Faux Peter Pan Collar with Sumo from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff.

I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t even remember where I first saw today’s guest.  I believe it was one of her guest posts on another blog, but I can’t quite be sure!  What I am sure of is that Sumo is one sweet lady, and creative as all get out!  I’m so excited to have her as my guest today at The Southern Institute.  Please welcome, Sumo from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff! (Insert wild applause here)


I’m Sumo, and I blog over at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff.


Sumo's Sweet Stuff

I do a little bit of crafting, and a lot of sewing. With three little girls to sew for, I’ve always got plenty of projects to work on! Besides sewing and fabric shopping, I’m a big fan of historical fiction, diet coke, chips and salsa, and most treats.

I’m so excited to be visiting over here today!

The Peter Pan collar seems to be super trendy right now, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon by turning some plain shirts into something a bit cuter.

Here’s what you need to get started:

- t-shirt(s)
- iron on vinyl
- iron
- pen/pencil

- scissors

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Start off by taking a plain piece of paper (even tissue paper would be great since it’s a little bit see through) and trace the neckline of the shirt.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

You can probably find a template online somewhere for the collar part, which is totally great – but you do need to make sure your neckline will fit the shirt you have. Find the middle of the neckline. I just hand drew the collar part to the middle of the neckline next. I love the little scalloped edge!

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Cut out your template.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

If you’re like me and like to match your girlies, you might have to take time to draw a couple of other templates as well. I did three different variations for my three girls’ shirts.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Now take the template and trace it on to the back of the iron on vinyl. The iron on vinyl will have a clear sheet over the top of the side that will be displayed on the shirt. Flip the template and trace again so that you will have both sides of the collar.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Cut the templates out and make sure the curve of the neckline is going to work with the shirt before you start ironing.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Iron the templates on to the shirt, and peel up the clear backing.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

And you’re done! Can you believe how easy that was?

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

I made all three shirts for my girls in an hour; talk about productive!

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

I hope you enjoy making your own iron on vinyl shirts; there are so many fun things you can do with iron on vinyl!

Come visit me at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff anytime!


Thank you so much for being my guest today, Sumo!  These are just adorable and perfect for pairing with spring and summer dresses!

Easy Weeknight Meal – Italian Ragu

Hello everyone! It’s Tiffany visiting again from The Nesting Project to share an easy weeknight meal, Italian Ragu.

As we head into fall and I start to get a taste of this beautiful crisp cooler weather I start to think about comfort food. However not all comfort food is easy to make when you’re a working girl or a mother to a 5 month old. So I always go to the experts in easy meals: The Italians. There are so many great Italian recipes that have simple ingredients that you can throw into a pan and end of up with something truly delicious. The other great thing about the Italians is their recipes use alot of inexpensive ingredients. I still remember my Italian grandmother saying they added grated cheese and the rind of a wedge of cheese instead of meat with they didn’t have the money for it. It added the missing flavor to make it delicious.

I am someone who always makes a huge pot of marinara and freezes it but this recipe you only need tomato paste. one little 6 oz can of tomato paste yields a delicious ingredient to this dish. The sweetness of the carrots also compliments it as well as a dusting of fennel powder. If you don’t have it then just add a couple of tablespoons of Italian seasoning. I adapted this recipe from Mario Batali’s recipe because as much as I wish it was the case, we don’t always have ham or prosciutto on hand to add to this dish. So I substituted for 2 links of Italian sausage. It makes it a cheaper dish but just as delicious.  A shell or other type of macaroni that can cup the sauce makes it ideal for this dish.

Bring on fall I say!

