Sunday, November 7, 2010

Holidays on a Budget - Gifts in a Jar!


Check out this post from Everything Your Mama Made and More. It lists numerous budget friendly gifts in a jar recipe mixes. I have given these in the past and they were a hit! My favorite of all the recipes I tried was the dreamsicle cookie mix! Decorate them in a cute way and the recipient will just love them!

Thanksgiving - How cool is this idea!


Check out these harvest table deocrations from Better Homes and Gardens! This is a great idea for any Thanksgiving table. How cute!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Starbuck's Coffee Upcycled Tote



I have had so many requests for a tutorial on this bag that I am going to work on that this weekend. I hope to have it up on the blog by late Sunday!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tote Adapted From Pink Penguin Tutorial



This tote bag was adapted from the Pink Penguin Lunch Bag Tutorial. Last week I made that exact lunch bag and I also adapted the pattern and made a larger lunch bag. My niece liked her bag but wanted a larger version to haul stuff around in. This is what I came up with. We are the Kane Wolves and our school colors are red and blue, so I thought this material would make a good bag for her! The blue material was 17x20 inches, the red border was 17x3 and the handles were 3x32. I think I would go either 26 or 28 inches next time because the straps are a little long. Other than that, I am very happy with how it turned out! Let me know what you think.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Big Lunch Bag Adapted from the Pink Penguin Tutorial



I just dropped the peace symbol bag from the previous post off at my niece's and she loved it, or so she said! After making it for her I really want one too but realized I needed a much bigger bag. So I adapted the size of the bag from a great tutorial at the Pink Penguin.




The picture above shows both of our bags together. Now if you are wondering how big of an eater I really am, let me explain. I am a teacher and we don't have easy access to a fridge during the day. We are not permitted to have mini fridges in our rooms and the faculty room is on another floor and quite a distance from my classroom. Therefore, I take several drinks with me each day and attempt to keep them cold.



The last picture shows the size tupperware bottle and salad container that I take every day and I also take a few smaller bottles of water. Thus the need for a bigger bag.

Below I will list the size changes that I made for the bigger bag.
Rim 3 x 15, inner and outer handles 3 x 13, outer bag and lining 12 x 15 (I actually did one big piece 24 x 15 for the lining and outer bag so there wouldn't be a seam in the bottom of the bag), cover 9 x 15. The new interfacing sizes were handles 13 x 2 3/4 and rim 15 x 3. The paw prints go along with our school's theme and I think the pink polka dots even it out and make it a little more feminine. Both of these prints are on sale at Joann's until 8-28-10. They are from the quilter's showcase line and are only $1.99 a yard. I used some stash for the liner and cover.
These size alterations make quite a big lunch bag, but it is too small for a good sized tote. If you want a tote, I would increase the sizes even more. this bag was easy and fun for someone new to sewing like me. A great big thank you to the Pink Penguin for this great, free tutorial!
let me know what you think!





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Lunch Bag from Pink Penguin Tutorial



I made this lunch bag from a tutorial found at the Pink Penguin Blog. Please visit her blog to find the instructions as this is not my original work. I you aren't already following the Pink Penguin you should be. I made this for my niece. I hope she likes it!

Under $7 at Rite Aid!



This was an unbelievable deal! Milk $3.20, can't get it any lower in PA. We have a state minimum on milk to support the dairy farmers which I think is a good idea. What would we do without them? Hair color on sale 2/$17, crest $2.99, Pert bogo $3.99, cereal bogo $4.99.

Discounts $5 rite aid coupon on 2 loreal, 2 $3 manuf. coupons on loreal, $1.50 manuf when you buy 2 Post cereals and a gallon of milk, 2 $1 manuf. pert coupons, $1 crest manuf. coupons, $5 off a $25 non-prescription purchase at rite aid coupon, $5 in wellness coupons from previous purchases and I earned $3 more for my next purchase so it was like I really only used $2.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Upcycled Kool Aid Pouch Totes

I know this isn't the newest idea on the block, but I am posting it so you can see what I have been up to lately. My cousin and her 2 little girls are in town visiting and I made these for them to take home with them. I gave the juice pouch wallets when they were here the other day and I promised to make them totes before they leave town. These totes are very simple, yet kids really seem to love them. I made a couple dozen of these to give away last earth day at school and the kids went crazy for them. Who would think!

I Love These Cute Pin Cushions Purchased at a Craft Fair!

Aren't these just the cutest things you have ever seen? I DID NOT make them, I purchased them at a craft fair. The cupcake is absolutely adorable and the other is a ring that you can wear while sewing so you have a place to put pins. I think they are great. I need to figure out how to make them!

Free Kitchen Table Redo!

I am so excited about this redo! Again - I just wish I had taken a before picture! I found a picture online that shows the basic idea of what my table looked like previously and it is shown below.
It all started when 2 of my chairs bit the dust! We are a family of 4 and I didn't want to go out and buy a new kitchen set just to have 4 matching chairs. We used the paint that was left from our porch floor (2 posts ago) and started painting. I had 2 of the rounded back chairs left and 2 chairs I was handed down from another family member. So I had 2 sets of 2 chairs that did not match at all. The 2 that were mine were white and maple the other 2 were a dark solid color. We decided to paint all 4 chairs entirely red to make them more cohesive and paint the table red leaving the tabletop natural.

I am really pleased with how it turned out. Please let me know what you think!


I NOW HAVE A DEDICATED SEWING SPACE!!!!

This space is in one end of my guest room. Our house is only 4 bedrooms, but they are all good sizes! These 2 pictures show the space to the left of the bedroom door and I still have a bed and dresser to the right of the door. Total cost for this update was $7! The table was from a set of three that we kept in our garage for social gatherings. The dresser stores fabric and notions and was already in this room as was the bookcase. The only update to this room was the red chair. I bought it at a boy scout sale for $7. I sanded it down and painted it with some red paint left from my porch project (previous Post). I am a former tupperware consultant, hence the various tupperware organizers around the room and the orange circular scrap bin on the floor.
I formally used my dining room table for sewing and the setup was a constant source of frustration. I didn't have storage and it was an eyesore if I didn't pick everything up right away.
Let me know what you think!

$156 Porch Redo


Oh how I wish I had a before picture to show you! You will just have to trust me on this one! Everything had formally be painted white (years ago) and it was weathered, dirty and bare. We have a nice, big, covered deck out back and we just basically ignored our front porch! The $156 was for everything including the new furniture. Here's the breakdown - $32 for 2 gallons of white paint (which we had a lot left over), $16 for one gallon of red paint (which we also used in 2 other projects), $1 for the red star basket hanging on the wall, 2 for the plastic table at a yard sale, free floor covering (new, but a hand me down from my mom) and $105 for the 4 chairs at Kmart (they were on sale last week 1/2 off). Can you believe it?


The furniture was part of a dining set, but everything was on clearance at 50% off and I got just the chairs (wonder what will happen to the table, and umbrella)? The star on the wall was an old basket from goodwill for $1 and I painted with some red spray paint that I had left from another project. The cover on the table was made from an old kitchen towel and some quilting scraps from a baby gift (see previous post) at no cost.


The floor covering is a fold up beach blanket that my mom ordered from QVC and never used. Is is similar in weight and construction to patio covers that she has ordered from QVC so we thought it would make a great rug. It does not match the chairs but I still think it looks nice with the siding and white trim. I will add a few more decorations as I find what I want. To me it works. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

End Table Protector
















This is what I made from a previously loved kitchen towel! First I pieced together scraps I had left from making Valentine placemats. Then I trimmed the thick edges of the towel to eliminate bulk. Next I layered my front and back fabric with the right sides together and then the towel. I stiched the entire way around with a 3/8 seam allowance leaving an opening on one side for turning. I turned the fabric and pushed the corners out. Then I ironed and topstitched the whole way around which closed the opening and gave the project a nice finishing touch. This makes a soft and absorbent protective table covering.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Willow Baby Nursery Knock Off


My sewing skills are slowly starting to improve with each little project I do. I have a neighbor that is expecting and she registered for items from the Willow line at Burlington Coat Factory. I thought I would test fate and try to make something along the same lines to add to her baby nursery. This is similar to what I came up with for her. I actually gave her the gift without taking a picture. So I went ahead and made the same basic thing for our school nurse that just had a baby. Her gift is what you are seeing in the photos.
It is a jumbo receiving blanket that measures in at a whopping 30 by 36 inches and a matching bib. The other gift also included a matching burp cloth. This project was super easy! I put together ivory and green material and added a brown border. I traced the deer shapes onto brown fabric that I ironed a bonding agent to the back of, and then cut them out with my redneck cricut (scissors) and ironed them onto the bib and blanket. I used cream flannel for the backing. I sewed the front and back with the right sides together, left an opening to turn, ironed and then topstitched the whole way around each item. Looks much harder that it actually is!
They seemed to be a hit at the baby shower. I bought my sewing machine less than a year ago and am slowly teaching myself to sew. It has been a long process, but I feel like I am finally starting to get the hang of this craft. Let me know what you think!




Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nursing Home Decorations - Used CDs



I teach middle school and we try to do several service learning projects in the community each year. The flowers in this picture were made from recycled CDs (who doesn't have a ton of those) and simple construction paper cut outs. We hung them on the walls of our local nursing home along with some bugs and butterflies that the kids colored. We visited with the patients and read poetry to everyone that was interested in listening.
It is amazing how something that takes such a small amount of time can be so deeply appreciated. Imagine how tickled the residents are to have teenagers take the time to decorate their hallways and visit with them. They yearn to have visitors, especially kids. It also puts the students in a positive light because they are doing something worthwhile for the community and actually really enjoy doing it.
When a lot of people each make a small difference it adds up to great things!
I never post pictures of my students online, so I could only show you the decorated hallways!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Gifts - Quilt and Bibs
















The year of the baby gift! We have at least 4 people that are having babies this year. I normally go to the store and purchase a baby gift, but I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and try to make something for our friends and family members that are expecting.



This was my first attempt at any kind of quilt. It is simply made with jelly roll strips and some brown fabric with a small print. I didn't want to go with the normal baby pastels, so this is what I came up with for the little guy. I have a walking foot but didn't know what I was doing so I ended up using a regular foot. As a result I ended up with quite a bit of puckering in the fabric. I still think it turned out cute, but I will definitely learn to use my walking foot before attempting to quilt again.
I also made 2 bibs out of the same strips. Instead of the brown cotton I used part of a new yellow towel for the back. It made the bibs super thick and absorbent. The other thing I did differently than most people is that I made binding and turned it into a tie. I much preferred tie bibs when my kids were litlle over velcro or snaps. It takes more time, but to me it is worth it. I learned a great deal from this project and it provided insight for my next baby gift adventure!


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Starbuck's Coffee Drinkers Unite - This is not your Mama'a Cup of Joe!







I made a total of 32 wallets and mini totes for Earth Day from juice pouches. We gave them away to student's in school as prizes! When the art teacher saw them, she asked if I would be able to make her a bag from coffee pouches. I told her to give me some, and after Earth Day was over I would give it my best shot.

This is the bag that I came up with for her. I used 2 overlapping bags for the bottom, and 8 to make the sides, for a total of 10. The bags were open at the top, so I bound the top with the same material that I used for the straps - coffee colored none-the-less. I couldn't use the actual coffee bags for straps because they have a plastic vacuum seal on the front, in the middle and about halfway down the bag. You would never want to hit that with your needle. Plus, I think that the fabric makes for a sturdier strap.

The bag turned out cute, but I think I would make it bigger next time. Maybe 2 rows high and 4 across the front... Another friend gave me a beautiful Starbuck's bag in a gorgeous shade of amethyst. It is an anniversary edition. I would like to get my hands on as many of those as possible! Folger's and some other brands also have some decent looking bags in nice colors.
Let me know what you think!



Rethinking Blog Topics...

I started my first blog in April of this year and only did 3 posts. I was new to sewing at the time (and still am) and thought I wanted a blog about sewing. Specifically about being green and reusing/repurposing items that were readily available.
It ends up that I am not sewing enough recycled items to have that be the focus of an entire blog. Much of what I am sewing is made from new and not repurposed materials. I also used my Juliesewgreen platform to follow about 100 other blogs which I read daily. I have found a multitude of interesting people/sites to follow and realize that my interests are much broader than what I had originally intended. I love sites about couponing, sewing, crafts, recycling, cooking and many other topics. These interests have made me decide to abandon the Juliesewgreen blog and to rework my many interests into this new blog that I am creating, thedomesticgroove.blogspot.com. I would like to make the disclaimer right in the beginning that I DO NOT CLAIM to be a domestic guru in any way shape or form. I struggle like many other modern parents to balance work, family, and finances with running a household that we try to keep clean while making as many balanced meals as we can each week. I simply want this to be a platform for ideas, tips and tricks that will hopefully help simplify our modern lifestyles. I predict that I will have people tell me that I am NOT doing eveything correctly and I can appreciate that type of input. I really just want to share ideas.
I will carry over one post from my old blog about making a tote bag from upcycled coffee bags. It was a cute idea and I will then move forward from there. Wish me luck!