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Handstitched Felt Love Banner

12 Feb
The Love Banner

A couple of weeks  ago I saw this fun tutorial on making a Valentine’s Day banner.  I had decided last weekend that I was done making Valentine’s Day Decor after making a mantle banner and wreath. 🙂   Then the other day I happened upon it again and at Brandon’s encouragement I decided to make it.  What do you think?  My favorite part is the love birds.  😉  Unlike most of my projects this one did NOT require a sewing machine at all.  It is 100% hand stitched and was quite fun.  The tutorial for this is also quite good.  You can print off a pattern to use to cut out the pieces.  (This was great for me because I am quite the pattern gal.)  It even explains how to do the different stitches if you are new to embroidery.  Let me know if you decide to make one too! 🙂

Valentine Wreath

6 Feb

So simple yet so much fun!

Not only was this wreath lots of fun to make but it was easy.  🙂  For some reason wreaths have always intimidated me.  (This is only the second one I’ve ever made the first being n 4th grade.)  I wish I could say I came up with this idea but alas it is not mine.  If you would like to make one check out Our Best Bites for the tutorial.  Instead of the felt sheets I purchased 8 inches of 72″ felt by the yard in 3 colors which was on sale at JoAnns. I also used about 12 glue sticks so make sure to buy accordingly!  I purchased the foam wreath from JoAnns and since they came in white I didn’t have to paint it. 😉

Valentine’s Day Garland

5 Feb

Easy Valentine's Day Decor

Are you looking for an easy, inexpensive Valentine’s Day craft to decorate your home?  Try your hand at this simple banner made from scrap fabric.  I made mine out of woven cotton scraps but it would be even easier to make out of felt since felt does not fray.  You will need the following:

  • 2/3 yard of background fabric (pink swirl)
  • 14″ X 9″ rectangular scrap of fabric or purchase 1/8 yard of solid fabric for lettering
  • 14″ X 9″ rectangular scrap of interfacing or purchase 1/8 yard
  • 2 1/2 yards of ribbon, string or rick rack

Either draw or print out the letters L O V E. Mine are about 4" high. Pin them to your solid fabric and interfacing and cut out.

Take your background fabric and fold it so that it is longer.  (If you purchased your fabric this will be the opposite way that it is currently folded.)  Along the fold cut out 6 rectangles 5″ X 8″.  You can either leave them square along the short side or make them pointed like mine. 

If you are using a woven cotton fabric you will need to turn under all of the sides 1/4". If you use felt you can skip this step.

This is what it should look like when you are finished sewing the edges. Press with a hot iron. Fold in half and press again.

Iron the interfacing to each letter. Then center the letter onto the front side of the background fabric. Using a small zig zag stitch sew right along the edge.

Take your ribbon and sew the first pendant on at 16″.  This will give you plenty of length to tie the banner to something.  Then sew each of the other consecutive letters 6″ apart. 

Hang up and enjoy your lovely Valentine's Day decor.

Sew a Birthday Banner

27 Dec
 
The Birthday Banner-A New Tradition

In preparation for Eli’s birthday I really thought about what kinds of birthday traditions we would like to incorporate for our children.  Growing up we had a special birthday tablecloth that adorned our table for each and every birthday.  I wanted birthdays to be fun and special yet simplistic.  Hence the birthday banner was born.  I think it is pretty fun and I am sure it will be a part of each and every birthday celebration for years to come.

Notice the birthday banner in the background. What a great alternative to crepe paper!

To Sew Your Own Birthday Banner:

Supplies: 2 packages of Wright's Double Fold Bias Tape, scrap fabric (I am guessing about 2-3 yards?), Triangle Pattern

I also made a triangle pattern out of a piece of cardstock.  I liked the look of uniform size pieces.  One of the fabrics was also part of a sheet that I had used on 2 other projects so this made it a lot easier to cut out. 🙂  Note: I doubled my triangles (sewed 2 together) so that I could also hang the triangles across a room and not just along a wall.  I think I ended up cutting out 52 triangles in all.  (I cut them out 4 at a time so it didn’t take very long.)

I decided to finish the edges of the triangles since I plan on having the banner for a long time. It will eventually get dirty and need to be washed. 🙂 I serged around the edges but you could also zig zag of use pinking shears. You do not have to serge the short side of the triangle as it will be iniside the bias tape.

Decide if you want to do a pattern (like I did) or randomly. Place them in order and you are ready to sew.

Open up the bias tape and place the edge of the triangle inside. Sew on top of the bias tape.

Hang up your banner and enjoy! You can make the banner any length. Mine is 6 yards long (18 ft.).

A Tale of 3 Stockings

24 Dec

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

 Tomorrow marks our third Christmas together but the first one where we actually have stockings hanging on our mantle. 🙂  I was stubborn and decided two years ago that sewing Christmas stockings was going to be a part of our family traditions so here they are.  With having a baby and moving last year I didn’t have time to make them.  (Although if I had realized how simple they would be I might have tried.) 🙂 

Brandon's Stocking

Amanda's Stocking

Eli's Stocking. I think it's the cutest.

Truly there is much joy in our home. We are so blessed.

Eli was so excited about his stocking he couldn't hide it!

Notes: I used Simplicity 4842 view A to make each of the stockings.  They are all 14″ which is plenty big enough.  I did not add any of the fancy trim that the pattern calls for as I like the look of simple stockings better.  The pattern was great to use and also includes instructions for 2 different tree skirts and sewing reusable gift bags.  Now I just can’t wait till Christmas!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

23 Nov

Yummy pumpkin spice latte perfect for Thanksgiving week

I happen to be one of those gals who loves fancy coffee drinks.  What I don’t love is their price tag.  If you haven’t visited a coffee shop lately you might be shocked to learn that most drinks cost around $4.  One of my favorite drinks in the fall happens to be a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I do visit coffee shops on occasion but they are a rare treat for me.  Instead I am often coming up with my own version at home.  It’s fairly simple but I’ll warn you.  Once you make one and see how easy it is it will be hard for you to plop down $4 at Starbucks. 🙂  

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. milk-any will do but skim milk actually gets the most frothy
  • 2 T. pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 2 T. sugar I used sucanat
  • 1 T. vanilla-yes a whole tablespoon!
  • 1 t. pumpkin pie spice.  If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice then I would substitute: 1/4 t. nutmeg, 3/4 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. ginger.
  • 1/2 c. hot strong coffee-you could also use 1/4 c. espresso but I don’t have an espresso machine. 

Heat milk on medium heat. Skim milk works really well as it gets nice and frothy.

Add pumpkin puree and sugar (I used sucanat which is why it is a brown color)

When it is steaming remove from heat and stir in pumpkin pie spice (or the substitution) and vanilla.

Pour in strong coffee or espresso and enjoy!

It is best topped with whipped cream and enjoyed with a friend.

How to Clean a House: The Natural Way

15 Nov

My favorite cleaning tools: Dr Bronner's Sal Suds, Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, Norwex Enviro Cloth, and Norwex Window Cloth. I also use a spray bottle full of water, mop bucket, mop, and toilet scrubber.

Clean the bathroom, sweep the floors, vacuum, mop, dishes, laundry, the list goes on and on.  Are you looking for a simpler way to stay on top of your cleaning?  This past weekend I was blessed to host the youth girls from our church.  Not just a couple of them either we had 17 of them in our house!   🙂  As I suspected they slept in every square inch of our house except the kitchen floor!    As I began preparing our home for them last week I was so thankful that we have developed a cleaning schedule that has greatly simplified keeping our house clean.  For me the secret has been to stretch out my cleaning over a couple of days.  I also have switched to a more natural approach. 

Elijah helping me clean the other day by playing happily for a few minutes. Most of the time that I am cleaning I actually wear Elijah on my back in the Ergo.

For years I have had trouble with commercial household cleaners.  I wasn’t too keen on cleaning with vinegar and we have purchased some “natural cleaners” in the past but they were a little pricey.  Since then we have come across Norwex Cleaning Products.  We purchased a set which included a window cloth, regular enviro cloth, and a dust mit from The Urban Homemaker.  The price might seem a little pricey at first but it is worth it not to have a migraine after cleaning!  They also come with a two-year guarantee.  Along with the Norwex cloths I use Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap.  That is it!  My cleaning bucket has shrunk considerably and cleaning is simplified! 

  • Mondays: I clean downstairs: Living Room, Entry, Hall, Kitchen, Library, and Bathroom. 
  • Tuesdays: I clean upstairs: For the bedrooms: change sheets weekly, dust with Norwex dust mit, straighten up, vacuum.  To clean the bathroom: 1) Squirt a little Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap into the toilet. 2) Spray down mirror and sink with plain water.  Yeap that’s right just water.  Wipe with a Norwex Enviro Cloth, then wipe mirror with Window Cloth.  3) Spray down shower and wipe with Enviro Cloth. 4) Scrub toilet with toilet brush.  Wipe down toilet. 5) Wipe down floor with enviro cloth.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is to clean a bathroom now that the smell from the chemicals no longer make me sick.  Amazingly the bathroom really does get clean with just water and a Norwex Enviro cloth.  (I was quite a skeptic about these at first but they are awesome!) 
  • Wednesdays: Light downstairs cleaning.  I might mop again.  If I wasn’t able to finish Monday or Tuesdays cleaning on the day it is assigned I do it on Wednesday.  For example this week I wrote a paper most of the day on Tuesday so I finished Tuesday’s cleaning jobs this morning.  This assures that by the middle of the week all the major cleaning is done for the week. 
  • Thursdays: I try not to do heavy cleaning since this is Brandon’s day off.  I do cook, wash dishes, pick up the living room, and maybe run the vacuum or sweep since Elijah is crawling. 
  • Fridays: Clean out refrigerator.  Laundry.  In the summer/fall I do laundry everyday and hang it to dry in the morning.  In the afternoon I bring it in, fold it, and put it away.  Once winter hits I like to do the majority of the laundry on one day (except diapers-I wash every couple of days).  Prepare for the weekend. 

Sometimes I don’t get absolutely everything in the house cleaned every single week but that’s okay.  Elijah might have been having a needy week or I might have had 2 papers to write and a test that week.  Cleaning your house doesn’t have to be complicated just find out what works best in your home.  Before I had a baby it worked great for me to clean just one day per week.  Now in my current season of life I find that it works better for my family if I spread my cleaning out over a couple of days.  Remember the goal of cleaning a house is to make it an inviting place for your family and to welcome others into your home. 

 To check out Norwex cleaning cloths visit: http://urbanhomemaker.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=376