Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tutorial: Shirt Scarf

DISCLAIMER: This is not my original idea.  I have seen this on several blogs.  I wish I could credit every site I've seen this on, but alas I did not keep a record (shame on me!).  So please know that if this is your original idea, I am not trying to steal.  And thank you for the idea.

Step 1
Grab a shirt.
I used this shirt I got at Walmart last summer.

Step 2
Cut the shirt into horizontal strips.
Most of the tutoriasl I've seen have you cut the strips entirely off, but I left them hanging...I'll explain in a bit.

Step 3
I cut some strips thick and some strips thin.

Step 4
Cut up to the arm pits (or pocket in my case) and then cut it straight across to make a clean break from the top of the shirt.

Step 5
I didn't cut my strips completely separate, because that left them all attached.
Other blogs have cut the strips apart and then attached them together with another piece of fabric.
I thought it was easier to keep them intact.
Twist them a bit and you've got a warm weather scarf!
This would be a great way to transition in to fall!
I think I'm going to make more and layer them!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Craft Store Purse Facelift

A few years ago my dad gave me this canvas purse that he got at a craft store.  I wasn't sure what to do with it at the time, and I just found it the other day.

I took some lace and made a rosette and used fabric glue to put them on the purse.

Can you say EASY!

If you see these on sale at your craft store, pick it up and decorate it!  It's an affordable way to accessorize and personalize!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tutorial: Shirts to Pillows

One of the simplest ways to decorate your home is with pillows.  They add character and color.

But pillows are sometimes very expensive in stores.  And with pillows being relatively easy to make (you can even hand stitch!), it's usually more affordable to make your own.

It's even more affordable when you make pillows out of tshirts!
There are a ton of tutorials on making pillows and making t-shirt pillows, so if my instructions aren't clear enough, do a google search, and I'm sure you'll find lots of tutorials!  I just hope I can be of some help!

Pillow 1
A friend gave me this shirt in college, and the more I washed it, the more distressed it became.  It really wasn't wearable anymore, so I distressed it even more with white paint and bleach pens.

I cut through both layers of the shirt a rectangle.
With right sides together, I sewed around the edge of the shirt

I left a small opening so I could pull the shirt right side out.

I clipped the edges of the corners so they would turn in nicely.

Now turn the shirt right side out and you have your unstuffed pillow!

Now just fill it with stuffing!  I got stuffing on sale at Hancock's.  You can also get it at Walmart.
Then hand stitch or sew the opening closed.

Pillow 2
I bought this shirt at a resale shop.  It was like new (no stains!), but didn't fit very well.

I cut a rectangle through both sides of the shirt.

This shirt is different because I sewed around the shirt with right sides facing out.  It left with me raw edges (what I was going for!).
I did a straight stitch and then went back with a decorative stitch.
Here's the opening once the shirt is turned right side out

Then stuff the shirt and sew the opening closed.

Shirt 3
I got this shirt at Gap and have had it for awhile.  I distressed it with a bleach pen on both sides of the shirt.

Then I made it the same way I made Shirt 1.

Before you throw out old shirts or take them to donate, think about if they might make good pillows!

Like the scarf bags, these too will be for sale soon...details soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tutorial: Scarf + Bag = Scarg?

Need a bag for errands, the library, crafting, kids, groceries, fun?

I have a super easy tutorial on making a great looking bag that's functional and pretty! (and affordable!)

P.S. No sewing required!

Canvas bag (around $1 at a craft store)
Scarf (I got vintage scarves from an antique store, but you might have some laying around that you don't wear!)
Heat 'n Bond (at Walmart or craft store)
Follow the directions on the Heat 'n Bond package to attach the scarf to the bag.
That's it!

Sewing notes:
If you would like to sew around the border of the scarf, make sure you get the Heat 'n Bond that will allow you to sew so that you don't gum up your sewing machine (it will gum it up otherwise...I would know!).
Also, if you realllly want to sew it on, it might be best to make your own canvas bag, because sewing on a pre-made bag will be difficult to get to the bottom (unless it's a big bag).  If you make your own, sew the scarf to the canvas before you sew the sides of the bag together.

I made three bags!
These bags will be for sale if you don't want to bother making your own...

....details coming soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars (Gluten Free!)

One thing that's been tough to give up are convenient granola bars for breakfast and snacks.  But now I can make my own gluten free granola bars!
I found a recipe from Udi's and altered it a bit.  You can make these even if you're not gluten free.  If you are gluten free, just make sure all your ingredients are gf.  Two of my coworkers tried what I made and thought it was pretty good!
-Bag of granola
-Cup of Fruity Pebbles
-1/2 cup of chocolate chips
-1/2 cup of peanut butter chips
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup softened margarine
-1/4 cup honey
-1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix together and spread in baking dish (spray with Pam first)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until crisp and easy to cut.
Mine were a bit soft, so I would cook them a little longer next time.  You'll just need to test it out with your oven.

But it's even good with a spoon!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blanket for Brady

My cousin, Amy, is having a baby boy in October whose nursery is a cowboy theme.  So I was pretty happy when I found flannel cowboy fabric at Hancock's!

Introducing...Brady's blanket:
The back is super soft!
I also got him some sandals in Honduras!

If you want to make this easy blanket, go check out the Sew 4 Home tutorial!  I made my blanket a little larger, but this tutorial is easy to follow and has a few different versions to choose from!

I can't wait for Brady to be here!  I have a few more projects in store before his arrival :).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dwell (Free Photo)

I have a gift for you today...a free photo download!

