Sunday, January 31, 2010

Children's Workbook

I like to get my money's worth on the products I purchase and this is one way that I do that.

I purchased a workbook for my preschoolers (I got mine at the Dollar Store for $1, but I have seen these for as high as $7 or $8 - this would really make the expensive book more economical) . [You could do this for any puzzle or workbook.]

I found an old 3 ring binder and covered it with fabric to make it look better and more kid friendly. Since I have boys, I used a cowboy fabric in darker colors (to resist showing dirt).

I cut 2 lines on either side of the "ring" part of the binder, then I tucked it under the notebook before continuing to cover with fabric.

I folded the edges of the fabric to the inside of the notebook and secured using Mod Podge. This was my first time using this product. I have read rave reviews all over the blogosphere about it.

Then I covered the raw edges on the inside front and back covers with heavy cardstock. You could use other fabrics or materials, but that was what was easiest at the time, not sure how it will hold up (time will tell). This is not necessary, but I like the finished and neat look it gives. Makes it look much better.

I then tore out all the pages of the workbook (they were perforated, but even if they weren't I could use scissors or an exacto knife to cut them out) and put them in clear page protectors. [I already had these around the house, but they aren't that expensive.] I put these in the 3 ring binder.

I did purchase an inexpensive pencil bag to hold the dry erase markers (that I already had) and put it in the front of the notebook (along with a paper towel to erase).

Here is the finished workbook. We can take it with us wherever we go (great in the car) and we can use it over and over again. Anthony can practice writing his letters and Rance can too.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Easy Cookie Recipe

Easy Cookies

1 Cake mix
1/2 C oil
2 eggs

Mix the above ingredients together and drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees and bake until edges are set (Lee said 9 min. are great - but always check your oven because ovens vary). You can stir in some M&M's if you want.

Lee made these for us (completely by himself and he even took the picture for me). I prefer a chocolate cake mix, but Lee prefers a yellow cake mix and since he is the chef, he got to make what he wanted.

This is a wonderful cookie recipe, they are very moist and chewy. It is delicious and easy, but the key is not to over bake them.

(I did these for Christmas and used red & green M&M's and it was very cute. The girl that gave me the recipe made this recipe with a chocolate cake mix and stirred in all pink M&M's - very cute - I love pink and brown would be great for a baby shower for a girl). Anyway I hope you enjoy the recipe and have fun with it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Do you cross stitch?

Wow! I just found this wonderful site that helps you to make your own cross stitch alphabet pattern. (This works for filet crochet too.) Check it out here. I can't wait to try it.

I have cross stitched for more than 20 years and over the years I have used graph paper, a pencil and lots of erasers trying to get a pattern the way I like it, this is just fantastic!

And best of all it's FREE! Can you believe it?

Have fun with this and let me know what you think about it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Ruffles

You can get the FREE crochet pattern to this ruffled scarf from Lion Brand Yarn here.

It is very similar to the scarf that I made here, only in a different medium. Ruffles must be in this year! I am normally not a ruffles person (on skirts, blouses, etc.), but as an accent piece, I kinda like it.

I do like a splash of color. A red scarf with a white sweater, gray blouse or black jacket, a lime green scarf with a navy jacket or sweater, you get the picture. I am a neutral person. I love to wear neutrals, I gravitate toward neutrals, but it's great to liven them up.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Since I only had 2 entries (thank you ladies), I have decided to make one for each of you. I will be getting with you on the details. Congratulations and Thank you for reading my blog and entering my giveaway!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Name Doily & Giveaway

*******This Giveaway Now Closed****************


I just finished this doily for a girl's birthday. It can be used on a dresser or table top or it can be matted and framed (that's my personal favorite) to match the decor.

You can check out another doily here.

I will be giving one of these away. It can have your last name, the word 'WELCOME' or whatever you would like it to say (one word only at my discretion).

1) Just leave me a comment and tell me if it is for yourself or a gift for someone else.
2) You must leave an e-mail address (someway for me to contact you).
3) You must enter before midnight Saturday night. (I will announce the winner the first of next week sometime.)

Thanks for stopping by my blog and Good Luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Preschool Game

Look what I found! (I love finding lots of interesting stuff on line - blogs are great for this.) I found a home-made "I Spy" Game and directions here from Make It and Love It (one of my new faves). I used a simple square shape with a circular window.

I used items that I found around the house (an old key, a penny, a halloween spider ring with the ring part cut off, a smooth rock, bee & dragonfly shaped buttons, lego piece, etc.). It's great because you can put in things that your kids like.

This was really fun and easy. I am thinking about doing it for the kids in my Sunday morning class for valentines day (I teach 2 & 3 year olds). If I do it for Valentine's Day, I will use red hearts in stead of squares and circles.

I thought this would be a quite game the kids could play in church, in the car, Dr. office, etc. I made mine last night and the kids have had so much fun trying to see what all is in it. They also play with me or each other by saying "I spy ________." Then the other person has to spy something different and keep going until you can't find anything different.

