Simple Pillow Tutorial

I have spent the last few days working on the porch decorating. I have been sewing pillows left and right. I can’t wait to share the entire project with you! This week’s fun project is sewing a Simple Pillow. There are still a few more things to finish on the porch, but I thought I would give you a peek at what we have done so far. The inspiration for this room came from this beautiful Tommy Bahama fabric. It just screams summer to me. I love the green and blue tones, it makes the outdoors feel closer some how. This Simple Pillow Tutorial is part of my Learn to Sew series. It’s easy enough for a beginner, but has a few little tricks that make fun for anyone to learn. Thanks to Fairfield World for sponsoring this post! I used 18″ x 18″ pillow forms from Fairfield World for this project. They are very nice quality, and the size is big enough to fill in the space nicely behind your back and the rather prickly wicker sofa. I cut my fabric with 1″ of ease in both directions for the pillows. This extra room makes it easy to slip the pillow form inside the cover without it being too tight. I cut my fabric 19″ x 19″ to give it plenty of room inside and compensate for any shrinkage in washing later on. I use 100% cotton thread when I sew, it’s a bit heavier and holds up very well in the machine. It is also the best choice…
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Easy Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo

  This month’s Ultimate Recipe Challenge is Pasta! We love Pasta at our house, it’s a thing of men. The more I make it, the more they eat it. Pasta is especially satisfying in our cool climate, and we eat it at least once a week. I have teamed up with some very talented bloggers for this Ultimate Recipe Challenge, you are going to love all these delicious Pasta ideas!   I make Pasta once a week for the menfolk at our house. I cook both gluten free noodles and the regular variety to accommodate  those on special diets. My favorite gluten free Pasta is the Quinoa variety. It cooks the best and doesn’t have the sticky residue that rice base pastas have. It tastes just like the regular pasta, you may not even know the difference! Recently, we went on a tour with 57 high school students as the cooks for the group. This Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo dish sold out completely! I had people asking me for the recipe, so here it is! Print Yum Easy Gluten Free Chicken Alfredo Ingredients2 lbs. chicken breast, thawed Lemon juice Olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 2 Tablespoons olive oil 2 Tablespoons butter 2 Tablespoons flour 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 1 cup cream or half and half, or original almond milk 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 2 cups chicken broth Fresh or dried parsley Salt and pepper to tasteInstructionsPreheat grill or broiler. Drizzle olive oil and lemon over, the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil…
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How to Hem Jeans

I have a new tutorial for How to Hem Jeans, it’s been one of my most popular sewing posts to date. It’s been featured on several different websites and blogs. Who knew jeans would be such a popular topic? I have been blogging for 6 years now. Hard to believe it’s been that long! I have hundreds of posts on this website. I am in the process of refining my brand and developing my future goals. One of the things I am working on is adding video tutorials to some of my old posts. You will need your jeans, tailors chalk (or a sharp #2 lead pencil), and a measuring tape or a ruler. First try on the jeans (after they have been washed and dried), and roll up the hem to the desired length. I know you know how to do this! Then, take off the jeans, and measure the amount you rolled up. It was 2 1/2″ on these jeans. Turn the jeans inside out, matching the leg seams and smoothing out the fabric. Because denim is so heavy, you will need to work with one leg at a time. Calculate the amount of fabric to cut off by subtracting 1″ from your orgininal measurement, to compensate for the seam allowance needed for the hem. I needed to shorten our jeans 2 1/2″, so 2 1/2″-1″= 1 1/2″ for my total. Measure from the bottom of the pant leg and mark the distance with a piece of tailors chalk or lead pencil. My distance was 4″. Be sure…
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Sew Fire Learn to Sew Printables

  Good hello my friends! I am excited for my Live FB segment today! That’s 10:00am CST on Mondays and Wednesdays. Be sure to check it out!  Fridays I am posting a video tutorial for a simple project you can make with your newly learned sewing skills. If you aren’t sure why you should learn to sew, read this post. Actually, this week Friday, I will have a no sew project to give you a few more days to practice if you are new to sewing! You are going to love it, so be sure to stop by! I thought you might appreciate an insight into what goes on behind the camera. I know I love to see how other people do things. I am new to video, I have done a few of them in the past (see my YouTube channel) but I have so much to learn. I recently attended a class on video production, so I feel I have new skills to help me along! For now, this is my Facebook Live recording process. It’s rather funny actually, and if you see me smiling smugly at the camera it’s because I am cracking up inside over this pathetic set up! Hopefully, it won’t come crashing down when I am on camera! The lighting isn’t great but with a few lamps I can improve things a bit. In this photo you will see my cell phone attached to a selfie stick. Yup, that’s what it is. The selfie stick is connected to an old tennis ball holder with…
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Why You Need to Learn to Sew

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:   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. 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. 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. 4. I can sew my own clothes or make clothes for others. Let’s face…
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Chicken Tortilla Soup

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! Mexican 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. 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   Brush 3 tortillas with olive oil on both sides. Slice into strips. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes until crisp and brown. 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…
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Pallet Planter and Privacy Screen

  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! 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. 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. The 2 x 6 was cut into 6 7/8″ pieces, 3 for each side of the planter. 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. We assembled the pallets in sandwich style,…
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DIY Cake 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.   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. 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. I used Gorilla Super Glue for…
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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!    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. 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. I used a screw driver to poke holes into…
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DIY Cleaning Products: Drain Cleaner

  It’s been about four years since I started blogging. My most popular post is my DIY Drain Cleaner recipe. I really had no idea it would be a popular post, I wasn’t even sure anyone would be interested. Thousands of views have proved me wrong! I learned this home remedy from a late night TV show, about a million years ago. I have been meaning to make a new video for a while and it seemed like a natural thing to do, so here it is. If you have a clogged drain, give it a try, you won’t be disappointed! I use this combination for regular drain maintenance about once a month. I do not purchase any chemical cleaners in our home, this recipe works great and is cheap and clean for the environment. For bathroom sinks, I use the smaller amount, for larger drains like the shower and bath tub I usually double the amount given. My kids love to help with cleaning the drains, we call it “drain cleaning science”. I found out that the Cream of Tartar is a form of tartaric acid and is a bi-product of winemaking. Potassium bitartrate is derived from the crystals formed on the inside of the wooden wine barrels as the wine ages. These crystals are then refined into Cream of Tartar. Who knew? Here are my Amazon Affiliate Links so you can buy your supplies and get started! I would love to hear how you like this recipe, here are some testimonials or leave me a comment! “I know…
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