Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dreamy Pillowcase Skirt

Almost a year ago, while trolling the local thrift store for treasures, we came across this funky-patterned pillowcase. With no projects in mind it was quickly purchased to be put away until inspiration struck. So now with spring officially here we are more than ready to shake off the winter blahs and pull out our fun warm weather clothes. But we were feeling like our wardrobe could use a little boost. When we saw this cute idea for turning a pillowcase into a skirt, we knew we had just the right pillowcase for the job! The great part about this skirt is that it has a drawstring waist making it comfy and adjustable! And since it once was a pillowcase, a lot of the sewing has already been done for you!

Note: If you make this, a pillowcase with a seam on one side versus two sides will save you a step or two. But more on that later...

What You Need:
  • 1 pillowcase
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • ribbon
  • needle & thread
  • sewing machine (optional, but handy)
First, lay out your pillowcase and cut off the sealed bottom end, leaving you with a tube of fabric. Try it on and see if you like the length, cutting off more if you want to go shorter.

Next, cut a slit about 6 inches up each side. This will make it easier for you to move around in your finished skirt.

Now fold over and pin the cut edges to make a finished edge...

and run it through your sewing machine! Easy-peasy!

This part may be a little confusing, so please let us know if anything is unclear. If you are using a pillowcase with one seam up the side, make two small slits on either side of that seam at the top of your pillowcase (at the waist) through one layer of the fabric. These slits are going to be used to run ribbon through to act as a drawstring. Because of the way the pillowcase is constructed you don't have to sew a casing for the drawstring - it's been done for you! Hand stitch these slits into buttonholes (if you don't know how to make a buttonhole stitch, check out this diagram).

However, if you are like us and the pillowcase you are using has a seam up both sides of your pillowcase, you can't simply run a ribbon through a pre-made casing since the seam on the opposite side prevents the ribbon from going all the way around. So cut your slits lower down at the bottom of the "waistband" and cut though both layers of fabric. Then turn your pillowcase inside out, fold the waistband down, pin it, and sew it to make a casing. Now turn it right side out (this makes more sense when you are actually doing it). This was our first time hand stitching buttonholes, so ignore the laughable craftsmanship! :)

Once your buttonholes are made and you casing is made (if needed), you are almost done! Cut a piece of ribbon at least 4 inches longer than your waist measurement. Attach a safety pin to one end, slip into one of your buttonholes and work it through your casing and out the other buttonhole.

You see that once your ribbon is inside the casing and tied, those pesky buttonholes are impossible to see!

Then step into your new skirt, tie the ribbon, and head out to enjoy the warm weather! This skirt is fast to make, fun to wear, and would be super cute at the beach, park, or on a date! Enjoy!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

May The Force Be With You...Again

As you may have noticed, our boys love Star Wars. Last week we had another Star Wars party, this time for Jonah. We did many of the same activities as at our last Star Wars party, but the crowning glory was the clashing lightsaber cake. (Of course Jonah couldn't have the same cake as his brother!) When Jonah described the cake he wanted, Mom was a little stumped as how to create his idea, but soon figured out an easy way to accomplish the task. The kids are all ready planning on serving this cake again on Star Wars Day, May the 4th. (get it, May the force!!)
To make this cake, bake 2 - 9 x 12 cakes. We love chocolate, but if you made vanilla you could dye the cake batter the colors of your lightsabers.

Next cut each cake into thirds - the long way. Because the cake is so big, we covered a large section of the counter with foil and laid the cake out there. We sang happy birthday in the kitchen. Lay your three sections out diagonally. We used the middle section as the handle because it is the thickest part of the lightsaber.
Cut the tip into this shape. Carve a little off the edges of the saber along each side to give it a rounder look.
Lay the second light saber diagonally across the first. Cut out the section where they intersect. Now you are ready to frost the cakes.

We covered the handles with chocolate fudge frosting. Then we frosted the red light saber. The frosting was kind of dark pink, so we sprinkled red sugar sprinkles over the frosting. We colored the section where the lightsabers clash green. Jonah says that is what happens when light sabers clash. (who knew?) Mom thought an all blue lightsaber would look better, but Jonah insisted on green!

We topped the cake off with green, zig-zaggy clash lines, m & m buttons on the handles and Jonah's name! May the force be with you!
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

No Sew Bandana Tote

Unbelievable - only 3 items needed for the cutest little tote! Perfect to carry just your necessaries or you can fill it with treats for a special girl instead of a traditional Easter basket!

  • 2 Bandanas
  • Scissors

These bandanas are printed with a blank 1" border. Cut this border off in one piece, setting aside the scraps for making a handle. Lay bandanas out, wrong sides together, lining up edges as best as possible. Using fabric shears, cut a slit every 3/4" cutting up to the most inner printed square on the bandana. You will be cutting out the corners and discarding these small squares of fabric.

