Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{Whatever Wednesday} - Happy Leap Year Day!

Across the blogosphere I saw a lot of cute ideas for celebrating leap year.  Most of the ideas centered around frogs.  I decided to use one of the ideas for the Kindergarten after school program today.  We made paper plate frogs.  Sadly, I didn't take any pictures but what we did was color a paper plate green, use paper punches for a big white eyeball and then a smaller punch for a pupil, trace and cut out our hands out of green construction paper and glue them to the back for feet.  The picture I saw stopped there but one of the children wanted a mouth so I cut strips of red paper and curled them and we glued those on for tongues.  Another one of the children suggested adding flies to the tongues which would've been fun but we ran out of time.  I love doing fun activities like this with the kids.  Even though it's a bit hectic, they absolutely love it so it makes all the work worth it.

On another note, several people were really hoping I would really have this baby today but it looks like it's not going to happen.  I think it would've been cool to have a leap year baby but could see that there could be some drawbacks.  I got several adorable little frog outfits at my baby shower.  Several people commented that they normally don't see  baby clothes with frogs on them.  Maybe it's a leap year thing. I dunno. I just can't wait to dress up the baby in them!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

{Tutorial Tuesday} - Bassinet/Pack n Play Sheet

About a month ago we bought a pack n play with a bassinet top.  I was glad that it came with a sheet.  Upon examining it, I determined that it would be pretty easy to duplicate since it was just three pieces of material serged together as you can see here.

First, I measured the pieces and figured I needed to cut two pieces 3 3/4" x 20 3/4" and one piece 34 1/4" x 38 3/4".  Luckily, when I searched through my fabric stash I was able to find the perfect material that went really well with the pack n play.

The first thing to do is serge along one side of each of the long strips of fabric that will be at the top and bottom of your sheet.

After you've serged along the long side of each strip, pin them to the large piece of fabric with one strip at the top and the other at the bottom.  Then serge along the sides attaching the long strips to the main piece of fabric.

Next step is to fold over the sides about 3 1/2" and pin in place and then serge across the top and bottom of the sheet and you will be done!  So fast and easy!  You may need to adjust your measurements a bit.  After I was done I realized that my seams were a bit narrower than what the manufacturer used so to ensure a snug fit I need to do another straight seam a bit in from my serging seam.  When I make the next sheet I'll prob. just cut the pieces a bit smaller to adjust for the narrower hem.

Completed sheet in place in the bassinet.  All ready for the baby!

Monday, February 27, 2012

{Money Saving Monday} - Birthday Cards

Every once in a while I come across a code to order a free greeting card from and I've got to say that I've been very impressed with them.  Their cards are really cute and they are very easy to personalize with whatever message you'd like, photos and even your own signature.  You can have it sent to you first or have it sent directly to the recipient.  And it seems like I always get a code right when I need one.  So convenient!  If you like to send greeting cards or if you'd like to start I highly recommend them.  In this day and age where snail mail is becoming a thing of the past it's fun to get a personalized greeting card in the mail.  Make someone's day today!

Friday, February 24, 2012

{Favorite Things Friday} - Moose Tracks Ice Cream

It'd been several months since I'd bought any ice cream but when I was at the grocery store on Monday and noticed it was on sale, I gave in to temptation and bought some.  But seriously, there are few things better tasting than Moose Tracks ice cream.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

{Thankful Thursday} - Awesome New Iron

Today I am thankful that I didn't have to go anywhere since the weather was atrocious this morning.  (So much for giving it props yesterday!)  I'm also thankful for my awesome new iron.  When we went to Billings last month I told Josh that we should each pick something out for early Valentine's Day presents.  He got new pillows and I picked out an iron.  My old one didn't work very well especially after I'd dropped it a few months back.  Oops!  This new iron steams up great, has a super long cord which is really nice and works like a charm.  I'm also thankful for my supply of craft/sewing supplies.  It's so nice to just be able to dig around in my stuff and find what I need to make pretty much anything I want.  The bassinet we bought just came with one sheet so I want to make another one to have an extra and I also stumbled upon a tutorial for a carseat cover the other day so that's on my list to make as well.  I found the perfect fabric (pictured above) in my stash so I'll make those tomorrow and post about them sometime next week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{Whatever Wednesday} - What a difference a year makes!

Pretty close to exactly a year ago we pulled the moving truck up in front of the house.  It was a several day adventure in which a lot of things went wrong - it was pouring rain when we packed the truck, we had to leave A LOT of stuff behind, hit a snowstorm that really slowed us down, truck broke down and we were stuck by the side of the road for 10 hours in 20 degree weather (tops), had to leave the truck behind to get fixed and then 4 hours back to pick it up the next day, truck broke down again in front of the house, high of 10 when we unloaded the truck, foot of snow on the ground that we had to carry everything through.  It was a pretty crazy couple of days and a bit stressful to deal with but even while it was happening we knew that somehow everything was working out for the best.  Our delays resulted in us making the last 4 hours of the journey in the truck on dry roads which was possibly the only window of dry roads all that week since it was between storms.  The important thing of course is that ultimately we all made it safely and I was pretty happy that the stuff made it safely as well.

