Thursday, March 31, 2011

Clifford Blanket

My aunt gave me some Clifford fabric and I made a little baby/toddler blanket.

It has a green fleece backing.

I think it will be a baby gift, but when I laid it out to fold it all up, my little guy decided he would lie down on it. He wasn't all that interested in it after this, so I don't think it'll cause too many problems for me to give it as a gift!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Newborn Pants

I used the pattern from Made By Rae to make these pants. I did add a ruffle to the bottom of the girly version I made. I did not hem any of them...I used old t-shirts and was going to hem the boy version, but I was afraid they'd be too short!

(We have babies with long legs around here!) Since they're t-shirts, they won't fray.
For the boy version, I did two small fabric stamps on other t-shirt scraps and sewed them onto the pants like patches.
Here is the back:

To start the pants, I cut two pieces of the pattern just like it says. I also cut a few 1" strips of fabric for the ruffles.

I sewed the intended ruffle strips together at the ends, pressed them flat, and then gathered them (using the lowest tension on the machine and the longest running stitch length.)

Then, I attached the gathered strip (sewing right sides together) to the bottom of the pant leg. (Note, it is the shorter inseam of the two. I did it incorrectly the first time and had to remove it!)

After attaching the ruffle, I pressed it on the right side of the pants to make it flat. Then I just followed the rest of the tutorial and sewed the front and back seams.

I finished up by sewing around both legs. I clipped the seams to remove excess fabric.
I followed the pattern to fold the waist over twice and then added 13.5" of elastic. I pressed them to crisp up the seams. The flower was made using the same tutorial I posted here.

My pictures are lit terribly because I took them all at night! Please excuse the lighting problem!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DIY Smoothie

I love smoothies. They are really easy to make at home .... To think that fast food places and restaurants charge $3 or more for these when they're so easy to make at home makes me crazy! Also, mine uses all 'real' food, no added sugar (I did add a little honey, see below.)

I've determined the secret to great smoothies made at home without some sort of thick fruit sweetener.

Come closer, I'll tell you...

Frozen bananas.

As long as you've got a frozen banana in your blender for smoothie making, you don't need ice. Here's how I made my smoothie today (it served about two people plus a small child):

2 frozen bananas
(When you freeze bananas, peel them, cut them into a few pieces, and put them in tupperware. They'll turn brown if you don't use them in a few days, but that's ok.
Other fruit, fresh or frozen. Today I used 5 strawberries.
2 T of peanut butter
1 cup plain yogurt (I only use yogurt that doesn't contain sugar)
a shake of cinnamon
1 t honey
1/2 cup milk

I blend it in my Vita-Mix until it is smooth! Yummy.
Satisfied snacker.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fuzzy Ribbon Baby Toy

Is it a dog or a bear?

My husband says dog. I'm pretty sure our little boy agrees. (The little guy doesn't speak all that clearly yet.)

I meant to make a bear, but it is one of my first attempts at embroidering.
I made this baby toy from my towel stash (see more about repurposing towels here, here andhere). It's nice and soft and I love the colorful ribbon. I used the tutorial found here.
So many friends are having babies and I think this would be a fun baby gift!

First Guest Post!

I am a guest poster at "Or so she says..." today! It is a repost of my fabric stamping tutorial, but check it out if you're interested!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Expressionless Snuggly Owl Trifecta

Here is the project I've been working on all week:

Not just that, but also this:

And then there's this:

What am I going to do with these things? They took a long time to make (I used the seam ripper a lot!)

Not my best photograph, but I had to laugh because it looked like they were in a lineup:
Their expressionless faces make me laugh.
I used nearly all scraps for this project!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Organizing my Scraps

My little boy helped me organize my scraps last week.
Might not look like it, but the past two times I've been to the fabric store, I haven't made any purchases. Many of the projects I've been doing lately (see here, here and here!) used scraps of t-shirts or other fabrics I already owned.

