Friday, December 17, 2010

my first cross stich!

Sorry for the lack of posts, but the holiday season has taken our household by storm. We are currently preparing for a long drive to Phoenix for Christmas, so finalizing lists, cleaning house and packing are the chores of the day. However, I thought I'd share my first completed cross stich with you. It is an ornament for my son Nathan on his first Christmas... now I just need to find a round silver frame for it :).

This is the next one I am trying (WAY more complicated... I'm a bit scared):

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wreath gift

If you are going to my family's Christmas get together in Phoenix... STOP READING!

Ladies, I need help, I kinda feel like this wreath is missing something... not sure what so suggestions are welcome! Thanks in advance! (oh, and if you want to know how I made this one, let me know and I'll do a tutorial) I wanted something that looked like Spring in the country... simple, but beautiful. The wreath is burlap to add texture. Let me know what you think!

Pyrex cozy

Have you ever been invited to a potluck or had a sick friend that you were bringing a meal to? If that meal is in a Pyrex dish, I have a great solution for an easy Pyrex cozy to keep it warm. There are some more complicated ones out there, but in my book, simple is better.

Pyrex Cozy:
Supply list:
Double sided quilted broadcloth (I had 1/2 yard and had plenty left over... I think 1/3 of a yard would be a great size if you are only buying for 1)
Quilter's Bias tape
Sewing machine
a Pyrex dish with lid

I started by measuring my Pyrex dish, but then I realized there are SO many sizes out there, it would be easier if I had you just lay whatever Pyrex you were planning on using in your quilted broadcloth.
Lay your Pyrex in the broadcloth, fold up one side so that it is over your Pyrex and just covering both handles. the side of the fold that the Pyrex is sitting on should be about 4 1/2 inches longer than your Pyrex. We are going to end up folding this end over when everything is finished so that it closes the cozy.

So, move the long edge (without handles) of your Pyrex about an inch and a half from the edge of your broadcloth. Pin along this edge leaving a 1/4th inch seam allowance.
now pin along the other side, leaving the Pyrex in the "pocket" we've now made... make sure it is a little bit loose so that you don't have to struggle to get your Pyrex in later.

Cut the side we just pinned, leaving a 1/4th seam allowance.

Now we are going to cover all of the rough edges in the Quilter's bias tape. Start pinning the bias tape on the folded edge of the broad cloth (leave 1/2 inch hanging off the end on each end)... continue all the way around, then cut off the excess. Use the left over piece to cover the rough edge at the pocket opening.

This is the rough edge I'm talking about:

you are actually going to un-pin things so that you can sew this edge first, but I like to make sure I have enough bias tape by cutting the largest solid piece first.
Sew the bias tape in place on the pocket edge, then pin 2 small Velcro squares on the pocket edge, sew these squares on.

Like this:

Now re-pin the outer edge and sew the bias tape onto the entire outer edge (I fold under my start and finish edges before I start so that I get a nice clean look)
Pin the other half of the Velcro squares to the top of the pocket closure. Sew them on.

And you are finished!

I really hope this tutorial makes sense... I seem to have caught whatever my boys have, so this was typed up while in a cough medicine daze. :)
Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Colds are the worst... especially colds that make the kids cough so hard that they throw up. Anyways, that is where I have been, since Thanksgiving. I do have one suggestion for any mommy with a sick kiddo: Boogie wipes. you can get them at Target, Babies R Us and I've heard rumors of Costco carrying them. They are by far the best thing ever for runny noses. Bug, my 2yr old, will not let me touch his nose with tissues, but when he sees that boogie wipe case come out he is more than happy to let me clean his nose off... he will even wipe it himself! I tried fooling him once, with baby wipes, that is something I'm never trying again... I happened to have a cold at the same time and tried a baby wipe on my own nose and it REALLY hurt. Boogie wipes on the other hand do not hurt at all, infact I find them soothing. Definately worth the 3.99 for a package (you may be able to find them cheaper, I was deparate the last time I picked them up).
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and start of the Christmas season! I'm plugging away at the pyrex cozy tutorial... there are tons of pictures to organize, but hopefully it will be up soon, as well as a puff quilt for a twin sized bed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Truck blanket

Ok, so I know I promised to get the pyrex cozy post up this week, but I had another project that was keeping me up at night with ideas... so, introducing... Bug's truck playmat!

