Wednesday, May 28, 2014

No-Sew Table Runner

I have a large bar in the middle of my kitchen.  It's not fancy; it's just a big counter top.  It's constantly being used.  It has stains, cuts and spots where the laminate has come away and you can see the brown speckling though.  Someday, when I have nothing better to spend the money on, I will put in something fancy.  Until then, I wanted to put a table runner over the top.

Problem was, it's a weird size.  The table runners were all too big.  I still needed work space and I needed something durable.

I made one.

This one was pretty easy and completely no sew!

You need: 
Two pieces of fabric
One piece of Heat N Bond (thick)

I chose two pieces of leftover fabric from my stash.  I used a piece of the tablecloth from my pantry re-do and a piece of fabric leftover from my bulletin boards.

Iron the Heat N Bond on to the thinner piece.  Pull of the paper and iron it on to the other piece of fabric.  Because I used something that had a plastic coating, I was very careful and covered it with another piece of fabric so I didn't make a mess on my iron.

Trim.  You don't need to sew because the Heat N Bond will keep it from fraying.

It's working great.  I like that it's two sided and I can flip it if I want to. I also love the custom size!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

So You Got Yourself Grounded. . .

The summer months are here!  The kids are out of school and the RELAXING has begun.  (Insert sarcastic snicker here.)

The nice thing about the kids being out of school is that they can pick up the slack and help out a little bit more.  Do they want to?  No.  Do they have to?  Yes.

They also manage to get into a little bit more trouble.  I've always allowed the kids to get out of trouble by doing some "hard labor" but I didn't really have a system for it.  I recently saw another mom's point system and thought it was a good idea.  We made our own.

Here it is: (please excuse the cursor at the beginning of the "You".  It's not really there.  I got lazy and took a screenshot instead of taking a photo.)

The idea is pretty simple.  They commit a crime.  I ground them and decide how mad I am how many points they need to earn to properly rectify the situation.  They decide how they want to earn those points.

They have to clear the chore with me prior to doing it.  For example, they can't pick a kitchen cabinet that doesn't need organizing to earn their points.  They have to offer to do it to earn the points.  If I ask them to, they still have to do the chore but they don't earn the points.  The kids know that they have to unload the dishwasher every morning.  If I have to ask them to, they still have to unload it but they don't get their fifty points.  However, if a child makes arrangements with me to do it and lets the sibling know they're off the hook, they can earn the points.  Make sense?

This won't take the place of chores.  There are just things you have to do because you are a part of our family.  This is extra.  

I've also left a blank space on the bottom.  I thought the kids could come up with suggestions.

I presented it to the kids tonight.  Their reaction surprised me.  My son seemed intrigued; I found out he likes the idea of seeing exactly how much he was going to have to do to get ungrounded.  My daughter was more concerned with what crimes got what point value.  I did tell the kids that the "average" grounding would probably be five hundred points.  

I'm curious if anyone's tried something like this.  I have always hated the traditional grounding and we don't do that here.  The kids have always had to earn their privileges back through work. Having my kids sitting around, not allowed to play with friends, punishes me, too.  Who wants that?

What are your thoughts?  How do you "ground" your kid?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Decorate Your Scissor Blades

Have you seen those awesome scissors in the stores with the funky blades?  The ones that are fifteen bucks apiece?

You can make your own with a dollar store pair of scissors!  Save some money!

You need:

A pair of scissors to decorate
Scrapbook Paper for the blades
Glue (I like E6000)
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
Emery Board

Start by cutting out a rectangle of paper that will cover your blades.  Curve the edge so it fits up next to the handle.  (I cheated and used a round punch for this.)  Use the glue to glue them on to your blades.

At this point I am going to apologize for my photos.  I made a few different pair of scissors at different times.  It would be too much to ask me to photograph ONE pair of scissors from beginning to end, obviously, so each photo will be a different pair of scissors at that particular stage.  If you're not confused by the end, my congratulations!

Back to the tutorial. . . .

Let the glue completely dry.  If you didn't get part of it glued down, add more glue and wait.  It's especially important that the tips and the edges are glued solid.

When it's dry, trim around it with a pair of scissors and then use a file to file it down closer.

