Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tissue Paper Canvas Prints

You'll have to bear with me on this post. It's been almost a month since I've done this project, and some of the steps are a bit foggy in my brain. As always, if something does not make sense, or more clarification is needed, please, do not hesitate to ask!

This year for Christmas, my father was the only one to receive a handmade gift. Between school, kids, and moving twice, I simply did not have time to make more homemade gifts. That being said, this is perhaps the most favorite gift I have ever made.

I made him a wooden sign, with the quote "The only thing better than having you as my dad, is my girls having you as their papa." It was cute, but I felt it needed something more. Perhaps a picture of my girls. I stumbled upon the idea of canvas prints at home while browsing Pinterest, and after some additional research I put a few different methods together. This is not the only way to do it, but it was what worked best for me. I found a wonderful video on this method, but I cannot find the link now. If you do a Google search of DIY Photo Canvas, you will come up with a lot of hits. Finding a method that works for you is key to success in this project. I had many mistakes, and had to throw away a few attempts.

Another update on me

As I stated in my previous post, I had an appointment on the 17th. After looking at the test results from my bloodwork, and pressing on a few soft spots on my body, I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. So, that's why I've been in pain, although she admits she's never seen it manifest in joints as well. Basically, my nerve endings are going nuts, as are the pain receptors in my brain. So, now it's a continuation of some meds. Thank you all for being so patient.

I'm not in any pain as of right now, so I'm going to do another tutorial post, one I promised to do almost a month ago.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Apology for my absence

I just wanted to take a moment and apologize to my fans for not posting in a while. As usual, I've been extremely busy, and this is a "finals" week for me. My online classes are only 9 weeks long, so every 9 weeks, I have 2 huge projects due.

However, this past week has taken a huge toll on me. I have a post I've been meaning to do, but just haven't been able to do it yet. Why? Long story.

I woke up Sunday morning with pain in the arches of my feet. By Sunday evening, the pain had spread to my ankles, shins/calves, knees and hips. By Monday morning, the pain was up into my back, as well as my wrists and hands. I went to Prompt Care, since I was unable to get into my doctor for 2 weeks. He diagnosed me with bilateral joint pain, which I already knew, and prescribed me an anti-inflammatory. By Monday night, the pain had spread all the way up to my shoulders and neck, leaving me in a lot of pain any time I moved, sat, or stood. I went to bed that night, hoping I would wake up in less pain the next day and that maybe I overdid it or something.

I woke up Tuesday morning, and the pain was worse. I could hardly walk, doing dishes killed me, and forget about playing on the floor with my children. Tuesday night, I decided to go to the ER, the pain was getting worse, and ibuprofen, Aleve, and Tylenol were just not helping a thing. I had also tried ice, heat, a warm bath, and even stretching. Nothing worked. I spent 5 hours in the ER, only to be told the same thing, they didn't know what was wrong. They gave me some pain medication as well as a steroid. As I was driving from the ER to Walgreens to fill the prescriptions, a cop decided to pull me over. By the time I reached Walgreens, I was in so much pain I could barely breath or talk. It felt like a gallbladder attack, but I had mine removed in 2009, so I knew that wasn't it. The cop had pulled me over to warn me about my license plate light being out, but ended up calling me an ambulance instead, as there was no possible way I could drive back to the ER. So, within 15 minutes of leaving the ER, I was right back there. I saw a different doctor, and handed him my discharge papers from earlier. He told me I was suffering from condylitis in my ribs. He referred me to a rheumatologist, and told me to continue to take the steroids and other meds.

So here it is Friday, and I'm still in pain. The steroids helped the first day, but now I'm back to feeling like I did before. The pain meds are enough to dull the pain, as I did not want anything that knocked me out due to my children. I can't get in to see my doctor until the 17th, and the rheumatologist's office hasn't called me back yet. All of my blood tests came back normal, so I really have no idea why I'm in pain, just know that I am. Typing this post has been incredibly painful, as is doing anything these days. I'm hoping to wake up each day in less pain, but as the days wear on, the pain gets worse.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A lesson in empathy

My children are spoiled. As hard as that is for me to admit, they are downright bratty children that tend to treat me as a maid. And, as hard as it is to admit, it is my fault they do so. For the last 4, almost 5 years, I've been cleaning their messes with little repercussions on their end. I usually just cleaned up the mess, and put them in time out because I didn't want to deal with the fight that would ensue, and I could clean it up faster myself. This all changed a few days ago.

