Dressing and Accessorizing with Just Pennies on eBay!

I've had some Paypal burning a hole in my e-wallet and I decided that I wanted to spend some time looking nice for a change.  I don't necessarily feel that I've let myself go, but my mommy uniform is in full effect- yoga pants & knit t-shirts, though I do dress up my feet with Tory Burch sandals.

You won't believe how far just a few bucks will get you on eBay!

First up:

This adorable and sexy little black dress.  Price with shipping:  $6.01

And for some sparkle on the ears, these sparkly earrings.  Price with shipping:  $2.99

Worn with patent black heels I already own.

Outfit total:  $9 even shipped.

Next up:

This J. Jill Green Mist wrap dress.  Looks much more flattering on the body.  Price with shipping:  $8.04

And to jazz up a simple dress, this gorgeous necklace.  Price with shipping:  $3.29.

Worn with nude wedge heels I already own.

Outfit total:  $11.33

Total for two new-to-me (actually, only the J. Jill dress was pre-worn, everything else was brand spankin' new):  $20.33!


My favorite slime recipe

I have made slime a LOT and as such, I've tried just about every slime recipe I can get my hands on.  Most are some variation of glue and borax or liquid starch and borax or cornstarch and water, etc.  FYI cornstarch and water = oobleck which is SUPER fun but not quite slime.

So with a lot of experimentation, this is my favorite slime recipe which I have not seen anywhere else.  I didn't make huge modifications, just added in borax WITH glue and starch and it was pretty perfect!

In a bowl, add:
1 container of glue- any size
Fill that empty container with water and add to the bowl
Add food coloring as desired- I REALLY prefer gel colors- and mix well
Fill empty glue container with liquid starch and add to bowl
Add 1 teaspoon borax and mix well

It will be really goopy at first but if you knead it with your hands it gets less goopy more mold-able.  If you want stringly gloopy gloopy slime, skip the borax.  If you think the slime is too firm, add a palmfull of water and knead.

Store in an airtight container & have lots of fun!


No Sew Halter Fail

I guess I am on a Pinterest fail kick right now!  Last post was my Swirl Nail Fail and today, my No Sew Halter Fail.

Here's the original blog with her instructions and photos.

Aaaand...here's mine!

In this pic my thumb is on the seam.  Rather than stay straight up and down the side of the shirt/my body, it goes in diagonally to the tied front.

Here's the back.  I can't show you the front.  The part of the front that you are instructed to tie will not stay tied and your boobs will fall out of the resulting giant key hole.

I followed her cutting instructions exactly.  I normally wear a women's medium and this was a men's large.

I have no idea what I did wrong, but since other than the boob escape key hole and the ties themselves, it fit down the sides (where the seam was in the right place, anyway) and was the right length, so I can only guess that it's somewhere in the construction that this fell apart.


Swirl Nail Fail

I thought Swirl Nails looked really cool.  Thought, as in, past tense.  After trying it...eek!



To start, the drop of polish just dissolved.

Several drops later, it finally seemed to not dissolve.

Color two then wouldn't drip.

I shook some off and I'm not going to speak of where my mind went.

I dragged a toothpick through it, stuck my thumb in the water, and brought it up under the polish.


Those were cheap Essie polishes, so I tried it one more time with OPI.

They did drip better.

But it's so thick and gunky and matted when you bring your finger through it.

At that point, I waved my white flag, got out the polish remover, and painted my nails plain grey.


DIY plain shirt into gathered, embellished tank top

Sewing with elastic thread is so much fun!  I did it recently with the side gathered shirt and then again here today.

This shirt was really easy.  I put elastic thread in the bobbin and blue thread in the needle.  I just sewed in loops and triangles all along the neckline.  Next, I cut off the sleeves and hemmed the holes to make a tank.  I cut 4 circles of different sizes and sewed them on top of each other into a flower, which I sewed to one shoulder.

That's it!  Just buy as shirt one size up to allow for shrinking at the gathers :)


DIY- Adding Fabric to a T-shirt for Length or Design

If you have a t-shirt that is too short for your liking, or just one that you want to jazz up, adding a band of coordinating fabric can do the trick in a short amount of time.  While you could just add to the bottom, adding in the middle can help give an otherwise shapeless t-shirt a better look.  This might especially be a good idea to revive a shapeless, stretched out t-shirt.

Start with your t-shirt and decide where you want the band to be, and cut straight across.

Now pick your fabric.  Cut out a strip that is about 1" longer than your t-shirt (across) and twice as tall as you want the band to be (I wanted it to be about 2.5", so I cut a 5" tall band).  Cut that in half across (so now I have 2 pieces, each is the length of the t-shirt cut and 2.5" tall).  If your fabric is not directional you could just cut one band twice the length of your t-shirt at the height you want.

Sew the fabric into a loop.  If it's directional, make sure the front and back pieces match up that way.

Turn your t-shirt pieces inside out.  Turn your loop inside out.  Pin the top of the loop to the top of the fabric and sew all the way around.  Pin the bottom of the loop to the bottom half of the fabric and sew all the way around.

