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DIY 10-Minute Cardigan

Cardigan made from a sweater

Spring came in like a lion around here, and then summer arrived the next day.  We are having some crazy warm weather, so I may have already missed my chance to sport my new DIY 10 min cardigan.  But, I discovered this pinteresting find a couple weeks ago.  I really like cardigans for the layering option they provide and the flexibility to take it off if I get warm without having to pull it over my head and mess up my hair (that last part was a joke, you can hardly mess my hair up more than it already is).  I stumbled across these clearance sweaters at Old Navy last week for $10 each and was pretty excited to give the 10 min cardigan a try, since I really could use a couple extra cardigans.

Kelsey at Vanilla Joy did a great job with this tutorial, so I’ll just refer you to her site for the complete tutorial.  Essentially, you take a sweater, cut it down the center, do a couple more simple steps involving an iron, some iron-on adhesive tape, and a sewing machine, and voila!  Pictured here is my finished product with the gray sweater.  I haven’t done the white one yet that I purchased, but will add a picture when I do that one too.

You won’t have the option to button it up since there isn’t enough fabric left over to overlap once you’re done.  But, it stills makes a great top layer, just with a little more restrictions than a real cardigan.  For the price, and the short amount of time that it took to make it, it’s worth its limitations.  I highly recommend this project!

My two ON clearance sweaters


Finished gray cardigan


Cinnamon Rolls from Canned Biscuits

Written by
Mar 12, 2012 | Pinteresting Finds | Tags: , ,

AT has been out of town and I decided to step outside of the Sunday morning box yesterday and make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  Inspired by a Pinteresting find, I tried this recipe, compliments of The Jones Way, which uses canned biscuits for making warm, gooey cinnamon rolls.  If I was feeling really Pioneer Woman-ish, I’d go all out and try her recipe, which is truly from scratch.  That’s inspiring and all, and looks sinfully delish, but I can’t quite muster up the energy to go through that many steps.  Maybe someday after a full pot of coffee and a really, really good night’s sleep, I’ll find that pioneer woman within, but for now, I’m sticking with the canned biscuit recipe.  They took me all of ten minutes to prepare, and were met with praises from all five of my boys, and as the pictures can attest, they all but licked the platter clean.  So, if I make them again when AT is in town, I might need to break into a third can of biscuits.  Follow the link to her recipe to try and Bon Appetit!

Ready to go in oven

Out of the oven and ready to serve

This is what the platter looked like on our way out the door to church, I guess it was a hit!


“Healthy” Oatmeal Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies

I love oatmeal raisin cookies, but I have one son who doesn’t like raisins.  For some reason, this son does like chocolate covered raisins, and though I’m not one to tend towards accommodating picky eaters, I did wonder if he’d like oatmeal cookies with chocolate covered raisins.  So, I decided to give it a try.  Mission successful!

I’ve had a oatmeal cookie recipe for a while that I use, but I’ve made a lot of adaptations to it over the years.  I will share the resulting recipe, with chocolate covered raisins included.  The reason I put the word healthy in quotations is because I think anything that calls for shortening is questionable in terms of its health benefits.  But I have done some things like lower the amount of sugar the basic recipe calls for, added flaxseed meal for an extra punch of nutrition, and replaced the eggs with applesauce.  The final adjustment actually happened on accident because I was out of eggs when I made this (a surprise when I opened the fridge and found out that boy #2 made the rest of the eggs for his breakfast that morning), so I substituted the applesauce instead.  The result was great, and maybe even slightly more healthy than real eggs.

As for the chocolate covered raisins, I’m sure you could add them to any oatmeal cookie recipe with great results.  They are obviously a more expensive alternative to raisins, but I buy mine in bulk from Sam’s, which is the only reason I’m willing to offer this luxury to my family. (:  As a little tip for making these cookies with regular raisins instead, I started soaking my raisins for 5-10 minutes in water before adding them to my oatmeal cookie dough (to clarify, not the chocolate covered raisins, the normal raisins!) just to make them extra plump and juicy.  If you decide to use regular raisins in this recipe instead, I’d suggest upping the amount of brown sugar from 3/4 cup to 1 cup, as the chocolate actually helps keep the cookies sweet enough with the lowered amount of sugar, but that’s just what I would do.

