Sunshine Award

Many thanks to Sliced Science for nominating create.home.life for the Sunshine Award!

Sliced Science is a cool blog that explains some of the science in our everyday lives! Do take some time to view this blog–it is well worth a visit!

On to the award acceptance process: according to the rules, nominees must (i) include a link in your blog to the blog that nominated you; (ii) answer some questions about yourself; (iii) nominate 10 fellow bloggers, linking to their blogs; and (iv) inform them that they have been nominated.

Q&A:

1. Who is your favorite philosopher? My hubby (he was a philosophy major in college, close enough!)

2. What is your favorite number?  3

3. What is your favorite animal?  Dogs, I have three of them!

 4. What are your Facebook and Twitter? I’m still working on these

5. What is your favorite time of day? Naptime!

6. What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween

7. What is your favorite physical activity?  Walking

8. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink? Sweet tea (I’m from the South, I have to say this!)

9. What is your passion? My family

10. What is your favorite flower? Hydrangeas

And now our own nominations to pass the Sunshine Award on, in no particular order:

Craft Schmaft

Purdue Avenue

le zoe musings

my sweet addiction

Kearney Keepings

M&J Blog

The Smallest Forest

you and mie

Ali Does It Herself

129 Twig and Vine

Congratulations to all nominees, and thanks again to Sliced Science! Hope everyone will have a great week!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

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I don’t know about you all, but when I would shop for laundry detergent, I often wondered why it was so darn expensive.  Then after having a baby and cloth diapering, we REALLY started going through detergent quickly.  When I started using Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda on our cloth diapers, I loved it and was using it on everything.  But it’s a little pricey and I haven’t found anywhere in town that sells it, so I decided it was time to look for something else (for everything but the diapers).  So of course I had to turn to Pinterest.  All you need to make your own laundry detergent are these three items: Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda!!), Borax, and Fels-Naptha soap.  I looked for Fels-Naptha at Target but mine didn’t have it.  Luckily my Kroger did, so that’s where I get it from when I’m ready to make a new batch or two.

First grate the soap with a grater.

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Next mix in 1 cup of the washing soda and 1 cup Borax.

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In order to mix the soap flakes with the powders well, I put it in the blender.  I do this in parts because the first time I did it, I put all of it in the blender and overheated the blender, oops. So I would recommend doing it in parts.  After blending put it a container and use 1 tablespoon per load.  Sometimes if it’s big load I put two scoops in.

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This recipe with make enough detergent for approximately 64 loads.  After the first time I made this detergent I wanted to figure out how much I was spending per load versus the Nellie’s.  I paid $3.15 for the washing soda, $3.99 for the Borax and $1.19 for the Fels-Naptha.  I estimated that I could get four batches out of each the washing soda and the Borax.  So it came up to $2.98/batch and $.05/load of laundry.  The Nellie’s is approximatly $17 (including shipping) for 100 loads, making it $.17/load.  That’s a pretty big savings!  I still buy my trusty Nellie’s for my cloth diapers, but for the rest of our laundry I love this homemade detergent, and so does my checking account!

Baby Boy Blanket #2

 

I finally finished the shower present for my coworker who is having twins just in time for the shower, which is Friday.  I made the other blanket tonight, which I wasn’t exactly looking forward to since I had such a hard time with that minky fabric when I made the first blanket.  I changed the way I made this one slightly and it worked much much better.  The blanket lays flatter too, which is a good thing.  Instead of cutting both the printed fabric and the minky at the same time, I cut only the minky fabric, then cut a piece of the printed fabric bigger.  And I used a lot more pins than I normally would to try to help hold the minky in place.

After I sewed the minky onto the printed fabric, I then cut the printed fabric and continued with the blanket by turning it right side out and topstitching.   It turned out much better, so I would definitely recommend this method!

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

I love Thanksgiving leftovers.  They’re awesome because you’re exhausted from all that cleaning, cooking, and shopping you did on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and you don’t have to cook!  All you need to do is heat them up in the microwave.  There is a downside to Thanksgiving leftovers though; by day three you’re starting to get pretty weary of them.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom’s stuffing and my aunt’s mac and cheese, but after eating them for lunch and dinner for three straight days I was craving something different.  Enter homemade chicken noodle soup.

