No Sew Stash Buster: Lighted Fabric Garland Tutorial

I saw a lighted garland here at ADD Housewife  a few weeks ago and thought it would be a perfect way to further decrease my overwhelming stack of fabric for repurposing. After Eli left for preschool I quickly gathered my supplies.

Materials:

An old sheet – There are a few pieces of shirting fabric left over from long ago quilt projects and as I worked I included a couple of contrasting fabrics as well.

A strand of lights – I later added a second alongside to make it extra bright and colorful. My stands were 100 light strands as I wanted to hang this around the patio doors If you are making this for a mantle go with a 50 light strand or fold your 100 light strand in half.

A method for cutting– I wanted to use pinking shears but couldn’t find them (grrr!) but was so glad later when I saw how much cutting was actually involved to be using a matt and rotary cutter)

Step 1

Cut strips of cloth. Since I didn’t have the pinking shears and didn’t want tons of shedding I cut my cloth on the bias. Actually I was too lazy to find the actual bias, I cut  it in a generally diagonal fashion. It worked. I cut most of the strips 2″ wide and of varying lengths from 5-10″ long. I didn’t measure the lengths… just eyeballed and hacked. I later cut other fabric 1″ in width to fill in bits of wire along the length with the thinner pieces as needed. I also chose to add some other fabrics of contrast as I got going. The darker of these I also cut to 1″ width.

Step 2

Fold a strip of cloth in half, bring it around the wire and pull the tails through the loop. I worked along the length of wire by putting the fabric on, jumping ahead a few inches before adding more and then doing the same thing back and forth again down the wire. This way I could better gauge where I wanted to put thicker verses thinner strips and longer verses shorter. I was also able to work in my accent fabrics a little more regularly than if I had just started at one end and worked all the way to the other.

Step 3

Excuse the off center photo. Our tree’s lights at the very top decided not to light this year and we are only midway through rectifying the situation. I didn’t really want to showcase our tree in it’s current state on the blog.

When the garland is as full as you want it to be hang ‘er up. Yeah, three steps. It really is that easy.

I may go back in later and further cover up the bits of wire that still show. Once you step back it’s not so noticeable though and I was out of fabric from that particular sheet. The jury is still out as to whether the strips of darker fabric will remain or not.

Now you can really vary your look for these garlands through fabric choice, light color choice, using uniform length strips verses untidy multi length strips. ADD Housewife mentions on her blog that she has made many of these corresponding to different holidays…  because of course, garlands aren’t just for Christmas anymore!

I was featured!
Here’s where I’m linking up:

Fall Into The Holidays

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toesjembellish clothes upcycling page,

Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

A Round Tuit,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot GiraffeKammy’s Korner,

Home Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions, Homemade Tuesday,  Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My HandsHello Weekend,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Handmade Christmas Card Ideas

While going through my assortment of cards I’ve made in the past I found some that would be appropriate to this season that I thought I’d share with you. It’s been quite a while since I’ve made cards, but a few years ago I was really on a kick and made so many. It’s nice to be able to still pick out a card for a loved one that is handmade even if I don’t always have the time to make one for each occasion as it comes along these days.

My mother-in-law goes all out decorating for the holidays. She has multiple themed Christmas trees in her home and many other seasonal displays. I always feel like we get to spend Christmas in a home out of Better Homes and Gardens while we are there visiting each December. One year it occurred to me to take photos of some of her decorations to make a set of Christmas cards to give her the following year. This is just one of many photos I used… seems all of the other ones are gone now. I also made a set of gift tags using the photos of her decorations printed much smaller and mounted on appropriate sized card stock with a hole punched and a string attached. They also went over very well. Even if your home isn’t a showcase you may be able to find photos to take that would work for cards or to make tags with. Or if you know someone as I do with a real knack for decorating the gift card/tag sets featuring photos of their own displays make a gift that is very personal. Whether or not you send out any of the cards yourself I suppose would depend on how comfortable that person would be with another using images from inside their home that way. A lot would depend upon the photo and how much of the home’s interior it showed.

Nature photos can also work well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been somewhere it snowed to take “Seasonal” sorts of photos, but even in the Arizona desert I took this photo which I think works well, as long as you call them “doves” and not “pigeons”. 😉

Photo cards are really so easy and quick to put together and you can make many copies of the same card at once. You just need a piece of card stock folded to match the size of the envelope you plan to use. You can buy packs of envelopes only at Michael’s, as well as same sized blank cards. I find it cheaper to buy a pack of card stock and cut and fold it to make my own blank cards, and I end up with a greater selection of colors that way. Cut a contrasting piece of card stock or scrap booking paper to frame the photo, glue it all down and you’re done.

