Archive | April, 2013

Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff Link Party #10

26 Apr


It’s Friday!! Welcome to this weeks edition of Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff.  I am enjoying a nice visit with my parents this weekend, it’s so exciting to have family visit us {we live far away from every one we know}  I hope you have a wonderful weekend, thanks for linking up!


Here are my favorite links from last week:

Sweetest Treats

Cherry Balls Inside sq wm

Kirsebaerkugler from Danni (Silo Hill Farms) on Inspiration Cafe – This recipe is for a traditional Danish dessert and it looks yummy!  It also doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, I will have to try it out!

build-bento-bar-partyDiana is back with some more bento fun – This Build Your Own Bento Bar post by Diana Rambles looks like an entertaining and tasty party!  She also linked up Part 2 of her Bento Basics series, to be honest I had a hard time picking which of these great posts to feature, I just love Diana’s bento lunch tips!

Swankiest Stuff

duck-cloth-spring-wreathI completely love all of the color in this Duck Cloth Spring Wreath by Made In A Day, I could definitely see this on my front door!  And that rustic looking bucket handle is just perfect.  This is a great tutorial if you would like to try your hand at making your own.


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles birthday by Girl In The Garage: Such a colorful birthday!  I adore how all of the rainbow colors are pulled together in the banner, cupcakes, and even the airplane sign.  It looks like fun was had by all – aren’t those birthday boys gorgeous?

Now let’s party!  And if you feel so inclined to grab a button, please be my guest.

Sweet Benanna & Sam
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sweet Benanna & Sam"><img src="" alt="Sweet Benanna & Sam" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
And if you have been featured, please take one of these:
Sweet Benanna & Sam
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sweet Benanna & Sam"><img src="" alt="Sweet Benanna & Sam" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Thanks for stopping by today!! A Reminder: Click on the little blue frog to enter your link.





Preschool Learning – Letter “R” Worksheet {Free Printable}

24 Apr

R Practice

(Scroll to the bottom of post and click on picture to be directed to the printing page)

Recently we moved and this meant that our Four year old had to leave a wonderful preschool behind.  At his previous preschool he was learning how to read sight words, which was really exciting!  At the beginning of the year his teacher started with teaching the class each letter of the alphabet.  They learned how to sign each letter, they learned whether it was a vowel or a consonant, and they learned what each letter sounded like.  They also sang songs about each letter and did worksheets.  In January when they had every letter figured out, they began learning how to read.  When we moved away in March my son was reading about 20 words.  I knew that his new preschool was not going to continue this learning.  I got a list of all of the sight words from his teacher so that I could continue teaching him how to read after we moved.

He learns a lot of great things at his current preschool – practical things like the names of the planets, how to take care of pets, but no reading!  I am aware that he will learn how to read when he goes to grade school – but if he can learn now, what is the harm in teaching him?   I have taken several University level child development courses and I know that there are HUGE benefits of teaching your children to read at an early age.  In the first six years of life, children learn at a very fast pace.  Teaching them to read early on will create a strong foundation for their school years.  Children who can read well acquire higher marks on tests – because they understand the questions.  Children with strong reading skills are more self confident.  They are able to concentrate better and have high attention spans.  Reading helps them to increase their vocabulary and helps them to learn proper word pronunciation.

So I began to work on his words at home, but I realized quickly that he was also forgetting what some of the letters sounded like.  He needed to continue practicing each letter as well.  Based on a worksheet that his previous teacher also did with the children, I decided to create my own worksheet for each letter.  We started with the letter “R”, I am going to create a new one each week until the whole alphabet is covered.  This worksheet also has several other practical lessons in addition to learning letters.

Here is how we use ours:  First we talk about the letter, which one it is, what it sounds like.  There are Four pictures at the bottom, but only Three of them start with the proper letter.  He has to figure out which one does not start with the right letter, and then he crosses it off.  He colors the remaining three pictures (coloring practice) and then cuts them out (cutting practice).  Then he likes to color the letter as well.  Next he practices writing the letter in the space at the top of the page.  He usually likes to print his name too.  So there are several different learning applications involved in this worksheet.  If you would like to learn along with us, just click on the picture below to print your own worksheet.  I will be posting a new one every Wednesday.

