Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I make resolutions every year, but like everyone else, I tend to be really gung ho about them (them being diet and exercise) for about a week and then they fall by the wayside.

This year my goals small.  Manageable little tid bits.  Good habits that have slipped way.

1.  Drink more green tea
2.  Drink more water... consistently
3.  Use lotion everyday, everywhere
4.  Stop hoarding the spoons from the staff lounge
5.  Take vitamins... consistently
6.  Stop being so hard on myself

So what are yours?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Crafting Supplies... A Wish List

I love crafting... I really do.  I find it increasingly difficult to find the time to craft, but the passion for crafting has not diminished.I read craft blogs and gather ideas with this crazy notion that I will have time to craft one of these days... LOL!

So, here is my drafting wish list of both projects and supplies I would LOVE to have/make:

1.  Roving, roving, and more roving like this multipack from Fancy Tiger

2.  A Futte Futte Felt Ball Shaker to speed along with ball making process

3. Brett's Stocking Pattern from Sheperd's Bush 

4.  Harry's Stocking Pattern from Sheperd's Bush

5.  I would love to make shopping bags from Plastic bags

6.  I would love to try and duplicate this felt peace sign from Garnet Hill 

That should keep my imagination busy for a while.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

French Chocolate Bark

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark is a staple of my holiday baking.  I have posted the recipe several times, but here it is again if you want to try it yourself.

Peppermint Bark

1 pound white chocolate (I buy big slabs at Trader Joes)
12 candy canes
1 tsp. peppermint oil (or 1 Tbs. Peppermint extract)

Melt white chocolate. This can be done in the microwave by cooking for 30 seconds, stirring and checking, and cooking for another30 seconds, stirring and checking, etc. until the white chocolate is melted.

Unwrap and bash up the candy canes. I do this either in a zip top bag with a rolling pin or meat mallet or in the food processor.

Mix candy cane pulp and peppermint oil into melted white chocolate.

Spread the mixture onto a parchment lined jelly roll pan and refrigerate until completely set. Break into pieces.

Store in refrigerator.

This year I was thinking that I would take my bark making one step further.  My friend Lisa gave my a huge slab of dark chocolate not too long ago and I was think that I could melt it down make a fruit and nut bark using Ina Garden's French Chocolate Bark as my inspiration.  I happen to have a dearth of almonds, dried apricots, and dried cranberries, all of which would go wonderfully with dark chocolate. 

Have You Seen These?

Snickers... with peanut butter... find them.... You will thank me later.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Greening My Lunch with the Wrap-N-Mat

Most of the time, I take my lunch to work.  I have a pretty good routine down and have pretty much "greened" my lunch bag to eliminate most of the one-time-use products.  I have a Sigg water bottle.  I use a fabric lunch bag.  I put most food items in re-usable Tupperware or glass containers.  The one thing that I was having a hard time with "greening" was sandwiches.  I don;t have any Tupperware that is the right size and shape to accommodate a sandwich, so I was wrapping it in aluminum foil.  Of course, I was recycling the foil, but still. 

Then one day I was at the supermarket and I saw these sandwich wraps hanging in the bread isle. 

They were called the Wrap-n-Mat and were I was intrigued!  I bought one to try and ended up going back for another one.  That way I can take a sandwich and pack one for Nate as well.  I have found them really easy to use.  As the name implies they are a mat that you wrap around a sandwich and then fasten with Velcro.  All you have to do is wipe the inside clean after each use.

I am sure that there are lots of mamas on Hyena Cart and Etsy that make similar products, in fact I think my mom even bought one at a craft fair, but I couldn't beat the convenience of finding them in the supermarket.       


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Etsy Treasury Lists

I have had a lot of fun recently making Treasury Lists on Etsy.  For those that don't know, a Treasury List is, essentially, a group of handpicked items.  Sometimes they have a theme, sometimes they are just things that you like.  Other Etsy users can look through your Treasuries and the Etsy staff picks through them to find the products featured on the front page.  I actually had one of my Treasury Lists featured on the front page of Etsy.  It means absolutely nothing, but I thought it was super cool nonetheless.

