Tutorial: American Girl Dog Bed

This tutorial was written by Jane of Dear Author.

Tot received an American Girl dog (Honey, if you were wondering) for Christmas. She really wanted the dog bed.

At $18, though, it wasn’t happening. I did think I could replicate it, or even improve upon it. What do you think?


Materials List:

  • Two ovals of fabric (one will be your lining)
  • Two ovals of heavyweight interfacing (I cut four but needed only two in the end).
  • One oval of batting
  • Two strips of fabric that is the diameter of your oval + 1″ for length SA and 1″ height SA
  • One strip of heavyweight interfacing that is the same length as the fabric strip
  • One strip of Peltex or Timtex that is the diameter of your oval and the height of the side of the dog bed (this will be 1/2″ smaller all the way around your fabric strip).


Instructions

Step 1: Cut out the entry for the dog bed from the Peltex:

Step 2: Iron on the interfacing.

Step 3: Sew the top side of the dog bed following the edge of the Peltex and trim.

Step 4: Open out the strip and sew the side seams so it forms a loop:


Step 5: Sew down the batting on the bottom of the dog bed.

Step 6: Mark the side of the dog bed in quarters and mark the ovals in quarters. Match up the quarters.

Step 7: Sew one of the ovals to the side of the dog bed. It helps to fit the oval bottom if you sew a long gathering stitch around the edge.

Step 8: Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the interior of the dog bed. I will note that the lining was extra big so I would suggest to sew the interior of the dog bed with a slighter larger SA like 3/4″. IMPORTANT! Remember to leave a space of 3-4″ to turn the dog bed right side out.

Step 9: Turn right side out and sew your interior lining closed.

Step 10: Admire your work!

These are a few of my favorite things

Now that the holidays are over, you might have gotten gift cards or want to exchange something. I didn’t receive any kitchen items for Christmas (probably because I do a pretty good job of buying them for myself) except from a friend, who bought me some prep bowls and the Sweet Melissa cookbook that I had on my Amazon cookbook wishlist. Yes, I have a cookbook wishlist. But that’s another post…

So to help you spend that holiday cash, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things in the kitchen.

1.KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixers First, I’d just like to point out that I did not pay this much for mine. If you watch the price, it does go down. If you don’t know the trick to price-watching on Amazon, I recommend CamelCamelCamel Price History. But this mixer? I love this mixer. I don’t know how I ever lived without a mixer in my kitchen. I actually got my first KitchenAid mixer last year for Christmas, and I bought one of the cheaper models on sale at Kohl’s (yes, I bought my own Christmas present. From my husband). About six months of use later, I realized that I needed a mixer with a higher wattage of motor. If you plan on doing a lot of heavy baking–especially bread dough or making marshmallows–you’ll want to go with the higher wattage. The lower wattage models are fine for light mixing, but once you start moving into heavier dough or longer periods of mixing, you’ll burn the motor out on a lower wattage model. Another consideration is that often the cheaper models don’t come with attachments or the bowl shield, only the paddle mixer. I use the dough hook and the whisk all the time, and actually bought them for the old model. So when comparing model prices, take that into consideration as each additional attachment can run up to $30.

If you’ve always wanted a mixer but just weren’t sure how much you’d use it, trust me, get the mixer. You’ll find you use it much more than you think and that you’ll be more willing to make things/try things because you have the mixer. Everyone in your home will benefit.

2.Black & Decker 2-Speed Food Chopper with 3-Cup Bowl So I do own a food processor, but I never use it. I hate pulling the food processor out, there’s no place to store it, and it’s bulky to clean/put in the dishwasher. So I bought this small countertop food chopper almost two years ago and I use it almost daily. I use it whenever a recipe calls for chopping or mincing onion. Which, as you know, is a lot. The chopper is small but mighty, and I’ve even used it to finely chop carrots, which it handles with ease. I use it in baking too, to chop things like nuts. The blade is very sharp, the container holds 3 cups and fits very easily in the dishwasher, and it takes up almost no counterspace, so I always have it handy. If and when it ever dies, I will immediately invest in a new one, because I can’t imagine doing any cooking without it. What can I say, I’m a lazy cook 😛

3. Crockpot Another must-have tool in my kitchen. In the winter especially, I use the crockpot at least once a week, often more. It’s essential for days when Brianna has evening activities, because otherwise we wouldn’t have a hot meal. And I already mentioned that I’m a lazy cook, and there are recipes where the combination of the chopper and the crockpot allow me to be very lazy. Like just throwing a chicken in the crockpot with some seasoning and letting it cook.

