Saturday, October 3, 2009

We're Expanding

I'm sorry I've been a bad blogger. I told you in my last post that we're expanding the house and that's why I've been so bad lately. Well we are but it is a small addition, only 2 feet.

The addition won't be complete until May but of course I hope to be back to my old self and posting again in only a couple more weeks. Until then please hang in there with me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Could it get any better?

Seriously, doesn't this look like the best day ever? Don't tell hubby about this picture though. He thought I was taking pictures of the Sweet Pea, but I just couldn't resist. No, the dog isn't ours. It actually belongs to someone on the block who does not take care of it at all and as such it has adopted us. It's cute and makes an adorable photograph, but needs to go home. Could it get any cuter than this though?

Okay it did get cuter. We were out in the backyard picking up acorns. Dh wanted to pick them up to feed the deer with or something and I knew it would be the perfect activity for the Sweet Pea. She loves putting things in buckets. It was such a nice sunny day we just had to hang out outside for a while.

She's really getting good at deciding what she thinks needs to be photographed lately. I have tons of pictures of toes, socks, shoes, tongues, teeth, bellies and now acorns.

~I know I've been slacking off lately with crafty posts but I really do have a good reason. We're expanding the house so that has taken up all of my time and energy. More on that in the next couple days though.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Backtracking--Attack the Clutter Part 1

In my yard sale post I said “I mentioned before that I’m getting rid of the clutter that has taken over my house” but I just realized that this post never got posted. Ugh. It was finished sitting there just waiting for me to hit that button and I never did. So I’m going to back track a little bit and post it now. Hope you don’t mind.

Clutter has taken over my house. Forget the house; it’s taken over my entire life as of late. I was looking around this past week and suddenly had the overwhelming urge to find a hole in the sand to stick my head in. I swear I don’t know how this happens. I like to think of myself as a person who likes to live simply and keep things neat and organized. That’s how I like to think of myself. Apparently while I wasn’t looking the pod people came and now I’m a person living amidst junk and clutter. The bathroom cabinets are stuffed to the brim, our closets are bursting and don’t even get me started on the Sweet Pea’s toys. The magazine rack is overflowing and there are papers stacked everywhere; on top of the refrigerator, tables, the armoire…everywhere. Ugh. I tell myself that they are important papers that I can’t throw away, but if they are that important then I should file them. I know this. In fact, I know how to get organized and be clutter free. I’ve written articles about it, advised other people with great organizing tips and techniques and even used to live it. I’ve just gotten complacent. I’ve turned my head when unwanted items have drifted into the house, closed my eyes when the clutter first started to appear. Suddenly I’ve opened my eyes and it’s everywhere. It’s time to take back my life and my house.

Surely I’m not the only one that has been ambushed by clutter. I’m not right? Please tell me it’s not just me. That’s the thing about clutter, it’s sneaky. At first it’s just some unopened mail or a couple extra toys lying about but before you know it you can’t even open cabinet doors without something falling out at you. Okay, maybe I’m not being attacked by things when I open doors, but it’s getting scarily close. Too close for my liking. We’re trying to get back to living simply around here and more ecologically friendly as well so a lot of changes are going to be taking place.

It’s time to attack the clutter that has taken over our lives and invaded our space; Time to regain the tranquility that our home should provide us. As I tackle the clutter in my house I will take you on the journey with me. I will address some common (and not so common) clutter hot spots and highlight some creative and often simple solutions to get rid of the clutter and keep it from coming back. Together we shall rid the world of clutter. Well maybe not the world but at least our living rooms.

Okay now that I’ve said that obviously one of the first steps I took was to sort through some of the large clutter I had in my house (and in storage) and have a yard sale. While it was quite effective at removing some of the larger stuff we had hanging around, by no means did it solve our clutter dilemma. There is still plenty left that I must tackle.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fabric Flower Fun

I told you we did some crafting while we were on our little vacation. The rain continued to fall the entire time we were gone and I realized I didn't pack enough clothing for the cooler weather so we made a late night trip to Joanns one night to pick up some adorable corduroy to make the Sweet Pea some more pants. I took a few scraps of the fabric left over from my mom making the pants (and 2 pairs of pajama pants) and decided to make one of these little fabric flowers I had seen a while back.

I like the way it turned out but I definitely learned a little while I was making it. I intended to make it into a clip but only had pony tail holders with me. I definitely would put some felt or something on the back to attach the pony tail holder to instead of trying to attach it directly. Not bad for a first attempt. I have fabric cut out to make several more.

This is the closest thing I could get to an action shot of the flower. Why I didn't realize it would be next to impossible to get an almost 2 year old to hold still for a photo is beyond me.

Aren't the pants cute? By the way this is the face you get when you tell her to say "cheese" before you take the picture. That and she said the sun was too bright and she couldn't see. Picky, picky.

Just chilling out. We need to learn to do more of that.

