Friday, July 30, 2010

Flip-Flop Fridays with Sugar Bee- Craft Edition

Hello Scraps and Strings readers!  I'm Mandy from over on Sugar Bee Craft Editon and was excited when Sammy and Ruth hit me up for a blog swap - it's only my second one ever, but it's so fun! If all goes well, you should be seeing my newly designed button below - I've been caught up in the fun of a blog revamp recently:

And speaking of revamps, one of my favorite projects was playroom revamp.  It used to be my sewing corner, but we rearranged our whole basement and downsized the playroom to a little nook - but it's super cute so I hope the kids don't notice their square-footage shrunk a little.  Anyways, you can see the overview of the Playroom here.  Today I want to share with you one of the best projects from the Playroom - The Tree!  It wasn't hard and has such an impact.
Tree murals are all the rage, so I knew I wanted one.  Under the stairs is a playhouse so the little room next to the playhouse is like the yard.  And what yard is complete without a tree.  I browsed lots of great examples of tree murals and saw one with circles - it was just the right amount of whimsy I was looking for.  Of course I don't know the link - if anyone saw a tree that looks like mine but was all paint (no fabric) let me know so I can share the link with everyone.

I wanted to incorporate fabric on the wall to tie together the color scheme, so some of my leaves are circles of fabric.  So a quick how to paint a tree on a wall and use fabric..

I had help in this - I'm not an artist at all.  I had my husband freehand the tree outline and place all the circles.  He used our big Tupperware bowl set for the various sizes.  I traced the bowls onto the fabric in the sizes we wanted.  All the paint was finished first:
For attaching the fabric to the wall - super easy.  I found a great how-to on How About Orange - basically you paint the back of the fabric with goo, put the fabric with goo on the wall, then paint another coat of goo on top once it's on the wall.  The cornstarch holds it to the wall and apparently it will just pull off the wall whenever we need it to.  For the goo recipe I used:
1/8 C cornstarch stirred into 1/4 C cold water
then added that to 2 C boiling water
You can see how many circles I did, and there was still leftover goo.
I used 2 different fabrics from the same family - dots and stripes.  I absolutely love how this turned out.  It was just what I pictured in my head.  Love when that happens!!

Hope to see you over on Sugar Bee Craft Edition - I do crafts (of course!), recipes, photography tips, sewing and more.  And I host a link party on Tuesdays so drop for that if you want to show your stuff to the world.  
Love this project!! Make sure to go and check out the rest of her playroom, it's pretty much amazing!! And we're visiting her today so stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fresh Cherry Crisp

It's cherry pickin' season!!! There are few things I love more than baking with things I have grown right in my backyard.  We have about a million cherries growing right now and found this DELICIOUS recipe to use them up! 

Fresh Cherry Crisp 

  • 4 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cherries, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, and 4 tablespoons flour. Pour into 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, oats, and brown sugar. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Sprinkle over cherries.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out fantastic!  Especially delicious hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or dollup of whipped cream. Yum! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bountiful Baskets

Eating healthy is hard. It's expensive, and anywhere that you can find affordable fruits and veggies are usually not the best quality. This is why I was so excited when I found out about Bountiful Baskets. We have been purchasing baskets for a couple of months now and it has literally forced me to eat better. If you've never heard of Bountiful Baskets before, it is a food co-op that distributes produce baskets, organic produce baskets, artisan bread and sandwich bread every other week. It is completely volunteer run, and you can volunteer too, to get a little extra some-some in your basket! A regular basket costs $15 plus $1.50 for processing, or you can upgrade to an organic basket for an additional $10. The bread packs (I love the 9 grain bread- so good as toast with peanut butter!) cost $10 for 5 loaves and they also offer different packs like a tropical pack (pineapples, mangoes, kiwis, etc.) or salsa packs (tomatoes, onions, tomatillos,etc) and tortilla packs plus way more! It is an awesome deal (we went and compared the prices of the items in our basket one week at Walmart and figured we saved about $35!!!) The original basket contains about 50% fruits and 50% veggies. They are more local then what you most likely find in a local grocery store and I've never received anything that wasn't completely fresh and delicious. The downside is that you don't get to choose which fruits and veggies come in your basket. But I look at this as a fun opportunity to expand what I eat. I love finding new recipes for some fruit or veggie that I have never had before (baby bok choy anyone?). 