What crockpot you buy is, I think, an individual choice. I own three, all different sizes, and I actually like the one with the programmable timer settings the least (the one pictured). My favorite is a crockpot I got used, handed down to me from a friend. It’s an oval six-quart crockpot with just three settings on the knob. If you’re going to buy a crockpot, start cheap and see if crockpot cooking suits you before investing in a fancy crockpot with all the bells and whistles.

If you do get a crockpot, get these liners. They make cleanup a snap. The time and effort saved from scrubbing off baked food? Priceless.

4. My last item is purely for fun. A wine refrigerator. I always have cold wine, and I have somewhere to keep all the wine I’ve collected during my travels. This particular one is new to me, a 48-bottle fridge with dual climate control via a touch screen, and an interior light. A bit of an upgrade from the 8-bottle cooler I was using. And yes it is full. No, not all my wine fits in there. What can I say? I like wine!

I actually have more kitchen essentials I could share, but I’m going to save them for another day. Tell me, what are your kitchen essentials?

**Note: the links in this post are associate links so there’s a small benefit if you purchase through them, but I only use them because Amazon makes it easy, not that I actually expect anyone to run out and buy a wine refrigerator.

Tutorial: Boxy Pouch as Cord Carrier

This post was written by Jane of Dear Author

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When I first saw the boxy pouch tutorial, I thought it would be a delight to make but I wanted it to be lined and have the handle like the one I saw at Burda Style. Further, I needed my boxy pouch to be larger. I didn’t know how a pouch 4.5 inches long, 3 inches high and 2 inches deep would have much application.


Figuring out the measurements:

I believe I have the right formula for dimensions. Here is my formula:

1. Figure out the three finished dimensions: length, width and depth.

2. Length of the fabric is FL (finished length) + FD (finished depth) + 1″ (SA)

3. Width of fabric is FW (finished width) + FD (finished depth) + .75″ (SA)


Cut List:

Once you have the dimensions for your boxy pouch, cut out as follows:

  • 2 pieces of face fabric
  • 2 pieces for lining
  • 2 pieces of heavyweight interfacing

You’ll need three additional pieces for the zipper tabs and the handle.

  • Zipper tabs: 3×4″, cut 2 of fabric
  • Handle: cut 1 8 x 1 3/8″ Peltex or Timtex (or two heavyweight interfacing) and enough fabric to cover the handle.

Sewing Instructions:

Step 1. top stitch the handle and the zipper tabs. I like to use the triple stitch.

Step 2. Attach zipper to the face fabric.

Step 3. IMPORTANT! Mark 1/2″ on each end of the face fabric zipper stitching.

Step 4. Pin lining to zipper. Attach lining to zipper by sewing over face fabric zipper stitching.

OPTIONAL but helpful: Sew an edgestitch along the lining to the zipper SA. This ensures that the lining doesn’t get caught in the zipper. If you don’t, you might have to handsew the lining away which is a pain, trust me.

Step 5. Sew the bottom of the face fabric all the way across.

Step 6. IMPORTANT! Sew the bottom of the lining fabric leaving a 4″ or so opening for turning the project inside out.

Step 7. Sew the side seams of the lining, pulling away the face fabric, zipper and zipper tabs. You may want to use a height compensation tool. Otherwise, leave a gap and come back to sew the gap closed with a zipper foot. It’s easier to do this step before you sew up the side seams of the face fabric.

Step 8. Baste the zipper tabs to the zipper ends on the face fabric.

