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Spring Fling Favors

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A friend of mine is planning a great spring party. I have worked with her in the past creating different items for her parties and she tasked me with creating these great drink stirrers that she came across online here. I took the idea from that tutorial, added this tutorial on the flowers and voila! –  my version!

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Make Your Own Garden Markers

Our family has had a few different gardens over the past couple of years and, although we missed last season with moving and renovating a house at planting time, we are ready to plant again. A great way to remember what you planted are garden markers. Most plants come with their own plastic markers, but it is much more fun and festive to make your own:

wands

Wooden fairy wands from a craft store are inexpensive and have enough room for little hands to write the veggie of choice. The wands pictured were painted with chalkboard paint so that they could be used again next season.

rocks

Another possibility is decorated rocks. Find rocks large and smooth enough to write your veggie’s name. Use either a paint pen or a small brush and acrylic paint to decorate.

What do you use for markers?

Birthday Bag

Malcolm was invited to a very good friend’s birthday party. Instead of buying a plastic toy Malcolm and I decided that we wanted to make something for Nolan. After a bit of discussion and thought we settled on a tote bag. These boys like to carry toys to each others houses so it could be well used. I went through my stash and found Star Wars fabric that would be perfect! Here is how to make your own. (I call myself a “seat of the pants” sewer since sometimes I design as I go. That led to doing things out of order on this bag. We should have done the pocket first so plan accordingly.)

step1

Begin with 2 rectangles approximately 12.5″ x 14″. I cut these out of denim for strength. It is for a very active 8 year old boy and I wanted a strong fabric. The measurements are my own. If you want a bigger or smaller bag then simply make adjustments to the rectangles. Put right sides together and stitch around three sides of the fabric like a pillow case.

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The next step is to make the box corners. This is hard to explain in words. Open the corner so that it is not laying flat. Match the seams from the side and the bottom so that there is a triangle created. Stitch across the corner then trim the excess fabric off the corners. Press your seams open.

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Do the same thing for the lining fabric. Same measurements and steps apply.

sewlining

Yes, Malcolm really did stitch this bag. I was a guide and helped him keep things straight but except for topstitching, he sewed the whole thing. I was so proud of him for sticking with it!

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Here are the corners for the lining.

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Now the pocket that should have been the first step (!). Stitch an accent fabric to a solid fabric, rights sides together, but leave a small opening to turn inside out. Press flat.

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This is one of the places that I stitched for Malcolm. Topstitch the pocket to the bag. You can hand-stitch this too. Placement is completely up to you.

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Straps are next. I use woven straps for most of my bags because of their strength. These straps were about 26 inches long and I think were a bit too long but I wanted plenty of room for Nolan to fill it and put it on his shoulder. I pinned them in place on the outside of the bag about 3 inches from the side seam. You can baste them in place if you want to but I just pinned them.

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Slip the outside bag into the inside bag, right sides together, and pin the tops of the bags together matching side seams. It is very important that these are pinned flat so that you don;t get puckering around the top edge.

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Stitch all the way around leaving an opening large enough to turn the bags inside out. About 3-4 inches wide. Turn the bags inside out.

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Push the lining down inside the outer bag and press the top seam flat making sure that you get the open edge even. Topstitch around the whole top edge and your bag is complete. This bag is actually a reversible bag so be creative with your choice of lining too. Have fun making your own!

And now for Malcolm’s finished product… Taa Daa!! We filled the bag with homemade (vegan) chocolate chip cookies and Malcolm made a card to go in the pocket. He was very proud of his finished product.

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Make Your Own Hot/Cold Rice Bags

We have an issue in our house with nosebleeds. I know, kinda gross, but Malcolm gets them every time it gets really dry. As soon as it happens we try to dry it up and then put a little bag of ice on the bridge of his nose to try to keep it from continuing. It is wet and messy and uncomfortable for him to try to go back to bed with that on his face (yes, it almost always happens in the middle of the night) but we do it because it helps. I was looking through Pinterest the other night and came across these hot and cold bags from Bee in My Bonnet. She uses them for handwarmers but I knew they were perfect for Malcolm. So I took her basic idea and put my own twist on it. I couldn’t just create bags with one fabric so I freehand pieced (nothing was measured, I just cut about the right shape and sewed them together) knowing that they could be squared up later.

