Tuesday, November 23, 2010

recycled t-shirt necklace

hey folks! my family has a rule this year for giving gifts at christmas--the gifts either have to be bought second-hand (resale shop, vintage store, thrift shop, garage sale, consignment shop, etc) or they have to be handmade. so fun, huh? the gifts to my fam from me are going to be a mix of both. i'm sharing with you today because i've completed my first handmade christmas gift! actually, i did last week, but i was too busy to complete a blog post about it. so here it is!

recycled t-shirt necklace
two different colored, large or extra-large old t-shirts
(that's it!!)

1. cut hem off the bottom and discard. begin cutting the body of the shirt horizontally into strips approx 1/2 to 1 inch thick (no need to measure, being exact does not matter). cut all the way up until you reach the sleeves of the shirt (the strips will actually be loops). repeat with other shirt.
2. once cut, tug at the ends of each strip until the edges curl under. then cut through one end of the fabric so you have long strips instead of loops.
3. set aside a couple strips (we will be using them later) and start gathering strips in groups of three to braid. make sure to have both teal-teal-gray and gray-gray-teal (or whatever color you choose) to give your necklace dimension.
4. find something heavy to anchor one end of the strips while you are braiding, leaving a small amount of fabric at the top unbraided (this will be used to tie the two ends together). begin braiding (if you don't know how to braid, sorry, i'm not going to teach you here. there are probably you-tube videos for it).
5. when braid is complete, remove it from anchor and tie the two ends together. repeat steps 4 and 5 with every braid. (tip: each braid you make for the necklace should be varied in length)
6. when finished with all of the braids (i made 8 braids, all different lengths), trim off the excess fabric around the knots. gather all your braids together at the knots, and arrange how you like. spread the knots out a bit so it won't be too thick to cover up.
7. with a scrap, tie braids together so they don't move around while you are wrapping.
8. with the strips you set aside earlier, begin to wrap around the knots until they are completely covered up.
9. when finished wrapping, secure with a knot, cut off excess fabric, and tuck knot under.

here's what it looks like (yep, that's me modeling my own product):

hope you like! now get to makin all your christmas gifts!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


lately i've been on an adding-fruit-to-everything binge. its wonderful. i've also wanted to order or make (and eat!) caprese salad everywhere i go.  so what did i decide to do? add fruit to caprese salad, of course! also, i was super hungry (waiting to grill the chicken prepared for the day until the hubbs got home), so i made this on a whim and gobbled it down. this recipe is SO easy. and SO good.

apple caprese salad
*amounts depend on how much you want to make; amounts listed here correlate with picture*
1 granny smith apple
1 roma tomato
4 tbsp raw goat cheese
4 large fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1. slice apple, making each slice about 1/4 inch thick.
2. ditto with tomato.
3. arrange apple slices on plate.
4. measure goat cheese, 1 tbsp going on each apple slice. flatten cheese with back of measuring spoon.
5. drizzle 1 tbsp of dressing on top of goat cheese and apple.
6. position tomato slices on top of goat cheese.
7. lay one large basil leaf on each pile.
8. drizzles remaining tbsp of dressing on top of each leaf.

feel free to play around, of course. preferences may cause you to want more or less of something.

now i'm hungry again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

half-marble map magnets

i am a traveling junkie, or try to be (money helps), and i love anything that has to do with traveling. i realllly love maps. i always have a few lying around the house from different cities or national parks i've been to. i ran across one that i got for free with a nat geo adventure magazine subscription, and i wanted to do something with it!

half-marble map magnets

clear glass half-marbles (i had some sitting in a vase, and took a few out!)
a map
a pencil
mod podge
small paintbrush
krazy glue or some other super strong glue (not pictured...sowwy! forgot to put it in the pile, whoops!)

(i accidentally numbered the squares wrong, sorry! 2nd mistake for this post already; what am i going to do with myself?)
*before you start, make sure your marbles are clean!*
1. pick a spot on the map that you would like to be made into your magnet.
2. trace around the marble very closely onto the map.
3 (numbered 4). cut out map piece, making sure you cut inside the line you traced. you don't want the paper overlapping the marble!
4 (numbered 3). paint the underside of the marble with a THIN layer of mod podge. lay the map piece on marble, with the back of the map facing you. more mod podge over that, and on the edges. when almost dry, press map piece down firmly onto marble (to spread glue evenly).
5. when completely dry, take magnet and on one side, apply krazy glue (or other super strong glue).
6. put marble on top of magnet (flat side facing magnet), pressing firmly. let dry (doesn't take long for krazy glue).

you're done! here are the ones i made, up close and personal:

now here's one of 'em in action:

aren't they super cool?! they are so easy, and i had ALL the materials in my house. yay for cheap projects! 
p.s. these would make great stocking stuffers for those who like all things travel.

