Fabric Shopping

Today I took Emma fabric shopping…and Laila too of course…she had a gift card to spend from her birthday and since she got a sewing machine (if you read the latest blog post), we needed some thread and some fabric to get started.

The ones on the left are the ones she got from Aunt Erin, the ones on the right are the ones she picked out at Walmart. These are fat quarter singles so they are perfect for practicing on since they are only 97 cents each!

The one at the bottom is a one yard stash starter and she just really liked the print so she got it!

Laila had us laughing pretty good. She kept saying she wanted a “cinnamon roll”…and after I picked her up and asked her to show me what she wanted, it was technically a “jelly roll” in the fabric department and looked something like this:

Ha Ha! It DOES look like a cinnamon roll and this is only a picture I found online to show you sort of what she saw. I can’t upload pictures from my phone, or I would have taken a picture in the store. The one she had her eye on was a hot pink one. I told her she had to wait until she was 8. 😀

I was able to successfully thread the machine…

yay me!

…didn’t realize it was 4 separate processes!

…none of you warned me!

…but Emma was very patient

…and we started on a pillow for her doll. It is mostly finished but we want to applique her name to it so that is tomorrow’s project. I might have the Cricut and the Brother out at the same time…so glad I have a nice big dining room table!


Sewing 101

Emma has been asking for a sewing machine for a couple years now. I really don’t know what sparked this interest since she has never seen me or anyone she knows using one. I have never touched one; I am a more of a glue gun and heat-n-bond kinda gal. But she just enjoys crafts and knows that sewing is a craft. My mother-in-law told her that she would have to wait until she’s 8 to have one (for good reason; that is the recommended age for the beginner’s sewing machines). So this week she turns 8 and guess what she got her. Yep! Thank you Neena! ❤

So I watched some you-tube videos for beginner sewers like us and we had our first sewing class today!

I started by drawing some designs on plain paper and having her follow the lines using a straight stitch. If you look closely, you can see the needle holes in the paper to see how well she was able to follow the lines.

Straight Lines:

Maze-like Lines:

Whatever-you-want-to-call-this shape:

She even drew a design of her own!

I also had her do her name:

Then we tried a circle:

She really was good for her very first time and is already ready to try the real thing.

We just need to get to a craft store to buy some thread!

This will be a whole new adventure for us trying to thread the machine, so I hope we can figure it out!

More to come later…

Bathroom facelift

Sometimes you just need a change. I have been wanting a new shower curtain for awhile, but just hadn’t made time to look for one. I strolled through the aisle at Target while shopping for back to school supplies, and found one I loved. Its crazy how I manage to find the best things not when I’m out looking specifically for them, but when I randomly happen to walk down an aisle and notice them out of the corner of my eye. Am I the only one that has weird luck like that?

When you have a small bathroom, the shower curtain is 50% of the room! So a simple update can make a big difference.

As soon as I was ready to put up my new shower curtain, I realized how ugly and worn the old rod and rings were. So I picked up a bronze one. But instead of buying new curtain clips I decided to use an idea I saw on pinterest. The pinterest link is only a picture, so the steps I used are below.

This was my inspiration:

This is my creation:

I had some silver beaded napkin rings that I found at Target a few Christmas seasons ago. They usually sit in the drawer of my china cabinet, but they are too pretty to be hiding in there, so I thought they needed to be brought out of their hiding place.

I had to decide on a ribbon color. I like my fairly neutral bathroom. It is mostly cream/white shades, so I decided I needed something bolder for my ribbon detail. I chose simply sheer black.


First, place your napkin rings onto the rod and hang it up.

Cut your ribbon into 12 pieces. I made each piece 3ft long. So you’ll need 36 ft of ribbon to achieve the same look as mine; more if you like longer pieces.

Singe the ends of your ribbon to prevent fraying. I just use a quick flick of a lighter.

Thread one end of your ribbon through a curtain hole. Then thread that same end through the ring. Then thread the opposite ribbon end through the ring in the opposite direction. Then tie your bow! Try to make sure you’re pulling on each bow the same amount as you work your way across, so that your curtain hangs evenly. This is a picture of my ribbon right before I tied the bow.

Tip* Tie a piece of string to your curtain rod on 2-3 curtain holes just enough to hold your curtain up while you work on the other rings.

I love it! As Laila helped me put the rings on the rod, she said “they’re so SPARKLY!” 😀 Yes, honey, we like sparkle! Sparkle is good!

I also have a vinyl liner on the inside that desperately needed cleaned. I followed the instructions on the 320 Sycamore blog.     And I couldn’t believe how clean it got! Looks brand new! You do NOT need to buy a new one!

I couldn’t stop with just the new shower curtain, so I updated my decor.

Hooks/Accents/Soap Jar

I added some new hooks for towels. In a small bathroom, towel rods stick out and take up room, and they are always falling off the walls on us. Plus the hooks make it easier for the kids to hang up their own towels!

To balance out the black ribbon , I added some black accent pieces. I had some old mason jars that I wrapped in twine! Then added a simple black ribbon.

I created a mason jar soap dispenser. I asked hubs (thanks honey!) to drill a hole in the lid. Then I spray painted the lid and rim black. And filled with soap! I just used the pump from an old soap dispenser.

My cost for the shower curtain, rod, ribbon, towel hooks, and decor was about $50.

Not exactly thrifty, but a very fancy easy new look without having to paint walls!

Linking up to…

Positively Splendid

I Heart Naptime

It’s Overflowing

Back to school bargains

This week while my kids are at vbs, I took advantage of some shopping time sans kids. Hubs decided to go with me. I don’t know why shopping without kids feels like such a vacation, but it IS!! I usually take my school-aged daughter to get her back to school supplies. But this year her supply list was much shorter, and we had a couple items already at home, so I decided she could skip out on this adventure this year.

Here is her list:

Pretty short, right? yay!

I started at Dollar Tree to get things that I knew were not on sale at Target. I got loose leaf paper, baggies, and a plastic shoe box….$4 total!

For everything else, I headed to Target, which seemed to have everything we needed on sale this week. My total…$8.

24 pack pencils…$1.12 each…the $1 ones were already gone:(.

Folders….   .49 each

Spiral Notebooks…   .17 each

3ring binder…$1.79

Glue bottle….    .50

Red pens…$1

I already had Kleenex and crayons.

The only thing I will need to find are a YELLOW notebook and folder. Her teacher has a color system for different subjects. Why, Mrs. Miller did  you have to pick the one color that Target did not have? 🙂 oh well, back to school shopping would have been entirely too easy otherwise. I realize that many classes have much longer lists, but if you can get the most expensive items on your list on sale, you will save a bunch!

So my total for everything was $12. Even after the 2 items I still have to find (darn yellow notebooks), and the lunchbox I picked up for her last week, I will still be under $20. So if you have multiple kids with multiple lists, I suggest keeping an eye on the weekly ads starting around the beginning of August and when you see that the majority of the things you need are on sale, plan your trip!

I also purchased extras of the things that she tends to run out of during the middle of the year so that there are no last minute high priced purchases before the next round of back-to-school supply shopping. I will probably even have her pick out a backpack because the one she’s using has lasted 3 years now, but this is probably it’s last.

So have fun back-to-school shopping!

We are packed and ready for Meet the Teacher night!

Upcycling Ideas

This is a picture of a few things leftover from our recent yard sale that I decided to keep in hopes of upcycling them into something awesome! These came from my mom’s storage bins!

Embroidery hoops are popular now with lots of possibilities for what to fill them with. I am going to remove the old fabric (the old geese scenery has got to go) and refashion them into something else. Here are some ideas that I like…chalkboard hoop, fabric hoops with felt embellishments, name embroidered onto fabric. I kinda like the idea of putting a big letter “E” on one, and “L” on the other, one for each of my girls.

As for the frames, I just love the unique shape of these old picture frames! I remember them hanging in our home when we were growing up.

Not sure exactly what I’ll do with these but I do think Mod Podge will be involved. I do love the idea of modpodging a photo onto the fronts of them something like this:

Since I have 2 frames, I could do one picture of each of my girls on them.

Betcha can’t wait to see what I come up with…neither can I! Ha! I will let you know if they turn out into something really neat. I sure hope so!

*All inspiration pictures are courtesy of Pinterest.*

Yard Sale Success

Yard sales can be a lot of work, but they can also be very rewarding. We just had our first one ever. It was a mega baby yard sale. We kept every single baby item we acquired over the past 8 years! We had kept everything because we never knew if we were done having babies. We finally decided this year that we are complete with 2 kids and that we are going to bust out of our home if we don’t start simplifying our belongings.

Our sale was a success because I have been thinking about it for a long time and because I had some great help! My friend Sarah has had successful sales in the past and gave me lots of great advice. Thank goodness for mother nature too, because we had been in a triple digit heat wave for days, then it lowered for the weekend, and now it’s back up again. I have no idea how we managed to pick the perfect weekend, but we did!

Here are my tips for a successful yard sale:

Planning! I am definitely a planner. I decided that since this was a mega sale, I wanted to keep things simple by keeping my prices simple. Most clothing/shoes one set price, books/ movies one set price, small toys one set price. For very nice name brand clothing and holiday dresses I set up a hanging rack and set one price for anything on those racks.

Know how much stuff you have to set out and make sure you have enough tables . If you don’t have tables you can use old doors or plywood and set them on empty bins, tables , or sawhorses. I only had 3 tables, so I also used 3 doors which gave me 6 tables total! And that was just for clothes!! It was funny how many people asked “how many kids do you have?” haha…only 2!

Group like items together and categorize them. It helps to lay out your clothes in order by size. I had an abundance of clothes, so I had a table for each size. And labeled the tables so people could find the size they were looking for quicker. Instead of tagging each piece, I set a price so they would all be the same. I did the same for shoes, and put them in a bin under the corresponding clothing sizes…infant shoes under the infant clothing table. Then the tables were in order of size. Aside from clothing, organize other categories as well. Baby safety items grouped together, electronic toys together, stuffed animals together, etc.

For items that I wanted to price differently than others on the same table, or for “odd” items, I used prelabeled stickers that I picked up at the dollar store. In these packs, there are also blank stickers to fill in your own price, and “make offer” stickers in case you’re up for a little negotiating.

Have plenty of cash and change available. You don’t want to have to turn someone away because you don’t have the right change for them. Most people bring $20s and spend less than that. I got 2 rolls of quarters that I didn’t even have to open, but it was nice knowing I had them just in case.

Have plenty of plastic sacks to bag up purchases. Our Walmart has a large recycling container for this at the entrance, so I grabbed a bunch before my sale, and took the extras back afterwards.

Since I often have my kids with me when I’m out yardsaling, I saw this fabulous idea at another house that turned out to be very popular! I set out a bin of “freebies” in front of where you “check out”. I gathered small toys from past goody bags, and happy meals and made a “free to take” sign for it. Kids loved it; some of them just sat there and played the whole time while their parents shopped. Even adults took something to bring home to their kids.

One important thing we learned:

We were fairly prepared for this sale, but in the future, we will prepare throughout the year. Meaning as we find items to include in our next sale, we will tag them, price them, and put them in a designated spot for yard sale items. That way, when we are ready for our next sale, or if a friend or neighbor is having a sale and asks if anyone has anything to add, we will just pull the items out and be ready in no time!

More helpful info:

Some of my friends have found some local facebook groups where you can post items that are for sale and organize pickup for those items. There are atleast 10 in my area, and probably more that I haven’t discovered yet! My favorites are Baby Swap and Sell, and Yard Sale Junkies. So search Facebook for any local pages like this if you are looking for a used item to purchase, or if you are looking to sell some things. I started posting things a couple weeks before my sale, and made $100 even before my yard sale! And now I am working on selling things that did not go at the sale.

I won’t talk about tips for what to do after the sale, because I’m still in the middle of all the craziness. 🙂 The tables are still in my garage waiting to go back into bins. But a trip to Goodwill is in my future this week! And here is a link to some helpful info on how to determine your donation amount after your trip to Goodwill: Donation Value Guide.

Vacation 2012

We just returned from our 4th family vacation to Branson, MO. Ok, it’s been a few days, but it has taken me awhile to narrow down the 100 pictures we took. We get a lot of funny looks from some people when we tell them that this is where we like to vacation. Many people associate it with the older crowd, which is only partly fair. Yes, there is lots to do for the older crowds, but there is just as much to do for the younger crowd too! It has changed a lot in the past decade. We found a fantastic resort called Stillwaters Resort which is family-friendly in every way.  It is only 1 mile down the road from Silver Dollar City. It has 3 great pools, with slides and a waterfall. And access to the lake. So your front door is poolside and your back door is lakefront!

This is our vacation spot:

We like to go over the Fourth of July because Silver Dollar City has Kidsfest during this time which is always great for the kids.

During our time at Silver Dollar City we had breakfast with the Backyardigans! Both girls have grown up with them so they both love them.

For the 6 hour drive, I did a little more planning than I have in the past. I found lots of free printables to keep the kids busy in the car (in between DVDs of course).

Here are the games we played:

Alphabet Game

I Spy With My Little Eye

Slug Bug

Scavenger Hunt

Car Games

The Scavenger Hunts were from Mom’s Minivan. I printed one for my 7 year old, and there is a simpler, preschool one for my 3 yr old.

The Slug Bug Game, I Spy Game, and Alphabet game were all from Prepared Not Scared.

I also surprised my kids with 2 disposable Kodak cameras; one for underwater and one for everything else.

We spent a lot of time on the lake with my cousins. They have a boat and graciously invited us out with them. My husband and oldest daughter even took turns driving the boat! It was fun getting a taste of “life on the lake.”

and THIS is why I’m glad I blog…these two holding hands was the cutest thing ever!

This year we finally did something we’ve been wanting to do for awhile now…we visited the Titanic Museum. Emma learned a lot  in school since this year was the 100th anniversary. It was really neat! We were not allowed to take cameras in, so these are our pictures from outside. When you enter, you get a boarding pass with a real passenger’s name on it with a description about them. At the end of the tour, you enter the memorial room and find out if you survived…we all survived! John’s person was a first officer. Mine was a second class passenger from Kentucky. Emma’s was a first Class passenger from Paris. And Laila’s was a third class passenger from London who was on her way to New York ( with her wedding dress that she made!) to get married! It was humbling to read the stories, see the artifacts, and experience everything from how cold the water was on that night, to how steep the ship tipped, to walking up the million dollar recreated grand staircase!

After the Titanic, we hit the Tanger outlets and the girls spent their vacation money at the Disney store. I also got Emma a bunch of back to school clothes at Justice. Everything was 40% off…my kind of store!

Just a few souvenirs:

Before heading home, we spent some time at our Aunt June’s in Rockaway Beach. Cousin Summer was there so the girls played.

Now it is back to home sweet home. Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

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