Friday, July 30, 2010

Please hold

So, you may have noticed I haven't done a lot of posting lately. That's because 1. I'm 20 weeks pregnant today (yay halfway point!) which has made me sooooo lazy sleepy 2. I have had so much going on lately and have been whipping out projects like it's my job in between all that other stuff so I haven't had time to post them!

So what have I been up to?

  1. Making birthday presents for my mom and sisters-in-law
  2. Chasing around a hyper 16-month-old
  3. Taking said 16-month-old to the doctor and hospital for chest x-rays for possible bronchitis (none, thank God!)
  4. Pinning down 16-month-old while the husband and I attempt to get her to wear an aspirator mask for 10 minutes - which is FOREVER in toddler world - to help get rid of her smoker's hack (in case you're wondering, she hates that machine, even if it is named "Margo Moo" and shaped like a cow to make it more "fun")
  5. Making necklaces out of metal washers and Diamond Glaze (there will be pictures and a possible giveaway on this soon!)
  6. Multiple trips to the OB to monitor my cervix and see if I need to get a cerclage (ugh there's that "c" word) to keep the baby in til the big day. So far it's a no!
  7. Playing more with freezer paper stenciling - I know, I have a problem
  8. Running, yes I said running, 4 miles, 3 days a week. I'm sure I'm quite the sight to my neighbors as I waddle around the neighborhood in all my pregnant glory
  9. Driving to Mississippi to get a kid's dresser with shelves we found on Craig's List to use as my new craft table and storage (yay!!)
  10. Making more cloth stackable rings for a friend
  11. Gathering fabric to make Steeler's-themed baby bedding for Connor (I need to start on that soon!)
  12. Making a hanging crib basket for Haley so she has toys to play with in the morning - and hopefully lets us sleep in
  13. Random other projects/duties that keep popping up

    So that's what's up. Thanks for holding, I should be with you shortly :)

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Freezer paper stenciling: a no-sew project with tutorial

    How to use freezer paper stenciling on a shirt

    The freezer paper stenciling continues!! I really love this method of embellishment and when that happens, I can't seem to stop myself. So, why fight it right? After I made the Ray Ban sunglasses shirt, I got inspired to make matching onesies for my daughter and her cousin, Avalene so they can match when we visit for Labor Day in September.

    I went to Wal-Mart and bought onesies for $2.00 each and used an image that I enlarged from as my stencil. Let me pause and say if you haven't checked out this website, go there now and sign up! Membership is free for the basic version, and the program allows you to edit and add fun stickers and text to your photos. In this case, I found this really cute butterfly pattern that looks great on the onesies.

    The greatest part about this craft is you only need a handful of inexpensive supplies to personalize your own t-shirts, pants, pillows, etc., and there's no sewing required so anyone can do it! So, how do you do it? I'm glad you asked.

    You need:
    • Freezer paper. You can usually find a giant roll of Reynolds freezer paper at your local grocery store - I got mine for $5.50 at Wal-Mart. If your grocery store doesn't carry freezer paper, you can order it many places online. Just use good ol' Google.
    • Fabric paint. I use Tulip matte fabric paint. Don't get the dimensional stuff unless you want the item you're painting to have a "puffy" look to it. The matte fabric paint dries flat, and it's about $4.00 for a 4 oz. bottle at your local craft store.
    • A stencil, for example clip art. You can make your own stencil by printing out text and clip art from Word, or you can use any picture really. Again, I used an image and text I created on
    • An X-Acto knife. This is used to cut out your image or text.
    • An iron. Used to iron your freezer paper stencil on.
    • The item you want to paint. In my case, I wanted to stencil a t-shirt for a little girl's birthday coming up.
    • Embellishments (optional). This is anything extra you might want to decorate your item with like rhinestones, ric rac, fabric, etc.
    Step 1:
    Find an image you like and trace it onto the paper side of the freezer paper. You'll notice the freezer paper has a glossy side and a paper side. Make sure you're tracing the image onto the correct side; the glossy side is what will be ironed down onto your shirt later. If you find it hard to trace, tape your image to a window, then place the freezer paper on top and trace.

