Saturday, October 3, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
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.
~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
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
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.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
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 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.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
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
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
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
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.
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.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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.
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
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
"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
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
Sunday, August 23, 2009
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)
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
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
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.
Monday, August 17, 2009
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
Saturday, August 15, 2009
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
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
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!
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 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.