! I have had some projects cut out and set aside for literally months for N, and now I have a reason to tackle them! Woohoo! They held a Celebrate the Boy in 2011, and I am still stealing loving ideas from all those talented people! Ooohhh.... sewing groups, a sew-a-thon, sewing pools of pictures, new patterns to try...be still my heart!!! On with the adventure I say!

February 21, 2013

The Secret is in the Sugar.

I have cooked many things over my lifetime, and have built up a skill of sorts to cook .... But, one thing that has about defeated me EVERY time I cook it, is the classic chocolate chip cookie. I just have never been able to make them right. And this frustrates me because I do love them so much! Anyone with me??? Mine either have turned out too greasy, too flat, too puffy, too whatever.

A few weeks ago, Steven requested some chocolate chip cookies, and I spilled out to him my laments about baking this item. He quickly told me that with a few adjustments to the Nestle Tollhouse recipe, the cookies would come out perfect every time. Due to my continued disbelief, he made them for me with his perfected recipe. He was right. It worked. I couldn't believe it. Can I make these kind myself and have them come out perfectly every time, I wondered. Well, I'm happy to report, YES they will!

These are done on the outside, still chewy inside, just enough chips inside, NO Crisco used (a cooking rule in our house), and a good balance of everything else. For all those of you who struggle like me to attain the perfect cookie, here you go. No more searching. No more thrown out cookies. I promise (minus errors of the baker...lol).

Steven made a PDF document of this recipe that you can print out for your collection. Print it here for yourself. The secret really is in the sugar....the ratio of brown to white sugars that is!

               Hoover's Chocolate Chip Cookies
       Download PDF Recipe Here.

If you make a batch, please be sure to let me know how they worked out for you!


February 20, 2013

Bonsai Origami.

When Steven mentioned that word, Origami Bonsai, my first word was,"what is that???" I had never heard of it until he showed me a book he just got by mail. It is out there. It is VERY pretty. When in my care, plants don't last long in our house (if Steven takes care of them, they usually thrive). Origami is a fine way to display a bloom always blooming in our home. I'm also loving that I get to display some of the wonderful talents my husband has (Papercraft is just one of many....)!! His new centerpiece is the perfect compliment to my new, printed table scape. I'm so thankful I got to watch his process throughout it all.

I set the table the other day just to take a picture. I thought I was going crazy. I usually don't go too-o-o-o out of my way to show you all pretty pictures, but with a few loving requests, I set the table. And I'm glad I did. The new table scape is surely a perfect fit for our design style and home... the kind of lovely we needed so desperately in this space. My sister, Julie, was the first lunch guest that we had the pleasure of having over today to enjoy in our new setting. The great company was what made it valuable, after all.

Thank you, husband! You always enrich my life and amaze me is so many ways!

February 16, 2013


 This man will always be my Beloved. He will always be my Valentine : ). I'm more than overjoyed for that! (This was our wedding photo from 2004). We normally don't go all out for Hallmark's holiday of Valentine's Day, but we both do try to share some creative words of encouragement to one another. And I'm good with that. We already keep our house well stocked with enough chocolate!

Here was my homemade card for Steven:

And here was his homemade gift to me:  (origami roses and a leaf embellished love note)
...The funniest part about our gifts to one another is that we both did them the night before, and while sitting in the same room for the evening! Ha! We're not much for surprises, or thinking too ahead I guess : )! 
Last year my Mom and I started a fun tradition of sorts of hosting a Valentine's Day party for the kiddos in our family....all five of them. Check out all the fun that we had together last year

This year we had our party today (Friday). The kids (N's cousins) came over at 9am, my Mom a little before, and we started the party with breakfast. My cool Mom made heart shaped waffles, and we had the kids drink strawberry lemonade with love arrow straws (construction paper hot glued onto bendy straws). They loved it! 
 We made Valentine Martian hats (Aunt Joy's idea, ..ha ha ha!) for our first craft:
 (kind of a grainy picture above, but the only one with me and my nephews...I had to put it in!!!) Awesome hat makers, no doubt! I walked around all morning doing a "martian dance," making my pipe cleaner antennas wiggle and my nephews giggle! So much fun!
 Then we looked in our treat bags Mammo (aka my Mom) put together....
...and we watched the kids eat a lot of candy that was inside.

