Art Project – 3-D Hand

3DHandArtI saw this idea on Pinterest and had to try it.  I was surprised at how easy it was and that it really worked!  Simply trace your hand and wrist onto a piece of white paper.  Pick two or three different colors for your lines.  I used markers for mine and think it worked better than crayons or colored pencils.  Draw a straight line until you get to your tracing, then make a curved line.  It’s easy when you start, but when you get to your fingers, be careful that you make your curved line just in the fingers and a straight line between them.

3DHandArtPencil
I don’t think the colored pencil/crayon worked as well.
3DHandArtStart
Even with just a few lines, the hand starts to pop off the page.

As soon as you get lines up the whole hand, you can really see the hand popping off the page!  I tried this with the art class I teach and it worked well for the older kids (say 10+).  Younger kids aren’t as careful about the straight and curved lines.

On Being Offline

I’ve read part of The Unwired Mom (before I apparently deleted the e-mail that had the link to my free copy) and this that goes along with it.  I’ve read this.  I know that when the internet goes down, I get more down (although I grumble about not being able to check my e-mail or my etsy shop or my ebay or my blog).  Currently we’re living without home internet – oh the horror!  It’s temporary, but we all miss it!

However, actually getting offline when the internet is right there calling me?  It’s hard!  Part of my life is online – it’s how I make money.  If I don’t answer questions on eBay and respond convos on etsy, then I might miss a sale. However, spending hours following links from one blog to another or constantly checking my shop is not productive!  So, how do I balance this online and offline life?  How do I make sure my kids don’t think I’m setting a double standard when I tell them to turn off the TV or find a save spot in their game?

Here are three simple ideas.

1.  Each morning, I have a routine – shower, dress, make/eat breakfast, get hubby and daughter off to school with lunches.  I normally check my e-mail while I’m having my breakfast (one of the perks of having a small house?  The dining room table is also our computer table…maybe that’s not a perk…).  Then comes school for my boys.

2.  Do I have obvious things that need to be done?  Is the sink full of dishes?  Do I have laundry to fold (I have no problem doing laundry and putting it away, it’s the folding that I dislike!)?  Do I have etsy orders to complete?  Then I need to get off the computer or my phone and get busy!

3.  Have I spent time with my kids?  Maybe this should be number 1!  We have three kids and they require time.  I homeschool two of them which requires that I give them my undivided attention.  When my daughter gets home she wants to tell me about her day, she wants/needs my undivided attention.  She doesn’t want to repeat stories.  They all want their share of Mama time and I need to make sure that they get it!

Is the internet an important part of your life?  How do you make sure it doesn’t take over?

Ultimate Bundles – DIY Bundle

There aren’t enough hours in the day, right? With work, homeschooling, preparing meals, cleaning up after everyone and putting yet another load of laundry on, there’s very little time for sleep – let alone DIY and crafting!

But do you look at that bare wall in the den and that tatty tablecloth on the kitchen table, and just wish you had a few hours to do something about them? Maybe you’ve just moved to a new house and would love to do something to make it yours.  Or do you browse through those wonderful crafting successes on Pinterest and think to yourself that “one day” you’ll have a few more minutes to yourself so that you too can create something incredible?

You’re not alone – there’s a huge community of people out there who are feeling just as frustrated as you are!

Thankfully though, there’s an exciting new product to help you quickly and easily get into (or back into) the creative projects you’ve been desperate to start. It’s called The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and it’s a collection of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading authors and bloggers in the industry.

For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 76 eBooks and eCourses. And let me reassure you that this really is great value: the Ultimate Bundles team (who produced the resource) has spent MONTHS seeking out the most respected experts in the industry and asking them to contribute their premium-quality eBooks and eCourses. These really are the best of the best when it comes to DIY and crafting advice and information.

Topics in the bundle include:

  • Home decor
  • Furniture painting
  • Photography
  • Chalk pastels
  • Handmade gifts
  • Homemade skincare products
  • Cake decorating
  • Photography and photo-editing
  • Paint colors and interior design
  • …and a whole lot more (76 eBooks and eCourses in total) – to help you be inspired or get started with your next DIY or crafting project!

