Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Inspirations: Sweater Hat!

Remember when I posted this unfinished hat in a WIP Wednesday post recently? Well, after much nagging from my kiddo (despite our fair city's continued 80-degree weather), I finally finished it while watching Captain America Winter Soldier. Which, by the way, was SO good! I'm ashamed it took me so long to watch it because I am a ginormous fan of the MCU. It was awesome!!!

Anyway, this is an Inspirations post because absolutely no part of this hat came from my own brain. I relied entirely on the inspiration I received from other wonderful crafty bloggers on the wild wonderful worldwide web. Click "Read More" to find out where the ideas for this adorable (if I do say so myself) hat came from!

Monday, September 29, 2014

I Made a Thing Monday! Sweatshirt to Precious Cardigan

Attack of the horrible sweatshirt!!

I don't even wear this around the house because of how bulky and unflattering it is. So, it's ripe for a refashion. 

I'm gonna detail below how I made this thing, but please, please forgive my awful pictures. One day I'm going to make this again, and I'll take better pictures and make a new blog post about it. Sorry!!!

Click "Read More" for the complete tutorial!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Foodie Friday: Peanut Butter Hummus

Happy Friday!

Man do I love food. I mean really, really love it. I have a relationship with it. In the bad way. Fortunately, I happen to have a deep and abiding love for a lot of relatively healthy stuff. 

In particular, hummus has been one of my main squeezes for most of my life. Even when I was a kid, a favorite sandwich was a thick layer of hummus spread between two slices of toast. Hell, that's still one of my favorites. I've had it for lunch every day this week.

I've made "poor man's" hummus before. You know the kind: a can of garbanzo beans, some garlic and lemon juice, blend it together, done. It's not great...but it does the job all right. 

My main issue is that I can never find tahini. Or I never remember to look for it. At that point, I might as well just buy store made hummus, which is becoming more and more popular these days. So usually that's what I do (Costco has a spectacular deal on what appears to be a quart of hummus and it is SO good). But sometimes I don't wanna do that. I want my OWN hummus. 

That's where, just a few short days ago, Nigella Lawson came to my rescue.

(Click that "Read More" button down there for basically the hottest photograph ever taken of a human being.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Accessorize Me, Bitchez!

So as I've mentioned before, I took a little trip to the local Goodwill this past weekend. Well, glass thingies and colorful tees weren't the only things I picked up. Sometimes I get stuff at the Goodwill that are perfectly fine all on their own. No cutting, sewing, gluing, or embellishments needed!

For instance, they have this lovely rack along the back wall filled with purses. Those purses are, each and every one of them, $3.99. Now, a lot of the purses are pretty shabby; they're worn out or faded or ripped or dirty or just plain ugly. But sometimes, if you look real hard, you'll find something neat. 

Now, my purse collection is a sorry state. I have a couple of handbags, including one vintage Dooney & Burke that is classy but kinda boring. I don't really enjoy carrying a purse, overall. At least not every day. I have a small orange wallet with a pocket for my phone and for the most part I just carry that around.

However, even I understand that sometimes a purse is both useful and aesthetically effective. Sometimes, a purse completes a look. And sometimes you need to carry more than the most basic essentials. So I'm building my purse collection, piece by piece, looking for both functionality and form. I think I did okay on my first purse-buying "spree".

Click "Read More" to see pictures of my score!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WIP Wednesday: T-Shirt Quilt with Bonus Tiered Jewelry Stand!

It's the middle of the week again and I can't wait until the weekend so I can have time to make stuff again!

I made so many things last weekend. I couldn't stop! I've got the bug, for sure. I made another thing I didn't tell you about. When I was at Goodwill on Saturday, buying shirts for yesterday's skirts, I picked up a few other items as well and made this thing!

Isn't it pretty??? It was so easy I was shocked...I keep waiting for it to break suddenly or fall apart or disintegrate into its component atoms...

