Friday, July 30, 2010

Girly Grapefruit Shea Butter Soap



















This is one of the four new soaps I will be adding to the Etsy site in the next week or so.  This soap smells sooo good.  I really wish you could scratch and sniff a computer (well you can, but that's you're business).  This one is definitely for the girls.  I really do love this soap. Find it here.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wheelchair Armrest Covers

I did this project a while ago, but didn't get a chance to post it.  My daughter Emily has had this wheelchair for some time and the armrests were looking really ripped and worn.  My mom got this oil cloth for me and I was really happy with the result.  It is also much more exciting than the black it came with!
















It was a really simple process.  After removing the armrests, I cut the material and stapled along the length of the armrest.


















Staple around the ends, pulling the fabric as tightly as possible to minimize puckering. The ends were more difficult, especially since the armrests are so narrow at the ends, but this would be much easier on a chair or something larger.















Finally, I cut the excess material and I screwed it back onto the wheelchair.  It was as easy as that!  Although I did this on a wheelchair, it would be the same basic concept if recovering a chair. 


















 I am going to do my kitchen chairs next time. Oilcloth is so easy to clean up.  Although I probably won't use this bright pink fabric. It is pretty though, isn't it?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Handmade Soap Stamps


So I was making soap this weekend (big surprise!) and I wanted to stamp my soap.   I was making was a honey/beeswax soap, and I wanted something subtle, but definitely beeish.  I found a rubber stamp with a bee on it in our stamp box and of course the feet from our Pitter Pattern logo stamp.



















I took both stamps and made impressions of them in some craft clay.  I baked it according to the instructions and then made am impression of those with the clay.  I decided to put a little knobs on the end to make stamping easier.


















 I was a little worried that they wouldn't stamp far enough into the soap, but I think they worked pretty well.  Since I had just cut my soap it was really soft and easy to work with.  The bee stamp was just the subtle touch I was looking for.


The foot stamp, since I was stamping into white soap,  I first stamped in some iridescent mica.  Again, just a subtle touch, although a bit difficult to photograph accurately.  This project has me looking around the house for more things to turn into soap stamps!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Official!




We have made the official move over to Etsy!  I am really excited that we have made the move. I have been buying on Etsy for some time, but I have only had a couple sales in the new "shop" so far.  I have to say that the transactions go really smoothly.  I am testing the waters right now with some basic items, but I intend to add some more in the near future.  I like the fact that it is really easy for our customers to make comments about our products and their experiences with us too.  So, if you haven't come by to see us yet, what are you waiting for?  I am constantly making changes and fine tuning, as it takes time to get settled.  I would love to hear from you if you have any comments or suggestions. 

Our old address is still active http://www.pitterpatterndesigns.com, but you can also visit us now at http://www.pitterpatterndesigns.etsy.com and the shop, as always, is available on the right.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Recyclable Lunch Boxes

Spencer Bento Box Containers
As my third child is starting school this year, I have started thinking about the waste that we create each day with the plastic bags and the juice pouches and realized that I will probably go through around 9 plastic bags per day when they all start eating lunch at school.  That is a lot of waste.  This is something that has bothered me for a while. Not to mention the cost of all those bags  So, I have been on the hunt for a lunch box that will be a logical solution for the bag problem, that my high schooler won't be embarrassed to have at school, and that my oldest (who is hemipalegic) will be able to open and close easily.  I also want to find one that has very few containers to loose.  I don't know about you, but my children are famous for leaving things at school or throwing things away when they should be returned, so I don't want a lot of little pieces that can be lost. Which leads me to the final condition...I don't want to spend a lot of money.  If there is the possibility that my children will look at me with those puppy dog eyes saying, "Mom, I lost my lunch box," I don't want to have to take a loan out to get a new one.  With those things in mind, I began my search.  So far, I have found three candidates.  

The first, is the Spencer Bento Box by Pottery Barn (pictured above).  Pros: At $14.00, this is the most reasonably priced of the three, and it has a lot of compartments without a lot of pieces.  Cons: The only concerns I have about this one are that the lid might break off after repeated use and there is no place for a drink bottle and/or ice pack.


