wedding gift diy {mr. & mrs. aprons}

Well, now it’s been two weeks since the last post. Sorry if you popped back in here occasionally only to see nothing new.

For this project I used this pattern from the purlbee. It’s a very simple, easy to follow tutorial for a very versatile apron. She called it a unisex apron, but I wanted the mrs. apron to fit a lady, instead of wrapping around her twice.

For her apron, I cut two or three inches from the two sides and from the top. That forced me to adjust the pocket placement a little bit. After those adjustments I finished them the same way. 

Cutting out the letters was the worst part. I printed out mr. and mrs. as a template and pinned the paper to the fabric. After cutting them out I used an iron-on fabric fusion tape to hold the letters in place while I sewed them on. And I used lots of fray check! The fabric I used for the letters was linen and frayed easily–probably not the best choice for letters. I hope the fray check will make the letters last, making the aprons more durable, as well.

I made one last addition to her apron for a feminine touch–a touch of lace to the hem. You can see this in the last picture.

This gift was a joint effort–I made the aprons and a friend of mine bought kitchen and grill utensils to go in the pocket. We didn’t need gift wrap for these; we just popped the utensils in the pockets, folded them up and made a bow out of the ties. So simple and fun!

Thanks to Keturah for taking the pictures, and to my brother David for enduring them. 🙂

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Aged paper tutorial & handwritten invitations

The vintagey Alice in Wonderland party is slowly materializing after hours of brainstorming. This summer I’m working at a factory sewing cushions for lawn furniture. The job requires little creativity. The monotony of my job gives me a lot of time to think, and I often wish for a job requiring more creative output. In the first weeks there, I resolved to plan and execute an Alice in Wonderland tea party.

I know this party theme can easily be found online, but I really think I dreamed it up myself. 🙂 I read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass two years ago and was intrigued by Lewis Carroll’s imagination and quaint turn of phrase as he leads his readers through a little girl’s dream. After reading the book, I wanted to host a tea party with that theme. Cakes that say ‘eat me’, something with treacle, tarts no one stole, and maybe a croquet game at the end. I started looking for ideas online, but I gave up in disgust. The ideas I found took the theme much further than I wanted to. I didn’t know how to do it halfway. Then I had a ‘duh, Hannah’ moment. The idea popped into my head after I read the book, right? Well then why couldn’t I dream up the rest of it? Why was I cramped by someone else’s style and ideas?

So these are mostly my ideas. I looked up ideas for decorations that fit the vintage feel I wanted. Those will not be completely original. I found an invitation with a message nearly as quirky as mine that helped inspire mine. I pulled in as many allusions to the book as I could while still conveying the message I wanted.

I wrote the invitations on calligraphy paper with a copperplate nib. Copperplate nibs are pointed nibs that separate in the middle when pressed down. Pulling the pen down, applies pressure which makes the two sides separate and creates a wider line as the ink flows between the two sides. Sorry, that sounds really confusing. If you’re visual like me, go find a picture online.

And now finally the tutorial. . . . And again, my apologies. I started playing and couldn’t stop so you have a complicated looking tutorial for a very simple process! Below you’ll find the whole list without pictures.

1. Brew a few cups of coffee. Regular strength or cold, day old coffee works fine!

2. Pour coffee into a shallow pan. Submerge the paper into the coffee, making sure to get rid of air bubbles.

3.Allow the paper to absorb the coffee until it reaches the desired color. Ten seconds was enough for mine.

4.Lay the paper on a flat surface. I used wax paper with good results, although parchment paper may have absorbed the liquid more quickly.

And that’s it! I scanned the original and printed copies onto calligraphy paper because I’m new at calligraphy and I didn’t have four hours to waste when I could easily make copies of my own writing. An inkjet printer worked fine–I feared the ink would run when I put in coffee, but it didn’t. This method works great on regular copy paper as well.

The original paper after coffee dying. (If you look very closely you can see how the nib splits in the middle. :))

I lined the envelopes with scrapbooking paper and old book pages. It’s really easy–trace the envelope on the back of the paper you want to use, then trim a quarter inch off each edge except the bottom which a half inch trim, and use double-sided tape to adhere.

Unfortunately the ink bled on the envelopes, so I used a Sharpie pen and thickened the down-strokes.

And here’s everything finished! I felt very satisfied when I stacked them in the mailbox and put up the flag.

The party is August 3rd, so you’ll have to wait awhile to see the rest. Stop by next week for a handmade wedding gift idea.

{Lemon Meringue Cupcakes}

This is one of those posts that comes straight from Pinterest. I saw these cupcakes pop up a few times and decided to try them!

Of course, I couldn’t copy directly–I think it’s a matter of principle–so I made mini cupcakes. I made some big ones, too, because I was too lazy to spend all afternoon filling bite size cakes with lemon curd. I was forced to hollow out a spot for the lemon curd because the decorating tip I have to fill cupcakes is in my dorm at school. It’s a pain to live in two places. . . .

I cut cone shaped pieces out of the middle. I felt like I was throwing away a lot of cake, but I even more filling would have been better!

Ingredients

Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk

Lemon curd 

Freshly squeezed juice and zest of 2 lemons
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

Meringue 
3 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Combine the cake flour blend, salt, baking powder, sugar, butter, vanilla, egg, buttery sweet dough flavor baking soda and 1/3 of buttermilk in the bowl of mixer. Mix on med. speed for 2 min until smooth. Add the left 1/3 cup buttermilk in the mixture and mix again on med. speed for a minute. Pour the mixture in the muffin tin until 2/3 full. Bake for about 15 min. When ready transfer to a rack and let them cool. Make the lemon curd according to instructions and set aside. When the cupcakes cool, use a cupcake corer and make a small space in the middle of each one. Fill all with the cooled lemon curd.

Lemon Curd

In a stainless mixing bowl, add in the eggs and sugar and cream together until white. Add in lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk until combined. Over simmering water, cook slowly until lightly thickened. Stir constantly. As the eggs are cooked, the mixture turns into light yellow. Remove from heat, add in diced butter. Stir until combined. It should be light yellow and coat the back of a spoon. It thickens as it cools.

Meringue

Beat or cream of tartar and the egg whites in a bowl. Add the salt, then the sugar,  raise the speed and beat until smooth. Top the cupcakes with the meringue and broil until brown.

Yield: 12 cupcakes.

Thanks for stopping by. Invitations to the Alice in Wonderland tea coming up next!