R Practice

I hope you have enjoyed this post, thanks for stopping by!


The Great Gatsby is Coming – Here are 15 FREE Gatsby-Inspired Fonts!

22 Apr



I could just scream with excitement.  We are so very close to the release of Great Gatsby in movie theaters, May 10th to be exact.  I have such high hopes for this movie.  Once again Leonardo DiCaprio will be teaming up with Baz Luhrmann. Their first movie together, Romeo and Juliet, was the be-all and end-all of my teenage years.  I first watched this movie in the theater with my at-the-moment boyfriend and some friends.  When it was finished I was amazed, but my boyfriend `just didn`t get all of the Shakespeare`, I then knew he was not a keeper.  A few months later I purchased a copy of the movie when I was studying in Mexico and I must have watched it 50 times.  The costuming, the soundtrack, the characters, everything was monumental. And then there was Leo sputtering romantic lines with his smooth skin and blue eyes – I was Seventeen and captivated.

Coincidentally I was also about Seventeen the first time I read the novel The Great Gatsby in English Lit class.  It has to be one of my top ten favorite novels. Baz Luhrmann is the perfect director for this movie.  There will be lavish, larger than life, parties.  There will be wild and over the top characters.  The costumes will be amazing, I absolutely love 1920`s inspired clothing – once you are done looking at the free fonts scroll down to see two of my FAVORITE 1920`s inspired dress tutorials.  So to celebrate the release of this movie, I have rounded up some fun (free) fonts for you, I hope you enjoy them!  The following is a list, please click on the font names below the list to be directed to the free download.

Gatsby fonts


1. Upper East Side

2. Birmingham

3. Roarin`Twenties Counterfeit


5.Strange Rituals

6. Lemondrop

7. Fashion Victim

8. Chapleau

9. TallDeco

10. Herald Square

11. Passion

12. Odalisque

13. Riesling

14. Park Lane

15. Betty Noir


I also thought I would mention these two GORGEOUS little dress tutorials that are 1920`s inspired.  I am hoping that the Great Gatsby movie sparks a huge fashion trend!

I love this drop waist sailor dress from Me Sew Crazy – I actually make and sell this dress in my Etsy Shop


This Zelda Fitzgerald inspired dress is just gorgeous, you can find the full tutorial and pattern here: Fitzgerald In Lace by Sewing In No Man`s Land


Thank you for stopping by today, I hope you have enjoyed this post!!


Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff Link Party #9

19 Apr


Does anyone else feel like this past week went by WAY too fast?  And then there was that horrible nastiness in Boston, simply heartbreaking to see what people are capable of. It seems like I was just posting  Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff #7 which, by the way, broke the record for link ups again!  Two weeks in a row, which means that this party is starting to grow – thank you for coming back each week!   Thank you for joining us today, link up your awesome projects, and don’t forget to have a look at some of the other great links too!


Here are my favorite links from last week:

Sweetest Treats


Diary of a Mad Mama was back with another one of her amazing 49 cent Refashions.  This time she shared how she turned a pair of loose and baggy GAP dress pants into a very stylish dress…I would totally wear this!


Jewelry Storage from Kaminski’s Creations: Do you have lots of beautiful jewelry that you forget to wear because it’s hidden in a box?  Here is a great and innovative DIY solution.  This post will show you how to turn some old spoon racks into a necklace holder and a picture frame into a jewelry holder that you will love to display!

Swankiest Stuff


Oh wow, don’t these look amazing???  Banana Bread Blondies from The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen  : Vanilla bean icing slathered over a banana bread cake, I am totally drooling over this!

Cinnamon Cherry Bomb Pop close pm

Cherry Bomb Pops In Three Flavors by The Fresh Juniper – I have to admit that when I saw this link up, I immediately had to go check it out – and it did not disappoint!  There are three different flavors of “Bomb Pops” Smokin’ Hot Cayenne, Cinnamon, and Toasted Coconut.  Each pop has a maraschino cherry inside, there is soft chewy caramel, chocolate, all kinds of goodness!  Plus the stick is actually a pretzel dipped in white chocolate – totally incredible!

And don’t forget to grab a button!

