Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hey all!!

After taking the month of December and half of November off (hello family time!), I'm back and ready to share with you some of the things I'm going to be working on / want to be working on this year.  Hey, it doesn't count if I don't write it down, right?

(Plus, I'd love to see what you're going to be working on too! Share in the comments!)

1. Organizing my older daughter G's room.  Right now, it's a mismatched room with red curtains, boxes that belong in storage, a way too small dresser, a crib (I tried to pass it off as a reading nook), and some extra little tables as a makeshift desk.  I would love to get the 2 baseball wallpaper borders gone, repaint the room some fun color, find a big girl horizontal dresser, and make a headboard for the bed.  A new fan might also be in order!  I have found so many good ideas on Pinterest, feel free to follow me and get inspired too!

I can't take any before photos now because she's sleeping, but she's still using this dresser for her clothes, and she'd need about 3 of these to hold all of her stuff now!  I'm thinking of passing this IKEA Rast dresser down to her littlest sister C. She'll love having her own space!



2. Organize my sewing / craft space. It's a hot mess right now. And I just want something organized so if I have 10 minutes, I can just sit down and pick up a project and work on it. But, I also want something opaque, so that when people come over, they can't see all my unfinished stuff, since my sewing space is in the corner of our bonus space in our house.  I organized (mostly) my craft closet, but need to get this done.

Before photo:



3. Finish up a bunch of sewing and craft projects that I've just been neglecting. There's the Little Mermaid lap quilt and a bunch of bibs that I have cut out but haven't sewn together. I have also wanted to make the girls aprons for the longest time, as well as a bunch of projects that I'm sure are just sitting at the bottom of the sewing pile on my table.

The lap quilt:


4. Sell something on Etsy!  I've been making felted wool dryer balls for awhile, and I would love to sell some!  It's a goal!  Come visit my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TshirtsandTulle

5. Get another sewing machine. Ok, this seems a little weird, since I already have a sewing machine, an embroidery machine and a serger, but the sewing machine I am using right now is this adorable vintage Singer that only sews in straight lines.  I want something that does different stitches!  The other machine that I had was a 1980s machine that was gifted to me by a friend.  I ended up breaking both machines at the same time, right before Halloween.  The black vintage machine had a thread jam (fixable) and the 1980s Singer had a broken gear (fixable, but not worth it).  I am going to do some research and pick a new machine this year!

My awesome vintage Singer:



Well, that's it for right now, but I definitely want to get these things accomplished this year!  Can't wait to get started!  Thanks for reading, don't forget to follow along via email or Find us on Facebook!

~Patricia

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bakers and Chefs Baking Sheet Review (hint: it's a winner!)

Hey there!

It seems I'm in a mood to upgrade lately. I've switched out a bunch of things and most recently I bought a new set of rimmed baking sheets from Sam's Club.  They are the Bakers and Chefs brand, and they come in a pack of 2 for around $11. And they are super shiny:

Ooooo....shiny!

Before I bought them, I did some research. I really wanted to consult America's Test Kitchen (because they are so thorough with their research), but I realized that most of their stuff you need a subscription for, and I don't have one. Boo.  So, after a little more googling, I found this really intensive article from thesweethome.com.  If you care about baking sheets, you should read it, it's a great article!

It said that the Bakers and Chefs rimmed baking sheets (only available in-store) were it's #2 pick, and cost half as much as the #1 pick.  (The number one pick, by the way, was this one.)  Also, these sheets may warp at temperatures over 400 degrees, so that's a consideration if you're always baking at a high temp--which I don't usually do.   We've used them a few times a week since getting them, and I only noticed some slight warping once for a few seconds after I pulled it out of the oven. I actually pressed down firmly on the pan on both sides while it was still hot, and then it wasn't warped anymore. Maybe I have super powers! I haven't noticed any warping before or since then.

I guess some people like rimless baking sheets for baking cookies and things, and there was some research that your cookies get done faster on a rimless sheet (for those of you that can't wait), but I like the rimmed.  We mostly use our sheets for roasting, and I like that nothing will roll off of these.

Hello rim!
And this is super embarrassing.....

But these are the baking sheets we were using before....

Ick. 

We'd put foil down for everything (a habit we still do because it makes cleanup a breeze).

These are not so shiny.

And to celebrate our new baking sheets, we've been making some yummy dinners too!

Delicious! 
My husband is a much better cook than I am, and I know we both love these new baking sheets! I just wish that I would have picked these up sooner, since I have to make a run to Sam's every few months to stock up on essentials anyways!