I got the idea from Crafty Cupboard and her crafting with the stars 3rd round entry. I loved her idea, but knew that Bug would get sick of the barn theme quickly, many dreamless nights later I came up with the final idea. It is still going to take some reworking to get it as spiffy as I'd like (the garage especially), but now I know I have the skills to make him and Munchkin a large floor quilt with all different sections (fairgrounds, zoo, farm, grandma's house, etc.) so that is my next BIG project.

When all is said and done, this only cost me $10 to make! (actually closer to $5, but I that is because I already had a ton of felt sitting around)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Turkey day!

Ok, think about it. It is the evening of thanksgiving, dinner is done, everyone is stuffed to the gills and all that is left of the beautiful turkey is a bunch of bones with remnants of meat hanging on it. Most people would throw it out at this point, but I have another idea for you... Turkey soup!
It is pretty easy, but for a helper recipe try this one! It is perfect for those "black friday" mornings or freeze it and reheat for a quick flu season "get well" treat.
ps. I should have the pyrex cozy tutorial up by friday... the holidays are keeping me pretty busy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I haven't forgotten you!

Don't worry, I will have a new tutorial soon... this has been a crazy week, so I dont forsee having the time to type it up until early next week. "What will it be?" .... how 'bout a Pyrex cozy? ;)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Paraffin Wax Jar Candles

I love candles, especially jar candles. I enjoy giving them as gifts for house warming or holidays, however I am not a huge fan of the "designer brand" prices and much prefer making my own (because of the savings, quality and love put into them).

They are easy to make, but there are a few things you should know before you attempt them, so here is a quick tutorial:

How to Make Paraffin Wax Jar Candles

Supply list:

Paraffin wax


Candle Jars (or any jar)


Candle scent

Wood spoon

Two stock pots, one smaller than the other (or double boiler)

Tin foil

cookie sheet

multi purpose thread



Oven mitts

(Keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case)

First fill your large stock pot with water and place on the stove with medium heat.

Break up your wax into manageable pieces with your hammer. I purchased a 10lb slab for $7.96 at Hobby Lobby (normally 14.99... thank you 40% coupon) this slab will make a lot of candles, but buying in bulk is cheaper in the long run if you plan on making quite a few. Decided now if you want all of your candles to be one scent and/or color. If you do, it makes the process go much quicker. We are going to proceed as though this is the case.

Open your jars and prepare the wicks. I use multi-purpose thread, which I tie around the wick in the middle at the height of the top of the jar. Then I tape each side of the string to the sides of the jar, making sure the wick is centered and the strings are tight.

Lay out a sheet of tin foil on the cookie sheet. place all of your prepped jars on the cookie sheet.

By now your water should be simmering, or about to... put your small stock pot into the larger one and add your wax slowly to the small stock pot (not the one with water!). Turn the stove heat down to medium low. Add the color crayon you'd like your candles to be to the wax. You may have to add more than one if you are doing a large batch to get the desired color. I find that adding varying shades of the same color (like several different blues in different quantities) gives me better colors with more depth.

Stir your wax as it melts, make sure it doesn't get too hot too fast, otherwise it will form large bubbles that will pop hot wax everywhere or it can catch fire. NEVER leave you wax unattended when it is on heat, this is a job best done when the little ones are sleeping so that there are no distractions.

Once all of the wax is melted, turn off the heat and add your scent... stir it thoroughly.

Now carefully pull your small stock pot out and pour the wax into the jars. Be careful not to spill, but if you do it is ok, that is what the tin foil is for ;) .

If you have a little bit of leftover wax, that is great! Put the small stock pot back in the warm water, but don't turn on the heat. Use this wax to fill in any dips or holes in your jars when they cool. You can use a fan to speed the cooling wax process.

Finally, cut your wicks down to about 1/4th of an inch above the cooled wax, add some ribbon, or a label and enjoy!

