Paper Heart Flowers

Despite my intentions of actually using Valentine's decorations around the house this year (my girls love to decorate for the holidays), the wreath is the only thing that made it up.  Friday I went down and pulled out the container marked Valentine's Day, excited to finally be getting it out, I don't think I ever got it out last year.  Well, I sure was in for a surprise when I opened it...... it contained two hand towels, a roll of ribbon and some plastic hearts that must have broken off something else.  Surprisingly disappointing.

Good thing there are lots of fun Valentine's Day ideas floating around blog land.  One that stood out to me was a paper arrangement found here by Haley and her mom.  I really loved how Haley attached her paper flowers to sticks but there is a good 2 feet of snow preventing me from getting to a tree to steal it's branches, so I went with the skewers since I had them on hand. 

I also don't have a Cricut, but I do have scrapbook punches and slave labor children.  So I armed them with a stack of scrapbook paper, some stickers and glue sticks and set them free!  This ended up being a neighborhood project with several giggling girls at my dining room table.  When they were done I took the stack of "flowers" and hot glued them to long skewers.  I arranged them in a metal pail stuffed with newspaper.  The pointy end of the skewers made it easy to push them in to whatever height I liked best.  Here's the final result
Here's a close up

Some are a little funny looking, but they are bright and cheery, full of hearts and love, so I love them!  Now I get to clean up the living room so we can proudly display our Valentine's Day Bouquet... (ugg, this will probably take longer than it took to make the flowers...)
Peace be with you,


Eating our way out of the snow

Check out an updated, clean eating version at my new blog:
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According to the news, we are nearing record levels of snow in our area and more is on the way.  I'm not sure I can take much more of it, but O-man is currently mesmerized by the snow excavation that is going on outside our window 
Last week annalea hart had a post on how to make ice cream out of snow.  I personally had never heard of this before so earlier in the week, I stuck the biggest Tupperware bowl I had out on our back patio and we tried it yesterday.  This really was snow much fun!

Here is how we did it (Annalea's pictures are much better, and she has step by step pictures with the instructions).

1.  Find where bowl is hidden in back yard, this took longer than I originally expected since we got a good 10 inches more snow than predicted:
2.  Bring bowl inside and shock your children, they really couldn't believe I was bringing in a whole bowl of snow considering I keep telling them to keep as much snow outside as possible.
3.  Mix ingredients.  I put 2 cups of milk, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a different bowl.  Then added the snow until I had a consistency I liked (Annalea started with a gallon of snow and added her ingredients).
4. Stir until it looks like soft serve ice cream
5.  Put into individual bowls and drizzle with Hershey's syrup.  Enjoy!  (I forgot to take a picture, we were too busy eating it, quite yummy!)
6.  Freeze the rest and enjoy after the kids go to bed (don't worry, more snow is expected in a few days, we can make more...)

Peace be with you,


Pillow Problems Solved

About a year ago I decided my living and dining room needed to be re-decorated after 7 years in the house.  I found the couch I've been designing for years at Home Reserve and changed my whole color scheme.  This couch has storage under every seat (that is what I'd been dreaming of)!  From the beginning I planned on making throw pillows to pull bits of red (the color of the kitchen walls) into the living and dining rooms with shades of browns and teals to make the whole downstairs flow.

While treasure hunting in Home Goods, I found these pillows with all my colors:
Actually, the top two I found in a box at my house from my sister, the perfect size for my accent chairs.  In addition to being the perfect colors, they had another feature I loved:
Unfortunately they also had a feature I didn't like... the pillow form inside was feather and I'm allergic to feathers!  So, after a few days of sniffling and sneezing while sitting on my new [also American made] couch, the pillow forms were passed on to a friend, leaving me with the perfect pillow cases.  In my local stores I couldn't get the right size forms and when I finally got to a place that had the right size, they were not made in America, so I passed on them, determined to just make my own pillow forms from the piles of material I already have on hand.  As a temporary solution, I stuffed in my old bed pillows that I had just bought replacements for.

