Friday, January 29, 2010

My Version of 'Green'

It's a snow day around here. It is reminding me of my New Year's resolution to NOT have unreasonable expectations of myself. I thought I would spend the day cooking, watching movies with the kids, and maybe sneak in a little painting.

So far I have picked up a million toys, done 5 loads of laundry, and thawed chicken. Not what I had in mind.

I will, however sneak in pictures of my "recycled" outfit for Lilly. I recycle my cardboard, etc., never litter, and I don't use hairspray. That's about as 'green' as I get. You will never see me chained to a tree in hopes of saving it, or buying $10 recycled toilet paper.I believe in being responsible, and taking care of our planet, and I don't believe in wasting things, but I don't believe in Al Gore either. I do love to recycle old/used/useless things to a more creative purpose.

I bought this pink jumper at a thrift store for 50 cents. The leggings underneath are from a set of pajamas found at Dollar General for $3. I removed the weird little pocket the jumper had, and appliqued the apple over the top. Again, I did not use the embroidery machine for the applique. I am a control freak, and wanted the design to match very closely to that of the pants. (not to mention that I don't know how to digitize my own designs in the embroidery software). So, I just used my regular sewing machine. I do, however, love machine embroidery, and I have a neighbor that sells the cutest line of embroidered clothing.

I removed the buttons, and added ribbon instead. I gathered the same ribbon and sewed it to the hemline of the dress. (like the lampshades in my earlier post).
I also cut the cuff off the pj bottoms to make it more of a legging.

See? I recycled.

I had to bribe her with cereal, but I did get a shot of her in the outfit. Soooo ladylike.

Littlebits Designs

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Grocery Nerd strikes again

I promise I am not turning this into a coupon blog..

Several people have asked me about my grocery post. They have asked if I save that much money on a regular basis.


But, again, I buy in bulk when things are on sale, and plan my menu based on what I have on hand. I know that it seems odd to buy 12 boxes of Capri-sun, but I will not buy it again for a VERY long time. I will use them in packed lunches. 120 packed lunches.

8 pounds of bologna??? I will vacum seal these, and it will last a very long time. (I don't like to feed my kids a lot of processed meat, so these will be used in between much healthier choices.) My vacum sealer keeps meat fresh in the freezer for about a year!

12 boxes of Macaroni and cheese?? I will donate about half of these - they were all free.

The low fat cheese I will vacum seal and use all the time. I LOVE cheese.

I think I bought Velveeta for the first time in about 10 years, I don't like it, but thought it would work with the free Ro-Tel for Super Bowl Sunday. (See, I'm already planning ahead :)

Next week I will use a portion of my grocery budget to stock up on whatever is on sale, that we use frequently. It is a cycle, and keeps whatever we need on hand. But, I am always on the lookout for good deals on 'convenience foods'. This way, on those nights you just don't want to cook - or you have to get to practice for 5 different sports- we can skip the drive -thru.

Here is my list from Kroger and Publix:
3 wheat thins
2 Triscuits
12 boxes Kraft Mac and Cheese
8 lbs. bologna
2 cans green chiles
2 cans Ro-tel
5 blocks Kraft low fat, natural cheese
3 bags Kradt shredded low fat cheese
2 lb. Velveeta (yuck)
12 boxes Capri-Sun
1 12 roll pack Northern TP
1 8 roll back Brawney paper towels
4 4pks Benevia juice
1 gallon skim milk
6 scrubbing bubbles cleaner
2 boxes Texas Toast garlic bread
1 lb. butter
2 bottles vitamin D
5 bars Johnson & Johnson soap
3 lbs lean ground beef
kosher salt
1 box knox gelatin
2 Pam cooking spray
3 Japanese noodles
2 bottles Bayer
4 bottles Aleve
1 Sabra Hummus (this stuff is gooood!)

Total before sales and coupons $257.93
Total savings $207.66

Total spent $50.27 (not including tax)

I will use another $10 for more milk and fresh produce.
Not too bad for a family of 5.

Now, let's get back to the painting and sewing....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What I did last night...

There is no shortage of pink in my daughter's closet. She loves pink. She even had a temper tantrum in Walgreens once when I insisted she put the bottle of Pepto Bismol back on the shelf. With this in mind, I purchased some cute fabric at Jo-Ann's this past fall. Notice I said this past fall. It seems I never got around to using it...

Well,last night I got all motivated for some reason, and made a cute little outfit. I love brown with orange, and I love the little squirrels. I purposely made the pants a little more 'boyish', with the corduroy trim and little pocket. She loves pockets. (for her tinkerbell chapstick)

The applique is a design taken from the pants. It is just scraps of corduroy and felt. The flowers are sewn on with little french knots. I just straight stitched on the applique. I wanted the design to very closely mimic the tree in the pants, and I love the frayed edge sort of look it develops with washing. It keeps it casual, and comfy.

My little 5 year old wanted to get in on the action. He asked if he could sew something today. I gave him felt, a needle, and thread. Will he completely lose his man card for this?? Does it help that he was making a pouch to carry around his favorite , very manly slingshot? Either way, he was pretty proud, and has worn it all afternoon.