I can also add a drop or two of lavender essential oil to add a calming effect. Find out more about essential oils here.

Step1

I used a really cute bug fabric called Beetle Boy which, unfortunately, is no longer available, a cute colorful stripe, and an orangey linen that was a skirt purchased at Goodwill because I liked the fabric. You can see how simple the piecing is – just cut and sew.

Step2

The next step is some kind of very thin batting to keep the bag soft. I got a little carried away and used wool felt on both sides. It turned out to be too thick. I would recommend flannel. It is much thinner.

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I am usually not much of a pinner but for this project, with layers and fabric with nap, I highly recommend it. So pin layers together and stitch all the way around leaving an opening to turn bag inside out.

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The next step is filling the bag with rice. I set the bag on end and scooped it in or you can use a funnel. I filled the bag up about halfway so that when it is flat it will mold to Malcolm’s face easily.

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I could have just stitched the end closed but I decided to add one more bit of striped fabric over the end. You can do either. And now… the finished product:

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The finished size is about 4 inches x 7 inches and it is already in the freezer for the next time we will need it.

While I was making Malcolm’s Hot/Cold Bag I decided that I could use a warm cozy bag for my neck while I work and watch TV so this is what i came up with for me. It is approximately in x in and is really comfy! I made it the same way but I used flannel on the inside and the pink on the outside is corduroy since I want this only for warm. Finished size of this one is about 4 inches x 16 inches. If you try one I would love to see a pic!

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Thieves All-Purpose Cleaner

All-Purpose Cleaner

All-Purpose Cleaner

I am on a mission to get rid of all the chemicals in our home. I thought an all-purpose cleaner would be an important step. And of course I have to use Thieves Oil (if you are interested in learning more about essential oils click here) since it helps to support immune systems and smells AMAZING! That spicy scent is especially good for fall.

This is an easy recipe too:

• 1 1/2 cups of filtered water
• 2 1/2 teaspoons of castile soap
• 20 drops of Thieves Oil
Mix all in a glass spray bottle. You can use an old Apple Cider Vinegar bottle if you have one (and add a sprayer that you can get from a dollar store) or use something like this one.

I haven’t used this for very long yet but so far it smells subtle but really good and it seems to do a great job.

All-Purpose Cleaner

I am on a mission to get rid of all the chemicals in our home. I thought an all-purpose cleaner would be an important step. And of course I have to use Thieves Oil (if you are interested in learning more about essential oils click here) since it helps to support immune systems and smells AMAZING! That spicy scent is especially good for fall.

This is an easy recipe too:

• 1 1/2 cups of filtered water
• 2 1/2 teaspoons of castile soap
• 20 drops of Thieves Oil
Mix all in a glass spray bottle. You can use an old Apple Cider Vinegar bottle if you have one (and add a sprayer that you can get from a dollar store) or use something like this one.

I haven’t used this for very long yet but so far it smells subtle but really good and it seems to do a great job.

The Spincycle

Spincycle

Well, it took me a while but it is finished… The Spincycle Poncho. This was an incredible easy knit but with moving twice and renovating 2 houses, I wasn’t able to pick up the needles very often. This is a great beginner knit and is a free Ravelry download. I used a handspun looking yarn that I scored at Tuesday Morning. If you are diligent, you can find some very interesting yarns! What is your next project? Mine is going to be an orange sweater knit with gorgeous Madeline Tosh yarn. Yum!!

Foot Scrub with Essential Oils

FootScrub

I don’t know about you, but my continuously bare feet are looking a bit rough about this time of the summer. I knew I needed a little intervention and, of course, a handmade solution is the one for me. I looked through lots of recipes but decided to go at it myself.

