Alina Sewing and Design

Fabric Bucket Tutorial (Knitting Supply Storage)

Hello, friends! We’re busy, busy, busy over here wrapping things up (literally and figuratively) before the holidays. Can you believe Christmas is in FIVE days?? I actually didn’t realize it was so close until I stopped in at Starbucks yesterday (guilty pleasure: gingerbread latté) and saw their chalkboard countdown. Luckily, I think we’re pretty much done with everything we need to buy and make, so that feels good!

On another note, I’ve realized once again that I have this weird need to know how everything works…and I learn by doing, so that usually means I want to try it. I once tried to crochet in high school…it didn’t go well. But lately I’ve been wanting to learn how to knit. Some of my cool friends do it, and that desire to learn grew until I was stuck in the car for the five-hour drive to Eureka Springs, AR last weekend for our anniversary trip (post on that coming later!)…and I had nothing to do but peruse Pinterest (once I recovered from my car sickness…those Missouri and Arkansas back roads are a KILLER).

So, for the price of a handmade scarf, I had all of the supplies I needed to learn and to make a cowl (I’m about halfway done). And I loooove it! I can do it while watching a movie with my love and still feel like I’m accomplishing something. Yep…really bad at doing nothing, I know, *Emily*.

All of this brings me to the point of this post:

Pretty much the cutest thing ever, right? I needed something to keep all of these needles and yarn organized and together when I wasn’t using them. So when I found this tutorial for round-bottomed fabric buckets on Pinterest, it was on! I used the measurements for the large bucket and altered them slightly:

  • Instead of cutting a 10.5-inch circle for the bottom, I cut 11.5 and that was perfect.
  • I added pockets to the inside. To do this, cut an additional lining piece, same width, but half as tall. Hem what is the top edge, then sew this piece onto the main lining piece every 2.5-3 inches (or however wide you want your pockets to be…mine were pretty narrow since they are meant to hold knitting needles, but I have a few 5-inch pockets in there for miscellaneous tools, folded up patterns and circular needles)…then proceed as normal!

Pretty awesome, right? Many thanks to FITF for their awesome tutorial! This just took me a few minutes to make this morning and it’s super functional. Makes my heart happy. 🙂

OK, I have last-minute Christmas orders to fulfill…AKA another FULL set of stockings…yikes, I don’t think they’ll be delivered in time for Christmas, but I’ll try!

Merry Christmas week, friends!


Top Three Things I’ve Gained from Pinterest

What was life like before Pinterest? Dark? Lonely? Lacking in color?

I’m only kidding. Sort of.

I will say, though, that the world of Pinterest has connected me with other bloggers and projects and ideas I never would have otherwise known. There are some, however, that stand out more than others. So, I thought I’d round up my top three because, in my opinion, these are worth sharing.

1. Going ‘Poo-Free’

Yep. Weird, I know. Sounds weird if you don’t know what that is already…and maybe it sounds weird if you do know what it is already.

Now, I know and am prepared for you to judge me. That’s OK. But before I delve into this one, please let me defend myself on one important fact: I am not a granola-crunching, Birkenstock-wearing, save-the-environment, will-do-anything-in-the-name-of-healthy kind of person. Well, I do care about the environment and being healthy but I’m not an extremist by any means.

So, let’s carry on, shall we?

A few months ago, I was surfing around on the main page of Pinterest, looking at stuff people I don’t know had pinned. And I saw the words ‘Poo-Free’. Um, what the heck? I thought. So I clicked on it. A skeptic, I started reading about this lady who started using baking soda and vinegar in place of her store-bought shampoo and vinegar. What a weirdy…I thought. And then I got to the reasons WHY she did it. I’ll re-cap, but please read her blog for the full why and how-to.

The three reasons she (her blog is, btw) lists:

  1. Shampoo is a detergent
  2. Shampoo has all sorts of chemicals (um–read this if you want to know what kind of chemicals)
  3. Shampoo is an unnecessary cost
Then I read this one.
And then I read this one. I had just been thinking, vinegar? Stinky! when I read her recipe of a teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon to mask the vinegar smell. (P.S. This smells AWESOME.)
Well…those got me thinking. I have crazy oily hair…always have. And I lose approximately 28% of my hair down the drain every.single.time. For a girl with thin hair, this is NOT cool.
So I casually brought it up in conversation with Cowboy. Would he think I was crazy? Or weird and extreme? Or would he call off the wedding?

