Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pillowcase Clutch

Here is my newest creation! I saw this pillowcase at a thrift store and loved the pattern...SO I decided to make it into a clutch. (Sorry no tutorial, BUT it's very basic)  I pretty much sewed two sides together and scalloped the top to pull over as a flap.  Then I added a cute yellow button!

And that's it! I just wanted to share the cuteness and inspire you to look through your linen closet if you want a clutch.


This post is linked at Not Just a Housewife, Kathe with an E, Adventures of a DIY Mom,  Gunny Sack, Sewing Barefoot, Classy Clutter, Crafty Blog Stalker and The Stuff of Success. All of these links can be found under the Linking Partaaay page!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Michelle's Musings: Fall Feather Centerpiece, Yankee Doodle Meets Country Fall

I love Fall. The trees are filled with my favorite colors, and nature is at its finest - a beautiful mess of colorful leaves falling and landing in random, scattered places. (And there are piles of leaves to play in!)

I have been disappointed this year because it seems that in some stores, Fall is being taken over by Halloween and even Christmas! I mean, those are two great and important holidays, but I would like for once, rather than striving to get ready for the season ahead, to take the time to breathe in the season that is now falling all around us. The magic word - now. I think that in pausing to enjoy the now, life finds a new calm and peace.

So, to honor my desire to enjoy the season now, I have created something that merges several things that remind me of Fall. These items include red and yellow flannel, twine, wine corks, and feathers! I know, these are kind of random things, but they really do remind me of Fall and help me to stop and soak in the moment (now I just need an Amish market, an old red barn, and a field of sunflowers to complete the idea!).

I decided to make a vase for these awesome feathers I found at a craft store. Here's how that went down...

jar/bottle (I used an old spaghetti sauce jar)
twine/jute/raffia (whichever you prefer or have on hand)
wine corks (I don't like wine, so I purchased six for about $2 at a craft store)
feather stem (or a real feather, flower, leaves, etc. that you wish to display)
2 small strips of flannel (I bought this flannel on sale for $6/yd. and plan to make a blanket..I just cut a strip from the edge to use for this project - you could even use colorful burlap if you prefer)
rocks or vase gems
hot glue gun/glue

Using your hot glue gun and only a tiny amount of glue, wrap your twine/jute/raffia around the jar or bottle, glueing down every few inches. A trick that I learned: As you go around the vase and come to a part that was previously glued, if there is a big wad of glue in the line of your twine, use your fingernail to cut the extra glue away from what is holding the last run and get it out of your way - this makes it much easier to make it look smooth.

If you choose, you can put your twine around the entire vase, but I did mine in sections to save time, rather than glueing twine under where I planned to put the flannel.

Once I finished glueing the first section of twine (from the top of the vase until a little way down), I took one strip of flannel and tied it around the vase. I cut the edges into Vs and turned them under, so they would not stick out so much but have a little class and purpose. I then glued another section of twine and tied another piece of flannel around the vase. Then, I did another section of twine, and I was finished!

Some confessions - my glueing of the twine was not perfect, and you could see through some spots. At first this bothered me, then I realized that no artwork is perfect and that it actually made me feel like it was sort of a "window." And what reminds you of Fall (and of our blog!) better than a window?! Fabulous, I know. Also, there was a space left open right under the tie of my flannel pieces. At first, I was going to fill this in with small pieces of flannel, but I realized that like the twine, it gave a little window into the vase. So I left it :)

I was then ready to start stuffing my vase! I used some black rocks that I stole from another vase I was no longer in love with. I purchased these several years ago at a dollar store. You can use whatever color, shape, etc., you like! You can even grab your kids and go outside hunting for rocks! To confess again, I did not have a whole lot of them on hand, so I stuffed the top of the vase with a plastic bag. Hence, you see white under the top flannel piece. Ha! I laugh in the face of imperfection :)

Then I topped the vase off with my corks. I don't know why I like this, but I do. I think it gives it a nice, funky touch. If you don't like them, leave them off. (I don't care!)