I've been doing more crafting since I've been home but not much. I haven't finished much between unpacking, cleaning, making more salsa (10 more quart jars so far) and burning the you know what out of my hand. I've been working on a few things for the 80's Fantasy Movie Swap that I'm doing over at Meridian Ariel and I can't wait to share them. I can't spoil the surprise though so you'll just have to wait. My hand feels much better today so I might be able to actually use a crochet hook again in a day or two. *Make sure you have a good grip on your pot holder when taking an extremely hot pan out of the oven. Ugh.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Home again, Home again

I'm up to my elbows in laundry and the makings for salsa so I must be home again. It was a quick, whirlwind type trip and I'm glad to be home and back into our regular routine. The Sweet Pea is beyond happy to be home. She hasn't wanted to go anywhere since we got back. She actually cheered when we returned from a quick trip to the bank yesterday. Seriously, we pulled in front of the house and she cheered. So sad.

It was a nice trip though. We did a lot of running around and shopping of course. My main goal while there was to visit an antique store in Weatherford that also had fabric. We did manage to make it there and it didn't disappoint. Well, maybe it disappointed a little. I went there in search of this fabric (in yellow) and of course they didn't have it anymore. Don't worry about me though, I still managed to find a bit of fabric that I couldn't resist. I splurged and treated myself to these fabrics.

I say splurge but really they were only $3.95 a yard and I only bought a 1/2 a yard of the cowboy boot fabric to make a skirt for the Sweet Pea. You can't beat that. I'm not sure what I'll do with the other though. I just couldnt' resist the adorable little cowgirls. I'm thinking some sort of picnic blanket or something. Aren't they adorable?

We also made it back to Central Market before we left. I know, I know, but I wanted to buy some fresh dill so I didn't have to use up the rest of my seeds. I also bought all the salsa making supplies while I was there and the rest of the salsa I make this year will be made with organic ingredients. It's hard to explain how happy that makes me. Next year will be even better since I plan on growing all the ingredients in my very own garden. I had no idea the salsa would become so popular and my garden is having a hard time keeping up with supplying all the ingredients. Thankfully my father in law's garden is helping pick up the slack. Next year hopefully we'll only have to purchase the limes. I can't wait.

I need to get back to making salsa though. I have a couple 5 gallon buckets full of tomatoes waiting for me. It's so nice to be home.

Don't worry though I have some crafting to show you tomorrow. Just because we were on "vacation" doesn't mean we didn't do any crafting.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Central Market

So what do you do when you're little and stuck in your carseat on a long trip?

You take your skirt out of your bag and wear it on your head of course. Does she not look like one of those scary lizard-dinosaurs from Jurassic Park? Okay, maybe it's just me but that's what I thought of the instant I saw her. By the way, that's actually an adorable skirt that the grandma (my mom) made for her last week. Hopefully we'll have some action shots soon. That would require the rain in Texas to stop for five minutes.

We've finally made it to Fort Worth (actually we made it yesterday) and after much unloading and rearranging we headed out today to do some shopping. On our way to the fabric store we got sidetracked by Central Market. This is by far the best grocery store on the planet. It doesn't even seem right to call it a grocery store since it's just so much more. From the moment you walk up to the door to see a rack of small paper bags that are ready to be filled with the even smaller pumpkins (and yes the Sweet Pea did get one) you know you are in for a treat.

Next is a huge array of organic herbs, tons of produce, fresh meat and seafood and then a bakery. A bakery filled with yummy breads and sweets and even a tiramisu cupcake (I resisted and it was hard). I can't forget the cheeses, deli, fresh fruit salads, olives, sherbet and more.

By far my favorite section were the bins filled with dried fruits, nuts, rice, grains, spices, tea and coffee beans. I loved the option to pick and choose small amounts of new items (and some of our old favorites) and not get stuck with a huge package of something we end up not liking.

The Sweet Pea got to pick some of her favorite treats to make her own yummy snack mix. It is so nice to be able to control exactly what is in her snack mix and not end up with a lot of things she won't eat or worse, things that melt and ruin the entire thing. She chose banana chips, dried cranberries, peanuts, sunflower seeds and diced dried pineapple. I was able to get all of this to make her yummy snack for just over $1.00 and it's exactly what she likes. You can't beat that.

I loved finding pickling spices and mustard seeds in the bins. I was able to get a much better price than I can at home buying pre-packaged spices. Seriously they were ridiculously cheap and I have no idea why I didn't get more. We're discussing going back tomorrow and if we do I'll get more then and more of the yummy pimento cheese we ate for dinner. Oh and some of the awesome flavors of organic granola they had.

I was seriously blown away by the sheer amount of organic food they had on hand. It makes me really jealous. I called the Hubby while we were shopping to inform him that we would be moving to Fort Worth so that this would be our permanent shopping place. He told me I was crazy and he was not moving just for a grocery store. Fine. I feel really sad for all of us in Oklahoma who don't have a grocery store like this though. It would make it so much easier to eat more organically. I have yet to find something like this in our area but it really makes me want to start doing some research. Even the Sweet Pea loved it because they had so many samples all throughout the store and she just ate her way through the shopping. It made it go so much smoother.
Is it sad that I'm this excited about a grocery store? Probably, but it was really great and I really think I'll be going back again tomorrow. Maybe I should get out more?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My baby sister is getting married!!!

My sister called me yesterday afternoon to inform me that she is getting a month! Yep, a month from today actually. I was pretty surprised to say the very least. She asked me to help plan everything and after the initial shock wore off I, of course, said yes. She's picked out her colors (black and tiffany blue) and has the dress. Everything else is still in the works. I'll be taking off in the next day or two to meet up with her and hammer out some of the details and then the real craziness will begin.