I’m only joking…sort of. So I sauntered through a conversation, throwing in the idea, moving on, then circling back to wonder aloud what he thought of the idea. He really 
So there I was, a month before the wedding. And I did it. And do you want to know what? I’m a believer…100%. Here’s why:
  1. It is CHEAP. I just bought a big box of baking soda for 56 cents. At a tablespoon per use, do you know how long that 56 cents is going to last me?
  2. It’s baking soda. If it’s healthy enough to be in my food (err…cookies), it will do zero harm to my skin or hair. Picture it (uh, or don’t)…your skin is wet, ready to soak in anything you give it. Hey, want to throw some laundry detergent on your head? Of course not! So why would you? 
  3. Speaking of skin–this one took me by surprise. Since I started running regularly a few years ago, I’ve gone through the worst break-outs on my shoulders and chest (sorry, tmi). When I started half-marathon and full-marathon training, you KNOW all hell broke loose. I would shower as soon as possible to get the grime off, but apparently, the shampoo was only agitating it more. When I switched to baking soda/vinegar, the break-outs stopped completely. NOT kidding.
  4. My hair is was painlessly limp, flat and thin. Now? Not at all. It has a certain healthy body to it. I can’t explain it, but it’s like my hair was depressed by shampoo (regardless of brand…you name it, I’ve tried it!) and then when I took it away, it threw a party and started doing whatever I wanted it to. 
  5. Want more proof? So I wouldn’t have to mess with it when we went on our honeymoon (uh, baking soda + squeeze bottles of water + vinegar + carry on = no thank you), I packed travel sized bottles of regular shampoo and conditioner. Big mistake. I literally undid everything. My hair freaked out and stayed freakishly close to my head, I was attacked by a static monster, and my skin went on strike in form of major break-outs. You know I kissed the baking soda when I got home.
If you want more info, let me know, but I think the three blogs I linked to above will do more to answer your questions than I ever could.
2. DIY Pore Strips
Also beauty-routine-related, this one has absolutely nothing to do with chemicals and everything to do with budget. You know those pore deep-cleansing strips? You know…the ones you pay $18 for 10 chances to rip the skin on your nose off?
Yeah…I happen to (much to my bank account’s and nose’s demise) love those.
So when I saw that you could make your own pore cleansing mask (read: not just your nose!) for a few cents, I ran to the store like a mad woman looking for unflavored gelatin. One package of unflavored gelatin + a tablespoon or 2 of milk + a few seconds in the microwave. That’s all. Read the original post here.
3. Homemade Greek Yogurt
OK, so I, like many of you, really like the idea of eating natural, non-processed foods…no fillers, no preservatives, no fake sugar. I REALLY like that idea…and more often than not, I try to hold our meals to these standards. You feel better when you eat healthy…you just do. Better enough that the thought of fast food makes my stomach churn. But, there’s a certain cost to eating healthy. And we all know, as exhibited by Whole Foods scheme to take the economy down one kale leaf at a time, that organic is usually better…but WAY more expensive. 
So when I saw this tutorial/recipe for homemade greek yogurt, I thought, you can DO that?! So I read through the directions. Meh…seemed like a lot of work to me, but thoughts of no preservatives and half-priced greek yogurt conned me into trying it. Turns out, it was actually the number of steps that had conned me. It is SUPER easy, you guys! Actual hands-on time is very minimal. I’ve done it both in a crock pot and in the oven. That means greek yogurt for the cost of a half-gallon of milk (so, usually half of what a container of store-bought greek yogurt would cost), and NO preservatives, fake sugars or  fake “fruit”! 
And then sometimes the stars align and this happens:

Yep…I made a batch of greek yogurt for 50 cents that week.
So what about you guys? What kind of tutorials/recipes/ideas/blogs has Pinterest introduced to you that has pretty much blown your mind and changed your world?

Adventures in Pinterest

On a recent weekend (OK, a few weeks ago), Krissy and I decided to try two recipes we had seen on Pinterest. You see, Krissy and Alex are currently mid-kitchen-remodel and have no working kitchen yet. No kitchen counter, no kitchen sink, no oven, no dishwasher (she’s been washing the dishes in the bathroom sink and bathtub for weeks now!)…get the picture?? So when I joined them, all we could use was the grill and bathroom counter space. The two recipes we wanted to try just happened to use both of those (OK, so I’ve never really seen a recipe that calls for a bathroom counter, but you now what I mean…right?? right.)

