Monday, January 27, 2014

Valentine's Day "sewing" craft

I saw an image on Pinterest of a yarn heart. Once I clicked through I found it was a card from the Parents website.
They have a template you can download if you like. I decide to take their idea and make a few changes.
It’s still a card but not one that opens and mine is slightly smaller. I also added the phrase “I love you SEW much” to mine.

All I did was create a word document with the statement written out and then copy and paste several times until I had enough for the kids at my classroom party.

I can fit about 6 on a page. I printed them out on cardstock and cut them into individual pieces that are about 2 ½ by 3 ¼ inches. I used a very tiny hole punch to pre-make the holes. You can also use a needle to poke through so it’s easier for the kiddos to “sew”.

At this size they will need about 2 feet of yarn to sew their card. I ordered several blunt, large eyed needles from ebay at about 0.50 each including shipping. I had all the yarn precut and the needles pre-threaded for the first round of kids at that station.

(On party days we break the kids up into smaller groups and they rotate through different stations to do all of the games and crafts.)

I also added a little V at the top and bottom of the heart so when it’s done it looks a little more like a heart.

I'm off to do some more party prep, Valentine's day will be here before we know it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Reusable Market Tote

My quick weekend project this past Saturday was to hand stamp a shopping tote. I love to personalize these and give them out as gifts or better yet with something fun inside. There are so many fun things you can do with them too. I’ve put initials on several and recently I put a John Lennon quote on one for a dear friend.
As “homeroom Mom” for my son’s kindergarten class I’m organizing a gift basket for an upcoming school fundraiser and the basket theme is “What’s Cooking”. The basket will be filled with all sorts of fun cookbooks, utensils and other cooking supplies. I thought it would be nice to add a reusable shopping tote, perfect for trips to the farmers market or a quick trip to the grocery store for some fresh produce.
I used letter stamps and some fabric paint to add the words “eat fresh” and then I used an actual apple to make the apple design.

After I used the apple to make the shape I went back with a small brush to fill in some of the spaces. (apples aren't the most perfect "stamps"). Overall, the project was easy enough that I made two totes. One for the gift basket and the other one, I listed on my Etsy site.

Friday, January 17, 2014

DIY Products; recipe and review

Just in case you’re new here, I like to make stuff. So anything that comes with the potential to DIY… I’m on it!!!! I go into making something myself with the thought of being more natural or more cost effective but the bottom line is I just enjoy doing it myself.
So, here are a few DIY products I use with the recipe and my take on how they work or why I use them.
I might be slightly addicted to lip stick/gloss.  If for no other reason than to stop myself from licking my lips or biting them until they are fully chapped. In the winter it seems to be even more of a battle with dry lips. I really like to use a lip scrub before I put on Chap Stick or gloss. It helps get any dry loose skin off before you moisturize.
Several cosmetic lines sell lip scrubs for a pretty penny so I almost never spend the money for them. I found a great recipe to make them at home.
Lip Scrub
Equal parts; Sugar, Honey and Olive Oil
I make a small amount and keep it in a tiny medicine cup next to the sink. Use your finger to rub it over your lips and remove any loose skin. I then take a warm moist paper towel and gently dust off any remaining sugar. When I’m done I put on my favorite lip balm and my lips are soft and refreshed.
Review: A+
It works great! Do it only occasionally, 1 to 2 times a week or less. Very cost effective. Takes no extra time.
I have purchased a few lip plumping glosses and I kind of like the results so I thought I would look for a recipe. Found one.
Lip Plumper
Add a few drops (3 to 5) of cinnamon oil to a clear lip gloss from the dollar store.
Review: C+
It worked ok but not as well as store bought. The results didn’t last as long and it needed reapplied more often. Ouch! That cinnamon stings!!! Store bought version has a nice tingle…NOT a sting! Cost much less but not worth the time & effort.
I saw a cute recipe on Pinterest for making a lip balm from Kool-Aid and petroleum jelly. I thought it would be a fun thing to do with the kids and a cute little gift to make for friends.
Lip Balm
Mix desired amount of drink mix into a spoonful of Vaseline (petroleum jelly).
You need a small travel jar or something to put your finished product into. I used disposable bowls and Popsicle sticks to mix the ingredients. Then you can have fun with flavors and colors.
 Review: B-
The kids thought it was great to be mixing and they had control over what the flavor was going to be. The color didn’t change much and they all looked sort of greyish but the jars we used were colorful and that it made it pretty.
I was surprised when I tried it out that there is a fair amount of salt in Kool-Aid. Because of the level of salt, I feel it is drawing the moisture out of my lip more than protecting them. I also want to lick my lips more because of the drink flavor. Also, the drink mix does not fully dissolve in the petroleum jelly so it is a little gritty. Fun to make, cute idea but I don’t recommend it for regular use.

When I can, I try to streamline my daily routines. I don’t wear a lot of make-up and most days I have it down to; cream blush, foundation, mascara and a lip color. By the end of the day I have myself convinced that most of it has worn off and I rarely wash my face before bed. “I’m too tired” “Just tonight, I’ll get back to cleaning make-up off tomorrow” “Urg, it’s late, my shower is just hours away anyway”. Then I wake up looking like a scary Mommy raccoon.

In an effort to simplify the bedtime routine, I found a few recipes for eye makeup remover.

Tried them both and now I’m playing around with a variation of the two combined.

