Friday, March 29, 2013

Recycled Candle Jar

There is never a shortage of candles in this house and with this winter dragging on, they have been a welcome luxury. They help fight off some of the stagnant winter air until it warms up enough to open some windows. I've seen random pins on Pinterest about how to re-use old candle jars and never really paid much mind, but as we've been trying to eliminate as much processed foods as we can, we have been in need of more containers for staple items in our pantry.

My three year old has his own chocolate (thanks Grandma for THAT one). We try to limit him to a cup or two first thing in the morning and he now drinks his "chocky mogurt" (yeah, I have no clue either) while we drink out coffee. Nesquik and the like aren't all that expensive but they are chalked full of preservatives and additives. I can't recall the exact number of ingredients that they use but in our homemade version we use three, sometimes TWO depending on who is making it. We've been making a batch and storing it in a small mason jar and then it dawned on me as I was getting ready to throw out some old candle jars....they are PERFECT for hot chocolate mix!

So, impatient as I am, I decided to clean out the jar, without consulting the oracle (aka Pinterest) for any directions. I mean, it can't be THAT hard right? This is what I started with...Ew

Surprisingly, I was was cake. I put some water in a sauce pan, brought it to an easy boil and then dumped the wax into a receptacle (in my case it was a red solo cup and I was PRAYING that it wouldn't melt through. I didn't thankfully). Then, very carefully and with silicone oven mitts I wiped out the inside with a paper towel and waited for it to cool a bit. Once I was sure it was cool enough that it wouldn't crack when I immersed it in warm water, I scrubbed it out thoroughly with dish soap.

Then it was time to do a little etching. I had done this a few times for some gifts and used the same process as before. I gathered my supplies:
  •  The candle jar
  • Some letter stickers
  • A palette knife (a Popsicle stick would work just as well)
  • Masking Tape
  • Armor Etch, etching cream
  • Some rubber gloves

During the etching process:

The made over jar next to an old jar...what a difference:

The end result:

A fancy new "chocky mogurt" jar. While you are washing off the stickers, at first it looks like nothing is happening but after you get it all rinsed off and dried, the magic is revealed!

Now that you have a new jar, why not ditch the store bought chocolate mix and make your own? It's super easy and old requires 3 ingredients:
Sugar, salt and cocoa powder.

That's it. Seriously. Its two parts sugar to one part cocoa powder, and when I make it, I throw in a pinch of salt (but my hubby swears it makes no difference, so the salt is optional.). Blend well and use in place of commercial chocolate milk and hot cocoa mixes. It's cheaper and you don't have to worry about artificial additives. My three year old can't tell the difference. It is a little harder to blend into the milk but that's a small annoyance compared to the benefits of making it yourself.
 A couple words of warning: 

Please use caution when using the etching cream, as it is very caustic. Gloves are a MUST.
I wouldn't recommend using candle jars to store foods that remain air tight as I'm not sure how air tight the seal is, but in this case, I'm not concerned about the cocoa mix spoiling. Just please be careful when storing perishables.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The unfortunately NOT BLUE, blue jeans

Seeing all these awesome posts about boy clothes popping up lately made me want to start whipping up some clothes for my little guy. I'm not going to whine about there being fewer choices for boys' clothing...but there ARE fewer choices.

The good news is, that there are some really awesome patterns though and a lot of them allow for modifications. I mean, honestly, how many styles of jeans do boys need? I haven't made a whole lot in the way of garments. I made a few shirts for me (with varying degrees of success) and earlier this year I made a pea coat from peek a boo pattern shop, and it made me look at garment sewing a bit differently.

So, I finally went for it and bought a few PDF patterns for my 3 year old. I went with PDF patterns for several reasons:

1) They weren't ugly (Sorry McCall's, your boy options suck).
2) I liked being able to save the PDF file and print out the pieces in different sizes..versus having to trace and all that nonsense from a traditional pattern.
3) Even though I've used many commercial patterns, I still often find them confusing as they tend to make things more complicated than neccessary.

So, the first one I bought was The Nowhere Man Pants from Shwin and Shwin. I liked the overall look and it looked easy to modify the features of the pants. I wasn't disappointed.

The pattern was great, super easy to follow and relatively simple. I finished the pants in 3 hours from cutting the fabric to sewing on the buttons. They did seem to run a bit on the smaller side, my three year old wears a 4T and these seemed to be on the slim side. There was not a seam allowance given in the pattern, (a google search later indicated it was 3/8) so I just used a 1/4, preferring to err on the side of being too large. Had I not used a smaller seam allowance and my guy not been so slim, I'm not sure the 4T would have worked.

I thought they came out well, but my quite fickle little man did not agree. He was incredibly displeased that they were NOT BLUE, and I was quickly informed that jeans were supposed to be blue. The pictures are not good, mostly because I only had about a 2 minute window in which he agreed to wear them. Only then, it was because I promised to make a blue pair.

I thought girls were the particular ones.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yes, it's mine

Just claiming this as mine. Nothing to see here.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Bag Loving blog hop

It's no secret that bags are my absolute favorite thing to sew! In order to get any kind of street cred in the sewing world it seems like one must be a quilter but the idea of quilting hasn't really appealed to me. Not that I don't love to look at them, because I do! There are so many amazing quilt patterns and designer out there that I am taken away by some of their gorgeous works of art, but the whole process of quilting seems so incredibly tedious and scientific to me. I read about all these "UFO"s and how long it takes to complete a project and I am in awe.

