Friday, April 29, 2011

Pretty Pinafore

I think I told you all a couple weeks ago that I purchased One Yard Wonders.  Well, I think I also told you that I mis-cut the fabric while attempting to make it.  So, because I was dying to make this particular dress with that certain fabric, I decided to try to make it and see if the shortages would make a difference in the skirt portion.

My bodice was perfectly cut, but I was a little short on the skirt fabric.  So I decided to just go for it and see what happened.  Well, it turned out PERFECT.  I added a band of white fabric to give a little extra length, but it probably would have been fine without it.  Because the smallest size in the pattern was a 2T, it's a tad big in the bodice, but it's soooo freaking cute!  I HIGHLY recommend the book based solely on this project alone.  The bodice came out immaculate, the neckline is crisp and straight.  It was a blast to sew!  What I love about this book is that you can buy any random yard of fabric and find something to do with it.

So enjoy the photo parade!  Isabela is the most uncooperative child and I am the worst photog on the planet, but we got some great shots.

I really should have one of my amazing photog friends try and get some better shots of her in this...any takers?  Or maybe some lessons for me...haha!

Everyday Disasters

I feel like this week has been just ridiculous.  Like my children are out to completely drive any semblance of sanity from my life.

My kids are cute.

And ya know what?  It's a good thing is just a list of events from the week:

Earlier in the week I was cooking dinner and the kids were playing in the living room.  I can see straight into the LR and DR so no worries, I figured they were fine.  I could just see the tops of their heads above the chair.  I heard a boom and it sounded like Bela maybe fell.  I came in the LR to find this.

Yep.  That's over half a container of Nesquik powder on the RUG.  Not the hardwood floor, which would have been an easy fix, but the RUG!  I was LIVID.  I was convinced at this point that I should just quit now while I was ahead...

So the week continues on with just MESSES.  Dumping cereal, dumping boxes of oatmeal, throwing cups of applesauce.  I can handle toys everywhere, but gooey mess I CANNOT!

 Bela at lunch.  Yes you can expect a toddler to make a mess with yogurt.  But she decided to just dump the whole cup on her head...
And here was today's fun little adventure.  Mommy's lipstick.  As I was finishing up her pinafore, Bela was playing in the LR watching Angelina Ballerina.  I have no idea where she got a hold of the lipstick, but this took all of less than 5 off we went for our second bath of the day...It seems most of these disasters involve Bela...we still don't know who is the culprit in the Nesquik powder caper...

And you know the week wouldn't be complete without me doing something stupid.  Like the crock pot dinner I made yesterday.  I plugged in the TOASTER and not the crock pot.  DUH!  I discovered this at 2pm.  The kids had chicken nuggets and tater tots for least they were organic?

SOOOO, that being said.  I need a break SO BAD.  I hope everyone else is having a MUCH better week!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Green Housekeeping and Living

Now I will be the first to say, I'm no tree-hugging, global warming, save the planet activist.  BUT, I do agree wholeheartedly with good stewardship and recycling and re-purposing.

I think I have mentioned before that we have been really trying to reduce our waste that goes out to the curb on trash day.  We don't always do great, but I feel that every bit helps.  So I am going to share some practical ways that we mommies can re-use stuff.

Now of course the easiest way to reduce waste is to recycle.  But, if you live in Jacksonville you know that we have a very limited amount of stuff we can recycle.  If you are not aware of what can and cannot be recycled in your city, find out.  Just because you put it in the bin, doesn't mean it will be recycled.  Only things that they state can be recycled will be recycled.  Make sure you double check.

REUSE, REUSE, REUSE!  We use things everyday that add to the trash count.  For example, we can't recycle all the yogurt cups and various containers that our foods come in.  So I clean them and use them for all kinds of things.

Paint cups
Food prep containers
Herb pots - I mod podge them with some fabric so they are pretty :)
Donate to the children's department of your public library (if they do crafts, our's has a bin just for such donations)
Donate to your community art center

My personal favorite is using them when I buy large containers of applesauce or yogurt.  For some reason the kids don't like it if it's not in a "cup".  I trick them by just putting it in one of my handy applesauce or yogurt containers...hehe.

We cannot recycle thin paperboard like cereal boxes.  BOO!  These add TONS of bulk to your trash.

You have probably seen the little organizers I make for my drawers (excellent use).  If you have a cricut or another die cutting machine you can use in place of expensive chipboard for fun projects like this one over at MMMCrafts

She actually just cut out the letters from printer paper and mounted to the cardboard/chipboard and cut out.  Like seriously...HOW CUTE!  It's on my to-do list FOR SURE.

Now fortunately we can recycle our detergent bottles.  BUT before you toss them in your blue bin, clean your bathtub!  There is always a bit of detergent left in the bottom so I run the tub and get all of the detergent out by running the water in it.  Let it sit in the tub for a bit.  It's a nice way to use fewer chemicals when cleaning the tub.  I give it a good scrub (which is super easy after the soak) and let the water out.  Don't fill it up to the top, just to the lovely "ring" (if you have one...)

So just to be annoying...we can't recycle the CAPS!  Toss them in the tub for the kids to play with....

We have a garden, which is SUPER GREEN and a great way to get fresh, organic produce.  You can even make a container garden if you live in an apartment.  We don't use any chemicals for anything and this is sooo fun to do with your kids.  Lenny loves to water the garden....

If you garden, you should really compost as well.  There is so much food waste we throw out that could be put to good use in our gardens or even just in the backyard if you don't have a garden.  Your flowers and bushes will love it!  There are TONS of articles on the web about composting at home, just Google it!

Something else I have been trying to work on is cleaning green.  Companies like Seventh Generation have made it quite affordable to clean safely for the environment and your kids.  They have GREAT coupons and Publix and Winn Dixie have some really good sales too.  I have a huge stash of rags and dish towels so I don't have to buy sponges and paper towels (I'm too cheap for those new eco sponges that are made of bottle caps but those are awesome).  Buy a wet mop with reuseable pads and one that you can make your own solution for.  I have this one.

The best part is that all of these things set a great example for your children on how to use products responsibly and be a good steward of the things the Lord has given us.  I love new ideas, so make sure to post them!

Monday, April 25, 2011

NEW Name - NEW Look

So my ADD kicked in again and I got bored with my blog name and look.  I had originally started this blog as a way to keep my family in other states up to date on the kids, but it became more of a crafting/home cleaning and organization/cooking and other miscellaneous things blog.  I really use Facebook more to post photos of my kids and stuff.  

SOOOOO with that being said, the actual URL of my blog will be changing soon (once I figure out a smooth transition).  No worries! There will be fair warning, but you will probably have to "follow" me again.  Sorry for the inconvenience but I kinda felt like I wanted my blog name to be more of a reflection of what it actually is (if that makes any sense?

So I hope you all love the new look! I am in love with yellow and gray! 

Have a great Monday!

Devotional - I am His

It is Easter Sunday as I write and I figured that I haven't done a devotional blog post since I got my computer back, so it was a good time to write one.

We were talking today in Sunday School about words that describe us and one word to describe the Lord (thanks Fritz and Vicki!  You guys helped inspire a whole blog post!).  Of course I couldn't come up with one, so I basically said He was ALL things.  He is the ultimate paradox, he is the Judge, the Lover, the Bridegroom, He is Jealous for us.  On and on you can describe the nature of God. 

So our discussion class it got me thinking about our identity.  Because as followers of Christ, we are no longer our own, we are His.  It also got me thinking about how much we don't walk in our identity in Christ, I know I don't all the time.

So of course I thought of a song and has been on my heart a lot lately.  God speaks to me through music a lot.  As a former dancer, I communicated through music and music makes us so open and vulnerable (which can be good or bad).  Anyways, it was a very old Misty Edwards song, taken mostly from Isaiah 43.

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by you name; You are Mine.

When you pass through the waters, i will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. - Isaiah 43:1-3
You have to continue reading because it's awesome.  Anyways, our discussion in class made me think of how much we live in our "old" identity.  The one that says we aren't good enough, the one that says we are unlovable, is that what the Lord has said about us?  No, we are HIS and He delights in us.  Because we have said, "I will give my life to seek you, I will give you my weak adoration and love and all of me." He truly delights in us!

Life has thrown so many challenging things at me and my family lately.  It is so easy to get so caught up in those problems and forget that we are His and he will not let any harm come to us, so long as he stay in the palm of His hand.  How many times do we try to jump out and do it our own way?  I do so many times.  Do we forget that it is my weakness for His strength?  That He is made awesome in my stumblings and weakness?  It was so perfectly crafted this way why God so that we could not boast in our own abilities and that the glory would be ALL HIS.

I love the part in this song where it declares, "though I walk through the valley, it's only a shadow, it's only a shadow.  Though my body may perish, it's only a shadow, it's only a shadow!"  I love to shout that in my car to whatever is keeping me down, because it is all but a vapor compared to eternity with Him.

We hear it all the time, but there is truly nothing that can separate us from the love of God, except our own unwillingness to ACCEPT the love of God.  He is chasing after us, He is the one who is jealous for our love.  We are the whole reason He died a terrible death on the cross.  He died for the JOY set before Him.  The wedding day!  He is just ravished by our seemingly weak and pitiful love!  He is longing to set us apart and prepare us to be His Bride!

So please listen and enjoy this long and let the words (which are straight from the Word of God) soak into your spirit and remind you of the truth of your identity in Him. Oh and you have to listen to the very end so you can shout too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crisis Cleaning

So yes, another post on cleaning.  So why do I post a lot about cleaning and organization and post photos of my messy house?  Well,  I have TWO toddlers and toddlers are messy.  But, I have found things that help me keep my house under control and I want to help and empower other mommies, wives and people in general to take charge of the clutter and mess.  This isn't about a perfect home.  It's about enjoying the space you live in and being ABLE to do that.

I had the perfect opportunity yesterday to try out the Flylady's Crisis Cleaning Routine.  Between my son being sick and being cooped up in the house more than usual...the house was definitely a bit limbed in.  It usually only gets this bad on the weekends when no one does what they are supposed to do.

Yes, there are two pieces of drywall in my living room.  Will someone please send us a shed or garage?

So let's talk about crisis cleaning.  This is perfect for when you have guests coming or you just have gotten a little behind and got a major mess brewing (or already brewed).  Follow the Flylady's instructions TO THE LETTER.  I have a hard time with getting side tracked and trying to deep clean everything (never leave me alone with bleach and a toothbrush).  It is very important to follow the instructions.  I'll talk you through what I did.

Seriously!  This is important.  You aren't going to get revved up for the day hanging in your jammies.  

Starting in the kitchen, set your timer for 15 minutes and start by shining the sink and work your way out from there.  Unloading dishwasher, clearing counters, etc.  Stop at the timer and go to the living room.

Start your timer again.  Clear things that don't belong, remove trash.  Carry a little trash bag with you and a basket for items that go in other rooms.  You can put those away in a little bit.

If you need to, go back to the kitchen for another 15 minutes.  I actually didn't need to so I used the extra time to go back in the LR and DR and sweep.  If you need the time in the kitchen, don't sweep.

STOP!  Take a break!
Take a 15 minute break and marvel at what you have accomplished!

Move into the bathroom next, wiping counters, swish the potty, pick up laundry (DONT get sidetracked and start a load,, you can do that later).

If need be go back to the LR and continue straightening.  You can do the intervals every 15 minutes, taking a break every 45 minutes as long as you need to get the job done.  BUT, I promise if you have already been following the Flylady, it won't take that long.  It took me 45 minutes to get things in line.

Look!  All clean!  You can do it too!

And look! It's a mess again! Haha! I'm using my spare time to tackle the laundry I was lazy and didn't fold...we all have our days, but at least we can hop right back on board and make it a good one!

Tackle a mess at your house today :)  De-clutter a corner, clear off a desk.  ANYTHING can be done 15 minutes at a time :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Crafting Recap

I was finally going through all my sewing stuff and realized that there were quite a few projects that I hadn't shown on my blog.  I so wish to be one of those awesome craft bloggers that comes up with amazing projects on their own...but I am usually using other people's tutorials and combining random patterns together.  Sometimes it works...most of the time not, so here is what has worked.  I have all the links so you can make your own too :)

This is probably the tiniest pillowcase dress I have ever made (fabric is by Anthology and Kumari Garden for Dena Designs).  It's a shower gift, along with these awesome burp cloths.  The back side is super soft terry cloth, perfect for mopping up huge spit-up messes!  I have been using the Prudent Baby Pillowcase Dress tute for a while now and I like it.  However, my friend recently used the Habitual pillowcase dress pattern (you can see the gorgeousness here)  so of course I have to give that one a try :)  I love the look of it and the sash is sooo lovely!

This was done using the Prudent Baby's Layer Cake Skirt tute.  It turned out great except I was attempting to make it a bit smaller for Bela and it turned out too short.  So if anyone is's available!  I love this Joel Dewberry fabric too much to not see it on some other cutie!

This little top turned out sooo much cuter than I anticipated.  I didn't have enough to make a dress so I made a spin off of a peasant top.  It is so cute on my little Bela.  One of those rare moments when one of my "genius" ideas actually works.  Again using Anthology and Kumari Garden fabrics.  Not giving this one away :)

I think I showed you all the bow-tie for my son's easter outfit.  Here is the little coordinating clip I made for Bela.  It's hard to see the details but its a fabric yoyo with some trim and a fabric covered button.  Turned out way cute!  I used this tute for the fabric yoyos.  Super easy and you can do soooo much with them.  So go and make a whole bunch!

