Sunday, February 27, 2011

Need Some Change in My Life

I need a little change.

I didn't really put much thought or creativity into my blog when I first set it up, hence the name "The Westerman Family".  So, I'm going to try some new things; name change, definitely a new header and background.  I'll be the first to admit I have NO IDEA what I'm doing when it comes to this stuff, so be patient with me as I try my hand at this.  It may look funny for a bit :D

UPDATE:

Wow... I have royally messed this up!  You know when you dive into something KNOWING it's best left to the experts but you do it anyways, then you find yourself waist deep in it unable to get out?  Yep, I'm there.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Birthday Party

When I was trying to come up with a theme for Izzy's 2nd birthday I happened to looked over at her as she was playing with her boo, Giraffe.  That was it, it had been staring at me all along. 


It HAD to be a Giraffe party!

Here's what we ended up with.





Started off by finding the invite at Dimple Prints' shop on Etsy. 


Had a local cake shop make her a strawberry cake to resemble the invite.  It was so good!  Great, now I'm craving more of it :D  The Happy Birthday banner was super duper easy to create on the computer and is stuck into the cake with paper straws (I stuck bamboo skewers down into the straw for more stability).


I stuck with white cake for the cupcakes, but topped them with cake shop purchased butter cream frosting.  Soooo much better than any frosting you can buy in the grocery store.  Which reminds me, I still have some in the fridge... hmmmmm.  The cupcake toppers again were really easy to put together using scrapbook paper, the computer, and some lollipop sticks.


I'd like to introduce you to the new love in my life - Cake Balls.  If you haven't tried these bad boys before, you best get to it.  They are a-ma-zing.  All you do is bake a cake like normal (I used a butter flavored cake mix) and let it cool.  Crumble the cake up and put it in a large mixing bowl.  Take one jar of frosting (I used cherry frosting) and beat it in with a mixer until everything is well blended.  Use a cookie scoop to scoop out little balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sit them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes until they firm up.  Then cover those babies with melted chocolate (I used white chocolate) and put back into the fridge until ready to serve.  Yeah, heaven.


Sugar cookie giraffes for Thank Yous.



One of my favorite parts about this party was the little giraffe poem her grandma and I came up with. 

It reads:

G is for Giraffe,
he is my other half.

He sleeps with me,
he eats with me,
he plays hide and seeks with me.

So, as you see it's he and me
my other half, Giraffe.


Needless to say the giganto giraffe was a big hit.  Props to my hubby's long time friend for coming up with this gift idea all on his own.  The best part was seeing her try to take it around with her.



All in all, Izzy had a great time. 
Seeing her run around with her little friends and family was the best.


Still, I can't believe my little baby is 2!





   

To My Sweet Isabelle,

I can't believe it, we've just celebrated your second birthday!

The moment you were born you completely captured my heart.  You are more amazing than I could have ever imagined, and have filled me with more joy than I could ever explain.  I am so in love with you sweet baby. 

In this last year I have learned so much more about you.  You are so compassionate, taking great care of your stuffed animals to make sure they get sips from your cup or nibbles of your snacks.  You like to be read good night books first thing in the morning.  Snuggling on the couch with Mommy must commence no later than 2 seconds after finishing breakfast.  You know better than I what shoes will work best with your "outfit" as you call it.  A girl should never leave the house without her piggy tails in.  You are an expert Eskimo Kiss giver.  You always know exactly when to pour on the charm, pulling your shoulder to your cheek and flashing those baby blues, to get whatever you want out of Daddy (I need to starting taking notes from you).  But, most importantly, you've taught me to make time for more fun in life, and to live every moment to the fullest.

I know you are going to blow me away this next year with everything you do.  I want you to know that I am so proud of you and love you so very much.  You are truly amazing, and I am so blessed to have you as my daughter.

Love,
Mommy
 




Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rosette Pillow

I'm sure you've all seen and been swooning over this pillow from Target

Me too

I just didn't have a spot in my house where the yellow would work.  That, and it's no longer available.  So, I attempted to make my own, and I really like how it turned out.  If you want to make one too, here's what you do!

