Monday, September 26, 2011

Mile High Momday: DIY burpcloth

I had so much fun with my baby wrap carrier giveaway, I decided to do another giveaway this week!  Heck, maybe it will even become a regular thing on this here blog!

I had some leftover fabric from making this quilt this weekend.  
It's so super soft and I just love the pattern, so I decided to make some burp cloths out of them.  Burp clothes are super easy to make yourself and make fabulous gifts.  Sure, babies throw up on them, but at least you can look cute while cleaning it up, right?  I'll show you two different ways to make these.  One way is hand sewing and the other using a machine.  You'll need:

* prefold diapers.  (I use the biggest and thickest I can find 6-ply, 14X20 inches)
* 6 inch cut of fabric
* either a needle and embroidery thread or a sewing machine and thread

When you go to the fabric store to buy your fabric, it will come on a bolt, folded in half.  Each 6 inch cut will make two burp cloths.

Regardless of if you hand sew this or machine sew, you'll start by cutting your fabric to 5 inches, then cut it in half, where it was folded on the bolt. 

Fold the sides and top in 1/2 inch and iron it down to keep it in place.  (Don't worry about the bottom yet)
Center your fabric in the middle of the diaper and pin in place.
If you are going to hand sew it:
Use embroidery thread and a sharp needle and sew it to the diaper around the edges.  You could do an X pattern, or horizontal lines, or a zig zag.  Whatever your heart desires.  I wouldn't stress too much about making it perfect or uniform looking.  Just get it on there and call any imperfections "whimsical".  You could use a matching color thread, or perhaps a contrasting color. I think this would look cute with pink or brown thread.  
Machine sewing:
I decided to use white thread with this one.  I really like this fabric, and didn't want to take away from it with a contrasting thread.  Set your machine up for a zig zag stitch.  
Stitch down one side, stopping about an inch from the bottom, then stitch down the other side, also stopping short an inch from the bottom.  
(When I first started making these I tried just stitching all the way around, down the left side, across the bottom, up the right side and across the top, and the fabric gets all stretched and wonky)  

Sew across the top.

Cut some excess fabric from the bottom.  
Now fold under the bottom edge
Sew down the rest of the right side, across the bottom and back up the left side, until you reach the stitching again.  
Ta da!
Okay, who wants these?  Just leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a winner at the end of the week!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

31 bags in 31 days

This is my kitchen utensil drawer.  Check out all of those whisks!  Who needs that many whisks?  How did I even get all of those?!

I've seen this idea floating around on the internet for a while now and thought it was time I give it a try too.  The idea is that everyday for 31 days (or however many you want/need) you clean out one small area of your house and either throw away or give away a bag's worth of stuff.  My goal is going to be to quickly go through that day's area and purge.  It's going to be hard for me to not re-organize everything after that, but I know that if I do that, it will turn into a big project and then I probably won't get to all the areas.  I'm also going to be traveling for two weeks, right in the middle of this project.  And while I'm sure people would just love for me to go through and get rid of their things for them, I'll be on vacation.  So I'll start it up when I get back.  Some of these projects are bigger than others (cough, closet) so I won't necessarily go in order, but I'll just do the area that I can get to that day.

1. pantry
2. fridge
3. bottom tech center drawer
4. utensil drawers
5. kitchen cabinets
6. cook books
7. under the kitchen sink
8. Jackson's toys
9. basement closets
10. bar area
11. office closet
12. craft supplies
13. linen closet
14. boys bathroom under cabinet
15. laundry room
16. Gavin's closet
17. Jackson' closet
18. boy's books
19. Jackson's room
20. bedroom armoire
21. nightstand
22. shoes
23. closet shelves
24. hanging clothes
25. purses
26. accessories
27. bathroom under cabinets
28. bathroom drawers
29. medicine cabinet
30. coat closet
31. china cabinet

So, is anyone brave enough to do this project with me?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mile High Momday: Tips and Tricks!

For today's Mile High Momday, I thought I'd share with you some household tips and tricks I've accumulated.  Many of these have come from my mom, and some of them from the internet.  I didn't invent any of these things, I just use them, and thought you'd like to use them too! 

Stain Remover:
My mom told me about this one.  I don't know where she heard it, or maybe she just made it up herself, but it's always worked for me!  Pile some Cascade dishwasher detergent (the powder kind) on the stain, and then spray it with Shout stain remover.  Take an old toothbrush and make a paste out of it and let it sit on the stain for a while.  After several minutes take your toothbrush and run it under water and scrub the stain.  Work it until the stain comes out.  You might have to repeat this process a couple times, but it will work.  I've gotten ink, tomato stains, blood and everything else you could think of out of clothes with this recipe.  Just be sure to do it before you wash it, or else the stain will set in the clothes.  If that happens, you're on your own!

Granite Cleaner:
I found this recipe online and it's what I've used for several years.  I got so tired of spending an arm and a leg for some specialty granite cleaner.  This one is super cheap to make and works just as well!  You'll need:
     *Quart spray bottle
     *Three drops of Dawn dish detergent
     *1/4 Cup rubbing alcohol
     *Lavender or another scent of your choice (optional)
Pour 1/4 Cup rubbing alcohol into the spray bottle, then add the dawn.  Give it a little swish to mix it.  Then slowly fill the bottle with water.  (You don't want to make the mixture sudsy.)  You can add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell nice, if you'd like.  

Rinse Aid:
I learned this one at the blogging conference I attended, from Amy at The Motherload.  Use Vinegar as a rinse aid in your dishwasher instead of those more pricey name brand ones.  Just pour the vinegar into the rinse aid compartment!

Cloudy Drinking Glasses:
Our dishwasher isn't very good and it's constantly leaving our glasses cloudy.  I was ready to throw them away, and then my mom came to visit.  She soaked them in vinegar for hours and they came out looking new again!

Candle Wax:
If you get candle wax in your carpet or fabric, let it cool, then scrape away as much as you can.  Then take a paper bag and put it over the wax and run a warm iron over the bag.  This will melt the wax right on to the bag and off of your fabric.  Move the bag around so that you are always using a clean section.  

George Foreman Grills:
We had a George Foreman grill that we used constantly, especially in college.  It got so gross and was such a pain to clean that we eventually threw it away.  My mom got us another one this past Christmas (it's not actually George Foreman brand) with removable plates for easier cleaning.  Had I known this little trick before we might not have had to replace it in the first place!
After you're finished cooking, unplug the grill and put a wet paper towel on each of the cooking surfaces.  Let it sit there for several minutes.  It should be much easier to wipe clean after this!

Smashed Down Carpet:
You know when you move your furniture and it leaves dents in the carpet where it was?  To get the carpet standing up again, put an ice cube in the dent.  Let it melt and the carpet will go back up!

Before you wear a new garment for the first time, put a little bit of clear nail polish on the front and backs of the buttons, over the thread.  This will help to keep them from popping off later.  (Usually at a really inappropriate and embarrassing time!)

Put fabric softener sheets in your dresser drawers and linen closet.  This will keep your clothes smelling fresh for weeks!

What helpful household tips and tricks do you use?

P.S. Make sure you use common sense when using these tips.  Try the stain remover in an inconspicuous spot before hand, same with the granite cleaner.  As a matter of fact, using common sense is a good rule, for life in general.  Not just for cleaning.

P.P.S.  Posting on Monday is really hard with  my schedule!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Here I go again on my own.....

This is the second week that I've had to take care of the boys by myself, since Gavin has been born.  The first week was about a month ago, between the time my mom left and my mother-in-law arrived.  This week is also the first week that Jackson has been in preschool two days a week, which means that I have to get him, myself and Gavin all ready to go and out the door by about 8:40.  Today we got to school 10 minutes early, so I'm giving myself a giant pat on the back for that one.  

We were all majorly spoiled when the grandmas were here.  They cooked, cleaned and helped with kids.  Jackson has been especially spoiled, which is to be expected, but I was a little worried that he would come crashing down after everyone left.  Left with his boring old mommy that does boring things, like cooking and cleaning and taking care of the baby.   He has definitely been acting out lately.  I don't know if it's because of the baby or if it's just because he's three, but this has definitely been the hardest time I've had parenting him, yet.  (BTW, everyone warns you that the terrible two have nothing on a three year old.  I didn't want to believe it when he was two, thinking that it could get worse, but it totally does.  Sorry to all you parents of two year old's.  Maybe your kid will be the exception....)   
He has done better this week than I expected though. One reason is that I've all but given up on napping him during the day and just moved his bedtime up about an hour.  He just won't nap.  And I'm really starting to think that he's just not tired enough yet.  He will easily nap when he's tired, like on the days when we go to the pool or the zoo.  But I'm learning that if he's not tired, there's nothing I can do to make him nap.  I'll try for hours and hours (literally, sometimes as many as 4 hours) to get him to nap.  Putting him back in his room, listening to him scream and cry.  For hours.  And on the very rare occasion that he actually does fall asleep (usually after at least 2 hours of crying) he's not tired at night and it takes me a couple hours to get him down then too.  I just don't have that kind of time or patience.  But if I don't nap him, he usually goes right down at an early bedtime without a major fuss.  Saving me anywhere from 4-6 hours a day of tantrums.  I'm too sleep deprived to have 6 hours of tantrums in my life. 
Speaking of sleep deprivation, I'm still on pretty much the same schedule with Gavin as I have always been.  He gets up every three hours, almost to the minute. Averaging me about 5-6 hours of very interrupted sleep a night, depending on how quickly I can get him to fall back asleep after feedings. I'm not used to that at all.  Jackson gave me up to 5 hours, even his first week home from the hospital.  And with Jackson, I could sleep when he slept during the day.  With Gavin, I'm up all day, because now I have another child that isn't sleeping during the day at all, and I can't just take a nap and not watch him.  I'm thinking of asking the doctor if she thinks he might have reflux though.  He's showing a lot of the symptoms of it and if he does actually have it and we get some medicine in him, we could maybe get a little more sleep out of him at night.

But we are hanging in there, and it's getting easier every day.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mason Jar Herb Planters

Mile High Momday is back!  Given that I'm my own boss of this here blog, I decided to give myself the day off for Labor Day last week.  But I'm back with quite possibly the coolest project I've ever done!

Have I ever told you how much I love mason jars?  I really do.  There is something so simple and old fashioned about them.  Funny thing is, I've never actually used the for their intended purpose, canning.  I've used them for storage (remember when I talked about my love affair with my label maker?) and drinking and, now, decorating.  

When we moved into our house, we decorated with a kind of French bistro-esk feel.  It's worked out so far, but I'm getting a little bored with it, and let's be honest, French bistros are so 5 years ago.  The kitchen is the one room that I'm really trying to lose that bistro feel in, and go with a more natural feel.  I won't go as far as re-painting it though, so whatever I do needs to go with the brick red paint color we already have going on.  In our kitchen is what the builders of our house called a "tech center", which is just a fancy name for a built-in desk.  By the tech center hung two pictures of bistros.  It doesn't get any more bistro-y than actual pictures of bistros, so I knew they had to go.  (The curtains will eventually go too, I promise!)

While browsing around on Pinterest the other day, I can across a mason jar herb garden and quickly became obsessed.  I knew that was going to be my weekend project!   So, while the original idea of this project wasn't exactly mine, I can take full credit for making my version.  And I'm going to show you how you can make yours too!

You'll need:
* 2 pieces of wood
* clamps (mine are 3-4 inch ones and I found them in the aisle with the washer/dryer parts)
* Mason jars
* Stain and brush
* Wood Screws
* Herbs, or whatever you want to put in your jars
* A drill
* A saw, or you can have the lumber yard cut it for you.

Thanks to my wood hoarding husband, we already had a nice piece of cabinet grade lumber to use.  I figured out how long I wanted it (30 inches) and told him to cut it for me.  He then told me that he thought I should use the chop saw, instead of him.  As to not jeopardize the truly DIY nature of this project.  Fine.

Notice me standing as far away from the whirling blade of death as possible?
I did it!

If you have a husband that will actually do it for you, that's even better.  If not, you can always have the guys at Home Depot cut it for you. 

Then I got out the not-nearly-as-finger-threatening-as-the-chop-saw hand sander to round out the corners and edges to give it a more "worn" look. 
The bottom one has been sanded, and the top one hasn't

Then I stained them.  I chose a black stain color, to try to give it a more aged wood feel, and less of a "this wood totally matches my cabinets" feel.  The 5 years ago, bistro decorating Michele would have absolutely stained it to match the cabinets.  I feel like such a rebel!

It's a pretty simple process.  Paint it on in the direction of the wood, wait a minute or two, then wipe it off with rag.  Just be sure to wear gloves, it gets messy.  

While the stain is drying drill holes in your clamps.  
Not only did I actually drill holes in these myself, but I took a picture while doing so!
Then screw the clamps onto your wood pieces.  (Don't forget to drill pilot holes in the wood too.)

Now you attach them to the wall.  You'll want to find the studs and put a huge screw (or two) right into the stud.  You don't want these falling down!  
After they are attached, that's when you should put the jars in.  As you can see, I still need to putty and stain the screw holes going into the wall, but I was just so darn excited to get this blog posted, it will have to wait!

Ahhhh!  Much better!
Now, as I've previously confessed, I've never been able to keep a plant alive, so these puppies have very little hope of sticking around for the long haul.  I'm going to try my hardest to keep them alive, but if they don't make it, I would love this project just as much with desk supplies stashed in the mason jars (since it's right by the desk) or kitchen-y things in them, like utensils or dried spaghetti and beans.

P.S. Does anybody have any suggestions for keeping these herbs alive?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Confessions of a weirdo....

I've never had a Big Mac.  Or a Whopper

I don't like cheesecake.

I hold a grudge against Little House on the Prairie.  Just hearing the theme song actually makes me angry and I don't know why. 

I don't particularly care for the Beatles.

My baby teeth never came out.  I had to get them all pulled out the summer between 6th and 7th grade.

Karaoke sucks.

I'm still upset that they canceled "My So-Called Life"

I have never ever been able to keep a plant alive.

I've never had a Red Bull, or any other energy drink for that matter.  

I know, I'm totally weird....