Monday, December 21, 2009

It's a good week at CVS

Okay, I didn't take a picture because my camera has grown legs and walked off, but this is a good week at CVS. It was an especially good week for me because I took a survey for CVS and earned 15 ECB :-) SOoooooo, I bought:

Nivea body wash
Almay mascara
Oral B toothbrush
Oral B Glide floss (truthfully, don't remember the brand)
Thermacare heat wrap
CVS brand hand lotion
Hershey's candy bar
Boudreaux's butt paste

Used 20 ECB
Paid $4.09 Out of pocket
Earned almost 15 ECB
Not too bad! I am out of the CVS habit, or I would have bought a few items, and rolled over my ECBs to pay for the butt paste and candy bar. Alas, I am rusty. Anyway, I thought the deals were great, and was very excited to find everything I wanted actually in the store for once:-) It pays to go on Sunday afternoons. Happy savings and Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009 Thrifty Christmas Gift Idea #5

One of my favorite blogs to read is Little Birdie Secrets. They always have fun, easy craft ideas that work for everyone! Recently a couple of their ideas really caught my eye (both involve some Mod Podge, which the ladies at Little Birdie Secrets admit to LOVING!):

Easy Photo Blocks and Tiles

Easy Wooden Picture Frame

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Thrifty Christmas Gift Idea #4

This past weekend, my friend and I met in Charlotte, NC, to spend the day together. We went to the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, the Mint Museum of Art, and Ikea. All three places were AMAZING!

The museum gift stores contained many wonderful items, especially the gift store at the Craft and Design Museum (which specializes in handcrafted items in addition to typical gift store fare). I found these adorable vintage button rings and fell in love with them. I tried on multiple rings, but did not buy one because none of them felt right (I bought one for my friend's daughter, though:-). Then, at the next museum, they had another display of rings. Jeni walked right up, picked up a ring and said "This one is yours!" And it was (that is why she has been my friend for 20+ years)! I love this ring, and thought what a great gift this would make.

The internet being the amazing thing that it is, I found an easy tutorial for homemade vintage button rings here. Another fun gift for you to try!

Monday, December 7, 2009

2009 Thrifty Christmas Gift Idea #3

These are just perfect for the girls in your life, and though they use fabric, they require very little sewing:-) Enjoy these Fabric Flower Earrings. I really want to make some of these! Too cute!

Friday, December 4, 2009

2009 Thrifty Christmas Gift Idea #2

I found these recipes for bath soaks recently, and I included the "Oatmeal Cookies & Milk Bath Soak" in the 'pampering kit' I made for my friend two weeks ago. It was very simple to make, and used ingredients I had on hand! For a more involved gift, the bath salts look amazing as well. Many of our moms or girlfriends could use a little bit of relaxation, don't you think?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009 Thrifty Christmas Gift Idea #1

Last year I posted several Thrifty Christmas Ideas, so I thought I would do that again this year.

Okay, so here's the deal. I can't publish pictures of all the things I am making/hoping to make this holiday season. But that doesn't mean I can't share some of the projects that are inspiring me, right? Just know, family and friends, that just because I post something DOES NOT mean I am making it for you! It also doesn't mean I am not :-)

So here's one I just found--a photo Rubix Cube. How fun, simple and memorable is that? Find it here.

Time waster

The Sew, Mama, Sew blog is hosting another Giveaway Day! Check it out, and waste lots of time trolling blogs and entering for fun prizes. I know I will! I love Giveaway Days. I have actually participated once, but just didn't have time this December. However, I am methodically going through their lists and entering:-) Let me know what fun discoveries you make.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Things I made but forgot to photograph!

Okay, in the past couple of weeks, I have completed several projects, but forgot to photograph all of them!

Remember this jumper? I made one in Dallas Cowboy fabric (with a small starry print on the reverse) for a friend...and forgot to take a picture.

For my friend who is pregnant with her third baby, I made a little pampering kit, including the soft basket and therapeutic neck wrap from this spa set. Again, no picture of the components of the basket, and though I have a shot of Alyson opening the basket, it is more a picture of Alyson than the basket, and I won't publish that here:-)

So just know that I am still sewing, though I am not very good at showing off my work right now. And with Christmas right around the corner, you may not see many pictures for a little while...the elves have to keep some things secret, you know!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just in time for Cyber Monday

Before you start shopping online tomorrow, hitting all the sales you didn't make on Black Friday, make sure you check out Ebates.

Ebates is a website that offers you cash back for shopping online, and during the Christmas holidays, their cashback offers have greatly increased. For example, if you shop through Ebates at Old Navy, you will get 10% back on your purchases (compared to the usual 2%)--Kohls is 4%, Shutterfly is 15%, and I could go on and on. In addition to cashback for purchases, they also offer coupon codes and discounts to TONS of stores.

So how does it really work? Simply go to Ebates and sign up for an account. Then search for your favorite store and see what kind of offers Ebates can find for you. Click through to the store, which will open up a "ticket", do your online shopping, and you are done! Once a quarter, you get a 'Big Fat Check' from Ebates. Oh, and did I mention that you will get $5 simply for signing up and making a purchase? Not too shabby!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baby gifts in Mirabelle fabric

You may remember this fabric from an apron I made for my best friend earlier this year. I love this fabric, and think it turned out beautifully as a nursing cover (and just for fun, a little burp cloth). The problem with finding a wonderful fabric is that it disappears eventually! Like this Alexander Henry Mirabelle fabric I used, or Amy Butler's Lotus Lacework, or Wonderland by MoMo. Thankfully, Etsy and Ebay can keep me stocked with my favorites :-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fun Christmas Stocking!

