Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Avengers Bake Shop: Tips for Making Oreo Pops

Bake Shop Birthday Treat

I'm gearing up with party prep for T's upcoming Avengers Bake Shop birthday- happening this Saturday! This morning I made these confetti oreo pops. Now for the disclaimer: I generally outsource any and all baking or cooking when possible. But- come on, how hard can it be to cover an oreo with chocolate & dip them in sprinkles?

Well... here's a few things I picked up along the way. Taste tested truth: you can't tell the difference between OREO's and the fake ones at the grocery. With our party is just a few days away, I wanted to make sure the cookies weren't going to stale between now and then. I learned that oreo pops, stored in an air tight container at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit can be kept fresh for up to 4 weeks. Great news, if you're hoping to make enough to feed an army.

I was able to make 16 pops using 3oz Wilton Rainbow Nonpareils, Wilton White Chocolate Candy Dips and a package of store brand oreos. I ran out of the rainbow sprinkles but still have plenty cookies and white chocolate left over. I was adding sprinkles to both the front and back sides of the pops- you could also cover only 1 side to double the bounty. 

Tip: Open oreo cookie, place stick in frosting at least half way. Top with a dab of melted chocolate. Put cookie back together.

In the beginning I had trouble with the cookie staying on the stick as I added the weight of chocolate. By adding the chocolate to the center of the cookie it helped hold the cookie together.

Check back tomorrow for more party DIYs and details! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Communicating Beyond Words: 30 Days of Action

I'm coming to the realization that whether you're raising children, mentoring youth, or trying to affect your world or community in positive way- there will undoubtedly be challenges. My heart weighs heavy as I'm typing this in the aftermath of the Baltimore Riots. After watching video clips with the latest on the earthquake that dismantled Nepal. I actually sat on my couch and wept. I can't be the only one. Statistics show me that despite being bombarded with bad news, tragedy, and negative reports that the world is in the midst of a decades-long trend of actually becoming better: safer and healthier and more humane. I truly want to believe that, and with everything else I know our greatest contribution starts at home.

Back to this image of me, sweatshirt clad sobbing on my couch. I quickly swipe away the tear drops as they fall because I'm worried that my children will see- and wonder why I'm so upset. Then I realized, I needed them to see this. This isn't a sign of weakness. I began thinking about ways to help give them an understanding of how to better understand the needs of people around us. How can I reinforce support, compassion, generosity and nurture empathy? Communicating goes beyond the words you say (or type, or text) it's bigger than donating or supporting a cause online. And then here I am again- talking about getting out into our own communities. Put down the phone, the ipad, and any other Stark Industries technology you might own. 

I'm going to be challenge you to a Generosity Drive next month, 30 days- 30 acts of kindness. You don't need money. You don't need a ton of time. In fact you don't even need to give it another thought. Here are 30+ ways you can take action with your families in the month of May.

Day 1: Send snail mail, you know the kind that shows up in a real life mail box? You can even print out this gorgeous matching stationary for free!

Day 2: Strike up a fancy conversation with somebody, simply asking: “What was the BEST part of your day?”

Day 3: Volunteer, anywhere. Mentor an aspiring entrepreneur, coach a youth sports team, read, tutor, or hey! here are 5 ways you can volunteer right now

Day 4: Find a Little Free Library near you and donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one.

Day 5:  Do not let difference make a difference.

Day 6: Spring clean out your closet and donate some treasures to Dress For Success — or its equivalent, in your country. Making space & spreading empowering another woman to achieve her dreams at the same time!

Day 7: Love yourself first. Practice progress, not perfection

Day 8: Tip generously. Not sure how much? This is how much. Except double it.

Day 9: Buy a cup of lemonade from the kids with a lemonade stand. Instead- buy two and tell them to keep the change.

Day 10: Give out free hugs.

Day 11: Say Thank You to someone who has impacted your life- a teacher, a parent, anyone! Fill in the blanks “You’ve given me so many gifts. Like the ability to _______________, and the confidence to _______________. Thank you.”

Day 12: Adopt a soldier and show them some love by sending a little note, donating needed items, or hosting an event for a veteran. Or simply say, Thank you.

Day 13: Wave to someone on a school bus, on a boat, from your window, whenever you see an opportunity. Don't forget to smile :)

Day 14:  Send a story tip to a local reporter. (Especially if it’s good news.)
Day 15: Spread joy by blowing up a bunch of balloons and randomly hand them out to children at a beach, park or ball game. Watch their faces light up with surprise and gratitude!

Day 16: Nominate a talented friend for an award. Like The Bloggies. Or The Webbies. Or The Stevies. Or … perhaps one of these.

Day 17:  Offer to babysit for a friend so she & her hubby can have a date night.

Day 18: Put a gift, like flowers you just picked, in a bike basket you see parked around in your neighborhood.

Day 19: Compliment 5 people you don't know today. To get started, 15 of the best compliments you can give.

