Friday, January 31, 2014

Quick "Fix" Friday

Another quick "fix" for you all today! As I told you in my recent thrift scores post I also came across a few freebies in our building's community "donation" area. This is a pair of pants that I snatched up:
Can't you see why? ;)
They were definitely a weird length on me for the cut of the legs, but the waist and hips fit just right! So, all I needed to do was to make them more useful for me by skinnifying these bad boys. First, I turned them inside out and laid another pair of well fitting skinny jeans with similar stretch right on top. I then marked how much to take in on each leg and instead of taking them in on both sides of each leg, I decided to take them in on the inseam all the way up to the crotch (but without shortening the crotch as that area didn't need taking in).
You can mark them using pins or chalk (or however you like).

After taking in each leg, I cut off the excess fabric, and finished off the raw edges with an overlocking stitch. Easy peasy lemon squeezey! As long as you use a strong thread, a short straight stitch and reverse stitch when you start at the hems and end (wherever it works best to end) you should have a nice strong seam and some skinny pants with a new lease on life!
Check out that polka dot sock action!

I thought I'd include a pic that better captures the color of these pants as they were hard to capture (I'm still learning about photographing with the right kind of lighting), however, I think that this final "after" shot shows it best.
Pretty plum skinnies! Another pair of awkward pants saved :)

Deep plum is how I'd describe it...hmmm plums sound good! And hopefully you think these pants look good :) Fulfilled my need for a quick "fix" on a pretty busy day where stretchy skinny pants that ARE NOT leggings but just as comfortable were just what the doctor ordered. I have a tendency to live in leggings as I'm home so much ;)


P.S. I've got a couple (or more) Valentine's day refashions/projects in the works and am excited to share!!! Keep an eye out for those and more fun things in the next weeks <3

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

White Lace

I've got another refashion for you all today! Would've had it yesterday, but light is in high demand and it went elsewhere at about 4 pm...yay winter...
No one else is cheering with me? ;)

Moving on! I found this white linen sweater and a couple of yards of white stretch lace fabric on different thrifting trips sometime last year. I spent no more than $2 on the lace (I have a limit on what I'll pay for fabric depending on size) and I could have spent up to $4 on the sweater but probably less if it was a half-off day.
White sweater meets white lace!
 My first step was to take the lace and make it into a wide trim, which means I had to snip away at a LOT of lace to create a fancy edge. First I made a rough cut across the fabric making sure to not cut across the roses, then I carefully cut along the edges to give it a uniform pattern and stitched up the flat edge with a zigzag stitch. I sewed the ends together of two lengths of lace and made one large loop.
I should totally cut another loop and wear it as an infinity scarf in the spring!!! 

I set the lace aside and started working on reshaping the sweater's hem and neckline. I cut away the back of the neckline (and a little more to lower it slightly), zigzagged it so it wouldn't fray, then chopped off the bottom of the sweater at an angle. I cut the sweater's original hem from the scrap piece, zigzagged its edge, then used it as "bias tape" to finish off the neckline. It was the perfect size, so I didn't have to do anything more than pin it in place and stitch it down.
Cut the neckline, chop off the hem, and reuse it to bind the neckline!

My next step was to grab my lace and get to gathering it. I ended up folding the lace over on itself as it was longer than I wanted and this gave it a little extra body. My method for gathering was more along the lines of pleating or ruffling it as I sewed it to the light blue bias tape. I then sewed my ruffled lace loop to the bottom edge of the sweater. It was a bit thick and you can see on the bias tape that I went over it twice for strength as my machine was missing stitches (all my fault, btw, should have simply changed my needle and thread). I did make one alteration at the side where I folded a section over on itself because it was a bit too voluminous and didn't lay quite right. 
Ruffle, make a quick alteration and voila!

Now, I am constantly trying on my pieces in the process to see how things lay and how or if I should make more changes. At this point, the original cut of the sweater was making this look a bit weird as it narrowed at the hips and was a bit wider up top. So, I stitched down from the armpit out to the hip area, slimming down the silhouette, cut away the excess and zigzagged the edge.
Cut away that extra fabric! Into the scrap bag it goes :)

One last fitting and it passed! The original way to wear the sweater was with the super-low neckline in front (which would have to have been worn over a tank/cami), and this is how it looks worn with the original intentions in mind:
And here's all the lacey goodness!

