Monday, March 15, 2010

Birthday Banner

I am such a blog slacker lately. So here is some pictures of the birthday banner I made last month. It turned out sooo cute. I choose to use bright fun colors so I could use it for boys and girls. I know, I know there is a lot of pink in it but I still think it works for both. I planned on doing a tutorial with this but it has been so long since I actually made it I am not sure my directions would be perfectly accurate. Because in true Terrie fashion I was sure I would remember everything so I didn't write it down. Yeah, guess what, I don't remember. I remember the basic idea but not measurements. So maybe a tutorial isn't the best idea. Though if someone really wanted one I could be persuaded! I did after all take a million pictures during this process.

Just a quick update on the experiment. Overall we are doing well. The part I though would be most difficult most definitely is. The budget we set was pretty unrealistic, we have already spent it and it is the middle of the month (go figure since we cut our original budget in half). And we have eaten out more than once a week. Here is the successful part. I have cooked every week night this whole month. Now to some of you this is not a big deal. For me this is a very big deal. And as sad an accomplishment as it is I am proud of myself. Here is what I have learned so far:

1. You can not feed a family of 5 for $200 a month unless you are willing to eat top ramen and mac and cheese 3 to 4 times a week. I am not willing to do this. Nor am I willing to spend all day in the kitchen making everything from scratch, which I am not convinced would be much cheaper.

2. I am much more likely to cook if I have a menu already made up. I think my real problem with cooking is that I hate deciding 30 minutes before dinner what we are going to eat. But if the decision is already made then the actual cooking is not that bad.

3. We eat out on Friday and Saturday nights almost every weekend and I am fine with that. This is probably something that we will need to adjust once we are back in poor student mode but for now we are not. And so I am not going to feel guilty about this. You heard me no guilt.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Identity crisis

It's been awhile, a long while.  I seem to be having some sort of blog identity crisis.  So I did what I thought was logical...avoid.  Here is the sitch.  I follow quite a few craft blogs.  REALLY GOOD craft blogs.  You know the type that make you want to hide anything you have ever made for fear that someone will see the horrific mess of fabric and glue you once called a craft.  The type that is so motivating and intimidating at the same time that you end up in the fetal position because you don't know weather to give up crafting all together or rush into the craft room and start something...anything.  Basically I have been feeling a bit inadequate.  I have quite a bit of stuff to share but for some reason every time I think about adding it to my blog I think "Why; why would anyone care, there is so much out there that is so much better!"  Add that to the fact that I am a natural born perfectionist.  Do it perfect right or don't do it at all seems to be my unspoken motto.

So I have thought about changing the format a little making it not just a craft blog, which would entail a name change, or possibly just giving it up all together because again who really cares about anything I have to show or say when there is so much out there.  That is the bitter sweet part of the blog world...sooooo many blogs to choose from.  So what sets mine apart form any other blog...besides my sparkling personality and sharp wit?

I wish I had the answer.  But for now I guess I am going just keep things the way they are with a slight twist.  I am going to share an experiment that my husband and I are doing.  I have mentioned before that my husband is probably going back to school to get his Phd.  Making us poor students again.  So we thought that it would be prudent (yeah I totally just used the word prudent) to try to live on a smaller budget.  Specifically a smaller food budget.  And try to spend less over all.  We are pretty good budgeters (by the way not a word according to spell check) and we already stick to a monthly budget but this is going to be tough even for us.

So here are the details:
  • Use the food we already have including our food storage to make meals for the month. 
  • Cut our food budget by more than half for the month.
  • Only eat out once a week (by far the hardest part of this experiment, I don't know if I have mentioned this before but I am not much of a cook...I can do it I just don't like to)
  • Cut our eating out budget by more than half. 
  • Do not buy anything that is not a necessity.
I am going to chronicle our experiment along the way.  I will be sharing recipes, lessons I have learned and I am sure a bit of whining along the way.  The first step in this process is to make a menu for the month.  I know I will be much more likely to stick to this if I don't have to decide 30 minutes before dinner what we are going to eat.  We are also going to try to do one big grocery shopping at the beginning of the month instead of going once a week.  We will still need to go to get fresh produce and milk but hopefully if that is all we need it will be easier to avoid impulse buys because we wont be walking down each isle.

