Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vintage Mason Jars

I've been collecting vintage mason jars for awhile now and first posted about them in July of 2008. Although I've been collecting them, I haven't actually figured out anything to do with them, so they've just been sitting in a cupboard. My interest in them was rekindled when I found a REALLY big one (without a lid...boo!) at Value Village for $5.99. So a few weeks ago when I was putting away my Easter decorations, I decided to put out some of my pretty jars as a centerpiece on my table.
The light streams through this window and shines right on my jars--so pretty! My little boy (don't you love his fishy face? that's what he does when he's concentrating hard!) told me that he likes them too.
I put two more jars and a vintage glass insulator, also in the pretty aqua color) on my black dresser behind the family room couch. Sad to say, I have still more jars tucked away in the cupboard. It is nice to see at least a few of them out on display though.
Speaking of the black dresser, I also put out the bucket of paper daffodils that the children and I made last spring. I still love this craft project just as much as the day we made it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Cleaning and Selling!

No, I haven't disappeared--I've been busy cleaning STUFF out of my house! I've been selling things on craigslist, the local children's consignment store, and on eBay. Compiling items, listing items, and meeting people pass off items has been keeping me busy!

My children are really looking forward to summer swim lessons--which will cost me $200 a month--so my goal is to make enough money to cover the cost of their lessons. (My secret goal is to make enough extra that I can buy two barstools for my kitchen counter...but I'm keeping that goal to myself!)

I shared the "paying for swim lessons" goal with my children and they've been cheering me on and they're thrilled I'm already over halfway toward that goal. It has been a wonderful lesson for them in saving and working toward a financial goal. They don't receive allowances, so this is a bit of a new experience for them--especially in this age of debit cards and ATM machines.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tulip Fields

My little girl is on Easter vacation this week, so I've been busy having fun with my children. I'm sad that the week already is more than half over! Last Saturday we went on our annual excursion to the tulip fields. Princess wore her tulip sunglasses and tulip sweater and was so excited to see the beautiful flowers.
The fields were GORGEOUS!
The weather has been very chilly here though and it really doesn't feel like spring.
We did manage to dodge all the rain though--it was just windy and chilly for our visit.
My little guy wanted to walk between the rows of tulips, but that isn't allowed.
Despite the cold, Princess took her winter coat off for a few pictures so we could see her tulip sweater. We've been visiting the tulip fields every year since she was four months old and every year she's worn tulip clothing for the visit.
There also are beautiful display gardens run by one of the tulip bulb companies.
My sweet boy.
The display gardens have the bulbs tightly planted and the colors are gorgeous!
We'll be back next year!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

Happy Easter!
We had a wonderful Easter celebration as a family of four. On Saturday evening the children readied the baskets for the Easter Bunny. We reuse the same wicker baskets and the same green paper Easter grass every year and fluffing up the grass so that it is "just right" has become a tradition for my little girl.
After the baskets were ready, the children put them on the table in readiness for the Easter Bunny.
Easter morning started with an egg hunt in the family room. Despite the children trying to look in all the nooks and crannies, they managed to miss two eggs that weren't found until Monday afternoon! The eggs had pocket change or a couple of jelly beans in them.
Finally it was basket time! (The Easter Bunny did parent baskets too, but those weren't very exciting!) My six year old's basket included a box set of Tinkerbell books, a Junie B Jones book (the last one I'll ever buy--thank goodness these now are too easy for my little girl because I am not a Junie B fan!!), bubbles, a drawing toy, a set of American Girl ballet clothes for her doll, a Leapster cartridge, some lollipops, a little chocolate bunny, and a handful of jellybeans. A miniature American Girl Molly doll and hardback book set was under her basket. My four year old had a stomp rocket under his basket. In his basket were two books, a Leapster cartridge, Cars pencils, a drawing toy, a Leapster cartridge, bubbles, a Cars vehicle, some lollipops, a little chocolate bunny, and a handful of jellybeans.
We finished all that by about 7:15am. My children are early risers! We went to Mass and enjoyed a wonderful service. Doing the Resurrection Rolls last week really helped my little boy understand the Easter story and made it easier for him to pay attention during Mass.
After Mass we went out to brunch and then out for a drive in the countryside before stopping for our traditional Easter ice cream!
We arrived home and had some time to play with our little boy's new stomp rocket before dinner. It is a big hit and even intrigued some of our neighbors. I love that it doesn't require batteries! Even my four year old was able to make it go HIGH into the air!
After a simple dinner, we enjoyed bunny cake for dessert! We had a wonderful and calm Easter. It was such a pleasure to celebrate with our family of four and not feel as though we needed to rush any part of our day so that we could travel to meet up with our extended family. We love our extended family, however it is so nice to have a relaxing holiday with "just us."
Happy Easter from our family to yours!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Egg Felt Garland Tutorial

Looking for a last minute Easter project? Try my Puffy Easter Egg Garland! Remember the Puffy Heart Garland from Valentine's Day? Well, this is the Easter version! I made this using only supplies I had on hand--I love free projects!
Step one! Make an egg shape pattern and pin it on your felt (I made all pink eggs--do whatever colors you like!) and cut out your egg shapes. I cut two eggs shapes at a time because I wanted to stuff them and sew them together.
Decide how to decorate your eggs! I cut out strips of white felt with my pinking shears. When I did the Valentine garland, I decorated with buttons. Do whatever you want!
Stitch your decorations onto your eggs. I sewed mine by hand because I didn't feel like hauling out my sewing machine. Plus this way I could do it while I watched television. The pin is there to keep the back piece of the egg matched up with the front piece.
Stitch partway around the egg (by hand or machine, doesn't matter!) and stuff the egg with Polyfill or felt scraps or whatever you have on hand. Then sew the egg all the way closed.
I used embroidery floss to stitch everything on these eggs because I have a lot of it and I think it is sturdier than thread.
The final step is to stitch the backs of your eggs onto some grosgrain ribbon. I put the ribbon up on my fireplace and then pinned the eggs in place. Then I took down the pinned garland and handsewed the ribbon onto the eggs before rehanging my garland.
(That's my six year old as a newborn in the hospital--except both my babies looked identical as newborns, so I keep it up there as a reminder of both of them. This was my inspiration picture while nursing my firstborn--we had an extremely rough start to nursing, so I would look at this newborn picture with her face all shiny with mama milk and remember why I was doing what I was doing. We went on to nurse for two years. My second child nursed until he was almost four. I am so happy I toughed out an absolutely miserable start to nursing because it ended up being one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.)

So, there you have it! A last minute free Easter decoration that you can make while watching television. Crafting doesn't get much easier than that!

Magnet Board for under $5

I found a great tutorial on Beneath My Heart for a magnet board. I'm trying to make the wall area above my crafting table look cute...and this is a great start!

The base is a piece of aluminum--I bought mine at Lowes for less than $5--but don't be like me and tell the guy you're looking for tin...because then when he asks what you're doing with it and you say "making a magnet board" he is going to give you a strange look and remind you that tin isn't magnet. And then you just might tell him "well it will be when I'm done with it!" which then just might cause him to ask what strange alchemy (yes, he just might have actually used that word!) you'll be doing to turn it magnetic...at which point you might mutter something about maybe using magnetic paint or something like that while simultaenously beating yourself up for asking for help in the first place.

Traci at Beneath My Heart used cork to thicken up her board. I don't have cork, so I just used thick cardboard. I cut strips and hot glued them to the border of the aluminum (not tin!)
I plopped this aluminum/cardboard thing onto the backside of some fabric from my stash and cut out a large rectangle.
Then I hotglued the fabric onto the back of my board.
Next I glued a bow onto the front of the board and a ribbon hanger onto the back of the board. Do you recognize the fabric? Probably not. Anyhow, it used to be the mistreatment over my kitchen window. I've since abandoned those--I just don't have the mistreatment knack. So, I repurpsed the fabric.
I cut an extra piece of fabric and hotglued it onto the back of the board just to pretty things up a bit.
And that's it! I have plans for the magnets I want to make but I haven't made them yet. Not bad for less than $5!