May 31, 2011

Green Endeavor ~ Reducing Plastic Use

To start off my green endeavor series I'm going to try to reduce the amount of single-use plastics I bring into our home.  You know, those plastics that we use once and toss into the trash; shopping bags, take out containers, packaging, Ziploc bags, etc. Lets face it, plastic is made from petroleum and/or natural gas and other harmful chemicals that are harmful to both us and the environment.  Not to mention their long life in our landfills (can take some 1,000 years to decompose) and pollution to our waterways that cause harm to wildlife.  However, this is certainly a challenge since we have become consumers of convenience and plastic makes it possible. 

Single use plastics are all around us and are items we have a choice not to use.  From plastic grocery bags to take-out containers we have the power of choice not to accept these items. The easiest, and less cumbersome start is to avoid plastic shopping bags.  Did you know that approximately 1,000,000,000 (yes, that is 1 trillion) plastic bags are used a year around the world.  Translating to 1,000,000 bags per minute or 150 bags per person per year.  Talk about a staggering amount of plastic bags polluting and littering our environment.  Not to mention that their toxic nature only continues as they start to break down and leach into the soil. 

Sorry, couldn't help but add this video.

I know it has been a growing trend to take reusable bags to the grocery store to carry home your food goods, but it is a trend I'm embarrassed to say I haven't jump on, yet.  And not forgetting that the grocery store isn't the only place to take your reusable bag; its time to show off your eco-chic self to your favorite clothing store, fabric store or any storefront that provides a bag.  This is my declaration and promise to both myself and you that I will stop bringing home these toxic convenience items.  I'm ready for the challenge and do my part in decreasing the amount of plastic that fills our landfills and waterways.  Don't forget that paper bags are not a replacement to the plastic bag as they require natural resources to produce and often more energy to produce. 

As a way to make it more convenient for us, a crafty community, to come together and reduce the amount of plastic single use bags in our environment, I have compiled a list of DIY bags.  Making your own bags allow them to be personal to you and reduce some concerns with the store-brand reusable bags.  Also, this reduces the embarrassment of taking a Publix brand bag into Whole Foods!  Don't forget, these aren't just for groceries, take them anywhere you shop to prevent bringing home plastic bags. 

There are so many patterns and ideas out there for you to make your own bags, but this list is some of my personal favorites I've come across. 

Produce bag from Delia Creates
Ruffled reusable grocery bag by Sawdust and Paper Scraps
Fold Away and Zip away totes by Crafty Ady
Insulated Tote by Sew4Home
Oilcloth tote by The Purl Bee
Mesh produce bag by My Happy Crazy Life
Recycled grocery tote by Made
Fold Up tote by Zaaberry
Reusable snack bag by The Pomegranate Chronicles
Snack bag by Puking Pastilles (now Georgia Leigh)

(Sorry for the lack of pictures, Blogger is just not enjoying this post!)

If you have a favorite DIY shopping bag idea please leave a comment sharing it or email me. I hope you join me in my endeavor to reduce the amount of plastic consumed for the sake of convenience. 

If you are already using your own shopping bags, THANK YOU! Now lets start the next task of taking your own containers to restaurants to reduce the use of single-use plastic containers or find alternatives to using plastic garbage bags.  For other ideas please visit Plastic Free Living for a long list of ideas to reduce your dependence on plastic. 

For those days when you don't remember your cloth bags please remember to recycle or reuse the plastic bags. 

Fused plastic bags ideas by Craft

A documentary trailer for Bag It on the impact of plastic bags.

I hope you join me in reducing your single-use plastic consumption.  Now off to make my reusable shopping bags!  I'll post pictures of mine shortly.

