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How to upcycle a bed sheet

The other weekend we took a day trip to the beach, but the day before we left I realized we didn’t have any blankets that I wanted to take with me to lay out on the sand. I wanted something light-weight with a fun pattern, but most of all, cheap. So where else would I go to find such a thing but Salvation Army! As I looked through the rack of bedsheets I found quite a few that I liked just for the print on the fabric and started to get very inspired. Once I had an armload (of which only one was destined to head down to Deleware with us) I took them up to the register and paid for them. A happy coincidence was that they were all half price, so I scored all of my sheets for around $5 total! A combination of saving money and recycling always makes me a happy person!

The one sheet I bought just screamed over-the-shoulder tote to me, so I found a nice tutorial here and I just love how it turned out!

1This tutorial includes a printable pattern and easy, clear instructions. Even someone with only the most basic knowledge of sewing could make this bag!

2Technically, this bag is also reversible, but I used plain white cotton on the inside so I don’t think I’ll be doing that. But there are so many possibilities with this pattern, I’m already thinking of adding some pockets and other custom touches to make this easy, effortless, boho bag even more functional.

3 Thanks to my husband for helping me snap some shots of the bag in use! He’s just the greatest. :)

Let me know what you think of this upcycled bed sheet project. I’ve also got plenty left of this fabric, I wonder what else I could make it into? I’ve also got ideas for future projects in the works, so stay tuned for big things to come!

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A Domestic Day

Alright. I realize that pretty much everything I post about is domestic-related, but today I’m really feeling like a housewife. One of the reasons could be because we took my car to the shop this morning to get inspected, leaving me home alone with no wheels. One of the other reasons could be my brilliant plan to can some dill pickles and some sweet relish today, on top of the normal activities of tidying and laundry. So here I am with dreams of pickle jars lining my counters to use as image for my blog, but as with most dreams, it didn’t exactly come true.

After I finished washing all of my jars out I realized I was missing some pretty key ingredients for both my pickle relish and the dill pickles. I needed garlic, white vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed, 2 red bell peppers, and 2 yellow bell peppers. I was going to use today to go to the grocery store, but I forgot I wouldn’t have a car to use! Not my most brilliant moment. But everything turned out OK when I realized that our lovely farmers market was open today so I took a stroll downtown and bought most of what I needed. I’m still missing the white vinegar for the dill pickles, so I’ll have to make them another day, but I found everything else and now have a giant bowl of ground cucumbers, onions, and peppers sitting, soon ready to be made into yummy relish without that dreaded high-fructose corn syrup that’s in every variety at the grocery store. Yay!

But I feel ashamed to write a post with no pictures though, and since the relish isn’t even close to pretty right now, I decided I’d also share a recipe I created today! Another reason for the domestic feelings. I’m calling this one Confetti Pasta Salad and it was born from having a whole lot of fresh salsa in our fridge. Having too much fresh salsa is never a problem. Especially when it results in this!

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Last night I made fresh salsa for our small group because, again, I failed to plan things out well and totally forgot I needed to serve a snack! I spent most of the day cleaning out my old bedroom at my parents house but on my way back home I stopped at a farm and got some fresh tomatoes and a green pepper. I also had to stop at the grocery store to find a red onion, cilantro, and tortilla chips.

I got home to find my husband frantically cleaning the house, getting it ready for the guests. I’m so glad he was so willing to help because I never would have gotten it all done on my own! So after the house was clean I got to work on my salsa. All my ingredients went into my food processor and soon after I had so much fresh salsa I needed two bowls to hold it all! I heard a few people say later that it was the best salsa they had ever tasted! That definitely made me a happy girl!

But I’m getting pretty longwinded here. We had tons of salsa leftover, so for lunch today I decided this salsa is the type of thing that tastes good on foods other than just tortilla chips, so I boiled up some Ditalini pasta and mixed some of the salsa into it and then let it chill in the fridge for an hour or so. I chose the Ditalini because I thought it was a good size ratio to the salsa, but macaroni would probably work just as well! My oh my, it was so good and fresh and summery tasting! The tomatoes were sweet and juicy, the onions added a nice punch, fresh cilantro and basil added their own unique flavors, and the best part is the longer this sits in the refrigerator, the more time the flavors have to really mingle and come together. This is also one of those recipes that you can grow almost all of the ingredients yourself, and if you do it makes creating it just that much more satisfying.

OK. Enough rambling on and on. You want the recipe, I know. Well here ya go, and if you decide to make this please tell me what you think!

