the "yum" bib

I found a really nice home decor fabric remnant at Hobby Lobby this past week.  Since it was almost a full yard, I figured I could get at least three toddler bibs out of it.  I bought some iron-on vinyl with my 40% off coupon, and used snaps and velcro I had on hand already.  I made two of these during naptime yesterday, and sometime in the next week I'm going to make a couple of girly ones out of some clearance fabric I found.  We'll see how they sell at the craft sale coming up...  :o)

Linked up to Creations by Kara!


more christmas shirt designs

With a craft sale coming up in a week and a half, I decided to make a few more Christmas shirt designs for customers to choose from.  I've come up with the following prototypes!

I'm really liking how these are coming together....stitching around the small initials takes some patience, but I really like personalizing stuff to make it that much more special.  :o)


christmas crafts: bespectacled rudolph shirt

For a sweet little girl who wears glasses.....the "bespectacled rudolph" shirt!

Yes, I said "bespectacled."  It's a word, I checked.  :o)  Hope she likes it!

 Linked up to Creations by Kara!


christmas crafts: cinnamon stick candle holder

Well, it's the day after Thanksgiving, which means I can officially start decorating for Christmas.  Yep, I'm one of those purists who believes in celebrating one holiday at a time!  So today during naptime while the hubby was out playing tennis, I turned on some Christmas music and fired up the glue gun.

I had this craft project in mind the last time I went to Hobby Lobby, so I already had everything I needed.  And I was in luck, since at the time all Christmas decor stuff was 50% off, as well as all the glassware!

Turns out that the cinnamon sticks I got were the perfect length for the sides of my candle holder, so I didn't have to cut any of them.  I just made sure all of them were flush with the bottom so the candle holder would still sit flat.  And I ended up using almost all of the sticks in both bags, with maybe eight leftover.  So within about ten minutes, I had this!

I used some leftover single-fold bias tape for the bow, but some pretty Christmas ribbon would look great too.  And I'm seeing now in the picture that some of it is twisted in the front, so I should go fix that.  As well as remove all remaining hot glue strings.  I hate those things.  Next time I make one of these, I'm going to glue from top to bottom so all the glue strings I forget to tear off will get hidden by the bottom anyway.  :o)

I've got some more Christmas ideas in mind, plus a few more shirt designs, so stayed tuned!

Linked up to Creations by Kara!


in the kitchen: four egg cake

My husband turned 30 yesterday, and in honor of that occasion I thought I'd share a yummy cake recipe that my mom gave to me a long time ago.  It's really simple to make, and separating the eggs makes all the difference.  Trust me.  :o)

{Four Egg Cake}

The Ingredients.

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk

The Method.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Separate the eggs and set the egg whites aside.  Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together, then add the vanilla, almond extract, and egg yolks.  Then add the flour and baking powder alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with flour.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until fluffy and soft peaks form.  Fold the beaten whites into the batter.  Pour into greased pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool before frosting.

I frosted this cake with chocolate frosting using the recipe on the can of cocoa powder.  It's a favorite in our house and really goes well with this cake.  A word of caution:  for some reason when I made this cake yesterday it decided to stick to the bottom of the pans for the first time ever.  I'm not sure if my store-brand nonstick spray was the culprit or what.  Next time I might line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper just to ensure it doesn't happen again.  At least chocolate frosting makes a good glue!  Can't even tell that both layers came out in pieces, huh?  :o)


closet makeovers!

A little over a month ago, my parents came to visit and helped us out with a project we've been wanting to tackle for awhile.  Maybe you can relate.  Do you have a closet with one measly shelf and bar running across the top?  So basically you have a lot of wasted space in the middle?  Yep, this was our problem, only times two.  The closets in my son's room and our spare room/office were in dire need of a facelift.

Let's start with my son's room. 

Look at all that unused space in the middle, and all the junk crowding up the floor.  We keep most of his clothes in his dresser, but I still wanted more room to put toys, books, and other items.  Ready for the after?  Of course you are!

LOVE IT.  We got everything back in with lots of room to spare.  Those yellow diaper boxes on the left are all his outgrown clothes (I'm too scared to put them in the attic!), and there are additional diaper boxes on the shelves to use as storage.  Those purple ones from Walmart are the perfect size for larger books; my son loves books but he's still a bit too rough on them, so for now any books with paper pages are tucked safely away until he can be more careful!  I like to switch out his toys in the living room from time to time, so that bottom shelf houses the ones that aren't currently taking up residence in our living room.  I invested in a couple more fabric storage cubes for the top shelf to hold other small items, and let me stress that the "fresh seafood box" on the upper left actually has my old Cabbage Patch dolls and clothes in it in case we ever have a girl.  :o)

Now on to our spare room/office closet.  This room will become my son's room whenever we have another baby, so it was important for me to have good shelving in this closet as well.  Here's the before:

And here's the after!

Hello.  This is magical extra space calling.  :o)  Truthfully, I did move those two garment bags to my bedroom closet (one of them has my wedding dress in it, which is by now most likely smashed beyond recognition).  But for the most part, this is all the same stuff, just organized better.  The floor and bottom shelf have all my picture frames and craft projects that are in progress, along with a couple items that I'm trying to sell on Craigslist.  I used the wire storage grids leftover from this project to house all the picture frames; this way it's easier to see what I have and they don't get scratched up as easily.  That big diaper box has all my music books and flute in it, our board games are on the next shelf up, and the top shelf has random "I don't know what to do with this stuff so I'll just stick it right here for now" stuff on it.  Oh, and a big box of cables, cords, and other spare parts.

Extra shelving makes me happy.  That is all.  :o)


all-natural carpet cleaner

So I've come to find out that most commercial carpet cleaner sprays do NOT work on my carpet stains.  And since we've had a kid, the stains only seem to be multiplying.  I like the lighter color of our carpet, but it shows absolutely everything. 

While fooling around on Pinterest the other day, I found this recipe for a "magical" homemade carpet cleaner.  All you do is sprinkle some baking soda on the stain, let it sit for ten minutes, vacuum it up, and then blot the area with a mixture of vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and warm water.  I thought, why not?  I usually have those ingredients on hand anyway, and nothing else had worked.

First I tested this hideous stain from last year's Christmas party.

And wouldn't you know it, a grown-up made this one.  One of our friends accidentally spilled soda on our carpet, and nothing's gotten it out so far.  I followed the directions on the website, only first I dampened the stain with a little water since it was an old stain and I figured that might help the baking soda soak in better.  I went over this spot a couple times with the vinegar solution, and now we have this.

Not too shabby.  You can still see it very faintly, but it's really not that noticeable anymore.  And who knows, maybe a few more applications will get rid of it completely.

Next, here's a stain from a few months ago when my kid grabbed my half-empty coffee mug and made a nice little design on the carpet (thankfully, the coffee in the mug had already cooled down!).

And here's what we have after:

Again, still kind of there but not as noticeable.  This was still a little wet when I took the "after" picture, so maybe as it dries it'll fade even more.  And it only got one application so I might go back again.  Incidentally, there was a similar coffee stain from that same day a little to the left of this one; I totally should have used that one for the "before" and "after" pictures instead because it disappeared completely.  :o)

Here's one from right outside our kitchen.  I'm thinking one of us dropped some food or maybe my kid's sippy cup valve failed.

Ew.  Look at all the dirt that got stuck to it from us walking over it.  This was definitely from something sticky.  And here's the after:

Ahhhhhh.  Love it.  There's a lot of little "mini" stains over in that area since it's near the kitchen, so they'll get some extra love very soon.

And finally, here's a stain from our bedroom floor.  We usually don't have food back there, so our carpet looks pretty good in that room.  Except for this sippy cup fail from awhile ago.  Those darn valves.

Weird.  It looks like a lowercase R.  Let's get rid of that.

Yay!  I'm very pleased with this method.  Like I said, the majority of these stains (and the numerous others on our living room carpet alone) were sprayed with carpet cleaner almost immediately after they happened, and it did pretty much nothing.  Plus I was worried about the chemicals with a toddler roaming around.  The ingredients in this recipe are all natural and non-toxic.  Granted, I still did this during naptime since I knew my kid would be all over the little piles of baking soda and wet spots all over the carpet and probably wouldn't be all that much help.  :o)

So while there's still some work to be done (after all, we're dealing with almost three years of stains, as well as a few that were here before we moved in), I'm very pleased with the progress I've made today.

another goodwill trip

I went to Goodwill again this week, and here's a couple things I found:

A cute, rustic-looking mason jar holder (I'm assuming).  Didn't find any rustic-looking jars today to put in it, but I'm sure it'll be no problem.  I'm trying to figure out if it's going to be strictly for decoration to match the other retro stuff in my kitchen, or functional as well.  I could actually store stuff in the jars, like baking soda, cornmeal, etc.  Either way, I'm thinking it'll look good in my kitchen!

I also found this.  I like how it has a little pocket as well as the little hooks in the bottom.  My first thought was to put it in my laundry room and use it to hang up my broom and mop, and maybe use the pocket to put sponges or cleaning rags.  We already have a rack that the previous owners left behind, but I'm tempted to switch it up for this one because I like it better.  Of course the previous owners left huge holes in the wall drilling the other rack in, so if we do a switch there will definitely be some spackling involved.

I haven't felt very creative lately.  It's been a hard couple of weeks, so I've kind of alternated between laying on the couch and engaging in crazy cleaning or reorganizing projects.  Hopefully I'll get back into it soon...I know once I do it will probably be therapeutic, it's just a matter of starting!
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