A month is a little short notice to plan and execute a wedding, but I know we're up for the task. Since we're a family of do-it-yourselfers (is that a word?) most of the wedding will be handmade. It should be a fun challenge. I just wanted to give you fair warning that wedding details and crafts will likely be monopolizing the blog for the next several weeks. I'll be sure to sneak a few other things in because I have a lot of projects in the works for the Sweet Pea too.

Bear with me...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pickled Okra

~Hope everyone had a great long weekend. I feel like mine has gone by too quickly. The yard sale went great. We sold almost everything and all of the big stuff sold. I completely forgot to take pictures though. By the time the rain stopped on Friday and I got everything uncovered, I was so busy that I didn't even think to get the camera out. I offered to help my neice have one in a few weeks to raise money for a cheerleading trip so if I do I will definitely take some pictures then.

~Sunday was Hubby's birthday and we just spent the day hanging aroung the house together. We cooked out, I made him a chocolate sheath cake (which is already gone) and his whole family came over to eat. Kinsley and Asiah danced around like crazy people all night long. It was hilarious. Too much sugar I think.

~Monday was mommy's day out! I went to the big Labor Day sales at a couple craft stores and got some fleece to make our Christmas pajamas while it was on sale. Yea for matching jammies.

~I've been super busy making more boxy bags and pleated purses. I'm down to the last few of each of them and then I'll need to find a new project to obsess over. Ideas? I've also canned a bunch more salsa. We're still getting plenty of peppers and tomatoes so I want to make the most of them while I still can.

I've had a few requests for the reicpe I used to make my pickled okra so I thought I'd post it today. It's really simple, just like making pickles really. I got the recipe from my grandma and she's been making pickled okra as long as I can remember.

This is how they look before I put the rings on and process them.


4 Cups White Vinegar
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Pickling Salt
2 Tablespoons Pickling Spices

5 heads of Fresh Dill
Fresh Garlic
5 Hot Peppers (I use Cayenne)

In a large saucepan mix vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a boil.

Leave a small amount of stem on okra pods and pack into sterilized jars. Add 1 head of dill, one clove of garlic and a hot pepper to each jar. Pour hot vinegar mixture into jars leaving 1/4 - 1/2 inch of head space. Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Makes 4 or 5 pints (depends on how tightly you pack the jars)

**Make sure you pack the jars as tightly as you can when you put the okra in the jars. I never seem to get mine full enough. You can't see the dill in these because I had to use dill seed because I didn't have any fresh dill on hand. I have my seeds ready to plant for next year though so I'll have more than enough then.

You need to let the jars set for a few weeks before they will be ready to eat, but they'll be worth the wait.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yard Sale!

I mentioned before that I’m getting rid of the clutter that has taken over my house. Today was day one of this project. One of the best ways to get rid of a large amount of clutter is a yard sale. This weekend I’m having a sale myself. I’ve had or helped with several yard sales over the years and have learned a thing or two about them along the way.

Be honest with yourself. When sorting through your belongings while getting ready for a sale it’s easy to convince yourself that you need all of these things you have sitting around. I think the most common thing is to think that someday you might need it for something. Get real. If it’s been sitting in your house gathering dust it’s likely that is all it’s going to do in the future. Trust me, when you start clearing things out you’ll feel much better. Wouldn’t you rather have extra space and some extra cash?

Arrange like items together. It’s amazing the difference taking the time to sort and display your items can have on your sale. People expect to rummage a bit but if everything is thrown into huge boxes it will be hard for people to see what you have and you are more likely to miss out on a sale. I try to arrange my items in categories. For example I will put all of the baby items on one table while all of my craft supplies will be going in another area. Arranging like items together makes it easier for people to browse and find all the items they might be interested in. They can’t buy it if they can’t find it.

Price your stuff! I think this is the biggest mistake people make when having a yard sale. They throw all of their items out at the last minute and nothing has a price. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than having to ask the price for each and every item I am interested in. It is especially hard if it is a large or busy sale. More often than not I leave without items I was interested in because someone didn’t take the extra time to price their stuff. It doesn’t take very long to slap a price sticker on an item and it makes it easier on everyone. You are not going to remember every price you tell someone by the time they are finished browsing, especially if your sale is busy.

Advertising is very important when having a sale. I advertised in our local newspaper and if you have a neighboring town close by advertise in theirs as well. Yard sale ads are often inexpensive and can make or break your sale. With online sites like Craigslist it’s even easier to reach a wider audience. After all, the more people that know about your sale the better your sale will do. When writing your ad list some specific items in your ad but don’t go overboard. Items like furniture and baby gear sell well in almost any area so if you have those make sure you list them specifically. Also, don’t forget to put signs up in your neighborhood directing people to your house. I place signs along the major road outside of our neighborhood to draw more attention and make the sale easier to find. It’s best to use a bright color for your sign and large easy to read writing. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail on your sign; the words yard sale and your address are plenty. Adding a large arrow to your sign is also helpful. There have been many sales in the past I have found and stopped at simply because of a road-side sign.

Be willing to haggle. People often expect to be able to negotiate a better price on items at yard sales, it is part of the fun. If you truly don’t want to budge on the price of your items that is perfectly fine, just politely tell the person you need a certain price. However, keep in mind that if you are unwilling to lower the price a bit to make the sale you just might be left with that item when the sale is over.

Watch the weather! I know the weather is unpredictable but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on that forecast anyway. I didn’t keep a close enough watch and a 60% chance of rain has put quite a damper on my weekend. I didn’t get to take any before pictures because it was raining this morning and I was so busy covering and uncovering everything that taking the pictures for this post completely slipped my mind. But it was 7 tables of stuff (not to mention the stuff too big to go on tables). Don’t worry though, all of that wasn’t in my house. Some of it (most of it) was in storage. Having a ton of stuff in storage isn’t necessarily better.
My theory is that unless it is seasonal items or keepsakes if something has been in storage for an extended period of time and you are living just fine without it, you don’t need it. It’s time for those things to go.

That being said when it came time to sort through the boxes of my books in storage I was close to tears trying to decide which ones I should part with. I realize that's terribly pitiful. Thankfully after staring at the piles of books for more than 20 minutes my sister in law (who loves books as much as I do) arrived and scooped up many of the books I was lamenting parting with. The wonderful thing about this is that now if I suddenly have the desire (and free time) to sit down and actually read, all I have to do is go down to her house and pick a book. Now normally I’m not a fan of simply passing your clutter on to someone else but this is different. Books, in my opinion, are not clutter. At least they aren’t clutter if you have somewhere for them to go. A place for everything and everything in its place. I am happy my books are in a new home and free from storage.

So far the sale is going really well. I’ve sold the greatest majority of my big items (which hubby is thankful he won’t have to move again). The one thing that is still sitting there tempting me to bring back into the house is part of my yarn stash. I told myself after the sale was over everything was going straight into the truck and off to Goodwill; the yarn is begging me to let it stay. If it doesn’t sell by the end of the day tomorrow I may have to list it online. We’ll see how it goes, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Easy Pleated Purse

I know it's hard to believe but I've actually crocheted a few things lately. Who knew I could even still crochet. I needed to get a few things going before Christmas popped up. Those of you that know me know I'm a big fan of repetition. If I find a shirt I like, I buy it in every color they have. When I get started with a project I make it until I'm absolutely sick of it and never want to make it again. I've made about 10 more boxy bags and then started on these Easy Pleated Purses.

The pattern is from Mamachee on Etsy and it really is easy. They whip up in no time and the pattern is simple enough that after the first couple you don't even need to look at the pattern anymore which is nice. I can make one of these in an evening no problem. I used an H hook on mine and love the size they are coming out. My 6 year old neice requested one in rainbow colors because "that would be soooo cool". I guess I'll have to add that to my to-do list.
I really like the colors on this one. It's Bernat Berella 4 Seascape Ombre. I love the sheen of it and the size. It's a bit smaller than the bags made with a regular worsted weight.
This was the first one I made. It's also the largest. It's made with I Love This Yarn in Hot Rose and black. I made the top of the bag black because I really wanted the bright pink button to pop.
This one is just a basic black acrylic worsted weight yarn. I believe it was Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn.

This one is also just brown acrylic worsted weight. It was a scrap ball so I'm not sure of the brand but I love the color. It's more of a deep chocolate brown in person.

The first picture is the last bag I made and probably my favorite. It's made with Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist Grotto that I got on sale a long time ago at Hobby Lobby for .59 a skein. It took two to make the bag so talk about a great deal. It's a heavier, thicker yarn and makes me think of winter. It reminds me of snowflakes and cozy sweaters.

Some of these will become Christmas gifts and some (probably the blue one) I'll end up keeping myself. I already have another one made that I just need to sew the strap and button on. It's a deep crimson. I want to make a couple more in the next week or so. I'm thinking maybe an off white and a gray. (and of course that rainbow one)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Mutterings

Whew, it’s been a few days since I’ve been around but it has not been a vacation by any means. We’ve kept ourselves very busy around here.

The hubby has been super busy training his coon dog. It’s his new obsession. To make matters worse, Tuesday is the official start of hunting season. Ugh. I hate hunting season. I have nothing against the actual act of hunting. I have no desire to ever go again but if you want to go, hey have fun. Just don’t wake me up when you leave. It’s way too early, and way too cold. The reason I say I don’t like hunting season is that I suddenly become a single parent. Anyone else familiar with being a hunting widow?

I spent the better part of my weekend getting things ready for the yard sale I’m having this weekend. I can’t stand all the clutter that has accumulated around here lately. It’s time to clean house. This is going to be a pretty big sale. I’m selling extra furniture, dishes, baby items and even some kitchen cabinets. I’m also going through my craft supplies and getting rid of a lot of them. There is so much stuff that I’ve had for years and never used. It’s not likely I’m going to use them any time soon and I would much rather have the extra space.

The rest of the weekend we just spent hanging out around the house soaking up what is left of summer weather. It’s the perfect temperature right now to hang out in the yard or at the park and just have fun. We won’t have much summer left I’m afraid. The nights are already getting quite chilly and we’ve exchanged our pajama shorts for long pants. I’m thinking ahead to fires, fuzzy socks and hot chocolate. The early chill in the air makes me think we may be in for a long cold winter. Time will tell.

