Category Archives: Crafts

Fancy Pants

The most dressy pants I had for Dieter before last week was a pair of khakis. Great for the average Sunday but not so great for a wedding where Jeremiah is wearing a tux and we’re getting family photos done. Of course I could have bought or borrowed some but I thought I’d give this tutorial a try. I did decide to make these two days before the big day so I did have a backup plan. I do have to say I’m so happy with how simple they were to make and how great they turned out. I used a pair of my pants.


We had such a great time celebrating Ben and Angela’s special day!

Then and Now



I just love these two pictures! Well except for the funny look Dieter is giving Nana in the top pic. So both the sweater and the vest were knit using the same yarns.  My mom made the sweater and hat set for Dieter when he was a newborn and then she gave me the leftover yarn. I was planning on making a scarf for myself but never got around to it.  Thankfully I didn’t because I much preferred knitting this cute vest for Dieter. You can click on the pictures to find the patterns for each project.  They were both knit using Spud & Chloe fine yarn.

And the winners are…

Thank you to all who wrote lovely comments in my first ever giveaway.  It was really fun to know what you have enjoyed on the blog and the answers were quite varied.  Hopefully I’ll have more giveaways in the future but for this one the winners are….

Leslie C. who won the scarf


Angie L. who won the yarn

I hope you both enjoy! (and since you both are pretty easy to find in my real life I’ll get you your goods soon 🙂 )

How to Make T-shirt Yarn (And a Giveaway!)

It’s my 100th blog post!!! This means almost nothing except that I can’t believe I have stuck with this blog long enough to create 100 posts. It’s been a lot of fun and a great outlet for my thoughts and projects. In order to celebrate I’m going to do a giveaway that I’ll explain at the end of the post.

Before that, though, I have a little tutorial to share.  My mom and her friends have been very busy making lots of t-shirt yarn because they are going on a mission’s trip to Haiti really soon.  Our church has been part of setting up a child sponsorship program in Haiti as well as creating opportunities for groups to travel there and do mission’s work.  So that is why my mom is going with a group of ladies.  They are going to be teaching a group of women how to knit and since yarn won’t be an easy thing for them to find in Haiti they are going to teach them how to make yarn out of t-shirts. They are hoping to teach them so that eventually the women can start selling what they create and earn some money to support their families.

My mom and I took some pictures so that she can make a booklet to leave with the women. That way they have something to reference when they make their own yarn.  I thought I’d put it on here too…I know there are other tutorials out there, this is just how we figured out it works best for us.  Hopefully you like it too!  Here is something that you can make with that yarn (you’ll need about 4-6 shirts).

Important: When choosing t-shirts to make yarn out of make sure they don’t have any graphics below the armpits and no seams on the side.


Start with this.IMG_0938

Chop off the bottom hem and everything from the armpit up.


Position the tube you now have so that the cut edges are on the sides. Fold the tube almost in half…leaving a 1″ space at the top.


Now you are going to cut notches through 4 layers of the t-shirt. You don’t want to cut them too thin or you’re going to break your yarn as you pull it. We cut ours 2 cm thick, don’t cut smaller than 1.5 cm.


Continue cutting those notches all the way through that first fold at the top.  Don’t cut through the way top!


This is what it should look like.


Now unfold it.


This is the important part! To make the yarn you need to cut from the bottom of the first slit to the top of the second slit.  This will be a diagonal cut, if you cut straight up for your first cut you will end up with a bunch of individual pieces of yarn.  After you make this first cut you’ll cut from one slit to the next until you reach the end.


Pile of yarn…almost!  As you roll your yarn into a ball gently pull it so it becomes a rolled tube.


Snip the beginning of the yarn where it is still joined (from that first cut you made a few steps ago)

IMG_0953And there you have it!

Now, I also said that I was doing a giveaway since this is my 100th post.  Maybe you remember me doing a little scarf made from a skein of scrap-yarn.  Well I’m giving away a finished scarf similar to that one as well as a skein of scrap-yarn with which you can knit your own something! Included in the skein of yarn will be instructions for the scarf, it won’t look exactly like the finished one though because every skein of scrap-yarn is unique, which is what makes it so awesome!  Here’s a picture of both…I know the scarf isn’t really appropriate for May (unless you live in MN and then it’s not only appropriate but necessary!!) but I was planning on doing this giveaway in February, so my bad.


 So two people will win something.  All you have to do is comment below with (a)what was your favorite post from the last 2+ years on “My Life: Inspired” and (b) whether you would prefer the finished scarf or the skein of yarn.  I’ll be doing two separate drawings but you can only enter your name for one of the prizes.  The giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013.


Finished Project!

My recycled sweater blanket is finished and I absolutely love it! I found the perfect backing for it in an old quilt my great-grandma had made me. The size was perfect and it had a little batting between the two layers. Now I have a cozy blanket perfect for snuggling up with a good book and a cup of coffee.



French Press Cozy

Because even a french press should have a hand-knit sweater.

This pattern is ridiculously easy but still took me a few tries to get just right. It fits on our Ikea french press that has a 12″ circumference, I think it’s a pretty standard size but I wrote a few tips on how to make it fit your own french press. First you have to take a look at where my yarn came from.


