Thursday, 31 May 2012

XL Tshirt to fitted tank transformation

I have been seeing cute tutorials all over pinterest for different ways to transform a T-shirt into a cuter T-shirt, but none that looked just how I wanted it to.  Enter a cheap (read: $1.95) XL T-shirt, some scissors, my sewing machine, and an old tank for a pattern.  Note: While this shirt went together super easily and looks great, I may have forgotten that the tank I was using for a pattern was super stretchy, and this new T-shirt fabric was NOT.  OOPS! Too small!! In other words, pay close attention that your fabrics have similar stretch!  I ended up making a second one, but using a different tank for a pattern, and this time it FITS!

1 - Lay out tank you are using for a pattern on top of larger Tshirt and trace about an inch larger all the way around.

2 - Cut out tank.  Note that I cut a lower neck scoop but was careful to only cut through the one layer, not both on this one, but on the second one I made I cut the same scoop on the front and the back.

3 - Sew the sides back together folding over after the first seam and stitching again 1/4" beside for extra strength.

4 - Hem the arm holes with two rows of stitching, again for the added strength, not to mention the seam will lay much flatter.

5 - I took a piece of the side of the T-shirt that I cut off, hemmed one side and both ends of it, and pinned it around the neckline with some gathers to look ruffled, not necessary, but pretty. :) Make sure to pin the right side of the ruffle facing down onto the wrong side of the shirt facing up as you will be folding the ruffle over and overstitching after.  Stitch around the ruffle, stopping at the shoulders.  

6 - After attaching the ruffle, fold it over so you now see the right side of the shirt and the right side of the ruffle.  Do a row of stitching to hold the ruffle down and make sure it doesn't flap up into your face every time you wear it.  Then hem the back of the collar with a double row of stitching.

Finished product! Each one with a cost of $1.95! 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

We all need to just vent sometimes.

I need to vent.  I figure since this is MY blog, I can put MY opinions on here.  When I started this blog I didn't intend on voicing any opinions on here, but I just want to YELL about some things for making me so mad.

Yesterday, my son came home from school with a note.  Yes, I got mad at a note sent home from school.  Very mad.  And Zane wasn't even in trouble!  Let me be perfectly clear here, I think teachers are great, and we need to appreciate them, but, I have had it up to my eyeballs with all their stinking whining!  It started out with them asking for a 12%, yes 12% pay increase in one year.  They went on strike to try and get it.  They didn't get it thank goodness.  What better example to teach our children than if you whine about something enough, and stop doing your job, you will get a raise? (can you tell that was sarcastic?)  I fully support the job that teachers do, however, what other job could you name that would ever get a 12% pay increase in ONE year???  They did get an increase, I believe of around 5%, which is nothing to sneeze at either.  I remember it being an amazing deal when I was working EMS (as part of a union) and we got an increase of 3% each year for 3 years. Anyhow, I am veering off topic, this note had nothing to do with that.  What it did have to do with, was the school board WHINING about how they didn't get a big enough increase in funds allocation in the last provincial budget.  Excuse me?  They even go so far as to outline for us exactly what we should say to the government and how to contact our MLA or Premier and complain about this travesty.  They put the onus on the parents to WHINE and complain to get their way now?  They say the bulk of this increase is going to come from the division's anticipated growth of 500 students come fall.  It is going to put a strain on the budget to teach the new students who will require "additional language support" meaning they don't speak English.  They tell us that our division must "spend extra money to meet the needs of these children".  They talk about eliminating full day Kindergarten and going to half days as one cost cutting measure. When we were deciding what school Zane should attend, one of our biggest deciding factors was which school had full day classes!  The other nearby option had only half day Kindergarten, which for us, was not an option. I don't believe a child can learn to his/her full potential in just a few hours at school.  If they are thinking they can cut Kindergarten to half days, they must be placing little value on Kindergarten learning.  When Zane comes home at the end of the day and I ask him what he did at school, he almost always says "we played".  The teacher assures us that they actually do learn things, and I'm sure they do, but would playtime make up half a day? It better not! That is not why I send him to school!