Oatmeal Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies

  • 1 cup shortening (I’m sure butter or margarine would work too, with a slightly different outcome in texture)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (or two large eggs)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I use half white, half whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup chocolate covered raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream together shortening and sugar and beat in the applesauce.  Mix the flour, salt and baking soda together and beat into the creamed mixture.  In a separate bowl, mix together the dry oatmeal and the flaxseed meal.  Add the water to the dry ingredients and stir till wet throughout.  Then stir the oatmeal mixture and chocolate covered raisins into the creamed mixture till blended.  Put heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto cookie sheets and bake for 13-15 minutes.


Suede Bag Made from Repurposed Suede Jacket and DIY Tote Bag Tutorials

Suede purse made from a repurposed suede shirt and leather belt

Bag-making is an illness for me.  When I see someone with a bag walk by, I don’t see the person carrying the bag, I see the bag.  I see it, I dissect it, I cut out the pieces, and then I put it all back together again–all in my head and all in the span of a few seconds.  I think that’s the very definition of an illness.  I learned a long time ago that I couldn’t make money selling bags that were as complex as the one pictured above, and that’s why I turned my business into simpler products that were  less time-consuming; this allowed me to spend more time with my family while still enjoying the creative process of sewing.

In the meantime, I created a couple bag patterns over the years that I use for the purses that I make for myself.  They are not in reproducible form, so I am not able to share the patterns with you.  But, there are so many free basic tote bag tutorials out there, and I will introduce you to them here (scroll to bottom).

I discovered this suede shirt at Goodwill a few weeks ago, after I made my original suede purse from a repurposed vintage jacket.  I couldn’t resist buying it, along with a leather belt that I saw there, so that I could make yet another suede purse for myself.  (The suede shirt was to become the bag, the belt was to become the handle.)  Not sure how many suede bags I need, but as long as I have my bag-making illness, I’m sure there will be more to come. (:

The suede shirt was very wrinkled, so I threw it in the dryer for about five minutes with a damp, white cloth, to help release some of the wrinkles



Real Life Photography

I just read a photography tutorial that I found on Pinterest over at tater tots and jello on taking real-life pictures.  It is a good reminder not to save the camera for the staged events in life (i.e. birthday parties, sports, vacations) but to document the day-to-day things as well.  In her tips on photographing real life events, she also encourages us to “be real”; don’t clean up the house and make life look different than it really is, show your life for what it is.  That inspired me to pull out these pictures I took a couple weeks ago.  My kids in their pj’s at 10 am on a Wednesday morning, not doing homework, not reading great literature, not sitting around the table with me doing a great craft, but doing what they love to do most–playing video games.  Yes, this is real life in our house.

In the pictures above, boy #2 “helps” boy #5 play Mario Cart–it’s the ultimate sacrifice, as you can tell.  Apparently, boy #5 can’t win if he plays this game on his own, so his older brothers “need” to play for him.  It’s the very definition of brotherly love.  Below, boys #3 and 4 watch their brothers play video games intently, because the only thing better than playing video games yourself is watching someone play them…if you’re a boy.


Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup


Sauteing Onions

Adding in the tomatoes

I’m sharing a wonderful recipe for creamy tomato soup that I found on Pinterest.  I started making homemade tomato soup years ago, but was never completely happy with my recipe.  This recipe had the missing ingredient that I was looking for–cream.  Yes, tomato soup should be creamy!

One word of warning–if you introduce your family to homemade tomato soup, they may never eat the stuff from the can again!  I learned this the hard way, but it was too late, there was no going back.

