Thursday, January 31, 2013

Love Letters by Posh Pink Giraffe

We would like to welcome Becky to the Cafe today!

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Love Letters-DIY from Posh Pink Giraffe

Can you believe January is over?  That means Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  Have you thought about what you're going to do for kids Valentine's this year?  Looking for something that has a little pizazz?

How about love letters.....

Love Letters-DIY from Posh Pink Giraffe

Can we say, LOVE IT (in a sing song voice, of course)?  You could fill these little envelopes with just about anything.  The possibilities are endless.  Here are just a few ideas....

Make it a Pencil Pouch:
Add pencils, tag it "You're all write, Valentine." 
Make it a Sticker Book:
Add stickers & paper, tag it "I'm stuck on you"
Make it a Candy Pocket:
Add sweet treats, tag it "You're so sweet"

I'm sure just about anybody would love to get one of these for Valentine's Day.  So what do you say, are you in on this little project with me?

Love Letters-DIY from Posh Pink Giraffe

Begin by gathering the following supplies:
Two pieces of felt (8.5"x11") 
an envelope to use as a template
template for the x and o if you want
 (My font is "arial black" set at size 150.)

Love Letters-DIY from Posh Pink Giraffe

Start by using the templates to cut out the x's and o's.  You could do as many or as little as you want.  Fold your template at the line of symmetry.  Fold the felt also or you'll only have half the letter.  I found it was easier to work with the felt when I trimmed it from smaller pieces rather that the whole sheet.

Love Letters-DIY from Posh Pink Giraffe

Next step is to sew on the letters.  I did several stitches across here, but I like the pink one better where there are only three straight stitches across it.  Here's a tip:  I used spray adhesive on the back of the letters when I made the second one (the pink one) and found it was easier for the needle of my machine to go over the letters without trying to push them away.

Love Letters-DIY from Posh Pink Giraffe

Now you're ready to stitch the sides up.  Start at one of the smaller sides and take it around to the top of the other small side, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.  I decided to run a stitch along the top as well to help make it lay down better, but it is totally optional.  Last step is make a small slit in the back of the flap and sew in a button.

Love Letters-DIY from Posh Pink Giraffe

I know everyone doesn't have oodles and oodles of time to make a bunch of these and that is perfectly alright.  

Love Letters-DIY from Posh Pink Giraffe

Consider making just one.  You could write a love letter to your child using words of encouragement.   New Valentine's Day tradition, anyone?

Thanks for stopping by today.  
Before you go, will you please be a sweetheart and leave a comment?  Everyone could use some words of encouragement, right?


If you like these little Love Letters, make sure you check out my latest post, a teachers Blooming Valentine Gift.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wool Longies by Mammy Made

Adele is here from Mammy Made, today...


Hi everyone. I’m Adele and I live in England with my two gorgeous babies, Leyla who is 4 and Naomie who is 2. I am so excited to be contributing to Inspiration Cafe today!

I usually blog over at Mammy Made. I like to write about crafting, cooking and homeschooling, although I am only homeschooling part time at the minute. I have tons of tutorials on there so come by and say hi, I’d love to see you! 

Today I am going to be sharing a pattern I made for wool longies.

I love seeing little babies in wool longies, I think they look seriously cute. I've never been brave enough to use them as longies, they are always just used as wool pants for us over a pocket nappy or a fitted and a wrap but they do make waterproof longies if you lanolise them. I used to have a pair that I'd made from a pattern I found online, I can't remember which one it was now but it wasn't perfect for us. 

I decided to make my own pattern, making the gusset wider and the legs a little tighter, more like leggings. I also made the rise higher. Then I decided I wanted to change the seam from on the side to being centred at the back, just to make it look a bit neater. That took me aaages but it was worth it because now I have a pattern that fits my two kids perfectly! Here is my pattern that I came up with :)

This pattern is for a size small. This size will fit approximately 0-6months.

You will need:

  • 5mm crochet hook
  • 6mm crochet hook
  • 100% wool (if you want to lanolise them - make sure the wool is not machine washable! If you want to use them as wool pants that are not waterproof you can use cheaper acrylic DK yarn)
  • wool needle


  • ch - chain
  • sc - single crochet
  • st - stitch
  • slst - slip stitch
  • hdc - half double crochet
  • dc - double crochet
  • sc2tog - single crochet two stitches together


1. Using 5mm hook, ch5, sc in 2nd ch from hook and across (4sc), ch1, turn and sc in back loops only until you have 59 rows altogether including foundation row. Join the waistband into a ring with a slip stitch under 2 loops at the bottom of the first row, being careful not to twist the ring. This will leave a v shape at the top of the waistband which will need stitching up at the end.
2. Using 6mm hook, ch1, turn, sc in same st and next 2sts, 2sc in next st (I counted each row as a new stitch so the 2scs went into the row with only one loop not two, this makes the holes for the drawstring) *sc in 3sts, 2scs in next st* end with sc in last 2sts, join with slst in 1st sc (72)


