Monday, June 28, 2010

A Switch To Doodle Stitching

Boo-hoo-hoo!  There's deep sorrow in my heart as I finally concede that I might have to take a respite from baking.  I know my oven and Kitchen Aid will be grieving with me as well.  I am pretty sure that while my kitchen floor will remain white and the granite counter will keep its sparkle, they, too, will be missing all the gastronomic action with the flour and sugar and eggs.

You see, C and I both had our annual blood chemistry test a few weeks ago; and the results are all fine, save for our cholesterol levels.  We cannot think of anything that might contribute to its high levels except for the tubs and tubs of butter that go into the baked goodies which my oven churn out ever so often.  Which is why even if my baking pantry is fully-brimmed with supplies that the door won't close, I will take a break for our health's sake.

But there's no taming that part of me wishing to create, if not in the kitchen, then maybe somewhere else.  I have taken interest in almost every crafting project there is starting from when I was in high school.  I have a few framed projects of cross-stitching, paper toile, decoupage.  I need something to replace baking with asap!

I was just in the browsing the crafting aisles of the bookstore this morning when I chanced upon embroidery books.   There are a lot of contemporary embroidery patterns to choose from that it forces to break free from the stereotype that it is a craft for grandmamas.

A happy garden

Russian Matryoshka dolls.

Cartoon images

Why not, right? It's one of the cheapest and low commitment crafts there is.  While that might be true, C cautiously reminded me how I already have my hands full with the three kids and their crazy schedules, running, writing for this blog... 

Still, I think it's too late for caution.... I have already been bitten by the embroidery bug!  This book by Aimee Ray (Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners ) is all to blame! 

To get started, a beginner only needs the following:
  1. A good needle is the most important of the hand embroidery supplies you will need.
  2. Fabric to embroider on.
  3. Make sure you have all the right colors of embroidery floss, and enough of them to complete your project.
  4. A good pair of really sharp scissors.
  5. If you are not really imaginative or the artistic type, you can have a hard time embroidering something without a pattern. It is strongly suggested to buy an embroidery book to aid you with the design and color combination.  Or you can also get some free embroidery designs that you can download and print here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Iron On T-Shirt

In my family, we always like to save the best for last.  So it is just apt that we do this Iron-On Project during the last few days of summer. 

This project is relatively easy to make, and is a great way for the kids to let their personality shine through as they choose their own image to transfer.

R has a lot of dinosaurs roaring in his mind these days, so naturally...

B's design seems to say:  "Well-behaved women don't make history."  A cat with angel's wings... and a leather studded cuff and body piercings.

J dreams of being in a fantasyland with a pegasus and other winged creatures.

While I chose to have a spider crawling down the back of my shirt.   Life imitates art.  Or is it the other way around?  Because after all, who else has my family's back but me?

I am writing down the step-by-step guide to help everyone who might be interested to do this. 

1.  Buy the transfer paper and cotton tee.   Make sure to pre-wash shirt. This will eliminate some possibility of shrinkage that may stress the transferred image.

2.  Decide on the image you want to transfer.  You can scan an image into your computer, find one on the internet, or create one in an image editing software program like Adobe Photoshop.  I use Google to search for silhouette clipart images and manipulated it in Photoshop. Adding borders and changing the colors.  Look at how creative manipulation can transform a boring image to vibrant art.

3.  Printing your image.  If there are letters or numbers in the image, make sure that you have selected 'Mirror', 'Flip', 'Reverse' or a similar setting in your application. It will appear to be backwards on your print, but it will come out correctly on the fabric you transfer it to. If there is no text in your image, you may not have to reverse your image.
If you want to be sure, you can print a test page on plain paper, and when you're satisfied it's how you want it, print it onto a piece of transfer paper. Make sure to load the transfer paper so that the image will print on the correct (unlined) side.

Remove your printed iron on transfer sheet from your printer and allow the ink to dry. Do not handle the iron on transfer paper while the ink is drying.  Cut the image to size.

4.  Lay out the fabric.   Place the t-shirt (or other cloth to which the image will be transferred) on a hard, flat surface. I used my granite counter top for this project. I placed a thick towel folded three ways and placed a pillowcase on top to smooth out any wrinkles. The work surface should be heat resistant and should be large enough to accommodate the entire area of the transfer with a little room to spare. Do not use an ironing board, bare wood, glass, or metal surface for ironing.

Preheat the iron on its highest temperature setting for at least 8 minutes. The iron must be very hot! Do not use steam.  Preheat the garment for a few seconds to remove any excess moisture from the fabric and allow the fabric to cool. This will aid in the adhesion of the image to the fabric.