    Step 2:
    Cut out your image/text with your X-Acto knife, making sure to save any extra pieces that will have to be ironed on as well (in my case the piece inside the "P" in princess and the little pieces inside the letter "e's"). Line up and iron image onto your shirt glossy side down, making sure your stencil is ironed on securely with no gaps where paint could leak.
    Important: Iron another piece of freezer paper on the inside of your shirt opposite of the image to avoid paint leaks.

    Step 3:
    Paint over your stencil, making sure to paint from the outside of the stencil in so you're not jamming extra paint under the creases and making it smudge. I used a sponge brush and dabbed the paint on pretty liberally. If you're concerned about the paint not being thick enough, paint a second coat on top an hour or so after you paint the first coat.
    Follow the drying instructions on your fabric paint bottle (mine said to lay flat and let dry 4 hours.) Don't get excited and peel the freezer paper off before the 4 hours are up or your paint will smear....I may or may not be speaking from experience here...

    Step 4:
    After the drying time is up, peel away your stencil and admire your amazing work of art. Add embellishments using fabric glue if you want, I added rhinestones because every little girl loves jewels on her clothes. If I start bedazzling everything I own, please stop me....

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Ray Ban freezer paper stencil

    I have a friend named Alex who is a huge fan of Ray Ban sunglasses - specifically white Ray Ban sunglasses. She loves them so much that she got my daughter a matching pair. I get the feeling Alex is trying to turn Haley into a little clone of her; she taught her to sing the courus of the Justin Beiber song "Baby" and how to put her little pointer finger up and say "rude!" What do you do when your 16 month old is suddenly a teenager? I guess that's a problem for another day.

    Anyway, I have been wanting to try my hand at freezer paper stenciling lately, and Alex's love of Ray Bans seemed to be a good opportunity for a t-shirt design. I googled "Ray Ban + Wayfarer sunglasses" and found the perfect image, then used freezer paper and fabric paint to paint the design onto a t-shirt! Ta-dah! Super cute t-shirt after 4 hours of dry time.

    If you go to Google and search "freezer paper stenciling" under images, you'll see tons of adorable clothes made using only a freezer paper stencil and fabric paint. So cute and so easy! You can use freezer paper stenciling on everything from totes,

    to pillows,

    to clothing galore (all images found through Google.)

    Clothing seems to be the most popular - it's great to have a shirt personalized with your own design. I can't wait to make more stuff with freezer paper stenciling! Let me know if you want a more in-depth tutorial. I have a feeling you'll be seeing more shirts and clothes using this method in the near future.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Baby presents

    It seems like everyone is pregnant these days (myself included), so what better time to make cute baby gifts like blankets, or cloth stacking rings? I have a few projects on my plate right now (all self-imposed of course, I'll never learn), but when I found out that a friend of mine just had her baby, I knew I wanted to make something for the new little squirt.

    Throughout the pregnancy, my friend and her husband decided that they didn't want to find out the sex of the baby. I can't say that I have the same willpower, but I'm happy to say they were able to hold out until the big day when they found out they had a new baby girl. I decided to put together some necessities that all parents need for new babies, so I bought a yard of cute butterfly fabric and here's what I came up with:

    Burp cloths. What new parent doesn't need two (or ten) of these...

    Washcloths and baby wash for that first (usually not-so-happy bath)...

    And pacifiers and a pacifier clip to keep baby from losing the pacifier all over creation (I speak from experience.)

    Aside from a few snags that I ran into while sewing (combination of the wrong needle for my fabric and poor quality thread that kept breaking...grr), everything was super easy and fun to make! I'm definitely planning on making more crafts like this for future baby gifts (and some for my little one due in December too.)

    You can find links to make these crafts here:

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Cow Appreciation Day

    So remember how I told you that I made a cow dress for Haley for Chick-fil-a's Cow Appreciation Day? Well, I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of it. If you're not aware of Cow Appreciation Day, it's a once a year event that Chick-fil-a holds at their restaurants where guests can dress up like cows for a free entree (even for the little calves.)

