Lollipop Trees

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tote Bag for Library Books

     Well, sewing is not my area of expertise, but I am enjoying the learning process. I posted my Boo Boo Bears earlier. I'm pretty proud of them because I created my own pattern and they turned out exactly as I dreamed up. Best of all, my children sleep with them every night.
     I have had quite a few new projects dancing around in my head, but my limited knowledge of my sewing machine has held me back. I have a decent, basic machine, but it has been in the the sewing shop a few times. First, I could NOT figure out why my thread would bunch up in my bobbin holder. The case for the bobbin actually broke, and my husband ordered a new part online to fix it. I threaded and rethreaded, looked at the owners manual, searched online for answers, but nothing worked. Finally I brought it in and learned that there are bobbins that are shorter and taller. My machine has a drop-in bobbin, so it needs the shorter ones. I bought new ones, and they were the wrong kind! Well, at least it was an easy fix.
     At the store, I was admiring the new machines with all the bells and whistles. Maybe I'll get one of those when I get into sewing, I thought. They even give you lessons on how to use your machine. "That's perfect for me. I don't know a thing about sewing," I told them as I was trying to lift my machine and balance it in one arm, as my son was sleeping in the other. The shop owner lifted a little handle on top of the machine and handed it to me. She pats my back and says, "It'll be ok, Honey." I didn't even know how to carrie my machine. It was so funny. I laughed myself through the parking lot.
     My latest trip there was for the bobbin again. I was trying to make the shirt skirt, and it caught and popped the bobbin casing right out of my machine. This time my husband came with and they showed him how to put the piece back in.
     Well, now it's up and running and I'm so excited because I created my own pattern again! Really, it's very basic and I'm sure there are actual patterns out there just like it. This time my kiddies picked out two fabrics each for the outside and the inside of their bags for carrying their library books. They just love them and I'm pretty proud. Nothing special to someone who sews, but it feels like quite an accomplishment to me. Just don't look too carefully at my sewing. Probably not as perfect as yours!

     I'd be happy to share my pattern if you'd like to make a bag too. It is reversible and the perfect size for library books and for little ones to carry on a shoulder or in their hands. (Unless the bag gets filled with lots of books. Then Mom get to carry it.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bible Talk

We have two "new" Christian books in our home. I say "new" because they are new to my family, but not to their previous owners.


The first book came from my grandma. It's cover is worn and stained and it is not much to look at. But inside it holds simple and wonderful daily devotions, as well as prayers for specific topics and audiences. Most importantly, it is a book that my grandma used to read everyday. She received it in 1946 from her Ladies Aid. Grandma had just become engaged to Grandpa and had an emergency appendix operation.
I have been cherishing my daily devotions, feeling close to her as I read them. It's a very prayerful time right now as Grandma needs to sort through her belongings and leave her home. It's hard to see her health fail. Her spirit is so loving and kind to everyone. Love you Lulu!

Our second book is The Beginner's Bible: Timeless Children's Stories. We have a few other Children's Bibles in our home, but some of the stories are not (in my opinion) worded appropriately for my two year old. This Bible is a perfect fit! My kids pick it up many times a day and beg to hear more. What a great buy! I found it on Amazon as a used book. It has writing in the front cover, but it was only a few dollars and well worth it! We will enjoy it for a long time.

And speaking of Bibles, I came across a blog of a great fellow Christian. Visit her site here: Biblical Homemaking.

Oh yes, and another reason I brought up these books is because of today's devotion in Today With God. It talks about listening. The question is raised, "What are you listening for?" What a great question, because you DO hear what you are listening for, both physically in sounds as well as through the soul and hearing God's voice. This was a great reminder today to be aware of what I am listening for in my life.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thrifty Deals!

I am becoming a huge fan of the thrift stores! It's great that in our disposable society, someone's trash can become another person's treasures. And you can spend so little for so much! I found great treasures on the day that I shopped for my shirt skirt supplies that I posted about earlier. I just have to share some of my deals!

I found this artificial plant half price and it came to only $1.50! I still can't believe it! I have a much smaller one similar to it for between $20 and $30.

I have been looking for an organizer/phone charging station for our entry. The one that I want is $50 and has only one star reviews on the internet. Needless to say, I was a bit leary to buy it. On the day that I decided to purchase the organizer, I found a shelf unit that would work just as well for (drum roll, please!)............... 50 cents! I still can't believe this one either! I am in the process of filling nail holes and other marks on it and painting it to give it a more updated look. And no, it isn't the perfect shelf that I would have picked out new in the store, but it holds everything exactly right and won't look too bad once it's finished! It's a keeper for that price!

The kids found two shirts a piece in the 25 cent bins. The each got Vikings football jerseys and another shirt that they loved.

Our next stop was the children's gently used clothing and gear store. We found this brand new, still in the box, Playskool bouncing worm toy for less than 1/3 of the cost that I saw on the internet.

My kids exclaimed as we left the store, "I can't believe it!" I wonder where they got that expression? That's exactly what I was thinking!

Diaper Humor

I was just about to change my little guy's diaper, when a fly landed on his behind! I had to laugh, thinking how this was such a stinky diaper. The fly couldn't wait to get to it! Ha!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lemons Continued

I forgot to mention 2 other ways to use the lemons from your lemonade making.

First, you can grate off the lemon zest and freeze it. Then you have lemon zest when a recipe calls for it, such as the yummy blueberry pie recipe that I love.

Second, take a lemon half after you've squeezed out the juice. Use it to scrub and disinfect your kitchen sink by sprinking salt into the sink and then use the lemon, cut side down, to scrub. It will gently bleach away discolorations as well. Cheap, natural, and effective cleaner!

Hand-Squeezed Honey Lemonade

Earlier this summer as I was getting ready for my garage sale (and selling all of my precious baby stuff -- sniff, sniff,) my kids (probably with my help) came up with the idea of having a lemonade stand. They sold lemonade and chocolate chip cookies for a quarter a piece. Grandma was extremely kind and made all of the cookies (2 ice cream pails worth) and wrapped each one to be sold. She also found a few things to sell and said that the procedes could go to the kids, as they were earning money for our vacation. They made twenty dollars each! And I must say that they both made smart choices with their purchases. A warm and very cute pink winter hat from Alaska for my little girl and two animal books for my little animal loving boy.

Well, we have been really into making lemonade since then. The kids call for lemonade or peppermint tea all of the time. We have even used the peppermint tea instead of water in our lemonade. Very tasty!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I try to eat as healthy as possible. This means fresh and whole foods and organic foods as often as possible. I aviod the following "food" like the plague: corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and colors and preservatives. We also try to eat mostly vegetarian and aviod cow's milk and other dairy products created from it. We seem to do better with goat's milk and almond milk. It can be easy to subtitute with soy products, and I try to avoid doing this as well, although we do eat soy.

Oh, and I try to use other forms of sweetners in place of refined sugar. So when we wanted to make lemonade, I was not about to buy the little packet from the store that is full of chemicals. I decided to make honey lemonade intead. I began searching the internet for recipes, and found many sites had the same quantities in their recipes, so I am not quoting anyone in particular for a source. Here is what we do:

Honey Lemonade

3/4 to 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup honey
2 cups hot water
water to fill the pitcher

First, add honey to the hot water and stir until dissolved. Next, add lemon juice. Then, fill pitcher with cold water. Last, pour over ice and enjoy!

I have found that 2/3 and even 1/3 cup of honey was just fine when I was running low on honey. The kids never knew the difference! I've been using 3 lemons, and that seems to be a good amount for our tastes. It helps to warm the lemons in the microwave for a minute and then roll them on the counter to break up the pulp and to get the juices going. I don't even have a lemon juicer anymore in my attemps to simplify. I just squeeze the lemon half with my hand and then use my wooden spoon to sqeeze out the remaining juice.

We like to serve our lemonade in mason jars. I hope you try it and love it as much as we do!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Shirt Skirt -- Love it!

Check out Melissa's awesome shirt skirt on Sew Like My Mom. I am so excited to make gobs of these! I bought a bunch of t-shirts and polo shirts at the Goodwill and have started making my own. These skirts are very simple and quick to make, super green and inexpensive, and of course completely comfy and cute! (I like to save the other parts of the shirt that are not used for the skirt. I keep buttons for my button jar, fabric scraps for rags or future projects...)

Get directions here:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Boo Boo Bears

As a little girl, I remember my mom sewing "corn bags." She took denim and another heavy, striped fabric and created a little pillow shape a bit larger than a half sheet of paper. It was filled with field corn. Mom made many bags and gave them as Christmas gifts to relatives that year, along with instructions about putting them in the microwave and creating a heat pack, or storing them in the freezer to use as a cold pack.

I still use my corn bag as an adult, as do my 2 children when they have tummy aches. Well, one day I was thinking about how the corn bag was a bit large and heavy for my little ones to carry around, so I decided to make smaller bags and fill them with dried rice. As I thought more about it, I decided that a heart or a bear shape would be fun. That is how the boo boo bears were created.
I am not an expert sewer, and so I was pretty proud to come up with this idea and then make it actually happen the way that I wanted it to happen!

The kids love their bears and sleep with them every night. We warm the bears in the microwave for a minute, and they snuggle their warm friends to sleep. Maybe we should rename them sleepytime bears...

I also love that they are recycled from daddy's old pair of jeans. Earth-friendly and cheap! These bags are pretty basic to make, but I would be happy to explain in more detail about the whole process if someone needs more specifics.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CSAs and Peppermint Tea

Have you heard of CSAs? It means Community Sustained Agriculture.

I love my CSA! We pay for a share of the crops and receive a good bushel-sized share of locally-grown organic food each week. This year I am loving the addition of the fresh boquets of flowers and the pick-your-own items.

The kids are crazy about making peppermint tea with the mint leaves. It is so easy and is a very refreshing, caffine-free drink.
Here is the recipe:

Peppermint Tea

Very hot water
15-20 mint leaves

Steep for a few minutes. Remove leaves. Drink cold.

How simple is that! I have been using my 8 cup measuring bowl to heat water in the microwave. The kids pull the leaves off of the stems and place them into a bowl. I dump and stir the leaves into the steaming water where they steep for a few minutes. After fishing out the leaves, we fill our glasses with ice and pour in the tea. Then it's time to drink the cold, minty goodness. Ahhhh!

I will try to attach a picture (that includes the peonies from the CSA as well) of the mint leaves steeping in the hot water...

I did it! :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Construction Season Has Begun!

Well, I have offically started a blog. Yea! I am currently reading some amazing blogs that I will tell you about later. Right now my focus is to figure out how to complete the design and settings and to figure out how to run this thing! Always a life long learner, and this is one of my current endeavors...
Please visit again, as I will eventually have something to share. :)