Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ending Refashion Month with Tanks, a Tote, and a Wristlet

Today is the last day of July Refashion Month. I didn’t finish 31 refashions like I had intended (one of my 31 by 31 goals, but I still have 10 more months). I did manage to whip out a few more projects. Today I want to show you a couple refashions I finished, but haven’t posted yet.

First is two more muscle shirts for my boys.

Boys Muscle Shirt Refashioned From Men's ShirtRefashioning Men's T-Shirt into Boy's Muscle Shirt

These were made from two men’s 2XL t-shirts. I was able to cut two tanks from each shirt. I had completed the first two shirts in June, and mailed them off to Sewing to Rebuild. The other two sat on my sewing table cut out and ready to sew for way too long.

The next one was a super quick project.

Wristlet From Shirt Sleeve Cuffs

The boys’ preppy shorts left me with two sleeve cuffs. (Which had adorable pearl snaps.) I kept looking at the cuffs, trying to decide what to make of them.

I stitched the cuffs together using a wide but short zigzag stitch. Then I covered up the stitching with ribbon. The ribbon also helped the project look a little less masculine (the ribbon has sparkles!). I cut a piece of ribbon for a strap. Then I folded the rectangle into a pouch, tucked in the ribbon, and topstitched along the original seam.

This last project is also one that has been sitting on my sewing table, cut out, for way too long!

Reversible Tote From Repurposed Bed Sheets

I have made so many of these bags. They are made from bed sheets, and can be made in any size.

I use these as my reusable shopping totes, beach bag, overnight bag, and just about anything you can think of bag. These totes are my favorite for three reasons. 1. They hold so much stuff. 2. No need worrying about getting them dirty. Just toss in the washer. 3. They fold (or in my case roll) up super small.

Roll-up Reversible Tote From Repurposed Bed Sheets

*I know it is hard to tell, but the bag rolled up is smaller than a soup can.

Did you participate in Refashion Month? If so, share a link. I would love to see your creations.

Do you have projects that have been sitting in your to-do pile for a long time? Seriously the tote has been cut out and waiting to be sewn for a couple of years. I know the reason this project sat so long (my machine was acting up and I gave up and packed her away for a few months), but I have quite a few other projects that I do not have an excuse for.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Detroit Hat Update, and Weekly To-Dos

Happy Monday folks! We had such a wonderful weekend finishing little projects that have been patiently waiting on our to-do list.
I have two of the six crocheted Detroit Tiger hats finished. (Two more are just waiting to be appliqued.) I thought I’d share those today since 1. They are so stinking cute. and 2. I am so stinking proud of them.
Boy Detroit Hat Detroit Hat (with flower)
I used the Newsboy hat beanie pattern (108) from Posh Patterns on Etsy. These two hats are worked up in Caron Simply Soft. The D is cut from felt, and hand stitched on. The flower is a basic crocheted five petal flower.
The pattern is very clear and easy to understand. The method used to stiffen the brim was new to me, yet still easy to understand (even for a left handed, backwards, non-gauge checking crocheter like myself). Overall, this pattern was worth the investment (and I usually cringe at buying patterns).
Here are a couple more shots:
Crocheted Detroit Tiger Hat with flowerCrochet Detroit Tiger Brimmed Beanie
(I think Zeke may be a bit annoyed that I put a girl hat on his brother.) Winking smile
Okay, lets get to business, my to-dos for this week:
  • Write up a menu for this week.
  • Finish other 4 Detroit hats.
  • Finish gift sets. (I cannot wait to share these!)
  • Use/freeze zucchini.
  • Trim bushes around house.
  • Spread mulch.
  • Tweak Etsy shop policies, and open shop. (figure I should follow my just sew mantra, and tweak things afterwards)
What are you working on this week? As always, I love reading your comments!

Sharing here:
Quartered Heart Crochet

Friday, July 26, 2013

Egg-Free Friday, Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

I haven’t done an egg-free post in a while. I have been in a little bit of a cooking slump lately. Somehow my boys became finicky eaters, and frankly I am tired of throwing food away.

