Thursday, July 21, 2011

T-Shirt Upcycle to Toddler Dress

I really love the color of this t-shirt, and it is made of the softest cotton, but alas, the neckline tends to flow further down than I would like--so I made it into a dress for my niece (who is almost 2).  This is one of the easiest ways to make a dress because the side seams and hem are already sewn.

  • t-shirt (should be about double the circumference of the toddler you want to put it on)
  • elastic thread
  • fat eighth (or other material for straps)
  • sewing machine and thread
  • scissors
  1. Cut the t-shirt off under the sleeves (if this is too long, cut the shirt lower, but be sure to NOT cut off the bottom).
  2. Wind the elastic thread onto a bobbin.  My machine can wind it onto the bobbin just fine (it got stuck a couple times, but with a light tug, it went smoothly--still much faster than winding by hand).  I have heard that some machines have problems with this, so you may have to wind by hand.
  3. Place bobbin in machine and thread as normal.  I had some problems when I first started because I wasn't getting the bobbin to thread properly.  Make sure you get the elastic thread through every part it is supposed to go through.
  4. Keep the t-shirt right-side out, and sew a line around the top about 3/8 of an inch from the cut edge (I just lined the edge of my presser foot up with the edge of the fabric).  Be sure to knot, or reverse when you start and finish a line.
  5. Lift your presser foot and more down 3/8 inch from the previous stitch line.  Sew around.  Repeat until you have shirred the desired width.  I sewed 9 lines.
  6. Cut the thread on the side where you moved down each line.
  7. To make the straps I made, cut four strips 1.5 inches wide each.
  8. Fold the strip in half right sides together, and sew down the two long sides 3/8 inch from the edge.
  9. Turn the straps right side out.  I find it easier if I have cut the seam allowance down to about 1/8 inch.
  10. Sew a line down the center of each strap.
  11. Sew the straps onto the dress 1 inch from the sides.
Isn't this so cute?  I made this in about an hour before pool time.  Now go look in your closet, find those shirts you just don't wear, and make some toddler dresses.  You could also use this as a cute shirt for an elementary school girl as well.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lisa's Lime Brownies

A few years ago, my mom discovered these wonderful orange brownies from Paula Deen.  We love lime in my family, so recently, my mother adapted this recipe into a lime brownie.  These brownies do not taste like traditional brownies, but they are dense and chewy like the delicious chocolate brownies you are used to.  Try these for your next summer get together, or make some to enjoy while lounging around the pool.


Zest the limes with a fine grater or micro-plane.  Juice the limes by squeezing around a fork.
  • 1.5 cups (plus 2 Tablespoons) flour
  • 2 cups (minus 2 Tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 4 eggs
  • Zest and juice of 3 limes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1/2 bag (about a pound) powdered sugar
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 lime


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 9x13 pan with Pam.
  3. Cream together the butter, sugar, lime zest, and lime juice.
  4. Beat in the eggs.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Pour into the greased pan, and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Set aside to cool.
  1. Cream the cream cheese and butter together.
  2. Mix in zest and juice.
  3. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar.
  4. Spread onto the cooled brownies.
These are so delicious!  I love to add a strawberry on the top, but I also think raspberry would be divine.  How would you dress up these brownies?

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Happy 4th of July {Red, White, & Blue Projects}

    I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July!  This picture was actually taken on New Year's Eve a couple years ago when Adam and I went ice skating up at Evergreen Lake.  I didn't have very many good pictures, but I read a couple blogs about taking better pictures, so maybe I will get some better pictures this holiday.

    I wanted to take the day to remind you of some of the projects we have done in the last year that are red, white, and/or blue.

    Top left to right:
    These cakes were not displayed for these posts, but these posts will help you make cakes like this:
    Middle row left to right:
    Bottom row left to right:

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    The Flannel Receiving Blanket

    A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets
    This is one of my favorite gifts to give to first-time mothers.  As many of you know, babies seems to make frequent messes.  A new baby can go through several blankets and several outfits a day.  I love to give a bundle of these flannel blankets to new mothers: they are so soft and snuggly, you can make them in a wide variety of colors and prints, they are light (so they don't take much room), they are easy to wash, and they make great swaddlers.  Oh, and did I mention...I made these five in one afternoon?

    I went to Joann's on Wednesday and it was my lucky day--all the snuggle flannel prints were on sale for 50% off!  Score!  (By the way, the sale is still on for another week)

    So I bought all these cute prints.  I also love making these and using different stitches on the edge.  Each person who gets these gets a unique gift because I use different stitches and different fabrics each time.  I thought the triple stitch zig-zag went great with this heart argyle pattern.

    A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets

    I like how the diamonds in this stitch echoed the square design on this flannel.

    A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets

    I am always a sucker for a scallop edge.

    A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets

    This wave reminded me of the cycle the flower circles make in this flannel.

    A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets

    Who doesn't love hearts?  This was a big hit at the shower.

    A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets
    A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets

    Materials (for 1 blanket)
    • 1 yard each of coordinating flannel
    • Scissors
    • Bowl
    • Pen/Marker (or rotary cutter and mat)
    • Measuring tools (like a pattern board)
    • Pins
    • Sewing machine
    • Coordinating thread
    • Iron (optional)
    ***This pattern uses the envelope method just like the wedding blanket, and the softest blanket.***
    1. Wash and dry fabric before beginning.  Flannel shrinks quite a bit, so you want to get that out of the way before you sew.  I iron the fabric before I begin because it is easier to work with.  The edges can get squishy when you wash and dry.
    2. Cut your flannel pieces to 34" wide, and I keep them as long as the selvage widths (about 40").  If the two pieces were not the same original width, cut down to the smaller one.
    3. Round your corners by either cutting around the bowl using the rotary cutter, or marking with pen/pencil and cutting with scissors.
    4. A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets
    5. Lay your two flannel pieces right side together, pin around, and sew around using 1" seam allowances.  I like to use larger seam allowances to allow for imprecise cutting (this saves me time).  I also want a larger seam allowance, so when I sew around the edge at the end, it catches the edges.  These blankets can get a lot of wear, and I don't want a seam ripping and all the fabric fraying.  Leave about a 4" gap to turn the blanket right side out.
    6. Before you turn your blanket right side out, cut off some of the selvage on each corner (cut down to about 1/4").
    7. Clip around the corner with the scissors (like we did on the flap of the school-time messenger bag).
    8. Turn your blanket right side out, flatten the edges either with your finger, or the iron, and pin all around.  Be sure to get your gap edges to match up with the rest of the blanket edge.
    9. Sew a decorative stitch (you could use a plain zig-zag, or a straight stitch if you don't have any decorative stitches, or try the twin needle) 1/4" from the edge all the way around.
    A sewing tutorial for making flannel receiving blankets
    We have so many pregnant friends right now, I am going to stock up on flannel, so I can whip some of these up for everyone.  I don't think you can ever have too many blankets.