Thursday, July 21, 2011

On my kitchen table

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

T-Shirt Makeover - Part 2

Here is the grand reveal!

Much better, don't ya think?  Here are the changes (if you want to see the first go around click here)

1. I took out the red stitching around the neckline
2. Cut strips out of another old white t-shirt, gathered them and sewed them around the neckline.
3. Made a skinny tie that goes right around the waist.

Not bad.  I may try to tackle another!

Quick Tip Tuesday!

T-Shirt Makeover

Player One: One Old T-Shirt
a. White Knit
b.  J. Jill
 c.  3/4 length sleeves
d. Wrap styling at bust
Player Two: Amateur Seamstress
a. Shown here sitting on the top of Stone Mountain
b. Daydreaming of giving old t-shirt a facelift
c. Nervous about working with knits
Equiptment: 12 year old Brother
Simplicity Serger (for backup)
 Game Play: It was a rough fight.  Neither side was willing to give in.  Seams were ripped apart.  Different tactics were employed by both sides.  There was the gnashing of teeth and sounds of muffled profanity.
Winners: None.  Now on to round two.

Ok, it wasn't bad for my first try. 

Problem number 1: Proportion.  Probably should have added the skirt just under the bust where the wrap ends. By the time I realized this, the fabric was already cut too short.

Problem number 2: My embellishment skills. The red stitching around neckline did not go with the overall look of dress.

Problem number 3:  I should have never removed the sleeves entirely.  It stretched the arm openings and I had to make a seam up the side to close them back.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How to Make your Kids Enjoy Their Summer Reading - A Tutorial!

My kids are avid readers.  This is something I am very happy about as thier parents are too. BBBUUUUTTTT, assigned summer reading, well that is another story.  First of all, it's assigned.  Second of all, we would all rather be swimming. 

Out comes the "Reading Bubble"!  Yep, this is my living room and no it isn't a giant jelly fish.  The kids and I actually made this 4 or 5 years ago when I was trying to institute a regular quiet time.  It worked really well then and still works now.  You can only go inside if you are going to read.
 See.  Umm, sorry about the pic of the shirtless boy.  Please excuse.
 Even a tweener likes hanging out in it.  Actually, parents do too.
1 plastic painters tarp (cheap)
2 rolls duct tape
1 fan (box or round)
1 kitchen trash bag

a. Fold the plastic tarp in half.
b. Use duct tape to seal around all edges. Just like you are making a pillow. (see pic below)

 c. Decide on where the door will be.  Place a length of duct tape vertical and horizantal to make an upside down letter "T".  (see first pic in post).  Note how the corners were reinforced.
d. Now cut through the center of the duct tape to open a tent=like door.  We also added a mail slot. (see first pic in post)
e. Take your trash bag and cut out the bottom so that your trashbag becomes a tube.  Measure the width of the trash bag.
f.  Use scissors and cut an opening through the duct tape that equals the width of the trash bag.
g.  Duct tape one end of the trash bag to the Bubble Room.
h.  Duct tape the other end of the trash bag to the fan.

Project takes about 1 hour.  Younger kids can help hand your strips of duct tape.  Older kids can help place it.  If you don't have room for one this size, simply use scissors and cut the painter's tarp down in size before taping. 

It is really fun to watch the Bubble Room inflate as it looks like a hot air balloon filling.  Small holes  in your room will not matter and if they are large holes, patch them with duct tape.

Throw in pillows and beanbags this room is made for fun! 

Word of Caution:  This is essentually a large plastic bag.  Supervise children at all times when the room is inflated or uninflated.  Do not turn off the fan if people are still inside!

Free Font Download: Honey Script

I love this quote.  Mainly because my students are always getting on to me for quickly yanking out their flash drives. 

I love this font also!  It is called Honey Script and you can download for free here!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's Christmas in July! Freezer Canning Salsa

 I love this picture.  I can't believe I took it. So I have super-sized it, because there won't be another like this for a long time.
This is how I spent my morning.  I love salsa and the hotter the better!  I do have a favorite recipe that makes beaucoups (that's french) amounts of tasty salsa which I then freeze til I want it.

