Monday, July 30, 2012

Another TShirt Craft.. This one is more time consuming

Welcome back to my Recycled Tshirt Craft Extravaganza!!

Since we can only really use so many bags and scarves, I've moved on to my next recycled tshirt craft: A Rug.

There are a number of different kinds of rugs you can make. I am currently working on a crocheted rug. I MIGHT tackle the other basic latch hook kind if I don't burn out first.

This rug is not hard to make. Just time consuming, a little messy cause of the t shirt fuzz, and hard on the hands.

To make the rug, first gather shirts and cut strips. Personally, I keep the loops intact. Others cut the loops to have longer pieces and then cut a notch in each strip to tie together. Not me. I like the bulkier weave.

When you have a big pile, decide if you want to have your strips mixed up or together. I went with all one color together, but I think I would have preferred mixed. Too late now.

Now take a strip and pull it through the next strip to make a chain. I don't know how to explain it, you are just making a knot without tying a knot. Roll up the chain as you go. 
The ball of tshirt yarn is not quite the size of a basketball, but much larger than a softball. It is about 8 shirts worth of yarn.

Next, get a LARGE plastic crochet hook. The bigger the better.

Start a basic chain stitch. Or whatever crochet stitch you know or make up! Google how to crochet and you will find tons of tutorials!

I started working on this in the car on the way to the Texas Rangers baseball game on Sunday.
Make your chains looser than you think you should.  I am a tight crocheter and it always bites me in the rear the further I get in a project as it's more and more difficult to crochet in the next row.
After about an hour to hour and a half I had the rows below completed. The "rug" is about 4 feet long, so it took a while to complete one row. As you can see in the picture, I have used three different tshirts at this point. My hands were ready for a break when we got to the ballpark!
Bright and early this morning, I pulled out the "rug" and got to work while watching the Olympics. I go back and forth from one basic chain stitch to a fancier/bulkier stitch. At this point, I've completed a number of rows, but I have a feeling this project is going to take a while!
I'm planning to watch more Olympics tonight, but I got a massage this afternoon and am kinda sticky.. I don't know that I want tshirt fuzz to stick to all of my limbs!

And don't worry, just cause I'm stuck working on this project, it doesn't mean my tshirt craft extravaganza is over. I've got at least one more project in me!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

TShirt Crafts: Scarfs

Another Tshirt Recycle Craft: Scarfs!

Here is Maddie modeling her purple tshirt scarf. I love the way she made it with two ties. It is so cute on her!! Even better, it was a tshirt that she never wore and now as a scarf I think she will wear it tons.

 Here is a step by step on how we made the scarfs.

1. Take an old shirt and cut it into strips. I didn't measure anything.

2. Take the strips and stretch them all out except for one. Save one for later.
3. Take the strips and hold them all in one hand, take the unstretched strand and cut it so that it's not a ring and then tie it around the set of strips. This keeps all the of the strips together. Decide if you want one tie or two and if you want the tie to have strings hanging down or not. I decided on the white one to only have one large band with no strings.

 4. Wear it. This scarf was made with a adult large shirt, so it's pretty long on a tween. But I think it will be great during football season for me.

5. Make more scarfs. I bought some pony beads today and am going to do a little decoration on the white scarf and other scarves that I'll make soon.


T- Shirt Crafts

I live in tshirt land and I will be focusing the next few days on what to do when the pile of shirts is so great it takes up two drawers in the dresser.

These crafts will be EASY, almost no sew, and cheap.  AWESOME!!

First up... Gather some shirts.
Then decide what you want to make. a scarf, a bag, a rug?  [hmmm. are those hints about what it coming??? :) ] Today, I'm making bags.

I've decided that I'd rather make washable, reusable bags from tshirts than to keep buying the ones at the grocery store!  Here is Kylie modeling a bag. Adorable.

Step One: cut off the sleeves. Leave the seam!

Step Two: For a round opening, using a plate and  mark around the neck. For a square opening, grab a Kleenex box. It doesn't have to be perfect. 

Step Three: Cut out the opening. 

Step Four: Flip the shirt inside out and sew the bottom closed. Don't worry about the color of thread. Just sew it up.  This shirt sports four different colors of thread as my first set was the CHEAPO depot walmart thread and it kept breaking! So, I changed out the thread and bobbin and all was well. I think the last thread was for curtains, so who cares if it was cheap, but since this was for a bag that needed to hold groceries, I went with my good thread!

Also at this point you need to decide if you want the bag to be straight, have a little depth by angling the bottom, and if you want the bag to be the full length or to be shorter.

On the blue bag, I added detail stitching around the opening and handles. Yep, that's two colors of thread. I don't sweat the small stuff. Some people get so caught up on things having to be perfect that they never get the job done. Not this girl. Red thread and white bobbin. no problem! :)

Finally, turn the bag back right side out and there you have it!

Isn't my model gorgeous!