I made some adaptations to the recipe that I found here.  I doubled it to make it feed our family, but also tweaked a few things that I felt helped the flavor and made it simpler, in my opinion.  The recipe and directions are below.  It makes approximately a gallon of soup.



Crystal Wilkerson 2012 Planner!

Written by
Feb 17, 2012 | Everything Else, rbt Bags |

I’m excited to say that Crystal Wilkerson’s 2012 planner is available and the perfect compliment to our oilcloth mini binders!  I mentioned her 2011 planner in a previous post on different uses for my oilcloth mini binders.  As well, I am doing a giveaway on her blog during her 30-day challenge, so stay tuned to find out how to win!

Here are just a few examples of the things you will find in her planner, available now for $29.95!



Chocolate Custard

I recently stumbled upon a recipe for chocolate custard and thought it might be fun to make some with the boys after reading the classic story, The Poky Little Puppy.  My younger three really enjoy that story, and it’s very appropriate, you know, since having five boys is sort of like having five puppies.  And we even have a “poky” one.

Then they counted themselves, one, two three, four. "Now, where in the world is that poky little puppy?" In this story, he was finishing his math homework, very fitting.

Assembling our supplies

The poky little puppy finishes his math homework and helps mix some ingredients

The final product

The final product was very tasty, but very rich.  If I were to do it again, I’d try using milk chocolate chips rather than bittersweet chocolate.  True custard aficionados might bristle at the thought, but it would be more kid-friendly.

The recipe that we used is below, we tripled this recipe (accept for the whipped cream part) to make six ramekins full.

So read yourself some Poky Little Puppy and enjoy!

Chocolate Custard

  • 1/4 c  milk
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 lg egg yoke
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (we used 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and two tablespoons of the sugar and heat until steaming and the sugar is dissolved.  Whisk in the egg yolk.  Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened about two minutes.  Add the chocolate and salt and whisk till melted and smooth.  Whisk in the butter till melted.  Pour the custard into shallow bowls and refrigerate till firm, about five minutes.  Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat the heavy cream, cinnamon and remaining sugar until whipped.  Dollop the cream on top of the custard and serve.



Antique Canning Jar Wall Vases

Things have been quiet around Tidy Tangle lately.  Laura’s working hard on her master’s classes these days, I’m busy filling Etsy orders and counting down to my 1,000th Etsy sale–today I am at 992, only eight sales away!

In the meantime, I am working on putting some finishing touches on my house decor (yes, finishing touches five years later) as we start trying to sell our house.   For several years, the wall above my sofa in my family room has looked like this:




Brownies, Waffle Style

Written by
Jan 27, 2012 | Pinteresting Finds, rbt Bags, Topics | Tags: , ,

I’m encroaching on my 1,000th Etsy sale!  In celebration, I am doing a countdown to 1,000 sales on my Facebook page.  We will do a drawing of three lucky Facebook fans for an rbt bags’ giveaway when we reach that 1,000th sale, so be sure to like us on Facebook, if you don’t already, for a chance at that drawing!

In the meantime, I’m working hard over here, picking out our new oilcloth colors for Spring 2012, can’t wait to see what we have in store for you this spring!

On a very different note, the boys and I tried yet another Pinteresting Find this week.  It’s a waffle, it’s a brownie, it’s a waffle brownie!  Yes, we poured our brownie batter onto our trusty, 12-year-old waffle iron (a wedding present that’s taken a beating over the years, and even lost a leg, but still keeps going!) and out came a waffle brownie, soft and chewy!  The conclusion was that this was a fun, new twist on an old traditional favorite and was a great way to get a brownie fast if you don’t like waiting 25 minutes for your pan of brownies to cook while the smell wafts through the kitchen, teasing you all the while!  For a link to the directions on making your brownies in the waffle iron, click here (hint, use CHOW’s Intense Brownie recipe for this, you won’t regret it!).  I also tried some chocolate chip muffins on the waffle iron and enjoyed those as well!  Bon Appetit!

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