Weekly Quote

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.---C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


As you may or may not know I LOVE horses.  So I had to share this story with you.  The story of Reckless the war hero.

What is your favorite horse story--fiction or nonficition it doesn't matter.
  1. Seabiscuit
  2. Black Stallion
  3. Flame
  4. Smokey the Cowhorse
  5. Secretariat
  6. Black Gold
  7. Black Beauty
  8. Horse Whisperer
  9. Other
Leave your vote in the comment section.  I can't wait read your comments.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

Jeans we all wear them and they all wear out in the most inconvenient places---knees and derriere. And they accumulate, take up space. It is time to give all that denim a new job. So (drum roll) may I present the next 6 uses for your old jeans. 

13. Pillow. Pillows add a homey touch to your space. Look at this cute one from Yellow Bug Boutique.

14. Pocket refrigerator magnet. Cute, I think I would put a couple of magnets on the back to keep it nice and secure. And of course you can decorate it any way you like...to reflect your style.

15. Key fob. And isn't the gift box unique?  Wish she had included a pattern for it.

16. Backpack. Wonderful for kids...durable, eco-friendly and a fashion statement.

17. Rice pack. This is another great beginners sewing project using the legs of those old jeans. And who couldn't use a rice pack to relive aches and pains.

18. Apron. My Byrd House is all about aprons including several cute denim aprons with tutorials! (It however, has one of my blogging pet peeves--background music. If that bugs you too quickly scroll down to the bottom and turn the music off).

I sewed these three aprons--the apron on the left is from the back of a pair of my son's jeans and the right most apron is from the front, and the apron in the middle is from a vintage pair of my great uncle the dairy farmer's overalls. The aprons are embellished with vintage fabric, hankies, and rickrack. Click on the picture to be transported to my Etsy site.

Are you inspired to upcycle your old jeans? Tell me about your jean projects by leaving a comment.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There Goes My Baby

Wild Thing left home for college today.

She's happy and a little bit sad.  I'm happy for her and a lot sad.

So...there goes my baby.  Bye, Wild Thing.  I love you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

Are you dying for the next six uses for your old jeans?  Here they are!

     7.  Quilt--Denim Quilt 2000 (Isn't the shading spectacular!)
     8.   Skirt--flared skirtstraight skirt (and remember leaving the hem raw and allowing it to fray during washing is very stylish)
     9.   Book cover--a no-sew version
     10. Rug--crocheted, braided, sewn (I am going to make this one it is just my style)
     11. Embellishment--flowers, roses,  Johnny Patches
     12. Donate to a thrift shop

I searched Etsy for you and found these awesomely wonderful examples of upcycled, recycled, repurposed jeans.

                       Wonderful Upcycled Denim

(If you are an Etsian and you know how to embed a treasury in your blog please let me know I am very frustrated that I cannot figure out how to do it!  I want pictures!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Staying Cool

Staying cool--a subject that is always on my mind this time of year.  I hate electric bills so the air conditioner does not go on until we run out of ways to escape the heat.

Here's an Etsy take on staying cool.

How-Tuesday: How to Stay Cool from Etsy on Vimeo.

How do you survive the dog days of summer?

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

I love denim, especially denim jeans.  The more worn, the more loved, the better.  And I love taking those old jeans and giving them new life.  I have been recycling, reclaiming and upcycling jeans since I was a teenager (and that has been awhile).

A couple weeks ago I made a list of 101 things to do with an old pair of jeans.  Here are the first six items on that list.  
  1. Mend or patch your jeans.  As a teen this was my favorite thing to do with my jeans.  
  2. Restyle your jeans.  Check out Pimp My Jeans!
  3. Cutoff into shorts.
  4. Placemats.
  5. Drink coasters. Check out MyRecycledBags for a coaster pattern that uses the hems!
  6. Potholders.
I will be making some of the 101 items on my list and sharing the instructions with you (also I will be offering most items I make for sale on my etsy site).  

Today's tutorial is making denim potholders.

Click on the picture to zoom in.

Difficulty Level: Easy, beginner, great learn to sew project.
Materials: Denim jeans, old cotton clothes or calico, matching or contrasting thread
Tools: Scissors (sharp), ruler, sewing machine
Optional tools: Cutting mat, rolling cutter

Step 1.
Using the legs of a pair of jeans, cut two 8-3/4 inch squares and two 8 inch squares.  If you have a cutting mat and rolling cutter use them there is no faster way to cut straight lines.  If not, just measure and draw the square on your material with a Sharpie and cut out with scissors.
Step 2.
Cut two 8-3/4 inch squares of cotton calico.  I used material from my extensive collection of quilting fabric.  However, in keeping it green you could just as well use old cotton clothes.  Make sure you don't use fabric with polyester in it.  To test for polyester burn an edge of your fabric.  If it forms little hard balls around the edge it has polyester in it.
Step 3.
Stack the larger pieces of material (like a sandwich) with the denim in the middle and the calico on top.  The right side of the material showing on both the front and the back.  At this point  you can sew across the diagonal to stabilize the sandwich, if you want.
Step 4.
Position the smaller denim squares on the front and back of the sandwich so they are framed by the larger squares.
Step 5.
Sew the stack together by stitching across both diagonals.
Step 6.
Sew a seam around the edge 1/2 inch inside the edge of the smaller square.  Sew a second seam 1/2 inch inside the first seam. Your seam should be even on both sides of the potholder.
Step 7.
Throw your potholder(s) into the washing machine with a load of towels, dry (I use a dryer but I think hanging them on a clothesline would work), trim any long straggly threads and voila! you have denim potholders with frayed edges.
Embellish the top denim squares with patches, embroidery, rickrack, etc. prior to Step 4.
Use contrasting thread.

I searched the internet and found other patterns for denim potholders that called for aluminum coated batting in the center for heat resistance.  I have not found that to be necessary.

This tutorial could also be used to make placemats and coasters, just adjust the size of the "squares".  And in the case of the placemats make rectangles instead of squares.

Feel free to share my tutorial (it's not rocket science), and spread the green crafting word.

Let me know if you try making a denim potholder (or placemat or coaster) using this tutorial.  Was the tutorial easy to follow?  Any suggestions for making it better?  I didn't take pictures because this is an easy pattern?  Do you think I needed pictures anyway?