Friday, February 26, 2010

The Rosette Tee

And here it is! I'm finally posting pictures of the T-shirt refashion I talked about! I told you I was waiting for a good hair day to post these and while pig tails may not be a good hair day to you - it certainly is for me! :) (You have to take what you can get when you haven't had a haircut in 8 months).

So without further ado... the shirt!
(Which, in case you're interested is from Chimera Clothing - I saw they had a great sale a while back and I love EVERYTHING that I received!)

And here is a close up of the embellishment...
There are 10 rosettes total on my shirt. The original tutorial used V-necks/scoop necks and I think that a V-neck would be more flattering, but I needed to fix up this shirt (when you are tall and nothing fits you you can't let a couple of blue stains get in the way of a shirt that fits!) so I used this one. I chopped up a shirt my daughter had gotten sticky goo all over, as well as stained, and that is why my version has two different colors.

This is such a great technique! I'm thinking it would be fun to do a shirt for Independence Day this year! And I know that rosettes will be a lovely tool in my little girl clothing refashioning arsenal.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Getting ready for spring!

I have toyed around with growing herbs indoors for so many years but have never actually done it. Well - this is the year!
I saw something similar to these clay pots and loved the idea! You use chalkboard paint (did you know you can make your OWN???!!!) and a pot and you are set!
I found a kit at the Dollar Tree that comes with Basil, Dill, Chives, and Parsley seeds as well as a tray and lid to germinate the seeds. And though it doesn't come with soil, you can get that at the Dollar Tree as well!

The package comes with all four seeds mixed together so, of course, I separated them! If you know me, you know it would drive me bonkers to not know what each seedling was and to have them all growing together. It wasn't too bad!

Here's some help for you...
Below are the dill seeds. They have this flat little halo around them so they are easy to distinguish.

And below are the parsley seeds. They look similar to the dill, but are a little more of a crescent shape and don't have that halo.

These next two are the toughest to distinguish - they are both tiny and black!

Below is the Sweet Basil. It is smoother and less angular - like an oval. It's also less deep of a black color.

And the last seed is the Chive. These are an obsidian color and more of a crescent/angular seed.

I plan to divide the herb box into quadrants and then move the seedling later to my pots. So exciting!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pot Holders

I love these! Of course, I did make them, so there is the whole "I'm so cool" feeling that goes along with homemade items but I really love the design! It really is a nice way to grab those pans and until I saw this tutorial I hadn't ever noticed this style of mitt in stores.
Sewing through the multi-layer thickness of the project was a real pain though. I unpicked a LOT! But the result was worth it I think.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Baby Gift - car seat cover

It is still chilly here and so I think this is such a handy little gadget for the new baby in your life! Here is our little one's car seat cover - perfect for our chilly Colorado winters! I made this over the Christmas holiday and we have loved it!
I used the tutorial here. I used fleece for one side and flannel for the other. This was a slippery thing to sew for some reason and even though I pinned it still came out all wonky. I did the best I could and trimmed the edges before flipping right-side out and top-stitching. I didn't do any of the "quilting" or random stitches to keep the fabric from slipping because I didn't feel it was necessary. And after a couple months of use I still think so! :) It can't hurt though - but you can always add it later if you need it.

One thing I would change would be the length of the ribbon. I used the longest length suggested and they are too short for my liking. At least 6" longer would be needed for me - but that could be my very non-superior bow-tying skills at work!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Cat In the Hat Comes Back

Ah yes - here is why we always close the bathroom door...

Cream blush and bronzer!
And then I saw the ring!
A ring in the tub!
And, oh boy!
What a thing!
A big long pink LAUREN ring!
It looked like pink ink!
And I said, "Will this ever come off?
I don't think!"

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Fabulous Extension Service - aka How to Use Your Food Storage!

The resources at our fingertips are truly incredible! With the internet we can access information in seconds that can truly make our lives better! Some of my favorite websites are the state university extension sites. Local land-grant universities have extension offices that give information about gardening, canning, money and lots of topics on my very favorite thing - FOOD!

In my quest to do better for my family and improve my skills as a homemaker I have found some terrific resources from the extension offices.

Ready-Quick Mix - from USU (Utah)
Here's a printable recipe booklet that is similar to Bisquick - but homemade! Some of the recipes include Meat Pinwheels (There is also a variation for a creative tuna casserole with the same idea!), Magic Taco Pie, Cinnamon Spins, and lots of cookies, cakes and even brownies.

