Craft Sewing: Make a Haramaki and Hide that Muffintop


Reuse old t-shirts to create that layered look with a home-made haramaki.

I have two sets of clothing in my dresser. The “before” babies clothing and the “after” babies clothing. I have whole drawer full of tiny t-shirts that used to skim the top of my cute low-rise jeans.

Now, those shirts mostly get shoved around while I look for long t-shirts that hide my muffintop, that special roll of extra skin and fat that still hangs around even though my youngest baby is already a toddler.

How to revive the life of those long-banished t-shirts? Make yourself a Haramaki! A haramaki is a japanese “belly-warmer” – but translate that into a cute, colorful way to create that layered look with a leg-warmer type garment made out of t-shirt material for your torso. PlanetJune has a great tutorial. Try cutting off the bottom of a different shirt that you might not wear much anymore; follow Domesticali’s simplified steps for an easy haramaki make-over for an old t-shirt. Not crafty? Try a Hip-T for that cute layered look without breaking out your sewing machine!

Hobonichi creates designer knit haramaki.

Hobonichi creates designer knit haramaki.

There are all these different benefits of wearing a haramaki – boosting circulation, relief for abdominal distress. Mostly, I’m just interested in their “muffintop” hiding abilities. They create a cute, coverup for that gap between the bottom of a cute, but too-short t-shirt and your low-rise jeans. Much cuter than some industrial strength Spanx exposed when you bend over!

First Photo by Domesticali.
Second Photo by Hobonichi.

Make Your Own Benetint

I love Benetint. As an asian girl with oily skin, I’ve always had trouble finding a blush that gives a natural pink glow that lasts more than an hour or that doesn’t wipe off easily on my white shirts or other pieces of clothing. Benetint offers the perfect solution. It’s a lovely cheek and lip stain that lasts all day and blends in naturally so that you actually look like that’s your natural color! It can be a bit expensive at $28 a bottle, but fortunately, it lasts a long time.

For those of you who are industrious but don’t have that $28 plus tax laying around, you can make your own Benetint at home! Luckily, it also requires less than five ingredients! You just some beet root, glycerine, a pot to boil it, and a bottle in which to keep it. Read the full instructions here by TimesOnline. The original recipe comes from The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book, by Kyle Cathie. Thanks to BusyWork for finding this great idea.

Recipe Summary:

“You need 45g of grated raw beetroot and 3 tablespoons of vegetable glycerine (which you can get for £3.90 for 100ml at Neal’s Yard Remedies; Combine the two in a double-boiler and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and then pour into a sterilised pot. Dab onto the apples of your cheeks, blending well, or use as a lip stain.”

Free Printable Labels by PoppyTalk

Free Printable Red Labels by PoppyTalk

Free Printable Red Labels by PoppyTalk

I’m still in organizing mode, not that I’ve made much progress. But, I have been shredding documents going back to 2000 (I know! Who needs to keep paid bills that long!) and trying to organize and sort through the remaining documents and supplies in my crowded office. I will post a picture soon, but I can’t find the camera.

In the meantime, I’ve been organizing office supplies like cd label packs, address labels, and empty file folders into inexpensive, cardboard, white Ikea magazine holders on my bookcase. Of course, now I need labels! A row of blank, white magazine folders doesn’t really help in the organization process without an attractive labeling system.

Download a PDF of these gorgeous labels by PoppyTalk which can be easily printed on large label sheets (for instant stickiness) or onto nice cardstock to be trimmed and then taped or glued onto your chosen surface. Use them to organize and label file folders, magazine folders, containers, and more.

Image by Poppytalk.

Do-it-Yourself Gorgeous Paper Daisies

Fabulous Pink Flowers make the party.

Fabulous Pink Flowers make the party.

I saw these lovely Pink Paper Daisies in a post by Making it Lovely. Makes me swoon to think of hanging them in the baby’s room or at a wedding or shower to create a lovely sky of flowers. The paper flowers are about $2 at Lunar Bazaar, but if you want to customize them for a special color or size, you can easily make these yourself. My favorite colors are blue and aqua, but pick any color paper to make these delightful, inexpensive decorations to bring color and interest to your home, shop, or party.