Eye Make-up Remover

1 cup water
1 ½ T baby shampoo
1/8 teaspoon baby oil

1 cup water
2 ½ T olive oil
2 T witch hazel
2 T baby wash

Here’s mine…
½ cup water
1 T baby shampoo
1 T Olive Oil
1 teaspoon witch hazel

You will need a small travel bottle to keep your remover in and you’ll need to purchase a package of small cotton rounds. Make sure you shake the remover very well before each use. You only need a few drops on one cotton round per use.

Review: A+
Works great on; eye liner, eye shadow, mascara (didn’t try it with waterproof). Easy to make. Most ingredients should be in your home already. Very cost effective. Added bonus; you can put a few drops on several rounds and place them in a zip baggie to travel.

Now that we’ve made a mess with all our concocting, let’s clean up. I have been using a homemade cleaner since I had my first kid. It’s not for deep, disinfecting cleaning but awesome for all the routine clean ups. I didn’t want to spray harsh cleaners around my kids so I found one with safe ingredients. It works on counters, getting the sticky spot off the kitchen floor, glass doors, windows covered in little fingerprints and I have glass top tables that are constantly bombarded with crumbs, paints, play-doh and other “fun” things.

1/2 tsp. liquid soap
3 T white vinegar
2 cups water

Put it in any spray bottle and keep it handy. I have one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom.

Review A+
I use mine daily. Works great. (I don’t recommend using it on wood surfaces) The ingredients are in your home already and it is very cost effective and much safer than always spraying harsh chemicals.

Do you have any good DIY Products you like to use?



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Purple Cauliflower

I’m always looking for a new way to introduce a healthy food for the kids and add something interesting to the menu for me. I have never been a huge fan of cauliflower so I don’t think I’ve ever really tried to give it to the kids. It’s white, how nutritious can it be? Ok, so it’s got folate, vitamin K and vitamin C going for it and some dietary fiber but that’s about it.
So during my weekly run to the grocery store this week, I saw some purple cauliflower. I thought for the color alone it was worth a try

A quick search showed me that ….

The nutrients found in purple cauliflower are similar to those found in common white cauliflower. However, purple cauliflower will provide you with a couple of other nutritional benefits. The purple color is due to the presence of a subtype of flavonoid compounds called anthocyanin, which may help to regulate your blood lipid and sugar levels and body weight, as well as help to lower your cancer risk. Additionally, purple cauliflower contains a compound called glucoraphanin, which is also found in common green broccoli. In your body, glucoraphanin can be converted to compounds with anticancer properties.

(Well, there is your health and science lesson for the day)

I wanted to keep it simple when it came to cooking, just to see how it would be received. I know growing up the only way I would eat cauliflower was if it were smothered in cheese sauce. (Remember the key word here is “healthy”… no cheese sauce)

I went for a simple roasted veggie recipe. 

Clean the head and cut off all florets. I cut each one at least in half so that there would be at least one flat side to rest on the baking sheet.

Once cut, I tossed them in a bowl with plenty of olive oil.

Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake in a 425 oven for 10 minutes. Flip and put back in for an additional 10-20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. (I added a little Romano cheese. That’s ok, it was just a little and no cheese sauce!)

Family review was better that I thought I would get. They all liked it and said they would eat it again. I'll take that!

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Beginning

Happy New Year 2014! With a new year comes the chance to start fresh and try again at those “resolutions”. The same goals tend to pop up and we try over to approach them but maybe in a different way, hoping that this time it will work or at the very least, last longer.

For me, the beginning of 2013 came with a hit; much like a one-two punch. I suffered a blow that had a hugely negative impact on my life. It hurt me personally, emotionally, professionally and financially. Through a series of events I came to question every friendship/relationship I have had in the past as well as current ones. I questioned my ability to judge someone’s character and my own ability to trust. I have slowly been pulling myself upward emotionally. In finding my spirit again I have been re-inspired to create.

I always start a new year out with hope and intrigue for what that coming year will bring. This time I thought I might need to take a running start at a new year. Towards the end of November, I was felling optimistic and gave myself a challenge for the month of December. I would create something every day. I make a lot of things for my business but that tends to be in waves. My challenge was to keep me going on the momentum of creating. I set the challenge so that I would make at least one item daily. It could be for business or for me personally. It could be a craft that I made as a gift, something for the kids or better yet with the kids. It could even be a project that was already started and coming to be finished during the challenge.

To keep up with a daily deadline, I had to be organized and diligent. Some of my creations needed time to dry between steps or they took more than a day to finish so I had to be sure I was moving forward all the time. Moving forward felt good and it helped me to find more of a balance in my business, myself and my family.
Here is a fun look at several of the projects I worked on during my “Creative Challenge”.

A lion T-shirt for my son made with bleach pen
A gift for Grandma

Thumbprint Christmas lights. (My friend suggested making these on a roll of white craft paper to use as wrapping paper...Great idea!)

Paint Chip trees

Teacher Gift for her "mistletoes"

These Mistletoes now hang in my foyer

Nail art for my girlies

Some cute snowmen for my kitchen

A special order birthstone bracelet for a customer. This Grandma has 8 grandchildren. What a special gift for her.


This is a hand chain I made for myself. I'm making a few changes so I can add these to my product line.
A simple earring I made for ME!
Red leather wrap bracelet
Braided breacelet
A crocheted necklace but you can also wrap it as a bracelet.
This blue circle bracelet and the black and white knot bracelet were new patterns I was trying out. (My Mother-in-law kept these for herself)

Now my next challenge will be to keep up with more regular blog posts.

I hope you all are getting off to a great 2014!!