Life continued to happen and I never got around to making pillow forms and IronFish began complaining about the lumpiness of the throw pillows (also why they look kinda sad in the first picture).  Autumn came and I decided I would do those pillow forms and also picked up several thrift store sweaters because I had always intended to make winter pillow covers.  Then came Christmas, New Years and a few snow storms.....

Today, I walked passed the home section in Wal-mart and remembered those new bed pillows needed pillow liners/protector things.  Wal-mart actually carries pillow forms in their craft section that are made in America, however, they don't have the right size.  While I was there, I looked at the throw pillows on clearance to see if any of them were made in America and the right size to serve as my pillow forms (no luck), but I had a brainstorm when I got to the pillow liners, they came in a two pack for less than $4 and while not made in America, they were made in a country I'm good with, sized 20"x26", standard bed pillow.  I needed 20" square pillow forms...

Time and other projects were really my main obstacles to making the forms, but with a few pillow liners in hand, I save myself time and checked this off my list today!  Here is what I did:
1.  Fold over pillow liner to form a triangle, which gives us a square without doing any actual measuring
2.  I drew a line on the first one and then realized it fell right on a fold (for all of them) and didn't bother with the other two.  Be sure not to cut off the end with the zipper, you want to keep that!
3.  Serge along this line (or cut off and sew).  I didn't even bother turning it inside out, it's going inside another pillow after all.
4.  Now fill!  You could use fiberfill but I just cut open my old bed pillows and used that, keeping them out of a land fill.  Part of the reason I had replaced these was because aside from being pretty flat, I think they were left over from college!  That disgusting yellow thing is the outside of the pillow (OK, that will end up in a land fill) but with some pulling and fluffing the stuffing, it worked perfectly.
5.  Zip up after you've made sure to get the stuffing in the corners really well.
6.  Now the pillow form is ready to be stuffed into the pillow.  It may be hard to tell from the picture, but they actually look 100 times better and are incredibly more comfortable.
Now that the pillow forms are finally done, those thrifted sweaters are in the dryer, I'm determined to make my winter pillow covers before the next snow fall (which might actually happen tonight!)

Peace be with you,


"It's about time you made us chore charts, Mom!"

Yup, JuneBug actually said that when I showed her my new, nice, neat chore charts.  Tasha's response was "oooohhhhh, pretty!" And O-man wanted to know where his was too!  This obviously made me happy (big grin).

We've been slammed by several more inches of snow and during my insomnia last night, I looked for ideas on how I wanted to do these chore charts we've been talking about for a while.  Pre O-man, we had a simple chart on the fridge listing things that needed to be done by day.  This actually worked really well for us, but we thought we had it memorized and stopped printing it out (I would write the meals on it each week) and soon, not only was it forgotten about, so were the chores.

My girls are pretty helpful, but they don't like to be nagged (yeah, like anyone actually likes to be nagged by their mother...).   JuneBug does very well with a schedule and a timer is something that is quite helpful for keeping Tasha on track.  Now they each have their own timer (re:flylady on the awesome use of timers) and what they are supposed to do each day is written and is color coded for morning, after school and before bed.

I know the picture is hard to see, but weekdays are on the left, weekends on the right.  The red box is reminders (like taking meds, if necessary) and the green is a little reminder of how we've agreed their allowance will be divided up (savings, spending and donations).

O-man's is a little more simplified for a not quite 3-year old.  I was quite pleased that he was able to tell me what each picture represented without me telling him first.
The girls have picking up toys on their list, but the fact is, most of the toys are strewn about by O-man, and we have been working with him to be even a little part of that clean-up time.

One site I used for my inspiration was Organizing Made Fun, Becky has a great series on how to fake a clean house.  Ironically, her section on cleaning 15 minutes a day, is basically how we had our old chart.  While I'm still trying to do the whole flylady thing, I feel like I get a room in shape and the rest of the house falls apart.  I have my very own chore chart just like the girls' now too with the goal of ultimately getting everything cleaned once a week and doing flylady's daily missions so I don't have to do major cleaning ever again.

