21 April 2012

DIY Ruffle Skirt: Step 4: Making the Ruffle

Now we are ready to gather the bottom part of the skirt to make it into a ruffle. If you are using a lining of some kind, pin the long sides of your fabrics together right sides out. If your fabric has a top and a bottom, make sure to put the pins along the top.

Next, put the stitch length on your sewing machine to the longest setting. I have mine set to 4. Sew two seams along the top of the fabric, one 1/4 inch and one with 3/4 inch seam allowance.

The image to the left shows what the stitches should look like at the end. 

Next, we are going to gather the fabric using the line of stitches you have just made. Grab on to the threads of fabric just on the top side, and gently begin pulling the threads to force the fabric to gather. Make sure to do this gently, as breaking the thread will require ripping the whole thing out and sewing a new one. See picture below if this description is unclear.

 Continue gathering the fabric, pushing the gathers evenly along the fabric until the width of the gathered material is the same as the width of the bottom of your yoke (see below). 
Next, pin the gathered fabric to the yoke as pictured below. For those with a different color lining, pin so that the right side of the yoke fabric is touching the lining material.
Make sure you pinned the gathered material to only one side of the yoke, as pictured here. 
The sew along the pinned area to attach the ruffle part to the yoke part. (Make sure the stitch length is set back to normal (2-2.5 on my machine).
Tip: Sew with the gathers facing down, as the sewing machine will help feed the extra fabric through more easily. 

Fold the other side down and tuck the edge under, securing with pins.  

Sew a seam close the edge, as close as you can to without missing the edge.
Now you are ready to add the zipper and hook to the skirt and finish with a hem!

Go back to the beginning
Add the Zipper!


19 April 2012

Buttermilk Flatbread

My mother used to make this for my brother and I. We couldn't eat just one! Works very good for traveling because they are small and dense. We ate a lot of these in sack lunches.

1/4 c sugar
3/4 c butter
1 1/2 c buttermilk (dry mix works too)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4-5 c flour

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cream sugar with butter. Add buttermilk (add water if using dry buttermilk). 
In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients, salt, baking soda, 4 cups of the flour (and dry buttermilk powder if you are using it). Add to wet bowl and mix, slowly adding more flour until the mixture becomes a smooth ball. 

Split into 4 parts, then split those parts into 5 parts. Roll to saucer size and place on a cookie sheet. Poke holes with a fork into several locations on each piece. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes.


18 April 2012

DIY Ruffle Skirt Step 3: Assembly Yoke

Now you need to cut out the yoke pieces. Fold the fabric over so that there are two layers of fabric. Make sure the fold is nice and straight with the edge of the fabric. Pin the yoke pieces to the fabric so that the length of the fabric is along one grain of the fabric and the width is along the other for the very center. 

Cut out the pieces. If your fabric is thin (like cotton), you will probably want to also cut out a layer of interfacing for both pieces. I don't have interfacing, so I simply cut out both pieces again, making four layers for the front piece, and four layers for the back piece. 

Now place the one of the front pieces on top of a back piece with right sides together as pictured. (right sides are the pretty sides that you want showing at the end of the project).
Sew a straight seam along this line. (I sewed with dark thread for visibility in the picture, but you will want a thread that matches the fabric.
Iron flat.
Repeat with the remaining pieces. For the second set, sew the opposite sides of the front and back pieces together, still with right sides together. (See picture) 
The place one of the yoke pieces on top of the other (right sides together) like pictured and sew along the top edge. 
Iron this part flat too. 
Now flip the yoke so right sides are facing out and iron flat.  
Now you are ready to make the ruffle part of the skirt! 

Go back to the Beginning
Main body pattern
Make the ruffle!

16 April 2012

Peanut Butter Play-Doh

Peanut butter Play-Doh. Yes, it can be used as play-doh, as the name implies. One of my favorite childhood snack, peanut butter play-doh is a snack I still frequently turn to for a quick energy boosting snack. It is very simple: 3 ingredients, 5 minutes to prepare. 

You will need:
about 2 TBS peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
dry milk
about 1 tsp honey

To make: 
Take one large blob of peanut butter and plop in into a bowl. 
Add about a teaspoon of honey. 
Pour a small amount of dry milk on top and smash with a fork to mix, adding dry milk until it becomes a play doh consistency. 


14 April 2012

DIY Skirt Pattern Step 2: Main body

I am not going to make a pattern for this part, but am going to directly mark on the fabric (in pencil) since we are essentially just making a large rectangular shape. However, if you would feel more comfortable starting with a piece of paper, tape some newspapers together or buy one of those big rolls of paper for marking on. 

To make the main body portion of your skirt, you are going to want to measure the width of the bottom (wider) part of the yoke you made from step 1. To make it easier on yourself, just measure the back because it is straighter across. Then multiply this number by 4. In this step, you are essentially doubling the width of the skirt while also adding in the front part which you didn't measure. 

Note: Another way to find this measurement is to use a tape measure to find your hip measurement (around the largest part of your butt) and then multiply this number by two.

Mark this distance from the edge of your fabric. 

Then, measure from the area you plan on having your skirt start at on the waist to the length that you want the skirt to fall at. You will need to subtract the length of your yoke (in my case, 3 inches) but then add two inches back for seam allowance and adjustments. If you are uncertain about how long it needs to be, err on the side of caution and add an inch or two more than you think you need. Mark the number you came up with on the other edge of your fabric. I made mine 22 inches, which is slightly below my knee, when hemmed it will hopefully be at the knee. 