Day 20: Give the world the gift of your undivided, non-digital attention. Listen, closely.

Day 21: Create necessity packs and give them to the homeless. You’d be surprised how many things a homeless person learns to go without, and making simple packs full of life’s necessities is a great gesture. Drop them off at your local homeless shelter so they can do the distributing.

Day 22: Give someone a grrrrreat massage. Here’s how.

Day 23: Buy an Amazon gift for a total stranger. (Search wishlists, here.)

Day 24:  Provide roadside assistance. Not everyone is a AAA member, and if you notice someone that is having car trouble on the side of the road, pull over and see if they’re OK.

Day 25: Hold the door for a stranger.

Day 26: Drop off stuffed animals to a local childrens hospital or participate in a Soft Toy Drive like the one just hosted by Sew Mama Sew 

Day 27: Tape change to a vending machine in a hospital waiting room

Day 28:  Vote.

Day 29: Visit to find volunteer opportunities in your area.

Day 30: Ask someone how you can help them. 

I know, there are heavy issues facing us today and you may not believe that paying it forward with a cup of coffee is going to effectively change the world- but kindness, compassion, love and empathy trump out cruelty and that's a good place to start. Do you feel like our younger generations are lacking empathy, compassion, and communication skills? How do you instill these values in your own families, classrooms, and communities? Leave a comment and let's expand this conversation below-

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Brand Rep Search for TrashN2Tees

I'm rolling out a new program for the Spring/Summer seasons and inviting real life families and/or bloggers to join in! Today I'll be opening up a "brand rep search" on Instagram- where I'm looking to find 3 kids (probably boys- but I'm 100% for equal opportunity so bring it on little ladies!) between 12m and 10 years of age to participate in collaborative exchange. I will send the selected kids over $150 worth of ready to ship TrashN2Tees t-shirts with an opportunity to design their own custom order. In return- I am looking for quality photos and content shared online. I'll get down to the specifics later in this post.

If you're already familiar with the TrashN2Tees brand, welcome back & thank you for your continued support! For those who are just being introduced to my brand, please give me a few moments to tell you a little bit about what I do here. TrashN2Tees was born of my frustration for the serious lack of cool boy clothing- I am always on the look out for tees that reflect my two sons personalities. I was tired of fire trucks, teddy bears, and mini store billboards across the chest of every shirt being offered on the market. I believe kids have their own voice, and their own identity- and I hope that my designs can help voice that. In 2010, I started designing and sewing my own clothes. Paired with my background in environmental science and passion to make a positive difference in the world, I began creating one of kind shirts using outgrown or unwanted clothing. TrashN2Tees allowed me to raise awareness about reuse and textile recycling. Each original design is hand drawn, hand cut, and meticulously sewn into place providing you with a high quality heirloom piece that will withstand a monster truck mud bath and will be a hand me down favorite full of memories for the years to come. 

Since then, TrashN2Tees has expanded to include many facets; hands on reuse workshops, patterns, an embroidery applique line, and I just published my first book: The Upcycled T-shirt. But of all this- I'm most proud to include our nationwide clothing recycling program. Check out the diagram above to see how we're able to close the loop! To date we have diverted more than 475,000 lbs of clothing from our landfills.
Ecofest/NYC Times Square Fashion Show

I design for families who are on the go and who like to have fun & explore the world together! My hope is to connect with real people, who live real everyday lives (the good, the bad, the messy.) If you're interested in representing TrashN2Tees, creating a buzz, and can share quality photographs then please join me!

I will select up to 4 brand ambassadors (I don't like the word reps- to me this is a collaborative process and we'll work closely together!) who in exchange for merchandise are agreeing to post/tag @TrashN2Tees 2 different pictures per product within a 6 month period. (Example: if you receive 3 tshirts, that would = 6 individual posts/tags) In addition to the exchange of product I will also ask you for feedback/ideas and offer an option to vote on new product line designs. There are opportunities based on geographical location for runway shows, photoshoots, and appearance which you will have access and invites to join us.

I will not be choosing kid ambassadors based on their looks, duh! I know they're all going to be adorable and handsome and gah! I'll probably want to squeeze someones cheeks! I'm interested in well lit and naturally styled photographs. Head over to Instagram: Follow @TrashN2Tees // Repost the Brand Ambassador Image on your IG account // and Tag up to 3 recent pictures  #TN2TRepSearch daily to be entered to win! Bonus if you take a moment to introduce yourself with a comment and say hello!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cameo Portrait Pillow DIY for Mother's Day

Cameo Pillow Cover DIY Gift for Mother's Day

 Have you ever struggled to come up with a quick and easy to make gift- that actually means something? I'm a firm believer that you can't go wrong with a thoughtful and sentimental gift. Usually for Mother's Day I get a candle... this year I'm took it upon myself to make and gift myself something I'll cherish for years to come. (Gotta do whatcha gotta do right?) Today on We All Sew I'm sharing a tutorial to create a cameo portrait pillow from a photograph. There are no special fabric cutting machines or software needed to design, cut out, and sew a stunning throw pillow- and if you purchase a pre-made pillow cover this entire project can be done in under an hour. 

