Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

Taco night is a favorite at our house. But this week I thought I would change up our usual ground beef tacos with some crock pot chicken! With just a couple ingredients, you will have the perfect chicken taco fillings.

-4 chicken breasts
-1 16oz. jar of salsa (I used mild)
-1 packet of chicken taco seasoning

1. Place chicken at the bottom of crock pot.
2. Sprinkle taco seasoning packet over the chicken.
3. Cover with entire jar of salsa.
4. Cook on low for approx. 8 hours.
5. When done, shred chicken in the crock pot and let sit for about 10 more minutes so the chicken can absorb the sauce.

I served ours on soft flour tortillas, topped with lettuces, shredded cheese, sour cream and avocado. The boys love topping their own tacos and my husband spiced his up with tabasco sauce. A hit all around!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bookshelf Fire Station

At our house, the toy closet mostly consists of legos, trucks, and trains. So when my boys see a doll house in toy stores, waiting rooms or friends houses, they love to play with it. I have been considering buying them their own doll house and then I saw THIS picture of a dollhouse made from an Ikea bookcase. I was immediately inspired to make my own "boy" version. A Fire Station!

I started with this mini bookshelf from Target (sold as a mini cube organizer). 

It was the perfect size and the shelf spaces were just what I was looking for. The only problem was that it didn't have walls on the backside. This actually ended up being a good thing because I was able to easily decorate each wall individually. I cut pieces of foam core to fit behind each space. Then using different patterned scrapbook patter, I mod podged the paper to the foam core. Using mod podge is the key because you can keep layering scrapbook paper on top of each other. One for the wall paper, then a window cut-out, fireman jackets, etc. 

When the walls were dry, I used my glue gun to glue them to the back of the bookshelf.

Ok, I should back up... I need to mention the fire pole. Before the walls were glued in place, I attempted to drill a hole for a fire pole. It was really hard to get the drill to fit inside the cubby. I would suggest drilling a large hole before you assemble the bookshelf, or disassemble it to drill the hole. The pole itself is a wooden dowel rod cut to size and painted grey. I used a little hot glue on the top and bottom of it to keep it steady.

I created 4 rooms: 





The furniture came in an assemble-it-yourself pack from Michaels. I would still like to paint it and add more pieces.

The firehouse wouldn't be complete without firemen! I printed out clip art images of fire fighters which I then cut out and mod podged to wooden peg dolls. I used about 2 coats of mod podge to really seal the paper to the peg dolls.

The top of the fire house is just wrapping paper tapped to the wall with a fire dept. logo glued on top of it.

The boys are having a great time playing with it! It is so fun to see the imaginative play going on.

Follow along on my Repeat Crafter Me Facebook Page for more kids craft ideas and DIY projects!

This project was made for the Mod Podge round of One Artsy Mama's One Crafty Contest

Friday, May 25, 2012

No-Sew American Flag Shirts

Let me just start off by saying these shirts are insanely easy to make. They practically put themselves together. You need 3 supplies:

1. A shirt
2. A mini American Flag (Sold in packs of 3 for $1.00 at Target...and everywhere else for that matter)
3. Steam-A-Seam Sticky Back Fusible Web 

Now if you are making these for Memorial Day or the 4th of July, I would suggest using a short-sleeved shirt. But I had been saving this blue shirt on my craft shelf ever since Big Brother took a pair of scissors to it. I couldn't bear to throw it away since it was size 4T and I knew he would be able to wear it for at least another year.

I am also confident that he will be able to wear this shirt this weekend for Memorial Day since it's currently 57 degrees with heavy rain here in Portland, OR :o(

So here is what you do...

1. Cut the flag from the pole.

2. lay it on top of a piece of Steam-A-Seam webbing paper and cut the paper to the size of the flag. You may want to trace it first and then cut. It helps to use the corner of the paper so you only have to cut two sides.

3. Peal the waxy piece of paper from the webbing and stick the sticky side to the back of your flag.
4. With the webbing side down, position it on your shirt. Iron for 10-20 seconds with steam on cotton heat.

The great thing about American flag shirts is that you can wear them anytime of year. So this is a win/win!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Plarn Tote Bag

Yesterday I show you how to make plastic yarn (plarn). Now I am showing you what I made with it: A tote bag! This recycled and reusable bag is perfect for grocery shopping, the beach, the farmers market, or just toting things around.

I only used two kinds of bags for this project because I wanted the colors to be consistent. I used about 50 Safeway bags (one bag = approx. one row) and about 4 Dollar tree bags.

The pattern is simple and consists of crocheting in rounds without joining your rows.

