PROJECT 17: LBD NO. 1

LITTLE BLACK DRESS NO. 1: I love this dress, which I found hanging on the clearance rack about a year ago. The dress fits me nicely despite the length being a bit too long. Without making any alterations, I wore the dress to a wedding last summer. But this year, I decided to hem it.

I’ve never worked with this silky-type fabric before so my first attempt at a straight hem was a failure. No big deal because I had a brilliant idea. Just find a nice matching ribbon or lace ribbon and sew to the bottom of the dress. No hemming necessary.

At Hobby Lobby, I spent hours poring over the gigantic ribbon section and deciding which trim would look best with my dress. I thought this sparkly little number would match nicely with the rhinestone thingys on the straps. And I love my new little black dress — right length, cute little hem. Just perfect for me.

PROJECT 16: MY SMOCKED DRESS

MY SMOCKED SUNDRESS: I love it! As soon as I find a nice pair of black strappy sandals, I’m totally wearing this dress that I made by MYSELF! I have two smocked strappy tanks that I love wearing and decided I wanted a smocked sundress. This particular material was found on the clearance rack.

At various fabric stores, I’ve seen super cute and pretty pre-smocked material and thought to myself, “I wonder how easy it would be to make a dress out of that?” The answer: Not that hard.

Because the purchase was an impulse buy, I had no idea what my measurements were and asked for too much fabric. Oh well. I wanted to be safe not sorry. Oh the bright side, I had plenty of fabric to make straps and give a section to one of my sisters to make for their daughter.

The fabric itself was long enough for an ankle-length dress, but I’m short and sometimes long dresses make me look fat. Besides, I wanted something short and cute — like me. I cut off a huge section of the bottom to make my dress knee-length. After the cut, I pinned and hemmed the bottom.

After reading various blogs and instructions on how to sew a smocked dress, I tried my best to match up the elastic edges around the bust area. I didn’t succeed, but I don’t think the dress is ruined. If Charlie says I look beautiful in the dress, then I’m going to take his word. Two straps were made from the leftover fabric and completed my beautiful dress. I love it!

For my next smocked project will be the v-neck dress. I can make this, right? One, I love love love this type of v-neckline dresses. The smock waist camouflages my tummy, and the neckline shows off my boobs. This dress shouldn’t be too hard to make with pre-smocked fabric, right?

PROJECT 15: HEMMING PROJECTS

PROJECT 15: Two long skirts that I bought last winter have been neglected. I bought them on clearance with the intention of shortening the length so I could wear them with my knee-high boots in the fall and winter. One day, I decided to tackle the hemming projects, and I am pretty pleased with the results. All I have to do now is wait for the colder weather. Yay!

Why do my projects attract my cats? And don’t I have the heart to move them? I love that Clara has no issue practically sitting on top of Riley’s head, and Riley is too lazy to move.

 

PROJECT 14: REFRESH CARDS STASH

Now that I have a brand new card organizer that I absolutely love, I have refreshed and restocked my greeting cards stash. I love being on top of things. I’m ready for birthdays, anniversaries and happy parents day!

I spent two nights decorating blank cards to add to my birthday card stash. A few of the blank cards will probably turn into thank you or thinking of you cards. I’m just happy to a variety of cards to choose from.

Another decorated birthday card. I’ve already showed Charlie my new organizer — where I’m storing it — and all of the new birthday and other cards he might need. I love being organized.

PROJECT 13: NEW CARD ORGANIZER

I love, love, love my new greeting card organizer! Thank you, back to school sale! Woot! My new organizer is so pretty and lovely. And to go with my new organizer are some very colorful folders.

I really didn’t anything fancy — a three-ring binder and pockets. I love the simple style AND the shoulder strap! With the way I collect cards, a shoulder strap could be very useful when I need to haul the organizer around.

I am very, very pleased with my new organizer. I just need to pick up a few more folders to hold some extra greeting cards and then decorate some blank cards. I am very happy with my new organizer.

PROJECT 12: HOT OVEN SANDWICHES

My sister, Becky, makes these amazing hot oven sandwiches using buns, deli meat and cheese, and some butter mixture. The recipe is simple, and the results are delicious! The recipe is so simple that I knew the first step — arrange the buns, meat, and cheese in a baking pan. The second step is pouring the butter mixture over the sandwiches. Instead of using the butter mixture that my sister makes, which includes mustard, I used some other ingredients. Because Charlie’s not a big fan of mustard, I looked for some alternatives.