Friday, November 5, 2010

yarn-wrapped letters

i've had these block letters for a while (mine and my husbands initials), but i didn't know what i wanted to do with them. i was about to resort to painting (which is fine, i just wanted to try something different), but i've been seeing on different blogs the popularity of yarn, including simply wrapping things in yarn. which is FANTASTIC! i had yarn in the house, so that's what i decided to do. hope you like it!
supplies you will need:
block letters
that's it!

(these aren't really step-by-step directions, but more like tips and guidelines.)
1. begin wrapping the letter with the yarn. my recommendation is to wrap horizontally at first. (though really you can do it any way you want!) and unless you have to wrap a letter with a hole (Bs, Os, Qs, As, Ps, Ds, Rs, etc) you don't need to cut a particular length of yarn.
2. tackle the more difficult areas first (my ex: the middle part of the K). it doesn't have to look pretty in the beginning.
3. keep wrapping, and make sure the "uglies" (where you have to criss-cross to get to other parts of the letter) are on the back side.
4. make sure you cover every single bit of the letter, even the sides.
5. when you're done wrapping horizontally, start wrapping over that vertically. you don't have to, though, this is just how i do it. i learned that i like to wrap the letters in the direction that i would write them. does that make sense?
6. on the back, tie off your yarn (using some of the already wrapped yarn) and snip off the extra. 

you're done!
now you can decorate with your masterpiece, add embellishments, use them as tools to help your child learn his ABCs, or whatever!

here's what i did with mine:
i found this gaudy frame at hobby lobby for half off, and had to get it. 
great thing about it is i can use it for decorating AND as a photography prop!

happy crafting!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

halloween 2010!

mark, quinn (the pup) and i decided to go to my sister's neighborhood for halloween, mostly to hang out with the kids. all the kids of the family came, and the only peeps we were missing were my mom, dad, and sis carley. 

here are some costume pics. mark was a soccer player, and i was a 90s soccer mom. melanie (sis-in-law) and elise (niece) were both fairies. corey (bro) was there as a jedi, of course, but i didn't get any pics of him. :(

here are my parents' grandbabies (minus quinn). bri (niece) was a penguin, of course, trey (nephew) was a cute fat monkey, and there's elise again, a pretty fairy. 

let me tell you, these pics were hard to get. really, i just gave up after a few. we have here a teenager that doesn't want to smile, a toddler that can't sit still, and an infant that doesn't know he's supposed to look at the camera! what a trio, eh?!

and here we have quinn. i wanted him to be a dragon or dinosaur for halloween, but we couldn't find a dog costume big enough to fit him AND i don't know how to sew. maybe i'll learn by next year! 

alas, i think his costume worked out splendidly. he was a frenchman, or an artist, or whatever description fits the costume. we dressed him up in a beret, a tight black shirt, a black-and-white striped scarf, and topped it off with a mustache (that kept falling off). he was so cute! 

we wore him out at the dog park that day so he wouldn't be rowdy around all the trick-or-treaters, and it worked! he did so well, and was on his best behavior. and lemme tell ya, he was a hit! everyone loved him. but why shouldn't they? :)

and here we have our pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. i tried my best to carve a great dane into the pumpkin, and i think i did okay. the top left photo was my template that i drew myself (splattered with pumpkin innards), since i couldn't find any great dane templates online.

mark's pumpkin was just a goofy guy (with one eyebrow). we like goofy pumpkins, not scary.
and the pumpkin at the top is called a fairytale pumpkin! i saw it at the grocery store and just HAD to buy it! doesn't it look like it belongs in cinderella?!

at the end of the night when we were done trick-or-treating, elise sat down to have a few pieces of candy. the first ones she chose were SOUR candies, and while mark was opening them for her, i grabbed my camera, of course! we (mark, corey, and i) started laughing in anticipation, and she got really confused until the sourness hit her. so here i have her awesome sour faces. and then laughing faces at the end, because she thought it was funny, as well.

hope y'all had a great halloween!