Don't worry I still have some crafts to share and will show you my thrifty crafts since I will not be buying anything new this month!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Re-covered chair and flower pillow

Yesterday, I told you I had a million things I was working on.  Well I actually finished one of them!  The sad part is that it has been sitting in my craft room 98% finished for over a week.  I just needed to finish it up, I even had all the stuff I needed it just wasn't happening for some reason.  So yesterday I decided it was time!  I am going to show you how I turned this

into this

First I measured the chair.  I decided I wanted to cover the whole thing in fabric rather than just covering the cushions and painting the wood.  I really wanted a bit more formal feel.  But not fussy...I don't do fussy.  So I thought a very simple cover with clean lines would work well for this chair and I think it worked really well.  First off there is hardly any sewing.  The only sewing I did was the hem at the bottom.

Back to the measuring.  First I had to decide how many pieces I wanted, wanting to keep it simple I decided to work with only four pieces.  One that ran from the face of the chair back over the top and back down to the floor.  Another piece that ran from the chair seat to the floor.  And two that ran from the inside of the chair arm over the arm and to the ground.  I hope that made sense.  Once I knew I had enough fabric I laid it over the chair and measured and cut that way, instead of measuring the fabric with a measuring tape it just seemed to work better that way.

Then I hemmed all 4 pieces.

Starting with the back piece I laid it out how I wanted it to lay then started stapling.  Sorry I don't have many pictures of the process.  Then I did this with the seat piece and finally with the arms.  The finished product looked like this before the trim.


I just folded over the edge to give it a clean finish.

Next I got the trim ready.  Now let me just say I spent a lot of time at Joann's trying to figure out what kind of trim I wanted.  There are many, many options and I was shopping with a 2 year old that had had enough shopping after about 10 minutes, and really lost it after about 30 and started yelling "BAD MOMMY" once we got up to the cutting counter.  So I was a bit frazzled at that point.  There is home decor trims, clothing trims and ribbon.  I knew I would be using hot glue to attach the trim so it had to be able to hold up to the hot glue.  So after much back and forth between the different sections of trim...because having them next to each other would be waaay to easy.  I finally decided.  I ended up going with a heavy weight ribbon.  Even with 40% off the ribbon ended up costing as much as the rest of the supplies for the chair and pillow.

Once I got it home it was too wide so I needed to adjust it a bit.  I sewed it together WRONG sides together.  The ribbon was too thick and heavy to sew it right sides together and turn it.  Once it was sewn together I ironed it so the seem was on the bottom.



 Then I clipped the corners for a clean edge once it was folded over.

I hot glued it in place.

The I ran a bead of hot glue along the line of staples to attach the ribbon.

Then stood back and enjoyed my handy work...


And enjoyed other people admiring my handy work...

Can you believe this is the same 2 year old that yelled "BAD MOMMY" yep the very same.

Now the pillow.  So cute and so simple.  The pillow covering is just a simple rectangle.  But here is a quick tutorial on the flower...also very simple.

I liked selvage edge so I used it.  I ran a long stitch (highest number on your stitch length) mine was a five, along the edge of the fabric.  Then gently pull on the top stitch, this creates a ruffle effect.

Then shape it into a flower.

  Sew hand sew the bottom to get everything to stay in place.  Then attach the button.  And attach finished flower to pillow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bathroom re-do part 1

I always think life will slow down and next week I will get x,y and z done.  Alas it never slows down and I have a million started but unfinished projects to share and a house that needs my attention badly.  So I am giving you part 1 of our bathroom re-do.  In hopes that part 2 will follow shortly. 

We live in a 1976 split entry.  Now I know some of you just threw up a little in your mouth but before you turn away in disgust hear me out.  It isn't that bad.  We have actually been able to do quite a bit with a less than desirable lay out.  One thing we have always wanted to fix is our master bathroom.  The vanity is actually in our room and the shower and toilet are behind a door.  So not the greatest of situations but livable.  We are probably moving soon.  (Hubby is going back to school for a PHD.  Honestly folks how much schooling does one man need?  Apparently a lot...seriously I am really proud of him though).  Anyway back to the bathroom.  Because we are moving we need to do a bit of updating without a lot of cost...because lets face it I don't want to put in a ton of time and money for something I don't get to enjoy for very long.  Having said that, this re-do is one that cost very little but paid off huge!  Here are a few pics...

