29 October 2011

15 Minute Costume

Not only is this costume quick to make, it also costs a dollar or less! I went back and forth on whether I was going to dress up for a party since costumes were optional, but decided to go as a lego.
You can thank Hubs for the pose...he wouldn't take more pictures unless I did that. You know what's nice about being a lego (aside from the low cost)? You get to be comfy and wear jeans and a tshirt and your costume is easily removable if you get tired of it. To make yourself a lego you need a tshirt (you could go with colored pants too if you really wanted to be all lego-y), poster board, scissors, tape, and thread or string...oh and a ruler would be nice.
I had everything, but poster board so I spend $1 on the poster board. If you don't have a solid colored shirt without writing on it, just turn a solid shirt inside out and you're good to go! You could probably spend less if you went for white poster board, but I went with green. Cut the poster board down so that it's a little narrower than the width of your body.

You're going to cut six circles and six rectangles for your lego. I used a cup to trace out the circles. Measure the diameter of your circle and use the internet your middle school algebra skills to figure out the circumference. Or just keep reading because I'm about to tell you. :) My circle was 3.75" across.

3.75"x 3.14 = 11.8"  So now you cut six strips that are 2"x11.8". This is what you've got so far:
And now you assemble the dots on the lego. Sorry there aren't any pictures, I was in a hurry when I made it so I didn't stop for pictures. Or maybe I should say your welcome because my paint drawings are like works of art. :)
Those gray pieces are tape FYI. I tried to do most of the taping on the inside of the cylinder. There was one piece on the outside where I taped the rectangle together so I just made sure that side was toward the ground when I taped it to the poster board. Stick a couple pieces of tape on the inside of your cylinder and stick the cylinders to the poster board.
Now you just need to punch a couple holes tie yarn or thread or whatever you have on hand in each hole so you can wear it like a giant poster board necklace.
(the color of the lego and my shirt match a little better in real life, the flash made the colors look a little different)
Hopefully this helps out anybody that's looking for a super fast, super cheap costume! Oh, and if you're wondering how it went over...everybody thought it was great at the party (and they had no idea I threw it together in 15 minutes)!
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28 October 2011

Mac and Cheese+

I've been cooking more lately. (Go me!) And I thought I'd share last night's recipe with you. I found the recipe on Pinterest and it's Skinny Broccoli Mac and Cheese at Feeding my Temple. After eating it I thought I'd make a few changes.

The original recipe is tasty, just not exactly how we prefer it. The recipe I list doesn't have any meat in it, but we really thought it would be even better with some ground beef or cubed ham so you might give that a try too.

Ingredients for 2-4 servings (depending on how hungry Hubs is):
  • 6 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 12 oz broccoli (I used frozen)
  • 1 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded 2% cheddar (plus a little to sprinkle on top)
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta and broccoli according to directions. I boiled the broccoli then scooped it out and put the macaroni in since the water was already boiling.

Melt butter and cook onions on low for a few minutes in a skillet. Next, add flour and stir/cook for another minute. Add milk and chicken broth. Stir and turn heat up to medium-high until it starts boiling. Cook for about five minutes on medium until the sauce gets thicker. At this point you can add any salt/pepper you want.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Stir the sauce, pasta, and broccoli in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle the top with cheddar and parmesan and bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes.

Aaand I didn't take any pictures, so here's a picture of the leftovers. Umm, actually Hubs got home early from work and ate the leftovers before I could take a picture. Whoops. Here's kinda sorta what it looked like fresh out of the oven.
If you want pictures, go check out the recipe on Feeding my Temple :) The original also makes more servings (although the proportions are different, we wanted more broccoli and onion). I hope everybody is having a good week!
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18 October 2011

Ugly chair turned...less ugly

We moved. That's kind of old news now, but I thought I'd give you a little background on why I'm redoing a random chair. We knew ahead of time this would be a temporary move (6ish months or less) so we only brought what we could fit in our cars. We planned on renting a furnished apartment, even had one picked out.