I will soon post a project I did using only a pair of $.23 pants I found at Old Navy (yes, that's 23 cents! I even took a picture of the tag!) but that's been the extent of my purchasing lately, I'm proud to say.

But the point of this post was that the scrap piles were getting out of control and I needed to de-stash before making new stashing purchases. I may purchase some new fabric soon. I would like to buy a whole group of remnants, though. I have some ideas for smaller projects. Any ideas for where I can get some? Or ribbon remnants. I have been trying to de-stash ribbon, too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Want to Make: Journals

Handmade Home is a great book and had a cute idea for a journal. I can't find it anywhere on the internet. Anyone have a link for that project?

Here's a few others in the meantime:

using scraps
pretty cover.
love this! and it uses a Trader Joe's bag...I do love that store.
easy. Made with cute cards.
Butterfly journal using scrapbook paper.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sweater Refashion Using an Old T-Shirt

I have had this sweater since 11th grade. In fact, I wore it to a dance I attended with the man who became my husband! I didn't really love it then or now, but I've always kept it.
I decided it needed an update.

I started by removing the beaded details.

Then I took a black t-shirt and cut it into 1.5" strips. I sewed the strips together to make one very long strip.

I gathered the long strip into ruffles.

This shows you how I turned the tension to the highest setting on my machine. I also used the longest running stitch. It gathered perfectly.

Starting at the back of the neck, I pinned the ruffle the entire way around the sweater. At this stage, I ended up removing the buttons. I thought it would be too hard to avoid sewing over them.

I used a lot of pins. This picture shows how I pinned the ruffle underneath (not right sides together). The stitching shows.

Here's the finished product. I also shortened the sleeves to about 10" in length. This is slightly longer than elbow length on me.

I would show you a picture of me modeling the finished product, but since I'm noticeably pregnant right now, this sweater hits me at my largest point (mid stomach) and isn't flattering at this point in my life! I'll be wearing it in the fall/winter when I'm no longer pregnant!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crinkly Toys for Babies and Pattern

I love making baby things. One fabric I have has whales printed onto it, and I wanted to make a matching whale toy. I made it crinkly in the middle! Want to see how? It's very frugal...literally...I used garbage.

Here are two finished toys:

Print out the pattern for the whale (link found at the end of this post!)

To make the whale, cut two pieces from flannel (or whatever fabric you want to use for the outside of the toy.) Then cut two pieces of white fleece. Pin them together. I sewed with wrong sides together, so there was no turning. (I didn't think I'd be able to turn the whale's tail--too skinny.)

You'll need to round up something super crinkly for the stuffing. I didn't have any chip bags or things like that, so I used these egg noodle bags:

Sew around the whole perimeter but leave a space at the bottom for stuffing.

Next, stuff the crinkly packaging you selected between the layers of white fleece. I also stuffed in some regular non-crinkly stuffing. Don't stuff it too tightly or it will not crinkle very loudly.

I sewed up the space I left for stuffing and then I added an eye for the whale. He looked a little sparse without it. If the toy was for a girl, I would add a bow somewhere.

This is the link to use my whale pattern.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Want to Make: Jewelry

Reuse a gift card into a great bracelet. Love it.
Simple necklace. Love the beads.
This is beautiful. Re purposed jewelry!
Love this. Looks simple to make.
Flower bracelet. So beautiful.
I adore charm bracelets and have yet to make one.
I love big jewelry.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Newborn Knit Hat Pattern

I had a few requests for the pattern I used to make all my newborn knit hats (see part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.)
I traced it and uploaded it here.

Please don't use my pattern to sell hats, just use it for personal use or to make gifts. Thanks!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Burp Cloth Pattern and Instructions

I made tons of burp cloths out of soft flannel fabric prior to the birth of my son. I had so many compliments on them, I now make them regularly as baby gifts. Here's how. First, download mypattern and cut both a front and back from your flannel fabric.

Place it right sides together and stitch all around the outside but leave a space for turning.

