Friday, September 30, 2011

Circle Shirt Tutorial

Circle Shirt Tutorial---also known as the project that took three tries, nearly made me throw my serger out the window, led to the discovery of water soluble stabilizer, and had me so frustrated I wanted to scream.

I saw a great circle shirt tutorial on Pinterest and thought I’d give it a try.

It looked so easy.

So I found some pretty floral sheer fabric on the cheap rack at WalMart and thought it would be so pretty and flowy. I cut it out and got out my serger to narrow roll hem the edges. That’s when the hair pulling and temper tantrum began. I just couldn’t get the machine to stitch right. I read the manual. I adjusted the tension. I looked online for advice. I even cleaned and oiled that blasted machine. Finally I stomped my feet, gnashed my teeth and gave up for a few days. I bought more fabric...still a little sheer, but cotton and not slippery like the first fabric. I decided I needed some kind of stabilizer to help the fabric go through. I thought to myself, “I wish they made stabilizer that just dissolved when I washed it.” And guess what? They DO make dissolving stabilizer! What a discovery! The stuff I found at Joann’s was called Sulky Water Soluble Stabilizer. I thought it would solve my problems for sure.

I brought it home and fed it through my serger, only to hear something snap. It was only a very critical METAL part of the lower looper. Great. Another tantrum ensued.

So I gave up and bought a jersey knit fabric from WalMart for $2/yd. I cut out the shirt, sewed two lines and tah-dah! All my problems solved. So simple. Why, oh why, didn’t I just get jersey knit in the first place?!?!

Want to try the circle shirt? The easy version that only took a half hour to make?
Here is the tutorial:

Materials:
- 1 yard 60” wide jersey knit or other knit fabric that does not fray. You can use 45" fabric, but your shirt will be pretty short.
- Matching thread
- Yep, that’s it!

Step 1: Fold the fabric in half and square up the edges so that all the corners are 90 degree angles.

Step 2: Round off the two bottom edges. An easy trick to make sure both sides are even: round one side, then move the scrap you just cut off over to the other side to use as your guide.
Step 3: Cut a neck hole. I used a favorite tank as a guide.
I cut through both thicknesses along the back edge, then moved the tank out of the way to cut the front part through only the top layer of fabric. You can get creative here and cut any shape neck you want…a boat neck would be cute or something big and gaping. Whatever floats your boat. haha.

To make sure both sides were symmetrical, I folded the shirt down the center the other direction and evened out the curves around the neck:
Step 4: Sew two lines up the sides to fit around your middle. My fabric is not super stretchy, so I left it pretty loose. I also didn’t sew perfectly straight because my mid-section is not straight. I curved the line to fit the curves of my body. You are done! I told you it was easy…as long as you use no-fray knit fabric.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Convert Old Mason Jars

Clever tip of the day: Convert an old canning jar into a container with a pour spout!

I buy my yeast in bulk because I make a lot of bread. It is so much cheaper than buying the tiny jars or individual packets. The yeast pictured below is a 1 pound brick and it cost $2 or $3. That is a huge savings. The only bummer about bulk yeast is how to store it easily. Well, listen up, friends, because I have the solution:


Tah-dah! A pour top jar!





Just chop the top off an empty cardboard salt container, cut it to the size of a canning lid and use the canning ring to screw it in place.





Then you can put the whole thing in the back of the fridge and the next time you bake, you can easily pour the yeast into your measuring spoons. Plus, the jar is see-through so you can keep track of how much you have left.

This would also be great for storing spices, baking ingredients, or powder laundry detergent bought in bulk.

So the only question left is,
what are you going to put in your pour-spout jar?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Halloween Ideas: A Sculpted Jack-O-Lantern

If you are looking for something a little different for your jack-o-lantern this year, try sculpting it! Just use a vegetable peeler to get the outer orange part off and then carve into it to make facial features. When it's dark, the light shines through the peeled areas and looks really awesome.


