From Trash to Treasure: 50 cent Matchbox Parking Garage

This is a project I’ve been sitting on for awhile. Here’s the scoop–over a month ago I took my whole gang to a local indoor flea market just for the heck of it. Actually, I was on the hunt for a chair for my sewing desk. I did not find a good chair, BUT we stumbled upon this dusty old pre-fab wood rack. It had a 50 cent price tag so we decided to pick it up and make something out of it.

our 50 cent find

 

Can you guess what this was? It sort of looks like an old cassette tape rack, but the slots were too big for tapes. An old 8 Track storage rack maybe? It was meant to be posted this way, but I had an idea forming for a gift for my twins, who are turning 4 next week.

A little dusty, but not too shabby overall.

First things first–this guy needed a major cleaning. I wiped it down good and used my staple gun on the one back corner, which was a little loose.

I *heart* spray paint.

Next I used painters tape around the edges of this rack. I used Krylon spray paint in this fun blue color for the inside portion. Once I had a good couple of coats on the inside, I taped the inside and sprayed the outside a white. This was a gift for my boys, so we were keeping it on a boyish color scheme.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The final result? A little parking garage for my little guys’ matchbox cars, trains, tractors, etc. They helped me “park” some of their vehicles and we  even parked some planes and a helicopter on the roof.

Happy Birthday Buddies!

It’s amazing what you can do with a little elbow grease and some spray paint. Yard sale season is just around the corner, so keep your eyes peeled for your own hidden treasure!

Upcycle that Denim! Idea #1: Make a Baby Bib

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a favorite pair of jeans. You’ve just gotta love denim! It washes well, it’s tough, and comes in a variety of rinses. Since it’s just about spring cleaning time, lots of us are going through closets and drawers and looking for what we  need to pitch, donate, etc. Odds are you or your family members have some denim items that are needing to leave! Don’t bag up those old pants yet–I have been looking into and experimenting with ways to upcycle that denim into something fresh and useful (or just cute!).

The first denim project I wanted to tackle are denim bibs. Not bib overalls, I’m talking bibs for babies. No, I don’t have any babies left in my house, but I thought these would make nice little shower gifts for boys or girls.

One cute bib coming right up!

 The first thing I did was make a bib template.  I actually got this one from the book Sew Darn Cute, but you could easily trace one from an existing bib. I traced it onto my piece of denim and cut it out. I then chose a piece of cotton that I wanted to use for the back. I did NOT trace the template onto the cotton, you’ll see why in a minute!

Adding some rickrackpin those pieces right side together!

As you can see from my pics, I pinned on some rickrack to add some extra cuteness. You can sew it on at this point, or just pin it with about 1/4-1/2″ extra sticking out at either end.

Pin the denim shape and the rectangle of printed cotton right sides together. Now you are ready to sew! Sew the whole way around the perimeter of the bib shape, leaving about a 2″ space (I did mine at the bottom edge).

At this point I cut the printed cotton to the shape of the bib. Then you turn the whole thing right side out.

Sew around the outside edges of the whole thing for a more polished look, tucking in the 2″ spot that wasn’t sewn before as you go.

Since I hadn’t actually sewn the rickrack across the width of the bib, I did a straight stitch across each length of rickrack. For extra embellishment, I also did a length of decorative stitching.

The final step is to make something to actually fasten the bib. I chose adhesive velcro circles which I also stitched on for extra security. Other options may be snaps or ribbon or thin bias tape to tie it on.

the final results!

 

I was so pleased with how this turned out that I made a couple more. Hey, who doesn’t need a sweet baby gift on hand? This entire project took maybe 15-20 minutes and costs virtually nothing to make since I already had all of my materials on hand.

A cute trio.

 

For the other two bibs I simply used scraps of cotton , pieced them onto the front, and covered up the raw edges with either grosgrain ribbon or rickrack. There’s lots of other possibilities you could do with this aswell. Now, go dig out that old denim, get your cretive juices flowing, and have some fun with it!

