Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tutorial: DIY Mint Jeans

Like many women out there I have been on the lookout for the perfect pair of Mint Jeans.  With as popular as they have been this season you would think that they would be easier to find!  It seems like everywhere I look they are sold out or much too tight!  I like skinny jeans but I don't like them so tight that you can see the blood pumping through my veins!  Yikes!

I decided that if I couldn't find any I liked in the store that I would take matters in to my own hands and do some searching on Pinterest for some inspiration on dyeing my own pants.  I had some white pants in my closet that I bought a few years ago for a cruise but don't really wear all that often because they are so sheer so I was thinking that the dye would help with that and luckily it did!  There are so many different shades of mint you could go with but I finally decided to go with this concoction.  I loved the brightness of the way hers turned out.  I was somewhat concerned with just using a green dye so I liked that she used the aqua mixed with the green.  Perfect!

Here is what you will need:
- A pair of white pants
- Dye! (Tulip Brand: Aqua 1/2 Package, Green Vert 2 tsp.)
- A bucket, make sure it is clean before you use it
- Gloves: so you don't dye your hands
- 1 gallon of hot water

Step 1:
I cleaned my bucket with hot water and dish soap and then rinsed it out thoroughly
Step 2:
Fill your bucket with a gallon of hot water - I just used tap water
Step 3:
Pour 1/4 cup of salt in to the water as directed on the packet

Step 4:
Here is where you will put your dye in.  I did 1/2 a package of aqua as was done in this tutorial and then she said to do 1/2 - 1 tsp of the green vert.  I went with the full tsp because I wanted to make sure to get some green color in there.
Step 5:
Now you are ready to put your pants in the dye!  This was the scary part for me.  Do I want to commit?  Am I ready for this?  Yup!  Just do it!!

Step 6:
Stir your pants around constantly for a few minutes making sure that they completely submerge in the dye.  If you decide you need more aqua or more green vert now is the time to add.

Step 7:
Once you have your perfect shade of mintiness you will need to let it sit in the dye for 45 minutes stirring occasionaly as directed on the packet.
Step 8:
You can now put your pants in the washer and wash as normal.  I think it's also important to note that even after you wash them this first initial time that you will want to wash them seperate from your other clothes the first few times in case there is some excess dye. 

Step 9:
The torturous step of letting them air dry!!
And you are done!  You have a perfect pair of mint jeans!  Now stick it to the man and go make some of your own!  If the stores don't have what we want, we make it ourselves!


Here is what I learned in this process that I will change for next time:
**After you have put the salt and the dye in the water - stir the mixture around a little to make sure that everything is dissolved.  I do have a small spot where it looks like the material was over exposed to some dye (just keepin' it real here) and I am guessing that some of the dye wasn't completely dissolved when I put the pants in the bucket.**

Now I think I'm ready to go find some more white pants to make more of a green than blue pair.  Maybe 1/2 package of the green vert and 1 tsp of the Aqua this time? 

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Organization: Linen Closet

I am so excited to finally reveal my linen closet re-org!  Let's face it - it's LOUD!  I have been living in a beige world for the past 7 years and I'm ready for color!  When I married my husband and we started decorating our apartments and house I was really in to a neutral pallet and after all these years I'm ready to make some changes!

I so wish I had some before pictures.  This closet was atrocious, it was crammed, it made no sense!  Oy! We had all of our board games on the floor - stacked, piled, falling over.  There wasn't enough room on the shelves so any time we did laundry and ran out of room we would just pile the extra towels and sheets on top of the games.  There were random things floating around on the shelves like lighting timers, night lights, exercise stuff, it was just too much and I finally decided to do something about it so here is what I came up with!
Before I started this project I knew I wanted to move all of our medications up to this closet.  They were previously in a cupboard in our kitchen but I read this blog post and decided I wanted to move them to the closet upstairs.  In the cupboard I had a metal bin that was too small for all of the medications we had and so I had started to just put the overflow around the bin (Yikes - I'm telling all my dirty secrets in this blog!).  I thought it might be nice if I could get all of our medications seperated out by what type of medication they are so I went to Target and bought 4 canvas bins and labeled them:
 * Vitamins
* Antacids (Hey, everyone has to deal with it)
* Cold/Flu/Allergy Meds
* Pain Relievers
Next I also wanted to move all of our travel size items.  I, once again had been trying to get every last container in too small of a space.  My husband and I love to travel but every time we go on vacation I end up just buying new shampoo/conditioner/contact solution/body wash, etc because I would rather not dig through the bin under the sink in the guest bathroom.  I headed out to Target (gotta love that store) and got three bins and labeled them:
* Hair Care
* Body Care
* Eye Care/Dental Care
I love both of these shelves now because everything is easily accessable and labled!

On the next two shelves I wanted to figure out a way to keep the towels and sheets contained and I remembered that I could make covers for plastic milk crates using this tutorial.  I was able to roll up the towels and sheets so that they all fit inside the crates.  Perfect!

Finally I used the metal bin that I had been using for medication and rolled up our hand towels/washrags and stuck them in there.  I got a covered canvas bin for a few toys we have and called it good!
To make the labels I picked up some labels from the Martha Stewart line at Staples (which is awesome, by the way) and used the avery template to type them out.  Then I just printed them and laminated them with some self laminating sheets.  Easy peasy!
I am so happy with how it turned out!  I don't hate opening that closet door anymore like I used to because I know that everything is going to be in it's place which I love! 
Hope you've enjoyed my quick over view of my linen closet and that you all have a great week!!

