Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Kids' Christmas Trees

*I just realized that Christmas has come and gone and I never published this post I started over a month ago!!

After Thanksgiving both kids were excited to get their little trees out and decorate them for their rooms.  Last year I had a problem when ornaments all over the house.  And I was sick of it.  So after we Husband helped Son and I helped Daughter decorate, I had a one on one talk with each child about my expectations.

If I see an ornament on the floor, it goes back in the ornament box and we'll try again next year.  "Keep your hands off your Christmas tree."   

Daughter's tree the day after decorating.

a closeup.  Even the topper got covered in ornaments.

Son's tree the day after.  Completely bare except for the prelit lights.  Notice the wrestlers standing vigil.
Some of Son's ornaments in "the box"


Daughter did great.  She loves her tree and did a great job of admiring it from afar AND keeping Son away from it.

Son, well, he's two year's old.  And even after he took all his ornaments off, he still loved his tree.  About every 3 or 4 days he'd ask to look at his ornaments in the box.  That was good enough for him.  And I'm sure next year he'll have a more decorated tree.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Grey Cats, together.

Remember the Wordless Wednesday  I posted this summer of the two grey cats?   Well, they are no longer separated.  In fact, now anytime the temperature drops below 45 degrees, the fat short tailed grey cat is invited in the house.  And he's probably the best house guest we've ever had.  He keeps to himself and doesn't care if the kids pick him up and carry him around.  

Short Tail is the name we gave him when he started hanging around out house over a year and a half ago.  He's such a big cuddle bug (which I love because my grey cat, Gracie, tries to kill me on a daily basis).

This summer, I met Short Tail's previous owner.  He's a neighbor who told me Smokey ran away from home after he wasn't allowed to live in the house anymore and didn't get along with the other outside cat.  He loves Smokey and wants him back (which I could understand) so for awhile, I'd walk Short Tail back to their house and couple of times, and they'd come to our house and get him, but it never failed, a day or two later, he'd be back on the porch begging for cuddles.  After a while I decided, ya know, I'm not going to keep taking this cat back to a place he clearly doesn't want to be.  He's a good cat and as long as he wants to be here, we'll feed him and take care of him.  The best part, he's already been neutered.

But the clencher as to whether he'd actually be able to stay in the house during bad weather, was if he could get along with Gracie.  And he couldn't be more oblivious to her if he tried.  For the first couple of times inside, she stalked around him, sniffing and deciding.  And she's decided she likes him more than she likes me.  So that's good.

Poor Son, he has a hard time telling them apart.

enjoying the view.  together.  
My favorite thing about Short Tail, is his short tail.  When he gets excited, he wags it like a dog.  It's pretty cute. And he purrs like a maniac.  Something Gracie doesn't do. ever.   I'm glad he has a warm safe place to go now that it's starting to get cold.  Right now, he's asleep upside down in one of the dining room chairs.

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Sewing: Homemade Gifts Galore

Another Second Saturday Sewing and another very productive day for me.  Also, Daughter came along with her dinosaur bag loaded with crafts stuff and had a fantastic time playing, crafting, eating, playing, making messes, playing, etc.

JSS finishing up a block from the Birdie Stitches BOM

I finished up the sewing portion of my homemade Christmas gifts (now Husband and I just have to fill them with homemade baked goodies and play food for the bag for Son and Daughter)

Marie (with her NEW SEWING MACHINE) worked on this rice pack  that at least 3 of us have made.

Daughter in a fit of excitement, showing off one of her "signs" she made.
Fun times, as usual.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another Dining Room decoration: Borax Snowflakes

The kids LOVE snow. I like snow.  So when I found this borax snowflakes tutorial on pinterest, I was excited to try it with the kids.  Plus, I already had everything I needed to do it.  (hurray for leftover borax when making homemade laundry detergent!!)

What to do:

  • boil enough water to fill up enough pint sized mason jars so each snowflake has its own jar
  • while the water is heating up, mold your pipe cleaners.  (I used white, but colored pipe cleaners would give you colored snowflakes) I used two pipe cleaners per snow flake.
  • put 1/3 cup of borax in each jar
  • when water boils, pour water in each jar and stir to dissolve borax.
  • put snowflake in the jar and suspend with string and a pencil on the top of the jar.
  • wait.  like overnight (or all day if you do what I did and make them before breakfast)
  • remove from jars and hang/place where ever.

one of mine in the jar.  I took a lot of "during" pictures in the jar, but it was hard to tell much was going on, so I'll spare you.

after. closeup.
all of the afters, hanging on the light fixture in the dining room.
I made 12 and the kids LOVE them.  Even though most of them look like flowers instead of snowflakes, I like them too.

I have one more dining room decoration idea.  spoiler alert: it's paper cut out snowflakes to go on the wall.  I'm pretty sure my scissor loving kids with love that project!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Decorating glass bottles, thanks again pinterest

I think this was one of my very first pins when I joined pinterest.  I loved the picture and I already had ALL the things I needed to do this project (except the epsom salt.)

glass bottles, adhesive spray, epsom salt, spray paint and some decorative sticks (um, I have no idea what those things are called, but I bought some last year after Christmas in case I wanted a silver wreath this year.)

Our glass recycling bin always take the longest to fill up because I LOVE to save bottles.  Wine bottles, food jars, anything that doesn't look like something I already have.  This has proven worth it, because I just went to my cabinet and picked 6 bottles for the project.

I used 3 wine bottles, a taco bell mild sauce bottle, a jar that peppercorns came in from TJ MAXX and a short little apple juice bottle.

I poured the epsom salt in baking tray, sprayed the bottles with spray adhesive, rolled them in the salt, let them dry, then took them outside and spray painted them silver.  After they dried I brought them back in, stuck some of the no-name sticks in and DONE.
on the buffet in the dining room.   I love the silver/red  contrast.
I thought about putting them on the mantle in the living room, but those walls are beige and  it definitely didn't have the same POP.

a close up of the little apple juice bottle.  
I seriously loved this project.  I love walking through the dining room and seeing the bottles.  The only downside is, you CANNOT touch the salt, period.  It falls right off.  So these will not be able to be used next Christmas.  I have plans to brush off the salt and store them and just redo it again next year on the same bottles.  And probably apply another coat of spray adhesive before I spray paint the bottles to see if that helps.   either way, I'm really happy with the result.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hand prints on Canvas

Here's the great thing about Pinterest, I am great at replicating.  I can look at something, figure out a way to make it and often times make it better/something I like more but I am horrible at innovating.  which is basically why pinterest is so amazing for me.  I can see thousands and thousands of great ideas and then adjust them a little to make them fit me/us better.

I'm pretty much a gigantic copy cat and I'm starting to come to terms with that. 

I recently ran across this great idea of hand prints on canvas and I got to thinking about where I could display this in our house if I did it.  Well, there's a perfect spot in our long beige hall (that is already being filled up with pictures in black frames) that can not only be a great place for 4 canvases ... but many more can be added for years to come.

so the idea was to get 4 canvases.  8X10 for Husband and I because our hands are bigger.  And 5X7 for the kids. Then I decided that unlike the pinterest idea, I wanted all the backgrounds to be the same.  I decided black.  And I already had that at home.  Next, I had everyone pick out a color they wanted their hands to be.   Came home and made it happen.  

our colors.  Can you guess who picked the pink ...

I used another pinterest idea to paint the canvases.  I put push  pins in the backs of them, so they stood up off the paper. So there was no canvas drying TO THE PAPER.  fabulous idea and no touchups needed.

I decided to do the hand everyone writes with (even though Son uses both equally now, I went ahead and used his right)
I like how my blue hand is facing Husband's red hand.  Plus, you can see my wedding ring.  Daughter loved this and stamped about 8 pieces of paper after her canvas.  Son hated the paint on his hand and finally displayed his deep dark secret ... he has 6 fingers.  ;-)
After the hand prints dried, I added everyone's initials and the date 11-11.  We'll hang then just like in the picture and in  a year or two, do another set for the kids to hang under these.  And so forth and so on.  Until the space is top to bottom hand prints, with Husband and mine always on the top.   (sigh) this gives me a warm feeling.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Skill Builder Sampler Blocks 16, 17, 18

I spent November paper piecing.  Well, that's a little inaccurate.  I spent November printing out tutorials for paper piecing and then sat down Sunday and cut out fabric for these 3 blocks and put them together on Monday night (well, I actually finished Tuesday).  Nothing like waiting until the last minute to get caught up!

I have a deep love for paper piecing.  I love the neatness, the accuracy and how the blocks almost seem to come together like magic.  love. Even though there are a lots of steps that seem intimidating at first, it was all pretty easy.