My children are not allowed to have crayons or markers in their room.  They both know this, but that doesn't stop them from trying to sneak a crayon in there once in a while. Usually I catch it, but the other day, I didn't. My husband put them down for a nap while I was cooking for Thanksgiving. After their nap, I walked in to find all 4 walls, the dresser, the window, the closet door and bedroom door, and a toy bin all colored on.

Instead of putting them directly in time out, I called my oldest into the room. I knew she had done the drawings, as my youngest is just too short to reach where the crayon marks were. And, it was a continuous line around the room. After I pointed this out to my oldest, she admitted she did it. So, while I put the laundry away in her room, she was scrubbing the walls with a magic eraser. Yes, I made her clean up her crayon marks. She whined, complained that it wasn't fair, and pouted about it.

I took that opportunity to talk to her about her feelings. I explained that it was okay to feel that way, but to remember that mommy feels the same way when mommy has to clean up a mess that mommy didn't make. I also explained that it was okay to not like cleaning, but it is something that has to be done. And, since this is a rental, I explained to her that it is not nice to vandalize other people's property. It was a light bulb moment for her, she finally gets it. I'm hoping this is the start of something better, less big messes, but it was a good moment.

She didn't clean it all the way up, I did have to finish it. But, she had to sit in time out while I finished. When I finished, we reiterated our earlier chat.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rice pack tutorial

This is the third tutorial I promised for this week. I know I have done a tutorial on rice packs in the past, but this is another version. I use this one in my home all the time, and prefer it over my heating pad. My husband also loves it. Mine is made from muslin, with a cover. However, I made this one out of cotton, so it did not need a cover.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Charm pack coasters

This is the second tutorial I promised. My sister liked the coasters I made for my living room, and wanted a set for hers. I hate cutting and measuring, and found that charm pack squares make a perfect coaster. The only cutting I had to do was the batting, or in this case, felt.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Padded Camera Strap

As promised, here is the first tutorial for this week, a padded camera strap with little pockets for an SD card.

My sister is an avid photographer, and she is quite good. She recently bought a new Canon camera, and needed a camera strap to cover the one that came with the camera. I happily obliged! You will have to forgive both the quality of these pictures, and the mess in the background. We are still unpacking from our recent move, and I was rushing when I made this.

First, measure your camera strap. I added 1.5" to the width and 2-3" to the length to allow for seam allowances, hemming, and the padding. If you want to add pockets, cut them the same width you cut the strap cover, and about 5" long. You will need 2 of everything. Cut your padding the same as the cover as well. I used felt instead of batting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chicken and Rice Casserole

This blog post is for my sister. While she was home, I made a chicken and rice casserole, and she asked for the recipe. It's relatively simple to make, but I thought I'd post it here so she can always reference it.

This recipe yields enough to feed my husband and I, and our two children, with leftovers.

2-3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, thawed if frozen
1 package flavored rice side, Lipton and Knorr's both make it. I usually use Cheddar Broccoli.
1 can cream of something soup - Again, you can use mushroom, chicken, even cheddar soup.
1/2 can of milk - After you empty the can, fill it up about half way with milk.
Seasonings - Salt, pepper, and whatever else you like. I usually add sage to the chicken.

Additional, but optional ingredients:
Frozen broccoli
Shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray, as the rice will stick.

In a mixing bowl, mix rice, soup and milk together. Pour into casserole dish. Add broccoli, and then lay the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle with seasonings. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for approximately 1 hour. I use a meat thermometer to make sure my chicken is finished. Remove from oven, top the chicken with shredded cheese, and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quick, Simple tutorials coming up!

Over the next few days, I'm hoping to find the time to share a few tutorials with you all. My sister was home for a visit these past 2 weeks, and she requested that I sew her a few things. I was more than happy to oblige, and took pictures along the way.

So, coming up will be a tutorial for each of the following: a padded camera strap, charm pack coasters, and a rice pack warmer. You will have to forgive the pictures, I was rushing as I made them, and the lighting is a little off. Stay tuned, I am hoping to have these posted this week.

Each project is relatively quick, I did them all within 4 hours. This includes hunting down craft supplies, considering I still haven't completely unpacked all of mine.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kids and Technology

Some people say that we should let our kids be kids, but with the digital age upon us, it is hard to encourage them to engage in pretend play.

I believe firmly that each child should engage in pretend play daily, but we should also allow them the opportunity to get comfortable with technology. My kids enjoy at least an hour or two of pretend play a day, more than they watch television, or anything else. However, we also allow them a little bit of time on the computer each day. Yes, even at 4 and 2 years old, they are allowed on the computer. That is what this post is about.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tater tot Casserole

This is one of those go-to meals in my house. It is so simple, and I usually have the ingredients on hand. My kids love it, my husband loves it, and the best part, it takes around 30-45 minutes to make. It is cheaper than Hamburger Helper, and has a lot less sodium.

1 lb ground beef
1 small bag frozen tater tots
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
Shredded cheese to top - optional

Preheat your oven to 350.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet, season if you'd like, and drain grease. Return beef to skillet. Add cream of mushroom soup, and  about 1/2 cup of milk to beef. Mix thoroughly, and pour into a small casserole dish. Spread out evenly, and cover with tater tots. Bake 25 minutes, pull out, top with shredded cheese, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

We usually put a little bit of ketchup on the top of ours, but it is also good by itself. You can dress this up in a number of ways, and you can also use hash browns, or even french fries. Essentially any frozen potato will work, aside from mashed potatoes. The best part, we rarely have leftovers. My family enjoys it that much!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemade Gel Air Freshener

With the holidays fast approaching, I have lots of people coming and going. While I love my Scentsy warmers, some of those guests are children. I know the warmer will not burn them, but I really do not relish the idea of cleaning wax from the carpet. So, I usually turn them off, which leaves me needing something to freshen the air in my home.

This time of year, I usually make a batch of gel air fresheners. They make simple gifts, but also make your home smell wonderful.

The recipe is really simple, you'll only need a few ingredients.

  • 1 box plain gelatin 
  • 2 cups water, divided 
  • 15-20 drops fragrance oil, I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby in the Candle Making section.
  • food coloring 
  • 2 tablespoons salt 
  • You will also need a bowl and spoon that you do not use for food preparation. The fragrance oils can cause illness, so it's better to be safe than sorry. I have an old plastic measuring cup that I use for things like this, along with a wooden spoon, marked "Craft Spoon"

Boil 1 cup of water, add food coloring.

In small bowl, combine gelatin(all 4 packages in box) and salt. Stir in boiling water until completely dissolved. Stir slowly to minimize foam.

Add 1 cup cold water, and fragrance oil. Stir well. This is where you will want to add the coloring if you are using it.
Pour into decorative containers. Chill 1-2 hours to set, or allow to sit on counter for a few hours. They will set at room temp. 

Since I was making this one for me, I just used a canister that I bought at the dollar store. You can use any type of container you want, but glass is best. Again, make sure it is not something you use for food preparation. You can also add things to decorate them, such as dehydrated fruit slices, cinnamon sticks, or even silk flowers. 

*The reason for the salt is to help prevent molding. I did a small batch of these last year, and put them into 1/2 cup containers. They dried out before they molded. I would suggest keeping these out of reach of children as well.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My temporary No Sew Curtain

We are still in the process of getting everything moved, the last things to be moved are my craft supplies. Over half of them are still in the old apartment, including my thread and a majority of my fabric.

However, I hate having naked windows. Even though I live on the second floor, I still like to have all of my windows covered at night. This led to a desperate search for a temporary curtain, until I can make some to fit the odd window in my bedroom.