May 27, 2011

Veg it Out ~ Chana Masala (Chickpeas)

I grew up eating healthy dinners in a meat and potato household.  My dinner plate would almost always be divided equally in thirds between meat, potatoes and veggies.  I was also always the nerd who carried her lunch to school that usually smelled of green peppers and PB&J ~ I just never enjoyed eating what the cafeteria had to offer, sorry Ma!  My parents also always had a huge vegetable garden every summer that would keep our kitchen full of healthy goodness throughout the year. 

I think it was these early childhood eating habits that led to furthering my healthy endeavor and pick a vegetarian path.  As I've mentioned before, I've only been a vegetarian for well over a year now, with a few minor deviations thanks to some childhood favorites.  But all in all, I think my husband and I have stuck to the path quite well.  More on our vegetarian journey to come.

In the meantime, I want to share with you some of our favorite vegetarian recipes.
First on our agenda is Chana Masala.  This is an Indian dish of spicy chick peas with a hint of lemon.  If you are under the impression that making Indian food is difficult and time consuming, you'd be right about time consuming.  However, the only difficult part is being patient while cooking the onions!  They get me almost every time when I try to rush them.  Don't under cook them or burn them, just saute until they are golden.  Taste test if you are unsure.  They should not be crunchy, they should be soft and kind of melt away with a nutty sweet undertone.  My white girl secrets (what works for me) to making Indian patient, cook on low heat and make enough to have leftovers ~ its always better the next day!  And of course have a little fun.

Chana Masala
(adapted from

1 tablespoon olive or preferred oil
1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
2 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 large tomato, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups cooked chickpeas
2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 lemon (juiced)
2 fresh, Thai green chili pepper, finely chopped *
1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
Salt to taste
  1. On medium heat, heat oil.
  2. Add onions and garlic.  Saute until golden, approximately 10 minutes.  Continue to stir so onions do not burn.
  3. Lower heat.  Add coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper and turmeric.  Stir until onions are coated with spices.**
  4. Add tomatoes.
  5. Stir until tomatoes are cooked and you have a pasty mixture.
  6. Add chickpeas. Stir and coat chickpea with onion mixture.  Cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add water. Stir.
  8. Add remaining ingredients, roasted cumin seed powder, garam masala, lemon juice, ginger and chili peppers.
  9. Cook approximately 20 minutes.
  10. Add salt to taste.
  11. Serve hot over rice or with roti.
*use more or less depending on your spice tolerance

**when adding spices to onions there is a tendency for there to be smoke, when heat is set too high.  If you want to avoid this, add the tomatoes to the onions first then add the spices. 

If you try, let me know how you like it!


May 26, 2011

Scrap Happy – Scrunch Tote

Scrunch Bag 1 After making my first Scrunch bag I had a few requests for a tutorial.  So here it is!  I had a little bit of fun with the second bag.  Namely,  this one is quite a bit bigger than the first, much more of a messenger style bag versus handbag.  But don’t worry, the process was the same.  Another change is the strap.  On this larger version I used a women’s belt.  That’s right, a belt!  I absolutely love the look. 

So lets get started, shall we.

Needed supplies:
  • 2 pieces of outer fabric measuring (W) 21.5” x (H) 30”
  • 2 pieces of interior fabric measuring (W) 20” x (H) 13”
    • 2 pieces of iron-on medium weight interfacing (same measurement as lining)
  • 2 pieces of fabric 2.5” x 6” from outer fabric
  • 1 belt (mine was a women’s small)
  • 2 rivets
  • sewing supplies (machine, thread, etc)
1.  Ruffle the 4, 30” long edges of the outer fabric.  Start the ruffle approximately 1.5” inches from edge so you have a non-ruffled top edge on both pieces.  Easiest way to ruffle, set your straight stitch to the longest length and set your tension to the highest level (9). 
2.  Take the ruffled edges and adjust them, by pulling on the threads, so that all ruffled edges measure 14”. 