There’s no need to worry about information overload though: The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with a complete guide to getting started, so that you can know exactly which resource to use for your specific crafting or DIY project and jump straight into it with confidence!

 

 

Hurry though! The Ultimate DIY Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, January 21 until 11.59pm EST on Monday, January 26.

You can buy with complete confidence because you’re covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a full 30 days to enjoy all the eBooks and eCourses in the bundle, and if you don’t think they provided enough value, you’ll get a full refund.

Not only that, but The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with 4 awesome bonuses, worth over $118. That’s 3x the price of the bundle alone! These include…

A free $15 Store Credit PLUS 8×10 Art Print from Hope Ink ($43 Value), a free online class from Craftsy (up to $60 Value), free $15 store credit to Fawnsberg.com, a free sewing pattern PLUS a Premium Video Class from UpCraft Club ($19.99 Value), and free, full digital copies of Where Women Create Magazine and Greencraft Magazine ($20 value) from Stampington and Co.

So, don’t miss your chance to grab The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and get 76 incredible eBooks and eCourses for just $34.95. All you need to do is take action by midnight on Monday, January 26!

This amazing deal ends in just…

motionmailapp.com
Pick up your copy right now, before it’s too late. Or, learn more here.

 

 

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

 

2015 Goals

This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve never been one to make resolutions.  They never last long and normally they’re pretty vague like “loose weight” (how much? how will I accomplish it?).   Goals, however, seem more achievable.  Somehow, the word seems to imply that you’ve thought about them and have some sort of plan in mind.  Or, maybe it’s just me.

I recently read Ruth Soukup’s Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life and one of the things she talks about is having goals – something to work toward.  I have lots of things I want to accomplish this year, but without a plan, nothing will happen.  I want to take this blog to the next level, increase my etsy shop sales, work through Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, travel, continue homeschooling my boys, eat healthier (or loose weight)…you get the idea.  If I don’t plan though, these are just ideas, things that would be nice to do.  So, I’m making a plan and then updating here each month with how we’re doing.  That way I’m accountable to my readers.

So, here are my goals for the new year.

Work: I want to post more regularly and am working on a schedule where I’ll post on a certain topic on certain days.  I also need to work on restocking my etsy shop.  The holidays were busy and while I’m glad, I need to work on making more footie pants to rebuild my inventory.  I would like to add 4-5 pairs a week.

Financial: We’ve had quite a few unexpected expenses recently (seriously, can we just go back to walking/biking everywhere?) that ate through our $1000 emergency fund and then some.  We need to work on rebuilding that and eliminating the credit card debt that came from covering the rest of the expenses.  We were working through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and were on step three…now we’re back to step one.  *sigh*

Personal: Three kids & one major surgery did a number on my body.  I’m working on getting back to where I’m happy with the way I look.  I’m trying to eat more fruits and veggies and take my kids for a bike ride everyday.

Homeschool: We’re starting the second half of our school year.  This semester I’m also teaching art at the school where hubby works.  School needs to happen first thing in the morning.  Getting it done early works well for us – then the boys have the rest of the day to play and I can do some work.  I need to work on art projects ahead of time as I have a habit of throwing something together at the last minute.

Family: We’ve been wanting to camping more, but it just hasn’t been happening.  This year I want to be looking for more opportunities to camp (I’m working on our spring break camping trip).  We want to go to Wales next year for a couple weeks so planning and saving for that needs to start this year!  I would love to go to the Grand Canyon at some point in the next year or so.  I need to look into it more – it would take us a week just to drive there and back, so it would need to be a two week vacation.  We’re also in the process of selling/buying a house and there’s a lot purging going on.  Once we get moved, we need to make our new house a home.

What about you?  Do you have goals for the new year?  If you need some inspiration, check out Ruth Soukup’s Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure page.

Contentment is a Choice

This post contains affiliate links.

This post is written as part of Ruth Soukup’s Secret 13 Blog Tour, which I am excited to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more about the blog tour and join us, click HERE. To find out more about the Secret 13 Essay Contest and your chance to win a weeklong Carnival Cruise for 4, click HERE.

LWSL Book Quote

I was privileged to get a preview copy of Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life.  I’ve been following Ruth’s blog Living Well Spending Less for over a year and I love what she has to say.  Her new book made a lot of sense to me!  I’ve read it once – a quick read through and now I’m re-reading it.

She talks about the good life and how it isn’t what we expect.  It isn’t more things or more money.

It is a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity.  It is a life full of the richness that God has to offer; a life spent building treasures in heaven rather than here on earth.  It is not a life of laziness and greed, but one of discipline, hard work, and self-reflection.  It may not always be easy or comfortable, but it is always full in abundance and completely secure in Christ.

Last year, we moved across the country and did a major downsizing. We had to really think about what we wanted and what we could part with. I remember the final day of loading the truck – we still had more stuff to put it in and were rapidly running out of room. We had to reassess the leftover stuff and part with more of it.  We left some stuff for the new owners – 25 lb dumbbells (the thrift store wouldn’t take them) and our glider swing (that was a tough choice!).   The day we left PA, we made a final stop at the local thrift shop to drop off the stuff that wouldn’t fit.  After the truck arrived in Florida and we started unloading it, we found more stuff that we didn’t need! For several weeks after we arrived, we were filling our dumpster each week, plus adding some to my parents! So much stuff that we paid to move and then just threw away! We also had enough stuff for a yard sale and then donated the leftover stuff to a local church for their rummage sale.

LWSL Book Quote

One of the things we don’t have right now is cable or satellite tv (we get the local networks via antenna).  I honestly don’t miss it.  My hubby and kids do, but they’ve found other ways to watch (Netflix, free shows on TV websites, DVDs).  One thing I noticed is that I’m a lot more content when I can’t watch a lot of HGTV and DIY.  I used to love watching Bathroom Crashers and Kitchen Crashers and any other show where they remodeled.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but it made me very discontent with what I had.  When I looked at my kitchen, all I saw were cabinets that were at the very least in need of painting (preferably replacing), the floor was old linoleum and never looked quite clean, the layout was all wrong….  You get the picture.  What I should’ve seen was a huge kitchen with tons of storage that was perfect for a family with little kids that are going to spill things.  Don’t get me wrong – the kitchen was dated, but updating it wasn’t a need.  It was something I wanted to do (very badly!), but it wasn’t in our budget and that bothered me more than I should admit.

LWSL Book

When we moved (to a house that I had only seen pictures of), the kitchen was smaller and even more dated (hello yellow countertops & backsplash), but you know what?  I didn’t care!  Why?  Because I chose to be content – we were moving to Florida, close to family, & near the beach.  We were simplifying life – hubby was leaving a job that had become too stressful with too many hours.  He got a job teaching – something he’s always wanted to do.  We left behind a big house with a huge fenced yard that we rarely used because of a neighbor we didn’t get along with.  Our new house has a much smaller yard, but both neighbors enjoy seeing our kids out playing and have never complained about the noise.  We try to get to the beach often (it doesn’t always happen though).

We are choosing to be content and it makes a world of difference! 

Discover your own secret of the Good Life in Ruth Soukup’s new book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. Through personal stories and practical action plans, she will inspire you to make real and lasting changes to your personal goals, homes, and finance. It is real, honest, and speaks to the heart of the matter—how can you live the life you’ve always wanted?  It releases tomorrow Dec. 30, but if you pre-order today, you can get some great pre-order bonuses!

Homemade Christmas Gifts – Recycling Too Small T’s

My kids have been having so much fun making gifts for family members.  It’s so nice to see them working on something for someone else.  They do it because they want to – I didn’t suggest it.  It’s inspiring!  So, I’ve been working on some gifts for them.  First up is a “new” t-shirt for my six-year-old.  His beloved armadillo shirt is two sizes too small and beginning to show it’s age.

ArmadilloTI used the t-shirt as a pattern to cut a new, bigger body from some brown knit that I had. I cut the armadillo out of the front and then, I cut sleeves from the back of the old shirt. Except when I went to put it together I remembered that I didn’t cut the sleeves a little bigger. So, I added a brown stripe to the underarm.

IMG_5579The sleeves are hemmed with green thread to add a little color.  I did the same thing with the neck binding.  The patch is sewn on using a feather stitch, but you could use your favorite decorative stitch or even just a zigzag.  I did a rolled hem with my serger (one of my favorite things to do!  It’s just so easy!).

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 I’m sure he’ll be happy to see his new armadillo shirt!

IMG_5578Do your kids enjoy making gifts for people?  Have you ever remade a shirt or other beloved article of clothing?

 

Boys Christmas T’s

I love making my daughter’s Christmas dress each year.  There are so many fun things you can do with girls dresses and my daughter usually has a few ideas of her own.  Boys, however, are harder!  My boys are NOT into suits and ties.  They’re happiest in shorts and t-shirts.  On Sundays, they will grudgingly put on a polo shirt and some “dressy” shorts (aka not knit gym shorts).  So, a couple years ago, I made them Christmas shirts with ties attached.

JamesChristmasShirt
I used a turtle neck for my youngest.
JohnnyChristmasShirt
I used a long sleeve T for my middle child.

Last year, I cut the sleeves off the long sleeve T to make a shirt for my youngest and I’m not sure my middle child had a Christmas shirt…bad mom. *blush*  This year, I decided to do the same thing, except I made T-shirts too.

TiePattern
I made a simple tie pattern and then made sure it wasn’t too long/short for the shirt.
ChristmasTie
Make sure you really pin the tie to the shirt. There’s nothing more frustrating than a crocked tie!!

I sewed them on using a decorative stitch on my machine, but a zigzag would work too.  I personally like the slightly frayed look around the edges.

ChristmasTieFrayedComfy enough to play outside in, but still nice enough to get compliments.YoungestTie
Boys in t-shirts with ties – does it get any cuter or easier?
BoysChristmasTies

Cube Steak & Onions

CubeSteakOnionsOne of the things I have a hard time with is using up leftovers.  Some things can just be reheated – like soup.  Other things don’t reheat so well.  Cube steak is one of them.  I normally try to make just enough, but sometimes I end up with leftovers.  My father-in-law knew exactly what to do with them and it was delicious!!  He fried up several onions in butter and then put the leftover cube steak (chopped into bite size pieces) in and heated it long to warm them through.  Mmmm!!  So easy!  If you want a one dish meal, toss in some veggies with the meat, cover it and let it simmer for about 8 minutes.

Do you try to use up leftovers?  Do you just reheat them or remake them?

Seamingly Smitten Giveaway

Recently (in the past year), Ive discovered a couple shops that make and sell patterns for kids & adults.  One of them is Seamingly Smitten.  Last year I found her when the Love Me Knots dress came out.

Love Me Knots Dress

More recently, she inspired me to try my twin needle.

Jenny recently made her 10,000th sale on Etsy (how awesome is that?!?!) and is celebrating by having a giveaway!  If you sew, you don’t want to miss this.  Hop on over to her blog and start entering!

Using a Twin Needle

A couple months ago I read this post on how to use a twin needle.  It looked so easy!  When I got my machine (over 15 year ago!), I noticed that it came with a twin needle.

Twin Needle
Still in it’s original, unopened package!

So, I decided that since it looked so easy, I was going to try it out.

OpenTwinNeedeIt really was easy to thread it!

ThreadedTwinNeedleIt sewed just like a regular single needle.  Since it was my first time trying it and I was sewing a school skirt for my daughter, I didn’t want to try thread that was too contrasting.  After seeing how nice and neat it looks, I’m thinking of all the different ways I could use it and with different colors!

TwinNeedleFinished