Here’s how it went:
Krissy decided on a margherita pizza, so she prepared the tomato, basil, garlic, spices, cheese and dough…

 Then she taught me how to test the grill’s heat (one second or less = REALLY hot, 2-3 seconds = medium and longer than that means the heat is low…heh).

 She prepped the dough, brushing one side with oil…

And then when it came time to flip it over onto the grill…it stuck. BIG TIME. We eventually managed to spread it out…of. (Did you know if you try to “spread” sticky dough onto a hot grill, it starts sinking through the grate? Yeah. It does.)

 When we tried to flip it, it turned into this:

 Even with three adults and three utensils…that bad boy was not coming up and flipping over in one piece. (Do you see all of the dough that fell through onto the coals??)

 But, when life handed us strips of dough, we made cheese bread.

 Simply put, the dough needed more flour. Attempt #1 at grilling pizza was unsuccessful, but we will conquer this…another night!

Moving onto dessert (and into the bathroom). See? Dishes drying on the bathroom counter.

We pulled out the blender, dumped our oreos in and…nothin’. Nada. Oh, it was blending alright….a bunch of air! You definitely need a food processor for this.

 It ended up being faster to crush the oreos by hand with a fork, so that’s what we did!

Once we finally got the Oreos crushed, this dessert was DELICIOUS and so easy! I will definitely be making it again.

P.S. This was also the night I turned into the crazy stick lady. ha! What a night.

Anyone else had any Pinterest flops lately?

Homemade Pita Bread

Pita pockets
Last week, I mentioned that Lauren pins some of the best recipes. This homemade pita bread recipe was one of them. I had hummus in the fridge, so when I saw this, I went straight to the kitchen.
Let me just say…less than an hour later, I had THE most delicious pita bread. All from items I already had in my kitchen. I love finding a recipe that uses minimal, simple, and everyday ingredients. I also love that she breaks down the cost of her recipes. This one only comes to 78 cents for the entire batch and 10 cents a serving. Even better!
Go check out her blog, Budget Bytes, and think of this recipe next time you are craving something simple!

Fiddy-Cent Lamp

In true ode to fiddy…I bought a lamp.

Just messing around, of course.

What I mean is…I was out garage-saling with Krissy (one of my besties, if you’re new to MYU!)  at the end of July and I stumbled upon this lamp:

It was marked for one dolla. (Don’t judge. A girl’s gotta support her post title.) I was fully prepared to offer the full dollar (despite the girl’s short stature, this was one heavy [read: nice] iron lamp!) until I said that to Krissy and got a dropped-jaw-chew-out. So…I offered 50 cents and the lady took it. She said, “we’ll take it…because we’re easy today!” Thanks…more than I needed to know, but I appreciate the lamp you paid a lot of money for!

While I completely loved the bronze finish, it felt a little too traditional for my place. So, when deciding what color I should paint it, I turned to Pinterest (*gasp*) and I saw this pin (I had pinned it earlier that day, in fact!). MORE inspiration from Five Days…5 Ways. (If you don’t remember, her tufted ottoman was what set me ablaze to make mine last week.) I’ve been reading Abbie’s blog and I’m stopping just short of proposing a marriage between My Yellow Umbrella and Five Days…5 Ways. Just kidding.

Kind of.

Seriously…go read her blog. Right now Just as soon as you finish reading this post!

Anyway, I went to my box full of spare spray paint and realized I had not one, but two cans of red. Perfect! First, I primed it…

Please note that the cord is covered in a plastic bag and painter’s tape. I also covered the hardware where the bulb screws in with tape (not pictured) so as not to muck these areas up with paint!

 And then this gal got three solid coats of a fire engine red! MUCH more inspiring. And look at how the brighter color brought out the details in the iron! For the shade, I went to Target and bought the cheapest (and smallest) one they had. To dress it up a bit, I hot-glued some red and white grosgrain ribbon around the edges. I had the ribbon left over from this project, so it was free and the perfect extra detail!

 You may also note the block it’s standing on. These were spacing blocks I pulled off of some cheap-y pallets (found on Craiglist). The other wood from the pallets ended up being too cheap-looking to use, but when I saw these printed areas, I jumped up and down like a kid on a pogo stick and begged asked Cowboy politely to remove them from the rest of the pallets. He is TOO kind. (Really…it DID take him awhile to disassemble the pallets for these little pieces!) I stained them with some leftover stain and wah-la! Free wooden typographic blocks.