Turn the fabric and then press it flat. Make sure you push out all the edges and corners and press them crisply. Press the unfinished space you left for turning under to hide raw edges.

Topstitch around the whole thing making sure you catch the raw edges inside the topstitching.

Here's the link to use my pattern to make your own burp cloths. Only make them for personal use or as gifts with this pattern; no selling them. Thanks.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Rice & Beans Manifesto

It is with great humility that I've accepted my dear wife's invitation to author a guest post to this blog. I work in corporate-land as an engineer and in the interest of being frugal and healthy pack my lunch every day. My pal Adam introduced me to the idea of making rice & beans in bulk to have for lunch. So, after a few years of tweaking my recipe, here is how it's done in the Monkey-See-Monkey-Do household.

1) Soak beans overnight in crock pot. Add a few teaspoons of hot sauce while they're soaking to allow the beans to absorb the flavor. I recommend 2 standard grocery store sized bags of dry beans. 1 bag pinto and 1 bag black works well.

2) Rinse the beans once soaked and cook in the crock pot on low for however long it takes for them to get edible and soft (~6 hours).

3) Towards the end of when the beans are cooking in the crock pot, prepare the add-in ingredients. Since I'm an engineer, I, by nature, need to find ways to constantly improve designs. As such, the rice & beans recipe can never be static. That said, the following is a representative list of rice & beans add-ins. Diced Tomatoes and/or Tomato Sauce, Green Pepper, Banana Peppers, half and Onion, fresh Garlic, Pepperjack Cheese, Ground Black Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper, and Seasoning Salt.

4) Once the beans are finished cooking, drain the water from the crock pot and add the above ingredients. Turn crock pot to warm setting to allow the spices to mix and the cheese to melt.

5) Cook the rice. This really can be done at any stage, but I will often wait until the beans and ingredients are mixed prior to commencing the rice preparation. 1 standard sized bag of rice is an appropriate quantity of rice to go along with the beans. I recently have been cooking pearl barley rather than rice which makes the meal a bit heartier. Note that I often add olive or canola oil to the rice while it's cooking to make it less "gummy". If the crock pot is large enough, it's nice to mix the cooked rice with the bean concoction. The crock pot I've been using most recently does not permit such volume so I'll simply add the cooked rice to tupperware. It's best to use BPA-free or glass tupperware if you have some.

6) Combine the rice & beans in the tupperware containers and store in your refrigerator and/or freezer. I usually end up with about 10 lunch-sized containers.

Presto! (or whatever Emeril says) An added benefit to rice & beans is that they are gluten free. Even if you don't have a medical reason to avoid gluten, it's a good idea to not always have wheat in meals. Plus the beans have a ton of fiber. Avoiding something real grainy during lunch also (I think) contributes to me being less tired after lunch as I haven't chowed on a lot of grainy carbs.

Thanks for this opportunity, honey!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Repurposed Drawstring Bag

I still have some more t-shirts. I wanted to make something fun for my little boy to use and decided on a drawstring bag. He seemed to like putting things in the bag.

He also liked taking things out.

I started with four same-sized t-shirt pieces. I sewed several patches onto the outer panel. I had fabric stamped the top patch. See how to do fabric stamping here.

I measured 2" down from the top of each.

I sewed up each side of the lining and the outer panels (minus the 2"). I sewed the bottom of the outer panel but left a space in the lining for turning.

Then, I placed the lining and outer pieces with right sides together and pinned the 2" sides together. I then sewed them together and around the tops of each flap.

I turned the whole thing right sides out using the space I left in the lining. Then I closed the space in the lining with my machine.

To make the drawstring's pockets, I turned the flaps to the inside....

Then I pinned them down and sewed them into place.

For the drawstrings, I took 2 long 2" wide pieces of t-shirt fabric, sewed a tube and just turned the tube. I left the ends of the ties unfinished and just tied them in a knot.
Bags are super fun for putting things in and then removing them.