Tuesday, May 26, 2015

DIY Entertainment Shelf

For the longest time, our TV in the bedroom lived on top of a cheap, ugly, Ikea dresser.  The Blu-ray player and cable box were stacked on top of each other and it was just... unpleasant.  The before is at left... it's wretched, I know!  I couldn't stand the empty space above the tv, the harsh lines of the dresser completely clashed with the rest of the room.  I just hated it.  So, we made a change.  It started with mounting the TV and concealing the cables.  We found a strip to hide the cables in that you can paint so it blends in with your wall.  But, then I had to solve the problem of where to put the Blu-ray player and cable box.  I had found these rustic brackets at an estate sale for $10 for the pair.  I had been hanging onto them, kind of unsure what to do with them when I realized they would be a perfect solution for this project.  I bought some wood at the local hardware store, stained all the pieces and screwed them together to make a shelf.  To allow the cords to be concealed within the strip, I fixed the shelf to the brackets leaving a one inch gap between the shelf and the wall.  It worked beautifully!  

Then I was frustrated with the empty space below the shelf, between the brackets.  Simple.  I got some screw in hooks and some baskets with handles... and instant storage!  I didn't even need to drill holes for the hooks, they screwed right into the wood by hand.  

Just a note... make sure your hooks are both facing the same direction so you can lift the basket and slide off the hooks.  Removing the baskets could get tricky if your hooks are both facing inward toward each other.  You can see how I did it below.

Of course, Skilo always has to get in on the photo shoots. That's okay, though.  He only makes them cuter!  I could not be more pleased with that corner, now.  I added a sweet little wicker chair from Ikea, a Nate Berkus blanket from Target, some storage boxes from Target for random documents and a basket for all the magazines I still need to read.  The drawings on the wall were done by my mom when she was a teenager.  I adore them. 

I think this corner looks infinitely better than it did before.  It doesn't make me want to close the door and never look in my bedroom again anymore.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

EAT: Summer Yogurt Salad

Who doesn't love something sweet and healthy?  Never ever can you have too much sweetness if it's actually doing your body good.  I was not born with an inherently natural sweet tooth like my mother. She can honestly eat an entire bag of Dove chocolates and call it "dinner" with no remorse.  It's astonishing, actually.  I very rarely get a craving for sweetness, but when I do, I tend to opt for something less... guilt ridden.  Typically, I spoonful of peanut butter is enough to satiate my craving, but sometimes, I need fruit.  And chocolate.  And brown sugar.

I came up with this salad based on my love for yogurt parfait... and quite honestly, it's to die for.  The best part is that you can customize it with whatever fruit/toppings you like.  

Chobani Greek Yogurt
Brown Sugar
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips

I added in the brown sugar first to make sure it mixed with the yogurt.  I didn't want it getting stuck to the fruit and clumping.

Next, I added the fruit and just mixed it all together.

Along with some mini caprese's and tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa, we had the perfect snack table for a movie night with Jen and Pat.  I cannot wait to whip up some more tasty summer snacks and share them with you!  This is also the PERFECT Memorial Day picnic salad.  Pack it up in the cooler and take it to the park or the pool and dig in!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Faux Button Placket (No Buttonholes Involved!)

With an ever-growing to-do list, I'm always looking for short cuts. Which leads me to a confession....

I hate buttonholes.

Phew, glad I got that off my chest! For the longest time, I refused to sew buttonholes. I think my fear stems mostly from the fact that I've been sewing for the last 5 1/2 years on a basic sewing machine, and my sewing machine hates buttonholes. What I mean is, my machine knows how to make buttonholes, it just flat out refuses to make them. And when it does, it usually takes me 2-3 times of unpicking stitches before I have semi-presentable results.

And who wants to spend an hour on buttonholes? Ain't nobody got time for that. That's how I came up with an idea to make a faux button placket!

Now, I'm not going to promise you that this method cuts your buttonhole making time in half or anything like that (and actually it may take a little bit longer), but if you're like me and have a machine that just doesn't like to make buttonholes, or if you're not ready to make the plunge into making buttonholes, this tutorial will give you a finished button placket that people will never guess is a fake. Plus, since we're using velcro, a faux placket makes it much easier for little ones to dress themselves.

Ready to add a faux placket to everything??

SUPPLIES: finished top, velcro, disappearing ink marker, buttons at least 1 inch in diameter or more, sewing machine, needle and thread.

First, you'll need a finished top that needs a button placket. This particular top above is a peplum top I made as part of The Sewing Rabbit's fall 2013 collection, minus the piping. (Come visit me on The Sewing Rabbit to learn how to make a peplum top next week!)

ONE: first, measure your shirt from neckline to the bottom and subtract an inch.
TWO: next, separate your velcro so that the "hook" part, or the scratchy part, is separate from the soft "loop" part of the velcro. Cut a length of the loop portion of the velcro only,  as long as the measurement you wrote down above.
THREE: pin your loop tape to your shirt, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on both the top and bottom.
FOUR: sew around all sides of your tape to attach it to your shirt.

FIVE: now you'll need to cut squares of the "hook" portion of the velcro to attach to the other side of your button placket. You'll want each square of hook tape to be slightly smaller that your button (so people won't be able to see your stitch lines), so trim if needed.
SIX: cut out as many squares of hook tape as you have buttons. See how my hook tape is slightly smaller than my button?
SEVEN: now use your disappearing ink marker to make marks where you want your buttons to go on the underside of your button placket.
EIGHT: pin each square of hook tape on the marks you just made and sew to secure.

Here is what the other side of your button placket will look like as soon as you've sewn your hook squares down! Now all that's left is to sew your buttons on right on top of your squares to hide your stitches.

And now you have a beautiful faux button placket with no buttonholes involved! I'll be no one will even notice it's a fake :)

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