I made this for our Advent Basket this year. It was an idea I got from a woven checkers set with plastic pieces that is at our local library. Everly loved playing with it at the library and I knew it would be an easy thing to crochet. Here is how it was done: Continue reading Crochet checkers board set pattern & instructions
Thanksgiving day Adalyn took her first solo steps. Time is just flying by. Everly starts school this last week. Last week we also had our first snow flurries. We found a butterfly living in our office. I am betting it’s the offspring of one of the many bugs Everly has captured and brought inside.
I cut off a bunch of my own hair and im flabbergasted that Christmas is just a few short weeks away.
I’ve been working hard at planning and prepping for our new advent tradition… The advent basket. Continue reading Post turkey day reflections & a new holiday tradition: The Advent Basket
Now that spring is here we all get to start and end our days out in the fresh air again. We couldn’t be happier! This morning during our garden tour we checked all the plant progress.
The grapes are setting little grape clusters that need pinching off, the strawberry plants are flowering and seedlings are coming up everywhere.
We even got some “circle of life” learning under the belt today when Everly discovered a quickly drying out worm in the dirt.
She informed me the worm was “all dried up” and continued to watch it and poke it. “Mama it is moving! Let’s fix it” she said.
I told her to get a small amount of water from our rain barrel so we could make some mud to cover it with. Then we talked about how worms need mud and to be burred in the dirt.
Next I was unpleasantly surprised by a dead field mouse the cat left for us on top of the chicken hutch. While I scraped it up and tossed it in the trash we talked about how the cat likely played it to death. Everly wanted to take it to a doctor but I explained that it had been dead too long and that it couldn’t be saved. “Oh, okay mama. Poor guy” was her response as we tossed the poor thing in the trash.
Then we planted some annual flower seeds in places around the yard and she picked some pretty weeds that she wanted to keep on the table in a vase.
Next, we planted Everly the highly anticipated Sunflower/ Bean Tepee that we had thought up after seeing a similar Bean Tepee on Pintrest.The goal is to grow beans up the sunflower stalks for added functionality and fun. Here is how you can do it too:
Planting a Sunflower/ Bean Tepee-
Just take about 19 sunflower seeds and plant them in a semi-circle/ rounded horse shoe shape that is big enough for your kiddo to go in. Once the seeds sprout, plant about 10 or 15 bean seeds along the outside of the semi-circle.
Train the bean stalks to grow around the sunflower stalks. When sunflowers grow to about 2-3ft tall you can braid and twist their tops together to make a Tepee like roof. They will continue to grow upward and then bloom while their stalks make an exciting little hiding area for curious kiddos and a sturdy support for the beans.
Sunflower stalks are strong and roots go deep so chances are your teepee frame will remain after the end of the growing season and can be used to grow beans the following season. Just be sure to clip off your dried sunflower heads and put the seeds in a bird feeder after the season or the entire area surrounding your teepee will become a sunflower forest the following season as the seeds fall from the bloom heads and germinate.
Everly and I also clipped some kale to cook up today which was another nice adventure for her. She loves to do big person stuff like harvesting foods from the garden. Last year she loved to be in charge of carrying the “picking bucket” when we harvested things, this year she’s full on harvesting stuff herself which is great for her.
We also explored the mint plants, complete with taste testing their leaves and she found a wild onion bulb while helping me plant seeds that she washed and added to the harvest pile all on her own.
Now we are off to bake some yummy kale chips with the large kale plants that overwintered in our garden and are about to go to seed. Here is a recipe you can try:
Baked Kale Chips
- 1 bunch (about 6 ounces) kale
- 1 tablespoon
olive oilgrapeseed oil (or other heat stable non GMO oil. Note: olive oil isn’t heat stable and isn’t good for cooking.)
- Sea salt to taste. (I used raw Hemalayan Pink Salt for added nutritional value.)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.
Do you grow a garden that your kids help with? If not I’d highly recommend you start a kitchen garden, even if it is just a few plants that you’ll know you can use for eating.