Here is my most recent Treasury List featuring cool stuff in black and green:

Christmas Tree

Well, things are chugging right along in my house.  My best friend came up for the weeked and I did indeed press her into service to decorate my house (THANKS, ML!) and so it feels much more Christmas-y here now.  She helped me put up the tree but I waited to decorate it until Sunday.  This is usually something I do by myself.  I LOVE decorating the tree.  Unwrapping each ornament with care, hanging it in just the right spot.... it is something I really look forward to.  Well, this year I had a helper.  Nate decided that decorating the tree seemed more fun than whatever he had been doing .  I thought this might not be a good idea, but he carefully unwrapped each ornament and handed it to me to put on the tree.  Sometimes he would save one and put it on himself, carefully selecting the branch on which to hang it.  When we were finished I asked him what he thought of our tree.  He looked at me and said, "It's beautiful mommy!"

[It would have been a complete and total Hallmark moment had he not been sitting in a laundry basket when he said it

The result... and I agree with Nate... it is beautiful.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fun Gelato Accessories...

I will fully admit that every time I get a new kitchen toy I become obsessed with it and all I do is make batch after batch of whatever it is the toy makes.  In this case, my current all consuming obsession is the new gelato maker.

So I was trolling the Internet this morning for cool gelato accessories... how fun are these?

Gelato Cook Books!

Gelato Cups and Spoons

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Favorite Christmas Movies

1.  Love Actually
2.  The Muppets Christmas Carole
3.  Emit Otters Jugband Christmas (Oh how I love that little otter!!)
4.  Scrooged

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Top 10 Christmas Songs

Although radio stations around here have been playing Christmas music since before Thanksgiving, I am finally in the mood to hear it.  So here is my Top 10

1.  Last Christmas by Wham
2.  A Christmas to Remember by Kenny (Rogers) and Dolly (Parton)
3.  Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton
4.  All I Want for Christmas by Mariah Cary
5.  Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
6.  Christmas in the Caribbean by Jimmy Buffett
7.  Do They Know Its Christmas by Band Aid
8.  Dominic the Christmas Donkey (Becuase Nate LOVES it)
9.  Christmas Don't be Late by Alvin and the Chipmunks (Because Nate LOVES it)
10.  Any version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Ok, I will completely admit that the house is not decorated yet, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I will be enslaving
enlisting the help of my best friend with that this weekend.

I am pleased to report that I have taken down and put away all the Channukah decorations.  I have also written/mailed all the holiday cards (complete with photos) and have even made my peppermint bark. 

Tonight's project is to make peanut butter fudge, bake a cake for my holiday lunch at work tomorrow, and ready the gifts for the mailman and the trash men.  The mailman always gets cookies/goodies and the trash men get beer (a 6 pack, unopened, for them to enjoy on off-work hours).  The trick with the beer is getting out to the curb in time without it freezing which usually means running to the curb in my PJs.   

All in all, things are moving right along and with a minimal amount of stress.  It probably also helps that my cold has abated and I actually feel human :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Today is December 10th...

which means there are 15 days until Christmas.  It also means that I am now officially feeling the holiday pressure.  You know, the pressure to do it all, decorate it all, entertain them all.... in the next 2 weeks.  Team that with, what feels like, the worlds most awful cold, a full time job, and a toddler, and lets just say I am not enthusiastic about anything at the moment.

I was thinking about what is it that I need to do for Christmas... here it is:

1.  Take down Hannukah decorations

2.  Bake cookies for the cookie exchange
3.  Do other holiday baking
4.  Put up tree
5.  Docorate the rest of the house
6.  Christmas cards
7.  Wrap gifts

There is another list that runs concurrent to this one:

1.  Clean
2.  Laundry
3.  Host friends and family at holiday themed events
4.  Return stuff to various stores
5.  Go to the bank
6.  Drop comforter off at laundrymat
7.  Drop off stuff at Goodwill

UGG!  It is all so daunting, especially when my chest hurts from coughing and hacking and all I really want to do it curl up and take a nap.

