Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jammie Shirt Re-make

I picked up this t-shirt at Walmart clearanced for a dollar It's a girl's size XXL and was a good long length.  I knew the shirt would never fit me without some major alterations, but I thought it might work for my 8 year old niece as a jammie shirt.  There was only one problem-- with the large scooped neck it probably wouldn't stay on her shoulders.

I love making these No Sew T-Shirt Bags, and after looking at the neck ribbing I figured I could use the same technique used to close off the bottom of the bags to make the neck smaller.

It was super quick. It was super easy.

Cut a small slit in the center of the neck ribbing. (Don't cut into the stictching that sewed it to the shirt!)
Cut a long strip of Jersey t-shirt material and stretch it to make your drawstring. Pin a safety pin to the end and thread it through your slit, around the neck line, and out the other side.
Try the shirt on and pull "strings", gathering it to the right fit. Tie your bow tightly. For safety on kid's clothing, especially a sleep shirt, stitch the bow to keep it from coming undone.
Tah Dah!

What to hide the bow? Cut your slit in the back neckline. Thread like above. Tie a knot instead of a bow and trim ends, tucking extra lengths back inside neckline.

Sadly my niece lives out-of-state, so you don't get a picture. For some reason my boy wouldn't model it for me. :)  Maybe she'll send me a pic.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Per Request... Yummy Burgers!

This is for you Cuz!

These are hands down the best non-meat burgers I have ever tasted or made.  Do you gag at the sight of those green and orange chunk veggie burgers? How is that suppose to pass for a replacement burger! Boca burgers are ok, but kinda too dry for me.

My BFF neighbor had to switch to a mostly vegan diet for heart health reasons.  I was cruising the internet for menu ideas for her when I came upon this recipe.  I love all things black bean so I gave it a try.

Seriously yummy! Make it just like a hamburger with all the fixings and you really won't miss the meat. I promise.

The first time I made them I followed the recipe exactly. This last time I doubled the recipe (except the garlic powder) and froze them. I cooked them from frozen and it worked just great. Bonus in my books! From frozen, if you are careful flipping them, I bet they would work on the grill. I'm also going to try to bake them in the oven.
This is a double recipe

All mixed up

1/4 cup pressed into patties on waxed paper

So good with ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato, avacado, and cheese. I think I might try it off a bun next time with some mango salsa smothered on the top.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Half-The-Guilt Chocolate Cake

a.k.a. Pantry Cake...
a.k.a. Chocolate Yumminess

10 years ago, a lady at church brought this to a potluck. She was brave enough to tell us what it was BEFORE we ate it.  I thought she was crazy and it would taste awful. Fast forward to dessert-- I could have eaten the whole thing myself. It was that good!

Here's what you need.

Yeah. I know what you are thinking. Beans! with Chocolate! Where's the eggs and oil? They've been kicked to the curb on this one.

She called it Pantry Cake because the ingredients are all right in your pantry. After you try this cake, you will stock up on canned beans, believe me.  Out of eggs--never fear--you can still have your cake and eat it too. Watching your fat or cholesterol intake, this cake is for you!.

Here's what you do:

Half-the-guilt Chocolate Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix (any brand and variety)
1 can undrained, blended kidney beans (divided)
water called for on cake mix box.

Preheat oven to 350 and grease your cake pan.  Once beans are well blended, put half in a ziploc bag and freeze for another time. In a bowl mix the remaining half of beans, cake mix, and the amount of water called for on the box. Follow mixing and baking directions on the box. That's it! 

I like to sprinkle chocolate chips on top so I don't have to frost it. It is very moist and hard to spread frosting on. Drizzling frosting on is a great way to go though. Also, because it is so moist, it will not come out of a shaped pan in one piece, so serve it out of the pan you baked it in. Or make cupcakes.

Want some more yumminess? Add 1 to 2 cups of shredded zucchini. It's double the deliciousness.
Why the name Half-The-Guilt? While this is a healthier version of chocolate cake, I tend to eat more than one piece knowing it is healthier, thus making it not very healthy.

