Wednesday, June 24, 2009

4th of July T-shirt Wreath - Tutorial

I was trying to think of some fun decor I could make for the 4th of July and as I looked at the empty hook on our front door, it shouted at me, "I need a wreath on me!" (My, what a demanding little hook that is!) :) But it was right. A nice red, white, and blue wreath would look great there. Now, how to make it? I must have seen something on someone's blog that inspired the idea, but for the life of me can't think what or where it was, but I came up with the idea of using some of my old shirts to make the wreath. AND, it just so happened that I had a red, white, and blue shirt in my old give-away pile. Granted, the red wasn't as deep or rich as I would have preferred, but beggars can't be choosers, right? And so, hi-ho, hi-ho it was off to crafting I go. And this is how it came out! I was pretty pleased with it. :)

And the best part??! This was 100% FREE! I had everything I used for this on hand! Nothing beats free decor, right?

So anyway, here's the tutorial...

-1 shirt each of red, white, and blue
-1 wire hanger
-scissors or a rotary cutter (the rotary cutter makes this go SO much faster)
-pliers (I realized after the picture that they were much needed)
-hot glue gun and sticks (again, noticed the need after the picture)
-coordinating ribbons (optional-- I didn't even end up using them)

First, untwist the top of the hanger and straighten it out. Then bend it into a nice circle. I used the rounded hook part of the hanger to make a nice loop for hanging, but you can just make it completely circular if you like. (This is where you'll likely need your pliers- in helping you bend and twist the wire around each other to close off the circle. And once I had my circle and hook in place, I used hot glue at each end of the wire to keep it from being pokey and to help everything stay put.)

Next, cut your shirts into strips that are approximately 1-2" wide by about 6-8" long (you really don't want to go any longer than that). Now, it's not an exact science, so just start cutting away! Also, you will likely only need about 1/2 of the shirt (depending on how big it is) so don't cut everything all at once. Start with half the shirt and then you could potentially save the rest for another project (or at the very least, you've saved yourself from spending unnecessary time cutting extra strips).
(In mine, I used the parts of the shirt that had print on them. I like that it reminds me that the wreath came from some of my shirts. You may not like this and therefore may just want to use the unprinted parts of the shirt.)

Next you just start tying the strips onto the hangar. (Only do a single tie. Double tying to create a knot will leave you with too much bulkiness and the strip stays on just fine without a knot.) Keep tying, keep tying, and when you're tired of that... tie some more. :) There's no rhyme or reason. Just put some strips on there in varying orders until it's a nice, full wreath.
I actually ended up tying some on top of each other once I had gotten all the way around the wreath because it didn't seem full enough to me. So I just kept going until I liked it. :) (This is where you could also add some strips of the ribbon if you wanted. I just didn't want to.) And here it is!
But it still seemed like it was lacking something...

So out came some wooden stars that I had in a drawer, and some white sheer ribbon. I painted the stars red and blue...

hot glued them to the ribbon, and tied the ribbons onto the wreath...

and Ta-Da! It's done!

Happy 4th of July everybody!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Fun

I had a lot of fun making my hubby's Father's Day presents this year (this is the first time I've actually made him something as a present... I think). I came across this tie tutorial from 'the purl bee' and it just got my creative juices flowing. I figured I could make a tie and then have the girls put their handprints on it to add some sweet personalization from them to their daddy. And then I thought it would be cute to not only make a tie, but to also make something for the girls to wear so they could match their daddy when we went to church that day. So the oldest got yet another simple skirt, and the new baby got a cute little hair bow to wear. (I was going to make a skirt for the baby as well, but I ran out of time and needed something fast, so in came the bow idea.) And here's how it all turned out:

And here's the gang, sportin' the goods... :)

They're so darn cute!!

...haha, if you notice, the tie is a bit short on the under side. Um, ya... that's a combination of using the unrevised version of the tie pattern (the revised pattern is apparently a bit longer) as well as not taking into account that I have an extra tall hubby. Lesson learned. From now on, all ties need about 10 inches added to them. :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Finally Done!

Holy cow. I have been two buttons away from finishing this cute little clutch bag for about a month now. Why can I not just sit down and sew on two buttons?! I'll tell you why. It's because I have a strict policy that I MUST have at least 10 different projects going on at the same time, at all times. So, until I picked up another project, I couldn't finish this one. (anyone buying it?!) Okay, truthfully... I'm just a super big slacker who has major procrastination issues. :) But here it is! It's finally finished! The cute little bag for my other SIL, Annie. Hopefully she likes it. This one was designed specifically with her style in mind (so if she hates it, that just shows how observant I am regarding people's styles and tastes, doesn't it!). :)
Anyway, funny story about it... I was sitting in my craft/sewing/computer room putting the buttons on while my hubby was on the computer, and when I was done I showed it to him and his comment was, "it looks like the 'money' on those Geico commercials." (you know, those SUPER DUPER ANNOYING commercials with the DUMB song that gets stuck in your head??!) But I gotta say, when I look at this next picture... I totally see it! :)

"It always feels like somebody's watchin me!"

Ahh... two cute little bags. Don't they just look like they're going to be good friends? :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

Mmm! Mm! Good!

