Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Back to Sewing

Well, I've had a pattern I bought years ago when I didn't really have time to sew, but thought someday I will make it. Well 2 Fridays ago I pulled it out and spent about 4 hours from reading the directions, ironing the fabric and cutting the fabric to make these pocket clutches. I was really happy with the one I made that on Saturday I made two more and then I couldn't stop. In one week I made 8 in total. Now I can make it without the directions anymore. Really nice.
I've been selling my coffee sleeves at a local coffee shop and that has been going great. In 4 days sold two. So last Friday I dropped off 4 pocket clutches to sell. It has been fun with that. I know I won't be able to do a whole lot soon when my baby comes. Just seeing what I can do for now.

I'm working now on getting ready for my baby Claire. I got my fabric yesterday and washed by last night. So today I plan to start making a canopy cover for the car seat. Making a couple for a friend at church too. Then I got a pattern from my mom for my birthday for a purse that has a ton of pockets that look like a great diaper bag. So I'm going to attempt to make that too.

We got a Pac-N-Play with a bassinet and changing table for the first couple months before we move to our house where we will have the room to have a crib and dresser. I have it set up and now it seems more real that my delivery date is in 7 weeks. So many things this month to get ready. Classes and tours at the hospital.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Keeping Busy

Sorry no new posts for a while.
Update: My aunt in Kansas just opened a coffee shop and ordered 20 coffee sleeves from me. Which was so great. I'm still able to sew so far. Attempted at some quilting and doing bias tape. Made her a mug rug too for my appreciation for her order. 

I'm 7 months pregnant and Thank God, doing great. Also I think with not having the stress of working full time in a call center and worrying how we were going to live in a one bedroom condo with a baby was a pain. Now I'm at home getting to spend time with my son.

Joy the baker has a new book. Love it. Made her brown butter blueberry muffins, couldn't stop eating them. I've never made blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries before and it was so wonderful.

With Easter closely approaching I've been making small Easter bags for my son and a handful of other kids in my life. Once I started making some I thought oh yeah, them too. It started from 7 to about 15. It was fun and made me feel good. I had made some last Halloween and Drew still uses his when he totes around his trains or planes. I thought I need to do some more holidays and maybe a plain one for toting around.

My shop in Charlotte is going pretty well. I need to keep up with that soon. I've sold 3 coffee sleeves and a bunny bag.

This week I found another place to sell more coffee sleeves too. Things are really turning out how I could possibly want or dream. I plan to make up a bunch of stuff before miss Claire gets here. I don't think I'll have time to sew for the first couple months when she gets here. If we are moving shortly afterwards I may have more delays. Time to get organized and get cutting.

A couple weeks ago my cousin's son got married and I helped out with the wedding shower. It was nice to have a reason to bake. I have been wanting to bake but not eat it. With my husband and I trying to keep the pounds down that wouldn't be nice. I love to bake and love the idea to make them and give them to someone else. Made some great sugar cookies and chocolate chip. Helped decorate too. It was really nice.

That pretty much is what I've been up to since my last post. Hopefully I won't go that long again. Not promising either.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Living on the Cheap

I know these days everyone is trying to save a buck. Well, its difficult. These are some examples that I have done to make things stretch:

Milk: I use an iced tea pitcher and make one batch of powdered milk and add 2% milk to double the amount in the pitcher. With a young kid who loves to drink milk in the morning and at night, I feel like I have to or I'm buying a ton of milk. Its about $3.75 per gallon these days.

Laundry Soap: I make my own with borax, super washing soda and Fels Naptha soap. I've learned to not add as much water to my 10 gallon bucket. I do at times add Clorox color safe bleach, but its still cheaper than spending around $10.00 every 2 weeks on laundry soap.

Dish Washer Soap: I make my own with Lemi Shine, Borax, Super Washing Soda and Kosher Salt. One batch lasts over a month and its the same price as one big box. One big box at the store is usually $5.00 but only lasts two weeks.

