New One Minute Video: How to Make Small Paper Boxes

Make a big dramatic statement with little paper boxes. They’re perfect for those times when you need to add a little flair to a small gift for a friend or loved one. They even make great little wedding favor boxes. Make one out of wrapping paper, an old magazine, scrapbook paper, sheet music or a even a discarded picture book from the library. Any kind of paper will work. Pop in a little handmade treat to make your friends feel extra special because not only did you make the gift, but you even made the box it came in. No one needs to know how easy these little boxes are to make. Your secret is safe with me.

Scroll to the bottom to watch my latest ehow video. I still have to pinch myself every time I make one. I love making them for you!!! (Be sure to turn up the music because I worked super hard to get everything to match the beat. 🙂 And Cooper told me that he thought the finger snap was pretty cool. 🙂 )

For my step-by-step photo article, click here.

You can watch my Facebook video here:

Or, if you’re not on Facebook, you can watch it here:

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Throwback Saturday: Denim Dress Refashion

Who doesn’t love a good denim dress?

Well not this one.

Eddie, Eddie, Eddie! What were you thinking? No wonder someone dropped it off at the thrift store. They probably laid it on the doorstep, rang the doorbell and ran. Really Eddie, you need to get out more!

Should I go for the J Lo look?

Hmmmmm. Maybe…….

So I channeled my inner Edward Scissorhands and got right to work.

First determine where you’d like your new waistline.

Cut your new bodice length leaving enough for a seam.

Cut off the sleeves then pin and sew new side seams to fit.

Cut extra fabric from the top of the skirt leaving enough for a seam at the top.

Pin and sew new side seams.

Sew skirt to bodice, adding pleats or darts in the front and easing the back to fit.

To make the flounce ruffle, first measure from the shoulder seam, across the neckline and down to the new waistline. Mine measured sixteen inches. This will become the circumference of the inner circle.  The width of the pattern will be how wide you’d like your ruffle. I made mine three inches which allowed for a small rolled hem. (If I had a serger, I would’ve serged the edge instead of hemming.)

I used the fabric that I cut off from the middle of the dress to make the flounce ruffle.

After cutting out your circle piece of fabric, cut a straight line from the outer to the inner circle to open it up.

Place the inner circle along your neckline, fold it under, pin and topstitch. I ended up tacking my ruffle in a few places but I think if the edge was serged tacking might not be necessary.

Next put the sleeves back in place and hem the bottom of each sleeve.

I thought it would be fun to add a decorative gather at the bottom of each sleeve so I cut two small pieces of quarter inch elastic.

Place the elastic on the inside of your sleeve and stretch slightly while sewing.

This added a nice detail to each sleeve.

And here’s your new denim dress:


Ok, so I don’t look EXACTLY like J Lo. But it was fun to think about!

Click here for more refashion and sewing inspiration.

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Throwback Saturday: Cropped Denim Jacket

Just spent two weeks in Minnesota so I thought this would be the perfect post to bring back to life:

DIY Cropped Denim Jacket close up

Time froze for me the other day while at my beautiful niece Melanie’s house in St. Paul. The kids playing hockey in the driveway, listening to the Belmont Stakes on the tv in the garage, cold Leinenkugel in my hand and it suddenly occurs to me…



I know! I know! You’ve always heard trash talk coming out of my mouth about the debilitating humidity, the frigid cold, the scary tornados, and the nasty mosquitos.

But in spite of all it’s shortcomings, and even though I lived out west most of my adult life, I will always call Minnesota my home.

It’s where my people are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of people in Oregon. My children and their families, close friends I consider family, and the hundreds of students that I loved throughout the years.

But I really am a “Minnesotian” at heart.

I love all the “ya shore, ya betchas”, the “I saw dat der too and I said, hmmmms” and the of course it wouldn’t be complete without “daboatayas”.

My sister has a place “up nort” and after spraying at least two cans of Deep Woods Off (that we practically had to buy on the black market due to the “skito” epidemic this year) all over my entire body, it was the perfect spot for a photo shoot of my latest refashion for eHow.

