Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Toy Artillery Belt and Holsters

Note: 1/16/13  - this blog post will be updated soon with a real goal is before the end of February 2013.

Our summer activities include a project for each kid of his/her choosing. My one son chose a belt (that went around and over the shoulder) that would hold as many of his play weapons as possible.

The general instructions are below (although you might have to click on the file to make it full sized and readable - or you can get the pdf.) This is not intended as a tutorial, although I could make it one later if someone needed it - and asked.  Several weapons/objects  (like the light saber and walkie talkie) had hooks that could rest on the belt. Several others needed holsters - specifically the little cheap dart gun and the Nerf Maverick dart gun - Little bullet holders for the nerf darts were, therefore, needed too. Those two holsters and bullet holders are what I have patterns for below. (There is an inch square on each pattern piece to help get the sizing right.) The nerf gun holster can be pieced together using the guidelines (pieces are marked for top, bottom, right and left).

 I doubt anyone uses my blog. Hence, the reason I didn't bother with a real tutorial - just a quick pattern and general instructions - so don't judge me by my poor, quickly written instructions! Good luck.

update 2/5/2013
Added help:
For making buttonholes on the holster to attach it to a belt.

Put it on a Belt -  create 'button holes' big enough to accommodate a belt
- a later time making this, I made a casing for a belt by folding over fabric at the top.

1. Hold the holster up to the belt where you want it to sit and mark vertically where you want the buttonholes to be. Also mark little horizontal slashes for where the belt edges are (so you know how tall to make the buttonholes).

 NOTE - You could do this with a buttonhole function on the sewing machine - espcially if you have the 4 step kind, but my current machine has  a 1 - step button hole so I insert a button into the buttonhole foot, align it (that's the tricky part), drop the foot, and hold down the pedal...occasionally 'convincing' the thick layers of fabric to keep moving.  I can't use a 1-step for this project because the foot will not accomodate a button as large as 1" or more.

2. Set your machine's zig zag stitch to a narrow setting (test it out on a scrap of fabric to see what you like) and to a very short length (so that the zigs touch the zags nearly in straight lines sideways...sometimes called a satin stitch.

If you have a 4-step button hole function, just set your machine to that - and start on that edge. Change which step as you go around your line.

3. Start at one end of the line you've drawn (you'll need to extend the hole a little longer than the line so the belt goes through comfortably) - Zigzag down the  side of the line - keeping it straight.

4. Turn the fabric and repeat on the other side of the line - leaving only the drawn line exposed.

5. Now set your zig zag to it's shortest possible length (or drop the feed dogs - those are the little jagged metal things that move up and down in a circular motion under where you feed the fabric - you don't want the fabric to move, so you flip a switch to turn them off). And set the zig zag wide enough to go across the 2 parallel rows of zig zag stitches plus the tiny gap in between. (If yours doesn't go this wide, then just as wide as it will go.)

6. Now, with the zig zags/line running in the direction from you towards machine, align the end of the line under the needle. Sew back and forth a bunch (fabric shouldn't move - a bunch of sideways stitches will 'cap' the end of your buttonhole to keep it from continuing to tear once we actually make the hole.  Do this same thing at the opposite end of the line.

7. Your line should now be completely surrounded by stitches.  Place a straight pin at each end of your button hole, slightly closer together than the end stitches.  CAREFULLY, with your seam ripper, insert the pointed end through the fabric in between the two pins, and slowly rip open a buttonhole. (The pins should stop you from ripping right through the opposite end of the button hole.) You can also start with a seam ripper to make a small hole and then cut with scissors. Whatever works for you.

Done (make 2 buttonholes so that the belt can go in one and out the other...and the farther you space them the less the holster will flop around).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls



First the recipe for easy copy/paste and printing…

My Mom’s Cinnamon Rolls – 60 minute recipe (approximately)


2 pkts yeast

1 ½ cup warm milk

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp salt

¼ cup butter, melted

4 ½ cup plain flour

2T Butter

Brown Sugar



2-3 c Powdered sugar

2-3 T Milk

Vanilla (I leave this out – probably just a few drops if you like it)

Mix yeast, milk, and sugar and let sit 5 minutes. Add salt, butter, and flour. Mix (*don’t knead) and set for 25 minutes. Roll out and rub with melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up and slice about ½” thick. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 375° for 10 minutes.

Mix icing ingredients to desired consistency and drizzle over baked rolls.


So, the recipe with pictures now.

Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in microwave for about 2 minutes (I’ve used 2%, skim, and powdered…all work, 2% was used here). Test with your finger. It should be warm/hot, but not burn you. If it’s too hot, let it cool so you don’t kill the yeast. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 4 1/2 tsp (or 2 pkts) yeast. Stir and let sit 5 minutes.

I forgot to take a picture here…It just looks all frothy and light brownish on top and liquidy underneath. (If it doesn’t you probably have dead yeast…or you killed it with hot milk.) I’ll add a picture here later.

After 5 minutes, add in everything else (1 tsp salt, 1/4 cup butter, and 4 1/2 cups flour) and mix. (really, no kneading – I do stir pretty tough to help the flour all stir in well.) cover (I toss a paper towel over the top) and let rise 25 minutes.

The dough right after mixing:


After Rising (25 minutes):


After 25 minutes, I roll it out to about …24” by the width of (normal) aluminum foil.

Melt 2T butter in microwave, pour on dough (see my ‘line of butter’), spread around (I use my hands for all this – you can use a spoon if you like). Drop on all the brown sugar you like, and spread evenly. Sprinkle on the cinnamon. (I don’t measure these last two – I just put on what I think looks good.)


Now, you’re ready to roll. You can use the foil to help get the rolling started, but use your hands to finish or it will be too loosely rolled.


Now – on to the shape…

My mom uses a knife to cut hers in 1/2” slices. My sister in law cuts hers into about 12 rolls and just cuts from one end to the other (like my mom). I am a little methodical about how I do things - and the first question my kids ask is “How many do I get?” So I’m going for quantity and I have to cut it in a logical method.

So, first in half…then into fourths…then into 8ths – this is all halving over and over again)


Then each 8th into 3 rolls (24 total) – notice they aren’t perfectly identical in size – and that doesn’t bother me – and they are ‘falling over’…it’s ok.

However,sometimes the ‘squished roll’ does bother me…so when it does, I uncoil and recoil. Other times, I just have oval shaped rolls.  Ideally, you could use dental floss (not the mint flavor – plain) and they wouldn’t squish, but I just use a knife or pizza cutter.


Before and after baking: (once you have them on the pan, you can cover and put them in the fridge over night to bake the next morning…so you get just the rolls and not the work for breakfast)


I bake them at 375 for about 10 minutes. (This was perfect for my last oven…this one usually takes longer than 10 minutes.)

While the rolls are cooling, make the icing.  For the icing, mix 2-3 cups powdered sugar and 1T of milk at a time (about 2-4 T total) to get to the consistency you like. I get it to about this consistency. My mom’s recipe says drizzle…I should probably change that to “drown” for my cookbook!