Try it and let me know what you think about it (what did you put in your 'I Spy' game?).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crocheted Doily

(The name on the doily is "ENOCH.")

My SIL asked me to crochet a name doily for her SIL (as a house-warming gift).

It shows up better with a dark background, but I didn't have one. It looks really nice once it has been matted and framed (to hang on the wall).

Check out another doily here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Quick and Easy Scarf

I found this very cute, quick and easy scarf tutorial here. So, I just had to make one. I had some red felt left over from another project so I jumped right on it. (Fleece would probably be better/more durable, but I had felt and it doesn't have to be hemmed either, so I went with it.)

I don't like my hand work (I feel it isn't very good), but I did the blanket stitch around the edge anyway. I did it in brown (I love red and brown together), but I think black or white would look great too. (I know it doesn't show up in the picture, but like I said I don't like my hand work so I really don't mind if it showed up or not.)

The scarf works up really well and comes together rather quickly (with the exception of the blanket stitch). I put my scarf, embroidery thread, needle and scissors in a basket and carried them with me and worked on it while I was waiting in car rider line to pick the boys up from school.

This scarf is going to be a gift for a friend, but then I think I will make me one too. I love red (especially in the dreary winter months - it adds a punch of color). Red goes great with Christmas and Valentine's Day. I wish I found the tutorial before Christmas.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Basement Remodel 6

We had Christmas for the in-laws here. We usually have Christmas with Frank's family on New Year's day or weekend. That way everyone can have Christmas at home on Christmas day and everyone is off on New Year's day and can still get together. Here are a few pictures of the basement decorated for Christmas and one with all the kids in front of the tree.



Frank hinged the picture so that we could easily access the breaker box if needed. You can't tell by the picture that I took, but it is primarily black and white, but it also has some deep red in the pictures. The sheep, pig and cow look as if they are painted on weathered wood. Goes perfect with the theme in the basement.

Here is the ledge that Frank finished now that it is decorated. There are a couple of things that I would like to put there if I can find them, but these are things that I already had and I sure didn't want the ledge to be empty.

I need a new light fixture, but again can't find exactly what I want. So I will wait until I find what I want, otherwise I won't be pleased with it and will get another one eventually when I do find it.

Check out the bench before here. I just laid some greenery across the back. I got the letters to spell our last name from Hobby Lobby. [The stairs are directly to the left, but there is a window there and I cannot take a picture without getting a very bad glare - a photographer I am not.]

This is how Frank finished the edge of the stairs. I thought I was going to paint it, but this looks so much better. If we had not moved the bench for Frank to finish the steps, it would be directly to the right of the steps.

Where the stairs come down there is a slope (you can see it in some of the pictures above), around the corner to the right of the slope Frank added this door (hinged with reclaimed rusty barn hinges) so that we could use that normally wasted space under the stairs for storage.

We are not finished with the basement yet. We are going to add ceiling tile (that will help with making it look complete, it will help with the noise level and will help to keep it warmer), and there a couple of more pieces of corrugated metal we have to add (we ran out), and some more decorating that I would like to do (I have a few things that I want make and/or paint to put in the basement), I also need to stain around the windows (James said I could get a stain that would come close to matching the weathered barn wood), I still want to paint the doors that go from my basement into the garage and into the salon. We still have a little way to go, but we are over 75% complete. Enough that I don't mind showing you pictures. If I showed you pictures a couple of years ago (I couldn't I didn't have a blog then), or tried to explain it to you, you probably wouldn't have understood what I meant. I do have to say that the pictures just don't do it justice, it looks so much better in person.

Now that I have most of this posted, I will show you each project as we do it (so there won't be so many long posts). Thanks for hanging in there with me. It may not be your taste, but I love it and am very pleased with how it turned out. I am also extremely thankful to my wonderful husband for all the hard work that he did.

Basement Remodel Part 1
Basement Remodel Part 2
Basement Remodel Part 3
Basement Remodel Part 4
Basement Remodel Part 5
More Details

Handy Tips and Tricks

You may know some or even all of these, but these are some tips and tricks that I use and love.

1) If you don't have a cake tester and are out of toothpicks, you can use a raw spaghetti noodle to test your cake.

2) If you have dried food splatter in your microwave that feels like it has been plastered on, take a coffee mug and fill it 1/2 full of water, and put it in the microwave and "cook" at 30 second intervals until the mess just wipes right out.

3) If you have food "glued" on your child's high chair tray, take a dish cloth/towel and run it under hot tap water. Lay the cloth on your child's high chair tray (completely covering the dried food) for just a few minutes and wipe clean.

4) If you use the right kind of soap in the bathtub/shower, it will leave little or no soap scum which makes clean up easier (I found out Dove soap is great). *I do not get anything from Dove for making that statement, it is purely my observation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Basement Remodel 5

Well, now that everything was starting to come together I was feeling very pleased. Now I started looking down and the stairs themselves looked, well...YUCK! I couldn't afford to carpet the stairs and basement (and I didn't really want to carpet the basement) and I couldn't afford to put hard wood on the stairs that matched the hardwood floors upstairs in the house (besides it wouldn't match the rustic barn look that I was going for). What can I do? Well, I had some left over paint (that makes it free right? - I can afford free).