Lamp: $0.50
Shade: $7.99
Ribbon: free (on hand)
Total cost: $8.49 (so I guess this post should be called “The Eight-Dolla Fiddy-Cent Lamp”?!)

Now go see Abbie and give her blog some love!

Have a great weekend, umbrellas! See you Monday!

DIY Canvas State Tutorial

I’m obviously going to start by saying, “I saw this on Pinterest.” *Cue eye-rolling* I know, I know, enough already! I.just.can’ It’s like a never-ending supply of ingenious ideas that make this DIY-girl jump for joy! And it’s so fun to see the differing tastes of your friends and family. For example, my friend Lauren pins the best recipes. I’ve made at least three recipes that I originally pinned from her in the last month. Krissy pins the coolest house ideas (her and her husband Alex are redoing their house!) and has turned my attention to great ideas for the wedding.  Nicole (my soon to be sister-in-law) has a killer sense of style. I seriously swoon over everything she pins (and re-pin a lot of them). My mom pins adorable craft ideas (and has her own board for my wedding!).

So, anyway, back to what it is that I saw on Pinterest:
Yep, I pinned it 15 weeks ago. Actually, this was THE very first thing I ever pinned. I’m so glad I didn’t waste it. 😉 Anyway, a few weeks ago I was cleaning out some old boxes to make my monthly Goodwill donation (I mentioned in this post that I was going to donate a box of items to Goodwill every month, both to give me some breathing room and to pay it back to the people donating awesome stuff to my Goodwill for me to buy!), and I realized I had an extra 8×10 canvas left over from a previous project. I remembered this pin and set it aside. Annnnd….it’s been sitting on my dryer for around six weeks now. Go me!
Anyway, I finally finished it, so here’s how I did it:

(1) Tape a piece of contact paper down (sticky side/peel-off side down!) to a cutting mat.
(2) Tape your state outline down on top. I got mine from here.
(3) Trace your state outline using an exacto knife. Be careful around the curves and make sure you’re pressing down hard enough to cut all the way through both the tracing paper and the contact paper. Trust me, this will make the rest of the project much smoother! (I just wanted to type smoothlier…just for the fun of it. Alas, my inner grammar nazi won. Meh…smoothlier. Take that, Monday!)
(4) Now that you have an outline cut out of contact paper, take the backing off and lay it down where you want it on your canvas. It was much easier to figure out placement while the backing was still on. That way, I could make a few pencil marks (since those would be painted over) before peeling the backing off and I only had to place it down once. Placing it down once = better stickiness = better job the contact paper will do. (P.S. I spray-painted my canvas white as a base layer so that the state would look painted [rather than just bare canvas], but that step is not necessary!)
(5) Pull out some caulk. (Remember when I picked up these caulk singles for 35 cents apiece? Do you also see where I mention having a plan for those? Yeah, that was this project. In April. Dios mio.) 
(6) Put a little bit of caulk on your finger and “seal” the edges of your contact paper outline. Spread out any excess so that everything is a nice, smooth and thin layer. You don’t want this to dry and leave an unintentional pattern behind your colored paint. 😉 Leave it to cure for at least 12 hours (I left mine for nearly 24 hours). I know…killer on the patience…but this step is vitally important to how well your caulk will do its job. Let it cure!
(7) Once your caulk has cured (!), it’s time to paint! I did one more coat of white over everything to make sure to seal everything one more time (and to make sure any “seepage” would be white). Once that dried, I did three more light coats of my colored paint. (Side note…I did not intentionally position Texas upside-down. My sincerest apologies to all Texans out there!) 😉
(8) Once your colored paint is dry, it’s time to peel off your outline! Be careful as you go, making sure that nothing is sticking and peeling paint off with it around the edges. 
(9) Technically, you’re done here, but I wanted to add a little something more. I went to my “craft scraps” drawer and found some scrapbooking paper that had a shimmery gold/pink back to it. I hand-cut and mod-podged a couple of hearts over my hometown (Lubbock). The left heart represents Lubbock and the right heart represents all of the friends and family that live in surrounding towns/suburbs. 
I love how it turned out! Despite all of the steps and waiting time, this project was really simple and not time-consuming. I’m so glad I haven’t been waiting to do this project since before April or anything. 😉
Happy Monday, friends!


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