Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today is going to be a great day

This morning, I woke up to two good things.

The first: Five Iron Frenzy is getting back together!! Now, this may not be great news to those of you who lack a taste for late-90s ska but for me, it defined life in my early high school years. I was devastated when they broke up.

The second: I found this in my craft room...

Looks like Santa came early this year. Now, do I wait until Christmas or tear into that baby now???

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I am not Thanksgiving's greatest fan.

Actually, to be honest, I generally dread Thanksgiving. It's a holiday of stress after the yams have burnt and of anger when the wrong pie is served and of those awkward moments with people you are forced into a room with because you are somehow related to them, but share nothing more in common than alleles with. I'm jaded from years of uncomfortable ruffles, kids tables, and white meat turkey. Let's put this down on record: dark meat is SO much better than light.

In recent years, I have spent Thanksgiving with Brent's family. Once married or seriously dating, people often find themselves torn between two or more family functions at the holidays. Luckily enough for us, as aforementioned, I have always hated Thanksgiving so I had no qualms about spending Thanksgiving with Brent's family and Christmas with mine. Thanksgivings with Brent have slowly brought me out of my fiery pit of Thanksgiving hatred ala Chandler Bing and into a more comfortable and appealing Turkey Day state. I'm not forced to sit at the kids table anymore. I don't have to make small talk with people I don't know. There is no more polyester!!! Our Thanksgivings now are cozy, spent with family and friends. There are still the family pictures and the occasional awkward moment, but taking time to celebrate and just be together makes all those other moments worthwhile.

Before going to Brent's parents' house, we drove out to my uncle's house to see MY close family. I wish I had pictures, but my MOTHER didn't share her's with me, so I'll have to get those another time. My uncle got a new house. Gorgeous!

Anyway, here are some of the photos of our little shindig at the Heyen house:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Calzones and Pinterest Party

My friend Robin is brilliant.

Yesterday, Robin threw a Pinterest Party! I'm sure many other people have had the idea and maybe even thrown their own craft themed parties, but Robin invited me, which makes her brilliant! I don't think there could have ever been a more perfect gathering of creative women. I learned (by eavesdropping, mostly) how to make some AWESOME felt flowers and Christmas wreaths and the cutest felt Christmas tree for Robin's little girl to decorate, all while putting pedal to the metal on some WIPs I've been slacking on.

Oh, and want some other great, fantastic, splendid news??? I finished Satan's Quilt! Amazing! I know!

I didn't take many pictures, but here are a few shots of friends and my creations:

Bam! Scrabble magnets! Let's see Brent resist the urge to play Scrabble with me now!

How cute is this? It matches my dress I made here. Even though I promised myself I would never subject my children to the same torture my mother did to us, I think we are going to be twinsies for family pictures! I think of it as fodder for embarrassing Mazer in the presence of future boyfriends.

And how sweet is Robin?! She made each of us these mugs with some hot chocolate-y goodness inside!

I SO want to do this again. I had a blast!

Oh, right, the reason I titled this post "CALZONES and Pinterest Party"... I also made some calzones yesterday with a recipe I found on Pinterest. And I've got to say, they were pretty tasty! I think I would like to make my own pizza dough in the future, but the store bought worked just great for our quickie lunch with Dermur and Dre.

If you're looking for the recipe, you can find it here. I also made an olive oil spread with thyme, basil, and oregano to brush over the top, then topped with parmesan cheese.

If you want to follow me on Pinterest, you can do that here.

I'm off to make a board where I can put everything I found on Pinterest that I actually made. So, have you made anything you found on Pinterest?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Soup Potluck and Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

If Brent would let me, I would eat soup everyday.

Every year when it gets cold outside, our friends host a soup potluck. This year, I made two soups: Zuppa Toscana, and the crowd pleaser, Chicken Tortilla. I've already shared the Zuppa Toscana recipe here.

Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, diced (I use yellow)
½ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 tbsp corn oil (or vegetable or canola; use what you have)
4 15 oz cans chicken broth
2 15 oz cans Rotel tomatoes and chiles, diced (Choose the potency carefully. This is what REALLY makes the soup mild or spicy)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 package corn tortillas, cut into small pieces (about 10-15 depending on how thick you want the soup to be)
12 oz cooked chicken meat (I buy the prepared rotisserie and pull the meat from the bones when I’m feeling lazy)
1 cup milk
16 oz Monterey Jack cheese or Mexican blend, shredded
Sour cream
Corn tortilla chips (I use Scoops)


1. In a large pot, sauté carrots, onions, and celery in corn oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper until tender. A good indicator is slightly browning onions.

2. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

3. While the broth is heating, cut tortillas into small pieces and cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Set aside.

4. Once boiling, add Rotel, taco seasoning and chicken. Add tortillas last making sure to stir them in well.

5. Let boil for about 20 minutes or until tortillas have fully incorporated into the soup. Stir occasionally to keep mixture from sticking to the pot.

6. Reduce heat and add 12 oz of cheese. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

7. Add milk and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Soup is finished.

8. Garnish with sour cream, remaining cheese and tortilla chips.

Advice: if you have one, use a splatter screen. When the soup is at a rolling boil, it can get a little messy. Also, do not skimp on the simmer times. If you do, your vegetables will be crunchy. This is great heated up the next day as a chip dip!

Not too shabby for a Friday night! You MUST try this soup, and when you do, let me know how it all went over!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Week in Pictures

The week started at David's Bridal where I found my dress for Erika's wedding in February. Her color is Peacock which is a much darker shade of blue. I was worried I wouldn't find a dress I liked, but I found this one, which I loved!

Went to the Comfort Quilters' Quilt bee where Uncle Terry's quilt was completed. When I took it to the UPS store to ship, I met the EXTREMELY nice owners of the store who offered to ship our quilts for us as a donation to our cause. So sweet!

Poor Clara had to sit through me trying new bows in her hair. She seems thrilled...

I went to SAS and stocked up on some stash. This was an expensive visit!

I got these for Clara's stocking.

And I got some knits for skirts, a shirt, and a scarf. I'm in LOVE with maxi skirts right now. I just can't get enough of them!

We went shopping and mean old Aunt Lindsey put earmuffs on my baby!

We visited our friend Ira and her baby, Maya.

And perhaps the best part of my week: Clara. She is sitting so well in her Bumbo! She has been making a HUGE mess in the bathtub, splashing around and kicking her little feet. Bath time is her favorite part of the day. AND AND AND!!! she started laughing this week! She stares at herself in the mirror giggling and cooing to that baby on the other side of the mirror.

I just love being a mommy!

And, for WIP, still haven't touched Satan's Quilt. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

W.I.P. Wednesday: Satan's Quilt

I'm going to be honest: I spent most of the day playing with Mazer so my WIP is still needing a LOT more progress.

Notice how dark? Yeah. That's because I was playing and forgot to take a picture earlier in the day for this post! With the sun going down so early now, I'm having a hard time taking decent pictures, especially since my house is so dark anyway!

This is a quilt/blanket I started for Clara before she was born (talk about a LONG WIP...) I'm pretty sure this blanket was touched by the Devil himself because every time I work on it, something goes wrong and I just have to put the thing away before I shove it into our heavy duty shredder! I have sewn the blocks backwards, the border backwards, cut some blocks too small, forgotten to zig zag the satin edges and had them just slide right out of the quilt top... etc. I really don't want to reminisce on all the terrible this blanket has brought with it. And in case you're wondering, I keep calling the thing a blanket because I gave up on batting, so there won't be any real quilting. This is probably a good thing considering we live in the Arizona desert and it was in the 90s last week. Batting might be too hot for this little blanket. So, what I thought would be a quick little quilt Clara could play on and snuggle with, has turned into a fabric monster. I really don't know if I will keep it once it's finished. I might give it away and let it curse someone else's home, but we'll see.

I need to topstitch the edges and add some little stitches to hold the front and back together (no quilting though) in order to finish this little twerp. Almost finished!

So, as you can see, working on the pink little Quilt of Satan wasn't in the cards today. Instead, Clara and I played with her dolly and visited her grandma Brenda and great-grandma Euple.