Yes, I probably spent way, way, way toooooooo long making these chore charts up for each of us.  My goal now is to motivate myself to get off the couch and work on my 52-weeks of organizing list, so I'm going to show off the few places in my house that I've gotten really organized and have stayed that way.  Don't worry, it's a pretty short list:
Probably my prettiest organized spot with everything labeled and almost all the spice containers have matching red lids
Inside one of the cabinets in my craft area.  Yes, we had to eat a lot of Chinese take-out to get enough containers!  The other ones are pencil boxes I picked up at Staples for 50cents, but obviously not enough.

My linen closet.  I think it looks great and very neat and orderly, but when I take a picture, it doesn't come across as nice, but trust me, it looks great!

Here is a close up of the linen closet.  I love my label maker, can you tell?
Yep, that's it.  Now you know why I have the 52-week list, only 3 spots in my house are truly functionally organized.  Guess I should make the most of being snowed in...

Peace be with you,


Why I carry my own re-usable bottled water

My daughter has been asking a lot about the enviroment and polution.  We found the video in this article to be incredibly helpful in explaining why I choose not to purchase bottled water because of it's impact on the enviroment.

Both girls loved the 8 minute video and filled up their water bottles for tomorrow before bed.  Their favorite ones are the Thermos brand ones and since O-man is starting to drink less out of sippy cups, I may have to get hime this Mickey one for his birthday, he's a huge Mickey fan right now.


Peace be with you,

Whatever Wednesday

I'm really not sure what happened to Tuesday, it totally escaped me.  And today, since I live one mile from I-95, where the weather is predicted to be the worst in our area, I'm going with "Que sera sera."

Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother, "What will happen today?
Will it keep snowing?
Will there be school?"
And I tell them tenderly:

Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The weather man can't really see,
Que sera, sera,
What will be, will be.

When I dropped the kids off at school,
I thought "What will I try?
Should I wash dishes,
Should I sew something?
This was my own reply:

Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be, will be
I'm not going to stress, you see,
Que sera, sera
Whatever gets done, will be.

When I got home, I texted my love
I asked my sweetheart, "What lies ahead?
Will you leave work early?
Or will I have to shovel?
Here's what my sweetheart said:

Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be, will be
Just drive safe, for me
Que sera, sera
We'll just have to wait and see
Que sera, sera.

I bet you're pretty glad O-man is the only one who has to hear me actually sing, trust me, I don't sound anything like Doris Day!

Peace be with you,


Rock the Vote!

I'm so very excited (again)!  I submitted my Anthro inspired shirt to a little contest on http://www.thetraintocrazy.com/ last week.  She selected her favorite 10 and readers get to vote for the winner.  Guess what... I'm in the top 10!  So, please do me a fav and hop on over there and vote for your favorite.  Voting ends Wednesday, so hurry up already!

In case you need a reminder as to what your favorite is, it looks like this

Peace be with you,


I feel like I'm starting over....... again???

So, girls weekend was awesome, I had a lot of fun with my gals.  I splurged and added a facial to my already scheduled massage.  I think I may have found a new pampering favorite.  Unfortunately some of our favorite stores were closed for the season (that whole snow covered Jersey Shore thing).  But, one that I found some awesome and unique things at last time, was opened, and again, I scored some awesome and unique things.

I also saw some clothing items on people and in stores, that gave me some ideas I'm so excited about.  Of course, I came home with the expectation that I wouldn't be doing more than hangin' with my kiddos since they hadn't seen me in 48+ hours.  But I have sketches and was excited to dig into projects tomorrow, until I realized the floor of my craft area looked like this:
Ugg.  Now, the box, green bag and white bag are all going out for the Vets to pick up tomorrow.  But a lot of things got bagged and put in the space so the rest of the house was in a similar state that I left it in.  Yes, I was trying to clean up other areas prior to my departure, so most of this is actually my fault. I guess I just didn't realize it before I left....

So, once again, we have come full circle and in order to craft any of my new ideas (or old ones for that matter) will be put on hold while I get a handle on this.  I'm hopeful I will have some serious determination tomorrow and knock some of this out so Tuesday I might actually get to start something... again...

At lease I know where the trash can is...

Well, I did until he walked away...

Peace be with you,


Girl's Weekend Gift

I'm patiently waiting until it is time to leave for my Girl's Weekend!  Several of my good friends and I try to get away together once or twice a year.  We're headed to the Jersey Shore (yes, I realize it is covered in snow right now, the beach is not really the point of the weekend) where we'll share good food and good times.  We also get a spa treatment which I can't wait for.  So my random thought process, beach... spa... girls... Christmas....

OK, a little off track, but when we all get together with our families on Christmas eve, many families bring little goody packages for the other families.  Being from Ohio, I like to make Buckeyes, but that never happened this year.

Back to spa thoughts, I decided to make the gals my family's favorite Sea Scrub.  It is incredibly easy, just sea salts and Avon's Skin So Soft oil (yup, I've been selling Avon for about 6 years now!).  My little ones actually call this "sanding" when we use it on them in the tub.  But, they come out smelling nice with soft and smooth skin. 
Only about a half an hour until I leave, yeah!  Enjoy your weekend............

Peace be with you,


My First Link Party Feature!

I'm so excited! I linked up at the Fridaze link party last week with my Anthro-inspired shirt and the Lovely Liz of Fastdaze featured me! Yeah!

Peace be with you,
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Scrappy the Shape Monster

Sometimes I find when I am trying to listen to something or someone, my mind is wandering.  Even when I try really hard to pay attention, something said will cause me to think of something else and the next thing I know, I'm on a totally different topic, at least in my mind.

I've found that crocheting or knitting helps.  As long as I know the pattern I'm doing, I can easily keep my hands busy and then I actually pay better attention.  I guess I am just too used to multi-tasking!  Because of this, my purse usually has a crochet hook and some yarn in it everywhere I go, church, bible study, kids dance class, etc.  I frequently make wash cloths, or doll clothes like this:
So, yesterday when I was getting ready to go to bible study, I needed to grab some yarn, but really didn't have anything in mind to work on.  O-man brought me about 5 tiny balls of yarn, scraps too small to do much with and asked me to make something for him.  I tend to make girly things, and since he's almost 3, didn't think he really paid too much attention to this fact.

Working with what he brought me, I made him "Triangle Monster" (he named it):
This is by no means a new idea, I've seen them around and his "Aunt Amy" made him one a while back that he loves, he named that one "Amy Monster," which cracks me up.  He's hangin' with his "guys" now:
Amy Monster, O-Man & Triangle Moster, just chillin'
I've got more scraps of yarn than I know what to do with.... and the girls have dance class in an hour...
Peace be with you,


She wears short skirts... I don't think so!

I have long and lanky girls.  They have been that way from the beginning always more inches than pounds.  Clothes have always been a problem for them, for a while, we used chip clips to hold their pants up!  When they were little, they didn't care but as they got a bit older, they noticed none of their friends wore chip clips on their pants (go figure). 

So, for a while, we stuck with knits or things with elastic waists so I could just make a small opening, reduce the elastic and sew it back up.  Then one day in a craft store, they found a fabric they liked and asked me to just make them a dress....

I hadn't made clothes since college, so I started simple and have gone on from there.  Jean skirts were still a problem.  They wanted to wear them but in order for them to be long enough, they were always too big in the waist.  Or, if they fit in the waist, well, lets just say even the Texas Cheerleaders wouldn't wear them that short.

Enter, the Petal Skirt.  My girls and I have had a lot of fun designing these skirts.   Working with quilt scraps, remnants and fat quarters, we sit on the floor and choose different color combinations for each skirt we find at thrift stores. 

What do you think?

I took several to a few craft shows in December and only have a few left (yeah!).  They are now available in my new etsy store: HarperNCo.

Peace be with you,


Oooohhhh, looky what I learned today!

A little thanks to Jennifer over at Classic Crafter for showing me how to add a signature to my posts, something I so wanted to figure out!

Peace be with you,

Craft Organization... part duex!

I'm not fond of 7-11's new marketing plan.... dropping slushies from the sky until we go buy them... that is the yuck that is outside today.  So after the 90-minute school delay, I got out and did my errands as fast as I could so I could stay inside for the rest of it.

I've got several projects underway, but not much finished to show for it yet, and part of that is due to the current state of my craft area!  After all the great work I did to get it in shape, I'm struggling to keep it neat so when I'm ready to work, I don't have to wade through a sea of clutter to get to it...

While I am trying to maintain my flylady routines, no school days are throwing me off, part of why I haven't added anymore baby steps yet.  I get so easily sidetracked, especially when I sit down to check out some of my favorite blogs.  I really am trying to use my timer, but sometimes I stop it and litterally forget I'm supposed to move on to something else!  I know several things happened in between these thoughts, but I'm just going to save you the babble.... I ended up checking out my friend Debie's blog and seeing how she organized her recipes which led me to another blog hosting a year long plan of getting organized, 52 weeks of Organizing.  Since I aspire to be organized, I had to check this out.  Now, I actually like the process of putting things away neatly and organized, it's just the time it takes and I struggle with actually getting rid of things... but I digress... From http://www.orgjunkie.com/ I printed off this handy tool to list out the places I would like to organize and I broke it down to specific drawers to help me stay motivated (not, Organize Kitchen, but organize utencil drawer, etc).

... again, skipping some sidetracked babble...

Back to today, I stood in my craft area with an awesome bag of goodies from the thrift store, not what I went for, but they were having fill a bag for $7 sale today, and I snagged some great things to upcycle.  I was dying to finish up a few projects, so I could start some new ones, but alas, my space that looked like this earlier in the month:

didn't exactly have room for me to work.  Enter that nice orgjunkie list of 52 places I need to organize (ok, I don't have 52 on it yet, but I'm sure I will soon enough).  I admitted earlier that I wasn't 100% complete in my organizing of this space, those two middle drawers weren't touched, and I had still have my "other crafts" bin to sort through.  I always feel like I don't have enough drawers in my craft area or kitchen so I recently ordered a few of these add on drawers.  I'm itching to put them together and install them, but really felt I needed to clean out those center drawers so I knew what should go into these new drawers.

So, my list has the drawers as seperate items, and since yesterday I opened the right one and couldn't close it, it was the lucky winner of today's clean out!  Here is what I started with:
I emptied the whole thing out and even used a tooth pick to clean in the gross crevices:
And after only 20 minutes (probably would have been less but I was trying to do this with O-man at my feet), I had found several things I didn't need, a small pile of trash, a big pile of recyclables, some things that belonged in other areas and I actually ended up with an empty drawer!  Nothing that was in there before needed to be there, AT ALL!  I took a short break to really think about what should go in that drawer.

Truth be told, I know why I can't keep my craft area in good shape, I still have too much stuff!  So too much stuff ends up in piles on top of the work space.  I opted for relocating two of scrapbooking storage bins from the surface (far right corner of the counter) into the now empty drawer.  One of those bins has left the counter completely, and another one was filled in by a small basket of stuff that never found a home before.  This is my end result:
My scrapbooking punches (with a smidge of room to grow), crochet hooks and knitting needles each have a seperate space.  Plus, I actually had all those little connecting drawer containers that I hadn't decided if I should keep or get rid of yet, so getting this drawer in shape didn't cost me a dime!

Now, I know that was quite a long rambling post, but can you imagine how long it would have been if I didn't cut out the extra babble!?!?!?!?!?
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