Friday, November 25, 2011

Another Fabric Card

Remember how I said I was going to make another fabric art card for my Mom in my previous post?

Well here it is!!!  

The big dolphin is supposed to be her and her pod is my brother, my children, and me.  

She taught us all how to swim in this big old ocean called life.

I love you Mom!  Happy Birthday!

Thanksgiving in Pictures

Clean up crew and taste tester - Mississippi

Missing my kitty this Thanksgiving.  I kept worrying about the butter.   I hope you got to lick a whole tub of it in heaven, Tomas!

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread with buttercream frosting
Appetizers - olives, pistachios, macadamia nuts, carrots, celery, ranch, and chips

Toasted sourdough with sautéed leeks and blue cheese.  I added bacon crumbles for the meat eaters.

Italian red wine and salad with red leaf lettuce, roasted butternut squash with poppy seeds, pomegranate seeds, scallions, and home made dressing.  Avocado and bacon crumbles for extra toppings.

Homemade cranberry sauce and corn

Momma's yummy stuffing and sweet potato casserole

Tofurky and gravy

My cute little handmade placemats and napkins

My family!

Yummy apple, pear, and cherry fruit crisp

My beloved pumpkin pie cheesecake!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What does a Sticky Genius do on her one and only kid free day off for weeks?

I bet you will never guess.  I can think of several better ways that I could have spent my one day off.  Normally, the kids go to their Dad's house every other weekend, which is fun for everyone!  I get some free time to shop without whining, sew without being interrupted, have a complete thought.  They get some good Pops time in, and of course, Pops gets to have fun with the ones he loves the most.  Win win!  This weekend would have been his weekend, but he is going to visit his family, so the kids are all mine for 3 WHOLE WEEKS!

You think that I would just sit on my behind, drink wine, and stare at the tv with my one day off ... but no .... that is just not my style.  What did I do, then?  Well .... I went a little crazy ...

... and I broke out the paint!

And I painted my work wall!  It went from boring white to a beautiful "fountain sprout" blue.  Blue is my favorite color.  My work wall - where my sewing machines are located and I do most of my work- should be inspiring, not boring.  Here is a before photo of my work wall.

And here it is after:

It's hard to get a good picture with my iPhone, but hopefully you can see the color difference!  I changed the pictures around on the walls, too.  Now this wall has art pieces from members of my family.  My Grandmother painted the photo on the upper left above the heater.  She was an amazing artist.  Next to that on the top is a painting my daughter, Aubrey, did.  Bayne, my son, did the one with no frame and the one above my coat and purse rack is a needlepoint piece done by my Great Grandfather. He did hundreds of these and they are amazing.  I have been looking at these since I was born.  I think that is where my love of texture and appliqué came from.  The other picture of a tree is just a target bought thing that says "believe".  That may move.  I have a plan for the empty space.  Stay tuned for that!  I have a large wave fabric art piece that is normally there, but I am moving that to the wall above the tv.  I don't have any room to move around the furniture (which I love to do from time to time), so it looks like moving photos, pictures and painting walls is how I have to make changes.  I still plan to paint the rest of the living room.  I love the blue so much I think I might paint this wall blue ...

I have another color I plan on using in the living room called Havana Cream.  I think I may use that on the wall where the window is and the wall where the tv is.  That way when you open up the door and walk in you will be greeted by a blue wall - which would be the wall you see above.  What do you think?  Should that wall be blue or cream?  The other blue wall is on the right in this photo.

And if that wasn't productive enough ... I decided since I was already covered in paint and the bathroom had just been cleaned, I may as well paint that, too!  I have been wanting to paint it since I moved in, but there is nothing worse than painting a bathroom.  It's small, there are tons of tight corners.  I always have to pee after I wrap the toilet in plastic, and you are swimming in paint fumes.  I sucked it up and got to work ... regretting my decision about 20 minutes into taping, but there was no turning back.  Here is a before (well during) shot (luckily I remembered to do this before I started painting!)

I had about a half gallon of some yellow paint my friend had given me that she had used in her bathroom.  I always loved her little yellow bathroom.  Here is my yellow bathroom:

It is YELLOW!  I think it's because it is so small and I had to do the ceiling because I ran out of tape - D'oh!  That was my solution to that problem :).

I think it will take a little getting use to, but it's cute and its not white!  That's for sure.

***UPDATE**** The yellow in the bathroom is driving me crazy!  It is way WAY to yellow.  It looks nice in this photo, but when you are surrounded by it in that tight little space and the light is on it has a neon/lime effect going on and I cannot hang.  The kids don't seem bothered by it, though.  I have some off white paint and I think I'm going to repaint the ceiling white and if that doesn't help I'm going to color wash the walls with the off white, too, just to tone it down.  It's killing me!

Now that the kids are home for a full week from school for the holiday break and I'm getting ready to make my Thanksgiving meal list and start my two day cook fest, I'm thinking these walls are nice and pretty, but that couch, wine, and tv are sounding pretty nice right about now.  Maybe in three weeks :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh Behave!

I don't know about your kids, but mine are perfect!


I do think their behavior is better than some kids I see, but perfect?  Oh good goodness, no!

I think I got pretty lucky with my first child.  Bayne has never been much of a problem.  We have our basic back talk issues.  Tantrums here and there.  He can be rude at times.  When it comes to his sister, he is just plain nasty.  Mostly, he is a sweet boy, though.  He has so much love to give and he isn't shy about it if you are lucky enough to be one of those special people in his heart.  Parents at school love him.  He is gentle, not a fighter at all.  Quiet, thoughtful, patient, smart, good in school, and overall a pretty fantastic kid.

My second child, Aubrey, is a whole other story.  As most of you know she was born with some pretty special circumstances, so already her life is challenging.  Which I think makes her poor behavior that much harder on me because I want her to enjoy her life and I don't want it to be any harder than it already is.  I am pretty sure being female alone adds a whole new element of "fun" that I was unaware of having raised only a male.  Aubrey is basically a negative nelly.  Nothing is good enough, always a complaint, finds one bad thing about an otherwise fantastic situation and focuses on it intently ... and dramatically ... always with the drama.  Argumentative.  AttiTUDE.  Willful, doesn't even cover it.  Downright defiant at times.   There is no reasoning with her.  When her mind is set, it is set!  Oddly,  some of these are characteristics of hers that I also am proud of.  You can't ever accuse her of not knowing what she wants or swaying on an issue.  My hope is this will come in handy with peer pressure in the future, but I guess that will all depend on what her opinion is on all the temptations that will lie ahead of her in life.  The flip side of this is something equally as spectacular and big as her nutty side.  She couldn't be more beautiful.  She has a bright light inside that people see.  I have more random people come up and say different nice things about her.  She has an amazing smile that lets that light just reach out and touch you.  She is very bright, has a memory like an elephant, focused, strong, social, wise beyond her little years.  She says the FUNNIEST things.  She has a great sense of humor and whimsical spirit.  She is very creative and artistic.  Thoughtful and sentimental.  She truly does have a beautiful heart full of love and life and she is ready to share it with the world.

Here is a recent photo of my two beautiful children:

My Gentle Giant, Bayne and My Bright Light,  Aubrey
I know, I know .... how could they ever behave poorly?  What a horrible person I must be to even suggest that these kids could be bad!  You are just going to have to take my word for it and trust that most of my energy is going towards proving you right!  I would love to eat crow on this one :)

Lately these sweet little angels you see above have been pushing me to the end of my rope.  I have to admit, it's not all their fault.  I have been slacking in the consistent discipline area and I need to step it up.  We all know the drill ... it still works as an adult sometimes, too ... whine, whine, whine, whine, whine until the person breaks and get what you want.  It's an easy trap to fall into.  It was time for me to put and end the madness, so I broke out their Behavior Charts.  I made these great little reusable sticker charts years ago.


  We were using them for a long time, but sometimes I slack off and it gets forgotten.  This was one of those moments.  The basic idea is you earn a sticker when you do something good like clean up when asked, sharing. etc.  Then you could lose a sticker for bad behavior, like back talk, mean talk, hitting, etc.  If you get all your stickers on your chart you earn a prize.  Something small like hot wheels or ice cream.  This worked fine for us for years, but they are getting older and I felt like they needed to have their expectations written out for them.  I decided to add on to the existing chart and make the stakes much higher ... and the expectations, as well!

I am going to share with you the system that we came up with and at the end I will include a tutorial, so you can make your own.

When I was shopping at Joann I came across a cheap dry erase board (that does not dry erase once dry - FYI!) for $1.49 that was blank, but had a template for a reward chart.  I figured that would work perfectly.  I decided to add myself onto the list and make it a competition - each individual kid against me.  First let me show you an example of our chart, so you know what I am talking about.

Here is the chart in whole

I know my handwriting in horrendous!
Bayne's expectations:
homework, clean up toys, feed dog, no hitting (he only ever hits Aubrey), no mean talk to Aubrey,
read to me or Aubrey, say one nice thing to Aubrey, stretch (kid is do tight!), stay together when shopping,
listen and do!!, eat one veggie

Aubrey's expectations:
one page of homework (work from an abc or 123 workbook), read 10 flashcards, clean up toys,
no mean talk, no back talk, no screaming, drink one bottle of water, say one nice thing to Bayne,
stretching, stay together when shopping, Listen and do!!
I added brush her teeth in the morning to the chart, because she has been giving me grief over that.

Mom's expectations:
work out, drink two mason jars of water, no mean talk (I hate to admit it, but it happens!), walk the dog,
play out doors with the kids, play with Aubrey for 30 minutes uninterrupted any way she wants,
play with Bayne for 30 minutes uninterrupted any way he wants, stretching with the kids,
no drinking alcohol (been great for the waistline), read to the kids.
The last one says go to the beach once per week, but I changed it to floss.
Here is how it works.  Each day is a column and you have to earn a check mark.  If you do what is expected of you, you get a check mark in your column for that day.  Some things we have to wait until the end of the day to see if we are going to earn a check mark or not.  For example, both kids have to "Listen and Do".  I wait until they are going to bed to give them that one.  Other check marks can be given as the expectation is met, like "Stretching".  For each check mark you earn one sticker on your sticker chart (I don't have a sticker chart for myself, just the kids.  I just earn the check marks).

We have had a lot of fighting over the TV and the computer lately.  It drives me crazy.  I decided one way to deal with that is they have to "pay" for their tv and computer time.  10 minutes costs them 1 sticker.  If they don't have any stickers.  Tough cookies snookies!  Gotta earn it.

Then to make the stakes higher, as I mentioned, I decided rather than going all crazy at Christmas and buying them a bunch of toys (don't be sad, they have fabulous grandparents and Santa's still coming!) I am going to buy them a big toy, not just some $5 or less thing, but something substantial if they can beat me.  The goal is to have the least empty spaces on your chart.  I should add that there are some days that we have other plans that keep us from meeting some of the goals and on those special occasions I black out the empty spot, so that it does NOT count against us.  For example, some days I can't work out because of doctor appointments, dance class, etc, so it doesn't count against me.  I just fill in the empty space solid.  For Bayne, he has no homework on the weekends, so that doesn't count against him, fill in the empty space solid.  Some days we don't go shopping, so they can't earn a check mark for staying together - fill in the empty space solid.  Doesn't count against us.  You have to be honest, though ... no cheating!  ;)  I hope that makes sense.  Now that you know all the "rules" here is how the reward system for the expectation chart works:

At the end of the week I add up all of the empty spaces on the chart.  Spaces that are not blocked out and do not have check marks.  I tally the number and write it above their section.  If their number is lower than my number they earn a big prize.  That prize can be nice toy, a trip to Chuck E Cheese, bowling, a movie, a video game ... basically something under $40.  That's my max.  My hope is that this will motivate me to work really hard on my goals.  I think that in the long run this will make us all a happier, stronger family in so many ways.

Now both kids have the opportunity to be rewarded more than once for their behavior.  Immediately by getting a sticker per check mark, they feel proud when they have enough stickers to pay me for their time on the tv and computer, and cumulatively when they do good enough to beat mom and earn a big prize! 

We just completed our first week with the new chart system and there has been a big buzz around the chart at all times. Both really like reading what their expectations are and Aubrey loves to have me read it over and over.  I assume so she can memorize whatever my sloppy writing says. :) I made some new stickers to add to their collection with their new favorite tv characters.  They take a great deal of care deciding who is going to go on their chart.  Aubrey is making a "story" on hers.  Bayne loves paying me for his tv time.  Aubrey needs a little coaxing, but she does it.  It's really cute.  There are so many things I love about this chart.  For one, it makes me accountable.  It's hard!  Don't get me wrong, but laziness is how I got to the end of my rope and I am the adult, so someone has to be accountable and I guess that is me.  That's fine, I love a good challenge.  What's the fun of life with no challenge?  Another thing I love is at the end of the week we can look back and see which areas have the least check marks across the row, so we know which behavior we need to work on the most.  Plus, I cannot afford to be buying $40 worth of stuff every week (or more if they both beat me!), so it forces me to work hard every week to win.  We all have a reason to work and boy those kids REALLY want to beat Mom! 

And in case you were wondering, the kids won this week.  ;)  Gotta give them a taste of sweet victory and .... if I'm honest .... I cannot wait until Christmas and we have a whole week off from school for Bayne, so we need something new to play with.  I probably would have bought something anyway.  Shhhh!  They don't need to know that.  I bought us a nice new Lego set (I love legos!) and a little train for Aubrey.  Everyone seems pretty happy!  Wish ME luck next week!  It's going to be a tough one.

As promised here is my tutorial on how to make your own:

It is really easy.  All you need is:
- access to a computer with internet
- color printer
- photo paper is preferred, but regular paper can be used
- blank template for a reward chart - I got mine at Joann for $1.49
- poster board
- adhesive hook and latch tape
- A trip to Kinko's will also be in store to laminate all the pieces
- one or more crazy child/ren
- parent/s hanging by a string

To make the Sticker Chart:

Cut the poster board to be whatever size you want.  Keep in mind how many stickers you want them to be able to have on their board and the size of the space where you plan to hang it.  I think mine has 18 spaces for stickers.  I just used a random piece of poster board and that is what I ended up having room for.  I think around 20 spaces is adequate.  It costs 3 stickers per tv show or half hour of computer time, you need to allow them room to collect time/stickers.  You can choose to change the amount of time per sticker.  I considered doing 15 minutes per sticker, but that seemed like too much and counting by tens is easier for them to understand.  You can just hand write "Behavior Chart" or print out letters (as I did), cut them from magazines, or even leave it blank.  It's up to you.  Glue the letters onto the poster board if they are cut or printed out.  Set it aside to be taken to Kinko's or any place you can have things laminated.  If it is large like mine you will have to have them laminate it for you.  It cost under $5 for mine. **** AFTER IT IS LAMINATED **** cut squares of the hook and latch tape and stick them to the chart.  I prefer to use the rough side on the chart, so the stickers have the soft fuzzy side on the backs.  Be sure to leave space in between the squares so the stickers fit.  Here is a photo of one of mine:

 Now for the stickers!  Get the kids involved.  They will love picking the pictures.  You can either go to Google and search certain images they like.  For example search "Pokemon images" and then scroll through all the images, click on the ones you like, and drag them to your desk top.  I drop mine into iPhoto from there and then print them out as a contact sheet to get to sticker size.

Searching through Pokemon images on Google.  Be sure to click on the image before you drag it to the desk top,
so you get it from it's original location.

Another great way to find images is to go directly to the website of the show your child loves and use the wallpapers.  I do the same thing:  Save them to my desktop, drag them into iPhoto, print them as a contact sheet and this is what I get after printing the contact sheet:

I cut each image into individual stickers.  Then it's off to Kinko's we go!  You are going to need to use their laminating machine for the stickers.  Don't be afraid.  It is easy, but ask for help if you have never used one before.

I used a large laminate sheet and placed it in the folder needed to pass it through the machine, so I won't have to shift of move my sheet after I line them up.  You may want to start with a smaller 8x10 sheet of laminate and use multiple sheets if necessary.  It might be easier to handle.  Either way, line up all the stickers on the inside of the laminate sheet - face up or down makes no difference.  Make sure to leave plenty of room between stickers, so you can cut them out.  Each sticker needs to have a frame of laminate around the outer edge of the paper after cut, so none of the paper is exposed once cut.  Close the laminate sheet and folder, pass it through the machine.  At this time you can also have your poster board laminated for you by the staff.  Pay for it and head home to finish up!

Cut each piece into it's own sticker making sure to leave a 1/4" border or so of laminate around the edge.  Cut squares of the fuzzy side of the hook and latch tape and adhere them to the backs of the stickers. 

Find a nice little box to store them all in.  The kids just love looking through these!

