American Girl Bunk Beds and Bedding

This family project is officially done!  It took a little longer than expected but the bunk beds and the doll quilts are done!

A while back I decided it would be fun to make my girls bunk beds for their American Girl (-ish) dolls using the directions from Pieces for Reese.  My intention was for me to do the work with the girls assisting me.  JuneBug helped me shop for the wood, we got enough for two sets (one is going to be a gift for their friend, one of my "spares") and spent less than $20, included a countersink drill bit.

IronFish ended up jumping in on the action and he did most of the building and painting with the girls help (and a bit of mine).  The final results...

 Which one snores?
We finished it with a glossy white paint to match the bunk beds the girls got for Christmas.  My mother-in-law made each of my kids a quilt for their beds.  She sent me the left over fabric so I was able to make them coordinating doll quilts.  Thanks to Christine at From an Igloo, for the inspiration!

I did make a bit of a change from the original plans, on the bottom bunk, we put the plywood under the side rails to make a tray to hold the mattress in place.  I made the mattresses out of left over foam I had covered in old pillow cases I had in my stash.  I simply serged one side to the width I wanted, slid the foam in and tucked it closed.  I personally thought it was pretty clever (everyone should be proud of themselves every now and then!).

It feels good to knock a few things off my Craft Bucket List.

Peace be with you,


All in a day's work

I finally got something done in my craft area that I've been wanting for at least seven years...
Not insanely beautiful, just a ceiling fan but it has a light, I haven't had a ceiling light on this side of the room ever.  It was in my daughters' room but it was way too large for their little room, it couldn't be turned on more than low or it turned into a wind tunnel.  They now have a simple white, appropriately sized fan.  I get enough light that I might actually be able to work in there after dinner!

See, light!
 Now I have a lovely layer of dust to deal with tomorrow...
But, Ironfish gets to fix the hole in the ceiling this weekend!
I guess I should mention, the electrician did the work.  I got to deal with a sick child while I attempted to better tame my ribbon collection.
Peace be with you,


No Crock Pot, No Dinner

Just shy of it's 10th birthday, my beloved crock pot bit the dust.  Actually, I melted the bottom but the poor thing already had a melted handle and a chipped lid, but until recently, it still worked great.

This means I'm in the market for a new one.  I'm a big fan of slow cooking mainly because by the end of the day, I just don't want to deal with the kitchen.  Most of the time my crock pot has a prominent place on my counter top, really no need to put it away if it is constantly used.  Now it is sitting, looking rather lonely, on my back step because it needs to go out with the bulk trash.  Aside from when my in-laws were here, I haven't actually planned a meal, even a regularly cooked one!

I must admit, I'm not 100% without a crock pot, a friend of mine has two and loaned me her spare while I search for the perfect replacement, but it's just not the same.  My goal for 2011 food wise is to feed my family less processed foods, more home cooking, which would typically mean more time in the kitchen and we all know none of us has more time in the kitchen. 

This void in my heart kitchen needs to be filled soon but I don't want to jump into this relationship decision lightly.  Here are my requirements:
  • Programmable (my old one wasn't and I definitely think this is a handy feature)
  • 6 Quart
  • Stainless Steel or Black (since it will live on my counter, I'd like it to look like it belongs)
  • Good Reviews
  • Removable Liner (there are actually ones out there still that you can't remove the "crock")
Consumer Reports ranks the Set 'n Forget is the best in programmable.  They seem to have a version that meets my needs and it is the best seller on Amazon.

In my searching, I also found the BDY Slow Cooker on Amazon, it only has 6 reviews, one not so great (and very recent).  It is more expensive than others out there but it has a unique feature I haven't found anywhere... a divided insert so side dishes can me cooked separately from the meat!

So now I am not sure which one to get.  While looking to see if there was something similar by another company, I found that you can put a corning wear or Pyrex dish into any slow cooker to keep something separate.

Any advice?

Peace be with you,


Bit O'Green - Anthro Inspired Decor

The past few days we've been busy with family.  O-man is officially 3 and is making great potty training progress (extra people in the house have been helpful!).

Projects have been minimal but I did finish up a little something to add some green.  I saw this frame on Anthropologie.com a few days ago.  It is totally not my home decor style, but I still thought it was really cool ~ but not for $98!!!
I still think this would be really cool to make, especially if I have the right place for it, but with the $4 of dollar store supplies still on hand from my green trees and about 15 minutes of my time, I came up with this little cutie:
I think it's a cute little touch to my front door, I'm off to link this up to some parties after I serve up some Peanut Butter Chicken from my crock pot.... I hope it's a yummy as it smells!

Peace be with you,

PS - I'm linking this up to CSI's green week project:
Visit thecsiproject.com


Season 1 Contestant!

A few of my favorite blogs got together and started an exciting blog crafting contest called One Month To Win It.  I entered my Anthro-Inspired Shirt for $2 and out of 90 entrants, I'm one of the 12 selected to compete!!!!!

The contest consists of four weeks of craft challenges and my mind is already racing with ideas for each of the themes which will be announced on the OMTWI site.  Each week three contestants will be voted off the island.  The tribal council (aka judges) counts for 50% of the decision and the other 50% is based on an open poll.  While I won't be able to tell you ahead of time which project is mine, I will encourage you regularly to go vote.  All the crafters are very talented and I am honored to be a part of this event, so as long as you vote, I'll be happy.

Wish me luck!!!!
Peace be with you,


Luck of the Irish

I'm not Irish.  I've never decorated for St. Patrick's Day.  I have however celebrated the day, big time!  A friend of mine is from Ireland and every year she has a party.  Yesterday I was marking her party on my calendar and decided I would make some decorations for my house, in her honor.

Since I was making a quick trip to Dollar Tree for a few potty training bribes, I picked up this:
The trusty glue gun and more of those cardboard trees from my basement stash came out.   My assistant was more interested in playing today, so in about a half hour I had this:
I thought about trimming the feather one to be more symmetrical, but I kinda like the wildness.  The little one in the front is the flowers from the lei.  This one's my favorite:
I simply wrapped and glued a green clothes line around it!  I have a few more supplies and that wreath form to do something with yet.  I kept them solid green and they will be usable for my field of Christmas trees come December.  I'm very excited to make some things that are usable for multiple holidays.

Peace be with you,


Yoga Waist Sweater Skirt Tutorial

This post has been updated and moved!  Click on the picture to find it and check out my new home....


Things that start with P

We had an unexPected, non-snow day at home.  I thought it would be a good day to Put a certain little boy in underwear and see if we could move Potty training along a bit...

I accomPlished very little but there are several cleaner sPots on my floor!

What else starts with P?

Pancakes!  They really hit the sPot for dinner tonight.  We also made a really yummy Peanut Butter Bread which I think will be great toasted with honey on it.  If you want something Positive that starts with P, here's the reciPe:

1 cuP Plus 1 tablesPoon water
1/2 cuP Peanut butter
2 cuPs bread flour
1 cuP whole wheat flour
3 tablesPoons Packed brown sugar
1 teasPoon salt
2 teasPoons bread machine or quick active dry yeast

Put everything into your bread machine in the order listed.  Use the sweet or basic/white cycle and light or medium crust.  Makes a 1.5 Pound loaf, 12 slices.

Peace be with you,


Last Minute Valentine's Dinner and Tree Tutorial

We hadn't planned on doing anything major for Valentine's Day.  The kids all had class parties and with O-man's third birthday less than a week away, I was fine with just that.  I had been a little disappointed when the girls requested dollar store cards to give their friends, we usually make them together.  That "free" time enabled me to make them each a new pink dress out of my t-shirt stash.  JuneBug's didn't get completely finished, we couldn't decide on how we wanted to finish it up, so she wanted to use one of my scarfs as a belt, she's forever adding her own touch.
In between their class parties, I ran over to Dollar Tree to get a few things I needed.  St. Patty's Day had pretty much already pushed St. Valentine out, but I noticed a few bags of rose petals and some pink and red plastic champagne flutes.  As Gru says in Despicable Me... Light Bulb!

Pasta was already on the menu for dinner, I'm not about to spend money on plastic disposable glasses, but I remembered I had a bottle of sparkling grape juice and the makings of Shirley Temples, why not jazz up a regular Monday night dinner a bit for Valentine's Day?

And the rose petals?  Well, for $2 and an episode of Mickey Mouse Club House, I had had a table scape!  I've seen quite a few "Valentine's Trees" around blog land and had intended on making my own but time escaped me (what else is new, right?!?!?).  At one time I felt the need to stock up on these cardboard tree sets that never got used.  So here is what I started with:
Starting at the bottom of my "tree tower..."
All right, Mom's turn O-Man.  Glue the petals around, working towards the top.
Let your assistant think he is helping. 
Make several, stick them in a cardboard box.  Head outside and appreciate the 40+ degree weather that was FINALLY melting the 6,000 inches of snow and spray them with glitter spray paint (just watch out for the high winds or let me know when we should wear our matching glittered jeans together)
Plop some chocolates into mini muffin wrappers and onto a couple pillar candle holders for a super easy table scape.
I let the girls make the pasta and sauce (aka pour into pot and stir).  They were thrilled to drink their pink and red drinks out of real wine glasses, we stuck with a plastic cup for O-Man.  I also added red food coloring to some cheddar garlic bread I made in the bread machine.  IronFish got a kick out of that.
I hope you enjoyed your Valentine's Day as much as we did!  I think eventually I will use the base of the tree kit, but this worked for now.  I've had a vision of a whole forest of trees as Christmas decor, since these are just red and white, they will definately work in my plan.  I have a whole file saved of tree ideas for next Christmas.

Peace be with you,


Craft Organization... improvements!

When we "renovated" our kitchen, I really wanted more drawers in my craft space (the other side of my kitchen), however, the cabinets were hand-me downs and our budget was incredibly limited.  Some day I will do a post on how we did a 22 foot by 11 foot kitchen for only $4500, including appliances and doing the flooring two times.  I considered purchasing two drawer units but that would have meant re-routing two electrical outlets and a third of our budget had already been spent on electrical work so I went for a less expensive option.  Almost four years later and I'm still trying to incorporate drawers, guess I should have spent the money back then.

I searched off and on for many months for "add-on drawers."  A few months back I found and ordered the ones pictured on the left from Amazon, although they are actually black, not gray.  I got five kits, shipping seemed pricy to me, but ultimately I spent about $85 to add four drawers to my craft space and one to my kitchen.  Yesterday, IronFish was able to start installing them for me!  {Please note: I have no fear in using tools and doing this myself when my girls were young, I could have... O-man is a whole 'nother story!!!}

Since we were adding them to the underside of our laminate counter tops, IronFish cut strips of wood that we adhered with construction adhesive and screws to account for the lip at the front of the counter top.  Don't mind the visible mess on top, but here is the before:
I have an abundance of "craft crap" so don't think for a second that space had been empty!  That tension rod and material on top is actually a curtain I made to attempt to hide the stash below...  I would have taken pictures of the process, but as soon as the camera came out IronFish said he wouldn't continue if I was going to take pictures the whole time.  Installation prevailed so you will have to settle for my before and after shots, except for this one with the mess and the assembled drawer (they come in a flat box):
 Here they are installed:
And opened... just waiting to be filled!
The bottoms of the drawers are not really sturdy.  I read the product reviews online and some people suggested replacing it with plywood.  I may do that, but as of now, most of what I plan to put in them is fairly light weight.  It definitely gives me extra space and I'm already thrilled with them but IronFish has warned me if I ever purchase them again, I will find myself stuffed inside of them (the directions were beyond horrible!).  Once we figured out the first one the second one was a breeze to put together but just to spite me he continued to grumble (he'll deny that it was to spite me).

As in most of my organization projects, everything gets worse before it gets better.  But we are down to only four days until the in-laws arrive; which increases my determination.  I'm hopeful the other three will be finished before they arrive but our bowling league started last night.  Unfortunately for my team, real bowling is nothing like wii bowling.  Maybe it's all in the shoes.  Do you think these babies would help me break 50?

Peace be with you,


Bathroom Update

Back in our one bedroom basement apartment days, IronFish and I used to decide on Friday after work to invite people over.  We'd scurry around and get the whole place picked up and completely cleaned in about an hour.

Flash forward a few kids and we now live in a 3 bedroom townhouse.  With more space comes more things (more kids also bring more things) so I'd be doing some serious stashing to get the house in tip top shape in an hour.  We aren't planning a party, but we are expecting grandparents next weekend.  Truth be told, if you're family, you know how my house is.... however, when you add two people to the space for a few days, things feel even tighter, so I do really try to get a handle on things before people arrive.

I have a lot of work ahead of me but needed a feeling of accomplishment.  So I tackled the downstairs bathroom.  Within the past few months, IronFish has tiled the floor, painted the walls and put in new trim.  It looks great!  The problem?  Everything that was in there on the walls, cabinet, etc is stashed over the house.  As it was needed in there, it got brought back in with no place to put it away.  As usual, I was avoiding it.  Big surprise to me, it only took me about a half hour to get it into shape... that's a feeling of accomplishment!

Wanna see?

This cabinet is over the toilet.  It still looks a little cluttered, but it pretty organized.  Pull-up and things necessary to get O-man potty trained (which will hopefully be sooner than later, then I'll have another half of the cabinet freed up!).  I shouldn't have to buy hand soap or lotion for at least a year, not sure how I ended up with so many bottles.  I stuck the one random towel on top for now.  I like the little bottles, they came from my grandma and her sister.  Rolling up the hand towels in the basket made them look nice and within reach of the girls if they need a clean one, without them opening the cabinet.
Here is what my counter top was looking like at first.
Putting things in the correct home helped.
I finally got the picture hung as well as the towel hook.  Previously we had two towel rings and the girls never hung the towel back up.  They told me if I used a hook this time, they would be able to hang the towel up... I hung it at a level that all 3 kids can reach... I'm holding them to it!
 I love Command Strips, they make it so easy to hang the picture quickly!
I re-hung the hot/cold knobs on the side of the medicine cabinet.  I'm not sure what I'm going to hang on the other side yet.  I guess this will have to go on my project to-do list!
So why am I showing you this corner of my bathroom?  Well, the white column on the right holds tissues and 4 rolls of toilet paper in a pretty slim space... the $15 I spent on this 7 years ago was well worth it!
 Open up that little door on the left and you'll find:
I love it!  It is recessed into the wall, painted to match and holds cleaning supplies.  So worth it.  I really want to put one in each of the bathrooms... that might take some convincing for IronFish.

Here's the secret, under the sink has looked like this for 7+ years and now....
Well, it still looks like that, it's just not a priority yet.  Sorry to disappoint.  Well, I'm on to cleaning up my kitchen which went against my Flylady rules and did not get a shined sink last night...

Peace be with you,


More Thrifted Sweaters

My last 24 hours have been spent on the phone or online trying to track down and fix a problem with our flex spending account so we can get our reimbursment before it's too late.  Today while O-man naps, I'll be filling out tons of paperwork (yeah).  But the other day I did manager to get a few more of my thrift store find sweaters turned into a few new things.  Mainly things for Sister-Baby.  Here's a few pictures (not great since the camera is on it's last leg and JuneBug took some of them, she does try hard though):
Three cable knit pillows and a yoga waist sweater skirt.  I still have a few more sweaters I'm working into new things.  Hopefully I'll get this flex thing straightened out soon and my house cleaned up (again) since my in-laws are coming in a week, then I can finish up my projects!

Peace be with you,
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