Why You Need to Learn to Sew

Quilted Hexagon Table Runner

You may have noticed that I love to sew. I have dozens of sewing projects in my blog repertoire, sewing is one of my favorite things to do. Here’s why:

Finished fabric stack

 

  1. Believe it or not, I can sew just about anything cheaper than I can buy it. The only exception is with specialty items like winter coats or sequined evening gowns. Most of us already own a coat and few of us actually wear evening gowns. I suspect most people today would like to learn to sew to save a few bucks here and there, alter the clothes they already own or just for their own knowledge. At any rate, learning to sew will save you MONEY.

Kids Travel Pillow

2.  I can sew faster than I can order things online and have them sent through the mail. You would be amazed at how quickly you can make things at home that cost a considerable amount of money to buy in a retail store. I often go shopping and come home with nothing except photos in my phone of things I want to make, or ideas for those I can make cheaper than I can actually buy them.

Cutting out the tree appliqué

3.  I can whip up gifts at a moments notice. This is a huge benefit of sewing. Once you have a stash of fabric and supplies built up, there is no stress in putting together a last minute gift that is unique and special because you made it just for them.

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4. I can sew my own clothes or make clothes for others. Let’s face it, it’s really hard to find things that fit, that in your price range and look really great. It takes time and a bit of patience to sew your own clothes, but it is well worth it. You will be able to make better fitting, longer lasting garments than you can buy in the store.

DIY: How to Hem Jeans

5. You can alter or repair the clothes you already own. Even if you have no time or desire to sew your own clothes, by learning to sew you can repair the ones you already have. If you pay someone else to hem slacks or skirts, shorten sleeves, repair worn spots, or replace zippers it is far cheaper to learn to do this yourself. You can even get paid by your friends to do it for them! Plus, it’s fun!

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6. You can sew fun projects for your home decor. Let’s say for example, you see a cute pillow that you love in the store. Small decorative pillows run anywhere from $13.00 on up. You can make one your self for less money that you will like better! Not to mention, it’s easy to cover an old pillow with a new cover that you can make yourself for free!

I can even leap over my sewing machine in a single bound. Well, not really.

But, you know what I mean? Sewing and making my own stuff is part of my Homemade Super Thrifty existence, without it life would be very dull indeed. And expensive!

I am hoping that you love to sew too. But, perhaps you never had an opportunity to learn?

Here’s your chance! I am starting a new sewing series call SEW FIRE. I chose this name because I am passionate about sewing and can teach you to sew IN A FLASH. When I went to Googled this title, I discovered an article about a tragic fire in New York’s garment district  in 1911. Hundreds of young women lost their lives trying to escape from a building where they were seamstresses. This really touched me, and I decided that SEW FIRE was also a way to recognize the garment workers who sew for pennies in deplorable conditions even today. I have been inside similar buildings in the garment district of NYC, and let me tell you, they aren’t pretty. I fact, many of them are downright scary. I can’t imagine being trapped in one by a fire. If you would like to read more about this tragic fire, click here.

This Sew Fire series is for those of you who have never sewn a stitch in your life, don’t know how to turn on a sewing machine, or even thread it. This series is sewing from the VERY, VERY BEGINNING.

You are going to love it! I am doing weekly videos on Facebook Live and posting additional tutorials here on the blog and my You Tube Channel.

Here’s the introduction teaser video:

Join me on FB live Monday and Wednesday mornings, 10:00am CST for the Sew Fire series!

I am really excited about this, and I have much more in store for you here on the blog including some free printables that I am working on!

