Sweet Relief

So excited when I realized I had only one left to go!

So excited when I realized I had only one left to go!

I literally can feel the weight lifting off of my shoulders…and my lap!  I FINISHED THE RUG!!!!

And it is awesome.  Tedious. Time consuming. Way more t-shirts than I could have imagined. Countless hours of work.

But I might actually argue to do the dishes now…

It is actually quite nice upside down too!

It is actually quite nice upside down too!

I might try to do more dishes…
I might try to do more dishes...

I might try to do more dishes…



Finding your muse

Each year around September, I come across an idea for holiday gifts and I start planning and creating. (I don’t usually finish until the last minute, but at least I’m planning!)  Due to a new job taking up brain space, I didn’t even have a suspicion of an idea.

This was Dante's mock up, created on his iPod.

This was Dante’s mock up, created on his iPod.

Dante, however, had found his muse…and she likes LOLcats.  One weekend, I notice he is mentioning a girl in his class quite often. Then he is suggesting gift ideas for her. We went to an art show for local artist, Coralette Damme, and her block prints finally inspired me! So, I suggest they create their own scratchboard carving for a homemade notepad cover. Carina says, “I can draw a bird or a cat! Here, let me show you!” Dante says, “OK. There will be a brick wall, like for graffiti, you know? Then we will print out a LOLcat and cut it out.  Then we will write “I can haz new LOLcats” and it can be a notebook for thinking up new LOLcats.  Hold on…” He goes over to his iPod and is tapping away. A few minutes go by and I say, “Dante, come on, it is past screen time, time to put the ipod away.” “Just wait mom.  I’ll show you!” Another 2 minutes goes by, “Check your phone.” And he had sent me this image on the left.  He had searched “brick wall” on Google images.  Then he had cropped the original LOLcat and put them all together in a collage app. Using his resources well!

So, he made unique notepads for some friends, including the often mentioned girl from class.  As he was assembling them, he was even picking out different cat photos and then coming up with his own LOL phrase, “that match the mood of the cat.” (His words.) I included some samples below.  He said the girls liked them today and started drawing new ideas already in their notepad!

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Carina’s cat

Carina did a scratchboard of a whimsical cat with a fish on his head and made it in different colors. She had a blast making it and can’t wait to make more!

Now, to find time for my own creations!

Friends don’t let friends make t-shirt rugs

t-shirt rug progress

So close!

Well, I am getting closer…

I have felt the weight of this rug on me for months now. (It actually does weigh a ton now!) And I haven’t been able to create anything else, without feeling like I just had to finish it.  I am just so surprised at how tedious it is.  I think with knitting, you get into a rhythm and can find a groove.  Making this t-shirt rug – not groovy.  Too much stopping and starting.  It’s easy and pretty mindless.  I just can’t believe for the “small” amount I have left, it will take me about 5 more hours to complete.  And that is if I have enough shirt scraps around.

That being said, I am going to LOVE this rug.  It is unbelievably soft and cushy and I think I might even enjoy doing dishes once it is under foot at the kitchen sink.

Don’t try this at home. No, Seriously.

For the past few year, I have been making lots of things out of t-shirts.  I have made scarves, pillows, bracelets, dresses, skirts, and headbands.  My sewing room is full of random little scraps of tshirts in all colors.  It seems like a waste to throw them out – I might find something else to make with them!

So, in looking for more t-shirt ideas, I trolled Pinterest, until I saw the ideal project: the t-shirt rug.  Just what I was looking for!  A use for lots of small scraps of t-shirts! I hatched a plan.  Gather all the scraps and take them on our annual trip to the beach.  I’d have a week of sitting around relaxing and creating a t-shirt rug. “It’ll be done before the week is over!”

The drive to our location is 5 hours.  For 4 hours, I worked on the rug.  This is how far I got.  In 4 hours.

One row around the outside.

One row around the outside.

OK, reality is setting in. Only one row around in 4 hours?  How is that possible? I was tying knots in the row around the outside, and none of the tutorials said to tie knots.  I decide to switch to just putting the t-shirt scraps in and hope the stickiness of the mat and the closeness of the material will hold.

11 hours later.  I now have 4 rows around complete. One thing to note here: I do not have my rotary cutter with me and I have to continually cut all my scraps to the right length and width.  I know when I get home and can do that, the process will speed up.

4 rows done. I definitely didn't bring enough scraps.

4 rows done. I definitely didn’t bring enough scraps.

That being said, if I was buying new knit material to do this – I would definitely NOT be happy.  They might say it is simple and easy. Well, that is true.  But the amount of hours I am putting into a mat to put on my kitchen floor is not the best use of time.  Good thing I can read my book while I am doing it. And I’m happy that all those little scraps around my sewing room are getting cleaned up and put to work.

“Mom, Can you carry this?”

Beachcomber bag in action

On a mission

Every time we go to the beach, my kids pick things up along the shore.  Inevitably, it is me who carries everything.  Sometimes we remember to carry a sand bucket with us, but usually, those are awkward to carry and fill up fast.  A grocery bag is just not very calming when it is constantly rustling in the wind.  So, I was very excited when I came across this post about making a seashell collecting bag.

She made a tutorial that is super easy to follow and I made three in no time!  I adjusted the length of the strap to 45″ for an average adult, but definitely would suggest measuring a length you are comfortable with before making it for you.

I am calling mine the beachcomber’s bag, because we used ours to even collect garbage we found on the beach as well.  I love that they are weatherproof and you can just shake the sand off from within the bag!

Ready for collecting

Ready for collecting


Stirrin’ the pot

Every summer for the past handful of years, I have made apricot preserves.  I first started on a whim and really had fun.  Admittedly, last year was a chore.  I bought too many and they were overripe.  But, in the end, I loved having homemade gifts for friends and family ready to go.

Organic yellow peaches from South Carolina

This summer, our organic produce co-op had no apricots available, so I decided to try peaches.

The peaches look and smell delicious.  I learned a lot about the chemistry of making preserves and tried 3 new recipes.

I made a simple peach preserve recipe that really has a strong peach flavor.  I made an earl grey peach preserve that tasted dreamy with cream cheese and toast.  I made a peach cobbler preserve that made my vanilla greek yogurt taste sinful.

I stirred for about 4 mornings and ended up with over 270 ounces of preserves!  Way too many for gifting and my family’s sweet tooth to manage.

Would you like some?  $4 for a half-pint.  Still have some apricot jam left over from last year too! First come, first served!


T-Shirt Fun

Megan's tshirt scarfMore bracelet prototypesBracelets to matchScarf for MaddieHad lots of fun making this one!Friend modeling one of my t-shirt scarves
Skirt made from Daddy's Italy T-ShirtT-shirt Dress perfect for CarinaAll the Teest-shirt memory scarfT-shirt pillowT-shirt pillow (back)

T-Shirt Fun, a set on Flickr.

I have a new hobby. and a bit of an addiction. Altering t-shirts into new life.

It started innocently with a t-shirt dress and skirt for my daughter. Then a memory scarf for me.

Who knew how many things you could make out of a bag of t-shirts!

I have now made several t-shirt scarves with leather, braids, colors and had many compliments. Which of course inspires you to make more!

I made memory scarves for my niece, nephew and husband for the holidays and love giving new life to those old favorite t-shirts!

I then played with bracelets this week, finger weaving and survival bracelets.

Unbelievably easy. and so. much. fun!

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