1 can 28oz. whole tomatoes (with juice)
2 cans 10oz. Rotel Original
1-2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 c. chopped sweet onion
1-2 jalapeno peppers - seeded and chopped
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. papricka
1 c. cilantro - chopped
juice of one lime

 Dump all the above goodies into a large bowl and I mean large.  Then, in batches, process the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.  How long you process depends on how chunky you like your salsa.
 Next, wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse and let dry on a clean towel.  To ensure good sanitizing, you could boil jars and the 2 part lids.  I usually use half-pint freezer-safe jars.  The freezer-safe part is really important. 
 Fill your jars.  Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe and spills around the rim.  Place on the lids and pop into the freezer.  Salsa will be good for up to a year.
UUmmm...yes, I could just pour this into freezer safe bags.  But I like the convience of pulling out a jar, allowing it to thaw and off we go.  I do not have to take the time to repackage the salsa during the busy holiday season. 

Oh, and about that holiday season thing, we usually get most of ours way before then.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hemming Jeans - A Sewing Tutorial Test Run

Soooo, I return from a glorious week at the beach to this note from my sister-in-law and a brand new pair of jeans.

 Here in Georgia we would then add, "Well, bless her heart."

I really dislike hemming pants, but I especially dislike hemming jeans.  My sister-in-law, like me, has short legs.  In addition to my other sister-in-laws(6) and mother-in-law (1).  Sooo, I guess you could say I get plenty of hemming business.  (Say it together now, "Well, bless your heart.")

The thing I hate about hemming jeans is that you can tell they have been hemmed!  I have several different methods and thread types, but I cannot duplicate that factory look. 

Anyway, one day just sittin' around looking at a few of my favorite blogs, I run across this tutorial:

Cool! So I tried it!  And you wanna know something?  I am pretty pleased with the result!  I have a few details to add so if your jeans wearer is not with you, you still know how to adjust the measurements.

So here are the original jeans.  Marked so sweetly with a pin.

 So I first measured the distance from the bottom of the hem to the marked length.  As you can see, the length to remove is 3.25 inches. (Yes, I do convert to decimal and no I am not european.  It is just easier to plug into my calculator that way.)
 Next, I measure the length of the current hem.  Please take note of my cool note-taking ability.  Anyway, I think it measured .75 inches.
 Subtract the two numbers.  Ta Dah!
 Continue following the tutorial from step #3.  So I divided my 2.5inches by 2 and got 1.25 inches.  1.25inches is the measurement I used to pin the jeans.
 Keep following the tutorial.  Using a zipper foot will make your life a lot easier by the way so don't ignore that instruction. 

So the one change I made.  On the inside of the leg, I simply tacked the fold to the jeans.  Just a couple of rounds...nothing major.  Tie a knot and cut.  There ya go!
 Not bad, huh?  I have dropped them off at my sister-in-law's house.  I informed her of a new technique and for her to give me some feedback.  My only concern is the extra bulk of fabric at the bottom.  If it is an issue, I will go back and simple cut the fold out and serge the edges to prevent fraying. 

Thank you so much for your attention class!  You can find this well-written and illustrated tutorial at  Sew Much Ado.  Thank you Abby for allowing me to use your information!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quick Tip Tuesday

I want to share with you something my husband and I do to save on dinning out cost and calories!
 It's called...Split the Plate! Just think of how many times you eat out and leave food on the plate or leave miserably full.

Mexican and Japanese restaurants are known for their food abundance.  In fact, I am usually one big corn chip before my food even gets to the table. 

Word of caution:  Don't do this at a restaurant you are visiting for the first time.  We did this at the beach last spring and really didn't have enough food.  Had to order more! 

Have a great day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Half Marathon...Why must you keep calling my name?

Relatively speaking, I am a new runner. With only a year under my belt, I am still learning a whole lot about the sport. Such as....1 mile never gets easy! (I'll give you a list of the things I have learned about running in another post).

It is a long story why I began running, well not really, so here goes:
1. The bod has changed over the last few years.

2. Ummm, I guess number 1 really says it all.

Luckily, I have a fabulous spouse who said that not only did he support me in my new endeavor, he would join me. He also said not to buy any new running shoes until I had stuck with it for at least 6 months. Perhaps that was my motivation.
I would definitly like to persuade you to try running. It is usually the one and only really healthy thing I do for me and only me. The rest days are absolutely devine as well!

The supportive husband and I used this system to build up for our first 5K race.


It takes you from this

To this

Ok, that maybe a tiny exageration, but it is a relatively painless run/walk method to build up your endurance.

Back to my original idea. A half-marathon has been haunting my dreams. I don't know why, it's not like I enjoy running sooooo much that I want to do it for 2 or more hours! Ha, I still look like this when I finish 4 miles:

How will I ever make it through 13.1 miles? Well, I did it anyway...paid my entry fee. Please follow me along as I train for my first half-marathon!