This view is looking up the stairs.
I taped off the sides and began to paint. I had to do the outside edges first so that Frank could finish the walls and I wouldn't have to tape the walls off or worry about getting paint on the trim. Then I could do the center later.

This view is looking down the stairs.
Now our stairs are a U shape with 2 platforms where it turns the corner. It has 2 short stretches near the bottom and a longer stretch of stairs near the top (that's what I've been showing you).

Now guess what happened when we were painting the red down the sides of the stairs? Someone decided to come help and yep, stepped in red paint. Frank calmly picked Anthony up and put his foot on the wall (it was going to be covered up later) before taking him upstairs and putting him in the tub. The foot print was just below a spot I caught him writing on with Frank's carpenter pencil. This is not normal for Anthony, I assume because Frank had been marking on the wall (to know where to place the trim, etc.) that Anthony thought it was o.k. I almost fussed at him when I realized it would be covered up, then I traced his hand, added the date and told him to write his name there.

I painted the outside edges of the stairs in barn red and the inside mustard seed yellow. It mimics carpet, but much cheaper and I don't have to try to get the vacuum cleaner on the stairs.

You can see how we continued the metal up the stairs to match the basement. (Very durable with boys around.)

Here is one of the curtains that I made out of that great stripe fabric. I made valences for all the windows in the basement. I love our view and we don't have any neighbors so I don't really need curtains, but I feel they dress things up a bit. Also I wanted a way to help reduce the noise level in the basement (concrete floor, corrugated metal on the walls, etc. it just echoes in there).

Basement Remodel Part 1
Basement Remodel Part 2
Basement Remodel Part 3
Basement Remodel Part 4
Basement Remodel Part 6
More Details

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Publix Preschool Pals

We signed up for Publix Preschool Pals Newsletter a while back and we get the neatest things from them. We have gotten a cloth bathtub toy/bar soap holder, frisbees, and we got this in the mail last week...

cute kids aprons. Aren't they just adorable? (OH, the aprons too.)

Basement Remodel 4

Well, I found this great stripe heavy duty fabric. It was barn red, denim blue and a goldish yellowish stripe. So I went with the mustard seed yellow in the stairs.

I had been looking for a barn star for decoration for quite awhile. A friend of mine found one (in barn red) and purchased it for me last year. So I had been holding on to this for a year until I got my stairway painted and could hang it up. It's perfect!

I needed something more than the barn star on that tall narrow wall. Another friend of mine gave me the idea of putting a fake window on the end wall of the stairway. My dad gave me this window (it was one my mother had been using for decoration) and I found a mirror the same size up in dad's attic.

There was a ledge where the cinderblock was wide and the walls weren't that wide. Frank finished it outto dress it up a bit for me.

Now I had a door at the top of the stairs. I couldn't very well leave it plain. I just had to do something with it. So I painted it the mustard seed yellow. I felt like I needed something more than the red barn star to tie in the barn red in the basement, so I fly specked the door in the barn red.

Still not enough. The door needs something else. Wait! I've got it! It needs to be welcoming, so what could be more welcoming than the word "Welcome"? I stenciled that in a flat black.

Basement Remodel Part 1
Basement Remodel Part 2
Basement Remodel Part 3
Basement Remodel Part 5
Basement Remodel Part 6
More Details

Monday, January 11, 2010

Basement Remodel 3

Well, now I had to convince Frank to go with the barn red. He was skeptical. He was afraid it would be too dark for a basement. (We have an unusual basement - we have lots of windows, only one side of the basement is underground, 3 sides are not). I called my cousin and spoke with her husband who works with Porter Paints and asked him to come look at it and give me some advice. They drove an hour to come see what we (I mean Frank) had done with the one small wall and metal and to advise me on the barn red.

James said he thought with all the windows we had, and with the metal reflecting light) that it wouldn't be too dark at all. So we proceeded with my original plan.

Of course the first wall I had to prime and paint was the one Frank had put the metal and barn wood on to see how it would look. I had to tape off and stuff first (not fun but necessary). Because Frank only finished one wall, painting the rest was easy (no taping, no being careful, etc.)

(If some of the walls have an "eggplant" color to them, that is the primer.) I don't have any more pictures of the work in progress in the basement because Frank doesn't like to paint and I was doing all the painting and I am the one that does all the picture taking. Also, when Frank was doing more work in the basement is when my camera was giving me fits so there aren't many pictures until I started using Champ's camera. That was winter 2008/2009.

Next was the stair case. I knew barn red would be too dark for that (it was narrow, no windows, etc.), what to do, what to do.

The boards are the scaffolding that Frank put up for me to start painting.

Basement Remodel Part 1
Basement Remodel Part 2
Basement Remodel Part 4
Basement Remodel Part 5
Basement Remodel Part 6
More Details
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