10 Serger Tips for Beginners

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10 Serger Tips for Beginners

For my birthday, I splurged and bought myself a serger.  I’ve always wanted one, but never really wanted to spend the money.  They are pretty much awesome for getting a professional, store-bought finish though, so I decided it was time.  Sergers sew, cut, and finish seams all in one step–it also wraps the thread around the front and the back of the fabric, which allows to to hold up much better through repeated washes.  It kind of takes the human error out of sewing.

serger handbook

If you’ve never used one before, here are a couple of tips and a great video to get you started:

  1. Read the manual and watch the video {if it came with one}.  I know, I know, it’s not a profound tip, but seriously, when is the last time you read the manual of something you bought from front to back?  This is one of those things you really need to read the manual on.  Get to know your serger.  Take it to dinner and movie if you have to–just really get to know it individually.
  2. Thread the machine over and over.  Unless you have a “self-threading” model, practice threading your machine over and over.  Threading a serger can take forever at first, getting proficient at it will help you actually get to the sewing a lot faster.
  3. You cannot sew on pins.  Because a serger sews and cuts, you will need to either learn to pin much, much higher than where you were actually sewing or sew without them.brother serger lock 1034D
  4. Go slow.  This is hard at first, if you are used to zipping through something with a sewing machine, but if you get going too fast, remember a serger cuts too, so you can’t just go back and rip out the seam and start over.  You have to be slow and calculated.
  5. Clean the lint out of the serger frequently.  Keep your investment {both the serger and the fabric  you’re sewing} in great shape by making sure the serger runs tip top.
  6. Practice on scrap fabric.  Pay attention how you line up your scrap fabric, how fast you are moving, how to accurately you’re sewing.  If you make a mistake with scrap fabric during the learning process, you won’t be out anything.toldi-lock serger thread
  7. Buy good quality thread.  It will sew soooo much better if you just suck it up and buy the higher quality thread.  No catching, no breaking–just happy, happy serging.
  8. Watch the blade, and not the needle as you sew.  The blade is doing the most permanent damage, so guide your fabric based on that.
  9. If you are in the market for a serger, make sure to choose one that is easy to thread.  Historically, people have dreaded getting a serger for that reason.  Technology has come a long way, though, and they are much, much easier now {especially if you do a little research}.  Once you have found a serger, make sure to do step #2.
  10. Sergers don’t backstitch, so remember to knot off your thread when you finish.

There’s been a learning curve for sure, but now that I am getting the hang of the different types of stitches, I think this serger thing is going to rock.

~Mavis

serger

Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger with Easy Lay In Threading with Differential Feed

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Glow in the Dark Easter Eggs with Glow Sticks

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glow sticks glow in the dark easter eggs

These glow in the dark Easter Eggs were such a hit with my kids last year I wanted to share the tutorial again for those of you with kids who are growing a little tired of the same of Easter Egg hunt. 

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This year instead of a traditional Easter Egg hunt on Sunday morning, I’ll be hiding Monkey Boy and The Girl’s Easter eggs after the sun goes down. They are teenagers, and getting them to go outside and hunt for candy filled eggs at the crack of dawn just isn’t as fun as it use to be.

So in an effort to bring back some of that fun, I’ve decided to make egg hunting a little more exciting this year by making my kids hunt for their Easter eggs in the DARK!

glow in the dark easter eggs glow sitcks

How to Make Glow In the Dark Easter Eggs

Supplies

12 plastic Easter Eggs
12 Glow Stick Bracelets
a wee bit of candy

Directions

Open plastic eggs, snap bracelets to activate and stuff the bracelets in to the Easter Eggs along with a treat.

glow sticks glow in the dark easter eggsHappy Hunting!