Bet that other half of beans doesn't stay in your freezer long. Freeze the bag flat and it will thaw quickly for use in another chocolate masterpiece.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Love Jello

I love Jello, any flavor with fruit and/or mini marshmallows in it, though I'll pass on the celery or shredded carrots! *shudder*  One of my favorite combos is Lime Jello with shredded apples in it. 

My new obsession is Jello with yogurt mixed in--double yum. Since this post isn't sponsored by Jello, and I usually buy generic, I guess I should call it gelatin, but really everyone knows it as Jello.

I love the variety of combinations that you can come up with...
Cherry Jello with Key Lime Yogurt
Strawberry Jello with Peach Yogurt
Lime Jello with Raspberry Yogurt
Orange Jello with Pina Colad Yogurt
Raspberry Yougurt with Blueberry Yogurt
...Oh, the possibilities are endless. And as a mom, I feel like I'm serving something a little bit healthier than solidified food coloring and sugar.  I've tried non-fat, lite, and low-carb yogurts and regular and sugar-free gelatin-- they all work. I'm sure Greek Yogurt would even work.

The icing on the cake, Cool-Whip on the Jello, is that when you add the yogurt, the rules of chemistry get bent somehow and it sets up in about 2 hours, instead of the regular 4+ hours gelatin usually takes.

Here's how to do it. It is pretty complicated, but stay with me-- the end result is worth it. 

Yogurt Gelatin
1 small box of Gelatin
1 6oz yogurt

Mix gelatin according to package directions. Stir in yogurt until completely dissolved. Chill in fridge. For a harder set reduce cold water to 3/4 cup.

Seriously, it's that easy.  I've read online some different variations, including whipping it, adding 2 to 4! yogurts, and stirring in whipping topping. I may try to whip it before chilling, but 4 yogurts! That seems like it would be yogurt with a hint of Jello.

Now the fun part. Add Ins!  Really any chopped fruit will do (except for the ones listed on the Jello box that prevent it from setting up, like fresh pineapple.)
Fruit Cocktail
Mandarin Oranges
Cherry Pie Filling
1 cup Applesauce
Shredded Apples (use a cheese grater)
Chopped Peaches
Strawberries (thought they tend to go pale, weird, I know)

Don't forget to top it off with Whipped Topping or Mini Marshmallows!
Here's what we had for dinner last night...Mmmm...

Raspberry Yogurt with Blackberry low-carb Yogurt and Mini Marshmallows

Enjoy!! Let me know if you come up with some fantastic combinations.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gift Box/Bag... more cereal box fun!

Eat up that cereal kids. I need those boxes. I'm having fun coming up with creative uses for empty cereal boxes. If you loved my Front Door Monogram, here's another.

Heart-shaped Gift Box/Bag  (You could really make it any shape as long as two sides are flat and meet at a 90 degree angle.)

  Trace a heart on the cereal box front and back using the bottom corner
of the box as the point of the heart.

Extend the sides about an inch or two past where the heart meets the side and add little tabs on either side for easier gluing.

Using a hole punch, punch a hole near the top of both sides. 
 Curl in the sides and glue.

Trace two heart shapes on decorative paper and cut out.  Trace two rectangles a half an inch wider on both sides. Fold sides over and cut "teeth" where the paper will need to curve.

Glue sides on and then the front and back hearts. (Thankfully they covered up where I creased the side wrong!) Don't forget to punch a hole in the paper so it lines up with the previously punched hole.

I added a braided twine handle, but you could use ribbon or even a couple layers of matching paper, depending on how strong you need the handle to be. Add your tissue paper and gift and you are ready to go!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Doorway Playhouse

It's birthday time for the cute girl next door that has a crush on my son.  He had the honor of being the only boy invited to her birthday party.  Needless to say, we needed a great gift.  I thought about this but they are getting pretty big to fit under a card table playhouse.  Then I remembered I have a doorway puppet theater in my teaching stuff.  So, I sewed one up for her. 

If you can sew a curtain, you can make this too!

