Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easy Pillow Cover from Button-up Shirt

This is the easiest removable pillow cover you will ever make.  All you need is a pillow form and a button-up shirt, and of course, a few sewing supplies.  I had this green shirt laying around that no one ever wore, so I decided to make a cute pillow for my green-loving five-year-old's boring bed.  Here is what I did.
1.  Button up your shirt.  Smooth and straighten it out well (both front and back).
2.  Cut out your your squares of fabric, from both the front and back of the shirt at the same time, making sure that the buttons are centered.  You want to cut the fabric 1" larger than your pillow form.  For example, I had a 15" pillow form, so I cut my squares 16" x 16"
3.  Pin the front and the back of the pillow cover together, right sides together.

4.  Sew around all four sides with a 1/2" seam allowance.
5.  Clip Threads and clip corners.

6.  Turn the pillow cover right side out, working out the corners.  Then insert your pillow form, button up the cover and admire your work.  Sooooo easy, and cute to boot!

Before you discard the rest of the shirt, cut off the cuffs and make a couple of cute little pouches as seen on Family Chic.   Check out her tutorial.  These could not be easier and she has so many great ideas for using them.

Linking up with these fun parties:

Somewhat Simple
Sew Much Ado

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I have been experimenting with making granola bars lately, and this latest recipe has become a favorite.  The granola bars are chewy, sweet, and easy to make.  My boys love to have one (or two) as an after school snack.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Click here for a printable version of this recipe

2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (according to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until well combined.  Press into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into bars.

Linking up with:

Kitchen Meets Girl
What's Cooking, Love?
Diana Rambles
The Gingerbread Blog

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Ribbon Storage Idea

Recently, I went through all my ribbon and reorganized it.  There were several spools that were still working well for me, but I had a bunch of ribbon that was a big, huge disorganized mess.  Here is the proof . . .

I know, this is probably making all those ultra-organized people out there have a panic attack, but it is what it is (or was).

I have actually tried a few different methods for ribbon storage, and while I am sure they are all great for a lot of people, none of them worked that well for me.  Until one day, I saw a method of storing embroidery floss that looked interesting, and I figured it just might work for ribbon too, so I gave it a try with all those free-floating pieces of ribbon in my box.

I just wound the ribbon around a clothespin and secured the end in the clothespins jaws.  Now it is super easy to use the amount I need and then re-secure the end with hardly a second wasted.  So far, this system is working great for me, and as a bonus, my ribbon went from filling an entire large diaper box, to only needing a plastic shoebox.
Linking up with:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Large Distressed Pattern Block Plaque

I have a large hook shelf in the entry of my house.  I absolutely love it, but it needs something to anchor it, so awhile back I made a quick distressed board out of a 2 foot x 2 foot piece of plywood, some paint and a stencil.  I thought it was really cute, until I repainted my walls the same color as the piece and suddenly it was lost, so, enter the need to remake the board into something that will pop a little more against the gray walls.  I decided to use several patterns this time around and some lighter colors.

This is what I started with.  Cute, but no longer working with my new wall color.

I painted the whole board over with white, I wasn't too worried about getting great coverage, because I was going to distress it later.

I created three rows of stencils on my vinyl cutter.  Most of the patterns are from the dingbat font called Peoni Patterns.  They are so cute.  I made each of the blocks about 7.3" square.  Then I marked the board and applied the stencils to my board where marked.  (At this point I was thinking this looks pretty nice with the dark background, and white patterns, but I reminded myself that the furniture and carpet in that room are pretty dark, so I want something a little lighter to brighten up the room.)

I painted over the stencils with a light china blue color and let dry for a few minutes.

 I then removed the stencils. This took a lot of time.  It was the worst part of the whole project.  After the vinyl was removed,  I let the project dry completely overnight.

Finally, I distressed the board with sandpaper.  The most important thing to remember when distressing is to take it slow.  You can always take more off, but you can't put it back on.

You could skip the final distressing step, but I always seem to have a few spots where the paint has bled under the stencil, and I have a few smudges and scrapes from removing the vinyl, so the distressing helps remove those things, or at least makes them look intentional.

So, for minimal time and money, I have a fun new piece for my beloved hook shelf.  Totally happy!!