 Then we opened some valentine's cards and had the kids put them into their Valentine's heart baskets. Check out the tutorial I made that follows this post!... Or, just click HERE to learn how to make your own!
 And we played games with candy pieces....
And ran a version of musical chairs, except they stepped on numbers and got rewarded with scoops of M&M's. Yum!
 The night before the party, Nathan helped me dye some macaroni with rubbing alcohol and food coloring....
 ...and then we used it for craft #2 at the party: Pasta Valentine Shapes/Martians/Well, whatever they wanted to glue down on paper that is...
...or one that just wanted to draw, and another that just wanted to play with the dry pasta. You just have to roll with it, ya know?!  

It was a Valentine's party, but we mainly wanted to get across to the kids TWO things:

1. Let them know how much they are loved.
2. How much God loves them and always will, unconditionally and forever. (I Corinthians 13:3-7)

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone! 
Hope you were reminded of how much you are loved.
Because you genuinely are.

February 15, 2013

Heart Basket Tutorial

 Start with: 2 pieces of construction paper, a stapler, scissors, a pencil, and a ruler (I know not everything is pictured, but grab them all anyways. You'll see....)
 Begin by folding one piece of construction paper in half, lengthways.
 Fold it in half again (so it's in fourths).
 Open it longways again, and cut it into two separate pieces.
 Repeat the above folds and cut for the second piece of construction paper. You should have four halves now of paper, folded over. Set aside one pair of those (same as what is pictured above).
 Lay one piece on top of the other (ex: for mine I cut simultaneously one purple and one pink). Round corners on OPEN ends with scissors. Do not cut into side with folded edges.
 On side with folded edges, make a pencil mark both at the 1 1/2" and 3" mark. Do the same higher up on the paper. (You are attempting to make 3 evenly spaced sections)
 Now you should have a paper that looks similar to mine as above. Your pencil lines should stop just below the point where you rounded the corners at the top open edges.
 Cut through both layers of paper (all four layers actually) along your pencil lines.
Place your two sides in this position to make sure you cut your lines long enough. Make sure they are long enough by observing that the lines on the underside card are longer that the piece laying on top. Ex: I can see my cut lines on the pink card are visibly longer (slightly)than the width of my purple card laying on top. That's how you want yours.
Time to start weaving the paper together. In teaching my weaving method, I will be referring to the colors I used, pink and purple, for additional clarity. I will also refer to the cut portions of card as "legs." Ooh, I know...this will be fun! If my weird terminology is throwing you off, please ignore it, and just follow the pictures.

Start by opening up the purple leg, and placing the closed pink first leg into the purple leg.
 Place the whole closed purple leg into the opened pink middle leg.
 Open the purple first leg back up and place the closed pink third leg into the purple leg.
 One column is done.  Shift your first row all the way to the left. Now for the middle row....
 Take the closed purple leg on the middle row, and insert it into an opened pink first leg. Careful not to rip your paper, this one's a tight/awkward weaving.
 Open the purple leg and insert the closed pink middle leg.
 Insert the closed purple leg into the opened pink third leg.
 Middle row is done. Now for the last. ** Good idea to gently open the heart to make sure your weaving is going well at this point. It should look like the heart is "open" like a basket on the inside.**
Third row: Insert closed pink leg into opened purple leg.
 Insert closed purple leg into opened pink leg.
 Last step: Open purple leg and gently insert pink closed leg.
 Now your heart is finished.
 Check inside by opening heart. Are all the legs woven to each side like this? It's easy to get mixed up... So, go easy on yourself if you didn't get it on your first try. If you did get it, congratulations! You can now weave paper!  Let's add a handle now to your heart basket.
 Take one of the other halves of construction paper that you cut and set aside at the beginning. Cut lengthwise up one strip, however wide you desire your handle to be. (Mine was about 1" wide)
 Staple one end to the middle of heart basket. You could also use glue if you wanted to go with the clean, non-stapled look. Staple the other end (or glue) to the other side.
Great job!!! You are done! I love making these for the kids for valentine's day! You may also want to make one for your friend or spouse, filling it up with love notes, or words of encouragement for them. You could also do a variation for other holidays by not rounding the corners, and leaving it diamond/square shaped instead. The creativity is endless, really! 

I learned this delightful craft back in jr. high and have remember it since. I'm just that weird. If you have any questions or need clarification of any step, please feel free to email me with questions. Enjoy!