I bought an adjustable spring-tension rod (Walmart, under $3) that fit all the doorways in my house. (I was amazed at the different widths of doorways in my house! That's why the adjustable tension rod is a must.)  Rummaging through my fabric stash netted a large piece of fabric. I measured and cut it it to be slightly wider than the largest doorway in my house. Folding the top down and sewing it created a pocket for the rod.  Then I measured and cut out a square window. I used bias tape to finish around the top and sides.  I stitched a rectangle of material (the blue window sill) to the bottom of the window. I cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller and tucked it under the window sill.  I glued the 3 remaining edges of the fabric under the cardboard and then hot glued the whole thing to the base curtain. I figured this would keep the window opening from sagging-- which it did!  Small curtains hanging on a dowel rod dressed up the window nicely.

I have to include something from my favorite store, right? I bought the fantastic clips at the Dollar Store. They have a convenient hole that allowed me to stitch them to the top.  Using felt sheets and paint, I created a "Home Sweet Home" sign. Then I made other signs that she can change out. Now she can have a Sweet Shop, Jewelry Store, Library, Pet Shop, or a Shoe Store.  Think that about covers the necessities, right? 

I'm picturing a few of these down a hallway creating the perfect Mini Mall!
Hope she likes it. I imagine I'll be making more in the future, because my kiddos are begging already.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Sorry, Not a Winner" Wreath

This is what I found in my box of cereal.

Bummer, huh?

So I created this out of it...

Here is what I did.  I flattened my non-winning cereal box and traced two large C's (the bottom one a mirror imaged- this doesn't matter for the Letter C, but some letters it would make a big difference!).  At this point I wished my last name started with a straight sided letter-- something nice like T or F--which would have made the sides easier. But instead, I had to cut small strips of equal length from my box, bent the ends and glued (with Elmer's Glue) them to the top and bottom C's. 

This is how my Monogram sat for a week-- a skeletal C.  I couldn't decide what to cover it in. Modge Podge paper on it, wrap it in burlap, scrap material or even yarn... I've seen several on Pinterest but nothing caught my fancy. 
I finally settled on this shelf liner... I bought a large roll of it for the dresser that I'm turning into a dining room buffet and I thought it would look great on my black front door.  Guess what they have at my favorite store? Yep. You can get patterned shelf-liners at the dollar store.  A bit of tracing, some cutting, a lot of hot glue, a little fun yarn and a handful of buttons later... Tada!  Here it is.

I think my cereal box is a winner now! How about you?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jewelry Holder

My awesome book club is sad to see another good friend moving away. It could have been worse than a 2.5 hour drive away, so we'll count our blessings that she can still pop down and see us. I made her this gift so I thought I'd share.

Can you tell what it was?  A large pill container from Dollar Tree! 
Here's what I did to transform it into something pretty and useful.

I tried a couple of things to get those letters off. What I found worked the best was gently scraping it off with the non-cutting edge of a small knife.  *Sharp! Please be careful.*  It doesn't take much pressure-- you don't want to scratch it.

Next lightly take an emory board or fine sandpaper and buff all four sides and bottom-- NOT the top! ;) This will help the glue stick better.

Time to cut the paper to fit the sides and bottom.  I used lined patterned cardstock paper so this was a breeze. If you look carefully at the first picture in this post you can tell I trimmed the paper a little smaller in hopes that doing so will decrease the edges pulling and peeling.

Spread a thin layer of Modge Podge (I used Matte) on the sides and bottom of container. (I opened the lids so I didn't accidently glue them shut.) Carefully smooth the paper on. Let dry a bit (5-10 mins). Then brush a layer of Modge Podge over the paper. Allow to completely dry.

Modge Podge can be tacky in humid climates (like a bathroom!) so an all purpose sealer is a good idea.

When it is completely dry, fill up with your favorite earrings, bracelets, necklaces, hair bands, or barrettes.

Pill Holder: $1
Scrapbook paper: on hand
Modge Podge: on hand
Craft Sealer: on hand

TOTAL: $1 and up