Linking up with:

Skip To My Lou

Friday, March 22, 2013

Homemade Salt Scrub / Body Polish

I am not really a shower gel kind of girl, but I never turn up my nose at it when I receive it as a gift, or when I find it on a great deal, because I can use it to make this body polish and I love, love, love this recipe.  It is so easy to make and it cleans, exfoliates and softens all in one step.

I know there are a lot of recipes for this kind of stuff out there, but this is my absolute favorite.  This recipe makes a lot, which is great for me, because I go through it fast, especially in the summer.  If you just want to give it a try, you might want to reduce it down a bit.

Homemade Salt Scrub /  Body Polish

2 cups Sea Salt
2/3 cup shower gel
1/3 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and store in the container of your choice. 

**Please be aware of any skin sensitivities or allergies that these products may bother, and be aware that this scrub will make your shower floor slippery.  Use with care and rinse the shower well when finished.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

This is one of the all-time favorite meals at our house.  I got this recipe from a neighbor I had growing up and I will always be grateful.

Don't let the long list of ingredients intimidate you.  This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious!!

Pork Carnitas

Click here for a printable version of this recipe


One 4 pound pork roast
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp onion powder
1 T. beef boullion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
2 T. chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 - 1 cup water


Brown pork roast on all sides (I have also used pork sirloin chops). Combine all other ingredients in a slow cooker. Transfer the browned pork to the slow cooker and Cook on high for 4 hours. Remove, discard fat, and shred. Add cooking liquid to the shredded pork to your taste. Serve on tortillas with your favorite taco toppings.

Linking up with these fun parties:

The Crafty Blog Stalker

Somewhat Simple

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Easy Luggage ID

This luggage has logged alot of travel miles and so has that little red strip of fabric.  Many years ago, when I was flying alot, I noticed that everyone had a piece of black rolling luggage that looked almost exactly like mine.  When I got to the baggage claim carousel, I could never really tell if the bag was mine until I was right on top of it, until one day, I tied this little strip of red fabric (that was given to me on a gift at work) to the handle before a trip.  From then on, it was always easy to spot my piece of luggage well before it got to me, and it was also easy for others to see that this was not their bag.
You could use a piece of ribbon or even a piece of colored duct tape in this same way to make your bag easy to identify for you and less likely to be mistakenly picked up by someone else.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Glitter Pillar Candles Tutorial

I was inspired to make these to adorn my easter mantle when I saw them here at Pottery Barn.

I'm sure there are several ways to make your own version of these candles, but this is what I did, and it was soooo easy.

For this project, you will need the following:
     1.  Pillar Candle
     2. White Glue that dries clear, and is not flammable.  I used Tacky Glue.
     3.  Paint brush
     4.  Glitter
     5.  Wax paper

First tear off two pieces of wax paper, on the first one dump out a liberal amount of glitter and spread it out in a strip that is slightly wider than your candle is tall.

On the second piece of wax paper, squirt out a liberal amount of glue.
Now, brush the glue liberally all around the candle, avoiding the top and bottom.  Make sure you don't miss any spots.  (Ignore any pieces of brush or glitter that may get caught in the glue in this step, they will be completely covered up with the glitter.)

Next, holding the candle by the top and bottom, roll it in the strip of glitter that you previously prepared.  Make sure that all glued surfaces are completely covered.

Now pick up the candle by the wick and give the candle a few gentle taps on the bottom, to release any excessive glitter .  Set it on the second piece of wax paper and let dry.

Make your first piece of paper, holding the glitter, into a bit of a funnel and pour the leftover glitter back into the glitter container.  You will never be able to get every last piece of glitter off the paper, so throw it away.

If you are making a second candle in a different color, get a fresh piece of wax paper and repeat the steps above.

So easy, and pretty cool!

Linking up with these fun parties:
Skip To My Lou

Home Stories A2Z


Friday, March 15, 2013

Quilt in Progress

In honor of National Quilting Day tomorow.  I am sharing a little peek at my latest quilt in progress.

I have also added a new button to my navbar that features the quilts that I have completed and blogged about on this blog.  Happy Quilting Day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Homemade Whole Wheat Muffins

These little muffins are terrific for breakfast or an after-school snack.  My boys are always excited to see them, and they devour them as soon as I can get them on the table.  I originally found this recipe here, and they are delicious. I have made a few changes to the recipe to make them a little healthier, and guess what?  My boys did not even notice!

Here is my version of this fantastic muffin.