3.  Place the 2 ruffled outer pieces right sides together and pin the 2 ruffled edges and one unruffled edge.
Ruffles Pinned Ruffles Pinned 2 4.  Sew the 3 pinned edges together.  Make sure to have a larger seam allowance than what was used when making the ruffle.
Sewing together 5.  Turn the outside of the bag inside out and take a look at all that ruffled, scrunchy goodness. 
Outside Bag 6.  Moving on to the interior of the bag.  Attach the interfacing, per manufacturers instructions to the wrong side of the interior fabric.  Take the interior fabric and place right sides together.  You will want to leave an opening in the bottom of the lining in order to turn the bag inside out.  In the picture you can see I placed 2 sets of pins close together to indicate where to leave an opening. 
6b.  If you want to add a pocket, do so before sewing the lining together.  I made large pockets that went across the entire width of the bag.  However, make a pocket, or pockets, that will suite your needs and sew into place after you iron on your interfacing.  Be sure to place the pocket at least 4” up from the bottom.  Then proceed to sew your 3 sides together.  Remember to still leave an opening in the bottom of the lining to turn inside out. 
Inside pocket
7.  Now we are going to want to create a boxed bottom to the bag.  Lets start with the lining and then do the same with the outer bag that we sewed together first.  You will want to create a triangle and sew in 2 inches from the tip of the triangle, as seen in the picture.  Again, do this on both bottom corners of the lining bag and on the outer bag.
Boxing 1Boxing 2Boxing Outer  8.  Time to put your bag together.  With the lining turned wrong side out, place the outside, turned right side out, into the inside of the lining. Essentially, you will want right sides together with the lining being on the outside.
Making a bag 1Making a bag 2 9.  Line up the side seams and pin.   You may need to adjust the lining so that the lining piece and the outer piece line up without having the two bunch together.  You want the lining and the outer bags to line up smoothly all the way around.  Once they do, sew all the way around.

10.  Turn the bag inside out through the opening you left in the lining.  Once turned inside out line up the boxed corners on either side. 

11.  In order to keep the scrunched outer and the lining in place, we are going to attach the bottom corners together.  Once you have them aligned pull them back out through the lining opening and sew the cutoff corners together.  This will keep the bottoms of the bag together.
Attaching bottom
12.  Once you have sewn the bottom corners together, stuff them back through the lining opening and sew the lining closed.  Either machine stitch or hand stitch.

13.  Time to attached the strap.  As mentioned in the supplies this larger tote uses a belt.  In order to attach I used both rivets and made a fabric tab. 
14.  To make the tab, use the 2.5” x 6” pieces of outer fabric and create a tube.  You will want to turn the ends in about a half inch first to create a smooth outer edge, then sew down the long side.  Turn inside out when sewed and iron flat.
15.  Loop the tab around the buckle end of the belt and align on the side of the bag.  Making sure to center it over the side seam.  Sew in place by sewing a box shape around the edges of the tab.  Secure as necessary.
Tab 4
16.  Next its time to attached the other end of the belt to the bag with rivets.  I had so much fun hammering the rivets that I did not get pictures of the process.  But line up the end of the belt with the holes onto the opposite side of the bag, over top of the side seam.  Use the holes of the belt that you feel will make the strap the right length for you.  Use the rivet instructions to attach belt to the bag.  You can also attach snaps as opposed to rivets so you can adjust the strap as needed ~ I will definitely be doing this on my next bag.
17.  Now admire your new pretty, scrunchy bag! 
Scrunch Bag 2Scrunch Bag 3 
Alternatively, if you want to create the braided strap like the first smaller scrunch bag, make 3 long 1 inch tubes and braid.  Make the length that you desire and attach the strap to the side seams by placing in between the lining and the outer bags in step 8 above. 

Hope you enjoy making you very own scrunch bag! 

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Please be kind and only use for personal use and give credit.


May 19, 2011

Organized Powercords

All I have to say to this is, why didn't I think of this!  Talk about super clever.  Now off to buy some bread so I can make some of these for our tangled mess. 