Italian Ragu

1/2 pound ground beef chuck

2 links Italian Sausage (sweet or spicy but out of the casings)

6 oz of tomato paste

1 cup of milk (I used whole milk but a 2% would work well too)

1 cup of beef or chicken broth

1/2 medium onion diced

2 large carrots diced

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp fennel powder

1 box of shell pasta

Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese for grating on the top of the dish

In a Dutch oven style pan add a tbsp olive oil to medium heat. Add your onion, carrot and garlic and cook until softened. Add your ground meat and sausage and cook until browned almost completely. Add your tomato paste and stir into and let cook about 5 minutes.  Let it get incorporated into the mixture completely (it will look really thick and clumpy and almost bind everything together). Then add your milk and then your stock. Add your salt and your fennel powder. Stir and cook for about 20 minutes. Your mixture will start to get thick from the tomato paste. I add about 1/2 cup of grated cheese but you can wait and garnish with it as well. Cook your pasta according to the box and then add to your sauce. Enjoy!

DIY Ombre Tie with Julie from richardsonshine.

I’m so delighted to have an old blogging friend here today!  Please welcome Julie from richardsonshine.  Julie and I have known each other for awhile now.  Her blog is a place that I often visit for design inspiration (and pics of her adorable children).  I think you’re going to love her.  She has a great tutorial for us today!


Hello, Southern Institute readers! When Jenny and I first “met” through our blogs, I think we quickly realized we liked or enjoyed many of the same things: fun fashion, sewing projects, etc., but most of all, putting family first. It’s been fun to follow Jenny at The Southern Institute and get to know her darling family.

Now…I’m sure you’ve noticed the world’s ombre craze. Yes, of course you have! From clothing and accessories to shower curtains, furniture, walls, wedding cakes and even hair (!), the fashion, craft, and design world is eating it up. Well I decided my boy needed an ombre tie. Or two.

After searching far and wide for easy little boy tie tutorials, this one by Sharing the Wealth is my favorite. She mentions the sizing is best for 1.5-2 yr olds, but I think it’d be just fine for a 3 or 4 yr old as well. My son just turned five and it’s short for him, but we made it work!

So. Before you read on, go download the tie pattern here.

 There are two ways to create this ombre tie:

1) sew the tie first, then dip in the dye, OR,

2) dip the unsewn tie pieces first, then sew the tie together afterwards.

We’re doing the latter method, but remember I’m dyeing two ties here, not just one. If you’re a bit nervous about dyeing fabric, start with just one color and one tie.

You’ll need:
your dye of choice,
your large tie pieces,
(front and back for two ties shown here,
and not the piece that goes around the neck)
(if your dye calls for it)
rubber gloves,

and buckets or large bowls.

Depending on how concentrated your dye is, you may want to use more than one bucket or bowl. The yellow wasn’t too dark, so I kept it to half a bottle of dye in one bowl of water. The navy blue (which turned out slightly purple) was super dark, so I poured some into smaller bowls, diluting the dye more and more each time. It just takes some experimenting!

All right, wet your fabric before you dip.

Taking the top of your tie pieces, dip them in your dye very quickly, as far up as you’d like the color to go.

Then dip again, submerging less of the tie in the dye.

Then dip again, submerging even less of the tie.

You get the idea…

Eventually, you’ll get to the bottom of your tie pieces! The tips will have already been dyed longer than the rest of the tie, but hold the tips in the dye for a bit longer anyway – maybe just 30 seconds or a minute.

I’m not exact around here, and this dyeing literally took seconds!

Now this is where you might want to have more bowls with diluted dye. The blue color was so dark and the dye was so concentrated, it was basically like tie-dyeing the fabric (no pun intended), and was NOT the look I was going for.

So, divide the one bowl of dye into two or three others and dilute them with more water, and dip your tie pieces in the MOST diluted or least concentrated bowl of dye first. Submerge the fabric as high as you’d like the lightest shade of color to go. Then submerge not quite as high in the next bowl.

Then submerge again…

You get it, right?

Hold the tips in for a bit longer…

…then rinse and hang them up to dry!

You can see my first attempt (far right) where the dye was way too concentrated. Once I divided and diluted the dye it was easier to get the ombre effect (far left). That yellow tie is just hanging out in the middle, cheerful and happy. He was the easy one. :)

Once your fabric pieces are dry, iron them and continue on with the tie tutorial!

(Again, found here. Download the pattern here.)

It was super fun to experiment with ombre dyeing, and as you can see, my son’s delighted!

Happy dyeing,and cheers from Richardsonshine!