Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just Thought I'd Share: Plate Wall Decor

Interior decorating is NOT my thing, but I've seen this great idea on sites like Apartment Therapy and maybe One Pretty Thing that I thought was totally doable even for me. So a few months ago I started collecting pretty plates, trying to stay in the green color scheme. They don't match, they don't always have green in them, and they're definitely not all the same style, but hanging asymmetrically together across the large wall in my kitchen definitely helps to make it feel more like home, and less like where non-imaginative people convene to eat (and where the more imaginative of us convene to throw food and make huge messes!).

This is a work in progress--when/if it's ever deemed "done" I'll post the finished results--but I'm just so psyched that it's coming together nicely that I wanted to share a picture. And, of course, cheap and easy ideas that make life easier and a little nice are always at the top of my list to shout about! And if you have a plate wall, let's see it!!

Just Thought I'd Share: Reusable Snack Pouches

Have I shown you these? I think so, but it was a long time ago. Perfect use for those mylar bags that chips come in. Clean them up, flatten them out with a cool iron, and use them to line a small pouch with a fabric outside. They make the perfect attractive, green, re-usable baggie for sandwiches and snacks.

My friend has one for each of her kids, so there's no worry over sharing out of the same bag. What a great idea! It's not mine, but I do make them. And so should you! Go for it! :D

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Bib You Never Knew You Already Had!

Because I am terrible at getting stains out of clothing, I have finally given into the fact that bibs are not just for drool and have taken up the challenge of keeping one on my son while he eats. Wish me luck with that! But just after I strapped one on him for breakfast, I noticed that our bib collection is severely limited. So, off to work I went!

I cannot stress enough that there are 1000 ways to construct a bib, 1000 different materials you can use, and lots of ways to close it. Here I'll share how I made a completely free, lined/reversible, embellished baby bib using only items that I had at home already, which cost me little or nothing in the first place. To make 2 bibs took about an hour, give or take a wet diaper, a couple of boo-boo kisses, and a "No, no! We don't push!" or two. This is the kind of project that leads me to believe that I'd have made a good homemaker during the Great Depression, when you had to make do with what you had! :D
TIP: If you're reading this with the intention of making your own, first go take a look in your crafting stash and linen closet. Who knows what adorable, free thing you can put together!

To make the bib, I used an old bath towel and a flannel pillowcase. You'll need one bib-shaped piece of each (while you're cutting, you might as well make 2 pieces of each fabric and make 2 bibs--just a thought). One pillowcase and one regular bath towel will make about 4 bibs, in case you were wondering.

First, I traced the bib that I had on hand which fit the baby in question, and extended the length a bit. I used only half the pattern and folded the fabric into 2 layers to help with symmetry. To do this, fold your fabric in half the width of the finished piece and lay the pattern edge that would be the middle of the bib along the fold of your fabric (the zig-zag edge of the pattern in the pic, if you can see it). Cutting out two layers at once, rather than individually, will help both sides of the bib match.

You'll have identically shaped pieces of each fabric (sorry--this pic's a little wonky, but they did match!).

With right sides facing, line up all the edges and pin the pieces together.

Sew around the edges. The trick for a bib that doesn't bunch up around the seams when it's finished is making sure that your pieces are lined up flat together, and that starts at this step. Sew within 1/4 inch of the edge, leaving a few inches at the bottom of the bib open so that you can turn it.

Trim off the excess material around your stitches. Make sure all your edges of each piece are within your stitches.

Turn right side out and press if you're not too lazy (I am). Straighten out your edges so that it all lays nice and flat together, and pin around all the edges (this is important; don't topstitch without pinning it all down first).
Topstitch around all the edges of the bib. Try to stay about 1/4 inch away from the edge all the way around.
Be sure that you turn your open area under and catch all folds of material in your stitch. You don't want any raw edges sticking out.
Look what I found! In this collection: 2 patches sent to me from my lovely online buddy ConnieJ6; velcro pieces that were attached to a ribbon that wrapped up a baby blanket that was a gift; plastic snaps from a cotton bag that a store-bought sheet came in; and the metal snaps from a onesie that I turned into shirt for Little Miss. All completely functional, all completely (well, basically, to me) free! Hmm, decisions, decisions...

For the closures on my 2 bibs, I went with the snap from the sheet bag and the velcro, which I trimmed down a little. And here's where I got REALLY lazy. I hot-glued them all into place!! :D
And while I had the hot glue gun out, I attached the patches to the "front" of the bibs. I mean, you can't iron patches onto terrycloth, right?? That's what I told myself as I took the easy way out. :) I use the towel side as the front of the bib because that's the side that'll soak up more spills, but, as Little Miss pointed out when she had to match her brother at lunch, you can use the other side, too.

I've never asked this before (mainly because I don't really believe anybody reads what I write!!), but if you make a project based off of something you saw in my blog, I'd be so tickled to see it. There are just SO MANY different ways you can get creative with this particular project, I'd love to see what happens when you shop at home first!
Leave me a link! It'll make my day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Product Reviews: St. Ives Cleanser & Moisturizer

Because I'm a total sucker for statements like, "We understand that little everyday choices we make can impact overall quality of life" and "not tested on animals" and "formulated without parabens and phthalates", as well as a very reasonable (read: LOW) price that leaves me feeling like I really got a steal, I look to the St. Ives product line first when deciding what beauty product to try next. And again--TWICE!!--I found a treasure there.

First thing's first: getting clean. I have been using a couple of different St. Ives products (Apricot Scrub and Olive Scrub) on my face with excellent results, but I was looking for something a little lighter for morning facial cleansing. That's when I found their Naturally Clear Apricot Cleanser. The tube reads: "deep cleans & fights blemishes without over
drying", and it does exactly that! It's almost like a creamier, less gritty version of the Apricot Scrub, so I'd feel safe in assuming that if the Apricot Scrub is too abrasive for you, this would be perfect. It provides exfoliation without being too rough, and moisture without being heavy or greasy. It's just great!! It's what I use every morning now. It was less than $5 (might have even been a little under $4) for the 6.5 oz tube.

And now, on to moisturizing. I haven't been this excited about a product for a long time. This is the Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Facial Moisturizer. The front of the tub reads, "visibly reduces fine lines & wrinkles". My facial wrinkles, altho I hate them, are minimal and I haven't bothered to scrutinize them in the 2 weeks or so since I began using this moisturizer. However, at under $5 for a 10 oz tub, I don't feel like I'm limited to my face when using it. Because collagen is good for skin elasticity in general, I lavish this stuff on the baby-sponsored stretch marks that creep farther and farther up my belly and boobs with new each ankle-biter and I do think that it has helped there. It doesn't exacerbate any current breakouts, doesn't cause new ones, and leaves my sensitive facial skin feeling soft and moisturized, not like I'm walking thru a swamp in July. I LOVE it!!

So... I guess the only question is, when is St. Ives going to start paying me to brag on them?? lol (Ahem, probably not while I'm willing to do it for free, right??)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Etsy Shop: Cleanin' Out My Closet

I have had a few items in my Etsy shop for a VERY LONG TIME, and I need to be rid of these gems. Some items are some of the first things I ever made to sell. Please help me "spring" clean!
Because I love you dearly and appreciate you more than you could know, I'm listing this sale first on my blog for those who read this to take advantage of. Here are about a dozen items that, while I had a blast making them and love them so, need to clear out of my space and find a happier, more permanent home. For the full description on its Etsy listing, click on the link below the picture. All sale items are first come, first served.

Available for only $4 Total with shipping:

light pink retro print child-sized tote with purple gingham lining and one purple strap

bright pink retro print child-sized tote with blue gingham lining and two straps

orange and green vintage flower print child-sized tote with two green straps

patchwork needlebook with two brown satin ribbon ties and felt pages

Available for only $6 Total with shipping:

heavyweight eco-friendly corduroy bread bag with turned cuff and light brown palm leaf print tapestry lining
*This bag was never officially listed in the shop but it is identical to this bag, with the exception of a greener hue to the corduroy. To buy this bag, please email me at

heavyweight eco-friendly denim bread bag with three vintage buttons

heavyweight eco-friendly denim bread bag with turned cuff

red corduroy flatbag with applique and outside pocket

red corduroy flatbag with wide vintage floral straps

Available for only $8 Total with shipping:

lightweight blue paisley summer purse with tan lining and vintage button embellished velcro closure

creme woven cotton tote with green floral straps

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tidbits for Little Miss and her Friends

WOW, it's good to be back! This is the first weekend in over a month that we've spent at home, and how nice it is to wake up in our own bed, go to our own church, put the kids down for naps in their own rooms, and hang out at our house on a Sunday afternoon!

My hot glue gun and I were on FIRE this afternoon (don't worry--only figuratively). I did some repairs, and then set to work on a small project for Little Miss. A few weeks ago (the last time I saw my craft room!), she brought me some scraps of Russian tulle that I had used for the bridal veil I recently made. Of course, I immediately put on my to-do list to make a pint-sized veil for her. I still had the practice flower piece from the real veil, so I glued some pearl beads to the center of the flowers (where the crystals had been on the real one), bunched up some extra tulle scraps behind it for added charm, and mounted a piece of tulle on the front for a blusher. A small hair clip glued to the back, and voila!

She's been strutting around in nothing but the veil and an old kids' square dancing petticoat pretending to be a bride since she woke up from her nap. It's pretty cute.

And because I've been privy to more than one sharing predicament during play dates, I made an extra one for her to share when a friend is over. I took a few pics along the way because, I mean, why wouldn't I?
I totally owe you a tut after my prolonged absence, and I've just been itching to do one lately, anyhow. :)

You need next to nothing for this project: some fake flowers, yoyos, ribbons, buttons, feathers, or any flair you want to use for the clip; a length of ribbon, popsickle stick, nail file, fabric scrap, or anything a couple of inches long to glue your stuff to; as much tulle as you need to cover the desired area of the face (or back of the head if you turn it around); a hot glue gun; and a hair clip (tip: the bigger the better, as long as it's all covered). After it was all done, I could have done lots of fancier things with it, but I was sticking with what I had on hand.

1. Glue all your flair to the ribbon (my "ribbon" was some left-over homemade bias tape). Make sure to cover the whole thing. Layer your flair for dimension.

This is the front of the piece, all layered up and covering the entire ribbon.

Optional: I glued a piece of tulle behind it, for added affect. Make it as big and loud as you wish!

2. By folding the top edge of the blusher tulle over a couple of times, you can gather it up so that it curves around the face instead of sticking straight out. This will help make it look better. Glue it to the back of the ribbon.
3. Glue on your hair clip. I found a little too late that small clips don't work as well (this was a no-cost project, I just used what I had on hand), so I'd recommend using something bigger or a big bobby pin. And... YOU'RE DONE!

These are the two I made. Little Miss is in love!

Clip it in over the forehead. It seems to work best to pull the hair back. Play around with it. You might find a completely different way to wear it. Any way you do, this is incredibly fast, easy, cheap (or free!), and such a great addition to any costume stash!

PS-- Pics are due any time from our stunning veiled bride, and I'll certainly put them up when they arrive in my inbox!