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Monday, January 30, 2012

Triplets


No, not 3 babies, I'm talking music! Here's my first post on a musical tip. When it comes to arranging music I've found that to really make the last verse (or the climax) of your arrangement more powerful , add triplets to the left hand accompanying the right hand's melody.
Going from eighth notes, or other rhythms, to triplets just gives the piece energy and movement. In the final verse of my Nearer, My God to Thee arrangement, I even added triplets into the melody while the left hand held half notes. This proved to be the most powerful part of my song. I get chills every time I play it.
Triplets, when used at the right place and the right time, can turn an ok piece into a memorable piece.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tutorial: Simple Silky Flower


I love this flower! Why? Because I think it works especially well for an adult. I did try this on a headband for my daughter but I don't like it on the front of her head as I do my hair.
Now, the fabric button I used is an extra button I had from a shirt. I haven't seen fabric buttons you can make yourself this small, so hopefully you can find something that works for you. At the end of the post I'll show you how it looks with a bigger fabric button.
What you need:
  • Fabric with polyester (it does NOT need to be 100% polyester, just have some polyester--this is the silky fabric you would make a formal dress with).
  • Needle and thread
  • Fabric button
  • Hair clip (found at craft stores, pictured below)
  • Felt, cut into a 1" by .75" oval
  • Scissors
  • Candle
  • Glue (I used a hot glue gun)
First step: Cut your 5 petals out of the polyester into tear shapes. I didn't measure, but here is about what they turned out to be:

Burn all edges of all petals. I have a video of how to do this here.

Take one petal and sew through the tip:

Take the next petal and go through that tip:

Go around, back to the first petal and sew through both tips of petals:

Get petal 3 and go once through that then around petal 2 and 3 together. Grab petal 4, go once through that, then once through petal 3 and 4. Repeat this step with 5th petal.

Next I sew around all 5 petals (on the top), going around the circle of petals. This just keeps them all together nicely.

Now, get your button, sew through that and down to the bottom of the flower.

Grab the oval shaped felt and sew up and down through one of the long sides, two times in the same spot. Sew the thread through the felt to the other long side of the felt. Because there isn't a lot of room in the back to hide the felt, I pinched it in (so it is long and skinny) and sewed the other long side onto the flower. Sew up and down 2 or 3 times.

You can see the little puckers where I sewed the felt onto the flower:

Here's where I tied the knot, between the felt and flower:

Put a small amount of glue on the side of the clip that will be between the felt and flower, the glue touching the felt.
Here are pictures of the big and little buttons. The little looks better, I think. Hopefully you can find something like that too.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Soup

When I try to think of how to describe this soup the phrase that comes to me is "melt in your mouth" even though I don't know if that is how a soup can be described. Let's just say it pleases the palate.

Ingredients:
4 large potatoes, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 cups celery, chopped
5 cups broccoli, cut up
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
Sauce:
1/2 cup + 2 TBSP margarine
1/4 cup milk
1 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 chicken flavored bouillon cubes

Directions:
1.Boil potatoes, onion, carrots and celery in 6 cups of water for 10 minutes. Start the 10 minutes when it begins to boil.

2. Add broccoli, boil 10 more minutes.

3. Add cooked chicken. Do not drain water!

4. Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt margarine on medium-high heat. Whisk in flour then milk. Stir constantly until thick.

5. Remember cheese is CUBED. Once I did this without cubing and it took forever to melt. Add cheese, mustard, pepper and bouillon. Mix until it is smooth.


6. Add cheese mixture to vegetables and chicken. Heat together but don't boil. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Safe and Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies


Time out with flowers for a recipe post. This is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. Why? Because it NEVER FAILS. That is right, follow this exactly and you will always have the perfect cookie. They are delicious and they look pretty. You would feel proud to give these away to someone!
Not only does it never fail but it is easy and it has all the basic ingredients you use for a cookie, so you don't have to worry about running to the store for bread flour or anything like that.
One warning: If you eat half the cookie dough before you even bake a cookie, this is not the recipe for you. Because it calls for some shortening, the shortening makes the cookie dough not as appetizing as a recipe with all butter. You've been warned.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 package (12 oz) chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Combine first two ingredients.
2. Beat in everything else except chocolate chips.
3. Mix in chocolate chips. Make 1.5" cookie dough balls and space about 3" apart.
4. Bake 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until tops just start to turn golden (just slightly, not too much)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Little More on Flowers

First off, proof that the flower from my tutorial is so cute on a baby:

Here's the gold one I made, and it is my favorite (imagine her in a cute dress, not her pj's, haha):

Here's one of the first flowers I made where there are no individual pedals. I used the clip to attach it not only to headbands but knitted hats too:

Here's a tip: if you are putting the flower on the left side of the baby's head, put the part of the clip where you pinch it on the left as well. If you do it opposite, you will see the clip looking at the baby straight on. It just sits better this way, try it, you will see.

