RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

In my last post, I mentioned that my 31st birthday is coming up and I am planning to celebrate by hosting a Bloody Mary themed party. I’ve been craving a good Bloody Mary ever since we got hit with our first heat wave in Portland. It felt too hot to cook or really eat much in 95+ degree heat and a cold Bloody Mary with all the fixings sounded like the perfect dinner on a hot summer night. (Un)lucky for me, the weather forecast for this coming weekend says the heat will be back on with another 97 degree high so I guess I’ll finally get exactly what I’ve been craving.

In preparation for the party I decided to infuse some vodkas. I chose two recipes, a special Bloody Mary Infusion (think garlic) and Bacon Habanero (think spicy).

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

5.0 from 1 reviews
Bloody Mary Infused Vodka
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • • Garlic, crushed
  • • Tomato, sliced
  • • Olives
  • • Bell Pepper, halved
  • • Cilantro
  • • Dill
  • • Vodka
Instructions
  1. Fill a large mason jar with garlic, tomato, bell pepper, olives and herbs. I filled my jar about ⅓-1/2 of the way. Next add the vodka, filling the jar. Allow to infuse in the refrigerator for at least three days (I infused for a full week). Strain and discard the veggies, then pour infused vodka back into a clean jar or bottle.

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

The Bloody Mary Infusion can be made up any way you want so feel free to try different combinations. Other ingredients to consider adding are: celery, cucumber, jalapeño, peppercorns. Now on to the bacon….

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

5.0 from 1 reviews
Bacon Habanero Infused Vodka
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • 6 slices pepper bacon, cooked
  • 3 habanero peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 serrano peppers, halved and seeded
  • Vodka
Instructions
  1. Place bacon and peppers in a large mason jar and cover with vodka, filling the jar. Let infuse in the refrigerator for up to one week. Give it a taste test after 3-4 days. The longer it infuses the spicier it will become.

RECIPE: Two Bloody Mary Vodka Infusions #cocktail #party

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

My 31st birthday is coming up and I’m planning to celebrate with a Bloody Mary themed party. To get ready I decided to make some creative garnishes including these candied jalapeños. I first discovered these sweet and spicy gems years ago when my friend Lindsay gifted me a jar. I can’t wait to try them on my fully loaded garnish skewer floating atop a spicy bloody mary cocktail!

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

Candied Jalapeños
 
Prep time
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This recipe makes four 8 oz canning jars.
Author:
Recipe type: Garnish
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs jalapeños
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut off the stems of the jalapeños and slice into ⅛-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
  2. Combine cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the jalapeños and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers in to sterile canning jars. Turn up the heat on the pot and bring the syrup to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
  3. Use a ladle to pour the syrup over the the jars covering the jalapeño slices. Insert a chopstick or butter knife in to the jars to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jars clean with a damp towel and secure lids.
  4. Place jars in refrigerator to mellow for 2-3 weeks (you can also can your jars using a hot water bath method).

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

I plan to eat these candied jalapeños with everything! They’d be perfect added to a charcuterie board, in a grilled cheese sandwich, on a pizza (with pepperoni and pineapple), or even on nachos instead of pickled jalapeños.

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

DIY: Convertible Harvest Apron / Produce Bag

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There’re still a million and a half things to do around here, but the garden has been calling. (Literally. The robins are LOUD.)

More often than not I find myself walking around with a hose and eating vegetables right off the plants like an animal; but the harvests are getting to be too big for me to eat immediately, too unwieldy to juggle in my hands, and while my first instinct is to bundle them up in my skirt I’m not too excited about flashing the neighbors.

All of this to explain why I decided to turn a half a yard of cotton material and some bias tape into a harvest apron- not just an apron, but an apron that converts to a drawstring produce bag.

For those of you who like to reverse engineer projects (and improve them!) the concept is simple. It’s a rectangular drawstring bag with one string that’s large enough to tie around your waist. For the rest of you who want to see what I did, follow along!

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Supplies

• 1/2 yard of printed cotton fabric. (18 inches x 45 inches wide, typically.)
• At least 3 yards of a durable, sewable trim to use as a drawstring and tie. I used Double Wide Bias Tape from Wrights.
• Sewing machine (or a needle and thread if you’re handy)
• Complementary thread and bobbin
• Ruler
• Straight pens
• Fabric Scissors
• Pinking Shears (optional).