Embellishing a Plain T-Shirt: Idea #3

2 plain black long sleeved tees

On my agenda this time–ditch my old black long sleeved T for an updated new one without spending much green.  I found a similar black T on the WalMart clearance rack for about $2 and just had to snatch it up. I was plannning to use my old T to cut up and utilize the pieces to embellish the new one.

piles of circles, cut and ready to be used

 I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I’ve been loving all of the floral or almost corsage looking embellished tops out right now. On one of my fave blogs, makeit-loveit, the author did a similar look, but embellished all the way around the neckline. So, first things first, I cut out many circles in two different sizes, one about 2″ around and the other about 3″ around. You will need about 5 of these per flower, so figure on your number from there.

my flowers, pinned and ready to go

What I did next was lay out my design, figuring out where I wanted each of my new blooms. I layed out a circle for each spot, deciding on just using 3 to one side of my neckline, 2 of the larger size and 1 of the smaller. Next I folded 4 circles for each flower, folding them in half and then half again (like a pie piece). I pinned these four folded pieces on top of the circles I had laid down originally.  The final step was to actually sew the blooms on. What I did was sew in a concentric circle, starting near the outside (not too close to the edge of the flower though!) and circling in. I did this for each one and then ruffled the outer edges of the petals a bit.

sporting my new T

I loved my new embellished T so much, I decided to go for another one, this time the whole way around the neckline.

Bloomin' green

Just to top things off, and because I had enough of the old black T left, I made up a little skirt for my little girl. For this I simply chopped off the bottom section of my old shirt, made a casing with elastic for the waist, and sewed up a sweet basic skirt. I used the same method to make a bloom near the bottom hem of her skirt.

So there you have it, another simple, easy, and cheap way to dress up your boring threads! As my kids would say, easy peasy lemon-squeezy!

Spring & Easter Framed Fabric Wall Art

Yes, this is another post about cheap and chic spring decor.  You can tell I am really in the mood for spring! I have mentioned before how much I love those spring colors. I recently directed a craft day for my MOPS group and we made all kinds of fabric wall art. There are so many possibilities, and they are usually a snap to make. The fact that they are also extremely cheap to make and look awfully purty are a bonus! Since I was researching ideas for the MOPS craft day, I have made several examples for my own home that I have since displayed.

A pretty little Easter egg.

 

My first idea was this Easter egg. This was SO simple to make, and don’t freak, there is no sewing involved. All I did was take a blank frame (this one was a freebie!) and put a piece of cardstock in front of the glass. Then I cut out the shape of an egg from a piece of fabric that I really loved. I hot glued around the edges of the fabric. My last step was to hot glue a length of rickrack around the outline of the egg. How easy is that?

pretty posies

Since I was digging that vintage-y rose fabric so much, I used it for another quick project. This time I used this robin’s egg blue frame (A Goodwill 50 cent find) and simply placed a piece of fabric in front of the glass.

A sweet little Easter basket!

My last mini project was just slightly more involved. I took this purple damask fabric (should have ironed it!) and used it as my background. Mini Easter eggs were cut from a variety of prints, arranged and hot glued so they would peek out of my basket. Then I cut out the shape of an Easter basket from a coordinating print and hot glued that bad boy down. Lastly I glued a small length of rickrack to accent the front of the basket.

Hopefully this post gave you a little inspiration and some easy ideas for your own home. If you have some frames, a hot glue gun, and some fabric scraps you can turn out some cute little works of art to dress up your spaces. If you have no fabric on hand, I believe the same idea can work using cardstocks and scrapbooking paper as well.

Happy colors!

Homemade Granola

Breakfast has got to be my favorite meal of the day.  I always wake up hungry and enjoy a variety of breakfast foods. However, I am not one of those Moms who make their clan a hot, nutritious breakfast every morning. Kudos to you if you are! My kids usually get a hot breakfast Sunday and Monday mornings when my hubby is off, that way we get to eat breakfast as a family. All of the other mornings my kids are very familiar with Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger, and all of their friends. Though they are quick and easy to serve, I don’t dig all of the sugar and other not-so-healthy elements of these cereals.

Recently my Mom came across an old recipe that she used to make for homemade granola. It was written on an old recipe card by our neighbor from almost 30 years ago! I don’t know about you, but I love to keep hand-written recipes from family and friends. When my Mom discovered this, we decided to make a batch for old times sake. My brother, who must have the memory of an elephant, remembered the last time she had made it, which was over 20 years ago. Mmmm, was it ever good! I enjoyed it in lieu of traditional cereal for about a week straight, and can honestly say it kept me full and satisfied much longer than other cereals. It is chock full of good stuff and doesn’t have any added sugar. So, if you’re looking to serve your family something a little different for breakfast, or just to snack on, give it a try! Another good thing about this recipe is that you can adapt it to the likes of your family, or adjust it if there are any allergies as well. Enjoy!

