Category Archives: Tutorials

Quick and easy, no-cook Oatmeal Chia snack bars

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Chia seeds are my new obsession and rolled oats are a left-over obsession from my early fitness-fanatic days. I love Chia in my smoothies, desserts and now these awesome no-bake snack bars. I learned this recipe from my nanny and added a couple of things to it…while its calorie intense and not a food to gorge on if the goal is weight loss, the calories all come from very healthy and nutritious ingredients. And if you can go organic, nothing like it 🙂

So without further ado, here goes:

Ingredients:

1 cup organic peanut butter ( I prefer the no- stir crunchy variety)

1/2 cup organic coconut oil

1 1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup organic Agave nectar (or more if you have a sweet tooth. You can also replace with thin honey if you like. I prefer agave for the consistency)

1/3 cup shelled, chopped walnuts

3 Tbsp Chia seeds (I use the organic black chia)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Spread it out in a pan and refrigerate. Voila! Your healthy snack is ready :). I cut out bars to eat and spoon up the crumbs…YUM!

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What I Made Today: Potholder

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Lately I have become a strong champion for using cast iron for most of my cooking. I have quit using non stick altogether. That said, using pure cast iron (not enamel coated) can be a little difficult since the handles get hot and usually dont have wood or anything else to hold with.

Most of my cast iron is Lodge, and I also have some enamel coated cast iron Le Creuset. When I bought the pot, I got a potholder with it, which cost something like $8 (not sure)….so now that most of my things are cast iron and I have only one holder to go with them all (which is used so frequently, it has changed color), I decided to make my own.

I didnt have any of the soft spongelike material that makes these things comfortable to hold, so I used double layers of fabric and a layer of interfacing in between. Tried it out tonight, and it works just as well as the shop bought one.

A potholder is intuitive enough to make, so I will only add pictures here, but I just realized how easy it is to do small things around the house and save up for the luxuries 😛

I cut two pieces of interfacing and 4 pieces of fabric in this shape

Sew each interfacing between two pieces of fabric, wrong sides in

You will end up with two pieces like this

Seal the tops in like this

pin the two pieces together , folded sides out leaving the top open for the skillet handle to enter

Sew them together and turn it right side out

And use it on your skillet or griddle

Hope you liked it. I know its not much, but it took me only 10 minutes and saved me 8 bucks 🙂

How to make a purse or handbag: what I made last week

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After claiming high creative energies, I finally put them to some good use! I lost the bid to get an old t-shirt to make my infinity scarf, though :(….never mind, Im sure spring cleaning will throw something up!

In the meanwhile, I pulled out some fabric and interfacing I had lying around, and got a pattern (See & Sew) from Joann fabrics. After diligently cutting out the trace paper with the pattern, I had no idea how to proceed. Ive never sewed anything off traceable patterns, so I resorted to the old fashion method of laying the trace on the fabric, drawing the outline on the fabric with chalk and cutting it out etc etc.

After a few hours of such hard work tracing and cutting, I figured I’d take some shortcuts to make it easier.  Having figured out how to make a purse/tote bag within a few hours (from scratch), I figured I’d upload a tutorial in case someone else wanted to try it –  might help another beginner like me make something you or someone will actually use! Hope the tutorial makes sense…this is the first time Im trying one. Feel free to leave comments/suggestions.

Items required (size of fabric etc is based on the size of the bag you want to make. The number here is the size of fabric I bought for my bag, which turned out to be big enough to carry books and other school stuff in, or use as a diaper bag – great baby shower gift idea! )  :

  • Fabric  (1.25 yards)
  • Interfacing  (2 3/8 =2.375 yds)
  • Lining (1/2 yd)
  • Sewing machine
  • Magnet buttons/ Velcro

Note: All pieces of fabric are attached to the interfacing. If you have fusible interfacing, you can iron it in to the wrong side of the fabric. I went ahead and sewed my fabric (wrong side) and interfacing.

Usually, for purses, most people sew the fabric (with interfacing) according to the pattern, and sew the lining separately. In that case, joining the lining to the fabric is the final step. However, the lining material I had was thin and flimsy, so I sewed it in with the interfacing and fabric right off. This also made things much easier for me later, since I didnt have to join a “lining” purse with the fabric purse.

Pieces:

  • fabric-2 , interfacing-2, lining-2 for the front and back 
  • fabric-2, interfacing-1 for flap
  • fabric-1, interfacing-1, lining-1 for side
  • lining – 1 for rectangular pouch
  • lining-1 for smaller pouch
  • fabric-2, interfacing-1 for strap

Legend: a=length of one edge of front or back
3a = length of the side

The pieces you need

Steps:
1. Sew the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric and the lining to the interfacing for the front and back

Layers of fabric + interfacing + lining

Front and back fabric sewed with interfacing and lining

2. Do the same for the side, which is a rectangle whose length = sum of the 3 sides of the front/back

The front and back with the side

3. Sew the wrong sides of the flap fabric to the interfacing. The flap is slightly larger than the front and back

The flap is red, the front of the bag is grey for comparison in size

4.  Cut a rectangular piece of lining and a slightly rounded square and sew it to the inside of the back piece. I did this manually so I could sew the pockets to the lining and the interfacing without the seams showing on the right side of the fabric.

pockets sewn into the lining of the back piece

5. Cut out two strips of fabric and one of interfacing for the strap

two strips of fabric and one of interfacing

6. Sew the edges in and sew the above three pieces together, wrong sides of the fabric to the interfacing

sewing the strap fabric and interfacing

the strap

7. Sew the strap to the two ends of the rectangular side piece

strap sewn to the ends of the side

8. Sew the flap to the lining side of the back (on the same side as the pockets)

flap sewed to the lining side of the back with the pockets. Edges of the flap are sewn in to seal them

9. Sew the side to the back, lining sides facing out, like this:

the "back" sewn to the side with the insides facing out

10. sew the other edge of the “side” to the front. The lining facing out same as above.

the front attached to the side

11. Make sure all open edges are folded in and sewn. The inside out bag will look like this:

the purse inside out front side

purse inside out back side

12. Turn the bag right side out

bag right side out

This is how the bag looks inside

looking into the open bag

Annndddd the bag is done!

My new bag hanging on my closet door 🙂

You can always add velcro or magnet buttons to the flap. I didnt because the flap is so big, I didnt figure anything would fall out…but depending on what I end up using this for, I might add a way to close the flap after all…

Hope you liked this simple sewing project!

Until I find something new and noteworthy then! 🙂