I love to sew, when I have time. I love to shop for cool and modern fabric, when I have a project in mind. But I really love to see the finished product ASAP.
I have just figured out that I am too impatient to be a really good quilter.
My quilts are good enough, but from a distance. To quote Cher from the movie “Clueless” “She’s a full-on Monet. It’s like a painting, see? From far away, it’s okay. But up close, it’s a big old mess.”
Within the past couple of years, I have really gotten into making modern and bright quilts. I don’t know why I didn’t start sooner, but then the impatient Stephany shows up and then I remember…it’s because I didn’t want to put in that much time and effort in unless the quilt was on track to be perfect. HA. What a dummy. Now that I have a few quilts under my belt, I feel confident enough to tell you that I make imperfect quilts, and I don’t care. Let’s just say I try really hard to do a good job, but, in the end, as long as I enjoyed spending that rare free time making something that I know will get plenty of use, I will do a “good enough” job to make the cuts as straight as possible and as square as I can.
If you are someone who is interested in attempting a quilt, I think you should do it! Don’t hold off because you’re not good enough. Do it because you want to learn, improve and come away with a quilt you made.
I wrote this.
It was easy. What wasn’t easy was being brave enough to send it to Scary Mommy.
It was easy to imagine their editor reading and hitting the delete button. What wasn’t easy was imagining them publishing it.
They did publish it and I’m still here. It seemed to have garnered a decent amount of interaction, which for me is awesome and terrifying. It’s a good feeling to see something you make shared with a gazillion people. It’s a gross feeling when you look at some of the comments going off the rails about what the focus of the article was….having 3 (or more kids) is a circus, I happen to have boys, so I write about life with boys. You may think there are stereotypes of “boy stuff” versus “girl stuff”, but unless you know me or my boys, you don’t really know, do you?
If you laughed and thought to yourself, “Damn, I would never want to be in her shoes,” or “I know exactly how she feels, I have 4 girls!”, then I am pleased.
If you felt offended by the thought of my being disappointed when I found out I was having a boy, when I really wanted a girl, whatevs. This is my story. I get to say and feel what I want in my story.
Write your own story, if you think yours is better.
My story isn’t for everyone. My opinions aren’t for everyone.
But what is great about the internet is you can just keep on scrolling. If you come across a story that you don’t agree with, no worries, keep searching for what works for you. There is no need to be a dick in the comments.
Not everything in the world is going to speak to you, and if my story does, than I’m glad I was brave.
“I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.” — Alexander McQueen
I am no fashionista. My style is more “oddball” than couture. I love diving into a clearance rack to see what the normal people have rejected. Thrift stores are also goldmines for finding unique clothing. I am inspired by pictures, colors and feelings.
I do have a few classic pieces, but what I am always drawn to is prints and bold color. Leopard, polka dots, stripes are my go-to clothing staples. After reading this blog post, you could say that I am a little obsessed with making monochromatic outfits with pattern. (And as far as I am concerned, leopard is a neutral color. It goes with EVERYTHING.)
I was going through my closet recently to get rid of the clothes I no longer wear and noticed I had a lot of buffalo plaid…”I wonder if I could make an entire outfit of buffalo plaid?” Turns out, the answer was yes.
That made me want to put together a leopard outfit.
Polka dot? Yup.
Hell, even the Bow Dress was part of the obsession.
Style is subjective. There really are no rules. Wear what you like. Who cares what the trends are.
I have a lot of bold colors and pieces that may seem unwearable to a regular person, but to someone who gives zero fucks on what other people think of them, I can really get funky and express my personality through my clothing. And let’s be real, as a mom who leaves the house with spit up down her sleeve 87% of the time, it is refreshing to dress like the oddball I am and feel fancy with my all leopard ensembles.
I have more monochromatic ideas that I haven’t gotten to style yet, but when I do, be sure I will Instagram them to their fullest potential. Follow me at “makingitwithstephany” to see.
