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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Foul Weather Blogging

Well it seems that I am a foul Weather Blogger. I didn't set out to be, but boy have we had a busy spring and summer. Now we are well into fall and I realized I have not had an opportunity to write in a very long time. I'm back with lots of things I have been saving up to tell you about. Life here is busier than ever, but I will do my best to make time to catch up with you all.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap - Frugal Friday

*****REVISION  2/15/2010*****

I have been using this laundry soap for over a year now and while I have saved quite a bit of money on soap I am finding that the whites are not very white anymore, so rather than be targeted for a cheer commercial I am switching back to regular laundry detergent.  Also I was reading that Borax can be a skin irritant so this may actually not be the best for ones skin, although I have had no problems with it.  In a pinch I'd still use it but long term I don't think it's done any of my clothes any favors.  It seemed great for the first 6 months or so, so my apologies if I've lead you down a path of dingy socks.  


It's a Frugal Friday so today I made powdered laundry soap, I have a front loading washer and this works very well in it. I also use vinegar in place of Fabric softener, it helps to keep any soap film from building up as well as making clothes colors stay true for longer and making them feel softer and they don't smell like vinegar after they are dry.

Here's the recipe I made:

2 cups borax (20 Mule team)
2 cups Arm & Hammer washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1 bar fels naptha laundry soap- (finely grated so it will disolve easily in the washer)

If you are like me and do not have a food processor you can grate the soap by hand, I use a vintage rotary grater that would normally be used for hard cheese, it worked pretty well and gave me the tiny pieces I was wanting.

Once you have the soap grated you pour the 3 ingredients in a bowl, mix them till they are evenly blended, transfer them to a container with a lid to keep moisture out. That's it. I use 1/8 cup per load and the clothes have been coming out clean and smelling clean but not detergenty. I still have to spot treat just like I did with regular detergent, but that's no worse than before.

I have a friend who has extremely sensitive skin so she makes her own soap, she uses her soap in place of the Fels-Naptha bar when she makes laundry soap.

The first time I decided to try this I had a little trouble finding all the ingredients, the washing soda was the toughest. I found all three ingredients at a Fred Meyers store near me. Some people have said they get it at Wal-mart, but where I live Fred Meyers is the only place I could find that had it and I called them all. SO it might pay to call around before you waste a half tank of fuel looking for the washing soda. I have also seen some companies selling it online if you can't find it where you live.

It's a pretty simple way to save a few bucks. It will be even easier when I get a food processor. That's on my thrift list, I'll find one soon. :-) I bet I have saved enough money on my last 2 batches of laundry soap to pay for the food processor when I find it. ;-)

Snow globes - Mary Poppins party

As I said in my post about the party I love the snowglobe scene and feed the birds song from the Mart Poppins movie.

Here's how we made the snowglobes.
Baby food jars - upcycled
Nickels- 1 per jar
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
glitter- I used pink because I already had it. I wonder if there is any tiny bird shaped glitter out there.... that would be super cool!

Sprinkle a bit of glitter into the jar filled with water.

Hot glue a nickel standing upright onto the inside of the lid.

Put the lid on the jar and turn it over. If there is a large bubble like you see here, you may want to add more water, I wasn't able to get it bubble free but it was much better.

Spoonful of sugar - Mary Poppins party treat

I have been thinking of this often lately while I have been taking NyQuil, imagine if it were not sweet and candy flavored... I shudder to think what it would taste like.

Anyway, spoonfuls of sugar sound completely simple enough, but to make for less mess and more fun here's what I did.

I put plastic spoons on a plate, then I put a drop or two of water in each spoon then poured green sugar sprinkles over the water till the spoons were full and let it sit for at least a day and overnight to dry. The sprinkles hardened into a lump and stuck to the spoon, perfect for easy serving. The green was inspired by the Lime cordial flavored medicine Michael had to take after being out in the rain, and showed up nice on the spoon, as well as giving the kids green mouths which they fully enjoyed. I thought of making some in red for Jane's flavor but didn't. Incidentally at that time I thought some real Rum punch would be yummy for the grown ups at the party since that was the flavor of Mary's medicine, although I would serve it in cute vintage crystal punch cups. If it were the right group of parent's I would totally do that, but didn't this time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kite Craft - from the Mary Poppins party

The Kite craft was fun for my girls and pretty easy.