Tips

• Remember to take it slow, and maybe start with a piece of material that you’re not in love with. The second one will go faster/easier.
• This project will hide a bunch of mistakes, so don’t fret!
• I used pinking shears to keep my edges from fraying. If you prefer, you can ignore all the steps that use the pinking shears and instead do a zig zag stitch down the fraying edge of the material. (This post on Craftsy is quite helpful.)
• Whenever you get to the end of a line of stitches, always go backwards and forwards on the spot with a few stitches to tie off the ends.
• A seam ripper is always useful if you’re as prone to mistakes as I am.
• An iron is also useful, if you have one handy. I use it to iron fabric flat, to fold seams over, and sometime I just push the steam button to listen to the hiss.

Step 1 – Making the Pocket

To begin, you will cut or tear the 18″x45″ piece of material down the fold so that you have two pieces of 18″x22.5″. You will be stitching the edges to form something almost like a pillow case, leaving one of the 22.5″ sides open (this will be the top of your pocket.) To remind myself which way went up, I used the pinking shears to trim one of the 22.5″ sides of each piece of material.

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Lay the two pieces together, with the right sides in. From your pinked “top” measure down 3 inches and put a bright pin or mark to show that your stitches will end here. (Don’t stitch above the markers.)

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Now sew a straight stitch 1/2 inch starting at your marker and going down to the bottom of the bag, across the bottom, and back up the other side (stopping 3″ below the top of the bag.)

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Voila! Pocket made!

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Now trim the other sides with your pinking shears to stop fraying.

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Step 2 – Drawstring Casing

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This first step is a little finicky– the goal is to fold under the raw edge of the fabric so it’s out of the way of the drawstring casing. First, fold back your unstitched raw edge (the 3″  from the top on each side we skipped before) and pin flat. 

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Use a zig-zag or straight stitch to permanently pin down that edge on each edge of the flap (leaving the flaps open.  One side shown open below.)

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Now for the drawstring casing, itself. Fold each open flap backwards to make a 1.5″ hem. Pin each side separately so that the pocket remains open.

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Run a straight stitch around the bottom of each flap, about 0.5″ from the pinked edge.

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Then run a second straight stitch approximately 0.5″ from the top of each side. The space between those stitches is where the drawstring will run.

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Step 3 – Drawstrings and Ties

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Cut your drawstring material into the following 3 pieces:
• Apron Tie: Wrap the string around your waist, add 12-18″ to your measurement and cut.
• Short Drawstring: Measure one piece that is 24″ to act as your other drawstring.
• Wrist Loop: The final piece will be a loop that you can use around your wrist to hold open your apron. I used about 12″ for my loop, but you may want to make yours longer or shorter (or omit this step, if you want!)

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For your wrist loop, cross the ends, and stitch to the middle of one of the open sides. (Make sure to stick above or below the drawstring casing area.

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The side with your loop will now be the front of your apron. Use a large safety pin to feed the 24″ piece through the casing on this side. Repeat with the long piece, through the casing on the other side.

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Fold over and stitch each of the four ends to form a 1.5″ loop. If you have a trim that will fray at the ends, it’s a good idea to do a tight zig-zag here to limit the fray over time.

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To keep your short drawstring from disappearing into the casing, feed the long piece through the loops on each side.

Trim all your little threads, and you’re ready to harvest!

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Tie the long tie at your natural waist, and get into the garden!

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Use the wrist loop when you need to hold open the apron, but keep your hands free. (Especially handy when you’re picking tricky berries.)

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When you’re ready to go in, untie the apron and pull the drawstrings for an instant produce bag.

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When the bag gets just too dirty, throw it into the wash on hot. (Turn the bag inside out to get rid of those stubborn bits of dirt.)

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Things to Try

• Add a pocket for a garden knife or shears.
• Add vintage cotton trim to make it even more vintage-girly.
• Add a bib and neck strap – more pockets?

Any suggestions? Do you have a favorite garden project you’re rocking this summer?

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread
I’ve felt the urge to bake these past few weeks, but haven’t brought myself to turn on the oven with our 90+ degree heat wave here in Portland. It’s finally starting to cool down (to the 80’s), so I decided I was finally ready to use up my over-ripe bananas and turn on the oven. The best time for baking during the summer is either early in the morning, or late at night (the ‘cool’ hours of summer). Since I’m more of a night owl, I decided to stay up late and bake a yummy loaf of banana bread while watching a movie. I have to say, the best part of late-night baking is waking up the next morning to a fresh slice of banana bread and coffee for breakfast!