Chock full of goodness, made with love.

Homemade Granola

Heat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large roasting pan, heat the following ingredients:

1/2-1 cup oil OR 2 sticks butter

1/2-1 cup honey

1/2 cup water

2 tsp vanilla

After the above ingredients are heated, add 6 cups of rolled oats.

In addition to your rolled oats, add 6 cups of any combination of the following ingredients:

whole wheat flour

soy flour

wheat germ

sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds

non-fat milk powder

shredded coconut

walnuts, almonds, or pecans, chopped

cinnamon

pinch of salt

Bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stir every 20 minutes.

After baking, add dried fruit (raisins, craisins, dried blueberries….) in any amount that you wish. Store in an airtight container. This recipe can easily be doubled.

PS-Put some in a mason jar, add a handmade tag, and give to someone you love or appreciate!

Kids Peeps Bunny T-Shirt

Pink Peeps Bunnies

Remember these guys from a post several days ago? If not, check it out, I had made an Easter/spring bunting or garland from felt peeps bunnies. Well, I was busy cutting out these guys and my daughter was completely enamored with the pink ones. “I LOVE these!” she kept exclaiming (she is 5 and gets very excited about the dardest things). Anyway, I discovered a plain pink T in her stash of clothes and a lightbulb went on in my head. Scary, I know.

Another plain old T

 

I thought, why not sew up some of those pink bunnies on her T? How easy would that be, and I know she would be thrilled. Now, you may be thinking I don’t do anything special for my boys because I am always posting about my daughter. Hey, I have 4 boys and one girl smack dab in the middle of them all. She is my princess and girl stuff is just much more fun to have ideas for. Don’t worry, those boys get lots of spoiling anyway. I plan on doing a special project for them here soon.

So, I already had pink bunnies cut out from felt from several days back. There is a template you can print out from the tutorial on dana-made-it.com. I just used one layer, not two like you do for the bunting. Now all I had left to do was pin and sew! I lined up 3 in a row, all in different shades of pink, pinned those bunnies on, and sewed around the edges. So very simple, and my little chiquita was thrilled. She even wore it to kindergarten today!

checking out her new T

Of course, no new outfit is complete without a pair of Barbie sunglasses. Apparently someone likes her new career as my model a little too much 😉

My less than $5 Bathroom update

This is for all of you frugalistas out there. You know who you are! That’s ok, it’s actually pretty hip to be frugal right now. Here’s a little idea for anyone who is looking to update a bathroom in your house for super cheap. (Or you can steal some of the ideas for other rooms as well.)I did all of these ideas for less than $5–yes, you read that correctly. For ALL of them, in total, less than $5 to update the look of my bathroom.

Totally thrifted embroidery hoops!

 

The first area I dressed up was this wall. I have been picking up old embroidery hoops at thrift shops for a song–they were all 10 cents to 50 cents each. This is such an easy, quick idea for any blank wall in your home. I then took some pieces of fabric that I already had and sandwiched it in between the two parts of the hoop. The tiny hoop with the chocolate brown is actually part of a cable-knit sweater that I upcycled.

My 85 cent shower curtain.

The next area of focus was my shower curtain. I had had the same one for about the past 3 years. Even though I still loved it, I was ready for a little change. You can spend upwards of $20 or more for a new shower curtain, but I was inspired to do one of my own. I discovered this printed flat sheet at the Goodwill Bargain Room (one of my favorite places!) where everything in the bins is 85 cents. I sized up my old shower curtain, cut this one down to the appropriate size, and hemmed any raw edges. The final step for this was punching holes at the top for my rings (I was using the same rings as before). I have seen some really cute ideas with ruffles and such to embellish a shower curtain, but this print was so busy that I decided I better leave it alone.

The last update I worked on was this ruffled flower. I had seen the idea on makeit-loveit.com and wanted to give it a whirl.

