Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Off to the Derby!

Once a year, I get to spend a little extra time with my favorite little guy and make a pinewood derby car!  This year was our 3rd pinewood derby and it was the first time when we had a complete do-over from the car we started.

Originally the little guy wanted mommy to make a bear car.  However, I was quickly reminded that I am no carver, sculptor, or all that handy with a pocket knife. 

So we ditched the bear idea and made this one

I even painted the wheels this year!  The little guy was amazed that "It looks like a real car!!"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finished Product Storage

I've blogged about my finished product storage before.  However, I have recently decided that it is just not working for me. 

Previously I was storing my finished product in my cabinets that hubby and I installed in December 2010.  However, I quickly realized that I was growing out of that space.  It became very apparent in the spring of 2011 as I began getting ready for spring craft shows, and I would have finished magnet boards lining the living room.

So, I have finally cleared out the coat closet and moved in!  Please realize that coat closet is just the name as coats have never really lived in there.  I am still storing my bolts of felt inside too, as they are too long to put in my cabinets, but I may still re-install a shelf that was removed before.

I like that now everything is in one place and it will be easy to load and unload when packing up for a craft show.  I can also space things out so that when something sells it is easy to find.

Now it is time to fill these shelves up!  Spring Craft shows are coming up quickly!

The wire shelves may be problematic, but I will use it this way for a little while before I bug hubby again.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Shoe Racks as Toy Storage

I'm a little embarrassed to show you these pictures.  Our youngest son has an armory ... an armory of Nerf guns.  He LOVES his Nerf guns and I have become quite a good shot playing with him.

However, I can't say that Nerf guns are the easiest thing to store and find a place for!

So, a genius idea came over me!  I put an over the door shoe rack on his door to put the nerf guns in!  The pockets are the perfect size for many of his smaller guns.

He can't reach the highest pockets, so I'll be putting things in those that he doesn't use so often

We are hanging his larger ones on hooks around his room.

Yes, there are more than pictured here!

Oh, well ... at least he is not addicted to TV and video games!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shipping Station!

During the time that I have been selling on Etsy and my website, I have come to appreciate the importance of having a dedicated shipping station.

A place where I can have bubble mailers, tape, bubble wrap, plastic baggies, ribbon, and all of those other things at my finger tips!

So, I have finally set up a dedicated shipping station in my work cabinets.

I have bubble mailers, and ribbons in the cabinet above.

I really like that this place is right next to my computer so that I only have to take a few steps to enter weights, print labels, and grab them off the printer!

Tape, baggies, scissors, pens, and also my scale lives in the drawer.

Bubble wrap, newspaper, and other packaging material lives in the cabinet below.

You may notice that I don't have a place for large boxes.  They currently live in my workshop outside since I don't really want them filling up my living room office!

Time to take these out to the mail box!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yarn Wreath Tutorial

Last weekend it was a bit chilly out.  So, I decided to make a new wreath for the door!  I have been trying to get a wreath to put up for each season, so this is my spring wreath!

The supplies for this were less than $10 (I used a coupon for the wreath form, and the silk flowers were on sale!) and it took me a couple hours to make - most of that is wrapping, and wrapping, and wrapping yarn ... and my skein of yarn was giving me fits so some of that time was undoing the skein and making a ball of yarn.

Here are my supplies:
1 14" wreath form (I would probably like a 16 inch one, but apparently they are hard to find!)
1 skein of yarn - I probably used about 2/3 of it
1 bouquet of silk flowers and other embellishments

Tools needed:
glue gun
wire cutters (for cutting ends of silk flowers)
clear tape

You want to start by tying your yarn on to the wreath.  I left about a 6 inch tail on the yarn for the hanger at the end.  This is more than you need, but will make it easy to tie.  I would also recommend tying in at the seam of the wreath form (not shown in this picture) as when you tighten up your wrapping it won't keep moving around.

Now the wrapping begins.  If your wreath form is smooth like mine you can wrap the yarn several times and then tighten it up.  However, I wouldn't recommend that you get the wraps far apart and that you push them together every 4 wraps.

Also, when you tighten up your wraps DO NOT twist your hands.  You want to push and pull them together, but twisting will cause some of the wraps to loosen and some of them to tighten creating nonuniform wrapping.

If you need to take a coffee break use a couple of pieces of the clear tape to secure it down.  You may also want to tape down the tail that you left at the beginning so that it doesn't get in your way.

After many many many wraps you will get close to the end.  When you are about 3/4 of an inch or 1 inch from the end you can make your hanger.  Tape the tail down, tie it to the wrapped yarn and then finish wrapping over the taped section.

When you get all the way around you can tie the two ends together like this to form a little hanger.

Now your wreath is done and you can put your flowers on!

You will want to trim your flowers, but leave some of the stem to push into your wreath.  For the larger stems I leave about 1/2 to 3/4 inch, for the small wires I leave 1 to 1 1/2 inches.

Next you will want to dry fit all of your flowers.  I generally put all of the flowers in until I decide on the final arrangement.  Please note that the holes will not look this large.  Apparently my camera did not take the pictures the other day so I had to remove one after it was glued to show these pictures.

Once you have decided on the placement of all of the flowers use your glue gun to secure them in place.  Take the flower out, inject hot glue into the hole, and then replace the flower before the glue cools. 

I recommend removing and gluing one flower at a time.

An alternative to the hanger that I showed you is to use a wide ribbon. I will be adding a ribbon when I get some that coordinates with the flowers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mom's are the best!

So, my mom has been cleaning out her cabinets ... and tucked way in the back of a kitchen cabinet she found my old lunch box!  Oh, how I loved Snoopy!  He was the best!  I hope that my kids will feel the same delight when I give them some of their goodies in 30 years!

I think I will have to start taking my lunch in this now!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homemade Snickers!

So, last night I made these homemade snickers bars for dessert.  Can you say sugar overload!  Hubby and I both enjoyed them (hehe ... kiddos were spending the night with Nanny and friends!), although we both said that we didn't think they tasted exactly like snickers as they had a much more peanut butter taste.  I followed the recipe from EatCakeforDinner ... you can find it here:  Snickers

I used the evaporated milk version, and I must say that refrigeration is required for this.  They really need to sit in the fridge overnight, and I would probably recommend either spraying the pan you use with non-stick spray, or lining it with wax paper as lots of the chocolate stuck to the bottom of my pan.  I would also probably recommend that you make the first layer of chocolate and then refrigerate it for at least an hour before moving on to the nougat.

Regardless, they are yummy!  And I am sure the chocolate at the bottom of the pan won't be wasted!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Featured Friends - Tracey Gurley Bath & Body

I totally goofed on Monday and didn't do a featured friend!  However, since it is Friday, this is the perfect friend to feature since we all deserve a little pampering going into the weekend!

Tracey is a multi-talented artist who not only makes wonderful Bath & Body products, but she is also an amazing painter!  Actually all of the labels for her B&B products are made from snippets of her paintings!

Go have a look at her shop TGurleyBathandBody!  You will find everything from soap, lip balm, scrubs, and creams.  Some of them sound good enough to eat!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sausage Frittata - by The Saucy Dish

I ain't no Betty Crocker!  Really ... I do not consider myself a good cook at all ... but I can follow a recipe!  Cooking was just not one of those things that was done in my house growing up, other than a few specialty dishes that my mother made ... So, when I am trying to come up with stuff to feed these boys, then I rely on the experts!

I love easy!  And, this Frittata is Easy!  You should run over and follow The Saucy Dish on facebook!  She has some great recipes that are kid and husband friendly, and even I can make them!

It's like a crustless quiche or an open faced omelet. 
 I had leftover sausage, so I put that in the pan just to heat it back up. And, the fats in the sausage helped add more non-stick factor to my Pre-Seasoned, AND "PAM'd" oven proof heave pan with curved edges. 
I poured scrambled eggs into the hot pan with the sausage still it it. I started in the center, then just made sure the eggs were poured all over to cover all the sausage crumbles. I let it cook on the stovetop for about 2 minutes total on high/medium-high. 
Once the bottom was set and I could see that the edges were cooked to about a half inch in towards the center, I put some shredded cheese on top. I had the broiler set to low, and then just put the whole pan in the oven. It was in the oven about another 5? Minutes. 
I watched it until the top looked like the picture there, with the nice golden brown top. I then used a plastic spatula to ease around the edges to be sure it would release from the pan, and I plopped it onto the cutting board. Then used my pizza cutter, and viola! Super easy breakfast!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fabric Storage

I have struggled with fabric storage for years now.  I have tried it in bags, in bins various ways, stacked by color, stacked by amount, folded in bins ... you get the picture.  Well, I have finally come up with a system that is working for me and I have been able to easily use it and maintain it over the last few months.  So, I thought it was time to share.

I am now storing fabric in bins, but rolled up.  Rolling the fabric is a much more efficient use of space, and when you have enough rolls to fill up a bin it is actually easy to remove and put back as the other rolls stay in their places.

Each Monday I take out the rolls of fabric that I will be working with for the next 4-10 days depending on how many orders I have.  Once I am finished I simply roll them back up and return them to their spaces.

I have them in separate bins depending on how much of a fabric I have.  One bin is dedicated to the fabric I have more than one yard of and are listed on my fabrics available page.  The second bin holds fabric that I don't have as much of but I will be using in the future.  I have finally managed to part with fabrics that I don't love, and were not popular.

Whew!  That was a lot of work! 

I am really happy that I don't have stacks falling over, and visually I can see each fabric that I have with out digging!

And, the bins fit neatly in my cabinet!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


 I think containers are my absolute favorite organizing tool.  They come in so many shapes and sizes, and also made of different materials.  I often containerize things that I use at the same time, and I try to use pretty containers for things that need to stay out for a length of time.

I use a container to keep my iron, a bottle of water, spray starch, and some cloths for cleaning the iron in a bin.  It lives in my linen closet, but I just reach in and take the whole bin out when it is time to iron.  And with wire shelving I don't have to worry about the spray bottles falling over!  I use a plastic bin for these since they aren't left out all the time, and I am cautious to make sure that the iron is cooled down before I put it away.

I also containerize unmentionables.  All ladies need a basket like this.  I take it out for a week each month and leave it in our master bath.  Then it goes back under the sink for 3 weeks.

Extra toilet paper in our boys bathroom is kept in a basket on the back of the toilet.  I would never keep extra toilet paper on the floor next to the toilet in a boys bathroom ... and if you have boys then you know why I say that!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sneak Peak - New things Coming

I've been working on some new things!  So I thought I would give you a little sneak peak!

I have some things left to add to them ... including hooks!

Hopefully I will be listing them in the shop next week!

Are you excited?  I am!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sweet Potatoes are Sprouting!

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I grabbed an apple and noticed that some sweet potatoes were sprouting!  Originally I had bought a bunch of sweet potatoes thinking that I would cook them all and freeze the extras.  Apparently that was too many since these 3 wouldn't fit into the pot, and well, you know the rest of the story because here they sat uncooked.

So, instead of tossing them in the compost or garbage I am going to try to grow sprouts for the garden!

So, here they sit, about half in water and held up by toothpicks on my window sill.  At least it gives me something to look at when I am doing the dishes!

I'll update you on sweet potatoes as they grow ... for now I need more sprouts!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Featured Friends! John and Emily of McCoyToys

I think one of the best and most unexpected things that has happened since I started selling on Etsy and selling at craft shows are the wonderful and talented friends that I have made along the way.

I hope you will enjoy seeing objects made by a few of these friends!

Today I would like to give a shout out to John and Emily of McCoyToys.  I met John and Emily at a dismal craft show.  It was the kind of day where you realize that the only way to make it a good day is to accept the loss of money and make the best of anything you can!  John and Emily were set up next to me, and we all laughed about our pitiful sales and the lack of traffic, and started talking about where we were from and Etsy!

I am a better person for having met the two of them!

No run off and go check out their toys!  They are two of Santa's biggest helpers!

What boy or girl doesn't need a tractor!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Organizing Task - Recipes ... and other foodie books

For a while now I have wanted to get my recipe's and cookbooks out of my bedroom and into my kitchen where I use them.  You see, we only have one bookshelf in the house for adult books (the kids each have one in their rooms), so all of my books no matter the subject are in my bedroom.  Which means constant tromping between rooms when I am looking for a recipe.

I was inspired to get this done this week by the 52 Weeks of Organizing on Home Storage Solutions - Here's the post in case you are inspired too!

Several years ago I made 2 binders full of page protectors, photo pages, and made fabric covers for them.  The fabric covers are showing their age now, but that is a project for another day!  I love the page protector sleeves because when I find a recipe that has been given the husband and boy stamp of approval, then I can just drop it in the page protector.

Generally I don't have a lot of recipes that haven't been given the hubby and boy stamp of approval.  I tend to keep a bookmark folder on my computer with potential recipes, and then I print them when I want to make them.  If they are no good the paper goes in the trash, and if they are winners they go in the binder.

So, I decided to clean out one space in one cabinet for my books ... this is the cabinet that I chose to tackle

 I decided that the spinning thing for plastic containers needed to go.  Sure, it is handy-dandy, but several of the containers have broken, most of the small ones are just too small, and the larger ones are all being used by food in the freezer and can be easily stacked with the other plastic containers.  So ... it is gone!

Next, I gathered all of my cookbooks and recipe books.  I have a few other gardening books that are an excellent resource for canning and preserving foods that I pulled out also to store with the cookbooks. I also got rid of some of the cookbooks that I really just felt repeated recipes from the other books, put my recipes in the binder into the sleeves, and tossed the ones that I have decided I don't like or will never make.

Unfortunately there was a glitch in my plan ... because the books were too tall for my shelf!  So I opened the cabinet next door and a larger space that was occupied by the bread maker looked like perfect real estate!

In the challenge it also talks about organizing your recipes, but luckily besides putting some away in my binder, my recipes are fairly organized already!

I have decided that I use the bread maker a lot more when it is on my counter and not in the cabinet.  Cause really it is too heavy to be on that top shelf anyway.