Will it all get done?  I honestly cant say. 

The cookie exchange cookies will get made tonight.  And I am pretty sure that I will be forcing my best friend (who is visiting on the 18th) to decorate the house with me (sorry ML!).  I suppose I can't, in good conscious, give unwrapped gifts, so I will wrap them as I need them.  Cards?  I am aiming for New Years...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Best Husband Ever!!!

I really do have the best husband ever.  I mentioned lusting after this gelato maker over the summer:

It is the Delonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker with Self-Refrigerating Compressor.  It certainly wans't something I would buy for myself, but the idea of not having to take up freezer space with the barrels from our traditional ice cream maker was heaven.  Plus, we eat a lot of frozen desserts in our house.

Anyway, guess what my wonderful hubby got me for my birthday?  You betcha, the above mentioned gelato maker.  YEAH!!!!  I used it last night for the first time and made a wonderfully creamy dark chocolate ice cream in 25 minutes with no forethought wahtsoever.  It... was... wonderful!!!!

Here is the first batch whiring away on the counter.

Magazine Trees

These are so much fun to make!  Just fold, fold, fold and then you have a tree.  This is oragami that I can handle.

This is the first little tree that I made from a library journal... finally, a good use for "library literature."

I have another one in-progress, which will be larger and more colorful because it is being made out of the Rachael Ray magazine. 

If you want to make you own trees, there is a great tutorial here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

On My Mind Today

The house is decorated for Hanukkah, the pictures to go in the holiday cards are ordered, I am going to the post office today to mail my Europe-bound packages.  So what is on my mind today? 

1.  Magazine Trees!  I think they look fun, and I am always looking for a mindless activity to do while watching TV.  Folding pages seems pretty mindless to me
2.  Shower Curtains!  The contractor is booked for out big bathroom remodle in the spring and I am thinking about accessories... I think this ruffled one from Urban Outfitters is super cute, but I am not really fond of the $68 price tag.
3.  Chai Spiced Cookies!  I have been thinking about these since Steph (Adventures in Babtywearing) mentioned them last year.  Today I found this recipe and the obsession continues...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I forgot to say...

Happy Hannukah!

or as Nate would say "Happy Menorahakah!"

Damn it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

To Kill a Mouse

UGG!  We have mice again.

We had them when we first moved into our house and then, we saw less and less of them as we trapped them, sealed up entry ways, properly stored food, etc.  I don't really know what has changed but they are back with a vengeance.  I have trapped and killed three in two days and I am certain that the traps will be full again tonight.

Mice seem to be especially persistent this year; perhaps they know something I don;t know about this coming winter.

Anyway, here is my advice on what to do if you find yourself with furry pantry thieves:

1.  Check the outside and inside of your house for any visible cracks, opening, etc where the mice could be coming in and fill them in: Any place that a utility line enters or exits your house is a good place to start.  Look behind/under your stove, your sink, your air conditioner, vents in a crawl space if you have one.  Fill them in with silicon caulk or steel wool.  Keep in mind that mice can squeeze themselves into REALLY small spaces.

2.  Properly store your food (including pet food):  Sometimes I get lazy about this, but in areas where you see evidence of mice, store food in plastic/metal/glass containers with tight fitting lids.

3.  Clean up mouse droppings/urine properly:  This means with a wet method.  You should really never vacuum up mouse droppings or dried urine, you should always don gloves and maybe even a mask/respirator and use a cleaning solution with ammonia (if you don't mind using that in your house) or white vinegar (my preferred method) and a damp cloth.  You can get seriously sick from mouse poop/pee.  If you live in the Southwest US, the Hanta virus is a very real possibility, so do whatever you can to keep the poop/pee from becoming airborne and breathing it.