How it Works

First off, Bountiful Baskets are available in the following states-
and Washington

If your state isn't listed, check back every so often. They are constantly expanding, and doing it fast. To get a basket you must sign up at the beginning of every week (Monday or Tuesday) and you pick up your basket on Saturday. For the red states, signing up starts on Monday at 8PM in ID, UT, and WY, and 9PM in TX. For the blue states it starts at 9AM on Tuesday. Go to and I suggest creating a username and password beforehand and being logged in and ready to go as soon as your time to sign up starts because they go fast. You can find a location close to you here where it also lists the pickup times for each location. Once you select your pickup location you will be directed to where you can purchase your basket and any additional items you like. A receipt will be sent to your email that you must take with you when you go to get your basket. You have 20 mins from the beginning of the pick-up time to retrieve your basket (or to have someone else with your receipt pick it up for you) or you abandon your basket and it will be donated to a predetermined source. Make sure that you take your own basket (a laundry basket work great) to transfer your fruits and veggies into to take home.

So anyway, this program is just awesome. My family of 4 (me, my hubby, and my two tots) gets the basket every other week and it is plenty to last us for 2 weeks, but you can get it every week and even get multiple baskets every week depending on how much your family eats! I love going to see what I end up with each week and I love the challenge of figuring out how I'm going to use all of the item in my basket. Go try it out, I don't think you'll be dissapointed. I haven't been yet :D If you have any questions about the program feel free to leave it in a comment or drop us an email at scrapsnstrings {at} hotmail {dot} com.

(We were in no way compensated for this post. I just think that it is an awesome program that I thought that you all might be interested in! Also pics were taken from the Bountiful Baskets facebook page.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Tag-Along Lion Named Phil

My oldest boy, Finn, loves lions. Well he's obsessed with lions, really. If he sees a lion and he can't have it then he gets so depressed that he will sit in front of the TV watching soap operas and finish off an entire quart of double fudge cookie dough ice cream and, wait, that's someone else that I'm thinking of. Anyway, he really loves lions. The other day he had an encounter with a lion that he couldn't have and after I bribed had a clear discussion with him about how a snow cone is so much better than crying, I told him that I would make him his own lion, so I did. My inspiration came from the lion that I put on my magnetic busy boards.

To start I bought a yard of lion colored fleece. Ok that wasn't the actual name of it, but it should have been. I used a large sized Tupperware bowl to trace and cut out 2 circles from the fleece. You can really use any size you want.
I then cut out shapes of the pieces for the face from felt and ironed on some Heat n Bond.
I placed them how I wanted them on one of the fleece circles and then ironed them on.
I then used my sewing machine and did a zig-zag stitch around each piece on the face to make sure they held down tight, and because it looked so much dang-cuter that way. (Is dang-cuter a word?)
I then took the second circle and sewed it around the edge to the first, right sides together, leaving the neck space open.
And flipped it right side out.
For the body I used a smaller bowl, traced most of the way around it and then at the top of the circle I drew two lines going up. (Look at the pic below, you'll understand.) Cut this piece out of 2 layers of fleece and sew around the edges, right sides together, leaving the neck open. Flip right-side out.
Now sew the front of the body and the front of the head together at the opening, making sure the seam goes into the inside.
Stuff him full of Fiber Fill and hand sew the back of the neck closed.
Now for the hair. If you have ever tied a quilt, that is basically how I did the hair. If you haven't, here's how.
Take your needle and yarn and poke it in and then out of the fleece in a small spot.
On your first make sure you leave about 3 inches of yarn sticking out the end. If you're on to the next piece make a loop 3 inches on each side.
Then take your needle and go back through the same holes that you did the first time and pull all of the way through creating a knot. Start the next piece right where you ended the last one.
I left all of the loops until I was done and then cut each loop right at the top to make the hair.
I did 2 rows of hair to give it some thickness.
Next step is to cut 2 ear shapes out of some felt. Cut a tiny slit in the middle of the bottom. This will make the ears curve forward when sewn on.
Hand stitch onto the head between the two rows of hair. Cross the slit over itself and sew it down like that.
And once the 2 ears are on your lion is done!
I added a little scrap bow tie (it's basically just a knot) to hide the seam around the neck.
And then go hide him in the bushes for your little lamb to come find, cuz that's how lions roll.
And he will love him, and possibly name him Phil, like my little guy did :D
Find all of our linkys here!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bow-Tie Revisited: The Bow-Tie Hair Bow

You may remember a couple of months back when I posted my Bow-Tie Tutorial.  I just love the classic, simple look and decided it would be super cute as a hair bow! I plan on making tons of them, they are such a good way to get rid of scraps!