And just fyi, I have not been compensated in any way by Sam's to tell you about these baking sheets (I wish!).  I just really like them and and wanted to share with you! 

Here's the recipe for the photo on the left btw, it's a keeper! (Click here)

Thanks for stopping by!

~Patricia





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: t-shirt upcycle: The workout shirt

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! 
(Am I doing this wrong, since I'm including words?)
Anyways, here we go!
















Ta-da!!

Thanks for following along!

~Patricia



Monday, November 10, 2014

Easy T-shirt Bag Tutorial


Hey Y'all! 

The other day I was at our local natural parenting store, just browsing, scoping out the toddler carriers, when I saw these interesting bags made out of t-shirts. The concept is to basically cut off the sleeves and neck of the shirt, and to sew up the bottom.  The idea was so simple and easy, I decided to make one myself!



Last night I had an hour to spare, so I dug a t-shirt out of my upcycle bin, grabbed some scissors, and got to work! 


Got your t-shirt? Let's begin! I got this one from my mom, and while I love the color, it ended up in the upcycle bin.



I started by cutting off the sleeves individually. I then folded the shirt in half so I could make sure the sleeves were cut evenly.

I then lined up the arm holes, folded the shirt in half and then cut the sides down so they sloped.  I was aiming for an Envirosax shape, which is this awesome brand of reusable bags that roll up that I've admired for years. 


I sewed the bottom together.  I saw a cool version on my Pinterest that uses fringe from the t-shirt as  the means to the shirt together.  You can check that version out here.


I decided to add some bias tape to the edges of the arm holes and around the other edges, just to give the bag a little more structure and contrast. I didn't even pin it on first, just opened the bias tape and sewed it on.


I think it turned out super cute!  I also decided to match up the arm holes and sew the t-shirt from front to back, instead of from side to side, like is usually shown.  I just like how this looks better!  I'm excited to try it again with a shirt that doesn't have anything written on it, I think it'll be awesome!

And there you go--ta-da!!

Super easy and fast! I think this took under an hour to make, and that includes stopping to adjust my Stitcher radio podcast and trying to find the box where I store all the bias tape. :)

Don't forget to follow along and thanks for reading!!

~Patricia





Thursday, October 30, 2014

#tbt and an upgrade!

Many years ago now, when I was in college, I went on a 6 week exchange program to Cuernavaca, Mexico. My roommate and I stayed with a host family and the experiences we had will stay with me forever. Oh, the stories I could tell!  But, I won't: what happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico.  

Seriously, if you ever get a chance to study abroad, do it!  

Remember when people used to print photos and make collages?
Yeah, me too.

One of the things I remember most about the experience was the food.  Our mama used to make these delicious ham and cheese sandwiches for us for breakfast, and I liked them so much that when I came back home I bought a sandwich maker so that I could make them at home. 

That was in 2004. And after several moves, including one across the country, today that sandwich maker finally died (well technically it broke in half). It was a sad day. 

Goodbye, faithful sandwich maker.

A sad day that was instantly made better when I remembered that I had a fabulous panini press just sitting in my cupboard, unopened.

It was a present for our wedding in 2007.

And I just opened it for the first time today. And it was fabulous!  It's a Breville panini grill (buy it here) that someone generously bought for us from our Williams-Sonoma wedding registry.  A little side note: when we got married, we registered at Williams-Sonoma and just walked around the store and registered for things that looked cool.  I had no idea what to register for and honestly, at that point I could count on one hand the number of times I'd even been in a Williams-Sonoma, so I had no idea what to register for.  It took me four years to get over that I had registered for a banana yellow Kitchenaid stand mixer.   I used it for the first time to make bread in 2011 and blogged about it (here); I've been writing for awhile!

Ok back to the panini press. I'm really excited that we registered for this. The paninis I've made so far are = delicious! My husband keeps making fun of me, since fancy, pressed sandwiches aren't a new concept; but I love them!! 


In the box, waiting patiently for me!



It looks like bigger IS better my friends.....



Mmmm. Panini. 

My favorite thing to add lately is avocado, yum!  I'm feeling hungry!

I'm going to go make a sandwich panini.

~Patricia



Monday, October 27, 2014

DIY: Cutting a Memory Foam Mattress

Maybe you're like me and you have something like this just lying around your house:

A giant, king-sized memory foam mattress with a chunk missing.

The chunk that our anxiety prone dog "ate."
No? You don't have a giant memory foam mattress with a chunk missing just lying about in your home? What?!  

