Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Big 1!!!

We had a great time celebrating the baby's birthday last night. I can't believe she is already one! We invited some friends and all the fam to come over for dinner and cake. I kind of went all out for this party, at least my version of going all out! I figured this is my only girl and she's turning a year old so why not! It was a lot of work to prepare for but it was fun too. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and now it is time to relax a little. Here are a few more posts explaining all of my projects.
Happy Birthday little girl! We love you!

The Cake!

I really wanted to try a tiered cake for this party. I took the Wilton classes a long time ago and made one with columns, but I wanted to make it with not so much space in between the layers. This actually didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, I really wanted it to look like they were just stacked on top of eachother. That is kind of hard to do though, so I guess I'll have to try again sometime and work on my cake architecture skills. Overall it was pretty cute though. I loved the color and the white dots. It was a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting that was half butter and half shortening. That seemed to be the perfect combo for frosting that held together well compared to all butter that I usually make. It was the perfect consistency to fit in the bag for decorating. I used the #4 round tip, and the bottom layer is 8", the middle is 6", and I'm not actually sure what the little layer is because all they had was little springform pans in that size and they didn't have the size on the pan but it was probably 4". I made yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting and used the leftover white icing to pipe little letter A's on them. Watching her demolish her little mini cake top was the highlight of the party!

The Gifts!

So I knew I wanted to make her some things for her birthday. It all started with this fabric that I bought about a year and a half ago when I was pregnant. I just fell in love with it, I love the shade of pink and the cherry print. I kept going back for more and I'm glad I did! I knew I wanted to make a dress for it some day if I could figure out how, and a quilt too. So, my awesome friend Ellen gave me sewing lessons and I actually sewed this dress! It's the first clothing item I've ever really sewed and used a pattern, so I'm very proud of it, esp since it has a zipper. My favorite part is the little pleats in the front. So anyway, I wanted to do a checkerboard quilt with these two prints, and then I saw one of these dolls that my friend Julie had done and I thought, wouldn't it be fun to make her a doll with a matching dress? Then I thought, wouldn't it also be fun to make a doll quilt that matched her quilt? This is how my project ideas snowball a little out of control sometimes! So anyway, that is what I did. I only got the quilt top for her quilt done so far, so I will get that quilted soon. I made it big enough so it will fit a twin sized bed for later.
The pattern for this doll can be found on the Martha Stewart website under Black Apple Doll, and you can watch video of them making it too. It was really easy and just took me a couple of hours to make. I embroidered the face rather than paint it as they did on the example. I made a Wee Wonderfuls doll last year and I thought this one was a lot easier to do. I'm really happy with how the doll quilt turned out. I really love miniature things. I'd like to do an even tinier quilt and frame it. I saw some like that in a quilt shop and they were amazing. Paper pieced I think.
I didn't use a pattern really for this, but it was fun to do because I used a traditional quilting technique that I haven't ever done before where you sew two squares together with two seams on either side of the middle, then cut down the middle so then you have two squares made up of two triangles. The squares were cut at 2&1/2 inches. It's nothing hard or complicated or anything, I just liked how it turned out, and this way of cutting made the squares really precise so the points matched up really well, unlike any other time I do patchwork and the points never match up for some reason!
So the only nice doll cradle I could find was really expensive, and everything else was ugly and plastic, so I looked on craigslist and found this little wooden cradle for $5! What a bargain! My husband did a great job repainting it so it looks brand new. I love the way the whole thing turned out. I'm so excited that she loves dolls! There is so much boy stuff around here it is a nice change. And don't worry, she plays with swords, lightsabers, and action figures too! She gets the best of both worlds. The funniest thing is that the minute she got her doll cradle, she climbed inside! It was quite hilarious! She got some other sweet little gifts from the nice friends who came like a couple of other adorable little dolls and stuffed animals and some really nice books and outfits, and a ballet dress that I can't wait to try on her. Fun Fun!

The Decor!