Goodbyn Lunchbox
Goodbyn Lunchbox

The second possibility is the Goodbyn.  The pros: This one is really cute, comes with stickers for the kids to decorate, and seems to be really durable.  At around $22.00 at Amazon, this one is pretty affordable (although it is the most expensive of the three) and again, there are no little pieces to lose. It also is available in a more grown up version for my oldest.  And finally, it has a drink bottle that fits inside and is large enough to accommodate an ice pack of some sort.  The cons:  Reviews state that the lid can be really difficult to put back on, which I worry will be too hard for my oldest.  Also, it is pretty big.  If you have a child over 4th grade, you know that there is little room for large items in the backpack.


Shinzi Katoh 2 Deck Bento Box -Cute Red Hood
The last possibility is this two tiered bento box by Shinzi Katoh.  I found it on Amazon for $19.00.  The Pros: It is CUTE, CUTE, CUTE!  The retro, child inspired drawings are adorable.  It has several compartments with only a divider that is removable, and it is easy to open and close.  The cons:  There is no drink holder, and  I would probably have to make a bag to put it in (not a big deal). Also, it is pretty small, which would make it difficult to put any kind of ice pack in it.  Although I suppose if I make a bag for it, I can put an ice pack in there with the drink bottle.

So, those are my options so far.  I will have to keep you posted on what I decide and how it ends up working.  I am determined to find a solution to the baggie problem in the next couple of weeks.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tilapia with Tomato and Basil

I posted a few days ago about the basil in my garden.  I love the summer because I get to cook with basil and eventually tomatoes (no tomatoes yet though).  This is a really simple meal that looks like you spent a lot of time preparing it (my favorite kind!).  It is also really healthy, which is also a plus.



Tilapia with Tomato and Basil
5-6 Tilapia filets
1-2 eggs or egg whites
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 c. panko crumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves (or more if you like garlic)
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/4 c. white wine
2 c. tomatoes cubed
1/4 packed basil + a couple leaves for garnish if you desire
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with foil and then spray with olive oil or Pam. Beat eggs with garlic powder.  Dredge fish in eggs and then panko crumbs and then put on the cookie sheet.  Spray fish lightly with oil.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through and crumbs are starting to brown.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are starting to brown slightly and are translucent.  Deglaze with white wine and cook down slightly, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and cook until starting to soften.  Add basil and mix thoroughly then remove from heat.  Put cooked fish onto the plate and cover with tomato/basil mixture.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with basil leaves.  Ta da!!  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Introducing Soap Bubbles by Pitter Pattern Designs!!

I have just listed three different bars of soap on Etsy, and I am very excited.  We are calling our soap line Soap Bubbles.  It took me a while to decide which soap to put on the site, to test them, create packaging, and finally to get them photographed, but here they are...


















This is our Oatmeal Lavender.  It is a simple, gentle soap with lavender essential oil and oatmeal.  I like this one because the fragrance is not overwhelming, but still very nice.  The Oatmeal gives this bar of soap its natural tan color. Find this soap here.


















Next is the Chamomile Tea Party soap.  I was really happy with the way this one turned out.  The bottom layer has calendula petals that provide nice, but gentle, exfoliation.  Adding to the exfoliating effect also is the middle layer, which was achieved using annatto seed powder. The color extends up the sides of the bar.  I used the CPOP method when making this particular soap, which just means that I put it in the oven after I made it so it accelerated the curing process.  The chamomile fragrance is really nice.  Find this soap here.


















The last one is our Walk by Moonlight soap.  The slightly more dusky floral scent is really delightful.  This one is my mom's favorite scent.  This one I used some soap chunks colored with alkanet root powder and maddar root powder and I added poppy seeds for exfoliation.  There is some purple mica on top for a light shimmer.  Find this soap here.

Finally, I created some packaging for the new soap with these decorative cigar band type bands.  I am really happy with the end result.


























Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Strawberry Lemonade Pie


For the 4th of July this year, everyone wanted a cold dessert.  I made this Strawberry Lemonade Pie from Cuisine Magazine.  Since it was frozen, it was the perfect thing to cool us off (it was a really hot day!). It was also surprisingly simple to make.  If you don't like lemons and strawberries, you can easily replace the lemonade concentrate with limeade concentrate and/or use raspberries, blueberries or even cherries, depending on your preference!  My girls really liked it, but the adults thought it might be a touch too tart, so you can reduce the amount of lemonade to get it just the way you like it.


Strawberry Lemonade Pie

For the Crust:
9 oz. vanilla wafers
1/4 c. packed mint leaves
6 tbsp. butter (melted)


For the strawberry sauce:
12 oz. fresh strawberries strawberries
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. water
2. tsp. corn starch


For the filling:

2 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 can of frozen concentrate (reduce if you don't like things really tart)

Preheat oven to 350. Place vanilla wafers and mint in a food processor and run until fine crumbs.  while running, add melted butter and run until starting to stick together and clump.  Remove from processor and press into spring form cake pan (I used the side of a ramekin to press the crumbs about 3/4 up the side of the pan - it worked wonderfully).  Cook  for about 8 - 10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden.  Allow to cool completely.

Puree strawberries in a food processor with sugar.  Strain out seeds.  Put strawberry mixture in a pan over medium/high heat until boiling.  Combine corn starch and water to make a slurry.  Add slurry to strawberry mixture and allow to boil for 1 minute.  Put in the refrigerator to cool.  I put it in a bowl of ice in the freezer to speed up the cooling process.

Beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until stiff peaks form.  In a separate bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk with lemonade concentrated until just combined and not soupy (if you add the entire can of lemonade, it will be very tart.  If you don't want it super tart, reduce it to 3/4 to 1/2 a can of lemonade - we liked the extreme tartness).  Fold in whipped cream mixture.  Pour into cooled crust. Drizzle about 1/4 cup of the cooled strawberry mixture over the top of the pie.  With a skewer, swirl over the pie (I barely touch the pie and make figure eight motions to swirl). Cover with plastic wrap, letting the plastic settle on the top and place it in the freezer over night.  

When you are ready to serve, you may want to place the pie in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to soften the crust, but it does melt quickly, so be careful not to leave it out of the freezer too long.  Unmold and Enjoy!


In the spring form pan before going in the freezer.
After freezing over night, the pie is solid enough to eat.




Friday, July 2, 2010

Mmmmm, Basil

I have been neglecting my garden a bit, but I did manage to plant basil, chives and tomatoes this year.  The tomatoes and chives have a way to go, but the basil is absolutely beautiful.  I planted two varieties this year, lemon basil and the more common sweet basil.  I am really enjoying the lemon basil since this is my first time planting it.  The flavor is lemony at the onset and then more like regular basil at the finish.  The smell is divine... very lemony.  Since I love lemon, I know that I am going to love this basil.  I am anxious to use it in cooking and maybe some lemon basil pesto. 

Today, my eldest daughter and I tried it on our sandwiches (although with store bought tomatoes...) instead of lettuce and it was really tasty.  Now I just need to think of the many ways I can use this basil, since I have so much of it!  

Lemon Basil - you can see that the leaves are more narrow and smooth. Pinch it and it smells of lemon.

Sweet Basil - leaves are more lush and wrinkly

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fruity Bath Bombs



I am very excited to be introducing some of our new bath products for mom.  After trying a few recipes, I found that these are the most moisturizing and the smell divine with the Pearberry fragrance oil that I discovered.  I am wrapping each one individually so that they stay fresh and putting them in a recyclable mesh bag.  Instead of one huge bath bomb, which I find to be a little much for one bath, we are offering our sets with come with several in a more reasonable size (at least in my opinion).  I have been experimenting with natural colorants and although beet root powder is not good for cold process soap, I found that it works really well in bath bombs!
These Strawberry bath bombs come in a set of two.