Rosette Pillow


Here's what you'll need:

  • fabric for the body of the pillow (I used a grain sack found at a flea market for, wait for it... FREE!)
  • fabric for the rosettes (you'll need 1 1/2 yards)
  • piping (I bought mine premade, 2 1/2 yards)
  • pillow form (mine was 18x18)
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • pins
  • sewing machine and thread
  • foot attachment for sewing on piping
  • Iron and ironing board
And let me forewarn you, I am self taught when it comes to sewing.  I don't know all the technical terms.  I just do what works for me :)
STEP ONE:  Cut fabric for the rosettes.  You will need 9 strips of fabric, 5 inches wide by whatever your fabric measures from selvedge to selvedge (usually 45 inches).
STEP TWO:  Fold in each long side toward the center about a 1/2 inch and press with iron


STEP THREE:  Fold in half long ways and press with iron.  Sort of like a big piece of bias tape.


Do this with all nine strips. 

You will not need to reopen the folds, but this is what the creases will look like if done properly


STEP FOUR: Create the rosettes.  Lay one strip of fabric down with the open side of the fold facing right.  Bring the rest of the strip up and over to the right so that it forms a 90 degree angle in the center and press with iron.


   Bring the rest of the fabric up to form another 90 degree angle in the center and press with iron.


Now bring the rest of the fabric down and over to the left to complete the base of the rosette and again press with iron.  This part will determine the width of the rosette (mine was 5 inches wide).


Keep repeating the same process bringing the fabric in closer to the center each time.  Keep pressing with your iron to keep everything somewhat in place.



When you get to where you have about 10 inches of fabric left in length, fold long ways and press.


Now repeat the same process of folding the fabric in towards the center.


Stop when you have about 5 inches of fabric left in length.


Now instead of folding the fabric, start rolling it in towards the center and tuck the last bit of fabric behind the center of the rosette.  Give it a really good press with the iron.  Pressing with the iron will help you know where each of your folds are when you take it to your sewing machine.  Much less frustration that way :) 



Now you've just got to do that 8 more times! 
STEP FIVE: Sew the rosette's layers together.  Unfold the rosette (this is where pressing the folds comes in handy) and begin sewing at the first fold.

 
Once you get over the fold stop with the needle down in the fabric, release the pressure on your foot, and rotate the rosette clockwise.  Place the pressure foot back down and start sewing again until you cross over the next fold.  Keep repeating this process until you get to where you started rolling the fabric (the center of the rosette).




Refold/roll the center of the rosette back into place and stitch down using a needle and thread.


WAHOO!!!  You're done with the rosettes!


Whew!  Still with me?

STEP SIX: Cut your fabric for the pillow.  I used my awesome FREE grain sack.  My pillow form was 18x18 so I cut my piece for the front of the pillow 19x19 (allowing for a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side).  I did an envelope closure for the back so I cut two pieces at 19x12 each.  The top of my grain sack was finished so I cut my back pieces keeping this in mind.  This might make more sense later on.


STEP SEVEN: Pin your piping into place on the front piece of fabric.  When you get to the corners, cut a series of slits into the piping to allow it to curve nicely. 


STEP EIGHT: Bust out your sewing foot for piping and sew down your piping all the way around, overlapping the beginning and end of the piping. 
STEP NINE:   Place your rosettes onto the front piece of the pillow and pin in place.


 STEP TEN: You can either tack them into place by hand, or use your sewing machine.  I used my machine and just stitched around the inside of the base "petals".


 View from the back after rosettes are sew on
 

STEP ELEVEN:  Pin the back two pieces to the front of the pillow, right sides facing each other.  The finished edges of the two back pieces should be towards the center of the pillow, one piece laying about 5 inches over the other at the center point.  Of course, out of all the bazillion pictures I took for this project, I don't have one of this!  But, this is what the back looks like when finished.



STEP TWELVE: Using your piping foot, sew the back pieces in place.  The easiest way I've found to do this without messing up the piping is to turn the pillow around so that the backside of the front of the pillow is facing up (like the picture in Step 10).  That way you can stitch directly over your previous stitches, using them as a guide.  Stitch all the way around the pillow.  You don't need to leave an opening since you're doing an envelope back.



STEP THIRTEEN: Trim any excess fabric and turn the pillow inside out.

STEP FOURTEEN: Insert pillow form.

STEP FIFTEEN: Admire your work and pat yourself on the back!




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