This is a horrid pic, but I am in LOVE with this dress.  Another great Prudent Baby tutorial.  My only problem was actually making the pattern.  It's lots of angles and I'm still not sure I got it quite right.  I also discovered AFTER making the dress that I cut the hem completely crooked (easy fix) AND I used the fabric upside down (can't fix).  It's not obvious when it is on...still it's completely adorable and I want to make several more...maybe even a top version :)

So just because I'm me, no blog post would be complete without some sort of major mess-up on my part...I ended up purchasing MORE of the lovely Tanya Whelan fabric I used for my kid's easter-wear accessories...

 I had plans to make this adorable pinafore that was in a sewing book I recently purchased...well they have these handy diagrams of EXACTLY how to lay out the patterns to minimize waste.  Well instead of just folding the fabric up 8 inches for the bodice pieces, I folded it in half.  So now I don't have enough for the skirt part of the pinafore...ugh!  Seriously!  I was so meticulous in laying out and cutting everything!  So who knows what will happen with these...

So this cutie-patooty project is on hold until more fabric can be bought :(

So that is all for now.  I hope you all got some links to some fun new projects and enjoy laughing at my crafting misfortunes!

Sick Babies and Near Disasters

We have had a rough week.  Starting over the weekend with my son having a fever, which turned out to be only a COLD.  Which means a lot of being inside and mommy going stir-crazy.  He is still battling a really stuffy nose so we have been spending a lot of time inside (boo).  Everytime he gets a little burst of energy he begs to go outside, which mommy GLADLY obliges :) But we have had some fun inside too :)

 vS o all this time indoors should mean time for crafting and sewing, but with my 2 little monsters, that usually doesn't happen.  The other day I thought I was going to completely flip out and lose my mind.  Sitting in the living room with a very mopey Leonard we heard a huge crash and tons of stuff falling.  I ran frantically in my room to see my entire sewing table tipped over and Bela standing nearby.  She was fine, so my thoughts went immediately to my sewing machine laying on the ground.

I got everything back on the table and grab a scrap to make sure my machine is working ok.  My worst fear...CLACKING.  I flipped out!  I had just finished cutting out a dress and had planned to use nap time to get started on it so I was NOT happy.

So yesterday I decide to give it a good look-over before I called a repair shop so I could a better description of the problem.  Well I noticed that the thread was not hooked into the bar that goes up and I re-threaded and voila! Problem solved.  I guess it didn't slip in when I re-threaded...DUH!  So, lesson is, ALWAYS re-thread :)

So I did get some crafting done after all, stay tuned :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tutorial - Bow Grippies

The bow business is slow.  So I thought I'd share a fun little tidbit to help keep the bows you have from sliding out of your little one's hair.  I saw this type of grip on someone else's bow and had a big "duh" moment when i figured out what it was.  There are a couple different "bow grips" on the market, the most popular kind is about $4 for a pack of 24.  I am cheap and this method will give you a good grip for the rest of your child's bow-wearing life for as low as $1.

Interested?  Gather up these materials.

 All you need is a glue gun, glue sticks, scissors, a bow (or 50), and some non-slip shelf liner.  I was on a random craft trip to the Dollar Tree and happened upon this roll for $1.  One roll will do a TON of bows.  You can also find it at Walmart for about $3-$4.

 Cut out a little rectangle the same size as the underneath side of the bow clip.

 Put a bit of hot glue on the clip part and attach the "grippy".  Hold the clip open for a couple seconds so it doesn't stick together.

 Insert bow in baby's hair :)

Then grab the rest of your bows.  This is not even the HALF of it for me!

I know this was really complicated, so feel free to ask questions :)  Haha!  Have fun and don't hot glue your fingers to the bow!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Coupon Organization - THE BINDER

The entire time I have been couponing I have avoided THE BINDER method of organizing like the plague.  I do not want to be one of those crazy looking extreme coupon ladies.  I feel like a binder will put a huge bullseye on me at the checkout that says, "scrutinize every coupon I have, I am trying to get everything for free" or "Beware, I have 25 coupons for all 25 of these cans of green beans, but wait, I also have 25 store coupons for them too".  It's hard enough getting through the checkout without feeling like you are ripping the place off, without looking like an "Extreme Couponer".

Anyways, as I have been using more printable coupons and taking time throughout the week to gather information and it has gotten out of control.  Sheets and sheets of coupons everywhere, clipped coupons in piles, stacks of inserts and then there are all the coupons that you get in the mail, etc...needless to say intervention was needed.

