Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Treat pouches- mini tutorial

               This Friday I'm doing a class party for Doodle Bug's birthday. Seeing as Doodle Bug wants his class party to be Transformers, my mom and I got everything Transformers for the treat "bags"! Bags would probably be the wrong word because instead of buying the plastic treat bags with the Transformers theme printed on them I made pouches! I based them on this tutorial from Skip to my Lou. I made them jumbo sized and didn't have a crimper so I used a ruler and just pressed nice and hard. I then filled them with 3 fruit puff candies, a jaw breaker, a roll of Smarties, 2 stickers, a pencil, an eraser, a pencil sharpener, and a mini sketch pad. I wanted them to be easily handed out and not easily spilled so I stapled them closed and placed a Transformer sticker over the staple. Then just to add to the theme I put an Autobots symbol sticker on one side and a Decepticons sticker on the other.

               I seem to like doing mini-tutorials as of late so if you need more detailed instruction drop me a line and I'd be happy to help you!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where do you get your recipes?

               You see this book? This poor, very well used, falling apart, 32 year old book?

               I retrieved it from a garage that had been used for storage for I don't know how long. It smelled musty and looks like it could crumble in your hands. But it is my favorite! It has all of these amazing recipes that are reminiscent of the time it comes from. It was written with women who where not intending to spend all of their time in the kitchen. All of the recipes I've used are easy and quick, taking less than an hour usually. One line in it states, " complement the way you live today and want to live tomorrow." Awesome! It then goes on to say, "We know your days are fuller. You're more time-conscious, energy-conscious, dollar-conscious. In every area you demand quality and reliability. And more than ever you're concerned about nutrition."
               It's amazing to me how this ideal has survived in only a portion of American's. It used to be there were home cooked meals every day. This is how we used to live, and how I intend to rasie my family.
               My hubby on the other hand, is addicted to YouTube. Want to know something? Anything? Hubby will look you straight in the face and tell you, "YouTube it!" *sign* No, honey, no. I'll pick up a book. Thanks, though.
               I also have my own recipes. The best one's I remember growing up with. As well as the one I created called Potato Chip Pie that is very yummy. There was a cook book my mom gave both my sister and I but I lost mine to water damage a few years back. It was Better Homes and Gardens Issue 12. I still need to get another copy of it because it had some amazing recipes as well. So, how about you? Where do you get most of your (non-family) recipes?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blogging it all & a mini tutorial-giving container upcycle

               After my post on Wednesday about just blogging to blog I made myself think. I think too much! I read all these blogs where people just blog about whatever happens in their daily life. I, on the other hand, censor myself! Why? I don't know why! So my new goal is to just blog what is going on now. It doesn't have to mean anything. It doesn't have to be a new tutorial. It just has to be natural. So here goes.
               This week I've made a considerable dent in my project pile. Actually, it's gone! Woo hoo! Now I have to do some new projects to get my fabric stash down. In the past two weeks I've made an apron for me, one for Peanut, two dresses for Peanut, a wetbag for Doodle Bug's swim lessons, a shirt for my nephew's Dora, Spiderman curtain for my nephew's room, a Super Hero set for Doodle Bug, and a large set of reusable produce bags.
               I was also able to make a sewing machine cover last night.
               I am going to make a small baby quilt for my step sister who is expecting her first baby! I'm so excited for her, also I love babies! I just wish her dad (my step dad) could still be here to see this. He loved my kids and I know he would have been ecstatic for his first biological grand baby. Anyway, I have a few flannel fabrics that I bought thinking they were so cute but not knowing what to do with them. So now they have a perfect destination. Pictures coming soon!
                 After making the sewing machine cover I got to a quick project I had come up with while making a cup of coffee.
               You probably have something in your cabinets like this, right?
               Of course you do! So don't trash it, use it! It's really simple to cover with some colored paper and re-purpose it. This one is destine to become a giving container to hold a gift for Doodle Bug's birthday.
               It was really easy. (Clean out the container of any crumbs or powdery stuff of course!) Just measure the space between the two rolled parts of the container and cut a piece of pretty paper that height and make sure it'll wrap all the way around the container.
               Glue the paper around the container. I used Mod Podge and it worked so much better than regular glue!
               Now if you used a nice patterned paper you can lave it at that but I used a plain blue cardstock so I thought a little personalization would be nice.
               I used some foam stickers to put his name on and added a few of Transformer stickers.
               There you have it! A nice new life for something you would have thrown out! I really do love this because not only did I re-use something but it also saves from wrapping paper being thrown out! Bonus!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


               Blog block- When you should be typing away letting your thoughts flow onto the screen but they just won't come out in a reasonable order.
               There are so many everyday things flying around in my head right now; finances, book fair, picture day, Doodle Bug's birthday, de-stashing fabric, new baby niece or nephew on the way to sew for, the pile of projects I've been working down, upcoming swim lessons, listing things in my Etsy shop... And the list goes on and on! I probably started today's post half a dozen times with different subjects each time.
               How do some bloggers come up with something new every single day? Sometimes more than one a day too! And it always seems interesting. When I sit down to blog I always think, Who is reading this? Is anyone reading this? Should I push to get more followers? How do I even find people who want to read about my boring life? But then after all of that I usually say "Screw it all!" and blog whatever I want to anyway. For one simple fact, I like to feel heard, and it's cheaper than seeing a shrink! See y'all Friday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hi, my name's Amber and I'm a fabric addict...

I'm addicted to fabric. When I see fabric I get all excited. My heart races when I find a sale on fabric. All the pretty patterns and colors make me giddy. I can't say no to fabric. Even when I know I should. I've known for a while that I'm addicted, yet done nothing to change. I now need to do something to change. It is taking over my whole bottom shelf. I've lost my sewing focus. I have all of this built up stash and it just keeps getting bigger. Just look!
This is only the big part. I also have some tucked anyway in drawers and a scrap box or two laying around. There is fabric paraphernalia in almost every room of the house! There is also a pile of fabric that has been slated for use.

So I'm going to start de-stashing. I'm going to start by using these two fabrics as wrapping for Doodle Bug's upcoming birthday.
I'll also start those projects that are staring at me. Then I'll starting making things to sell. Then I'll buy more fabric. Hey, no one is perfect right?!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Where the money went

          Friday's are payday and the day we do the grocery shopping. This is something everyone does and is thought to be so simple. It hasn't been that simple for me since I started eating and cooking better. When we just ate to stay fed I could get a weeks groceries for $50. And it was all at one store, either Wal Mart or Target. This was before I started to despise the popular super centers for their poor food quality, choices and ohmygod the produce prices! 
          This brings me to point number two, (and a little bit of a rant) I go to at least two different places for my food now. The first being a local farmers market for all of my fruits, veggies, and nuts. "Why go to the trouble? Can't you just buy those at the grocery store?" you may be asking. I'll tell you. Price and quality. The last time I bought produce from the grocery store I stupidly paid $2.99 each for mangos, got my kiwis at 3 for $1, and a little thing of tomatos for $3. And this is only a very small example of the amount of produce I buy each week. A few days later when I ran out of my over priced produce, my mom and I went to the farmers market down the street from my house. I was amazed to see the prices! There mangos are $1 each, tomatos are $1.49 a pound, and my kiwis are 4 for a dollar. Now these are items I buy every week. I know what taste good and fresh, and what tastes like a box. I also know when I'm being ripped off! Why would I buy produce from a big super center that doesn't taste good for twice the money when I can buy it cheaper and it tastes better from the farmers market? Also we have two farmers market's to chose from and the prices are nicely reflected.
          Now, you maybe wondering about that second store. Well, the second store is for meat, dairy, and regular cooking staples. We have a specific grocery store we go to because they have good meat and decent prices (again even they have higher produce prices).
          The name of this post though is "Where the money went" so back to that point. As I said earlier I used to spend $50 a week and we ate frozen and boxed meals a lot. Since I've cut those out and have started cooking from scratch my grocery bill has risen, significantly. This week I shelled out a honking $125 exactly. $40.12 went to the farmers market and $84.88 went to the grocery store. So when you think about it that averages to $17.86 a day to feed a family of four good, healthy, home cooked meals. That's less than a trip to any fast food restaurant. Why did I ever do it any different?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Crap, I did it again!