The supplies I used are also inexpensive and easy to find.
kite string - $1 for 200ft. spool
bamboo skewers $1 for 100
plastic for kites - used 1 kitchen trash bag cut out 8 kites
scotch tape - $1 a spool
Glue gun & glue sticks
ribbon for the tail - $.50 a spool
cardboard for string holders - used the cardboard divider from a boardgame box, game still works fine and it was free and looks nicer than cereal box cardboard (you could use that and paint it if you wanted, or of course there is always cardstock in amazing colors and prints for you paper junkies out there).

I unfolded the trash bag out flat then folded it in 1/4 so that there were 8 layers of plastic (it was already 2 layers) then cut out a kite shape. At this point it may have been good to actually have a pattern of some sort, to make the kite perfectly even for the best flying, but I just cut it out without a pattern.

I cut the skewers to length for the cross bar (cutting off the sharp end) and fastened 2 together with hot glue to be long enough for the other stick, I later went back and cut off most of the overlap to lighten it up and remove the pointy ends. On one kite I used scotch tape to attach the bamboo sticks to the plastic which seemed to work fine till a particularly big gust of wind tore it loose. On the other kite I used hot glue at the end of each stick to attach the plastic, that held very well. I also attached the tails in the same way but I think a wider ribbon might work better as it needs to be weightier.

I unwound some kite string onto the cardboard where I had cut a notch for the string to go into and tied it around the card, then wound a bunch around so that I had enough for fun flying. Then I tied the other end of the cut string to the center cross of the kite tying it around both sticks, you should use a bowline knot for this if you want it to hold good, a square or granny knot will likely slip and your kite may escape.

Now you are ready to go fly a kite!!

The craziest part is that Miss 4 and Miss 8 think I am some sort of amazing genius because I made a kite, even though to be honest it doesn't fly that well. We are still having lots of fun, proof that you don't have to be perfect to have fun! (just make the effort to be a bit creative and you just might be magically "Practically perfect in every way" if you are brave enough to give it a shot)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mary Poppins Birthday Party

Miss 3 has just graduated to being Miss 4 so to celebrate the occasion we decided to have a birthday party for her. She wasn't sure what sort of party she wanted so I waited for inspiration.... Well finally 2 days before the party it struck me, a Mary Poppins party would be perfect!!!! She has been obsessed with the movie, asking to watch it almost every day (I don't let her watch much tv or movies at all, so it's not often that she actually gets to see it. We've had a lot of colds and flu lately though, so there's been more than normal, which I think has led to the Mary Poppins obsession.)

We were at the store and Miss 4 had seen the Mary Poppins Barbie along with Bert and Jane and Michael. She went into the kind of frenzy only a 3 year old could. I did not buy them at the time but thought the Mary Poppins one might make a good birthday present since she was so excited and obviously wanted it. Lucky for me, I found them at the Grocery outlet and they were a great deal, they even had all of them. So the entire set only cost me $30 instead of the $75- $90 they were at the toy store. I was really excited to be able to buy them, that's when the idea struck for the Mary Poppins Party.

So here's what I planned for the party... with just 2 days to plan and pull it together.

This part probably sounds vain, well at least it does to me, but since I love costume design and haven't been doing any plays lately I went with it just for fun. Besides, I don't remember ever claiming "not" to be vain. I dressed as Mary Poppins. Miss 4 loved the idea and told me I would be going away and that Mary Poppins would be at her party, she was so excited about it. I already had the coat and the right shape(wrong color) hat, and a black umbrella (although not a parrot handle on it), so I thought I should be able to pull an outfit together for the party. I'll tell you more about my costume later on, hopefully adding some better photos too.

To start the party off, the kids did sidewalk chalk drawings. I got the big box of sidewalk chalk ($5) and Miss 8 gave it to Miss 4 as one of her gifts on her actual birthday. For the party she was glad to share and have everyone doing chalk drawings with her. That part went well. Then the kids played on the swings for a bit, which was fine but I would have had them come in sooner if I'd known that most of them needed to leave early.

If you have seen Mary Poppins you may remember "Toppins toppins toppins a bag" Well I loved the scene with the snow globe and was trying to figure out how make snowglobes that were fun and not expensive. I was roaming the store looking for something small yet significant to the story to put in baby food jars for snow globes. Aha! Toppins! I decided to use Nickels and it worked out great! I did the gluing of the Toppins and the kids poured glitter into the jars of water I helped them put the lids on and ta-da! a snowglobe with toppins. Each cost me a nickel, the rest of the supplies were either on hand (glue & glitter) or recycled (baby food jars).