My daughter is crazy about the dress forms I use. When I got one out today to take these photos, she got excited. She calls them her "best friends". Well, all of them except for the really short one. That one is her "prince". Lovely couple , don't you think?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Purple Rain

With years of painting under my belt, I have made my share of mistakes. Some of them were funny (like the mural full of horses that really looked like a herd of donkeys), some of them were worth crying over ( the freshly painted curtain pole that I forced into my car, promptly breaking my windshield).
But, today, someone else made a mistake. My big sis.
I am a cheapskate, no doubt, it is a family tradition. My sister has me beat by a mile.
In her ever money saving way, she purchased "mis-tinted" paint to freshen up her basement stairs. The dot on top was a lovely grayish brown. She put her husband to work painting, and left for carpool. When she returned, her stairs were PURPLE. Not a little purple, but so purple Prince would be proud. She laughed, took photos, and chalked it up to a basecoat. But she returned today and bought ANOTHER can of mis-tinted paint.

Some people never learn :)

My project for tonight is to make a few baby gifts, and get started on making a bow tie for my 5 year old. he has been begging for weeks. I will try to post pictures in the morning.

Speaking of my 5 year old and mornings, he made me breakfast in bed.
My menu was as follows:

PB & J sandwich
a clementine
milk topped with marshmallows

Sweet little guy...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wedding Platter & Lampshades

I had 2 custom orders picked up today, and I thought I would post them both.
First is the wedding plate. Custom pottery can be sooo expensive. I personally believe you should not have to sell a kidney to get it. I must admit, this is a bit of a copy. The cute newlywed girl that ordered it sent me a picture of one she liked, and I ran with it. She found the plate/platter at Wal-Mart!! Very affordable wedding gift...(hint, hint).
Next is the lampshades.
Just 2 plain old white, Target lampshades.
I used a very scary looking piece of equipment to finish this project. It is a gathering foot for my sewing machine. The first time I used it, I nearly lost a finger. Really. It was gruesome, I won't go into further detail.

Despite our rough beginning, I now love this crazy looking thing. It gathers anything and everything into perfect ruffles or pleats.
I gathered some 1 1/2 grosgrain ribbon. With fabric glue I attatched it to the base of the shades. I then used opaque pink fabric paint for the initials.
I think she said these shades were for either side of the bed. Very sweet.

Even if you can't paint, or don't have the scary sewing machine parts, you could do something similar. Just run a basting thread ( that means longer than normal) through the center of your ribbon, and pull gently from each end to make it gather.

To seal the ends of the ribbon, just run them through the flame of a lighter.(carefully please!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Triplets and the subject of *arting

Where did this week go? How did I go a week without posting anything? I think all the Sponge Bob in the background has killed too many brain cells. Did I mention how much I hate Sponge Bob?? My friend Michelle says that she just kept telling herself he wasn't totally useless - he has a good work ethic. I guess there is always a silver lining. Even in noisy, irritating, obnoxious cartoons. And, besides, it is Wednesday -- which brings a new episode of Friday Night Lights.

Look at the adorable picture a customer sent me!! Her triplet boys in coordinating onesies. How sweet was she to get them all dressed, posed, get it developed, and actually send it to me. I am impressed. They make my onesies look even cuter.

I wanted to share a favorite book with everyone. It is probably not what you expect.

"Walter, the Farting Dog"

I grew up with only one sister, a military father, and a very well mannered, southern mother. I don't remember ever mentioning or hearing the lesser 'F' word in our house. My mom would have been mortified.

Fast forward to 2010 - my mom has 4 grandsons - she hears it all the time.

You can tell your boys it's not polite.
You can tell them it's not funny, that everyone does it.
You can tell them potty talk is absolutely prohibited.

It doesn't matter. They will laugh about it. They will talk about it. They will try really, really hard to do it in front of each other. Boys and flattulence go hand in hand.

This book handles it in a funny way, that isn't too gross. (even for someone that can barely stand to type the word)

My boys thought I was super cool and funny when this book came into their lives. They laugh every time I read it. Try it sometime.

My 5 year old has a new favorite book, he insists on looking at it every night.
"Zondervan's Guide to the Bible"
And, he wants me to read it. It is political history, etc. of Biblical times. He loves the maps, pictures of old scrolls, and artifacts. I hate to admit it, but I am bored silly when we read it - but he listens very carefully.

I knew he was a little different....

Littlebits Designs

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My inner cheapskate exposed

Why did I take a picture of my groceries? To expose myself for the cheapskate I really am. I bought everything you see in this picture for $5.41, before tax.

I did not steal any of it. I have the receipt to prove it.

I am a total coupon nerd. My 10 year old teases me. He says I am a coupon-ologist, that he is going to buy me a fanny pack to keep them in. It's not that bad......

I use them because they work! I can feed a family of 5 for $60-$70 a week.(sometimes less) I don't skimp on any fresh fruit, vegetables, or meat either. We don't eat a ton of meat though, so that helps. I just have a plan, stockpile things we use, like the 8 bottles of juice you see, and utilize my freezer space. Do I need 2 boxes of gas medicine - no. (thank goodness:) But, sometimes, when things are free, I get them anyway and give them to the Help Center at our church. Same with a lot of the can goods. On the other hand, the Frosted Flakes are all mine.

You must give Publix a try. It is truly the best grocery chain ever. They are clean, friendly, and very coupon friendly. As long as you are honest.

There are a couple of websites out there that will show you how to do it all.

Southern Savers

I Heart Pubix

Faithful Provisions

I got my neighbor , and my sister hooked on this too. We are now both equally nerdy for photographing our groceries. I think she has earned her 'couponologist fanny pack'.

Littlebits Designs

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2 Little promises

My New Year's Resolutions:

1. Keep my house spotless at all times.

2. Wake at 5:30 am so that I can exercise before the children get up.

3. No sugar, white flour, or butter.

4. Be on time, or early for all appointments or events.

5. Never, ever, lose my patience with my children or husband.

Are you laughing at me yet? You should be.

A list of rules I tell myself I have to follow for the next full year...that's pressure I don't need.

I am going to keep it simple.

I resolve to try to stop setting unrealistic expectations for myself. I am not, nor will I ever be, perfect. Or even close.

I will set goals, and make an endless number of to do lists. But, I am basically going to take it day by day.

I will thank God every day for the life he has blessed me with, no matter what.

Random, ugly sweater...

I must admit, I have spent most of my time working on re-organizing my house after a crazy holiday season, so I don't have many great pictures of work to post. I thought these frames turned out cute. I almost never do anything with animal prints, but these were a special request. I love all the different ribbons.

Speaking of ribbons, I was looking thru the Jo-Ann's flyer I got in the mail today to see if ribbon was on sale.( warning: this is random)
I noticed this little boy in the ad for yarn.

What is up with the sweater???? Isn't that for a girl? The extra wide neck, the scallops? 3/4 sleeves?!

Notice the caption - "Make this totally awesome 80's look"

I was around, and fully aware of my surroundings in the 80's. I don't remember any fads that involved boys wearing girl sweaters. (unless you were into Boy George)
If this kid is smart, he will drop this ad from his portfolio, and sue the stylist that worked the photo shoot. If you can knit, please don't make this totally awesome 80's look.

I am working on an adorable lamp to post pictures of later this week. I am trying to get back in the swing of things, but I'm a little burned out this time of year. Tomorrow has already been declared a snow day here in Nashville, so I am hoping to get some creative things accomplished, and spend some fun time with my kiddos.

My kids never cease to surprise me. Yesterday was definately one of those days.

I found my 10 year old, with a needle and thread, sewing up a hole in the knee of his school khakis.

My 5 year old pulled out his own stitches from his chin, and didn't mind at all.

My 3 year old, for the past 2 nights, has marched herself and her footie jammies upstairs, and totally put herself to bed.
At 7 pm.
I did not even have to ask.

What will they do tomorrow???

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Merry Christmas is Over!!!!!!

Is anyone else as glad as I am that Christmas is over??

Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, but by Jan. 1, I've had enough of all the holly-jolly. I'm ready to clean up, organize all the new stuff, and get my behind back on the treadmill. The kids will be begging to go to the pool before I know it.

Our annual trip north was no disappointment. Within the first 24 hours of arriving we had already had a snowstorm (OK, to this southern girl, it looked like a snowstorm), and a trip to the emergency room. My 5 year old's chin met the dining room table, resulting in 6 stitches and a really gross bite to the tongue. As a mom, I have to brag on him, he didn't even cry while the doctor stitched him up. He was white knuckled, and scared to death, but didn't utter a peep. What a little man.

I arrived at the emergency room in pajama pants, with a wet ponytail under a hat. Lookin' real good. As I wiped bloody spit off my shoulder, the pretty receptionist poked her head out and said, "What's your husband's name?" I told her, and she said, "Oh, I went to school with him, he was friend's with my brother." That's great. Next time she gets together with her high school friend she can tell them how their classmate married a scary looking hillbilly, and that they had clumsy children.

I survived the car trip. If you know me, you know how much I HATE long car trips.(let's face it, with 3 kids, 20 minutes can seem long - 10 hours is an eternity)

I get very car sick, very often.

I am the girl you see on the side of the road losing her lunch. I have turned it into an art form. I can only eat certain foods on road trips, mostly very bland. The very mention of certain random foods can send me straight to the nearest public restroom. (gummy bears, Corn Nuts, and cool ranch Doritos to be exact - it's a long story)

I busied myself watching all the people go by. I was especially entertained by the woman driving down the highway with an enormous bird sitting on her arm. How badly would you miss your bird if you left it at home??

I got to spend some quality time with my blackberry, and I can now kick your butt in Ka-Glom. I played it so much in the car, my husband asked me to stop ignoring him. I told him it prevented car sickness.

I really enjoyed all of my in-laws. They are so much fun. I wish they were closer. I know how lucky I am.

I have LOTS of projects planned for this year, and I hope to document a lot of them. I'm even thinking of doing some how-to's on painting. I f anyone out there wants to learn something specific - let me know. I don't want to give away too many secrets though -- I gotta keep my job :)