Getting the kids out and letting them get dirty is wonderful for them! Not only is it an activity you do together but it teaches them about responsibility, food, nutrition, cooking, resourcefulness and even life lessons if you are mindful of the fleeting opportunities.
If you haven’t already, unplug from technology for a bit and go get those hands dirty with your kids.
My top search terms right now are homemade gift ideas. There is no doubt that the economy is impacting the way people are thinking about holiday shopping. People would rather make things to give as gifts because it saves money.
I personally like creative homemade, do-it-yourself gifts because they are more from the heart than store bought ones. Plus I have a blast making gifts for people cause I am crafty like that.
Now since so many are flocking here in search of homemade holiday gift ideas and craft projects I wanted to take a second to suggest some easy gift ideas for you to try this holiday season. If you want to check out the instructions just click on the linked text! you have a project you have written about on your blog use mister linky below to share the link with us.
- Turn scrap fabric in to braided usefulness by making your very own braided rag rug. These are super easy, have tons of character and can be used almost anywhere in the house.
- Make a sentimental gift and clear out some closet space by taking all those stored clothing items you can’t bear to throw away and turning them in to a functional throw or quilt. Anyone can make their own t-shirt quilt quickly and easily just in time for holiday gift giving. Use baby clothes, shirts or just about any special piece of fabric and turn those memories in to a great gift for someone special.
- Have an environmental lover on your gift list? You can make several fun earth friendly gift items (like a biodegradable bird feeder or a shoe scraper) that they will enjoy and they’ll love that you took and interest in being earth friendly too.
- Have some small trinkets to give? Why not make your own paper gift box using origami? It is super easy, it is fun for kids and you can decorate them exactly the way you want them. You can even make them hang from the Christmas tree.
- Got a cell phone fanatic on your gift list? You can make them a cute cellphone cozy out of fabric or yarn to keep their phone protected and also in style this holiday season. Theses are also insanely easy to make and can be oh, so unique and personalized.
- Know someone who is in need of some new bedding this holiday season? Put your sewing skills to work and make them a homemade duvet cover or comforter. Don’t worry even a beginning sewer (me) can do this and it is pretty fun too!
Now I know you have a project you are just dieing to share with us. If you have written about on your blog use mister linky below to share the link with us. If you don’t have a link to share but want to just tell us about your project just use the comment field below to do so.
Just because I have a tripod set up at the end of the bed does not mean we were making porn! I am sure that is what the neighbors are thinking though.
It’s a kind of funny sight and thought so I snapped a photo of it and thought I would make it the title of this post. Nice huh? I am sure I’ll get lots of 1 second hits from people searching for homemade porn now huh?
Seriously though I was recording a video demonstration for another craft article I wrote. As I mentioned yesterday I sold another article and have been feeling highly motivated to write these days. Plus the search terms on this blog have been super instructional craft project oriented. The people have spoken and want more craft instructions so I got busy writing some more tutorials.
I sat down and wrote up an article on how to make your own t shirt quilt from shirts you have collected over the years. I used our bed to record the demonstration video that goes with the article and I just happen to leave the tripod at the foot of the bed. Nice and random huh?
What? You want to see a t shirt quilt? Well lookie here:
Well, I awoke this morning to lots of fluffy white stuff falling and covering everything. We were foretasted for some thunderstorms last night and today. The possibility of snow was mentioned but no accumulation was expected. Here that means the snow melts as soon as it hits the ground.
Doesn’t look like that is the case today, the schools called a 2 hour snow delay and we had to scrape snow from the car before I could take N to work. I am sure it will melt away throughout the day. It is May for crying out loud, snow in May is not the norm!
We got back from visiting my mother yesterday and were exhausted. N had been on the road for 2 days prior to us visiting family then we stayed with my mom for 3 days.. Basically he was on the road for 5 days straight.
We always have some temperature shock and allergy issues when visiting family down in phoenix.. It is generally 30 degrees warmer where they live and about 6000 feet in elevation change.. it kicks our butts! So, when we got home in addition to being beat I had to put the house back together (the cats usually freak out when we are gone).. That is why I posted a meme yesterday instead of telling you all about our trip.