If you thought you were going to toss your cookies earlier wait till you see this disaster...


Sorry about the poor picture quality...we have almost no natural light in our room and by the time we were finished it was dark outside so the pictures are a bit rough.

And after


Here is the project breakdown:

Total time:
6(ish) hours

Total cost:
Paint: 2 cans $7
Hardware: $22 (with one left to spare)
Sink: $30
Faucet: $25
Counter apoxy: $10
(normally $20 but I got it 1/2 off because they had used it as a demo)

So for less than $100 we got a great start to our bathroom re-do.  We still need to frame the mirror, fix the lighting and accessorize.  And we are still debating on whether or not the counter needs another coat of epoxy.

So stay tuned for part two.  Hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Did you miss me?

I know all 3 of you had terrible withdraws without me.  I hope you all had a great Christmas break and are ready for some craftiness.  Here are a couple of things I have been working on.

Work shirt hat: Who knew hubby's old work shirt could be so cute!


I took a ton of pictures thinking I would do a little tutorial for you.  And I will, but after I finished there were quite a few things I thought I would do differently, making the pictures, well, all wrong.  So I will try to perfect this bad boy and get back to you with a tutorial.

Decorative balls:

Now I understand just why these are so expensive at the store.  Some of these just aren't worth the effort.  But I have a solution for that and the others are totally worth the effort.  I got this idea hereV and Co. is a great place for ideas...check her out if haven't already.  Anywhoo, you can check out her tutorial too because it is a bit different than mine.

First let me start by showing you the one I am not in love with and tell you what you should do differently should you choose to move forward with this project.  I had everything I needed for this project.  Bonus right!  Wrong!  Do not use thin twine!  It will make you want to swear...but you wont because you are a nice girl...but trust me you will want to.  Do yourself a favor and go to the store and spend a few bucks on some thicker craft twine or me.  Ok I am done...let's move on.  So I started with styrofoam balls and twine.  Curse you skinny twine.  And hot glue the twine to the ball...simple enough right.  Ok I am sure by now you have realized it wasn't quite that simple...but I am stubborn and I made it work. 

So the process is pretty simple.  Hot glue and wrap.  About 2/3rds of the way I decided to stop and start at the opposite end and meet where I left off.  I think this helped make the end look nicer but I am not sure it made that big of a difference.

Now onto the one I am in love with...

I had some clothesline and thought if I can do it with twine, why not do it with clothes line...why not indeed.  The clothes line variety is waay cute.  Same basic process.

Start with a knot

Hot glue said knot to ball

Glue over top opposite end of knot for clean look, trim and continue hot gluing and wrapping.

At this point tie another knot hot glue in place and push loose end into ball with bamboo skewer or something similar...

You can do this at the beginning too.  I just didn't think about it until the end.  Both ends looked really nice and clean so what ever floats your boat will work just fine!

Now the fun part SPRAY PAINT.
Nothing says fun like spray painting in the middle of winter in Utah.
Especially when you are trying to get your two year old to stay inside because all he has is socks on with no I said, good times.

Get yourself a box and have at it.  The bamboo skewers came in handy once again.  And this gave me another idea I will show you later!

Let them dry and then bring them in and make them "a lovely addition to your ball collection" like my husband said.

I think this is my favorite...I love the silver. Lovely.

Green, Lovely.

All together...Lovely.  The twine variety is just ok, but the rest, Lovely.

This vase was sad and empty having recently lost it's cute younger brother due to a tragic rowdy boy mishap, yes that was a very sad day around here.  And I just didn't love what was in there anymore so I didn't replace it after Christmas so there it sat...sad, empty and lonely.  Until...balls on a stick.  It just makes me happy.  It is very Dr. Suessesque. 

And there you have it, some stuff I have been working on.  Now it's your turn...what are you working on...I'd love to see it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Neighbor and Teacher gifts

I just passed out my neighbor gifts and my kids will be taking their teacher's gifts to school tomorrow so I feel like it is safe to show you.  Both of these projects turned out so cute.

First neighbor gifts.  There is a great blog called our best bites, and if you haven't checked it out you should.  Just not yet, wait till you finish my post first.  Anyway it is a great blog with great recipes for real people.  My friends and I love it.  So I decided to use their hot fudge recipe and dress it up all fancy for neighbor/hubby work gifts.  The recipe was simple and the end result quite cute.