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Bob Bowling Rustics – Recycled Garden Sheds and Art

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bob bowling RusticsWhen my friend El Presidente and I went to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show the other day I was so hoping local artist Bob Bowling would be there with his AMAZING rustic garden cottages and primitives. And Oh Happy Day, he was.

rustic primitive garden shed Bob Bowling

In a nutshell this guy’s stuff is one giant display of rusted awesomeness times 10 million.
bob bowling lending libraryOne of my favorite things he makes are these little Lending Libraries. They run about $425 and are made with old wood and found objects and man are they cool.

bob bowlings garden sheds

Check out this white washed tool shed. Ain’t she purty?

antique cherub

I loved the rusty old door knocker he used on this shed.rusted funnel garden art

If you’ve got an old rusted funnel, SAVE IT! Turned it into a planter.
bob bowling rustics garden shed

More funnels, parts to a chicken feed and who knows what else was used to make this faux primitive light fixture. And check out the wooden pegs holing up that shovel. It’s oozing with cool.
bob bowling Rustics

This garden table / work station  complete with antique windows and galvanized planter is pretty amazing as well. He even hung a chandelier in there too.

rusted rooster coppolaAnd last but not least, check out the rusted tin roof complete with a rusted weathervane and rooster.

I love this stuff!

How about you, is this your style?

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

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How to Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

Have you ever made your own newspaper pots before? If you haven’t, they are are super easy to make. Some people use tin cans, but I prefer to use the Pot MakerI’ve found I can whip out a batch of 50 pots for my seedlings in about 20 minutes or less.

pot makerHere is a quick tutorial on how to use the Pot Maker.

newspaper

Cut newspaper strips 4″ by 9″ each. {20 pots = 20 strips of newspaper}how to make a paper pot

Cover pot maker with newspaper and roll.
make your own paper pot

Make sure your paper is wrapped tight around the pot maker.how to make a paper pot

Fold the bottom of the paper inward.how to make a paper pot

Place the newspaper wrapped pot maker in the stand that’s included with the kit and give it a little twist.how to make a paper pot

And a jiggle.how to make a paper pot seedlings

Then slowly remove the newspaper from the wooden pot maker. how to make a seedling paper pot

It’s that easy.
paper pot for seedlings

Add potting soil, seeds and a little bit of water and you’re good to go. DIY-paper-pot-seedlings

These pots are not only easy to make, but pretty thrifty too. Free newspaper √ Free labor √ {have your kids make them} Life is good! Bontanical Interests has the Pot Maker on sale right now for $12.98.

Do you make your own pots or just buy them at the store instead?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a Party Hat for New Year’s Eve

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how to make a party hat picture tutorial
Before we get to bettering ourselves with all those resolutions, we get to party it up New Year’s Eve style! I don’t know about you, but I’m all about the streamers, noisemakers, confetti and these awesome party hats, which happen to be super duper easy to make.

Watch, I’ll show you how step by step:

how to make a party hat pictures

First step is making the base. I use poster board because it’s nice and sturdy. Cut your poster board into a giant circle. Divide the circle into 4 equal parts. Each hat is 1/4 of the circle.

When you are finished cutting out your party hat shape from the poster board, carefully line up the ends in a cone shape and use clear packing tape to secure them together.

Next up you need to cut your fabric.  Simply cut out another party hat from the poster board, only this time add 1/4″ to all sides {the fabric template needs to be slightly larger than the party hat template}.

how to make a party hat news years craft project

Using the fabric template, cut out your fabric. Tuck fabric edges under and iron to keep them in place.  Using a low temp glue gun, run a line of hot glue along one fabric edge and secure the other closed on top of it.

how to make a party hat news years pictures

Trim excess fabric from the bottom of the party hat. Using a dab of hot {low temp} glue, adhere 2 pieces of ribbon to the inside of the party hat {one on each side}. Add hot {low temp} glue to the bottom edge of the party hat and add feathers {I used a feather boa}. Do the same for the top of the hat as well, adding as many crazy feathers as you’d prefer.

how to make a party hat

And with those simple steps you’ll be the envy of every New Years party guest!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a No Sew Handprint Christmas Tree Skirt

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How to make a Christmas Tree Skirt

My online buddy Heather from Massachusetts sent in some photos of a Christmas tree skirt she made many years ago. I thought it was so cute I asked her to share how she made it.

handprint tree skirt

Hey Mavis,

Christmas is magical. That’s all there’s to it. The family traditions make Christmas magical. Decorating the tree with hot chocolate in hand and music in the background, watching Christmas movies and sneaking out to shop for Dad are my favorites. In fact, before my kids escape middle school I’ll be adding your sugar cookie tradition to my list – I love it when the kid’s take over the house talking and giggling!