May 17, 2011

For the Love of ~ Chocolate Party

Chocolate is something I have a love/hate relationship with.  I l~o~v~e super dark chocolate and have an adverse reaction to anything not labeled as such, ugg.  But when I came across this idea (and beautiful blog) I couldn't help but LOVE it.  The cake, the setup, and the idea are just suberp and elegant.  Now, think I might just have to throw my own chocolate party.  Of course only dark chocolate will be allowed!  Be sure to check out the other wonderful ideas on the blog.
Such a wonderful use of picture frames



May 11, 2011

Paper Flags

I came across this really cute paper flag idea and couldn't help but share it with you.  It looks super simple and would make for adorable cupcake toppers or added on top of a gift.  Or of course a hundred other places.  Please check out the tutorial at 100 Layer Cake

May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Wishing you a very blessed and cheerful Mothers Day.  Happy Mothers Day!

May 6, 2011

Happy Blog Anniversary!

Ok, so I've been one to snicker at those that have celebrated their blog anniversaries.  However, little did I know what was really involved in keeping a blog alive, and oh, you know, interesting.  When I started this blog I found out how much work really is involved in creating each post.  The time, sweat and tears involved in making each post seem relevant to someone. Making sure that it makes sense, has a rhythm and has enough jazz that someone would even want to read it.  And don't get me started on how many times I have used that backspace key!  Lets just say, I now appreciate why so many blogs celebrate their anniversaries and why I am now one of them.  So Happy Blogoversary Náe Chic!
Now that Náe Chic is a whole year old, I want to take a moment to thank those dedicated few who have supported this blog.  When each of you started to follow this blog it brought a smile to my face and really made all that backspace key use worth every stroke.  I mean, having followers is what this blogging thing is all about, right?  That being said I haven't really focused too much on gaining followers, which makes those that are following extra special.  So, thank you for reading and being my bloggy friends.

Hope everyone has a very blessed day! 

Now off to make the second year bigger and better.

May 3, 2011

Teal Accents

Change is happening everywhere!  The next on my agenda is my living room.  It is long overdue for a face lift and some brightening up.  I'm currently leaning toward something much lighter (currently a burnt orange); neutral tones with some peacock blue highlights might just be it.  I've been playing around with some options.  Here is my first thought.
1. Frameless Mirros ~ Pottery Barn
2. Viceroy Velvet Curtain ~ Anthropologie
3. Bubbles ceramic side table ~ West Elm
4. Chesterfield Loveseat ~ Ballard Design
5. Peacock Pillow ~ Amazon
6. Caufield Pillow ~ Amazon
7. Siena floor lamp ~ Pottery Barn
8.  Hudson coffee table ~ Pottery Barn
9.  Safari rug ~ West Elm
Ok, so now that I'm drooling over this kind of eclectic living space, I need to get working on being creative because this is certainly not a budget friendly list of items. 

Back to the drawing board to come up with more ideas.


May 2, 2011

For the Love of ~ Amy Butler

I have to admit, I never heard of Amy Butler until I started sewing (again) a little over a year ago. I know, I know so e m b a r r a s s i n g. I think I must have been living under a rock! But I'm glad to state that I now am very acquainted with her fabric line and feel like a Duchess when I'm sewing with it (think it’s a general requirement to mention the royal wedding somewhere!). The cheerful colors and the whimsy of the pattern can't help but make you do a little dance when you have her fabric line next to your sewing machine. I know I have a stash just waiting for the perfect project. Do you?

Today I came across a tour of Amy Butler's home, via Amylouwho. Can I just say I think I admire her even more? I know you’ll laugh (again) when I tell you why, but that’s ok. When you take the tour of her home there are a few things that stand out. For me it was the age of the home, the simple, but artistic style, the kitchen (love the appliances) and of course, the best part of the tour, her cats. See I told you I’d hear a snicker. Don’t you think that a home looks so much more inviting when a cat lies curled up in a chair or stretched out on a bed? Just love it!