Click "Read More" to find out how it was done!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Inspirations: The 10-Minute Skirt

Happy Tuesday, baby!!

Lookit what I made:

That's a buncha skirts for my daughter, to whom I've been promising skirts for weeks now. Previous efforts include this awesome Hulk skirt:

(Sheesh, pardon the mess in the background there.)

It was fun and adorable but kind of a weird challenge. I got a little burned out on from-scratch skirts, frankly. That is, until I found this:

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Made a Thing Monday! Lace Tee and Skirt

I think I've just decided that my new wardrobe I'm planning is just going to be made out of my old wardrobe, but you know...fixed.

Remember this number I dropped last week?

Cool fabric, but a little frumpy. So, I fixed it. 

First I took that top, with its weird lining...

And I removed the lining. Well, actually, I had to cut the lining away, because it was sewed right into the seams with the lacy outer fabric. 

Here's that lining, all cut away...

Could be useful later? I'll hang onto it and see. 

Then I chopped the sleeves off from the remaining shirt (the sleeves were not lined, actually).

And I got this! A lacy short-sleeved top that I can now wear with pretty much everything:

Then it was time to tackle that skirt. It was long. Too long. It was a huge part of what made the whole look too frumpy. Plus, as beautiful as that lace fabric is, there was just so much of it. Less is more, right?

This one was pretty simple really. I tried it on and pinned it until it was the length I wanted, then cut and sewed a new hem. Et voila!

Now I think it's much cuter, and frankly I am much more likely to wear it now. 



Turns out sometimes all you need is a little tweak here and there to make the unwearable wildly, wildly wearable. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Foodie Friday: Imitation Crab Cakes

Happy Friday everyone! Let's celebrate with some food.

I ended up with a package of imitation crab sticks this week. Not sure why I decided to buy them, but I did. After making a rather delicious sushi thing with a couple of them, I decided to kill the package with one of my favorite meals of all time: crab cakes!!

Ingredients: Assemble!

I was fortunate to have everything I needed at home. Most of these items are things you probably have too. 

First I opened up that package of crab and shredded it up real good until it looked like this:

Then I sautéed some onion and garlic in olive oil until they were nice and soft:

Then I whisked together an egg, some plain yogurt, smoky seasoning, salt, herbs, and lemon juice together in a bowl:

Which I then added to the crab!

Mm, appetizing...

Then I dumped the onions and garlic - olive oil and all - right into the bowl and combined. I didn't want to overdo the bread crumbs (in this case I had seasoned fish fry) so I added them 1/4 cup at a time until I was happy with the consistency. I ended up using about a cup. The consistency was a little like peanut butter, or sugar cookie dough. The crab stuff should stick together a little while you're stirring it. 

Then I formed 1/4 cup at a time into patties with my hands and laid them on some wax paper on a baking sheet:

Then I refrigerated for around 5 hours. As I understand it, the longer you fridge the stuff, the better it will stay together when you're frying it up later. 

About 20 minutes before show time, I heated yet more olive oil in a pan over high heat until it was sizzling. Then I fried the patties four at a time. 4 minutes on each side was too much, so aim for 3. Flip carefully, then when they're brown on both sides, let them drain on a paper towel while you move on to the next batch. 

Then I served them up with boxed cheesy scalloped potatoes:

It wasn't the healthiest dinner, but it was easier than I thought it would be and frankly, kind of fun!

Here's the full recipe for those who don't like stories:

Imitation Crab Cakes:


1 8-oz package of imitation crab sticks
1 egg
2 Tbsp + 1/4 cup olive oil, divided 
1/4 white onion, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves,minced
1/4 cup plain yogurt or mayonnaise
3 Tbsp lemon juice 
1 tsp Herbs de Provence or any other herb mix you like*
1 tsp salt*
1 tsp spicy or smoky herb mix*
Around 1 cup bread crumbs

* If you are using seasoned bread crumbs, use half the listed seasoning amounts, or none at all. Don't make my mistake and over salt these!


