Monday, October 26, 2015

DIY Sunday: Skinny Hip Pant Fix

Happy Monday!

We had a wonderful, very full weekend. My daughter and I participated in our first Girl Scouts event, and I got to attend new leadership training. I am very excited about Girl Scouts. It's a great program that really lets girls learn leadership skills while having fun. Plus, they have a focus on outdoor activities and STEM which I fear is lacking for many girls today. I'm so excited to be involved in the program.

Since she had her first event Saturday, and I didn't get her uniform until Friday, that meant I got to spend Friday night sewing. It ended up being a good thing, because I had a couple of projects I was meaning to complete anyways. One of them is a collection of pants for my son.

I think there's quite a few parents out there than can sympathize with this problem. I have a tall skinny little boy. If something fits around the waist, it's probably 3 inches short on the pants and vis versa. Sweatpants and jeans with adjustable waists help, but every once in a while we get some free jeans or older PJ pants with worn out elastic, and they just fall off his tiny hips. (Lord. I wish I had that problem)

Fixing this is SUPER easy. And if you have a needle and thread, you don't even need a sewing machine! This is completely doable without one.

DIY Skinny Hip Fix


Elastic (I like the no-roll kind)
Needle and Thread or Sewing Machine (I like to use a color that matches the pant, not the elastic)
Safety Pin
Small Sharp Scissors
Optional: Stitch Ripper


1. Cut a Small Slit

So, most waistbands of pants will already have a "pocket" for you to thread your elastic through. So, for jeans or other pants that button/zip on the front, on the one of the sides towards the front, cut a small slit on the inside of the waistband. Take care not to cut all the way through the pant. Just try to get that first layer. If you are working on some stretched out sweatpants or PJ pants, you may want to start in the back since your elastic is going to go all the way around.

2. Thread Elastic

Attach your safety pin to the elastic and thread it through the small slit you made. You should be able to thread all the way around to the other side (or with PJs and sweatpants, thread the whole way around).

You may run into obstacles. For example, on these Levi's, the patch that was sewn into the back of the jeans keeps you from threading all the way around. In that case, use your stitch ripper (or even small scissors) to cut away enough stitches so the safety pin can slide through. Don't remove the entire patch (unless you want to). You only need just a tiny space for the safety pin to slide through. Once you get to the other side, cut a tiny slit in the top layer of fabric for the safety pin to slide back out. Secure the safety pin and elastic to the side of the pants. (Or if you went all the way around connect the beginning and end of the elastic together with the safety pin)

3. Sew

You can either use a needle and thread or a sewing machine to attach your elastic. If you use a needle, make sure you have strong knots and really have at it. Make sure that elastic isn't going anywhere. If you have a sewing machine, use a zig zag stitch to secure the elastic.

If you're working on pants like jeans, you will secure the beginning of the elastic first. Remove the safety pin and place the elastic against the inside of the waist band and sew the elastic to the jean. Once it's sewn on, pull the other end of the elastic tight. Make the waistband as tight as you need it to be. Then secure the end of the elastic to the other side of the pants with a couple of stitches. Cut off the excess elastic.

If you're working on sweatpants or PJ pants, pull the elastic as tight as you need it and sew the two ends of the elastic together so it's making a circle of elastic. Cut off excess elastic when you're done sewing. Slide the elastic around so the piece you just finished sewing is inside of the waistband. That way it isn't visible and isn't scratching your kiddo.

So, there you go! A very easy and cheap way to make your pants fit those skinny boy hips. Of course this works for skinny girls too, but I always find that boy pants are usually assuming your little one is built like a brick house. :)


Monday, October 19, 2015

DIY Sunday: Adult Shirt Upcycling

Happy Late Sunday/Early Monday!

Today's DIY Sunday features my daughter and her ever evolving style. She may be just five, but she has very strong opinions on what is "cute" and what is not. Skinny jeans are okay, but boot cut jeans are not cute. Don't even get her started on wearing a plain sweatshirt. There's always extra points for pink, sparkles or dresses. I feel like I'm dressing her for the cool kids table straight out of Mean Girls

Thankfully, the clothes I make for her still fit in the "cute" category, although those days may be numbered. It's become a bit of a tradition each season change. I go through my closet and make a couple of piles (toss, donate, sew, etc.) This weekend we made a baseball shirt dress from one of my old college shirts. I also decided to sew through my finger for the first (and hopefully last time!). Don't do that. Seriously. My poor index finger not only got sewn through this past weekend, but last year I cut through it with a rotary cutter. I'm a hardcore crafter y'all.