Desperate to get them to eat breakfast (and needing to use up some ripe bananas), I searched for a banana bread recipe. I found a winner!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread adapted from

Egg-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup flour *I used 3/4 whole wheat, and 3/4 all purpose
  • 2 small handfuls of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bread pan.

Combine bananas and butter. Mix in milk and vanilla.

Add in brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Add in flour, mix until just combined. *Don’t over mix, your bread will be rubbery!* Gently mix in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared bread pan and bake for one hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.


I am happy to say, the boys love this bread! I am planning on trying it with zucchini as soon as it is ready to pick.

How do you deal with finicky eaters? If you have any tips, please share! I am at wits end trying to get them to eat good food. They used to be such good eaters, so maybe (hopefully) this is just a stage two year olds go through….

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Take on the T-Shirt Dress, another refashion

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE summer dresses?

I love how a dress can instantly take you from sweaty and frumpy to polished and presentable.

The more a dress feels like a t-shirt, the more I like it (and the more I wear it). I have one such dress that gets worn at least once a week. The colors are fading, but it is comfy and mama appropriate. I didn’t want to mess with the faded dress though. I had a fear of messing it up, and not having my summer staple anymore.

But alas, I did the next best thing….I made a new t-shirt dress.

Yellow T-Shirt Dress

This was a simple refashion. The base was a men's 2XL yellow t-shirt. (No, I didn’t get this one from hubby. I had to buy this one at Goodwill for $0.49!) The contrasting band was made from the sleeves leftover from this project.

First I carefully unpicked the pocket. Then I cut off the sleeves. I drew a trapezoid from the bottom hem to just under the neckline. I sewed these two pieces together at the sides to form the skirt.

Next I cut up the sleeves and sewed them into a tube. I did the same for the contrasting strip. Trim the excess from the tubes so they are even. Now, just sew the three tubes together, matching the side seams.

The straps aren’t my favorite. The only fabric left from the yellow tee was a long skinny strip. I cut a strip the same length from the grey shirt. Then I gave both strips a tug, to make them curl. Next I cut them in half.

I tried the dress on, and pinned the front of the straps over my bra. Then I sewed them down. Next twist the straps a few times, pin in the back, and sew.

Yellow T-Shirt Refashion

Like I said, the straps aren’t my favorite. (Despite what it looks like in the picture, the straps are twisted evenly. I actually just went and rechecked.) I may change them down the road.

Now I have a second favorite summer dress.

Maybe I should do something to fix the faded one…..

What are your summer wardrobe staples? Like I said, nothing is more comfortable to me that a light dress in summer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When Life Gets You Down, Just Sew

I have been in a bit of a creative funk lately. Actually I have been in a whole life slump. It has been hard to get my mind to focus on a task. In fact, the only focus I could muster is on my crochet projects.

Yet, I feel need to sew. I want to write. My home needs loving. My family needs to be fed (I have been feeding them, but it has been the 5 o’clock dinner scramble).

Desperate to pull myself out of this hole, I made myself sew.

I didn’t care what came out of it. My only goal was to ignite a fire.

The result… I finished a few projects from my UFO bin, snapped pictures of a couple refashions that have been finished for a bit now, caught up on laundry, vacuumed, and cleaned the kitchen sink (seriously, this has been on my to-do list for the last four days!) Oh yeah, I also made a loaf of banana bread.

Here is one more completed refashion:

Detroit Refashion

Nothing spectacular, yet so dang comfy. This tank is from another of hubby’s discarded t-shirts (I know what you are thinking: How many t-shirts does this man own! It’s not that bad, I just snag them up as soon as he says, “I don’t want this anymore.”)

