t-shirt shag rug tutorial

Here it is, finally! My shag rug is complete. I love how it feels under my feet, and if it starts to look a little flat, I pick it up, shake it, and it fluffs right back up! 
It took some time but I finished it and I’m glad I decided to make one. You can too, especially if you like to cut up t-shirts but never know what to do with the scraps afterwards. The scraps from my scarves are perfect candidates for making a rug. And this craft is very easy, even children can learn how to thread the rug with some assistance with cutting the scraps.
Feel free to message me with any questions. The idea and instructions for this rug came from the book Generation T, which is a great book to purchase if you like making eco-friendly t-shirt clothing and crafts. Please visit their website and check out their multitude of fantastic ideas.
How to Make a T-shirt Shag Rug

Supplies: 1 XL t-shirt, cloth scissors, and lots of small t-shirt scraps
the base with a few scraps threaded through
1. Make the base.
For the base of the rug, lay the X-L t-shirt flat and cut a large rectangle out of the shirt, as large as you would like the size of your rug to be. It’s possible to make a larger rug by sewing more t-shirts together- two to make a runner, four to make a large square, etc. You could also cut it into a circle shape for a circular rug.
a rotary board makes cutting easier
perfect sized scraps!
2. Make scraps.
If you are me, you have scraps of t-shirts all over your apartment. If you aren’t, you may need to go to the thrift store and purchase a lot of t-shirts to make into scraps. I would go for 10-12 to start, although I’m not positive exactly how many you will need. Go for more rather than less, and choose complimentary colors, or try to purchase t-shirts that are the same color for a monotone rug. 
Cut these t-shirts into strips that are approximately 5-6’’ long and 1-1 ½’’ wide. You can use scissors, or if you are lucky, a rotary cutter and board, which helps make things faster. Some t-shirt fabrics stretch and so you can pull them to make them longer. Others don’t.  Once you cut a few t-shirts you’ll begin to see what works. Also, don’t be afraid to use imperfect scraps-scraps that have odd edges, have a serged edge on them, are ruffly, etc. They add to the shaggy look of your rug.
holes before and after scraps are threaded through 
3. Cut holes into the base.
Starting 1’’ from the edge of the base, carefully poke or snip horizontal and vertical rows of small holes about 1/2 ’’ to 2/3’’ inches apart. It will look like a big Lite-Brite board without the little pegs! You can also do this as you go along while putting the rug together, as I did, or just go ahead and make all of the holes before you start to thread the scraps into the rug. If you want perfect rows, you can mark the holes first using a ruler to mark the spots. 
see how the scraps share each hole? 
4. Start threading scraps into the base.
Beginning at one corner, thread a strip down through the first hole and back up through the second. Take a second scrap and thread it through the second hole (the same hole you just pulled the first scrap up through) so that it shares this hole with the first scrap, and then pull it up through the third hole.
Continue doing this for a very, very long time… Do this while watching movies, television, when you have a really short moment of time and you don’t know what to do. It will take time, but it will be finished!
the back and top side of the rug- pretty on both sides!

5. Give your rug a haircut.
When you are finished, you can give your rag a little haircut to even out any longer scraps that look off, or you can leave your rug uneven for a shaggier look. But remember, these scraps don’t grow back!

The top side of the rug looks great, but so does the bottom side. Flip the rug over for a new look and feel! If a scrap falls out or gets uneven, simply put it back in or pull it until it is even. It’s very easy to maintain. If you would like to wash it, please use a lingerie bag and run it in a delicate cycle as it could fall apart in the wash. However, the fabric is not delicate itself, so if something were to happen, it can be cleaned.

Send me pictures of your own rugs, and I’ll post them here. Or, make one for a Christmas present this year. It’s not too early to start!

Why is it so hard to conserve water?

“The amount of fresh water available for human use is less than 0.08% of all the water on the planet. About 70% of the fresh water is already used for agriculture… . The World Water Council report estimates that in the next two decades the use of water by humans will increase by about 40%, and that 17% more water than is available will be needed to grow the world’s food… The commission concludes that “only rapid and imaginative institutional and technological innovation can avoid the crisis. “

-BBC News, “Water arithmetic ‘doesn’t add up’,” 13 Mar 2000

“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”
-Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997)

“Water is fundamental for life and health. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a healthy life in human dignity. It is a pre-requisite to the realization of all other human rights.”

-The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights,  Environment News Service, 27 Nov 02

OK I could go on and on with the quotations. You can find more fantastic quotes here. They’re not only inspiring but also informative. P.S. isn’t the photograph of that wave fantastic? Makes me want to learn how to surf.

Why the focus on water? I know that we’ve all heard and tried many ways to conserve it- turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, fill your sink with water when washing and rinsing your dishes, if it’s yellow let it mellow (a saying as old as time, it seems)…

But how about some new, less conventional ways to conserve more water? I know that although I try really hard to conserve energy, waste less, and treat the planet well, I truly struggled during the water conservation section of my No Impact Challenge. This has inspired me to do more research, dig deeper, and try new things.

So, I’ve added a Daily Water Conservation Tip widget on my sidebar. Check it out, it’s pretty cool!

I’ve also started to change little things. For instance, instead of using the faucet to brush my teeth, I’ve begun putting a small amount of water in a cup and rinsing my toothbrush in that water while brushing my teeth. It’s a REALLY hard habit to break, not turning on the faucet when I spit out my toothpaste, but I’m determined to break the habit. It may also seem unsanitary, but when you think about your toothbrush in general (how often do we sanitize them?) it truly isn’t that big of a deal.

Also, I don’t have plants but I would follow this tip if I did- water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance. Also, use water from washing produce, cleaning the fish tank, or start collecting rain water in a barrel to water plants outside or inside. If you begin to get creative and think for a moment, there are so many ways to go about this tip.

My favorite? Saving water from cooking and boiling food for stock, or for boiling multiple things. For instance, I boiled some yummy corn yesterday. Then I made pasta for myself (gluten free!). Then, I made pasta for Brandon (not gluten free!). If I had plants, I would have watered them afterwards… : ).

Check out more tips at the following link- Use Water Wisely- 100 Ways to Conserve Water

Have fun, and remember- Save water, shower with a friend!

-Check out petitedancer25.etsy.com and ragsbysockmonkey.etsy.com to purchase any of my items!-

Spring has Sprung in Chicago!


I’m obsessed with making these mini banners lately. My favorite- a litte banner that says “spring” in cute, bubble letters. I want to put it up in my kitchen, which could use a little bit of brightening, but this banner will be sent to my friend Lauren K. at the Catalpa Gift Shop at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, MN.

This banner is super simple to make- anyone who can sew in a straight line on their machine can make the banner itself. The letters take a little more patience, but are the fun part! I’ve free-style embroidered the letter myself, onto a scrap of fabric pinned onto each banner. Then, I cut around my sewing job (that way, if I didn’t make a really straight line with my sewing, I can hide it with my cutting job- just kidding!). I’ve also made banners with different shapes and colors, and ones without decoration as well.


On the note of spring, my mom sent me a recipe for Thai Noodle Lettuce Wraps- basically spring rolls without the roll, although a little different. I’ve also made a variation of them in my house. Although spring rolls are very simple to make, some people who do not live in the city like myself do not have access to all of the ingredients like I do. So, here is the recipe! They are yummy to take along to lunch, or for a light dinner.

Thai Noodle Lettuce wraps:

1 5.5 oz box rice noodles or rice vermicelli
12 butter lettuce leaves – rinse & dry
1 carrot– grated
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 lime
sweet chili sauce

1. Bring some water to boil in a pot. Remove from heat & add noodles – let sit 10 min till tender or until you feel they are done, it may not take even 10 min!
2. Drain noodles well.
3. Spread lettuce on tray & fill with noodles- not too full though! Top with carrot & little cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over. Serve with the sweet chili dipping sauce.

-Check out ragsbysockmonkey.etsy.com to purchase any of my items!-

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Simple T-Shirt Mini-Banner

After seeing this idea on a wedding planning website, I was inspired to create my own, but with my own twist- using scraps from t-shirts that had become scarves in my clothing line. Thanks paper n stitch.com! After all, I have decided that my line should become more eco-friendly and waste less, so what better way to put smaller scraps to use. This can be easily done with any kind of scraps of fabric, in any kind of shape.

Using a ribbon (vintage, I might add, from my grandmother’s overflowing ribbon collection), I simply machine-stitched the edge over the ribbon loosely so that I can move the banners where I wish to once they are hanging. I did decide to sew the edges of each banner that ended up on the furthest of both ends so that the banners could not slip off accidentally.

Here is my result!

I also have made another banner out of handmade, screen-printed cloth patches that were created by the Art Patch Project of Chicago. Look it up if you are an artist in Chicago. The project’s focus is to change current legislation concerning peddlers who want to sell their own art on the street. Currently, you must have a peddler’s license to do so, preventing anyone from simply setting up shop on the street, which is unfortunate for those who do not have the money to spend on this license and who simply want to have the right to free speech on the streets.

Here are members of the project on the streets handing out art patches to the public for free, to raise awareness of the issue. Such brave souls, standing out in the cold. The pictures may not show it, but it is freezing out there!

I spent a Sunday afternoon working with the leader of this organization, C. Drew, screen-printing small pieces of cloth with artwork that was created by a local artist for the project. What a great way to spend the afternoon! Screen-printing is actually quite simple and requires only a silk-screen and some screen-printing ink, and a rubber squeegee. I hope to make it back to the Art Patch Project to turn some of my photography into a silk-screen so that I might add to the project.


As for other new business, I have been selling a lot of my handmade t-shirt scarves to people across the U.S. for the holiday season! I’m very excited to know that my customers have been happy with my designs thus far. One of my customers from my home town mentioned that she wears hers everyday! This month, I will feature a tutorial on how to make your own recycled t-shirt scarf, chunky style!

Off to make more banners!

-Check out ragsbysockmonkey.etsy.com to purchase any of my items!-

Crazy. Busy.

Life can throw you around sometimes. Lately, I’ve been feeling the tension between multiple jobs/internships/dance obligations and have not been cooking or creating as much as I wish I were. There always seems to be a balance that I am reaching for, but as I reach, I throw it off to either too much laze-around time to too much to do!

Today, however, I took the day off to take care of a sore throat. I cannot say that I got a lot done at home, which is actually probably best. However, I did decide to take on my first craft show at Lenny & Me in Chicago, IL. I am really looking forward to finally bringing my work out to the pubic and getting feedback (and hopefully maybe even make a little money!). I have gotten new business cards, am working on my display, and simply need to go and try it and see what happens. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot along the way.

Here is their blurb about the show:

1st Annual ‘Clever Crafters’ Handmade Fair by Lenny & Me and Three Birds Gallery. Location: 1459 N. Milwaukee location
Date: Saturday, December 5th from 12-7pm.

“We will have talented local artists set up with anything from hand knit scarves and jewelry, to fine art prints and paintings. This event is sure to be a wonderful day filled with live music, tasty treats, refreshments and lovely array of crafters with their locally made goods.”

Come and check me and my work out!


I have begun to order fruit and veggie boxes from local farms, and have enjoyed looking forward to peeking into my box to see what kinds of goodies are waiting for me every other Saturday. This week, it feature organic chard and parsley. What better way to use it than the following recipe offered by Rosa Jackson on rosajackson.blogspot.com. Thank you for this recipe, it was DELICIOUS! And gluten-free as well, of course! However, I would check on the Parmesan cheese that you use, I actually am not an expert on gluten-free cheese. I am positive that it could be replaced by any hard gluten-free cheese that goes well with savory food.

My favorite part was the browned egg on the bottom… Yum!

La trouchia
Serves 2-4

The quantities for this recipe aren’t precise – just use enough egg so that the mixture doesn’t seem too dry and don’t skimp on the Parmesan. Feel free to add chopped garlic and some mint or basil if it’s in season.

1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves only
1/2 bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
3-4 eggs, just enough to bind the mixture
50 g Parmesan cheese (about 2 oz)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2-3 tbsp good quality olive oil

Wash and dry the chard leaves well (I often let them soak for about 30 mins in salted water to remove some of the bitterness). Slice them very thinly and place in a large bowl with the chopped parsley leaves. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and add to the chard, adding three eggs at first and a fourth (or even a fifth) if necessary. Grate the parmesan and stir it into the mixture along with the seasonings.

Warm the oil over medium heat in a heavy frying pan (24 cm seems to be an ideal size) with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chard and press down with a wooden spoon to flatten the mixture. Cover, lower the heat a little and cook for about 15 mins, until the base is browned. Keep an eye on it to be sure that it doesn’t cook too quickly or slowly. Now place a large plate over the pan, put on some oven mitts and flip the omelette over onto the plate. Slide it back into the frying pan, cover again and cook for another 5-10 mins, until lightly browned on the other side. Serve hot, warm or cold.

-Check out ragsbysockmonkey.etsy.com to purchase any of my items!-

UPDATE finally! Settling into Chicago.

Joy of joys, the internet. I have come to realize how spoiled I have been living in Minneapolis next to my lovely neighbors. No longer. I am out in the internet wilderness and must find a way through it by finding a service provider that does not rob me blind…

I’ve finally given myself the time to update my Etsy site. I feel a lot better about the status of my business after doing this. Of course, I have a lot of work ahead of me (getting the word out, making new items, finding shops in Chicago), but I’m trying to take baby steps at a time. I did find a lovely little gift store in Lakeview that looks about right for my items. It’s really a lovely store. It’s called Paper Boy and features mostly paper items like cards, origami, notebooks, but they also feature local artists work, like handmade bibs, jewelry, and the like. If you are ever in Lakeview, definitely check it out.

Ok, now for the new items…

-Check out ragsbysockmonkey.etsy.com to purchase any of my items!-