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Confetti Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh summer salsa
2 cups cooked Ditalini pasta

Salsa Ingredients:
3 medium tomatoes (cut into chunks)
1/2 medium red onion (cut into chunks)
1/2 large green pepper (cut into chunks)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh basil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Instructions: Make the fresh summer salsa by combining the salsa ingredients in a food processor (or just chopping everything up finely if you don’t have one!) and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of the salsa to your cooked pasta and mix well. (Note: This recipe will give you extra salsa to enjoy with chips or anything else as well. Be creative!) Allow the pasta salad to chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with a spring of basil and enjoy!

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My mustard yellow impulse buy

We have never had enough dishcloths around the apartment. It hasn’t been a huge issue, rather something that’s been nagging at the back of my thoughts ever since we moved in. I figured next time I’m at Target I’d just pick up some extra dishcloths, but the problem is I never remembered. So the other week I went out to buy some yarn for a light cardigan I wanted to start knitting (yes, in preparation for fall. Or maybe the next fall considering how long it takes me to finish knitting a garment for myself) and I saw this mustard yellow cotton yarn sitting on the shelf, calling out to me. There was even a dishcloth pattern right on the label. So I picked it up. I managed to restrain myself from getting one skein in every color, (there was also coral and a light teal…I mean, come on. Swoon!) but then I brought it home and started working on the cardigan and nearly forgot about the dishcloth.

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That is until today. I picked it up and just a little while later I was sitting pretty with a fun new sunny yellow dishcloth to brighten up my kitchen. And who knows, maybe it will even make doing the dishes more enjoyable. Doubtful, but a girl can hope.

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This dishcloth crocheted, using a single crochet chain 1 pattern. It was super fast, super easy, and the finished product will be super useful. Win win win, my favorite kind of crochet projects.

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I like it so much, I’m definitely going back for the other colors someday soon!

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Vacation Recap

Well, after two weekends in a row of camping, and one yet to come, things have been busy around our household! First we went with my Mom’s side of the family for a weekend to a big old farmhouse settled in a gorgeous valley right next to the Juniata River. This is a yearly weekend getaway for our family and it is always just so lovely and relaxing. The very next weekend (well, OK, Thursday-Saturday) we traveled out to the Pittsburgh area to go camping with my immediate family. We had a lot of fun playing games, celebrating Independence Day, going into the city to watch the Phillies play the Pirates, and just spend time together as a family.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen most of these photos, if not, here’s a photo recap of our camping adventures!

The big old barn at the Farmhouse

The big old barn at the Farmhouse

This beautiful old house holds so many memories for me! We slept in a tent outside to save some cash, hence why I consider this a camping weekend.

This beautiful old house holds so many memories for me! We slept in a tent outside to save some cash, hence why I consider this a camping weekend.

The campground about an hour outside of Pittsburgh.

The campground about an hour outside of Pittsburgh.

Happy Fourth of July Breakfast! Pancakes, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and homemade chicken sausage.

Happy Fourth of July Breakfast! Pancakes, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and homemade chicken sausage.

Nobody brought Boggle for me to play, but we did have two copies of Bananagrams, so I improvised.

Nobody brought Boggle for me to play, but we did have two copies of Bananagrams, so I improvised.

My husband left his backpack of clothes at home, so we had to go to Wal-Mart to buy him some essentials. While it was a bit of an inconvenience, the plus side is he got this great Fourth of July outfit.

My husband left his backpack of clothes at home, so we had to go to Wal-Mart to buy him some essentials. While it was a bit of an inconvenience, the plus side is he got this great Fourth of July outfit.

Relaxing at the pool in the sun. For those wondering, I'm reading "Valley of Horses" by Jean M. Auel, book two in the Clan of the Cave Bear series.

Relaxing at the pool in the sun. For those wondering, I’m reading “Valley of Horses” by Jean M. Auel, book two in the Clan of the Cave Bear series.

No family gathering is complete without a game of Dominion! Don't be fooled by it's looks, it's a great game!

No family gathering is complete without a game of Dominion! Don’t be fooled by it’s looks, it’s a great game!

Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh!

Watching the Phillies lose again. But at least this time we got a hit, the last game we went to was a no-hitter.

Watching the Phillies lose again. But at least this time we got a hit, the last game we went to was a no-hitter.

PNC Park has a beautiful view!

PNC Park has a beautiful view!

