We decided to split our craft day between this project and cooking. Sadly, one of our MOPS friends has a four-year-old son who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. We wanted to cook some freezer meals for her and another family who also has a family member with cancer to have on hand. The week before, we picked three recipes: beef and cheese enchiladas, a chicken and rice casserole, and a pizza soup recipe I will share in the future because it was sooo easy and smells sooo yummy.
It took us less than three hours to make a dozen dinners! It was much more fun cooking alongside a friend on a casual Monday morning rather than by myself during a stressful evening. We plan to do it again every other month. We ended up with three meals for each of our own families and six to give to others. My family ate the chicken casserole that night and will be eating the enchiladas tonight. I love it! If you've never done mass freezer meal cooking, I highly recommend it. In this instance, we could make four servings of soup but only dirty up one large pot, and by cooking four pounds of ground beef at once as opposed to over four different nights, we saved not just cleaning-up time in washing only one pan once but in cooking time. And we worked together to create our three-meal menu, so now I have a new recipe added to my collection and my BFF has two. There are seriously so many benefits to cooking this way.
Once our meals were finished and put into their disposable pans and freezer bags and after the kitchen was cleaned, we were able to focus on our turkey projects. I bought our shirts at Wal-Mart for just under $4 and had been to JoAnn's already and bought three fat quarters of fabric for 99 cents each during a sale, and we decided to use leftover fabric from the pillowcase dresses we made this past summer as well as our candy corn dress from the fall. I also had a package of Steam-A-Seam2, which is a double stick fusible web I had bought from Hobby Lobby for about $5 a while ago in hopes of learning how to sew on appliques. Using the instructions on that package along with referencing the blogs above, we were able to create three adorable shirts very easily. There are a lot of sheets of fusible web in this packet, and we only used about 1 1/2 for this project, so we have lots of material for future appliques, which will greatly reduce the overall cost of this particular project, but even if we never use any of the left-over material, these three shirts cost less than $7 each.
The appliques were ironed on, which according to several blogs, would be enough, but we wanted to stitch around the edges to ensure the appliques would hold up in the wash. However, it was time for my BFF to pick up her daughter from preschool. On my own, I decided to sew the turkey's body with the zig zag stitch that most closely resembles embroidery on my machine. I then went around the beak and feathers with a straight stitch, figuring if the feathers frayed, it would just look like fluffy feathers. It was my first attempt, but despite the flaw at the bottom of the turkey and a less than perfectly straight stitch on the beak, I'm pleased. As long as no one leans in too close to look at my daughter's belly, they won't notice, right?
The next day, my daughter happily wore her new turkey shirt, and I was pleased with how it turned out. That evening, I realized it was time to go through her drawers and pull out the summer clothes and other items she had outgrown. I found her blue onesie she wore for the Fourth of July with her patriotic tutu that was a size 24 mos. It would be perfect for one of my one-year-old nephews. I had some matching fabric and found this cute necktie onesie tutorial and created a quick little outfit. I'm really loving this applique process! Even though I decided to stitch around the turkey, I saw in this tutorial that I could fold over the edges of the tie to ensure it wouldn't fray, so I gave that a try and also sewed a straight stitch around it to create a finished look. I got the fat quarter on sale for $0.75 a while ago and used just a small portion of it, so I made this cute little outfit for almost nothing.
Now that I feel confident with appliques, I plan on using them a lot more. In fact, the next project my BFF and I plan on making is an adorable Christmas t-shirt dress complete with a Christmas-themed applique. We still need to pick a date for that project, but I promise to have a detailed tutorial on that creation!
UPDATE: My daughter has worn her turkey shirt twice already, and the turkey has held up very well in the washing machine each time. I wash it inside out and let it air dry.
I'll be sharing this post at some of these parties here.