Ingredients

The ingredients are:

  • 1 1/2 cups Coarse Sea Salt (I love that this Coarse Sea Salt has a pink tint to it. Pretty!)
  • 1/3 Sweet Almond Oil
  • 3-5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil (I used the full 5 drops for mine, I like a stronger aroma.)
  • 3-5 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil (I find Cedarwood essential oil to have a woodsy, calming aroma. A good mix with Peppermint.)

To find out more about essential oils, click here!

Step1

Pour the sea salt into a bowl.

Step2

Add the sweet almond oil and mix.

Step3

Add essential oils and mix again. Spoon into a pretty jar.

To use, simply wet your feet and rub it around all over your feet. After a good scrubbing, rinse well. To keep this pampering going, slather on coconut oil, shea butter lotion, or a good natural lotion you have on hand. Pull on cozy socks and let the lotion soak in over night. Simple right? But a great solution to summer flip-flop feet.

Make Your Own – Handmade Facecloths

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I have been really trying to take better care of my skin. Therefore I needed a natural facecloth that is soft on one side and maybe a little bit of scrub on the other. I wasn’t sure I could find one to purchase and, of course, I would prefer to make my own. :-)

I based the cloths on my napkin tutorial to keep it really simple. I cut the adult sized facecloth at 12 1/2″ square (including seam allowances) and since I have a few baby showers to attend in the near future, I created a baby sized cloth too. That one I cut at 10″ (including seam allowances).

I used a 100% cotton flannel for the soft side on both cloths(my preference is organic cotton flannel but I already had flannel in my stash). The adult scrub side is made of osnaburg. It’s like a thicker, rougher muslin. The baby cloth scrub side is white linen – not much scrub for sweet baby skin.

I have plans to make more in some colors since they are so fun and easy to make. Choose your favorite colors and go, knowing it is natural and soft on your skin.

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Garden Prep with Essential Oils

Garden Prep

Garden Prep

We have finally gotten moved in to our new (to us) home. We have downsized quite a bit and are continuing to change our lifestyle to a more simple existence. Unfortunately, the simplicity starts with lots of complications. :-/ We have lots of work to do on the inside of the house (more on that later), and the outside needs some TLC as well. Yes, the picture above is the “before” pic for our garden. We’ve got a long way to go.

We are going to start by clearing out the grass. We are going for a drastic move since we don’t want to keep digging grass out of our garden. However, I refuse to use dangerous chemicals. That means I need an all natural alternative.

My research led me to The Thrifty Couple and their DIY version. You can find out more at their website but the basic ingredients are vinegar, salt, Dawn or oil (I’m going with coconut oil), and a citrus essential oil. We have been using essential oils in our home for a while now and love them! (If you want to find out more about how essential oils can work for your family go here.) I will let you know how this concoction works in the near future.

Now if only I had an alternative to digging out concrete…

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Teaching Kids to Knit

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I have been knitting for several years now and truly love doing it. I hadn’t really thought about teaching Malcolm to knit until I started reading and thinking about what is involved in the craft. There is so much more to it than just making a scarf or a sweater. The following is an excerpt of an article on children and knitting:

“What occurs when a child sets about to knit?  Needles are held in both hands, with each hand assigned its respective activity.  Laterality is immediately established, as well as the eye’s control over the hand.  From the outset, the child is asserting a degree of control over his will.  The right needle must enter a rather tightly-wound loop of yarn on the left needle, weave it through and pull it away, in the process tying a knot.  Only a steady, controlled hand can accomplish such a feat, so the power of concentration is awakened — indeed, there is no other activity performed by seven or eight year-olds that can evoke such a degree of attentiveness as knitting.”  – Discover Waldorf Education: Knitting and Intellectual Development: The Role of Handwork in the Waldorf Curriculum from the Millenial Child Blog