 And that's it. 3 shirts that were getting limited wear now get new life!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Love It, Loan It, or Leave It-- Teacher Gifts

We are gearing up for Back To School Days! Yep, summer flies by.  And with all of the school supplies in the stores and Back To School fliers hitting the mailbox, I thought this might be a good time to make people mad. :) Okay, that's not really my purpose...but... I see and hear about "teacher gifts" all the time and so many gifts are not what we want, so I thought I'd do my Love It, Loan It or Leave it on Teacher Gifts!

First off... We (the generic teacher) LOVE gift certificates. While some people think gift certificates are too impersonal, we love them. Be it a coffee shop, a restaurant, a salon or even the teacher store, we LOVE gift certificates! And truly, a $5 Starbucks card is a great way to say thanks or have a great year.

For my Loan It-- I'm going out on a limb here and saying general supplies.  You might not know this, but many, many teachers, (myself included) have to purchase all of our own desk supplies and such out of our pockets. Yep, that stapler your child just broke, it was one I bought out of my household budget. Yep, while you think those "extra" boxes of pencils that we ask that your child to bring is ridiculous, I find it ridiculous that I purchase a few HUNDRED pens every year as I can never find one on MY DESK because a student needed one.

So here is my advice, purchase extra items on the supply list if you want to help! Or go back up to my LOVE it and buy a gift card to Staples!!  Wouldn't it be fun to start the year by giving your child's teacher a bucket of supplies that she/he WANTED and needed!! The reason I put supplies on my Loan it list is that we teachers are a particular breed and while I would LOVE to have a new stapler, I use a certain brand and style for a reason and I don't want you to waste your money on one that will break the first day!

And finally, my Leave It... apple items and homemade food.

I know I shouldn't speak for the masses here, and maybe elementary teachers like apple items and homemade food, but this high school teacher doesn't!  Sorry. But really, I have plenty of apple items. And I'm scared of any homemade food item that is given to me.  I'll smile and say thanks and you will get a thank you note, but unless I know you, your family, and your kitchen, it's safe to say that it's not going to get eaten. 

So there you have it.  If you have kids getting ready for school and want to make an awesome impression on your child's teacher, pick up an extra box of pencils that are on the supply list, slap a sticky note on it and tell the teacher you appreciate him/her and that you look forward to the year.  Even better... send a gift certificate/gift card in any amount and say that you know that teachers give of themselves every day and here is a token of appreciation.

And on that note, I'm finishing up my Love It, Loan It or Leave It and will start my Back To School check off list soon!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Love It, Loan It or Leave It-- Kitchen Accessories

Today's installment of Love It, Loan It or Leave It is about kitchen accessories.
In case you are wondering what I am doing, take a look at yesterday's post....
[and just as a reminder, no payments, no freebies to me for the reviews.]

LOVE IT-- We have 2 coffee pots. We use them both everyday. I know, spoiled. (The Keurig was a birthday gift!!)  But both coffee pots make the LOVE it list!! For the first cup of coffee, it's the Keurig.  It's all about immediate gratification!! I make a cup of starbucks, Doug makes a cup of hazelnut.  Then we make a pot of coffee (only a 1/2 a pot on workdays) using the Hamilton Beach Brew Station. Both coffee pots are used everyday. Both are LOVED :)

Loan It--My deep dish Pampered Chef Baker. It was an ouch to purchase, but I got suckered in at a "cooking" show (otherwise known as home party). The meal that was made was pulled pork in 20 minutes. It was wonderful. And I've made it a couple of times since and my family loves the meal. But I don't use it for much anything else. I don't think I'm getting my bang for my buck. 

But if you want to borrow my baking dish to make pulled pork, let me know. You will be glad to use it, but not have to buy it!

Leave It-- Sorry Pampered Chef! I don't mean to be a hater, I use lots of their products and know that they make quality products. However, my flower muffin/cupcake pan is a bust!  It looked so cute and I bought the pan so that I could make cute cupcakes for my daughter's birthday a few years ago.  HOWEVER, the baked items did not look like the pan at all when they came out.  Cause how can they? It doesn't matter that the pan is silicone and the baked item is supposed to come out easily. It doesn't. It breaks and falls apart.  The muffin that is. Not the pan. It is fine. A beast to clean, as you can see in the picture, but in great shape as I NEVER USE IT.
So, if you were thinking about making really cute muffins/cupcakes that look like flowers. DON'T. Or, make plain ones and do fancy frosting. Or you can have my pan.  It was too expensive to put in the garage sale, so it lives in the back of my cabinet taking up space!

And that's my Love It, Loan It or Leave It for the kitchen!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Love it, Loan it or Leave it -- Craft Supplies

A couple of my sisters are doing Love It, Loan It or Leave It for a week on their  blog . 
So far, they have reviewed vacation destinations, books and salads. It looks fun, so I thought I'd join in for a few posts.

Today it's craft supplies. Shocker I know.

(and just so we are clear, no one is paying me to review these items and I haven't received anything for free.. bummer.)