For an easy tutorial, check out Paper Source’s Paper Rosette Tutorial for step-by-step instructions.Try using premium colored tissue paper which comes in a vast array of colors to create large, airy flowers. Scrapbooking papers are another source of endless designs and colors and would look lovely strung in a row on a string or ribbon. Of course, this project only takes less than 5 items: Paper, tape or clue, string or ribbon, and a hole punch! Perfect!

Easy to make paper rosettes by Paper Source

Easy to make paper rosettes by Paper Source

Check out how Stemparties created a fabulous pink baby shower theme using these lovely flowers. Seriously? Her party decor is amazing, but a little over the top. Who has time to make all that stuff? She must not have small children. However, her party decor gives some great ideas.

Pink Party Flowers photo by Stemparties
White Paper Rosette photo by Paper Source.

Last Minute Printable Valentines

Love printable Valentine's Day cards by Bunny Cakes.

Love printable Valentine's Day cards by Bunny Cakes.

Don’t give up if you haven’t had a chance to get a card for your Valentine! Here are some gorgeous printable valentines from Bunny Cake. Her lovely designs make your home-made valentine classy and professional. Plus, you can do it all from your computer! Click here for the PDf file and instructions.

Adorable cards you can print for free.

Adorable cards you can print for free.

Photos by Bunny Cakes.

Get Ready for Spring with these Home-made Sun Jars

Solar Powered Home Made Sun Jars

Solar Powered Home Made Sun Jars

I know it’s still cold outside. I mean, Jeez. There WAS snow this week. But the days are starting to get longer and the sun is starting to shine to break through the gloomy Pacific Northwest sky. It makes me feel hopeful that spring and summer are just around the corner, and if you are anything like me, it might take a few months to organize and make enough of these to put around your deck or patio or even hang from the frence for those crisp nights when you WILL be sitting outside enjoying the beauty. Once again, this craft by Not Martha is a fave for me because it takes less than 5 items to make! Woohoo! This greatly increases the chances that I might actually make it!

Not Martha does a great job of breaking down the instructions for these Homemade Sun Jars based on the Sun Jar design by Tobias Wong. For your less than 5 items supply list, you’ll need a small Ikea glass jar, one solar garden light, glass frosting spray, and some Blue Tack. This great project will give you a solar-powered warm glow on your deck, porch or patio all summer-long. Save power! Make Home-made Sun Jars!

Photo by Not Martha.

Make Fairy Flower Lights

Make Fairy Flower Lights from Recycled Egg Cartons

Make Fairy Flower Lights from Recycled Egg Cartons

This is an amazing repurposing craft! How adorable are these lights and you’ll be repurposing those egg cartons at the same time. This easy craft from Espirit Cabane has such a short suppply list (less than 5) that you probably already have lying around your house: egg cartons, scissors, a string of LED christmas lights, and a hole-punch (optional). What a creative way to repurpose egg cartons and make something lovely for your bedroom or to drape in your kid’s room for some twinkly fairy lights. Get the full instructions here.

Photo by Espirit Cabane.

Measure Up with this Stylish Growth Chart

With three kids 4 and under, I had scoured the stores for a cute growth chart. I didn’t really want a big clunky wall hanging. I just couldn’t seem to find something stylish and cute that would work easily in the kids small room. My husband had been tracking their height changes over the last couple of years on the door frame to the kitchen, but I wanted something a little more portable in case we ever moved. Besides, I also wanted to paint the door frame. So, I settled for a peel-n-stick wall decoration from Target.

Stylish Growth Chart by Bold and Noble

Stylish Growth Chart by Bold and Noble

I WISH I had found this sooner. This stylish growth chart by Bold and Noble is graphic and beautiful. Bold and Noble’s designs are hand pulled screen prints made in England by wife/husband team, Jane Tobitt and David Wardle. Gorgeous.

