Saturday, October 30, 2010

National Candy Corn Day...A Fat Free Food!??!

Today is National Candy Corn Day! What an awesome food to celebrate! This holiday is now on my list, right behind Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th).

With these fun holidays, I like to look up the origin and do a little research. Which gives me a thought, maybe my daughter doesn't ask "why" just because she is three, maybe its in her genes. Oh goodness, please pray for me. Ok, back to candy corn!

My go to site for information is Wikipedia. I love this site. Here is their summary on the origin of candy corn:

Candy corn is a confection in the United States and Canada, popular primarily in autumn around Halloween. Candy corn was created in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Company; the three colors of the candy mimic the appearance of kernels of corn.[1] Each piece is approximately 3 times the size of a whole kernel from a ripe or dried ear. Candy corn is made primarily from sugar, corn syrup, artificial coloring and binders.[2] A serving size of 22 pieces contains 140 calories and no fat.[1]Candy corn pieces are traditionally cast in three colors: a broad yellow end, a tapered orange center, and a pointed white tip. A popular variation called "Indian corn" features a chocolate brown wide end, orange center and pointed white tip. In recent years confectioners have introduced additional color variations suited to other holidays, including Christmas and Easter.[1]

My thoughts were, "Wow, over 130 years old!" and "I had no idea there was such a science behind the candy corn."

If candy corn is not your candy, don't despair. I was excited to find an entire list of other holidays celebrating candy at the National Confectioner's Association website. (If I ever have to apply for a job again, I just may have to look into this company...seriously, who new the confectioners had an association?) They also have a few fun facts about candy corn on their site and I have posted them below for your convenience!

  • October 30th is National Candy Corn Day
  • One serving of candy corn contains only about 140 calories
  • Candy Corn is not just for Halloween anymore. Candy makers have made Reindeer Corn for Christmas, Cupid Corn for Valentine’s Day and Bunny Corn for Easter
  • More than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. That equates to nearly 9 billion pieces—enough to circle the moon nearly 21 times if laid end-to-end.

It's time for me to go grab another handful of candy corn behind the kids' back, and restock the candy jar.

Happy National Candy Corn Day!

(And Happy Halloween!)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday Sales Highlights (A Day Late)

This week's Sunday Sales Highlights are a day late, apologies!

Please let us know if you have found some other notable sales items. Together, we can all save money by not buying unneccessary items without a sale. :)

Here are this week's highlights:

1. Toys R Us (TRU)- 40% off all Halloween. If you aren't ready, hurry out so you can get what you want! Do you have a Star Wars fan? If so, they have all of their Star Wars stuff on sale. They have several car related toys on sale for $10.00 off, including Mack the Truck that stores Cars cars ($19.99 instead of $29.99) and Cars cars ($3.00 instead of $4.00+). They have many other good sales on Legos, Imaginarium, Disney Princesses, Polly Pocket and more...don't forget to check out this ad! There is a coupon on the back page of the ad for $5.00 off Pampers or Babies R Us diapers...more good news, they usually let you use their coupon and a manufacturers coupon, which makes their brandname diapers like Pampers MUCH cheaper than your warehouse stores.

2. Joann's still has Halloween decorations marked 60% off. Their Midnight Madness sale is over and the next flyer should start on Halloween. If you sign up on their web site, they will send you flyers by mail and email.

3. Target has a sale on "Treat Size Candy" for $2.49. If you are going to be there anyway, this is probably as good of a deal as any, but check out my note on Publix below before you stock up at Target. Halloween costumes, makeup, and accessories are 15% off along with most of their other Halloween inventory. Their "Weekly WOW" is the Halloween Storage tote for $4.30, which is a great price for these. The Wii Fit is on sale for $77 and labeled as their "lowest price ever." A year ago, this set was over $120. Sex and the City 2 will be released on Tuesday and Target boasts that they are the only one with 50 minutes of bonus content, $22.99 for Delux DVD, $24.99 for Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy set. Random that caught my eye, a Thomas the Train Trackmaster Set labeled as "only at Target" that glows in the dark and is on sale for $35.00.
The other "Weekly WOW" specials:
TomTom XXL 530S GPS $119
Women's Suff Slippers $5.00
Toddler girls' sparkly shoes $9.00
Ruffle front tunic for women $16.00
Duvet cover by Fieldcrest (queen or king) $7
Digiorno $4.50

4. At Publix today, they had many assorted bags of candy and chocolate on BOGO. Their sales seem to change on Thursdays, so head over there!

Well, happy shopping and hope you have a great week

Sunday Sales Circular Highlights

Ok, so I am a day behind after the craft show yesterday, which was great by the way!

I will post on the Sunday Circular Highlights tomorrow!

Hope you have had a great week

Monday, October 18, 2010

Made for Mondays: Mommy, my baby is cold!