I tend to be pretty crafty but the one thing I’ve made that I treasure almost as much as my photo albums, is our Christmas Tree Skirt. And as a bonus it’s unbelievably easy and there is NO SEWING!

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Green and red felt
  • Permanent marker
  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Fabric paint {use a different color every year – I rotated between silver and shades of green because my skirt is red}
  • Thread or string
  • Safety pin
  • Bells
  • Decorative ribbon and large needle

tree skirt pattern

Directions {they go pretty easy}

Step 1: Go to fabric store and buy felt, my measurements 68″ x 68″ plus or minus a few inches. *Note: bolts of fabric are different lengths so look for a long bolt which will lend itself to a wider tree skirt. You may need to adjust the size of the circles to fit within the width of the fabric.

Step 2: Lay it out on the floor and pin a safety pin with thread attached to it in the middle. This will create a perfect circle for the center (where the stand will go and the outside edge. Use a 6″ piece of thread to create the center hole. Use a 34″ piece of thread for the outside edge. With one end of the string tied to the safety pin attached to the center, tie a marker to the other end. Move baby who keeps crawling into the middle of your felt every three seconds, but hurry, you’ll have three seconds before he’s back in the middle ;) When you rotate the marker around the pin you get an easy, nearly perfect, circle.

My son at 15 months helping me make the tree skirt

Step 3: With SHARP fabric scissors, cut your circles out.

How to make a Christmas Tree Skirt

Step 4: Decorate. Easy peasy. I added some letters, holly, bells and ribbon attached with fabric glue, fabric paint and mom and dad’s handprints. (PS: put up a big enough fuss that the HH puts his handprints on it too – trust me, it’s worth it!)

This is the skirt on our first Christmas as a family

Step 5: Hand prints. I found putting fabric paint on a piece of aluminum foil, then placing the kids hand in the paint and and pressing it on the fabric. They won’t be perfect -see below, 8 month olds don’t want to spread their hands out flat :)

Painting the paint on their hands get it all over their hand evenly. The handprint on the felt won’t be very detailed but you’ll get the outline and then you can fill it in (use the tip of your finger and pat it on).

The 10th year of handprints – I’m now an expert

Fair Warning: I have two kids, by the 10th year the tree skirt was pretty well packed with handprints. And honestly, I had to put up a pretty big fuss to get my ten year old to do my handprints. {I don’t typically fuss a lot – but tradition is tradition and desperate times require lots of fussing I guess :) }

christmas tree skirt

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all glean some ideas from each other.

~Mavis

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids: Waterless Snow Globes

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Waterless Snow Globes

Maybe since the kids are growing up and starting to plan for college, I am getting a little nostalgic, but when I pulled out my Christmas decorations this year, it wasn’t the store-bought ones that made me smile, it was the popsicle stick ornaments and pipe cleaner reindeers that seemed, well, precious {I know, cheesy.  Look away!}.

If you have little ones, believe me, you will totally remember making all of these little trinkets with your kids–and even more, when they want you to start dropping them off a block from the mall, you’ll have something real to hold onto.

Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids  Waterless Snow Globes

These waterless snow globes are a perfect place for kids to use those trinkets, found objects, and other things that kids think are special that they’ve collected all year long {and hey, it doesn’t hurt that you will get to declutter their rooms a bit in the process, right?}  They can immortalize all of their treasures in a snow globe,  and you only have to pull it out once a year. :)

And the best part?   There is not water in these snowglobes so you don’t have to worry about them exploding when you pack them away.

Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids  Waterless Snow Globes

You’ll need:

  • Glass jars
  • Trinkets to put into the jars {the kids can make foam ball snowmen, etc. if they don’t have something they want to put into the jars.  Or, choose an inexpensive Christmas ornament}
  • Artificial snow flakes
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glitter spray paint {optional}

Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids  Waterless Snow Globes

Directions:

  1. If you want to, use the glitter spray paint to spray the lids and bands of your jars.  Allow them to dry.
  2. Flip over lid, and hot glue treasures onto the bottom side of the lid {the side that will be inside of the jar}
  3. Fill the jar about 1/4 full or less of snow.
  4. Place the lid on the jar {your child’s treasures will be hanging upside down in the jar} and screw on the band.  Flip the jar over and voila, it’s snowing.

Now go rest.  You did your parental duties for today.  Ha.

Happy Holidays!

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How To Make A Candy Train – Easy Kids Christmas Crafts

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These little old school candy trains have been a tradition in our house for years. The Girl Who Thinks She’s A Bird has been making them and gifting them to friends for as long as I can remember. I bet it’s a tradition she passes on to her kids.

Making the actual train is so simple and just requires a few pieces of candy and a glue gun. While kids can help out with this craft, I’d obviously not recommend you give your 2-year-old a hot glue gun and let him go to town. And there’s your disclaimer.
Check out the step by step instructions and you can build your very own candy train:

Start with a package of gum.  I  selected Clove gum because it was red.

Hot glue 1 roll of Lifesavers to the pack of gum letting the Lifesavers hang over 1 end of the gum.

Add 1 foiled Rolo.

Add 1 Hershey’s miniature candy to the top of the Rolo.

Add 1 upside down foiled Hershey’s Kiss.

Add 4 wrapped peppermint discs.

Viola!  One candy train.  How easy was that?

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Easy Christmas Crafts – Bird Seed Ornaments

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Easy Christmas Crafts - Bird Seed Ornaments

I love these little ornaments.  They are a great way to decorate the bare winter branches outdoors, and the kiddos will love the fact that the birds are there because of them.

Easy Christmas Crafts - Bird Seed Ornaments

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 4 cups birdseed
  • Christmas themed cookie cutters
  • Large cookie sheet
  • Cooking spray
  • A straw
  • Waxed paper
  • Ribbon

Easy Christmas Crafts - Bird Seed Ornaments

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup.
  2. Add birdseed to the mixture and stir in well.
  3. Line a large cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Coat the wax paper and the cookie cutters well with cooking spray.
  4. Place the cookie cutters on the waxed paper pan and spoon the birdseed mixture into the cookie cutters.  Press the mixture down firmly into the cookie cutters.
  5. Cut the straw into 2” segments.  Use the straw to punch a hole into the mixture.  Make sure the hole goes all of the way through and leave the straw in the ornament, so that the mixture will dry around the hole.  This is where you will tie your ribbon to hang the ornament.
  6. Leave the molds to dry for 2-3 hours.  Then, gently remove the molds and straws.
  7. Leave the ornaments to cure overnight.
  8. Tie the ribbon through the hole in the ornaments and you’re done.

Merry Crafting,

Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Halloween Recipe and Kids Craft Round Up

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Halloween Recipes and Kids Crafts

If you’re in full-on prep mode for your Halloween party, looking for some great ideas for classroom treats or simply looking for some unique ideas to celebrate this creepy holiday, we’ve got you covered. Check out all these cool Halloween recipes and craft ideas:

Develed Egg Spiders

Healthy Halloween Treats Easy Orange PumpkinsHealthy Halloween Treats: Easy Orange Pumpkins

how to make bat cookies halloweenHalloween Bat Sugar Cookies

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Halloween Broom TreatsReese’s Peanut Butter Cups Halloween Broom Treats

Easy Halloween Dessert Ideas- Spooky Ghost Cakes

Easy Halloween Crafts for Kids – Use Old Milk Jugs to Make Spooky Ghosts
DIY Pumpkin Tap Drink Dispenser

Turn any pumpkin {or watermelon} into a drink dispenser with the pumpkin tap kit.

Check out my Halloween Pinterest board for more goolish and spooky Halloween ideas!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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