4.  Trap, Trap, Trap!:  I am not a fan of mice/rat poison for a number of reasons.  1.  I have dogs, 2.  I have a toddler.  Either one could get at the poison.  Even if I didn't have dogs or a toddler I would steer clear of poison because there is no telling where the mouse will die after eating it.  It isn't instantaneous so they could crawl away and die in a wall or an inaccessible space and then you have rotting mouse carcasses to deal with... not fun.  Not to mention, they could get out of your house and die where another animal could eat them, thus poisoning that animal, again... not good.

I like snap traps.  Not the traditional kind you think of when you think "mouse trap" but the kind that look like a big clothespin.

These for example:


Bait the trap with peanut butter, set them, and catch your mice.  These have the advantage of being reusable.  They are easy to empty (with gloves on) and re-bait.  They are quick killing and very effective.

There are new traps on the market that promise you won't have to see the mouse. They look like this:

I haven't had good luck with these traps, they always seem to be broken by the time I get them home from the store, plus, they are one use only which seems wasteful to me.  (For another reason I don't like them, see #5)

I suppose glue traps are another option, but the mouse gets stuck on it and starves to death, slowly, which seems unnecessarily cruel to me.

5.  Leave squeamishness at the door:  You are killing a living thing.  Deal with that.  You are doing it as humanly as possible, take solace in that, but keep in mind that these critters have invaded your house, they spread disease (black death anyone?), and they need to be irradiated.   

And please, do not catch and release... they are mice; there are plenty of them and they will find there way back in.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thinking about Thanksgiving

This is the first year that I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, above all others so I am pretty excited about this.  I haven't really thought about the logistics of the dinner yet, but I have thought of the menu.  I really want to keep this meal as "in season" as possible, so no green bean casserole or anything with tomatoes.  I don't know why, but I just want it to be that way... I want it to feel like Thanksgiving, feel like fall.  Anyway, here is my tenative menu:

1 Roasted Turkey
1 Smoked Turkey Breast
Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Whole Chunky Cranberry Sauce
Cornbread stuffing with Pecans and Cranberries
Roasted Root Vegetables (Carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, butternut squash)
Some Kind of Green Vegetable (Don't know yet)
Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Pearl Onions (this is almost a family joke, but it doesn't really feel like T-Day without them)
Buttermilk Biscuits & Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Dessert (which I am leaving the my mother's capable hands)

Yum... I can almost taste them all... What are you serving this year?


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Blackhawks have Landed!!!

I am a librarian at a University with a strong military tradition and a very strong ROTC program.  Once a year the ROTC cadets get to practice with/experience what it is like to be around/in/on a real Blackhawk helicopter.  They fly right over the library and land on the lacrosse field behind the building.  It is an awesome sight to see and I get choked up every stinking time.

Here they are flying over the first time

And here they are returning and landing

Want Free Sewing Patterns?

Then you have to check out this site:

It is nothing but links to free patterns, PDFs, tutorials, and How To's for hundreds on projects.  Everything from shopping bags, to Halloween costumes.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Update on Weekend Baking and cooking

I did make the cornmeal cheddar waffles, but I did not use the recipe I linked to.  I decided to take a "semi homemade" approach or as I like to think of it "use what you have on hand" approach.  I used a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix and some already shredded cheddar cheese.  There are instructions on the side of the box for how to make waffles from the mix, so I used those directions and then added the cheese.  They were really good!  I highly recommend this.  They come out of the waffle iron soggy, but after sitting for a few minutes they get crisp and they reheat beautifully in the toaster oven.

I did not make the Ethiopian Chicken stew although I am sure that I will in the near future.  I decided to make a vegetable soup with meatballs because, once again, it required things I had on hand.  I have thawed some ground beef and it needed to be cooked and I had a plethora of frozen stock and and half bags of frozen veggies.  I will post the recipe later, when I get home.

The brain cake I put on hold for the moment.  Maybe next week.  I did make a pumpkin Bundt cake for my mom using my pumpkin Bundt cake pan that I found at Goodwill for a steal. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Joy of Weekend Cooking & Baking too...

I suddenly have a major bee in my bonnet about cooking/baking this weekend.  I have no idea why exactly (nor do I know why I am using an expression like "bee in my bonnet") but I digress.

I think I will be making these Cheddar Cornmeal Waffles for breakfast tomorrow morning.  Do you put syrup on these?  

I will also be making this Ethiopian Chicken Stew .  Probably without the hard boiled egg as a garnish.

And how could I resist this Bleeding Brain Cake... seriously... how halloweeny can you get?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wardrobe Refashion

I read Wardrobe Refashion every day but I must admit that many of the projects highlighted, while creative, seem to be a little "happy hands at home" (to quote Michael Kors).  In other words, they look a little too homemade for my tastes... I like to make clothes that look like they were not actually made by me in my family room.  Today I found one of those projects and just had to share... what a terrif idea this is and so easy to execute and execute well... check it out.  Erica took an old pair of jeans and an old necktie and made a super cute pair of capris with contrasting hem and back pocket.  You can see all the details on her blog: 

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Quick Stop At Goodwill

Yielded a bag full of goodies. I got...

A new Flyers jersey for Nate -- $2.00

A new Toy Story jump rope for next summers -- $1.00

A new Nerf football for next summer -- $1.00

A Christmas gift -- $3.00 (Sorry the recipient may read my blog)

A Channukah gift -- $.50 (Sorry, the recipient may read my blog)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tips for Hanging Laundry Outside

Using a clothesline, or as I like to call it my solar-wind hybrid dryer, can be both green and frugal. It can also be daunting and a pain in the butt without a little planning. Here are my tips for making a clothsline work for you:

1. Get an early start -- I have 3 lines in my backyard, none of which are very long so if I want to get all of my laundry out on any given day I have to do it in 2 shifts.

2. Wash the clothes the night before -- In order to get clothes out on the line early in the morning I have to wash them the night before. I let them sit wet in the laundry basket and then hang them after breakfast. NOTE: I have a plastic laundry basket so mold/mildew is not an issue for me, if you have a wicker basket you may want to reconsider this step.

3. Double Hang -- On really hot days, to make the most of my line space, I double hang things. For example, I put two socks under one clothespin. I hang two T-shirts as if they were 1. All of my laundry drys without a problem. On overcast or more mild days it will take longer for the laundry to dry if it is double hung, but it will dry eventually.

4. DO NOT LEAVE LAUNDRY ON THE LINE OVERNIGHT -- In my expereince, and my mother's experience, this invites spiders into your clothes... enough said. There is the urban legend (or maybe it is actual fact) about the woman who had a bat in her clothes after leaving them outside all night... either way, better to err on the side of caution and bring it in for the night.

5. Don't have a clothesline, don't despair -- Use a drying rack. I use a drying rack in the winter to dry clothes inside, but before I have lines up outside I used to take the rack outside. It works just as well. Remember, because loaded drying racks are top heavy they have a tendency to fall over on windy days. Anchor them from the bottom with something heavy, even if it is rice in a Ziplock thrown over the bottom rung.

The Rockabilly Tunic

I have been sewing again. I posted about my sewing projects here and although it has taken me longer to complete them then I thought it would, I am making progress.

This is the completed top (project # 2 from this list)... I am calling it the Rockabilly Tunic


It is a tunic length top with a gathered/ruched yoke and a ruffle at the neckline. I added the grograin belt to make it less sack-like. The pattern called for a belt made out of the same fabric as the top, but I thought that was too matchy-matchy.

Here is a close up on the gathered yoke and ruffle:


I love this tattoo flash fabric from Alexander Henry... it makes me feel like I am on the set of Cry-Baby!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Nutella Breakfast Bread

This is for Lisa who LOVES Nutella...