THE PATTERN: McCalls Crafts M4338, Pants G and Top F

THE MATERIALS: less than a half a yard of flannel that let me down when I washed it so I couldn’t use it for the shop; a couple inches of velcro; a few inches of elastic, thread

TIME ELAPSED: About 45 minutes, with a three year old “helper"

As part of my series "Sewing My Way Through the Fabric Store," I am accepting challenges from you all on sewing projects, as well as sharing some of my personal sewing adventures!

This week's post is a challenge from my little girl, who provides inspiration for many of the things I sew. This story is from a couple Saturday mornings ago.

That morning started with quite a to do list of preparation activities for the weeks ahead. The hubs had taken our little boy to the hardware store, so our daughter and I were milling around the house. I had a million things I needed to sew to get ready for the start of the HappyLittleMonkey Craft Show Tour 2010 and the little guy's birthday party, but I was trying to be present with her and her “boy baby.” We had recently made him a swaddling blanket and today she said he needed a burp cloth. Burp cloths, I can do! We dug through the remnants and a few minutes later, we had a suitable burp cloth. Ok, that was fun.

Then came the title plea, "Mommy, my baby is cold." already has a swaddling blanket. So, that won't work. What else??? I considered telling her to go get an outfit out of her stash of store bought baby clothes, but this was "boy baby," so clearly a dress wasn't going to work.

So, what to do? It was off to the pattern stash. Found an outfit that could double as pajamas. Perfect! Next, found some flannel I had purchased for the shop, but didn't use. Check, check.

Ok, now, deep breath, collect the rest of the supplies and mentally prepare to sew with a three year old assistant.

Inhale, exhale, and...

We laid out all of the pieces and cut them out. (Details: McCall’s Crafts pattern, M4338. We cut out Pants G and Top F, without the collar.)

For sewing the pants, we followed the directions pretty closely. The only difference I did was to serge the ends of the fabric before hemming them instead of doing a little roll. Since everyone doesn’t have a serger, most patterns instruct you to fold 1/4 inch or so and then the next 1/2 inch and hem. Its just more time consuming and with my three-year old Assistant, time is in short supply.

I really liked the pants directions. On people pants, most of the time the pattern directs you to sew the front and back seams, and then creating a pocket for the elastic at the top. Doll clothes are small and can be a little harder to work with. This pattern directed you to only sew the front seam then sew the elastic pocket, insert the elastic, and then sew the back seam. So easy! I even placed the elastic in the pocket, sewed, and then pulled the elastic to the desired length (about 5 inches of elastic, relaxed).

The shirt was really easy too, especially without the collar. I put velcro up the whole back so that she will eventually be able to get baby dressed by herself.

Here is the final outfit.

Best was the big hug followed by "Mommy, thank you so much." Ok, so totally worth it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Sales Circular Highlights

I used to LOVE to shop, and not just shopping, I loved the thrill of the bargain hunt and knowing where to find the best deals and anything I may possibly need at the last minute. It's not that I don't anymore, its just that time isn't as available as it used to be and its hard to relax while shopping with little monkeys in tow. It seems that my shopping mission has switched from "hunting" (ie. walk around and hunt for the best deal) to just get out and "kill."

Sundays have become my day to hunt. I get the newspaper a survey all of the circulars, from my couch, with a cup of coffee. Its not the same, but this way I can streamline my list of shopping goals for the week and it is much less frustrating. Also, I still get to find the best bargains. I love the thrill of saving money! Afterall, its ours.

My main haunts are Target, Toys R Us, Joanns, and Michaels. I'm a Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy regular too, but they email out sales info and don't have circulars. (I highly recommend signing up for their emails. I almost NEVER pay full price at any of these stores) check out other circulars, but am not as familiar with their sales, so I won't write much about them.

So, I thought I would start to share my "Sunday Sales Circular Highlights" in case you are in the market for the same things as me.

Here are this week's highlights:

1. Toys R Us (TRU)- This time of year, they really seem to encourage me to get my Christmas shopping done early, and I take advantage. This week, it is a buy 2, get the 3rd free on a lot of Fisher Price items (Imaginext, Little People, Geotrax, Laugh& Learn, TRIO, and more). We LOVE Fisher Price toys for their sturdiness, funtionality, and overall cuteness. Lego Construction Sets are also Buy 1, get one 50% off. Also, be sure to sign up for TRU emails as they typically send out one day sales notifications.

2. Joann's has Halloween decorations marked 60% off. They always mark their holiday decor down quickly and typically well before the holiday actually arrives. Also, today starts their Moonlight Madness sale and there are lots of sales that are even better than their typical sales. They almost never put their coupons on their website, but sign up for their emails and they send some out. There are two 50% off a single item coupons on the circular in today's paper and they usually have some flyers in the store the first day of a sale (they go quick though).

