Handmade

Halloween in the new house!!

by J.S. on October 2, 2011

in Handmade,Parties

Halloween!!! I’m super excited. It’s my first Halloween in our new house (rental…cause you know, the whole poor thing). We started decorating this weekend and I’ll began stock piling the candy soon. I found these cool light up branches at Home Goods. They’re battery operated and were $13 for a set. I bought foam pumpkins for $10 each and drilled holes into them using a 5/8 drill bit. I weighted the pumpkins with some stones and then inserted the branches, added a couple of crows and voila cute door decor for under $50.

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I have a love hate relationship with Anthropologie. I’m going to assume I’m not alone in that. Their store is designed by evil geniuses that spend their days and nights coming up with ways to lure poor girls like me into their stores. Helpless against their plotting ways. It’s always my sidekick, Amex, that ends up suffering the most. I see those cute sundresses, imagine myself being fabulous somewhere in that dress and then the cold sweat starts. I know I shouldn’t buy it, but then suddenly there I am at the counter, making small talk with a fabulous looking girl who is now holding Amex. I wait…Approved! Amex came through. Feeling like a champ I take the bag and rush out. Then comes the crushing remorse.

Awful, awful people.

Really though, anyone else noticing they’re raising the prices a little bit? $328 is a plane ticket, not a beach cover-up.

I’m getting WAY off track here and there is a point to this all, I swear. If you’re creative (and I know you are) and a little bored (I know I am) you can make some Anthro inspired stuff yourself!

The lovely ladies over at Kojo Designs came up with a way to make the knotted comforter the Anthro is currently selling for $288. Really, it’s pretty spectacular.

I’m speechless at how creative they are. Stop by and see some of their other projects.

Here’s their tutorial:

To make the squares for the knotted ‘quilt,’ you’ll need:
-18″x18″ squares of jersey (I used 56 of these for my king sized quilt)… I got the jersey from two flat king sized sheets and a pile of white t-shirts.
-a 6″ plate
-a fabric pen
-needle and embroidery thread that coordinates with your jerse

*A tip before you start. Make the knotted squares assembly line style. Do all of your cutting, then all of your tracing, then all of your gathering, etc. It’ll make this move a little more quickly.

1. Cut out your 18″x18″ jersey squares. I used two flat t-shirt sheets and a stack of white t-shirts for my jersey. I cut out a sample square, labeled it as such with my fabric pen and then used it as a template to cut around for all of my other squares. One note- with all of the gathering that comes later, the 18″x18″ can be approximate- don’t worry about making perfectly uniform squares.

2. Center your 6″ plate in the middle of your square. Trace with a fabric pen. Repeat (and repeat and repeat).

3. Using embroidery thread, stitch inside the perimeter of your traced circle. Use very long stitches.

4. Pull your thread taut, resulting in a little pooch of fabric. Don’t remove your needle or tie off your thread yet.

5. This next part is a bit tricky to explain, but I tried to get good pictures. You might even find a better way (if so, let me know!) to make the knots.

This is what I did- I pulled the pooch of fabric to a point, Then, I poked down through the top center until the point was back down through the pulled-taut circle of thread.

Then I twisted the whole poked-down mess until it looked knot-like.

Then I secured the fabric with a stitch through the poked down point.

I continued to run the needle back and forth through the ‘knot’ until it seemed secure (usually three or four stitches through the middle of the ‘knot’).

6. Repeat and repeat and repeat. Fifty six times if you’re making a king sized quilt like I was.

To put your ‘quilt’ together, you’ll need:
-56 knotted squares from part 1 (for a king sized quilt)
-a king sized duvet (I got the thinnest one I could find at Ikea… it was $29… fabulous!)
-sewing machine and supplies
-TONS of pins

1. Start by piecing one row of squares together at a time. Your finished product will have eight rows of seven squares. Here’s the thing- in order to achieve that wonderful, gathered look, you have to create the gathers as you go. I did this by pinning little pleats in place before sewing squares together. To be more specific, I pinned five pleats along the length of each square (one tip- if you pleat both squares and pin, this will go more quickly). So, pleat, pin (right sides together) and sew.