However, I specifically lowered the back neckline so that I could wear it this way:
Loooooove a low back!
I love how this one turned out and again, though it is not totally my style, I think it is so incredibly pretty! I'll be adding this to my Etsy shop post haste because I've got another one of these in the works! 

Here's one final look at the before and after:


Monday, January 27, 2014

January Thrift Scores and Some Freebies!!!

It's almost February! One month of 2014 already gone and I am excited about some of the resolutions I've been getting a start on :-). Motivation to work at things is tough to come by, so the fact that I've kept it all month is MAJOR and I'm just gonna keep plugging away.

BTW, congratulations to Carey who won the giveaway over on my FB page!!! I'll post a pic of what she chooses as the prize later this week. Now, on to my thrift scores!

I haven't had much of a chance (read, I haven't had any money) to go thrifting these past few months and that's been okay because I was able to work through some items in my stash that I mayn't have gotten to if I'd kept buying more clothes. The green granny silk blouse is just one such example! HOWEVER, I am pretty stoked that we had a little extra money for clothes shopping this month and took full advantage at my local thrifting hole!

Now, we live in a township in New Jersey where the best of the city and the suburbs combine. Very walkable, great public transport to the city (NYC, that is, where my husband works and where I visit occasionally), and good schools and parks. We don't own a car and limit our everyday lives to where we can walk, bike, or bus/take the train. There are no craft/fabric stores, big-box stores, or even big shopping centers within walking or easy biking distance (thank goodness!). This helps to limit where and how we spend our time and money in a really good way. Now, living on a single budget in an affluent community in order to have access to great schools and a wonderful quality of life means that we don't get to do a lot of shopping at the local boutiques, though window shopping is a lot of fun and a great way to gain inspiration for refashions :)

One of the first things I did when we'd decided on moving to this area was to check for the nearest thrift stores. There are two that are true thrift stores and not consignment shops. They are less expensive than said shops but still I rarely can buy a piece of clothing for just a dollar around here. Oh well. Out of the two thrift stores (which are both affiliated with local churches), my favorite is one located in the basement of the local Episcopal church. It's small, but always well stocked and though it's not great for finding shoes and pants (for me), the quality of the clothing I find is always far and above what I was used to thrifting from my college days. Affluent community = high quality donated goods! AND they have monthly 1/2 off sales and occasional bag sales! Can't beat it. I attended this month's 1/2 off sale and came away with the following goodies:

Flowered Blouse (refashion) $5, Maroon T-shirt (alter) $4, Gray Knit Leggings (refashion) $2: 50% off = $5.50

Maroon Striped Sweater $5, Gray Striped Sweater $5, Navy Zipped Hoodie $6: 50% off = $8
Soft Chambray Shirt $4, J. Crew Chambray $4, Olive Jacket $4, J. Crew Gray Cardi $5, Mackintosh Pea Coat $8: 50% off = $12.50
Let me just pause here to say something about the pea coat. It's a vintage Mackintosh brand coat and when I looked online to see what they would go for, I found several ranging from $60-$70!!! What? So yeah, I guess I got a pretty sweet deal finding mine for only $4 while filling the need for a heavier wool coat what with the Polar Vortex Winter From %#@$! :) Moving on...
Lariat Necklace $6, Dark Wood Pendant Necklace $3, Vintage Bronze Necklace $4: 50% off = $6.50
Aluminum Pitcher $4, Date Stamp $2, Numbers Stamp $3, Linen Embroidered Towel $1, 4 Green Cups $3, Red Woven Belt $1.50: 50% off = $7.25
All of this along with two books for my son cost me the grand total of $40! I'll only refashion a couple of these items as the rest I can get lots of use out of as is. The belt I'll make smaller for my son (his favorite color is red and though I bought it for myself, he quickly claimed ownership) and I'd planned on keeping the navy zipped hoodie (though it is a men's piece) but my husband tried it on and claimed that one for himself! :) I'll steal it back from time to time. Oh, and the stamps? I'm hoping to clean/oil them up, find some ink pads and start using them as I develop tags/business cards/labels for my refashioned items for sale!