Eggs: I've been buying eggs that are on a flat of 2 1/2 dozen at a time. It lasts two weeks and usually cheaper than buying per dozen. My husband likes omelets and my son likes his scrambled eggs on most days and only buying an 18 count or dozen doesn't last long.

Buying bulk: I do like to buy bulk on some things that are worth it. Oatmeal, sugar, flour, rice and powdered milk. Mostly sugar, flour and milk are great to buy at the big box store. Usually oatmeal is the same price for the smaller containers in the grocery store. Its funny how I can shop mostly at Walmart for some things but be careful. Not everything is cheapest there. I do still get some things once a month at Trader Joe's and weekly at Ingles. Its the west coast equivalence of Safeway but better prices without it having to just be on sale. For our bulk items we have food grade containers with lids to keep our food safe. I don't think I've haven't had to buy rice in a year. We do eat rice pretty often, but we had checked when rice went on sale or major coupons.

I was talking to my husband this weekend and I just don't know how everything still seems so expensive even with all my things I save with a family of 3. In about 3 months it will be 4 and we will have more money to need to go towards diapers, but hopefully will be able to breast feed and not have to spend a small fortune on formula. I know that with medical costs they are killing us. Moving out to North Carolina our health care changed dramatically. We went from Kaiser where we paid minimal each month to have it and only paid $20 in co pays and prescriptions were cheap. Now we have to pay $635 per month to have insurance and a $3,000.00 deductible per year and it renews in July. So the first $3,000. we pay and after that its 30% of the cost is out of our pocket. It makes such a difference. After this year I won't be having anymore babies and when our baby Claire is one she won't need to see the doctor every month. I don't know how other people do this. Its crazy. I hope these tips help you, if you have any please post them in comments. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Friday, March 2, 2012

DIY Air Fresheners

As I love Pinterest so much, I have found another project for the home. I've been buying air fresheners that don't last very long and can seem expensive after a while. I have essential oils on hand so why not? Well I looked up a couple different kinds last night. The first one is a gel air freshener that uses gelatin, salt, essential oil, and water. I have all of the above on hand. I have been saving glass Frapuccino bottles so I used them too. I saw a bunch of cute things to reuse them. I like the drink too so that wasn't so bad either.
Back to the gel air fresheners.

4 Envelopes of Gelatin 1oz.
2 Cups of Water, divided
1 Tbsp. Salt
20-30 Drops of Essential Oil
Food coloring if you want

Boil 1 cup of water, add the 4 envelopes of gelatin and whisk until dissolved.
Remove from heat and add 1 Tbsp. salt and 1 cup of cold water and set aside.
Fill your container with essential oil and coloring
Then pour in the gelatin mixture into your containers.
Mix well and set aside for 6 to 8 hours until firm.

I used sweet orange in one and Lavender Vanilla in the other. Both smell great. Even while its cooling off the house smells great.

The next one I tried is a cheaper version and easier. Its baking soda and essential oil.

1/3 Cup Baking Soda
30 Drops of Essential Oils
Wooden Chopsticks
Bottle with Lid

Using a funnel pour in the baking soda, then add the drops of essential oil. Mix well with chopstick. With the lid using a big nail and hammer, poke plenty of holes. Put lid on and place in any room.

These came out very successful. Both are effective and Next time I think I will keep with the baking soda. Gelatin is more expensive then baking soda. Next time anyone needs some clearing of the sinuses then I will make one with eucalyptus.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Embroidery Hoop Cork Board

Found a great idea from Burdastyle.com. When I saw the video I had to make one. So today I finally got the rest of what I needed to make these hoops. I asked my mother in law to come by and help me out. They turned out great. I have a bunch of bark looking fabric and really wanted to try that first. I have more hoops to do other fabrics. I hope you like these and try one if you get a chance. I think they are great for gifts too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Busy in the Kitchen Today

 So, I had some bananas and already did a banana shake and wanted to make some banana bread. Went to Betty Crocker and made up some banana bread without nuts. Only because I didn't have any on hand. Only thing about their recipe is, the time calls for much longer so I had to watch it. It only takes 45 minutes tops. Last time I burned my bread and I wasn't too happy with that. I always enjoy it warm with cream cheese on my slice.