As I have mentioned, I love Sew, Mama, Sew's Homemade Holidays that they have through the month of November. Last week, I won a free pattern for a Mary Jane Christmas Stocking from Sew Lola's Etsy Shop. You should check out her items. Not only is the stocking ADORABLE, but her clutches and broaches are super cute too. Guess I know what I will be making this Christmas:-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Target finds

I just had to share a couple of great Target finds with you this week.

1. Remember my Fall Wardrobe Staple? My Target has these long-sleeve Merona tee-shirts on sale for $6.00 this week. **clears throat** I bought three :-) White, teal, and orange. I already had lime and gray, so I feel like I have a good selection now. AND I won't feel bad if they get messed up and I only wear them one season!

2. The other steal of a deal I found at Target was a 4 lb. box of Honeycrisp apples for $2.99. That is $0.75/lb for Honeycrisp apples, which are usually very expensive. The gentleman stocking the boxes of apples told me that my Target store (Wake Forest, NC) was simply sent too many. Here's the amazing thing--you could buy a four pound box of Honeycrisp apples for $2.99, and yet, right behind these apples was the 'loose produce', where you could bag your own Honeycrisp apples for $2.49 a pound. I almost bought two boxes, but decided I would refrain for now (though I might go back later in the week). If you like apples, you might want to pick up a box!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Loose change for gift cards

I have a confession--I used to be a thief. My husband would come home every day, empty his pockets of his wallet, cell phone, keys and loose change, and I would steal his change. The next day he would look for it, wanting to use it in the snack machine, and it would be gone. This caused no end of small skirmishes in the Finn household. Why was I a thief, you ask? Well, I had this dream of saving all of my spare change and one day being able to take a dream vacation somewhere (I am sure I have heard of this happening!). Yet even though I hoarded the change, and robbed my husband of his mid-afternoon Skittles fix, I never seemed to collect more than thirty or forty dollars! That wouldn't get us far on the dream I was causing some marital strife :-)

Thankfully, my husband and I worked through our differences and I don't steal his change anymore (at least not all the time, and when I do, I ask). AND I have found a way to turn my change into something productive : Coinstar. I had never used a coin counting machine before this time last year, because I knew to get cash back for your coins, the machines would charge a fee. What I didn't know is that you can trade your loose change in for gift cards and e-certificates and Coinstar will not charge a fee. Your loose change can become a gift card to ITunes or Amazon! And, just to make it even better, right now Coinstar is offering an additional $10 gift card when you change $40 or more. I did this promotion last year, and received the extra gift card just as promised. You should definitely check this out--Coinstar and free gift cards Works for Me!

I'm sure you wonder if I still sew...

I promise that I do. But I came down with the flu this weekend (just the flu, not the Swine Flu), and have waited several days to work on projects to make sure that I am germ free! I hope to get back to sewing no later than this weekend. I have several projects in the works: nursing cover, little girl's jumper, skirt for my loyal babysitter, numerous baby gifts, and oh yeah CHRISTMAS gifts! I need to get cracking!

I know I have talked about this blog before, but you really need to check out the Sew, Mama, Sew blog this month. November is Handmade Holidays month for them, and every day they post multiple tutorials and ideas for homemade Christmas gifts. I am so inspired by all the if I only had an extra hour in the day:-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Value of the Day

Have you seen this? WalMart has a Value of the Day website, where they offer one item at rock bottom prices for one day. Today the site has a Lexmark all in one printer for less than sixty dollars. I think that's a fabulous deal. I will be checking back often during the holiday season! The catch is, it is while supplies last, so the printer is already sold out. I'll check early tomorrow!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Perfect for the freezer baked ziti

One of the blogs I greatly enjoy, Money Saving Mom, recently had a baking day along with her friend, FishMama. I am amazed and inspired at what these ladies accomplished in two days of (NONSTOP!) cooking!, FishMama's website, has a recipe swap on Thursdays, and this Thursday she asked for make ahead or freezer friendly recipes. I thought I would share one of my favorites:

Baked Ziti
1 lb. ziti noodles (wheat)
2-3 cups spaghetti sauce of choice (large jar of sauce if using jarred sauce)
**add ground beef or leftover meatloaf if the sauce does not contain meat
1 cup ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
1 ball (approx. 8 oz) fresh mozzarella, cubed, divided

Line one 13x9 pan or two 8x8 pans with two layers of foil, leaving the sides long enough to wrap over the top. Very lightly spray the bottom with cooking spray.

Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt if desired. When water boils, add pasta and cook until just short of al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add half of the spaghetti sauce to the pasta. Stir in ricotta and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, tossing to coat. Add one half of the cubed mozzarella ball and stir everything thoroughly. Turn the mixture out into the foil-lined pan(s). Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmigiano. Make sure mixture is completely cool, pull up the sides of the foil and wrap tightly. Write instructions for baking* on foil with Sharpie. Place pans in the freezer overnight. The next morning, pop the foil 'dishes' out of the pans, make sure the foil is tightly wrapped, and put ziti back in the freezer until you want to eat it!