These two cards were made by mounting a piece of paper on the blank card and then adding the silhouette of a male or female moose cut from a scrap of leather. (I actually made a lot of leather cards of different designs using the leather from an old broken recliner. You can see them here.) Let your imagination run wild with the shapes and symbols you might use. Leather scraps can be found in a wide variety of colors and one piece can make an amazing number of cards as each one uses so little of your material.

So for those of us without an extensive stamp and related paraphernalia collection, making handmade cards can still be done without much expense. It is a lot of fun both to make them and to give or send them. In the end it can save a lot of money as you use the cards you have made rather than dropping $2.00 to $5.00 a card every time you need one for a special occasion.(Not that boxed Christmas cards are generally that expensive.) The recipient is also more apt to appreciate them as the message you write inside is more personal and the fact that you are giving something handmade is always special.

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Fall Into The Holidays

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toesjembellish clothes upcycling page,

Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

A Round Tuit,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot GiraffeKammy’s Korner,

Home Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions, Homemade Tuesday,  Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My HandsHello Weekend,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Adding/Replacing Long Sleeves on a T-Shirt

I’m finding as the seasons change (we’re slow about season changing here in Southern CA) that Eli has outgrown most of his existing long sleeved shirts. I’m trying to go the frugal route these days and as he has plenty of short sleeved T-shirts that fit him well I decided to try adding long sleeves to them.

Here’s how I went about doing so:

I started with this shirt. Yea, already has long sleeves, but they were at one time in the distant past white and no amount of laundering or stain treatment is returning them to their former glory, so this shirt had been pulled from rotation some time ago. The shirt itself is fine though and one of Eli’s favorites, so we’ll just switch out the sleeve.

Carefully clip it free… so much faster than seam ripping!

Open it up and trace it onto freezer paper to make a pattern. I did seam rip the side seam to preserve the side seam allowances. Add 1/4″ at the top to account for what was left behind when cutting it from the shirt. (I think you could probably make a pattern easily enough by tracing the sleeve of a long sleeved shirt still attached, doubling it mirror image and adding a seam allowance.) Leaving the bottom without allowance for hemming was on purpose as I plan to use the hemmed bottom of another t-shirt for the sleeve.

Iron the pattern to your donor shirt. I loved this yellow stripy shirt that became hideously stained by Colic Calm long ago. (Wonderful product… deadly to fabric.)

Open the side seam of your sleeve a little ways.

Sew the top part of the long sleeve to the bottom part of the short sleeve. This can be done by machine. I did it by hand as I was out of brown thread that would have blended in with the existing serged line of stitching and I thought a contrasting machine stitch would just look tacky, especially if I wavered at all which often happens with me. I also liked that the front of the shirt has an embellishment of brown embroidery, and a printed-to-look-hand-embroidered line around Elmo. On the sleeves the darker red stripes are machine embroidered, so I thought carrying the motif over to the attachment of the sleeve with a little pop of red might be fun.

Pin and sew up the sides of the sleeve. For this I did use the machine. (Use a zigzag stitch).

Turn right side out and enjoy the “new” shirt!

I also used the same pattern piece to make long sleeves to add to a short sleeved t-shirt. This time I sewed up the side seam of the sleeve ahead of time and then attached it to the short sleeve by hand. I did it this way simply because I didn’t feel like ripping open the side seam of the short sleeve and I knew I was needing a little handwork to bring along with me for a time I knew I’d be sitting around waiting for Jeff and Eli. The dark blue on the bottom is just some left over neck ribbing from another old t-shirt that I added for an extra pop of color.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful in extending your little one’s wardrobe through another season.

Thanks for reading!

Karen

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo Toesjembellish clothes upcycling page,

Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet homeCraft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities ,

The Cure for the Common Monday, A Round Tuit,

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerHome Stories A to Z, Crafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday,  Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWaste Not Want Not Wednesday, The Country Homemaker Hop,

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands, Hello Weekend,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Beaded Christmas Tree Ornaments Tutorial

These Christmas tree ornaments are quick to make and require just  a few materials. It is a project that could be easily done by older children as well.

You will need:

glass beads (one brand calls them “glass E beads” and another “seed beads 6/0”, I just bought the larger of the two sizes offered at Michael’s)

needle nose pliers

wire (20 gauge)

Step 1:

Cut off a length of wire that will be a bit longer than you need to make the coil of your finished Christmas tree plus a few twists at the beginning and the end.

Step 2:

Using the needle nose pliers make a little curlicue that will be both the decoration at the top of the tree and the hanger attachment.

Step 3:

Begin stringing the beads along the wire. You could do it in a repeating pattern of colors or randomly as I did.

Step 4:

You are now ready to begin coiling your tree shape when you have about 2/3 of the wire filled.

Just begin to twist it with your fingers in gradually larger circles. You don’t need to fiddle with it a lot at this point; just determine how much larger you are going to want to make your tree. You will adjust the coils to be more aesthetically pleasing at the end.

Step 5:

Once you’ve reached your ornaments desired size cut off the extra wire, leaving just a bit to bend into a curlicue to hold the beads on the wire.

Step 6:

Now begin adjusting your coils. Are you aiming for the perfect shape or a touch of whimsy?

Step 7:

Repeat the process to make as many trees in as many color combinations as you would like.

Step 8:

Add the style hanger of your choice. I chose to use candle wick yarn for a simple hanger as I felt my usual beaded hanger would detract from the tree ornament itself.

Step 9:

Hang up your ornaments! You may find that any photo sessions you may wish to have with your new ornaments are more easily had without inquisitive 2 year olds in the room.

Sticks are always fascinating of course.

“Boingy, boingy!”

It might get a bit misshapen but the ornament does hold up fairly well to toddler abuse.

I was featured!!

Domesblissity

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Christmas Craft Linky Party, Tea Rose Home,

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling pageBlissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerHome Stories A to Z,  Crafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Easy Linen Shirt

This past week I attacked my second project from the book Sewing for Boys, the Easy Linen Shirt. I would have had to agree with the name of the shirt and the many other bloggers who rave about how simple this shirt really is to construct, until I got to the collar. Maybe it’s my beginner status, or the fact I seem to have trouble following directions (and therefor using other people’s patterns) but it took me a long time, a lot of fiddling, a bit of swallowing back the curse words I was so sorely tempted to emit, and in the end it was a less than perfect execution. Still, I’m happy with the shirt, feel I learned and grew from the experience. And Eli is thrilled with his new threads, so all in all, definitely a worthwhile experience.

Ooops! Forgot to iron it for the picture!

This shirt contains parts of an old linen shirt and skirt of mine, a men’s cotton shirt and the elephants are courtesy of a Banana Republic canvas shopping bag. I made the 4/5 size so the arms are a bit too long for Eli still.

A little touch of embroidery.

Because I did some of the sewing while he played nearby in the living room, I sang to him a little ditty I made up so as to buy myself a little time before he was too impatient to have me playing with him again. It went, “Mama’s making Eli and elephant shirt, elephant shirt, an elephant shirt. Mama’s making Eli an elephant shirt, that he can wear to __(insert a place he likes to go to)__.”  It worked. He’d say “Again, again, again!” after each verse. After we’d run through it a few times, I began to leave the last word out for him to fill in himself. EVERY TIME he’d exclaim “Ikea!” Usually followed by “Eli go to Ikea?! Eli go now! Go in the silver car!!” Yeah, Eli, Mama likes Ikea too. But we can’t go every day.

Large Elephant from a canvas Banana Republic shopping bag someone had passed on to me.

I used french seams on the arms and side seams. It was only my second time doing so… the first time being over two years ago. I’m loving how finished it looks! If the seam looks wide to you it’s because it is. I misread 3/8″ seams throughout as 5/8″ (I kept hearing the refrain printed in the comment section of just about every elementary report card I ever had (“doesn’t listen and follow instructions”) as I dealt with the consequences of this. Luckily the shirt is a size bigger than Eli currently wears for things made from this book so it will still fit for a while. It may be a bit tight by the time his arms grow into the sleeves though.

Here’s my little guy showing off his new shirt.

He’s always done with the photo session before I am!

Thanks for reading!

Karen

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Tea Rose Home

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blogjembellish clothes

upcycling pageBlissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerHome Stories A to Z, Tell Me TuesdayCrafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Tuesday To DoToday’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up WednesdayWaste Not Want Not Wednesday,

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

 

We Said Goodbye… Hello!

Some of you may remember a post here on Folk Haven last April called The Long Goodbye. My mother, who has suffered from progressing dementia for many, many years had just entered hospice care. Even though she was still with us physically she was fading fast and mentally seemed like she had already gone. We were told that we’d probably have about a month or so with her before she’d pass on. We began to make final arrangements, and my brother and his wife flew in from Japan for a couple of weeks. When I posted our family’s update about this situation I received so many kind and caring comments that meant so very much to me.

With my mother as we celebrate her birthday.

Eight months later not only is my mother still with us, but she’s WITH us. We celebrated her 81st birthday with her last Saturday. Whereas in March and April there were times I’d visit when I felt certain she didn’t even know who I was, or if she did she was so disconnected that she just didn’t want to be bothered, now she converses, looks forward to visits, and shows interest in what is going on around her. Of course, she really likes to see Eli and always asks before we come “You’re bringing the baby, right?!” She also remembers that I am pregnant and is looking forward to meeting grandchild number two.

Here she is showing an interest in Eli as he plays with his play dough at the restaurant.

I know people don’t usually enter hospice care to get better, but in her case that is what happened. In fact, as of this month hospice is no longer involved in her care as she no longer qualifies for their assistance!

Although she is doing so much better it isn’t as if her dementia has been cured by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just as though we’ve gone back to how she was a year ago this time (although she seems happier now than she was then!), and her most recent steep decline has been erased. I honestly don’t know how such a thing is possible. There have been no miracle medications or treatments added. We were praying for her peace and comfort through the last difficult transition, not for a cure. Whatever the cause may have been it is a blessing to be granted however much more time this gives us.

Making Prickly Pear Juice

Nopal con fruto (tunas)

Nopal con fruto (tunas) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps you have heard of Nopalea, a very expensive juice containing a proprietary blend of ingredients most noteworthy of which is the juice of the fruit of the nopal (Spanish name for prickly pear cactus). While there are many testimonials online about the effectiveness of this juice in relieving inflamation, pain, fatigue, allergies, and the list goes on, paying $30 to $40 dollars a bottle for which the main ingredient is water seems a bit excessive to me.

But doing further research on the prickly pear led to some interesting findings. It is low calorie, loaded with Vitamins C and A, contains magnesium and potassium, and betalains which are powerful antioxidants (also found in beets and red Swiss chard). In tests it has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, regulate blood glucose, prevent cancer, and provide relief from alcoholic hangovers.

I have been interested in desert native foods for a couple of years now after I learned that the Native American found in the area of Arizona where we visit my husband’s family at Christmas time once only rarely suffered from diabetes. Since switching from eating native foods grown in the region to a more Americanized diet the diabetes rate soared to 15 time that of the general population, with 50% acquiring the disease by age 35. Members of this same people who have returned to a diet of traditional foods have shown marked weight loss, some even reversing their diabetes status without the use of medication. (Source)

I don’t have diabetes or any pre-diabetic condition, but both of my parents have Type 2 diabetes so I know I need to watch my health or I run the risk of joining them at some point. My interest in prickly pear juice right now is that my son really likes juice, yet I know that it is not recommended for children to consume much at all as juvenile obesity is at an epidemic level in the US. I also don’t like the fact that juice coats the teeth with sugar, promoting caries. Getting my son to cooperate with a thorough tooth brushing is not the easiest of tasks! So I have decided it is time to give prickly pear juice sweetened with xylitol instead of sugar a try!

(Xylitol could be the topic of a whole other post. You can see what good old Wikipedia has to say by following the link.)

While prickly pear cactus does grow in our area, it is possible to buy the fruit already de-thorned in the grocery store, which is what I did. Should you decide to pick your own this website explains how to do so and then remove the thorns so they can be handled.

Start with 10 prickly pears. I found this gave me just under 2 quarts of juice. I could have added a bit more water to make a full 2 quarts and the flavor really wouldn’t have suffered.

The first step in the juicing process is to slice off both ends of the prickly pear.

Then slice through the skin from top to bottom along one side.

Next unroll the fruit out of the skin, which can then be discarded.

Cut the interior of the prickly pear into chunks…

…and throw all together into your pot.

Cover the fruit with water and turn on the heat to medium until it begins to boil and then reduce to simmer.

Let simmer about 15 or 20 minutes or until it reaches your preferred strength.

Use a potato masher to break down the pulp and squeeze every last bit of prickly pear goodness from the fruit.

Ladle the pulp and liquid into a strainer.

Sweeten as desired. I used Xylitol as it is a natural sweetener, but without many calories and the added benefit of being a dental plaque fighter. I also added some lemon juice to give it a bit more zing and to help it keep longer (not a real concern as I’m drinking it fairly quickly.)

Chill and serve. Don’t you just love the vibrant color? If I didn’t know better I would think it was artificial.

Surprisingly my son doesn’t want to drink it. I’m not sure why because it doesn’t have an overly “exotic” flavor and I thought he’s think the color was fun. I made it mainly as an attempt to get him away from drinking as much apple juice as he now does. Even though we water it down extensively he still is getting more than the 4 oz of juice he should be limited to each day. (We did fine as a water-only family until he had a bad cold and wouldn’t eat so I gave him as much juice as he wanted over those days. Bad decision.) I also liked that instead of bathing his teeth in sugar with each sip he would actually be protecting his teeth from caries due to the use of the Xylitol. Prickly pear fruit also comes in a light green color, so I think I will try this once more using that color of fruit and then mix it with the apple juice initially. Perhaps it is the extreme change in color that is turning him off. If that doesn’t work I won’t push it. Everyone is entitled to their likes and dislikes. But I will keep making this for myself as it is delicious, refreshing, and so healthy. And who knows, maybe one day he’ll decide he wants some too…

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blogjembellish clothes

upcycling pageBlissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerHome Stories A to Z, Tell Me TuesdayCrafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Tuesday To DoToday’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Heart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday,

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

 

Personalized Knee Patches

Jeans with broken snap replaced with a button.

You may remember these jeans from last January when I posted this tutorial about how to replace a broken snap with a button. (That repair job is still holding quite well, by the way.)

Well these jeans have seen heavy usage over the months. Because they were so long on him initially they fit perfectly now that we no longer cuff them up. Unfortunately the knees were giving out. I could tell at the last washing that with one more wear we’d have some impressive holes unless I acted right away.

I rather like these patches… and more importantly so does Eli. If your kid is going to wear patched clothing, the repair might as well add a fun element, right?

Here are a couple of close up shots of Eli’s new knee-art.

Eli’s not big on greetings. He needs to warm up before talking to people. Perhaps his jeans can go beyond the call of just providing for his warmth, protection and modesty and take on a bit of the pressure of social greeting expectations as well. Most likely though they’ll just give his knees a new degree of cuteness.

I didn’t think to photograph the making of the knee patches because I wasn’t thinking about blogging or tutorials when I made them… I just wanted to save a favorite pair of jeans. But after they were done I thought they’d be fun to share. If you are currently pitching worn jeans or buying those stiff iron on patches you might be interested in this sloppily sketched carefully hand-drawn tutorial.

I like this method because it doesn’t cost anything when I just use left-over scraps of cloth, is a double layer allowing me to use cute cloth that wouldn’t be strong enough to do a patch job on it’s own, and the patches are really soft, unlike the iron on patches used during my childhood (I saw they still sell those things in the fabric store).

Step 1

Cut out two pieces of fabric large enough to cover the hole or weak spot in the knee adding and extra 1/4″ all the way around.

Step 2

Place the fabric right sides together and sew around leaving a gap in the sewing on one side through which you will turn it right side out. When done snip off the corners to reduce bulk.

Step 3

Turn right side out. The strange looking pen marks to the left symbolize the gap where you didn’t sew.

Step 4

Tuck the raw edges of the fabric into the gap, pin and then top stitch all the way around the patch.

Step 5

Hand sew the patch onto the pants using a blind stitch. Be careful not to sew the front of the jeans to the back of the jeans as you do this. This is a good task to do while relaxing in front of the TV at night.

Embellishments

You probably want to do any embellishing at the end of step 4 and before the patch is sewn onto the jeans. I didn’t with these… the idea presented itself after I had completed the repair job. It really wasn’t difficult to do even though I had already sewn on the patches. You can embroider, add an applique or a store-bought embroidered patch (you know, the decorative kind), or you could stencil on a design with fabric paint and freezer paper. Or, if you chose to use some really cute cloth you could just leave well enough alone.

So, go forth and save some holey jeans! (You know there are at least a couple of pair in the bottom of your kid’s drawer.)

