A fantastically fun and easy game for kids to practice reading without it feeling like work! Five levels of vocabulary to get your child to immediately recognize sight words! Try not to get the rotten banana! (in English or Italian)

Rotten Banana: a fun early reading game

My little boy just turned six and is in first grade this year, which means that he’s learning to read and write. While my daughter had no problems learning written Italian in school and didn’t really need any outside help to pick up written English on her own, it hasn’t been quite as easy for […]

Need a last minute gift? Give the gift of tasty breakfast! This pancake mix in a jar is for four batches of 12 pancakes and there are even printable adhesive or cut-out labels! www.cucicucicoo.com

Last minute gift: pancake mix in a jar (with label!)

I was born and raised in the United States, but have been living in Italy for the past 15 years, where I started my own family. Having a bi-cultural family is really enriching because you get twice as many traditions for holidays, traditions, languages and… food! While my American friends and family always say how […]

seam ripper

The best sewing tools for happy sewing (part 2)

This is part two of the Best Sewing Tools post in the Cucicucicoo Recommends series. To read why I created this series and all about measuring, marking, cutting and pinning tools, please read the first part here. Please note that many of the items are affiliate links, meaning that I earn a small commission on […]

The key to fantastic sewing is not only knowing all the techniques, but also using the right supplies. These are the best sewing tools for working faster with more professional results! Love them! www.cucicucicoo.com

The best sewing tools for happy sewing (part 1)

My readers frequently ask me for recommendations about sewing machines, fabric and sewing tools. I could talk on and on, day after day, about my favorite products, but alas, that’s not very practical. So instead I’ve decided to create a series of posts called Cucicucicoo Recommends to answer these questions. Be sure to check out […]

Make a cool and snuggly accessory from your family’s old T-shirts, even if they’re ripped or stained! This tutorial shows how to cut up shirts and piece them together to create a colorful and unique infinity scarf! www.cucicucicoo.com

Refashion Tutorial: Make a T-shirt Infinity Scarf

Some people are obsessed with clothes and have overflowing closets. Other people obsessively buy shoes and have dozens and dozens of them. I, myself, have a thing for neckwear. Except for the hottest, most humid summer months, when I can’t bear to have anything on my skin, I love the feeling of having something around […]

Having trouble with wavy seams, snapped thread and holes in your homemade knit garments? These 10 tips will help you overcome problems and you'll be sewing knits perfectly in no time! Check it out at www.cucicucicoo.com

10 tips for sewing knits perfectly

When a person learns to sew, the first projects are always with woven fabric. When you go to a fabric shop, you’ll notice that most fabrics are woven. And when you browse sewing projects on Pinterest, nearly all of them use woven fabric. But take a look at your own wardrobe, or that of your […]

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Make homemade pick up sticks (with carry bag)

Toys are too complicated these days. I sometimes hear parents saying that their kids get bored if their toys don’t make sounds or light up, or aren’t animated or interactive games. And of course all these electronic toys and games cost more and break really easily. I sometimes feel like an old fogey, but seriously, […]

Upcycle umbrellas to protect your backpack during bad weather! These DIY backpack rain covers are quick and easy and perfect for kids and adults alike! www.cucicucicoo.com

DIY backpack rain cover from umbrellas!

Last week, I got caught in a torrential downpour when walking my kids home from school. And even though all three of us had umbrellas and the school is about a two minute walk from our home, we got totally drenched. When we got home, we had to spread the kids’ wet books and notebooks […]

Make pants for kids in a flash from sleeves! No pattern necessary! Refashion tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Refashion tutorial: make pants from sleeves

It’s fall again and I’m having the same problem I have every. Single. Year. My kids have no pants that fit them correctly. Both of my children are average height, but are very thin. This doesn’t create many problems in the summer because shorts and skirts don’t have to be long. However, when it’s time […]

Learn to sew the easiest elastic waistband ever- with no casing or twisting! www.cucicucicoo.com

Attach elastic to a waistband – no casing or twisting!

Can you imagine what it must’ve been like to wear clothes long ago, before there was any elastic? Sure, there were buttons and laces to tie up, but my favorite garment fasteners, elastic and zippers, are relatively new inventions. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must’ve been to get children dressed… and […]

Make your own easy woven paper baskets from repurposed cereal boxes with this easy tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com. So fun and colorful!

DIY woven paper baskets from cereal boxes

Oh, how I love cereal boxes. I love their stability, yet ease of cutting. I love their bright colors. I love their cost… nothing! I rarely throw cereal boxes into the recycling. I use them to back small pattern pieces to make them more rigid and to make them last longer (and I suggest that […]

FREE sewing pattern! Get ready for school with this fully lined pencil-shaped pencil case tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Free Pattern! Pencil-shaped pencil case tutorial

Well, it’s fall again. Back to school. Back to work. Back to the gazillion activities each family member has. To celebrate this exciting time of year of beginnings, I’ve decided to offer my readers another FREE sewing pattern! Hooray! And even better, it’s part of my Learn to Machine Sew series, as the practice tutorial […]

Sewing concave and convex curves together (or an enclosed circle) is easy once you know a little trick. Learn how with a free pattern for a curvy potholder! Part of the Learn to Machine Sew course on www.cucicucicoo.com!

Sewing concave and convex curves together

Summer’s over and it’s back to school time, which means it’s also back to sewing school time! (Did you know that I have a FREE beginner’s sewing course?) Last week I mentioned that I have a new free pattern for a pencil-shaped pencil case to share with you (update: here’s the info on the pencil […]

Upcycle your glass bottles to create cool home décor! These DIY wine bottle vases are easy to make with glue and twine and are a great house warming gift! Tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

DIY wine bottle vases with colored twine

I love having a drop or two of wine, a beer or perhaps a nice cocktail while preparing dinner. Heck, who doesn’t? Sometimes the bottles have such a nice shape that it seems such a shame to just throw them out in the recycling. Or perhaps you drank a bottle of champagne to celebrate a […]

Turn pants into a skirt in just 15 minutes with this easy refashion tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com!

Refashion tutorial: Turn pants into a skirt

It’s such a clichè, but it’s also totally true: how fast kids grow! And that of course means that they grow out of their clothes so quickly. But what a shame to get rid of clothes that still fit them in the waist. And that’s why every spring I go through their wardrobe and turn […]

Stay healthy and cool with this SUGAR-FREE lemonade recipe! It's sooo good and refreshing, the best way to stay cool in the hot summer months! www.cucicucicoo.com

Healthy Sugar-Free Lemonade Recipe

There’s no denying it: summer is suddenly here! Our family is doing everything we can to stay cool. The kids have started using the bathtub as a swimming pool, our ice cream machine* is back in business, we’ve been making all sorts of homemade popsicles, and we’ve been doing everything else that I’ve written about […]

Got some old tees? Turn them into these super easy no-sew t-shirt bracelets! The tutorial shows you how to in less than two minutes! www.cucicucicoo.com

Easy no-sew T-shirt bracelets tutorial

In the years that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve collaborated with lots of other blogs and websites. And today I’m so pleased to announce that I’m starting a new collaboration with the Italian handmade learning website Make It Land! I will contribute an eco-friendly refashioning tutorial every month for my special column of sorts […]

Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

Wine bottle crafts: 2 upcycled vases with materials you already have

Mother’s Day is creeping up and will be here before you know it. Have you started preparing gifts for the most important women in your life? Most mothers (at least the ones I know) are happiest to receive something small, but from the heart, and what could be more from the heart than personalized homemade […]

Bring a bit of color and happiness to Spring with a scrap fabric butterfly! Decorate your home or make a pin, headband or mobile with this stash-busting tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Tutorial: DIY scrap fabric butterfly (free pattern)

Spring is here! My favorite season of all, the advent of Spring makes me so happy. I love blooming trees, the scent of flowers and cut grass, the birds singing outside my windows, the warm sun…. So today I’m proposing a stash-busting and scrap-busting project for spring: fabric butterflies! I’m not the only fan of […]

Transform that T-shirt you never wear into something useful! This no-sew tutorial shows how to make a bag from a T shirt. Great upcycling craft for kids! www.cucicucicoo.com

Make a bag from a T shirt: No-Sew Tutorial!