Is Pikachu haunting your dreams? Do you have a Pokemon lover in your life? Need a great costume in a pinch? Check out this Ash Ketchum costume that I made in a day. And if you know who Ash Ketchum is, this is definitely for you.
What you will need is:
a blue zip up hoodie
a tennis ball
green stretchy gloves
red trucker hat (I found this one at Spencers)
small stuffed Pikachu
yellow, red, white, and black fabric paint
4-5 very large safety pins
Paint the cuffs, pocket trim, and bottom trim of the hoodie yellow. You will need to put on 2-4 coats of yellow, depending on how dark blue your hoodie is. Let the coats dry before you apply a new coat. Using a hairdryer can help speed the drying process.
Paint the triangle “C” logo on the hat with green paint. I googled the logo and free hand painted it on the hat.
Cut the fingers off of the gloves.
The tennis ball is the most time consuming part. I used a thin washi tape and placed it in the middle of the tennis ball. I painted half red and half white and once both colors were dry, I pulled off the tape and filled it in with the black paint while adding a small white circle that I outlined in black.
Note: I used fabric paint on the tennis ball to ensure that it wouldn’t chip off easily as an 8 year old boy would be throwing Pokeballs all over the world this Halloween. It has been holding up pretty well so far.
Once everything is dry, pair with a pair of jeans and some rad tennis shoes and you have the baddest Ash in town.
My oldest boy is 8, and when he was a tiny baby, the blankets they had for swaddling were about the size of a tissue. And when I say “tiny baby” I mean the size of a toddler. Imaging wrapping a toddler in a piece of 20×20 inch piece of fabric. He kicked out of that burrito wrap in about 4 seconds and was squirreling around, refusing to nap. Frustration.
Enter 2016. Some genius had a great idea to make those swaddle blankets HUGE. And soft. And adorable. And charge $40+ per blanket. Genius!
But what if I told you, you could make your own super cute/trendy/huge/adorable/soft swaddle blanket for the $10-$18 per blanket? You do NOT need to be a genius at the sewing machine to make these. Plus, yours will be made with love. (all of the heart emojis!!!!)
How is that for genius?!?
If you own a sewing machine, or have a super duper nice friend who has one and knows how to make 4 simple seams, you are in business.
Most of those high-end blankets are about 40×40 inches and have a simple seam on all 4 edges. That is exactly what I did. I bought 1 yard of double gauze at my local (the always awesome Crafty Planet) fabric store and measured out a perfect square of 40.5 inches from edge to edge. Ironing the fabric at this point is a good idea in case there are any weird folds/creases in the fabric. This will help ensure that your square is square.
Then I folded over 1/4 of an inch edge and folded over 1/4 of an inch AGAIN so no raw edges of the fabric were showing and pinned the fold about every 4 inches, making sure that the edges stayed straight. Then, I set my sewing machine to the largest zigzag stitch and sewed down all 4 edges nice and slow so everything looked as professional as possible.
Then, I tied off the loose threads and washed it. Literally, the easiest sewing project ever.
I made a blanket and it was so satisfying to have a cute blanket made in an awesome print of my choosing. That is what makes the interwebs and online shopping so wonderful, I found so many unique and bright fabrics on so many sites, I literally wanted to buy them all. There is quite the selection for unisex fabrics, without making anything too girlie or too blue/truck/boyish, if that is the route you want to take. Very modern and stylish. Or there are very girlie or very boyish style fabrics too.
Cotton muslin or double gauze are 2 good fabrics to start with, both washable and soft. Here are some links to start your hunt for cool and funky fabric:
Or, if you’re in Minnesota, head to Crafty Planet and grab some local wares, that is where I found mine.
Now if I could only figure out how to make my own video baby monitor with corresponding smart phone app, THAT would make me a genius. 😉
I have also been busy sewing little fabric scrap stuffed animals which my kids LOVE and take a few hours to make.