Crochet Plarn Tote Pattern:

Size K Crochet Hook
Plarn (about 54 bags worth)
1" Buttons (4)

Bag Pattern:
With color #1,
Chain 41. SC in second chain from hook and continue the rest of the way down. Do not turn.
SC along the other side of the chain.
SC around 2 more times.
With color #2,
Working in back loops only, SC around.
Now working in both loops SC around. Continue until the bag is to the height you desire. I made 36 rows and then made a 37th row in color #1. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Chain 50.
SC in second chain from hook and the rest of the way down. When you get to last chain, make 2 SC.
Working along the other side of chain, 2 SC in next, SC until the 2nd to last chain. Make 2 SC in stitches along the ends so it lays flat.
Continue to do this again for one more round.
Fasten off, weave in ends.

Connect the handles to the bag by sewing on buttons (with plarn)

*** You may make and sell products from my patterns but if you do I ask that you link back to my post. Please do not copy and post this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not re-publish photo's as your own.***

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How to Make Plarn (Plastic Yarn)

I live in Portland Oregon and for those of you who don't know, this is pretty much the mecca of eco-friendliness. It's a passion here, a way of life. And although I am admittedly not the most avid recycler, I try to do my best. So in order to become a little more "green," I have recycled my plastic grocery bags in plastic yarn or "plarn."

Making plarn is pretty simple but can be tedious. Although I actually found the repetitiveness of it kind of therapeutic. So here is how to make plarn. Hopefully you will get the gist of it from the pictures :o)

1. Flatten our your plastic bag. Smooth it out to be as flat as possible. Use the static electricity to your advantage as it will help to really get it to lay flat.

2. Fold the bag in half so the handles line up.

3. Now fold it one more time so its one long strip.

4. Cut the top (handles) and bottom off. Discard them.

6. Now cut the rest into approx. 1/2 inch strips. If they are too thick they will be harder to crochet. If they are too thin, they will break. 

7. Unfold the strips and you will see that they are loops. You will now connect the loops together the same way you would connect rubber bands. Lay right loop end over left loop end. Pull end of left loop up and over the right and then through itself.

8. Pull tight to make a knot (but not too tight or the plastic will break).

Keep connecting and roll into a ball when finished.

You now have plastic yarn! Check back tomorrow to see what I made with my plarn. Here is a sneak peak:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Olive You

Remember my 50 Reasons Why I Love You Candy Jar? Well, while I was shopping for a canister for that project, I came across an olive jar. The two ideas meshed together and I have had the idea of creating an "Olive You" version of the candy jar ever since. 

At first I thought about using real olives with just an "olive you" card. But recently I entered One Crafty Contest and for the first round, we were asked to make a project using beads. I immediately thought about painting oval beads to look like olives. Then I came across a tutorial on how to crochet around a bead. Are you following my thought process so far? Ok good, because this where everything comes together. I crocheted around the bead with green yarn and then wrote a reason why "olive you" note on red paper. Rolled it up and stuck it in the top of the bead to complete the look of the olive!

I was fortunate to find the PERFECT wood beads for this project at Michaels. They are Bead Gallery Natural Wood 25x18mm Oval Beads (approx. 1" beads).

Here is the pattern for crocheting around the bead:

Crocheting around Oval Wood Beads

Size F5/3.75MM Crochet Hook
Vanna's Choice Yarn
Bead Gallery Natural Wood 25x18mm Oval Bead

Magic Ring
Chain 1, 8 SC in magic ring, pull tight.
(you will be working in rounds)
Row1: *Sc, 2 SC in next, *around (12 sc)
Row 2-4: SC around (12 sc) (be sure to weave the tail in at some point)
Row5: *SC decrease, SC, (3x) (6)
At this point stick your bead in.
Row 6: SC decrease until you have closed the hole, or if you want to leave the top open, SC approx 2-3 more times, weave in ends.

I didn't actually buy the olive jar I mentioned above, but I thought a martini glass would be just as cute. With Father's day around the corner this would be a great gift for any dad or to tell your husband how much you love him for a being a great father. I also thought this would be a cute centerpiece at a cocktail party!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crock Pot S'mores Brownies (In a Mug!)

After making crock pot banana bread, I wondered if I could bake brownies in the crock pot. It turns out you can! And even better, you can cook them in a mug for individual portions! 

Here is how it's done:

1. Mix up your favorite box of brownie mix according to directions. I used Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownie mix and followed the directions for the "cake-like" brownies.

2. Spray inside of 4 mugs with cooking spray. Fill them no more than halfway with batter. 

3. Set in crock pot and cook on high for approx. 3 hours or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Use an oven mitt to remove mugs from crock pot. They will be hot! Let them cool and top with a heaping  scoop of marshmallow creme. Sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top and you have yourself s'more brownies!

Warning: These are not low-calorie! You might want to consider sharing with someone. 
Big brother and I took turns taking bites :o)