Cake decoration – Race Car Cake

The Wee One was pretty dead set on a Speed Racer birthday party. Like, since August. Didn’t change his little three-year-old mind once in seven months. Unfortunately, his mother didn’t get the cake decorating genes in the family. I can’t even ice a cake without making a huge mess, never mind shape it like a race car. And Lord knows, I’m not going to buy a specially shaped cake pan that will get used once.

So I did what every good mother does – invited a couple grandmas out to make the cake.


The Wee One and Grammy consulted the Internet for a design. I was thinking something in a race car cupcake arrangement, but the race track from Family Fun won immediate preschooler approval.

The cake pan Mommy bought from Baker’s Secret won zero approval. The ripples on the bottom made it impossible to get the cake out. Luckily it only broke on one side which we trimmed anyway for the cake. Also luckily it was on clearance and only cost $4 and still works for other foods. Just not, um, cakes.

Since we’re transient hobos and only had one (sucky) cake pan, Grandma decided to bake one big cake which was frozen then cut in half. The Wee One chose chocolate cake because he likes seeing Mommy gag. All baking credits go to Grandma – and most everyone else said it was tasty.


Grammy gets the credit for shaping and icing. We didn’t bother with the green sprinkles or cookie crumbs from the recipe and did the white lane dividers in icing instead of candy. But we did manage to find a little race car candle set – and there were four candles in it ! Perfect!


Did the finished product satisfy the birthday boy? Of course!

Resourceful Grammy even managed to light a piece of spaghetti on the electric stove when we realized the transient hobos had no lighters. I guess that’s one bonus for the gas stove at our new house.

Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spring Messenger Bag – Sewing Together


Fabric for the inner and outer was doubled over and cut from the top edge like pictured – that way there was plenty of leftover on the bottom for long straps and solid pieces from the right side for scrap projects.


Because everyone loves knowing there was a cat butt on their purse.


Sewing the purse together is simple – first sew across the top of the wrong sides of the pocket (1/4 seam), flip and press. Line up the pocket between the wrong sides of the outer and sew it together. Match up the inner pocket, wrong sides, and sew together. Cut triangles into the corners to make it flip easier and press the seams out.  Then the inner lining goes inside the bag. Easy!

BTW, I like to wear skirts when I sew because when I clip the edges of the corners, it’s easier to catch everything in my lap.It’s a good catch-all for threads and such too.

Also, I use a (clean) meat skewer to get the corners perfectly pushed out. Alton Brown recommends a 12-inch metal with a loop on the end for the best kebab grilling – it’s also the best for sewing.

For the straps, I cut them at 3″ wide, one side from the green polka dots and the other from the purple flowers. Fused some interfacing to them, sewed them together on the wrong sides, pressed and flipped. Folded over the edges and sewed them together with a decorative stitch. Same decorative stitch up the other side. On the other purse, I sewed the wrong sides together on both sides, and then pulled it right side out, but I wasn’t sure how well that would work with the interfacing – it’s not exactly as fluid as fabric! (Yes, I know that’s the point now!)

My bag has one long strap attached to the bag portion. However, my friend’s daughter is obviously way smaller than me, so I cut the strap in half (actually, closer to 20″ on one and 24″ on the other). I was planning on rounding the ends of the straps and having my friend do a pretty tie to her daughter’s size, but the interfacing seemed too stiff to pull off a good knot.

So it was back to Hobby Lobby for a couple D-rings. Which are much harder than you’d think to sew onto the edge of the strap! After a couple of false starts, I got them attached, but the end of that strap looks a good bit messy. But once the straps are wound together and the green is on top of the purple, it looks really good. So good that I forgot to take a picture!

At this point, all that needs to be done is the top of the bag. Straps are pinned on properly, edges folded over neatly, decorative stitch applied, straps are tripled-stitched, and it’s done! And into the washer to remove all cat-butt-imprints.

I will add a picture of the finished product when my friend receives it, since I totally forgot to take a picture before getting it in the mail. I was in a hurry to get to the Post Office by five. Which turned out to be a moot point because in Texas, post offices close by 4:30. Luckily Mailboxes Etc does not!

Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spring Messenger Bag – Interfacing

So, like I said, I didn’t use interfacing on my messenger bag. Mostly because, well, Home Ec class never covered interfacing and it’s not something typically used in quilting. Typically – in my research, I’ve learned that there is fusible batting which is a similar idea.

I head off to Hobby Lobby and get a half yard, deciding that “medium-to-heavy” would be right. Well, first off, interfacing isn’t doubled over a bolt like fabric. So already I have half as much as I need. And as I fuse the heavy stuff to the pocket fabric, it feels….heavy. But not too bad, so I go with it. Maybe it’ll get less stiff in the wash…

Back to Hobby Lobby for more interfacing, and what luck – there’s interfacing in the clearance bin! Two yards for $3! Yes! I can’t read the type because of the label over top of it, but how can you go wrong with clearance interfacing?