20 pages of a DIY homemaker's delight! Mixes for everything!!! Includes the ready-quick mix with recipes for cornbread, raisin bread, muffins, coffee cake, waffles, cobbler, even pie crust. Has Magic Mix for soups, chowders, and casserole. Has SOS (cream soup) Mix and recipes for cream of whatever soup (I never use cans any more!), even potato soup in a cup! Recipes also included for seasoning mixes like taco, chili, pizza, mediterranean, ranch dressing, Rice-a-roni, hot chocolate and Instant Breakfast.

Dry Milk - USU
A handy booklet with a table to help you figure out how much of instant or regular dry milk you might need for a recipe. There are also tips on how to boost nutrition by adding dry milk to your meals straight - like in meatloaf. You will find a section on how to decode the labels on different milks and what you should know before you buy dry milk. It will also tell you how and how much milk you need to store for your family and how to use it! Pudding in a blender, fudgesicles, make your own Cool Whip, you name it!

A handout from a presentation based on the above booklet. Inside you'll find new and yummy recipes (as well as some that are already included in the USU handouts)!

This is the recipe booklet that got me hooked on the Extension! It has a substitute for cream of chicken/mushroom/whatever that I substitute in all of my recipes. Healthier than canned and no fat! It also includes other recipes for sauces and dishes - we like the Chicken Pot Pie and Enchiladas.

Magic Mix - from Washington State University
This version is similar to the USU SOS mix - no fat! Use it for soups, pudding (even in the microwave!)

I love these publications because they show you how you can make your own convenience foods and make them more cheaply and healthier. I feel like it is important to not only have a long-term food storage but know how to use it every day so that
1. you know what to do with your food items
2. your family is used to eating them
3. you can provide your family with healthier meal where you control the ingredients/fat/salt by not relying on packaged foods
4. you rotate through your items, not just let them expire on a shelf - not a frugal way to cook!
5. you keep a tighter reign on your food budget by learning to make items you might normally buy packaged at the store.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

So Purdy!

Awww - can you feel the love? February is a Love Fest over here in Colorado! We spread the Valentine holiday out and treat each other to fun month of celebrating the love we have as a family. We have special dinners and leave each other notes and gifts all month long in the little mailboxes that sit on our mantel. I love February.

Last night I finished the last few items on my Valentine decorating list while watching the Swiss Family Robinson. And because I share it all - let me tell you something kinda funny. A ways into the movie I felt super smart and had to share my intellectual genius with my hubby! I had noticed the characters mentioning some cities back home - Bern and Interlaken to be exact and had a lightbulb moment! I said to my husband, "Hey Rick! I think the family is from Switzerland!" While waiting for him to compliment me on my knowledge of geography (I didn't even have to google it!) he grinned and paused a moment. Looking at his face and suddenly hearing my thought spoken out loud I realized what a true GENIUS I am. Gee - Erika, how did you figure that out? Could it be perhaps from the movie's TITLE???

Oh well, I am breathing a sigh of relief and I am really happy with how it all came out! These were very inexpensive and as usual the Dollar Tree figured prominently!
Here is the how to...

Framed XOXO - buy some frames at the Dollar Tree or use ones you already have. Mine are all 5x7 size. Paint if desired (I use the $1 black spray paint from Wal-Mart - 2 coats). Cut out a piece of decorative paper and slip in front of the glass. Play with the glass pebbles found in the floral department (again the Dollar Tree - I bought two packages, but used less than one for these four frames) until you find a design you like. Then glue them on - I used E6000. I just lifted up one pebble at a time and glued so I didn't disturb my design. I found the original idea at tatertotsandjello. I'm thinking her frames were bigger or her pebbles smaller - but either way they are lovely!

I'm anxiously waiting for her post on Monday about her Dollar Tree tiered serving platter! I've been wanting one and I'm thrilled to make one myself on the cheap and tailored to my taste!

Burlap Wreath - I took the excess burlap from the curtains in the laundry room and cut 4" strips as long as the fabric piece that I had. I borrowed a wire dry cleaning hanger from a friend and shaped the wire into a circle. I poked the wire through the burlap as described here at WhereTheHeartIs. I ended up using 11 or 12 strips so that mine was as full as I liked. I also was very annoyed at how the weight of the burlap pulled it down so that there was a gap at the top of the wreath and the fabric was WAY more full and bunched at the bottom of the wreath. I solved that by cutting pieces of rubber band and using them to tie knots around the wire between the sections of burlap to keep them from slipping. This helped hold the sections where I wanted and distribute them evenly around the wreath. The rubber band is the same color as the wreath and totally invisible! I am super happy with the fix!