Sweet Benanna & Sam
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sweet Benanna & Sam"><img src="" alt="Sweet Benanna & Sam" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
And if you have been featured, please take one of these:
Sweet Benanna & Sam
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sweet Benanna & Sam"><img src="" alt="Sweet Benanna & Sam" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Thanks for stopping by today!! A Reminder: Click on the little blue frog to enter your link.



Thank you again for stopping by, have an awesome weekend!!


Resources for First Time Quilters ~ And An Easy Beginner Project!

16 Apr

blanket collage

Do you want to learn how to quilt but have no idea where to start? I was in the same boat as you not so long ago. I am going to share with you how I began to quilt, and also an easy beginner project, a large list of resources that I have compiled, AND my favorite 10 Simple Quilting Projects for Beginners

titlequilting collage (scroll to the bottom of this post for the links to these projects)

About six months ago I looked into taking a quilting class. It was always something that I wanted to learn how to do. Piecing together beautiful fragments of fabric to create a lovely article, I think, would be therapeutic and very enjoyable. The class I found was going to cost $90, it may not seem like a lot of money. If you are a mom with three children you can probably relate; spending $90 on yourself hardly seems justifiable. Plus that was just the course – there are some expensive supplies associated with quilting too.

My husband piped up, “Well you have taught yourself to sew, can’t you just teach yourself to quilt too?” In my mind this seemed really complicated. There are probably a lot of great resources online, but to me, quilting looks like an exact science that cannot be messed with! If I wanted to learn how to quilt it did not look like I had much of a choice. I began to do some research.

I think everyone learns best via different methods. I find that I learn best when I have a lot of visual aids. My first stop was at the library where I checked out several books on the subject of quilting. After reading a few, I found one that really made sense to me. This book: The Singer New Machine Quilting Essentials was excellent! Tons of pictures, easy to read step by step instructions. Plus it was laid out very well. Once I had read the book it was easy to flip to whichever section I was looking for to get the information I needed. I have checked this book out a few times now and I would highly recommend it to any beginner.

Quilting Supplies

There are some essential supplies that you will need to get to begin quilting. They are:

  • Rotary Cutter
  • Rotary Cutting (Self Healing) Mat
  • A Ruler for rotary cutting
  • Sewing Machine (unless you plan on hand stitching your quilt)
  • Pins
  • An iron and ironing board
  • Quilting Fabric & Thread
  • Good scissors
  • And of course, sigh, a stitch ripper
  • Spray Adhesive – this is not essential but is something that has helped me immensely, I will mention it some more in a moment.

I went to my local quilting shop and had a look at the essential quilting supplies that I would need to buy. The rotary tools and rulers were very expensive! I then headed over to Michael’s Craft Store and noticed that they also carried the Olfa line of rotary cutters, rulers, and cutting mats. I whipped out one of their 40% off coupons on my I-Phone and bought my rotary cutter. The next day I printed out two more coupons and dragged my husband along. He bought the cutting mat and I grabbed a nice square ruler. There, I guess it doesn’t have to hurt the pocket book! If you are in Canada and a sewing club member at Fabricland, the Olfa products do go on sale, usually 50% off every few months.

Easy Beginner Baby Blanket

CelebrateSeussStripebyDr.SeussEnterprisesforRobertKaufmanADE10788203One of my first projects was a soft cuddle baby blanket. It wasn’t quite a traditional quilting project but it allowed me to practice some easy techniques. I had a yard of Celebrate Seuss Stripe fabric by Robert Kauffman and I loved the wavy red lines in the print. Here are the supplies that I used:

~1 yard of Celebrate Seuss Stripe Quilting Cotton: You can buy it for a GREAT price here: Fashionable Fabrics

~1 yard of Cuddle Minky

~ Red cotton thread

~Cotton batting: I got mine from Wal-Mart and it was labelled as “Cotton Batting Baby Blanket Size” and it turned out to be just a tiny bit more than I needed, which was actually perfect.