You won’t want to miss out! Sign up for my weekly newsletter in the side bar for all the updates!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Welcome to the Mexican Fiesta Recipe Blog Hop! There are 12 of us bloggers in this hop, you are going to love this Foodie Fiesta!

square bowl with soupMexican cooking is very popular at our house. It is easy to prepare, and uses lots of healthy fresh ingredients. I make many Mexican meals, but this Chicken Tortilla Soup is always my favorite. I frequently make this soup with leftovers after a night of Fajitas or Chicken Tacos.

olive oil and tortilla

You can use corn or flour tortillas in this recipe. I prefer the flour variety because they are light and soft. For the gluten free diet, the corn would be the best option. You can also purchase gluten free wheat-less tortillas at the grocery store.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. cubed chicken breast

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 24 oz. can petite diced tomatoes

1 can black beans, drained

1 can corn, drained

6-8 cups chicken broth or 2 tablespoons chicken soup base

3/4 cup basmati rice, or leftover cooked rice

1 package flour tortillas

1 bunch fresh cilantro

red pepper flakes to taste

1 tsp. chili powder

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

cut tortilla

Brush 3 tortillas with olive oil on both sides. Slice into strips. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes until crisp and brown.

Spoonful of soup

Meanwhile, add olive oil to large stock pot over high heat. Add garlic, onion and chicken breast. Salute 5-7 minutes until done.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans and corn. Stir, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add rice and cook 10 minutes until rice is tender. Chop remaining tortillas into 1″ cubes. Add to the soup along with salt and pepper.  Cook additional 10 minutes until tortillas are tender.

Chop cilantro and add to pot right before serving.  You can serve with the tortilla strips, more cilantro and sour cream if desired.

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Be sure and visit these other blogs for more great recipe ideas!



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Pallet Planter and Privacy Screen

white pallet planter with flowers

 

I was scoping out Craig’s List recently, looking for a new project. I happen to come across a pile of free pallets, and I was thrilled to pick them up. I have had this Pallet Planter and Privacy Screen idea in mind for quite some time, just needed the right materials to make it all happen!

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The idea came to me last summer. We were walking through some side streets of Chicago and I notice a number of outdoor cafes that had privacy screen type planters along the street. Not only were they beautiful, but they were made from simple materials.

The plantings were simple as well, I love the look of ferns or other leafy green plants for privacy. As lovely as these planters are, I had a simpler solution, to make them out of pallets.

before

I brought home 2 full size pallets for each privacy screen, plus a few half pieces to use for extra wood here and there. I also picked up a 30″ plastic planter box at the local home improvement center, along with an 8 ft. 2″ X 6″ and some 4″ coated screws for assembly.

cutting the 2 x 6

The 2 x 6 was cut into 6 7/8″ pieces, 3 for each side of the planter.

marking the boards for assembly

The pallet was marked along the edge 4″ from the side for even assembly. We also had a broken board or two on the pallets. These were removed and replaced with boards from one of the half size scrap pallets that I brought home.

the pallet sandwich

We assembled the pallets in sandwich style, using the pieces of 2 x 6 at the top, middle side and bottom side areas. Be sure all pieces are lined up before you screw them together. The gap in the middle is made just the right size for the planting box to slide in.

assembly

We used a 6″ screw driver extension to reach between the boards and screw the pieces together. After we put 2 screws in each one on this side, we turned the pallet sandwich over and screwed the other side together for extra durability.

planter with flower box

The planter box fit right into the top.

side view pallet planter

You can see how the three side pieces of 2 x 6 hold the two pallets together.

finished pallet planter

I like the height of the pallets for privacy, it will work great on our patio area to screen us from the neighbors.

paint sprayer

I dug out my handy paint sprayer and went to work painting the planter.

white pallet planter

We had some storms come in and I was only able to get a one coat of paint on it. I will repost more pictures when the weather clears. Summer can’t come soon enough! I was really tempted to buy some ferns at the store, but it is too early to plant things out in our zone 4-5 climate. The planting will have to wait!

white pallet planter with flowers

I have materials for another planter and will finish it soon. Since this was so easy to assemble, I think I can manage to do it all by myself and surprise my husband. We will see!

There are a bunch of us who have been working on Pallet Projects for this little blog hop. I am linking up to this site as well.

Check out these other great pallet projects:


DIY Cake Stands

 

2 stands

This is a sponsored post. Any opinions given are completely my own. This post was sponsored by Gorilla Glue. See disclosure page for additional information.

blue plates

 

I make weekly trips to the local thrift store. One day in particular is especially fruitful for my visits, since they put out new stock for the weekend. Friday is the day to shop for thrift. I found these lovely plates on my most recent excersion. I put them together with some other thrift store junk to make these DIY Cake Stands.