Making children clothes from adult clothes is actually really simple. Most of my sewing projects only require a simple understanding of using a sewing machine (I'm no sewing wizard). I always put the shirt on my daughter inside out. I then grab a pile of pins and follow her silhouette. It's pretty easy. The only "tricky" part is the sleeves, mostly because you don't want to go too tight, or she'll never be able to get into it. I may eventually try to use my husband's castaways to make my son some t-shirts. Making each dress usually only takes 45 minutes or so, and she still thinks it's fun to wear a version of my clothes.

In addition to the dresses we made, we also did this super (SUPER) easy method to making t-shirt bags. In fact, this method can easily be no sew. You can simply tie up the bottom instead of sewing. My daughter made one bag completely on her own using that method.

Check out our t-shirt upcycle projects!

Did I also mention she's a complete ham when it comes to modeling her new dresses?

On this baseball shirt dress, I simply took in the entire shirt along her silhouette. I also shortened the sleeves and hemmed the bottom up. 

This dress was a little more difficult  because it was a tank top. I took in the sides along her silhouette. I removed the straps and re attached them in a cross pattern on the back. I also had to play with the scallop design on the front so it wasn't baggy.  I also hemmed up the bottom just a bit.

This dress is one of my daughter's favorite (and ironically, was one of my favorite shirts as well). We took in the sides to match her silhouette and closed up the arm holes so they were smaller. I also took in the back a bit as well so we could use the existing buttons and holes to secure the dress.  The tricky part was hemming the bottom with the different layers of slick fabric. It's not perfect, but it does the trick. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Show & Tell: CustomInk Crafting T-Shirts

Happy least I hope it's Wednesday. I tend to get my days messed up. There has been some really disappointing Thursday afternoons. (What?! It's not Friday? Guess I will put the beer back in the fridge.)

A couple of weeks ago I was looking through my clothes and realized that my "The Dabbling Crafter" branded shirts were on their last leg. Not only are branded shirts a good way to get the word out about my blog, but they are also a good way to add some credibility when I'm out at craft shows. When I'm wearing a branded shirt I look less like a "I'm a crazy person taking pictures of all your specialty crafted and curated items" person. I know as a former booth owner, there is nothing more irritating than people taking pictures of your items and saying "I could totally make that." So, I like to let booth owners know that I'm going to give proper credit and maybe pass along a couple of fans.

Anyways. When you look for an online resource for t-shirts, it's hard to not see CustomInk mentioned. I looked at the reviews (mostly very good) and the price point (more than fair). I decided to give it a try. (And no, I wasn't paid for my review) The creation tool is very easy to use and has lots of fonts and art available. It was also easy for me to upload my logo.

So, I decided to make two shirts. Each has a fun phrase on the back. One is a simple t-shirt and the other one is a baseball shirt. The printing and shipping is a bit long. Expect to wait a couple of weeks to get the final product. I can understand that with custom printing. I also ordered my shirts on the large side, and the sizing was (unfortunately) right on. My shirts ended up being large, so I will have to shrink them or alter them. Their sizing guide is very helpful because they model the shirt on different size people. Plus, they have a wide range of sizes available. Also, if I wanted to offer these shirts to others, there's a group ordering option.

Over-all, I'm really happy with my CustomInk experience and I love my shirts. I just have to remind myself I don't need 100 more.


Monday, October 12, 2015

DIY Sunday: DIY Foot [Under Desk] Hammock

Happy Monday!

I meant to blog this weekend about this easy project, but I attended a birthday party and baby shower. It was a fun but tiring weekend. So, you get your DIY Sunday on a Monday, and you're going to like it! (Please)

Our home tends to be the place where lost and lonely pets find their forever home. It's an occupational hazard being a veterinarian's wife. Well, I swore I would never have a cat inside. I didn't grow up with cats, and I'm a self proclaimed crazy dog lady. However, there was a kitten that was abandoned near my in-laws house. The kitten was so little he couldn't eat on his own. So, I somehow got roped into bottle feeding this kitten. Then, the kitten convinced me to allow a cat in the house. I mean, not only is he adorable, but we've had a couple mice in the house. Our westie was a great mouser, but she's no longer with us. So cute kitten it is. He better learn to kill mice or else! Okay. I probably wouldn't do anything. He is adorable.

Cute kitten is now named Maximus (to go along with our outdoor cats: Rapunzal, Flynn and Rider) and he's really annoying. Well, at least while I'm working. He likes to play with feet and climb up your leg to sleep on your face. I had to make some sort of solution to this, because it was driving me insane. (Which of course with two children under 6 and three dogs is a very short trip)

I saw a clever idea for a desk foot hammock on Pinterest a year or so ago. I had been meaning to give it a DIY try, and I'm happy to report that with some very simple sewing skills, it's a project you can finish in an hour for next to nothing. This project isn't just for people with crazy kittens. It would be great for anyone that wants to put their feet up at their desk. I'm looking at you pregnant ladies! 

