Saturday, April 26, 2008


Over the last few years I have not been buying household cleaners. I was not just doing it to go green (that was actually an afterthought) but as a means to save money. Those chemicals can add up over time. It really started when the dogs kept having accidents (not really accidents, they would go and p on purpose) and I wanted a way to clean it up versus going out and buying something. I found a solution tried it and for the most part it worked. My dogs still insist on being rotten little pooches, but then my only other option is to leave them outside all the time which is not nice. I found a lot of information on making your own household cleaners and decided to try. Hmm, these work better than most of the ones that I buy. Matter of fact I really like making my own window cleaner, I even passed the information along to a friend whose tables were becoming foggy (she has glass tables) and she used it and said they sparkle.

Anyway, here are a few links to some of my favorite homemade cleaning solutions and some information on items you should keep on hand for green cleaning.

6 ingredients for a green, clean home
Down to Earth - many articles on green cleaning and living life more simply

I'll add more of my links later.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Really, I won?

There are a few blogs that I read most everyday or every few days and then there are a few blogs that I read when I have lots of time, which is not very often. One of the blogs that I read quite regularly is Sew, Mama, Sew . They are finishing up their tutorial contest. And, there are several tutorials that I am going to be trying. And on Friday's they host Free Fabric Friday. The contest last week was to read over and comment on which tutorials you liked and so I did.

What did I win? One yard of fabric of my choice. There are several great choices in their shop and how can you choose just one. Well, I did but it was hard. I went with:

I really liked the snails and at first look, you can't tell their snails. I'm not sure what I will use it for, a purse or tote or perhaps part of an upcoming quilt. If you haven't checked the Sew, Mama, Sew store or blog go and take a peak!!!! But beware, you can lose track of time with all of the great goodies you find!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bread and Cookies

A day of baking was in store for me on Sunday. I love to bake bread; the boys love to eat bread. I should bake bread more often but I don’t. That is something that is going to be changing though. I always tell myself it takes too long and I don’t have enough time. I proved myself wrong Sunday. I baked several things and it really didn’t take all that long.

First off, I started the Hamburger Buns that we were going to be using for dinner. I prepared the dough and set it aside for the first rise. I then moved on to baking cookies for T’s snack day at school. Once those were complete the dough for the hamburger buns had doubled and I could move onto the next step, which was forming into the buns. I finished that task and set them aside to rise again. I then moved onto making some Italian bread that we will use throughout the week for sandwiches and breakfast items. I finished up the cookies while the dough was rising (filling them with cream, see below) and cleaned up the kitchen. The dough was ready to be punched down and shaped (into loaves) and put into bread pans to rise a second time. Enough time for me to settle down and relax before the timer went off. Off it goes and into the oven they go, after a milk bath and sesame seeds. We had fresh Hamburger buns for dinner and fresh bread for breakfast today.

Onto the recipes and pictures. The Hamburger buns came from The Margaritaville Cookbook by Olaf Nordstrom. We picked the cookbook up on our honeymoon. I haven’t made many recipes from the book, but I definitely like the French Bread and the Hamburger Buns. They are keepers and will be used in the future.

The Italian Bread recipe came from Prairie Home Breads: 150 Splendid Recipes from America's Breadbasket. I borrowed this book from the library and fell in love with it. I decided to purchase it. Again, another book that has several recipes that I am going to try but a few that I love already. I like Nonna’s Italian Bread , the Cheddar Bread and the Basil Bread.
Finally, onto the Oatmeal Cream Pies. T had snack day and wanted to take cookies. He wanted to take sugar cookies and I did not want to make them. To be honest, I’m burnt out on making sugar cookies all the time. I saw this recipe over at The Homespun Heart and thought they looked yummy. All ingredients on hand, we were ready to go. The recipe said that it makes 36 cookies or 18 sandwiches. I used the small scoop from Pampered Chef and was able to get 60 cookies or 30 sandwiches out of it. These were the perfect size for 4-year olds. The kids loved them and so did daddy. A few came home in the container and so we are going to have them after t-ball tonight.

And what about the kids, well, they were either at the park, playing outside with daddy or gone fishing. It was a nice day of baking for me!!!

As for what’s baking in my house today, wheat bread. I’ll have some pictures tomorrow. As they have just come out of the oven and are not ready to be taken out of the pans.

A few more blocks

I was able to complete a few blocks this weekend for my Dear Baby Jane. The blocks I completed were B1 – Bachelor Buttons and C9 – Janes Tears. Why did I choose those blocks this weekend? I’ll explain, I needed to dive into Reverse Appliqué. I have never done appliqué and what better way than to dive in. I chose B1 because it didn’t seem to intimidating and I had just finished reading the book The Bachelor by Carly Phillips, appropriate right? Problems at first, but I worked them out. I didn’t clip the seams (duh, it makes the turns much easier and I know that from regular sewing). Once it was finished, I was neither impressed or unimpressed with the outcome. For now I shall keep it.
Onto the second block, C9 – Jane’s Tears. Hmm, could it be I chose this block on Sunday afternoon because I had spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning in tears. Probably and working on this block allowed me to release my blame and put it into the block. I’m not sure that I am going to post the exact reason why, for fear that I will be judged by someone that does not know me very well and believe me, I have blamed myself enough. For those that do know me, they already know what happened on Saturday which caused the fear and tears inside (and outside) of me. Perhaps later, when I am more comfortable with the incident (as we shall call it), I will post what happened.
I have worked on another block today, B2 – Sweet Tater Pie, in hopes to get caught up by next week but, we’ll see how the week turns out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Third times a charm

I have had a busy few days. On Saturday, I went to a meeting and then we just lounged around during the day. The kids were tired from their excursion to a White Sox Game and not feeling well. On Sunday, I went to church and when I arrived home I could hear this loud grinding noise coming from inside the house. My first instinct was “Oh my gosh what have they done to their dad or what is he doing?” And then the grinding noise stopped and I could hear loud music. Then the grinding started again. Hmmm, what is he working on? I come in the house to find that S decided to finish the upstairs hallway painting. We worked on the foyer in late August / early September but never finished the upstairs hallway. I helped tape it off and do the edging and we had the priming done by lunch time. Let it dry and then had the main color done with touch ups in the foyer by dinner time. A long day of painting, no catch up quilting or any sewing or crafting this weekend.

I shouldn’t say no quilting. I did work on B4 Chris’s Soccer Field. I cut it out and sewed, pressed, sewed and pressed until it was complete. Squared it up to add the border and well, I forgot to add the half an inch and the block was too small and did not look like the picture. Here is attempt one:
Start over, cut out the pieces, sewed, pressed, sewed and pressed until it was complete. Squared up the pieces only to realize, that I did something terribly wrong and I’m not sure what. But here is attempt number two:
And finally, start over again. Cut out the pieces, sewed, pressed, sewed and pressed until it was complete. Squared up the piece to add the border and this time it worked. It’s not exactly like the picture, my sewing doesn’t look to have been very straight. But for now I am happy with the block and have no intentions of making it again right now. Here is the third attempt:

Here’s hoping tomorrow (Thursday) will be an easier day and I can get another post up and maybe even one or two more blocks caught up. And what to do with the blocks I messed up? I think I'm going to make them into pincushions, I'm not sure.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A day off

A day off, I have only been alone for 2 hours and already feel lost. Why is it that as a mom when we have time to ourselves we can’t seem to enjoy the alone / down time? S is taking our older boys to a White Sox game tonight and the little guy is staying with grandma. I’m not going because tonight is my one night a month that I play Bunco. Yes, I could have found a sub and gone to the game but, I really didn’t want to go. He is a brave man taking a 5 year old and 4 year old to a game by himself. My sister-in-law will be there, so if he needs help, she’ll be there.

On to some crafting news, I finished another block in my Dear Baby Jane Quilt. I completed C3 Rayelle’s Fence. I decided to strip piece it versus foundation piecing. I have never foundation pieced before and know that I need to because there is a block that has already been completed that requires foundation piecing. I’ll work on it this weekend. There are a few places the strips don’t match up exactly, but I really don’t mind.

I’m going to work on some of the appliqué blocks this afternoon. As well as try to finish up another project. Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sewing & Baking

I decided to make some cookies and I found a recipe on Martha Stewart. The recipe is called Outrageous Chocolate Cookies. I did not have the semi-sweet chocolate on hand and I did not have semi-sweet chocolate chunks. So I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and melted them down and instead of the chocolate chunks, I used dark chocolate M&M’s (leftover from all of the Easter Candy). The recipe said it would make 24 cookies and I used the small scoop from Pampered Chef and made 40 cookies I’m glad I took these pictures the night I made them because by the next morning, yep you guessed it, the little guys devoured them. None left. And I would make some more but I don’t have anymore chocolate chips. Need to find another recipe to make them some more cookies but this time, I’ll need to keep them out of reach.

Onto more exciting news, I completed another project on Wednesday. I had been putting it off, I’m really not quite sure why. But she’s finished and I’ll be posting pictures at a later date.

I also finished another block for the Dear Baby Jane that I’m working on . This block is B13 and is called Four Corner Press. I chose yellow for this ring that the block belongs in and while I was going through the box of fabric found the yellow bandana print and while looking for a larger block I came across the fabric that I used for the center. I think they worked out well together. I have to start working on the appliqué blocks; this will be something new for me as I have never done appliqué. The saying you learn something new everyday will hold true for this.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dear Baby Jane

These are for my Dear Baby Jane quilt that I will be starting. I pulled out the box (an old ceiling fan box) full of these pre-cut by my nonnie, that I will be using as is or cutting in the the shapes needed. I'll be taking pictures of the blocks as I make them.

And I was so inspired after actually seeing some of this fabric that I just had to make a few blocks last night. I put the kids to bed after a long, long day. And browsed through the searching for the colors I have layed out in my quilt chart and just went with it. So here you go:

M-10 Simple Simon

A6-Uncle Homer

D13-Field of Dreams

Edited to add: I scanned my blocks and then formatted down to get a better picture of them than what I was taking with my camera. The black you can see on D-13 is part of the scanner. I forgot to place a piece of paper over the block before scanning.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


That's all I got. I did some housework today and some catching up. S is out of town until Thursday and even though the morning started out good, the afternoon went downhill quick. The boys (all 3) decided to be rather difficult and I'm ready for them to go to bed.

As promised, some more photos of projects I have been working on.

The following are several market totes/shopping bags that I have made. A few will be listed in my etsy shop. I made one for a swap that I participated in over here.

A gift for an upcoming birthday. Hmmmmmmm, I wonder where this will be going. I'll let you know once it has arrived.

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's about time...

I know , I know, where have you been? Busy. I have tried to limit my computer time, because I find myself getting lost in Blogland. Then, when I do think, oh you should do an update, I forget the camera. Well finally, here it is and more to come this week I hope.

My sister-in-law is expecting her first child in August. I didn't want to give her a gift for the house, or clothes (because how to you buy maternity clothes for someone other than yourself) or give her a gift card, how boring is that. So I decided to make her a wellness bag. I saw the idea over at Sew, Mama, Sew here.
The above picture is the rice therapy pillow. And I did follow the directions for making their pillow. Instead of using velcro thought, I used buttons. I made cute little button holes that coordinate with the colors and then picked out buttons from the colors in the fabric pattern.
This is the Lavendar Eye Pillow. Now, I did not follow her instructions, but did make a plain rectangular one. I made a sock out of muslin to put the flaxseed in and then added dried lavendar from my yard from last summer. I wanted to keep it for myself because it smelled so good.
And lastly, this is the cute little bag I stitched up to go with it. I wrote down my measurements and what I did for the bag, but if I make it again, I will use a stronger interfacing. The sides collapsed to much for my liking. But it does have a pocket on the inside. I also included in the bag, some Bath and Body Works lotions and soaps. And T decided that she needed these cute little lamb slippers, his exacts words were "These are the PERFECT gift mama, we have to get them!" Who can resist the perfect gift. And a candle. I added little tags that I made and explained what each item was and how to use them. But, I didn't take a picture of those. She really seemed to like it.

The next few pictures are a gift for my mom. Her birthday was in February, I know I'm late, but my mom has everything she needs. She buys whatever it is she does need and usually won't tell us what she wants and won't buy for herself. I've made her totes, purses and a rabbit. I wasn't sure what to make for her and then I saw a picture of a quilt in a quilt book she gave me and thought she just might like that. So here it is...

It will make a nice lap quilt. I still have to finish it...the quilting part. I'm not sure how I want to do it though.
I have some other projects I've been working on. But I thought I would save some of those pictures for later in the week.

And I've decided to work on a Dear Jane Quilt. Crazy I know. You can read more about the quilt itself here. And I'm going to ask Anina , if it's too late to join in on her project. I ordered the book, a treat for myself. I have decided to use muslin for the main color, a trip around the world based on what I have on hand and I am going to dig into that box of scraps and precut squares and rectangles of old fabric that was Nonnie's. Wish me luck, I have some catching up to do!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


They are cute little critters however, they need to be moving along to someone else's yard that doesn't tend to their yard and leave mine alone.

No, this is not the same rabbit, but a pair. These pictures were taken out my front door. I love rabbits, I think they are cute but come on. Last year they ate my rose bush and tomatoes and flowers. Over the winter, they decided that my side flower bed (which I don't have a picture of but I'm headed outside to take one of it's spring ugliness) was going to be their primary source of food. There is nothing left. I really don't know that anything is going to come up. Hostas, nope can't find any yet. Of course, they couldn't eat the fern that I dispise. In the backyard, they have eaten the clematis up as high as they can, they pruned it for me. The lilac bush is missing the bark rabbit high up the tree, and the spirea (spelled wrong I'm sure) has been eaten down to the ground, there is some green on it, but I'm sure that won't last.

They are not afraid of my dogs either. They hang out in our neighbors yard (they have moved so nothing stopping them from living in their yard) and eat in mine. Today I'm going outside with some cayenne pepper to spray/sprinkle all over the plants in hope to save them.