You guys know that my mom and I set out to make soap for mothers day, my mom was really excited about it. She saw this particular recipe on Martha Stuart for goat’s milk soap that was all natural. The one thing my mom was not able to pick up before we got to her home was the lye needed for the soap. We went on a quest for lye, which is said to be sold at any hardware store. We went by home depot, lowes, ace hardware and even frys.
After hitting every store we could think of we did not find the lye, we headed back home to make some phone calls to track down the lye.
Nobody knew what lye was or carried it and the process of trying to get help over the phone was enough to make your blood boil. One place had us on hold forever (6 minutes) and then it turned out the phone was in an employees locker, that is why it took so long for someone to help us!
Lye is sodium chloride which is used in pool chemicals, drain cleaner, to make soap and a number of other things. Apparently it is also used to make meth (seen the movie Fight Club?) so commercial sale has practically been stopped and sales associates have no clue what lye is or which products contain it.
Many products contain Lye (like Draino, which also contains metal shavings) but finding pure lye turned out to be impossible in Phoenix. You can buy lye online but that wasn’t going to help us to make the goats milk soap that day.. So we decided to make the soap another day, when we can order lye online and have it shipped in.
So, we weren’t able to make the soap but we had plenty to keep us busy! I’ll post more about the trip tomorrow, lets just say it involves snakes, chickens and baby chicks.. It is way too much for one post!
Today is earth day and there is no better day to try and minimize your negative impact on the earth. How to you celebrate earth day? Do you plant something or maybe you pick up litter along the highway near your home.
Every effort is helpful whether you are making it on for one day or if you are setting out to try and do something differently for the entire year. Some of the things we are doing year round are rain water harvesting and grey water harvesting. I take baths often and am always feeling bad about sending the perfectly good water down the drain afterwards. Since I use biodegradable shampoo and soap I have been eager to siphon my bath water out into the garden. We life in the desert so sometimes rain water is limited.. If I can take my bath water and store it for use in the garden that would reduce the amount of water we waste and it is good for the plants! We rigged up our low tech bath water harvesting system yesterday and it worked well last night!
We also have a compost bin and are able to greatly reduce the amount of waste we contribute to the landfill by composting and recycling our waste. Our compost goes right back into the soil to replenish it and provide nutrients and our recycled stuff gets reused also.
What things do you do to tread lighter on the earth?
Anther great way to celebrate earth day is with the kiddies. After all one day tis earth will be theirs and we need to teach them to respect and value it. Crafts are great ways to teach kids things with a hands on approach. Consider doing some earth day crafts with your kids today if you can, it is a great opportunity to bond with them and teach them. Here are some ideas for parents who want to craft with their kids:
Braided rugs (or rag rugs) are not only useful around the home but they are also a great way to recycle fabrics. You can make your own braided rug using old t-shirts, boxers, linen and even scrap fabric from sewing projects! These are sometimes referred to as “rag rugs” they have great character and are a wonderful way to recycle and reuse.
I have been wanting to make one of these for our home for quite sometime and I am finally making it happen this week. I like the idea of the braided rug because it is made from recycled material that I would otherwise throw away. Plus the rug has a unique, primitive charm about it. It is extra special because it is 100% homemade too!
The instructions I found were pretty confusing, eventually I was able to make it all come together. With my simple instructions you will be able to make your own braided rug now too!
Here are the easy instructions followed by a helpful video tutorial:
1. Get fabric & cut strips
Gather scrap fabric & old clothes, you can color coordinate them based upon the desired color scheme of your rug. I like using dark fabric colors. Using white or lighter colored fabric will only show dirt and look dirty faster. Next cut the fabric into strips that are about 1 inch wide, the longer your strips the less sewing you will need to do later. Just get as many strips as you can from the scrap fabric you have rounded up. Also, the accuracy of the strip width is not really a huge deal it is just a guideline. I am not good a cutting straight lines so my strips weren’t perfect. The condition of your strips will greatly impact the look and feel of your rug. If you don’t mind a rustic rag look then hack those strips up but if you want a neater look take care when cutting your strips so they are not jagged.