It was ridiculously easy. I took an old jersey sheet I had laying around. I cut it in half, and then cut off the top side seams. This opened up a pocket for the tension rod. Since it was a full size sheet, I left the width so I could ensure the window would be covered. The result worked fairly well, despite the ugly green color.

Since the sheets are jersey, they will not unravel. This sheet was originally going to be a maxi dress for me for the summer, but I never got around to making it. So, it has a second life as a temporary curtain.

Monday, November 5, 2012

ZeroWater Filter

I recently purchased a ZeroWater filter. My basis for choosing this particular brand has to do with the amount of filtration. It has 5 stages, 2-3 more than most available on the market.

I get it home, open it up, and expect to soak the filter like I have had to do in the past. Nope, as soon as you wash and dry the container, you screw in the filter and it's ready to go!

So, I filled up the reservoir and let it filter. One thing I did notice is that it does filter slowly, but that isn't a big deal to me. Meanwhile, I grabbed the water tester that came with it and tested the water from the tap. It came up an astonishing 463!! It shocked me to see so many contaminants in my city's water. As soon as the water finished filtering, I filled up a glass, and tested it. It came back a 001. Not completely zero, but I figured this was due to residue from the tap water still in the glass. I dumped it out, and tested the filtered water again. This time it was 000.

The water tastes so much better than it does from the tap. The cost of the filters are a bit more than the competitor's brand, and with such a high contamination level, mine will not last as long. However, the system came with 2 coupons for immediate use, and the company offers an additional savings for the future. The good news is that most of the US has water in the range of 100-300, making the filters last longer.

I highly recommend this product, and I am not in any way affiliated, sponsored or endorsed by ZeroWater to say this. This is my own personal experience.

This is the one I bought, since we do use a lot of water for drinking around here. My husband drinks ice tea, I drink coffee and water, and my kids drink kool-aid occasionally. I do not like to use tap water to make any of this. It fits perfectly on the top shelf of my fridge, and takes up less room than a 12 pack of soda!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sorry for my absence!

Along with being sick, we are also moving this week. This makes my available online time slim. Granted, we are only moving across the street, my days are still packed!

My husband has been working thirds this week, getting home around 8am, and sleeping until 3pm. My oldest has school from 12pm-3pm, and my youngest naps during this time. I use that small 3 hour window to run errands, and after they are in bed for the night, I try to do some cleaning, homework, and then unwind with a movie.

I am hoping to be finished by this coming weekend. I should be able to return to my regular posting soon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Old Fashioned Red Rock Candy

This was my grandmother's recipe. She use to make it every year at Christmas time, and it is still one of my favorite candies. Below it, I'll include instructions for changing the flavoring if you don't like cinnamon. Also, you will need a candy thermometer. She did not give me temperatures, as she just eyeballs it, so I've tried to include the stages, but I do not know the temps off hand.

What you'll need:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Red Hots
1 tsp butter
powder sugar

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cleaning your carpets!

I live in an apartment. Recently, it was damaged, and we are moving into a temporary place while they remodel this one. While cleaning the temp place, I noticed the carpets are stiff and matted. So stiff, that my vacuum wouldn't even pull up the nap of the carpet when I vacuumed. After some quick research, I concluded that the cause is too much soap left in the carpet.

My solution was to rinse the carpets with vinegar to break up the soap residue. However, I have a small machine, it only holds 1 gallon of water. This would take a lot of refills and trips to the sink. There had to be a better way.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Resticking your Cricut Mats

My Cricut mats seem to lose their stick quite often. They get covered in lit and little paper bits, which is a bummer because I use them a lot to cut decals. I have seen several tutorials on recovering them with various products suck as Zig's 2 way glue, spray adhesive, and Ailene's Tacky glue mixed with water.

This is what my mats looked like after several uses. As you can see, there is lint, bits of paper, even marker on them.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Quilt for Kids - A great cause!

