Monday, August 24, 2009

thrifted tee shirts with cool graphics, made over

Many times when I am thrifting, I will find an awesome shirt with super cool graphics, but in the wrong size for the recipient I know would love it. So I came up with this quick and easy solution. Seriously, this one is easy as pie....

I bought a t-shirt at the thrift store with a seriously fun Dr.Seuss pic on the front and it was only $2.

The good news- my son Mathes loves "Green Eggs and Ham"

The bad news- the shirt is an adult size Large.

The good news- I own a pair of scissors, lots of pins, and a handy dandy sewing machine.

So I laid the tee out flat, and cut around the graphic I wanted. There was some other writing underneath the pic that I did not want included, so it was easy enough to just trim it off as I cut around the graphic.

I then trimmed it all fairly close to the edges, leaving a small portion of white around the edges of the yellow screenprinting for ease in sewing and also because I like the way the raw edges look once the shirt is washed, they curl up slightly. It's all about personal taste here, so love it or hate it, you get to decide. That's what so fun about this shirt, you get the final say, it's all up to you.

Anyways, so I have my graphic cut and trimmed. I then grabbed this plain green tee (bought this @ Wal-Mart for $3.50)

and placed the trimmed graphic right where I wanted it,

and then pinned it in place.

Now make sure to slip something into the shirt while you're pinning so you only pin the graphic to the front of the tee. The last thing you want to have happen is to find that you have pinned all three layers together right as you are sitting at your machine, ready to stitch everything in place. I know, I have done this myself, so I am only trying to save you the swear words now.

I like to use one of my large straight edge quilting rulers, it works like a charm and I always seem to have one laying around within easy grabbing distance.

Then with a medium-long stitch length I stitched it in place all the way around.


 And voila! A child sized tee with a fun graphic.

Mathes loves this particular Dr.Seuss story, so he was thrilled that this shirt is for him.


This would also be perfect for that favorite t-shirt that your child has outgrown, but they are loathe to give up just yet. Get them to pick out a new plain t-shirt in a larger size (like I said, Wal-Mart has them for $3.50), then have them help you as you cut out the graphic and make their "new" favorite shirt.

You can also zig zag stitch over the edges of the graphic if you prefer a more finished look over the raw one, but if you do use a zig zag stitch, I highly suggest you use some stabilizer underneath or your t-shirt will stretch as you sew and look pretty wonky in the end. I speak from sad, frustrating experience. But using a straight stitch and leaving the raw edges exposed as I did requires no stabilizer, and like I said before, I just like the slightly raw look of that method.

However you do this, there are a lot of fun ways to mix this idea up. If you decide to go ahead and give this a try, make sure to send me your end results, I would love to see it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

lay tile floor in laundry room-check!

I sealed the grout on our newly tiled laundry room floor yesterday, which only took a few hours to dry. This meant that my washer and dryer have been moved back and hooked up again, so I can now tackle the terrifying piles of laundry that have gone unwashed these last 5 days. Which we were in desperate need of since I was a few loads of laundry behind the day Craig started in on that room. Translation: we stink. Or at least we used to. Last night I did three loads of laundry, so this morning we are all fresh as a daisy and no longer wearing "clean dirties". Thank heaven.

Now to get caught up by washing the other 4 loads left. Three of which are loads made up entirely of towels alone. Scary. The new floor was well worth any hassle though, I love it. Many thanks to my husband Craig and my son Dylan, you both did an amazing job putting the floor in.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

demolition and rated ‘R’ flooring

So we ripped the sheetrock off of the walls in the entry way and all around the front door. I had no end of helpers as all of my children wanted in on the demolition too. And why not, you get to hammer holes in the wall and not get into big trouble. Even Dylan's friends that were over begged for a turn with the sledge hammer. Like I said we had no end of help. And of course I found my camera today, just in time to not get pictures of all of the cuteness of my kidlets yesterday ripping down the sheetrock, but of the last 45 minutes as we finished a few leftover spots today and then we were done. Blast.