3. Michaels has 50% off Halloween decor, and they have a pretty big Halloween section. For you paper crafters, there is also a coupon in the circular for 20% off you entire Martha Stewart Crafts purchase. Their coupons are in their online flyer.

4. Target is also starting to have some really great sales on toys to encourage you to stock up for the holidays and with their "Lowest Prices of the Season" promises, I generally feel confident that they aren't going to mark them down again before Christmas. Also, they have switched their credit card rewards to be 5% off every purchase instead of sending 10% coupons when you reach certain point levels. I have hated their return policies, but with their RedCard, returns are so easy because they can basically look up your purchase and do the return without a receipt. They can do this with other credit cards too, but I like having everything in one place. They also send coupons in the mail.

5. Not in the paper, but Old Navy is having some great sales for their Sweet 16. Through the 21st, when you use a Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic card, you get a free children's item with the purchase of every adult item. I don't know about you, but this was just the excuse I needed to stock up on some Mommy uniforms! Lately, I find that I rarely go shopping for myself, so this was a great sale to stumble upon.

Well, happy shopping and hope you have a great week

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Can you make me a purse?

The PATERN: New Look #6574

The MATERIALS: 2 yards of heavy cotton, 2 yards of mediumweight fusible interfacing, thread, lots of pins

A new friend recently asked me to sew a purse for her and with minor apprehension, I agreed. We met for coffee and she handed over the goods- two yards of fabric and the pattern.

The pattern is adorable and also pretty simple to make. The most labor intensive part has been dicephering what the pattern maker meant by “mediumweight fusible” interfacing, since Joann’s doesn’t carry a product that exactly matches that description, followed only by making sure that the pattern and print on the fabric lined up properly so that when I sewed it together the print matches up properly. This last part may not be something you worry about, but I can be a little "detail oriented" and I hate when the pattern doesn't line up properly. I don't sew with many plaids for this reason.

Whenever I can, I roughly cut my patterns out with a rotary cutter, pin them to fabric, and then do a better job cutting both the fabric and pattern. I use rulers for straight edges because it makes the final product come out better.

With this post, I didn't start taking pictures at the very beginning. As I worked on this purse, I had a realization. I need these new challenges. I love making my blankets, but occassionally I need a new challenge and to test myself. So, I started taking pictures and decided to make a habit of trying more new things!

With all of the pattern pieces cut out, I headed to my "sewing room." First, I line

d up the fabric and the interfacing and ironed it. Then, began sewing.

The directions on this pattern were pretty good. I didn't have any major problems with them while sewing the top and side seams. Then came putting the bottom of the purse on. I was not looking forward to this part. "Dread" is actually the word that comes to mind. I read ahead through the directions to get an idea of what it wanted me to do. Then, I did a mental "argh." It calls for bias tape. I HATE bias tape.

Insert creativity.

I decided to do a French Seam instead of using bias tape. It is prettier and theoretically can be easier. So, from here out, I don't follow the pattern directions.

Resume affixing the bottom. The pattern has these little triangles on it which provide places to match up pieces later. These make putting things together very easy, but with the things I sew a lot of, I have stopped cutting out the triangles because it takes too long with the rotary cutter. I shouldn't have skipped this step with this pattern. I had to get the pieces back out and mark where they should have been. (In the picture you can see where I cut the triangles on the top pieces, but not on the bottom.) WIth pieces matched, I started pinning. I pinned it to death putting pins every inch or so. This helped.

To make a French seam, you start with wrong sides together (instead of right sides). With the pins in place, I made a 1/4 inch seam around the bottom. It wasn't the prettiest, since there is a lot of fabric at the corners, but this is going to be hidden in a minute, so its ok.

After sewing the first seam around the bottom, I trimmed off the excess and then turned the purse inside out. Then made another seam around the bottom which encloses the rough edges and hides them. The inside of the purse is black, so I couldn't get a good picture of the French Seam. (Here is a simple tutorial from Sew Mama Sew on seams)

Then all I had to do was turn it back to right-side out, and it was done! Finished product picture is above.

If I make more of these, I think I will redesign it a little to make the bottom a little easier. It wasn't that hard though to make it as the pattern designed. When I make another, I will take more pictures and document better to convey the steps to you.

Also, a little more about this fabric. We used thick cotton, from the Home Decor section. Danielle (the challenger) actually introduced me to this fabric about a year ago with her great clothing line called Pollyanna's. It is 100% cotton, and although most of it is labeled "Dry Clean Only" she started washing it. And with each wash it gets more character and charm. It also gets softer. Thank you, Danielle, for bringing this fabric to my life.


This concludes my first post of the "Sewing My Way Through the Fabric Store" extension of my blogging. I will continue to take on new sewing challenges. The number of patterns available is endless. At least once a month, depending on the availability of people who want me to try to make something for them, I will make a new pattern. Then, I will post about the experience and the product, offering tips on that pattern and potential hazards.