Then, like Yankee Doodle, I put a feather in my hat! Well, in my vase. The stem was too long, so I bent it to the length I wanted it. I did not have wire cutters in my immediate vicinity, so I just left the extra. I think that is ok!

And just as simple as that, you have a nice little piece to remind you to step back and enjoy the beautiful moments of Fall. They are fleeting!

Surround your vase with some awesome, multi-height candles and whatever other objects remind you of Fall (pumpkins!), and you can use it as a little display! (I just put mine on my dresser, but be creative - do whatever you like!)

So, after you read this and Pinterest a little more, grab a good book or magazine or a good movie, some yummy warm coffee (or something stronger, if that tickles your fancy), and your favorite flannel blanket, open the window, and enjoy the beautiful moment!

Happy crafting, and Happy Fall!!!

Peace y'all,
This project has been linked to The Stuff of Success, Tater Tots and Jello

Thursday, September 27, 2012

DIY Mail Center

Finished product
I was thrifting at Goodwill the other day and came across this...

Most people would see a banged up piece of particle board nailed together in a funny way...I saw MAIL CENTER.

I decided to tear it down using a hammer and just keep the skeleton. I painted it black with two coats of craft paint.
Then I cut out a piece of scrapbook paper (I just love polka dots, don't you?!) and double sided taped it to the inside.
Then I decided to paint MAIL on the top in an antique way. (I sketched out the letters first with pencil and kinda traced them with paint. Even using those sticker letters would be cute!

After that I decided that instead of using the wood I had salvaged from the inside of the piece (which would have looked cool too) I would attach coordinating ribbon with a hot glue gun from one side to the other.

And voila... Our new mail center that looks cute and original.  Only cost me $1 (it was 1/2 off) + stuff I already had.

Hope you like it! We sure do! It keeps our ingoing and outgoing mail off the counter and we hubs always knows where to put/look for the mail now! Yay organization!!!


This post is linked to Tater Tots and Jello

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tips to Keeping a Company Ready Home

You know those unexpected visitors that just happen to pop by your house unannounced? Or those friends your kids wanna bring home after school? You want the company but then you get to thinking about the pile of laundry in the living room or the dirty dishes left in the sink....EEEK so you run home and throw things in closets and in the oven, the panic ensued rush of tidying makes you lose 10 years off of your life because of stress... You probably know the feeling... I certainly know the feeling and HATE it!  Sooo I decided the house was going to be clean and STAY clean...A daunting task but one that can be accomplished!

Here are the easy tips I follow (and many of you probably do as well) to keeping a company ready home:

  1. Clean up after yourself. The simplest one to say and not do. If you get something out put it away and make sure that your other family members do the same.
  2. Everything has a place.  If this is true then #1 will be easier.  If you know where something is specifically stored then cleaning up should be easier as it has a place just for it.
  3. De-clutter. Everything should have a purpose either functional or just for pretty factor.  If it has lost its function in your home or you no longer want it don't just keep it on principal.  Change things up, get rid of things that are no longer of use to you or your family.
  4. Set aside specific days for laundry.  I used to do laundry whenever things would start to overflow.  Now I have set Saturday as the day of laundry.  On that day the laundry is not only washed but it is also PUT AWAY.  Then the rest of the week there is no worry or digging through last weeks wash for our clothing.
  5. Set aside specific days for quick tidying of rooms. I set aside about 20 minutes a day to clean certain parts of the house.  Like Mondays are living room days.  We vacuum and use cleaner, you know the more heavy duty stuff. (But honestly if you keep up with the house daily it takes so much less time to clean, than if you let the place go!) If you're an organization freak like me you could even make a schedule to post on the fridge or something.
  6. Never go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes. Always, ALWAYS clean and put those dishes away before you lay your head down for the night.
I have found that now that my family and I do these simple things we spend less time stressing over unfolded laundry and clutter and can come home at night after a quick clean up of a room and enjoy each other and our space. And if someone comes over, let 'em in! Much more relaxing, don't you agree?

It takes a little discipline at first but it really pays off once it becomes habit!

Happy cleaning!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Muscle Group We Hate the Most: Abs

Does this picture make you cringe?  I always hear people say they hate sit ups and they hate working out their stomachs in general.  I'm not saying it's my favorite thing to do ever (eating ice cream would rank much higher than ab exercises believe me) BUT I know they are important and honestly after a hard ab workout I feel more "worked out" than when I am working out any other muscle group.

Lately I have been hooked on  I love the intensity of the workouts and that it shows you exactly what to do and how long to do it.  (It also isn't a bad thing that they all have awesome accents) Anyways CHECK IT OUT and get to working those abs.  

Here is what I've been doing!

Bodyrock Ab Routine

If Bodyrock is a little too intense for you at least decide to put in a good 12-15 minutes of ab work a day.  I mean if your abs are strong and healthy you have less back pain, you are burning more calories even at rest AND you have more confidence without that extra bulge a few ab exercises a week could help tame.

Here is a list of links to some of my favorite ab exercise routines.

Abs 1
Abs 2
Abs 3 (Stability Ball workout)
Abs 4

So click on one of these and get fitter.  You can't improve your health or your body if you don't put the effort in.  So get motivated and get your fitness on!!!

(Also a little tip that helps to keep my stomach flat...Whenever I am working out another muscle group or even just sitting at my desk at work, I try to keep my abs engaged meaning they are tight.  I use every workout as an ab workout too simply because I tighten my core up while exercising!! Try it!)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nautical Sweater to Cardigan Thrift Store Mashup #3

     I had seen a pin on Pinterest (isn't that how it always starts?!) on how to make a sweater into a cute cardigan. I thought it was a great idea, and hey who can ever have enough cardigans? So I hit up my favorite local Goodwill and came up with a red and white striped sweater.  I decided I was going to transform it into a nautical cardigan(since nautical is all the rage but sooo expensive in stores)! So here it goes...

I measured across the front of the sweater and cut straight down the middle.

Then I pinned equal amounts of fabric up under the cut edge to make a nice even edge for me to hem (the inspiring pin used stitch witch adhesive, but I didn't have any and I would much rather sew it!)

I hemmed the edge...

And there you go!

Then I decided to really play up the nautical theme and added a row of three buttons down the sleeves like so...

I think it looks cute!

So there you have it my nautical sweater for a whopping $3 instead of $45 somewhere else!

A little thread and a few buttons go along way!

I'd love to see your sweater refashions! Leave a comment!


  This post has been linked to The Stuff of Success, Tater Tots and Jello, and Classy Clutter.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Michelle's Musings: Fingerprints of Nature on Canvas

This is the story of my newest creation - a tree made by fingerpainting!
I know, I am not 5 anymore, but sometimes reverting to childhood can be both fun and therapeutic! So here we go...

white canvas (whatever size or type you like)
sticks from the yard
bark from a tree
hot glue/hot glue gun - with electrical outlet for power! :)
paints of your chosen colors
paper/styrofoam plate (or artist palette)
your fingers!

I started with a plain ol' blank white canvas (I really love canvas). I put something else I really love on it too - burlap.
Ok, technically mine is more like sackcloth (which I bought from a bolt, but you could probably reuse an old potato sack if you have one!)

I cut the burlap-sackcloth in a rectangle slightly smaller than my canvas so that some of the white would show around the edges. I then hot glued it down. Be sure to use plenty of hot glue to keep it on, but not so much that it weighs it down too much.

Once the burlap was glued down, I went a'huntin' outside. I first began looking only for sticks, but during my search I decided to use tree bark as the trunk of my tree (you know, since that's what God used and all). So I gathered bark and sticks.

After I selected my outdoor supplies, I placed them on top of the burlap to see how I wanted them arranged. Turns out, I placed them just like I wanted them on the first try! I placed my sticks where I wanted them to be for the branches of the tree (I had to break many of the sticks into smaller, more practically-sized pieces). I then glued all this down.
Now, you want to be careful on this step how much hot glue you use, because the bark and sticks can really weigh it down. So don't use too much glue (you don't really need a whole lot anyway).

After this was finished, it was time to get my hands dirty being a kid again!

I selected the colors that I wanted to use for my leaves.
I wanted a fall tree, you know the way things will look here in a few weeks when the leaves really get to changing, but still with lots of green. So I selected 2 shades of green, 2 shades of yellow/gold, 2 shades of red/maroon (although one bottle was veeery empty!), and orange.
[Insert pic]

I only purchased one of the green paints..I used what I already had for all the rest. Since my canvas is fairly small, it did not require a great deal of paint to accomplish my task.

I poured the greens out on my styrofoam plate and got to work! I dabbed each fingertip of my right hand into the paint, so that my leaves would be varying sizes. I only used my fingertips, but you could use your whole fingerprint if you like!
After I fingerpainted a good bit of green, I added in some other colors, like red and yellow.

Then I repeated the greens again, so that the green was the most prominent of all the colors (I wanted it to look like there were only traces of fall beginning).
I added the orange and other shades of yellow and red, then repeated again with my greens.

I continued this pattern (ok, it was more randomized than patterned) until I had very little burlap showing on the area where I wanted leaves. I let the leaves of the tree hang over the burlap and onto the canvas, one, because trees can become invasive, and two, because Nikki suggested it. :) Good teamwork!

I realized that the more "layers" I created by dabbing colors on top of other colors, the more full my tree appeared, which is what I really wanted.
I also put just a couple of leaves falling and a pile of leaves on the "ground" below my tree.

After awhile, my tree was complete! I was satisfied with its color and fullness.

I then signed Nikki's and my initials on the bottom right corner. I will admit my goof on this, I like to sign my canvases in Sharpie, and this one was no different. I first tried signing directly onto the burlap, then quickly realized this was not legible. It kind of even looked bad. Oops! Luckily, I did it at the very bottom of the burlap, where there was no glue right on the edge. (Lucky me!)
So I took my scissors and cut off the very bottom of the burlap. This gave me a little more white space to sign our initials onto the canvas! Yay, it's finally complete!

Then of course, I let it dry.

Random tidbits & tips with this project:
-You can use paint for the trunk and branches if you don't like the use of nature but like the idea of the design. I first planned to do all paint then realized it would be cool to make it 3-dimensional and more fun..more like me!
-You can make your tree be in whatever season you desire. Or, you could make one for every season! They could be interchanged throughout the year or placed together in a broken rectangle on your wall - whatever you like!
-You can make your tree as full or as naked as you like. As I said, layering the colors gives it a more full effect (as does repeating the same colors after using others in between). If you want to make a winter tree that is naked, you can use a lot fewer fingerprints!
-This project can be really great for children, too! (You might want to help them with the hot glue gun, or use Mod Podge or some safer, colder adhesive.) Many kids would probably enjoy the nature hunt for sticks and bark, too!
-As you paint your leaves, be sure to get some paint on the sticks (branches) too. It adds a cool effect (who doesn't love polka-dotted sticks?!) and looks more realistic, because we all know leaves consume their branches!

Please share with us if you decide to make your own fingerpainting tree. We would love to see what you come up with!

Blessings and love,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Momma Crase's Southern Sweet Tea

Sweet tea is a staple of the southern diet. And I have always thought my mom's tasted better than any restaurant or just about any other place you can get a tall glass of sweet tea. So I thought I would share her recipe with YOU!

Here is our very simple family recipe for Southern Sweet Tea:

What you will need:

A Pitcher
9 regular teabags or 5 family size bags (Lipton Iced Tea)

How to make Momma's Tea:
  1.  Put 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar in the pitcher, depends on how sweet you want your sweet tea :)
  2. Pour 7 cups of filtered drinking water into the pitcher, 
  3. Stir water and sugar until sugar is dissolved, set pitcher aside.
  4. Get tea bags ready.
  5. Pour two cups of water in a small sauce pan.
  6. Bring water to a boil.
  7. Take saucepan off the stove.
  8. Put tea bags in the water, submerge and let sit for 2 minutes and 30-45 seconds
  9. Take tea bags out of water IMPORTANT: Don't squeeze bags out in saucepan just take out. Squeezing makes it bitter.
  10. Pour contents of saucepan into pitcher and stir to combine.
  11. Place sweet tea into the fridge and let cool.
And there you have it!!! The best and simplest sweet tea recipe I know!!


This post has been linked to The Stuff of Success, Tater Tots and Jello

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Infinity Scarf from Regular Old Scarf

Infinity Scarves are very in and to me are so much more stylish than a regular old scarf.  I've had this scarf for years and I was about to throw it out...BUT I decided to give it new life!  And this is how I did it- very simple and you can too!

Mine had fringe...

 HAD fringe... :) I cut it right off of there.

Then I simply folded it together (outside in) and matched up the edges I just cut.

Then I sewed a simple stich right down the edge. (I also sewed a zig-zag stitch on the outside as well.)

And there you have it.  It literally took me about 5 minutes and I have a "new" scarf that I know I will wear much more than the old version.

So go look for all those old scarves you want to give new life and make a comfy infinity scarf!


Quick Tip Tuesday: Clean Your Ring with Toothpaste

I was noticing my engagement ring and wedding ring getting kind of dingy and the diamonds weren't as sparkly as they had once been.  I have seen on Pintrest all of these great at home jewelry cleaner things and was going to try one...But honestly I didn't really want to take them off- for sentimental reasons and lazy reasons!

Soooo I decided that I was going to try toothpaste. Yup, toothpaste.

In the morning when I was brushing my teeth I dabbed a glob of toothpaste on the ring and really rubbed it in to the little crevices, all over the gold and the diamonds.

I let it sit for a few moments and then used a toothbrush to scrub around (I would recommend a different toothbrush than the one you shove in your mouth daily.) all of it and into the setting of the diamonds.

When I finished I rinsed it all off with cold water, making sure to get all of that toothpaste off...


I seriously haven't seen my rings sparkle like that since they were first on my finger.

Quick-Easy-Cheap-Convenient. Seriously try it, you won't be disappointed! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Work Those Legs

I have always dealt with these legs.  You know the legs I'm talking about.  The "used to be soccer-athletic legs, now they are just legs" legs.  Yah those kind.  Well now I'm kicking it (no pun intended) into high gear!

Here is my leg workout:

                           I got this workout from Back On Pointe.  Visit them for some great workouts!!

 Here are links to those random exercises that you might not know what they are, I mean I sure didn't!

I also tack on 10 clamshells (how to do a clamshell) and 20 froggers (how to do a frogger).

  I am always trying to work on my inner thighs, which is a problem spot for most women to keep toned. The "Tame Those Thighs" workout has plenty of exercises that help target that area i.e. inner thigh lifts and plie squats. I have noticed the difference with this workout! So try it out at least twice a week!

ALSO.... Don't forget your cardio! Don't dread cardio! A) it's going to get you to your goal faster B) it's going to work your whole body including your lungs and really getting your blood circulating. 

I have started bike riding as well as walking, just to get outside but not having to run!

Happy Sweating!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thrift Store Mash-up #2: DIY Skirt

So I found this handmade dress at Goodwill the other day and bought it thinking I would wear it...BUT then I tried it on again and thought that I probably shouldn't (for obvious reasons).  But I loved the skirt part and wanted to make it into a skirt.  Here's how I did it and you can too!

First I cut the skirt part off of the dress. EASY!

Then I got some elastic and measured how big I wanted it to be and cut it.

This next step is for those who want to put fabric over your elastic. I only did this because I didn't have white or black elastic. Don't do this step unless you want to!  This took the most time out of the whole project.

First I cut the fabric from the top part of the dress to fit around my elastic.

Then I pinned the material onto the elastic.

Then started sewing it on the edges and down the middle for extra security.
Finished product

Then I sewed the elastic ends together to make a belt.

Then I decided what I wanted to be the center of my skirt and pinned it to the center of my elastic.  Then I sewed the skirt part (inside out) to the elastic (inside out).

                                 Then it's finished! It is seriously easy! And YOU can do it!!

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