This weekend we’re going camping again with our church, it’s going to be great! If you haven’t noticed yet, I love camping!! :)

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DIY Circle Scarf

DIY main
It’s time for another DIY today! I woke up and made my way over to Salvation Army in search of a good DIY project to share today, and I found it alright. The idea for it came from a dress I bought at Salvation Army last year. It’s a long dress, but it falls just above my ankles, cutting off at a very odd and less-than-flattering spot. I’ve been wanting to shorten the dress, it’s a cute floral pattern that would look really great ending just above my knees, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Anyway, while thinking about cutting so much off of this dress I was debating what I could do with the extra fabric, one day I realized that it would look really great as a scarf! So today at Salvation Army I found a skirt that I thought was pretty and tried it on. Alas, it must have been a size 000 or something, I couldn’t even get the thing past my hips, even with an elastic waist. At first I was sad, then I realized the skirt had the same potential as my awkward-length maxi dress! So I put it back on the hanger and marched it over to the checkout. Here it is, my $2.99 soon-to-be-scarf skirt.

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So the first thing I did was wash it when I got home. I know Salvation Army clothes get washed before they go on the racks, but I just wanted to make sure it was really clean before I put that fabric anywhere near my face!

Second thing was to pull out the waist seam to figure out how much fabric I actually had to deal with. I wasn’t sure how much the pleats at the top were hiding. Turns out it was a pretty good amount!

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I then had to pull out another side seam because the skirt wasn’t quite as wide at the top as it was at the bottom. When that was done I laid it out and folded it in half with right sides together.

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At this point the scarf was roughly 52″ x13″. Not quite as long as I would have liked, but it works. I also cut those non-square edges off the fabric that you can see in the previous image so that I had a rectangle instead of a trapezoid shape.

I then pinned the long sides together and sewed them up.

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I then had a long tube, and I flipped it right side out and folded it in half. I matched the two ends of the long seam I had just sewn together and taking just those two layers of fabric I began sewing them together. Here’s a photo and a diagram to show what I mean.

diagram

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Once I had sewn all the way around save for a few inches I took my scarf off the sewing machine. At this point all that was left to do was to hand sew the last few inches, and then I was finished!

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Behold the beauty

I have decided something. It is officially too beautiful outside not to spend every spare moment I can basking in the sun. I mean, heat and all, I can’t get enough of being outside. Yesterday I had sweat pouring down my face as I bent over finding little hidden ruby red strawberry gems underneath their canopy of protective leaves and I loved every minute of it. I just kept thinking, even though it’s hotter than I’m comfortable with right now, I am just so glad that it is no longer winter.

So, instead of sitting inside our little city apartment with the air conditioner whirring and whatever is playing on HGTV as a backdrop to my typing, I decided to walk over to our local cafe and really enjoy the sun as I continue to profusely extol my love for everything that has to do with the beginning of summertime.

My main purpose for blogging today was to talk about my recent trip to Longwood Gardens, such a lovely piece of history located not so very far from where we live. It was a wonderfully sunny day to explore the grounds and I almost felt as if I’d stepped back in time to a greener era. I absolutely loved everything that we saw, it was just a beautiful oasis of greens and flowers and fountains. Walking through the original owner’s house I also got to see some gorgeous books, many on gardening, that I would have loved to be able to get my hands on. Although, once I had them I’m not sure I’d have the heart to recycle them, I’d have too much fun looking through and gleaning information from their ripe pages.

I could talk on and on really, but a better way to impress the beauty would just be to show you a few of my photos from the excursion. Which is what I plan to do. Here are some little inspirations for my art straight, from Mother Nature herself (with a little help and encouragement from humans).

Baby trees botanical drawing greens yellow flowers leaves pink flowers  lace aloe greenhouse fountains

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Stacks of Books

I started this blog to be primarily about my crafting endeavors, but in between all of that life happens. And for the past few weeks it seems like a lot of life has been happening. All of my creative juices are currently being channeled into my most recent photoshoot: the wedding of a fine friend I met while I was in Germany traipsing across the continent to bring God’s message of love to Europe. I’ve also had the opportunity to celebrate a few birthdays and our first anniversary, take a trip to the beach, go camping, and much more in just the last 3 weeks. It has been quite busy, but today I found time to travel up to a woman’s house who I met at the Hello Summer Art Market to pick up a box of Reader’s Digest books that she offered to me…and holy stacks of books Batman! Check out these beauties, many journals to come in the future!

book-stacks

That’s it for today! :)