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Simple Crocheting

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I have fallen in love with a new book called Simple Crocheting by Erika Knight. It is so beautifully and simply done that I can’t stop looking at it. Because I don’t crochet very often, I have to go back and refresh myself whenever I do. This book makes it easy (with straightforward projects) to get right back into the stitches. I created the tablemat in just a few hours. I used Creative Linen yarn from Rowan. It is a lovely natural yarn.

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This blanket may be my next big project. It is natural and elegant. After a few more tablemats…

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Make Your Own – Almond Butter

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If you have ever priced or purchased Almond Butter at the market then you will know how expensive it is. Well, if you have the supplies pictured above you can make your own for less and control the ingredients included (think sugar)!  I did not attempt this without any guidance. I found this great recipe and tutorial at Katie’s blog Dishin’ and Dishes. She goes through the steps with great pictures so that I could make sure that what I was doing was right. It seems like your food processor will go on forever but just be patient, the almonds WILL turn into butter. A great addition to the almonds is Cinnamon Bark essential oil – you only need a drop or 2! (Find out more about essential oils here.)

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Crochet Edge Hankie

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This is a simple and fairly quick project. I cut a 11 inch square of linen and pressed a very thin hem along all of the edges. I used a very small crochet hook to create a foundation row all the way around the fabric. I then did a single crochet row all the way around. The final row is made by chaining 3 then single crochet into every other single crochet of the row before. I used perle cotton for this hankie but any crochet thread will work. I just like the color of the perle. Maybe for Mother’s Day? Add some essential oil goodies and you have created a great gift!

Spring Scarf

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I just love the English floral crafty sensibility. It is happy and bright and unapologetically girly. This website – The Cottage Home – offers a tutorial for an infinity scarf that is easy to follow. It only requires basic sewing skills and tools. I would love to see your finished products!

I just couldn’t resist making my own spring scarf so I picked the girliest fabric (from Joann Fabrics) I could find and went for it. It was super-easy and took less than an hour. This would be a great Mother’s Day gift, don’t ya think? I think I need to make a few more!

Make Your Own – Thieves Foaming Hand Soap

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Because I understand the immunity support benefits of having Thieves Oil around all the time, I love using it in any cleaning products. It smells SO good!! I am making more and more of my own healthy, natural cleaning products using Thieves. (My All-Purpose Cleaner is here.)

This is the latest and so easy to make. I added a little Orange Oil to the mix for a fresh addition. I would love to hear what you think of it.

Learn more about Young Living Essential Oils here.

Sleepy Spray

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A friend suggested this mixture to me and it sounded so good I had to try it. It’s a pillow spray to help you relax and sleep well and so easy to make!

You simply need these items:
• a small spray bottle (like these)
• Small funnel (optional)
• witch hazel (like this)
• Cedarwood Oil
• Lavender Oil (find out more about ordering these oils here)

Put 2 tablespoons of witch hazel in the bottle. (I started this with my funnel but I made more of a mess with it than without it so I decided the funnel was not worth it for me.) Fill the rest of the bottle with water. Mix in 5 drops of Cedarwood Oil and 5 drops of Lavender Oil then close up the bottle. Shake really well. Isn’t that easy!?

When you are ready for bed, lightly spray your pillow. Have a wonderful night’s sleep. 🙂

Because I am such a fan of Cedarwood Oil and Lavender Oil, I am not limiting this to nighttime. I am going to use this whenever I need a little calming aroma. Okay, maybe daily!!

By the way… I’m not thrilled with my hand drawn label so I think it is time to create some labels. I will make them available to you very soon.

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:

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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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