Today the high was in the upper 40s, it rained a bit off and on and we've had some crazy wind the last few hours.  There's just a few patches of snow on the ground from the last snow storm which will be gone if the rain keeps up.  Completely different than it was a year ago!

Even though I knew we wouldn't always live in AZ, I didn't expect that we would ever move to WY but here we are and here we are trying to figure out how we can stay.  I was def. not a fan of the extreme heat in AZ but I do miss the friends that I made there and the family that we left behind.  (And also the accessibility to shopping!)  I have to admit that I do like living in WY though.  The people are really nice and between my hoarding and occasional shopping trips I've been able to get by.  It's been 10 months since I've been home to CA and at this point I'm wondering if I could ever drive in a city again much less live there.  Things are so different here that sometimes I just stare in disbelief and I'm sure I'm constantly offending people but eventually I'm sure I'll figure out how life works here in the wild west.  And hopefully someday soon, I'll actually be able to unpack my clothes and go through the rest of the boxes in the garage.  We'll see what the next year brings...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

{Tutorial Tuesday} - Burlap Wreath


Ever since I made the burlap lampshade I've been wanting to do make a wreath to match.
A couple of weeks ago I finally make one.

I had this wreath on hand from the Dollar Tree and it worked out just fine.

I started out with a yard of burlap and cut it into 3" strips.

First, I wrapped a couple of strips around the wreath to cover it and hot glued it in place as I went.

With the remaining strips I cut them in half lengthwise with a pair of scissors and then began folding them into rosettes and gluing them in place.  In order to get them evenly spaced around the wreath I first glued one on the top and bottom and on each side and then I filled in the gaps.

I ended up using 16 rosettes which worked out great because it used up practically all the fabric I had.

 I glued a pop tab on the back to use as a hook.

ta da!  finished and on the wall.  love it!

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Weekend Bloggy Reading

Monday, February 20, 2012

{Money Saving Monday} - Exercise Balls

Computer chairs + carpet = broken casters.

My attempt at a "MacGyver" fix didn't quite do the trick.
(never mind the dirty floor - it's been cleaned since this picture was taken)

Solution - Exercise Balls

Our computer chairs just weren't working out.  The back had been broken off mine for quite some time and even though I could manage to put it back on, it kept falling off.  Then the casters started breaking off and I knew it was time to find another solution.  I researched chairs online for a while but knew they would eventually just break again.  I've been curious about using exercise balls as chairs for quite some time so I asked Josh what he thought about it and he said he would try it.  I looked around online a bit but decided that we might as well just buy some at Wal-Mart so we found a day to make a trip and picked up these exercise balls for a mere $17 each - much cheaper than chairs would've been.  Josh loves his and mine has worked out well though I've just used it a few times at my sewing table.  They are comfortable to sit on, encourage good posture and will come in handy helping me through labor as well.  They do lose air so you do have to pump them up from time to time but I think they are a great, cost effective alternative to traditional chairs.  We're thinking about getting another one for Josh to use at work as well.

Friday, February 17, 2012

{Favorite Things Friday} - Game Night

Living in So. Cal. I usually had one social event each evening with several to juggle each night on the weekends. Good times. I was lucky to have several great groups of friends to hang out with. Now I'm lucky if we have one social event a month to go to. Tonight was one of our lucky nights where we were invited to help celebrate a cousin's upcoming b'day. After snacks and socializing we ended up playing catch phrase. It was a lot of fun.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

{Thankful Thursday} - Selfless Service

A year ago I was preparing to move and was blessed to receive lots of selfless service from friends helping me pack up. Today I received several hours of selfless service from some dear relatives cleaning and rearranging things around the house and most importantly, organizing the baby items to prepare for his arrival. The house feels completely different. I'd really let my craft supplies get out of control and now they are much more contained. I still have lots to sort through but things seem more manageable now. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted. Getting the baby clothes and other stuff organized on the changing table relieved a lot of stress and anxiety for me. I am so thankful for the help.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{Whatever Wednesday} - Nesting

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm nesting and I have to honestly say that I'm not. I guess mainly since my current space is very limited. What I'm actually doing is somewhat panicking. My dr. seems to think I'll have the baby a bit early so I'm trying to get as much done as I can before the big day arrives (whenever that will be!). We had an opportunity to move but felt like we had to pass it up since I was having so many contractions I didn't think there was any way I could handle it. Lastnight my Valentine's wish was to make room in the bedroom for the bassinet. We put some stuff in the closet and scooted the bed over a few inches so I can squeeze past the bassinet and still get in bed. Tomorrow some helpful angels are coming over to help me organize the baby stuff on the shelves under the changing table which will go next to the bassinet. There's a pile of toys in the tv room and I've stuffed bags of bigger clothes under the bed to save them for later. Somehow it'll all work out till we can get situated in a bigger space.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

{Tutorial Tuesday} - cloth diapers

So, I finally made a few cloth diapers a couple of weeks ago and it was really easy. I hope they work out. I searched and searched for a pattern and settled on one that was a "one size fits all". I figured I didn't want to have to keep making more as I went along. Also, I opted not to put snaps or velcro and will use pins. They are pocket diapers. I plan on making some inserts out of old tshirts. Might use prefold diapers for inserts as well. I already had a bunch of flannel on hand and even had some elastic so I really had nothing to lose by making them. I have a lot more cut out but I thought that I might get a better finish using the serger instead of my regular sewing machine so I'm waiting to see if my friend can work her magic on the serger and get the tension just right before I finish the rest up. Here's a picture of one sewn up with an insert inside. (I totally adore this mouse fabric!)

Here is the pattern I used. You can probably tell from the picture I didn't follow the instructions exactly. Instead of sewing and turning and sewing again like the pattern said I opted just to finish the raw edges instead. A different pattern I found was finished like that and I figured that would work. I hope they will hold up. I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, February 13, 2012

{Money Saving Monday} - Cell Phones from Costco

As far as I can tell the best place to get a cell phone is costco. I finally realized this a couple of years ago and unless someone can convince me otherwise I'll probably never get a cell phone anywhere else. I'm really old fashioned and only use my phone as a cell phone. Crazy I know but I think it's ridiculous to pay for all the fancy features you can use your cell phone for when I'm hardly every away from home or my laptop. If my lifestyle was different maybe it would be worth it but when you live in a small town and hardly ever go anywhere the expense isn't justifiable. Oddly enough when I got my very first cell phone nearly 11 years ago I went with AT&T because they had FREE internet on their phones. Can you imagine? It was great. Even though the screen was tiny it was useful to look things up. I mainly used it for looking up movie times but I was living in L.A. then and life was much different than it is now. I was sorely disappointed when they figured out they could start charging big bucks for cell phone internet access and discontinued it being free. Anyhow, enough rambling. A couple of reasons why I think costco is a great place to get a cell phone is that they don't charge you the $35 activation fee that most places would and they include a accessory pack with their phones that includes a car charger, cell phone case and ear piece. Granted they aren't fancy but are handy to have. Another plus is that you don't have to deal with trying to redeem any sort of rebate. You just get a great deal on the phone right then. Our new phones were $20 each and they are great. If you are up for a new phone no matter who your carrier is I would recommend checking out the deals at costco and see how they compare to your local retailer. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer.

Friday, February 10, 2012

{Favorite Things Friday} - Snow Day!

I fell asleep for a bit this afternoon and woke up to this! And it's been snowing since so there's lots more to go with it. I've always loved snow. I guess it was a novelty for me growing up in So. Ca. We usually always went to my grandparents house for Christmas and was always so excited when there was lots of snow to play in.

Luckily since we both work in town within walking distance snow isn't usually much of a problem. I'm glad I don't have to be anywhere out of town until Monday. Hopefully the roads will be good then. It's so nice just to be able to stay home and admire the snowflakes gently falling out the window.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

{Thankful Thursday} - "free" day

It was so nice today to not have anything on the schedule and be able to relax a bit. The last three days I've been gone from morning - night so it was nice to be able to stay home all day. I did get a few things accomplished though. Did a couple loads of laundry so that's all caught up for the moment. Loaded up the dishwasher. Sewed up some cute rosettes for Valentine's Day:

My friend came over and helped me thread up the serger but we're still working on getting the tension just right.

I made a whole bunch of envelopes for Thank You cards. I'm behind on getting them out for all the baby presents I've been getting in the mail lately:

Also rested on the couch and watched a couple episodes of Downtown Abbey on Netflix. I've had several friends mention it on facebook. Really enjoyed it.

Hope ya'll had a nice, relaxing day as well!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

{Whatever Wednesday} - Contractions

Contractions - that's what has been on my mind today. I've had a lot going on the last three days and increased contractions is one of them. The dr. was shocked how far along I was when he examined me yesterday. I was kind of concerned that labor was eminent but things have subsided now that I'm resting. Glad I don't have anything on my schedule for the next two days so I can rest and let this baby cook a bit longer.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{Tutorial Tuesday} - Envelope Template for 4x6 photos

I needed an envelope for some 4x6 invitations that I had printed but I didn't think they existed and even if they did I didn't know where I would go to find some. I figured I would need to make some from scratch. I searched online for a template but the one I found was too tall and not wide enough but at least it was a good starting point. I used it to make a template the right size and enlisted my husband to help me trace them and cut them out. Being tech savvy he thought the whole tracing thing was a bit barbaric so he said he would make me a template so we could print them and then cut them out. This worked out great because then I was able to have him add a decorative edge to the flap and make a couple other modifications. Of course they turned out even better than I imagined and we were able to use up a lot of cardstock that I had on hand. I know I will end up using this a lot. Printing 4x6 pics is way more cost effective than any other size. I figured I should share the template because I'm sure a lot of people could benefit from using it. Here's how I did it:

1. Download the template from here.

2. Print it out. (Note that the side and bottom flaps go off the end so just cut along the marks off the edge of the paper and that will be fine.

3. Cut it out.

4. Fold in the side flaps.

5. Fold up the bottom flap.

6. Apply some glue to the edges of the bottom flap and hold in place to adhere.

7. After letting the envelope dry a bit, insert 4 x 6 picture and then fold over the top flap and glue in place.

8. Address the envelope and decorate as desired.

I hope this will come in handy for you! Enjoy!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Today's Creative Blog

Monday, February 6, 2012

{Money Saving Monday} - Cen$ible Nutrition Class

I started taking a free Nutrition/Cooking class last Monday and it's so great. Each session starts off with a lesson/lecture and then we make something in the kitchen. Last Monday we made parfaits - so easy and so good and today we made a couple different types of breads and muffins using a starter mix. So smart! I was able to take a peak at the cookbook today and it looks like it's going to be great. I'd pretty much fix everything in there. Most cookbooks are way too out there for me but this one is very practical. I can't wait to get it. The thing is this class lasts 8 weeks and since I've just gone to two classes and I'm due in 4 weeks I'm not sure I'll make it to the end but I'll go to as many classes as I can. There's even a section that talks about making baby food which I'm very interested in.

The first week's lesson introduced us to "the plate" which has now replaced "the pyramid". Makes sense. It's easier to visualize what you should be eating when it is presented like this. I really think they should make actual plates like this to help people eat better and everyone would love it - esp. kids. They could even partition the different areas. Don't kids love plates like that?

I consider myself a middle of the road eater. I never have soda and eat fairly well but there's lots of room for improvement I'm sure. I look forward to continuing the class and putting what I learn to good use. If your area offers a class like this I'd encourage you to take advantage of it. I luckily came across an announcement for it in the local paper. I can't believe that we only have 3 students in the class. You'd think that more people would want to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Friday, February 3, 2012

{Favorite Things Friday} - Texas Roadhouse

{I started writing this post last Friday but didn't get it finished and posted. We actually went to Billings last Thurs. Josh's aunt that was visiting from AZ needed a ride to the airport and since we hadn't been to Billings since the Sat. after Thanksgiving we happily volunteered to take her.}

Since we usually only make it to Billings every month or two we usually treat ourselves to dinner when we go. Texas Roadhouse is where we normally end up. We can't get enough of their rolls and their "early bird" special can't be beat. Since we try to head to Billings as early in the morning as we can we are ready for dinner by the time they open at 4pm. Josh loves to get the chicken fried steak. I opted for the chicken tenders this time. So much food I couldn't eat it all.

I had to take a picture of Josh's steak since it was in the shape of a heart.

My leftovers which I thoroughly enjoyed the next day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

{Thankful Thursdays} - Selling Crafts

Today I'm grateful that I've been able to make a little extra money here and there over the years by selling some of my handmade creations. Even though I've never really gotten ahead, it seems to even out earnings when they unexpectedly fall behind. I started out many years ago with scarves and have branched out to many different items since then. It's fun to learn new skills and help people out with their gift giving needs. I updated my facebook page with my current inventory of scarves and hats. Since there's going to be six more weeks of winter maybe you need one or know someone who does?

See my current inventory of scarves here.

See my current inventory of hats here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{Whatever Wednesday} - Winter Crafts

Since I posted some of the Thanksgiving crafts we did at the after school program I thought I'd post a few of the fun projects we've done lately that are winter themed. (Today we actually did a Valentine's craft but I didn't end up with one so I'll have to post about that later.)

The name snowman I saw on pinterest. I traced a juice lid for the snowballs. The kids had fun writing their names and seeing how long they were in comparison to each other. I cut out the hat by hand and had the kids glue them together. The coloring page I found online somewhere. After I had colored it to my satisfaction one of the kids took over and finished it for me. :)

I saw this on pinterest as well. Traced a quarter for the eyes. (Should've brought a circle punch from home.) Just freehanded the rest. We really need to get some left handed scissors. Several of my little kindergartners are left handed and they just can't cut with the right handed scissors we have. The other kids are good about helping them out and atleast they can glue their projects together.