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

Homemade Banana Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1½ cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + ½ cup all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup walnuts, crushed or chopped
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, beating well after each one. Then add the vanilla and bananas, beat until just combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use a whisk to stir well. Slowly pour flour mixture into the electric mixer and beat on low until combined. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy with coffee or tea in the morning or as an afternoon snack. Yum!

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

RECIPE: Mango Salsa With Garden Cilantro

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro #homegrown

Mango salsa is one of my all-time favorite dishes to make. Loading up a bowl of it with chips is one of my favorite summer-time meals. This year I planted some cilantro seeds in my garden and couldn’t wait to harvest it and try out a recipe from Doreen Shababy’s book, The Wild & Weedy Apothecary. Doreen’s book is a wonderful resource for any budding herbalist as it’s bursting with herbal recipes and remedies.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

About growing cilantro…

This was my second attempt at growing cilantro from seed. Cilantro can be a little tricky as it tends to bolt (spring up flowers) rather quickly, especially in hot weather. Cilantro thrives is cool, moist weather, so with our recent heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest there was nothing I could do to prevent my cilantro from sending up it’s long, spindly flowers. So instead of fretting over it, I just planting some new seeds to begin another crop.

Some growing tips:

– For a continuous crop all season long, plant cilantro seeds every two weeks.
– Plant in a container at least 18 inches wide and 8-10 inches deep.
– Follow the planting instructions on your seed packet. Seeds should germinate in 7-10 days.
– Place containers in full sun, or if you live in a hot climate, light shade.
– Harvest at least weekly to keep leaves coming.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

Now on to the salsa recipe. I made up a double batch so that I could take some to a friend’s birthday party and save some for myself 🙂

Mango Salsa With Garden Cilantro
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: Approx. 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe mangos, ripe, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds if you like it mild)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
  • Salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop up the mangos (if you've never cut open a mango before, the pit is large, long and flat, so you basically cut around the pit). Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Then taste and add a dash of cayenne and salt if needed.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

Serve this yummy salsa as an appetizer with chips, over fish or shrimp tacos, or even use it to garnish chicken dishes.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

RECIPE: Oven-Roasted Chickpeas, The Nut-Free Snack Sensation

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I have never been a big fan of tree nuts (and I despise peanuts) so it wasn’t a big deal when I noticed that I was allergic to them; but it does make vegetarian life a little more complicated. Nuts seem to be the go-to protein rich snack, and I’ve spent years trying to find the perfect replacement.

One day Safety Husband brought home a pouch of oven-roasted garbanzo beans, and I had an aha moment.

Oven roasted beans! Crispy! Crunchy! Fulfilling! Portable! Amazing!

So I set out to make my own. I decided to start with dry beans to ensure maximum crunchiness, but there are also recipes online that use canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans. I found directions from America’s Test Kitchen, but have made several changes to better suit my taste (and experience. The hour suggested by ATK is way too long, in my experience.)

RECIPE: Oven-Roasted Chickpeas
 
Cook time
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These oven-roasted chickpeas are salty, crunchy, and keep for days in a sealed container. Perfect for road trips, camping trips, or any other time you need a protein rich snack. *Plan a day ahead- you will need to soak the dried beans overnight.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Dried spices to taste
Instructions
  1. The day before cooking, place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. The beans will absorb a lot of the water, so make sure to cover by at least an inch of water.
  2. After the beans have soaked for at least 12 hours, drain and rinse them well with clean water.
  3. Spread the beans out on a towel, and dab them with another towel until they are quite dry.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Place the beans back into a dry bowl, and slowly pour olive oil over them. You want to use the oil quite sparingly. Mix the beans with your hand ensuring each bean has a light coating of oil.
  6. Lightly sprinkle with salt (to taste). You will be adding additional salt and spices at the end.
  7. Lay the beans out in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Don't pack them too tightly on the pan, you will need space to stir. Place on middle rack in pre warmed oven.
  8. Every 5-10 minutes you will want to check the beans, and stir to redistribute. The beans near the outside of the pan will brown more quickly.
  9. Watch for them to turn a rich medium brown (about 35 minutes), then remove them from the oven to cool. (You can also taste-test cooled beans from time to time to check if they are crunchy.) While they are still warm, sprinkle your favorite spice mix, and more salt to taste. (I kept these simple with just a little garlic powder.)
  10. When the beans have cooled, place them in an air-tight container. They will keep for at least a few days before getting stale (less crispy.)

