Monday, January 30, 2012

the store-bought revamp

Several weeks ago, I was browsing the handbag aisles at my favorite store and I came across a purse that really caught my eye. The kind that makes the world stop for a few seconds... it's beauty so you it's unreal. I saw a purse like that, and then looked at it's price tag and my euphoria turned into nausea. Quite quickly.

It did not really cost a lot of money, it's just that that amount of money could be spent in more practical ways (read: I can't reason with spending that amount solely on myself for something I don't need.) I really go round and round with myself on this one issue. Why can't I see myself as worthy of a splurge? I spend so much of my life looking for ways to DIY and make our money go further, of course it doesn't hurt that DIY is something I enjoy, but I save our family a lot of money so that there can be things we (they) want or enjoy that can be possible. Shouldn't I include myself in that?

Alas, I couldn't stomach it and I walked out of that store without it. I've thought back to it often, and it still just doesn't seem right. I have a sewing machine for cryin' out loud, I could make that------ but it's so much more awesome if I don't have to make it sometimes.

I did, however, come across a bag at a store today that was marked down (hooray for Clearance!) It cost half as much as the "dream bag" cost and it was quite drab. Had tons of potential but, still quite drab. I had an awesome idea though. I would make this bag awesome.

I purchased it. It's so..... tan. Booooooo.

It didn't even have any closure devices. Just a basic tote.

So the first thing I knew I would do is install closure. I thought of a zipper, but Jude was napping and Dylan was home sick today. I wanted to keep it simple. Plus, installing a zipper once the bag is completed is not a walk in the park.

I chose to go with velcro. The pockets close with velcro so it only seemed natural. I sewed in 2 different pieces of velcro at the base of the straps.

I took a fat quarter of some pretty, brightly colored fabric and cut a 2.5 by 36 inch strip. Ironed the sides down so that they wouldn't fray.

Then pinned them along the top of the bag and sewed them down at the top and the bottom.

I think it turned out nicely. It's no dream bag, but it certainly is awesome. I thought about doing the pocket flaps with the fabric, but I didn't wanna make it too busy. The best thing is if I get tired of that fabric I can get the seam ripper after it and change it!

Now the bag closes and has a pretty border. Not bad for a clearance item.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I love glass jars. I save them. When food that I purchase in glass jars runs out, I wash the jar and save it every time. I store things in them. Safety pins, straight pins and BUTTONS!!!! I love buttons!!

When I made the pin cushion yesterday, I got to thinking about decorating the jar itself. A little goes a long way though. I chose not to decorate my pin cushion jar but I decorated glass candle holders with buttons and hot glue. So cute!

Would make pretty homemade gifts. I had a ton of browns/blues buttons so that's what I stuck with.. but these would be so cute with brightly colored buttons or vintage buttons. Even cuter if used on colored glass.

Or you could jazz up an existing jar candle.

I took a yeast jar and decided to use it to store my buttons. THen decorated it with buttons :D

So cute, makes me ready for spring!

I feel like some girl that just bedazzles everything. giggles.

By the way, these:

disappointing. Enough said.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pin Cushion

I've been using a stuffed penguin as a pin cushion. It's so morbid to me. I feel bad every time I use it, but I don't have a pin cushion. Something about pinning and repinning that penguins stomach just seems a bit voodoo to me. Somewhere there is a penguin in pretty bad shape.

I've eyeballed a few pin cushions with cute jar storage for weeks now. They want around 7 bucks for those things. I just can't justify spending that for a pin cushion!

A few weeks ago I found some mason jars at a discount store and they were marked 50 cents a piece. Ring me up two, will ya?

I got my things together. Fabric, glue gun, mason jar and batting.

I gathered up a ball of quilt batting and hot glued the mess out of it so it would form into a ball. I mean, glued the mess out of it.

Then I glued the ball of batting onto the self sealing thingy that sets in the jars lid.

Then I covered the whole thing with fabric and pulled it tightly over the batting and hot glued it to the bottom. Like so.

Then I shoved it up through the ring of the lid. Stressed me out a little, but it got in there.

Finally, I glued a piece of the fabric over the bottom, for aesthetic purposes really.

Put it together and wa-la! Pin cushion! With Jar storage! I paid 50 cents for that jar, and I had the fabric, hot glue and batting on hand already. Definitely a steal.

Sorry, Penguin. It won't happen again.


It has happened.

We bought a van!!

The boys are so excited because now they don't have to sit by Jude if they don't want to! He likes to poke eyes and pull hair.

I am very excited, do you know how many kids I can fit back there??? 5 to be exact!

It's a new-to-us 2001 Chrysler Voyager and we paid cash, so we don't have a note. That's

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

First of all, I feel like I have been run over by a mac truck today. There was some terrible aweful weather in our region last night and I couldn't sleep because of it. It never got bad here but I certainly couldn't sleep for worrying that it would. I have a NOAA radio and it goes off for any kind of weather upset, and it scares me to death when it goes off! I just know it will go off in the night one time and I will lose my cool- weather, I'm so fascinated with it, but I have a great respect for what mother nature can do. My heart goes out to those that were affected by the weather last night, trapped in their homes by it, or just plain terrified.

Anyways, I made some more of my homemade laundry detergent yesterday! This is so simple to do, there is no reason why anyone should pay for commercial detergent again. This cleans just as well and is Dirt.CHeap.

I'll show you how to make it!

What you will need:
1 bar of soap
washing soda (not baking soda)
2 gallons plus 1 quart of water
5 gallon bucket

First, you need to get a big pot, grater and spoon and designate them for laundry soap making. Trust me, you will never get all the soap off of it and you won't really want to boil your pasta in slightly soapy water now will you?

So get your pot, grater and spoon and your favorite bar of soap. I use an organic all natural soap ( but you didn't need to be told that did you?) made by Dr. Bronner's. You can buy Dr. Bronners bar soaps at Walgreens here in Columbia or you can get them at All Health in Hattiesburg or order it online. They have a variety of scents, but the peppermint is my favorite! THis recipe will work with regular bar soap. I must warn you, though, that bar soaps with moisturizers in them like Dove and Caress can leave oily spots on your clothes. You need to use a soap like Ivory or even try the Fels Naptha soap that is for laundry use. It smells like cleaner and breaks out my kids so I don't use it. But it works good.

mmmmm... smells great!

So get your bar of soap and your grater and get to grating. Or you can shred it like cheese. You'll be melting it down anyway and shredding is less work. Shred or grate every last bit of that soap.

Make pretty little soap curlies :)

Now add a quart or 8 cups of water to your soap curlies and set it on the stove to medium heat and leave it there until every last bit of the soap is dissolved. This won't take long. Give it a stir now and then.

Make sure you are not cooking something at the same time and then accidentally pick up the soap spoon to stir your food. Ew.

Meanwhile, You will need to get 2 cups of Washing Soda and 2 cups of 20 Mule Borax poured out into a container. (washing soda and borax can both be found at Walmart or any hardware store that is worth it's salt. Right there in the laundry soap aisle.) You can mix it together, it's all going to the same place.

Once all of your soap is dissolved it will look like this. Just clear liquid.

Pour your liquid soap into a clean 5 gallon bucket.

Now pour in your washing soda and borax.

Stir until it is dissolved. Seriously. If you don't it will clump. It still may clump but this way it's less likely to.

This is a one person job, but for picture taking sake, the huz helped.

Now pour in your 2 gallons of water and stir constantly until it is all completely dissolved. It will look like a big bucket of soapy water but it will gel in about 24 hours.

You can leave it in the 5 gallon bucket or transfer it to empty detergent bottles. If you leave it in your bucket, use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of detergent per load of clothes.

If you put it in bottles and it gets too thick in them, shake it well before you use it. You can also add a little more water to it to thin it out if you need to.

This detergent is safe for all the new fancy washing machines, front loaders and top loaders alike.

This detergent costs literally pennies per load to make. I buy a box of borax and washing soda probably twice a year and I buy a bar of soap every time I have to make more which I think is probably ever couple of months. This recipe gives me 3 regular sized jugs of laundry detergent, and I paid for the bar of soap each time to make it and the boxes of borax and washing soda have way more than 2 cups of product inside, like I said I buy that probably twice a year. So if I pay $4.50 for my bar of soap (yea I know, but it's my fave) and I get 3 jugs of detergent out of it, I'm paying around $1.5o a jug of detergent. I won't even factor in the costs of the powders and divide that out over the recipes, it's too early for that, but if you wanted to, it would not be much more than that. That is cheap, folks. I have 3 boys- I have a lot of laundry.