DIY Desk Foot Hammock


Fabric (I used some scraps I had left over from my office chair recovering. [Click here for the tutorial]. I used a piece that was about a yard long and 8 inches or so wide)

Sewing Machine or Needle and Thread.

Dowel (I had a spare dowel sitting around, but they are only about a 1$ in the craft section. They are long, so you should only need one dowel)

Twine or Rope

2 rings (I had some D rings in my craft stash, but any type of ring would work. Key ring, washer, etc.)

2 Eye Screws


Total Cost: Free! (or around $3.00 if you need to buy supplies)


1. Sew a Pouch

Since my piece of fabric was long and skinny, I folded it in half "hamburger" way, right side to right side. I then had a rectangle of fabric with one short end folded and  the other three sides raw. The only fabric visible was the wrong side (e.g. the side with no pattern).

However, your fabric size may differ. You can make this work no matter the shape of your fabric. If you have a large piece of fabric, fold it so you have a rectangle and the right sides are facing each other. If you have two pieces of fabric, you don't even need to fold. Just put the right sides facing each other and cut out a rectangle.

You will then want to sew everything except the fold side and a small opening on one of the short sides. You will need the opening big enough to pull all the fabric through. Once you're done sewing, pull your fabric through the small opening so the right side of the fabric is facing out. Sew up the opening so it's clean and raw edge free.

2. Sew Pockets for the Dowels

Now you will want to sew a pocket on each short end for the rod/dowel to fit through. I made my pockets big enough that my finger would fit in easily.

Note: if you want a more finished look, before sewing your rod/dowel pockets, you can use your button hole attachment to make hole on the piece that is folding over and the fabric under the fold over. (See Step 3 to understand what the holes are for) I didn't do this, because I didn't mind if my holes for the twine were raw. Just don't think you're going to use the button hole attachment after you create the pocket. I was stupid and thought that would work...but obviously since you need a rod to slide through, it didn't.

An example of how not to cut the slits/make button holes. You end up with a mess if you try to use the button hole attachment after you make your dowel/rod pocket.

3. Cut Holes for Twine

Once you have created your two pockets, you need to cut two slits on both short sides for a total of four slits/holes. This is where you will thread your twine through after you insert your dowels/rods.

4. Insert Dowels/Rods and Sew Shut

Slip your rod into the pocket. If you have a large dowel, slip the dowel in, and mark where you need to cut it. I cut mine by scoring around the dowel with scissors and then just applying pressure on the score mark. You can also use a saw to create a cleaner cut. Once you have your two dowels inserted into each short end, sew the pockets shut. You don't want your dowel/rod slipping out.

5. Thread Twine and Attach to Rings

This process was easier than I thought it would be. I attached my twine to a large safety pin and threaded it through the hole. It's important that you go below the rod. You want the rod, not the fabric, to take the weight of your feet.

Once I had all four holes threaded, I eyeballed the twine to make sure it was a equal length on all four sections. You want to make sure the hammock hangs straight, so each piece of twine should be equal lengths. I then knotted each side to a D ring.

6. Attach Eye Screws & Hang

Since I have a DIY desk (Click here for the post), I had no problem screwing a eye screw into the side of the saw horses. You may need to look at your desk closely to see where the best place (i.e. the most solid piece of wood) is located. Once I had the eye screw attached, I just had to thread another piece of twine through the eye screw and tie both ends on to the D ring.

Enjoy your DIY foot hammock! My feet are safe from the crazy kitten, and they are chillin' like a villian. :)


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Black & Gold 50th Birthday Surprise Party


This past weekend my family threw my mother a surprise 50th birthday party. When my dad decided on the party a few months ago, I volunteered to do the decorations. One, I love to do party decorations because it's a way to try out new DIY projects. Two, I knew as a fellow woman I wouldn't be all that thrilled to have a party full of references to my ever growing age. So instead of using the typical party store "Over the Hill" theme, I decided to do something more appropriate for my mother. The theme was "Aged to Perfection" and played off her love of wine. This theme would also work great for a whiskey lover as well.

The color scheme did use black, but paired with gold, it's not quite as morbid as the normal 50th birthday decorations. When I started planning the party decorations, I gave myself a budget of $100.00. I figured that was do-able since I already have a rather large party decoration stash (although it's mostly vintage not old Hollywood glam). I'm happy to say with a ton of DIY, I mostly stayed within that budget.