 

Step by Step Instructions

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The day before cooking, place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. The beans will absorb a lot of the water, so make sure to cover by at least an inch of water.

After the beans have soaked for at least 12 hours, drain and rinse them well with clean water.

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Spread the beans out on a towel and dab them with another towel until they are quite dry.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

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Place the beans back into a dry bowl, and slowly pour olive oil over them. You want to use the oil quite sparingly. Mix the beans with your hand ensuring each bean has a light coating of oil.

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Lightly sprinkle with salt (to taste). You will be adding additional salt and spices at the end.

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Lay the beans out in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Don’t pack them too tightly on the pan, you will need space to stir. Place on middle rack in pre warmed oven.

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Every 5-10 minutes you will want to check the beans, and stir to redistribute. The beans near the outside of the pan will brown more quickly.

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Watch for them to turn a rich medium brown (about 35 minutes), then remove them from the oven to cool. (You can also taste-test cooled beans from time to time to check if they are crunchy.)

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While they are still warm, sprinkle your favorite spice mix, and more salt to taste. (I kept these simple with just a little garlic powder.)
When the beans have cooled, place them in an air-tight container. They will keep for at least a few days before getting stale (less crispy.)

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Or, you know, just eat them before someone else does.

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DIY: Homemade Allergy Relief Balm

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I am a seasonal allergy sufferer. It seems like every time the weather/season changes I start sneezing, my eyes get itchy and my nose gets runny and congested. Since I’ve begun learning more about essential oils, I’ve been looking for more and more ways to make my own home remedies rather than heading to the drugstore. I discovered this Allergy Balm while browsing Pinterest and knew I found an idea I wanted to try.

Lavender, Lemon + Peppermint (LLP)

What makes this balm so effective against allergies are the blend of essential oils lavender, lemon and peppermint. Together these three oils create a natural antihistamine which helps to reduce inflammation in the body and eases allergy symptoms.

I purchased the doTERRA introductory kit a while back which just happens to include LLP!

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Here’s a little more info about these 3 oils:

Lavender: Helps eliminate nervous tension, relieves pain and respiratory problems. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Lemon: Is a natural anti-biotic, antiviral, antiseptic, and disinfectant.
Peppermint: Contains menthol which helps clear the respiratory tract and has a cooling effect on the body. Because it is an expectorant, it provides instantaneous, though temporary, relief from nasal congestion, asthma, cold and cough.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

You can use the LLP combination in a number of different ways. You can take it internally using gel caps or make a body oil. I decided to try making a balm to rub into the bottoms of my feet and apply to any irritated areas.

Supplies Needed

• 3 tablespoons candelilla wax (or 1/4 cup beeswax)
• 1/3 cup almond oil
• 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
• 1/2 tablespoon vitamin E oil
• *25 drops each of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils
• Popsicle stick
• Small tins or glass jars

*Note: Peppermint has a much stronger scent and overpowered the lemon and lavender. Next time I will try using less. Maybe only 15 drops instead of 25.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Combine the almond, coconut and vitamin E oil in a mason jar. Fill a saucepan halfway with water and place it on medium-high heat. Place mason jar into the water to create a double boiler. Bring water to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer. Once the coconut oil is completely melted, add in the wax. Let wax melt and add in the essential oils. Use a popsicle stick to stir mixture.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Pour into small containers and let cool completely.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

How To Apply:

Whenever you feel the allergy itch coming on, rub this balm into the bottoms of my feet, the base of my skull/neck and apply to any irritated skin areas like around your eyes and nose.

Optional: Decorate your tin/jar with some pretty wash tape!

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

DIY: Funky T-shirt Rag Quilt for Summer Picnics and Winter Snuggling

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I come by both my weird sense of humor and my borderline hoarderness honestly. What that means is I have collections of really funny/awesome/unique/vintage/sentimental stuff that I can’t use, but I really don’t want to part with.

Like a bin of old t-shirts.

Now, I don’t really wear t-shirts. I don’t often find the need to wear old shirts from my ballet or flag twirling days. I stopped wearing the worn out vintage tees that my mom passed down, and I never really found the guts to wear the t-shirts with swears that I thought were my right as an adult.