A while ago Lisa posted this recipe for Chocolate Chip Bread, which I in turn made and posted about here. I mentioned in that post that I had thought about swirling Nutella through the batter. Yesterday I decided to give it a try. Below is the resulting recipe... TRY IT, you will thank me.


Whole Wheat Nutella Breakfast Bread

3 cups White Whole Wheat flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c. milk
2 TBsp. oil
2 tsp. vanilla paste (you could use vanilla extract, but the flavor will not be as intense)
1/3 cup + 2 Tbs. Chopped hazel nuts
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. Nutella


1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2. Combine remaining ingredients. Add to dry mixture all at once. Stir just until moistened.

3. Spead half of the batter in to a lightly greased and floured pan.

4. Spead Nutella over batter in pan. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of chopped hazel nuts over the Nutella.

5. Spread the remaining batter over top. Down the center of the batter make a little indentation. Spread 2 Tbs. of Nutella and 2 Tbs. of chopped hazel nuts in the indentation.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes

Food Processor Ice Cream

Although I have a very nice double barrel ice cream maker, I rarely use it. The problem? You have to freeze the barrels for at least 24 hours before you can make ice cream. They are pretty big and bulky and there is rarely enough room in my freezer to get them good and frozen... and then there is the whole planning ahead thing... I'm not always so good with that.

So last week I went exploring and found this recipe for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. I made blackberry ice cream and it is GOOD!

1 c. heavy cream (1/2 pt.)
1/2 c. sugar
1 (12 oz.) pkg. frozen fruit, not sweetened (I used blackberries)

While fruit is still in package, soften and separate with your hands. Using the sharpest blade in your food processor, mix all ingredients together completely. Scoop into individual dishes to serve. If served shortly after making, it is of mousse consistency. If stored in freezer, it will be ice cream.

Friday, July 23, 2010

500 Posts!

This is my 500th post. I feel like I should celebrate in some way, shape or form. I don't know if that is going to happen. Right now it is taking all of my collective willpower not to put my head down on my desk and fall asleep. You see... It turns out I am allergic to Stevia... Huh? I know you are scratching your head right? This post isn't making any sense... You're right, its not... so let me start from the beginning.

I am always trying to eat less chemical-laden food and more natural food. That said I have a house stocked with diet soda and Splenda :(. So, I decided that I would ditch the Splenda (which was created in a lab) for something more natural... Stevia. I bought some Truvia and put it in my iced coffee yesterday. Fine, no big deal, except I had a hard time sleeping last night because I was itchy. I didn't really think anything about that because I was reading a book that was talking about having fleas in bed and I thought I was itching at the THOUGHT of fleas in bed.

This morning I put Truvia in my coffee again and the longer I sat at work and the more iced coffee I drank the more I started to itch.. everywhere... my face, my head, my belly, everywhere. It was as if someone had given me morphine, which I am allergic to. So it dawned on me that I am probably allergic to Stevia and should stop drinking it. So I stopped drinking the iced coffee and went in search of Benadryl. Luckily a co-worker had some and I took both of them... BOTH OF THEM... i.e. TWO BENADRYL or as I like to call them, horse tranquilizers! And so that brings me to the trying "not to put my head down on my desk and fall asleep" from above.

[Author's Note: I was completely out of my mind in a Benadryl fog when I wrote the rambling nonsense above. But now that me head is clear I think it is funny so I am going to leave it there]

Toddler Activities

It has been so hot this summer (90 + every day in July) that is has been nearly impossible to get Nate outside to play. Staying in the house and play is starting to get old and even Nate's beloved train table is not holding his attention like it used to. That means I have started to look for ideas of what to do with a toddler. I found a couple of blogs that I really like with great ideas...

Do you have any blogs with toddler friendly activities? If you do, I would love to know about them!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things I am Coveting Right Now...

Mama and Daddy Cardinals

Koi Bracelet

Delonghi Gelato Maker

Crumbs Red Velvet Cupcakes

Shark & Fish Washcloths for Nate

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just Creepy

I was trolling recently when I came across this:

It is the Carniverous Doll Purse from Scotattoo

I think the only way it could be creepier is if it was a clown instead of a doll.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Refashion... Kind of...