The other day a couple recipes caught my eye and I wanted to try them. I made a 2 ingredient Lemon Bars. Oh yes, if you like lemon do it. I have always liked a graham cracker crust even though the recipe didn't call for it. So I made a small graham cracker pie crust and the rest in the baking dish. I think they are both great. I think I will bring it for the next ladies meeting at church. The next recipe is a great dinner throw together. Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake, Its so easy and great. I think the only thing I normally don't buy is mozzarella cheese and cream cheese with onion and chive. Its well worth it. My husband will like it and I may make this again. I hope you try them, they are worth it.


Monday, February 20, 2012

So Good So Far

Well, I've been sewing quite a bit this last couple weeks. I am selling my coffee sleeves and some critter pouches in a handmade store in Charlotte, NC called the Bag Lady. I'm really excited and hopeful that I can get something selling. I'm not that great with online sales and really its a lot more work. My photography skills aren't what I would like either.
Well, after I got my stock set up for the store I have been dying to make these crafty embroidery hoop bags to hang on my wall in my bedroom above my sewing table. After an hour or so I made them and I'm so happy with them. I have had some fabric for oh, 5 years and waited for the right project to use it. This was it and I have found another project to use the rest of the fabric to match it.
Now I just need to make that trip to Hobby Lobby to get the rest of the supplies I need for my next project. I love my time to make all the things I've always wanted to.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Well I've been sewing

Bought this wallet at the Bag Lady.
Couldn't resist. 
A couple weeks ago I found a little handmade store in Charlotte near a Starbucks. Its called the Bag Lady. Which I think is so funny, since my mom used to be called that. She used to make grocery bags when I was a kid and got the nickname. I have been sewing since I was younger and really making things for the last 10 years. I usually keep a coffee sleeve in my purse for when I get coffee, hot or cold. So I stopped in this store with my coffee and sleeve a gal who works at the Bag Lady really liked my coffee sleeve. I told her that I make them and she mentioned I should talk to the owner. I was so thrilled to hear that. So today I'm going to meet with Karen, the owner to talk about selling grocery bags, coffee sleeves, critter pouches and zipper bags. I've tried Etsy and that never became successful. I know I need to work on taking pictures with my camera too. So we will see how this goes. Here are the pictures of what I have made so far. Have a great day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Baby Wipes

I have one son now, and one baby on the way. At first I was thinking I have some extra time before the next one and feeling ambitious. I told my husband what about making cloth diapers. It would save so much money. Then he opened my eyes to what that would really look like cleaning those diapers and extra work that really would be. So I considered it and said ok, what other thing can I make that will help cut costs? I think with laundry soap and dishwasher soap alone that helps so much. I was on Pinterest again found a great link to make your own baby wipes. I figured I would give it a try. Only thing I had to buy was a container to put these in since I already had: paper towels, tear free baby shampoo/ body wash, and baby oil. So, I gave it a try and its a success. After showing my family they are convinced too. My mother in law even mentioned to have at least two containers going at one time when the baby comes since you use so many. The price of the huge bags of wipes are around $6.00 per bag and when my son had diapers I was using the bag at least every two weeks. You buy baby soap anyways and only use 1 1/2 tablespoons per batch and the baby oil I use to get waterproof mascara off and use 1 tablespoon. Depending on where you get your supplies its probably $6.00 without the purchase of the containers. You want something that is sealing because you are going to have it upside down for all the liquid to soak through the paper towels. Here is my link for where I got it.  