I mean, what are the chances that it could actually be fusible web?

So I had a heavy-duty-interfaced pocket and a very-barely-lightly-webbed-interfaced outer and liner.

So back to the store AGAIN! This time I actually looked at everything and purchased a yard and a half of medium-weight interfacing. And other than getting some of the sticky-stuff-that-makes-it-bond-to-the-fabric on the outer purse (and my poor borrowed iron), fusing goes along nicely.


I left the pocket with heavy interfacing, the outer with the web, and the inner with the web and medium interfacing.

Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spring Messenger Bag – Fabric and Pattern

This one is a purse I made for myself just for fun – I needed something bigger than my wristlet because my super-fun sliding-QWERTY-keypad-for-super-fast-texting cell phone was too fat. So we went off to Hobby Lobby, bought 1.25 yards of fabric for a mere $7, cut out a pattern, made a bunch of mistakes, but ended up with a pretty cool little messenger bag.


So the lessons I learned were: don’t ignore the instructions for fusible interfacing. Don’t ignore the instructions for fusible interfacing. Don’t ignore the instructions for fusible interfacing.

Yeah, this sucker needs some interfacing. Especially in the strap. It’s only been a month and mine has totally lost its shape and I’m always afraid the straps are going to pull out of the bag.

Also, don’t be stupid and sew all the layers together. Even if it’s the correct order, your liner will have a seam on the inside instead of the outside. Duh. Eventually I’m going to be spending some time with the seam ripper.

Anyway, posted the previous picture on Facebook and one of my friends asked me to make one for her daughter, a purse fanatic. Sure, why not? I’d even use interfacing! So I headed back to Hobby Lobby for the fabric.

And it was sold out.

And the lady at the cutting table claimed they wouldn’t be getting any more in.


I searched online for the pictures of the other fabrics in the line to show my friend, but it’s a Hobby Lobby specific brand and not online.


Then I was there buying something else a couple weeks later and the fabric was right there!


I love-love-love this fabric. It’s pre-matched which is even better! Flowers for the outside (1/2 yard), dots for the inside (1/2 yard) and stripes for the pocket (1/4 yard). Cut correctly, you have plenty of the dots or flowers leftover for the strap. And enough other scraps for a coin purse or checkbook cover or, for my friend’s daughter, an eyeglass holder.


The pattern came from U-handbag, which is one of my new favorite sewing sites. (I’m also a fan of Sew Mama Sew. Just sew you know. Hee!) The gal who runs U-handbag is English, so the measurements are in centimeters. I didn’t bother translating it into American – it’s the right size as is. I didn’t do her straps or the button or the piping – just the basic bag pattern.


It’s a pretty simple pattern – 39 cms across the top, 30 cms to the bottom. Start the curve 10 cms from the bottom and 10 cms in from each side. I used a plate to get the perfect curve. The pocket is the same bottom and 22 cms to the top. Cut two pocket pieces and two pieces of interfacing, cut two each of the outside and the liner and four total pieces of interfacing from the bigger portion of the pattern.

Next up, adventures in interfacing!

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Airplane Baby Quilt – Finished!

Not much to say, other than – woohoo, it’s done!


I did decide to add in a second line of quilting all around. I think it looks much better like this. Then I trimmed up all the edges. All ready for binding! How many tries will this take?


Amazingly, relatively few tries! I’m really bad at binding. REALLY bad. I don’t have the patience to hand sew or the skill to machine sew without seams going off everywhere. My recent solution has been to buy bigger bindings. (Yeah, I don’t make my own. Not a chance without some classes on that!) But this quilt has no border on the edges so the wider binding I bought covered way too much of the plane squares. So back to the skinny binding. That I suck at.

After going off the edge on the backing once, I decided to change to a decorative stitch. It might not be straight but maybe it would look good, and have the added bonus of going up and down the binding and maybe keeping everything in place. And for the most part, it worked! I used a nice scalloped stitch (ok, I thought it was going to be zig-zags… Perhaps I should take a scrap and run a line of all the stitches, since I don’t have my manual which might already have this…)

Corners worked out perfectly, transition between binding pieces went perfectly. In the end, there was only one spot where I lost the edges and had to redo. Threw it in the washer and dryer until it was nice and puffy…and had all my binding errors glaring at me. I have three spots to repair on the binding, but they’ve already been seam-ripped and are ready to go.  Should be fixed in about ten minutes and ready for the mail tomorrow. So I’m declaring it done for blog purposes!

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment