Friday, April 20, 2012


I love to get out of town; even if it is only for a night or just the weekend.  Every time I travel, I tell myself I will pack sensibly and not over-pack.  And, every time I get to the airport, my heart starts beating fast when my baggage is weighed…wondering if I’ve hit the weight requirement.

Inevitably, when I get to my destination, something amazing happens…I tend to wear the same kind of outfits I wear at home.  I don’t bring out the ‘once in a lifetime’ outfit that I take with me everywhere, and have never worn; and my 20-minute shoes always stay in the suitcase.  Now, why in the world would I bring a pair of shoes that I know I can only wear without severe pain for 20 minutes?  Makes no sense!

Well, my years of over-packing came to a screeching halt when my husband and I began to travel overseas in our quest to adopt a child from Russia.  We needed room in our suitcases for food (in Siberia, there is no Martin’s Supermarkets!), gifts, toys, clothes for our little girl and souvenirs.   Maybe it was my maternal instincts that kicked in, but it became more important that I travel with new clothes for the little girl we hoped to adopt than how stylish I appeared to people ½ way around the world.

The smartest packer should create a capsule wardrobe for their vacation.  A capsule wardrobe takes the ‘less is more’ philosophy into action.  To create a wardrobe capsule, first choose 3 complimentary colors – for example, red, white and blue (or blue, khaki and red).  Then choose 9-12 pieces of clothing.  One rule-of-thumb says 2 + 2 + 5 = 30.  2 jackets/sweaters, 2 bottoms (shorts, pants or skirts) and 5 tops.  If you take into account each of these items falls within your color scheme, you can create at least 30 different outfits using these pieces.  Adding in pieces might include a dress, bathing suit, caftan or tunic (that can be worn as a bathing suit cover up or a dress) or other specific wardrobe item.  Add in 2 bags (small handbag and a larger tote), 3 shoes (heels, something comfortable for walking and a sandal for the beach or pool) and key accessories – and you are packed!

As you put everything together, if you need an item or two to complete your capsule wardrobe, you can then browse Goodwill for the specific colors and pieces you need.  The best part is, you'll look good and pack efficiently... all without ruining your vacation budget!

If this all seems a little overwhelming, chart it out.  Yes, I actually use this tool when I am packing – and it really helps me plan what I am going to wear, and leaves me confident I haven’t forgotten anything.  Here are the steps to take when planning your vacation wardrobe:

  1. Chart what days you are going to be gone
  2. Remember travel days count on your vacation packing plan.  You can re-wear what you travel in!
  3. Determine what clothing you will need on your trip.  Create a color palate to your travel wardrobe so that you can create different outfits from a few pieces.
  4. Don’t forget a Tide stick or some kind of easy packable stain remover.
  5. Pack this list in your carry on bag.  It will remind you of what you planned on wearing, and if your bag gets lost by the airline, you will have an excellent record of what you had in the bag.

 Good luck, have a great trip...and happy packing!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

10 Unique Ideas for Projects to Do With Goodwill T-Shirts

Goodwill is one of my favorite places to visit for craft supplies and to find ideas for upcycling donated items. If you have ever been in a Goodwill store, one thing you will notice is that there is an abundance and plethora of donated t-shirts in every size, style, variety, and color.

The next time you visit your local Goodwill store, don't just visit the t-shirts in your own size for ideas. Look in the Men's section and in the larger sizes to find t-shirts that will offer you extra and a generous amount of craft material for the same amount of money as your smaller t-shirts. Try to select t-shirts that are not as faded or that have fabric pills on them for optimal material for your projects.

Today I wanted to share with you ten of my favorite projects that I have found to do with old t-shirts from your Goodwill store from some very amazing bloggers. I love that all of these ideas are extremely unique and that most require no sewing skills at all.

1. T-Shirt Scarves- I have seen lots of varieties of t-shirt scarves on many different blogs, but I absolutely love this DIY Dish episode you can watch to discover three different varieties of scarves you can make from an old t-shirt. My favorite is the one, pictured above, with a bright pom-pom trim.

2. T-Shirt Bibs- If you are looking for a fast sewing project that would make a fun baby gift, then these t-shirt bibs are the project for you. For little boys, you could look for their dad's favorite sports teams and for little girls you could look for a fun t-shirt with sparkly letters or flowers. Don't forget that these could also be embellished with rick-rack, ribbon trim, or an easy t-shirt rolled rosette flower.

3. T-Shirt Bracelets- There are many varieties of cute bracelets that I have seen using t-shirt materials, but this one has to be one of my favorites. This twisted knot bracelet can be made from just a single t-shirt or it could be made with a mix of prints or a mix of solid colors. I can't wait to make some of these for myself and my daughter this summer. Nothing could be cozier than a gently worn t-shirt bracelet on your arm!

4. T-Shirt Produce Bag- Nothing could be greener than carrying your groceries in a cloth grocery bag...until you start using recycled materials for your bag. Even if you are a beginning sewer, this simple produce bag can easily be created for a visit to the grocery store of your local farmer's market. I think these would be fun to make in a variety of pastel colors or to give as a gift to someone special in your life.

5. T-Shirt Pom Poms- Looking for a fun way to dress up your home for the warmer months? I absolutely love these adorable t-shirt pom poms for a fun way to add a pop of color to your mantle, as a fun adornment to a wreath, or hung in a gathering on a door handle or front door. The best part about this project is that no sewing skills are required for this one!

6. Petal Tees- I have seen many, many refashions of old t-shirts, but I think this Petal Tee is simply genius because the petal trim on this t-shirt is made from a variety of t-shirts, adding a cute pop of color for the Spring. Visit Goodwill on their half off days and stock-up on a fun mixture of colors for a fun addition of color to your wardrobe. If you are looking to add a little of the fluorescent color trend to your wardrobe, this would be a great way to do it without having to commit to an entire fluorescent piece!

7. T-Shirt Yarn- My favorite craft in the world is knitting and I love the idea of using Goodwill t-shirts to create fun yarn for my projects. This would be a fun gift to give to a friend that knits or crochets. If you can use a pair of scissors and cut in a relatively straight line, then you can do this craft and use this yarn for a variety of projects!

8. T-Shirt Aprons- I have a true affection for aprons and have a little collection of my own thrifted aprons that I have acquired from Goodwill and other antique shops. I had never thought to use t-shirts to create aprons, but I think this t-shirt apron is the cutest thing I have ever seen. This would be a cute craft to make for yourself or for your helpers in the kitchen. The best part? No ironing required and it can handle the messes that you might make in the kitchen.

9. T-Shirt Necklaces- I love t-shirt necklaces for adding a splash of color to your neckline. This rolled rosette t-shirt necklace is a fun way to add some feminine details to your outfit very inexpensively. I think it would be cute to make the t-shirt bracelet in a coordinating color and one Goodwill t-shirt should more than cover both of these cute projects.

Our tenth project is actually a fun t-shirt project we did here on the Goodwill blog. Be sure to visit my tutorial on creating a cute t-shirt flower pin made from an old t-shirt and spray painted clip-on earrings. This is so cute and would be a fun addition to a Spring top or jacket.

What are your favorite craft projects to do with old t-shirts?

All photos featured in our collage were gathered from the blogs that were featured. Please visit these blogs for tutorials and instructions on completing these projects!