If you wait for the sales to be in your favor, these become a really affordable gift... each of my candles cost around $3.00 to make!
($20.00 - jars (20) , $4.00 for 20 wicks, $7.96 - wax, $5.00 -ribbon, $9.00 -candle scent, $0.25 - crayons /20 candles )

Thanks to all the awesome pattern makers!

When I started looking through the DIY blogs I notices an awesome trend... almost anything I wanted to make had a tutorial or pattern out there! I have tried a few things so far and I'm having a blast!!! (and saving money, which is a huge bonus)

First I tried these adorable fleece winter hats for the boys, pattern courtesy of From an Igloo. I love how they turned out, especially because each of them only cost ~$2.00... compare that to the $15+ they charge in the stores and it was definitely worth the time.

(The hats weren't quite finished in this picture)

Next I tried the "Hobo Bag" from MADE... It literally took me minutes to whip up a cute little sac for my 2 yr old. I see TONS of possibilities for these bags; Large ones for sorting toys, small ones for wrangling baby socks in suitcases when traveling, organizing our double diaper bag by person, gift bags, ... just to name a few! I can't wait to make more of them!

(Fabric courtesy of craft fair left overs :) but Bug seems to love it )

There are dozens more that I can't wait to try... now it is only a matter of finding sewing time!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I have run into a problem...

I am dying to quilt, but I cant pick a fabric. Maybe it is a fear of commitment (lol, yes, me... the girl who got married at 20 and had 2 kids by 25), I keep thinking "what if I put all of that work into it and hate it? What if Hubby hates it?"

Lets be realistic, cute fabric is costly and I'd be super bummed if I bought a bunch of it and then ruined it with my first quilting attempt, which is very likely. I started a quilt a couple of years ago, purchased my fabric, cut the squares, and ended up hating it half way through and haven't looked at it since. Is this something every fledgling quilter goes through, or is it just me? there are tons of fabrics I love out there, too many to choose from in fact. I continue to hold onto this dream of having an exquisite quilt on each bed and a beautiful one adorning the back of the couch that I can switch out with other beautiful quilts for the holidays. The truth is I can't even pick fabric for pillows for my couch, it feels like too big of a commitment... lol, I'm ridiculous, I know.

Ah, a girl can dream... maybe someday I'll figure it out....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dining room table Redo

I purchased our first kitchen table on Craigslist for a whopping $40. I knew I got a steal (for Hawaii anyway) when I learned it was solid oak. I loved it, even though it didn't come with any chairs and had quite a bit of chips in the finish, I knew someday I would refinish it. I hoped to do it before our youngest son arrived in February of 2010, but worried about the dust and fumes the little growing baby would be exposed to... then he was born and the military moved us across the ocean and the country. The blemishes have been bugging me the entire time we have lived here, and the other morning I'd had enough, I pulled our my sander and got started. I learned a lot along the way, and if I ever get to it I will write a tutorial, but I just had to share the pictures!

The ugly chips that drove me crazy...
Half sanded... this is what my sweet husband came home to...
Done sanding the top! I kept taking it out to the garage to work, just to set it up inside again... I made so much more work for myself. I loved how it looked like this, but I knew it wouldn't stay looking nice like this with a 2yr old around.
First batch of stain... I was so nervous at this point...
With good reason, it didn't turn out. So, I switched to a gel stain. And got my beautiful walnut colored table after tons of staining, sanding and polyurethane.
I love it... it isn't perfecct, but very few things are when I'm trying to wrestle an 8mo old and 2 yr old while doing a huge project. I know I'll have to do it again after a few more military moves, but I really dont mind, maybe I'll go white next time ;).
(Chairs are next, I'm picking up fabric tomorrow!)

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Wreath

Looking around our neighborhood, every house had some sort of fall decoration that made their house look inviting and festive. I especially loved all the different wreaths that have been put up. When I looked at buying a wreath for our door I was shocked at the $25 and up price tags, so I set out to make my own for under $10. So here we are at my first tutorial as a result.