 I am an immediate gratification kind of girl. I want to know when I start a project that I can finish it in a reasonable amount of time. Typically, for me this is a week...TOPS, more likely it's only a couple of days before I really start to lose interest. In addition to my need for immediate gratification, I don't like to STOP working on things until they are complete, I cannot imagine how I would be if my projects took weeks to complete. Bags on the other hand, usually can be done in a day or so, depending on the bells and whistles involved. They are also something that I use every single day and I feel like I can never have too many! Like quilts, the design elements are infinite and unlike quilts, they are often more forgiving of small errors. I love reading and seeing what others have designed and created and I find a constant source of inspiration on the internet and through so many awesome blogs out there!

 I'm so glad that I happened across the bag loving blog hop hosted by ChrisW Designs! It's such an awesome idea to link to some great blogs that have a great love for bag making and designing! I already have my Saturday morning earmarked to see what awesome blogs have linked up while I enjoy my coffee :) Happy Friday!

What do you have to do? It's easy! (Please note links now require approval due to spamming :( so will be approved after all 3 steps have been carried out! Please make sure your blog has posts about BAGS!)
Step 1) Just add your blog link below by clicking on the "Click here To Enter" link and follow the easy steps to add your blog!
*Step 2) IMPORTANT! Click on the "Get the code here" link shown to grab your copy of the code and add it to your blog! Please include these instructions so that new members will know what to do! :)
*Step 3) Grab this button: (Right Click and Save)
and pop it in your sidebar linking to your Bag Lovin Blog Hop post so that we can leave this blog hop open and people can keep finding it and hopping on! :)
After all 3 steps have been completed, your link will be approved and added to the blog hop! :)
That's it! :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chevrons & Polka dots

Spring makes me want for new bags and accessories, today felt like spring may finally be right around the corner so what better time to start working on some new bags for the occasion?
It's a cinch tote pattern by Sweet Verbena, made for a friend

Bow tote made with Riley Blake gray chevrons and Lizzie House pearl bracelets in watermelon. It's kinda pink but kinda not, love it!
It just reminds me of Easter. 

I don't think I will ever get tired of chevrons and polka dots! 

241 tote

I finally got around to making my first 241 tote from Noodlehead, I've had this pattern for a while and never seemed to be able to pick the fabrics I wanted to use (yeah, I'm a tad indecisive). With spring finally on its way, I decided that it was time to make a spring bag and I pulled out the pattern and settled on this print from Josephine Kimerling's hope chest line. I have hoarded this fabric for a while. I'm usually not a big floral girl but there was something about this print that I just adore. I think it was perfect for this pattern!

The pattern was absolutely cake to follow and I opted for the zippered pocket variation. It literally took me less than three hours from cutting to top stitching, a very quick and easy sew! The one mistake I made was forgetting to add the slip pocket to the interior...oops. I'll just blame the wine and the fact that it was well past my bedtime at that point.

The only thing that I was a bit disappointed about was the size. I was for some reason thinking that this was a tad roomier, but I guess this just keeps me from over stuffing my bag with junk. It's by no means small but I just tend to like more oversized bags.

I will for sure be making another, I'm really happy with how it came together and the ease of the pattern makes it great for a last minute gift.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Honey cowl

Last month, I vowed that I WOULD learn how to knit, after many frustrating attempts. I successfully completed my first project, the seed stitch cowl and I was hooked.

I searched for a good second project and happened on the honey cowl. I saw various posts about the honey cowl, many from people who were new to knitting themselves so I thought is give it a shot.

It's so far from perfect, but I don't care, I love it!

I found the yarn at a little yarn shop, it's Everlating by Dream and it's a cozy superwash Australian Merino. The pictures do not do this yarn justice, the color is just absolutely gorgeous! .

I cannot wait to go back and find some new yarn for my next project: The Sophia Cowl but I better wait a bit before I tell hubby that I bought another 30.00 skein of yarn.

I'm really enjoying knitting so much more than I thought and I'm surprised that I am picking it up easier than I thought. It's still much slower than crochet and more akward but I love the final look. I still need to work on my cast off, as it's a bit wonky but I'm actually knitting!

Wallet Tutorials

I just sewed my first wallet to coordinate with my spring bag and I honestly don't know what took me so long to make one! I put one together with just the leftover scraps from my last bag as it takes so little to whip one up. Such a quick sew that now I'm going to have to make one to go with all my bags. God love crafty blogs that so generously post tutorials, I found so many cute freebies out there!

Some I love:

Zipper Card Pouch

Spring Bag Tutorials

Spring is right around the corner and I start getting the itch to make myself a new bag at the beginning of every season! There are so many fantastic free tutorials out there, I can't pick one! Some to-dos ob my never ending list of bags I want to make are:

It's A Cinch By Sweet Verbena This is easily one of my favorite bag patterns--EVER. It's such a simple but awesome bag!!! I love mine!
Roomy, pleated bag
Pleated handbag by warehouse fabrics
Phoebe bag by Artsy Craftsy Babe