To bake: Remove ziti from freezer and place in appropriate sized pan. Allow to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. *Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until the cheese on top is melted and lightly browned, and sides are bubbly, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Notes: I originally saw this recipe on Rachael Ray, and I have adapted it for my family. She made her sauce from scratch (using meatloaf), and instead I use leftover homemade spaghetti sauce OR when in a rush, Ragu Robusto. I have substituted 'ordinary' shredded Mozzarella, and it just isn't as good. I don't buy Parmigiano Reggiano, but just use grated Parmesan :-) One batch makes a TON, so for my little family I split it into two 8x8 pans. It freezes like a dream!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fabric swatches for nursing covers

Here are a few fabrics that I have available for nursing covers. I have more fabric, including a pretty pink fabric, but I do not have a good "fabric swatch" picture of it. I will try to update this as I add fabric:-)

Alexander Henry "Mirabelle"

Amy Butler "Lotus Lacework in Olive"

"Lotus Lacework detail" (this is a large scale print)

Anna Maria Horner "Dancefloor in Teal"

Joel Dewberry "Damask in Espresso"

Friday, October 30, 2009

Amy Butler diaper clutches

First Christmas ornament of 2009

I haven't been JUST cooking pumpkin recipes, I promise! This is the first of what I will be several fabric Christmas ornaments that I make this year. It is a fabulous way to use scraps of your favorite or not so favorite fabric. The tutorial is here, and is part of the Sew, Mama, Sew Scrapbuster Month.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Swagbucks alert!

Hi everyone! I have posted about Swagbucksseveral times before, but I was just looking at the "Swag Store", and saw that you can earn $5 in PayPal funds for only 70 Swagbucks. That is a great deal. PayPal funds are great for shopping at Etsy or Ebay, which is where I find a lot of my fabric and craft supplies. If you have never used Swagbucks before, it is easy--just use it as your search engine, earn Swagbucks, and redeem the Swagbucks for prizes. Also, refer your friends to Swagbucks and you can earn along with them! I hope you will check out this website. I personally like to collect the gift cards:-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake

In celebration of fall season, and my birthday week, I will be running five of my favorite pumpkin recipes this week. Please come back each day, Monday through Friday, for my latest recipe. I hope you all enjoy, and that you have a wonderful fall season!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 cup (about 30 wafers) vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, stir together crumbs, cocoa and powdered sugar; stir in butter. Press mixture onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of 9 inch springform pan. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, flour and pumpkin pie spice until well blended. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until well blended. Stir in small chocolate chips; pour batter into prepared crust. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees; continue baking 50 minutes. Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan. Cool completely, remove side of pan. Refrigerate before serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

In celebration of fall season, and my birthday week, I will be running five of my favorite pumpkin recipes this week. Please come back each day, Monday through Friday, for my latest recipe. I hope you all enjoy, and that you have a wonderful fall season!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins
2 1/2 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cup peeled apples, finely chopped

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, spice, baking soda and salt. In medium bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients; sitr just until moistened. Stir in apples. Spoon batter into 18 greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Proceed with making streusel.

Streusel Topping:
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter
Combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle streusel topping over batter. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Last recipe is Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake! See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Glaze

In celebration of fall season, and my birthday week, I will be running five of my favorite pumpkin recipes this week. Please come back each day, Monday through Friday, for my latest recipe. I hope you all enjoy, and that you have a wonderful fall season!

This cookie recipe is a tradition in my home, and from the time I was able to work in the kitchen by myself, they became my specialty. I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, surprisingly, but I love these cookies and would make them every Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Glaze

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter/margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift flour. Measure and resift with dry ingredients. Set aside. Cream butter or margarine and sugar. Beat in pumpkin and egg. Add dry ingredients at once, blending only until there is no trace of flour. Stir in vanilla. Drop on lightly greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes.

3 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

Measure first 3 ingredients into a pan and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and vanilla and allow to cool slightly. Spread on cookies.

Tomorrow: Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

Cookie recipe coming soon

I promise to post the cookie recipe soon. This is what I get for not having these posts ready ahead of time! Today has been busy, and I am about to go out with my little girl for a birthday tea (today is both of our birthdays), but the recipe will come soon. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Snack Cake

In celebration of fall season, and my birthday week, I will be running five of my favorite pumpkin recipes this week. Please come back each day, Monday through Friday, for my latest recipe. I hope you all enjoy, and that you have a wonderful fall season!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Snack Cake
3 Tablespoons applesauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/6 cup water
7/8 cup flour (half white/half wheat)*
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix applesauce, salt, sugar, egg, pumpkin and water together. Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl and then combine with wet ingredients. *I used 1/2 cup of white flour and just under 1/2 cup of wheat flour.* Spread batter into greased 8x8 pan withholding one tablespoon of batter.

Cream Cheese topping:
4 oz. cream cheese (reduced fat is fine:-)
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 egg**

Blend these four ingredients together until smooth. **For the 1/2 egg, I beat an egg in a separate bowl and then pour half of it into the mixture. You can also use just one small egg.** After ingredients are blended, dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin batter. Swirl with knife. Drop the last tablespoon of batter across the top and swirl again. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until tester comes out clean (the cream cheese may be a little gooey).

This recipe is again a halved recipe which is why several of the measurements appear strange. The 8x8 size is perfect for a couple of days snacking, and you don't have to feel guilty about eating a HUGE pan of goodies by yourself. Enjoy!


