Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Peacock, the Can-can dancer and Thomas the Train

I have spent most of this past month working on Halloween costumes. I have enjoyed it but am somewhat relieved that it is done and today is finally here. 

My oldest decided to be a peacock and originally wanted to have me buy her one through that catalog that arrives at the beginning of September. I think you probably know the one I am talking about. With a little persuasion, I was able to talk her into letting me make her costume.

I made the tail out of tulle and sewed on the ores by hand. We were able to find her dress at a thrift store. It was a tiny bit big, but no big deal. I also made her a fascinator to represent the peacock's corona. I had never made one of these before and will definitely have to find a reason to make another.

As for my middle daughter, she decided to be a can-can dancer. I had almost everything to make her costume and just had to pick up some tulle, elastic, and a feather. I also found out that my Great-grandma was a can-can dancer in Lithuania and lived to 104. You learn something new every day!

No one was hurt here!
Then there is my son. He is so into Thomas the Train at the moment, so his costume is a no-brainer. My Husband did the bulk of his costume, and the girls and I did some finishing work to it. Although not in the picture, it does have some wheels on it now.
Have a Happy & Safe Halloween!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Handmade Monster High Fleece Blanket

My niece has a birthday coming up and, she is into Monster High. While I have never seen the cartoon and have no idea what the attraction is about, I decided to make her a blanket and pillow set with the skull on it.

I found the image through a google search for Monster High coloring pages and printed it up. I traced the image onto double stick fusible webbing and then ironed to the appropriate colored fabric. After cutting out the pieces and putting them together, I ironed them onto the main piece of fabric. I then zig-zag stitched around each piece not only for a finished look, but to make sure it stays to the fabric after washing. For the blanket, I zig-zag stitched around the whole blanket for a finished look. I do think she will like it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Organic Chemical Free Gardening

Every year, thousand of chemicals are poured into the environment and millions of gallons of water are needlessly wasted.  How? By growing plants. Sure, most of this is done by large agricultural producers, but some of it is still done in personal gardens. And that means that you can make a difference by changing your gardening practices. There are many agricultural producers who have done it, and you can use the same tricks to help your own garden, and the planet.

Pick appropriate plants. Not all plants are appropriate for the area you live in. While you might be able to control the temperature, humidity, and rain conditions inside your house, you can’t do it out in the garden. If you pick appropriate plants for your area, you may be able to avoid using fertilizers and saving on water too. Research, what plants are native to your surrounding areas and try planting them in your own garden. Wildflowers, are just that, they can pretty much be left alone and will thrive in most areas.

Pick natural repelling plants. You don’t need to rely on poisons to keep away garden ruining pests. Many plants produce chemicals that repel these animals naturally. By putting them in or around you garden, you can keep your garden safe with little effort and no chemicals. Plus, you can pick parts of these plants and use them to make products to keep them away from you too.

If you don’t want to plant natural repellents in your garden, you can use them to spray your plants without harming them or adding artificial chemicals to your garden. Many herbs like hot pepper, vanilla, and lavender can help repel insects from your garden.

Pull weeds. We’re all looking for a quick and easy way to safely get rid of weeds without chemicals, but the good old fashioned way is still very effective.  It you take time every day to pull the weeds you can find, you’ll only take a few minutes so it doesn’t seem like a lot of work.  You can even get the kids involved, just be sure to do it properly so you don’t spread the seeds around.  There are even some common weeds that are edible, just make sure there are no pesticides that could have gotten on them.

Crop rotation. Farmers all over the world use crop rotation to naturally fertilize plants. The concept is to change what crop you’re putting in a certain field each year. Plants use different nutrients and put other nutrients back into the soil. If you rotate crops that replace the nutrients the other plants use, you will have to fertilize the soil less. 

You can use this same concept in your garden by planting different plants every year, or just rotating where you put specific plants in the garden. 

So, you’ve made all these changes and are using a low-water, chemical free garden?  Well, you still haven’t done the most important thing: pass it on! One garden can make a dent, but more can make a bigger difference. Tell your friends, teach your kids, you can even visit their school and teach your kids friends! Every little bit helps make a better world.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Redwork Crib Quilt - this pattern is the Roly Poly Circus pattern by Ruby Short McKim

  I came across this redwork crib quilt a few days ago. It is handmade from red embroidery thread, and the fabric is cut from feed-sack cloth. The theme appears to be that of zoo animals. Unfortunately, there is no date on it, if I dare to guess, I would say it was made sometime in the 1940s. Next week I will take it up to my local antique store to see if anyone there has some more specific information on it.  Other than a musty smell that I am working on getting out, it is in great condition.

 I have since discovered from originally posting this that the quilt is the Roly Poly Circus pattern by Ruby Short McKim. I am in the process of moving halfway across the country and have decided to post this on eBay instead of putting it in storage. The link is .

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Homemade Honey Sugar Scrub

This past Mother's day I made gifts for my Mother and Grandmother. I crocheted them each a set of washcloths and paired them up with some homemade honey sugar scrub.
 My initial intention was to make them lemon basil sugar scrub, but on one of my outings, I came across some unfinished wooden beehives. I envisioned them on top of the jars I would be using and so honey sugar scrub it was.

Making your own sugar scrub is so easy. For this one, all you need is three ingredients, 3/4 cup olive oil, 3/4 cup honey, and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Mix it all together until well blended and spoon into jars. When you go to use it just mix it up again with a spoon and scoop out what you need. You can use this for your hands, feet, and elbows to help remove the dry skin.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Fairy Costume

 Well, the play has come and gone and here we are with one week left of school, whoo-hoo!! I finished Gianna's costume with time to spare and was very happy with the results.

The wings took a bit of patience due to the fact that the wire I used was a bit thick and hard to bend. I used four wire hangers and bent them to the shape I wanted and then covered them with white tights. I then painted them with acrylic paint and used glitter glue to add some sparkle.

I used hot glue to add ribbon to the outer edge of each wing and glued the flowers and willow to the center to hide my joint.

I found this site that has a great video for basic instructions, . From there, I got inspiration from other pictures and from the crown I made. It was a lot of fun to just let my creativity loose for a while.

Yes, Tia had to get in the shot too!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The making of a Fairy Crown

I finally finished my daughter's fairy crown. She was quite happy with how it turned out, and that makes me happy!

It was very easy to make. I just used some floral/berry garland, some willow and floral sticks, several butterflies, brown floral tape, and glitter paint. I was able to find everything at Michael's craft store.

Today I will start working on the wings and altering the dress that we found for $3.00 at the thrift store. I can't see buying a pre-made costume when there is so much you can create on your own with just a little inspiration from others on the web. We have two weeks to go before the play and so far we are on track.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Craftbox Agency: fairy princess

 My oldest daughter got the part as a fairy in a play, so we are currently working on making a costume for her. Here is my inspiration for a crown: Craftbox Agency: fairy princess: hand-made fairy crown. I am so hoping that she will go along with it, thirteen-year-olds seem to have ideas of their own you know. As soon as I can get everything put together, I will post some pictures.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I discovered a recipe the other day for making your own dishwasher detergent. I was a bit skeptical because even with the use of a water softener I have very hard water. I did tweak it just a bit to accommodate this fact. I made up a batch yesterday and gave it a test run. I am super happy with the results and to be honest I think everything is even a bit cleaner than if I used the commercial stuff.

I have been using the Cascade ActionPacs for quite a while because they seem to work the best. But, as with everything, the price has gone up to ridiculous. As of this writing, Walmart sells a pack of 20 for $3.97, a pack of 32 for $5.97, and a pack of 60 for $10.97. These are the best prices I have found in my area. Anywhere else I could add anywhere from $1.00 to $3.00 to these prices. Not only is it pricey, it is also extremely noxious to the environment.

To make it all you need is three ingredients:
  1. 1 cup Borax
  2. 1 cup Baking Soda (Store brand is fine)
  3. 1 packet of lemonade drink mix (no sugar)
Mix everything together well and be sure to break any clumps up. If you have a lot of small clumps you can just strain them out. Use 1 Tblsp. to 1 1/2 Tblsp. per load. The lemonade contains vitamin C which is citric acid, this is what will help with the hard water deposits.
Now for the rinse agent, I never buy the commercial product for this. I just fill the container with plain white vinegar and have always gotten great results.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Valentine Heart Crochet Dishcloth

In need of a quick project, I decided to do a dishcloth. Seeing that Valentine's day is one month away and my decorations are limited for this holiday, I went in search of a heart pattern. I came across this pattern from I was able to finish this in about 2 1/2 hours, and that was with my son running around. For the white trim I did a sc stitch instead of the picot that was called for in the pattern. I needed to use up a little bit of my stash, and that is all I had enough for. I definitely will make a few more of these and use the picot stitch once I get to the store to get some more white cotton yarn.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How to Cut Back Without Sacrificing Nutrition By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

Dear Friends,
According to the USDA, the average American family of four is spending $80 a month more on groceries than they did a mere 3 years ago. For a lot of families, the upturn in grocery spending does not reflect an upturn on family income. Clearly something has got to give!
We’ve all noticed how much food has gone up–I can’t think of one thing that hasn’t. And while I cannot control food prices, I can control my own budget and as it becomes necessary, cut back to keep my food expenses in line. Here are 10 ways to cut back without sacrificing nutrition:
1) Eat vegetarian one night a week (rice and beans is a favorite with my kids).
2) Eat breakfast for dinner one night a week (pancakes and eggs are way cheap). Light candles and serve juice in wine glasses for fun.
3) Eat greens and beans one night a week (I use frozen collards, turnip greens etc. on sale to keep the cost down). Give your big guys Tabasco sauce to bump it up!
4) Eat homemade soup one night a week (try the one below!).
5) Cook with your crockpot one night a week (utilizing inexpensive cuts of meat and poultry).
6) Only buy meat and produce on sale and/or marked down.
7) Eat from your freezer one night a week (you’d be surprised at how many meals are in there just waiting to be thrown together!).
8) Buy dried beans and make your own instead of buying canned (instructions on how to cook them are right on the bag).
9) Make your own chicken broth from your leftover roast chicken (throw the carcass, an onion, carrots and celery into a pot, cover with water, simmer for an hour or so).
10) Pack PB & J’s, some carrot sticks and waters for dinner the night you’re all running all over the place (nixing the drive thru). No one will die from not having a “proper meal”.
This is all easy stuff and doesn’t require a lot of thought. Eating vegetarian for example, could be combined with eating greens and beans for dinner or eating soup, or breakfast for dinner. The point is the thought process of cutting back, making do and using up what you have. You can live on less than you think, that includes food.
Try some of these suggestions. Go shopping in your freezer and fridge before you even begin to plan your menu this week. Likewise, check out that pantry for anything that might turn into dinner this week.
Keeping clutter at bay requires cutting back on unnecessary purchases. This includes food!
Leanne Ely is a New York Times best-selling author and the author of the According to Woman’s Day Magazine, she is the expert on family cooking. Her media experience includes multi-city book tours, satellite media tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV’s Simple Solutions, ABC Family’s Living the Life, Ivanhoe’s Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale’s.