    Being a HUGE sucker for their chicken sandwiches, I planned on dressing up myself and my daughter and getting other obsessed people friends at the office to participate with us. Originally, I planned on making Haley a simple t-shirt with cow spots on it, you know, something that would only take 5 minutes to whip up. Instead, I got a grand vision for a shirt with cow ruffles that instead took me 4 1/2 hours to finish. And yes, the delicious food made up for the lack of sleep (even though my husband thinks I'm completely nuts for staying up until 11:45 for a $6.00 entree. He just doesn't understand.)

    So unfortunately, I had a hard time getting the little calf to stand still (proof below), so the pictures are less than stellar (but at least I got one good one thanks to my wonderful hubby who got her to smile!)

    I had this cow print fabric sitting in my stash for over a year now waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. It was a sign! I used a 4T shirt and cut it down to fit her, then sewed a ruffle around the bottom and used a blanket stitch to attach letters that spell "little cowgirl" (which I thought was very appropriate for the occasion :) I also made several fabric roses and attached one to her shirt, and 2 to the headband I made for her. I kinda winged it (wung it? wang it? whatever.) but here's a better tutorial to show you how to make cute fabric roses. Haley hates having stuff on her head (hats, glasses, bows, ANYTHING) so the headband didn't stay on long, but it was cute for pictures!

    Oh, and did I mention I dressed up too? Chick-fil-a provided free printable ears, noses, tails, and "Eat Mor Chikin" signs for those who wanted to participate. Nice look, right?

    And did I also mention that I got most of the office to dress up with me?? That's right, we love our chicken sandwiches!!

    All of us got free entrees except for the one guy on the far left who was denied because he didn't have cow spots on his pants. I don't know when this became a rule, I think he just got a grumpy employee. I finally got to try the spicy chicken sandwich (2 thumbs up!) but I'll probably be sticking with the classic in the future. There's just something about the original chicken sandwich, I'm pretty sure they put some kind of addictive substance in it...

    We all had a great time though, I'll definitely be participating again next year!

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    BBQ Chicken Pizza

    Who doesn't love a good pizza, especially one that brings together cheese, chicken, and BBQ sauce on one delicious slice? No one? I didn't think so.

    If you're like my family, any food that features BBQ sauce is a good dish. We have to stock up on the giant bottles of BBQ at our local Sam's Club to make it through the week. We put it in our burgers, on our chicken, and for this dish it replaces the traditional tomato sauce on pizza to give it a little Memphis zing. It's a favorite (and most importantly easy to prepare) dinner of ours and I'm sure once you try it, it will become a new staple at your house. Without further ado, I give you BBQ Chicken Pizza!

    I'm no Rachel Ray. None of the ingredients involve fancy names. This is just a simple, delicious pizza that uses ingredients that you can find around your home and your local grocery store - and that's what I like about it! Also, I discovered how difficult it is to make a pizza look "sexy." The picture doesn't do this pizza justice - it's amazing.

    Ingredients for 1 small pizza:
    • 1 pre-made pizza crust. I use our local grocery store brand pizza crust that comes in a pack of 2, but I also love Boboli, it's just more expensive so I don't usually buy it. If you're feeling really adventurous, you can make your own crust to make it extra delicious!
    • Olive oil to brush the crust
    • 1 small bottle of BBQ sauce (KC Masterpiece is the preferred BBQ of the McCaffrey household.)
    • 1 8-oz package of pizza cheese plus extra if you like your pizza really cheesy
    • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
    • 2 medium chicken breasts
    • Oregano
    First, preheat oven according to instructions on pizza crust package (mine says 450.) Next, prepare your chicken using 1 of 2 options: if you want to quickly cook your chicken, boil chicken breasts in water for 30 minutes or until chicken is easily shredded, or if you would rather go the slow cooker route, place chicken breasts in a slow cooker with enough water to cover the chicken breasts and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove chicken and shred with a fork, then mix shredded chicken with plenty of BBQ sauce. Set aside.