Here's another silky flower I made. Just a sneak peek to my next tutorial:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tutorial: Silky Flowers


I love these flowers! They look so good on your baby's head or in your hair. I first got the idea from this blog. I've made quite a few exactly like the one on that blog. In the process I learned a few tips and I've changed it up a bit to get it more to what I like. For instance, I like the look of individual pedals so I added those and I love tulle so I also added that.
What you need:
  • Fabric with polyester (it does NOT need to be 100% polyester, just have some polyester--this is the silky fabric you would make a formal dress with). 1/8 yard makes ~3-4 flowers. I have made pink, cream, dark purple and my favorite, gold!
  • Tulle
  • Needle and thread
  • Pearl or other bead for center of flower
  • Hair clip (found at craft stores, pictured below)
  • Felt
  • Scissors
  • Candle
  • Glue (I used a hot glue gun)
You are going to have 3 circles, 4 large pedals and 3 small pedals. Here are pictures with approximate measurements. I do not measure as I cut and I do not use templates. The pedals don't have to be perfect especially since you burn the edges later. But here is what my measurements turned out to be so you can get an idea:

On the 3 circles (above) cut 5 snips about equal distance apart around the circumference

Now we burn the edges. Here are two videos where I give a few tips on burning the edges:
video video
Now cut the tulle, I like to cut 4 rectangles about 2"x 1.5". Set aside.
Assemble the flower. You can do this two ways, watch the video about assembly then read on.
video
So, like I said, you can either sew all layers together at once by just going up through the middle and down again (do that two or three times so it stays in place). The other option, that I like, is to sew each layer on one at a time. That way each pedal will sit exactly where you want it to. Also, remember to add in the tulle wherever you wish. I like it between the circles and large pedals. When I add it in I lay it in an "S" shape.

Pearls are my favorite thing to add in the middle. The middle of my flower consists of these two pieces:

Just go to the bead part of the store and look around for what you like. I found the silver piece in a strand that looked like this:

First I sewed on my silver piece, then the pearl.

To get the clip on, cut a piece of felt into an oval, the length being a bit shorter than the clip. Sew the piece of felt onto only the bottom layer of the flower so the thread doesn't show on the upper side.
Put a small amount of glue on the side of the clip that will be between the felt and flower, the glue touching the felt.

Your flower is done! I found headbands at my craft store and I attach the flower on the loop for a baby. I like this better than gluing the flower on the headband because then the baby grows out of it. This way you can use it even when your done with baby headbands. See the loop:

I gave one away for a baby shower gift and put it around some wipes. The mom loved it! Who wouldn't, it is so cute!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Intro to "What These Hands Do"

Every once in a while I think about starting a blog about sewing or music but I always feel like I can't produce enough in one area to start a blog because I like too many things and spend my time in many ways.
Just a few days ago I thought, "Why not start a blog that encompasses everything I do?"
Here is a list of what I love and what you will probably see on this blog:
  • Flowers for baby headbands or girl's hair: I have made many and have a good sense now of what works and what doesn't
  • Sewing projects and tutorials: I mostly do girls dresses and skirts
  • Piano music: arrangements and originals all for free (I do have a website for this but I will do updates here, if you are interested the website is: www.alloverthepiano.com)
  • Baking: I love chocolate especially
  • Hair styling: I love doing girls hair. I can't wait until my 8 month old girl grows hair so I can start styling it! I also cut my husband's and little boy's hair and plan on doing a tutorial on how to do a simple cut for men and boys

Alright, that's what I love doing in a nutshell. I am going to start my blog by going back to things I have done in the past and when I feel I've covered my best work I'll start posting what I'm doing in the present. Here's a look of some things I've done:

Because this song is generated by my music software it doesn't sound nearly as good as on a real piano. If you would like the sheet music here it is!