I used this file and went in the direction of the blade, not against it.  It was a very quick process.

 The blue one has not been filed, the black one has.  See the difference? 

Now's the fun part!  Add a layer of the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic on one blade, right over the top of the paper.  Let it dry completely before flipping over and doing the other blade.  Each blade needed to dry for 24 hours at my house. 

When they're dry, take an emery board and file the edges to smooth away the lumpy bumpys.

Finished!  Very cute and very functional!  Add a bit of ribbon and a tag to the handle and you have a sweet gift to give. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

T-Shirt and Felt Flowers

This post was written months and months ago.  I saved it as a draft and didn't bother to publish it.  Whoops!

I cleaned out the kids' closets this weekend and found a bunch of stained, too small t shirts.  While watching the Super Bowl, I cut out circles and shapes of the t-shirts and some coordinating felt and made flower pins.

As you can see, I made a few!  The backs have 1 1/2 inch pins on the back so these can be added to hats (wouldn't they be nice on a stocking hat. . . spring up winter gear) or to a scarf, shirt or sweater.

These are crazy easy.  Start by cutting some shapes.  Layer them until you get the look you like and then glue with washable fabric glue.  Sew a button in the middle and add your pin to the back.

These will eventually make it to our Etsy store.  Eventually.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Planting Potatoes and The Garden

Remember my awesome potato garden my son helped me make?  Let me remind you. . .

Yes, this awesome thing.  It's gorgeous.

I planted it with potatoes today.

Two days ago, I took my seed potatoes and cut them.  I like for them to grow some roots before I cut them.  I'm not sure if this is the right way or the wrong way but it's my way.  Make sure each cutting has at least two eyes on it.

Lay them out and let them dry for two days.

When you read about planting potatoes, they talk about how to space them.  I don't listen.  Again, right or wrong, it's my way.  I put six inches of soil and peat moss mix on the bottom of the bed and laid my seed potatoes about six inches apart.  I topped them with three inches of soil and peat moss mixture.

Here's the beauty of this set up.  When the plants are about six inches tall, I'm going to put four inches of dirt over the top.  This will force the plant to make more roots which means more potatoes.  I will keep doing this until the whole bed is filled with soil.

Potatoes grow in almost anything.  I will be saving my grass clippings to mix with the peat moss and garden soil mix.  The biggest problem will be keeping this wet enough during the hot summer months.  I should get about fifty pounds (or more) of potatoes from this garden bed.

With this planting, I'm pretty much done with our backyard gardens.  We've downsized quite a bit from the days we rented garden space and planted a 100x100 foot garden.  It took a lot of work but yielded a lot of produce.  I'm getting older, I have a job and the kids have their activities.  Gas is also more expensive which makes traveling to our garden daily quite expensive.  We slowly downsized and moved the gardens to our backyard.

This is what we are doing this year:

My herbs.  These will take off and go bananas like they do every year.  I need to get a big pot of Oregano in but I forgot to start my seeds this year and I have to buy plants.  I'm looking. . . can't seem to find any.

Clockwise from top left:  Cilantro, Rosemary, Spearmint and Sweet Basil (for Pesto, YUM!!)

Cherry tomatoes and two pots of sweet peppers.  The tomato plant I bought on a whim.  I didn't have any cherry tomatoes and I love eating them with basil.  The peppers are tiny now but will be BIG later!  The bed is in sore need of some weeding!

My favorite bed.  This one has two different types of tomatoes and two zucchini plants.  The bed with the seeds not up?  Watermelon.  They're Sugar Babies.  The vines are very compact.  I'll spread them out when they start growing gangbusters.

These beds are 4x4.  The shorter bed has bush beans, radishes and lettuce.  The top bed has peas, onions and cucumbers.  The cucumbers are also a compact plant which is high yield. 

We also have a few containers of blueberries which will give enough to snack from.  Not enough to can or freeze, but enough to eat off the vine. 

The lettuce will give us a good crop, then I'll replace it with more beans.  When the radishes are done, I'll turn the entire bed into beans.  I will also replant beans in late August and get a full fall crop of beans.  I can them and we eat them all winter.

The peas are more for salad.  The cucumbers will be pickled. 