Pretty cool, huh? This sweater was given to me by my aunt because she figured I could use the yarn for something. I’m going to have a ton of it once I take the entire sweater apart so I’m sure it will show up in several projects. I love free yarn! This is another sweater that I made using another sweater (from the thrift store). Can you believe I knit an entire sweater for under $5? The buttons actually cost more than the yarn.


Alright, so here’s a pattern for that cozy…


French Press Cozy

  • yarn–I’m a somewhat unsure as to what weight the yarn I used would be so checking your gauge is important. I think it was pretty close to a worsted weight. Use wool for best results.
  • size 8 needles (circular or straight, doesn’t matter!), or whatever size needed to obtain gauge.
  • 3 buttons

Gauge: 15 sts and 24 rows = 4 inches

Cast on 72 stitches. VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to make the buttonholes as you knit. Instructions for them are at the bottom of the pattern.
Work a k2 p2 rib for 2 inches ending with WS
Row 1: Decrease 14 stitches evenly over a knit row.
Row 2: knit
Row 3: p to last 4 stitches, knit those last 4 stitches
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the piece measures 6″ ending with a WS. Work in a 1×1 rib for 1.25″ and then bind off.  Sew on buttons and you’re done! Make yourself some coffee to celebrate!

Buttonholes: make a buttonhole on RS at 1″, 3.5″ and 5.5.” To make the buttonhole: k2, yo, k2tog, continue in pattern to end of row. As you can see from the picture I placed a button at the bottom of the cozy and two inside the handle. If these measurements won’t work with the handles of your french press it’s easy to measure and adjust.
You can either fold the ribbed edge over or pull it up when you’re not pouring…keeps everything cozy and warm.

Pinterest To-Do List

A few weeks ago I decided to look through my Pinterest boards and see what I’ve actually been pinning the past few months. Sometimes I just pin away without every really looking at what I’m pinning. I have 1,180 pins to date (it will change in the next few hours I’m sure) and maybe 20% are things I’ve actually done.  It’s not that I don’t want to do all these crafty ideas I see but more that they get lost in my crazy pinning addiction, buried under more and more ideas.  Ideas stacked on top of ideas and none of them fully realized.  Here are some things that I want to actually do in the near future.  This is my to-do list, published for the purpose of accountability.

This one is already underway…just need to sew everything together!


Thankfully I don’t need to know Chinese (?) to figure this project out…you’ll understand if you click on the picture.


The color combo is fantastic!  I don’t know if having two blankets in my to-do list is really a good idea but I figure you can never have too many blankets.


I’ve been eyeing this shirt tutorial for awhile now.

open back-002

And I need to make some rugs for the kitchen…


And then of course there are a ton of toddler/kid ideas that I want to do with Dieter.  Maybe I’ll do another post soon with that to-do list. Seriously, what did I do before Pinterest?  Oh yeah, I had to come up with my own ideas…I couldn’t just take everyone else’s.

Hiding in the craft room…

This is a confession post of sorts. I’m a horrible finisher when it comes to knitting projects.


One sock, nearly finished.  I love it…why is it not done?  Oh yeah I started this over two years ago.  Maybe someday…


Lovely 100% wool scarf.  Well at least half of a lovely 100% wool scarf.


A sweater I started for Jeremiah.  I actually took apart another sweater I knit him that was too big and started this one.  Now I’m worried this one is also too big.  Sigh.


A baby blanket.  Not overly attached to this one.


108 squares cut from sweaters to be sewed into a cozy blanket.  It will be awesome when it’s done! If it gets done…


And finally another sock. This one actually is completed and just needs it’s partner, which I am working on right now, I’m proud to say!  I started the first one only about 4-5 months ago…

All in good time.  What are on your needles right now?  And what is laying unfinished in your basket?

24 Days of Christmas (part 2)

And here is the rest of our Advent calendar. You can find part 1 here.




As you can see the fashion police hadn’t stopped by our house that day.

So, for the tree I used felt and sewed 24 buttons onto it. To attach it to the fridge I glued business magnets that we have gotten for free at various places.

In the 24 bags I put an ornament from thisbook and one of our daily activities.

DIY: Toddler Shirt

This turned out great!  I really wish I had enough know-how to put a tutorial together for this little refashion but with a little bit of sewing sense and some motivation it really isn’t that hard.  Jeremiah is a very thrifty and frugal person (for the most part) so he is always asking me if I can do something with his old tshirts.  I had to start declining them because I have such a large stash and our rag bag was full.  I’ve used some of them for headbands but that’s about it.  Until I came up with an idea…and once I tried it I made two more!

An old shirt from hubby.

A shirt that fits Dieter well was the template. I cut out the body pieces first using the original shirt as a guide. I didn’t even need to make a new collar, just used the one off of the adult shirt for the front and didn’t do any collar on the back (tshirt material doesn’t fray so you don’t have to finish the ends).  The sleeves were cut out later, again using the dinosaur tshirt as a template.

This was another shirt I made.  Of course Dieter doesn’t really care about new shirts, he’d much rather use markers (BIG TREAT!) to color toilet paper rolls that we “beaded” on yarn to make necklaces.  At least we both were excited at the end of the day; him because he got to make a mess and me because I didn’t have to go buy even more winter clothes.