Sunday, October 23, 2011

Adding To / Altering Dress

 First, I have some new items in my Bitsy Blessings shop on Etsy. Two sets of three baby girl burp cloths found here  and one set of two baby boy burp cloths found here. I am planning on making another set of 3 boy burp cloths as well (same print) if that suits anyone better. 

Yesterday, I was handing my business cards out at a family function and to my surprise came home with 3 orders to fill! I also have a little mini mother’s market with my Mom2Mom group (like MOPS) on November 3rd, so I am actually going to be quite busy this next week and a half.  Not to mention two other projects to finish by the 6th, plus making my little boy’s vests for a wedding we have to leave for on the 11th.  Wow, did not expect to be here already, but it is awesome!  Feel free to keep it coming!

I was trying to do at least one post a week on friday nights, but have gotten behind due to camera issues. Although the camera issues are now fixed and I took new pictures, my USB device is not working,thus the blurry pictures to come.

Now for a little tip/itsy bitsy tutorial. The wedding I mentioned is for one of my husbands’ best friends. Originally I wanted to buy a new dress but after seeing that nothing interested me and I already had two dresses I could wear, I decided to go the frugal way and just “tweek” what I have, so this is more of a suggested mini alteration.

  This is the dress (it was my prom dress, so it is from high school -four years ago), before I had two kids. (Plus, I just had a baby seven months ago and I need to fit into it in a couple weeks…..but that is another story;-) I am not stressed about this really.... ).

It is really pretty, but the top part is too low for my liking. I could have tried sewing it together but that would have looked a bit odd. You see that thin shawl? I never wear those things! You have them on for about five minutes before you decide they are a hassle to hold. Additionally, I certainly would not be wearing one while trying to hold my baby in one arm and my toddler’s hand in the other. So I decided to double (or triple) it up, cut it, sew the layers together, and then hand sew it into the top of the dress.

It worked out and looks right. The thing to keep in mind is that when hand sewing(if you have ever done quilt binding this will make sense to you) you want to make sure you are going through the inner layer and not grabbing the outside material of the dress, so you do not see the stitching. It is, however, possible to machine sew it if you grab only the inner layer with the sheer on top.  But I was not taking chances of bunching on this one. It does not have to be perfect; nobody is going to see the inside when you are wearing it. It is very much worth the few minutes to do when you consider buying an entirely new dress! Ok, ready for the best part? This dress was bought at the Quakertown farmers market for $50 bucks (the average prom dress is over $100 at David’s Bridal right now), and I will get to wear it at least twice (provided I fit into it). Might not be top quality, but everything is holding together on it just fine for now. I also bought a nice brown shrug off of Amazon to go with the dress, so i wont be quite as cold! Finished/better pictures will be coming as soon as I get these technical difficulties out of the way.

Optional Ideas:

1. Another idea I thought of was, if you like to wear the sheer wrap, it is possible it may be long enough for you to take the part for the top you need and still be able to hem the side and use it the same way. 
2. You could also take the sheer and add it on to your dress around the mid section if it went with the style.
3. If you have a really long dress you love, but its summertime, consider cutting and hemming it or making it like a bubble skirt if you like that style. It is worth it if it makes you wear a dress you were never going to wear again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Recipe All My Own

 There I was, so happy I was going to have a easy meal-barbecue chicken in the crock pot, two ingredients (barbecue sauce and chicken;-) ). I put my chicken in and then realized, somehow I had opened up the barbecue sauce awhile ago,and it was already past its expiration date(I have a fear of mold) so I tossed it out and started thinking of what I was going to do. I knew of a recipe that used Italian dressing so i threw some of that on, but i did not have the cream cheese so I improvised and tried mozzarella. Then I decided I was not in the mood for pasta, and that i had left over rice.

When ever I make rice, I always, always, always make far too much. Does that happen to anyone else?

 I decided to incorporated that by serving it under the chicken and sauce. Then I remembered I had diced tomatoes for a recipe I could no longer remember-so why not add that in,maybe it would go with the Italian dressing. I decided to add my favorite seasoning-crazy salt (Jane's crazy mixed up seasonings).

As i grab that out i noticed my breadcrumbs that are rarely used, why not add that on top?
Then I prayed that I would be able to eat the meal I had thrown together ingredient by ingredient, and you know what? It was pretty tasty, and very flavorful! Ok, maybe it is not Rachel Ray amazing-but it was easy to prepare, very little work, yummy, and contained quite a bit of the food groups.

It is very rainy here today so I could not get the best pictures, but it is good enough for you to get an idea.

Alright you lazy readers- yes I mean You! If you are like me you would read through this once, say " oh looks easy and sounds yummy, I should make that" and then never make it because it includes too many times of reading through to make sure you had the ingredients and it is not in list form- for YOU my friend, I have created a list.