To go along with the "lets go fly a Kite" song I also had a kite craft ready but most of the kids had to leave early so we skipped it, my girls had a blast with it after the party though, so I think it would still be a good idea.

I made "spoonfulls of sugar" for the kids and they were a hit. (I did not give them any other candy or send home bags of candy like most birthday parties my kids have been to, so I felt like a spoonful of sugar was fun and not too much sugar really.)

Miss 4 wanted a barbie doll cake and we have the pan,(thanks to the Paisley Penguin! ;-) so I made a Mary Poppins cake for her. If you ever use a real barbie with the wilton doll cake pan you need to add a single, or double layer cake under it to make it tall enough for the barbie, also take a knife and cut a hole in the center to put barbie in. I might add that barbie was very clean before we put her in the cake ;-)I have to say that while I am capable of decorating cakes pretty nicely, a lot depends on the consistency of the frosting and amount of time I want to put into it. Lucky for me Miss 4 is not a critical child and was totally happy with the cake. If I'd had more time I would have made a little hat and certainly would have done a more professional looking job with the frosting (I actually shudder at the frosting on this cake). As it was, I used a 7 minute icing (that I will never make again) it was droopy and didn't hold the shape of an icing tip at all. Oh well it was cake and we ate it and now it's gone. ;-) None of the kids seemed to mind the lack of decorating perfection. I did get many complements on the frosting tasting really good and Miss 8 thinks it was the yummiest frosting she ever had.

Miss 4 was so thrilled with the Mary Poppins, Bert, Jane and Michael, Barbies, she has been playing with them for the better part of the last 2 days, along with taking swims with her new mermaid and playing My little pony. I think the ponys have been filling in for the Carousel horses with the Mary Poppins group too.

I think I'll write a couple Tutorial type blog entries showing how I made stuff for the party and the details of my costume (which I just might wear on a daily basis, but only if I find a good carpet bag). Hope this was fun for you, it sure was for all of us!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Thank you all for your sweet and fun comments about the vintage stove. It turned out that it was sold to someone else. It would have been nice if I was just told that to begin with, but we set up a time to go see/buy it and then got an email that the roomate had sold it to someone else. I was really bummed, but at the same time I did not have a totally solid positive feeling about buying it right now, although I knew it would not be for sale for long so might miss it if I didn't buy it. I prayed that I would make a right decision since the car needs weatherstripping and I really only have the money for one or the other now. I really do believe that mantaining what I have is more important than getting "new" things. That is good stewardship, and being responsible, but not always fun. My stove is holding out ok although it likes to burn things in the oven, often mysteriously, but it works and I can wait for the right time to buy a vintage stove, as long as I don't torture myself by checking craigslist for any great ones between now and then. ;-)

So now I get to be excited about weather stripping! Woo hoo! Ok it's feeling a little bit forced, but really that gets me that much closer to driving the car I like so much. No more foggy windows is a big plus there, after the moisture issue is fixed there will still be a few things that need done but I don't think they are going to be too complicated or expensive. Buying weather stripping is a commitment to keep the car though, Actually my last old car I bought the weather stripping and then we had a lot of problems with it and sold it for parts and I still have the weather stripping in my laundry room. Too bad it won't fit the DeSoto... I have posted it on craigslist a few times and one person offered me less than half what I paid, I probably should have taken it, I guess there aren't that many people who drive a 64 Ford Falcon Sedan these days. So I'm reconsidering selling on Ebay, I used to sell stuff on there a bit, mostly vintage clothes. But am a little more than disenamoured with the whole process of selling there, still I'm thinking about it.

My friend the Paisley Penguin got a new engine yesterday, it's quite lovely, I know cause Mr B helped her Hubs pick it up. We laugh a lot about how we used to want and expect fancy gifts and stuff that was in some way extravagant or at least impractical. However now we can truly be excited adnhappy to get something we need, like weather stripping or a new engine for your car. For my birthday this year I am asking for the electrical to be finished in the addition on our house. A few months ago I was hoping for the addition to be completed, but I have "awakened" since then and now just want to have something significant finished. The electrical is over half done now so it seems like it should be able to be finished by then. I hope I hope!!!!