Well if not, keep following along anyways, because I'm going to tell you how to cut memory foam, and this work on regular foam too.

Tools needed: 
-Marker 
-Ruler / Tape Measure (straight lines are important)
-Electric knife, such as this one that I bought from Wal-mart. It's also available from Amazon here.  I actually had to go back to the store and buy another one, because the mattress was so thick it dulled the first one when I was almost done. But if you're not cutting something so huge, you should be fine with one! 



To begin: 
I started by propping the bed up against the wall and drawing a line where I wanted to cut.
I was going from a king-sized mattress to a full, and taking off that unsightly chewed-up chunk with it.

I looked up the dimensions of the bed and decided to just cut a 26 in piece off of the length, since the width of a king and the length of a full are only an inch apart. I was going to cut a bed that would be 54 in x 76 in when finished and I figured I'd just stretch the sheets to fit. I was not going to attempt to cut one inch off the whole mattress. That would have made a bigger mess and at this point, I was have a bed frame and bunky board delivered the next day, so I needed it done now.

Dimensions of king bed: 76 in x 80 in
Dimensions of full bed: 54 in x 75 in

Dimensions of my new bed: 54 in x 76 in

I used a permanent marker and a tape measure to draw the cutting line (I had to do it on both sides.)

Plug in the electric knife (I used an extension cord because the cord on the knife was incredibly small) and take off the safety. Hold the knife straight up and down and just push down into the foam and it'll cut.  The straighter you hold it, the straighter your cut line will be. 

I am not good at following the lines.

Hello in there! 

Since my foam was really thick-like 12 inches or something- (and actually consisted of 2 layers), I had to cut it from both sides. I peeled apart one side and tried to cut the other side through it, but that was really hard to do because the foam was so heavy.  In the end I cut off the top layer and then measured the other side on the back and cut from the back.

Halfway done! This is missing the top layer of foam on the right side. 
Close up of the top layer missing. I had to get a step-stool to stand on while cutting because the mattress was so big.
You can see part of where the dog chewed up the mattress too.
Then I just continued cutting down the side of the mattress until I was all the way through. I am going to put the cut edge towards the wall, so I'm not too concerned if it's not cut super perfect. 

Cutting the big mattress actually required a bit more strength than I thought it would, mostly because the bottom, thick layer of foam was really heavy. And quite big.

Here's a before and after:


I ended up cutting the top layer of foam into pieces and my eventual idea is to make floor pillows out of them. I used the big bottom piece as a buffer between my 2 year old's bed and the floor.  I also had her sleep there for awhile when she didn't want to sleep in the crib, but the queen sized extra bed we have seemed too big for her. It was actually a perfect size for a little girl to snuggle up and sleep. 

I was going to just have the mattress company take the cut off pieces of mattress away when they delivered the frame and bunky board, but they told me they couldn't take just part of a mattress.  When I told them what I had done, one guy was like, what?! And the other thought it was a pretty genius idea. A bunky board, by the way, is basically a big covered board that goes under the foam mattress, so it doesn't seep down into the frame. It needed something to sit on while on the metal frame, and this did the job.  I only got a plain metal frame, since this is our guest bed and sits in the girls' playroom; I didn't want to invest in anything fancy.  
See? It's just a little bit over, nothing I'm worried about!


And that my friends, is how you diy a king-sized memory foam mattress into a full-sized!  I hope this helps any of you out there who have a damaged memory foam mattress and don't know what to do about it (that's got to be, like, 5 people, right?). The mattress delivery people said that I could call the memory foam company and get a new cover for the mattress, but since we got it for free from a friend, I decided to just cover it with a mattress pad cover underneath the sheets. It's been working really well for us too: lots of extra space in the playroom and my parents appreciate that the bed isn't on the floor anymore. :)

Success!!




~Patricia


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Deal Alert!

Graco's Turbo Highback Booster Seat is only $34.99 on Amazon right now!  That's a great deal!

AND free shipping/returns if you have Amazon Prime!  I love a great deal, and this is a great booster seat too.  We have been using it for a few years for my oldest daughter and just recently took the back off so she can use it as a backless booster (and she's 7, so we've gotten a lot of use out of it!)

AND it comes in a cute pink color! :)  I love saving on the everyday things, so that way I can spend more on crafts! Ha!!

I'm just finishing up a rainbow candy princess costume for G for Halloween, I can't wait to show it to you!

Check out the Graco deal here!