Friday, October 31, 2014

Lettuce-Edge Repurposed T-shirt Cardigan

I love wearing t-shirts. Soft knit cotton is comfortable, versatile, and often a flattering look.  So when I go to put on one of my favorite long-sleeve tees at the beginning of cooler weather, and it has little "mouse holes" on the front of the shirt right at the belt-line, I'm annoyed. Have you ever experienced this?  

Well, I am SO STOKED (I don't think I've used that phrase since high school) about sharing the clothing re-purpose I just did!  I have already salvaged two of my waist-line-hole-ridden t-shirts and made them into cute cardigans. It was seriously easy, and now I have TWO cute cardigans! 

AND, I am now on the lookout for non-hole-ridden tees on sale to do this to, because cardigans are usually so much more pricey and in shorter supply than t-shirts are! 

Here's the how-to:

1. Start with a long-sleeve knit t-shirt. I made one from a round neck and one from a v-neck. Both turned out cute. The v-neck has a more casual lay to it when finished.

So here's a close up of the "mouse holes."  Thankfully not actually made from mice. I've heard they come from doing too-big loads of laundry. **Guilty** 
If you have holes at the belt-line that are on the sides of your shirt, this won't help get rid of those. But if you are like me, the holes are usually right below my navel, in the middle of the shirt. 

2. Cut the t-shirt front from the center of the neckline to the center of the hem. 

3. Set your machine stitch width to 5 and the length to 2. Use a zig-zag stitch setting.

4. Pull the t-shirt along the cut edges so that it rolls in on itself, ideally with the raw edge turning to the inside. (Most jersey knits do this fairly easily). Beginning at one end of one cut edge, run a zig-zag stitch right along the edge of the roll, pulling both ends of the fabric taught while the machine feeds the fabric through. Pulling out the elasticity of the fabric while you are sewing with taught thread is what makes the wave in the lettuce-edge.  Tie off each end with a reverse stitch or two. Repeat on the other cut edge. 

And you're done! 

My little mouse holes on the striped shirt were rolled into the pretty edge, and were gone! I cut about an inch extra out of the bottom of my white shirt to get rid of all the holes. I blended the cut so it was still straight when I sewed the lettuce edge, and it turned out great!

I discovered that the stretchier the fabric, the more prominent the waves will be. My striped shirt has looser waves because it stretched more horizontally than vertically. The white shirt was very stretchy in both directions, so it has tighter waves.

I was so excited for the finished product!  

This post is linking at these great parties.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cinnamon Chip Banana Bread

This week was my son's last week of 8th grade football. As a mom, I am scared everyday when I send my kids out the door. They face so much in school. I love seeing them grow amid the challenges that come with early adolescence, but I do a fair amount of worrying, too.

You'd think that having a son in football would only add to the worries, but amazingly it didn't. Picking my sweaty (and smelly!) son up after 2 hours of practice every day was nothing but a positive experience.  When I asked how his day went, he'd reply, "Great!"  When I asked how football went, he'd say,"Fun!"  He'd then tell me about what he'd learned that day in class and on the field. I'd share with him some of my junior high and high school experiences that related.  And when we got home (after a snack), he'd get right on his homework. He has been managing his time so well because he has had to. 
At his football games, I never once heard a coach be anything but constructive and positive. His coaches would put their arms around the boys individually to offer advice. More than once, my son told us about specific praise from a coach for improvement in his playing skills. 

So for this last week of football, I wanted to do something special for his two main coaches. And, being from the South, I show pretty much any emotion (be it gratitude, grievance, or sympathy), with food. 
Since I had 7 bananas to use, I decided a loaf of cinnamon chip banana bread would be appropriate. 
I had just enough batter to make two large loaves (one for each of his coaches) and two tiny loaves (so my kids didn't feel jipped). 

We loved it, as I'm sure the coaches did. And you will, too!

Here's the recipe: 

Cinnamon Chip Banana Bread
Makes 2 loaves

7 ripe bananas, mashed
4 eggs
2 scant cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream
4 cups flour (I did half whole wheat, half white)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1.5 cups cinnamon baking chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Prepare two loaf pans with cooking spray and flour.
2. Mix bananas, eggs, sugar, and oil well with an electric mixer. Stir in sour cream.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Stir well into wet mixture. Stir in cinnamon chips.
4. Bake 50-60 minutes, until tops no longer look wet and return to shape when touched. 

This post is partying at these link-ups.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chalkboard Christmas Countdown

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. 
You need a calendar, and this is where it's at! 

I saw a few calendars like this last year in my Pinterest perusings, so some friends and I decided to take the plunge and make our own. 
When I first set this out in December, the numbers are visible (as shown above).

Each day of December, we turn over a number to reveal a picture depicting scenes from Christ's life with an associated scripture reference, which we read together. As you can see, the scripture for Christmas Day is the account of Jesus' birth, from Luke 2.

Here's where the chalkboard function of the calendar comes into play.  Below each number/picture, I write an activity for us to do as a family. I will list several I have used below for ideas.