Now to the freebies: yesterday morning upon heading downstairs to our building's laundry to wash said thrifted items of clothing along with the mass of laundry that I'd been putting off, I decided to check out the "community dumping area". It's a small alcove where goods to be "donated/gotten rid of but that are not trash" are put. There was a big bag of clothing that caught my attention and after rummaging through, here are the freebies that I found!
A dark gray wool sweater, a cropped yellow sweater, a windbreaker with tiny dots, an 80's vest, dark purple/plum pants, navy blue corduroys, brown leather pants, boys shoes, and kids ski/snowboarding helmet and goggles.
Now, out of this bunch, everything but the shoes and helmet/goggles will be refashioned in some way. The wool sweater will be further felted and upcycled, the yellow sweater has some stains and will get chopped up and upcycled, and the leather pants will be dismantled and all of the leather salvaged for future projects. The plum colored pants fit my waist and bum perfectly and will get skinnified, and the navy corduroys will potentially be altered for my son as they are just a bit big for him. The shoes need new laces but will serve as great play shoes for a muddy spring and though I may put the helmet back downstairs, my son has already loved using the goggles for play and will definitely keep them :).

AND.THERE'S.STILL.MORE!!! My husband took his chunk of "clothes shopping" money and hit some stores in NYC for his fix...don't judge! He's just not come fully over to my side of things as thrifting/refashioning for men isn't as "easy". So, after having replaced some basics (he's big on t-shirts and jeans and athletic gear-as he is an avid runner and cyclist), he went through his drawers and cleared out all of the undershirts that are stained beyond wearability (and potentially only worth using as rags at this point) as well as some other things that he just wasn't wearing as much as he thought he might when he'd bought them (we've all been there). Now I have a huge pile of t-shirts to cut up into cleaning rags, hand dusters, and the nicer ones will be used for clothing for my son. My son has already told me what I shall make with each piece and was surprised when I told him I wouldn't be making them all today...just one. ;) Ha! There are at least 8-10 t-shirts to be made into the next size up of pajamas, t-shirts (long and short sleeved) and whatever else he decides. Looks like we are all set for a few more months without shopping...maybe. But of course as I start making refashions to stock my Etsy shop I'll NEED to keep thrifting, right? ;)

Keep an eye out for how I'll be styling my new duds and what on earth will become of that pile of t-shirts!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

*Update* Giveaway now closed ***
The giveaway is open on my FB page! Head on over (just click on the tab above) :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

FB Giveaway

Happy Saturday! I was ever so lucky this morning :) We had a little extra money and I got to go thrifting! And it was half-off at my local thrift store! And I'll share all of my super finds in a post later on...all of that to get to the point, which is this:

I am working on getting together a giveaway over on my FaceBook page Little Did You Know. Once I hit 200 likes, I'll giveaway a refashioned item to the lucky winner! It's been suggested that the item be a copy of the Romantic Lace Sweater that I did a couple of weeks back, but as that is an item that depends entirely on fit and personal style, I think that I'll be doing something a little more One Size Fits All and then coordinating with the winner to personalize it to their specific taste. Still working on that idea ;)

All of this to say that we are only 6 likes away from the 200 mark and I'm hoping some of you might be able to help me out! All you have to do is hop on over to my page and hit like...simple as that! Now, some of you already have, and I thank you because I appreciate the support so very much :) You can help by spreading the word!

Hopefully this giveaway will get the ball rolling on a monthly giveaway of some smaller items with 1 or 2 bigger giveaways along the way. All to say thank you to you lovely readers :-)

Let's see what happens!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Green Granny Silk

Oh yeah! It's another granny silk top that I found at my local thrift store several months back that makes a complete 180 and may now be my favorite top. I know!!! I just love it :)

Ok, here's where I started. Cue the boxy "old lady" silk top in a lovely green (my favorite color):
When I use the phrase "old lady" I'm only referring to a style, not an age group :-)
It's really quite son even described its very large sleeves as bat wings (who knew he had so much fashion sense?). It's a size 14 (I believe) and in perfect shape...errr, well, condition, aside from the fact that it needs a good pressing. What does need to change is the shape; too boxy, too big, but it has potential.