So they all just sat in a bin in the closet until I found this amazing tutorial at “Sweet Tea in the South” to turning them into a quilt. I made a few adjustments to use supplies I had on hand, but she does an amazing job of going through the process step by step.
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I just want to get this out of the way- this is a labor intensive project with lots of steps, and a metric ton of cutting. Jess at Sweet Tea in the South recommends splitting it up over a few days, and I have to agree. It takes a long time to do, and is exhausting, but here’s the thing…

I think this is my favorite sewing project, ever. I think there might be some romantic love brewing between me and this blanket. It’s thick and soft, and smells lovely. It’s washable and gigantic (mine is 6′ x 6′) and each square is a symbol of who I am and where I come from– the classic rock station I grew up to, the matching t-shirts Safety Husband and I wore to our after prom party, band shirts, and festival shirts.

Supplies

• Old T-shirts- You will need two squares of shirt for each square of your quilt. I used the fronts and backs of shirts, and all-in-all I used about 36 large shirts for my quilt.
• Batting or flannel for the inside of the quilt. I used Cotton quilt batting that I had around. You will need one square for each square of the quilt.
• A template for cutting your squares (instructions below) I used some scrap chipboard.
• A sewing machine with a ballpoint needle and a lot of thread. (I used white all-purpose thread.)
• Straight pins
• Sewing scissors. Optional but recommended – a fabric rotary cutter, and probably a pair of embroidery scissors for snipping.

To Make your Square template

Measure across each of your shirts to see what size square would cut easily out of all of them. My shirts ranged from large to extra-large, and from 14″ – 16″. I used scrap chipboard to cut a 14″ x 14″ square template for my t-shirt blocks, and made another template that was 1″ smaller on all sides (12″ x 12″) for my batting blocks. You can cut your template from cardboard, wood, or anything else you have around.

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Step 1: Cutting the Squares

Lay a t-shirt out smoothly across a protected surface, and center your t-shirt block template around the art.

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Carefully cut around the template.

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Repeat this with each shirt.

When you’re done with all of your shirts, use your batting template to cut out one piece of batting for every 2 pieces of shirt.

Step 2: Building the Quilt Squares

Each square of your quilt will start out as a stack of shirt|batting|shirt. One of your t-shirt pieces will be on the front, the other on the back. I decided that I wanted to make one side of my blanket cool colors, and the other side warm colors, so each of my stacks was coolcolorshirt|batting|warmcoloredshirt. You can arrange them however you want!

To build your block, lay out your first piece of t-shirt, face-down, then center the smaller piece of batting.

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Cover with the other piece of t-shirt, face-up and secure with several pins, making sure to go through the batting layer.

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Repeat with all your squares, until you have a tidy little stack.

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(At this point I laid all of my squares out on the floor and arranged them how I wanted. I marked each square with a letter and number so I knew how to put them back together. It was a lot of work, and I wouldn’t necessarily do it again. Random is OK!)

Step 3: “Quilting” your Squares

There are several ways to quilt the block together, the important thing is to stitch through every layer to keep the batting and fabric from shifting. I used a combination of straight stitches and a zig zag stitches on my machine to make lines across each block horizontally and vertically.

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Repeat in each square, and you’re ready to start putting them all together!

Step 4: Assembling the Quilt

The “rag” in this rag quilt means that instead of hiding your seams, you will leave them out to fray and fringe. With that in mind, you need to decide which side will have the extra fluff. One side will be clean and flat like

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The other will be fringed and crazy

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Start with two blocks, and stack them with the future fringed sides facing out.

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You will pin and sew the two pieces together on one edge, about 3/4 of an inch in (seam allowance). I used a zig-zag stitch for these seams to allow a little more stretch and flexibility.

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Attach the next block in the row the same way until you’ve completed a whole row, then start with the next row.

When you have every row sewn, sew each one to the ones beside it the same way. Make sure you keep your seams facing the same way so that all your fringe is on the front or back.

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Breath deeply and look at all that you’ve accomplished! Now take a break, the next part is tedious.

Step 5: Fringing and Clean-up

The final step is to fringe all those seams so that they will roll up and hide any mistakes you may have made on this quilt, and to cut all your little threads. The embroidery scissors are great for this task, but regular sewing scissors work as well. To fringe the seams make a small cut almost to your seam, every half an inch or so. You will do this around the outside edge of your blanket, as well as at every seam. I suggest a watching a movie.

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It may take a while (several evenings) of trimming in front of the tv, with your blanket in your lap, and your cat cuddled underneath, but when you’re done you might be as in love as I am.

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Now that I’ve done the work, I’m going to use this blanket for everything: picnics, cold nights, hammock times, even make-shift shelter. So if you see a pile of funny/awesome/unique/vintage/sentimental old t-shirts walking around, make sure say hi.

