11 October 2010

Homemade gifts - robes, skirts, dresses, & belts

I posted this on my blog, but figured it would fit into this blog too :) FYI - if you don't know how to make a pillowcase dress, there are TONS of directions and videos on youtube!

I was at Target early this week and saw some pillowcases and towels on clearance. That got the wheels turning in my head and I thought of all these different projects I could do with them for Christmas. If you know me, I cannot sew AT ALL - a straight line is about all I can accomplish. So these were all easy projects - none taking over an hour (which with a 2.5 month old, is important!!). I took me about 4 days to complete all of them....

I made them for Christmas - mostly for Sabrina (my 7 year old daughter)... She has been wanting dresses/skirts - so these came out cute and cheap! She is always wanting me to make her stuff, but unfortunately she was blessed with a mom severely lacking in sewing skills :P These should make her pretty happy and now I have a bunch of stuff ready for Christmas already :)

My FAVORITE thing I made is at the bottom, so make sure to check them out. I was REALLY impressed with myself for making them and coming up with it. I had no pattern, and couldn't find anything on the Internet that matched what I was wanting to make - so I winged it... and they turned out better than I hoped!! I also made 4 hair ties and a headband out of the leftover fabrics :) (didn't take pictures of them)

So these are the pillowcase dresses I made. The pillowcases at Target were REALLY nice (400+ tread count - really soft and silky). For 2 King size purple ones, it was $4.50, and 2 Queen size pink ones were $3.50. I went and bought some pretty sheer/pearl fabric to put over the pillowcases, to try and make it a bit fancier. I thought the fabric I chose was on sale for $2.99, but apparently I picked one that was $8.99! Yikes - I didn't notice until checking out... Luckily, the ladies at JoAnn's gave me a 50% off coupon making it $4.50 - so I decided not to return it...

So total cost for each one: $7.25
Purple one - $2.25 for pillowcase, $4.50 for the outer fabric, and $.50 for elastic at the top. Since this was a King size pillowcase and longer than I needed, I used the extra fabric for the ties and belt.. If I had gotten the right, on sale fabric, the total would have only been $5.75 :P
Pink one - $1.75 for pillowcase, $4.50 for outer fabric, $.50 for elastic, and $.50 for fabric for straps/belt.
There was also enough of the outer fabric for an extra belt (in pink one picture) for either dress

Now I just need to buy her a new pink and a white shirt to wear under them

This is what I did with the other pillowcases (there were 2 in each set). I cut them in half and made skirts. Sabrina has been eying these skirts at Target that have a bunch of tulle on them - they are about $12 :P So these are what I came up with. One pink and one purple have 1 layer of tulle each and the other pink and purple each have 3 layers of tulle.

The purple ones came out to less than $6 for 2 ($3 each!) - $2.25 for the pillowcase, $2.38 for 2yds of tulle, $.50 for elastic, and $.79 for the belting to tie the waist

The pink ones were about $5.50 for the 2 - the same break down as the purple, only the pillowcases were only $1.75..

I think I am going to buy her some black leggings to wear under the pink ones...

Belts - Sabrina has been asking for belts.. Why? I have no idea, but they are like $8-10 in the store, so I have yet to get her any. So when I was buying the stuff for the dresses/skirts, I found belting - I didn't even know they sold this (I told you NO sewing skills - I have no idea what they sell :P). So I bought some - apparently enough to make 6. and they were super EASY to make and way cheap! I ended up making 2 more, because Jonathan saw I was making them and said he wanted one too - so I went and bought some black belting and made him 2 :)

Cost: $2.05 a piece - belting was $1.99 a yard, I used .75 of a yard for each belt, plus had a 40% off coupon for the belting. The hardware was $2.29 and was enough for 2 belts (so $1.15 each belt).

These are my favorite things I made. The kids have been asking for robes - mainly because Oliver got one as a gift and they think it is pretty cool. At the store they are at least $20, so I refused to get them their own. Well, when I saw the SUPER SOFT and FLUFFY towels on clearance at Target, I thought I could make them some. I could not find a pattern or anything online that matched what I wanted. So I figured it out myself and I am quite excited I was able to do it and they turned out so well!

So each towel was on clearance for $3.50. I bought 3 to complete the project (if you only wanted to make one, use one towel and one hand towel). S0 each robe used 1.5 towels coming to a total of $5.25 per robe (and they are REALLY soft, fluffy, and nice towels!).

Here is how I made them - in case anyone is interested - Super easy, cheap, and a cute gift:

Fold the towel in half and then half again; cut at an angle, thus making a circle in the middle of the towel (for the head)
Unfold the towel and fold it in half lengthwise and cut one side the towel to the hole (making the front opening of the robe)
Fold about a half an inch around the edges you just cut and sew around it (to make a nice edge and help with the fraying)
Take a hand towel (or if like me, cut a hand towel size piece from a bigger towel) and sew it to the head hole you made.
Then sew along the top of the hand towel (on the inside), making it into a hood
On the open sides, mine were about 30 inches long (each side). Make sure you turn inside out. I cut in about 4-5 inches with 10 inches at the top for the sleeves and 20 at the bottom. I sewed the bottom 20 inches together (4-5 inches from the edge), creating the side. I then just sewed the the bottom of the sleeves together to make them into sleeves (make sure to do this on the inside).

And you're done! Turn right side out and you've got a robe. I sewed on pockets because I had extra towel leftover and made belts out of the extra towel.
They are really cute and as you can see really easy! I know my kids are going to be so excited about them!

02 October 2010

another cookbook referral

We received this cookbook - Jacques Pepin's Kitchen: Encore With Claudine - for Christmas from Beth, who apparently found it at a used booksale or something like that. It's set up by menu - a main dish, a couple of sides, and a dessert. We had never heard of this chef but Adam was getting tired of menu planning for the grocery shopping so he decided to work his way through the book.


There have been a couple of things that we didn't really like - the cold cucumber and mint soup being the one that immediately comes to mind. But other than that, it's been great! We've been introduced to some interesting food combinations - tonight's dinner was zucchini mashed into a mashed potato gratin dish topped with poached cod and a basil sauce. The side was steamed leeks with bread crumbs over them, with garlic and Swiss cheese in the breading. It was really good!

And there's something else - until this week, neither of us had ever had leeks. Or turnips or parsnips. And now we have. Our kids won't go near most of this stuff but we're not pushing them hard on what they eat - they eat tons of fruit, vegetables, and sandwiches and very few treats so they're fine. They don't need to develop an adult palate overnight - some of these dishes have a pretty complex taste.

We're not even halfway through the book yet but like I said, everything (with just a couple of exceptions) has been surprisingly good - even combinations that sound a little weird. So I thought I'd pass on the book referral.