Whole Wheat Muffins
click here for a printable version of this recipe

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 t. salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 cups milk
2 t. baking soda
2 t. vanilla
4 cups whole wheat flour

Put whole wheat flour in a large bowl  Mix everything else in the blender.  Pour liquid mixture into the bowl of flour and mix well.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full (batter will be slightly runny).  Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  The tops will spring back when they are done.  Makes about 30 muffins.

A quick note:  I prefer making these with flour ground from hard red wheat. I have made them with white wheat, but they are just not as good - at least to us. These muffins can also take a lot of stirring, which is generally a total sin when making muffins. I actually whisked this batch until completely smooth and they turned out perfectly.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Use a cute basket for that spare roll of TP

We all know it is nice to have an extra roll of TP handy when the current one runs out.  This is nice for us and keeps guests from feeling awkward if they need to ask for a new one.  I try to keep one in a cute basket, where it is still visible, but it looks so much better than just a lone roll sitting on the back of the toilet.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - How to Remove Adhesive from Baby Food Jars

Baby Food jars are so cute and there are so many ways to repurpose them, but the adhesive on them can be a real pain to remove.  I have tried to removed the sticky glue with several different kinds of stinky, chemical filled adhesive removers, but I am never very happy with the result.  Then, one day, I discovered that you can use canola oil to remove the glue.  No joke!!

Just rub some canola oil on that pesky adhesive and let it sit for a few minutes, then take a terrycloth cleaning rag and put a liberal amount of canola oil on one of the corners.  Use that corner to rub on the adhesive and it will come off.  I won't lie, it will still take a little elbow grease, but it works just as well (or better) as any of the adhesive removers I tried.  Plus, I am not breathing in any chemicals while I work. 

After you have rubbed off the adhesive, just wash the oil off with some dishsoap, rinse, and dry the jar.  It will be clean and ready for whatever you have planned for it.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Easy, Large Baby Bib Tutorial with Free Pattern

When I had my third little boy, a friend brought me a large bib that she had made for him.  It soon turned into the most favorite bib I have ever had.  Even though it was covered in snowmen, it got used year round.  It was great when he was a baby, first learning to eat solids, because it covered everything.  It was also great as he grew because it fit him all the way into his toddler years.  It was made from a dark fabric on the front and denim on the back, so it always washed up great.  I loved this bib so much that I used it as a guide to create a simple pattern and started making and giving the bibs as baby gifts.  All the moms that received them from me felt the same way that I did.  They were truly the most perfect bib they had ever had.  In fact, one of my friends told me that it was the only bib her son would wear when he was a toddler.

This bib is simple to make, and pretty inexpensive if you recycle old jeans to be used for the denim on the back.  I hope you enjoy this bib as much as I have.

Now, onto the tutorial . . .

Download the PDF pattern pieces:

bib pattern bottom (1 page)

bib pattern top (2 pages)

 Cut out the pattern pieces and tape them together as shown.  (They are not perfect, I am not a professional pattern maker, but they will work just great for this project)

Get an old pair of jeans and cut a straight line up the leg seam

Open up the pant leg and place the pattern over the wrong side of the jeans.  I like to line up the tape line with the seam line on the jeans.  Pin in place.
 Cut out the denim along the pattern lines and remove the pattern.

Lay the pattern piece on the right side of your fabric.  Pin in place. Cut out the fabric along the pattern lines and remove the pattern.

Now, pin the denim and the fabric together wrong sides together.

Take the bib to your machine and stitch a line at a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around the bib.

You will have a single stitching line all the way around the bib like this, but I don't stop there.

If desired, make a second line of stitching next to the first.

It will look like this when finished.  I have also done two lines of zig zag stitching, which is a little more forgiving than straight stitching and is really cute!!

Take sew-in velcro and pin it to the bib as shown.  Stitch around each square to secure.  You can also use a snap here rather than velcro if you prefer.

Trim your threads and then clip all the way around the edge of the bib, being careful not to cut over the stitching lines.

It will look about like this when it is done.   Now it is time to send the bib through a wash and dry to begin the ragging process on the edges.

This is what it looks like after one wash and dry.  Pretty cute!!

 And even cuter on your darling baby.


No matter what side you decide to use.

Linking up with these fun parties:

The Crafty Blog Stalker

Somewhat Simple
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