I use this chalk marker (purchased on Amazon, but also at craft stores), to write on the board. It wipes off with a wet paper towel. Regular chalk works, too.

You will need: 
12x12" sheet of numbered Christmas scrapbook paper
Chalkboard paint
Paint brushes
Mod Podge
Heavy-duty hole punch
Heavy-duty scissors, utility knife, and/or slide-cutter
12x12" piece of chip board
Not pictured: 
Black craft paint
Jesus pictures sized to same shape as numbers
Fifty (50) 1" thin nails with small heads
17"x14" wood boards
Vinyl and access to a vinyl cutter to make the heading 

Find scrapbook paper you really liked with 25 Christmas numbers. We found ours at a local scrapbook store. My sister, who lives in another state, decided to make one with friends when I told her what we were doing. She found the same paper at Hobby Lobby. Here is a link to some similar paper (it looks to have numbers the same size as ours, which is nice for the Jesus pictures I have links to below).
We also bought chip board from a scrapbook store, chalkboard paint, thin nails with small heads (bring your hole punch when you shop), and had 17" x 14" boards cut and routed (courtesy of a husband).  

I sized Jesus pictures from to fit the numbers on the paper. This art is free to use as long as you aren't selling it.  I also added corresponding scriptures to the front of each picture. (Note: some scriptures are from the Book of Mormon. If you prefer only Holy Bible references, I attached the sized pics sans scriptures).  

Jesus Pictures
Jesus Pictures with scriptures (Please ignore the extra pages. I had a hard time with Excel's formatting when I added the scripture references. I finally just gave up trying to get rid of the added pages.)

To assemble: 
1. Sand the boards, then paint with the chalkboard paint. We did 2-3 coats and primed it with chalk when it dried.
2. Mount the scrapbook numbers on the chip board with a thin layer of Mod-podge and cut out each one. Heavy-duty scissors, a nice slide-cutter, or a utility knife with a guide are all good options for cutting through the chip board.
3. Paint the back of each mounted number black, if desired. (b/c the Jesus pics aren't exactly the same size as the numbers).
4. Print out the Jesus pics, and cut those out. Mount them on the back of the number they fit on.
5. Mod-podge over the front and back of the chip board pieces. 
6. Punch 2 holes in the top corners of each chip board piece. 
7. We arranged the pieces on the painted boards leaving room at the top for a heading and a 1/2 inch or so on the sides and bottom. I used painters tape to keep them in place, but I would use VERY small pieces b/c it took the modpodge off of a couple of my pictures and I had to re-cover them.
8. We nailed into each hole, leaving enough nail sticking out for hanging, but in enough so they are firmly in place.
9. A friend of a friend with a Silohuette machine made the heading for us with white vinyl.
10. I bought a chalk marker off Amazon for $4. It comes off with water, but doesn't wipe off easily like traditional chalk. Mine works great and is Uchida brand, called "Bistro Chalk Marker."

Here are a few process pictures a friend took who I shared this how-to with pre-blog post. (Thanks Cindy!!)
Scrap book paper, chip board, Mod-podge, brushes.

 Painting the chip board with craft paint first is much easier than waiting to paint after everything's cut out. (I would know.;-))

At this point in the process I was beginning to get excited. The finished product was in my sights. 

Here are some examples of activities to write on the chalkboard under the numbers. I love that I can customize this part of the calendar every year to accommodate concerts, school performances, parties, family traditions, and whatever else comes along from year to year.

  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Dance to Christmas music
  • Choose a toy to give away
  • Go to a Creche exhibit
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Attend a church devotional
  • Make snowflakes
  • Have hot cocoa with candycanes
  • Make gingerbread houses
  • Act out the nativity
  • Host a neighborhood cookie exchange
  • Drive around to see lights
  • Make and decorate cut-out sugar cookies
  • Make teacher gifts
  • Deliver gifts to neighbors
  • Go caroling 
  • Play the present exchange game
  • Have a nativity scavenger hunt with scripture clues
  • Serve at a homeless shelter
  • Do a random act of kindness 
  • Attend The Nutcracker
  • Read "The Night Before Christmas"

Live Randomly Simple

This post is linking at these parties.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wavy Scarf Tutorial

As I write this post, it is 65 days until Christmas. Time to kick your gift planning into gear, folks.

But no reason to start stressing. I bring you good tidings of great joy. Every woman and girl on your list has a neck that needs dressing...and I'm here with the solution!

This scarf tutorial is not only quick and easy. It is so versatile. Young or old, punk or preppy, you can customize each scarf to the wearer. And they can customize how they wear it! 

My mom was in town this past week, and the two of us whipped out 6 of these in about 2 hours. And they cost us about $2 each to make. Score!!

Here's the how-to~

You will need: 
  • 14-16" of a 60-inch-wide flowing type of fabric. (Knits, poly-blends, silks, chiffons, and challis are all good choices).
  • Coordinating all-purpose thread
  • Elastic thread

1. Sew a rolled hem on the edges of the fabric, if needed. If you are using a jersey knit (as well as some poly-blends), the cut edge may be fine to leave un-hemmed. Since you will likely be using the full width of the cut, the short edges may have a factory finish you can leave.  I used the rolled-hem feature on my serger to finish the long sides.