First things first, I seam picked those sleeves off and then resized them, trimming off the excess fabric and finishing off all of the raw edges with an overlocking stitch:

Next step was to reattach the sleeves, and upon sewing them into place, determine how much of the body of the shirt would come in as well. I basically gave it an A-line shape by taking it in from the sleeve armpit tapering out as I sewed towards the hem (again, cutting off excess and finishing all raw edges):

Last step was to change up the cuffs! I wanted them to be slimmer, and the double button closure allowed for me to remove a strip from the cuffs to make into sleeve straps:

Now, the plan was to attach the straps to the inside of each sleeve so that I could then roll up my sleeves and they would simply button on the outside holding them up, but in the end I decided I didn't want to do that to this top and am saving the straps for something else :)

Here's how the reshaping turned out! (Oh, and I did iron this one, which makes such a difference):

I absolutely love the new slimmer sleeves that just skim my wrists and the slight A-line changed the boxy shape into a flattering blouse! Bound to be one of my go-to tops for the spring <3

I decided to try out some styling to see how I might be wearing this top and came up with three different looks (though that is merely a fraction of the possibilities!):

Looks #1 and #3 are my favorite and how I'll wear this on an average day. I HAD to include the second look simply because my face makes me giggle ;). I definitely don't have many (read ANY) opportunities to rock look #2, but you never know...the husband and I could totally miraculously gain a night life and start going out dancing and such, right?! Well, here's hoping...

And one last look at the before and after:
Love it!
Hope this inspires you to take a second look at those granny tops when you're out thrifting! I'm addicted to a good granny refashion :)


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Therapeutic Knitting

 I did some therapeutic knitting over the past few days...for me its therapeutic. An easy repetitive stitch that requires no thinking; just the constant movement of fingers and yarn. I chose a seed stitch for a cowl knit in the round for this very reason. Now, as a knitter, I tend to find a pattern and follow it. Just the opposite of my sewing personality ;). However, this time I just figured I'd wing it and wasn't too worried about getting it right or wrong because I could always just pull it apart and start over. Which I did. Three times.

But as I said, it was mostly for its calming effects that I was knitting in the first place, so in the end, it served its purpose well. And I was afforded this super cozy color-blocked cowl. I want to wear it all.the.time. Seriously. I'm wearing it now as I sit in my t-shirt and leggings typing this up. Granted, its freezing again with the temps dropping into the single digits and below zero with the wind chill, but even if it were the middle of summer, I think I'd put it on just for the feeling of safety and warmth I get from it. This may sound like a lot of hooey to you, and maybe it is. I put a piece of myself in everything I make, and mostly in the pieces I create while feeling some intense emotion. This cowl is very "me" style, colors I love, cozy, warm, simple. Hope you like it...


*There are tutorials out there for this very type of cowl (I checked for ya!) and they are free! So, if you are a knitter, beginner or otherwise, why not try it out? Its fairly simple and only needs one skein (or remains from other projects if you like multi-colored/color-blocked items). I'll link up the tuts I found here and here. The second link brings you to a Ravelry site for a free pattern for a longer cowl that can be wrapped for extra coziness.*

Monday, January 20, 2014

A couple of days off...

Hi all, I've taken a couple of days off due to a tragic and unexpected death at my son's preschool. I'm hugging my boy a little tighter and spending more time just being with him as we all try to make sense of some things that no one should have to...I'll be back soon this week, however, as I find sewing and knitting therapeutic and have a couple of projects in the works. Prayers, positive thoughts, healing energy...whatever you are into, send them to the parents who are suffering an unbearable loss.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Harem Pants!!!

Say, what? Yep, I did it. I totally jumped on the harem pant bandwagon...BUT I went with a more modified version. So, the question is, can I really call them harem pants, or not? I guess maybe they'll just be pants. Plain and simple ;).

Here's where I started. I posted this picture yesterday on my FB page asking for suggestions on what to do with this lovely number.