If you didn't catch that tutorial, here is the same version with something else I added to help keep the bow's shape.

Start with 2 scraps of fabric, mine measured 8"x5" and 2"x5".  Fold the bigger piece in half so that the right sides are touching and sew down the side; do the same for the smaller piece.  Turn them right side out and press, so that the seam is down the middle.

With the bigger piece, fold the ends over to meet in the middle and sew down like this.

Now here is the new part that I added. Take the rectangle you just sewed, and bunch it together like this.

You can hand sew this next part but I just used my sewing machine.

After that is done, wrap the small piece around the big piece and hot glue in place.  Hot glue your alligator clip on the back and your done!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Flip-Flop Fridays with Shannon Makes Stuff

Hey It's Shannon over from ShannonMakesStuff and I am so excited to be here at Scraps N' Strings with all you fabulous followers! This is my first blog swap and I am excited to be sharing the experience with all of you!
For those of you who haven't seen me around blog world yet, I thought I would share a little of me with you! I am a mother of three young boys. I am married to a man in the middle of Nurse Anesthesia school which leaves me to run the show, you can follow my story here. I stay up way too late creating. I love any medium and any art or craft project. I try every day to hold on to being a little girly although as every night passes it seams to be slipping further and further away and the boy traits are creaping in. So I started a blog to share what I love, and keep me a little more me until my little girl comes into my home! A girl can dream right? Well, enough about me...on with the show...
I have created something for you that is a must have in every women's wardrobe. Have you ever had that perfect shirt but the neckline plunges a little too low? And it's WAY to hot to wear multiple layers, or you simply don't want to add the bulk? This is the solution.
Grab an old t-shirt and flip it upside down. In this case, I used one of my sons. Place the bottom hem of the shirt across your chest and hold it tight underneath your arms.

I place a bra on over my clothes so you can see what I am referring too. With the shirt in place make two snips on the side of the bra strap.

Take the shirt and lay it flat on the ground. Cut straight down from the snip marks about 7-10 inches. Then cut across the bottom to make a square piece.

You can now take this piece and pin it back in place across your chest.

Measure the width of your bra strap starting at the front inner going to the edge and then underneath to the other side and then add 1/2 inch. My measurement was 2 1/4 inches. Cut a piece of ribbon double this length. Fold the ribbon in half and pin the center of it to the edge of the shirt piece.

Here is a side view. The raw edges of the ribbon are underneath the shirt. (Make sure you fray checked the ends.)

Take the pin out of the shirt and put it back through the ribbon right where it was when it was attached to the shirt piece. Take a piece of velcro and attach it to the loop side of the ribbon piece ending at the pin.

Then on the raw edge side sew on the other side of the velcro piece.

Turn your shirt piece right side down and place the ribbon piece back in place. The center of the two velcro pieces should be placed on the edge of the shirt piece.

Sew a small rectangle to keep the ribbon piece in place.
Take your shirt piece and you can now tuck the ribbon underneath your bra strap and velcro it in place.
Put your plunging neckline shirt on, and there you have it!
A simple way to create that layered look without adding too much bulk.
You can also adjust the shirt piece by lowering it or raising it on your bra strap to get the perfect height of cover up for your needs.
And it's perfect for those of you who need to play it safe at the work place with it in place and then take it out for an instant change to head out for a night on the town.
I hope you will LOVE this piece in your wardrobe as much as I am loving it in mine! I would LOVE for you to come stop by at ShannonMakesStuff and see all my other tutorials from The Perfect Swimming Bag to Screen Printing! I guarantee I'll keep your creation jar full if you stop by and become a follower!

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