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May DIY Challenge Results!

This month’s DIY Challenge theme has reached full bloom, and we’re very excited to share a roundup of submissions we received from our readers. With a theme like ‘flowers’ you know you’re gonna have some fun. Without further ado, here are the May DIY Challenge Award Winners along with the gallery of everyone’s lovely submissions…

DIY Challenge Award: Brightest Idea

The award for “Brightest Idea” goes to Lori Miller of Eldridge, Iowa. Lori is a fine art fiber artist and loves transforming cast-off sewing materials into something new. You can see more of Lori’s work on her website.

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

As I am always seeking ways to turn the cast-offs into some type of treasure, I came up with a variation of the zipper pin. The idea is not my own originally but I modified it to make a more fresh, funky flower design. Combinations of colors was fun as well as the different type of zippers. – Lori Miller

DIY Challenge Award: Most Inspired

We were “Most Inspired” by Gail Griffin’s handmade foam lilies. Gail is from Millersville, Maryland where she teaches crafty classes and creates various projects for her blog, Plum Perfect and Me. Check out Gail’s step-by-step tutorial and have fun making your own foam flowers!

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

DIY Challenge Award: Most Treasured

This beautiful handmade journal deserves the “Most Treasured” award because it is almost too gorgeous to write in! Made by Nikki, the creator of Venus Envy Paper. Nikki used K & Company scrapbook paper to create this book and used the coptic binding technique. As a lifelong journal writer, she loves that her handmade journals have the ability to lie completely flat, for easy writing. Be sure to check out Nikki’s Etsy shop where she sells handmade wax seals, custom journals, paper flowers and more!

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

I specialize in making custom art journals, paper flowers and wax seals. I live in a smallish (read growing way too fast) town in Northern California. I am a proud sci/fi nerd and have adopted six homeless cats. Or I should say, they decided I was going to be their human servant for the rest of their natural multiple lives. I am most passionate about creating journals that will last not for the moment, but for generations. – Nikki

Flowers Gallery

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

Credits (left to right):

1. Homegrown Lollipop Flowers by Stephanie Rose from Vancouver BC, Canada
2. Field of Flowers Tote by Donna Heron
3. Mixed Media Collages by Becky Brooks from Issaquah, Washington
4. DIY Flowers On A Stick by Despina from Greece
5. Painted Sunflowers by Madison Lee from Southern California

Thank you for participating in the May DIY Challenge! We will be taking a break for the month of June but we’ll be back with our next DIY Challenge theme in July!

DIY: The Simplest Paper Flowers

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A while back my friend Susan made a bunch of simple paper flowers that found a home on a shelf in my store.

Every few weeks a kid would ask me about the flowers, and I would give them one and tell them to take it home and try to figure out how to make their own. Without fail the kid would stare at the flower until it was time to leave, and I could see the parents trying to work out what materials they needed to make it happen.

Sometimes they asked me to demonstrate, but mostly I just loved the idea that I had inspired a kiddo to use their imagination and ingenuity to make something fun.

I think this is a great project to do with kids of all ages, and you just need a few simple supplies to make it happen.

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Supplies

• Scrap Paper – Anything from text weight paper, to light weight card stock will work. Big pieces will make big flowers, small pieces will make small flowers. Susan used some old book pages for her flowers, you could use wrapping paper, catalog pages, or anything really!
• Scissors
• Your favorite glue – I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue but Elmer’s would also work.

Step 1

Cut an oval out of your piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to keep the corners rounded.

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Step 2

Starting from one side, cut the oval into a spiral. You should have a pointed end on the outside, and a rounded end on the other.

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Step 3

Take the pointed end, and fold it down toward the center of the spiral.

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Step 4

Starting at that fold, begin rolling the paper into a flower shape.

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Step 5

When you get to the center portion of the spiral, tighten the bloom up by twisting the paper around the folded piece.

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Step 6

Hold the bloom in your hand, and apply a drop of glue to the folded portion you started the flower with, then

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fold it over and hold it for a few seconds until the glue holds.
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The whole process takes a couple of minutes, and gives you a lovely simple flower to brighten up your day. You can put them in a basket, like I did, hang them like a mobile, or decorate a table with them. They don’t fade, and the possibilities are endless!

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So make a bunch and send us a picture of your creation for the DIY Craft Challenge this month! Or share your favorite flower craft.