3. Ch1, turn, sc around, join with slst in first sc (72)
4-9. Repeat row 3
10. Ch3, turn, dc in 10sts, hdc in 5sts, sc in 42sts, hdc in 5sts, dc in11sts, join in top of ch3 (74)
11. Ch1, turn, sc2tog, sc around till last 2sts, sc2tog, join with slst in first sc (72)
12-13. Ch1, turn, sc around, join with slst in first sc
14.  Repeat row 10
15-34. Repeat rows 11-14 5 times
35. Ch1, turn, sc2tog, sc around till last 2sts, sc2tog, join with slst in first sc, bind off


36. With back of st facing, count back 5sts, join yarn, ch1, sc in same st and in next 8sts - you want the previous rows bind off to be right in the centre of the gusset (9)
37-40. Ch1, turn, sc across
41. Bind off, leaving a long tail, stitch the gusset to the middle 10sts on the opposite side of pants, check to make sure both legs have an even number of stitches


42. With back of st facing, join yarn in middle of gusset, ch1, sc in same st and all around, join with slst in 1st sc 
43-67. Ch1, turn, sc around, join with slst in first sc
68. Ch1, turn, *sc in 1st, sc2tog* rep till end, join with slst in first sc 
69-73. Ch1, turn, sc around, join with slst in first sc, bind off, weave in ends


74. Chain enough to go twice round waist, slst in 2nd ch from hook and across, bind off, weave in ends.

Remember not to wash your 100% wool longies in the washing machine. They will need to be handwashed in lukewarm water and left to airdry flat to keep them in the best condition.

I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial. Thank you so much to everyone behind Inspiration Cafe for letting me contribute. It's been fun!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Organization 101: a place for everything

We're wrapping up the organization 101 series today.

Mrs. Hines Class
  Last week we got out our three boxes labeled: trash, donate and keep. Now that we've tossed stuff in the trash and taken trips to the donation center, it's time to deal with the keep pile. Where do we keep it? How do we store it? Well, to determine that, you need to consider a few things:

 1. Who uses the item? 
 2. What function does it serve? 
 3. In which space of the house does it belong? 
 4. How often do we use/need this item?

  home organization, organizing with baskets, storage solutions 

 The answers to number 1 and 2 will determine the answer to number 3. And the answer to number 4 will help you decide whether to store you things in a closet, on a shelf, or in a drawer and if it should be stored out of the way or within easy reach.

  storage solutions, organizing with baskets, home organization 

 When we put everything back in place, we want it to be in order. You can use baskets, bins, boxes, or whatever you have on hand to corral your belongings. After living with your new organizational system for a while, you will learn what works and what doesn't. With any organization system, maintenance is required.

  storage solutions, home organization, organizing with baskets 

 I end up tweaking and reorganizing every year, but it's less of an overhaul each time. I stick with what works and change what doesn't. There's no need to keep the shoe rack on the floor if no one is going to put their shoes away.
  storage solutions, home organization

Also, you're not limited to builder designated uses for your spaces. For example, the linen closet may better serve to hold games, photo albums and books. Make your home work for you. The more you organize your house to suit the needs of your family, the more that house feels like a home.

  organizing with baskets, blanket storage, storage solutions 

 It has been a pleasure spending time with all of you. I really enjoyed my time at the Inspiration Cafe! Thanks so much for having me. Y'all come visit me anytime at 

 See you in class, Mrs. Hines   

Monday, January 28, 2013

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Frosting...Oh my!

vanilla shortbread peanut butter chocolate frosting

Hi everybody, it's Heather from The Beating Hearth and I am so happy it's my turn here at the Cafe, today. We have had such amazing posts from our Guest Posters and our regular contributors lately that I want everyone to know how lucky I feel to be a part of this talented group of women. I feel a bit like Wayne and Garth...not worthy!!

As is probably clear from the title I am giving you a cookie recipe...but not just any cookie recipe. This recipe is seriously good...and not just good, it is so pretty.  More and more I am realizing we don't just eat with you mouths.  Our eyes take in the beauty of something and it adds to the pleasure of the experience.

The Mister loves anything that has chocolate and peanut butter in it. I love anything that has shortbread in it....what? Butter. Sugar. A touch of flour. What's not to love? My daughters...they love anything with frosting.  So this is clearly the dessert for us.

Valentines is approaching and they'd be a great dessert to make that day, but please understand....these aren't just for Valentine's Day...they are for whenever your sweet tooth needs a fix of buttery, chocolaty, peanut buttery goodness. There's a bit of time involved as you have to chill the dough before baking and you have to melt and then chill the frosting me, put a little effort in and you will be rewarded.