Isn't she sweet? So content, always.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What a Weekend

This weekend was crazy busy for the Heyen family but we managed to make it through unscathed. As a matter of fact, Clara even went to bed ON TIME last night. Talk about luck! I thought I had completely destroyed her schedule!

First we visited with Grandma Euple (from Illinois) at Carlos O'Brien's.

Then off to the charity soccer tournament I played in. There weren't many pictures and trust me: this was the best. After we went out with an old friend from high school and got soup at Olive Garden.

And the next day was the Congenital Heart Disease 5k with my family (shhhhhhh! We cheated and went to Chompie's instead of finishing the walk!) And finally, I went to see my best friend's wedding location so we could pick her caterer before heading home to run some errands and get some laundry done.

Oh! And I also had a little time to work on a quilt I've been making Mazer. I'll post pictures sometime this week to show off the finished project.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Band Tees

I love music.
Not just 'like'.

My love affair with music began in high school, as it does for many people. I started collecting t-shirts from concerts I attended and ended up with hundreds.

Then I married a musician...

resulting in many more t-shirts.

Sadly, I grew (blame it on college and working full time and not knowing how to cook for myself and my new husband) and I had to give my smaller shirts away. My sister was just starting to listen to music, so I gave them to her to wear when she started high school. While some of the bands weren't popular anymore, she earned some street cred for advertising bands that had long been forgotten. It took a couple more years to convince her to actually LISTEN to the music created by the names on her shirts, but that's an entirely different story.

Anyway, high school has passed for her as well and in order to make room for her growing business-wear collection, she has returned some of the shirts to me.

My husband and I looked through them, reminicing on days when we felt the only way to enjoy a concert was to be in the front row and Chris Carrabba's shoes were close enough to touch. We decided we couldn't part with these memories, so I decided to make a quilt of them.

I'm super stoked. For reals.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Comfort Quilters

I have no tangible skills.

Sure, I can manipulate a spreadsheet and databases don't scare me, but if technology were to go away tomorrow, I would have no real skills (not even nunchuck skills or computer hacking skills) to share with society. I knew I would be quitting my job once the baby was born, so I wanted to find some way to be of use; to be a helper in society, rather than just a taker. So, I took a quilting class. I already loved to sew and I loved how quilts looked and felt... Boy is quilting a LOT more work than I thought it would be!

Even though I don't have an impressive resume, I have become obsessed with quilting! I pin hundreds of cool tutorials on quilting and I save pictures of pretty quilts to my computer knowing that SOMEDAY I will be able to create such beautiful blankets.

Lucky for me, the Comfort Quilters took me in with no questions asked. I was worried at first, knowing I was a rookie, but that didn't matter to them. Now, every other Friday, we get together to drink coffee, chat, and quilt, and I couldn't be more excited they've let me be a part of their ministry.

The Comfort Quilters are a group of people who create quilts for people suffering from terrible illnesses. Most of our quilts go to people who have cancer, but we give them to anyone who asks for one. We are having a large quilting bee on Friday, November 11th from 9am to 5pm at Crossroads Nazerene Church in Chandler, AZ if anyone is interested to come help out. You don't have to know how to quilt. You just have to be willing to learn!

Costume Suspenders Tutorial

Want me to show you how to make suspenders that don't actually work but look really pretty?? Awesome! Let me show you.

You will need:
2 yards 1-2 inch wide elastic (I used white)
4 suspender clips
sew-on jewels (optional)

Lay the elastic over your subject's shoulders to measure where they should clasp onto the pants. Place a pin in the elastic 1" above where the clasp should join the pants. Thread suspender clip onto the elastic then fold the tip of the elastic over to reach the pin.

Sew a zig zag line in a matching thread through the two layers of elastic. I repeated the stitch three times to make sure it was strong. Sew a second suspender clip to the other side of the elastic, matching up the end of the elastic with the pin. Make sure when laid out flat that both clips are either face up or face down. Repeat these steps with a second piece of elastic, totally two elastic bands each with two suspender clips, one at each end.

Take one suspender, clasp it to the left front of the subject's pants, pull over the left shoulder, and cross to the right back clapsing it to the subject's pants. With the other suspender, clasp it to the right front of the subject's pants, pull over the right shoulder, and cross to the left back clasping it to the subject's pants. Pin the elastic together where the two elastic bands cross.