Using leftover hot dog buns, I cut off the ends and cut the buns in half to make cute little square buns.

Thanks to the web, I found some other recipes that offered a variety of other butter mixtures. I settled for: butter, garlic powder, worcestershire sauce, and dashes of other spices. Once my butter mixture is melted, I actually pour it over the cheese and meats — some recipes say to pour it over the top bun. Cover the dish with foil and throw the dish in the refrigerator to let the mixture marinate for at least half an hour (or more).

I ran out of leftover deli meat after three sandwiches. The rest will be a hot grilled cheese sandwich with my butter mixture.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the sandwiches for about 20 minutes. Voila! Delicious hot sandwiches. I absolutely love this recipe. Enjoy!

I need to remember to spray the foil with an oil spray to avoid the melty cheese and sandwiches sticking to the foil.

PROJECT 11: FROM PANTS TO SHORTS

I had the intention of simply cropping the capri pants to fit my height. Once I started cutting, Charlie asked me whether I was turning them into shorts. I was about to say no but the super hot weather stopped me. I thought, “Why not? Why can’t I turn my so-called capri pants into shorts?”

Once I realized I don’t have a nice pair of shorts, I decided to make a nice pair of shorts. Most of my shorts consist of cut-off jogging pants or simple draw-string cotton shorts, which are great for running errands but not so nice when attending a barbecue or casual dinner.

I simply rolled the bottom for a simple cuff and then sewed the the side edges for extra strength. To avoid using a sewing machine for a complete hem, I used tacky glue to keep the cuff in place –probably not the greatest idea but it worked in a pinch when I needed to wear the shorts about half an hour later.

To make the shorts even cuter or stylish or whatever, I added a button on each side of the sewed edges. I have to say that I am in love with new pair of nice shorts. The material is light and breezy perfect a super hot day but yet nice and cute to wear to casual dinner.

MY CATERPILLAR BOWL

Complete! All fired up. I love it! The bowl is so shiny and beautiful and makes me so happy. I am so incredibly happy that one of my friends recommended this paint shop — I have a new love and a new place to meet and catch up with friends.

What I love best about my bowl is the bright yellow inside — simple and bright. During a recent shopping excursion, I saw some Bottle Cap candy that I had to have! Perfect candy dish!

My fingerprint caterpillar — isn’t she adorable? Love it! See the baby caterpillar underneath? I made a tiny little boo boo and created the baby caterpillar to cover it.

During the store’s June Ladies Night Out, I painted a bowl for Charlie, who loves spiders. Because I find spiders creepy and ugly, I made the spiders as cute as possible. All of the spiders on the bowl are black except for one — I’m the red spider. 🙂 Once again, I used my fingerprint for the spider body and added legs, eyes, and a smiley face.

PROJECT 10: MY CERAMIC BOWL

I think the last time I painted something ceramic was five or six years ago (could be longer). My Christmas ornament phase lasted a few years until I realized I had too many hobbies and supplies and not enough time and space. I loved painting, but the hobby took too much of my time and money. I couldn’t just paint one ornament and be done. If I was going to drag out all of my paint supplies, I was going to paint more than one ornament. As much as I loved painting ornaments, I could give it up without too much regret.

BEFORE: My empty little bowl needs some color.

Every now and then I had an itch to pick up a paint brush any time I walked passed a paint-your-own ceramic shop. I always think, “I should go in there sometime.” But I never did until now. One of my girlfriends and I are trying to catch up with each other, which isn’t easy with our busy schedules. However, my friend recently became addicted to a local paint-your-own ceramic shop and she suggested catching up there. What a brilliant idea! Seriously. Best. Idea. Ever.

IN PROGRESS: The start of a colorful and super cute caterpillar using my thumb and a paintbrush.

The studio will host a Ladies Night Out and requires a $10 deposit (which goes toward your purchase). One day when I was dropping off my deposit, I had some time on my hands and decided to pick a paintbrush. I was in the studio for hours working on a simple rim bowl. I knew I wanted something colorful but yet simple (I’m not an artist). I saw a cute picture of a colorful caterpillar made from fingerprints, and I thought, “I can do that!”

IN PROGRESS: I painted cute little dots under the rim of the bowl.