    Next, brush the edges of your pizza crust lightly with olive oil (this will help the crust brown and crisp nicely.) Spread a liberal layer BBQ sauce on the crust, making sure to coat the bottom evenly. Sprinkle on cheese mixture and red onion, then top with mounds of shredded BBQ chicken.

    Drizzle on more BBQ sauce to finish, then liberally sprinkle with oregano. Bake according to package directions (typically 7-10 minutes, 9 works just fine for us) and dig in! This is a great pizza for a quick Friday night dinner or for a get together with friends. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Baby in a bar

    This weekend, I took the baby to a bar and enjoyed several tall, frosty glasses of water with lemon (and one shot of root beer.)

    When we moved to Tennessee over a year ago, the Husband and I discovered a restaurant/bar called "The Flying Saucer" which specializes in offering a very long list of domestic, imported, and specialty beer from around the world. Being beer people ourselves, we have always wanted to visit...unfortunately, that didn't happen until this past weekend while I'm 4 months pregnant and unable to drink. So of course I became the official designated driver for my husband and 3 friends who were on a mission to sample some exotic beer from around the world.

    After a promise that I could order an appetizer of my choosing and all the root beer I could drink, we all piled into the mini van Swagger Wagon and headed to The Flying Saucer. We were seated and given a food menu and a separate beer menu, complete with several different kinds of root beer for those of us who prefer the non-alcoholic kind. I have never seen a longer list of beer before! It was like a delicious catalogue of awesomeness broken down by style: lager, strong ale, fruit ale, stout, herbed/spiced beer, and the list goes on and on. If you visit the website, they list all beer available at each location and also give you the history of each beer.

    You can choose from selections like:

    • Schneider Aventinus. The oldest example of a wheat dopplebock, dating back to 1907. This top fermenting beer has a deep tawny color with malty notes in the nose and chocolate and fruit spices on the palate. The label bears a picture of Johannes Aventinues, the historian who first described Bavaria and its people.

    Or maybe this one, with a background related to Santa Claus:

    • Samichlaus. Meaning "Santa Claus," this specialty beer was brewed once a year on December 6, St. Nicholas Day. The beer was aged a full year and not released until the following December 6th. This was once the strongest beer in the world at 14% abv and was brewed by the Hurlimann Brewery in Switzerland. A larger German brewery bought Hurlimann and decided not to continue brewing this special beer. Schlossbrauerei, or "castle brewery" Eggenberg picked up the rights to brew the beer and reintroduced it to the world. This beer is ruby red with an intense malt aroma with notes of toffee, tawny port and nuts. The palate is round, smooth and sweet with perfectly tuned hops that help with a clean finish.

    Or one that sounds more like a dessert than a beer:

    • Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan. This American Brown ale brewed with pecan is the mash to provide a unique and pleasant nutty brew. Pours a deep brown in color. Fresh pecans and light hops are in the aroma. A deep rich nutty and sweet caramel flavor.

    And, if you're like me and can't drink/don't want anything alcoholic, The Flying Saucer offers a classic with an simple description:

    • IBC. Cool root beer!

    'Nuff said. The root beer was cool and refreshing, the perfect partner to my plate of cheese fries with jalapenos. Everyone had a great time and got to try several beers they may have never had the opportunity to try.

    I'll be going back in 5 months to try some of the beer for myself. And by that time, I'll be leaving the baby at home.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Sleeping like a king

    Let me introduce you to my new baby....

    Ok, so it's not the baby you were probably thinking of, but I'm still excited!! My husband and I are both sprawlers when we sleep, so that means someone inevitably gets kneed in the back or kicked in the leg night after night. (Patrick will tell you that it's all my doing, but I seem to remember a certain someone having a dream about a giant spider and kicking me in the back in his sleep.) Needless to say, our queen bed was just not doing it for us anymore. We are tall people! We need our space, especially since I'm only going to be getting bigger over the next 5 months. So on the weekend of July 4th, we decided it was time to get a king bed.

    The guy at Mattress Firm saw that we were desperate was a great salesman. The bed we were looking at was already marked down $200 due to the holiday, but he offered us more money off the mattress, a free mattress cover, money off the frame, 2 year no interest financing, and same day delivery if we bought the mattress that day. A night without being kicked? Deal!

