Gingerly Made: September 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tohoku Tote

I've been a little obsessed with the idea of making purses lately. There are so many really cute bags out there and something about making one is really appealing to me. As part of Ucreate's Create With Me project this month, I decided to try recreating I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar's Tohoku Tote Bag. It's my first purse! And I think...pretty good. The two hard parts for me were topstitching (getting those seams straight and ubber close to the edge is tricky business) and working with the interfacing. I had never used interfacing before, and buying the right kind was confusing for me.

Although the tutorial says to use fusible interfacing, it seemed too thin. (Side note to self: People writing the tutorial usually know what they are talking about. Stop second guessing them.) So, I bought a really thick interfacing that you had to sew on. It worked great for the body of the bag. But it was absolutely impossible for the bow and straps. I had to go back and buy the fusible interfacing for those parts.

Also, I totally messed up my fabric order. You need 1/2 yard of fabric for the patterned exterior fabric, and 1 yard (if you are using the same fabric for both) for the solid exterior, interior, bow, and straps. Somehow, I asked the fabric counter to cut 1 yard of the patterned fabric and 1/2 a yard of the solid. That's the exact opposite of what I needed. So, had to get more fabric when I went back for the interfacing. And since I had an extra 1/2 yard of the patterned fabric, got enough of the solid to make a second bag.

Now that I know the drill, I'm sure the second bag with go more smoothly. In fact I've already got everything cut out and ready to sew for the second bag.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ric Rac Rosebud Tutorial

I'm really having a lot of fun browsing pinterest looking for cute craft ideas. That's where I found these cute and simple little hair bows via Tip Junkie. Made from ric rac (wavy ribbon), these bows are so cute for girls, little and big. And the best part, is that you don't need to sew anything.

One roll of ric rac will make 6 of these hairclips, so you can layer them for a bunched flower look or wear them individually. Personally, I like the the way a pair placed together looks.

For a Pair of Rosebuds, You'll need:
2 strands 18" each ric rac
2 small pieces felt
glue gun (don't forget the glue)
2 bobby pins

1. Begin by rolling the ribbon and securing with hot glue. By adding this one little glue drop, you prevent having to re-roll if your fingers slip.

2. Roll the entire length of ribbon and cover one side with hot glue. (If you feel adventurous and want to conserve your glue, you can reverse steps 2 and 3.)

3. Don't forget to give the ends some hot glue love too. This will keep the ends from fraying and further secure your 'flower'.

4. Add a little more glue to the back of your flower and set on the piece of felt. (If you reversed steps 2 & 3 earlier, you don't have to add any additional glue. Just put that little ribbon roll right on the back of your felt.)

5. Trim felt backing so it doesn't stick out.

6. Add one more strip of hot glue and attach your bobby pin.

7. Repeat for the second rosebud.

And there you have it, little rosebuds for your princess, or yourself, or any other girly girl who loves hair bows.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Toy Cat

We are Si-a-mese if you ple-ase. We are Si-a-mese if you don't please.

Here's the third installment of my crocheted toys for Christmas - twin cats. One for baby-to-be and one for a friend's newly born little girl.  I think the one on the left (My second. Can you tell?) is much better. I'll make sure to give that one away and keep the wonky-er one for our little girl. These will be great soft toys when they start teething! Now back to the Cutie Pie Baby Dolls. I still have two more of those to make.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Peaceful Housewife Natural Cleaners Ebook Winners

Rachael and Christina have each won a copy of The Peaceful Housewife's ebook Natural Household Cleaners. Enjoy! And happy, healthy cleaning!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Great Clothing Exchange

I'm pooped. I feel like I've been in a thrift store explosion; sorting through piles and piles of clothes. You see, it's that wonderful time of year in NC when we finally get a break from the heat. The weather is definitely cooling down. You need a light jacket in the morning but only short sleeves by the afternoon. So, I've been sorting clothes. I've pulled out the fall/winter clothes for our family and begun putting them in the closets so we will have options for layering or whatever.

On top of pulling out all the clothes for myself, Eric, and Caitlin, we just visited some friends of ours who have little girls a few months older than mine and exchanged clothes with them. Their oldest girl is 3 and they also have a 4 month old. We have a 2.5 year old and a soon-to-be newborn. It's such a blessing because we can exchange clothes back and forth between us. It's a lot of work sorting through several boxes or trash bags full of clothes, but so worth it. Hooray for hand-me-downs!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toy Dog

Continuing with my crocheted baby doll and stuffed animal gifts, I've finished the toy dog for my nephew. I only plan on making one of these, so I'm finished with that pattern in the book for now. Next up, two kitty cats.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Memory Boxes

Clutter seems to invade my house; particularly paper clutter. I fight it, but it seems that we always have one counter somewhere with papers on them. And I know that with one child beginning to enjoy painting and other crafts and a baby on the way, the paper is only going to keep piling up.

I'm the kind of person that will throw things away when the clutter gets to me, but I want to keep sentimental things for my girls as they grow up. This is where memory boxes come into play. I've wanted to make these simple boxes for a while. After seeing what a great job Living My Life On Purpose did with hers, I had to get it done. It took me a while to 'find' the filing boxes. (I didn't look too hard.) But when all the new school supply things were stocked, I saw these great pink boxes perfect for my girls. Then I picked up file folders and cute scrap booking things to decorate their boxes with.

I added folders with tabs for Ages 1 - 4, Preschool, Kindergarten, and Grades 1 - 12. On the front of each folder under the tab, I added another little label to put the year.

If I hadn't put these boxed together, I know I would end up throwing things away that would mean a lot to me and the girls later. It feels great to know that I now have a safe (aka organized and off my kitchen counter) place to put papers, artwork, and eventually school memory things.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Peaceful Housewife Review and Giveaway

I want to use more homemade natural household cleaners, but have a hard time finding recipes. And when I do find them, it's one recipe on this site and another on that site. Eventually I lose track of what's where. That's why I was so interested in reviewing The Peaceful Housewife's ebook Natural Household Cleaner Recipes. It's 13 pages of home cleaning recipes laid out in a very easy to follow recipe book style. I love that it's straightforward and to the point; no fluff.

I have seen some of these recipes before. In fact the powdered laundry detergent is the same as my liquid detergent recipe just without the water. But many were new to me and I just had to try them out. I got several spray bottles and one Saturday morning spent some time mixing up the different recipes.

Every recipe is made of ingredients I already had in my cabinets. Vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and borax, washing soda, and Fels Naptha soap for the laundry detergent. You can also add essential oils or fragrance if you want. I personally don't add the fragrances because I love that these products may have an odor when you use them, but dry odorless.

The only thing I was a tad disappointed in was that it comes in a black background with white text making printing the book a drain on my printer ink. So I remedied that by making labels for each of my spray bottles with the ingredients and directions. I suppose anyone ought to do that anyway to keep up with which spray bottle is filled with which cleaner.

Here are the results of the products I tried making.

Glass Cleaner
- works great on my windows caked up with finger prints and dog nose marks. Not so great on the crayon marks on our TV though. We needed something a little heavier duty for that. For your usual window and glass cleaning this recipe is great and really easy to make.

Multi-Purpose Spray Cleaner - I used this on my counters, cabinets, tables, everything. It wipes up easily. Even my husband said that I could give it a good review and that my friends IS a good review.

Carpet Cleaner - My darling little daughter decided to pee on our floor during the time I was testing out these recipes. Perfect (with a small dose of sarcasm if you can't tell). Let's see how well it gets rid of urine smell. We also had a spot tinged blue from a kool-aid spill that wasn't cleaned up very well. This is a definite set-in stain. And guess what! It worked! The pee-pee smell is gone and so is the blue-tinged spot. Whoo hoo! I'm totally sold.

I also made the Fabric Softener and Spray Stain Remover, but had already done my laundry. I haven't had adequate time to test these, but if they are anything like the three I did test, will be a huge hit.

Buy It
You can buy your own copy at The Peaceful Housewife for $3.
Or you can try to

Win It
The Peaceful Housewife has graciously offered to send a copy to two of my readers! Here's how:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Toilet Paper Roll Wall Art

I've seen some really cute wall art on the web made out of toilet paper rolls. I know. That doesn't really seem to make sense does it. A bunch of usually thrown away or recycled cardboard rolls stuck on your wall?? But trust me, it doesn't look like trash at all.

I followed the tutorial over at Cut Out + Keep. I really love the flower design they created.

First you need to flatten the rolls in half and cut into rings. I got about 7 pieces from one roll. Others have done 5 or 6 pieces making wider rings.

Lay out your pattern and glue together. Bobby pins were essential in keeping them held together until the glue dried. I let them dry over night just to make sure that the glue had fully dried.

Oh, and don't worry if when you add the bobby pins, it doesn't seem to make a pretty flower. Mine didn't either until I added the final piece and pinned in place.

I found it easiest to create individual flowers first and then lay out the larger pattern. That way I could play around with different arrangements.

The next day, I laid out the pattern on a piece of cardboard outside and spray painted white. It took me several coats to make sure it was completely covered and white. It seemed to take a while to fully cover the brown cardboard color. (The tutorial I followed used black and I think that would actually look better, but I needed white for the nursery.)

Then hang on the wall. It's true if you walk up to it and inspect it, you can tell that it's cardboard. So, maybe it's not the thing to do in your living room. But, for the baby's room it works great. And I do think that the black would probably look better than the white and use less paint too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cutie Pie Baby Doll

I finally finished my first doll! What do you think? She was pretty simple to make although a little more time consuming than I thought she would be. But then again, the first time through a project always takes me a little longer than the second if I repeat it.

I'm saving her for Christmas. I know it may seem crazy to be thinking about Christmas this early, but we have a LOT of family and friends that we exchange gifts with. And especially kids. So, this year I hope to make as many kid gifts as possible. Maybe even a few adult ones too if I can find something good.

I have specific projects planned for each niece, nephew, and friend. (I'm such a nerd and have such a bad memory I even made a list of what I'm making and for whom.) I have plans to make 2 more baby dolls, but my next project is a crocheted dog for my newest nephew born a month ago. That way I don't get bored of making the same thing over and over.

Have you started Christmas crafting yet?? I'm starting now because with a newborn coming soon, I know I won't have much time during the holidays.

Monday, September 12, 2011

32 Weeks

We are officially at 32 weeks. 8 more weeks of pregnancy left. 4 more until we are considered full term.

I'm excited and ready for our little girl to get here although curious at how Caitlin will adapt to a baby in the house. She seems pretty excited. She talks about her baby sister and getting to hold her, but I know she isn't expecting a change in how much attention she receives or much noise in the night either. Caitlin wasn't a fussy baby. Other than the first night, she didn't cry much. Maybe I was so attuned to her that the least little noise out of her and I was on top of feeding, changing, etc. But who's to say how this one will be?

I'm also a little concerned about the rest of this pregnancy. Everything is going well except for my growing discomfort. The reason I'm concerned about it is that Caitlin wants me to pick her up and hold her. Sometimes I can, and sometimes it's just too much. It's only going to get worse the further along we get. I don't want her to feel like her baby sister is taking her mommy from her. We'll adapt, I know, but you can't help it - mommy's worry about every one of their kids.

We are still collecting cloth diapers. I also don't have many, if any, clothes for her yet. But, that's not a big deal. We have some close friends with little girls that we exchange clothes with. We had just recently given all the baby clothes to them, for their little girl. But, now they need the next size up and we are getting ready to swap again. Aren't hand-me-downs a blessing!! After we get those, I'll be able to sit down and really prep everything in the nursery.

Tick tock.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Homeschool Preschool

Being a stay-at-home mom inevitably brings up the question whether or not to home school. Thankfully we still have plenty of time before making that decision because right now, I just don't feel up to the job. I know I am Caitlin's mother and teacher right now, but I also remember my mom trying to teach me things like sewing. I just did not want to learn from my mom. Now I wish I hadn't been so disinterested at the time. I might be a more accomplished seamstress.

Anyway, I have recently seen the idea of home school preschool and I'm intrigued. Hubs and I don't want to put Caitlin in a preschool because of the expense. I mean really, have you looked at the prices of preschool lately!! But, we also see how much Caitlin loves learning and want to give her a good foundation before beginning traditional school. She gets social time already through play dates and her friends at church.

I have seen everything from moms who casually teach their children, which is what I have been doing at this point. We work on ABCs, 123s, and colors, and other things as Caitlin has interest and attention span. We have also been doing crafts like play dough, coloring, painting with water colors, and other experiental 'learning.' She is very sharp and picks up on things quickly. I've also noticed that she learns well through song.

What has sort-of captured my attention recently are some home school like programs for preschoolers that has a curriculum. You can adapt it to your schedule so it could be a 2, 3, or even 5 day a week program. It's absolutely on the preschool level and I see no signs of pressure to excel. I do want her to have the best possible education, but I do not want to be one of those crazy parents who put unreasonable educational demands on their children. From what I've seen it just provides a structure for the same learning experiences any preschooler should have. And I think Caitlin really needs that structure for part of the day. She has so much energy that it really helps her to have something to focus it on.

So, my question to you is have you heard of home school preschool? What has your experience been with it? Positive? Negative? Have you seen a particular program that appeals to you more than another? I could really use some feedback on this one. I will definitely be praying about this because if we decide to go this route, it may help us decide whether or not to home school when she is ready to begin Kindergarten. I mean, it would certainly give me the a better idea of whether or not I'm cut out to be my child's teacher ALL the time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Labor

Yesterday was Labor Day and what did we do for our supposed break from laboring - we labored!! Although we had planted some fall crops about a month ago, it may be less, I'm really bad about judging time, distance, etc. But the problem was that we had several thunderstorms that effectively washed all our seeds out of the raised beds. We now have mustard and turnip greens growing in the walkways between beds, no broccoli coming up, and only a couple of little carrot plants showing themselves in the soil.

So, we got up yesterday morning and made the trek to the only real seed store we could find around here and picked up some broccoli seeds. Thankfully we had enough of the other seeds left over that we didn't need to buy any of those. Eric pulled up what was left of our tomato plants and we now have a garden full of seeds that hopefully won't be washed away with the next storm. We should hopefully have turnip & mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, green leaf lettuce, and red leaf lettuce. I'm really excited to see how the broccoli and carrots turn out! We've never planted carrots before and well, I really like broccoli.

(I had a really cute picture of Eric and Caitlin planting the seeds, but something is up with my computer and it's not letting me upload my photos. Sigh.)

While Eric was working on doing all of that, I gave our blackberry bushes another much needed 'haircut'. And we collected a final bunch of basil to make some pesto with. We thought we had gotten the last of the basil earlier, but some grew back and that's a-okay with me. I'm really enjoying all the wonderful pesto we've been able to make this summer.

Since it is a holiday, we did take some time to relax. Eric is finishing the second book of the Hunger Games series (I've already finished the entire series - read the second and third book in about 2 days) and I worked on some crocheting projects. We also visited with Eric's dad after Caitlin's nap.

It was a good day! How was your Labor Day weekend?

Monday, September 5, 2011

UPrinting Winner

And the winner is....


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