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling pageBlissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerHome Stories A to Z, Tell Me TuesdayCrafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Tuesday To DoToday’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Wire-Wrapped Stone Christmas Tree Ornament: A Tutorial

Every year I make a Christmas ornament for my husband, my son, and now this year for the baby soon to join us. I try to commemorate a specific event or interest from that year. My goal is that eventually we will have a tree full of ornaments, each one carrying a special memory, instead of just pretty but generic store-bought ornaments.

This Fall we took a trip together to Washington State and spent a couple of days on Whidbey  Island. It was gorgeous. I loved the pebbly beaches at the edge of the evergreen forest. Eli threw rock after rock into the waves.

We brought home a few of those rocks which Eli enjoys playing with on an almost daily basis. I stole a couple from his collection for the purpose of making ornaments that will remain with us for years after Eli’s play rocks have been scattered and lost.

I was inspired to use this technique by seeing this blue agate wire wrapped necklace and earring set from A Little Bit of Craft.

Here are the materials I used.

Materials: thin wire, beach stone, glass seed beads, and needle-nose pliers

I began by sliding a bead onto the wire and twisting the wire around it to hold it in place. The length of the wire you will use depends on the size of your stone and how many times you want it wrapped.

I then repeated this at intervals all along the length of the wire. (The first ornament I made I wrapped the wire around the stone adding the beads as I worked. I found this new method much easier.)

Then I picked up my stone and stared wrapping. It can be a bit challenging to keep the wire tight so it doesn’t slip out of position along the edge of the stone. A flat shaped stone works much better for this project than a stone that curves on every side.

When it looks like you have as much wire and beads on your stone as you want, or you are coming to the end of your wire work both ends up to the place you want to be the top of the ornament. Give them a couple of twists to hold them in place.

Now form one of the wires into a little loop and wrap the other wire around it where it meets the rock. Then wrap the end on the loop around a few times too so it won’t just slip out later. Trim off the excess of the loop wire and then continue wrapping the second wire to fully cover the pointy end.

At the end tuck in the end point of the wrapping wire.

Add  a whatever kind of hanger you’d like and your ornament is complete!

Next time you are on vacation, or want a memento from a special location, send forth your little one to collect some rocks! (As long as it is legal to do so, of course.)

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Christmas Craft Linky Party, Tea Rose Home,

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling pageBlissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerHome Stories A to Z, Tell Me TuesdayCrafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Tuesday To DoToday’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Handmade Bird Ornament 2012

A bird in the hand…

‘Tis the season to begin making Christmas tree ornaments once again! Long time readers might remember last year’s fiasco with shrinking a favorite woolen blanket and the resulting Christmas stocking I then made from it. Well, for this bird I used some of the scraps left over from that project. I like that it came out rather folksy looking.

I don’t have a step by step photo tutorial of this one but it is really simple to make. On last year’s Love Birds Wreath Tutorial post I showed briefly how to make a slightly similar bird and there is a link to a bird pattern you can use if you don’t want to sketch out your own.

Just draw out a basic bird body shape on paper and use it for your pattern. Cut out two, sew them almost all the way around, leaving yourself room to turn inside out and fill with stuffing. Finish sewing the body together.

Cut out two wing shapes that go well with the size of the body you just made and blanket stitch around them. (If you are unsure how to blanket stitch I saw a very clear step by step tutorial here.) As this was made from a felted blanket each wing is one layer only… if you are using fabric you will want to use two layers and follow the same process as for the body but don’t stuff them very full at all.

…and one in the bush.

Embellish as your sense of whimsy directs. I added a fabric beak (also blanket stitched), knotted embroidery thread for the tail and for the eyed I used a thin shell bead from a broken necklace with a smaller bead on top.

String some beads together, find the balance point you like the look of best along the back and attach in a loop for hanging. I wanted this bird to look like it was taking off in flight so I hung it so that the head would be higher than the tail.

Hang it up, stand back and enjoy! This little guy will likely be given away for our church women’s ornament exchange (Shhh! But really I don’t think anyone from that group visits my blog 😉 ) but we’ll see what else I happen to create between now and then.

Here are some of the ornaments I posted about last year:

Commemorative Ornaments

Handmade Scrappy Folk Angel

Salt Dough Ornaments

Snowman Ornament From Lightbulb

Handmade Red Angel Christmas Ornament

Related articles

Here’s where I’m linking up:

Christmas Craft Linky Party, Tea Rose Home,

Sunday:

I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling page, Blissful and Domestic,

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s Korner, Home Stories A to Z, Tell Me Tuesday, Crafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Tuesday To Do, Today’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination Tuesday, Take-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

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