Then you need to make your Behavior Expectation chart:

You can refer to the the photos I previously posted for ideas for your own chart, but my guess is if you are reading this far down the blog you probably know exactly what you want to add to your chart.  All you need is a blank chart and different colored dry erase markers to get started.  You can find these at any craft, teaching, or office supply store.  

You can reward anyway you choose.  Ours is check mark = sticker on chart.  Sticker on chart = 10 minutes of computer or tv time.  Having less empty spaces (unfulfilled expectations) than Mom on their chart at the end of the week = BIG PRIZE!

Good luck to all the parents out there at the end of their rope!  This is a tough job, but we can do it.  None of us are perfect and we all have bad days.  There is nothing wrong with that.  What is most important is that we become aware, accountable, and always work hard at being the best person we can be.  It never hurts to be recognized and rewarded for our efforts either.  :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Card That Keeps On Giving!

Does anyone else feel like buying cards for people for birthdays or holidays is a bit of a waste?  Most of the time they end up in the garbage and even if they are saved, they are never really looked at again.

We were invited to a first birthday party today.  The son of a friend of mine.  What a special day to be a part of!  I remember how important that day was to me for both of my kids.  I didn't want to buy your basic Happy 1st Birthday card for him, I mean, the kid can't even read yet and he will probably never even see it.  I didn't want to just throw a hasty gift tag on the gift either because 1) It's lazy 2) It's his 1st birthday = special! 3) I am kinda known for being crafty, so I really should pull something a little more creative out of my arse than scribbling "to and from" on a piece of paper and shoving it in a recycled gift bag.

In a recent issue of my new favorite magazine Stitch (sorry Oprah, I still love you, though!) they had a super cute fabric card idea that is right up my alley!  I love doing fabric art pieces and appliqué designs, so this was a perfect fit.  They had an owl and deer card as their example, but I had a really cute idea for a design, so I gave it a whirl and now I think I am addicted!  Here is what I came up with for the birthday boy!

His parents love camping and I thought this would be a cute boyish scene.  Inside I wrote "Hope you are a happy camper on your birthday!"  It's just appliqué that I hand sewed on.  My hand sewing is a bit choppy because I fell asleep working on it the night before and had to sew my little fingers off just to finish it in time for the party - D'OH!  I don't think it matters, though, because it has a raw, organic feel to it anyway.  Then you glue it on to a piece of card stock that is fold in half and viola!

You have a beautiful card that is sure to not get thrown in the garbage.  It can be framed or even placed on a shelf for decoration.  Plus it is so nice and textured even the little birthday boy can touch, feel, and appreciate it more than a store bought paper card.

I love how this turned out so much I think I am going to start working on a fabric birthday card for my mom tonight.  Her birthday is tomorrow, but I won't be seeing her until Thanksgiving, so at least I won't have to rush this card as much.  :)  I haven't thought of what the scene will be, but she loves the beach, so I'm thinking ocean ... we will see.  She is NOT a camper, though, so this design is not an option.  :)

Super fun, super cute, super special!  I know I would love receiving a one of a kind fabric card for my birthday!  How about you?

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's So Hard To Say Good-Bye!

About 11 years ago, I was living here in Manhattan Beach.  I can't for the life of me remember what made me decide to take a quilting class.  I don't even remember how I discovered Luella's Quilt Basket or what motivated me to want to learn how to sew.  I didn't even own a sewing machine.  For whatever the reason, I signed up for a sampler quilt class at Luella's Quilt Basket at her original location on Sepulveda Blvd, taught by Luella herself.  She taught us 6 different blocks all with different styles of quilting techniques.  I fell in love with fabric and sewing and got my first mini Kenmore sewing machine.  I finished the quilt with my machine and gave it to my mom where it is still being displayed beautifully in her living room.  

Many crazy things have happened in my life since than, but the one thing that has remained consistent is my love for sewing.  I believe that Luella had a huge hand in helping develop the passion and skills that I have today.  I took a few other classes with her over the years.  She moved her store from Sepulveda Blvd in Manhattan Beach to Aviation Blvd in Redondo Beach, but always Luella was there ready to help with any sewing issues or questions.  She had fun, new classes, great teachers, and amazing workshops.  When I moved back to Manhattan Beach two years ago, I was dying to take another class at her shop.  Unfortunately, I haven't had the time and/or money and now it is too late.  Luella has announced that she is closing down her shop and retiring from being a store owner.  *Sad face*

I am happy for Luella, though.  She's no spring chicken and I've spoke with several local shop owners around the South Bay who have said the last two years have been the worst years in history, financially speaking.  Rent is not cheap, so how they make the ends meet, I don't know.  I imagine this, along with it just being time for her to say good-bye and move on to the next phase of her life, are the reason she decided to call it quits and hang up the "Closed" sign for good.  

Luella's is still open through December.  I went in the other day and made my last purchase.   I know life will go on and new quilt shops will appear, but Luella's Quilt Basket will always have a special place in my heart <3!

Where it all began!

Luella herself at the cutting table

My last purchase at Luella's :(
Thank You Luella for inspiring me and introducing me to this great skill that has kept me warm, clothed, stylish, creative, inspired, fed, and oh so happy.  :)

Thrift Store Fun!

Every once and a while I like to go hunting through our local Salvation Army for something unique and cute to add to my wardrobe.  I found this shirt and fell in love with the fabric texture and color.  I love browns and oranges and this fabric was so soft and fuzzy.  Unfortunately, the style was U-G-L-Y!

I mean, who wants a short sleeve turtle neck?!?!?  Yuck!  My sewing skills are going to come in handy with this purchase.

I took one of my nice fitting tank tops and laid it on top and started cutting ....

.... and sewing ... and this is what it turned into ....

 I love it!!!  It's not exactly winter wear, but spring will be here before we know it and here in Southern California we always have random sunny, warm, tank top wearing days even in the winter.

I added one small embellishment that I tried to blend into the shirt.  Looks like I did a good job because you can't really see it in the above photo, but I added a little patch piece of a heart.  :)

I love making clothing pieces my own <3

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Therapy For My Dry Hand Blues

I learned how to make this wonderful homemade exfoliator for the hands and I figured I should share since the dry season is upon us. This is so simple, natural, and you probably already have all the ingredients needed.  It takes just a second to make and it makes your hands and skin feel amazing!

All you need is some olive oil and sugar.  It can be cheap granulated sugar and olive oil or the good stuff ... you won't need much of either ingredient.  I used what I had in my pantry.  I only had organic sugar and I'm glad I did because it is more coarse, which made for a more abrasive scrub.  The regular sugar works great, too.

Mix together a small amount of the two ingredients.  I just winged it.  Start with a tbsp of oil and add the same amount of sugar and add more sugar if necessary.  That should be enough for you hands.  The amount I made was enough for my hands, elbows, and face.  You can use it anywhere on your body.  The olive oil is great for your skin.  You could also use coconut oil or almond oil, too.  Both of those oils are wonderful and nourishing for your skin (... and your hair, too!).

I don't know about you, but my hands are suffering right now.  They desperately needed the therapy!  I hope this helps relieve some of your dry hand blues, too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mama's Got A Brand New Tee!

I have an admission to make .... I found a new addiction.  In addition to my love for thrift store rummaging I have now discovered a new place to rummage around for discount treasures ... it's a little place called Book Off.  They seem to be popping up in the malls around here.  It is a used book store, but they also sell used dvd, video games, and they buy all of those same things from you for cash.  I cannot stop buying books from that place!  I originally went there to sell a bunch of dvd's and a few books and then I got sucked into the kids section.  My kids love to read and a lot of their kids books are $1.  I've been able to fuel their Pokemon obsession for next to nothing.  I finally branched out from the kids section and started to see what else they had to offer.  I found the sewing section, which was small, but it had some nice quality books available.  I fell in love with this one ....

T-Shirt Makeovers
20 Transformations for Fabulous Fashions
By Sistahs of Harlem
Carmia Marshall and Carmen Webber
.... of course, I bought it!

I am very sentimental towards several of my t-shirts for some odd reason.  There are some I wear so much they eventually have to be stepped down to the PJ drawer or end up being a dirty job shirt, but no matter how stained or tattered they get I cannot toss them.  Then there are some other shirts I have that I love and are still in good condition, but the fit is off and they just never quite make it into my wardrobe circulation.  As soon as I got home I started digging though all my shirts and flipping though all the patterns in the book to find a good match.  This was such perfect timing, too, because I just cut a bunch of collars off some of my old favorite tee's.  I don't know why, but t-shirts with the standard collar drive me crazy.  I am always tugging at them.  Now I can actually do something a bit more fun and fancy than the cut off collar.

I started with one of the simplest patterns ... I am adding a tutorial at the end for this one.  It was super easy and you don't even need a sewing machine to make it.

Unfortunately, I totally didn't think to take a before picture.  D'oh!  Here is the photo from the book ...

Shirt design I picked and attempted first.
I decided to use my Gomez shirt.  I love this shirt (and the band!), but it had a regular collar and it always bugs me when I wear it.  The shirt used in the book was a large shirt, where my shirt was already pretty tight and fitted, so I didn't have to make many alterations.

Here's my finished product on my shirt.
Stay tuned for a tutorial!
 Next I chose to do one of the harder patterns.  Don't ask me why!  Well, actually it seemed like the best fit for the design on the shirt.  Plus, this shirt was huge, so I wanted to turn it into something small and sexy.

Here is the design I attempted to follow.
Shirt before ...

Shirt after .... I had to add an extra shoulder strap for a couple different reasons.  I love how the braided jersey worked out.  I didn't do the elastic across the bottom because I prefer the free-ness of the bottom.

The shirt lost a word ... it went from "This be me lucky shirt" to "Be me lucky shirt".  I must remember to cut the shirt with the print facing me, so I know what the heck I'm doing.  I still think it is super cute.  You will have to be pretty lucky yourself if you want to actually see it on me, though ;-).  This is going to be my around the house, cleaning shirt.  Sometimes I like to look cute and a little sexy when I clean ... I don't know why, but it makes it just a tad more fun when I do the dusting.

After that shirt I was inspired!

I cut up a bunch more shirts and decided on doing a skirt with two of them and a pair of sweat pant shorts.  The book has a patten for a shirt skirt, but I didn't like their pattern, so I created my own!  That is the best part about this book.  I can see how I can easily adapt the patterns to make my own creations.  Fun!!!

Cute little skirt made from 2 shirts and the yellow was a pair of sweat pant shorts.

I really wish I would have taken pictures of the shirts before hand, but one was just a fitted orange tee and the other was a regular t-shirt with the sun design over the center of the breast.

I had to add an extra seam on the back because the side seam of the orange shirt fell right alone the back side, so I just sewed a matching seam placed so it would look symmetrical.

I am in love with this skirt.  I am so totally making more of these!!!!

Next I think I want to attempt to use this pattern to make a shirt ....

I have a cute shirt with an anchor on it that would probably look really cool in this style.

Ok, as promised, here is a tutorial for the first shirt ... A Simple Scoop Top.

  1. It's a good idea to start out with a freshly ironed shirt folded in half with the print facing OUT (learned that lesson!!) 
  2. Take your measurements:  Bust and waist (right around belly button)  Take your bust measurement (example 34") divided by 4 = 8 1/2" ;  Take your waist measurement (example 27") divided by 4 = 6 3/4".  Remember your numbers!  This will give you the measurements needed to make your cuts on a folded t-shirt.  Measure from the center fold out.  Mark at the proper measurements and be sure to add 1/2" for seam allowance.
  3. Use this diagram to trace out your pattern with tailors chalk (I didn't have any, so I just went right to cutting).  Use your bust and waist measurements to know how wide to make your cuts, as noted in step 2.                                  

Arrows show direction in which you should make and use measurements gathered above.  Don't worry about being perfect.  It's jersey, it stretches.  Red line is the finished size, do not cut along that line ... be sure to allow for seam allowance.  See photo below.

Cut along the dashed lines.  The red line is the measurements, the dashed line allows for the seam allowance.  Make sure to cut the bottom hem - where the dashed line is and save the bottom hem!  You need that to make the sleeves.
       4.    Take the bottom hem and cut it twice to make two even pieces.
       5.     Cut the sleeve right down the center top.  Stop at the original arm hole seams.
        5.   Next pin and sew the side seams.  You can do this with a sewing machine or by hand.  You can sew the seam to the inside for a finished look or you can sew the seams to the outside for a more raw look.  I put my seams on the outside, since it was a rock band shirt, I thought it should have a more grundy look.

     6.    Finish the sleeves by tying each strap from the bottom hem onto each sleeve.  Wrap the strap between where you cut the sleeve and through the neck hole and tie.  

And you're done!!!!!  Have fun up cycling and salvaging all your old tees!!!!