2. Repeat and repeat and repeat until you have eight rows of seven knotted squares.

3. Now, you’re going to sew the rows together to make a big square-ish mass of knotted squares. It was easiest for me to pin first where the edges between squares met up and then pin more pleats in place. Remember, every time you sew two squares together, you have to ‘create’ little gathers. As you’re sewing the rows together, this means that you have a lot of pinning to do before you sew. Also, be sure to pin the sides right sides together. When you’re finished you’ll have the top part of your ‘quilt.’

4. Lay out your duvet. Place your quilt with the right side (the side with all of the knots) facing down on top of the duvet. Be sure to match so that the longer side of the duvet is lined up with the row of eight squares and the shorter side of the duvet is lined up with seven squares.

Pin all the way around the edges, again, pinning pleats in place. Lucky for me, my duvet was divided into seven sections that matched up with my squares, so that was a good guideline on the short edge to make sure I was pinning evenly. On the long edges, I folded my duvet in half and marked where the middle would fall then folded it in half again and marked the quarters (on both long edges). This became my guide for even pinning on those edges.

Sew around the entire perimeter, leaving one square open. Pull the duvet through the one open square, turning the whole thing right side in. Sew your one square opening shut.

*Note- I can’t say this enough, go over the ENTIRE quilt and make sure you got all of your pins out. Once you sew this baby shut, you don’t want little pins pricking you. And they like to hide in the pleats, so check thoroughly!

5. Fluff your almost quilt. It almost looks right, doesn’t it? Almost done! Now you’re going to pin your rows in place and ‘stitch in the ditch’ (I followed this tutorial on youtube- haha!) so that your squares stay put and don’t shift all over the place. I sewed down every other row, but feel free to do as many as you please.

6. Can you believe it? You’re done! Put this vision of loveliness on your bed and admire!

***Tutorial and photos from Kojodesigns.blogspot.com

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And they’re here!Stop by my new Etsy shop! I’m so excited to have my first hand made items up for sale. I’ll be adding more hand made and vintage items over the next few months. Subscribe to this blog and enter the code “subscriber” at checkout for FREE shipping! I’d love to hear what you think of the clutches. Happy shopping!

Visit The Poor Girl Etsy Shop

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It’s Here! My First Giveaway!

by J.S. on February 14, 2011

in Giveaway,Handmade

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you’re all being worshiped like the  queens you are today. To do my part, I’m offering the first ever Poor Girl giveaway. I’m super excited and I hope you are too. In the next couple of weeks my new Etsy shop will be up and running and will feature some fun and inexpensive bits of joy. To get things started off I’m giving away this cute clutch made by yours truly. It’s perfect for summer and ready to go to a good home.

Since nothing in life is free, you’ll have do a little work. Leave a comment with the best Valentine’s Day gift YOU ever gave. The winner will be announced on Friday. Good luck!

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I’m short. Like for real, short. Like below national average short. As if buying jeans doesn’t suck enough, you can imagine the added joy I get trying on jeans fit for a giant. Honestly, don’t even get me started, the injustices of women’s clothing are astounding.

Well, now we can at least wear jeans without looking like we’re melting. Here’s a GREAT hemming tutorial from Crapivemade.com. I’ve actually hemmed a few pairs with this method and it works great. Not cutting involved. Love it.

Char’s tutorial is below. Stop by and say hi to her, she’s a hemming genius.

First a quick run down on basic hemming. Try your pants on and have someone pin the cuffs at the level you want the pants to end up. On this pair it’s 2.5”.

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Divide that measurement in half (1.25” on this pair) and measure from the edge of the factory hem that distance. Press all the way around.

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Sew right up next to the factory hem. I like to start right before the most detailed side seam and make sure it’s lined up perfectly.

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Go back to your ironing board and press the factory hem “down” and the part you just sewed “up”.

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You can stop here if you want, but (especially after washing) you might find that the part you just sewed flips down and hangs out of your jeans or that your cuff flips up and makes the hemmed part visible.

Take your jeans back to the machine and stitch RIGHT on top of the seam line on both side seams.

