Friday, December 30, 2011

DIY Dolman Shirt

Yes, you read that correctly.  A DIY dolman shirt that I actually made!  By myself.

After weeks of building up my "Sewing Projects" pin board I was lucky enough to receive a digital Swinger sewing machine for Christmas from my parents.  (I love you guys!)

I quickly started on my machine by simply updating a few pairs of pants I owned that really needed to be hemmed.  Then played around with some scraps of fabric and built up enough confidence to tackle a real project - a shirt.

Since this was truly my first attempt of creating anything on my sewing machine, I will spare you my amateur instructions for how to recreate it.  Instead I suggest you follow the tutorial on the pin from Merrick's Art blog.

I was so caught up in this project that I did not take many photos but I took a couple of the plain fabric... just to prove that I made it :)

Thanks to Facebook friends I was given recommendations for local fabric stores and decided to check out the one closest to my house... Hancock Fabrics.  It was a bit overwhelming but I was thrilled to find just the right type of fabric (in trendy colors) in the Clearance section!!! For the 1.5 yards of fabric that I purchased, it was only $4.  I was very polite to the salespeople there because I can already tell that I will be a frequent customer.

I look forward to sharing many more successful sewing projects!

Christmas Lights

As much as I love the holiday spirit that Christmas decorations brings in our home, I also love when they're packed away.  Yes, it makes our place feel festive BUT it also makes our place feel cluttered and smaller.

(Can you tell I was playing around with bokeh photography with my new camera?! Here's a simple guide from the blog Two Olives and a Twist)

For the past few years my darling husband has thankfully taken on the task of putting-up and taking-down the decorations on his own while I am at work.  This year I happened to be home so I could help.  Although once he started, I was intimidated to interrupt his efficient system.  Plus anytime I went to put something away he showed me his way of packing it.  I didn't mind taking a step back but I felt bad that he did all the work.

THEN came my opportunity to contribute.  As he was taking the Christmas lights off the tree, he was simply wrapping them around his arm.  Ah - ha!  This was my moment to shine!  I chimed in and told him about a pin that I saw with a tip from the legendary Martha Stewart.  Take scrap cardboard pieces and wrap it around to keep the string of lights from tangling.

Since I started stalking fellow pinners I have been saving everything in my home.  Things ranging from aluminum cans, toilet paper rolls, scrap fabrics and yes... cardboard boxes.  Just earlier in the day as we were cleaning I agreed to part with my large cardboard collection because I did not have any real justification to keep them.  I was just waiting for the perfect project to present itself - and here it was!  Luckily the cardboard collection was just in our garage so once I suggested this light wrapping method we salvaged some pieces.

Looks like there is a method to my madness of saving everything. I'm just happy I was able to contribute to packing up Christmas this year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DIY Puppets

Once I made the puppet theater I need to make some puppets.  Of course I found this easy puppet tutorial on Pintrest and followed the instructions.  The most important materials for this project were the socks.  Luckily I got these two pairs of socks from the dollar store and Target.

Here is one version of the sock puppet...
And here is another...
And they lived happily ever after in the puppet theater that I made my for my nephews.

DIY Puppet Theater

My nephews have SO MANY TOYS.  While it is awesome for them that they live in Toys R Us, it makes it difficult for us as the aunt and uncle to buy them gifts.  That only leaves me one option... to make them gifts.

Although I did not find this from a specific pin, it is because of Pintrest that I had the idea for this gift.  While driving through my in-laws neighborhood on garbage day I saw a white children's bookcase (without the shelves) at the end of the street.  Knowing that I could upcycle this piece of furniture I did what any other pinner would do... I shoved it in my back seat.  Yes folks, I am officially a garbage picker.

With a lot of help from my handy-dandy husband, we turned a boring plain bookshelf into a personalized puppet theater for my nephews.

Luckily I had an unopened, cheap frame from IKEA that I used chalkboard spray paint on to create a place for the kids to write the name of their puppet show on.  We bought and painted wooden letters that were on clearance at Michael's for $2.99.

To prevent the kids from stepping inside of the shelves we bought two plastic baskets from the dollar store.  This is also where they can store the puppets.  Here is a photo from the back side.

My husband installed a pole across the top and I sewed the curtains using clearance fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.  We also screwed another layer of curtains along the back side.

And now I present to you, the finished project!

 But wait!  What's a puppet theater without any puppets?  Of course I created my own thanks to cheap socks from the dollar store, some felt, cardboard, fuzzy balls and a glue stick.  I'm not going to lie... it was difficult to part with our new little buddies but we were happy to pass them along to the kiddies we love the most.  It's showtime!

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

In efforts to prepare quick, healthy and cheap meals I took the advice from a pin I found and placed a bunch of boneless, skinless thin sliced chicken breasts (that were on sale at Jewel for buy-one-get-one-free) in my slow cooker with some water, salt, pepper and two bay leaves. After it cooked while I was at work, I came home to shred it and packed away in snack size plastic baggies and placed in the freezer.
Having a ton of shredded chicken in my freezer, it was time to pull some out to create a meal for the hubby and I. We knew with the holiday weekend ahead that we would gain a few pounds so we wanted to started the weekend light. Browsing my previous pins on my Recipe board, I selected "healthy buffalo chicken rolls" for dinner.

Broccoli Slaw
Green Onions
Egg Roll Wrappers
Blue Cheese
Frank's Hot Sauce
Shredded Chicken

It was super easy!  I just took out the egg roll wraps and placed the other ingredients on an angle in the center just like this:
 Then I rolled up one corner just enough to cover the food.  I then wet the side corners and folded in.  All you have left is to continue rolling and just wet the final corner and press down.  Place them on a wire rack and spray with a cooking spray on all sides.  Cooking it on the rack allows the rolls to cook on all sides.  Bake at 400 degrees until it is golden brown.

They were quite yummy!  Especially with the side of ranch dressing to dip it in, even thought it made it a little less healthy.  We enjoyed them and I've already decided to make bite-size rolls (quarter each wrap) as an appetizer for New Years Eve.  

I also ended up with extra wraps so I think I will play around with other fillings.  We were thinking about Philly cheese-steak rolls for the next round.  Stay tuned...
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