I really hope you all make your own detergent! It's so much better for the environment, without all those chemicals and harsh cleaners and fragrances. Your clothes will thank you and your skin will too!


Saturday, January 21, 2012


This morning I am

:Thankful for a toddler that sleeps later than mama

:Hungry for my homemade whole wheat pancakes

:Wondering why it is that the laundry never makes the basket

Hope everybody has a wonderful happy Saturday!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

again, for the baby

This baby due in my family in the spring- well she'll be the object of my sewing inspiration for a while... she's a girl! And her mama is my cousin that I grew up with. I absolutely cannot wait until this baby gets here, also it will make me no longer the only one (locally) with small children - you know what they say, misery loves company! HAHA I'm kidding. ( or am I?)

Well I made her the reversible blanket. I'm trying to keep it simple and practical. I've had a newborn 3 times and I know in the early days you just can't have enough onesies, blankets, burp rags and diapers. So I made a set of bibs and a matching receiving blanket. Thin cotton (100% I checked) and with a vintage floral pattern- I'm not much for floral, but tastes of it here and there can be ok. It's especially nice when it's in contrasting colors.

The bibs with velcro closure

The blanket

I love yellow!! Especially paired with contrasting colors. Blues, periwinkles, lavender, gray, it goes so well.

To make the bibs I downloaded a free pdf pattern and printed it out. For the blanket, well I just eyeballed it. Seriously.

I love sewing for other people's kids! This was a very easy project - definitely great for beginners.

On another note- I started hula hooping 3 days ago!!! Once I get good I'll record myself and show you guys, but don't hold your breath until then!


Monday, January 16, 2012

insert random post title here

I try to remain present all day. Not let myself be dictated by the clock. I can spend a lot of time worrying about time. I can spend all morning reminding myself to not let noon sneak up on me without getting Jude down for a nap. Telling Hayden he can't have a snack because it isn't "time" yet. I strongly dislike the hold that time has on my life. In a perfect world we would eat when hungry, sleep when sleepy and play when we felt like it. And not worry about time.

I got some sewing done today- but the best part was when I heard a knock at the window and found this on the other side

So cute :)

Oh and he brought me this townsperson. I can't even find the farmer. He is MIA.

Perhaps a nice coat of modpodge next time will keep his face on.

We have a lot going on right now so forgive me if posting is spotty and random, we are doing things that look like this


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The almost epic fail blanket

I started out on the journey to make a fake chenille blanket last week for a baby due in my family. These blankets are very beautiful to me and some of my favorite bloggers have made them. A great tutorial can be found over at MADE. She gives great instructions.

So I purchased all my fabrics. I planned to use four so it wouldn't be super thick. The baby is due in the spring so it wouldn't get any real use of it until fall and winter except for tummy time- which in the blankets final stage is an excellent tummy time blanket.

I laid the fabrics out on the floor and pinned them all together

A quick run through of the blanket: you take 4-5 COTTON fabrics together by sewing 1 inch parallel lines across the fabrics and then cut between the seams on the bottom 3 fabrics leaving the top intact. Then you wash the blanket a few times and the cut edges of the fabrics fray leaving the faux chenille look.

So I started sewing

And sewing

Then I started cutting and cutting

I was so proud. This was very time consuming but I just knew it would be worth it.

I stuck the blanket in the wash and then the drier and when it came out it looked like this:

What hell is this?!?!?!?!

Mortified. Horrified. Exhausted. Discouraged. Some fabric I chose was NOT COTTON. Some crazy silky crappy poly blend probably that ruined my incredibly awesomely epic faux chenille blanket!!!!!!!!!!!

Deep breaths.

I gave it the weekend. I considered scrapping it and starting over. Nah, I can't do that, I won't be had by this blanket. I'll put a new back on it and bind the edges again and it will be reversible. Can't go wrong with a reversible blanket.

So I chose a corresponding fabric and pinned it on the atrocious blanket.

Baste stitched around the blankets edges to secure it and then bound it in red satin... so gorgeous.

At least I think so.

So I have not been had by this blanket, I have won. And this baby will love this blanket!

I feel a lot better now. That blanket had a bad energy but now it just radiates positivity. I can picture the baby napping on it at the beach, at the park, snuggling for a book... ahhhh.

Don't give up on your craft fails- there's always a way!