Wednesday, May 7, 2014

how to make a balloon shade

The twins still take regular naps. Yes, my sweet and crazy little 3.5 year olds still nap about 5 days a week. It's glorious. But in order to nap, they need a dark room. They have blinds on their bedroom window but play with them and have bent two of the slats pretty badly. They don't look awful, but they don't look particularly good either. I wanted a window covering over their window to cover the blinds, add some color, but also be super safe for them (meaning they couldn't be curtains where they could hang and swing on them). 

I looked online and couldn't find a tutorial for what I wanted. I pinned this picture two years ago because i was in love with these curtains and that gorgeous shade.

I wanted something similar, but something super easy that wasn't going to take me 6 hours to make and that was sturdy enough to not get damaged from my children. This is their room after all, it needed to be kid-friendly. There window isn't too big, maybe 5 feet tall, and I got away with only using two yards of my watercolor ikat fabric. I had the elastic and pom pom trim already on hand and went to work. If you can sew a straight line, you can make this shade.

(here's Olivia dancing for me waaaaaaay too early in the morning while I sleepily cheer her on.)


decor weight fabric
matching thread
1/2" - 3/4" elastic
pom pom trim (optional)
sewing machine

 photo curtain-done.jpg

1. Lay out your fabric. Cut off 6" to make three 2" wide strips for the decorative ties. Set aside.

2. Press 1/4" seam along the width of the fabric at the bottom. Fold 1/2" and pin. Sew along the bottom.

3. Fold fabric in half lengthwise with right sides facing. Press or pin the fold. Sew all the way down the fold, but stay about 1" from the fold.

4. Press 1/4" seam all the way down the length of the fabric on both sides. Fold over 1" and pin. Sew along both sides. Sew pom pom trim to the bottom of the shade being careful to not sew the casings for the elastic closed.

5. Sew the 2" strips together by folding each raw edge in 1/4" and then sewing them into strips. Now here is where it can get a little tricky. Cut your elastic at least 6" longer than the length you want your shade. Sew the middle of one of the strips to the end of the elastic. Put a safety pin or bodkin on the other end of the elastic and thread the elastic through one of the three casings. Once you thread it all the way to the top, pin it to the fabric. Do the same thing with the other two strips of fabric and elastic. Take your shade and place it over the window. Pull on the pinned elastic to get your desired length. Sew elastic into place and create another casing at the top for your curtain rod. I had a skinny rod so I made mine about 2" wide. Trim loose threads, make sure all pins are removed and bask in the beauty of your new balloon shade.

Monday, May 5, 2014

recipe: raspberry vanilla jam aka crack in a jar

One of my favorite things to give people is a handmade gift. Last year I made dozens of jars of jam when raspberries were in season and at a super good price. I gifted them to friends and fellow handmade shop owners for Christmas and have had SO many people ask me for the recipe I finally got around to typing it all out. I will give you fair warning though, this jam is ridiculously good and has been nicknamed "crack in a jar" for good reason. You'll see.

Raspberry Vanilla Bean Jam

5 c fresh raspberries
7 c sugar
1 vanilla bean (sometimes I add two if the bean isn't super fresh)
1 package of pectin

Wash raspberries and place them in a bowl. Smash them with a potato masher and add them to a pot. Take a vanilla bean and slice it down the middle, but not all the way through the other side of the bean. Scrape out the vanilla seeds and add to the raspberries. Cook on medium high until the fruit has cooked down and is no longer lumpy. In a small saucepan, cook pectin according to the package directions and once it boils, add the pectin to the raspberries. Stir, add the sugar and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, set a timer for one minute while still stirring the jam. After the minute is up, remove the vanilla bean and ladle the jam into sterilized jars. Add lids and rings immediately.

While the jars are cooling, you should hear little "pops", meaning the jars are sealed. If you press down on the middle of the lid and the lid doesn't give, you have a proper seal. If the lid gives and makes a clicking sound, you do not have a proper seal and must keep this jar in your freezer or fridge for consumption. If you have a proper seal, you may store your jam in a cool, dark place for several months until you're ready to enjoy it.

If you have a little bit of jam or raspberries left over, add the jam to a bowl or mixer and whip a squeeze or two of honey with some butter for a ridiculously good treat. My favorite bread to eat this jam with is my rustic bread. It's no-knead, makes two loaves and is ridiculously good. Plus a loaf of homemade bread and a jar of fresh jam make a lovely hostess or housewarming gift.

Rustic Bread

1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups lukewarm water
6 cups of flour

Wisk together all ingredients {except flour} in a very large bowl. Wait 5 minutes for yeast to activate. If the yeast is good it should bubble slightly and smell, well, yeasty. Add flour, one cup at a time and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Cover with clear wrap and place in a warm place and let it rise for one hour. The dough should almost double in size. Punch it down and separate it into two sections. Add a small amount of flour so the dough isn't sticky and shape into two long loaves. Place loaves on a parchment lined cookie sheet and preheat oven to 450ยบ. Let the bread rise until the oven is ready and bake for about 30 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.

If you make any, tell me how it goes! And, I'm sorry in advance for the pounds you may gain because of this. :)