Happily the paci seems to be gone for good. The big girl toy really helped things out a lot. She picked a doll that came with its own stroller and she is really proud of it. Really proud and really possessive. No one is allowed to hold the baby. And she loves to push the baby around in the stroller. She pushed it around the entire rest of the day after we got it. Every store we went to the baby and stroller went too. It really slowed things down but she was so happy. She even pushed it around on our evening walk. It was definitely a good choice for a big girl toy. Nap time is still a bit of a hassle but bedtime goes very smoothly. We grab our blanket, the new big girl doll, sing our lullaby and that’s the end of it. The only down side is that morning comes a lot earlier now. Instead of our usual morning between 8:30 and 9:00 we are now awake and starting our day at 7am. I know that’s not ridiculously early or anything, but sometimes I really enjoy sleeping in. Plus it’s a lot harder to get up earlier than her to get anything done. Next comes the potty training. Wish us luck.

I did manage to get some crafting done this weekend as well. I’ve been making lots more boxy bags and doing a lot of crocheting too. More on that tomorrow.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bye Bye Paci

Ugh. Today was the last day for the pacifier. We traded it in today for a big girl toy and she was perfectly fine with it all day. Tonight is a different story. When we came in to get ready for bed she immediately got her blanket and started looking for a paci. I didn't say anything wanting to see what she would do and she had a little conversation with herself about it.

"My paci...Her throw away at store...I got new toy..."

I thought this was a good sign. She was even okay when I put her in bed. About 10 minutes later the story changed though. She is no longer happy, at all. I feel like the world's meanest mommy. I know it's time though. She normally only has it for naps and at bedtime and for a while we wouldn't let it out of the crib. However, she's become increasingly more clingy with it lately. She'll ask for it at random points throughout the day and doesn't want to give it up in the morning. It is definitely time for it to go but quite frankly this sucks. Thoughtful as he is the hubby decided he didn't want to be here for this tonight so he went out to run dogs with a friend of his. Gee thanks. I may kill him when he gets home. Seriously.

Please send any sleeping vibes you have our way. We really need them. And some patience for me. (and maybe some liquor, I'm just saying)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Handmade Home

Okay I'm getting a little off topic today but I just felt like I really needed to post this tonight. We've been doing a lot of talking lately around here about what is truly important in life. We've become overrun with stuff (a whole other post) and it seems like our focus was shifting away from what we feel is really important.

Things like right now I'm watching my daughter stand in the doorway doubled over with laughter at herself, simply because she thinks she's funny (as do we). These are the things that a good life is made of. It's not about who has a better job, how much money you make, whether or not your house is bigger or anything else that so many people seem to be wrapped up in today. We are striving to get back to a simple life around here. We are shifting the focus back to the small things that make life worth living. Love, laughter, our friends and family and watching our daughter grow. That last one is our biggest focus. She is growing so fast and we just want to enjoy every moment we possibly can together and teach her to be a kind and compassionate person in the process.

It's so easy in this day and age to forget about how life used to be. We're always going, always too busy. People are often so wrapped up in their own lives that they don't take the time to look at the world around them. So wrapped up in our own problems that we don't see the ways we can help those around us. The hubby and I were discussing life and some of the trials we are experiencing and those we have experienced in the past and we realized that no matter what is going on we have so much to be thankful for. We truly are blessed and there are many who are much less fortunate. It's time for us to slow down and refocus our family. There are many people that may not agree with some of the changes we are going to make in the near future. Many people don't understand what it is we are trying to express; they don't value the same things we do. We want our daughter to experience a life where you know your neighbors and reach a helping hand out to others when you can.

One person who I feel really embodies the concept of what we want for our family is Amanda Blake Soule. I found her blog just at the time I was needing someone of a like mind. If you know who I'm talking about then you understand what I'm trying to say. If not I urge you to check out her blog SouleMama. Amanda has done a wonderful job of focusing on what is important to her family and living the life she feels is best for them. She follows her heart and does what she feels is best for herself and her family. We should all be so strong.

She also just released a new book titled Handmade Home and if you haven't seen it yet you should check it out. It's on my wish list for Christmas this year along with her previous book The Creative Family. I wish her all the success in the world as she further pursues happiness.

That's really all any of us can hope for, to be happy. That is what we are striving for here at our house. We are going to be reducing the clutter in our lives on every possible level. We will be focusing on handmade instead of storebought, fun and experiences instead of stuff. Reducing our carbon footprint, strengthening personal bonds and even letting some go. It will be a long journey, and is not likely to be an easy one but it is the right one for us.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Boxy Bag

I made these bags tonight while waiting for the Hubby to get home from work. I made this first one for him out of Transformers fabric. He's a big fan of the movies and was a big fan of them as a kid too so I think he'll really like it. His birthday is on Sunday and I have been trying to think of something small to make him (he's already picked out his big gifts) and then I found the tutorial for this bag.
I stumbled across this tutorial on Patchyapple's blog through this post on Craftster. I thought the bag looked great and would be something the guys on my gift list could use. It's so hard to find gifts to sew/crochet for the guys in my life. This works out great. The tutorial for these is awesome. She explained everything really well and provided step by step photographs for the entire thing. It made it super easy to understand and the bag works up really quickly. You should really check it out. I plan to make several more before Christmas.
I lined Hubby's bag with a durable canvas camo fabric to help give it some shape. I was so happy with this bag when I was finished that I decided I should make one for my father-in-law for Christmas. He was still a blank on my Christmas list so this was good.
I bought this deer fabric a while back knowing I would use it for him but didn't know how. I still have plenty left to make something to go with it. I lined this bag with a simple dark brown fabric. I didn't get quite close enough on the zipper this time. I've never even attempted a zipper until tonight so overall I'm still pretty happy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wanna Salsa?

