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homespun

GARDEN MAXI

You’ll never believe it, but I bought this floral fabric when I worked at Jo Ann Fabrics in high school… 12 years ago.  I recently decided to start sewing my way through my fabric stash, so I finally found a use for it.  I LOVE using what I’ve already got to make something new!

 

I found this wonderful tutorial on making maxi dresses and decided it looked easy enough.  It was.  It was a very quick project!



 



I didn’t sew a sash (as seen in the tutorial) because I have a wide belt that works well with the dress.

I have several more pieces of fabric picked out for some other dresses, and I can’t wait to get started!

DISHWASHING DETERGENT

I’ve been slowly replacing my store-bought cleaners with homemade ones.  I like the idea of knowing what is really in the products that I use, and organic products can get pretty pricey, so I love the savings I get from making them myself.  I’ve been using this dishwasher detergent for about 2 months now.  I’ll be honest, it’s not quite as awesome as the jet packs I was buying before, but it definitely does the job.

 

I found the glass container at Goodwill for $1, and it’s PERFECT because it has that little handle where I’ve put the measuring spoon, so it’s easy to scoop out exactly what I need.  Here’s the recipe for the detergent:

 

Mix together the following ingredients:

1 cup of borax

1 cup of washing soda

1/2 cup of citric acid (if you can’t find it, you can use lemon kool-aid)

1/2 cup of kosher salt

Fill the rinse compartment with white vinegar.

 

There is still an unknown factor here, because, to be honest, I really don’t know what’s in borax or washing soda.  And, I don’t know if they are really healthy or not.  But, I’ve decided that at least it’s a step in the right direction.  If anyone has another recipe that you love, or that you think is safer, please pass it on!

 

This time around, I didn’t make the effort to locate citric acid, so I substituted lemon kool-aid. Next time, I’d really like to use the citric acid and see if it performs better.  I’ll let ya know!

FRUIT BEARING BRANCHES

I’ve ventured out of my comfort zone of fabrics and paper and into wood.  See my little tree?

 

 

It’s actually not that little.  It’s 2 feet tall, so it’s a decent size.  I used some sort of plywood that my dad had in his basement.  He was also kind enough to let me use his ban saw and scroll saw, which is pretty trusting of him, seeing that I had no previous experience with either machine!  This was my first solo-wood-creation and I really enjoyed the process… the long process.

 

I have big plans for our little tree.  Right now, I have Bible verses hanging on it.  They’re right in front of our faces every time we sit down to eat.  It helps us to remember to teach the girls new verses and to rehearse verses we’ve already memorized together.

 

 

As you can see, I make sure to pick verses that we can apply… constantly!  Right now, the girls are both asserting their independence and are clashing a bit, so we’ve been talking a lot about being peacemakers and speaking gently.  We haven’t memorized these two verses yet, but I’m pretty sure that they’re next up!

 

I also plan on using our tree for holidays.  My initial plan was actually to make it as a Jesse tree for Christmas, but once I finished, I had put so much work into it, that I decided I wanted to keep it out year round!  The Jesse tree is a way of telling God’s Story of redemption in advent form. Each day in December, we read a devotional and hang an ornament on our Jesse tree.  The ornaments take us from the creation of the world, to the birth of the Savior, which lands right on Christmas day.  For the remaining days of December, we continue to hang ornaments that take us on a journey through Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, ascent to Heaven, and Pentecost. It’s a wonderful way of helping little minds connect the entire redemption story together.

 

I also hope to put together my own advents that we can use with this tree for other holidays.  An advent for Easter, studying Jesus’ life in more depth, and of course His sacrifice.  A study of Biblical love for February, to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  A study of the Biblical history of our great nation for July and Independence Day.  A series on thankfulness and praise for November and Thanksgiving… just some thoughts that have been running through my mind.


I’m sure you’ll be seeing our tree again around the holidays!

MENU PLANNER

I’m visual, and since having kids, my memory is shot, so when it comes to meal planning, I need it right in my face.  If it’s left to my memory, you’ll probably find us at Moes (or Welcome to Moes! as my girls call it).

 

This project was simple!  The art is a free download from Olli Bird.  I sent mine to be printed on cardstock at Office Max and then framed it.  That’s it.  Seriously… project done!

 

I usually plan our weekly menu on Saturday or Sunday and then I just write it directly on the glass with a dry erase marker.

 

You can find some other great free printables (weekly planners, menu planners, cleaning checklists, and blog planners) at Design Finch.

 

The menu pictured is from last week.  Below is our menu for this week.  (We all eat dinner leftovers the following day for lunch on weekdays, except on Friday.  On Friday, Allen works a half day and he’s home in time for lunch.  I also try to plan something very simple for Sundays, because, let’s face it, who wants to cook and clean on Sunday?  And, I always try to over-plan.  There’s a chance that we’ll have too much food, in which case, one of these meals will be moved over to the following week.)

 

Monday :: Spinach Tortellini Soup (recipe below)

Tuesday :: Baked Chicken Parmesan with Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday :: Tilapia with Caper-Parsley Sauce and Roasted Carrots

Thursday :: Rice & Beans with Homemade Cornbread (I freshly mill my own corn to make it more nutritious.)

Friday :: Nachos with Homemade Salsa for lunch.  Baked Lemon Pasta and Zucchini Cakes with Dip for dinner.

Saturday :: Hot dogs and s’mores on the bonfire for lunch.  (I always try to either make my own hot dog buns from freshly milled wheat or buy them at Bread Beckers.)  Grilled Salmon marinated in lemon, soy sauce and sugar with Grilled Pineapple for dinner.

Sunday :: Healthy Living Mac and Cheese

 

Spinach Tortellini Soup from the So Easy Cookbook  (I have made some slight modifications to the original recipe.)

1 t olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced (about 1.5 cups)

2 ribs of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 t dried oregano

1 t dried thyme

1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

14 oz diced tomatoes with juices

6 cups chicken broth (I make this myself and keep it in the freezer.)

3 oz baby spinach, sliced into ribbons (about 3 cups)

9 oz spinach and cheese tortellini

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese for topping

Heat the oil in a 4 or 6 quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and the garlic is softened, another 3 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juices and the broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Add the spinach and tortellini and cook until the tortellini are cooked through, about 6 minutes.

Serve topped with parmesan.

WINDOW SEAT

We have this nook in our kitchen that desperately needed a built-in window seat.  Nothing else fit there.  So, when the opportunity arose, I made sure to mention to my dad that what I really wanted for my birthday was a window seat made by him.  ;)  So, he made it.  ;)  And, I love it.  ;) As you can see, I’m all smiles.




It functions perfectly for the space and our family.  It’s located right inside the garage door, so the HUGE drawers hold all of the girls’ shoes, coolers, lunch boxes, sun hats, and winter gear, so that we can grab those items on our way out the door.


The space isn’t finished yet.  It still needs a soft window covering (maybe a roman shade?) and a few pillows… and (did you notice?) we still need to replace the baseboards on the walls on either side of it, but even in it’s unfinished state, I love, love, love it!



I’m so thankful for such a sweet daddy!

ONE SKIRT FIVE WAYS

My sweet girls are definitely girly-girls.  Lately, they’ve wanted to wear skirts every day, and the weather is gorgeous… the only problem is that they have a few favorites that they’ve been wearing and re-wearing.  So, I picked up a pattern (Simplicity SewSimple #1968) and then raided my fabric stash to sew some new skirts for them.

Clara, my older daughter, is wearing the skirt I made according to the pattern.  Plain and simple in green and white seersucker.  Then, to the next five skirts I sewed, I added my own little embellishments.  I added a solid green band to the bottom of Macy Jane’s skirt.

 

I added large pockets to these skirts, using a vintage sheet for the pocket fabric.  It looks like the perfect skirt for hanging out the laundry to dry… so many clothes pins would fit in those pockets.

 

To Clara’s skirt, I added an apron and large, hot-pink rick-rack.  Macy Jane’s skirt got some flounce with triple ruffles.

Here’s to skirt-wearing on happy, sunny days!

 

 

TEXTURED WREATHS

I made three wreaths that now hang in our dining room and I LOVE them.  They’re created from things that I already had laying around: buttons, lima beans, and an extra copy of The Strong Willed Child.  Sorry Dr. Dobson! I have to admit that I felt like a giddy five year old as I glued the lima beans on the wreath form.  It felt like such a kid craft.  But, I’m very happy with the finished product.  You can find a tutorial to make your own lima bean wreath here, and a similar tutorial for a book wreath here.

REMEMBER BACK WHEN…

Remember back when I told you that I was working on some new art for our living room?  I know… it seems like it was years ago that I said that…  Well, I’m finally going to make good on my promise to show you what I’ve been up to.  Sorry it’s taken so long!

Our fireplace wall had frames propped on it for years before I finally decided that it was about time we hung something more permanent.  So, I dug out one of my huge bargain frames from Hobby Lobby and some watercolors that haven’t been touched in over 5 years and I painted a big pink flower.  I’ve been wanting to add some pink to our living room and I was so excited to finally accomplish it with this project!

I love how pink livens up the room!  It is such a cheerful color!  I also embroidered two pieces to hang next to my flower.  The top piece is our embroidered wedding announcement.

After studying Kay Arthur’s Covenant Bible study, it was important to me that our personal wedding art make much of the fact that our marriage is not just a partnership or a mutual agreement, but that it is a covenant. That word carries so much more meaning for me now that I’ve studied it in God’s Word.

And, finally, the third frame on our fireplace…

And here is the whole picture…

It feels so good to finally have art up!  I still have more art projects planned for our living room… and the rest of the house.  I think my house is doomed to be one of those that will never be completely finished because I enjoy change way too much to commit to any one decoration forever!

CHEAPO CHALKBOARDS

This was my first experience using chalkboard paint and I have to tell you… I completely understand why other DIYers have started painting everything with chalkboard paint. It covers so easily and is such an inspiring finish. I thought it would be fun to have a few chalkboards in our kitchen, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune.  So, I looked around our house to see what I could find to paint.  I came up with this ceramic metal-looking candle tray

one lone shabby chic plate charger

and this ugly decoration that my mom found at a yard sale (She knew it was ugly when she bought it.  She recognized it had pretty lines and knew that we could make something with it).

I lightly sanded them with a fine grit sanding paper and then just brushed on the chalkboard paint.  Once it dried, I hung them on our kitchen wall… and presto… a message center!

And now, of course, I’m looking around the house with new eyes… What else could I paint with this stuff???

*Edited on March 20, 2012*

Right now we’re using the chalkboards for scripture memory.  Here’s what we’re currently working on:

I {HEART} CRAIGSLIST

I’m the type of person who simply has to be organized, so I always, always seem to need more storage. Several months back, I stumbled on this new bookcase on craigslist for only $80.  Not bad for a piece that gives me so much functional storage space. It sits at the far end of our kitchen, beside a little reading nook, so it holds my books, cookbooks, and some bold green dishes.

Picture of bookcase

Pic of contents of bookcase

Did you notice my collection of white books? I don’t care for clutter and I felt like all of my books were a distraction to the eye, so I made a book jacket for each book out of white craft paper. So much cleaner.

Picture of books in white book jackets

Once again, thank you craigslist!  I so enjoy shopping with you!