1 Roll of Select a size Bounty Paper Towels
1 1/2 Tbsp. Tear Free Baby Bath Soap
1 Tbsp. Baby Oil
2 Cups of Water

To make it easier go to the link for the step by step pictures. They are great and easy to follow.
I have noticed that since I made mine there is a liquid pool at the bottom and its safe to pour it out. You don't want soggy wipes.

I have a baby shower I'm going to soon and I think I am going to do this for her and give her the recipe so she can have this great tip and save some money. I think its a great gift. I think with the baby coming soon I would leave the liquids in a container separate, so she can add the liquids once the baby is home and can use right away. I have a cousin who is having a baby soon too and will send her the link for sure.

I hope this has been helpful and are able to use this. I know I can't wait to use this for my next baby. Now I just have make up wipes for now.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Best Dishwasher Soap So Far

I have tried just using borax and washing soda and that never left glasses and silverware looking clean. I found a recipe that keeps glasses looking clean and silverware looking great. I've never been able to find citric acid before in the stores but glad to find something else that works as great. I found the recipe from Pinterest on this blog that I have begun to enjoy.

Homemade Dishwasher Soap:
2 Cups of Super Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer)
2 Cups of Borax
1 Cup of Kosher Salt
1-2 12oz containers of LemiShine
  (I used one and it was fine)

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. You can store in a plastic bag or measure 1Tbsp. in ice cube trays and it will harden and use that for your washer. After a couple hours the powder will harden like a rock. I suggest plastic bag only because you can use a rolling pin or rubber mallet to pound it out. Once its hardened and you break it up it won't clump again. It takes 2Tbsp. per load. 1 Tbsp in each department or section.

I have been using it for almost a month and it was made noteworthy for you. I found the LemiShine at Walmart. On their website its supposed to be at Target too. Its about $3.00 per bottle.
If you still need a little more umph, then you can add distilled vinegar to your rinse aid and that will help too. It shouldn't make your dishes smell. Have a great day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Laundry Soap

I got a great recipe from a friend and have been using it. I really like it and its so cheap. I have an HE machine and its ok too since its a low sudsing soap. 

What you will need:

  • 5 Gallon Bucket with a lid.
  • 1/2 Cup Borax
  • 1/2 Cup Washing Soda
  • 1/2 Bar of Fels Naptha, grated
  • 6 Cups of water + enough water to fill your 5 gallon bucket.

  1. Grate soap with a fine cheese grater.
  2. In a large sauce pan add 6 cups of hot water and grated soap.
  3. Bring to a boil and then turn to low heat.
  4. Add borax and washing soda.
  5. When all ingredients are completely dissolved, pour into 5 gallon bucket.
  6. Fill the remainder of the bucket with very hot tap water.
  7. Allow to sit for 8 to 12 hours to congeal before using. 

For a large load us 3/4 Cup of soap. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hello there

To start off, I like to look at a website called Pinterest. There are a ton of things to try. Most of the things I will share are from that website. Even though from the links they show how to do that thing, on two so far not successful. 1st one is making liquid hand soap from grating up a bar of hand soap and melting it with water and adding glycerin. That looked like it would work, for some reason not for me.

2nd thing I tried was making body wash from grated bars of soap and melting it as well with glycerin but using distilled water instead of tap water. Again, did not work. You know its so cheap to just buy the liquid soap in bulk in the stores so I will leave that be for now. 

Now on the successful, I have made a powder base for Cream of (something) mix. You can add to anything, with mushrooms and put on any meat or no meat. It came out really thick for me and like a white gravy. Goes great on mashed potatoes. 

Recipe for Cream of (something) soup mix:

1 cup non-fat dried milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup bouillon cubes
4 Tablespoons freeze dried minced onions (I used the minced onions from Sam's Club)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme (I couldn't find the thyme so I used dried parsley instead)
1 teaspoon pepper

(For the equivalent of one can of condensed cream soup, mix 1/3 cup dry mix with 1 1/4 cup water. Cook until thick)

Hope you like and enjoy the next to come.