5.  Place the transfer image-side down on the fabric.   Put the transfer on the cloth precisely where you want the image to be. Be sure you have the image facing the fabric.  Place a thin cardboard inside the shirt directly under the transfer paper. This will avoid having the image be printed on both sides of the shirt and also aid in making the ironing surface wrinkle-free.

6.  Ironing on the transfer.   Carefully read the instructions given with the transfer paper. Set the iron to the designated temperature, and wait for it to warm up. The image now needs to be 'set' on the fabric so that it does not move while being transferred. To do this, press the iron firmly over the transfer for 20-25 seconds in several areas, making sure to cover the entire transfer in this process. It is important that you press straight down for this step and lift up the iron completely when repositioning to do another area. Then, using a circular motion and light pressure, focusing on the outside of the image, and gradually move toward the center. Be sure to apply adequate pressure for an adequate amount of time for another 20-25 seconds (see the transfer paper instructions), but keep the iron moving to prevent scorching.

Always keep in mind to increase pressure when transferring image. If insufficient pressure is used, the transfer will not bond properly with the shirt. The resulting slack may crack in the wash.

7.  Peeling away the backing.  For a matte finish, remove the backing from the transfer paper immediately as soon as you are able to touch the transfer paper. Gently peel the backing off of the fabric in a smooth even motion.  For a glossy finish, wait for the paper to cool for at least two minutes and then remove the backing paper as specified above.

8.  Care for your project properly.  Always turn your garment inside out. This will minimize the amount of abrasion that the transfer will encounter with other garments in the wash. Wash the garment in cold water using a mild detergent.

9.  Care for left-over transfer paper.  Store any left over transfer paper in a cool, dry place. After opening the shrink wrapped packages, put the paper into the resalable plastic bag, and if available, include one silica gel (desiccant) package. This will keep the paper from picking up excess moisture on high humidity days.

All images are taken by J, except for those with her in it. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tiny Hands Kitchen: Pizza

The kids love helping me when I cook, and in the same manner I absolutely love the time we spend together in the kitchen.   And this day is no different. 

We decided to have pizza for lunch today.   Making your own pizza sauce is easy - that even my kids can make it on their own.  Let them show you how.

Assembling the pizza is where most of the fun lies.  The kids get creative!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tiny Hands Kitchen: Crepe

After watching the movie Ratatoioulle, and consequently getting a cookbook inspired by the movie, B has constantly been wanting to make crepes.  And so one lazy morning everyone converged in the kitchen once again...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Nature Valley Run 2010

The Nature Valley Run was one of the most organized and one of the most crowded of all the races I have joined, and undoubtedly, the hottest race that I have ran.  I have decided to run the 5k as I felt that my body could not take running a 10k distance under the humid summer heat.  As I was running, my thoughts turned to the half-marathoners.  How I pitied them!  How could anyone endure more than one hour of running under the scorching, burning, insufferable sun!
It's a good thing I moved down too; the heat was so, so unbearable that I had to stop at ALL the water station to hydrate myself; and all of those water stops showed in my finish time.  Still, it's something to smile about as the achievement statistics show I was ahead of 80% of the women runners.  Pwede na din! 
Here is my race analysis from the Nature Valley Run. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Water Is His Sky

Indulge me in another congratulatory post on the occasion of R's recently concluded swim meet.

The whole summer, he looked forward to going to the club and enjoyed the company of his friends in the pool.  Their company - of five little men and a muse - is the perfect embodiment of summer's exuberance.  The daily one-hour of training passing so fast for the reason that lively laughter and cheerful chit-chat ruled - to the consternation of the coach.
After spending almost all of the summer afternoons soaking and swimming in the pool, it is only a fitting event to end the summer with an entire day doing nothing but.

The night before the meet, as I tucked him to bed, he held my hand and asked, "what if I finish last, are you still going to be proud of me?"  I assured him, "Even if you finish last, mommy will still be proud of you - just as long as you swim your best."  I went on, " the older kids might be faster than you, but if you give swim your best, you are a winner in mommy's eyes!"  He is playful most of the time, so it is a different side of him that I saw that night - filled with self-doubt.

When we got to the club, the pool was already teeming with swimmers doing warm-ups, and the sight of the pool just overflowing with swimmers throwed him off for a minute.  He initially hesitated to go in for his warm-up, but relented after a few encouragement.

He was listed in the 6 and under category and swam one lap for three events in the 25-meter pool.  He made me proud as he determinedly swam at a consistent speed, without stopping midway to catch his breath.  Thank goodness for that! 

Doing the freestyle swim.

After the initial uncertainty, he quickly warmed up and allowed himself to relax and have some fun.

Talking up quite a storm while waiting for the gun-start during the 25-meter backstroke.

Even the breaks in-between the swim-heat was an occasion for FUN!

While he did not get any medals for his efforts, he absolutely won MY heart!