So maybe I don’t know how to do the dance, but I’ve been making salsa like crazy here today. The last batch I made was gone so quickly it didn’t even get to see a jar. This time I’m making it while only the Sweet Pea and I are home so maybe I will be able to can some for later in the year. I made 6 pints and 4 half-pints before I ran out of tomatoes. I can't believe I actually ran out, but I know in a few days there will be plenty more out there to pick. Yum.

I’ve never made salsa before this year but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turning out. Fresh salsa just tastes so much better than anything you can buy in a store and it’s nice to know exactly what we are eating. You can’t beat that.

In honor of my happiness with making my own salsa I’m going to share my recipe with you. Keep in mind this is the first year I’ve ever made salsa, but everyone around here seems to like it pretty well. The thing I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t make a huge batch so I can make it as I have ingredients and just use it fresh or make a couple batches and can it. I remember my grandmother making salsa when I was a kid and they were huge batches. I remember quart jars filled with salsa everywhere and for some reason I remember her making it on the stove. I'll have to see if my grandpa knows where her recipe might be. I don't necessarily want to make huge batches but maybe she only did that because there were always so many tomatoes from my grandpa's garden. This batch is also nice because I'm able to make a batch for each individual so I can make each batch just the way they would like it. My dad, for instance, likes his salsa about ten times hotter than the Hubby does. The recipe I’m posting isn’t overly hot so you can spice it up to suit your taste.

*Disclaimer: The peppers are HOT! You might want to wear gloves when messing with them. If you don’t wear gloves when you make the salsa and then go take your contacts out and begin to feel like your eyes are going to burn out of your head, it’s not my fault. I warned you. Don’t ask how I know this.

24 oz Chopped fresh tomatoes (I’m sure you can use canned if you don’t have fresh)
½ Cup Chopped White Onion
2 Jalapeño Peppers Seeded and Chopped
1/3 Cup Fresh Cilantro
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
Juice from ½ a small lime

First things first make sure all your produce is washed and clean. Then chop and measure out your tomatoes and onions and put in a fairly large bowl (I took the picture before the onions, sorry). I keep my tomatoes in fairly large pieces, I like chunky salsa. You can cut yours any size you want. See how easy this is?

Next cut the top off of your jalapeño and then slice it in half. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Chop them into small pieces and add to your bowl. Here is where another variation can come in. When I make this for myself I dice my jalapeños up into tiny little pieces because although I like the flavor I don’t want to bite into a huge piece. For my dad’s however I use large pieces and add some cayenne peppers too. When I make it for my FIL I don’t use jalapeño at all, instead he likes banana peppers.

Next dice up your garlic and cilantro then add it in. I usually put mine into my small food processor just to save time. I also put my jalapeños in there too when I’m making it for myself just to save time.

Now add your salt, vinegar and lime juice. Mix well and dig in.

In that last step the measurements are really just a guideline. Actually the entire recipe is just a guideline. I usually just add everything until I think it looks and tastes right and it varies from day to day. I had to measure everything out today just so I could post this for you. If you have a large food processor you could probably do everything in there, especially if you didn’t want it very chunky. I would definitely do the tomatoes separately though so everything else gets a chance to get chopped well. I’m sure it would be a lot faster than chopping everything by hand. It makes about 1 ½ pints if you are going to put it in jars. I’m going to process mine for about 10 minutes in my water bath canner. I’ve yet to actually can any of it but from what I’ve seen on other salsa recipes this should be about right.

I’m going to make a few batches later this week with some roasted peppers instead of just fresh. That should be great. I’ll keep you posted. Hope you enjoy the salsa, if you try it out let me know what you think.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pants or a Blanket?

At the last minute today after taking care of some out of town errands I swung back by the house to pick up my mom and the Sweet Pea to head to Joanns for their big weekend sale. I've been looking for some orange camo fabric (which I still haven't found) to make a vest for the Hubby's birthday and thought they might have some.

I was a little worried about taking the kiddo on a late trip to the fabric store and packed lots of snacks and toys to ward off a tantrum. Luckily it was great. She was in such a happy mood and it was the best time. We found lots of great fabric but don't tell the Hubby. I said I wasn't going to buy anymore fabric until I used up some of my stash, oops. It wasn't my fault though.

I spied this lovely fleece and was contemplating it when the Sweet Pea reached out and exclaimed "ooohhh I love it!" with a huge smile on her face. What's a mama to do? You guessed it, we snatched it up. She held it in her lap the entire time we were shopping and just petted it. It was so much fun and I couldn't keep from laughing at her enthusiasm for fabric shopping. She's addicted already.

I bought it with the idea of making it into some pajama pants for the two of us until we got home and it was thrown on the couch. Now I think it might make a better blanket. I'm afraid the print may be too big for pants. What do you think?

Know what I think? I was just looking at this fabric and suddenly it looked really familiar. Look what I found on the shelf in my craft room...

So I really must like this print since I now have it twice. Maybe I do need to stop buying fabric for a while.

In case you were wondering this fabric is Expressions by M'Liss Rae Hawley. Isn't it great?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

"Raaaaiiiin Go Away. Sing nother day." That’s what you’ll hear if you stop by our house this week. The poor little Sweet Pea has been standing at the living room window singing that all week long. It’s pouring here. Which is good for the garden but not great for little girls that want to play outside. We've snuck outside every time the rain has let up for a few minutes but she's not thrilled with that. Makes me afraid of what winter will be like around here. I better start thinking of some new activities to keep us busy and happy.

I know my posting this week has been scarce but I'm just exhausted. We're still adjusting to our new routine around here and it is taking a toll. But the rest of the week (and this weekend) will be much better. I have quite a few things in the works and should have some fun completed projects in the next few days. Tonight though I'm just going to be sitting here on the computer and looking at everything you all have been doing.

Just so this isn't a post without a picture I included a picture of the world's largest okra. Okay maybe not the world's largest, but it's certainly huge. That tiny little round thing in the picture is a quarter. Needless to say that one didn't fit in the jar!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tooth Fairy Fret No More!

Happy Monday everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend like we did. It's back to business today though. While out to dinner with a special little girl (and her mommy) a few weeks back she was so excited to tell me about her loose tooth. I knew immediately that I had to make this special little treat for her.

I saw this machine embroidery pattern ages ago while I was crusing around Urban Threads. If you've never seen their site you have to check it out. They have some of the most incredible designs. You can get them in hand embroidery or just digital stock art too. I have a huge list of designs I want to get from them. They rock.

Check out the pocket on the back for the tooth! Isn't that the best ever? Now the tooth fairy will have an easy time finding the tooth under the pillow in the dark. She could even leave the money in the pocket, although I've been informed that the tooth fairy now leaves at least a dollar! Geez, inflation hit everywhere I guess. I remember getting much less than that.

Either way this tooth fairy pillow is too cute to pass up. I made this one on fleece but will probably use felt from now on. I would love to find some fabric with teeth to use for the pocket. Any suggestions? It would have to be small print since the pocket isn't very big though.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

This is what our weekend looked like. We've spent the days lounging around on comfy quilts, having tickle wars, and just hanging out together. It's been wonderful to say the very least. It's nice to get to spend so much quality time together as a family, it doesn't happen often enough.

I did manage to get some crafting done, as well as a good amount of kitchen time. I'll update you all with that stuff throughout the upcoming week. It's off to bed for now. Tomorrow is our first day with the little boy that I'm going to be watching so I think I need an extra good night's sleep. Sweet Dreams.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Duck, Duck,


We had a great day on Friday. We made a trip to the Claremore Lake Park to feed the ducks. The hubby was convinced we wouldn't see any ducks and upon our arrival I was afraid he was right. We finally spotted these Geese though and decided they would work just as well.

They posed very nicely to have their pictures taken too. Much better than the ducks we finally found as we were leaving the lake. Silly ducks.

This sweet little thing had a wonderful time staring at the geese swimming around. We were a little apprehensive about her first upclose experience with water fowl but she did exceedingly well. Aside from the fact that she ate more popcorn than she actually threw. What happens when you try to explain to an almost two year old that she should stop eating long enough to throw just a little bit?

You get this look in return. Don't you just hate when your child give you a look that you can recognize as one you give? Yeah, that's a fun moment.

It was a great time though. It was so nice to just take a step away from our hectic schedules and the stresses of daily life that have been upon us lately and just enjoy each other. Sitting on a rock by the lake just enjoying spending time together. It was especially sweet for me because I can remember doing this same thing with my parents when I was a child. It's nice to know that no matter how much time has gone by, some things never change.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Boy was that a short trip.

Do you know what happens when you make plans? Something, that's what. Something always happens. I got up extra early yesterday, double checked all the bags made sure the house was realatively tidy and the Sweet Pea headed down the street with the grandma. Dh and I jump in the truck and head off on our exciting adventure. We get less than 40 miles from home and our truck breaks down. What?!?! This truck isn't even a year old. You. have. got. to. be. kidding. me! Sensors start chiming, warning lights are coming on and the truck powers down to about 20 miles per hour. What the heck? Turns out the fuel injector pump is going out. Wonderful. So we have to call another driver and have him come get our trailer to take the load to Michigan. Bye exciting new land. Bye wonderful weekend alone with Hubby. Bye to the money we would have made on this haul. Ugh. Needless to say while waiting in a parking lot for the other driver to show up I had a bit of a breakdown and pity party.