The Flylady recommends doing a journal type thing to keep your cleaning and household affairs in order so I figured I could do it all in one.  I keep my zone cleaning lists and weekly cleaning lists in plastic sleeves so I can just use a dry erase marker to check off what I have done. 

See?  When the week is done I just wipe it off and go to the next zone checklist and start over with my weekly checklist.  This way I'm not printing out stuff every week (save those trees!)

Ok, back to the point.

So my cleaning stuff needed a place and now my couponing stuff is going with it too.  Here is what I have so far.

 I stuck a little zippy bag in the front and have been putting the coupons I plan to use my next trip in there.  I still want to use my small accordion file so when I am ready to go they will go in there.

 All my printed coupons that I haven't clipped are in sleeves.  

Going to try keeping all my inserts together and clipping as needed.  We'll see how this goes.  I put the date on the insert on the front of each one.  This way when I visit my saving sites and they say coupon for ___ is in the 4/10/11 SS, I can grab it easily.

I'm still not sure how this method is going to work for me, but for now all my coupons are organized and in one place :)  However, I don't plan on lugging this thing to the store though...

So how do you all keep your coupons in order?

Dinner = EPIC FAIL

If you know me, you know I LOVE trying new recipes.  It has been several years since we have had something fail this was a HUGE disappointment too.  Like we had to THROW IT AWAY!

To be nice, I will not post where I obtained said recipe.  All I will say is it was "supposed" to be a Greek Mac n Cheese.  I know it wasn't a cook error, it came out "right", I went through the recipe a few times to was just BLAND.  Now Bela liked it.  She is 19 months so bland macaroni is awesome.  Fortunately, I had given Leonard several fruit and veggie options (he is being picky as of late), so he had a vegetarian dinner.

It reminds me of a conversation a few friends of mine were having a couple months back about hot dogs.  I think they were talking about hot dogs on sale or something.  They said something to the effect of, "well Erin can cook so they probably don't eat hot dogs for dinner".  That kind of made me laugh, so I hope they read these and laugh at my total fail because we totally should have just had hot dogs for dinner! 

So that is all, we all have epic fail moments in the kitchen.  I guess it was about time for one :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Making Things Springy!

Spring (or rather summer if you are in Florida) is in full swing and something about summer makes me want to change everything in my house around.  Spring also means the end of spring semester and I am in the thick of it and really needed a break from housework and school work.

I have been meaning to organize my scrap fabric...

 This is not even all of it...

I found the tutorial for this wreath a LOOONG time ago and I lost the link when my computer was stolen so I cannot give proper credit.  I made this for my crafting corner in my room.  It's totally random and has no rhyme or reason.  You just take your foam wreath, square scraps (3 inches or so, doesn't have to be perfect, I just cut them randomly with scissors), wrap the scrap around the pointy end of a dull pencil, add a drop of glue to the end and stab it in.  4 TiVo'd episodes of 19 Kids and Counting later, you have this pretty thing.  It didn't make the dent in my stash I was hoping to I guess I still have to organize it....

As a child, my favorite part of Easter was going to get our Easter dresses.  I love doing the same with my kids and I happened upon a great sale at The Children's Place a couple weeks ago and snatched up the kids Easter outfits.  I have been wanting to try out A Lemon Squeezy Home's Bowtie Tutorial and the adorable blue chambray button down I got my son was perfect for it AND the awesome Tanya Whelan Lilly fabric from her Dolce collection that I have been in love with lately.  Wow, what a great run-on sentence!  

It turned out ADORABLE and I cannot wait to take pics of them in their Easter get-up.  This tute was super easy and it came out as perfect as the photos.  I might add these to my store :)  A hairpiece for my Bela in the same fabric is in the works :)

So for more spring fun I decided to spruce up my table arrangement.  I have had this really amazing, but tall orchid arrangement that my friend made for me a few years ago on the table, but I wanted something shorter so I can see my son across the table.  I came up with this little number.

I gave the old flowers (excellent quality by the way, still in perfect condition) a cleaning and they now live in a tall vase on my mantle.  I love re-purposing!  The only thing I bought was the blue flowers.  I reused the moss and the floral dec foam.  

I am still not 100% on the arrangement I made...but it works for now.  I think it will have a new home as I have since decided that I want to put a tray with my salt/pepper shakers and napkin holder and other table essentials on a tray and mod podge it...I can't make up my mind for anything!

Hope everyone else is getting their homes bright and springy!  Remember to think outside the box and find creative ways to reuse what you already have :)