3 skinless chicken breasts( right from the freezer)
1 1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 (approx.10 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
1 large handful of mozzarella cheese (or skip the cheese and make it dairy free- i tried it, tastes fine)
4 shakes of crazy salt(sorry I rarely measure this kind of thing)
2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
Rice, as much as your little heart desires...or what you have left over from last nights dinner ;-).

Combine chicken, dressing, diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, crazy salt, and ONE of the handfuls of breadcrumbs. Turn crock pot on high for 3- 3 1/2 hours (depending on how much you want your chicken falling apart). After 3 hours shake last handful of bread crumbs on and serve over rice.

Now for a added laugh. I made this dinner last week and as I was making it decided to blog it, however I took a picture of everything but somehow my final picture (a nice one with perfect lighting) was deleted. Now I think a little boy got hold of my camera, no names mentioned of course;-). So I then had to make this meal again, and I just so happened to get dinner guests tonight, and they loved it so much- I think all of them had second helpings.

Optional ideas/alternatives:
Left over hamburger rolls? Skip the rice and put it on a roll(that's what I did for my toddler)
Left over steak or hoagie rolls? Why not make some garlic bread (put butter and garlic on and toast) that would go well for dipping in extra sauce.

Feel free to comment if you have any extra ideas.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Love At First Sight(or Third)

The Perfect Fabric always makes me excited and motivated. The other day I was searching through Jo Anns for all the cutest flannel I could find for baby items for my soon to be Etsy store. They seemed to have a lot of regular nursery fabric(more than usual) and less flannel( I am hoping that changes with the season). I had to go through the isles at least three times before I found fabrics that coordinated just the way i wanted. 

Then after getting them cut I found my way to the ribbons, and boy do i love working with ribbon lately, as if getting pink and green together was not good enough. My new love, polka dots. Check out what I am going to get to work with!

 ^ some fleece from the remnant shelves, I thought i could use as some point.

 ^cute nursery fabric for a cloth block I have been meaning to make.

 (repeat after self, "I will not use this fabric for my own baby, I will not. . .")

 I just love things that match- every time my husband hears the phrase" and it matches!" (usually followed by a girly squeal), he rolls his eyes and gives me this grin. You know what I am talking about, the kind that says" you are goofy, but i love you anyways"- that kind;-). I am just one of those people who just like everything to be symmetrical and matching. Are you?

^ some jingle for baby.

You know what I think I am going to enjoy most though? Getting to finally use girly fabric. There is so much cute fabric out there, and I only get to work with about half of it. Starting an Etsy shop fills that little void in my sewing happiness. Getting to awe and ahh at little baby girl stuff.

In case you were wondering, I did get to make my first project which I will be posting to sell hopefully tonight. It is made up of  8in x 8 in squares all around, a pretty good sized play toy. I am pretty sure my 2 yr old thinks it is a gift for himself, since he is used to me saying " look what mommy made (for you)" :-).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Saving with Wendy: Kmart Coupon Booklet Found

Saving with Wendy: Kmart Coupon Booklet Found: While shopping in Kmart yesterday, I found this booklet full of coupons good when you use your Shop Your Way rewards card. Most are Kmart...

Turning a Coffee Table into a Piano Bench

We have this coffee table that we were given when we were poor newly weds, well I guess we are still newly weds just a little bit less poor- I plan on trying to be a newly wed my whole life ;-). So here is the coffee table:

I was lacking a piano bench and if the coffee table is hardly used to hold drinks and such since I have little ones, so I thought this would be the best thing to do. My inspiration was found from here:

I cannot take credit for the idea- just a few changes i made and the fact that I made it into a piano bench instead of ottoman. Please excuse any dark or glared photos.

Here is what you need:

Spray paint- the color you need (Kona Brown in our case and it was glossy or else I would have added a clear coat).

 Soft N Crafty square seat foam- the closest you can get to the right width,thickness and length that you need( I used 4 pieces of it all 15x17, two were 3 inch thick and the other two 2 inches thick).

HIGH temp. hot glue gun ( I really liked this kind much better than the ad tech one that I could not get to work)This one was just under 10 bucks.

Batting- enough to go around the edges of the foam to fill in and give a more rounded look.

Staple gun- I got this one at True Value for just under 20 bucks, the cheapest and the easiest to use(no need for electrical outlet and long cord-its cordless).

 Fabric- I used a decent price home decor fabric from Jo Anns.

Alright, here we go...

1. First make sure your wood is all where it should be, the one side of ours was coming out so I used some wood glue and glued it back in and hammered the nails back in some.

The wood glue was a messy job as you can see.

2. Spray paint all the parts of the wood that are going to show. So much easier than sitting there hand painting-and I was very impressed with the finished product(hand painting is not my forte so this was great!) I did two coats within minutes of each other and left it for a few hours to make sure I liked how it looked- I did not get the creases of the legs good(pay attention to this if you have it) so I then touched up.