1. Shred or dice the crab finely. 
2. Sauté the finely chopped onion and garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until onion is soft and translucent. 
3. Whisk together the egg, lemon juice, yogurt, and seasonings in a bowl. 
4. Combine with the crab until crab is well coated. 
5. Add onion and garlic to crab mixture. 
6. Add bread crumbs 1/4 cup at a time until mixture resembles peanut butter or cookie dough. 
7. Using wet hands, form patties out of 1/4 cup of mixture and place on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Once the baking sheet is full, lay another sheet of wax paper on top and layer more crab cakes on that. 
8. Cover crab cakes with paper towels and refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight. 
9. Heat remaining olive oil over high heat in a nonstick skillet until oil is bubbling and drops of water sizzle on the pan. 
10. Carefully place crab cakes 1 at a time in the oil and fry 3 minutes on each side. Let crab cakes drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. 
11. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

I willingly admit to stealing this Thursday post title from numerous sources. Everybody and their dog has a Thrifty Thursday post...and now so do I. Deal with it. Dammit.

The trouble is, I haven't been thrifting lately. But, remember my pretty orange dress from the antique mall? Well, that wasn't my only score!

I am a bit of a fabric nut. I have a small, dragon-esque hoard of the stuff. And I'm a bit snobby about it too. I won't just buy any fabric. No, no. It has to be vintage fabric. I am not picky beyond that. 

So I happened to find a few other delightful bits of stuff to take home, all for a truly excellent deal.

Take, for instance, these souvenir dish towels. Have you ever seen these?! I'm positively mad for them! They are amazing! I got these two beauts for only $4 apiece:

Look at those DOORS!!! Isn't that amazing?! I have dozens of these things. Sometimes I make things out of them, but only if the dish towel tells me what to make. 

I'll admit that perhaps this next thing was a bit of an impulse buy. Looking at them now, I don't really see the appeal the way I did in the store. Then I remember that this whole stash of feminine purple fabric was only $1.25. 

It's probably half a yard or so in total, all cut up into squares of various sizes. One day this stuff will tell me what it wants to be...or someone will tell me they want it and I'll give it to them. :)

Finally, I nabbed this kind of kickass scarf for only $5:

It's vintage and in beautiful condition. And look at this pattern!

It's kind of unusual and I love the colors. I can't wait until it's not 95+ degrees outside so I can wear it!

It's almost Friday everyone...you can make it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday: A Sweater Hat and an Upcoming Project

So on Wednesdays I will endeavor to keep you up to date on anything I am working on during the week. Part of this is to keep me accountable; I have a tendency to abandon projects that I can't finish in a day. The other part is because I know how much all of you care about my ongoing handmade hell-ness! Right?



Right. :D

Soooo, here is my WIP update for this week. 

I recently discovered sweater hats. Basically you cut a hat shape out of a sweater, sew it in the appropriate places, and whammo, a hat!

I had this sweater, which was a gift from a coworker years ago. Now, let me just say that I love teal. It's one of my favorite colors ever. And yet...this was just SO MUCH of it. It was so loud. And the acrylic material trapped heat like a son of a bitch. Which for some particularly wintry winters is appropriate, but for South Texas? I could basically only wear this sweater comfortably a few days a year, and even then if I entered a heated building it was a matter of minutes before I would break out in an uncomfortable and embarrassing sweat. TMI?!?!

So here's the sweater (I had already cut the hat before I thought to take a before pic):

Pretty cute right? I was disappointed it didn't work out between me and the sweater in the end. 

So I cut the hat piece out. Then I removed the sleeves:

I also removed the cute matching buttons that existed for absolutely no reason on each shoulder:

The sleeves pretty immediately got turned into little fingerless wristlets:

And I added some cute elastic trim I had for interest:

And here was my almost-finished product!