I love reading the Wadrobe Refashion blog. I am constantly amazed and inspired by what people can make from old clothes. That said, here is my confession, I would rather make something from scratch then try to rip something apart and refashion it... I just would.

So last night I defied my nature and tried a refashioning of sorts. I bought a T-shirt at Old Navy in the beginning of the summer. I really liked the design and they only had one so I bought the XXL thinking that I could shrink it in the wash and then just have it be a little slouchy.

In reality it didn't really work the way I had planned. I washed and dried it on hot and it wouldn't shrink. This really wasn't a problem in areas of fit (it was slouchy, which I liked) but it was WAY WAY too long.

I decided that instead of hemming it, I would add some rouching to the bottom. First I tried gathering the material with a basting stitch and then sewing over the gatherings. That didn't work for some reason. Then I decided to try sewing on elastic, even though I have never done it before and didn't really know how. Surprisingly (not really) that didn't work either. So I decide the try some according folding and hand stitching the folds into place. That worked.



{{Close up on the Detail}}

I am not entirely happy with the finished product, but I am going to wash and dry it and then make a final judgement. The fabric that this shirt is made of is really loosely woven and becomes misshapen really easily.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

I know I have said countless times that I was going to make laundry soap, but yesterday I actually did it. My mom is very frugal (in a good way) and is constantly looking for ways to cut costs. She was asking me about the homemade laundry detergent and since I had all of the supplies I thought I would make her a batch. She hasn't used it yet, so I can;t comment on how well it works, but here is what I did/used:

1. Finely grated 1 bar of Fels Naptha laundry soap (I used a hand grater and the finest holes... it came out in a powder form)

2. Combine with 2 cups Washing Soda, 2 cups Borax, and 1 cup Baking Soda.

3. I put the powder in a big canning jar with a tight lid and added an scoop.

Note: I am sure the Fels Naptha works great, but it was stinging my eyes while I was grating it, so next time I might use something a little gentler like a bar of Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap, which is what Soule Mama uses when she makes her laundry soap.

Update on To Do Lists

Once upon a time I created a couple of "To Do" lists... you may remember them...

From 12/11/09

1. Learn to Needle Felt.
2. Make my Tan Skirt
3. Take doors of the pantry
4. Buy more boot stays
5. Clean/Condition Leather Furniture
6. Inventory and Clean out as much as humanly possible

and from 4/18/10

1. Finish the tan wrap skirt that is cut out.
2. Make the spring/summer blouse from this fabric before it is fall/winter.
3. Make this Tie Shirt for Nate in lieu of an Easter outfit.
4. Make a few bunny door hangers as Easter decorations.
5. Make a Can-Can Skirt for me
6. Finish Nate's birth sampler (before he finishes college, I think that is a realistic goal)
7. Learn to needle felt before next Christmas

There seems to be a lot of overlap, so let's throw out the duplicates and here is the master To Do List:

1. Learn to Needle Felt.
2. Make my Tan Skirt
3. Take doors of the pantry
4. Buy more boot stays
5. Clean/Condition Leather Furniture
6. Inventory and Clean out as much as humanly possible
7. Make the spring/summer blouse from this fabric before it is fall/winter.
8. Make this Tie Shirt for Nate in lieu of an Easter outfit.
9. Make a few bunny door hangers as Easter decorations.
10. Make a Can-Can Skirt for me
11. Finish Nate's birth sampler (before he finishes college, I think that is a realistic goal)

So I have made really good headway recently and here is the update list:

1. Make a Can-Can Skirt for me
2. Finish Nate's birth sampler (before he finishes college, I think that is a realistic goal)

I can't believe everything else is finished!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Things I am Coveting Right Now...

Here is another edition of "Things I am Coveting Right Now..."




Etc, Etc, Etc.