Then, I have been working on this 45×45 quilt, which is easy to start and a royal pain in the ass to finish. No matter how many YouTube videos I watch about how to attach the quilt binding, I still hate it with the passion of a thousand fires. My favorite part is the unicorn from the Lizzy House line, obviously. But the color scheme was fun to work with and I had never worked with triangle fabric pieces before, so for my 2nd ever quilt, it turned out “mediocre at best”, in my opinion.
This morning I was on the Dave Ryan in the Morning Show as their Almost Co-Host of the Day. Dave, Falen, & Steve were super duper nice and to make sure that we would be BFF’s, I brought along some Grapefruitcello, because you can never go wrong with morning vodka. Amirite?!?
We talked about some weird jobs I’ve had, my run-in with the Backstreet Boys back in the day, and how you never read the internet comments about yourself because people can be jackasses sometimes.
I included the audio clip above, if you missed it or want to relive all of the humor, crazy stories, or the insults that make morning radio sparkle.
Today is the last day of 2015. This year, I am laying low with the boys and dogs and staying home.
But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get a little funky with tasty food and fabulous attire.
For the last-minute people out there (ME), I have two NYE ideas to share. One is a delicious Seafood Salad recipe and the other is a simple, but oh, so sparkly, star headband.
My Seafood Salad recipe is fairly new, but really delicious. I made it for Christmas Eve on a whim and it couldn’t have turned out more perfect. It’s a yummy mix of crab, shrimp, and spices. I only have one photo of it to share (It was Christmas Eve and I had family on their way over and I was cooking in pajamas, gimme a break!) but I want to stress how flippin’ fabulous this is on club crackers. I honestly almost ate the whole bowl.
Super Seafood Salad
1 package small cooked salad shrimp, usually in frozen section, thawed
8oz (or more) of imitation crab, flake style, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp of lemon juice
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp of fresh dill, finely chopped
mayo, about 1/2 cup, add a little more if too dry
Mix everything in a medium glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit in the fridge for about an hour for flavors to mix. Serve chilled with crackers.
Cardboard Star Headband
Thin piece of cardboard, I got mine from the packaging of new pajamas
star shape, I used a cookie cutter and traced it
ModPodge & paintbrush
different golds/oranges colors of glitter
First, I traced 7 large stars on the thin cardboard and cut them out. I made 4 smaller stars to add to the layout.
Then, I arranged them how I wanted the headband to look and glued them in place. After they were dry, I glued the 4 smaller stars on to the crown.
After everything was dry, I punched out 2 holes at either end of the headband.
Then it was time to glitter. This will be messy, so lay down some paper to catch the loose glitter and glue. I painted a coat of glue on to the entire front of the headband. While the glue was still wet, I got to business with the glitter application. I used gold and copper on the large stars and orange on the smaller stars. I had to do the glue/glitter process a few time to make sure all of the cardboard was covered.
After I was done sprinkling glitter and the glue was dry, I painted another coat of glue OVER the glitter to lock it down. Since I am going to wear it on my head, I don’t want all of that sparkly stuff to end up in my hair, eyes and mouth. This step seals the glitter in. Let dry completely.
Tie 2 long pieces of bakers twine to the holes punched in at the ends of the headband and tie in a bow at the back of your head.
Sparkly star headband is complete! Now get out there, eat some Seafood Salad, be sparkly, and be safe out there tonight, friends!!
I know I say this every Halloween post, but I LOVE HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!!!!
I was back in “lifestyle expert” mode yesterday and shared some really fun and creepy Halloween ideas on Twin Cities Live, just in time for you to add some of my suggestions to your big Halloween rager this weekend. Or, use these recipes as your pre-Trick or Treating meal, to fuel your begging-for-candy-from-the-neighbors adventure.
On the menu was the aforementioned Rats on a Stick, 3D Skull Cakes with buttercream glaze, Alien Punch with gummy eyeballs, and for the drinking crowd, my Spook 75, a twist on the French 75 with gin and creme de violette. YUM. Try one or make them all. (Fun fact: my youngest would not even try the Rats on a Stick. He thought they were made of rats since they really looked like rats. Mom win!)