My ruffly flower

I took a frame from the Dollar Tree, took out the glass and cardboard inserts, and slipped a piece of fabric so that it is in front of the glass. For the flower itself, I cut long strips of cotton (they were maybe 1″ wide) and sewed a straight stitch set at the longest stitch length. If you want to try this out, do not backstitch at all. After stitching I pulled the thread from the underside (the bobbin thread) to make ruffles or gathers. These can be as loose or as tight as you wish. To form the flower, simply hot glue these lengths of ruffles in a circle, starting at the outer part and circling in to the middle. Done!

So, there you have it. A frugal, hopefully easy set of ideas for all of you diy girls. I used thrifted embroidery hoops, a flat printed sheet from Goodwill, fabric I already owned, and a picture frame from the Dollar Tree to update the look of my bathroom. Don’t you love saving $?

Easter Peeps Bunny Bunting

Eye candy!

Oh, my most favorite time of the year is right around the corner! By the last couple weeks of winter, I am so ready to feast my eyes on some bright pops of color. Not only do I adore my tulips, daffodils, forsythia and all the rest of those early spring flowers, I love Easter decorations and all of those candy-coated colors that come with it. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I love to EAT all of those wonderful candy-coated things as well! Peeps are always an Easter staple, whether they are the traditional “peeps” or bunnies, who can resist these pretty little gobs of empty calories? I sure can’t, but I recently found an absolutelty adorable idea on another blog that I couldn’t wait to try out and share with you all. Bonus–these have no calories, just gobs of cuteness that you can leave up all spring long.

purple bunnies, all in a row.

Want to make on of your own? Go out and buy some bright colored felt. I love felt becasue it’s very easy to work with, doesn’t fray, is uber-cheap, and comes in a multitude of colors. I cut out bunny shapes from a template I printed off of dana-made-it.com, which is where I found the original tutorial. If you are making this, I would definitely recommend cutting two for each bunny.

To make a bunting/garland, also cut a length of ribbon or twine that is long enough to hold all your bunnies. You can really go as long or as short as you wish, using whatever colors you desire. What I did was sandwich the ribbon in between two bunnies, right at the ears. I pinned the felt together, making sure everything was lined up. Next, I sewed around the outline of each bunny. This sews the two bunnies together and sews the ribbon where you want it as well. Lastly, if you want your bunnies to have a face, the original tutorrial recommends using dots of brown fabric paint for the eyes and nose. I didn’t have any on hand so I just used a black sharpie!

Another little idea for those who don’t want to do a bunting is to make a single bunny with a ribbon tied on. These could be a cute ornament, Easter basket addition, or package tie-on. Also, if sewing is not your cup of tea, I would think that hot-gluing the two felt bunnies together would work just as nicely. Personally, I like the look of the stitching around the edges, but I think you can pull off just hot-gluing them and they would be cute.

So, there you have it, another sweet and simple idea for a gift or your own spring decor. Now, go ahead and enjoy a peep!

Repurposing a Plain T-Shirt: Idea #2

A plain ribbed cotton tank

Who doesn’t have some of these lying in their closet or drawers? I love a good, basic ribbed tank for their comfort and versatility. Not only do I love to wear mine plain in the summer, I also wear them under cardigans, jackets, or just under other shirts that aren’t quite long enough (I am 5’10”, this IS a problem for me!) This particular tank is from Fashion Bug, so it was cheap and long enough for my comfort. Though I like the plummy purple color, I did wish for it to have a little embellishment.

Pretty spring-like fabric scraps, about to meet my scissors!

 I had seen a cute idea in a book called Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan (I totally *heart* her ideas). So, me being a master copycat, decided to mimic her idea on this tank. She calls it a “necklace tank,” I guess becasue all the embellishment is around the neckline. I chose a few scraps that I had which seemed to match my purple tank and cut them all into a half-oval shape.

Lining up my design, ready to sew.

Then I proceeded to arrange the half-ovals along my tank’s neckline, then pinned all of them down. As for the edge actually along the neckline, I zig-zag stiched it once, then I actually went over it again, making my stitches smaller. For the curved portion of the half-ovals, I straight-stitched. This was just a bit tricky because of the curve and because of the knit cotton.

The end result, a "necklace tank."

All in all, this project was fairly simple to pull off. Cute and super cheap to make. I’ll have to experiment with more of these for sure, goodness knows I have plenty of these tanks in different colors. Now for some warmer weather to wear them in!