So, bring on the next challenger. Email me ( if you are interested in offering a sewing challenge. The challenger will choose a pattern, the fabric and needed materials, and I will sew it up for free.

Next challenger, my daughter with, "Mommy, my baby is cold."

Comment from the Challenger:
From the "challenger,"....I LOVE my purse and gets scads of compliments daily. It is the perfect size for all of my stuff and wears so well. Everyone should have one of these! Thank you are AWESOME. There are plenty of amazingly beautiful home decor fabrics to pick from to "fit" your style too!

I interrupt this blog!

Several people have asked me for custom items and special orders since I shared that I can sew, and it is flattering. Then there is my little girl, who inspires new sewing adventures all the time. She usually starts with a problem and then says, "Mommy, puhleeeaze!" How can I say no? After all, she probably won't think that I hang the moon forever. These occassions have helped me to take a break from the normal, appreciate sewing, try new things, and challenge myself.

A few new products have even ended up in the shop this way, like the Classic bib (thanks, Heather) and the custom pillowcase (thanks, Michelle).

So, I am going to start sharing some of my sewing adventures in a series I am calling “Sewing my way through the fabric store.” It will mostly feature different patterns and my attempt to follow them. Generally, I view patterns like view recipes, they are guides for inspiration. I don’t know that I have ever followed every step to the letter, but between the guidelines is where creativity lives!

I hope to have at least a monthly challenge, where a friend picks out the pattern and fabric and asks me to create it. Inbetween, I will share patterns that I choose. Each pattern will include information on the pattern and materials required, my comments on the pattern directions (which sometimes can be greatly lacking in detail or overcomplicated), and pictures.

Like collecting fabric, I also like to collect patterns! So I have built up quite a stash. Whenever there is a sale on them, you can bet that I have at least stopped by and scoped out the available choices and added a few to my pattern library.

My first post is "Can you make me a purse?" It's coming up next

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Christmas in October?

I can't believe it is already October, nor can I believe that I am already getting ready for Christmas! Besides starting to plot our own holiday adventures, this year, I purchased 40+ yards of fabric from designer Michael Miller and created my own Choose Your Own Fabric Christmas Collection. I have made the samples, ordered shirts, and appliqued! I had appliqued a little before, but with some guidance from the geniuses at my local sewing machine store and practice, they are coming out great. This adventure has taken me into some new territory and I am excited about the journey.

The majority of my online store has been of one- (or two-)of-a-kind blanket sets. I have gone to the fabric store, picked out the material one bolt at a time, touching and thoughtfully choosing each pattern, then purchasing only a few yards of each. The next steps of the process are generally that I bring the fabric home, cut it, construct it, fold it up, take pictures of it, and post it to the store. People can then browse the store, choose, and I ship within 24 hours. I believe in fast and great customer service.

This Christmas collection is so much different. For example, I purchased over forty yards of designer fabric at one time. For a fabric collector, this is fun! It is super soft, with great colors, and its high quality. I really want to create. Customers get to pair these fabrics together and create outfits especially for their little one. I am so looking forward to putting these together.
With this collection, for the first time I am also offering clothes, well, besides the custom little boy butt covers that are currently in the shop.

I LOVE ruffle-bottomed pants and have been making them for my daughter and a friend's daughter for over a year now. They have now been tested on the kids and persevered. I am ready to offer them to you. From this collection, I think the best pairing is a flannel leg and cotton ruffle, however, any pairing will work. These pants will be great for Christmas morning, travelling, nighttime parades, and so much more. They are so soft and cozy, that you may have a hard time getting them off of your little girl.

I didn't leave out the boys. I am happy to make your little guy pants out of the trees or dotted fabrics, or I also have created a cargo-type flannel lounge pant for him. Choose red or green flannel, or add in some of the Michael Miller fabrics. He will look adorable!

The collection also includes blankets, of course! Choose a Swaddler Blanket (40" x 40", single layer) or Everything Blanket (36" x 36", double-layered). Choose one of the flannel fabrics for the Swaddler. For the Everything Blanket, choose two flannels, or one flannel and one cotton. Accessories like burp clothes and bibs are also available.

This collection also includes appliqued shirts and onesies. Choose from long or short sleeved shirts or onesies. Although some of the pictures feature the appliques on Hanes shirts, I am now using a higher quality shirt.
I think this collection is different than others because you get to choose what fabrics you put together! You get to choose especially for your little one. So, design away!

I will have the samples available on the Craft Show Tour 2010, see the schedule on the right side of the blog.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask at

More pictures are available on Facebook and if you haven't "liked" the shop there, please do to be the first to receive information on promotions and new releases.

Happy Fall!