I put a lot of time into developing the recipes and making sure they were delicious, but also easy to whip up. No fancy skills needed, just a love for creepy Halloween food. If you watch the video, I also spent many hours crafting up spooky, evil decor. Mini pumpkins painted with black metallic paint. A foam Medusa head complete with 20 rubber snakes as hair. Copper painted bugs sprinkled everywhere. I found awesome black and white striped pillar candles and paired that with matching napkins, and polka dot plates. And don’t get me started on the 5 varieties of Halloween paper straws I snagged. Most of the finds were inexpensive, from the Dollar Store, or the bargain bin areas at Target and Michaels. I found the Wilton skull cake pan in-store at JoAnn, had a coupon so I got it for 50% off. Booya!
Here are the recipes I shared:
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
3 tbs minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs parsley
1 tbs basil
4 tbs grated parmesan reggiano cheese
3 slices of bread, torn into very small pieces
Combine all ingredients in large bowl well. The best way to combine is with clean, dry hands. Make sure everything is fully incorporated. Once the ingredients are mixed, divide the meat into 8 equal balls. Roll the balls into ovals and start to pinch out a head/neck. Try to keep the “body” in a more oval shape. Bring the “head” to a point for the nose. Lay out the 8 “rats” in a 13×9 inch pan, making sure they don’t touch each other. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes are up, you can add BBQ sauce, spaghetti sauce with a brush. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Add 12 inch skewer for the “tail”. Use peppercorns for eyes & nose. Use dried rosemary for whiskers. Use sliced almonds for ears. (Make sure that if you want to decorate the rats, do it before cooking. Once they are cooked, they are not soft enough to add the eyes, nose and ears.) Serve alone or with a side of spaghetti.
Wilton 3D skull pan
any boxed cake batter (follow box directions)
1 tbs butter, room temperature
1 tbs cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract
3 tbs milk
1 cup powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer, combine butter, cream cheese, vanilla and milk on low speed for 1 minute in a large bowl. Add powdered sugar to bowl, starting the mixer on low then, moving up to high once the sugar has combined. Glaze should be thin. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of milk. If it’s too thin, add a small amount of powdered sugar. Add glaze to a zipper sandwich baggie, cut off 1 corner and use baggie as frosting bag. Glaze skulls.
My boys are OBSESSED with Halloween, thanks to my diligent guidance and mild obsession as well. They have been planning Halloween costumes since June and begging me to bring out the spooky decorations as soon as school started.
And the drawings, oh, the drawings. They have taped adorably creepy pictures of zombies, evil pumpkins, and witches all over my walls. They write “HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!” at the top of every creation. They are excited, and I couldn’t be happier.
The little guy loves all things art, so I made sure we had a special Halloween project that was easy enough for a 4 year old that we could work on together. At the craft store, I picked up ghost foam shapes, pumpkin foam shapes, googly eyes, glitter glues, bloodshot eyeballs, ribbon, felt sheets, and pompoms. Once I had collected all of the supplies, that was went I decided on a simple Halloween bunting. He would do the decorating, I would do the bunting creation. There was little mess to this project and it kept him interested until all of the foam shapes were decorated, double win for me!!
I peeled of backings of eyeballs and got the glitter glue flowing and he expertly decorated pumpkins and ghosts, the way 4 year olds do…sweetly and with gusto. While he was making 3 eyed ghosts, I was decorating my own little collection of ghosties and pumpkins with sparkly polka dots and stripes.
Once all of the glue had dried, it was hole punchin’ time. I punched a hole on each side of each foam creation with a standard paper punch.
Then it was time to cut about 6 inch length of ribbon and get to tying each piece of foam together. I did it 2 different ways, one way was to just tie knots at the end of each ribbon on the backside of each foam craft.
The second way I attached the ribbon was I glued loops of ribbon together to make a ribbon “chain”.
I hung everything on the wall and surprised my darling boy with the finished project. He was so jazzed to see his hard work as a fun Halloween craft. Then he HAD to pose in front of his hard work as Darth Vader, because HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!