First, let me start by saying that I am in no way affiliated with Quilts for Kids, nor did they ask me to write this on their behalf. So, the opinions expressed are my own.

When I started getting into quilting, I was extremely overwhelmed at the amount of cutting it involved. I was also having trouble piecing, because the blocks that I liked were intricate. I'm still not that great at it, but I'm getting better.

One day, while searching for a pattern that I could replicate easily, I stumbled upon the Quilt For Kids website. If you don't know what it is, please take a moment to visit their site. I have included their mission statement, taken directly from their website, below:

Transforming discontinued, unwanted and other fabrics into patchwork quilts that comfort children with life-threatening illnesses and children of abuse.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Go Back to Sleep clock

I don't know about you, but my children are terrible sleepers. They go to bed at a decent hour, always the same time every night, but wake up frequently through the night and early in the morning. They are not getting their recommended 10 hours of sleep, which makes for some crabby kiddos. They also do not nap during the day.

While perusing Pinterest one day, I saw this pin which was linked to this blog post:

Genius, I thought! And filed it away in the depths of my crafting brain. Until tonight.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How to make a child's lab coat, without collar.

One of my children's favorite dress-up activities is playing doctor. They have had a few kits in the past, and I'm currently working on a felt version that will hopefully last longer than the cheap plastic ones.

My oldest requested a doctor's coat. Instead of spending the money to buy some, I thought I'd work through my fabric stash and make both of my girls one. However, googling yielded few results, most involved refashioning a men's dress shirt, or using a pattern. I knew I'd have to create my own pattern, which I did from a shirt that fit each of them. I also used a set of curtains that I picked up on clearance, intending to make them summer dresses out of the material, but that never happened. Since I used curtains, I had the hemming finished. However, if you are using off the bolt fabric, you will need to add in hems.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

My recipe box is a collection of recipes from a variety of sources in my family. It was my father's, which he in turn gave to me when I had my own home. It's a mixture of recipes from my grandmothers, stepmoms, and even him!

I have no clue where this pumpkin bread recipe came from. It *looks* like my grandmother's handwriting, but I cannot be sure. Regardless, it's delicious, and makes 3 loaves!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My favorite blog...

Now has a forum!!!

I just wanted to share it with you all, because I absolutely LOVE Jillee and all of her wonderful tips/recipes. She has now included a forum on her blog, which allows you to share your ideas, recipes, crafts, and other wonderful things!

The link to her blog:

There is a navigation bar at the top, with a button to the forum. Or, you can just click on this link to go straight there:

Registration is free and only takes a couple of minutes. My username is CraftyMamaT. See you there!

Belle Costume for K

With Halloween approaching, K made it very clear that she wanted to be Belle for Halloween this year. I'm not sure why Belle is her favorite princess, considering her favorite color is pink, and Belle's dress is yellow. I think it's because the dress up kit that she received for her birthday last year has no Belle dress in it, just Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. I digress though.

Halloween time around here is usually a bit on the chilly side. When searching through the premade costumes at the stores, all of the dresses were on the shorter side, hitting around the knees. K didn't like the length, and I didn't like the thin material, knowing it wouldn't be warm enough. That's when she asked if I would make her costume. 

In a moment of sheer madness, or complete and utter surprise at her faith in my sewing skills, I agreed. I love to sew, I'm decent at it, as long as it involves cotton and other "easy" materials to work with. Also, as long as it's not a fitted garment. I mostly sew home decor items or quilts. After browsing a couple of blogs and Pinterest, I realized that my promise to make her costume was going to be a bit more difficult to uphold. She wanted it sparkly, and shiny, which meant satins, organzas, chiffons, and the like. I took a deep breath(or 5) and headed to the craft store.

I purchased a few yards of yellow glitter costume satin and some sheer yellow organza. I came home, and got to work.