Come back tomorrow (my birthday!) for a family tradition of mine, Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Glaze

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (light version)

In celebration of fall season, and my birthday week, I will be running five of my favorite pumpkin recipes this week. Please come back each day, Monday through Friday, for my latest recipe. I hope you all enjoy, and that you have a wonderful fall season!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
8 oz. canned pumpkin (approx. 1 cup, or half a can)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups flour (3/4 cup white flour, 3/4 wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg and cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine eggs, oil, applesauce and pumpkin until well blended. Stir in sugars. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to wet mixture. When combined, stir in vanilla, and then chocolate chips. Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full, and place in oven. Bake for 16-18, or until tester comes out clean (make sure you avoid the chips when inserting tester:-). Makes approx. 16 muffins.

Note: You may want to add more spices or cut back on them depending upon your preference. This recipe is a halved variation on one I found on Recipezaar, so the recipe is easily doubled and makes TONS of muffins! Feel free to double it, though, because you will love these muffins and eat them quickly.

HT: Money Saving Mom

Tune in tomorrow for a recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Snack Cake!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Glade Scented Oil Tin Design

Glade Scented Oil Candles has a contest right now to design a new tin for their candles. It is a simple process using their predetermined design items and colors. I had fun playing around with my design last night. Check it out, give me your opinion, and make your own!
Check out this design entry from the "Design The Next Glade® Scented Oil Candle Tin Contest"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall = Apple Cider and Mulling Spices!

I love fall--the crispness in the air, the changing leaves, the need to wear long sleeved shirts and blue jeans! My husband and I call early fall "courtin' time", because we fell in love in the fall, often taking walks during the day, or sitting on front porch rocking chairs as the sun set. Wonderful memories!

One of my favorite parts of fall is the abundance of apples; they are my favorite fruit, and I cannot get enough of them! Fresh from the mountains apples are the best:-) Last Christmas I "concocted" my own recipe for mulling spices to add to apple cider. In fact, it was one of my first posts on this blog. Since apple cider is appearing everyone in stores and coffee shops, I thought I would repost my recipe for mulling spices. It definitely Works for Me (and, as an aside, it worked wonderfully as Christmas gifts last year too!).

4 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground orange peel
1 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon nutmeg

Mix everything together, making sure that you break up the chunks of brown sugar.

Instructions for use: Add 1/2 cup of mix plus 1 cup of water to 2 cups of cider or juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until ingredients are dissolved and all is well combined. Enjoy!
*Note: For a single serving, use 2-3 Tablespoons to 1 cup of cider*

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Love the 90% section

At my local CVS (and mayn CVS stores, of course), there is often a bin near the checkout counter that is 75-90% off. The items displayed are not always things I want/need, but occasionally you do find good deals. This week, they had trial size bottles of Nivea Touch of Happiness/Touch of Sparkle body wash in the 90% bin. I am pretty faithful to my Aveeno body wash, but back in the spring I bought some Nivea Touch of Happiness as part of CVS couponing deal, and I love it! It is a wonderful, fresh scent that does make me happy (but I have always been easily entertained:-). The best part? They were only $0.12/bottle! I bought six bottles total, three of each type. I don't know if I will like the Touch of Sparkle, but our church is collecting trial size toiletries for an upcoming health fair, and those would be perfect. Anyway, I love the 90% bin at CVS! Make sure you check your CVS clearance bin before leaving the store.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Trio of skirts

As I mentioned in a previous blogpost, I demonstrated making a skirt from the free Oliver & S pattern here at a women's event called "Get Crafty." The bright green with pink ribbon skirt is the one I actually made during the demonstration, and the blue and cream skirt below it is what I took to display. The last skirt is one for me; I used basic instructions from Sew What! Skirts and adapted the Oliver & S pattern. I hope to post a tutorial on the "Mommy skirt" soon. Now Girl has a fun party skirt (the green) and she and I have "mommy and daughter" matching skirts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall wardrobe staple

Every fall, I look forward to breaking out my long-sleeve tops, blue jeans, and sweaters. My favorite fall wardrobe staple is the long sleeve t-shirt. I like my long sleeve shirts to be light enough to wear with shorts or capris as the weather starts to cool, but not so light to require a camisole underneath it. They should be light enough to wear under sweaters or jackets (I have a denim jacket I love, and a corduroy jacket I love EVEN MORE!), yet 'sturdy' enough to be worn with a skirt or blue jeans. Truth be told, I am not much of a 'layer-er', as in, I don't often wear multiple layers of clothing, but the perfect long sleeve t-shirt is needed for those occasions when I do layer! Unfortunately, because my long sleeve t-shirts get so much action during the fall/winter, they often don't last more than a year or two. I am excited because this week, Target has their Merona Ultimate Long-Sleeve Tee on sale for just $8.00. I have already purchased one in a lovely shade of green, and will probably pick up one or two more. Can you smell fall the air? For me, today, it smells like a new cotton t-shirt.

By the way, I am not affiliated with Target in any way. Their long-sleeve t-shirt just Works For Me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Get Crafty

Last night, I had the opportunity to demonstrate basic sewing at an event called "Get Crafty." Several different crafts were demonstrated, including stamping, sewing, scrapbooking, knitting, and sewing. It was a fun evening of learning more about crafts, and spending time with other women. If you are reading this because you watched my demonstration last night, welcome! I will post pictures of the skirts I made later, but I wanted to give a link list of things I discussed last night.

I demonstrated simple sewing by showing the ladies how to make this skirt.

My sewing machine is a Brother-CS6000i, and I love it! It is not terribly fancy, but it accomplishes what I need.

For more simple sewing, try out this tutorial for Swaddling Blankets here--it is all straight lines, which is great practice for a beginner. If you want more of a challenge, I love this top by Made by Rae.

Other great sewing websites to check out:
Sew, Mama, Sew Blog
The Long Thread
Moda Bake Shop
I will be adding a blog list soon, and you can check those out.

My favorite online fabric stores:
Sew, Mama, Sew
Pink Chalk Fabrics
JoAnn Fabric and Craft (I get most of my notions at my local JoAnns, but I often find things online as well)
Etsy (search for fabric under supplies)
EBay (it is best to search by fabric designer-i.e. Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, etc--to help narrow the search)

I would love to hear your favorite sewing/crafting website! Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Seeing stars

I hosted a baby shower here today, and had a lot of fun making decorations and baking. My friend is decorating the nursery in purple and stars, so I used that as a theme for the shower.

Purple and pink lollipops (I didn't make those:-), and wooden stars that I painted to hang on the front door. I used some of the texture paint I won in a recent giveaway (the sparkles on the stars), and they turned out nicely.

I cut stars out of several different scrapbook papers, and hung them from my mantel, back door, and entryway into the kitchen/dining room.

I cannot take credit for this mobile--my dear friend Alyson made it, and she did a great job! It is airy and beautiful, and looked gorgeous hanging over the food table.

Yummy cupcakes! Yellow cake cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and peanut butter cupcakes with milk chocolate glaze

Reversible (SEC) jumper

I made this reversible jumper for a friend's baby shower. She is a graduate of Auburn, and her husband is a fan of UGA (smart man, go Dawgs!). I used star buttons for the jumper because my friend is using stars as a theme in the nursery. It is my first time making this jumper, and it was super easy. I look forward to making more!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Honey Vanilla Granola

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
4 cups whole oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small saucepan, melt the butter and honey together. Stir in cinnamon, vanilla and salt until thoroughly melted and mixed. Pour over oats and mix well. Spread coated oats out in a thin, even layer on greased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. *Bake for 8-10 minutes, take out of the oven and stir the oats well. Return to the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Remove the oats from the oven when they start to turn golden brown or they will burn! The granola hardened and darkens as it cools.

*You may have to play with this baking temperature and length of time to get the granola the way you want it.

I love this simple, delicious granola sprinkled over vanilla yogurt. It works for me! You can add in all kinds of things like slivered almonds, or coconut, but my family likes to keep it simple with just whole oats. Sometimes I sprinkle a little brown sugar in with the oats for added sweetness and color, but it is not necessary. This granola is great for breakfast. Hope you enjoy! For other Works for Me Wednesday ideas, see here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Creative spurts

I mentioned that I have several projects I am working on, so I thought I would show you a few things--not completed, by any means, but at least cut out and in process (cutting out is the hardest step, I think!)

Two nursing covers (on the top, the hummingbird fabric and the Pistachio Paisley), and three skirts (bottom, left to right, Ginger Blossom for Girl, Pistachio Paisley for the babysitter, matching Ginger Blossom for me, Mommy). I will post pictures of the completed products once they are finished!

Oh yeah, and cupcakes:

I am hosting a baby shower for a friend (hi Emily!) next weekend, and I want to make the perfect cupcakes. The only problem? My friend (hi Emily!) is a cake decorator. And she is GOOD. So I am afraid I won't hit that mark, but I am having fun trying out a couple of recipes before next Saturday.

SCORE! (aka Harris Teeter triple coupons)

I bought:
2 bags Wacky Mac pasta
2 packets Mahatma saffron rice
2 boxes Barilla pasta (one Barilla "Plus", one "Whole Grain")
2 boxes PopSecret popcorn
4 bags Martha White muffin mix
2 sticks Spray n Wash
1 Fiber One poptart
1 Sure deodorant
1 Colgate toothpaste
1 Kotex pantiliners
1 Dial handsoap
1 Betty Crocker frosting

Total before coupons: $25.68
Total after coupons: $2.49
Total saved: 90.3% Whoo-hoo!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kashi Cereal for CHEAP at Target

Last night, I got a great deal on Kashi cereal at Target. There are a variety of different scenarios out there, but I will explain mine.

I purchased five boxes of Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal at $2.88/box.
Coupons used:
One "Get One Free Box" coupon
one $2.00 off coupon
three $1.50 off coupon
Total cost for five boxes of cereal: $5.24
Plus I received a $5.00 Target gift card for purchasing five Kashi items. So if you count the $5.00 gift card, I spent less than $0.05/box! I used the gift card to buy some facial wash for my husband, which was also on sale, so not too shabby!

Sorry there is no picture, but I have already put away the five boxes of cereal and do not want to drag them out again!

** The free coupon and the $1.50 off coupons were mailed to me through Vocalpoint. The $2.00 off coupon came with a sample of the Kashi cereal. Target now participates in price matching, and I have heard that Walgreens had Kashi cereal even cheaper this week, so there is a possibility of getting things even cheaper. **

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My handsome little man

My little Boy is about to turn one year old! How quickly time flies. He is crawling and into everything. He puts EVERYTHING in his mouth--much more than his sister ever did. It has made for some interesting discoveries, if you know what I mean:-) I am currently mulling over some ideas for celebrating his first birthday. His big sister, Girl, turns three in October (their birthdays are three weeks apart), so I don't know if I want to do a joint party or not. Did I mention that Girl shares my birthday? Yep, she was my birthday present three years ago! Hubby and I are so blessed to be the parents of a wonderful Girl and Boy, and even more if the Lord wills. I don't normally post pictures of the kiddos here, but how can you resist these dimples and rolls?

PS--I am open to birthday suggestions!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I have no originality

Seriously. All my creative ideas come from someone else. So, when I want to participate in something like this swap at Tip Junkie, I have no idea where to begin. I don't know if I have any good, original trade secrets that I can share in a swap. And that is kind of depressing. Anyone have any secrets they could loan me? :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I wanted to get a picture of my new glasses and my current favorite earrings. I spent entirely too long trying to take a 'cool' photo--and it really didn't work:-) The flash went off in my face, but I looked terrible without the flash. I haven't had new glasses in three years, so getting these new frames earlier this summer was much needed. The earrings are from Silpada jewelry, which a friend of mine sells. In fact, I will be having a jewelry home party tonight--consider this your invitation if you know me, or check it out here!

I won a fun giveaway!

Little Birdie Secrets, one of my favorite crafting blogs, had a recent giveaway for Extreme Glitter and Texture Paint, and I won! I am very excited about some of the fun projects I can tackle with these products. Extreme Glitter--doesn't that sound that tons of fun? I would love suggestions for projects with these items.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Wonderland and a pie crust

After putting it off for a while because I loved the fabric so much, I finally cut into the rest of my Wonderland by MoMo layer cake and am working on another baby quilt. I was not pleased with how the last one turned out -- I did something wrong, but the recipient of the quilt loved it --so I am looking forward to 'trying again.' I have laid this quilt on a little more methodically than the last one, so we will have to see how that looks when completed.

And for those who enjoy food, I made my first pie crust this past week. My mom always made pie crusts when I was growing up, but I have been afraid to try them (kind of like quilting). But I took the plunge, and the crusts didn't turn out too bad! They might have even been good:-) The Pizza Rustica (see pic below) was delicious, with or without the pie crust

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Links

Since many of my current projects are gifts, I am hesitant to post pictures just yet:-) Instead, here are a few links to projects and tutorials that I have recently discovered. I hope you enjoy them, and perhaps add them to your list of "projects to try" as I have!

Glueless Collage Gift (great gift for toddlers)

Little Pink House Tutorial (from Sew, Mama, Sew's hand sewing month)

Tooth Fairy Bags (too cute to resist!)

Shirt to Dress Refashion (if only I could look at my clothes in this manner--always available for redesign!)

Reusable Sandwich Wrap (cute way to help reduce waste)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Paypal money from Swagbucks

I know I recently posted about Swagbucks, but I thought I would let you know something that I just learned. Swagbucks now has a Paypal gift certificate that you can 'purchase' with the bucks you earn searching the internet. Right now, you can get $5 Paypal money for 70 Swagbucks. That is a great offer, and it is free money, since you would be searching the internet anyway! I am hoping to put a few of these together so I can...wait for more fabric:-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How many of these can I make?

By my count, this is at least the fourth baby sling I have made with this fabric! But why complain--this is a gorgeous fabric, and I love making them.

PS. I am working on a few sewing projects, but they are gifts, so it may be a little while before they appear here:-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nursing Cover in Full Moon Polka Dots

Labor and Delivery, pt.4 --Coming home from the hospital

Coming Home from the Hospital:

Have someone fill your pain prescription as soon as you get home—taking the medication regularly will make a huge difference! The day that you leave the hospital you will feel sore—it will be the first time you have moved around so much since the baby was born, so expect to be tired, sore and emotional.

Make sure your bathroom cabinet is stocked with these items:
  • sanitary pads (no tampons)
  • moistened, unscented wipes *optional*(this sounds crazy, but Pampers makes a Sensitive Skin baby wipe that works great—you just cannot flush them)
  • Tucks Hemorrhoid pads *optional*--Tucks pads are cooling and calming
  • Pericolase medication (stool softener and gentle laxative)—helps keep you regular and prevents your bowel movements from being painful
  • Spray bottle (from hospital) for cleaning yourself
  • Dermaplast—also from hospital—topical numbing spray that is such a blessing when you are sore

Your first night home from the hospital will be really rough, but you will survive! Expect to cry a lot at first. Know that every woman experiences these emotional ups and downs, and it is normal. The baby blues last through the first couple of weeks and then things stabilize—but they will suddenly pop back up at random times! It’s normal to cry. If you feel like your baby blues are unmanageable, or are lasting a very long time, please reach out to friends and family for help.

In your budget, plan for an additional expenditures in doctor’s co-pays. Your baby will visit the doctor approximately 4 times in 2 months (though this varies by office): 72 hours after discharge from hospital, 2 weeks, 1 month and 2 months. Each of these visits will cost you an office co-pay, and if you do not plan for those fees, it can catch you off guard.

Above all, relax and enjoy this time. Labor and delivery may be painful, but it is the most rewarding thing you will ever experience. It is exciting! Look forward with anticipation and joy, and know that your friends and family are praying for you, supporting you and ‘cheering you on’ during this wonderful time. I hope that this series has been helpful to you. Please let me know if you have advice or thoughts to add. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Labor and Delivery, pt. 3 --Packing for the hospital (what TO pack)

What you DO want to pack in your hospital bag:

  • hairband or clips to hold your hair back, if necessary
  • anything that helps you relax for delivery and afterward—an I Pod with your favorite music, a book, a scented lotion
  • change for the snack machines or a bag of snacks (especially for your hubby)
  • at least one nursing bra (a sleep bra is a must, and maybe another one to wear coming home)
  • nursing pads—during the first few days, I would recommend Lansinoh Brand Ultra Soft Nursing Pads (Babies R Us carries them). They are more expensive, but they are the softest, and when you start nursing, your breasts will appreciate the softness of those pads. You will be able to move to other pads later.
  • Tums if you are prone to heartburn. I was not prone to it, but had horrible acid reflux/heartburn during labor. The nurses would not give me anything, but I could have taken the Tums if I had some with me
  • camera, extra batteries/charger, film (each hospital has different regulations about videography during labor, so check for their policies)
  • cell phones and chargers
  • comfortable, loose tops or short nightgowns. Look for something that buttons down or is big enough to pull up for nursing ease. Pants/bottoms are not necessary—you will be bleeding enough after the delivery that you might mess up the bottoms anyway. A light-weight robe is nice—I used a short robe that I pulled on over a tank top, and that worked great
  • moisturizing body lotion—if you should have an epidural, your skin may itch as it wears off. Lotion helps!
  • flip-flops for the shower
  • your favorite toiletries (i.e., scented shower gel from Bath and Body Works if you like that), your makeup, lotions and perfume—anything that will help refresh you and make you feel better
  • slippers or socks—the hospital floor can get cold!
  • know what pediatrician you plan to use—they will ask you this in labor and delivery
  • book or magazine (something light and fluffy) for you; book or magazine for your husband—you may need this during labor and delivery while you “wait” to dilate, or to help you relax at the end of the day when visitors and family have left
  • list of people to call with their phone numbers
  • outfit to bring the baby home
  • outfit for you to travel home—look for comfortable, loose fitting separates: you will not be able to fit back into your pre-pregnancy sizes immediately! Though it is no fun to wear them after the baby comes, maternity pants may feel the most comfortable (or something with a drawstring waist)

Tomorrow: Coming Home from the Hospital

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Labor and Delivery, pt.2--Packing for the Hospital (what not to pack)

What you DON'T have to pack in your hospital bag:

  • diapers
  • wipes
  • baby clothes other than an outfit to bring the baby home—the hospital will provide tiny little white shirts to dress your little one
  • baby blankets—the hospital will provide a receiving blankets
  • sanitary pads
  • lots of underwear for you—the hospital has disposable underwear that you will, strangely enough, come to love after labor and delivery;-)
  • multiple pairs of pants for you
  • nursing pillow, unless you just want to have it, the nurses will assist you with helping the
  • baby latch on using hospital pillows, etc
  • bottles for the baby, unless you plan to bottle feed and want to use a particular bottle
  • jewelry—you may have to take it off, and you don’t want to risk losing it
  • long distance calling card—everything says no cell phones, but the nurses do not mind you making the occasional call
  • pillows—hospital has plenty!

Tomorrow: What TO pack for the hospital

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Info for Labor & Delivery, pt.1

*I realize this is departure from my usual blog posts. I am a list-maker, and shortly before the birth of my first child, received a list of "what I should pack for the hospital" from a dear friend. I have expanded on that and created a Labor & Delivery document that I share with all my friends expecting their first child. Since I have several friends expecting their first baby soon, I thought I would post my information on my blog as well. I hope you find this four part series enjoyable and informative. Feel free to add your thoughts or advice!*

A disclosure: the information below is my opinion and my opinion ONLY. Everybody experiences pregnancy, labor and delivery differently, so what worked for me/happened to me may not work for you or happen to you. I share this information because it might help you at some point, or will at least give you a starting point.


  • I am not convinced that any one thing puts people into labor—and believe me, I tried it all: walking, raspberry tea (it is supposed to help stimulate uterine contractions), and yes, *even* sex. I did not have any contractions or signs of labor until I woke up in the middle of the night with powerful contractions.
  • It is hard to believe, but Lord willing, you WILL JUST KNOW when you are having real, labor-starting contractions. They wake you up out of a deep sleep, they do not go away with movement, they make you want to walk around, you cannot talk through them (and have to work on breathing through them), and they put immense pressure on your bladder and rectum (no offense, but when my contractions started, I went to the bathroom non-stop!).
  • Realize that your water may not break before you go to the hospital—and if it does break, it may gush or it may trickle. The experience is different for different women.
  • If at all possible, EAT before you go to the hospital, because they won’t let you eat there. Stay hydrated if nothing else.
  • Take a long, hot shower or bath—it will relax you and your body, help you not to fight the contractions, and make you feel better for what might be a ‘long haul.’
  • Relax and don’t fight against the contractions. If you have a chance to read up on the Bradley Method, they have great suggestions for relaxing positions and exercises to help you through the contractions. You can use these even if you do not use the entire Bradley Method (completely natural childbirth).
  • Trust your doctor and Labor and Delivery nurse. Ask your Labor and Delivery nurse any questions you have, and get her advice on anything of which you are unsure. She is there to help you and support you in any way she can—and you will LOVE HER for it!
  • Pray. Pray that you will clearly know when you go into labor. Pray for a healthy labor with no complications. Pray for peace from anxiety. Remember that God designed women's bodies to deliver babies, though while you are pregnant you may think the day will never come! Marvel at this amazing experience, and enjoy it!

    Tomorrow: What NOT to pack for the hospital...

Friday, August 7, 2009

And yet another summer dress

*This one seems so much shorter than the other two--it was actually the first one I made, and the fabric for the skirt was much longer and had to be hemmed. The other two similar dresses I left unfinished at the bottom and they were just the right length. Oh well--maybe she can wear it as a top when it gets too short.

Free books!

Free 'stuff' is always fun, and free books are truly wonderful (right up there with free fabric)! I am not talking about borrowing books from your local library*, but rather books that I purchased through for free. How did I do this, you may ask? Good question! The answer:

Swagbucks is easy to use--simply sign up at Swagbucks, start searching, and earn! The results from a Swagbucks search comes from Google and, so the search results are reliable and similar to what you find using Google. When you search, you will win "Swagbucks", which you can accumulate for a variety of prizes from gift cards to IPhones. You can also earn Swagbucks by trading in cell phones, video games and consoles, and through Swag codes that come in the Swagbucks newsletter. I like to trade in 45 Swagbucks for a $5 gift card, which is how I earned the free books.

Some tips for using Swagbucks:
1. Sign up now, and start referring your friends! As your friends sign up and earn Swagbucks, you also get a portion of what they earn.
2. Download the toolbar for quicker searching and points earning.
3. Check Swagbucks first thing--use it to do your first few searches in the morning, and try to go ahead and win your bucks. Once you have earned Swagbucks for the day, go about your regular internet use.
4. Use Swagbucks on Fridays, which is Mega Swagbucks Day! Swagbucks are often awarded in the 1, 2, and 3 dollar amounts, but on Friday they can be much higher.
5. Sign up for the Swagbucks newsletter, which often has a free code that you can 'grab'.
6. Play around the site and see all of the ways you can earn and win, and all of the wonderful prizes available.

I purchased these books using Amazon gift cards that I had saved from Swagbucks as well as an Amazon gift card from a credit card rewards program. Free books!!

*Checking books out of the library is the next best thing to getting books for free, and sometimes may even be better if you are not certain you want to purchase the book. Use your local library!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A new favorite fabric line

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I am in love with the Wonderland by MoMo fabric collection (check out my baby mat in those fabrics here). I have recently discovered a line of fabric that may be my new favorite: Lantern Bloom by Laura Gunn. The colors are stunning--reds, greens, and teals with brown and plum thrown in occasionally--and the designs are gorgeous. The prints are designed by a painter, and you truly can see each fabric design as a painting. I love it! The patterns are completely different from what I normally buy or use, but that is part of the reason I love it. I don't have any yet, but maybe one day...meanwhile, if anyone spots a good sale on Wonderland, let me know!

I love the mailman (mail lady, in my case!)

As I mentioned a while back, I was blessed by winning a few giveaways at the beginning of summer. Life has been hectic, and I have neglected to post pictures of the various goodies I have received. I hope to establish a routine soon that will enable me to do more regular sewing, but until then, I will be looking at my wonderful goodies and imagining what I will create with them!

These stunning cards are from Dianna at Someday I'll be.... I received five cards and have already used one...I am going to ration them out very carefully.

This is a yard of ladybug fabric from 2Hippos. She graciously included a few cute charm squares as well!

From Tammie at Crafty Tammie I received a beautiful 'apple picking bag' stuffed full of fabric scraps and other goodies.

My blog friend, Beth at Wee Pereas was de-stashing this summer, and graciously shared some fabric with me. I sent her a few cute boy fabrics in return!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Great ideas for your freebie stockpile

I have recently seen several blog posts with wonderful suggestions about how to share your steal-of-a-deal items, especially the school supplies that are so inexpensive right now! Back to School time is a wonderful opportunity to stock up on school supplies not only for yourself, but for churches, schools, and charities. Check out the wonderful suggestions below for ideas on how to share your (free/dirt cheap) wealth. Be sure to read the comments for even more ideas.

Crystal at Money Saving Mom

Michelle at Boise Bargain Shoppers

Angie at Being Dutch

Another easy summer dress

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homemade baby gifts for sale

I often make my baby gifts (nursing covers, diaper clutches, etc) as people order them--it is rare for me to have much 'in stock'. However, I have a few items already made that are looking for a good home. Please email me if you are interested in purchasing one of these items!

Nursing cover in Hello Betty by Chloe's Closet fabric --$25

UNC Tarheels diaper clutch available (ask me about the NC State one if interested:-) --$12

Nursing cover in purple with white polka dots and floral ribbon trim --$20 **SOLD**

Nursing cover in light blue with cream scrollwork print --$20

Brown quilted bib with white trim and bear applique--$8

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Say Cheese!

Kroger has their Kraft cheese on sale for $0.99/block or bag. You have to buy 5 blocks/bags to get this price (it is actually buy 4, get the 5th free). My family goes through cheese like it is going out of style, so I stocked up:

I bought 20 blocks and bags total, which cost $19.80 total--and then, I received a $4.00/off my next purchase catalina! Whoo hoo! $15.80 for 20 things of cheese--can't beat that. Now anyone care to guess how long it will take us to go through this cheese?