Red Rose Wreath - Well that's what I think it looks like anyway! I found the idea at, very appropriately, The Idea Room. I ended up making this a Dollar Tree version. I bought a white foam circle wreath form and one of their cheap baby blankets (I chose a red fleecy one with an embroidered hippo on it). I think the dimensions on the blanket were 30"x30". I took a cardboard circle template that I used for my T-shirt refashioning (it's done and fabulous, I just need a good hair day to take a pic for you... I know, I'm vain!) that was about 2.5" in diameter. I held it on the blanket and cut around it to make the circles. My version uses far less fabric than the original and doesn't entirely cover the form (found this out AFTER I started) so to make up for the fact that there were no more red blankets (I checked!) I pulled out all the "flowers" and wrapped the form in the rest of the ribbon I used for the burlap wreath to cover the white color and get a nice red base. This was helpful to cover the little gaps that I had between the red flowers. I still think it turned out beautifully! To ensure that I had as few gaps as possible when I redid the wreath I spaced them evenly around the wreath as I went instead of starting at a certain point and working my way around. I was afraid if I did that it would be hard to make sure I ended up with enough circles to fill the wreath evenly.

I really love this idea and think it would make a cute decoration in a nursery as well - they have blankets in pink, blue, yellow (I especially love that color - don't be surprised if one pops up in our nursery) and I'm pretty sure I'll do this again - but buy two blankets!

I wish you a great Love Fest this month!

Friday, February 05, 2010

More Baby Gifts!

Here is another of the cute things my sister and I crafted while she visited over the Christmas holiday. I used the tutorial you can find here. I used flannel and the soft fabric (minky? chenille?) that usually has ball indentations on it (mine has stars) for the ball. I ended up goofing up a little and flipping some of the panels so they aren't placed how I had wanted, but the babies love it! I used some largish (about ping pong ball size) jingle bells in the center for sound. Playing around with the bells, I found that the poly-fill muffles the sound a LOT. I had to take out fill, put in three bells, and smoosh the fill away from the center to allow empty air pockets so the bells could ring and you could hear them.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


How's that for a title? :) I couldn't think of anything witty to write - sorry! We are currently in the midst of a perpetual cold - currently it's the babies and myself. Really, mommies should be exempt from being sick. And so should babies. Only those who are old enough to blow their noses and tell you where it hurts and drink when told and take medicine should be eligible. And primary caregivers are out altogether. And it bothers me that altogether doesn't have two "L"s in it. And it also bothers me that "till" as in "till we meet again" isn't spelled 'til. Because it's an abbreviation of "until" so I think it should have an apostrophe. And I'm thankful for spell check. I won't tell you how many red squiggly lines are underlining my words as I type. And that's how clouded my brain is - I hate being sick.
Ok... some updates...
Rick - waiting to see if he is laid off (thanks for all your kind words on Facebook - love you!) this month. And also trying to work hard as if nothing is happening. Lots of deadlines looming... how will they do without him.
Mom - sick. See above. Still pumping after each feeding - though now from my very own pump - not a rented one. Wishing she could get a haircut, but thinking ponytails may be the order of the day until we know if we're keeping our job. Thirty bucks can buy a lot of milk and bananas!

A - Finally passed off her +5 addition test (20 probs in under a minute) and will now be moving on to +6. We will be practicing at home using this site to generate worksheets. Loves to play with the boys at recess. Super gal!
N - Had his preschool's dinosaur day at school and was in heaven. The things they learn when are interested in a subject are amazing! They made fossils and went on a "dig" and had special dinosaur treats. He is my earliest reader and picks up on things sooooo quickly! He is a quick study and I'm excited to see him grow in Kindergarten next year. (Which I registered him for a few weeks ago).
L - Firecracker. She is talking so much! I can't believe she will be two in a month. She has her opinion about everything and can get quite feisty if things aren't going as she would like. She doesn't let her siblings walk all over her - she is quick to hit when she is mad. She is also my most loving child (hugging and kissing you just because) and so quick to say sorry! She loves her siblings so much and loves to wave at them, hug them and kiss them. You can see how we are wired to learn through mimicking others when you watch her. She picks up on so much that I do and say through the day!

M - Hopefully still gaining! She went from 50% to 4% and to 9% at her last weigh-in. We have another next week. She rolls over both ways, can sit up for a few seconds unassisted and is such a happy baby! I just love how she can make me feel such bliss when she looks at me and smiles - which thankfully she does often.

House - on hold. We were ready to pay people to fix up the last bits - but now we are thinking we should hold on to our pennies until we know more about the job situation. We have some sheets of drywall to put up, a duct to move, some closets to build and then we are ready to have some guys come in and mud/texture. Then we have a patio to pour and a yard to design. Then we are pretty much done. Oh, we need to put flooring in on the main floor. And then we are pretty much done. Except for the bathroom. And then the kitchen cupboards and counter. You get the idea...

Hope you are doing well!
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