3. Hot glue the foam to the top of the table, when I did this I first put it on the table and it dried real fast because our house is so cold, but it worked much better once i put the hot glue onto the foam and then on top. Now here is where you want to do it different than I did.If you are using 2 layers of foam to make it high enough, you should hot glue one foam on, then put hot glue on the side of it and then put the other one on so that the middle is secured together as well. I tried doing that at the end and it was not as easy. Now seal any edges that are not secure,find this by lifting up around the sides-they should not come up at all!

4. Put batting around the sides(glue for security)and top of the foam

5. Use your Staple gun and staple the edges, I wanted hospital corners- so I stapled close to the edge and then put the extra fabric on the corner over top of the staples(you can see how to do this more clearly by looking at the picture of  me doing it with the fabric under number 7).

6. Cut off any excess material.

7. Put fabric over top and do it the same as the batting, only trying to cover all the batting and it looks nice if you can fold the edge of the fabric under for a more finished look underneath.

...and please forgive the baby toy in the corner :-D

I chose not to do the tufting pins because it would require me to use a power drill and I did not want to risk my life ;-), It would first require me to find a drill and be slightly difficult to sew in with the two layers of foam needed for height. I also found it unnecessary for a piano bench.

There you go :-)

Tips: - Check creases if the wood has a pretty fancy shape to it- to make sure you painted all of it.
         - Re touch carefully with paint if you end up leaving dents from the staple gun.
         -Its great to have a friend help hold the bench still while you use the staple gun, if you have no one available(I did not)- try to have a flat surfaces to push against.


Monday, October 3, 2011

A little more to add...

I came across this today-some more ways to have fun cleaning for you and your little (or not so little) ones.

Just for fun, this is what my son was doing while I was trying to get those markers for the poster board to work:

....we all have our parenting fails! This was one of those" Oh Isaac, you can do it yourself buddy-you work on your artwork and mommy will work on hers." ha.

Now for a tease, stay tuned because I am going to turn this cheap coffee table into something worth using.....but you will have to wait until tomorrow:-D.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What Room Am I?-The Cleaning Game

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” -Dr. Suess

Are your dishes overflowing? Do you find your mortgage payment hiding in your couch?Are you concerned about a family of mice hiding under your 7 loads of laundry? Is World War III a possibility when your kids hear the words"clean up"? Are you sick of it?

You are not alone, you are not hopeless.You can take back your home with fun, children, and a few silly rhymes. Im going to show you how! 

  I created a little game for my friends children when I came to her house to "hang out". Here are the items you will need:

Timer (preferably one the child can see/hour glass)
Posterboard or whiteboard(in this case you want your dry erase markers;-))
Stickers that shows your childs favorite interest(fairies,disney cars, and elmo were ours)
Large Index cards(bonus for colored ones)
A rhyming mood(or the internet)
Optional-a great after work incentive(ours was finger painting)

I like lists...I hope you do too:-D

1.Think of the rooms in your house you want done.
2. Think of the things your children leave lying the most.
3. Come up with riddles that include clues.

 Example(from yahoo):
At last, we two are all alone
A common drudge, a common throne
I'll scrub you 'til you shine like new
Wipe off the pee, scrape off the poo
And when I'm done I'll flush away
The evidence and then I'll say
To no one but this wat'ry hole --
You'd think they'd get some in the bowl...

4.Make chart- Kids names vertically, rooms horizontally(or vice versa)
Mine looks like this:

Then you are all ready to start-our "rules"were this(all rules flexible for different households of course):
a. Read the card and have them guess the room.

b. Assign each their task.

c. Set the timer.
d. Do the task.
e. Put stickers in appropriate spot.
f. Continue until all tasks are complete.

Our rule was that stickers get put on together so all must complete their task-it helps them to encourage/work together.It is up to you if you want to only allow stickers if the task is done within 5 min-but we only gave tasks we knew could be done within the time frame since the children were young (ages 4 1/2 and 2 1/2).

The thing I love about this is that anyone can do it,its pretty much a variation of different games put together,and it involves one of my favorite things- a little of the Dr-Dr Seuss that is;-). I think they enjoyed it.

Finishing ideas/options:
-If you use a white board and you want to use stickers, tape strips of paper so the kids can take them off and keep them in a "sticker book".
- Have children pick tasks out of a hat to avoid sibling bickering over who got the"better" chore.
-Create teams for those children that like sibling rivalry.
- Have them race daddy or mommy to complete the task before them.
Your possibilities are absolutely endless! Just remember that you need to have fun yourself, kids feed off of other peoples enthusiasm and energy-so keep it positive!

Tips: -If you have a ruler that you do not want maker on the side of,wrap paper towel tightly around.
         -DO NOT buy those colored makers! (bright poster makers-more like dried out highlighters)...thats all:-)

"Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

Approx age:2-8 yrs

Like my pictures? my friend Carolyn did them-you can find her site on my side bar under favorite things.