I loved watching as Finn and Gracen put every bit of their little bodies into the swing of the hammer when it was their turn, they were both so determined. We did have to wrestle the hammer away from Finn numerous times as he attempted to knock holes in several walls that were not slated for demolition. He's such a helper.

We were finished in no time, and Craig is ready to start putting up the new sheetrock this week.

Ciel had a hard hat and safety glasses from her shop class last year, so of course we had to bust them out to make sure we were "safe" while we worked.

I totally rock the telephone line repairman look


And this pose is prime evidence I have been hanging out with Heidi a lot lately.

But in the end, Ciel rocks it cuter.

And weirder.


But still so cute.

The office door looks kind of forlorn now. Aww.

You would be amazed at the ugliness of the wallpaper hiding underneath it all. Seriously, it was country fruit and cottages in a bad stencil print gone very, very wrong. Since when did cottages and fruit exemplify "country"?

Anyways, we are well on our way to a new and improved entry way, and the mess is only temporary.


We also ordered our flooring today, which I am very excited about. We went with the "Bolivian Mahogany", if not for the gorgeous color, than for the exotic and sexy way it sounds as it rolls off the tongue. "Bolivian Mahogany". See. Who knew flooring could be so sensual. And this one is also reputed to be very hardy, and not easily scratched or dented. Just what I need in a floor with hordes of small children running rampant around here. And sometimes they have hammers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

a kitchen sink is a good thing to have


This may not seem all that monumental, but after nearly two weeks without a kitchen sink I realized very quickly just how much I used and depended on my kitchen sink. Things were starting to get desperate. When the plumber arrived to install everything this morning, I swear I was ready to beg for his autograph and scream like a crazed groupie, I was that happy to see him. Life without a kitchen sink stinks. Period. So I am now the happy and content owner of a gorgeous stainless steel kitchen sink. And since I can't find my camera, these stock pics will just have to do.

Here is what my sink looks like...

with this faucet...

Yes, I kept my same faucet since I love it and felt no need to replace it as of yet. And even though I will not have a dishwasher for a few more weeks, I don't care. Seriously. Life is good with a kitchen sink. Very. Very. Good.

Yay kitchen sink!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

skip the chocolate chips and head straight for the chocolate frosting

I hauled 6 of my kids with me to my Mom's once again so that Craig could finish tiling the floor in the laundry room in some semblance of peace. I arrived bearing two giant baskets filled with a bounty of yellow squash and zucchini from my garden. Since I have no way to cook it or use it up fast enough right now, I have been giving it away to anyone unlucky enough to come withing squash tossing distance of me. My mom was just that unlucky person. With all of that zucchini at our fingertips, Heidi and I set about making a veritable zucchini carnival in the kitchen. First we made the 'Chocolate Zucchini Cake', then we made 'Soft Zucchini Cookies', and for dinner we made 'Zucchini Casserole'. See? I told you. Total zucchini mania. Now, when I made the 'Chocolate Zucchini Cake' before, I topped it with the chocolate chips and nuts as directed in the recipe, which I thought was very tasty. But when we made the cake this time I asked Heidi to make her delicious chocolate frosting instead, which she did, and she frosted the cake with that. Well, let me just say that I will not be bothering with those lame chocolate chips and nuts again, because the chocolate frosting is where. it's. at. Hands down. Bar none. Uber alles. No competition. The frosting is the the only way to go. Just in case you're wondering that is. And Hedi shredded and sliced a ton of the zucchini and yellow squash for my mom to put in her freezer for later, so she is set for more zucchini love any time she gets a notion. Although after today, she just might be all zucchinied out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

as i type this… (woo hoo!!!)