Next year we will put in two more 4x4 beds.  I would also like to add some raspberries along the side of the house.  It would help keep the neighborhood cats from digging there and, in a few years, we would have enough to jam it up.  Problem with raspberries is how quickly they multiply so I'll have to be on top of it.

Fingers crossed we get a nice crop this year!  What have you planted?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

$20 Raised Garden Bed

Every year towards the end of the school year, in that magical time where grades have already been submitted but the kids still have a week of school left, I take the kids out of school for our annual "Day of Hookie".

This year, my daughter threw a monkey wrench into the plans.  She got the flu.

She's been out for a few days and I didn't feel like we could take an additional day off.  My hubby already took a day off work to stay with her and I missed a meeting. . . it doesn't look like it's in the cards this year.  I promised the kids we'll do our Day of Hookie in the summer. 

Today she was feeling better, but was still headachy.  It's Field Day at her school and she decided to stay home; this tells me she isn't quite up to snuff.  I offered my son the option of skipping today.  He debated (they're on day two: Dissecting Rats in Science) but the lure of a day of laziness was enough to keep him here.  He's started showing an interest in power tools and building things so we decided to make a bed to grow our potatoes in.  It took less than an hour, twenty bucks and some help from a cute lil man.

I'm not sure what's up with the photo.  There's really not shiny, squiggly things between the boards.  They're TIGHT!!!

We started with eight cedar fence pickets.  These babies are six feet long, six inches wide.   They're a tad more than two bucks, per.  Make sure you don't use treated ones.  You don't want the chemicals in your veggies.

You also need one 2x4.  We got ours of the scrap pile in the back of Home Depot.  Love that scrap pile!  If you don't care what it looks like, you can get it for next to nothing.  Like a buck.

I cut the 2x4 into 21 inch lengths.  You need four.  If you use an eight foot board, you get a bit left over which we tossed into the burn pile.

Cut two feet off the top of each of the pickets.

You will also need some screws.  We always have a ton laying around and we used part of a box we had.  You'll have to add that to your shopping cart if you don't have the hardware.

Start fastening them together!  We took two of the 2x4s and started screwing the two foot cedar lengths to them.  My son said it looked like we were making a fence. 

Yes, he did all the work!  Sorry, ladies.  This little guy is mine for the time being!

Make two. . .
This is the hard part that is nice to have two people for.  We stood them up on the garage floor and started fastening the four foot lengths to the ends.  I balanced, he drilled.

Flip and repeat.

Admire your work.

This was the point he tried to lift it and then asked how we were going to get it into the back yard.  He even offered to go get his dad. . . silly boy.  His momma is WAY smarter than that!   We loaded it up on to the dolly and took it into the backyard, easy peasy! 

So here's the great part.  This bed is almost two feet high.  (Six inch boards aren't really six inches.  Go figure.)  This is going to be where I plant my potatoes this year.  I plan on doing the potatoes in a barrel planting method but using this instead of a barrel, which is why I wanted the height.  If you don't want your beds this high, you could make TWO beds for the same price.  Or FOUR!  It's way cheaper than those raised bed kits you find at the store!

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

An Apple and Some Dip

It's been a long time since I've posted.  School is over in two weeks and I've got lots planned for the summer.  I'm going to try to actually downsize my crafting area and neaten it up.  Right now, it's reminiscent of an episode of Hoarders.

These little gifts are quick, easy and very, very appreciated by the recipient because they taste so darn good! 

 These particular ones were teacher appreciation gifts.  You just need a container, a cello bag, some awesome apple dip and an apple. 

I used a jelly jar for these gifts.

Don't have an awesome apple dip recipe?  I've got a great one for you!

The Most Awesome of All Awesomeness Apple Dip

1 pkg cream cheese, softened.
Container of Caramel Ice Cream Topping
Bag of Crushed Heath Bar

Mix the cream cheese with one cup of caramel topping and mix until smooth.  Spoon into containers.

Top with a couple of tablespoons of the leftover caramel topping.  Top that with a couple spoonfuls of Heath.  Put a lid on it and refrigerate.

This recipe made about six jelly jars full. 

The cream cheese and caramel mix is a little tart but blended with the caramel. . . almost makes you want to cry because it's so beautiful.  Really.