The Fall Sunflower Wreath

Supply list:
3-4 bunches of flowers, both large blooms and small blooms
Coordinating ribbon
Florist wire
Sharp Serrated knife
1 1/2 inch thick florist foam rectangle
large plate
hot glue gun and glue

First, align your plate face down where you would like to cut your circle out (I plan on using the left over foam so I went as far as I could to the top)

Trace around the circle with the tip of your knife

Carefully cut out your circle with the knife.

Now cut 2 1/2 feet of ribbon from your roll, place this to the side for later. Then with your hot glue gun, secure the end of you uncut ribbon roll to the circle. Wrap it around the circle, securing it with a dot of glue every 3 inches, making sure to cover the rough edge at the start. Cut the ribbon when you have pass around 2 times and tuck the rough edge under the flat ribbon, secure it with glue. (in the image I haven't tucked the rough edge yet)

Next cut all of your flowers off of the bunches leaving thier stems about 1 1/4 inches long. Set aside the leftover bush stems with the leaves. Fluff whatever flowers need some extra attention (like if thier petals are stuck together, take the time now to fix them)
Do not start adding flowers from the center, start at the outside edge, placing the smallest blooms first about 1/2 -1 inch apart. Continue around until you complete the circle. the fill the center with your larger blooms until you are at the center flower, place this flower last, make sure it is your best looking flower since it will draw the most attention.


Now, pull the leaves off of the flower buch stems that we set aside earlier. Cut them so that you have single leaves with a small stem. Wrap and twist the floral wire around the stem with your pliers. They should look like this:

Next, place a leaf between each of the outer flowers by pushing the florist wire into the foam.

Finally, add the 2 and 1/2 foot section of ribbon to the back of the "wreath" Start at the base of the wreath and secure the ribbon with twised florist wire and hot glue, make sure the rough edge isn't visible and is tucked nicely under your wrapped ribbon. Hot glue in 2 or 3 places on the back of the wreath up to the top, Fold the remaining ribbon in half and secure it again with florist wire and hot glue.

Now hang your wreath up on your door and enjoy!

Total cost of this project for me:
Large blooms - $3.00 Small blooms- 2 @ $1.00
Ribbon - $1.94 Foam - $2.50
(Walmart for all of the above)
I already had the glue sticks and florist wire, so, in my book those are a zero.
Total: ~ $9.50 +tax

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shop-vac Hang up Mini review

Are you like me? Do you really like having a clean, cracker crumb free car? I love it when my car has been freshly vacuumed and looks nice and neat, but sometimes, with two little ones it will be weeks before I can get to the car wash without the little monsters to use one of the high powered vacuums to clean every crevasse out. I hated it, it drove me crazy, especially when I had an unexpected passenger like a friend or co-worker in the car. I couldn't use my house hold vacuum because it didn't have enough suction and I really didn't want to put it through the abuse of constantly sucking up who knows what. While working on a wood project we ran into the problem of having sawdust everywhere, it was a disaster zone and I didn't want to use the house hold vacuum for the above reasons. On a quick run to Walmart I came across the Mini Shop-vac. At $19.95 I figured it was worth a try (especially with Walmart's awesome return policy). Let me say, I LOVE IT. It has amazing suction, cleans up anything and everything (even super fine sand from the beach!!!) and I find myself using it daily. It is small enough to put into the car while I clean so I never run into not being able to reach an area, it also comes with attachments to make cleaning small spaces easier. Water messes that use to take tons of towels or paper towels now get sucked up and emptied out in seconds. It does have an auto shut off suction function if you knock it over while it is on, and that took a while to figure out what was going on, but it is to protect the electrical parts when working with water. Over all, I highly recommend it to pretty much anyone, a mommy with little kids, daddy who works with wood or other messy clean ups, or just that person who wants a shop vac but doesn't want to store something that big or the big price tag.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who am I?

I am a stay at home mom with a 2 year old and an 8 month old. This blog was inspired by my current favorite pair of high heels, heels in which I feel like I can conquer the world, but I can't chase down my 2 year old. In this blog I hope to share suggestions for my favorite ways of coping with two little ones, personal product reviews (I am not getting paid to express my opinion on products at all, I just get a ton of questions from new parents and thought I'd complile my thoughts here), project ideas and funny stories about the daily battles between myself and our two little angels. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it!