My name’s Lisa and I’m a T-shirt hoarder. Seriously, I have a problem. Come to my home, and you’ll find numerous containers full of t-shirts. I love them because they’re so easy to embellish or repurpose into other clothing and objects. But another wonderful thing about t-shirts is that the jersey fabric doesn’t fray and […]

Did you know that stinging nettle is super healthy, and tasty too? Discover how to make homemade nettle powder, and you’ll start being happy to see weeds in your garden! www.cucicucicoo.com

Make homemade nettle powder from your weeds

For the first time in my life, I am on a diet. When I was little, I was super thin, and as a young adult, I could eat anything and never gain weight. But not all of my pregnancy weight went away on its own, and I am now 8.5 kg (18 lbs) heavier than […]

Thinking about learning to sew? Here are 10 things that you need to know to choose the best sewing machine for beginners (and why there isn’t just one!) www.cucicucicoo.com

The best sewing machine for beginners – 10 things to know

Have you decided to learn to sew? Congratulations! Sewing is an amazingly versatile art that can be used in loads of different ways! Unless you plan on exclusively sewing by hand, you will probably be asking yourself what the best sewing machine for beginners is. A lot of my readers, especially those following my Learn […]

Free sewing pattern! How to sew a circle skirt in one or two layers. www.cucicucicoo.com

How to sew a circle skirt – free pattern!

Welcome back to the Learn to Machine Sew series on Cucicucicoo! I promised a cool practical tutorial to go along with my last lesson on how to sew an exposed elastic waistband, and boy, is it cool! Too often people think that you need fancy patterns and techniques to sew your own beautiful clothing, but […]

The importance of fabric drape and why you need to understand it in your sewing. A sewing lesson in the free Learn to Machine Sew course for beginners on www.cucicucicoo.com

Why fabric drape is so important in your sewing

One of the most visited artistic tourist attractions in Naples, my adopted city, is the Veiled Christ in the Sansevero Chapel. This statue represented a life-sized Jesus after his death, covered in a death shroud, and is celebrated for its realistic and masterful sculpting of the body as seen beneath the fabric. But this masterpiece […]

How to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband in 5 steps: an easy alternative to fussy zippers and elastic casings! Learn how on www.cucicucicoo.com

How to Sew an Exposed Elastic Waistband in 5 steps

Sure, you may know how to sew an elastic casing or how to install a zipper, but do you WANT to? Sometimes you just want to do things the fastest and easiest way. And sometimes you just don’t have enough fabric to do so. This is when you can resort to the easiest waistband method […]

How to make homemade garlic powder: a super simple recipe by www.cucicucicoo.com

How to make homemade garlic powder

I’m not always a big fan of cooking, at least not the regular day-to-day cooking necessary for survival. I like to cook special things when I actually want to, not just because my stomach’s growling. And when I do cook, I usually can’t get too elaborate, otherwise the other people in our home won’t eat […]

Lemon salt recipe: prepare tasty lemon-flavored salt from the salt left over from preserved lemons! Perfect for flavoring your favorite dishes! www.cucicucicoo.com

Lemon salt recipe from salt preserved lemons

I’ve been experimenting with the radiators and food processors in my kitchen again these days. Yes, because once again, it’s lemon season in southern Italy. This means that I’ve been making my beloved salt-preserved lemons again. We love using these salty, tangy lemon peels on pretty much everything. In the past, I’ve always reused the […]

How to sew an infinity scarf in one or two fabrics: a Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew tutorial | www.cucicucicoo.com

How to Sew an Infinity Scarf in one or two fabrics

I get sort of obsessive every so often with certain projects of mine, and just can’t stop making them. And this is definitely one of those situations, because ever since May 30, 2015, when I made three springtime infinity scarves from refashioned clothes as part of my Me-Made-May challenge, I haven’t been able to stop […]

How to ladder stitch (or invisible stitch). This hand sewing technique is essential to closing up the openings in sewn projects without any visible threads. Photo and video tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

How to ladder stitch (invisible stitch)

Today’s sewing lesson for the Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew series a little exception because it’s actually hand sewing, not machine sewing. I wasn’t sure whether or not to include it in the course, but in the end decided to because it’s one of those skills that you really do need to know because it’s […]

Make adorable DIY paper poinsettias for the holiday season from upcycled egg cartons and fruit nets! Even kids can make these with a little help! Full photo tutorial on www.cucicucicoo.com

DIY Paper Poinsettias from Upcycled Egg Cartons

When my daughter’s teacher invited me to come into the class to make crafts with the kids that could be sold at the school’s charity Christmas market (a couple of years ago I did the same thing with these yarn Hopi Eye ornaments), I was thrilled to find out that this year’s theme was “recycling”—my […]