I'll show you those various DIY projects in a second, but I wanted to take a minute to point out the photo booth. I did a really simple photo booth knowing what a ham my daughter (well...and my entire family) is. It was a real hit and was a good way to remind everyone to take pictures. I would highly recommend whipping something up for your next party. I know I will do it again.

Table Decorations

When I plan my decorations for parties, I become a bit obsessed with making lists. I like to have things organized in my head so I know what to make when, where to pack it and what order to unpack on the day of decorating. I usually organize the decorations by a "zone" and then come up with ideas from there. So the first "zone" is the table scape. I rented black table cloths from a local party supply store. I then bought 4 yards of this satin fabric. I cut it down the middle and hemmed the edges. Those became my gold table runners.
As for center pieces I had three different items. The first was this DIY black box. I made the boxes out of black cardstock I already had on hand. I then jazzed up the boxes with dots from a gold Sharpie marker. The boxes were stuffed with these Christmas tree picks. Can you believe Christmas decorations s are already available at stores?!?! I had some extra black glitter cardstock which I used to make the "50" numbers.

I made a "chandelier" using black and gold curling ribbon, a metal hoop and black glitter cardstock. If you have a drop ceiling in your space, it's very easy to hang decorations from it without any damage to the property. I simply used paper clips to secure this decoration.

Since wine was the theme of this party, I used empty wine glasses as decorations. Each wine glass had the label removed, spray painted gold with gold spray paint and then gold glitter blast was applied on top, followed by a clear coat. Christmas tree picks were inserted with DIY "50" ornaments hanging from the branches. 

Admittedly these decorations were a bit strange. I saw the idea on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. The center is a styrofoam ball spray painted with glitter blast. The tooth picks got a coat of gold metallic spray paint. It's supposed to be a throw back to the atomic star decor, but it's kinda like a food fight land mine. These styrofoam balls sans toothpicks *may* have become a glitter snow ball fight at the party. 

Popcorn Bar

Since my mom is a big fan of popcorn and we needed some snack food for our game night, a popcorn bar was perfect. My mom has a mini popcorn machine that my dad covertly got to me before the party. I got candy toppings as well as different seasonings. You can't tell very well from the pictures but the top of the table is covered in gold sequin fabric. I got two yards of this cut and without doing anything to it, it ended up being the perfect size for the table. 

This project was a really easy one. I got a small piece of black foam board and, using a gold metallic Sharpie, I added some facts from the year my mother was born (Google for the win!). Ironic enough, my mom is a huge Diet Pepsi fan. Apparently it was just meant to be. 

One easy decoration was these large poster size prints of my mother from when she was younger. Wasn't I a cute kid? I found these snap shots as I went through all the pictures my dad gave me. They both came from 3x4 prints. I did some research and found the trick to blowing up pictures from small prints is the resolution of your scanner. Set your scanner to the highest quality resolution it will scan and then you can get pretty good quality large format pictures. I did touch up both pictures to remove any dust or scratches from the pictures. If I would have left them, they would have looked huge once the print was enlarged.

Food Table

This project was rather easy. It's a 50 cut out from poster board with prints taped to it. I had to scan and hunt down pictures, which actually, was pretty fun. Once I reprinted a bunch of pictures, I just had to tape and trim the pictures to the 50 I cut out.

The front of the food area was just a couple of yards of gold tulle and a crystal ribbon along the front. I secured everything with some tape and safety pins. 

If you know anything about me, I love chalkboards. I found a gold chalk board marker to use. It wasn't all that gold though. It seemed very yellow when I first used it. It did turn more gold as it dried. One thing that irritates me to no end is that I didn't take the time to draw nicely on the boards. My mom was almost there so I just wrote something really quick. Oh well.

The wine glasses were a really fun easy project. The bases disconnect from the top part. I took glitter blast and clear spray to the bases to make a sparkly wine glass that was a bit more fancy than the normal disposable wine glasses.

Final Touches

 Our photo booth was pretty simple. I bought a role of black reversible wrapping paper and taped it to the wall. We added some gold ribbon to the top. Does this make you a bit dizzy?

I bought a package of props from my local party store. I also made a set of "50" glasses since they didn't have any at the store. To take the pictures, we had a selfie stick on hand. I was going to grab my tripod, fancy camera and remote, but honestly the selfie stick worked just as well. 

These dollar store white boards ended up being a pretty big hit. They are in the kids education section. 

 One last touch was tissue paper garland. I made it over a couple of nights watching tv, and it ended up being a fun little addition to one side of the room. 

 I also hung random bundles of curling ribbon from the ceiling using paper clips as anchors. 

 The tissue paper garland also made one great tutu for a very excited five year old!

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