Okay... ever since I went to a food storage activity night and heard a comment about how we are so stuck on processed foods these days... how we buy these "granola bars" that we think are so healthy and yet are packed with HFC (high-fructose corn syrup) and other crazy stuff and we buy "fruit snacks" that really have nothing to do with fruit, etc. I have been thinking about making my own homemade granola bars (I'm still sticking with fruit snacks, though! What can I say? I'm still somewhat of a kid at heart :)). I started checking for some recipes online but still found a bunch of corn starch, sugar, etc in all these bars and never really settled on anything. And then I came across THIS recipe. After reading through some of the rave comments for them, I decided these had to be worth a shot. And seriously! They're so good! They're way better than what you buy in the store, way cheaper, and way healthier! Is there a down side to this?! ...Other than that now I will be having to make my granola bars instead spending two seconds to throw them in my grocery cart? ...but actually, that's half the fun too! And really it is, because this recipe is so versatile that you can customize it to be pretty much anything you want! I didn't have all the things the recipe called for, so I just used what I had on hand and they turned out fabulous. SO... give them a try. Click on the link for the original recipe, (plus she has great pictures for each step!) but here's the recipe that I made...

Homemade Granola Bars
-2 cups oats
-3/4 cup flax seed (half of that was milled and half just regular seeds)
-1/2 cup coconut
-1/4 cup chopped pecans
-3/4 cup chopped walnuts
-2/3 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup honey
-4 Tbsp butter
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp Kosher salt
-about 1 cup dried fruit (I used Craisins);

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
-Mix the oats, nuts, flax seed, and coconut on a baking dish (with sides) and toast them in the oven for about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don't get burned.
-While they're toasting, get a 9x13 glass baking dish and line it with parchment paper (you can use wax paper with a nonstick spray if you don't have parchment, but be aware that you may end up having to pick wax paper out of your granola bars! -don't say I didn't warn you!)
-Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer, stirring constantly. (Don't forget to check on your toasting mixture as well!)
-Once it comes to a simmer, remove it from heat. And your grain/nut mixture should be done now too, so take it out of the oven (and you can turn the oven off too... we're done using it).
-Throw the toasted mixture into a large bowl and power the melted mixture on top, along with your dried fruit. And mix, mix, mix.
-Mix some more. :) You want to make sure that everything gets coated with the "glue".
-Dump your granola mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread it out as evenly as possible.
-Using another piece of parchment (or wax paper, but again, watch out for sticking), press down HARD all over the top of the granola. You want to compact it together so the bars won't fall apart when you cut them.
-Wait 2-3 hours, or until the granola has completely cooled.
-Turn the granola onto a large cutting board and peel away what is now the top layer of parchment paper.
-Cut the granola into bars by firmly pressing down with a big cutting knife (not sawing). You can make the bars whatever size you like, but if you make them the general "granola bar" size, you should be able to get 18-20 bars out of this.
-Finally, you can either wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap so they're ready to grab and go, or you can just store them in an airtight container (with a piece of parchment placed between any layers).
Ta-da! Homemade granola bars. Enjoy! They're tasty!
Also, if you read through the comments on the original recipe, there are options for substituting things like agave syrup for the sugar, or reducing the amount of sugar and honey and adding some peanut butter instead... stuff like that. Really, you can just play with it and make it to your tastes! Have fun!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yet ANOTHER Simple Skirt

Getting tired of these? Not me! :) I thoroughly enjoy making them because they're quick and simple so I can see the finished product fast and enjoy the fruits of my labors. (I'm all about the instant gratification... patience is definitely not one of my stronger virtues.) :) But anyway, this one turned out pretty darn cute. It's a gift for one of my nieces. I made it with the intent of her being able to use it for the 4th of July. Fun, huh? But you should have seen the DRAMA when Dixie found out she didn't get to keep this one. :) Maybe I'll have to make a twin of it for her... or at least something similar. She needs a 4th of July skirt too.

...And I'm just now realizing as I look at these pictures that I forgot to take the pacifier out of her mouth. Oops! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another Simple Skirt

Okay... It's as simple as this: I. LOVE. this. skirt. I didn't even buy this fabric with the intent of making a skirt out of it, but when Dixie started wearing the other skirt I made for her non-stop, I figured it was time for a second one. It really is funny because she will go dig the skirt (the original one) and a shirt out of the dirty laundry EVERY day, bring it to me, and say "skewrt?" ('skirt') with this totally precious/innocent look on her face, and I can't help but let her wear it... for a third day in a row. So much for cleanliness. :) Thankfully it's just skirts in general that she really likes and not that exact skirt, so when I made this new one, she was pleased as punch to wear it too. What a little girly girl she's becoming. Well, now I can at least get the other skirt washed! :) I think I'll have to make more. :)

Did I mention that I love this skirt (and the little girl that goes with it)? :)

Super Duper Cute Super Hero Cape!

So, I won a giveaway from this cute crafty blog, The Thrifty Chick. (Ya... she's about my one and only reader on this blog and I feel like we've practically become friends through our blog comments. :)) When she was doing a super hero cape giveaway, even though I didn't technically win, she still LET me win and made Dixie a cape anyway. WHAT A SWEETIE! 
Anyway, the cape arrived last Thursday, but due to some Dixie Drama, I haven't been able to get any pictures of her in it until today (and even these were taken in a pinch... but at least they show the super cuteness of the cape). So, sorry for no cute poses, but I'll take what I can get. :)