I have been taking a very active role in providing my child with a solid well rounded education including everything from reading, to math, to science and everything in between, and I will say that as a family we are very interested in politics and elections and how the government works.  As such, Zane has gotten interested and actually watched the provincial leader's debate with us last election, and even got to meet the Premier.  We try not to show bias to any one political party, though I am sure it is obvious whose team we are on.  We don't force our beliefs on anyone, however I have heard nothing but WHINING and complaining from teachers about the SaskParty and Brad Wall and how he is the devil.  What has the SaskParty government done so wrong to make teachers so upset?  Oh, that's right, they didn't give in to their childish demands.  I am sure as individuals, teachers are smart, but as soon as that UNION gets involved, they are sheep.  They all join together and try to make the rest of us feel like we are devaluing them if we don't support them.  They were even willing to spread filthy rumors in the school that it is all The SaskParty and Brad Wall's fault if the school year doesn't include a February break, since it was mandated that the school year shall not start before the Labor Day long weekend.  Really? How much school work is actually done in those 2 or 3 days before the long weekend anyhow? It certainly can't be a full week's worth. Take those days as your prep days and be happy to enjoy one last long weekend before you work for how many days now?  A whole lot less than the rest of us!  How many other jobs get an entire summer off?

It isn't that I don't totally appreciate the job that teachers do, I just think they need to stop whining so much about their job, start enjoying it again, and stop making it other people's jobs to stick up for them when they don't get their way.  I know people may not appreciate what I have said here, and they are totally entitled to their opinions, as I am mine, and my opinion is that sending this note home from school was crossing a line.

"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm-- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves. "
-- T. S. Eliot

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Girl's Audrey Cape

A couple days ago, my sister in law, who shares the same taste in fabulous classy things as I do, mentioned she had found a pattern for a little girl's cape jacket.  Thank you Pinterest! So when I looked at the tutorial online the first thing I did was went to my fabric stash to see if I had enough large pieces to try it right away!  Of course I didn't, so the next day, off to the fabric store I went!  I picked up some pretty shimmery pinkish purple lining, on clearance for 2 bucks a meter, and some basic grey wool for 8 bucks a meter thinking I was going to just make a practice one.  I was certain something wouldn't go right and I would have to pitch it in the trash or something.  Thanks to the fabulous tutorial over at Simple Simon, it turned out beautifully!  I may just have to make the birdcage hat now too!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Go go gadget Go-cart!

Some days I can't help but wonder if Zane's little 5 year old ears actually work.  Then I remember he is 5 and he hears what he wants to hear.  Clean up your toys, clean up your toys, clean up your toys, clean up your toys, clean up your toys, clean up your toys....and no toys have been cleaned up nor has any acknowledgement been made that he has even heard me say it.  However, say something quietly to another adult in the house when you think he is otherwise engaged in another room at the opposite end of the house and he remembers it and reminds you about what you said quite frequently.  Case in point:  Zane may have overheard a brief conversation several months ago about the possibility of getting a go-cart.  So, naturally, he assumed he was getting one.  He acted surprised, but deep down inside I know he knew it was coming.  Even though it probably wasn't a surprise, he loves it dearly and works super hard to get those little legs peddling fast to boogie down the hill!

Of course he and grandpa had to get this thing started before anyone else woke up so there are no pictures of it before it is half together! (and yes Zane is still in his pjs)

Yep there is even a trophy for winning the race!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Simple Hooded Towel

 Hooded Towels were a great invention.  It is just too bad that Zane has such a giant melon for it to go over!  Most commercially available hooded towels are designed for kids with a much smaller head, so I figured, hey, towels are on sale super cheap at Walmart this week, I'm going to make one!  Pattern you ask? Um nope I kinda just cut blindly and hoped for the best, which actually turned out quite well!  In 15 minutes I turned a regular size bath towel and a hand towel into a hooded towel for under $5!! I didn't take a ton of pictures of this one, cuz hey 15 minutes and just a few steps and I sort of forgot about pictures. (oops)

1 - start with a bath towel and a hand towel

2 - I folded in half and cut the hand towel into a hood shape.

3 - sew the hood curve shut, and realize that the shape looks awful, re-sew the curve 3 times to make a nice shape (not the one pictured here).  Then finish the front edge of the hood with a nice stitch.