DIY Cropped Denim Jacket Leaning on the Barn

DIY Western Inspired Leather Belt Bracelet and DIY Cropped Denim Jacket

DIY Cropped Denim Jacket

Oh ya, I started with this jacket…

DIY Cropped Denim Jacket before

and in a few quick and easy steps, turned it into this:

DIY Cropped Denim Jacket with title

Click here for the tutorial. (And be sure to say that with a Minnesota accent) 🙂

Happy Saturday and try to stay away from dat Lutefisk if ya know whats good for ya!


For more sewing and refashioning tutorials and inspiration, click here.

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Throwback Sunday: Mother of the Bride Dress Redesign

Another good tutorial worth unearthing from the archives:

I’ve never been a good clothes shopper.

Just ask my sister, Jan, who would painstakingly shop for the perfect outfits while I was off swimming, riding my bike, and hanging out with my friends. But when I needed something to wear, I’d go directly to her closet to find it. Needless to say, it would drive her crazy.

Last year, before my refashioning obsession and since I live 1800 miles away from my sister now, I shopped for months to find the perfect dress for my daughter’s Rustic Chic Wedding. I finally took the easy route and settled on a simple black dress.

Today I accidentally made my dream Mother of the Bride dress, almost one year later. The colors and style would’ve been just right!

I started with this thrift store dress. Not really that bad in the fit department, but I think with a few minor adjustments I can make it a little more exciting.

And here’s the new dress.

Wouldn’t this have been a perfect Mother of the Bride Dress for a Rustic Chic Wedding in a barn. If you check out the wedding post, be sure to turn up your volume and click the triangular music button before you start to scroll down. The music makes it all the more magical.

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New One Minute Video: How to Make a Double Pot Holder

Mmmmmmmm… strawberry-rhubarb pie… peach cobbler…brownies!

When a delicious smells like that fills your kitchen and the timer goes off, you’ll be ready to take your perfectly baked creation out and protect your hands with this cute double pot holder. Conveniently hang it on your oven door so you’ll never have to search for hot pads again. Make it in any color you’d like to match your kitchen, or sew a few to have on hand for the perfect hostess gift.

How to Make a Double Pot Holder

Click here for the complete step-by-step photo instructions or watch the Facebook video here: (Be sure to turn on the sound 🙂 )

If you’re not on Facebook, you can watch the video here:

Happy Sewing!

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Throwback Sunday: DIY Summer Maxi Skirt Redesign Tutorial

Another early post worth pulling from the archives. Thank you Cooper for being such a good sport and taking so many pictures of your mom back then. 🙂

 I’ve been seeing summer maxi dresses and skirts everywhere!

And I had just the thrift store dress to refashion into one. It was so unflattering in every way except I loved the color and the print.


So I got ruthless with the scissors, first cutting off the top and extra fabric from the sides.  

Next, sew new side seams.

Then, using the fabric cut from the sides, make a new waist band.

With right sides together pin and sew new waistband.

Make a small casing in the top of the waistband.

Thread drawstring through casing, tie to fit and off you go looking good for any summer event.

For more refashion and sewing inspiration and tutorials, click here.

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Throwback Saturday: Dress Redesign (Mad Men Inspired)

OK, so maybe I HAVE been watching too much Mad Men this summer.


I just can’t get enough!

I want one…….


I found this little number at the thrift store the other day and made it into this:


Here’s how:

First look in the mirror and pull the dress up until you get the desired hem length. Mark with safety pins where you would like the bottom of the bodice and the top of the skirt.

Stretch some quarter inch elastic around your waist to the desired tension. Cut and sew onto seam allowance, stretching as you sew to create a gathered look.

Now you could walk right into Sterling Cooper with your steno pad and start taking dictation for Don Draper.

And I seriously made it in ten minutes yesterday.

You might also like to check out some other tutorials:

Thanks for visiting!


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Throwback Saturday: Shirt Redesign

polkadot shirt redesign tutorial

“Life is trying things to see if they work.”

-Ray Bradbury

This shirt and post are the perfect examples of Ray Bradbury’s quote. When I started out redesigning this huge shirt,

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it. I knew it needed to be smaller. But other than that, it was just trying things to see if they worked.