I had a great time painting my bowl despite making a few mistakes. At the bottom, I painted a red heart over the word “China,” and I intended to write 2012 underneath. However, I had some minor issues with the detail paint bottle — used for writing and painting other small stuff. Because the paint was black, I couldn’t really wipe off the paint and start over. A black rectangle was the best — not most creative — idea that came to me. As soon as the paint dried, I could write 2012 in white on the black box. Genius? Not really.

I had some minor issues with other detail paint bottles — they had a tendency to dry up and clog. The red paint detail bottle wasn’t as smooth as I wanted it so I’m not completely satisfied with my name on the rim of the bowl. Also, I wrote JENN but the name looked too small in the open area so I added IFER. In hindsight, I suppose I could’ve added some sort of decoration before the J and after the second N. Oh well. My bowl will be completely mine in a few weeks after the studio owner fires it up or whatever she does to it to make it all shiny and pretty.

AFTER: Done! Except for the minor mistake at the bottom of the bowl, I absolutely love it!

Charlie wasn’t too thrilled that I spent $15 to paint a bowl that I get to keep. At first, the price seems a bit high but then I was able to justify it. One, if I wanted to paint at home, I would be spending more than $15 on ceramic items and paint supplies. Two, if my girlfriend and I were catching up over dinner or at a bar, we would be spending about $15 or more on dinner and drinks (fast-food restaurants obviously excluded). The night would end with a belly full of delicious food and drinks and great conversation with a friend. At the ceramic studio, I would get great conversation (and I can bring in my own food and drink) and a ceramic bowl (or something else) painted by me. It’s a win-win night.

PROJECT 9: PRETTY GROCERY BAGS

I love, love, love the reusable and washable grocery bags that every store seems to sell to help save the environment. I love the bags because they’re easy to wash and affordable (I don’t feel bad when I toss one or lose one). The bags come in super handy when I need some extra bags to organize my crafts or use for a short road trips. Do you know what I don’t love about the bags? The store logo and the ugly colors. I understand the logo is advertising, and the ugly green says “I help the environment.” But couldn’t stores sell prettier totes? Totes that make women scream, “I need to have that super adorable tote!” in the store.

Reusable bag on clearance for 49 cents. I love the dark blue, but I’m not fond of the winter pattern. Sorry, Shopko. Fabric from an old scrub will be used to cover a photo album and pretty up a reusable bag.

Also, does anyone else feel a little funny bringing a Walgreens tote into your local grocery store? Personally, I don’t care, but Charlie complained about it one time. And I know some other people who share his feelings. However, I don’t feel very professional walking into my work office with an ugly green bag from the local grocery store. Anyway, I’ve thought about prettying up the bags in the past, but one of my ideas proved to be far too difficult for me. I quickly abandoned that idea — easily sewing some cute fabric over the bag. Although the idea was abandoned, the thought of prettying up the bags never left my mind. My reusable bags NEED to be pretty — not ugly.

Isn’t my Clarabug beautiful and chubby? I love her so much. I love how she needs to be near me and stop me from working on any projects. I love Clara.

Hello, world wide web. I found a few blogs and web sites that provided ideas to pretty up the reusable bags. A few handy crafters — like myself — felt the same way about the totes (ugly logo or color). With some helpful hints and direction, I finally put together my first pretty bag! However, I encountered some minor obstacles during the project. One, sewing the fabric onto the bag was a little hard to avoid sewing other sides of the bags together — which I did, but hello, seam ripper. And the heavy cord part (for the new handles) broke several needles on the sewing machine. Oopsy. But after a few choice swear words and determination, I finally have my pretty bag.

Isn’t my tote pretty? I love it! I had plenty of the owl fabric left after covering a photo album and decided to use the rest of the tote. All I needed was fabric and some heavy flat cord-type (for the handles) — sew everything together and hello, beautiful!

To be honest, I thought the project would be fairly easy because I like quick and easy projects. Sewing more material and a flat cord ribbon onto an already-sewn bag was not an easy task. I gave up for a few days after breaking a few sewing machine needles, but I decided to tackle the project during a baseball game on TV. This time around, I took my time — nice and easy. Sewing a little bit here and there while watching the game, playing on my phone, petting the cats, etc. After a few hours, my bag was complete — well, I think I might add a side pocket for a water bottle. But for the most part, I love my new bag.

Working on my tote during a Brewers baseball game. I only broke one needle on my sewing machine.