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teacher gifts - gathered clutch

It is hard to believe that the school year is coming to an end, especially for my oldest.  He will become a kindergartner next year, and it seems like yesterday I was walking him to his fist day in the 2's class.
We are so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing group of teachers at the school (no wonder it was voted top preschool in our city!) 

So, for end of the year gifts, I was hoping to make something to reflect just how wonderful we think they are.  You might recognize the gathered clutch from Anna over at noodlehead.  She has a great tutorial on her blog that is so easy to follow. 

Originally, I was hoping to make each clutch using different fabric, but upon checking my calendar and realizing the time crunch I was facing, I opted to add button details instead.

So, thank you to all the wonderful teachers at Little Lambs, you are amazing! And thank you Anna for sharing the beautiful gathered clutch tutorial.
Each clutch was made from thrifted material (thanks Michael), and has a dryer sachet (filled with lavender) tucked inside.
If you would like to print the gift tag, click the button below.


kid size energy bars

Energy collage

Waiting rooms are great place to find inspiration.  They are usually loaded with magazines (that I normally don't get to read), and I often come home with a new recipe to try.  My latest find is this recipe for energy bars - perfect for kids. 

With only 4 ingredients AND no baking, I thought it would be a perfect first time recipe - especially with little helping hands.  We tried the Peanut Butter Snaps version, and they are pretty good!

I would like to try a few more energy bar recipes soon - any suggestions?


from pallet to shelf - 5 minutes & free

The other day I came across the website Knock-OffWood.   Have you seen it?  I am probably the last to know, but if you are out of the loop too, it is so worth checking out!  While browsing through the wonderful plans (and making mental notes of all the furniture I want to make - oh! I want that, and that, and...) I noticed the title "five minutes and free" - It was a sign, I tell ya!  As you know, I love 5 minute projects.
The next day I couldn't get it out of my head, so I emailed it to my husband, you know, just in case he came across any extra pallets, by chance.  And then an amazing thing happened, the flooring we ordered was delivered the next day - on an pallet!!!
That newly transformed pallet is now hanging on the wall next to my son's bed (thanks to my wonderful husband), perfect for all the books he totes up there.  And I think my husband has plans to make one for everyone in his family next Christmas.  5 minutes & Free - love it!


flag tutorial

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Full of family, friends, food, fun, fireworks, and of course FLAGS!  So, in anticipation for this years celebration, I am sharing a tutorial for a fun and festive flag garland!


  • denim (old jeans work great!)
  • red ticking fabric
  • twine ($1 at Home Depot)
  • white embroidery floss
  • embroidery needle
  • mesh lingerie bags (pack of 2 at the dollar store)
  • hot glue gun (optional)


  • denim into 1.5" X 1" rectangles
  • ticking into 3" X 2" rectangles

To achieve the soft fringe around the edges, place your pieces into mesh lingerie bags, run them under water until they are soaking wet, ring out the excess water, and then toss them in the dryer.  It is important to dry the bags separately in case the denim bleeds (I learned this the hard way).  Check the bags occasionally to make sure the pieces are not all clumped together.  Remove when dry.

To get the fringe just right, pull off the loose strings.

Grab you embroidery floss, and cut a piece that is about 24" long.  Peel two strands out of the cluster.  Thread the embroidery needle, and tie a knot at the end.

  (click the picture to view larger image)
Start from the back and poke the needle through the top center of the denim. Follow steps 1-6 to create the star.  When finished, make a knot on the back of the flag, and cut your thread. 

Flag tut 18

Iron out all the creases - they can be stubborn sometimes, and I usually find myself dousing them with the spray bottle to achieve the desired flatness.

Once you have a stack of flags ready, it is time to attach them to the twine.
(click the picture to view larger image)

Tie a loop at the end of the twine.  Lay the flags out in a line to determine the length of twine needed. I spaced the flags about 2" apart.  Before cutting the twine, be sure to leave enough extra to tie a loop at the other end.

Then, using two more strands of embroidery floss, thread the needle, tie a knot.   Sew loops AROUND the twine, catching the ticking in each stitch.  Be careful not to sew through the twine, that way you can adjust the flag placement later, if needed.

Alternative: use a hot glue gun to attach the top edge of the flag to the twin.  Be sure to place them exactly where you want them, because there is no adjusting after the glue is dry!
Repeat with the rest of the flags, and you are done!
Let 'em fly!

variation: rusted wire instead of twine, and french knots to crate the circles.


a succulent gift

OK, I have to admit, I  waited until the last minute to get my Mother's Day gifts in order, but I am happy to report that they are finally finished.   And boy are they succulent! (no peeking Shelley and Julie)
Finished 5

Oh, and did I mention that they are super easy to make? Here's How:
Materials: (please note: I am not a garden expert by any stretch of the imagination)
  • shallow pot (if there are no drainage holes, you can always drill a few - carefully)
  • cactus or succulent potting mix
  • pebbles (optional)
  • succulents - I used some we had in the yard

Gather your materials...
Succulent 3

(I have to admit that I am a little embarrassed to share this) when these succulents were given to me about 2 years ago by my dad, I set them on the rocks in front of our house expecting to plant them in the perfect place... but here we are two years later, and they are still sitting on the rocks. OOPS! But I have to say they are doing really well, and spreading like crazy! I could not have picked a better spot if I tried.
Succulent 4

Fill the pots about 2/3 full with potting mix
Succulent 5

Gently insert the roots of the succulent into the soil and tuck some soil around the base of the plant
Succulent 7

Add some pebbles if you like (these are actually beach rocks) - making this a little oasis of sorts!