2. Join strips together
Now sew a few of your fabric strips together to form 3 longer strips. Each strip should be about 12 – 18 inches long for optimal braiding ease. Strips that are too long will tangle while you braid and that is pretty annoying, you’ll see this mistake in the demonstration video.
3. Begin braiding
Now tie a knot at the top edge of the strips to secure the three fabric strips together. You can rubber band the strips to a door handle, coat rack or whatever is convenient for you. You can begin braiding the three strips together like you would braid hair. When you get to the edges of the fabric strips (leave about 1-2 inches from the edge) pin the braid so it doesn’t come undone and sew additional strips on to the braided strips so you can braid more.
4. Rinse and repeat
Continue braiding and sewing strips on till the cows come home! Seriously though, you should continue till your braid is long enough to make the size rug you desire. This is lots of braiding and sewing! Every now and then do a test wind to see how much rug your braid huge braid will make. Use a clothes pin to secure your braided fabric while you do your test wind (like the video shows). Add more fabric strips and continue braiding if necessary.
5. Sew coiled braids to finish
When your braid is the desired length tie it off and get some thread and a needle. You will now begin sewing your braid in the shape you want it. Sew each braid coil till you have a rug in your desired shape! Trim excess string and fabric when you are done sewing and you’ll have your very own homemade braided rug. Mine is a permanent fixture in front of my washroom sink. Give it a try, its super easy and rewarding!
If you enjoyed this and would like more craft project inspiration you should check out some of my past projects here.
Being able to say you made something is a great achievement and Make it From Scratch Carnival has so many great make it from scratch ideas that anyone can try!
The most popular topic for this edition of make it from scratch is food, these ideas are mouthwatering and I can’t wait to try some of them out! If you are looking for creative recipes you have come to the right place.
One of the best ways to enjoy the food you eat is the raise it/ grow it yourself. This is the ultimate in self sufficiency and it’s easier than ever to Get Started Growing Vegetables. Home grown veggies are not old delicious but they are also very rewarding!
I know I enjoy freshly grown zucchini, green beans and perhaps some salad from my own garden and nothing goes better with freshly grown vegetables than some homemade Salad Dressings. Over at Funny about Money you will find six easy salad dressing recipes that are easy, delicious and addicting.
You could take your freshly grown green beans and onions to make Melissa’s Green Beans With Caramelized Onions recipe.
If you are looking for a creative sweet recipe head over at changing seasons you can find a creative recipe for Papaya Pie, it’s a great unique make it from scratch dessert recipe. If you like more traditional desserts you might consider making your own from scratch cake mix for a sweet treat.
Over at cheaphealthygood you can find a very inexpensive and delicious recipe that is great for entertaining… A Tale of Two Salsas. I love a good salsa and for about $.04 per serving the recipe is great for the pocket book too!
If you are like me you enjoy cooking enjoy making a meal for your loved one. Valentines day is just around the corner and you create a romantic home cooked meal for you and your loved one. Consider a quite evening at home by making Turkey Ragout with Rigatoni for you and your honey! Katy outlined the recipe so clearly and it seems very easy to try.
Or you could bring delicious Baked French Toast to your loved one in bed on valentines day with a single rose, a great way to start the day off and show you care!
Another delightful sweet recipe you could consider is making Quick and Easy Cream Scones recipe is courtesy of our red house and is one of the easiest and quickest make it from scratch recipes I have seen! Enjoying scones with jam and some coffee or tea is a great way to start your morning.
Making something from scratch can be very enjoyable and it’s also a great expression of love so give it a try for valentines day!