~Basic Sewing Supplies

First I cut the selvages off of the quilting cotton and made sure that the yard of cotton was just a bit smaller than the minky (about 1 1/2″ around) This is because I cheated and finished the blanket with a rolled hem. If you are going to attempt to bind your quilt the proper way you can leave the quilting cotton and the minky the same size. For this quilt I basted the fabric to the cotton batting using safety pins~ Now might be a great time to mention that while this blanket turned out just fine, I have since discovered that using a spray adhesive for basting my quilts is much easier than pinning it. (For more information on using a spray adhesive, click here: Spray Adhesive for Quilt Basting: How To) ~ Next I used my walking foot* and quilted along the top and bottom of each red wavy line with some red thread. Since this blanket was going to be a baby gift I backed it with a nice white stripe minky that I also had in my stash. I was not ready to try my hand at quilt binding just yet (yes I was very afraid of it!), so instead I used a rolled hem to finish this blanket. If you are not sure what this is, here is a TERRIFIC tutorial from the Crafting Chicks: Minky Baby Blanket Simplified

*Not sure which one is your walking foot? Have a look at this Sewing Machine Foot Introduction

Here is my finished project:


Quilt Binding Resources

Speaking of binding a quilt: even though I had read the quilt binding section from the Singer New Machine Quilting Essentials book top to bottom, something still wasn’t clicking. I found a bunch of tutorials online, and now that I know what I am doing I can tell you that these tutorials are very well explained:

Old Red Barn Co: How to Bind a Quilt

Diary of A Quilter: Fast Machine Quilt Binding 101

Bee In My Bonnet: How to Bind a Quilt and Other Quilty Projects

Anyways, there was still a disconnect in my brain, until I found this: Quilt Binding- How to Make and Attach It, yes, I am a visual learner! Once I watched this entire video the steps were very clear. I guess I just needed to watch someone do each step.

Other Quilting Resources

I want to share some more online resources that were very helpful to me as a beginner. Take a look at some of these wonderful posts:

~Pressing Basics: This is a video tutorial that will teach you the basic methods of pressing, which is an important step while quilting

~Quilting Instructions: Quilting Tidbits – this post has tons of information about squaring up fabric, preparing fabric for quilting, how to sharpen your rotary blade and much more.

~Beginning Quilting Series from Diary of A Quilter – This series from Diary of A Quilter is amazing! There are lots of wonderful and helpful posts in this series

~What the Heck is a Jelly Roll? from Simplify – this is a really cute post that will explain terms like jelly roll, layer cake, charm packs, etc…

~Cutting Tutorial from Chasing Cottons – VERY useful information on how to cut your fabric properly, using your rotary cutter, ruler, and mat.

~The Secrets of Quilt Batting – Here is a nice post about quilt batting, what type to use for which project and more.

Quilty Pinners to Follow:

At this point I also started following some GREAT quilters on Pinterest. I discovered that their blogs contained beautiful quilt patterns and tutorials. Here are a bunch of my favorite pinners and a link to follow their boards: Riley Blake, The Cottage Mama, Shari Butler, Lori Holt, Tasha Noel Horsley, Happy Zombie, Michael Miller Fabrics, Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

Another thing that I am loving – Riley Blake has a fantastic quilting initiative going on right now. They started in January and each month they post a “Block of The Month“. You can click on each block to get the pattern, or they also have included some fantastic video tutorials for each block. Or maybe you want to go hang out with the experts themselves and take some classes – which you can do at the First Annual Riley Blake Fabric Fest this September in Las Vegas.

FabricFest button

10 Simple Quilting Projects For Beginners

Now I want to share some AWESOME beginner quilting projects with you! Some I have tried and loved, some I am yet to try but they are on my list! Please pin each one from the original source. Did I mention that these are all FREE tutorials and patterns??

numberedquilting collage

SONY DSC1. Superhero Quilt By Robert Kaufman Fabrics – Isn’t this a fabulous boy quilt? And easy too! Just click on the link and you will be able to download the free pattern. Needing some fabric for this project? Here are some great prices on the Superhero line of fabric: Superhero Fabric by Robert Kaufman

DSC062272. You Can Make a Quilt…I have proof by The Fickle Pickle – I love this tutorial because it follows a first time quilter as she makes a beautiful project step by step. It turned out beautifully, and it is proof that you can do it too!