Our sculpted Jack-O-Lantern:


I also saw a great tip on Pinterest about spraying your pumpkin with a bleach/water mixture to keep it from molding as quickly. Gotta love Pinterest!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Super Saturday Craft Ideas

What could be better than crafting? Crafting with friends, of course!

The ladies at my church always get together for a big craft day in the Fall. Do you have anything like this in your area? Below are some ideas of crafts you could make. They are all fairly simple and inexpensive and could be completed in a reasonable amount of time. If you have questions about how to plan for a group craft, just leave me a comment. I'd love to help out.


Matchbox Advent Calendar



Fabric Flowers



Homemade Christmas Ornaments



Decorative Kitchen Towels





Nativity Finger Puppets





Some other helpful links:


Tip Junkie's Super Saturday Ideas


Craftaholics Anonymous Super Saturday Ideas

Friday, September 23, 2011

Halloween Ideas: Mummy Cupcakes




These cupcakes are so easy to make. I just baked regular chocolate cupcakes, streaked them with white frosting to look like bandages and added green frosting eyes. Kinda cute, huh?!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Baby Shower Bouquet TUTORIAL

Remember the baby shower burp rag bouquet I made a while back?






Here is the long-overdue tutorial!

Materials:

· burp rags, receiving blankets, or bibs (to roll up)
· florist foam
· wooden dowels cut to different lengths
· a flower pot (very easy to find at thrift stores)
· gallon sized ziplock bags with the zipper cut off, cello wrap, or clear decorative treat bags
· straight pins
· clear scotch tape
· ribbon
· Moss, grass, shredded paper filler, etc.

1. Roll up the burp rags into very tight rolls and secure them with a straight pin (you should warn mommy-to-be that the pins are there).

2. Attach the dowels to the inside of the plastic with a piece of clear tape.

3. Place the fabric roll inside the bag on top of the stick and tie off tightly with a ribbon.

4. Place a piece of florist foam inside the flower pot and poke the dowels into the foam to hold them upright.

5. Arrange at different heights, add some kind of decorative filler to hide the foam and tah-dah! A super cute gift that doubles as a decoration at the shower!

Another great option would be to roll up a flannel blanket to put in the pot. Then you wouldn't need florist foam or decorative filler and the mommy-to-be would get an extra blanket! Just roll the blanket tight so there's enough support to hold the dowels upright.


Pin It

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cute Kitchen Towels That Won't Fall Down

With little ones around, it seems that our kitchen towels are always on the floor. So when I saw this tutorial from Pin.Sew.Press, I fell in love. What a cute solution! I made these as a gift, but I definitely need some for my kitchen next!


I got my towels from WalMart. They are really soft. A two-pack was about $3.50. The only other supplies needed are two yards of ribbon per towel and two strips of fabric about 3 inches tall and the width of the towel. Yay for no more towels puddled on the floor below the oven!



Hmm... I may need to do this in the bathroom too...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Halloween Ideas: Countdown Calendar

Hey everyone! School is now in full swing and it's time to think about cooler weather, falling leaves, apple cider and best of all, Halloween! So for the next few weeks I'm going to be posting (or reposting) some of my favorite Halloween ideas.



First up, a

Halloween Countdown Calendar

since this one needs to be done soon so you can use it all month.


To find out more details, here's the original post.







Happy Fall, Y'all!

Monday, September 5, 2011

How To Can Green Beans

Today I'm going to post about something new... canning! Over Labor Day, we visited my in-laws and I knew it was my chance to get some hands-on experience. My mother-in-law is a domestic diva. She cooks, cans, gardens, cleans, quilts and sews like a pro. She picked the fifth round of beans from her amazing garden and asked if I wanted them. Of course I said yes. So we spent the afternoon snapping beans and canning. And it was much easier than I thought it would be.

Ready to learn how?

