Thursday, February 25, 2010

T'd Off!

Are you teed off because some of your favorite t-shirts have shrunk or become stained under the arms? Would you like some ideas on what you can make out of them so you can still enjoy them? Then this post is for you!

One very timely t-shirt craft is the reusable bag. Simply cut the neck and sleeves out to make handles, turn the t-shirt inside out, and sew the bottom closed. Then turn right side out again. If you want to get fancy, these can be embellished with buttons, ribbons, beads, etc. There is no need to hem the handles. T-shirt material doesn't ravel. Tote your books or groceries in style!

Scarves are another fun thing you can make out of t-shirts. There are many, many types of scarves you can make. I'll just talk about three of them here. The first is made by sewing wide strips of t-shirts together, and cutting fringe. There are easy instructions here:

The second type is made by cutting loops from the body of the t-shirt, wrapping them around your hand a few times, and tying them together with narrow t-shirt strips. Learn how here:

Another is made by laying 4" squares of t-shirt material end to end diagonally and sewing them all together to make a thick, ruffly scarf. There are excellent instructions at a very fascinating blog called Ruffles And Stuff here:

Is your bed or couch looking a little bare? Why not whip up a few pillows featuring your favorite t-shirt slogans? One type of pillow is made by cutting two squares or rectangles out of your shirt, pinning with the right sides together, stitch three sides, then turn right side out, stuff, and stitch the remaining side by hand. Another type is an easy no-sew pillow which is made by cutting fringe on a large square of material, knotting the fringe together on three sides, stuffing, then knotting the remaining side. This type works very well with larger t-shirts. There is a step-by-step video here:

These are just a few ideas to get you started on reusing your old favorites and some not-so-favorite and possibly downright ugly free t-shirts you may have accumulated! There are so many great ideas out there for recycling old t-shirts that I will probably do a second post with more ideas in the future. I'd love to hear about how you have reused old t-shirts too!

Monday, February 15, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make - Lemon Curd?

If you live in Southern California, this time of year you, your friends and your neighbors all have lemons that seem to multiply on the tree like Tribbles in a Star Trek episode. What to do with this citrus windfall?

My sister has a really easy but good Lemon Curd recipe I'd like to share with you. Lemon Curd is great served on scones, waffles or English muffins, as a topping for cheesecake, or a filling for crepes or thumbprint cookies. Try it over ice cream too!

1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the microwave, and pour into small sterile jars. Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Hopefully this post has given you a new idea about what to do with all those lemons. After all, you can only drink so much lemonade!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Gift That Keeps On Growing

One of the most popular Valentine's Day gifts has always been cut flowers. While I enjoy cut flowers, I think they are wasteful. They are expensive, and even if cared for properly, don't last long. If you have them delivered, that adds even more to the inflated price tag.

In time, Mr. Bargain learned to buy me a plant instead. Over the years I have received miniature rose bushes, hydrangeas, topiaries in the shape of a heart, carnations, even a Venus Flytrap! Most of these have survived as reminders of Valentine's Days past.

If you really miss the cut flowers, why not try some bulbs? They can be forced to bloom inside, and then later transplanted outdoors. Or try an African violet, which with proper care will continue to bloom for many years to come. You can even buy plants at the florist with a few cut flowers stuck in with those plastic tubes that hold water. When the flowers die, you can remove them and you have a houseplant.

Keep your love in bloom with a plant, and avoid the expensive and wasteful cut flowers this year!