I didn't have a pattern, so I combined two different tutorials, and a few of my own elements to create her dress. It was a lot of trial and error, but it finally got there. Here is how I did it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sharpie Tie-Dye

A couple of weeks ago, it was Homecoming week in this little town I call home. Being a smaller town, everyone gets in on the festivities, all the way down to the Pre-K level! They had a different dress-up day for each day of the week. One of those days was tie-dye day. I knew my daughter did not have a single item of tie-dyed clothing, so we made our own with permanent markers and rubbing alcohol!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Simmering Pot "recipe"

This time of year is always so busy for me, but it is my favorite time of the year! As many of you know, I do love my Scentsy warmers, but nothing quite smells as good as real fruit simmering in water on the stove. There are a multitude of simmering pot recipes out there, but this post came as a result of testing out a holiday gift idea for family acquaintances. You know, the neighbors, teachers, etc.

First, in order to preserve the fruit, I knew I needed to dehydrate it. However, I do not own a dehydrator, and I couldn't justify spending the money for one to make gifts. Not to mention, I really do not need another small kitchen appliance. This is how I did it, in the oven.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I am the luckiest woman alive!

Just kidding! While I am blessed with a loving husband and two wonderful children, that is not what I'm posting about today. 

In the last 12 hours, I have been targeted for 2 separate scams. One was via email, the other was by phone. I want to share them with you, so that you are a little more aware of these scams. I'm also going to share some common sense tips to avoid falling victim to these scams.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cleaning with coconut oil

I don't know how many of you use your cutting mat for things other than cutting, but I know I do. I have a large mat, thanks to my husband. I sent him to the store for a rotary mat, and in true man fashion, he came home with the largest one they sold. So, my mat is 24"x36". I keep it on my craft table, as that is the best place to store it. For this reason, it gets used as many things.

A while back, I was making a fabric covered photo album. It involved the use of spray adhesive. The overspray caused this lovely speckling on my mat, which attracted lint from the black fabric I was using. I immediately grabbed my goo gone, but it was taking off the ink on the mat as well. So, that was out.

So, I was left with a mat that looks like that. Not so pretty, but at least it wasn't tacky.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Organizing under the kitchen sink!

If you are anything like me, you have a TON of cleaning supplies under your kitchen sink. It may look like this:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Towel Holder/Napkin Ring Tutorial

I have had this idea in my head for a week or so, and decided to make it yesterday. It took very little time, cost very little, and now I'm left wondering why I never thought of this before! The best part, it cost less than $2!!

What you'll need:
Plastic shower curtain rings - You can pick these up at the Dollar store
Fabric scraps - A fat quarter will get you at least 2 rings/holders
Sewing machine, iron, buttons

Monday, September 3, 2012

Deco Mesh Fall Wreath

Even though the weather is still hot and humid here in Central Illinois, I am getting a jump start on my fall decorating. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and if my husband wouldn't think I'm nuts(I'm quite sure he does already) I would leave my fall decor up year round. I love the colors, the textures, the smells, everything about fall!!

To get into the swing of decorating, I decided to make a new wreath yesterday. It is my first craft project in well over a month, and the first one in my new place. I didn't really need a new wreath, my burlap one from last year is still in good condition.

Fall 2011 Wreath, painted burlap.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork Loin

I love my slow cooker. I use it weekly for many, many meals. It is a busy mom's best kitchen helper!

In an effort to post more, I thought I'd share what I made for dinner tonight with you all. I always get rave reviews from my family when I make this, and even my picky eater likes it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Coffee addict!

One of the worst things that can happen to a coffee drinker, happened to me this morning. I ran out of my favorite flavored creamer. It's a seasonal item, so buying more isn't an option.

Luckily for me, I keep the powdered non-flavored stuff on hand. My MIL uses it, since she doesn't like flavored coffee. I thought I'd try my hand at making my own version of my favorite, peppermint mocha.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Clean your lint trap!

Yesterday, I was sitting around looking at my notebook of homemade recipes. For those that don't know, I'm compiling them into a book to give as a gift this year to all the women in my family. They are recipes that I've shared here, found on the web, or been told as I've grown. They are all recipes that I've personally tried myself, so I know that they work.

While working on this, I've also come across some great tips and tricks. I thought I'd share a few of those with you today.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quilting is good for the soul!