I used this pattern from So Zoe What Do You Know? This pattern/tutorial is well written and easy to follow. There are a lot of step-by-step pictures. She even includes instructions for FOE, and underwear elastic. This was my first experience with fold over elastic. (Just like most other sewing techniques I have avoided; so much easier than I had imagined.)

*Please follow instructions, and measure yourself. I skipped this step my first try at the pattern. Luckily I was using one of hubby’s old bowling shirts. Winking smile

What methods do you use to climb your way out of a creative funk/life slump? As always, I love hearing your thoughts.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guest Posting at House of Estrela

I am so excited! Today I am over at House of Estrela sharing a refashion for July Refashion Month. (My first guest post ever!) It is so awesome to be included with Magda’s wonderful list of contributors (we’re talking refashioning celebrities!).
Head on over and see what I did to this awkward dress. Make sure you check out all the other refashioners from this month, amazing.
Dress Refashion
If you are from House of Estrela, welcome! Thank you so much for visiting. If you are in the mood  for refashions, here are a few of my favorites:
Toddler Boy
For Mama

Friday, July 19, 2013

In Memory.

Last month while hanging out with a good friend, she asked me if I had seen the Detroit Tiger crochet hats floating around online. I made a mental note to look them up. By now you all know where my mental notes go…

Last week another friend asked me if I could make each of her kids “one of those Detroit Tigers hats she had seen online.” This time I asked for a picture (because we knew where that last mental note went…)

I found a pattern on etsy and got hooking. *This is the inspiration hat on etsy.

In Memory

While crocheting these hats I kept thinking of my 94 year old Great Grandmother. She is a huge Tigers fan. We used to sit on her back porch in the green wicker rockers playing cards and listening to the Tigers game.

Shortly after finishing the first hat, I received a phone call. “Grandma is in the hospital. Doesn’t look good.”

The next day (Wednesday) my mom, brother, and I drove two hours to the hospital and sat next to her hospital bed.

She passed away yesterday.

She was my last living grandparent, and a very influential part of my life. This death is a hard one, not because she didn’t live a wonderfully long life (ninety-four!). Because I wasn’t deliberate about making time these past few years. I had so much I wanted to learn from her, questions I wanted to ask.

*Fun Fact: While at the hospital I asked my Great Aunt and Uncle why Grandma listened to the Tigers instead of watching them on the television. “As a girl she used to listen to them in the hammock with her father. She had tried to watch them on t.v. but she couldn’t stand seeing them spit and scratch themselves.” That’s my Grandma.

I go through periods of  vacancy and numbness for a bit, but I’m okay. I know I am lucky to have had a relationship with my Great Grandmother.

Thankfully I have four more Tiger hats to crochet. This means time to deliberately reflect on memories of Great Grandma.

Are you lucky to have had a relationship with your grandparents? If so, what is your favorite memory?

Earlier in the year I had started a little series Lessons from Great Grandma’s Kitchen. My goal is to pick up where I left off and document the lessons this wonderful woman taught me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

31 by 31, Two Month Update


I cannot believe that two months have passed since I made these goals. Unlike my 30 by 30 list, I feel like I have more direction. There are a few goals crossed off, some in progress, and I can see what ones I need to put on my to-do list.

If you are new here, I wrote down 31 things I would like to accomplish before my thirty-first birthday next May. I try to update my progress monthly.

Here’s the list:

1. Paint, and decorate dining room. *I think I am focusing on the office and eat-in part of the kitchen this year. I picked out colors, and bought paint already.
2. Build a display shelf for hubby’s decoys.
3. Finish piano project.
4. Build a piece of furniture.
5. Plant garden. Can/preserve. *Garden is planted and looking great! I have been picking and freezing berries.
6. Put together 31 meal binder.
7. Potty train boys.
8. Go on a family vacation.
9. Make a new chore chart. *Been using last year’s, need to complete new one this week!
10. Mail Christmas cards.
11. Have Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving.
12. Have 12 date nights. *June we went to see a friend’s band play. July we picked blackberries in the rain, and are having a golf date tonight.
13. Go on a mini-vacation with hubby.
14. Go to a Tiger game.
15. Read 12 books.
16. Start nursing clinicals. *Start this fall!
17. Get a 100 bowling average. (Don’t laugh! I have been working on this for five years now. This IS my year!) Winking smile
18. Whittle down debt.
19. C.N.A Recertification, start working part time.
20. Sell crafts (somehow; etsy/farmer’s market/craft fair).
21. Clean out and organize garage.
22. Find a system for paper. Tackle paper clutter.
23. Go through cookbooks.
24. Organize photos.
25. Work on blog organization.
26. Sew everyday for 31 days, only using stash.
27. Crochet a hat a day for 31 days.
28. Make a quilt.
29. Work on one photography skill a month.
30. Complete 31 pins.
31. Do 31 refashions. *5 done, 26 to go

How are you progressing on your goals? I love posting this list monthly. It helps me see those projects I want to complete that I overlooked the past month.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blue Jean Buttercup

I’m a big purse kind of gal. My ‘purses’ are more like tote bags. When I find a nice big bag filled with pockets, I carry it forever. Sadly, I’ve been this way most of my purse carrying life.

So I can’t blame the twins.

My purse contains all of the essentials; wallet, phone, nail clippers, gum, toothbrush and toothpaste, a crochet project, a Kindle, planner, notebook, pens, cars and trucks, sippy cups, snacks, two diapers, wipes….wait! I think I may be able to blame the boys for some of the load.

I keep a grab and go bag inside of the big purse. This contains the true necessities; wallet, chap stick, phone, and keys. Usually I just pull this bag out and leave the big heifer in the car.

I have been thinking about trying to leave my baggage at home. This means I need a smaller purse.

And this is July Refashion Month.

I set out to sew a purse, with the “Use what you have” mantra ringing in my ears.

My folder of projects I want to sew someday had the perfect bag; The Buttercup Bag from Made By Rae. This pattern has been sitting in the folder for years (like three years!), taunting me.

I was intimidated by this pattern. It looked complicated. Not the pattern, but all of the finished bags floating around the web. I had myself convinced that a naptime sewer like myself didn’t have the skills to make such a beautiful bag. Heck, I have never sewn a pleat.

Then I reminded myself of the awesome bag I made last fall….and carried through three seasons. (I will show you this beauty when I find pictures.) I can do this.

So I decided I was just going to try it.

With a pair of jeans. (Because if I messed the bag up, it wouldn’t be a total waste of fabric…) Everything else came from my stash.

Here’s the finished product:

Upcycled Jeans Become Summer Handbag

This was my first time working with piping. And sewing pleats. (I decided at the last minute to add piping.)

The main bag body was cut from a pair of jeans in my denim stash. The purse upper (stripes) and lining came from fat quarters hanging out in my fabric bin.

I lined the purse upper with heavy interfacing so it would resemble the structure of the denim.

Refashioning Torn Jeans into Buttercup Bag

I wanted to feature the bright striped fabric a little more, so I changed up the straps. I cut a piece of denim and the striped fabric 2 inches by 20 inches. Then I sewed them together. The straps were looking a tad short for my taste so I added a loop and D-ring to each side. This gave me a couple more inches of strap length.

The pattern suggested a cute little button detail. I had to skip this step because naptime was coming to an end, but I may add it on in the future.

My favorite part of the bag is the inside.

Pretty Flower Purse Lining

It’s hard to tell in the photo, but this fabric is absolutely beautiful! Aqua and pink dahlias on a white background.

I added a flap to the pocket from the striped material. I also inserted a loop on one side seam, and a key holder on the other.

Featuring Loop, Hook, and Pocket Flap

Overall, I am so pleased with this bag. The pattern was very easy to follow. I highly recommend this pattern.