I think the change in expectations has been good for me and certainly good for the budget, but I sort of miss the carefree spending of my pre-mommy days, at the same time I wish I had saved more of that money, or at least appreciated being able to spend it more than I remember.
I realize this is sort of a rambley post and a bit odd, I hope not too much so though.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Vintage stove

OK so right now I should be breathing into a paper sack. I'm about to hyperventilate because I just saw the most beautiful vintage stove on Craigslist, and I WANT it!!!!! I emailed the poster nearly an hour ago and they have not emailed me back yet. Oh I know it's not even an hour yet..... but I love the stove!! I hope it's not some sort of crime to copy the photo of said stove but here it is, isn't it glorious???? I know if this one doesn't work out for me there will be a different one, but oooooo it's sooooo pretty!!!!! It might actually be a good thing if I don't hear back as I will be forced to choose between the stove and the weatherstripping for the car. Oh choices can be so overwhelming!!!!!

today's project - locate weatherstripping

Today I am searching for weatherstripping. I think it'll solve some of my most irritating promlems, dampness and mold. Yep today I went out to check on the DeSoto and guess what? There is mold growing in the back window and on the seats.
I am so sad... it will come off the seats and the original cardboard in the back window needed replaced with something else anyway, but I feel like everything around here gets moldy, and it seems particularly bad when it's my beloved car. This was my answer to the big family, big car. No mini-van for me, I can haul way more stuff in the trunk of this car than I could fit in a mini-van anyway. Unfortunately we have had a few problems with the car this last year so I have not been driving it, I miss it though and can hardly wait to get it back on the road. Well, it seems I will be able to get weatherstripping for it, last time I looked I had no luck, but today I found 2 places online that have what I need. Now I just need Mr. B to help me figure out what exactly is leaking and if I need to replace all of it or just the doors and side windows. I hope I don't have to do the windsheild and rear window as those are of course the most expensive and not for the DIY gal to undertake.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scanning for bargans for scanning

Oh I am so pleased!!! I have been wanting a scanner for a few years. We were going to buy one for Christmas but the funds were just not there. I really believe that things are, or will be, out there for me at the perfect time and in the perfect circumstances, or at least tolerable circumstances ;-). So I was waiting for my scanner. Yesterday I found it, waiting for me, for just $7.99 at the Goodwill. It's an all-in-one and so far the scanner part works great. I don't know for sure if it prints well yet, since it's out of ink. I did get it to feed paper through so at least I know it *might* work. Really all I needed is the scanner anyway, but it would be nice to have 1 machine to do it all. I have been hesitant to buy used printers etc. because I didn't know if they would work with my operating system. Well, I noticed the date stamped into the plastic, It's a bit cryptic but if you notice several circles with numbers and little tiny arrows pointing to some of the numbers that is the date. Not all computer stuff has that, but if it does it can be helpful in determining what may work for you. So based on when it was made I thought it would probably work and WOO-HOO it did! I am going to have such fun scanning things.... I have a small collection of vintage cards that I will be scanning. Here's one you can copy & paste to use for (personal)crafting if you like. I still have to learn about making things downloadable.

Vintage signs

I love all things vintage so it is no surprise that I LOVE to see shops around town that have been here since the 40's or 50's. It's even better if they have kept their original signage. It really makes me happy to see a vintage sign with the neon working. There are a few really wonderful ones that I see at least once a week and some more that are scattered around town. Sadly many have been recently replaced or the buildings torn down or remodeled. Today as I was out running errands I stopped to snap a couple photos of some of the ones along my route. These are my favorites. I might do another post with more later.
Yes that is a giant shovel and rake, about 30+ feel tall. This shop has the coolest building too, very 50's ranch style with huge windows and a low-pitch roof that lends to the long low feeling of of the building. Besides that it's painted a lovely shade of turquoise. When we finish the addition to our house and get to move to other projects I hope to buy some flagstone or something similar for my yard from them. It's silly but I love this business for being here a long time and having an awesome sign, and I haven't even shopped there yet.
Several years ago they took the totem sign and had it fully restored, I think it was very worth while. As I was snapping this photo I realized that I have never eaten there. I think that is really strange but it's probably because I used to be a vegetarian and didn't eat at many restaurants in general. Anyway I have added it to the list of places to try when I get a chance. I wonder what the inside of the restaurant looks like, I wish I could go there tonight just to find out, and of course it has nothing to do with my not wanting to cook dinner. :-)

This sign is one that I hope gets restored and not replaced, the other side is actually less weathered and nicer, but harder for me to get a decent photo of. I took my wedding dress here to have it cleaned. They did an AWESOME Job and only charged me half what everyone else would have charged. They ROCK!

So that is a little tour of some of the neat vintage signs in my town. Hope you enjoyed it and I hope you have some neat ones in your town too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Frugal Friday - Because Frugal is the new Black.

Frugal Friday - I grew up in a home with no extra money and often not enough for the very basics. I'm not complaining, but I remember breaking the ice in the toilet in the morning, using the outhouse when the well went dry and eating beans 2 meals a day. Ya, it sucked to open a butter-tub of beans at school for lunch. But I have survived and as an adult have had some times with and without enough money. There are things I have always done to save money, it seems people are currently focused on "being Frugal" since the economy is on everyones minds. So I was thinking that maybe some of the things I do to be frugal are not actually common knowledge. I plan to share some of the ways I have managed with less than what I wanted or thought I needed.

This is a pretty obvious one but of the many things I have done to save money my favorite is to thrift shop, granted there are so many cool things to find that often I have wondered if I actually save money. Or do I just drag home more "treasures" than I would be able to afford if I shopped at regualr stores? The thing I like most is probably vintage finds but some new things I find are great too. It helps to know brands, so you don't shell out your precious dollars on some walmart clothes that might have been cheaper new than they are at the thrift store, besides being poor quality. Having an idea of what is good quality and poor quality will make your thrifting so much more worthwhile. Some things you would get excited about may not be worth it. For example Kirkland brand Cashmere sweaters, although soft and warm they pill up terribly after a wearing or two, so if you know that, you can decide if the price really is right. It would be a mistake to think that thrift shopping will always save money. Clothes for Miss 3 are best found at Target, the ones at the thrift store are usually stained or worn out, although there are some great exceptions to that in her closet.

I have noticed a considerable change in thrift store shopping since last fall. I've still found some great stuff, but it seems that the awesome finds are fewer and farther between. The Goodwill has been packed with people, especially on Mondays and the tag color of the day can hardly be found. Besides they have raised the prices on many things considerably. I have found though, that if I go to the next town the prices are better. Then too there have been some great managers specials at our Goodwill, yesterdays was stuffed animals 10 for a dollar. We found some groovy girls for Miss 3 and Miss 8 and a family of big gorillas for our homeschool co-op classroom. I threw them straight into the washer and dryer when we got home and they all came out just fine, even the groovy girls hair still looks good (I have a frontloading washer and dried them on cool).

Every thrift store I have been to lately has raised their prices. In fact my very favorite "junk store" (a gloriously crowded mess of junk and some really cool old stuff) has receintly doubled their prices on a lot of the stuff. So with the new prices and more people finding an enthusiasm for thrift shopping I feel the competition and I don't like it. I have noticed that I can still find cool vintage things and it seems that those of us who have always hunted for vintage stuff still do, but the new thrifters are looking for NEW things so maybe the greatest treasures are still safe from the masses.

I have some awesome vintage finds that I plan to post about in the near future, as well as some newer items that I have altered so that they work better.

So Thrifting is my FAVORITE, next time I'll tell you about another frugal idea I've been using for years.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Winners Announced!!!!!!!!

Hello all!
I am announcing the winners to my giveaway for One World One Heart. I have 2 prizes for my giveaway. I have used the random number generator and counted down the list of comments to find the winners. These gals have been emailed and have till Feb 21st to respond.

SOOOO HERE IT GOES!!!!!!!!!The first prize goes to Brigit of Swapping Howdies, the second one goes to goes to Monica Kelly of Monicas craft. Both these gals have beautiful blogs and if you get a chance to check them out please do!

I would like to extend a special thanks to all the people who left kind comments and visited my blog during this fun event! I have had such fun vistiting blogs. Although I did not make it to all 911 of them I do hope to get back to the list and continue checking out all the neat things to be found. I especially want to thank Lisa for putting this together and making it a fun event for all! Thank you to everyone and have a very happy Valentines day!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Additional drawing for OWOH

Hello I am adding an additional prize for the OWOH event, please see previous post to learn more about it.
So I decided that by this point most of the people who have entered my drawing have want of and use for a hair flower so I will add another flower since we are well past 100 entries.
These 2 photos are the same flower, but from different angles. This one is meant to be worn pretty much anyplace in the hair, could go on the side or if you have an up-do next to that or if you are just dressing up a ponytail would work for that too.

It has the same kind of clip that is used on the other post, They are my favorite and hold on nice and tightly. I will now be drawing 2 names from the comments, one to receive this hair flower and one to receive the one on my original OWOH post. Miss 8 wants to make something for a bonus prize so we'll see if we can make time for that as well. Bless you all for taking the time to check out my giveaway and hopefully you'll make it back to check out my blog later on as well.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One World One Heart


Hello everyone welcome to my "One World one Heart" Post. If you want to learn more about One World One Heart click the logo above, it's a really neat project organized by Lisa of A Whimsical Bohemian. Also if you click the Icon above you can check out the 900+ blogs that are involved and see a ton of cool artwork.

I'm having a drawing of my own. To enter you just need to leave me a comment on this post with a way to email you in case you are the winner. Contest ends on Feb 12th and I'll take entries till Noon Pacific time that day. The winner will be announced and emailed the evening of Feb 12th. One entry per person.

And here's the prize.

Technically it's a hair clip, I made it to go across above a pony tail, but being creative people you just might have another use for it. You could of course wear it in your hair, or would you attach it to the top of a gift for a friend... or clip it to something else to bring a bit of spring into your day.

Here's the clip side.

If I get more than 100 entries I'll add another prize so check back to see. Also please check out my blog, some of the January entries show things I have made.

Please see my new post about the additional prize in my giveaway, however leave your comments on THIS POST only please. Comments are officially closed at this time!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The front porch in January

My front porch is one of my favorite things about my house. It is a covered porch and is just big enough for a couple chairs and little table and some plants. I actually crowd a bit more in there and in summer it is pretty lush and green with lots of flowers and is the perfect place to sit and read and have some lemonaid while the kids cartwheel and play in the front yard. In January it's a rather blah little front porch though, and after reading a post by Super Kawaii Mama about staying cool in the heat of an Austrailian summer I was longing for summer days and sitting on my front porch. So to at least bring the feeling that spring is on it's way I picked up some primroses at the grocery store last night. This morning Miss 3 helped me plant and water them, she picked the blue-violet ones to be hers. It's a little thing but it sure does make me smile when I see them. I also got inspired to sweep the porch and get rid of the leaves in the corners. Ahhh, a little spot of spring for me to see every day until the real thing is here. I noticed while I was out sweeping that the bulbs are starting to come alive and there are some lush green shoots peeking up through the mulch. I can hardly wait for spring to arrive......

Friday, January 30, 2009

A while ago....

I know it's from a while back but I wanted to share what my girls wore for Halloween last October. I ran across the photos today and thought they'd be fun to share. I made their costumes. The blue dress I actually made several years ago and let out the seams so it still fits her. It is supposed to look like Felicity's dress (ca.1774)from the American Girl movie.The mermaid costume was made from at shirt in a sort of peach color, and pink and green fabrics that were thrifted for under $2. So it was really cost effective although not warm. I also ended up making a mermaid cape from pink fur from the stash and some of the green satin, It is reversible. It was cute and warm and she went to 2 houses and was done with trick or treating. But halloween for us isn't really about trick-or-treats or any of the traditional stuff it's alllll about the costumes.

Also I was thinking that here on the blog it looks like I only make things out of felted sweaters, but that is not the case at all. Felted sweaters are actually new territory for me as the 2 projects I have posted are the only ones I have done that were "real." I made a pair of kilt hose for a play, but they were really only legwarmers and nothing to make a big deal about for sure. I really love to sew and I soooo wish I had the time and ability to focus on a sewing project right now, Baby B has been taking very short naps and I haven't had time to get all the required things done and leave any time for sewing, so SOON I hope to be back to sewing and when I do get to, it I'll be sure to post about it. :-)

Blueberry Muffins

Today Miss 8 made blueberry muffins (with a little bit of help). She read the recipe and added the ingredients, mixed it up and put them in the pan. She even made a pan of mini muffins. They were very good and I am a bit sorry to say that between the 3 of us who were home at the time, there is not a crumb left, baby B was here but did not get to have any. I did manage to get a photo of the ever so yummy muffins quick before they were all gone. (yep again with the battery problem, had to wait for them to charge and by then we had devoured most of the muffins. Today I plan to buy a battery for my camera that will not die every time I need it...)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I finally made it to Trophy Cupcakes!!! It's in Wallingford center on 45th (Seattle). There are the cutest little tables and chairs and the cutest blue polkadot tablecloths with scallopped edges. Miss 8 just about lost her mind and was so giddy she could hardly choose but finally choose the chocolate chip mint. Miss 3 loved it too and had to have the triple chocolate cupcake. The place is beyond adorable in the best possible way. the service was very good and the cupcakes were "the yummiest I have ever had" according to miss 8. Both girls were hoping to work there when they are old enough, until Miss 8 decided she would have her own cupcake shop. She has spent today thinking of names for her shop. I had planned to take a photo but alas my rechargable camera batteries were dead, darn you rechargable batteries!!!! So follow the link to see the wonderful Trophy Cupcakes. You can also get a Trophy recipe and see a video of Trophy's owner Jennifer Shea making Smores cupcakes on the Martha Stewart website. I haven't made the smores cupcakes yet, but I'll let you know when I do.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Speech like poetry

I was doing an online search for events and people imporatant in 1854, (Miss 8 needed to do a report on someone important from that time, she chose Elizabeth Blackwell) when I ran across a speech given by Chief Seattle (Sealth) in 1854. I think it is perhaps one of the most picturesque things I have ever read.

Cheif Sealth's speach was one of great depth and beautifully written. In a way I wish that I could have heard him speak, I think I would have been moved beyond the blurry vision and threat of tears I experienced while reading it. I have been trying to decide if I should link to it or put it in my post.... It seems long but I think worth reading. So here it is.


Speeches: it seems that we are in a time of great and eloquent speeches. When words have once again regained the power to defy the apparent devastation that is looming overhead. Those who know their power and have mastery over them have the opportunity to rise to new levels. Hope and Change, and most of all a Saviour, that is what America cries for. They are being answered with great words and powerful phrases. I only hope the true spirit of those words will come through and be made real. I hope that what looks to me like a carefully orchestrated play will break out of the theatre of politics and be the true and honest reality that America is craving, or that I hope America is craving. I do wonder though how America will treat a human it has set up as a Saviour, how can one rise to expectations like that?

It brings a new realization to me on the power of words, and the responsibility and weight that is upon those who so skillfully wield them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cozy Carseat Cover

I just wanted to show how I made a sweater into a really cozy and convenient car seat cover for Baby B (in the picture it's a dolly).

I used a men's sweater that was a nice thick really soft wool, with a zipper up the front. It actually has a double pull so you can zip up from the lower edge if you want but that is not necessary for the cover, although it is handy. I washed the sweater and was intending for it to felt, it didn't shrink very much at all, this turned out good since the zipper needs to lay flat. I checked to see if it had felted at all and it seemed satisfactory for the purpose here.

I cut the sleeves off and cut up the side seams, placed the sweater (zipped up) over the car seat with the neck hole where baby B's head would be so that it would work as a face or neck hole for him. Then I folded the lower front edge around the edge of the car seat and pinned it at the sides, this will work best if you have the sweater inside out so that you can just sew where the pins are and turn to get the desired effect. I had a lot of extra sweater at the top edge so trimmed it off leaving a few inches to wrap around the top edge of the car seat to hold it in place. I took a large dart in each corner to follow the contours of the seat and stitched 1/4" elastic on the underside of the edge to stabilize it and keep it from sliding off, as well as along the lower front edge for the same reason. Then I cut 2 strips about 1" wide and long enough to reach to keep the sides from gaping open, stitched them on cut button holes in them (slits really), and stitched salvaged buttons on.

In retrospect I should have put the button at the other end of the little strap so you can See it as the hood covers the button now and no one ever sees it, if I had ugly buttons that would be perfect but I used cute ones so I wish they showed.

Baby B likes the cover when it's cold and windy and it keeps him from loosing his blankets while he's kicking his little feet, also helps contain socks and booties that get lost otherwise. It cost me about a dollar for the sweater on tag color day, and the buttons were salvaged from a jacket my MIL gave me to use for re-working. I love the buttons by the way.

The neck hole is really not as large as baby B's face so usually if he is awake he likes to have his whole head sticking out and wear a hat, rather than have the hole around his face. All in all I really think it worked out, and sure beats draping a blanket over the whole car seat and having the wind blow in there and the blanket sliding off and dragging in the slush and mud.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Save hancrafted toys and children's items

Save Handmade!

At first the new laws about testing for hazardous chemicals in and on children's toys and clothing sounds great! However as the laws are written they will eliminate many small businesses that already hold the highest standards for their products. The laws state that testing must be done by a 3rd party and the costs for testing can be around $4000. How can a sole proprietor who makes children's toys in their sewing room or shop deal with that? they will be instantly put out of business as will many of the other small businesses that make things for children in a responsible way. What will this leave us with???? Toys made in 3rd world countries, while I agree the laws will help, I still won't be completely comfortable with trusting large corporations that outsource their work. I also will be saddened by the loss of so many artists employment and the loss of variety in toys that we have because of those artists. Do we really want to be stuck with Mattel and other large corporations to direct our children's play? I know I don't!

Write your Senator and House Representatives, if we all speak up we will be heard. Save creative toys, save American and European Crafts-persons jobs. For more information click the icon at the top of the post. You can also check there for updates as the laws are ammended.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Slippers - Tutorial for DIY Cozy slippers.

Miss 8 and Miss 3 were needing some new slippers, as both have experienced growth spurts recently. We were having some incredibly cold and snowy weather the day I made these and slippers just couldn't wait, so I decided to see what I could make with things I had on hand. Originally I had all sorts of creative ideas for super cute slippers, but then as reality sank in I realized these would need to be quick and easy. Soon I was inspired by the memory of some slippers I had as a kid that would be easy to make during Baby B's nap. I used a thrifted wool/angora sweater and shearling coat, from my stash of such things. They cost less than $2 and there is still lots of shearling left.

The only special equipment you need is leather sewing needles for your zig-zag capable sewing machine and some sharp scissors or razor blade for cutting the shearling. You could hand stitch these and they would turn out really cute if you did a blanket stitch or something decorative, but you'd still want a glovers needle or leather sewing punch.

Here's how....

Start by Felting a sweater, to do this I threw it in the washer on hot and then dried it in the dryer on hot.

I traced Miss 3's foot onto a piece of paper for my pattern and cut it from the shearling with the pattern facing up for one foot and down for the other so you get a pair, you only really need about 1/4"to 3/8" seam allowance around the foot tracing. Then cut a strip of shearling about 1" wide and long enough to go around the perimeter of the sole + 1" or just cut the strip way longer than you need and cut off the excess when you are done. Cut the sleeves off the sweater in such a way as to have the distance of the cut edge measure close, but less than, the distance around the sole, this is also when you will decide how tall you want the slipper legs, Miss 3 wanted knee high slippers so we used the whole sleeve, the ribing at the cuff will help keep them up, or they can be rolled or folded down. Note: Check to see that the cuff will go over the intended foot and up to the desired part of the leg, this particular sweater would only work for Miss 3's leg unless it were an ankle high slipper.

Sew (using a long zig-zag stitich) the strip around the sole with furry sides together, the fur will be on the inside to make them extra cozy (my first pair did not turn out altogether pretty on the zig-zagged edge but I think with experience this will get easier, I am not really accustomed to sewing on shearling. A serger might work but I did not try it as I thought the shearling would be too thick). Then stitch up the back where the strip meets it's self,cut off any excess strip of shearling.

Now you are ready to sew the sweater sleeves to the sole.

Start at the back of the sole with the sweater sleeve inside out with the sole piece inside it and back seams matching, also mark the center front (or an approximate close to center front).

Then zig-zag the two together, making sure the center front is matching up when sewn. You may need to stretch the sweater a bit to make them match.

Once you have sewn all the way around all you do is turn it right side out and you have slippers that Miss 3 has proclaimed "WAM and TOZY"

I made an additional pair for Miss 8 using the body of the same sweater, avoiding the embroidered center panel by cutting from the sides and back, they had more seams but turned out ok. You would cut them out on a fold to look like the sleeves shown above, with the fold on the long edge.

You will get a piece like you see here, then sew up the back seam and you have a piece like the sleeves used in the directions above.