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 Quilted Scrappy Duffel
I had a drawer full of random calico scraps and a need for a roomy bag, so I set myself a challenge: make a duffel bag without buying a single thing new
 Recycled DIY backpack
I was looking for a fun hand sewing challenge around the same time I was also thinking I could use a light weight backpack for biking...
 Drying Herbs
Turns out "making our own spices!" is a fun kids project.
 diy counter top
Tearing out a broken range top left us with a topless cabinet. So we shoved it into the middle of the kitchen and topped it off with this inexpensive counter top to use as a temporary island.
 Painting Over Wallpaper
Time to bury that wallpaper in primer and paint!
 Make Long Sleeves into Short Sleeves
Picked up a great shirt thrifting, but the cuffs were ridiculous... snip, whir, short sleeves!
 putting old placemats to use
I can't be the only one with a stash of seen-better-days placemats looking to be put to good use. Well, here's a quick idea: summer sliding!
 Chive Seed Saving Craft Project
Chives are easy to grow with beautiful flowers and produce a easily harvestable seeds in quantity... here's a quick and easy idea for something to do with all those little seeds.
 Commuter Tote Bag
Now that I'm working full time and commuting via bus and train, I envy the numerous women I see who seem fully capable of venturing forth with nothing more than an attractive shoulder bag. But not enough to quit bringing my assorted bulky items with me. Time to get sewing!
 Modern Christmas Tree
An ultra portable, ultra cheap option for novel kind of Christmas tree.
 The No Waste Lifecyle of a Jack-O-Lantern Chez Nous
Every Halloween we get at least one small free pumpkin, courtesy of the Park District, YMCA or zoo. Here's how we make the very most of them.
 simplify your grocery list-making
For those of us who can't manage to add things to our grocery list right when they run out: a speedy alternate method to ensure nothing important gets forgotten.
 doing something with all those photos
8 years ago, I discovered photo books in a big way. Read more about my adventures and how I ended up being a big fan of on-demand printers like Lulu and Magcloud.
 making a girl's apron from a dress
Turning an outgrown dress into an apron is a quick and easy project that doesn't require much sewing.
 Plant Consolidation
Taking advantage of my sentimental inability to resist plopping plant trimmings into water for rooting, a small crack team of potted plants have been conducting a clandestine attemp to take over my apartment.
 Pants Minus Shorts Equals Skirt
What do you do with the extra fabric when you turn pants into shorts? Skirt!
 Upcycle a Bedspread into Reusable Grocery Bag Totes
One day I was cleaning out my closet and I happened to notice a rather hideous old queen-sized bedspread, the finest $20 could buy you from Wal-mart when I was a newly minted college graduate...
 Semi-Crockpot Lasagna
This week I experimented with a new Lasagna method that I think is a winner, drafting my crockpot into service for the first leg of the relay.
 Mini Donut Cookies
Tasty and easy-to-make, this cookie recipe is fun and a particularly good project to do with kids, arguably even better than the venerable cut-out cookie.
 Starry Red Field Dress
As a certified pack-rat, I try not to sew too many dresses or toys for my little one, knowing full well that (assuming she's not hauling a big box of out grown things off to college) I will be stuck with them forever, unable to contemplate giving them away. But I spotted a good length of star-spangled calico...
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 1: Introduction
"This dress, or something similar" the e-mail said, linking to an ivory confection of satin, net and tulle for sale at a certain store, let's just call it Davy Jones' Nuptial Locker.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 2: Getting Started
The first step was pattern hunting, but I couldn't seem to find a bodice with princess seams designed for little people. No problem, right?
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 3: Lining Skirt
The first thing I did differently than usual was I actually took the time to pre-wash my fabrics (except the tulle/net). I even -- and I can hardly believe it myself -- zig-zagged the raw edges before washing so that they wouldn't unravel everywhere.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 4: Bodice Insets
Next I set to work on the bodice lining. I had considered interfacing the bodice as well as lining it. A trial run, however, persuaded me to abandon the idea. It just didn't look comfy, besides making all the construction more complicated.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 5: Netting & Tulle Layers
Stymied on the bodice-front, I turned to the skirt. I started with the easiest part, the 10" flounce for the bottom-most layer.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 6: Bodice Assembly
Finally the satin bodice front was dry and I was able to continue work. I started by pressing everything and then connecting the shoulders.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 7: Skirt Set Back
With the bodice looking very bodice-like and the skirt portions like-wise well along their way, I thought it was time to stack everything together and see what we had.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 8: Skirt/Bodice Assembly
I had forgotten to make a slit in the top back of the skirt for the zipper extension, and after some study, decided that ripping out the seams for 2 inches would be more trouble than it was worth on fray-free net and just cut right in.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 9: Zipper
Though I've been installing zippers for years and years, and once did a fair number of zipper flys (not recently though) figuring out how to do the lapped zipper took some preparation.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 10: Try On & Finishing
Finally the dress was at a state where I felt I could safely and productively try it on. I held my breath and struggled a bit to keep the lining, still loose inside, from bunching up too badly, and then zip, and phew! It fit.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 11: Big Day
Finally, the big day arrived. The dress emerged only slightly wrinkled from it's sojourn in a too-small suit-case and floated out into the lime-light, the skirt miraculously just the right length to avoid being stepped on.
 Flower Girl Dress, Part 12: Conclusion
I bought the fabric and supplies over the course of many trips to Jo-Ann's, all the better to maximize my preferred customer coupons.
 Home-made play dough animals
It turns out homemade playdough is MUCH nicer than the store-bought type. Aside from the pleasant fruity smell from the kool-aid used to dye it, it's proved a lot more resilient.
 Starter Bread & English Muffins
My pregnancy came with a bread addiction that has persisted 3 years post-partum. It's a pretty nice addiction to have, Atkins-Smatkins.
 Dwarf Morning Glory, Lobelia & Marigold
This year's early bird spring has me busily plotting and planning my annual container garden campaign, and thinking over campaigns past. One of my favorite arrangements involved a trio of seed-grown plants that turned out to be spectacular companions: dwarf morning glory, lobelia and marigolds.
 Gingerbread House 2011
A confession: I did not actually let my young child decorate our first annual ginger bread house. I was having just a little too much fun doing it myself!
 Review: Ratio (Ruhlman)
cooking insights based on weighing ingredients
 Review: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (Hertzberg/Francois)
Bread making for those lacking stand-mixers and copious free time.


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