I do wish I had checked back at Made by Rae before cutting the pattern. She suggests enlarging the pattern by 130% for a bigger bag. This bag is on the smaller side (for me anyways). Maybe next time…

I think the outside needs a little more pizazz. Maybe paint, embroidery, or applique. For now I’m just going to live with it, I may find it doesn’t need a thing.

Do you have a project on your list that intimidates you? I cannot believe I let this one sat around so long!

Are you a BIG bag girl? If you like big bags, check out Nelesc’s denim bag. I am adding this bag to my list.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Birthday Refashions

The boys had their second birthday Saturday.

Since their birthday is only two days after Independence Day, we always have an insanely busy holiday weekend.

Friday we purchased, and picked up their birthday present; a huge wooden playscape. During Saturday’s naptime I stained and weather sealed the set. Now we are just waiting for some man power to move it one more time and set it up. (Expect updates soon!)

Since we decided not to throw a huge party this year, I spent a little time making them birthday shirts.

Birthday RefashionToddler Boy Refashion

These tanks were refashioned from daddy’s old softball shirts. I used the same method as I did for these muscle shirts. Instead of binding the armholes, I folded to the inside twice and hemmed.

The collar and applique came from my scrap pile. It’s hard to differentiate in the photos, but one is blue and the other black. (We try not to dress the boys the same.)

Their birthday celebration was low-key, but absolutely wonderful!

Do you throw big birthday bashes every year? This was a difficult decision for my husband and I to make. Our family loves a good get-together. But they are extremely overwhelming for us. We decided to keep our focus on the boys this year (instead of planning, cleaning, cooking, and being a good host/hostess).

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day Refashion

For everyone in the U.S., happy Independence Day. (And happy Thursday to everyone else. Hey, we all need a reason to celebrate now and then.)

Today’s refashion is another baseball inspired refashion. Since our school colors are red and blue, I am also throwing it in as a holiday refashion. (Two birds, one stone…)

All-star baseball tournaments start next week. The twins needed something that will show team support, and keep them cool while we cheer on their big brother.

This refashion is short and sweet. I bought the tanks at Wal-Mart for $2.00.

I traced our last name from the back of my step-son’s baseball jersey onto freezer paper. Then cut the letters out with an exacto knife. Iron the freezer paper to the shirt. Lastly, paint. I painted three coats (letting dry between each application). Finally, remove the freezer paper, and try to get your boys to pose for the camera.

Freezer Paper Stencil Team Jersey Style

Family Pride, Freezer Paper Stencil

Normally, all the boys allow me to photograph is their backside. Today they were hamming it up:

Future Model

They even performed a little dance number:

How Do You Like My Moves

Happy 4th!

Refashioning the Basic Black Tank

My second refashion this month involved two tops.
Before Unflattering Top and Basic Tank
The top on the left was one my mom bought for me when I was pregnant. It wasn’t an actual maternity top, but bloused out in the front like one. I try to avoid clothing that solicits the “When are you due?” question.
The top on the right is one I bought on clearance for $2.49. Just a basic black tank.
I loved the turquoise lace thing on the front of the blousy top, so I seam ripped that out. Next I sprayed it with quilt basting spray and stuck it onto the back of the tank.
Tank Refashion, Adhere Lace Insert with Quilting Spray
You could probably skip this step, but I didn’t want to deal with any shifting. I also pinned it for good measure.
I took the tank over to my sewing machine. I dialed the machine’s speed down and took it nice and slow. Then I stitched on the outside edge of the insert with a straight stitch.
Tank Refashion, Inside View After Stitching
Here’s a view of the inside.
Tank Refashion, Outside After Stitching
Here’s the outside after stitching. You can stop right here if you’d like. I had plans of wearing this tank on date night with the hubby, so I wanted to give it a little more va-va-voom.
I carefully cut out the tank under the lace close to the stitch line.
Tank Refashion Featuring Lace Insert
Much better! I am so glad I was able to incorporate that turquoise insert somewhere. I love the color paired with the black tank.
What do you think, did you like it better before or after the back was cut out?
Are you refashioning along? If so leave a link in the comments, I’d love to see what you are up to!