I  multiplied the recipe on the blog by 6 and was able to get enough to fill 12 1/2 pint regular mouth jars plus a bit extra.  Which I of course kept for myself.  (I actually had to do this twice once for the neighbor gifts and again for the hubby to take to work).  To up the cute factor I cut 2 inch circles and 1 1/2 inch snowflakes with my cricut to add to the top of the lids.  Then printed up a cute tag added ribbon and I had myself an adorable neighbor gift.  I love the brown, teal and white combo!!

For the kid's teachers I did monogrammed pencil holders.  I have seen these a couple of places on the web and there are some really cute versions out there.  I think mine turned out way cute and I am so excited to give them to our teachers.  At first I was disappointed that I could only find short vases, but in the end I love the look.  Nothing wrong with a little short and squatty now and then.

The best part they only cost me 3 bucks a piece and they look much more expensive.  I got the vases and the pencils at the dollar store.  Then I cut out the vinyl with my trusty Cricut...which I am in love with by the way.  And there you have it super adorable gifts for teachers!  

Felt food tutorial

I bet you thought I forgot.  Nope I have just been severely overwhelmed by the mountain of Christmas projects that have decided to become avalanche.  But as promised here it is...

So I know I am late getting on the felt food band wagon but oh my heck, it is too cute to pass up.  So I scoured google looking for tutorials.  I was sorely disappointed with what I found or rather didn't find.  I found lots of cute pictures and a few minimal instructions but no real tutorials so what's a girl to do?  Well figure it out herself and make a tutorial for the rest of you..that's right who loves ya.  Some of it is pretty straight forward and does not need a tutorial just a few pictures and a brief line or two, however some of these need a bit more.  Speaking of pictures you may notice my unusually grotesque swollen thumb.  I was recently diagnosed with a mystery form of arthritis.  So I promise as much as is possible to crop out the hideousness.   

I made two sets of breakfast, lunch and dinner w/ dessert of course, for my nieces.  I so wish I had found this when my daughter was younger.  I didn't think she would be that interested in felt food now that she is so grown up, you know, being almost 8 and all, but she and her brothers all showed a fair amount of interest so I may need to tackle this again, however it will have to wait until after Christmas.  Anywhoo, I digress I am sure you are anxious to get to the tutorial.

Before we get started let me just say I used the sheets of felt that you can find at Walmart or any craft store.  I know that this felt isn't as nice as what you can buy by the yard, but I wasn't about to spend a fortune on this project.  But by all means feel free if you are so inclined:)

Lets start at the beginning the menu

And we need a bag for all of our goodies right

Materials: 3 and a half sheets of light brown felt cut accordingly

Sew the sheets together like so:


Then sew bag shut:

Now you attach the bottom, this is where it gets a little tricky but it's not terrible so stick with me.  Pin the bottom piece onto one end of the bag like so:

And sew all along the bottom edge.

Now I liked the bag like this and turned right side out so it's up to you which you like best.  I ended up going with right side out.

Now onto the good stuff lets begin at the beginning shall we...
1 Pancake
1 egg
2 pieces of bacon

The pancake is pretty straight forward.  I hot glued the syrup and butter on top before I sewed around the outside edge.

I wanted the syrup to look like it was dripping off the sides like good syrup does so I needed to keep the syrup under control while I sewed the two pieces of pancake together.


So I gathered all the syrup up and pinned it down while I sewed right sides together.

 Then I turned everything right side out, stuffed with poly fill and closed up the opening.  Now you can sew this or hot glue it.  I found both methods have pros and cons and have not decided which I like best.

Onto the egg.  Oh what a cute little fried egg.  This is one of the easiest morsels and honestly one of my favorites.  You need two pieces of squiggly cut, off white circles, you don't want them to be perfect circles.  and a smaller yellow circle for the yolk.  I hot glued the yolk on then stitched around it not because it needed to be reinforced, but because I liked the way it looked.  Then sew right around the outside edge.  No need to sew right sides together because I think this looks more eggy...that is totally a word (Bethanie!)  Oh sorry.  Anyway leave an opening for stuffing, stuff then stitch closed.  My oldest son said I should have put poly fil under the yellow circle for the yolk too.  So you can do with that bit of 10 year old advise what you will.