To download: Click on the picture to enlarge it.  Then right click to save.
I took this picture on top of the Great Wall of China.  I was looking out the watch tower to China on one side and Mongolia on the other.  The Great Wall is an experience that can't fully be explained.  It's beautiful and overwhelming and amazing.  The most extraordinary thing about being on the Great Wall for me was that I was on the Great Wall!  I never could have imagined being there and seeing it myself!  So that's why I think this line from an Emily Dickinson poem is so appropriate.  Dwell in what possibilities lie before you, because sometimes dreams really do come true!

I hope you enjoy this photo, but please do not steal.  Please do not reproduce without permission.  If you post it online, please link back to me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tartar Sauce Remix

Get's about to get wild and crazy up in here!

We're doing the tartar sauce remix!

(Really what this means is we're taking a condiment and making it better.)

Break it down, now...

Instructions for the tartar sauce remix:
*Take pre-made tartar sauce (I used Kraft...hated the taste of it...tasted like straight mayonnaise..ick)
*Add ingredients to your liking (I added sweet relish and garlic...I would have added horseradish if I had had any)
*Mix together
And that's the tartar sauce remix!

I put my new concoction back in the bottle (after removing some of the pre-made tartar sauce to make room).

Now it tastes so much better and was easier than making it from scratch!

This remix won't give you a workout, but it will make your taste buds dance for joy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: The Help

I knew this was a movie before I knew it was a book.  Colin has a book club at work and brought this home to read.  Well it just sat on his dresser.  So, one night when he was working late, I picked it up and started it.  And then I couldn't stop.

I've grown up in the south, and my family is from the south.  I know that to this day racism still exists (not just in the south!).  But this book doesn't work to make you feel guilty.  This book touches your heart and makes you realize the affect you have on others.  I found myself thinking about this book even when I wasn't reading it.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I highly highly highly recommend this book.  I'm glad I read it before seeing the film, so I can see how certain things will be interpreted.  The characters in the book will touch your heart (or make you mad!).

Let me know what you think about it.

And a note about the author...
Colin read something to me the other night that he read online.  The author of this book was rejected 61 times before she found someone to publish this book.  Sixty-one times!  I think that's a good lesson to not give up when you believe in something you're doing.  I'm really glad she didn't give up, but I was given a gift through this book.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Saturday I got heat exhaustion and got very sick.  Colin had to even stop and pull over on the way home from the lake.

Monday night I woke up to a crying puppy that's afraid of storms.
And I awoke to food poisoning.  I had a couple days of dates with the bathroom tile.
TMI?  Probably so.

Can I get a break?!?

That's why I've been absent (again).

Anyhoo...back to the subject at hand...

Do you Instagram?  You should!  I love's a great way to get a peek into people's lives (friends and strangers alike) without all the stress of Facebook.
Am I the only one who gets stressed by Facebook these days?

If you Instagram, find me!  I'm marlagrace.

Don't Instagram?  Start!  Then find me!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Potato Potatah

I love potatoes.

So you can imagine my relief when I found out that they were one of the few things that I did not have to give up!  They're naturally gluten free!


We've been eating a lot of potatoes around the house.  I have to be careful about eating them out because they might have been seasoned or battered with something that has gluten in it.

Potato 1
I cut up some sweet potatoes, baked them, and made a drizzle to bathe them in.
Drizzle: mix of brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, milk (I didn't say that these potatoes were healthy!).
I think next time I would skin the sweet potatoes.  The skin isn't as yummy as regular potatoes and was too chewy.

Potato 2
I found this recipe for spicy tators and really liked the outcome.

Colin liked the outcome too...
(grilled pears are also on that plate...yum!)

I also found a gluten free recipe for my favorite dish-- hash brown casserole...I can't wait to try it!

What are some ways you like to liven up potatoes?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (gluten free too!)

These babies are so good you won't know or care that they're gluten free! (unless you need to care!)
The big thing I've noticed since having to go gluten free is that you can be really limited on sweets.
Now, that's a pretty good thing for the waistline.
But a sad thing for the taste buds.

So these were born.

You only need two main ingredients:
-chocolate (I used gluten free dark chocolate)
-peanut butter (I used gluten free extra crunchy)

Step 1:
Melt the chocolate
I don't have a double boiler, so I boiled some water in a pan with a glass bowl over it.  I added a splash of canola oil for the chocolate to melt nicely.

Step 2:
Spoon chocolate in to mold
I got this silicone mold in the dollar bin at Target around Valentine's Day.  They have these for about every season.  I also have muffin size silicone molds from Bed Bath & Beyond, but I thought muffin-sized peanut butter cups might be a little over the top!

You're going to want to pour only enough to coat the bottom with a thin amount of chocolate.  You have to leave room for the peanut butter filling and chocolate on top!

Give the molds a shake to even out the chocolate

Step 3:
Stick in the freezer to set

Step 4:
Add peanut butter filling
I scooped out a few tablespoons of peanut butter and zapped it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  That way the peanut butter pours and levels out.
Try to keep the peanut butter in the center and not out to the edges so you can have a nice chocolate edging.

Stick in the freezer again to set.

Step 5:
Cover with chocolate
Fill the remaining of the mold with chocolate.  Give it a shake to make the chocolate level out.

Stick in the freezer one last time!

Step 6:
Pop treats out of the mold
Now you have delicious chocolate peanut butter cups!
I might be able to handle this gluten free thing after all ;)
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