Have you ever gifted yourself something on Mother's Day? Leave a comment and tell me what your ideal day looks like & how you hope to spend it. And if you need a 'not-so-subtle' way to tell your significant other what you want click the tweet button below and add @yourhubbystwitterhandle!
Tweet: Have you seen @TrashN2Tees DIY Cameo Portrait pillow- perfect for Mother's Day?

Monday, April 20, 2015

What'll It Be Tee? Gnome Applique Design

Last week I asked- what'll be? And let the people of IG decide the fate for this bitty tee. I always love sharing in the design process and most often for me that comes along in the form of customer collaborations. I shared a few of my favorites in a blog post not long ago. I love hearing your ideas and this one didn't disappoint. A gnome wearing a gnome t-shirt.

I might've mention he really reminds me of Jerry Garcia. The little gnome guy on the tee- is just over an inch tall. Talk about some teeny tiny cutting action!? You'll find this shirt and more in the shop and ready to ship For more information about placing a custom design order you can email me directly at Jenelle at TrashN2Tees dot com or visit the website for details!

Friday, April 10, 2015

#Tips2Sew: Using the Automatic Threader on Sewing Machine

Every Tuesday I share a tip or sewing related trick on Instagram. They're geared toward everyone from sewing enthusiasts to some one who is just learning how to sew- you can find all of them by searching #tips2sew and don't miss out on any more by following @TrashN2Tees

This week I posted a mini video demonstrating how to thread your machine needle using BERNINA's automatic threader. A few of my readers had mentioned they had trouble using the threader mechanism and I could completely relate. For the first few months of having my 350PE I couldn't for the life of me figure out the needle threader. I had asked a few different people to show me how to use it- when I went to Aurora, Illinois to visit the corporate HQ I even looked around to make sure no one was watching me when I threaded my machine. Turns out, I was over thinking it all along.

If you watch the video and find you're still having trouble threading the machine with it's automatic threader: first check to ensure that the needle itself is all the way in the upright position.

image credit: sew review 
Next slowly push down on mechanism and watch as the arm swings around- carefully take notice to see if a tiny wire pokes through the needle eye. This wire is what grabs a hold of your thread and pulls it through. If you've repeatedly accidentally abused the needle threader the wire can become misshapen and will need to be replaced.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Machine Embroidery: How I Got Started

Embroidered Boot Cuff Tutorial// TrashN2Tees
Have you ever considered investing in an embroidery machine? I'm excited to share some of my personal insights into the world of machine embroidery because quite honestly it's not an aspect of sewing I thought I would love so much. The past few months have had me exploring and expanding my horizons for TrashN2Tees design, creative outlets, and getting to know the full process from concept to design and digitizing.

First the juicy details- I'm currently sewing on a BERNINA B580 which is suiting my needs wonderfully- because I already had a love affair with my 350PE the user interface is really is easy to use and the command icons are universally recognizable. No matter your budget or initial desire of embroidery capabilities- I urge you to read on.

I certainly have had a preconception that embroidery designs are stuffy and dare I say old fashioned. When people ask me about my work and I mention applique... they assume satin stitched froo froo designs. I automatically take offense to that. I appreciate the craftsmanship, effort, time, design- but it's not my forte. Not my style.

What changed? Last summer I was invited to BU where I taught the Washi Tape Fabric / Mixed Media Sewing Journal class on an entry level dual sewing/embroidery machine. I tinkered around with the module stitching out a few of my favorite Urban Threads designs. Pictured here is free standing lace (also known as FSL embroidery if you want to google that) bat- did you read that... you can make lace! It's stitched out on a water soluble product, when it's done you submerge the water in lukewarm water and what's left behind is a lace bat.

Cutwork Tool Demo // Sewapalooza Event-NJ 
But.. then, I had also learned about cut work. Sounds cool right? Well it is! It's essentially a cutting blade that you put in place of your sewing needle on the machine and it will cut out fabric/wood/thin metal etc based on BERNINA designs you upload on your machine. Check out this great video for an overview and see how easy it is-

Next on my list of things of personal challenges- is/was to take on cross stitching. Yep, you can do that too with machine embroidery. Who knew? 
Cross Stitch Embroidery via TrashN2Tees 
I know I still have so much to learn about machine embroidery but it excites me to think about the possibilities for design layering and unique elements that are now available for me to add to my TrashN2Tees. You'll find me experimenting with techniques and mediums around the web- here with tutorials on the blog or over at WeAllSew. I'm lucky to have mentors like Lisa Archer of Pickled Pie Designs and Sarah Vedeler  (plus many more!) who are there to help me along in the process-  If you're looking for specific tips or tutorials related to machine embroidery or buying a machine please let me know, I'm always happy to help you find the answers you need. 


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