Bacon.  The bacon was too easy.  Cut wavy pieces of dark brown.  I just free handed this, no measuring.  So use your best judgment.  Then stagger and  hot glue smaller wavy pieces of light brown to the top.  Be careful not to use to much, it can turn nasty pretty quickly.  And no one likes nasty bacon.

Your choice of sandwich: PB and J
Ham and cheese with lettuce and tomato

Here is all the pieces needed to get started.

The bread was definitely the trickiest part of lunch.  I used four 4 x 4 pieces of off white felt and four 1 x 9 pieces of light brown. 

Next cut 1 of the long brown strips in half and sew 1 half to 2 opposite sides of the off white square:

Do the same thing with the other two sides, it should look like this:

I do not have a picture of this next part so hopefully this will make sense.  Sew the other off white square to the OUTSIDE edge of the light brown with right sides together.  When you are finished it will be like a little hollow box.  Leave about an inch unsewn to turn it right side out and then stuff.   Then close it up.  Repeat for the second piece of bread.

The cheese was easy cut a 4 X 4 square of yellow and then cut it on the diagonal it you like. 

Cut a circle of red for the tomato and stitch a "tomatoey" pattern in the center...or just leave it plain.

For the lettuce cut a wavy green square and stitch "veins."

The ham is a rectangular piece of pink sewn to look like folded ham.  I have also seen bologna if you want to go that route. 

The chips are off white ovals.

The bag is just 3 pieces of green sewn together.  Sorry no measurements.

Peanut butter: Wavy square of light brown
Strawberry Jelly wavy square of pink (you could also do purple for grape jam)

Fried Chicken (or chicken on a bone as my kids call it)
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green beans
Pumpkin pie with whipped cream

Pieces for Dinner

Dinner is all pretty straight forward...until you get to the pie.  But we will get to that later.  First the easy stuff.

I did the mashed potatoes just like the pancake only with off white felt and a slightly different shape.  The gravy is hot glued on and doesn't drip off the edge like the syrup on the pancake.

The green beans are  made from a piece of green felt folded in half and stitched in a subtle ark on the fold.  Then cut out.

The drum stick is two pieces of brown sewn right sides together leaving the end where the bone goes open.  Turn right side out.  Stitch around the two bone not turn right side out.  Stuff chicken with poly fil.  Slide the bone just barely into the chicken and attach with hot glue.

Ok now onto the monster of this whole project.  The pumpkin pie.  If it weren't so darn cute I would have left it off the menu, but like I said too darn cute!

So I actually did this two different ways.  I will try to explain both.


The main components of the pie part are 2 strips of orange fabric 5 x 2 (or 3, I can't remember) and a triangle that is 5 x 5.  Sew together to make this:

Now here is where it gets a bit tricky.  The crust.  The first one I made I used on long piece for the bottom and side crusts.  The second time I separated the two.  Honestly both ways were about the same so do what works for you.  I only have pictures of the separated version (which honestly just adds an extra step because you have to then sew them together).  Clear?  As mud, perfect!

Fold top square in half and sew together:

If you were using one long piece you would fold the top down later.

Attach to bottom of orange piece stitch around bottom and up the sides leaving an opening at the top where the crust and the pie would meat.  All of that would be right sides together.  Turn right side out and stuff.

This is where I struggled so much and why I tried 3 different methods...only two are worth mentioning.  Attaching the orange to the side (or back) crust.  I finally used a glue gun and covered it with "whipped cream"

Whipped cream:

1 long strip of white and a white circle sorry no measurements.

I realize this totally looks like a tampon, sorry for that.

Run a loose stitch through the center of your long white strip.  Then pulling on the top tread ruffle the felt.

Hot glue to pie where the crust and the pie meet on the top.

For the extra dollop on the side. fold your circle in half and do a stitch at the very top of the arc.  Then fold the other 2 sides together and repeat.  That really could have used some pictures sorry.  Hopefully the picture below will help you understand what that means.  I also added a bit of velcro on the bottom so it would stay on top of the pie if needed. 

There you have it a whole days worth of felt food.  If you decide to give it a shot send me some pictures and if you figure out an easier way to make the pie please let me know! 

Check out Homemade by Jill for some great pictures.  I got lots of my ideas from the pasta.  I think that is my next felt food project! 
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