I love how the sleeves turned out, but that only happened after several different attempts at sleeve treatments.

Not to mention, I tried an animated GIF to see if it would work.

It did.



If you’re interested in learning how to make an animated GIF, go to  It’s SUPER fun and easy to do.

Now on to redesigning this huge polka dot shirt.

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

 polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

Right sides together, pin and sew the sleeves back into the armhole.

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial

Now, excuse me while I go find that ruggedly handsome contractor husband of mine. He needs to take me out to dinner in my new shirt.

polka dot shirt redesign tutorial polkadot shirt redesign tutorial

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Throwback Saturday: How to Mend Your Jeans

One of my earlier posts from exactly 5 years ago today… I still remember crackin’ myself up while writing this…

Mend Your Jeans Tutorial

Today I feel like Bill Murray’s character, Bob, in the movie, “What About Bob”, one of my all time favorites. It is a hilarious laugh fest throughout every scene. In the movie, Bill Murray portrays a man riddled with anxiety who has every phobia in the book. He “accidentally” ends up  on vacation with his psychiatrist, played by Richard Dreyfuss, and ends up driving his doctor completely out of his mind. My favorite scene in the movie is when he is covered in life jackets and tied to the mast of the sailboat joyously and triumphantly proclaiming,



What does this have to do with today’s post you ask? Well, today I’ve forced myself to do something I don’t like to do so I’m feeling a bit like Bill Murray and I want to triumphantly proclaim:


You see, as strange as this might sound, I hate to mend.

WHAT??!!?!!? Screeeeeetch…. Back the truck up! I can almost hear you shout.

The Renegade Seamstress hates to mend?

Yep, it’s true. I’ve never been much of a mender. In the past, I’d rather stick a needle in my eye. But today, I’m actually mending and much like Bill Murray’s character, Bob, I want to tie myself to my sewing machine and joyously shout out my amazing accomplishment to the world.


It all started because I’m too cheap to go out and buy new jeans for Cooper. His jeans are wearing out quickly, but with summer fast approaching and school just about over, I’d rather not buy any new jeans now, since he’ll most likely grow out of them by fall. So here I am, actually mending a pair and finding it’s really not as bad I as thought. Not only did I mend Coop’s jeans, but I also made a tutorial for you just in case you also have a bad case of “Mendaphobia”.

It’s really not that horrific, you’ll see…..we’ll do this in baby steps.

First turn your jeans inside out.

Mend Your Jeans

See, that didn’t hurt. Now gather some scraps of thick fusible interfacing. I happen to have loads of scraps from all of the tote bags I make.

Mend Your Jeans

Next, place the jeans over the end of the ironing board and straighten the rip as much as possible so it lies flat. So far, so good.

Mend Your Jeans

Now iron on a piece of fusible interfacing directly over the rip. Baby steps… Baby steps…

Mend Your Jeans

Using a zig zag stitch, sew back and forth and all around the interfacing until you’ve covered the entire area. Just keep changing directions. No need to panic.

Mend Your Jeans

When you’ve finished sewing, this is what the patch will look like on the inside. If you find  thin areas, don’t fret, just add more interfacing and continue sewing with a zig zag stitch over the next piece of interfacing. Continue until all of the thin ripped areas are covered.

Mend Your Jeans

Breathe deeply, count to ten and trim the excess interfacing.

There now. You successfully faced your Mendaphobia! See, it wasn’t so bad, was it!

mend your jeans

Happy Sewing (and Mending)!


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How to Make a Lace-Up Sweatshirt

If you’ve been thinking about adding a little athleisure wear to your wardrobe but don’t want to spend lots of money, here’s a quick change you can make to your beloved sweatshirt so you can be stylish and comfy at the same time.

Click here for the full tutorial.

Thank you, once again, Rylee for being such a cute and willing model. 🙂

Can you tell I’m not a big fan of the restricting crew neck? If crew neck shirts give you claustrophobia too, you can click here to find out another way to open up a neckline.

Happy Refashioning!

For more refashion and sewing inspiration click here.

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