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Archive for October, 2011

Fabric Pumpkins

    I’ve never sewn before unless you count home economics class from 7th grade, which was a very very long time ago. I decided to give it a shot because I have so many projects that would be much easier to finish if I could just make many of the fabric items myself. So, I bought myself a simple sewing machine, watched some you tube videos, practiced sewing on paper, and then just dove right on! Thankfully, the sewing machine does most of the work.

    A good friend of mine over at Doghouse Gardening and Art¬†mentioned that she was going to make fabric pumpkins. When I saw photos of the finished product, I thought they were adorable and had to give them a shot. Thankfully my friend didn’t mind me copying her ūüôā So the idea was totally hers and I’m grateful she shared.

    I found this wonderful fabric pumpkin tutorial over at PinkSuedeShoe.com. The patterns belong to her, so go check out her site to grab them.

    I made 4 pumpkins in total. One 75%, one 85%, one 10o%, and one 125% in size. This particular pumpkin is the 125% size. I took the pattern and had my printer print it out at 125% of the normal size. This didn’t fit on a 8×11 sheet of paper, so I had to print half on one and half on the other and then put them together. Not easy, but you can eyeball it too. Here are the materials you will need to make this pumpkin:

    • 1/2 yard of fabric
    • brown fabric for the stem (I used suede)
    • thread to match your fabric and brown stem fabric
    • green felt for the leaves
    • embroidery floss for the ribbing (orange) and detail on the stem (green)
    • 4 cups rice
    • Poly Fill (sorry didn’t keep track of how much)

    You begin by cutting out the 7 sides of the pumpkin and the 2 circles from the pattern.

    Then you pin together 2 of the sides together with the good side of the fabric on the inside. You only really need to pin one side since you are only sewing one side.

    Then you sew the one side from top to bottom.

    You repeat the process until you have all the sides sewn together. It kinda looks like a deflated beach ball. Keep in mind that for the last one, you need to leave an opening to put your rice and stuffing in. You also will need to sew the circle together. Once sewn together, cut a slit and turn the circle right side out. This is the patch you put on the bottom of the pumpkin to hide your embroidery floss.

    Once your shell is all sewn, you can fill it. Begin by putting in the 4 cups of rice. This should sit on the bottom to give your pumpkin a nice round shape. Then fill the rest with the poly-fill.

    Next, you use the orange embroidery floss to make the ribbing. You measure the amount you need by wrapping it around the pumpkin eight times. Tie a knot in one end,  sew through the bottom, pull tight along a rib, sew in through the top, and pull tight down another rib. Repeat until you have all ribs done.

    Just a few steps left! Sew the circle onto the bottom of the pumpkin to hide the floss that is kinda criss-crossing itself. Since I actually went into the fabric, mine didn’t look that bad, but it looked better with the circle sewn on the bottom. The tutorial says to use a slip stitch, but I didn’t know how to do that. Sew it on that way if you can or any hand sewing stitch you know.

    You should also cut out the stem and sew it together, stuff, and then sew it onto the top of. Make sure you sew it down firmly. Then, embroider your leaves with your green floss in any way you desire. Once finished, you sew the leaves on. I only sewed mine to the base of the stem and left the rest not sewn down. I think that makes it look a bit more natural then sewing it down tight. Feel free to use some creativity here.

    Once you are done, it should look something like this!

    Please see the tutorial I followed for all the sewing details. She does a much better job explaining it then I do. However, here are a few things that I learned during my first sewing project.

    1. Make sure your thread tension is right or you will get sloppy stitches. You can see that on some of my pumpkins because of the puckering. It does give them character though!
    2. When you leave one side open, make sure its high enough that your rice doesn’t start spilling out. I kinda made the mistake of making it too low and it was tricky to sew it together without getting rice all over the place.
    3. When sewing each side together, make sure you have the fabric going in the same direction or it will look funky when you turn it right side out.
    4. Maybe make more leaves for the bigger pumpkin. I feel like mine could have used some more.

    I hope you have enjoyed this project and will give it a try yourself. Good luck!

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    Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

    Who doesn’t love pumpkin spice lattes? So when I saw this recipe for that in cupcake form, I knew I needed to give them a shot. They did not disappoint and were surprisingly close to the flavors I’m used to in the latte form. So give them a try and enjoy!

    Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes (credit to Annie’s Eats)

    Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes

    Ingredients:
    For the cupcakes:
    2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
    3 tbsp. espresso powder
    2 tsp. baking soda
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
    1/8 tsp. ground cloves
    1 tsp. salt
    1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 cup canola or vegetable oil
    4 large eggs
    ¬Ĺ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

    For the whipped cream:
    2¬ľ cups heavy cream, chilled
    ¬ľ cup confectioners‚Äô sugar

    For garnish:
    Ground cinnamon
    Caramel sauce

    Directions:
    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350¬įF. ¬†Line cupcake pans with paper liners. ¬†In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. ¬†Stir together and set aside. ¬†In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. ¬†With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

    Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cool completely.

    To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

    Source: cake adapted from Williams Sonoma

    Some of my notes:

    • I cut this recipe in half because I didn’t want that many cupcakes. It seemed to work out just fine.
    • I had a hard time with the carmel sauce. The first time I made it, I started to stir too soon and I got chunks of sugar that just wouldn’t melt. I threw it out. The second time, once I added the cream the sugar solidified again and I was about to give up. Instead I put it back on the heat and got it to melt into a smooth sauce. I’m not sure what the trick is here, but don’t give up and try again if the first batch goes wrong.

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