I hope you have enjoyed this edition of make it from scratch, next weeks edition of make it from scratch will be hosted by It’s all for the best and you can submit your own articles to the make it from scratch blog carnival
I wanted to take a second to share a series of craft project articles I have published recently ans some that were published way back when and deserve some attention. If you are crafty or if you are looking for tutorials on certain crafts you are in the right place! I have tons of projects that you can try today!
I have included a brief excerpt from each of the articles, if you click the excerpt it will take you to the article.
How to make a t-shirt quilt – Everyone has a pile of t shirts that have sentimental value, you may never wear them again but you hold on to them because they remind you of where you have been and all you have been through…
Creative do-it-yourself Christmas gift ideas – Whether you are trying to save money or if you just want to give a sentimental gift often times handmade/ homemade gifts are best. My favorite gift…
Spring crafts for kids and families – Spring is a wonderful time of year because it symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings. Plants are springing back to life after the long, harsh winter…
I had planned to publish the instructions for the cozy sweater purse in my previous post titled Homemade Christmas gift ideas, to-go boxes and purses… Oh my but the post became rather long and for the sake of the sanity of my readers I put the instructions here in a separate post so it could be found more easily.
All you need to do to make this nifty little sweater gift bag/ purse is find an old knitted sweater or perhaps a nice wool seater that has been felted (or if you are like me it was mistakenly shrunk).
Take your favorite purse pattern or draw your own. I’ll post a my own free pattern here for your to print and use, please don’t repost it though, link to this blog post if you wish to share the pattern/ instructions with your own readers.
Place the top edge of the pattern along the bottom part of the sweater so that the decorative ribbing/ edge of the sweater becomes the top portion of the purse.
Place right sides together and stitch the sides and bottom of the purse. Note do not stitch the top sides of the bag that this time!
Turn right side out, clip and and press the edges so that the purse has the desired shape.
With right sides out you will now sew the top sides of the bag (the seam you are sewing should be on the outside of the bag, opposite of the rest of the bags seams).
Next cut two 8 inch strips from the sweater for the straps. Mine were 1 inch wide. If you prefer you can use cording or belting inside the strap.
If using belting or cording wrap the sweater fabric around it press with iron and hand stitch.
If you are not using belting you can sew the pieces together (wrong side out) and then turn the strips right side out after sewing them.
Place the sewed straps into the strap slits and hand sew the slits back together with the straps inserted. Fold the top portion of the bag down and you are done!
This homemade gift bag/ purse is very customizable and can be made into any shape or pattern you like. You can sew buttons or beads onto the purse for decoration or you can even iron on some decorative patches to customize the purse even more.
I found some cheap bath items that I plan to fill the homemade purses with, then I’ll give these as hostess/ host gifts this holiday!
At last the pattern I used is available for download! Simply click the link and when the photo displays righ click it and choose “save image as” – sweater-purse-pattern.jpg Print out he pattern an cut the blue outside away and your ready to begin crafting. Enjoy!
Well, I have been busy! Over the thanksgiving weekend I have been brainstorming homemade gift ideas and I have been getting ready for an upcoming craft fair/ holiday sale. We did not get any snow as was predicted so we kept busy an entertained by rearranging the bedroom so it was more feng shui. Oh, our finch eggs have not hatched yet, I know many have been wondering about this.. We have 3 new eggs now in addition to the one that should be hatching.
Anyway, I have also been exploding with gift giving ideas this holiday season! I just taught myself how to fold little “Chinese food” type to-go boxes that I plan to stuff with goodies (maybe pecan buds and cookies or some homemade fudge) and give away this holiday. I’ll share how to make your own below.
I also read about making little handbags from old wool sweaters and thought I would give it a try. I went to the local thrift store and bought all the fun knit and wool sweaters I could find, they sell clothes by the pound there soI go lots of sweaters! These sweater purses are super cute, you can out gifts in them like bath sets or an assortment of fluffy socks or whatever else you can think of. You can also make matching gloves to go with this purse out of the sleeves of the sweater! These look so cute an cozy and are super easy to make!