Mark this line a couple other places along the fabric to make cutting a straight line easier. Believe me, this step is necessary!

Then cut out the rectangle shape you have just created. 

My fabric is very thin, so I am going to cut an extra layer for a lining. If you are using a basic cotton to make your skirt, you will probably want an extra layer. If you want to save money, possibly using plain white fabric is cheaper. My fabric is actually an old sheet from Goodwill, so I just cut another piece from this same fabric. 

Now you have everything you need to start making you new skirt! 

Go back to Step 1         
Go to Step 3

13 April 2012

Oatmeal Rosemary Parmesan Bites

I found this recipe on thekitchn.com. The writer describes them as cookies, but they are really more of a non-sweet sort of treat. Fairly healthy. I ate them with a cup of green tea last night and it was amazing! If people still invite guests over for tea, this would be something yummy to serve with. I love this recipe because it contains some of my favorite ingredients. Rosemary, Parmesan, and olive oil. 

Here is what you need:
1 cup oats
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp  salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Here is how its made:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Place the oats and water in a large mixing bowl.
3. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, brown sugar and egg. Pour this mixture over the oats, stir to combine.
4. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, rosemary, and black pepper. Stir in the Parmesan.
5. Gradually sprinkle the flour mixture over the oat mixture, stirring until combined.
6. Form 1 TBS size scoops of batter and place, evenly spaced on a greased cookie sheet. 
7. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of each.
8. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are slightly darkened. 

When I made it, I only had about a third cup of Parmesan, but they still turned out tasty. I will definitely try it with a full cup next time though.

Also, I would suggest breaking the rosemary into smaller pieces if they are pretty long, else it is a little awkward to bite into. 

09 April 2012

DIY Skirt Pattern Step 1: Waistband

Here are directions to make a pattern for a skirt like the one pictured at right from kaboodle.com. Because I want to make the steps very clear, I will be splitting it up into several different posts with lots of pictures. This part shows how to make a waistband using a pair of jeans to make the pattern. 
To begin, find a pair of pants (or possibly shorts or a skirt) that you like the way it sits on your waist. We will use these pants as a guide to make the waistband (yoke) part of the skirt.

First, we will make the back half of the yoke. Get a piece of paper that is wider than the waist of your pants. I just stapled two pieces of lined paper together. Trace the edge of the pants around the top. Then make another line around the first line you made about a half inch wider as pictured below. This is your seam allowance.

On another piece of paper, trace the sides of the pants again. This will make the front part of the yoke, so you do not need to trace the top part again. In order for the yoke to fit nicely, we will need to make the top line on this piece curved like the front of the jeans. To do this, fold the back part of the pants down to where the front part begins and make a small mark on the paper.

 Make a few more marks on the paper by folding the back part down to where the waistband starts in the front. Be careful not to accidentally draw on your pants!

 Now, take the pants away and carefully connect the marks to make a smooth line. Then add a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the front too. 

Decide how wide you want the yoke to be. I decided to make mine 3 inches. Take a ruler or measuring tape and measure three inches (or whatever amount you decide) from the inner line at the top of the waist. Do this for both the front and the back in several locations along the top.

Connect the dots to make a solid line. 

 Remember to add a half inch seam allowance below the line you just make. Here is what your pattern should look like at the end.

Go to Step 2

05 April 2012

Superfood Eats: Healthy Dark Chocolate Raspberry/ Blueberry/ Cherry Snack

For chocolate lovers everywhere, this is a spectacular snack that can easily fit into any diet plan. Combining delicious berries and divine dark chocolate, this is tasty treat sure to satisfy any cocoa cravings. To create this amazing snack you will need:
here is what I used

Frozen or Fresh Berries
Cocoa Powder

To make this lovely concoction, simply defrost a handful berries (if frozen) in microwave. Then sprinkle a small amount (1/2-1 tsp) of cocoa powder on top and mix gently with a spoon. Its that simple. Now satisfy your taste buds! 

The sweetness of the berries makes it unnecessary to add any sugar, although a small amount could be added to satisfy a sweet tooth type. 

As a happy side note, this recipe is super healthy because cocoa powder and berries are both very healthy. See article on cocoa benefits HERE and berry benefits HERE

Good luck!

04 April 2012

Reusable Containers

I have seen tons of ways clever people have upcycled old bottles, cans, and various other items for anything from homemade lamps to pots for plants. Here is my small contribution to the mass of ways one can recycle ones old containers.

As I have discovered a love of baking this semester, I have had to keep more things like flour and sugar on hand. However, living in a house with four other girls means that there are not a lot of Tupperware available for continuous storage of baking supplies. In addition, I am a professional paper bag ruiner, especially when it comes to flour and sugar bags.

Enter empty oatmeal container and peanut butter jar. These have saved my life from a fine dust of flour and sticky surfaces inside my cupboard! In addition, the peanut butter jar works wonderful for pouring the sugar directly into a measuring cup, no scooping necessary. However, a scoop saved from an old cappuccino mix (which is now holding my rice supply) provides for any sugar scooping needed and decreases the endless supply of silverware to be washed!

Other containers I have been using is an old applesauce jar for popcorn kernels, and a plastic yoghurt container has held both granola and cookies.

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