A Great Day Planned

blog 011So, it’s six o’clock on a Saturday morning. I’m waiting for my coffee to get done and I’m planning a GREAT day!! I am GOING to complete my craft room. It’s got to happen, because I just can’t stand this:

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anymore!! Plus I have blankets for three precious babes to get done, and I can’t possibly work when I have no room to do so.

Okay, who am I kidding? I know I have family reading this blog and they might call me out if I try to make people think I’m some great housekeeper or something. The last picture is how my craft room always looks, which is why I decided to change it. I have GREAT organizational skills. I do. They just usually lie latent somewhere under a pile of fabric.

I didn’t take a before picture of my craft room, because, well…I would be horrified to have all that public. ūüôā But, what I CAN tell you is that the whole wall of shelving I put up a couple of years ago held a LOT of stuff. Seriously. See picture number 2 and picture number 3. All of that is from one wall of shelves.

I’ve been contemplating how I could make this little room work better for me. Then I realized that my husband has been hoarding our old kitchen/bathroom cupboards out in the garage. So, I gave it my best shot, and explained my plan. And wouldn’t you know, the man braved the cold and dug out the cupboards from the garage! Here’s the beginning:

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We took the hodge podge assortment of cupboards I had available to me and hung them on the wall. Some were hung the normal way, and then some we hung horizontally. No matter what combination we came up with, we always had an uneven top. So I have an idea for that, too. (You’ll have to wait and see.)

Please notice the pretty laminate flooring my dear husband finished up for me as well as the nice trim!! ¬†He did that the day the kids and I went to the movies. It’s better that way, trust me.

When I was trying to figure out how to make better use of my craft room, I realized that one of the issues I have is that I have craft ADHD. While some people quilt, or sew or crochet or craft, I do everything  and seldom finish anything. The table that I used in my sewing room might one day have sewing stuff the next day have glue or on some days both!

So, I got another idea. I know my husband wishes I would get ideas that didn’t involve him, but this idea is really a good one, I think.

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While digging through the garage, we found a corner cupboard that was in good shape, so we brought that into the house and installed it in the opposite side of the room. Under that corner cupboard, I have asked my husband to put in a triangle piece of plywood to serve as my table. He doesn’t think it will look good, but I have another idea. ūüėČ But that will probably be next weekend. Anyway, that will serve as my sewing table.

I haven’t decided how I will do the craft table, but it will be on the other side of the room. Hopefully, by organizing this way, I will be able to keep major mess to a minimum. ¬†Quit laughing.

Today’s agenda:

  1. Sand cupboards
  2. Spray paint inside of cupboards to seal them up.
  3. Paint outside of cupboards
  4. Paint trim.
  5. Pass out from physical labor.

My hope for you is that you are able to shed the stress from the week, too!! What’s on YOUR agenda today?

You might want to check out these link parties! GREAT ideas on them!

Little House in the Suburbs

Frugal by choice

Gift Bag — Easy Peasy!!

wpid-2013-01-23_12-54-42_989.jpgI needed a pretty gift bag this morning for a little gift I wanted to give my friend this morning, but I didn’t have one in my stash. What I DID have were a couple of pieces¬†of 81/2 x 11 inch felt and a really cool button!! Well…I have a LOT of cool buttons, thanks to my daughter and to the many garage sales I go to.

I folded the felt in half, matching the short sides and then sewed 1/2 inch seams on each side. I trimmed about 1/2 inch off the top of the red felt bag. I suppose you could probably do that before you sew the edges, but why make anything easy? ūüôā

Then I made a gusset on each side, like you do when making bags. I made mine pretty squatty.

I put the brown felt bag inside the red felt bag and turned down the top edge. I added the cute button, and – WHALLAH a bag is born. Just perfect for my little gift. All done in about 10 minutes. SCORE!!

My friend will love it, I’m sure of it.

Do you have a little craft that you’d like to share? Send a link in the comment!! We would love to see what you’re up to!

I linked up to the following link parties! Check them out!!


Reduce, Re-Use Recycle (yarn scraps, old jewelry and buttons

I love Pinterest! Who doesn’t? Well, probably people who don’t like Pinterest are people who actually have clean houses and organized lives. The rest of us love Pinterest. Last weekend, I stumbled on a cute little project to make a¬†Cozy Cup Warmer. You can download complete instructions there. I thought she did a good job explaining how to do her project. I used her pattern, but added just a little bit longer strap to go above the coffee cup handle. Here’s my first attempt:

I liked this project because it used up the last scrap of yarn I had lying in my bucket and I like how the strap goes across the cozy a bit. It looks kind of cool on the cup. It really does keep the coffee in my mug warmer longer, which is always nice, and it’s a fun way to use up scraps of yarn.

What I love about crafting is that you just don’t have to be stuck with the exact same thing as the pattern says. It really doesn’t hurt to ask, “What if I did…” Sometimes things don’t work out, but when they do, it’s TONS of fun!

For example, I LOVE going to garage sales and finding treasures like old jewelry and buttons. Last summer, I found a bunch of ‘old lady’ jewelry including those beaded earrings on clips? You know what I’m talking about, right? Using them on projects like this one is just plain fun. I got¬†¬†kind of excited about the possibilities! I had some yarn (which I really do not like using because it takes more skill than what I have) and came up with this variation.

While I don’t think I’ll ever use that yarn again, I do like how it turned out.

I really want to encourage you to use patterns that you find on the Internet, but make them your own – especially when you are crafting with repurposed items! It’s not like there is a lot invested, and when you can come up with something new, it is a fantastic feeling. I also think it does something great to the brain as well…

Happy Crafting!

I linked up:

I have been enjoying looking through Pinterest and finding out what other people are doing. I saw a rag rug posted there that got the creative wheels turning. Here’s the thing. I really¬†don’t like cutting little squares in order to sew everything back together again. But¬†then I saw a post from¬†Do it Yourself Divas¬†and knew I had to try that one. Well, I knew I had to try something like that one.

Rag Quilt

Of course, I changed it up a bit. Here’s what I did:

  • I did not use batting.
  • I cut the strips all different sizes, but made sure to cut double layers so that I would have two of each size.
  • I pinned the two sizes together right after cutting, so I would have to waste time searching for the matching strip. (I mean, seriously. How much time to I waste with every project just looking for what I laid down?)
  • I made blocks of strips so that the strips weren’t all going the same way. (I liked the change up)
  • I made sure to clean out my washing machine after washing this quilt. There are so many loose threads that could mes up the machine if I didn’t.

Most of the fabric in this quilt was leftover from different projects, so it was good to use up the scraps. I did purchase a couple of the fabrics, so I would be able to add some color. I love how it turned out, and I think it made a nice gift.


I really want to encourage you to just dive in and try it if this kind of craft appeals to you! Don’t worry about perfection. Have fun. Enjoy. De-stress.

It’s a wonderful thing!

Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle (or crafting)

I’ve been seeing a lot of Sock Monkeys on Pinterest so it seems like they’re all the rage. My co-worker paid attention when I asked people for closet cast offs. She gifted me with a bag full of items worthy of my craft stash! In the bag was a pair of brightly colored “toe” socks, which just begged to be made into a sock animal. I’m not quite sure what it is, yet!

Basically, I just altered the sock monkey pattern a tad. Craft Passion¬†has a great tutorial!! So many times I think we get caught up in following a pattern or someone else’s idea to a T, and we forget that half the fun of creating is, well….creating! That’s such a stress reliever for me. Use patterns as a springboard to your own creations! Anyway, here is my Sock Thingie. I have laughed and had a great time creating this guy!!

I have a confession to make. I went through my daughter’s pile of stuff to go to Goodwill and pulled out a couple of sweaters. They’ll make some GREAT stuff!

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle (Well, Sort of…)

I was at a charity auction a week or so ago, and I saw a purse made out of a rag rug. I LOVED it!! (I had already bid on enough, so I had to leave it alone, though.) I bought a rag rug and decided to put my own spin on one. I am very glad I did. I used an old pair of jeans and an old belt that  I never use.

So, even though the rug was purchased, it’s technically made out of rags and the jeans and belt are used…so, it’s kind of like saving the¬†environment.

I like the messenger bags that are so popular right now, but I don’t like the usual width of them. So I made this one more vertical. The books don’t go in sideways like in a messenger bag – you just plop them right in. I’m going to use this for carrying my stuff for work (files, notebook computer, datebook, etc.) unless I decide to sell it on Etsy. ¬†I can’t decide.

What do you think?

I linked to the following parties:

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle: Laundry Soap

I know I’ve already written a post about homemade laundry soap. I’ve been using basically the same recipe for several years, but I’ve got to tell you, I found a BETTER recipe. No kidding! And for the life of me I can’t find the original post, which concerns me a bit, because I like to give credit to where credit is due. (The following recipe, though, is tweaked…I added vinegar and essential oil to the recipe.)

The other recipes I used always involved grating soap. Now, I haven’t minded that too much, but this recipe doesn’t involve grating of any kind. AND it’s cheap.

So, here is the recipe:

1 cup Borax

4 cups boiling water

Stir until Borax is dissolved.

Add 2 TBLS Dawn dish soap (the original blue kind)

1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar

Pour this all in a gallon jug (I used an empty vinegar jug) and then fill with cold water. I added a couple of teaspoons of lavender essential oil and then shook it all up.

I use about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of solution to each load of clothes. ¬†I’ve noticed that it really brightens the whites. I’ve also put this in a spray bottle to use as a pre-treat. (And I love the fragrance!)

Super cheap. Super easy. I’m sold!

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle: Homemade household cleaners!

When my son, Ross, was little, he struggled with a constantly runny nose and allergy like symptoms. I did quite a bit of research and found out some interesting little tidbits of knowledge. Not only did I find out that you should never store your household cleaners under the kitchen sink because their fumes could speed up the corrosion of plumbing (this was back when everyone had metal plumbing pipes), but I also learned that many of the fumes from the cleaners would hover right around ground level, which is where Ross and the other little people in my home stayed most of the time. (Go here to read about household cleaning chemicals.)

Scary stuff.

I was also on a tight budget back then, and tried to find alternative ways to save money. What I found is that homemade cleaners could actually work better than their more expensive counter parts, and the health benefits to using them outweighed any inconvenience. There are lots of different recipes, but here’s what I do.

Basically, what I do is use about 1 part water to 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle. I like to add about a tablespoon or so of tea tree oil (which you can buy at Walmart) and some nice essential oil. I use however much smells good. ūüėČ Last time I mixed up a bottle, I used about 1 tablespoon of Lemongrass, and I didn’t use tea tree oil.

Some people put borax in the mixture, which might be helpful, and I think I’ll try it. I have been very happy with the cleaners! Vinegar is a great sanitizer and the lemon grass fragrance hangs around a while. Sometimes I’ll put a drop or two of Dawn dish soap, sometimes I don’t. It just depends.

It works great on stainless steel, in the kitchen and in the bathroom. I recently had to scrub my tub (using homemade soap sometimes will leave some wonderful soap rings that are a bit hard to get rid of. I simply sprayed the tub down with my mixture, put some baking soda on my cloth and scrubbed happily away. End result: Shiny tub.

If you really need specific measurements go here or here  for some great recipes!

Reduce, Re-Use, & Recycle: Worms in my House!!

My sister inspires me. All the time. Every trip to her house fills my head with ideas I want to try at my¬†house. She is always learning new things and trying new things, and it’s fun. As an example,¬†my sister has a worm farm in her basement. Doesn’t that make you want to go, “What?” I know. But anyway, she has this wonderful composting unit in her basement made out of plastic bins. (Go here to learn how to make your own!)

She of course, showed me how they set their system up and explained about how to keep worms happy. My sister’s goal in life is to keep living things happy. She does a pretty good job at it, if I say so myself! Anyway, her composting idea stuck in my head. I started reading about vermicomposting online (¬†Click here to learn more about vermicomposting than you probably ever wanted to know!), and decided I wanted to start raising worms. ¬†The catch was that I didn’t want to use my basement, because, well, I don’t go down there. Ever.

I don’t have a lot of extra space in my house that would accommodate a vermi-composting bin using the plastic bins like my sister’s, so I started looking at factory-made units. You know, to fancy them up a bit. ūüėČ I found these:

Worm Factory 360

Of course, I showed my husband, who laughed and couldn’t think that raising worms in our kitchen was very appealing, but wouldn’t you know, the man (and my daughter) bought a Worm Factory for me for Mother’s Day!! (complete with two pounds of worms!!) I’m so glad he doesn’t listen to the ads that say “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” I digress.

We set it up in a corner of our kitchen, and after I learned how not to suffocate and nearly drown them,  our worms have been busy eating and pooping and having crazy happy worm sex.

The first thing people ask is if it stinks. My husband, who is very sensitive to odors, real and imaginary, doesn’t complain. You really don’t smell anything when you have happy worms!! The second thing that people ask is “Why?” My response is usually, “Why not?” I find it silly to put compostable stuff in the garbage. Once you have happy worms, they will eat through quite a bit in a short time. Do you know the product of that?? Worm poop. Other people call it dirt. Good, rich, black dirt.

Because it took a bit for my worms to be happy, it took a bit before I was able to harvest any of the worm poop dirt. But last weekend, I got a five-pound bucket full of the stuff!! It was enough to fill two planters and two small planters with some left over!! Beautiful indoor plants, here we come!

So, what have I learned about vermi-composting?

  • too much newspaper can suffocate worms
  • too much water can drown worms
  • if I have compost with lots of liquid (like watermelon rinds and such) I need to go halvsies with shredded cardboard.
  • worms will eat the ink and the paper off of the shiny paper shreds from advertising leaving behind what looks like unsticky Scotch tape!
  • it’s easy
  • it doesn’t smell!

Since I need to use up cardboard, paper and kitchen scraps, none of that is going in to my garbage!! It is completely re-usable, which is a good thing.

(This is not a paid endorsement. It’s just something I like.)

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