I've been meaning to make a black and white quilt for quite some time now. I have a bunch of fabrics that coordinate very well, I just couldn't find a pattern I liked. So, I googled. And, I stumbled upon this GORGEOUS quilt from this blog:

This quilt is so pretty, I can't wait to get started on it. She was kind enough to include a link to the pattern, it's called the Papillon Jardin by Nancy Mahoney. You can find the pattern for free, here.

Since I will be making a small one for my daughters, I'm going to include some pink in there as well. The fabrics I'll be using are these:

I can't wait to get started!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Shower Soothers/Bath Bombs

Cold season is in full force in my household. 3 out of the 4 of us have one. It stinks big time! So, instead of running out and buying shower soothers, I decided to make my own. They are easy to make, and the ingredients are easy to find.

For those that don't know what shower soothers are, this is what I'm talking about:

You put them in the bottom of your shower, and they melt and release vapors while you shower. I love them. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Green dishes

As the new year wears on, and the weather going from rain to snow to sun and back, I've found myself doing a lot of cooking/baking lately. With this, comes dishes. I hate dishes. I take that back. I hate washing dishes. So, admittedly, I use the dishwasher. I know, for shame.

In my quest to use more natural products around my home, I decided to look for an alternative to my Cascade packets. And, I found one that I love. It gets my dishes just as clean, and helps to keep my dishwasher clean as well.
The recipe is simple, you'll need 4 ingredients.

2 parts washing soda
2 parts borax
1 part citric acid
1 part coarse sea salt

That's it. Mix it all in a jar, and store under your sink. Fill up the detergent cup, and use vinegar in the rinse cup.

I've been asked a lot about where to find these ingredients. I live in a fairly good sized town, so I have a lot of stores readily available to me. I buy my borax, washing soda, and sea salt at my local chain grocery store. Sometimes I can find citric acid there as well (in the spice aisle) but often times, I have to go to my local whole foods store to find it. They sell it in bulk there, so I can buy exactly the amount I need. I use citric acid in a few different things (like bath bombs.)

This week's new recipe was porkchops in a cream sauce with mushrooms. All done in the slow cooker. It was delish!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Burlap Wreaths - All the rage!

Those of you who have friended me on facebook may remember my fall wreath. For those that don't have me as a friend (Shame on you! Just kidding!) this is the wreath I'm talking about:

It was made from burlap, which I bought in a natural color, and painted to my liking. Each color is just a square of burlap, folded and pinned to the wreath. Looking back, hot glue would have been better! I think this was somewhere in the range of 100+ 5" squares.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fun

I just wanted to post a quick update on the soup I made the other night. It was AMAZING!

Even my picky eater loved it, and said, "Mom, you make the best dinners!" My 16 month old ate 2 small helpings of it. I recommend it to anyone looking for something a bit different. It was filling, and great for a cold day.

In the spirit of trying new things, I recently made a small set of gel air fresheners, using a recipe I found on If you haven't visited that site, do so. It's an amazing resource for all of us DIY'ers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New year, new goals

I'm not one to set resolutions. I find them pointless, frustrating, and often times, I give up on them before the end of January.

So, this year, I've decided to set goals for myself. Wait, not really goals either, just more guidelines.

This year, I'm going to try to use more home remedies. And, I'm going to make them into a book for family and friends. I will only include the remedies that I've personally used and had success with. I want fewer chemicals in my house, and more homemade stuff.

I'm also going to try and cook from scratch a lot more. Bye bye convenient food, which has been clogging up my cabinets lately due to life getting busy. I miss cooking homemade food for my family, so I'm getting back to that. I want to try one new recipe a week. This week, it's Chicken Tortilla Soup.

I want to get back to crafting more as well. With all of life's stresses, and how mundane it can be as a stay at home mom, I want the joy of crafting back in my life.

I also want to blog more. I plan on making myself write one post a week. I use to journal all the time, and I miss that as well. I find that I cope better, if I can let things out.

So, that's my year ahead.

Anyone have any goals they want to share?