    Our brand spankin' new king mattress was delivered last Monday and my back and I have never been happier. Oh and Patrick has yet to claim that I'm on his side kicking him relentlessly through the night. My favorite part other than the good night's sleep? Buying the new comforter and matching pillows in my favorite color combination!! Hmm, should I be getting this excited about bedding? I suppose this is one of those "adult moments" I never understood when I was younger.

    Now, I just need to find a good tutorial for making a headboard. Any suggestions??

    Friday, July 9, 2010


    I'm not! This is what I'll be wearing to Chick-fil-a today for a free combo meal to celebrate Cow Appreciation Day. Oh and Haley will be in tow in full cow-spotted glory, complete with tail (pictures on that later).

    If you want to participate, all you have to do is click here and print off Chick-fil-a's cow costume starter kit, then show up at your nearest location for free food. I have 2 Chick-fil-a's in my area, guess who's having chicken sandwich combo meals twice today??

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

    I don't know about you, but my favorite thing about the 4th of July (aside from the fireworks) is the food. The 4th is a great excuse to dust off the grill, cut up a giant watermelon, and enjoy time with friends and family between bites of traditional BBQ food.

    A few years back, a friend of mine brought a delicious trifle to a BBQ that was unforgettable. I had never had trifle before, but after one bite I was hooked. She gave me the recipe (which is surprisingly simple!) and I've probably made this for friends and family more times than any other dessert since then.

    Traditionally, a trifle consists of layers sponge cake with brandy or rum and custard and whipped cream, but there are tons of different variations to this dessert. This particular version has no alcohol in it. The fresh strawberries and blueberries, along with the whipped cream, make this dessert surprisingly refreshing.

    • 1 box yellow cake mix
    • 2 small packages of Jello brand instant cheesecake pudding
    • 1 large container of fresh strawberries
    • 1 small container of fresh blueberries
    • 1 cup of Cool Whip whipped cream, softened
    • 1 package of white chocolate chips
    *Note: If you're making this for a party, make it a few hours ahead rather than overnight. The juices from the strawberries tend to soak the cake somewhat, so this dessert is best served right away.

    Prepare cake mix according to package and let cool. (You will only need 1 of the prepared cakes, so only make 1/2 of the box if you want, or you can do what my husband and I do and make both so you can frost and eat the other cake later :) While your cake is cooling, prepare both boxes of pudding according to the directions on the box. Set aside 2/3 cup of pudding to be used for the topping later.

    Rinse blueberries and strawberries, then cut up strawberries into slices and coat with sugar if desired.

    Cut up cake into bite-sized pieces and layer 1/2 of the pieces in the bottom of a trifle dish or other large glass dish. Layer all of the pudding on top (except your reserve), followed by 1/2 bag of white chocolate chips, 1/2 of the blueberries, 1/2 of the strawberries, and lastly the remaining cake cubes.

    Combine the reserved cheesecake pudding with the 1 cup Cool Whip and mix well. Pour mixture over top. Use the remaining fruit and white chocolate chips to decorate the top of the trifle (or just toss them on top, no one will mind, they'll be too busy eating :)


    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    The "Miss Independence Day" dress

    It's almost Independence Day, so I wanted to make Haley some kind of holiday skirt or dress. I knew I wanted it to be red, white and blue and have ruffles...then I found a great tutorial for
    the Playground Dress by Nicole on her blog Create and Delegate!

    I followed her basic design, but I added my own spin to it since I wanted to use a shirt that I had rather than cutting a separate strip of fabric for the bottom (which would have been super cute had I been feeling up to doing some extra hemming!) Thus, the "Miss Independence Day" dress was born!

    Check Haley out, modeling as if she were born to do it. Yes that's a weed in her right hand, but it kind of looks like a pretty flower, right? This dress is made entirely of scraps from 3 different shirts (including one that I found during my recent garage sale marathon.) I got so into making it that I stayed up until 11:30pm to finish. The exhaustion the next day was totally worth it. I can't wait for her to wear it on the 4th!


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