I spent a lot of time deliberating colorful plates at the store. I found that I was drawn to the blue combinations the most. They key to success in this project is to choose 2-3 plates of the same color combination for each cake stand. I love that the patterns are all different, they work together because they are in the same color family. I did sneak in a couple of white plates, they are in the middle layer of the cake stand or have decorations and are not so obvious.

footed glass bowls

The other secret ingredient is several small footed glass bowls in different shapes and sizes. I also used a candle stick and a shot glass as well but those are only for the smaller top layers. Using the wider, lower footed bowl for the heavier bottom plate adds stability, a medium size and height bowl works well for the middle plate, then the short shot glass or candle stick support the smaller top plate.

3 cake stands

I used Gorilla Super Glue for this project. Honestly, I wasn’t sure that this project would work very well even with the glue. Remember when Super Glue wasn’t all that Super? Well, those days are gone! I hadn’t used Gorilla Glue before and I was rather sceptical about it. However, I now realize that I under estimated the power of the glue. Lesson learned, never underestimate a Gorilla!

inverted plates with glass bowls and glue

Drip the glue around each edge of the supporting glass, then adhere to the bottom of the plates. I let them dry 15-20 minutes before inverting.

orange butterfly stand

I decided to make the pieces easy to store, so I only glued two pieces together at a time. This allows me to mix and match them and change the look and height as needed for different occasions. In this photo, the bottom plate is not glued to the footed bowl you see in the middle. You can put them together temporarily with pieces of floral adhesive or Command Strips, I have done both in the past and they work very well for a temporary hold.

Finished cake stands

Finished cake stand

The little nests hold candies that resemble eggs, the butterflies add color and a touch of Spring. You can never have too much Spring!

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I am so pleased with how this project turned out. I spent just a couple of dollars on each Cake stand. These 5 cake stands will hold jewelry and treats at an upcoming dinner party. I think they would be amazing for a brunch display, wedding, bridal shower or baby shower. I may even give them away so that I can have fun making more!

The ladies are going to love them!

 

Thank you to Gorilla Glue for sponsoring this post!

Succulent Cross

Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries.  Here is an easy DIY project to add some green to your decor – a succulent cross! 

DIY Succulent Cross|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

 

It’s finally warm enough to spend some time out on the porch. My first priority of course, are plants and accessories. Never mind that there is no where to sit, or that my pile of rummage sale junk still sits in the corner of the porch. A pretty front door is so welcoming, and something green by the door just makes it so much more inviting.Succulent Cross on door

Succulent Cross materials

Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries. I used to work in a green house and we planted dozens of topiaries early in the season. Topiaries were always hot items and they really aren’t difficult to plant. Succulents work well in them because they have shallow roots and don’t need a ton of water. I found this cross topiary online last year and thought it would be perfect for my Easter decor. This would also be a nice project for a grave site planting, as the succulents don’t need a lot of maintenance.

The first step is to soak your topiary in a bucket of water for 10-15 minutes until saturated. Then it’s ready to plant. I only used 6 plants for this project, but I broke them down into smaller pieces as I planted them so they wouldn’t be too big for the narrow parts of the cross.

Succulent Cross close up

I used a screw driver to poke holes into the moss, then inserted the plants. The plants filled up the cross quite well and will grow into place even more over the garden season.

I used a Command Strip to hang it on the glass door.

whole door with cross

I will have to take the cross down and soak it in a tray of water when it is dry since I don’t want to mess up the wooden finish on the door by watering it directly.

cross on the door

I found the blue hydrangea plant recently at Costco. My cross dripped a bit after it hung for a while, you can see a bit of moisture on the lower part of the door. I will have to remember to let it drain for a bit before hanging it up after watering. I have planted the Bunny Topiary in past years, you can read that tutorial here.

Now that my door is ready, perhaps I need to go out and look for an Easter Bonnet?

Enjoy your Holy Week!

 

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DIY Succulent Cross|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com