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tutorial: Patriotic No Sew Wreath

Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays for several reasons.  First, it brings to mind all the freedoms we enjoy thanks to our military men and women who have served so long and done so much for us.  We can never thank these brave and courageous souls enough.  Second, traditionally this weekend officially begins summer.  Who doesn’t love summer?  Third, but not necessarily least, there is no pressure attached!  No stress, no list of people to buy presents for, no cookies to bake, no major shopping trips, no long drives or traveling (unless you choose to).  I LOVE this holiday.
In years past I would drag out tubs of decorations with every new season, holiday, birthday, or other event.  I was always taking down and putting up decorations.  Now…Not so much.   I just switch out a few things here and there to add a little flavor of the season. I try to make these changes last over three to four months.  HA! Another reason to like Memorial Day!  These decorations also cover June (Flag Day) and July (Fourth of July).
This quick and easy no sew wreath will add pop and sizzle to your summer decorations and really doesn’t take much time or money.  ALWAYS check your stash before you go shopping.  I didn’t have to buy anything for this project because I had everything on hand either left over from another project or purchased when it was on sale.
You need:
- 1 Straw Wreath
- 1/2 yard of patriotic fabric in two coordinating colors 
- 1 1/2  yards matching ribbon
- Lots of small straight pins.
Step 1: Cutting FabricCut your base fabric into 3 inch strips across the width of the fabric.  I tear my strips because I like the ragged edge look but you can use a rotary cutter also.  You need about 6 strips.
Cut or tear your ruffle fabric into 3 inch strips.  You will need about 3 strips.
Step 2:  Wrapping WreathSecure the first strip of your base fabric to the back side of the wreath using pins.
Frugal Note: This is a good place to use those bent pins you generally throw away.
Continue wrapping the fabric around the wreath at an angle making sure you over lap the edges about 1/2 inch until the wreath is covered.  Secure fabric strips with pins as you add them on.

Step 3: Attaching Ruffled Edge
Using the contrasting fabric strips, begin attaching a soft pleated ruffle to the back side of the wreath.  Fold over the narrow raw edge and secure with a pin just at the outside edge of the wreath.   I use the width of my thumb nail as a guide to keep the pleats even.  Secure each pleat with a pin.
To add a strip of fabric, about 1 inch from the end of your first strip fold a soft pleat back toward the previous pleats, fold the end in to the middle.  Sandwich the next strip of fabric inside this pleat then secure with a pin.
Continue pleating until you have gone around the entire wreath.   You can stop here and tie the ribbon hanger onto the wreath for a minimalist look or add a simple embellishment.  I happened to have a cute little wooden star banner so I attached it with pins. 

I hope you enjoy Memorial Day weekend as much as I plan to.  Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on this wonderful holiday!

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Tutorial: Grab N' Go Tote

What do you do in the summer that makes life easier?  I’m always trying to find things that make summer activities easier, more fun, and most of all COOLER.   I live in an area where it is not uncommon to have 100 plus degree weather for days on end.  Ok…I know there are way worse places but for a mountain girl who never dealt with extreme heat this is HOT – HOT – HOT.

To get away from the heat we sometimes hop in the car and head to the Calaveras Big Trees
  Or to Dillon Beach
This is usually not preplanned and I am rushing around at the last minute grabbing coolers, food, drinks, and other necessities.   So I’ve had some ideas in my head for a while about making summertime excursions easier and less stressful.   The first thing I wanted to have ready to go this year is a Grab N’ Go Picnic Tote.

You will need:
- 1 Cotton cloth dish towel  (measures approximately 20 X 28 inches)
- 18 inches of 1 inch wide Grosgrain ribbon cut into a 15” piece and a 3” piece
- Small pieces of Velcro
- Matching thread
Step 1 - Pockets
Working with the short side, press the end up 4 inches toward the center of the towel then fold that pocket down so that you have approximately 1 inch above the top of the first edge – press.   Fold the towel again so that you form a pocket that measures a total of 6 inches - press.  You should have two layered pockets one that is shorter on top.  See the photos for clarification.

Step 2 – Sewing the Pockets

Working just the 4 inch folded pocket, measure and mark the lines for the plastic-ware starting 1.5 inches from the side across the right side of the towel until you have marked 6 pockets.  Repeat starting at the left side of the towel.  Note you will have an extra center slot that is slightly wider than the others.  That is good.

Stitch the sides together along the 4 inch edge making sure to only catch the first pocket layers.  Stitch the slots for the plastic-ware.  I always backstitch at the beginning and end of each line.   Topstitch along the folded edge which is approximately 1 inch above the open edge of the slots. 
Fold the 4 inch pocket on top of the six inch pocket and secure with a pin.  Starting about 2.5 inches from the bottom edge of the 4 inch pocket you want to stitch that pocket down.  Stop stitching about 2.5 inches from the other edge.  Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of this seam.
Fold the entire pocket assembly toward the center of the towel and stitch a seam up the center through all layers.   Almost done!

Optional:  Attach ½ in pieces of Velcro to the center of the two large pocket tops and the inside edge of the fold down flap.  I use sew in Velcro because it stays put but you can use the stitch free type if you prefer or…you don’t have to do this at all.  I just like to have things tucked in and secure.

Now you need to stitch the 6 inch pocket to the back piece.  To do this you need to fold back the end of the 4 inch pocket to keep it out of the way while you stitch the side seam.  Also insert the grosgrain ribbon holders by folding each piece in half and placing it between the layers of the seam at the top of the inner pocket.  Make sure they line up.  Secure by backstitching several times then stitch down the seam and secure the end of the seam with backstitching. 
Optional Embellishments:  You can add buttons, flowers, decals or whatever embellishments you want to the outside of the tote.  I want my tote to fit easily into my trunk and not take up a lot of space so I haven’t added anything extra - well not yet anyway.
I have some other ideas floating around in my head that I plan to put into cloth and on paper so come back in a few days to see what other summer fun things we will have going.  Please leave us a comment and tell us what you do to make your summer activities easy, fun, and COOL!