I was happier than I was when the blue stuff was still a sweater, but it still wasn't singing to me. That is, until my daughter got a look at them. 

She immediately requested a set for herself. It struck me: I was never making a hat and gloves for myself...I was making them for her all along! This is her favorite shade of her favorite color, and she is a summer (while I'm decidedly a fall). So I've decided to rework them, resize them, and re-embellish them for my 10-year-old. Yay!

I think I'll be incorporating this fabulous vintage fabric into my final design:

Is that crazy? That could be crazy. I won't know until I see it. 

Also, be on the lookout for a future handmade item crafted from this...uh, thing:

First of all, I want to assure you that I was not on drugs when I bought this for a mere $4.50 at my local Goodwill a few months ago. I wasn't drunk or sleepwalking either. I just thought the colors were pretty. And they are! And if I were, you know...older...and a church-goer...this would be a great find as-is!

But for my purposes, it's not quite right. At all. Luckily I have some ideas, and at least one of them involves losing the Easter green lining:

I plan to work on it this weekend and have something to show you by Monday. 

Happy hump day everybody! Hope your week is going splendidly!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dream Cocktail Party

Some of you may have seen this article floating around recently. You don't HAVE to click that link, but if you do, you will not be disappointed.

Huffington Post publishes 9 reasons to bring back the old-fashioned cocktail party. By reason #3 on this list, I was sold.



Of course, you can't just have any old cocktail party. You have to have THE cocktail party. The one you never realized you'd always been dreaming of. I couldn't help but daydream a little myself, and as my mind wandered, the whole thing came together...

I have always been madly in love with the "atomic age": that bright-eyed, optimistic view of the future that those who lived in already-optimistic times (the 1950s) believed in so heartily. I wasn't there, so I can't actually speak to how much people believed that the future would be all glitter fabric and pointy shoulders. But I adore the imagery.

So I bring to you today, straight from my very own head, the SPACE AGE COCKTAIL PARTY!


As hostess, I would of course need to absolutely stun in a smashing vintage cocktail dress. It didn't take long before Etsy showed me exactly what I need:

Hummunah-hummunah! Those shoulders! That green! Those skirt flap things! The length is modest but the neckline is surprisingly sexy. Yes, this is absolutely what I would wear.

And since I need to be able to retain both comfort AND style all through the long night, I would pair it with these simple-yet-sparkly low heels:

And because I always need a little whimsy in my special outfits, this headpiece (also from Etsy) should fit the bill nicely, and hammer home the theme of the evening's soiree:


So important to get the right feel going in one's home when one is hosting a cocktail party (I don't know how I should feel about sounding like Brini Maxwell here). Therefore, the following items would be absolutely necessary:

A large piece of sci-fi artwork as a backdrop to the bar.

Atomic wall decals:

Some fabulous mod vases and bowls for snacks and flowers:

And of course an assortment of retro ashtrays placed strategically throughout the house:


What cocktail party would be complete without some kick-ass glassware for guests to sip from?

Like these retro highball glasses:

Or perhaps these:

Oooh, or these!

These atomic-inspired lowball glasses:

And of course, a set of simple but direct martini glasses:

The Most Important Part: The Drinks!

What would a themed cocktail party be without some themed cocktails? A quick Google search gave me the following delightful contenders (many of which were taken from The Drunken Moogle, a FABULOUS video-game themed cocktail recipe site!). Click the links below the pics for the recipes:

Serrice Ice Brandy (A Mass Effect Drink):

Possession (A Bioshock Infinite Drink):


And basically everything from this graphic below (from the ever-informative drunkard.com):

Daydreaming about my perfect cocktail party occupied the better part of an afternoon which would otherwise have been spent lounging on the couch in misery (thanks, seasonal allergies...thanks so much). 

In any case, I am definitely in agreement with HuffPo on this one: there are a lot of perfectly good reasons to bring back the cocktail party. I reiterate: LET'S. DO. THIS.