My goal this month (aside from learning to paper piece like a champ) was to try to show off some of the fabric that hasn't gotten to the be "star" of a block yet.  I just wanted different color schemes.  Since I've got all the blocks in order on my design wall, it's a lot easier to glance up and see what fabric hasn't had top billing yet.

16, 17, 18
overall I'm pretty satisfied with the results

Block 16: Minnesota
um, this block is "perfect and shiny" as Son would  say ... except the top left corner.  Someone (cough, cough ME) wasn't paying enough attention. But I really do love the color combinations.

Block 17: Starry Night
sigh.  This template got printed at 96% instead of 100%.  sigh.  And instead of redoing it, I just tacked on  half an inch to the left and bottom.  Everyone repeat after me: CHRISTY, PAY ATTENTION!!
Block 18: Circle of Geese
This template got printed off at 96% too.  But luckily I realized it before I started sewing.  (YAY, Finally paying attention!)
When I was picking out fabric for this block, it was important to use all of the unused .  Remember, I have to use all the fabric before I can start over with picking again.  In hindsight, I'd say, I should have kept all of the geese non-green instead of being so focused on using all the fabrics.  I think the 4 green ones sort of fade into the green background.  But I still like it.

 While I was waiting on Husband to print out the 100% sized template out at work, I did a practice block on the 96%.
This is some of the yellow/black/grey/white Walmart fabric that I LOVE.
Plus, since I went through the tutorial with this practice block the night before, I was able to really speed through putting the "real" block together.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

my favorite Thanksgiving leftover

Friday, Husband and I cooked our family Thanksgiving meal.  We stuck to simple and ended up not even making dessert (gasp.  I'm still surprised at the no dessert thing.)    Husband brined and cooked a turkey and made these FANTASTIC sweet potato rolls that he's been making for about 4 years now.  I made mashed potatoes and green beans with olive oil and garlic and, of course, the canned cranberry sauce (jelled, please.)

We went around the table and said what we were thankful for.  Daughter said, "two big teammates and two little teammates who work together and play together."  I love that she understands that this family is a team who does work together and play together and stick together.

Son was thankful for "HAPPY BIRTHDAY THANKSGIVING."   yes.  :-)

Anyway, to the actual point of the post: my favorite leftover.

a split sweet potato roll with cranberry sauce and turkey.   fantastic.
I told Husband that later this winter we need to pick up a turkey breast and just make a meal out of this Thanksgiving leftover favorite!  It's too good to only have once a year.

Monday, November 28, 2011

75% off Halloween Costumes

If you had to guess the size of these costumes would you guess a children's medium (for 7-8 year olds)?   That's exactly what these are.  And because they were 75% off (only about $4 each) I said, "let's give them a try."   Luckily, the costumes were one piece, so after rolling up the sleeves and the pants legs, you couldn't tell they were made for kids at least one foot taller!

Seriously, both of these kids think Buzz Lightyear (and Jessie, and Woody and the rest of the gang) is/are the bee's knees.
to infinity ...
... and beyond

Friday, November 25, 2011

Scented Rice Packs and Homemade Fabreeze

For years when I've been in need of a heating pad or pack, I've turned to a trusty gym sock filled with rice.  Pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and there you have it.  warmth for my back, neck, abdomen, whatever.   Very utilitarian not very pretty.  

enter this pinterest tutorial. plus there's a link for the drawstring bag she made for it, also.  

The best part of this project, all I needed was some lavender essential oils to scent the rice.  I already had everything else.

The flannel I used was leftover from Daughter's Peppa Pig ears, nose and tail. We always have rice in the house.  And I happened to have a white ribbon that would match some scrap fabric that I love.  (seriously, this is part of the walmart grey/yellow/black/white fabric. love)

all my materials (the essential oils have already been added to the rice)
 In one hour, I turned all of that ^ into ...

the rice pack in the bag
It's great.  I love it.  But sadly, after almost a month of everyday use, it only smells like rice.
I also made two mini ones for headaches.  The top on in the zip top bag stays in the freezer and the bottom stays beside the larger bagged one on my night stand.  I didn't scent these two.
I've also made a pack and bag for my mom (as sort of a make up for forgetting her birthday AGAIN) and a bag and a pack for TMDS.

Plus since I had lots of lavender essential oils left over, I've taken a few scented soaks in the tub.  A very rare wonderful treat.

AND I've made ghetto fabreeze. In a spray bottle I mix 1/2 cup of alcohol (I use 91% Isopropyl Alcohol because it evaporates quickly and the smell only lingers for about a minute), 1 cup of water, and 35 drops of essential oils.  (I think next time I will buy a bottle of lavender and either grapefruit or orange for a more fabreeze like smell.  I even wrote the "recipe" in sharpie on the bottle so I wouldn't have to look it up every time.  There are lots of other "recipes" on that pin, but this one is the one I use and love.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Son's first football game

We took the kids to the Alabama Georgia Southern game Saturday.  They (the kids and the husband all had a fantastic time)

funny side note: When we were getting dressed, Daughter wanted to wear her Greg McElroy jersey she got for her first game last year AND her navy Auburn hat.  She wore it the entire car ride and when we were getting out of the car, I suggested she leave the hat in the car so she wouldn't lose it.  It worked.  The Auburn hat stayed in the car and Daughter didn't get heckled for loving red shirts and blue hats.   When Husband was putting on Son's Mark Ingram (who we saw signing autographs) jersey, he screamed, "GET THAT FOOTBALL SHIRT AWAY FROM ME."  He wore a different shirt and his red hat.

walking to the quad

cheering and shaking his shaker with the the band.  

watching the band at Gorgas.

the kids' view.  they loved it.

when we first walked into the stadium, about 30 minutes before the game.

Daughter saying hello to her good friend "Big Owl" and Son meeting "Al the elephant"
She loved it and he was pretty traumatized until we starting walking away and I said, "buddy, that's the Big Al, the elephant you watched on the field."   "... that was him?  I love him, but he scared me."

they cheered, ate popcorn, french fries and drank (gasp) Coke and cheered some more.

luckily the people behind us never showed up so  the kids could stand in their seats.  talking about the game

I'm pretty sure Daughter put a Confundus Charm on Georgia Southern

When Alabama had the ball, I taught her "B-A-M-A Bama all the way."
and on defense, she yelled, "PUSH EM' BACK! PUSH EM' BACK! HARDER, HARDER."
she loved it.
After the bands performed, we considered the day a success and headed out of the stadium.

Both kids declared two time National Championship winner Coach Frank Thomas as their favorite coach statue.
Daughter said if her likeness is ever turned into a statue, this is the pose she wants.
 On the way to the car, we stopped for ice cream.  The last time we went out for ice cream was Mother's Day (or Father's day ... I forget which one) but the kids both wanted the same kind of ice cream they had that time.  and that's what they ordered.
blue (cotton candy) for Daughter

green (mint) for Son
and something almost the size of his head, for Husband.  I think he got a pumpkin something or another.
Saturday night when we said "our favorite parts of the day" both kids said going to the football game.  It was a fun, special day I hope they remember forever.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturday Sewing in November and homemade Christmas gifts

Jennifer has challenged her blog readers (which include the Second Saturday Sewers) to make as many homemade/handmade Christmas gifts as we can/want to.  I'd been thinking about what I could make for awhile.  Remember the crocheted blankets I made the kids last Christmas?  They are still favorites.  

But besides my immediate family, we don't really give gifts.  Our extended family (parents, siblings and their families) get homemade goodies.  And that's a great tradition I want to continue.  So this year I decided that instead of the store bought paper throwaway gift bags we gave last year, this year I could SEW reusable gift bags.  This way the recipient can use them again and again for whatever they want long after the treats have been eaten.  Working on those bags was my project this month.  And as usual, it's my most productive sewing day of the month BY FAR.

Jennifer made chili.  (and it was great)
She also made a rice bag as one of her homemade gifts.

Mandy completed a match box cars car carrier as one of her gifts.
WOW.  I love and wish I already had one for Son.  He definitely loves his cars.

Marie completed a reversible tote for a birthday gift.
And I'm modeling one of the reversible totes I made that will be filled with Christmas treats galore.
I also decided that besides the 6 totes I'm making for goodie bags, I'm also making two each for the kids.  They have LOTS of plastic food and love playing lots of games with it.  But have never played grocery store anywhere but McWane.  I asked her about it and Daughter said it's because they don't have a cart, grocery bags or a cash register.  Well, I'm making the bags, My mom found these great metal shopping carts that she's giving the kids ... and the jury is still out on the register.

This makes my total of homemade gifts this year: 10 reversible totes, lots of treats and something I have in mind for Husband.  Due to a car wreck last week and the deductible that has to be paid, I've had to abandon my original idea for his gift. But I have something homemade in mind that I think he'll love.