Turn your t-shirt right side out and you're done!

Peel and Stick Tile- Kitchen Sink

If you're on Pinterest for any length of time you'll come across the idea to put peel and stick vinyl under your kitchen sink.  I used peel & stick tiles for our DIY bar a few weeks ago and they are so easy to stick and cut very nicely with an exacto knife.

Well, we had a small leak the other day.  It was easily fixed but it left the wood floor of the cabinet very discolored and ugly.

I went to Lowe's and got 6 peel and stick tiles for 38cents each.  Now, I think I'm going to do all of my lower cabinets like this!



I don't keep a lot of stuff down here- cleaners go in the laundry room cabinets for extra toddler safety, no way is he reaching those any time soon!- but what I do looks much nicer now.


Homemade Oreos, Round 2

About a week and a half ago, I tried the Oreo Cookie recipe that was on Yahoo! (clicky for blog post about that one).  They were yummy, but they weren't Oreos other than the size and shape of the cookies.

I've been hunting around for a different take and today I came across this recipe and gave it a try.  I knew they would not be just like Oreos- if you read that whole web page, somewhere it is stated that they are soft, and there's some ambiguity about how much sugar to add for a sweeter or bitter cookie.  I was expected a creme filling that tasted like Oreos, since I read a few reviews that said it did.

My take:

Holy cow, these cookies came out big.  I put 12 on standard size trays and they SPREAD.  I was cutting what was basically a big sheet of cookie into smaller cookie shapes.  On the plus side, they didn't get stuck to the pan as I was afraid they would- they were so thin.  I only baked them for 9 minutes as instructed and they weren't overdone or anything, so I guess that's good.  It made 32 cookies, so 16 "Oreos."

As for the creme filling- well, try it, you might like it.  It tasted nothing like an Oreo to me and it was VERY sweet.  Like, I'm at that girly time of the month where I just want to funnel M&Ms into myself 24/7, but this creme was tooth achingly sweet.  Oreo creme has kind of a grittier texture than this did.  One comment did say to use superfine powdered sugar for a better texture, but no idea if that helps the taste as well.

All in all, dunked in milk, I ate two and my sweet craving went away (for now) and I bet the kids with like them a lot, but Oreos they are not.  That's not necessarily bad though.  If you want a big, soft chocolate cookie with a sweet creme filling, give them a try!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (less might be more like an Oreo, kind of bitter.  More for a sweeter cookie)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. On low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Mix well

Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a greased baking sheet (or stoneware, my favorite- but don't grease it!).  Slightly flatten the dough- I've found lightly spraying the back of a small spoon with cooking spray to press with works really well. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool

To make the creme, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

Fill a pastry piping bag or a ziplock bag with the creme.  I place the bag inside a drinking glass- see photo.  Cut the tip off and squeeze creme onto the bottoms of 1/2 the cookies.  Place the other half of your cookies on top of these, tops up.

Creme filling bag inside a drinking glass- makes it easy to spoon or spatula the creme inside!

Update:  My husband and my two year old refused to eat them.  Not sure what the kiddo's problem was, but hubby just said "too sweet" and threw away the rest of his cookie.  Like I said- they are tooth achingly sweet!  Be warned!


DIY T-shirt Art- Bleach Pen

If you have any boring, plain t-shirts laying around you might have fun giving them new life with some custom artwork.  You can get a bleach pen for under $3- make sure it says "For Whites" on it!

Put a piece of cardboard or wax paper inside your shirt so that the bleach doesn't bleed through to the other side.  I freehand drew this, but if you had a stencil to trace that would work too.  Whatever design you want!

Eyeball it.  Darker colors will take longer to fade under the bleach gel.  I waited about 15 minutes and I could see around the edges that it was nice and faded, so I rinsed off the bleach in the  sink.

Yup, dirty dishes.

Throw it in the wash, dry it, and wear it!


DIY Side Gathered T-shirt

Every since I saw this on Pinterest, I've been wanting to make my own side gathered t-shirt.

Here's what you need:
-a t-shirt- I used a old maternity shirt that I had, knowing it was wide and that I wanted it more fitted since I'm not pregnant.  It was a knit shirt.  I have no idea how this would work if your shirt was not stretchy
-elastic thread- you'll find this with elastic.  I got 30 yards for about $1.97 at Walmart
-regular, colored thread- make sure it matches the color of your t-shirt as closely as possible
-ball point needle- happened to be in my sewing machine and worked fine
-An iron

Here's what you do:

-hand wind your elastic thread onto your bobbin.  Don't pull too hard, but do your best to keep it even.
-put your regular, colored thread through your machine & needle.
-test sew on some scrap fabric, especially if you haven't used elastic thread before.
-draw a series of arcs on the front of your t-shirt.  I used a pencil.  I did 3 arcs, I've seen it done with 4, it kind of depends on  how big you want the gather/how big your shirt is.  You want to make loops along the arc.  I actually did triangles to make it easier to sew, it doesn't matter.  The very middle, tiniest arc is really just a line with two loops on it. Here's a little doodle:

-You are going to sew the loops with your t-shirt right side out.  You shouldn't see any white elastic thread that way (plus, your loops are on the front if you listed to me!).  This is kind of tedious, but easy.  Start with the very center, smallest arc right by the side seam and follow that arc.  You'll basically sew one triangle side, put your needle down, lift up your presser foot, turn your fabric, presser  foot down, sew another triangle side.  And repeat for your entire rainbow shape of arcs.  I sewed one continuous thread, so when I reached the end of one arc, I sewed to the side a bit to the beginning of the next arc.  These don't have to be perfect- between the gathering and the steaming later, anything other than a massive mistake won't be noticeable.
-At the end, back over your thread a few stitches to finish it and take your shirt out of the machine.
-Go get your iron and steam the elastic thread so it retracts in on itself a bit.
-Wear your shirt and soak up the compliments, because everyone will assume that doing this is harder than it really was!


DIY Cricut Dust Cover

I really love my Cricut Expression (though not necessarily for what you'd think- I use SCAL and a koala pad to freehand draw most designs and then send them to the Cricut from my computer- not a fan of their cartridges!) and it's a pretty simple looking machine.  I had found some amazing Heidi Grace fabric at Joann's (I LOVE Heidi Grace products!) and decided to use some of it to make a dust cover for my Cricut so I could look at it whenever I was at my desk.

I found a free pattern online.  The link is here.  It's a PDF and it's 5 pages.  That site has 6 instructional videos to go with this pattern and I will be honest.  They're awful.  After 2 videos of assembling your paper pattern they just say "Now sew it together!"  There's one video of using a type of heat n bond vs. a sewing machine to put it together which gave me some idea, or so I thought.  However, when I got my paper pattern together, despite it saying "Cut 1" and "Cut 2" of the two pieces, that would only cover 1/2 of my Cricut and one of the two ends.  This isn't addressed ANYWHERE in the videos that I watched.  Once I realized that I decided to post step by step photos and instructions to go with the pattern.

I am not an expert sewer.  I only got my sewing machine set up last week and before that it was in a closet for two years.  I don't own an iron to press seams.  Yada yada.  If you know a better technique or a proper term, please leave me a comment!

So first:  Print your pattern and tape A, B, C, and D together (A B on top, C D under).  You want the edges of the paper to match up, even though the lines don't go all the way to the edge.  Cut along the black line across the bottom of C and D to get this shape, and cut out the curve as well.

This is where I realized that this pattern is only going to cut 1/2 of my Cricut's body and 1 of it's sides.  So, to fix this, I folded my fabric under and pinned ABCD through 2 layers to make a double sized pattern.

Cut along the edges of the paper and when you unfold your fabric again you should have this.

pattern still pinned to top half of fabric

Ok, now let's cut the sides.  Take your curved piece and again, fold your fabric in half.  Pin the curved paper to it and cut along the curve only.

Then flip it, pin it again, and cut along the curve to meet at the top.

Cut along the bottom, where the fabric is folded over, so you have two pieces that follow the shape of the sides of your Cricut.

I'm trying to give you a step by step as I did it, but here I'm going to add, I ended up cutting these in half down the middle after a few bad sewing attempts.

You now want to look at the side ends of your body of fabric.  You want to pin the ends (with the right sides of both fabrics facing each other) with the point at the center and the curved edge of this piece will go along the straight edge of the body piece.

This sounds very complicated as I type it out.  Here is a graphic that shows it better.  Blue = body, black = one end piece, grey = other end piece, red lines/arrows showing you what I am trying to describe.  THIS PHOTO IS NOT TO SCALE!

I started sewing from the middle of the body down, one piece at a time.  So from the top of the curved piece.  I used two pins close together at that top/middle point and basically sewed until the edges didn't match up anymore.

At that point, I put my needle down, presser foot up, and moved the fabric with my fingers, where I then held and guided it.  Every two inches or sew I'd have to stop and repeat this adjustment.  From the pic above to the pic below, I did not sew a single stitch, I simply adjusted the fabric.

Repeat this with the second curved piece on this end (basically mirrored- see my little drawing again above).

Next,  you sew the two curved pieces from this end together down their straight edge.

Bottom of dust cover ...................................................................................................Top of dust cover

Repeat this for the other end with your other curved pieces.

All that's left is to hem, unless you're smarter than me and did it prior to putting the pieces together!  Since I was kind of creating this pattern on the fly after realizing the free download wasn't quite accurate, I figured that if I waited until the end I would have an easier time making the hem even.

I didn't have a lot of math involved in this pattern, either.  I tried it on my Cricut un-hemmed and then pinned it to where I thought it was right and then tried it on my Cricut again before sewing.

Trim off your lose threads and you're done!

I may come back and embellish this some how, but for now, I'm good.

Last note- if your fabric is directional (IE, has words or pattern with a clear right side up and up side down), just pay attention to your ends.  Because I folded my fabric under to get a double cut of the printed pattern, the end you don't see is upside down.  It's no biggie but if it bothers you, make sure your pattern is right side up when you cut both end pieces (you won't be able to fold it over to cut two at once, basically).