4 - Cut a rectangle shaped hole in the center of the bath towel while it is folded in half. (No I didn't measure. bad Ang) Sew the hood into the back half of this hole and hem the front half.

5 -Finished hooded towel 15 minutes later = Happy child after bath time! (It is a little big right now, but he is growing like a weed so it should fit him in a few weeks) hehehe.

I plan on making a few more of these, one for the swimming bag, one or 3 for at the lake, and one or 2 for regular rotation after baths!  (I will try to remember to take measurements and better pictures of the next one and update) Super easy, fun and useful for 15 minutes worth of my time and under $5!

Friday, 4 May 2012

May the Fourth be with you

I have the pleasure of being mom to a bit of a Star Wars nerd.  Yep my boy is 5 and he knows more about Star Wars than most adults who have moved out of their parents' basement.  It was a day filled with really lame jokes that only a 5 year old would find amusing, Lego Star Wars video games, Lego Star Wars minifig battles, and to finish off the evening, I read out loud ten pages of 'Tales from Jabba's Palace'.  Oh, did I mention he wore his Clone Trooper Halloween costume all day?  What better day could a little boy ask for?


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

Ever wonder how Asian restaurants who claim to handroll their egg or spring rolls manage to keep up to demand?  It never really crossed my mind until a few weeks ago when I decided to experiment with some egg roll wrappers.  Now I had seen  Rachael Ray make cheeseburger egg rolls so naturally I assumed I could successfully replicate them.  After my first attempt I learned 2 things.  1- They tasted awesome, and 2- my egg rolls looked nothing like the ones she made and resembled square pouches more than rolls.  That being said, I had to try again and again and again.  Finally got it! 
Here's how I did it:

1- Cook up your filling.  I didn't take a picture this time, mine was just a pot of ground beef with taco seasoning in it this time.  I have made it a few different ways, sometimes cutting in some veggies or adding in mushroom soup. This is the place to get creative

2 - Lay out an egg roll wrapper and using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten 2 sides.  This will help the roll stay together once you roll it up.

3- Put just a pinch or two of grated cheese of your choice in the center of the wrapper

4 - I used a scooper to measure out the amount of meat mixture I wanted inside.  Use your judgement on how much you want in there.

5 - Roll up like an egg roll tucking ends in as best you can. Place on a greased rack on top of a baking sheet.  Make sure the side the cheese is on is ON TOP.  If you leave the cheese side down you will end up with a big goopy mess under the rack and the bottoms will fall out of your Cheeseburger Egg Rolls.  (yep I know that from experience)  The more you roll up the better they look. Practice makes perfect!

6 - Brush with an egg wash.  Place baking sheet in pre-heated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes or until edges start to crisp up.  Be careful not to crisp them up too much or they are hard to eat!

Voila!  Cheeseburger Egg Rolls!  Each one is only 110 Calories, 5.3 grams of fat and 4.3 grams of carbs.  (according to recipe information plugged into My Fitness Pal) Not too shabby!

Adventures (and disasters) in Baking

 So normally I am a half decent baker, not scared to take a risk or try something new to create a fantastic recipe...not today.  Today, being a rainy, gross day out, I decided to bake some brownies...with a twist.  I love s'mores, so I figured hey why not add some marshmallows halfway through the baking time!  It should end up with some nice toasted tops and ooey gooey goodness.  Well ooey gooey is one way to describe the mess I had after!  I should also mention, someone told me next time I bake brownies I should try covering the whole inside of my pan with tinfoil so it is easier to cut after.  

25 minutes in when I added the marshmallows

And this is the mushy mess I was left with after another 20 minutes in the oven.

Lessons I learned:  Tinfoil in my pan made cleanup a whole bunch easier.  I won't however be putting tinfoil in the pan next time I do brownies, when I did attempt cutting them I ended up with all kinds of little bits of foil stuck in my food.  Also this idea probably would have worked out much better if I had used mini marshmallows - and not too many of them!  My favorite learning experience from this though was that ooey gooey brownie marshmallowy mush tastes fantastic when warm and eaten with a spoon with some creamy vanilla ice cream!