Archive | June, 2012

Sidewalk Chalk Painting

21 Jun

Eli and cousin Anna had a great time “painting the porch”.

 

One of Eli’s favorite new summer activities is what he calls painting the porch.  I found this recipe for Sidewalk Chalk Paint on Pintrest.  It is so simple you must try it with your kids.  😉  I have also found that it keeps kids occupied for a long time!

Eli was in awe of the paint.

We have been making sidewalk chalk paint about once a week and usually 1/2 the original recipe and make it as follows.  Combine: 1/2 c. cornstarch, 1/2 c. water, and food coloring.  (I usually split the cornstarch/water mix in two cups so that Eli has 2 colors to paint with.)

Yeah mom this chalk paint rocks.

 

While the kids painted the porch I had a lovely time writing a letter to a friend and reading a book.

 

Cousin Anna enjoying her chalk paint.

Sidewalk chalk paint was a huge hit at our house.  What a great way to bless the little people in your life!

May Reads

18 Jun

May was such a fun super busy month for our family that I am surprised I was able to read as much as I did.  Audiobooks are wonderful!  😉

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  Eli and I began this classic children’s audio book on our way home from our road trip to Chattanooga earlier this month.  I’m pretty sure it was also my favorite book that I read this month.  🙂  I was surprised at how much Elijah enjoyed listening to it.  As soon as we would get into the car he would ask for me to turn it on.  Now every time I see a robin in my own garden I can’t help but think of little Mary in her secret garden with the robin.  (We plan on reading a chapter book children’s book every month.  Any suggestions for June?)

The Financially Confident Woman by Mary Hunt.   This was an excellent financial book written especially for women.  It is filled with practical ideas and hope for those who find themselves far from where they would like to be financially.  I found myself sharing so many excerpts with Brandon that he finally asked if there was a financially confident man book.  😉  (I wouldn’t be surprised if Brandon pulls it off my bookshelf and secretly reads it this month.)

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis.  I have a confession: I have read every single book Beverly Lewis has ever written.  🙂  It started when I was in highschool and now whenever we are preparing for a road trip I always grab a couple of her books to take along. Usually her books involve an Amish girl but The Fiddler portrayed an “English” girl who meets an Amish boy.  I’m not sure why but I didn’t care as much for The Fiddler as I usually do for Lewis’ other books.  Probably because I really enjoy the Amish girl’s perspective throughout the book.  (I did receive a review copy of The Fiddler in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.)

How to Encourage Your Husband by Nancy Campbell. This slim book is packed with words of wisdom for wives.  It was so good I wanted to rush through to the end of the book but tried to pace myself so that I could implement some of the material as I was reading.  🙂  I was blown away at how great this book was.  I am so thankful for it and look forward to reviewing it often.  What a blessing especially to young wives like me!

Hold It: How to Sew Bags, Totes, Duffels, Pouches and More by Nancy Restuccia. Although the photos are dated this book is packed full of neat sewing ideas.  In the past year I have made a number of different bags so this book was perfect.  A lot of the projects in the book would make great gifts.  The projects in the book range from beginner to fairly advanced.  I am planning on sewing the shoe travel bags, the hosiery roll up, and one of the totes from this book in the next few months.

Simplicity Home Decorating Book.  I was really looking for a book with more curtain ideas than this one contained.  It is a large book but really did not contain what I was looking for.  I enjoyed browsing through the pages one evening but do not have any plans on making anything from the book (not one I plan on adding to my library.)

Canning for a new generation by Liana Krissoff: This book was a complete let down as I fully expected to devour this book and make lots of the recipes.  I almost purchased the book since it had such nice reviews on amazon.  How thankful I am that I did not!  All of the canning recipes in the book call for extremely bizarre or expensive ingredients.  I look at canning as a way of saving money but the author looks at it more as a creative expression or hobby.  Really?  Throughout the book the author just doesn’t seem like she really knows what she is talking about despite the plethora of recipes.  I will just be sticking with my trusty Ball Blue Book and sending this one back to the library.

How to repair a car seat cover

10 Jun

This is what the car seat cover looked like before the re-do.

While at a baby shower in April a friend asked me if I could help her fix the cover on her car seat.  I was thinking little rip or tear.  She was thinking either sew an entire new car seat cover or replace part of an existing cover.  😉  Always one for a challenge and also having a strong desire to help my friend out and save her some money I said yes.  It was a litte bit of a challenge and I would not recommend attempting something of this nature if you are a beginning sewer.  If you have been sewing for a little while then the following is a make-shift tutorial of what I did to fix the seat.  It took a little time but saved the family lots of money.  I was so thankful that my family was able to bless her family in this way!  🙂

The car seat needed to be fixed due to a small amount of mildew/mold in the bottom right corner. My friend had already killed the mold before giving me the car seat cover so I did not mess with any of that.  If you do have mold or mildew on your cover you need to kill the mold/mildew first.  It probably would have been okay if it had just been patched over since it was dead but since a newborn baby would be in close contact with the car seat I decided to rip out any portion of the old cover that contained mold and make another part to replace that area. 

 

(This is a finished image.) Using a seam ripper I patiently ripped out the seams along the bottom and along the sides of about 1/3 of the car seat along the bottom. Then I took a BIG breath and cut across the middle. (I did not cut any of the brown outer edge.)  I also removed the tab that covers the buckle (I think) and kept it for later.  (I re-attached it at the end.) 

 

After removing the bottom portion of the car seat I also ripped out the stitching in the middle so that I had two pieces: the top and the bottom.  Keep both pieces.  The top portion will be used to make a pattern for the new piece. 

 

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Make a pattern by tracing the top piece.  Then add your seam allowance.  (I used 1/2″.)   Be sure to unfold the center pieces and add 1/2″ for seam allowances there also.  I also added a 1/2″ to the top of the pattern in order to compensate for having to sew the bottom portion to the top of the cover.  You don’t want your cover to be too tight when it is finished.  Make sure to include markings for where there needs to a hole for the buckle or a buttonhole for the car seat straps.  In the picture I have my pattern piece laying on top of the blue fabric that was used as the repair piece. Make sure that you use the same material that the rest of your cover is made out of. I used a suede fabric and made sure to find one that was WASHABLE. Do not use a dry clean only fabric.

Cut out the square in the center (where the buckle will go). Then cut a small 1/2 inch slit in each of the corners. This will make it easier to sew this part.

 

I had originally planned on replacing the batting but changed my mind and used the original batting and the back piece. Place the batting and the top piece right sides together. Pin around the hole in the center. Stitch around the hole in the center.

Sew completely around the inside square. Turn inside out.

After turning inside out press lightly with an iron. (Be careful to use your irons recommended settings for your fabric.) Top stitch around the edge of the opening.

Make a large button-hole using the markings you made on your patterns.  Add fray check or fray block to keep seams from fraying.  (I don’t remember what exact settings I used on the buttonhole-something heavy-duty though.) 

 

I also removed the buckle flap from the original piece and sewed it onto the new bottom. I followed the sewing lines on the flap that were sewn on originally and used a 3/8″ seam allowance. I think the flap here added a nice touch to help incorporate the bottom portion with the rest of the cover. 🙂

 

 

Sew the bottom portion back onto the cover sewing right sides together and attaching bias tape when necessary.

The final step is by far the hardest one.  Don’t give up you are almost finished!  This was a big fight to shove all of the fabric in between the bias tape.  For parts of it I sewed the top piece to the bottom piece and THEN attached the bias tape.  (Sorry I don’t have a picture of this tricky step.)

Here is an upclose view of the car seat fix. The blue fabric is the fix fabric while everything else is the original fabric.

 

Ta-da! One fixed car seat cover.

 

Overall this was a great project and one that I can definitely say was a blessing to others.  (I hope at least.)  🙂  What a great reminder that God can use any of our skills or gifts to be a blessing to someone else.  If you have any questions about how to fix/repair your car seat cover please leave a message in the comments and I will get back with you!

Water Table Fun

1 Jun

Such a blessing to little Elijah.

A couple of weeks ago I accidentally bought Elijah a Fisher-Price Water Table.  Honestly it was an accident.  We were quickly making our way through our favorite grocery store (Aldi) and all of a sudden I stopped.  There across the row from the pickles I saw it: a water table complete with a ferris wheel, water wheel, and best of all a spiral center where balls could be thrown.  At once I was mesmermized.

I quickly marked about half of the items off of our grocery list and loaded up the water table in our cart.  (You can only use cash at Aldi so I had to put some things back in order to have enough money.)  😉  In one sense I was almost giddy at the thought.  On the other hand, as a super frugal momma I struggled with a little guilt.  Is it really okay for me to spend $30 on such a frivolous toy?  One that we will really only use for a couple of months?  We hardly ever spend money on new toys for Elijah.  (Yes we do buy a lot of books, but I could probably count the number of new toys we have purchased for Eli on one hand.)

Our whole family is thankful for the water table which now adorns our front porch. It is a delight to watch him enjoy it everyday.

I brought the toy in the house somewhat skeptical of what Brandon’s reaction was be.  He was absolutely shocked and laughed so hard when I told him all about wanting to buy it, momma guilt, and thinking maybe we should take it back.  Brandon thought it was a wonderful idea so I spent the next fifteen minutes putting it together while Eli jumped up and down.  Then we spent a delightful evening exploring Eli’s new toy.  Today I’m really thankful for that toy.  We (and I do mean we) continue to enjoy playing with it almost every single day.  If you pass by our house on a sunny afternoon you can almost be sure to find Eli and I outside splashing around and having a wonderful time.   Feel free to honk and we’ll wave back at you! 🙂