To make the origami box with fold down lid follow these instructions: I am also planning to make a video of this fold because it’s difficult to explain and is easier to show, besides I am a visual learner so videos help me. This craft can be done with card stock, origami paper or just plain old computer paper (or old catalogs if you want to recycle). I used computer paper in the video.
- Start out with a perfect square piece of paper.
- Fold the lower left corner up to the upper right corner, repeat this for the lower right and upper left corners. This will leave you with an X running through the center of your square piece of paper.
- Next fold the trip of your lower left corner into the center so that the point is just touching the center of the X you just created. Repeat this for each of the 4 corners.
- Now unfold all the corners, you will see 4 squares inside on the inside of the paper and 2 triangles on each corner of the paper.
- Now fold the tip of your lower left corner to the newly formed line just under the opposing corner. Repeat this for each of the 4 corners.
- Keeping the 4 center boxes flat fold each side of the box up and crease the square box in between so the sides flap folds out. Repeat this for each of the 4 sides.
- Fold the side box flaps and glue
- Fold the top box flaps in an hole punch them so they can be tied with ribbon.
- Decorate your box and fill with goodies!
I had planned to publish the instructions for the cozy sweater purse but this post became rather long and for the sake of the sanity of my readers I put the instructions in a separate post so they could be found more easily.
We have about 8 Victoria’s Secret catalogs that are piled up on our living room table. Each catalog has the exact same products in it just in a different order. Anyway I wanted to put them to good use somehow, I was going to use them to start the fireplace up or something.
Tonight I came across a fun blog site that I was browsing. One of the articles posted was a tutorial on creating easy origami gift boxes. I thought this was a cute way for me to give some of my homemade goodies this holiday season. I was trying to learn the fold tonight and I used paper from the wasteful Victoria’s Secret catalogs. The boxes are actually really cute because of the catalog colors and print and the box is really easy to learn!
If you are trying to save money or if you just love to give homemade gifts consider recycling some of your piled up catalogs! Make some origami gift boxes and fill them with homemade goodies like truffles, bite sized cookies or fudge!
I am a firm believer in the fact that sentimental gifts are more meaningful than store bought gifts and they can really brighten a persons day! If you are looking for a special but frugal craft idea this holiday season try this! Make a jar of gratitude, a jar of love or a jar of memories! This is so simple and so deep!
All you need is a jar of your choice. Think about the gift recipient and decide what theme you want to use to decorate the jar. Once the jar is decorated you can fill it with strips of paper that have meaningful things written on them. For a gratitude jar you would write all the things you can remember that you are thankful for. Things that happened long ago or that were forgotten are the most memorable and touching. This is a wonderfully personalized gift just like a message in a bottle gift, that will be cherished by the recipient for many years to come!
Origami is a great craft for kids! Origami improves hand eye coordination and it helps children get used to reading and following written or visual instructions. Below are a few simple origami projects you can try with your kids.
[youtube quwDoJVkUX0 Origami Boat]
1. Start with a square piece of paper.
2. Fold in half (point to point) to make a triangle.
3. Fold one point of the triangle upward, and then unfold to make a crease in the paper.
4. Do a reverse fold (open the paper up, grab the creased ends and fold the paper in toward yourself.
5. Flatten top point by folding it down to form a crease then repeat the reverse fold as described above and you are done!
[youtube LTH4LzsE1tU Origami Cup]
1. Start with a square piece of paper.
2. Fold in half (point to point) to make a triangle.
3. Fold one corner inward so the top edge is flat (90 degree angle).
4. Fold the top corner down so that it is flat with the top edge you just made.
5. Turn the paper over and repeat steps 3 and 4.
6. Squeeze the two pointed corners together to open your cup and you are done!
[youtube LESjeDzEp3g Origami Dog]
1. Start with a square piece of paper.
2. Fold in half (point to point) to make a triangle.
3. Fold in half again (point to point) to make a smaller triangle then unfold to make a center crease.
4. Use the crease as a guide and fold each top point downward to form the ears.
5. Fold the top and bottom points away from you to form flat edges and the dog is done!