And I don't apologize for it one bit. Naturally it's not a fun thing when you miss out on something you've looked forward to. Not to mention giving up and entire week's salary. Ouch. But once my little pity party was over I made a new plan. (yes I know) Luckily for me the parking lot just happened to be that of a Walmart so I decided to go inside and mope around a bit. They do have a fabric section afterall. If that wouldn't cheer me up, nothing would. There wasn't an employee to be found so I left my fabric sitting and decided to look for a new project for our weekend. Since we weren't going to have a wonderful weekend away, I vowed to create a wonderful family weekend at home.

I bought groceries to make some of our favorite meals, a new case of canning jars for the pickled okra I'll be making this weekend and even a few miscellaneous art supplies to occupy us in the near future. I'm feeling much better today and our fun family weekend is off to a great start. Today was a wonderful day with some great pictures that I'll share with you all tomorrow. Tonight I'm just relaxing with some late night tv and some blog surfing.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Headed for Michigan

I'll be out of town for the next several days because I am joining the hubby on a trip to Michigan. I've never been and the grandma (my mom) offered to watch the Sweet Pea so I could join him. I'm really excited! I love going to new places. I've done a lot of traveling East, West and South but have never really gone very far North. Definitely not this far.

I don't know how much sightseeing we'll get in but you can be sure we'll be doing some. I'll take my computer with me but I don't know if I'll have internet access while I'm gone. If not I'll update you all as soon as I return home.

Have a lovely week everyone!

Cupcake Birthday Bash Part 4 of 4: The Skirt

Photo Disclaimer: Last Christmas I decided to stray from the Cannon and Sony cameras that I love so much and buy a small Nikon. It was not a great decision on my part. I would like to apologize for the blurry shots I've posted lately (especially the recent ones of the cupcake party) and promise that I will try to do better about keeping batteries in my other cameras. Thanks Nikon. Geez.

Finally the final post about the cupcake party. Although I loved making everything and am beyond pleased with the party I can not wait to start posting about some other things. I've been doing a lot of machine embroidery this week that I can't wait to show you! I promise it's worth the wait though.

Since I had enough apron fabric left over I wanted to make an outfit for the Sweet Pea to wear to the party. I didn't have much left so I had to settle for just making a skirt. I used the skirt pattern from Simplicity 3856 and made this:

I really like it quite a lot. It was a pain in my rear end to sew but that was no fault of the pattern, it just confused the heck out of me. Finally about 10:30 the night before the party I gave up and promised to try and finish it the next morning. With a little (okay, a lot) of help from my mom the skirt was done in time for the party though. I just could not get the skirt onto the band at all. Much too complicated for me. I'll go back to sewing rectangles thank you very much. But it is adorable. We just paired it with a plain pink tee and she was good to go. I only wish I could have gotten the cupcake hair clips finished.

The only bad thing is that she has such a tiny waist that once the skirt is on her you can hardly see the cupcake fabric. It really only shows when she walks around. Oh well

Cupcake Birthday Bash Part 3 of 4: The Aprons

Okay anyone else getting tired of cupcake party pictures? I promise we're nearing the end and then we'll get on to bigger and better things. (well maybe just different things)

I decided if they were going to be little cupcake decorators they absolutely needed aprons. What kind of a party would it have been without the aprons? Exactly. Without further delay, here are the aprons...

This is the first apron I made and it almost kept the other kids from getting one. I used Simplicity 3949. This pattern is horrible. Okay, maybe that's not fair. It could have been me. Afterall we all know I'm not an expert seamstress but still. I didn't like that there were so many pieces, the directions didn't seem that clear and the overall result was not any better than the other's I ended up making. This apron took nearly as long to make as all the other's combined. It could have been the fact that it was the first one I made (my first apron ever) or it could be the pattern. Needles to say, I'm blaming the pattern. It's still cute though. I love the dog bone fabric I used for the pockets and the straps. I didn't have any other fabric to match the green that wasn't girly so it was a choice of necessity but I love how it turned out. I didn't want it to look girly since he was already going to be the only little boy at a cupcake party. He really liked it though.

The rest of the aprons turned out great. I used McCalls 5720 and it was much better. They were quick and easy to put together and turned out pretty cute. This time I made each one a little different just to play around a little. On these next two I used the same fabric on the pockets and straps but a different main color. All these fabrics (including the one above) came out of my stash so I was super excited to use some of it up.

I absolutely love this one! I love the way the fabrics pop against each other. I have put the rest of these fabrics aside and will be making the Sweet Pea some type of outfit in the very near future.

And since it was a cupcake party I had to run out and buy some cupcake fabric. Okay, maybe I didn't need it but come on. It's seriously fun.

The birthday girl's apron. I made the cupcakes the main focus here. I was really happy with how it turned out. I like the yellow with it, gives it a little bit of a switch up. I wanted to make the Sweet Pea's similar because they are into super copy cat mode here lately. They each have to have anything the other one has. (It's actually quite obnoxious) I didn't want them to be identical though so I switched the placement of the fabrics for the next one.

Here's the one I made for the Sweet Pea. I almost like this one better, it's not as loud with just a small amount of the cupcake fabric. I made one large pocket in the front but sewed a dividing seam down the middle so technically she has two pockets. It needed a large amount of pocket space. Everything now needs a large amount of pocket space.


Stay tuned for post 4 of 4. Yea, finally the last one. It's a better shot of the outfit (well just a skirt really) that I made for dd to wear.