Saturday, February 9, 2013

DIY Applique Without an Embroidery Machine

Applique without an embroidery machine? Yes! You can even do it by hand if you’re that good. But just a simple sewing machine can do the trick. Here’s what you need:
  • Your garment
  • accent fabric for your design
  • paper or interfacing as a stencil for your pattern
  • fabric scissors
  • paper scissors (never use your fabric scissors for paper, yikes!)
  • heat bond iron on adhesive (use heat n bond lite if you plan to sew, and ultra if you do not want to sew. Sewing will increase durability.)
  • iron & ironing board
  • sewing machine threaded in a coordinating color
Step 1- Trace and cut out a simple design on your paper or interfacing to make a stencil. You can actually print designs, like a letter or number from your computer, if you have a printer. (make it a larger font)

Step 2- Cut out a piece of fabric big enough for your design. Add Heat n Bond Lite to the wrong side of your fabric. Follow the directions on the package to iron it on to your applique. I actually place a piece of interfacing down on my ironing board then the wrong side of the fabric face up, place the heat n bond on top of the fabric (tacky side down), and iron the back side of the Heat n bond (paper side) to protect my ironing board and iron from getting the sticky adhesive on them. Make sure to trim any excess heat n bond away before the next step. Remember to iron this on the wrong side of your fabric!

Step 3- Use your stencil to cut out your applique design. Pin it down to cut. It needs to be precise with clean edges.Good fabric scissors are a must!

Step 4- Position the applique where you want it on your garment. (You can mark it with disappearing ink fabric marker) Peel back the backing on the heat bond and place the applique, adhesive side down on to your garment.  Iron on your applique design. (Again, see Heat bond package for directions)

Step 5- Take your garment to your sewing machine and set the machine to a zig zag stitch. If you like the look of the zig zags, set your stitch length to something like a 2 or 3. If you like a column stitch (you can’t see the zig zags) set your stitch length to  .5 . I recommend practicing these stitches first on a scrap piece to see how they look. SLOWLY, stitch around the outside of your design. The border of your fabric should be in the middle of the zig zag stitch, this is to properly secure the design and prevent fraying of the edges of your applique. Remember to back stitch a few stitches at the beginning and end. When your turn corners, remember to leave your needle down! If you use a longer stitch (2-3) some fraying can occur after washing depending on the type of fabric used. This adds to the overall look of the piece. If you do not like this, than use a .5 stitch length, this will completely seal in the edge of the fabric. Remember to just go slow!

If you think you might like to try this technique, check out this other tutorial on making a personalized burlap garden flag. Good Luck, and have fun!

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Healthy First Birthday Cake Recipe

You can have a healthy first birthday cake with the look of a good old fashioned cake smash with this recipe.

For my daughters first birthday, I didn't want to let her load up on sugar and fat. She is that baby who would actually eat the cake! It was important to me to serve her a healthy first birthday cake. I wanted to capture this moment on camera, without all the junk that's in traditional cake. So I dug around the web and found a great Banana and blueberry cake recipe. I then needed to find an icing recipe to top this healthy cake recipe.
I had a hard time deciding about what icing to use because I wanted something without tons of sugar. I don't like all the artificial stuff in cool whip, and wasn't completely happy with using whipped cream, since I wanted to be able to decorate the cake. I was delighted to find an awesome  whipped cream frosting with cream cheese recipe! It tasted heavenly and only has 1/2 cup of sugar!!!! Best of all, the cream cheese makes it stiffer so you can decorate with it!

I tweaked the cake recipe (shown below) and added a little pink food coloring to the icing and decorated this birthday cake! I used decorators tip #16 to make the rosettes. If you don't know how to make them, they are easy to do and you can learn how here, (Wilton Technique- Rosette)  

Banana Blueberry Cake
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
6 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (room temperature)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted  (you will not taste this) This is in place of butter.
3/4 cup no sugar added apple sauce
1/2 cup wild blueberries, chopped (use fresh, or frozen berries thawed and drained, wild are naturally sweeter)
4 eggs, beaten well

***you can also use flax meal instead of eggs if you have an egg allergy:
1 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp of water (mix and let sit 10 min) = 1 egg 

Mix everything in a large mixing bowl and pour into lightly greased baking pans. (you can grease with coconut oil) Bake at 350 for 50 min to 1 hour until knife comes out clean. I used 2-6" rounds (pour 2/3 full) and I even had enough mixture left for a few muffins to sample.

Tip- make sure all ingredients are at room temperature, coconut oil has a low melting point, it is a liquid at 77 degrees. You can use it at room temp (it will be a soft solid) but if you mix it with other ingredients that are cold, it will form clumps in your batter. If this happens, just microwave your mixture for a few seconds to melt the coconut oil.

*flax meal and coconut oil are rich in good fats and contain zero cholesterol! I bake all the time with coconut oil in place of butter and use a few scoops of flax meal whenever I make fruit smoothies for an extra boost of "Ommm" omega fatty acids 3,6, and 9.  

Do you want to learn how to make your own personalized Applique First Birthday tee? This easy tutorial can show you how!
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Smart Tip of the Day

Save fabric scraps, even if they are small! You can even recycle old clothing for this purpose. I save my husbands worn out work shirts to cut up later for scrap.There are lots of projects you can do with even small bits of fabric. Applique and hair accessories for example, can incorporate small fabric scraps.