The first response was harem, I had been pondering the same idea, but I guess I lacked the confidence because I wasn't sure I'd like the outcome.  A couple of other ideas were for an infinity scarf (great because I wasn't sure how I felt having this as an overall print and as an accessory it would be much more manageable) and shorts/pajama shorts (also a possibility if I didn't like how the pants turned out).

My first step was to determine how and how much I would take in the legs of the pants. I did a little research on harem pant styles and landed on this as my inspiration pair. Seriously, she hit all the nails on the head: I don't love the dropped crotch, too much give in the legs...I wanted something more streamlined!

My process in refashioning tends towards haphazard, at best, but I'll walk through each step of it and give suggestions on how to do it "better" ;).

I started by trying on the pants inside-out and gauging (by looking in a mirror and pinching the fabric on each side) the amount I'd be taking the legs in. Now, I did not mark the fabric in any way or even pin it but just eyeballed it. Haha, I suggest marking your legs, somehow, and for the purposes of the picture, I used a pair of earrings to show where I'd be sewing. Next, I sewed up the outside of each leg tapering out to meet up with the original seam just below the pockets. Then I sewed up the inside of each leg in one long line, sewing through the crotch area as well in order to get rid of some of that extra space. I then trimmed off all of the excess fabric and overlocked the edges to keep them from fraying.
Top Left: earrings marking how much I'd take in. Top Right: barely visible, but this is after sewing up each side of each leg. Bottom Left: sewing through the crotch. Bottom Right: finishing off the newly cut seam allowances.
My next step was to tackle that waistband! So, this waistband was a little bit of a had elastic in a casing, but they'd stitched the elastic in place in two lines around the entire waist! Seam ripping nightmare. Oh well, I got to it. I only removed the elastic in the front of the pants, by first stitching the elastic in place along each side seam, then cutting open the casing, seam ripping the elastic out and cutting the front section loose. After I'd done so, I then used that same bit of elastic to create a contrast waistband on the front of the pants. I created a pleat in the waistband on each side (to take it in to the right size), pinned the length of elastic in place over it and sewed it down. It's doesn't have any stretch being stitched in place like this, but the back of the waist allows for plenty to take them on and off and sit on my waist comfortably. 
Top Left: stitching down on each side of the waistband before cutting out the front elastic. Top Right: Pinning the elastic in place. Bottom Left: the pleats that I created when taking in the waist. Bottom Right: the elastic stitched to the waistband.
And that's it! They turned out to be much simpler than I'd imagined, and I'm so surprised by how much I like them on me!!! I mean I actually think they look good :) hehehe! I will only have this pair, because I see them as a bit of a trend, and though they aren't quite so "harem" and will therefore not fall out of fashion (hopefully), I still think that one is more than enough. Make sense?

Here's how they look on (without having pressed my seams....I know!!! I just reaaaally don't like ironing, but I promise I'll do it):

I just rolled up the hems a couple of times in these shots, but I've considered adding an elastic band to the hems for a couple of reasons: It allows for adjusting the length and creating a little more of the "harem" look, and it would tie in with the black waistband.

Here's one last look at the before and after:

So, now I need to hear from you! What do you think about harem pants in general, and these in particular? Should I leave the pant leg hems as is or try out the elastic? I'd love to hear from you :-)


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Another quick "fix"

Sometimes, as a refashioner, I need a quick "fix" on a busy day until I can get into something a bit more involved. Taking in an overlarge t-shirt is just the kind of project I'm talking about! I picked up this striped H&M top at a thrift store in Queens this past year when we were in the old neighborhood visiting the pediatrician. It was a size 3X and initially I wore it as you see on the left, tied at each side a la 80's. A few weeks back I finally got around to taking it down to my size and now I've got a tunic perfect for wearing with leggings and boots!

Love to wear tunics and leggings when sewing...easy on and off as I try on my refashions at different stages :)
All I did was turn it inside out, pin the sleeves and sides where they needed to come in and sewed right along the pins! (This process would be made much easier with the use of a dress form, so if you have one, use it!) In my case, I have to either pin it while wearing it and try to take off the item of clothing without stabbing myself, or pin it and mark it so that I can remove the pins and NOT stab myself. And the larger the original top the better because any excess material is perfect for making things like fingerless mitts and head bands (which I use when running in colder weather...WHEN I run in colder weather ;) ).