Sew around the perimeter of this area with a straight stitch, making a diamond.

Because my husband was playing an eccentric gangster, I added some sew-on jewels to his suspenders later. If you are adding some bling to your suspenders, you'll want to sew them on. Glue won't stick to elastic well and your jewels may fall off.

Ta-da! How simple were these? And they were great with his costume!

Isn't he so sweet to watch the baby while I sew?

1920s Evening Gown Tutorial

I finally have found some time to blog, so here is one of the tutorials I promised.

1920s Evening Gown

You will need:

2-3 yards satin
2-3 yards chiffon
1 lace embellishment

All seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise noted.

I started by finding three yards each of coordinating satin and chiffon. I got a great deal on these two fabrics. Just $2.99 per yard!

Next, I measured my widest part (hips) and added an inch for SA. This brought me to a 50" width. Now, because this was just for a costume and most of the clothes in the 1920s had NO shape whatsoever, I ended up cutting a large rectangle for the dress. I measured the length I wanted then cut two pieces of satin fabric, length x 50". Next, I cut two pieces from the chiffon material, only I made it one inch wider than the satin. I cut two pieces 51" x length. I now had four pieces of cut material. Set aside the chiffon and lat the two pieces of satin right sides together on a cutting mat with the top on the mat, like this:

I knew I wanted a boatneck for this dress, so I chose a dress from my closet that had a boatneck to use as a template for cutting the neckline. I also used this dress as a template for the arm holes.

Using chalk, trace just outside the line, leaving room for your 1/2" SA.

Because I was making a shift dress with no form, I drew the arm holes straight to the edge of the fabric rather than adding a waist to the dress as shown in the previous picture.

Next, I laid my two cut pieces of satin wrong sides together with the back of the dress face up. Lay one piece of chiffon on the back lining up the far edges of the chiffon with the outer edges of the dress sleeve. This should result in a swooped chiffon neckline as seen here:

I used the selvaged edge of the chiffon because I didn't want to hem it, and I figured since it was just for a costume, it wouldn't matter. Also, I placed my lace embellishment on the dress so I could see the placement. It is not sewn on yet.

Pin the chiffon in place at the shoulders and turn the dress over. This time, when you lay the chiffon over the front of the dress, lay the chiffon straight across so there is no swooping neckline. Instead, take the chiffon and pleat it on the shoulders so the far corner of the chiffon and the outer point of the sleeves meet. The neckline of the chiffon should be taut.

Now, turn the pieces so they are right sides together. Match up the shoulder pieces (should be satin, tight chiffon from the back, pleated chiffon from the front, satin)then pin. Sew the shoulder seams with a zig zag stitch.

Next, pin together the satin sides and sew up the seam with a zig zag stitch. Be careful to only sew the satin and not the chiffon. Pull the satin right side out leaving the chiffon wrong side out. Sew up the chiffon sides just like the satin ones. Be careful to only sew the chiffon and use a zig zag stitch. Now pull the dress completely right side out and try it on to make sure it fits. All that's left is to hem the bottom (I used selvege on the bottom so I wouldn't have to, but you can it you choose to not use the selveged edges), hem the arm holes seperately (meaning hem the satin, then hem the chiffon. Don't hem them together), and hem the fron neckline. I chose to cut the chiffon to match the front of the dress boatneck, then use a decorative stitch to hem them together. I turned the chiffon and satin over together here, unlike the arm holes where I hemmed them seperately. The last thing I did was add my lace embellishment to the back with a few hand stitches.

The dress was perfect. I put on an eleastic belt that I had in my closet over the satin layer, but under the chiffon layer to give it just a little shape. I was going to wear it lower to give the illusion of a drop waist, but it kept riding up (I've got big hips). The best parts were that I could move in it and sit in it. If I were to make one of these again, I might make the dress have more of a flare bottom. I wore this to a murder mystery party and found it was quite difficult to take the stairs in this dress.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Also, I am going to link this up over at TNT Thursdays at Happy Quilting. Check it out!
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