more stuff made from stuff

I am all about the *belt-tightening* phenom on our little homestead. Whether using left-over rice and sausage and some canned beans to make epic soup or cutting up ill-fitting knit shirts to make my kid’s wardrobe. Heyo, I dig it.

First, the soup. Super easy and super tasty.

Black Bean Soup :: serves six

olive oil
one onion
four cans black beans
one can diced tomatoes
1 lb pork sausage
two cups of cooked rice
cumin
coriander
dried mustard
basil
thyme
salt
avocado
whole milk plain yogurt

Heat the oil over high, add onion and cook until transparent. Toss in all canned items (don’t drain liquid). Bring to boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook up the sausage in a separate pan and then add to soup. Add a can or two of water. Season to your heart’s desire. Serve with sliced avocado and a generous dollop of yogurt. We ate it with the seedy bread that has become our staple.

It seriously takes 1/2 hour to make which I am all about these days because by the time I land in my kitchen after a full day of work, well, for the most part, I’d rather sit and gab with my man and smooch on my kid and roll around with my dog than hover around appliances.

:: :: ::

And then, the killer pants and skirts made from wonky t shirts.

For these pants. I followed the same basic steps as the sweater pants, but, instead of adding elastic, I cut a two-inch strip of t shirt and made a drawstring. This is especially simple because of the no-need-for-sewing-button-holes aspect of knit fabric. Just a snip snip and voila.

I wish I had a before picture of the purple shirt before when it was a a designer, high quality cotton t but awful fit for me: high, restrictive neck and super tight. Then, awful lady shirt becomes cutest bug pants.

And, this pink v neck was cute and all but the print is not centered and it always bugged me in a bad way. Like, it distracted me. I regularly found myself pulling the shirt to the right, hoping that one day it would magically line up. I am fairly certain I walked crooked on the days I wore it. You can tell by the wrinkles it has been in a wad in the recesses of a drawer for many moons.

Icky, pitted-out pink tank now a dress. It still needs some finessing in the frontal area but, cute, no? I sewed a wee pocket on the chest that you’d be able to see if my chicken didn’t move like lightening.

And, too-short, too-boxy sweater is now my new favorite skirt. Finished with felted wool circles. This is what I stay up until 1am doing when I should be sleeping. The skirt is entirely too big for bug and entirely too small for me, so, for now, it only exists here.


I have discovered that this is my sewing bag. I adore the repurposing of old, gnarliness into new darlingness. I mean, I also love making stuff with beautiful, crisp, brand spankin’ fabric, but the creative challenge and subsequent satisfaction that comes with making new, cute stuff out of old, ratty stuff is just heaven. Perhaps I have finally found my religion. Or, at least, I almost feel like I am making art again.

Also, I wrote a little diddy for Today’s Mama answering the question, What kind of women inspire you? Click here to read my 150-word answer.

And, welcome to my new sponsor: High Mowing Organic Seeds. These seeds were a staple in my plot last year and they rock.

And, whew, tomorrow, I am off to ski and hang without somewhere-else-to-be for the duration of the week in Utah. Which I so need. So, I wish you all a great week out there.

18 Responses to more stuff made from stuff

  1. jen says:

    i am so gonna start digging through the back of my closet. (but i also SO love getting my hands on funky fabrics … and i’m not totally giving that up) …
    there has got to be some stuff in there that needs new life.
    enjoy the time … without time limits. we all need a bit of that.

  2. Patia says:

    I like your piece for Today’s Mama. Fierce, like you.

    It was great to hang out with you today!

  3. TRB Holt says:

    Nici you have been making art your entire life. You were even chosen by your preschool teacher to design the cover on the graduation program…age 5!

    The art you make is in your words, in your home, in your friends & family, in your love of life, it IS just in you! I love you.

    Mom

    PS, great piece in Today’s Mama & congrats on you new sponsor!

  4. Wendy says:

    Love them all! Such a cute little dress for Bug. Also, the off-centeredness of your shirt totally reminds me of when I was a kid and received a set of Superman Under Roos. They’d put the S in the corner (like a pocket) and I spent days trying to pull it into place in the middle.

    Isn’t it fun when a bit of OCD crops up?

  5. Wendy says:

    Also, I love your answer over at Today’s Mama. Perfectly put.

  6. Sage says:

    yahoo! We just got a huge storm and loads of snow in the mountains…hope it isn’t to mushy for you, we are headed towards spring skiing for sure! Love the re-purposed clothes… I am totally loving this myself for my own little one!

  7. sallymandy says:

    Absolutely great creations here! I love them all. Wish I had a child who would eat bean soup. Maybe some day. That little sweet pea of yourse looks mighty cute in her new duds.

    It must be in the air. I have my sewing machine set up on the kitchen table, forcing us to eat in the living room, while I alter and sew and change about 12 garments that I either thrifted or don’t wear anymore from my own closet. I’m loving it, and enjoying seeing what others are doing. Espesh in my own town. :)

  8. Casey says:

    LOVE that dress on Bug… I’m freaking out! Genius. All of it, pure artistic genius!

  9. Kelle says:

    oh, nici…your ditty about women that inspire you is profound and beautiful. thank you! and your homemade art is completely fab and brilliant, as always! do i spy a little barrette in her hair long enough to pull to the side? lovin’ it.

  10. Heidi says:

    lovee those purple pants and skirt with felt circles. amazing what you are doing with clothes you are no longer sporting!

    your article ROCKS!!! love that you say,’women come from women. contantly seeking betterment.’

  11. FinnyKnits says:

    Ah, the repurposing of old Tshirts, a fine religion. If one must have one. I have been thinking of a shirt-to-skirt project.

    Hmmm…1am sewing. I need to try…

    Have fun in Utah making skiing!

  12. Jean says:

    We just got home from LIttle Gasparilla. I am loving the blog updates. hee, hee, love the new clothes. I think your are really onto something as this reminds me of some fabulous deconstructed/reconstructed dresses I would totally call art we saw in P-land at Christmas. xo j

  13. jen: dig away! The possibilities are endless!

    Patia: thanks, man. Good to officially meet you as well!

    ma: You have always been my #1 fan! Thanks for that.

    Wendy: haha. That is totally something I would have done…were you at all ocd as a kid? I was terrible….arranging the gum on shelves, counting stairs etc.

    Sage: we had a great time skiing with blue blue sky and lots of sun. No new snow but the sun was fabulous.

    sally: It is definitely a spring thing I think….something about the near gardening season that makes me twitchy with new energy and ideas.

    Casey: oh when you like stuff I make it just pleases me so! Thanks.

    Kelle: thanks lady. And, yes, that is a barrette! She doesn’t really *need* it, but cute, no?

    Heidi: yeah, I love the purple pants too…although I already need to reinforce the butt area. Oh, new sewing machine here I come.

    Finny: Your scoop neck top from fugly race ts is simple brilliant. And, the trash bag. Seriously. Swoon.

    Jean: Welcome home!

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