Finished 4

And that's it! See, I told you it was super easy!
Happy Mother's Day to my Mom - an amazingly creative woman with a brilliantly green thumb!  - I love you. I miss you.  I cherish every day we had together.
And Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms out there!


baked, wrapped, and delivered!

and delivered!
Thanks to all the wonderful teachers out there, we do appreciate ewe!
Want to make your own?  Here is the Tutorial:
Bread bag tutorial button


teacher gifts: we appreciate ewe

Teacher gifts 2

Teacher gifts 3

Teacher gifts 1

The teachers a my boys' preschool are just the best.  And to let them know just how much we appreciate them, I thought we would give them something handmade.  So, bread bags & bread it is!
With a name like Little Lambs Preschool, it's hard not to have fun with it! So, thank ewe to all the teachers a Little Lambs Preschool - we appreciate all ewe do!
My alarm is set for a quarter til' bight-n-early so I can get all the baking done before school - wish me luck! I have all the bags and tags ready to be assembled and the dough in the fridge.
What teacher gifts are you giving this year? (I need some good ideas because I don't think I can get away with bread again for end of the year gifts!)


Shorts Tutorial (from a shirt)

073frankies 4thbday1
064wardrobe refashi1 This time last year I started making birthday gifts for my oldest son, but his heart was set on a robot t-shirt, and I was not confident enough in my freezer paper printing skills at that time to attempt one.  So, I searched Etsy until I found this one
I did, however, feel confident in my ability to make him some shorts to go along with the t.  Using a mans button-up shirt (XL),  and a pattern made from a pair of shorts that fit him well, I set to work.  

Well, summer is just around the corner again (and his birthday too), so I thought I would share a tutorial for making these super easy shorts.

  • button-up shirt (I used a mens size XL to make 4T shorts)
  • elastic (1" -1 1/4"width) measured 1" longer than the waist measurement of your child
  • a pair of shorts that fit your child
  • paper for the pattern

The first step is to do a little deconstructing. Cut the shirt up the side seams, around the sleeves, and across the shoulders.  What you should end up with is two front pieces, two sleeves, and one back piece.  
Pattern collage

To make a pattern: trace around a pair of shorts that fit well, adding a 1/4" seam allowance down the side seams (making sure to stretch the waist band out when doing so).  Then  mark the top of the waistband (I used dashes) and add a 1.5"  (1/4" wider than my elastic) above that line for the casing. 
For the bottom hem, I added 2 inches while cutting the fabric (notice the "add hem" note at the bottom of the pattern) because the paper I was using to make the pattern was just a little too short - oops!
I added a back pocket placement line 2" below the waistband line (dashes) and then a center mark.  This will make the next step a lot easier.

Pattern placement collage

This part is very important... make sure you take your time when lining up the pockets (front of the t-shirt) with the marks you just made.  I folded along the horizontal line, making it easier to find the center.

Cutting collage

Pin (or use weights) to keep the pattern in place while you cut.  I started with the bottom hem, adding 2" with my ruler.  Continue cutting all the way around the pattern.  Repeat for the second back pattern piece, but be sure to FLIP the pattern over - so you end up with a right AND a left!
Pattern placement front

Cut the front pattern pieces from the back of the shirt.  Again, be sure to FLIP the pattern before cutting the second front piece.

Pin together collage
Once all of the pieces are cut out (4 total - 2fronts & 2 backs), then stack the them up with the right sides together - pictured above.
Sewing 1

Now for the sewing.  Start by sewing the center front and center back of the shorts or as I like to call them, the "J's." 
Serger collage

To finish the seam, use a serger if  you have one - OR - a medium width zig-zag stitch close to the edge.

Sewing 6a

Next, insert a side tag if you have one, and then sew along the outside leg seams.  Finish the edges with a serger - OR - a zig-zag stitch. Iron the seams as you go.

Seaming collage

outside leg seam                                                 inside leg seam
Finally, match the center front and the center back seams (crotch), and sew from the bottom inside edge of one leg to the bottom inside edge of the other leg.

Sewing 9

Using your serger OR zig-zag stitch, finish the top of the waistband and the bottom hem on the legs.

Waistband collage

Fold over the waistband about 1/4" more that the width of the elastic.  I used 1 1/4" elastic (just what I had in my stash) so I folded the hem over 1 1/2" and ironed.  Then, mark the opening for the elastic and your tag  with two pins so you know where to start and stop - if you don't have tags, a loop of ribbon will work just fine.  Pin the rest of the way around the waistband.

Elastic collage

Sew all the way around, stopping at the double set of pins.  Using a safety pin or bodkin, pull the elastic through - making sure it does not get twisted.  Then overlap the ends of the elastic 1" and zig-zag stitch closed. 
Pull the elastic into the casing and insert  the tag (or ribbon loop ends) and sew closed - pulling a little as you go to avoid bunching. 
An optional step: stitch along the top edge of the waistband to give it a little more detail and help keep the elastic from twisting inside the casing.

Sewing 17

For the bottom hem, I have my boys try the shorts on to be sure I get the right length.  Then fold, iron, and stitch.   DONE!
Super easy, right?
Finished collage

Some notes about the brown shorts:
You might notice that the brown shirt only had one pocket - totally fine. There are so many possibilities, just have fun with it!
I also used one of the shirt sleeves to make a side pocket, placing the bottom of the pocket about 2" above the bottom hem.  (tutorial to come)

Thanks for visiting! 
If you decide to make a pair, I would love to see them!

** UPDATE: See more shorts HERE **