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(I left the thread tail on the 2nd picture so you can see where the stitching starts. Practically invisible, right?)

And here’s a look at the other seam:

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Finished product?

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Photos and tutorial from crapivemade.com

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Free Amy Butler Bag Pattern

by J.S. on January 4, 2011

in Handmade,Uncategorized

I think this will be my next project then I’ll learn to knit. This bag is so cute. I have a bunch of left over fabric from my adventures in clutch making. Feeling crafty yourself, get the free pattern here. That’s right, free.

(image via here.)

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New Years Resolution #1

by J.S. on December 27, 2010

in Handmade,Inspiration

Learn to knit.

I’ve been thinking about learning how to knit lately. In my head I see myself as someone with skills, patience and time. In reality I’m not coordinated, wildly inpatient and overworked. All that considered, I still want to learn to knit and if that fails, I’ll just make these out of the husbands old sweaters. Hmmm, that may be an even better idea…Resolution #2 recycle our old clothes into new things.

photo via here.

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Good, Clean Fun

by J.S. on December 22, 2010

in Food Porn,Handmade,Parties

Looking to add some wholesome fun to your next dinner party? Whip out the frosting!

A few friends stopped by a few days ago for a last minute dinner party. I threw together beef tenderloin, some hash thing I saw on TV and a berry trifle. I think the dinner cost about $30. I was happy with that and figured to add excitement we’d just drink a bunch of cheap wine (as usual). To my shock and  total surprise a couple of the guys brought over a huge plate of cookies and three different frostings in pipping bags! (Ladies, one of the guys is single…) The cookie spectacular added another $10 to the bill. A really fun night for under $50, perfect for Christmas.

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DIY Magazine Bows

by J.S. on December 22, 2010

in Handmade

from Whole Living

Did you skimp on a gift? Decide those socks are a little lame? Improve the packaging. A good package can brighten almost any day (can I get an Amen?!). As usual Martha has an idea that will save us all. Christmas bows out of recycled magazines?? Yes, please!

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Weekend Project: Churros!

by J.S. on December 13, 2010

in Handmade,Recipes

While the jury is still out on my home-made jerky, the verdict is in on these bad boys and they’re awesome! Ok, I know that’s cheesy but that’s really how good they are. I adapted two recipes for what I did. My version is below. A word of warning though, I have an actual fryer, not a pan with oil. If I didn’t have the fryer, I wouldn’t have attempted this. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, it just mean you have to be braver and way less distracted than I am. Another note, each of these gifts cost me less than $4 a pop. Pretty impressive.

Churros with Spiced Chocolate Sauce

Adapted from Cannelle et Vanille and Food Network.

Ingredients

  • Vegetable or olive oil, for frying
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Chocolate  Sauce, recipe follows

Directions

Prepare to fry the churros by heating 1 to 1 1/2 inches oil in a deep pan to 360 degrees F.

Place the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring this to a boil. Add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a smooth ball.

Transfer this mass to the bowl of an electric mixer (or can do it by hand) and start mixing with a paddle attachment. When most of the steam has evaporated, add the eggs one at a time. Mix until it comes together to a smooth thick mass.

Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

Squeeze 4-inch strips of dough into hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Mix the sugar and cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Roll churros in the cinnamon sugar. Serve with Chocolate Dunking Sauce.

Spiced Chocolate Sauce

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick of cinnamon
Zest of 1 orange
3 slices of fresh ginger
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
6 egg yolks
12 oz chocolate, chopped ( I used semi-sweet and I would not recommend that. You want it sweeter.)

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, vanilla,  cinnamon, orange zest and fresh ginger. Bring it to a boil. Turn the heat off and let it set for about 10 minutes. Return the mixture to a boil and add the cocoa powder and instant coffee powder. Whisk together.

Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and temper the milk mixture into them while whisking. Return this mixture to the sauce pan and cook for a couple of minutes while constantly stirring until lightly thickens.

Place the finely chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Place a fine sieve over the bowl and pour the custard over the chocolate. Mix until all the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth cream.

Can be served warm, room temperature or cold. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It will thicken when it cools.

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