The crockpot might be one of the best inventions out there in my opinion.  I use mine at least once a week, sometimes even two or three times a week.  It’s great because I can prepare dinner in the morning before work or during Cora’s nap when I’m not distracted, tired, busy, etc.  Coming home from a long day at work to dinner ready to go on the table (and it not be take out) is awesome.

So without further ado, here is my chicken noodle soup in the crockpot recipe.

Chop up your carrots, celery, onion, and green onions.

Combine your chopped veggies, drained canned corn, salt, pepper, chicken broth, and water in the crockpot.  I usually start with one cup of water and add more once I have added the chicken and noodles if I need it.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  For those of you who work don’t worry about leaving this going longer than 6 hours.  Once I left it for 9 hours and it was fine.

I usually use chicken thighs with this recipe, but the last time I went to the grocery they didn’t have any boneless, skinless thighs and I hate dealing with bones and skin, so I just used chicken breast this time.  Either works fine.  I usually use around a pound of chicken.  Bake or boil your chicken until it is done all the way through, then shred.

After the crockpot has been going for 5-6 hours on low, set it to high and add the shredded chicken and noodles.  Cook on high for one hour, then enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 cups of chicken broth (boxed or can is fine)

1-2 cups of water

1/2 cup onions, chopped fine

1/2 cup celery, chopped fine

1/2 cup carrots, chopped fine

1/2 cup green onions, sliced

One 15 oz can of whole kernel corn, drained

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 1/2 cup Egg noodles

1 pound chicken shredded

Directions

Add everything but the noodles and cooked chicken to the crock pot on Low for 5-6 hours.  Then add the chicken and noodles and cook on high for one hour.

Boxy Makeup Bag

 

I just have a quick post for everyone tonight, things have been busy this weekend with all the eating, shopping, and family time!  On Thanksgiving Day as I was getting ready I started digging through my makeup bag looking for some eyeshadow.  As I my fingers got covered in the shimmery film that was coating the items in the bottom of the bag, I realized that I had been using the same makeup bag for probably eight years.  And there was makeup down in the bottom of the bag that might have been there that long too…

So I decided it’s time for a new bag for my makeup.  I know you all know how it goes, you think “oh I will get around to that…” and it never happens.  So I took a proactive step and threw away the bag and the old makeup hanging out down in the bottom of it, so now my makeup was just floating around in the top drawer of the bathroom vanity.  And I vowed to make myself a new makeup bag this weekend.  I found this great tutorial and used it.  The steps are very clear and easy to follow.  And here’s my confession, I’ve never sewn a zipper before.  I haven’t been seriously sewing for very long, but for some reason I have always been intimidated by zippers.  Not anymore!  I dug the zipper foot out for my machine and discovered there was nothing to be worried about!  It really was easy!  Here are some more pictures of this fabulous, boxy bag!

 

 

Sailboat Baby Toy

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping trip!  I braved the stores, but didn’t go out until 10 a.m. this morning, so it wasn’t too crazy.  Now that I’ve shopped until I dropped it’s time to get craftin!  I’m still working on the shower gift for a coworker who is having twin boys.  Her shower is next Friday and I have just one more blanket to make.  I’ve had so much fun making cute baby boy stuff!  I found this really cute tutorial on how to make a sailboat toy for a baby.  This is a great project for using up scrap pieces of fabric or ribbon.  Plus babies are fascinated with playing with tags.  My mom made Cora a cute little blankie with ribbon tags all around it and she loved it.  Here’s how I made my sailboats.

I cut out my pattern on blank paper.  The sails are right triangles that are 4.5″ x 6″ and the bottom of the boat is a trapezoid that is 5″ long on the bottom, 9″ long on the top, and 3.5″ tall.

Next cut out your fabric.  You will need two pieces of fabric for each pattern piece.  You can also go ahead and cut your ribbon, or wait until it’s time to sew the ribbon in.

First sew two sail pieces (I started with the boat and the red fabrics) along the long vertical edge with right sides of the fabric together.  Do this with the other two sail pieces.  Open the sails and press the seams.

Next lay your sails on top of each trapezoid with the right sides facing each other.  Sew along the 9″ edge, the press open the seams.

Next pin the two pieces together with right sides facing each other.  Don’t forget when pinning your ribbons to make the loops face inward (I’ve made this mistake a couple times not paying attention, then had to rip the thread out and start over).

Sew around the edges leaving an opening at the bottom of the boat.

Turn the boat right side out and press.

Stuff with filling and slip stitch the opening shut and you’ve got an adorable baby toy!

Casserole Dish Carrier

I found this tutorial for a casserole dish carrier on Pinterest (of course) and had to make it.  It was always a pain for me to transport casserole dishes because I didn’t have a carrier.  Well now I do!  I got this awesome fabric from Hancock Fabrics on clearance for $3.59/yd!  Also should I mention that the colors in this fabric are my favorite color combinations?  I love love love pink and orange together (they were my wedding colors) and I am always really drawn to these colors, especially for summer dresses for Cora.  I was super excited when I found it on the red tag table because let’s be honest, there’s not always the most beautiful stuff on that table.  But every once in a while you find a gem like this, so it never hurts to look.    I got some matching solid cotton fabric to match for the lining and I used white belting for the handles based on this modification.  I also recommend Jill’s suggestion of lengthening one piece to account for the handles on a Pyrex.  I followed the original tutorial and it was a tight fit, so I will be doing the longer length next time.  The original tutorial can be found here.  I might try to modify the pattern to create a square carrier to carry my Corningware dishes.  That’s a project for another day though.  I will definitely be making some of these for Christmas presents this year!

Happy sewing!

Thanksgiving Dress

 

I love the fall and I especially love Thanksgiving.  Who doesn’t, right?  I mean you get to eat awesome food and hang out with your family!  We will all be spending lots of time this week getting ready for Turkey Day, but here’s one of the things off my to do list before Thanksgiving Day.  I love making little girl dresses, they are so much fun!  Remember the headband I made a few days ago?  It’s going to be worn with this dress.  I followed the tutorial for this dress on Prudent Baby.  I’ll include my pictures because there were a couple small changes I made.

For this dress you will need 1 yard of fabric, coordinating thread, and 1/4″ elastic.  I used an adorable Riley Blake  brown chevron fabric, it seemed to fall-ish.

In the original tutorial, the measurements were for a 2T dress.  My little girl is still in 18 months clothes, so I had to alter the measurements a bit.  I used a dress she already had to get the measurements, but I used the pattern shape included in the tutorial.  This pink dress I used is getting a little short on my tall girl, so I added some extra length to the pattern.  Don’t forget to account for seam allowances.

 

 

Here is what my pattern pieces looked like when cut out.

 

If you can’t read the measurements for the body the top measurement is 4.5″, the bottom is 10″ and the length is 19″.  The arm piece is 4.5″ x 14″.  Cut two pieces of each piece placing the edge that says fold on the fold of your fabric.  Here are the pieces once you cut them out.

 

Stack the two dress pieces and stack the two arm pieces.  We are going to cut arm holes out.  First cut a J shape out of the dress pieces on the open edge.

 

Place the arm pieces under the dress pieces and cut the same J shape out of the arm pieces on the open edge.

 

Open one dress piece and lay flat, right side up.  Open one arm piece of line up the arm holes with the right side facing down.

 

Sew along the arm hole and zig zag stitch the edge to finish the seam.

 

Do the same thing with the other arm piece on the same dress piece.

 

The dress will now look like this.

 

Now sew the other dress piece to each of the arm pieces so that the dress looks like this.

 

Turn the dress right side out and you will notice the top of the dress is uneven.

 

Fold the dress long ways and cut the top to be even.

 

 

Now you will sew up the sides of your dress.  Pin together the sides of the dress and the arm pieces.  Start at the end of the sleeve and sew a continuous seam until you reach the hem.  Zig zag stitch to finish the seam and sew up the other side.  Hem the bottom of the dress.

For the neckline turn the fabric up 1/8″ and press, then turn up again 3/4″ and press.  Sew 1/8″ in from the top edge all the way around.  Sew 1/8″ in the from the bottom edge, but do not sew all the way around.  Leave a hole to feed the elastic through.

 

For the elastic around the neck I used 14″ of 1/4″ elastic.  Mark the length on your elastic, but do not cut the elastic.  Pin a safety pin on the end and feed the elastic around the neck.  Don’t take the safety pin off until you are ready to sew the elastic together.  I made this mistake and my elastic got sucked back into the neck and I had to pull the elastic out and re-feed it.  Use zig zag stitching to sew the elastic together and cut off the excess.  Then top stitch the opening closed.

For the wrists, I only sewed 1/8″ in from the bottom and I used 4.5″ of elastic.  I can’t wait to put it all together with the headband, white cable knit tights, and brown Mary Janes!

 

 

Orange Infused Vinegar

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Up until a couple years ago I never gave much thought to the cleaning products I bought or how much I spent on them.  Every couple months on one of my trips to Target I would buy a bottle of Lysol surface cleaner and be on my way.  Then I started getting interested in green cleaning products, but as some of you may now they are fairly pricey compared to conventional cleaners.  So I forked over even more money for a product I was trusting a big company to guarantee was good for my family and the environment.  But I still couldn’t pronounce the ingredients on the bottle.  So, I started looking in cleaning with vinegar.

Wow, who knew all the amazing uses for vinegar?!  I always just assumed it was mainly used for canning and I had a small bottle of it waaaay back in one of my cabinets.  And I started cleaning with it.  At first I used essential oils mixed with vinegar and water to create a cleaner that would have a pleasant smell.  But part of the reason I switched to cleaning with vinegar was to save money, and essential oils are not cheap.  Yes, the bottle lasts a long time, but I wanted to try a recipe that didn’t require a big up front cost.  So here’s how I make orange infused vinegar for surface cleaning.

All you need are two ingredients.  Yep, that’s it vinegar and a couple of oranges.  I bought this huge bottle of vinegar for around $2 (on sale plus a coupon) and these two oranges for $.76.

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Peel two oranges and put the peels in a Mason jar.  Pour vinegar over the peels and fill up the jar (If you have a monster jar, only fill it up halfway).  Put the lid on the jar and store for two weeks.  Eat your oranges and smile, you just made super cheap cleaner!  In two weeks pour the vinegar into a spray water and fill the rest of the bottle up with water.  It smells awesome and does a great job cleaning!

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Felt Flowers Headband

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So on Thursday I realized Thanksgiving is mere week away, yikes!  I hadn’t started on making Cora’s Thanksgiving outfit at all, so I decided that was my mission this weekend to get her dress and headband finished before I had to start thinking about any cooking.  I love love love felt flower headbands.  I think they are so dainty and they can be worn with a dressy dress or an everyday outfit.  So here’s how I made this one to match Cora’s brown chevron Thanksgiving dress (coming soon!).

To make the dark purple flower you will start with a circle and four flower shapes (oops there are five in the picture, just ignore one for now!)

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Place a dot of hot glue in the center of one flower and fold in half like so:Image

Place another dot of glue in the middle along the bottom and fold in half again.

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Put hot glue on one side and glue to the circle.

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Do this for the remaining three flower shapes.

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Now cut three more flowers, these should be slightly smaller than the first flowers (remember that one I told you to ignore?  He got trimmed down a bit and we’re going to use him now).

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Glue two of the flowers in half.

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Glue them on top of the folded pieces with the long sides touching.

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Fold your last flower shape in quarters and glue in the center of the flower.

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And you’re finished with one flower, woohoo!  Two more to go!

Next we’ll be doing the light pink flower.  Start with a circle.

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Cut a spiral and then scallop the edges of the spiral.  Don’t worry about it being perfect.  I tell my students all the time that their artwork will never look exactly like mine or anyone else’s and that is okay.  You will never find two flowers that look exactly alike, so don’t stress about getting your flower perfect.  Mine definitely is not!

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Now you’re going to roll the spiral starting with the pointy end and hot glue the circular end on the bottom of the flower.  Okay, bad blogger moment, I forgot to take a picture of gluing the bottom.  But you can see how I did it on my fall wreath tutorial, which is also where you find how to make the brown flower.

Cut out two circles to be the base for the flowers and leaves if you would like.  I used embroidery floss to create the detail stitching around my leaves, but that’s totally optional.  Cut your elastic to the length needed. My daughter’s head is 17″ so I cut my elastic to 16.5″ to allow for overlapping when I sewed the two ends of the elastic together.  Now we’re ready to assemble the headband.

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First test out the placement of your flowers and leaves on one of the backing pieces.  Once you are happy, hot glue each piece to the back.

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Sew your elastic together.  I just hand sewed it since I was using skinny elastic.  Then spread glue all over the backing, lay your elastic in place, then put the other circle back on top of the glue.

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And you’re finished!  Aren’t you excited?  I know I was, too bad Ms. Cora is sleeping, I can’t wait to try it on her!

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