Beginning at one of the corners, take one of the fringes from the top and one from the bottom and tie them together in a double knot. Tie one on each corner. Continue tying all around except for the top. This will be left open.

To make the handle, cut each long scrap into two equal pieces. Discard one piece and braid the other three together knotting at each end. Knot and end to each side of the bag. Iron the top fringes down on each side.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Lampshade Bowls

You know how when you see a project and that little voice inside says, "We HAVE to make this!"? That's what happened when we saw this fantastic idea from Family Chic: Lampshade Bowls! We loved the genius of it, not to mention that it's one of those projects that is quick to make as well as our case it was free! And they are so cute!

What You Need:
  • Old lampshade
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Cardboard
First, remove the metal inside part that holds the light build using wire snips (or do what we did and have your hubby muscle it out!)

Next cut your fabric into long strips. We ended up using a fun, spring-like jersey knit that was actually an old t-shirt we picked up a thrift store ages ago (originally for our T Shirt Necklace).

Starting on the inside of your shade, hot glue the end of a strip in place.

Then wrap your fabric strip up and around the inside and outside of your shade. When you get to the end of your strip, hot glue the end down and start a new strip (being sure to do this on the inside of the shade to hide the seams).

When the shade is completely covered, it's time to make the bottom. On the cardboard, trace around the base of your new bowl. Cut out the circle, as well as two circles of your fabric.

As you can see above, we made one of our fabric circles slightly larger than the other. We placed the larger circle wrong side up and placed the cardboard circle on top. We then wrapped the edges of the fabric up and around the cardboard and hot glued it down. We then hot glued the smaller circle over the wrapped edges. Now both sides of the circle are covered!

Finally, hot glue the edges of your circle and place it inside your bowl, the side with the smaller circle of fabric facing down.
Once it is dry you have a finished Lampshade Bowl!

Fill it with fruit or something equally lovely and you have a wonderful addition to your home decor!
Or you can wear it on your head...
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mint Oreo Brownies

Get your green on by adding Mint Oreo cookies to brownies; YUM! This is the "shortcut" recipe - we used a packaged brownie mix to save some time this week, but you can certainly use any favorite homemade brownie recipe instead.

Brownie Mix
1 package Mint Oreo Cookies
1 egg
1/3 cup veggie oil
1/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix contents of brownie package with the directed egg, oil, and water.

Coat your pan with non-stick cooking spray and line up your mint flavored cookies.

Pour brownie batter over the lined up Oreos. Move the cookies around a bit, as necessary, so the batter falls between the cracks and coats all of the cookies.

Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting.

Have you over thought of serving mint chocolate chip over a brownie? YUM - that's what these taste like! And the minty green from the cookies makes these great for a St. Patrick's Day dessert!
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Salt Paint

For this project we have to thank Ms. Olsen, Ben and Jonah's art teacher at Walker School. Ben showed us this technique after making a beautiful sea life pictures at school. The watercolor paintings had a really unusual texture to them (perfect for paintings of the ocean). The paint almost looked bubbly.

Ben said all they did was sprinkle some fancy salt (kosher salt) on the watercolor paint while it was wet.

What you need:
  • watercolor paint
  • water
  • brushes
  • kosher salt - table salt works too, it just makes a finer texture
  • we also used some colored salt (just salt mixed with food coloring that we had used for another project) it added flecks of color to the paint

All you do is paint your picture and sprinkle the salt while the paint is wet. We found that it was good to sprinkle in between each color.Let the paint dry and rub off the salt.

Look at the great texture the salt adds.

Poor Jonah tried real hard to get the left over salt back into the jars.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Leprechaun Gold!

For every holiday our kids' schools have fun class parties where kids are encouraged to bring treats to share. However, the teachers ask that the treats be healthy. That's very admirable, but where's the fun in that? So with St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, we decided to skip making a treat and instead make something fun (though non-edible) for the kids to share with their classmates: Leprechaun Gold! Simple, fun, and in the words of five-year-old Jack, "So Beautiful!!"

What You Need:
  • Smooth rocks
  • Gold paint (spray paint would be the easiest, though we used acrylic paint that we had on hand)
This is so easy! All you have to do is paint those plain old rocks gold! Depending on how dark they are, and how well your paint is covering, you may need to do two coats.

Be sure to get your "Leprechaun-In-Training" to join in the fun!

When ours were completely painted and dried, we painted on a tiny green four-leaf clover to each one.

Could a project be any simpler? And since we used materials we already had on hand, it was free! Doesn't get any better than that!
And we're sure the kids' classmates will enjoy their lucky Leprechaun Gold...although Jack is a little worried that leprechauns might try and steal it!
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