Sharing here:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Refashion Month, Tutorial: Short Sundress Fix

I meant to have this post up yesterday…

I LOVE sundresses! But…for some reason most of my sundresses have become way too short for comfort. I’m not sure if this is due to the extra poundage left over in front from the twins, or that they were always short, and my modesty has lengthened. Either way, expect to see a few sundress refashions this month.

First up, this dress was so cute. One of my summertime favorites. About 3 years ago. This little number became so short, I didn’t even feel comfortable having it posted all over the Internet. I can only imagine the Pinterest captions…

Sundress Refashion, Before

Just imagine gnarly knees (really, my knees scream Tomboy!), and a dress that hits mid-thigh (and that is modestly speaking).

Want to see what I did?

First I chopped off that bodice.

Dress Refashion, Step 1

Then I searched high and low for a piece of elastic that fit snuggly around my waist. There may have been cuss words coming from my sewing cave, because EVERY stinking piece of elastic in my stash was a least three inches too short.

Determined to ‘work with what I got’ I rummaged through our donation box looking for a garment I could rob of elastic. I found a pair of hubby’s old long johns. Perfect!

Now that that elastic situation is taken care of, sew elastic in a loop.

Dress Refashion, Sew Elastic

From here on out this process may be a bit off the wall and disturbing to all of the seamstresses. I apologize ahead of time.

I HATE when elastic gets all twisted up in my clothes. I already have a little extra fluff around my waistline, I don’t want rebellious elastic adding to it. So this is my “No Roll Elastic” process.

Slip the elastic around the skirt, skirt right side out. Line up the top of elastic with the top of skirt.

Dress Refashion, Pin Elastic to Skirt

Pin and sew, using a zigzag stitch.

Dress to Skirt Refashion, Attatch Elastic

Theoretically you could stop right here, that is if you didn’t snag the heck out of the elastic while looting a pair of long johns. But, I had to keep going…

The next step is to fold the elastic to the inside, twice. This hides all evidence of mistreated elastic.

Dress to Skirt Refashion, Fold Elastic Inside

(Here it is folded over once, fold over one more time.)

You need to stretch the elastic to eliminate gathers. Pin and take it over to the sewing machine.

Dress to Skirt Refashion, Stretch, Pin, Sew

Sew the bottom edge with a zigzag stitch. Gently stretch the elastic while feeding it into your machine.

You’re finished!

Dress to Skirt Refashion, No Twist Elastic

*Note to self, make a new ironing board cover!

After: A skirt appropriate for chasing my little boys in:

Too Short Sundress Refashioned to Appropriate Skirt

One refashion down. Only 30 more to go!

Refashion, Sundress to Skirt

No more worrying about showing my derrière while toting a two year old under each arm.

Have you ever been in the “oh crap I don’t have ______ (supply)? Are you the patient type who waits until you can head to the store to pick it up, or are you like me, swiping elastic, buttons, and anything else I need from my families’ discarded clothing?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Refashion July Month at House of Estrela

When I found out I will be starting nursing clinicals this fall I had to admit that my life is going to be very different. Class, studying, and not much else.
I started to fret, “How am I going to work on my 31 by 31 list?” The only reasonable answer I could come up with is to finish as much as I can in the next two months.
Magda from House of Estrela is hosting a Refashion July Month. One of my 31 by 31 goals is to do 31 refashions by May 11th. Initially I had planned on 2-3 refashions a month for the next year. Then Magda invited me to join in with her fabulous guest line up.
There are 31 days in July….. I have a goal to refashion 31 items…. can I get it done?
Pop on over and visit Magda and her guests. (She has an awesome guest line-up!) Refashion along and post to the Flickr group. Lastly, stop back here to see what I am up to. (And if you feel I am slacking PLEASE give me a little guff!)
Are you in? Stop back today to see refashion #1.