For my LOVE IT...  I have chosen my Cutter Bee Precision Cut Scissors!
I use these little scissors ALL THE TIME! They are perfect for all kinds of crafts and little things that need trimmed. For about $10, they hold up for years. Sidenote: they will cut your skin easily too.. so BEE careful and keep out of reach of children.)

My LOAN IT... are my Micron pens.

I LOVE my micron pens, but they are pricey so, unless you are needing a really good clean line I would suggest just borrowing mine for a project!  Sharpies are wonderful for lots and lots of things, but I love my microns for quality art projects! At about $3 a piece, these are not pens for your toddler to use. Well, that and the fact that Archival means PERMANENT!

And finally, my LEAVE IT... my Making Memories paper trimmer.

I cut a lot of paper. This trimmer is heavy and appears to be a good trimmer. But it's not! I have had 2 now and they BREAK way too easily!! And for $50, I expect the paper guide to NOT BREAK OFF!! And if that wasn't bad enough (you can still cut with a broken guide, you just have to hold the guide in place, while holding the paper in place, while pulling the cutter head... not easy) the cutter head makes the worst creaking/squealing sound ever. Really. I was scared to cut paper at night for fear of waking up the children! I'd end up using my little fiskars trimmer that I've had for years at night anyway, so I've bought a few more replacement blades for it and am making due until I can afford/find a quality trimmer that will hold up to regular use!

And that's it for today's installment of Love It, Loan It, or Leave It!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Prize at the End of the Tunnel

I'm looking towards my goal weight.
I've got a ways to go.

But I'm over halfway there.

So, I decided it was time to look for a prize.

And here it is.

I'm hoping I'll get to carry it to school on the first day.

But no matter, when I hit my goal I'll be shopping!

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Shoes

While in the big city, I got me some new running shoes!!

Turns out, the running shoes I purchased in May were not the right shoes for me at all! Crazy, I bought better shoes to protect my foot, and I ended up with shoes that were putting more pressure on the pins. Great.

So after the "Gait Analysis" I was pointed to a pair of Brooks and am back in business.

It's amazing how much better I feel with the right shoes.

Chicago Wrap Up

Chicago was a great place to visit.  It's like a clean, safe and friendly NYC!

I can't begin to count the miles we walked from Thursday through Sunday.  It was a lot. 

So to wrap up the trip here are a few more pictures.

A view from the bridge looking at Michigan Avenue.

A really store front. In fact, it was a really cool store. Too trendy for me. But I loved the sewing machines!

Almost to Buckingham Fountain. A community kitchen garden!! Love.

At Buckingham Fountain. Looking at Lake Michigan.

And me at the fountain. Side note: I had to buy this new outfit as we were walking around because the shirt and shorts I was wearing were literally FALLING OFF ME!!!  I looked and felt so pathetic! So, a little shopping and I felt so much better. A smaller size pants and a medium shirt will do that for a person :) 

Trudging back the couple of miles to the hotel with a trip through Millenium Park. 

And then for a little art in the mall made from legos. I think I'm going to do this project with my classes!  I better start begging for legos, but isn't it so cool!
And that's it for the highlights.

We are home and now the laundry begins.....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Art Heaven.. found in Chicago for only $18.

Chicago Day 2 started with a trip to art heaven!! One of my friends suggested a trip to  The Art Institute of Chicago to see the Seurat piece there.  It just so happens to be one of my favorite art pieces, so I figured that I'd enjoy the museum.

Well let me just say, I fell in love! 

As I stated in the earlier Chicago post, I've fallen in love with the city, and I can say that it is only growing!! I just can't get over how clean and fresh everything is here.  And the landscaping and parks are incredible.

So this morning, a new friend who's husband is also here working and I started our jaunt from the hotel to the art museum.

Here are a couple of the sites along the way.

The "bean" at Millennium Park. Find me in the flash!

I just love panorama shots! Yes, even my quirky buildings!

We got to the museum early and waited for it to open in the little garden.

When it was time to open there were TONS and TONS of people in line! It was crazy!  I asked a security guard if there was something special going on and he said no, it was like that every day! WOW.

We figured okay.
Then we got inside and saw the work.
Now I understand about the line.

For a measly $18 an adult we got to see the absolute best of the best! The MASTERS! The REAL art that you see in textbooks. That I teach everyday!!

It was truly incredible!!

And, I got to take pictures of almost everything.  I can't wait to tell my students about this museum.

Here are a few of my favorites.  I even squealed a few times I know!

1. The Child's Bath by Mary Cassatt

2. The Basket of Apples by Cezanne

3.The Bedroom by van Gogh

4. American Gothic by Grant Wood

5.Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

6.Self-Portrait by van Gogh

 7.A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

8.Paris Street; Rainy Day by Caillebotte

And that's just 8 of the hundreds of paintings, plus sculpture and textiles!  It was truly incredible. Well worth the money, the time and the LONG walk back to the hotel! :)