The frosting looks a bit like a chocolate rose sitting there on top of the shortbread and so I thought these would be a perfect Valentine's Day treat.  

You can dress them up and present them like you would a box of chocolates and I am thinking they would go over just as well to the recipient.

You can even give your kids a special surprise in their lunchboxes.  Take some tissue paper and tie them a sweet bundle of goodness. 

And, if the piping bag and tips are beyond you...just go ahead and spread the frosting with a knife.  It might not give you that visual punch...but it still gives you all the taste.

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting
makes 30 cookies

Vanilla Shortbread Ingredients
1 Cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 large egg yolks
Splash of Vanilla
2 Cups flour

Preheat oven to 300 F.

Cream butter and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy with paddle attachment.  You will notice the color gets lighter.  Add in the yolks, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.  Add a splash of vanilla...maybe 1 tsp. and mix well.  Add flour and blend until just combined.  It will look very crumbly, a lot like pie dough.  This is what you want.

Split the dough into two batches and place on plastic wrap.  You are going to compress these crumbles into a cohesive dough by pressing the plastic wrap around the dough and squeezing until it is a nice cylindrical shape and the dough is firmly compacted.  My dough was shaped more oblong, do what you like.

Place dough in freezer for 30 minutes.

Once chilled, remove dough and cut into approximately 1/4" slices.  Use a nice sharp knife for this.  Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spaced about an inch apart.  Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.  You do not want your shortbread to brown in any way, really.  You want it to be light blonde in color.

Place cookies on rack and let them cool completely.

Frosting time!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbl. Creamy Peanut Butter
1.5 Tbl. softened butter

If you have a double boiler, you can use it.  Or just be like me and get a pot of simmering water going, then put a glass bowl large enough to fit on top of it. 

Finely chop your chocolate.  I used a large block of Callebaut chocolate, you can also use nice quality semi-sweet chocolate chips.  If you're using the block, I find a serrated knife is the best way to chop it.

Place your chocolate, peanut butter and butter in the bowl and then put the bowl on top of the simmering pot.  Let it melt.  Stir until nice and smooth.  Once completely melted, you need to let the frosting cool.  I put mine in the fridge and stirred it every few minutes.  This is where you need to pay attention if you're going to pipe it...As soon as it has thickened to frosting consistency, you need to get it in your piping bag and get to work FAST!  It will get too thick to pipe in just a few minutes.

The frosting tip I used is an Ateco 16.  It's how you get the petal appearance in your frosting.  Fold down the edges of your piping bag so you don't make a huge mess, dollop your frosting in. Unfold the bag, twist it tightly and get to decorating the cookies. I start in the middle of the cookie and make concentric circles around and around until you get the look you want.

Let sit.  The frosting will solidify a bit more.  It won't get rock hard, but it is solid enough that if you want to wrap the cookies up and place them in decorative tins, they'll be just fine and won't lose their good looks.

Also, this amount of frosting was just enough to frost this one batch of cookies...and that's probably only because I broke a couple of my cookies.  It might be wise to make a double batch of frosting.  The frosting is so good, you'll find ways to use what's left.

This is the perfect combination of peanut butter and chocolate and it marries so nicely with the vanilla shortbread cookie.  Just wonderful!  Hope you enjoy!

Thank you so much for visiting the Cafe today.  We appreciate each and every visit. 

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Have a wonderful week!


Inspiration Cafe is looking for guest posters. If you would like to guest please let us know, we would love to have you. If you would prefer a feature instead, feel free to drop us a line. New or old posts welcome. Click here to submit!

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Weekly Wrap Up 2

Yay its the weekend,
Time to check in and see what we've all been up to this week....

Natalie, made these cute Valentines Tins
Threaded Valentine Tins

Mary taught us how to roast a whole Spaghetti Squash
 Tried & True Tuesday ~How to Roast A Whole Spaghetti Squash

Heather has been cooking, sewing and keeping her girls entertained this week.
Cook and Save for Later 
Mitered baby Blanket
Indoor Activities for Kids


Danni has had a week filled with awesome Valentine's projects
Valentine Mini Shadow Box

 Mel has had a very busy week, including Australia Day today...
Pretty Money Boxes
Shabby Chic Binder
Wet Your Pants Wednesday - Australia Day Edition
Lace Collar Necklace
Australia Day

And, it was Mary's turn at the Cafe this week, she shared these amazing
 DIY Framed Valentine Decorations 

We hope you have been inspired this week.
Take care and have a great weekend, don't forget to follow us on Facebook,

Nat, Mary, Heather, Danni and Mel

Inspiration Cafe is looking for guest posters and contributors. If you would like to guest please let us know, we would love to have you. If you would prefer a feature instead, feel free to drop us a line. New or old posts welcome.