Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rolling in Doh

It's that stuff that gets under your fingernails, on the floor, in the mouth, hair, and with it, one could be capable of creating a "masterpiece."  What is this magical compound?  It's a simple compound that was originally used to clean wallpaper, but has provided hours of entertainment and creative expression by many.  I'm pretty sure you've guessed Play Doh by now and with adults, there are many views on if it is a blessing or curse.
 At a recent baby shower, this compound was used to challenge attendees to "create" a baby.  After viewing a few, I didn't even try. 

Lavender, Peace & Calming, Stress Away
The Kiddos I watch are a young crowd, but they are now old enough to play with playdoh without first wanting to eat it.  I've got some old Play-Doh, but it's getting a little tough, so I decided to make it.  After a little searching on Pinterest, I found this recipe that I don't have to cook or spend a ton of money on and I could use my Young Living Essential Oils on.  Although it said to mix it all in a bowl, I knew I could do it easier and faster in my food processor and it was a cinch!  I made three batches using EO that would be great for the kids (calming and happy) : 
  1.  Stress Away and Green gel type food coloring from Wilton    
  2. Peace & Calming with Blue gel food coloring
  3. Lavender with Purple gel food coloring 
I did decrease the recipe because I wanted to make several small batches for color and smell.  First batch was perfect with consistency and color, the next two I had to play with adding a little extra few drops of water to make it kid approved texture.  Yes, I'm serious when I say that.  Each time I would hand it to "K", he would say "oh, bad, more mixing!"    After we were done playing, I put each in some small old Tuperware containers I had that would keep it air tight. 

Beyond that, they had a great time and loved the texture, smell, and fun!  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Creative play is so....

Is there something that makes you wish you had extra time to do?  Do you lose track of time because you're enjoying it?   If I had a choice, I would stay up most of the night to sew or do embroidery work. It is very relaxing for me and I do my best work at night, plus it's a great time to catch up on Netflix shows.  The house is quiet, no distractions of kids, housework, meals, or the "do-list".  Since Oldest has moved back home for his internship, he has taken over my sewing room and my time is limited there, but I do love it when I'm there.  

Last month I stayed up WAY too late working on some projects and don't regret the hours, though I was in zombie mode the next morning.  
Wallet front
First up, my new wallet.  I never can find one that I just love, so I made my own using a pattern from NapKitten on Etsy.  Though I have been sewing for over 39 years, this pattern was not the easiest to work through.  The instructions were not clear throughout, but after two days, I had a wallet I love!  Using my embroidery machine, I personalized it with Elegant Damask Monogram by Designs by JuJu and have my one-of-a-kind wallet I'm happy to use. It has two zipper pouches, two hidden pockets, 6 credit card size slots, and one could put the check-book in there as well if desired. All-said, I will use this pattern again to make my next wallet, with modifications. Possibly a place to hold a pen?
wallet inside
Wallet outside

back pocket for phone

Card holder
Next up, was a Mega Credit card holder using a pattern by Infarrantly Creative for those loyalty, gift, and other cards. With over 35 slots for cards and a pocket for coupons.  Now before you think I'm rolling in gift  and loyalty cards, I'm not, but I love the extra slots to organize a bit.  It's so much more handy than the tiny pouch I was using previously.
Card holder inside

Boxy Pouch
Each year for Christmas, I try to make something for the momma's whose children I care for during the day.  This year I settled on No Guts Boxy Pouches from Pattern Pile, though there are many different choices.  It was pretty simple once I made the first one and took some notes on my direction print-out.  I was thankful for a colored sewing tutorial to refer to on one section that was a bit muddy, even for me. I use plastic canvas between the lining and outer canvas fabric to help make it more sturdy and hold shape.  Was pleased with each one and would definitely use this pattern many times again. It's so simple that one could change the size a bit to make a larger or smaller pouch easily. 

Iphone/Ipad Stand
I did not have a stand to put my phone or iPad on except a flimsy cheap one from Staples (which works fine, but is slips and collapses, but after some searching I found this pattern on Factotum of Arts.  Instruction were simple and it went together quickly.  Filled it with rice and so it could double as a chunky heating pad if needed.  It had a ribbon at the top to hold the cord if charging is needed, but I've not used it yet.  All in all, I use it daily and like it.  I made mine a tad taller to accommodate a tablet.

Elvis Pillow case
Last, I made something for my Momma.  While browsing through Hobby Lobby, I spotted some Elvis material I'd not seen before.  I'm the last person to like Elvis, but my Momma is a HUGE fan.  Her room at the nursing home is filled with Elvis stuff.  I loved how colorful it was and that it had images of his younger years, which would be something my mom was recognize easier.  Pairing it with a bright yellow trim and black-deco for the trimmed cuff, this pillow case was perfect for her room.  She was happy to get it, though she didn't know what it was, the other residents were asking for me to make one for them!

I am really craving more creative sewing time, but home projects and work seems to have occupied me lately.  If I don't have some time soon, I'm going to start dreaming about it or rebel and stay up late again some weekend.  I do have some items for Hubby's nephew's new twins on my table waiting to be finished, but they are a surprise and will have to wait.

Would you care to share what  you like to do to relax?  Garden, reading, sewing, woodwork, cooking (oh, I really do love to cook, but it's just not the same with Only married now), or something else?   I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

If you Give me a cookie,

Have you read the book  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by  Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond?  It's about a mouse, when given a mere cookie an adventure ensures when he decides he needs something to go with it.  It's a classic children's book and my children loved it growing up.  I'm a bit like that mouse... 

When we bought our house back in 1994, we were moving from a 600 sq. ft. apartment with two children under the age of 18 months.   It seemed like a dream house to us, but little did we know it was our Money Pit.

 We found illegal wiring in the walls, the breaker box wasn't a box, but the individual breakers were sitting on a board in the attic, exposed to the insulation and junk.  The company that made the heater that the "builder" installed, was put out of business by the government 20 years before our house was even built, and it wouldn't heat our home and we constantly feared it would catch our home on fire.  The hot water heater was illegally installed and we constantly smelled gas. It didn't end there, but can you hear the money draining out of our account?  It was scary.   The builder, he passed away shortly after "finishing it", but we never found out why he was able to get away with so much. 
Tearing down the old
 One thing we loved was the space in the kitchen. I grew up in a home where the kitchen was the hub of the home and it was an important space for me.  Still is really.  I soon discovered that the  pantry was a wasted space.  Everything in the back of this deep cabinet was lost, like in a deep dark cave without light. I found some party decorations from Only's 1st birthday and a can of 2010 expired  cat food.  Yikes!!!  The small cabinet above the pantry was unused due to lack of easy access and many discussions have taken place with possible solutions.  
New and ready
Two years ago, I began dreaming and perusing Pinterest (so addicting to me) for ideas on how to change and improve it.  A good friend's husband is skilled with vision and ability, listened to what I wanted,  and approached about building it, two weeks ago.  He had it built in a matter of two days, and installed in one afternoon. I was giddy!!!  

While it may not seem like a huge change, it was for us.  My pantry space was doubled! I suddenly have FULL access to all parts of the pantry!  I think our whole family loved walking by and smelling the new wood that wafted through the kitchen.  I spent that weekend cleaning the kitchen, rearranging, throwing out, organizing, and thinking. So with the "cookie" of the pantry,  I started looking through Pinterest again and contemplating more changes.
Ugly brown trim is gone

 I've not understood the reason for the wood trim on the backspash and cabinet and have wanted to tear it down for many years.  This last Saturday, while Honey was at work (see the logic behind this timing?), I rummaged around in his tools until I found what I needed and started banging away.  Took a while, but it's really gone.  Honey had to cut the trim in half that was behind the faucet to remove it, but it looks more open and clean!  We were amazed!

Well, the "cookie" of a new pantry, lead to the removal of the ugly wood trim, and then Honey said, "I suppose we need to..."   Yes, if you give me a niggling of a dream, I'll run with it... More dreaming, improvements, and color to come!  

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Burned and Broken Blessings

We were stumped.  Upon returning from Thanksgiving in TX, we found our dryer would not dry.  We were so thankful for the absolute beautiful sunny weather we had the two weeks - fabulous for hanging clothes out on the clothes line!  Love the way they smell - like summer in the winter.

We researched and figured out what we thought   needed to be fixed, ordered the parts, and still, it would not dry.  Not wanting to sink anymore money into our ancient dryer, we looked at a Dint and Ding store that some friends told us about. Found two basic dryers online that fit what we needed, but upon looking at them,  they were either hard to open or just didn't seem right.  Slowly drifting over to the other dryers, we spotted this baby, a  Maytag Maxima® Steam Electric Dryer with Large Capacity.  It was certainly not what we were looking for, but honestly, I loved the controls on the front and the totally top surface was flat.  It's the simple things in life. It's taller than our washer, but we know it's not going to live forever.

Barely making it home before the rain storm, Honey got it all ready, I ran to Lowes to get a longer connecting hose (I'm sure there is a more technical name, but this is all you get with me) for the steam feature, and plugged it in.

burned out dryer outlet
Old dryer plug 
NOTHING... Nada... Zip... Not working... Grrrr!  Being the resourceful guy he is, Honey decided to test the outlet and said it wasn't working.  Ugh!  Taking it apart, he discovered a horrible burned mess.  Some how, at some time, we either had a lightening strike or something and it was so scary!  Do you see it?  So back to Lowes for a new dryer outlet and tah-dah!!!

Threw a small load of shirts that needed to be ironed (but I didn't want to), put it on Refresh for the steam function, and oh, I'm LOVING this!!!  Wrinkle free! Oh, and it sings a little simple tune.  I'm so excited about the new dryer, that I put another load of clothes in the washer so I can dry them.

So, in the end, we are so incredibly thankful for God watching over us in the broken dryer, which lead us to the burned outlet, thus preventing a huge fire and loss of home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Re-inventing me?

"Comparison is the thief of joy."  Theodore Roosevelt

I'd like to ask a  question:  If you could see the way others see you, what do you think you would look like?  I know, what others think about us shouldn't matter, but deep down, sometimes it does.  Whether you were the kid in school that was bullied and taunted, like me, or maybe an overheard conversation, or the voice in your head that is less than positive.  I struggle with self-esteem.  When my kids were teenagers, I felt dumb - maybe they were really slipping those imaginary "stupid Pills" in my tea, I'm not sure.
Me Net, the Super mom

I have been called Supermom.  Nope, that doesn't fit me at all, though I wouldn't mind having the cool costume and Wonder Woman figure.  I watch other people's kids, but I don't work miracles. There are so many people out there that blow my mind at what they accomplish or what they know.  Yeah, I stopped using my degree a decade ago.

How I really feel & look
Sometimes I think we give the wrong impression by making sure we put our best foot forward. While I would love for everyone to believe that I've got it together and I don't screw up, but I do.  Daily.  My home or family will never be featured in a glossy magazine, and I'm great with that.  Sometimes, I wish we had fewer dust bunnies and more finished things on our do list, or we had a little more updated or cohesive look, but I don't see it happening anytime soon.  Oh, and don't even get me started on the the space that outwardly resembles a garage.  Ugh!   I've often tried to express this, but never found the right words, but this morning, I was reading a friend's blog and I think she said exactly the way I want.  So if you'll follow the link to Diary of a Quilter, you'll see that it's "not always pretty and perfect."

So this week, let's allow others to see the not so pretty and perfect and maybe, just maybe, you'll find less pressure on yourself, and more bunnies on the ceiling fan. It will be okay.   

"You can't live a positive life with a negative mind." 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Meeting Pioneer Women

Dinnertime Cookbook
After a really rough Thursday (full moon, rain, and Halloween don't mix with kids), I found out that I was down to watching one child on Friday until noon.  I was so excited because my friend Kim and I had talked about taking the day off for a "Mental Health Day" to go meet Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman for a book signing.  I ended up going by myself as Kim couldn't get the day off.
Ree Drummond
After a LONG morning at the DMV in regards to tagging my mom's vehicle here and not in her home state, I was more than ready for something fun.  Arriving 1 1/2 hours before the signing, I was surprised to find how far back people were already were - from the back aisle to the front of the store, I was smack in the middle on aisle seven.  
colored bubble wrap?  
While standing in line, I met the nicest ladies, was encouraged, and found new products in the craft ai
sles that I never knew existed! Did you know there are colored bubble wrap and round Kleenex tissue "boxes"?  

Sometimes my brain fog and nervousness get the best of me.  So what whitty and nice thing did I say when I finally got to meet her?  "I'm so excited, I think I'm gonna puke,"  to which PW said, "can you please do it over there", pointing behind us. I know, I'm such a dork!  Eventually I got my brain right and we spoke briefly about home stomping grounds and sending kids off to college and then it was over.  I walked happily out with my signed books (one for me and the other's belonged to Only, my friend Kim and Amy).
Mrs. Only with Miss I

Dinner with these lovelies at Noodles and had the best time catching up.  In the end, it was so worth 1/2 a vacation day!  
I've missed these sweet sisters!