As I type this, the last cabinet has been re-installed in my kitchen, and the countertops are going back on next. And there are workmen in my basement installing sheetrock, painting and re-installing the light fixture.  While I'm not sure when the appliances or sink will be re-installed, I am just thrilled we are getting there. This whole thing has not been nearly as bad or as hard as I had feared. And after all of the fretting over it, we have decided not to re-do the countertops and we are instead pushing forward with several other projects that we would like to get done instead. One such project is to refinish the wall in our entry that is covered with thinly cut rectangles of mdf that have been nailed to the wall, textured and then painted, all in a failed effort to look like bricks. I hated it. So this morning I took a hammer and ripped each and every fake brick off of the wall in preparation for Craig's plan to re-do a bunch of sheetrock there and on the north wall facing it.

Here it is after I pulled the first few "bricks" off on the lower right side.

And only 15 minutes later, here is the end result. Anything is better than that hideous fake brick.


The plan for this weekend is to take the kids and vacate to my Mom's so my husband can tile the floor in the laundry room. Woo hoo! I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

more kitchen fun

So, it turned out they had to rip out the other half of my kitchen in order to complete the job. So for over a week now I have been without a stove, dishwasher, counters and a sink. At least the fridge is still in there.

Here is where the sink used to be...

And the stove...

All of my cabinets are stacked in the dining room, and all of the food and dishes from the cupboards and such has been shoved onto the dining table.

Everything seems to be stacked on top of something else. It's beyond messy.

My beloved dishwasher. Oh how I miss it.


As for meals, our insurance has said they will reimburse us for any meals eaten at restaurants since we are left with no real way to prepare much, but I can only handle so much fast food without getting totally ill. Seriously, how do people live like that?

 We are supposed to have everything done by about Friday, but I am thinking it may be a little longer than that with the way things seem to be moving. Craig and I are toying with possibly re-doing one or two parts of the kitchen since we are already at bare bones right now anyways, but I'm not sure just yet what we will do if anything. New countertops are a possibility since a bar counter would be beyond ideal for us, and we might add one or two more cabinets or reconfigure the current layout, or maybe we will just put it all back the same way it was and call it good. I don't know right now. As nice as the cabinets are they are not my style, but as much as I would love new cabinets it's not in the budget, so if we get new countertops it will be laminate since solid surface is way more than I want to spend to fit cabinets I would really love to change out anyways. I know, I'm not making much sense, but we are just trying to make the kitchen as functional for us as possible without spending insane amounts of money on it right now. We are already ripping all carpeting out of the main living areas and replacing it with hardwood-look-alike flooring so that we can stop worrying about the many spills and such that come with having children. I want to be able to mop up messes and spills with my Swiffer instead of having to lug out the carpet steamer. So this is where we are at. Some days are better than others and I am getting tired of living in a mess I can't do anything about, but overall this has all happened at the best possible time and I am grateful the insurance has covered all of it. It has been more than a month since they first started on this project, but we are in the homestretch and I am excited to get my kitchen back, however it ends up, and I'm looking forward to being able to prepare meals that don't involve only using the microwave or a drive up window.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

chocolate zucchini cake recipe

I had several requests for this recipe, and since now is the best time for tasty zucchini recipes to be put to good use, well here you go! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

*note*-After making this cake again after I had already posted this recipe, I would now advise you to skip the chocolate chips and head straight for the chocolate frosting. You''ll thank me later. Believe me. It's the only way to go with this cake.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake 

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups Sugar
1 tsp.vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded zucchini (unpeeled), drained
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350* F. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add in eggs one at a time until well blended. Mix in the vanilla, applesauce, and buttermilk. Sift together flour, baking soda, powder, salt, and cocoa. Add to the butter mixture. Stir the dry ingredients gently but thoroughly into wet ingredients. Stir in zucchini until well blended. Spread batter into a 9? x 13? greased pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25-35 minutes. Five minutes before the cake is done, evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over top of cake. Return to oven. When done, remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Let cool in pan on wire rack. Store any remaining cake in fridge.

*note*- like I said above, I recommend skipping the chocolate chips and nut as a topping and instead top baked and cooled cake with chocolate frosting. Seriously, it's beyond delicious!