Equipment Needed:
-Pressurized canner. Because green beans are a low acid food, they can't be cooked in a normal pot like most fruit and tomato based foods can. A pressurized canner allows the food to get hotter to kill any bad stuff in there that would make the beans go bad.
- Glass pint canning jars with screw-on rings
- Canning lids (the flat part that goes inside the rings
- Canning salt
- Magnet
- Canning tongs
- Cooling rack
- Lots of fresh, delicious green beans

Step 1: Snap the pointy ends off of the beans and break them into about two inch pieces or whatever size you prefer. Wash the beans.
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Step 2: Gather jars and wash them. Place 1/2 teaspoon canning salt in the bottom of each pint jar. Regular salt is iodized and makes canned goods turn brown, so it's worth it to buy canning salt to preserve the beautiful green color. Here is the kind we used:
Step 3: Pack each jar full of beans. Pack them as tightly as possible, leaving a one inch head space. That roughly works out to filling it to the line at the top of the can.

Step 4: Fill each jar with water, again leaving a one inch head space.
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Step 5: Start the water in your pressurized canner boiling on high heat. This big pot only had about an inch of water in the bottom. I would read the instructions that came with your pressure canner to find out how much water you should put in there--usually about three quarts.

Step 6: Place the canning lids in to warm up a bit. This helps soften the rubber to insure that all cans get a good seal. We used this little blue magnet-on-a-stick to pull the warm lids out of the water. If you don't have one, I'm sure you can improvise.

Step 7: Put a lid on each jar and screw the ring on as tight as you can. Place the jars carefully into the water. In large canners, you can stack them two high. Put the lid on the canner and seal it up. On this particular canner, you leave the little black cap off the steam vent for now. Step 8: Set a timer for 8 minutes from the time you hear steam whistling out of the top of the canner: Place the pressure gauge on and when it starts to wiggle, turn the heat down to medium (4/10) and set the timer again for 20 minutes. Differente elevations require different pressure. Because I was canning at 5,000 feet, I needed 15 pounds of pressure. Check with your local extension office to find out what pressure you need.
Step 9: After 20 minutes, do NOT open the lid of your canner. If you do, hot water, shards of glass and your precious beans will explode into your face. Instead, remove the pot from the burner and wait a few hours until the pressure release valve goes completely down and does not pop back up when pressed lightly with your finger. Then it is safe to remove the lid on your canner.
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Step 10: Using canning tongs, carefully remove each jar and place it on a cooling rack. Be sure to keep them all upright and not to jostle them too much. While the jars cool, they make a popping noise each time a lid seals. You can tell if a lid is sealed because the center bulges down/in a little bit. If after a few hours, a few cans have not sealed, place a new lid on and do the cooking process over again.

Here's the finished product:


With three adults and one two year old helping, it took about an hour to snap all the beans. It took about 40 minutes to prepare all the cans. Then it was just cook and cool time. The freshness of the product and the satisfaction of knowing I canned the food myself (with a lot of help) are definitely reason enough to do this again next year.


And just a side note, don't you love the orange countertops? You should see the bedroom that has matching shag carpet! Hee hee...


If you have questions, I'll do my best to answer them. Well, in all honesty, I'll call my mother-in-law and ask her and then tell you what she said.


Happy canning!

Pleated Throw Pillows

Whenever I look at the price tag of pillows, I am shocked. $30 or more for a pillow? I think not! So last Christmas when my sister-in-law was giving bedding to my mother-in-law, I knew I would be sewing pillows to go along with it. Since I forgot to take pictures before I gave them to her, I snagged a few shots while visiting this weekend. Here they are:
Pleated pillows with envelope style backs so they can be removed for washing. They are white, after all. And don't mind the mediocre pictures. Low light, sloppy photographing, un-ironed pillowcases and general vacation laziness all played a part.
This is one of those projects that look complicated but aren't really hard to make. I bought inexpensive broadcloth from Joann's on sale for around $2/yard. I used this disappearing ink pen and drew lines on the fabric two inches apart (this measurement can change depending on what look you want. I went with two inches because that's how wide my ruler is, so it made marking the lines really easy.) I folded along the lines, going all in the same direction, then tacked the edges down. Then I cut the fabric down to the size of the pillow form. Next I made the envelope back (tutorial) and sewed the two sides together. Easy! Thirty minutes of work saved me about $20 for each pillow. Totally worth it!
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