The Perfect Frosting Recipe

The perfect frosting recipe has eluded me thus far. I have tried several different recipes for buttercream frosting, but HELLO? How hard can it be? Butter, sugar, a little milk, a little vanilla and lots of whipping. I CANNOT make frosting. I’ve tried several times. It all started with the Christmas Gingerbread houses. I promised the Monkey and Puppy that we’d make gingerbread houses, and it seemed that I could definitely make something much tastier than the boxed sets sold at Michael’s. Seriously. I made FOUR batches of frosting that Saturday. I tried butter. I tried margerine. I tried regular granulated sugar. I tried confectioner’s suger. None of them turned “light and fluffy” like the recipes said. I even tried a recipe that involved cooking flour and water to make a paste to add to the frosting. Nothing light and fluffy happened in my mixing bowl. One batch actually started to liquify into little beads of butter when left to warm to room temperature. I broke down and bought a couple of containers of the Duncan Hines frosting.

Perfect cupcakes for Valentine's Day

Perfect cupcakes for Valentine's Day

But a few days ago, I came across these pictures of luscious cupcakes on BunnyCakes that made me swoon with the cuteness of it all. The perfect swirls of frosting on these little cakes. I don’t even like eating cupcakes that much. But my kids love them, and I want to make these luscious little cakes that will be envy of all the moms at preschool. It even made me ecstatic to know that she wasn’t even baking the cake from scratch, but was using boxed cake mixes. My kind of girl! But the most IMPORTANT part was that she shared her secret for the ICING.

Bunny Cakes makes a luscious cupcake in a cup.

Bunny Cakes makes a luscious cupcake in a cup.

Turns out the icing is the recipe used by Georgetown Cupcakes, a gourmet cupcake bakery in Washington, D.C. Their recipe was featured on Martha Stewart and includes using cream cheese for this incredibly smooth frosting. I love cream cheese frosting. So, I will definitely be trying this recipe this weekend and making some cupcakes with boys.

UPDATE: I did definitely try this recipe and it is my go-to recipe for icing. Here’s the recipe which makes enough for about 12 cupcakes.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature  (I pop mine in the microwave for a few seconds to soften – but not too much!)
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted if you’re fancy and have that kind of time)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

How to:

Put all the ingredients into a nice-sized mixing bowl and use your electric mixer to combine all the ingredients until well-combined and smooth. Add food coloring and mix until well-blended and desired color. Paste food coloring works best if you want a vibrant color and it doesn’t affect the consistency of the frosting.

Pillsbury FunfettiP.S. The BEST boxed cake mix that I’ve used so far is Pillsbury’s Funfetti. The kids love the color spots and it is a soft, moist, yummy cake for less than a dollar per pox. I love this cake, and I don’t even like cake.

Cupcake photos by Bunny Cakes.

Teaching Your Preschooler the Value of Money with a Chore Chart

There is a parenting debate about whether you should teach your children that they should do chores simply because they are a member of the household or if they should get compensation or paid for doing chores. If you go one way, your child might think that they are entitled to receiving a certain amount of spending money regardless of their contributions to the house. If you go the other way, your child thinks that they should be paid for everything they do and don’t learn that they have obligations and duties as a member of a household.

After considering both sides of this issue, I think that allowances should be contingent on work performed for these reasons:

  • Children should learn that you need to earn money. That it comes with hard work and dedication. That it takes effort to work, earn, and save enough money to purchase what you want. Yes, they should do things as a member of the family, but it is also useful to show them that they can earn some rewards for their efforts.
  • Children learn how to manage the money they earn.

To test my theory (although I won’t be able to judge for sure if this works until my children are adults with savings accounts), I’ve decided to implement a chore chart for my four-year-old son, Jonas, to use. My middle child is quite three years old; so, this really hasn’t made any sense to him, but Jonas is VERY excited by this idea.

We printed out a chore chart from, cut out the chores, and pasted them on. Then, Jonas happily performed a variety of the chores in exchange for a check mark in the box (which he was allowed to make as well). Each check mark could be exchanged for a nickel or 5 minutes of playing a video game or computer game (redeemable only only on certain days and in specific quantities – e.g. 30 minutes).

The chore chart is working lovely so far. Jonas is excited to do his chores – even asks to do them! He happily marks his sheet and waits anxiously for the weekend to redeem them. His first week he traded half for time to play his favorite video game and half for coins he counted into his piggy bank. This week he traded his points in for money to purchase a small toy.

Try it with your child and let me know how it works for you! If you want a chart you can just print out and skip the cutting and pasting, try FlipFlop and Applesauce’s chore chart.