Monday, July 25, 2011

Recycled T-Shirt Market Bags

James and I have settled into a Sunday afternoon routine of going to Goodwill, heading over to Zaxby's to share a Zalad, then doing our grocery shopping for the week. We are blessed to have parents that love taking our kiddos home with them after church to spend the afternoon so Sunday afternoon has become our designated "just us" time. It is summer vacation so the kids are with us most days at work so they enjoy the time away from us as well :) It all started with this white t-shirt on the end.... a cool Maine t-shirt with this big lobster claw on it. James has lost a lot of weight over the past several months, but sometimes he thinks he is smaller than he actually is. I told him when we got home there was no way he could wear this thing to which he replied he thought it would be cool if I wore it. Um, no thanks.... cool shirt, but I am not wearing it. I have never been to Maine and I don't care to have a big claw across my chest. So there it sat on the back of a chair in the bedroom for oh, about 3 weeks now.

Rewind a couple of years.... I bought several of those recycled grocery totes (I can't even remember the brand now) and was super proud of my perfect rainbow of bags. Kind of when they first started to become "the thing". I kept them neatly in a bowl on the counter so I could grab some to take to the store when I went out. I really used them but eventually they have been lost or misplaced one by one and I have fallen back into my plastic bag ways. Then came my light bulb moment. While making bags from t-shirts is not my original idea and not the light bulb moment, deciding I would recycle that shirt so I could get some use out of it was. The whole project takes less than 5 minutes and I can sit back and smile that I have accomplished something. I went to the local thrift store last week to pick up a few more t-shirts for the project. I love fun shirts that feature places or have cool pictures in general. I think I am going to make a couple of super simple ones that don't even bother with finished edges and I may make a couple that are actually lined with another layer for a more finished bag. I need to figure out a way to have them roll up easily for better storage and I am going to plan on keeping them in a basket on the counter. You can find tutorials all over the internet for making grocery bags and you can spend days looking at Tipnut's site.

So, pull out those old cotton t-shirts from that concert back in the day (um, you don't have a New Kids on the Block shirt lurking around do you?) that you won't dare wear in public but just can't bare to part with and whip a few up. Come on, I know you have some. Every time you reach for that bag for groceries (or hauling around whatever) you can re-live the fun memories. We will share our finished bags later this week :)

(Pictured: T-shirt grocery bag by

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Super Simple Onesie Conversion Tutorial

We get asked often, "What kind of tops do you pair with your woolies?" I have found the best thing to pair with woolies is just a simple t-shirt. There is nothing extra to unsnap and getting down to business with a diaper change couldn't be faster with the combination of our pull on diaper covers and a t-shirt. If you are like me, you probably got about a billion onesies as baby shower gifts. Onesies are the best thing ever for keeping tummies covered, but they just don't work so well with cloth diapered babies. With the extra bulk of a cloth diaper, it is difficult to get the onesie over that extra bulk and often times the pressure from the onesie on the diaper area will force your wool cover to wick moisture through. They soon become the least treasured item of clothing and you end up with a big pile in the drawer and they are never reached for. So, you have onesies but need shirts like yesterday, so get your scissors out. Onesies are usually made from a great cotton interlock. Just cut straight across as you can see in the photo. Try to leave as much length as possible on the shirt. The cotton will not fray so you can actually stop here and say Voila! With washing, the hem may naturally curl which actually seems to now be "the thing" in many clothing items. If you are handy with a serger, you can set your machine to a rolled hem and run it along the bottom to give a ruffly edge (great for girly tops!). On this one, I went ahead and did a straight serged edge with navy blue thread to finish it off. If you are handy with a sewing machine and don't care for the "raw hem" look, you can always add a finished hem. As for the extra that I cut off, I am trying to decide how to recycle that piece. I may be saving that for another tutorial :).

I picked up this little onesie at a thrift store for today's tutorial. My daughter was appalled that I was looking through the baby clothes and wanted to know why with a raised eyebrow since no one is here that small. I haven't looked at baby clothes in oh.... almost 7 years now so I do admit the ovaries twitched just a little as I handled the little bitty clothes. But I am over it now.... don't get any ideas people. We are giving away this outfit to one of our readers (free shipping too!). The shirt is a Circo brand 18 month size and the shorties are a size medium. The shorties are made from a soft lambswool and have a rise of about 18 and an inseam of 3. Just post a comment here... something you like about wool, or if you haven't tried wool, just post something interesting. If you could post your first name and last initial or just some way that you can recognize yourself when I announce the random winner on Saturday.

And the winner is...... Julie S./The Dullmore Family! Congratulations! I will try to contact you but if you don't receive anything, please contact me at woollybottoms @

Friday, July 15, 2011

If I Wasn't Sewing....

If I wasn't sewing, I would be raising rare breed chickens full time. Seriously, I enjoy them that much. What is not to love about chickens? They are incredibly fun animals and have individual personalities. Our chickens get a lot of loving from everyone in the family. James was more than happy to build them a chicken mansion since these pets actually give something back in return.... tasty eggs (unlike Miss Kitty, the 20 pound cat that gives back the occasional hair ball). I didn't even have to whine to get him to build the space for me. The kids love to play with them and caring for them is a task that even small children can do and help instill responsibility. It is baby time around here and we had 2 newbies hatch yesterday. I am pretty sure we will have at least one more within the next day. Our hens are as tame as dogs, so they really don't mind us doting over their babies. I think they are actually proud to show them off. We kind of had an experiment this time putting one of our small eggs from RC (the black and white small bantam breed) under our setting hen. Bud, the big red rooster, is our daddy. I could not believe that the little egg hatched! What hatched was this adorable little brown fur ball. I can't wait to watch it grow and see exactly what it is going to be. It is kind of like breeding a chihuahua and a lab :) The chickens stay in a large, secure lot during the day. They have plenty of running space, shade, and sun. Nest boxes are set up inside the roost so they can go in and out as they please and have a space where they can get out of the rain. After we get home in the evenings, we let them out in the yard so they can have plenty of free range time. Free range eggs from happy chickens can not be beat!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Disguising Brussels Sprouts

Since we have started eating a "primal diet" back in April, we have been eating a lot of foods that we normally didn't eat. James and I had been vegetarian for about 12 years and we were just not feeling as healthy as we should. This has been the BEST lifestyle change for our family... more about that coming in a later post. So, I was all fired up to make pork chops and shredded brussel sprouts the other night. I shredded the sprouts in my food processor and then cooked them in a pan of oil to lightly brown. Boy did they look good, but the unmistakable bitter tasted was there just the same. The kiddos were troopers and cleaned their plates. We had LOTS of leftovers though and I said we will be finishing them later in the week. They smiled and nodded figuring they would end up in the back of the refrigerator and never be seen again until they were a fuzzy mass of unrecognizable green. Fast forward to this evening. After we got home, I gathered the day's fresh eggs from our pet chickens. Cracked a dozen in a bowl, added just a bit of milk and coconut oil and whisked it all together, poured it into a hot pan and then threw some of the sprouts in and cooked it all up. Then I added a touch of soy sauce and gave everyone the option of garden salsa or ketchup. It was really quite good. I warmed up some leftover steak from the night before and had a tall glass of orange juice and it was a filling meal. The poor kids skeptically eyeball everything I cook now... they know I always have some kind of a "healthy surprise" hiding but they are always willing to try out new foods. One of our favorite meal time games is "Guess What's In the Smoothie" :)

Sarah is thinking.... umm, mom WHAT is this??? What did you hide in my eggs this time???