Love me some stripes, love me some tunics! Sometimes, the easiest projects are some of the most satisfying :-) So, head out  or raid someone's closet and find a t-shirt that's too big for you (and in good condition), and make yourself a figure flattering, comfy top! Perfect for a beginner project or if, like me, you just need a quick "fix"...


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Baring some skin...

Now, I've never been super confident about how I look in a bathing suit...even before having a child, I had my "issues". Stupid? Yes. Fact of life? Unfortunately, yes. Can this change? YES! 

Every year as the new year would roll around I'd make the resolution to be bathing suit ready by summer.... This never happened, because I wanted to look a certain way that honestly, I will never achieve unless I, 1. have lots of extra money to blow on ridiculous things, and 2. choose to blow said money on surgeries and procedures that would make me look "a certain way". Not gonna happen. So, how about a change in mindset instead? This is something that I struggle with, but I'd like to share my journey to being "bathing suit ready" as I not only explore changing my mindset, but also creating a mini wardrobe that helps me feel confident in my skin when at the beach or pool. As.I.Am. Now, I have set small goals for myself in the way of physical fitness, but they are not reached only by what I see but also in how I feel. Nothing wrong with wanting to be physically fit and healthy, but I've gotten rid of the ridiculous standard that is more harm than help. Diet will play a role as well. When I use the word diet, I don't mean trying out some fad diet to lose weight, because I don't need to lose weight (lucky me). What I'm referring to is cutting down on/out certain things that bring down my energy level and keep me from feeling my best. Okay? Okay. 

So, as a first step in my journey, I am baring some skin...right here. right now. Here we go!

I started with this lovely yard sale shirt/jacket thing:
Shoulder pads big enough for a linebacker? Check!

First things first, get rid of the shoulder pads!!! (They'll be added to my collection for later usage) Also, get rid of the discolored tag...then start seam ripping those sleeves off!

Next, cut the sleeves at about a 3/4 length, cut the cuffs from the ends of the sleeves, and slice open the cutoff portion. Now, seam rip up the main portion of the sleeve and pin the extra fabric in place to create a sleeve that is the same diameter from shoulder to hem.

Here, the sleeve is now about the same diameter from shoulder (the angled end) to the hem. I simply zigzagged the edges of the fabric so it wouldn't fray and left them. I like the "unfinished" look, though, if you prefer a more professional look, choose a different overlocking stitch, or simply fold under twice, pin, and sew the sleeve hem in place. Last, attach the sleeve cuffs at the waist on either side of the blouse so that a button and buttonhole end meet in the middle (this becomes your "sash" or robe closure!)
There were only two tiny scraps cut off of this entire project that I didn't use, and they'll just be added to the scrap bag. 
Because of the high side and back slits, when I wear it as a top I'll wear some sort of cami underneath...or I could close them up a bit.
Open or closed, I simply folded the collar and button plackets under and they stay...I may add a few stitches to ensure they stay that way when at the beach in the wind.

And one last look at the before and afters!

I like that this is now a versatile piece that can transition from my everyday wardrobe to a beach/pool friendly piece. I like how I feel in it...I feel more confident and sexy while maintaining a bit of comfort by being partially covered up. I hope to get to the point where taking it off doesn't cause me to start darting glances around wondering who is noticing the "imperfections", but for now, that is yet to come :).