I had a fun time decorating for this party. I found these cardboard letters at Joann's in the dollar section. I couldn't find all of the letters to spell out Happy Birthday so my husband cut out the green letters from some scrapbooking paper to finish the garland. I love how this turned out! It is strung on purple rick rack that I also got in the dollar section of Joann's. There is a lot of junk in dollar sections but sometimes you can get some great stuff! There are kind of a lot of pictures of this flag garland, because I love it so much! I've been wanting to make one for a long time after seeing it done on various blogs and catalogs. So at around 11 pm the night before the party I decided I was going to make it. My husband was like, what are you doing NOW? He told me I should "let go" but I'm glad I didn't because this made things really festive and cute out on the deck, plus it's eco friendly and can be used over and over. It looks adorable in kid's rooms and I'm sure I will save it to use in her room eventually. I picked fabric that I already had- I have so much fabric I'm sure I could whip out a banner in any color scheme! So all I did was cut out the triangles with pinking shears and sew it onto pink bias tape. I've seen it done different ways, one fancy one I saw was two sided with interfacing inside and actually sewn around the edge of the flags, then cut with scalloped scissors. A friend who made one told me she just rotary cut the flags and ironed it on to hem tape, so there wasn't actually any sewing, so anyone could do this project.

The Food!

We barbequed and I made four different salads, plus jello for the kids. A couple of weeks ago I made and froze pesto with basil and parsley from the garden. I used it to make a cold pasta salad that also had grape tomatoes and chunks of mozzarella. It was really good. I also made a potato salad with new potatoes and celery and parsley with a vinaigrette that was yummy too. We also had a regular green and fruit salads and cheese and crackers and veggies with dip. It was a busy day of cooking but it turned out really well. The best thing was the homemade ice cream my dad made. Peach raspberry- yum. It was sooo good!

My Favorite Dress

Do you remember this dress I blogged about last year? I bought it when I was pregnant, and here it is with an actual little girl inside of it. Quite amazing! It was an awesome bargain on clearance at Carter's outlet and I absolutely love it. It's hard to get a good picture of her because she moves so fast, but the close up of the top of her head is so Aunt Nat can see her pretty hair bow. It's really fun having a little girl to dress up!

Around the House

I'm going to have to go out into the garden and get some pictures of it because it is quite amazing! We didn't set out to grow a bunch of amazon plants but thanks to the incredible amounts of rain we have gotten this summer, that is what we are getting. There are tomato plants out there that are 6 feet high, and the squash is taking over everything. So here is a picture of our first cucumber that we picked a couple of weeks ago. There are at least 30 tomatoes out there but they are still green. There is one yellow squash so far that will probably be ready to pick soon. A couple of tomatoes have suspiciously gone missing so we are hoping that we actually get to eat some of them rather than have them all stolen by animals!

Quilt Top

Now that the baby can play and entertain herself somewhat, and is taking longer naps, I decided it was time to get some sewing done. Other than some Christmas projects I haven't really done any sewing or quilting in the last year. So in the last month I've really made up for that! So last month on the way home from our trip, I stopped in a cute little quilt shop in Lee, Ma and bought a magazine called Australian Country Threads. I loved the quilt on the cover, it was a stripey quilt done with reproduction fabrics and other scraps. I've been collecting 1930's reproduction fabric for a while without any big plans on what to do with it, so this seemed like the perfect project that would also be pretty fast and easy. It was fun to put together and only took me about a week or so. I used my 1930's fabric plus a bunch of other florals and polka dots for a little variety. There is even fabric from the bridesmaids dresses from my wedding, which I still love and would pick again! It is the large floral in the bottom picture on the left side.I stuck with shades of pink and peach, green, blue, purple and a little pinky red. Basically I guess I just left out yellows and really bright or dark colors. I have another quilt top that I finished over a year ago and I think I will send them both out to be quilted on a long arm machine. Some friends of mine have had good results sending quilts out to a lady in Iowa so I think I am going to try that out. It was fun to get back into the creative swing of things!