My mom chose this fabric. Isn't it lovely? It is a silk-like chiffon. 

2. Use your machine to put elastic thread onto your bobbin and thread your machine as you normally do-- put coordinating all-purpose thread on top, elastic thread in the bobbin. If you are only making one scarf, you won't need a full bobbin of elastic thread. We filled our bobbin and had enough for 8+ scarves. Move your stitch width to 4.

3. With right side of the fabric up, sew a top stitch (tying off with a back-stitch at the beginning and end) directly down the center of the length of the scarf. 
That's it! Scarf complete!

Sewing just one length with the elastic thread in the bobbin will gather up the scarf enough to give it a soft, wavy look!

A special thanks to my models! Aren't they lovely? So sophisticated and stylish. I didn't instruct them how to wear the scarves--they each draped or knotted them on their own! I adore every style! 

This post is linking at these parties.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Easy Meat and Spinach Lasagna

I think I've made homemade lasagna more in the last 2 months than I have in the rest of my married life. Why? Because I have come up with a truly easy way to make it! Much of the credit has to go to Barilla for making an oven ready noodle I truly trust. 

This is NOT a sponsored post. I'm just sharing my love of this product. I have used other "oven ready" lasagna before, and it always required me to really water-down my recipe for it to come out right. These noodles come out perfectly tender and delicious every time.

The other revelation I will share is my new method for the cheese layers. Typically, the cheese layers of a lasagna have ricotta or cottage cheese, an egg or two, grated parmesan, and spices.  I was in a hurry a few weeks ago and decided to try just mixing prepared pesto with cottage cheese--no eggs, other cheese, etc.  It was the best lasagna I had ever made! 

Here's a quick tutorial. Recipe follows.

Prepare your meat sauce. I brown half sausage and half hamburger, then add 8oz of frozen chopped spinach to the hot meat. ( I've used chopped fresh kale once, and it turned out great!). Stir in 1-2 jars of prepared pasta sauce. Then mix your cottage cheese or ricotta with the pesto. Layer meat, noodles, cheese, meat, noodles, cheese, (3 total noodle ending with meat. Here I wanted to show how the noodles don't touch the sides or each other. They expand beautifully while cooking.

Cover the top with Mozzarella or Italian blend shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and bake 50 minutes at 350°. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.

Mmmm. My house smelled like a fine Italian restaurant. Or a really good pizza joint.

Here's the full recipe:

Easy Meat and Spinach Lasagna
Serves 9

9 sheets of Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagne
1/2-3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2-3/4 lb ground pork sausage
8 oz frozen chopped spinach (or chopped fresh kale)
48 oz of your favorite prepared pasta sauce (I like using one Classico Spicy Tomato and Basil one of any other red pasta sauce.)
3 cups cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
2 cups Mozzarella or Italian blend cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a large pot, brown beef and sausage. Add in spinach to thaw in hot meat. Mix well.
3. Pour pasta sauce in with the meat and spinach. Bring to a simmer, then turn off.
4. In a separate bowl, mix cottage/ricotta cheese with prepared pesto. 
5. Spread a layer of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13" pan. Top with 3 sheets of lasagne. The sheets should be 1/2 inch or so apart from each other, and not touching the edges.
6. Spead a layer of the cheese/pesto mix over the noodles, then spread more meat mix over that. Continue making layers in that order (meat, noodles, cheese mix), ending with meat. 
7. Spread the shredded cheese over the final meat layer.
8. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Remove and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Linking up at these super parties.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pin Junkie Blogiversary Party

Two years ago, Bonnie a.k.a. The Pin Junkie decided to actually do the things she pinned on Pinterest.  She made a few crafts, tried a few recipes and had so much fun, she wanted to share her love of Pinterest with everyone and The Pin Junkie was born!  Now she's completely addicted and working her way through Pinterest one project at a time.  You can join her at:

The Pin Junkie is celebrating it's two year blogiversary and these bloggers are helping to celebrate in style with a HUGE link party! When you share your crafts and recipes at this party, they will be seen on all 40 of these blogs!

Party Rules
1.  Share anything family friendly - crafts, recipes, DIY projects.
2.  Visit other links at the party.  It's always nice to leave some comments and pin from the original source.
3.  Visit and follow a few of the co-hosts.  They'd love it if you dropped by to say hello!

New Mrs. Adventures Made in a Day
Jewels of Sayuri Mom Home Guide
Wow I Like That Blogghetti
Natural Maker Mom at Satsuma Designs 2 Crochet Hooks
 photo button77_zps6991121a.jpg
Delightful Mom So Much To Make
Amanda G. Whitaker “mommyzoid I'm Not a Trophy Wife  photo WPORG_FAV_zpscfc08c44.png
 Who Gave The Baby Coffee What About DIYFunIdeas
 Jenny Marie A Peek Into My Paradise