          Doodle Bug will be turning 6 on the April 2nd. Since December I've been getting things together here and there. I got a toy on clearance after Christmas, found him some Bakugan things on clearance, bought him a lot of books on eBay, as well as two different sheets for his "new" bunk bed. (PS, when I asked him what kind of sheets he wanted he said "Lightning McQueen and Spider Man for A***." He wants his best friend to spend the night and Spider Man is his favorite character while Doodle Bug's favorite is Lightning.) Asking him two dozen times what kind of birthday he wants to which he consistently answers, "Transformers!" So I also got his plates and napkins in Transformers theme, then got blue and black crepe paper and some Transformers stickers.
          So after all of that I thought, "Okay, I'm almost all set." No. No, I'm not. I spaced on the things I needed to make for him. Like the fact that I need to turn one of the flat sheets in each set into a fitted sheet. And the super hero cape and mask he asked me for after Christmas. This isn't a really a big problem. I can do those fairly easily. The problem comes in when I realize Doodle Bug is off for Spring break starting tomorrow. He'll be home for the next 9 days, which I'm totally stoked about and have tons planned to do with him! So I can't do any of his birthday crafting until he goes back on the 20th. Yeah, I know you're probably saying, "So what? You still have two weeks after he goes back, just do it then." To which I would reply, "Shut up, I'm just mad because I thought I was ahead, but I'm actually behind. Again. I always plan to get ahead and it usually doesn't happen." For Christmas I was done with everything except the day-of-cooking a week ahead. I still hold out hope that I can get the sheets and super hero set done by the 25th though. I can do it. Right? Just nod and say yes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What would it be like?

          I love my babies. I wouldn't change them for anything. They are amazing, loving, sweet, adorable, smart, and just plain cute! The fact that they both have a speech disorder doesn't affect who they are but I believe has a part in forming their personalities.
          I do wonder though, what would it be like to have kids that talk? What would they be like if they didn't have Apraxia? Would they still be as close to me? Would other people stop looking at me with confusion and judgment when they can't understand what Doodle Bug just said to them? Would daily life move easier if we didn't have to figure out the new sign language Peanut is trying to teach us?
Doodle Bug
          Doodle Bug is doing amazing in his speech class. Non-family members are able to understand him about 50% of the time now. His teacher still has to ask what he said. Hubby even has to tell him to tell me what he said so I can interpret for him. I am still the one who understands him the best. Even though sometimes we have to play the, "Act it out or show me" game! Sometimes he gets so frustrated and it hurts to see him try so hard and get so exhausted. On occasion I've spent over half an hour working with him to understand what he's trying to tell me. But even though he struggles with it so much, I love that he doesn't see himself as different than his peers. His best friend has a speech delay as well so I think it helps him to not feel alone.
          Peanut on the other hand, wow. She doesn't even want to try 9 times out of 10. She relies on her signs. She will take my hand and take me to what she needs. She says less than 20 words, and doesn't form sentences. She doesn't say mama. And it breaks my heart. She calls me, hubby and grandma all 'dada'. She does say bubba however and that warms my heart. She gets mad so quickly because she can't communicate her needs. She cries a lot, not because she didn't get her way, which most outsiders think, but because she can't figure out how to tell me what she needs. Hubby doesn't understand her signs a lot of the time which makes her mad too.
          Even through the daily struggle I don't feel sorry for us. I am lucky to have my wonderful little bundles of love. They cuddle with me and fall asleep on me. They want me to carry them or tuck them in at night. They run and play. They come to me when they get hurt and run off as soon as they get boo-boo kisses. They make me laugh and cry tears of joy and amazement. And if the future children we have are giving this trait, bring it on. I'm ready.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Applique patch toddler toy tutorial

 I spent a good deal of time this weekend hunting and gathering... new craft supplies that is. After going down every isle in the Wal-Mart craft section and hunting out odds and ends that were on sale or clearance, I headed to Joann's. Twice. Oh, and also to Michael's. Between lowered prices, coupons, and Peanut finding shiny things I came away with a nice new stash of pretty, fun, and potentially useful items. See?

Now I have so very many project ideas floating around my brain! I excited to get some going to share with you all!

Today is a really easy, quick project, in less than ten steps.
Peanut found this pretty butterfly patch on clearance and I don't think she realizes what it is. To her it's a toy, so I'm making it into one for her. She also recently started carrying a little purse around with her to hold her dearest possessions, so this will fit perfectly if she wants it to. Little hands need little toys right?

You'll need:
Applique patch
Scrap fabric
Little bit of stuffing
Basic sewing supplies

*Also you could do this with a patch on each side, instead of one. There was only one left when Peanut found us this little guy.*

Step one:
Cut two pieces of your scrap fabric roughly the shape of your patch and about 1-1/2 inches bigger all around.

Step two:
Iron on your patch to the middle of one shape.

Step three:
Sew around the edges of the patch for extra playablity!

Step four:
With right sides together, sew around the edges of the fabric, leaving a small opening for turning and stuffing.

Step five:
Turn right side out, pushing corners out with a chopstick (or whatever pointy object you prefer).

Step six:
Stuff to desired feel. I like it to be a little more on the hard side.

Step seven:
Sew opening closed. You can use a machine or do it by hand. I used the machine this time. I usually do it by hand because it's tough trying to get such a little thing under the machine after stuffing and I can use tiny little stitches when I do it by hand.

Now, there you go. A "little hand" friendly take along toy!
Enjoy! See you Wednesday!

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As with all of my projects, I have designed them for my family and love to share with you so you can have them for your families as well. All projects, patterns and directions are meant for your personal use and neither the patterns nor completed projects are to be used for monetary gain.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Who knew? I didn't know!

          Happy Friday all! Hey, did you know March is National Craft Month? Yeah, me either! Well at least not until last night's episode of Jeopardy. So in light of the fact that we are now in the midst of National Craft Month, I hope to get back to my regular crafting. Also check this site out for a great resource list of Learn How To *Enter your choice of craft here*. I'm not quite sure what happened in February. Maybe the fact that it was so busy for us or the fact that I had a big project charged to me or that I hung out with my mom so much. Either way, I had a big fat fail month craft wise! I also didn't get the time to enter a big contest I was excited about, but oh well! March is a new month, and I'm back on track now.
          On Monday I will have a new project for you. Also I've got a project in mind that I've slowly been gathering supplies for. For those of you who actually do check in, things are about to get good so hang out, grab a cup of coffee and lets get busy crafting for this our month of CRAFTING!
          Now just for the heck of it check out a little bit of our crazy life!
Peanut's nap time. She took the drawer out of her dresser, emptied it and this is how I found her!
I love that my children are this civil! And this is actually not too rare, it's just rare that I grab the camera in time... or even want to disturb the cuteness!
And lastly, does anyone else have a cat that does this? Both of our kitties sleep and relax like this. All of the cats Hubby and I have ever had do this. But growing up none of the 50+ cats we had did this, and neither of my mom's do either.
See you Monday, fellow Happiness Makers!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I got my mom's Carnival costume ready just in time. She hopped her plane this morning, with her pretty purple costume tucked away neatly in her luggage. I'm actually pretty proud of myself. Not being a commercial pattern user I was unsure of how well the whole thing would turn out. I did however base it loosely on their instructions. Well actually I just used the tail pattern part and did the rest my own way, it saves so many steps! Here it is, the third thing I've ever made using a commercial pattern!

I had planned to post this today and was so excited about that! However I forgot to take my own pictures before sending it off with my mom so these pictures are courtesy of her at 1 in the morning while she packed for her trip!

Now that I'm done with the mermaid, I have to de-glitter my living room and get back to other random projects to share with you all!