8258348122_b5a1e9e50a3. The One With The Easiest Baby Quilt Ever by PS I Quilt – I followed this tutorial to create my second quilting project and she is right, it is very easy. In this tutorial she uses ten bold prints to create a sweet baby quilt. When I made it I had a very hard time deciding on coordinating fabrics so I only used five prints and repeated each one twice. It also turned out lovely!

100edit24. That Red Quilted Pillow from Little Miss Shabby – This beginner tutorial will have you creating a gorgeous decorative quilted pillow. It is very easy to follow and there are lots of great pictures. Plus you will also get to practice some hand stitching.

blogger-image-4685353105. Candy Hearts Table Runner Tutorial from A Farm Wife’s Journal – This adorable table runner would look sweet on any table! It has been on my must-try list forever, yes I need to get working on it! I also love the fabric she has used, Lori Holt’s Sew Cherry has also been on my fabric love list for a long time!

season4_episode7_96. Make Bright & Merry Home Decor from the Diy Dish – I know this is a Christmas tutorial and it’s only April, but you are going to want to pin this one for later. This video tutorial teaches you how to make a beautiful ornament block that can be used for a pillow, quilt, or a table runner. I bet you could make a beautiful tree skirt with it too.

IMG_7509_thumb17. Baby Bliss Quilt by Cluck Cluck Sew – This beautiful quilt was made using two charm packs. She basically just cut each square in half and sewed them together. Okay maybe there is a little more involved than that, but it would be a good beginner project nonetheless.

title photo8. Clermont Farms Quilted Tote Bake from Moda Bake Shop – I LOVE sewing cute little tote bags. Combining quilting with tote bags makes it extra fun! This project is definitely suitable for beginners and will teach you some great techniques that you can use when you are ready to tackle a much larger project.

8179134888_7d6312e942_c9. The Falling Flakes Stocking Tutorial by Imagine Gnats – Another Christmas project, I know, but hey- why not get started now and be extra prepared for the holiday :-). I think this sweet little stocking tutorial is a perfect beginner quilting project. It features a free printable PDF pattern, great pictures, and easy to read instructions. Plus if you can find some Christmas fabric to buy right now, I bet you will get a great deal on it. Or maybe you did buy some right after Christmas because it was on sale and you would like to use it up (this is my inner fabric hoarder speaking)

img_strips-sashing-kidslg_110. Strips and Sashing Kids Quilt by All People Quilt – A simple quilt that looks great when finished. You can download this project for free, but they do ask you to register for their website when doing so. That being said, the registration is also free and then you have access to tons of wonderful quilting projects and patterns.

Well that’s it! I hope you have enjoyed all of these resources, projects, and free tutorials! Thank you for stopping by today.


Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff Link Party #8

12 Apr


I hope everyone has had a wonderful week! Welcome to week seven of Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff on Sweet Benanna & Sam. It has been a BUSY week over here – I have been preparing for my very first craft fair and I am exhausted.  Last week I had a record number of links added to the party, thank you so much!!  I do want to give you a little reminder to please read the link party information and rules before linking up – There are two separate categories for your links.   Thank you for joining us today, link up your awesome projects, and don’t forget to have a look at some of the other great links too!


Here are my favorite links from last week:

Sweetest Treats


No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Parfait from Dear Beautiful You: Wow this looks amazing, doesn’t it?


Grandma’s Chop Suey Recipe from Kathe with an E:  I have to admit that I am pretty hopeless when it comes to cooking anything Asian related.  I love Chop Suey, this recipe might just tempt me to give it another try.

Swankiest Stuff



French Flower Seed Tray from Girl in the Garage – I am totally in love with this project, the colorful pictures on the seed packet look gorgeous – wouldn’t this be a great project for a Mother’s day gift?


Collapsible Light Box from Diana Rambles– Diana gives some GREAT tips on how to make your own collapsible light box.  This is definitely on my to do list!

And don’t forget to grab a button!

Sweet Benanna & Sam
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sweet Benanna & Sam"><img src="" alt="Sweet Benanna & Sam" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
And if you have been featured, please take one of these:
Sweet Benanna & Sam
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sweet Benanna & Sam"><img src="" alt="Sweet Benanna & Sam" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Thanks for stopping by today!! A Reminder: Click on the little frog to enter your link.






%d bloggers like this: