DIY Sports Skirt & Leggings coverup from an old t-shirt

DIY Sport Skirt and Leggings Coverup, #reuse an old t-shirt | Living Consciously Blog

Let’s get straight to the point here: I teach or take fitness classes almost all week long. I usually pack my classes in while my kids are in preschool or at home with my husband, and since those are the only kid-free time periods that I have, I often run quick errands either right before or right after class. While I agree that leggings are not pants from a style perspective, I do happen to still be dressed for Lagree fitness or yoga at those times. As an instructor, I have strong opinions about the type of workout pants that I chose, but that is a subject for another post. Suffice to say, baggy pants are not a good idea, either from a participant or an instructor’s standpoint. I wear workout leggings that provide compression, support, moisture wicking, and do not get in the way of twisting, flexing, and moving. So leggings as pants it is, at least when I go grocery shopping at Whole Foods after class on my way home.

During the winter months, I am more than happy to slip some warmup pants over my leggings for extra warmth, but when I have tried that in the Texas summers (110 degrees most of the time), I felt like I was suffocating within the first few minutes, and that was in the air conditioning! Attempting to be in a car that had been sitting in the sun for 2 hours was just right out of the question wearing 2 pairs of pants. I’m already carrying snacks, water bottle, yoga mat, grocery bags, even a cooler on some days. So carrying a whole extra change of clothes is equally out of the question. And why would I put on clean clothes when I’m all sweaty from class or when I’ll just have to change when I get to the studio? For the past several years there has just been no solution to the leggings-as-pants dilemma for me.

As I was cleaning out some old workout clothes last week, I came across several old fitted t-shirts. They were in good shape and fairly neutral colors. I had been drooling over this yoga skirt on Etsy but hadn’t pulled the trigger yet because I wasn’t sure of the logistics. The skirt doesn’t have a waistband and relies on tucking the top of it into your leggings or yoga pants. How would that even work?

I was willing to try cutting up the old t-shirts to try and make a DIY sports skirt and leggings coverup. Here is what I did.

Supplies:

Old t-shirt (see optional step below if it is wider than your hips)

Sewing machine, thread

Scissors

Something to use for a drawstring

 

Step 1: Cut right below the armpits to make a tube with the bottom already hemmed.

Sport Skirt CoverUp Step 1, cutting | Living Consciously Blog

Note: I chose a shirt with very little design. If your shirt does have a design and you don’t want it, you might try turning the shirt inside-out and re-hemming the sides from the other direction. That could be handy anyway if your skirt needs to be narrowed to fit your hips.

Optional next step: The ideal width for this t-shirt tube is the width of the widest part of your hips. So again, you might want to re-hem to make it more narrow. I didn’t have to do it with this t-shirt because it was so narrow already.

Step 2: Turn the waistband under. Try it on at this point and look in a mirror, holding it up with your hands. You want the bottom of the skirt to hit just below your rear end. If you go to far down the upper leg, it just looks weird. You might have to cut more off the top to make it the right length. If you are a fancy sewing person, you can use pins to pin stuff here. But t-shirts are very good at holding shape and you probably don’t even need pins!

Sport Skirt CoverUp Step 2, folding waist for hemming | Living Consciously Blog

I turned mine under a little asymmetrically to allow for my rear end. If you have a rear end, you might want to do this too. My angle is not as severe as this picture looks, though, because I am actually just a terrible fashion and sewing photographer.

Step 3: Hem the waistband, leaving a gap for the drawstring. I took several pictures of this because again, not a sewing photographer.

Sport Skirt CoverUp Step 3, waistband and drawstring | Living Consciously Blog

Sport Skirt CoverUp Step 3, closer shot of waistband and drawstring opening | Living Consciously BlogStep 4: String the drawstring through the tube you made, using the gap you left.

DONE!

DIY Sport Skirt and Leggings CoverUp Final product | Living Consciously Blog
Completed sports skirt leggings coverup. I am staring off into the distance not only because I am so impressed by the skirt but also because when I smiled for this picture it looked really weird and creepy.

Super easy and fast! It definitely took me longer to try to take pictures of this process and the finished product than it took for me to make the skirt.

Other optional steps might include tapering the waist (this would be done before Step 3. I didn’t do it in my first skirt, but I’ll do it on subsequent skirts).

I’ll try to update this post with pictures of future skirts, if you make one from this tutorial, I’d love to see it – post it on Instagram and tag me!

Fluffy Low Gluten Bread in a Bread Machine

We’ve had great success reducing my son’s food intolerances through naturopathy, but he is still a little sensitive to both wheat and dairy. For some reason, his body CAN process white flour much more easily than whole wheat, although I’ll always go with the gluten-free version of things, if I can. Recently, I read this article about why non-organic flour might cause more inflammation than conventionally produced wheat flour. I am not sure if those two are linked in his case, but they could be.

I make all our own bread, for the most part. I rarely buy bread. For my husband and I and my daughter, I typically make a variation of my fluffy wheat bread. But for my son, I alter the recipe a little and make low gluten bread in my bread machine to address his gluten intolerance, which is different than an allergy. At first, I was frustrated by how flat and dense the bread typically came out. Then, after a conversation with my mom about the chemistry of gluten free cooking, I revised it a little to include vanilla extract. Perfect! Now I get fluffy bread nearly every time!

The trick with this bread is actually allowing the yeast to grow a little in the machine before baking. This is a big “no-no” with bread machines, typically, but in this recipe it works! I promise!

Important for cooler temperatures/climates: I made this recipe for the first time since it got cooler here in Texas (in the 60’s, woo hoo!) and the yeast did not work as it did during the summer. I ruined an entire loaf. The yeast should be frothy and bubbly after 10 minutes.
TIP: Warming the bread machine’s inner container in the oven for a few minutes before putting the warm water and yeast inside has helped a lot in the cooler months (or when the temperature inside the house is below 72 degrees).

Fluffy Low Gluten Bread in a bread machine | Living Consciously Blog

Low Gluten Bread

First:

1 cup of water, warmed (not hot)
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. yeast (regular, not fast-rising)

Second:

1 tsp. gluten free vanilla extract (affiliate link)
1/4 cup oil (safflower, non-GMO canola – affiliate links)
1 cup pre-mixed gluten free flour (affiliate link)
2 cups organic white flour
1/2 tbsp. salt

1. Add all items listed in the “First” list to the bread machine canister. Let sit for 10 minutes or longer. Yeast should bubble up like this:

Low Gluten Bread Yeast

2. Add vanilla and then oil (shown in picture, above).

3. Add the flours and then the salt.

4. I set my machine for the White Bread setting. It should come out nice and fluffy, like this!

Fresh Fluffy Low Gluten Bread in the Machine

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I get a portion of the sales if you buy using the links to Vitacost. I always label my affiliate links and relationships. I appreciate your support of my blog – thank you!

 


How We Cultivate Thankfulness in our family

If the month of November snuck up on you, you’re not alone! It sneaks up on me every year, with my son’s birthday toward the end and then Halloween. Then I wake up and, BAM!, it’s November! So we aren’t terribly timely with our thankfulness crafts around here. But, it is important to me to cultivate thankfulness in our family. Obviously, November is not the only time we want to be thankful, but it’s a good time to really focus.

There are 100 Pins on Pinterest of great Thanksgiving gratefulness projects. However, I am not a super crafty person. I do not own all the pipe cleaners, tempera paint, and precut turkey foam stickers that most of you people seem to have in your homes at all times. We sort of fell into this tradition of creating a thankfulness list out of things already around our house. Well, I feel like it is a tradition now, even though this is our second year. I do hope to keep it up (no pressure!).

Here is last year’s thankfulness chart and family list. My children were 2 years old and 5 years old, so it was too much to expect that they would each be able to come up with 30 individual things to be thankful for. So we had only one item per day on our list, and some items might have been suggested by Mom and Dad.

Thankfulness List 2013 | Living Consciously Blog

Thankfulness List 2013 | Living Consciously Blog

Supplies used:

packing paper from Amazon packages, flattened out
leaves we found on the sidewalk, pressed for a few days inside books to flatten
construction paper
pieces of coloring book that my kids cut up (their idea!)
sharpie marker
glue

This year, I was actually so far behind that there was no time to press leaves. We didn’t even get these set up until November 10. But this year, my children are 3 years old and 5 years old, and are able to think of their own lists (and also, to disagree and fight if they were forced to agree on just one thing each day!). So we each have our own turkey this year!

Thankfulness List 2014 | Living Consciously Blog

Supplies used:

large white paper, one for each family member
sharpie marker
yellow, red, orange, and brown construction paper
googly eyes (optional – I had these left over from kids yoga crafts)
glue stick

With this sticking-on-feathers-every-day model, we have to keep a baggie of precut feathers, a sharpie, and a glue stick at the table so that we can write our thankful items each day. If you want to get all crunchy, you can put these items in an aluminum box, GOOD FOR YOU!

The next step is, of course, to cultivate this kind of thankfulness throughout the rest of the year. Hopefully that would help with attitudes, right?

How has your family been cultivating thankfulness this season?

DIY Clay Diffuser Necklaces

Last night I had a get-together at my house with a bunch of fun ladies to make DIY clay diffuser necklaces for our essential oils! This is one of the easiest crafts, ever — and you know that I am NOT a very DIY-type person. Also not a jewelry person. But ever since I made my first diffuser necklaces a few months ago, I have rarely taken them off. Here are the original two:
Heart Clay Diffuser Necklace | Conscientious Confusion

OM Clay Diffuser Necklace | Conscientious Confusion

The heart is actually my daughter’s two fingerprints, inspiration taken from this post. The lower one is the Sanskrit “OM”. The string used on these and the ones we made at the party last night are hemp.

Everyone making clay diffuser necklaces! | Conscientious Confusion
Everyone making clay diffuser necklaces!

For anyone who might be interested in making these easy diffuser necklaces themselves, here’s how I did it.

First, I bought some very basic oven-back clay (affiliate link) at the craft store.

Sculpey Clay

 

A word about the clay: you can get a little more “natural” by purchasing the standard reddish-orange colored oven-bake clay, but if you want to make it “pretty”, you’ll have to go with the dyed stuff. Painting the clay after baking will not work with essential oils. I am not too concerned about the dye used in the clay, since the dye is sealed in when the clay is baked.  As mentioned, I have worn my necklaces nearly nonstop for about 2 months now and so far there has been no color transfer of the dyed clay, despite the pendant being covered in oils multiple times every day. For me, the toxicity level here seems very low. Please feel free to make your own call on that. I love that the colored clays also come in metallic finishes. I think those were some of my favorite finished pieces!

Next: Getting creative

This is where Pinterest came in, for me, because I am NOT a creative person. I spent a little time over the course of a few weeks creating a Clay Diffuser Necklace Inspiration Pinterest board.

Follow Jenny’s board Clay Diffuser Necklace inspiration on Pinterest.

We kept my iPad open on the table and passed it around to look at pictures and get ideas.

One of the best ideas was pressing old jewelry and interesting buttons into the clay! If you are worried about the jewelry sticking to the clay and distorting the shape, sprinkle some baby powder onto the jewelry and/or the clay itself. Several people sprinkled the clay with baby powder directly and it did not change the color of the clay.

Don’t forget to punch a hole somewhere for the string!

Finally, bake the clay in the oven. I did remove the buttons from several of the pendants so they wouldn’t melt, then we glued them back on after baking. If you are wondering whether you can bake sequins safely, the answer to that is: YES.

I wish I had remembered to take a picture of EVERY necklace, but these are some of our faves that I did remember to take pictures of:

DIY clay diffuser necklace for essential oils | Conscientious Confusion

DIY clay diffuser necklace for essential oils | Conscientious Confusion

DIY clay diffuser necklace for essential oils | Conscientious Confusion

DIY clay diffuser necklace for essential oils | Conscientious Confusion

DIY clay diffuser necklace for essential oils | Conscientious Confusion

How to use the necklace: you probably want to wait until the clay is completely cooled before adding the first oil. Just drop your favorite oil (or the one you need the most right now!) onto the surface of the clay and rub it in a little. The first few times you put oil onto your necklace, it will mostly sit on top. The more you use the necklace, the faster it absorbs oil and the longer the scent of the oil will last. I do recommend keeping the necklace away from direct contact with clothing fabric for a little while after adding the oil, to make sure it doesn’t transfer to clothing. I usually shorten my necklaces manually by tying the hemp string at different lengths depending on the neckline of my top.

Now you can enjoy your essential oils anywhere!

Homemade Toothpaste for Kids

It’s all well and good to want to avoid a long list of nasty ingredients in kids’ toothpaste (artificial colors, artificial flavors, SLSs, SUGAR…), but it’s entirely another thing to endeavor to make an actually kid-friendly homemade toothpaste. I made a homemade toothpaste for myself, no problem — there are hundreds of results on Pinterest. But just try to get your kids to put that baking soda and peppermint oil flavored stuff in their mouths.

Go ahead and try it, I’ll wait….Now that you are back and completely covered in a fine mist of spit and homemade toothpaste, you can see why I’ve been working for several months on a recipe for homemade toothpaste FOR KIDS. Specifically for kids who are accustomed to that fake crap that is in most toothpastes. I’m not going to lie, we were buying the fancy organic xylitol kids’ toothpaste that cost $7 a tube, but that stuff still tastes like nothing you could find in nature. Super fake. So I had to create something that tasted kinda fake, but wasn’t. Here are the ingredients I used and why, and then the recipe.

Kid-friendly Homemade toothpaste - approved by kids that are accustomed to the "fake" fruit flavors!

Baking soda – All homemade toothpastes are based on baking soda because that stuff is good for your teeth. It’s even in commercial toothpastes.

Lemon essential oil – ONLY USE FOOD SAFE BRANDS. The only ones I know of that are food safe are Young Living and doTerra. Never put an essential oil marked “for aromatherapy use only” into your mouth. Ever. They are not kidding about that. Lemon is a great EO for cleansing and it adds a good, fruity taste.

Food grade hydrogen peroxide – I get mine at a health food store in the refrigerated section. This stuff comes undiluted and is so potent it will literally eat your skin off. The dilution ratio is 1 oz of the concentrate to 11 oz of water. That will give you the concentration you are accustomed to buying at the drug store. You can also use the kind you buy at the drug store in the dark brown bottle, I think. Most of the recipes I found online seemed to use that, but since I already had food grade, I used it because it seemed safer.

Xylitol – This artificial sweetener is actually GOOD for your teeth. Using it regularly has been shown to fight cavities. It should be present in any good toothpaste, in my opinion. You can buy it in nearly any grocery store, but it is actually usually cheapest online or at small natural food stores.

Vanilla Stevia (affiliate link) – Ok, so I wasn’t super happy that I had to include this but I found that without it, my kids would not touch the toothpaste. No matter how much xylitol I used, it was the vanilla stevia flavor that they love. I try to make up for having to include this by making it a very, very small amount. The bottle is expensive, but you know what? The Whole Foods brand costs the same amount as one tube of fancy organic kids’ toothpaste and it will make more than 20 batches of homemade toothpaste. Worth it.

Homemade Toothpaste for Kids - ingredients

Homemade Toothpaste for Kids Recipe

1/4 tsp. vanilla Stevia (affiliate link)

3 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xylitol (affiliate link)

1/2 tsp hydrogen peroxide or water

2 drops food-grade lemon essential oil

 

Mix all ingredients together EXCEPT the water/hydrogen peroxide, at first. Add the water/hydrogen peroxide a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Store in an airtight container.

My two year old actually said “I like it!” and licked her lips. I think you could also experiment with other flavors of Stevia, but if you increase the amount of Stevia past 1/4 tsp, you might need to reduce or eliminate the water/hydrogen peroxide.

I would love to hear how this recipe worked for you and your kids! Please leave me a comment if you’ve tried it and any variations you might have liked!

 

NOTE: Some of the links to products are affiliate links. I get 2 cents or something if you buy using that link, so I’d love it if you could support the blog and buy that way!