Unfortunately that place fell through and we couldn't find anything furnished for such a short time. So we moved into a different apartment and had absolutely no furniture! Thanks to cheap stuff at Walmart, thrift stores, and some very kind people we now have enough furniture for the time we'll be here. I picked up a couple office chairs for free on base (which is great because I'm pretty sure sitting in a camp chair to work for 8 hours was going to get old quickly).
I also grabbed a duvet cover for free and planned on using it on the futon or something once we were reunited with our furniture. But I really wanted to cover the chair and I really didn't want to use the fabric I brought with me (yes, I brought fabric but mostly just what I was planning to use for christmas presents). So the duvet was elected to be the new chair cover. I'll quickly run through the steps...
Cut a piece big enough to cover the bottom and have plenty to overlap on the bottom. Don't bother ironing because it will be stretched out anyway and getting the iron out seems like wayyy too much trouble. Staple once on each side just to hold the fabric in the right spot while you flip the chair over.
I didn't want to take the chair apart, there were way too many things undone in the apartment for me to create another undone thing. So I leaned it precariously against the wall as I worked. Get your stapler ready for the next part!
Pull the fabric tight and staple like there's no tomorrow. I just used a regular old stapler, but a staple gun might be more effective because I did have some staples that didn't take the first time.
After you've stapled the whole thing, trim the excess. Then flip your chair over and marvel at the fact that your bang up job looks somewhat presentable.
My chair was upholstered even on the back of the seat, so I could use the "staple haphazardly" method for the seat back.
I pinned two pieces of fabric together over the chair, right sides together. (Because I seem to vaguely remember someone using this method to reupholster a couch so it seemed like the professional way to go...at least compared to stapling fabric all over the place.)
If your chair tapers in toward the bottom like mine did, you shouldn't pin all the way down. Unless you don't want to put it on after you sew it. I only pinned about halfway down so it wouldn't be so small at the opening that it wouldn't fit over the top. Sew around the edge and turn it right sides out then slip it on.
Now how to sew up the bottom half of the seat cover...that's a good question. My method involved some hand stitching and a safety pin on one side. I plan on coming up with a more permanent solution eventually, but for now I'm good with the finished product. (If I was doing this over again I would hem the bottom edge of the seat cover so I didn't have to worry about sewing it close.d)
Is it perfect? No. Is it exactly what I need for the next several months? And is it way more pleasant to look at than a stained brownish/pinkish chair? Yes and yes!
So what could you not move without? Tonight I was wishing I had my George Foreman grill that didn't make the cut (and wishing I'd remembered to pack the salt and pepper...guess I'm headed to the grocery store again!).
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10 October 2011

Beaded Leather Wrap Bracelet

In case you missed my guest post at Sweet Bella Roos last week...here's my latest project! Ok not technically my latest, my latest is actually sewing new ranks on Hubs' uniforms (way to go Hubs!)...good thing I brought my sewing machine in the car with me!

Have you seen these bracelets around recently?
I may have pinned one or two or five. But obviously I wasn't going to pay $30 for something that seemed so easy to make. (Key word there is "seemed")

So I set out to make my own. Michael's had a tutorial online for one and I looked at it basically to get a supply list then I figured the rest out as I went along.
Here's what you'll need:
  • 4mm or 6mm beads (I used 6mm)
  • Round leader cord (two 30" pieces for wrapping twice around, I had several extra inches at the end but I also have tiny wrists)
  • Large-ish button
  • Beading thread (whatever that is, or you could use beading wire...seems like that might be easier)
  • Needle that's meant for threading jewelry (trust me on this one)
And that's why you need a needle for jewelry making. I thought I could just use one of my sewing needles, but when I found a needle big enough for the beading thread it was too big to fit through the bead. I made a makeshift "needle" using a piece of picture hanging wire. It was flexible, so that big loop squished down to be basically flat after I went through the first bead.

I threaded the button onto the leather cord first to get it out of the way. How you attach it will depend on how many holes your button has. Mine had four so I did this (I outlined the two different pieces in green and blue so it's a little easier to see):
Then you're going to make a knot. I tied the end piece to the long piece on each side, then tied both long pieces together. I found that it was helpful to have something holding the leather pieces in place, so you have one less thing to mess with. I used this for a while, but I think it would be even easier if you could secure both ends somehow.
The next (million) steps are where it gets a little dicey. Cut off a pretty good length of thread (20 inches or so, you want to be able to get lots of beads on with it but you don't want it to be so long that it's constantly in the way). Tie a knot in the end of the thread and put your first bead on.
I'm going to try to illustrate the threading process because taking picture while I was doing it was way harder than I could handle didn't show the steps very well.
So here's what it looks like without all the arrows (that little red blob at the beginning is the knot by the way):
Now what's a girl to do when she runs out of thread? Good question. Tie your thread off. I made a knot around one of the leader cords. Then cut some new thread to work with. I made a couple knots around the thread of the previous bead to attach it. You could attach it straight to the cord probably but I didn't want it sliding down.
Now this whole thing might seem a little overwhelming. And at first it is. But around the time you think you won't finish until next Christmas you'll start to get the hang of it and find a way to thread the beads that's slightly more efficient than the sloppy way you started. Or maybe that's just me (mine did not start off well).

Once you get to the length you want (or close to it...my loop adds an inch to the overall length) you'll need to make a loop to go over the button. I'm going to send you to another site for tips on knots because I can't remember exactly what I did and I'm pretty sure it's not even a real knot they already have nice illustrations and even animations of knots. I would suggest the figure eight or maybe the yosemite bowline.
So there you go. Perfect for gifts or yourself! I think I spent less than $10 and I had plenty of cord and thread left for at least one more bracelet. Much nicer than $30 bucks plus shipping, right?
Also, I am clearly not qualified to be a hand/wrist model so please forgive the next few awkwardly posed shots. :)
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04 October 2011

Beaded Leather Wrap Bracelet

So remember how my first guest post was today? Well my second one is today too!
I've seen a lot of these beaded wrap bracelets lately and decided to make my own.  Head over to Sweet Bella Roos to see the full tutorial!
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First Guest Post EVER!

Head over to A Law Student's Journey today to see my very first guest post!
I updated my big book tote with exact dimensions and more instructions. And if you're stopping by to check things out, welcome! You can find some of my most popular posts on my sidebar. Have a great day!
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