Step 9. Sew the side seams of the face fabric, making sure the lining is out of the way.

Step 10. Pinch out the corners and mark the finished depth of your project. (See part about dimensions above. In this example, my corner seam is 2″).

Step 11. IMPORTANT but optional. If you are adding a handle, mark 1/2″ from the original pencil line on the side of the box where the zipper starts. Cut at the 1/2″ mark. Feed your handle through and hold closed with a binder clip, fusible web or glue.

Step 12. Sew the depth seams together. Trim.

Step 13. Pinch out the corners of the lining fabric and mark and sew similar to what you did with the face fabric. This isn’t the easiest and I don’t have a good solution for this other than trial and error.

Step 14. Iron your seams, trim your threads and turn inside out.

Step 15. Admire your finished project. Sew the lining closed either by hand or by machine.

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Tips for the boxy pouch:

  • To reduce sewing time, I eliminated the bottom seam. Cutting out my face fabric to be FW+ FD + .5 (SA) but if you have a distinct design, you’ll need to have a bottom seam or one side of the box will have an upside down pattern repeat.
  • Other helpful tutorials: Boxy Pouch with French Seams tutorial and Boxy Pouch with corners exposed

Homemade Holidays

This year I sent homemade food gifts to a few family and friends. It’s actually amazing how much time you spend in the kitchen in order to have enough to send to just a handful of people. Maybe next year I’ll plan ahead and start earlier (insert hysterical laughter here). But I was happy with what I made and what I sent, and I found some downloadable labels on the internet, so I didn’t have to label everything with ugly labels (links at the end of the post). That’s important, you know!

Here’s what I made and sent this year, and some links to recipes.

First, of course, I included cracker candy in everyone’s package. This was a batch I made with half graham crackers and half club crackers. The graham crackers were my least favorite!

Next I made almond cookies for some of the boxes. This is the recipe I followed, which was super, super easy and came together quickly. And so good. I love a really delicate, light tasting cookies.

Some boxes had homemade marshmallows in them. This was my first time making them so it was an adventure. I used the Alton Brown recipe, which was very easy thanks to my mixer. Someone on Twitter mentioned they’d made marshmallows and burned out the motor on their mixer, so make sure you have a mixer with a higher wattage motor like mine, or that you watch it closely. The boxes that got marshmallows also got hot cocoa and peppermint stir sticks.

All of the packages also got caramel cinnamon popcorn with almond bark drizzle. This turned out…amazing. So good my husband didn’t want me to ship it off. It’s simple to make, but not a process to involve the kids in and it takes some muscle power to stir the popcorn to coat!

A few of the boxes got homemade garlic bread seasoning in cute glass jars. I really wish I’d taken a picture of these. I got the jars from Penzeys and it’s what I use to store all of my spices.

One box got a bag of Magic Reindeer Food. We do this every year and Brianna runs out in the morning to see if the reindeer ate or not. I included this link because it’s got cute printable tags, but if you make it, make sure you include glitter! When you sprinkle it out for the “reindeer” the glitter adds that magic touch.

Last, one box got candied lemon peels. It was my first time making these, and I specifically made them because the recipient likes lemon drop martinis. They were easy to make and the added side benefit was the lemon simple syrup that results at the end. I really wanted to send that in the box as well, but had nothing to ship it in that I believed would arrive safely and without leaking. The recipe includes printable gift tags with suggested uses. Adorable!

Everything had cute personal labels that I glued on the plastic containers used for packing. Each thing got its own container–it’s important not to mix more than one or two things in one container or they “contaminate” each other with the flavors. I got and/or found for later use, baking gift labels at these sites:

Betty Crocker

Everybody Likes Sandwiches (these are the main ones I used)

Domino Sugar (link to tags at bottom of page)

The very last thing in my homemade holiday gifts was a batch of pralines. My husband really likes pralines and you can’t buy them around here. I used a recipe from DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style and it turned out well, but I have two other recipes I’d like to try and I’ll post the results here in the future.

Did anyone else do any homemade holiday gifting? I’d love some new ideas for next year!

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