What do you all think? I'd love to hear from you!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Christmas Review

Maybe this should have been my first post, following the holiday season, but our season didn't end until January 6 when we celebrated el Dia de Los Reyes Magos/Three Kings Day, also known as the 12th day of Christmas! My husband grew up celebrating this day in Puerto Rico by placing a box (normally a shoe box or something similar) underneath his bed the night before filled with yerba (grass, leaves...camel food) for the camels that brought the kings on their way to find the baby Jesus. In return for this favor, the kings would leave a small gift as a thank you for the child's hospitality along their long trip. Living in a cold climate does not afford a lot of "camel food" this time of year, so we opted for some carrots and my son insisted the kings should have a treat as well and sat out 3 pieces of fudge. The next morning he awoke to find a gift left by the three kings. Here's what "they" made for him:

I've told him that the Three Kings and Santa prefer to leave handmade toys/gifts, 1. because we are on a very tight budget and don't have the money to spend on toys, and 2. because I want him to value handmade items just as much, if not more, than store-bought/mass-produced items. It satisfies my desire to see his imagination sparked as we prepare for and wait so impatiently to discover the magic in the holidays, and it satisfies his desire for a new toy to love. He hugged this lizard so tight when he found him under his bed (despite still being half asleep and showing absolutely no emotion on his face). I sighed a sigh of relief, because not being able to buy for your children after a lifetime of being taught that buying for your children is how you show them you love them was disproved in an instant. He loved his lizard immediately and named him Googly-Eyes.

Now, because of our current lack of funds, I was forced into meeting a goal that I hadn't necessarily been planning on keeping this year: to do a homemade/thrifted Christmas all around. That means all of the gifts and decorating would be homemade or thrifted (and even my thrifting budget was microscopic). Nothing like having no money to spark your creativity, right?! I used supplies that I already had in my stash, gifted items that I'd bought new and had never worn/used, and thrifted a few inexpensive things (half-off week is my favorite week to shop!) Here's a rundown of some of the gifts I came up with:

My son had seen the "ninja"bread man cookie cutters, and I found this angel at the thrift store and figured I'd just "refashion" it to fit my needs ;) Nothing a pair of pliers and some patience can't fix!

I'd seen snowman kits all over Pinterest and figured I'd make one for each of my siblings' families. I used buttons, felt, hot glue, corks, clothespins and some fleece and fabric from my stash to put these together!

Again, another idea from Pinterest, felt tic-tac-toe games for travel or whenever. You don't have to waste any paper and this just folds up when you want to take it to go! My nephew got this one...

and my niece got this one!

I made a stocking for my niece to go with the ones I'd made for the rest of them...though, now that I think of it, I haven't made one for my newest nephew!

 Another niece requested a jellyfish from this thrifted sweater and this is what I came up with:

I'd made this felt Christmas tree for my youngest niece last year, so I added a few more ornaments for her to play with this year :)

I made a dinosaur from one of this coat's sleeves for my youngest nephew:

And a little softie bear for my youngest niece from a thrifted sweater and embroidery floss:

I made this bunny for another niece (it has moveable arms and legs!):

And thrifted these toys for my son (love that they are learning tools as well!):

 These were a stocking stuffer 2 years ago, that my son pulled out and played with this Christmas:

And here's the Santa Sack I made for the toys that Santa would son had to write his own name ;) (made from a thrifted pillow case):

And here's the main event! I found the monkey at the thrift store for $4 (in a camo outfit) and made the Sonic the Hedgehog costume for him from my stash and a picture of Sonic from my son's t-shirt. This was his favorite gift from "Santa":

Most of our lights, tree decorations, and other decor for the house are thrifted from previous years, things I've kept since childhood, and a few recent additions from my grandparents' decorations. These things hold so much meaning and memories for me. They make me feel like I am "home", not just here with my husband and son, but surrounded by family and friends that may not be with me in person as the miles separate us. I am absolutely a sentimental person and love to reminisce about the good memories, but as opposed to "living in the past" it spurs me on to making those same kinds of memories for my son by coming up with our own family traditions. I love blending the practices from my childhood with those of my husband's; it results in a beautiful celebration of love, family, hope and sacrifice as we try to give of ourselves. Música Navideña and Christmas carols, pavochón and Christmas Eve tacos (old family tradition ;) ),  coquíto and eggnog...who said the blend couldn't be delicious, too? I find each year that I love the holidays more and more because of the experiences rather than the it should be.

Well, in any case, using a lot of previously thrifted materials, "junk" that I keep in a drawer just in case, and a little imagination (with the help of Pinterest, of course) I think I did pretty well. Hopefully all of my nieces and nephews appreciate the gifts and get some good use out of them. Hopefully, they love them! Hahaha, here's hoping...