Friday, November 30, 2012

New Life for the Un-wearable

First, let me apologize. I know you were looking forward to egg-free Christmas cookies. I want to try a couple more recipes. Don’t worry; I’ll post about them as soon as I can.

Today I wanted to post one of my quickie refashions.

Do you have clothes that are okay, but you just don’t wear because they don’t feel right? Or they’re just not ‘you’? Maybe they are uncomfortable.

I have a huge pile of these clothes. Some are ‘transition’ clothes from when I was pregnant. Some still have the tags on. Some I have just grown tired of.

What do you do? Easy-peasey. Cut into the buggers, sew a little, do whatever it takes to make them wearable.

Let’s go back to my pile. I am not wearing these clothes. (Its been a year and a half since I’ve been pregnant…) The only good they are doing is insulating the walls of my craft dungeon. But…I was scared. What if I mess up, then perfectly good clothes have been ruined. Perfectly good un-wearable clothes. I had to tuck my worries away, and just do something.

My latest refashion:


I did wear this shirt once or twice, but that wonky hemline bothered me. Not a scoop hem-type of girl. The shirt itself was also much wider at the bottom.

I sewed straight down the sides, then tried the shirt on to make sure it fit. (This is the most crucial step. ALWAYS try it on before you cut!) Then I cut away the extra fabric.

Next I straightened the bottom hem. Roll it up, stitch it down. (This part can be skipped on most t-shirts, because they don’t fray.)

Finally, wear away:


This refashion was actually done a couple of weeks ago. I refrained from posting right away. I needed to make sure I was going to wear it. Yup, I wear it, a lot. This is now one of the shirts that I grab as soon as laundry is done.

Moral of the story? Just take the cut. Use your un-wearable clothes as a learning tool. If you mess up its not like you were wearing it in the first place.

*Please tell me that I am not the only one with this ‘pile’.

Have a wonderfully wearable weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas

Mmmm. We love Mexican food around here. If I can throw it in the crockpot, its even better.


How did I manage make such a fantastic meal? I’ll show you.

Keep in mind that this is more of a guide, not a recipe. Honestly, when using a crockpot you don’t really need a recipe.

Here’s what I did:

I pulled a roast from the freezer. (For this meal, use whatever meat you have available, chicken, pork, beef, or venison. It doesn’t have to be an expensive cut, the crockpot will make things nice and tender.) Today I used venison. When it was mostly thawed, I sliced it into thin strips.

The secret to tasty venison, is marinade. Not just the marinade- but the length the meat marinades. Marinade the meat as long as possible.

This time I used vinegar, and KC Masterpiece Spicy Mango. (Its what was in the house.) This sat in the fridge all night.

In the morning I dumped the container of juicy meat into the crockpot. I didn’t have a fajita seasoning packet, so I mashed up a handful of recipes Google provided me with. Dump this in, and add sliced onions and peppers. Oh yeah, if you have some minced garlic hanging out in the fridge, put a spoonful or so in.

This is my favorite part, I didn’t have to cut a thing! Well, not today. During the summer I got an awesome deal on red peppers and onions, and green peppers from a local produce stand. I got way more than we could eat fresh. The peppers and onions were washed and sliced, flash frozen (so they don’t stick together), and dumped into a Ziploc freezer bag.

That brings us to my ‘slow cooker fajita hint’: do not put all of the peppers and onions in the slow cooker right away. A handful will do. Well, I put all of the onions in right away because I don’t care for crunchy onions. But peppers? I want some crunch!

You have two options. 1. You can pan fry the remaining peppers and onions before serving. Or you can save yourself from washing another pan, and 2. toss them into the crockpot during the last half hour to hour.

Serve with rice on tortillas topped with sour cream and cheese. Like I said, mmmmmm.

Want to know my spice mash-up? Okay, you pulled my arm. Here it is:
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Are you a crock-potter? If so what’s your favorite slow cooker meal?

Stop back tomorrow, I have been experimenting. Trying to find egg-free Christmas cookies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Letting You In, part 4

I was working. Well, not really. Business had slowed right down, there was a regular customer, and my fiancé. We were all chatting while I cooked dinner for my customer, when Brian’s phone rang. My phone was just ringing, but I didn't get to it in time.

“Its your mom.”

“Hello,” I answer.

“Your father was just in an accident.” My mom is frantic. It sounds like she is running.

“What happened!”

“A deer. It jumped right out of the ditch. There was no time to react. This is bad. I need you here, now!”

“Mom, where are you? Did you crash your bike too? Are you okay? Why does it sound like you are running? Did you call 911?”

She did crash her bike too. But she was physically okay. She ‘laid’ her bike down, and landed in the ditch. (That is her term, ‘laid down.’ I personally think it may be hard to lay a bike down going 50 mph.) She had called me while running to dad. She put his glasses under his nose, he was breathing. No coratid pulse, but a slight femoral pulse. (Mom is a RN). She performed CPR until the ambulance arrived.

I called my brother, he didn’t answer. My customer took over the bar (don’t worry, he is friends with the owner). My fiancé went to my brother’s. I raced to the hospital.

I have never drove so fast in my whole life. The hospital was about 25 minutes from where we were, and I think I made it in 10. (I did at least have enough sense to put my flashers on.)

It seemed like the longest drive ever.

When I was about five miles from the hospital, the helicopter was arriving. I got a sense of panic and relief all at once. Panic because this IS really bad. Relief because, “he must be alive.”

My stomach still drops every time I see a medical helicopter.

I finally arrived at the hospital. I threw my vehicle in park, and ran as fast as I could. I had lost my sandals along the way, and left my car running in the parking lot. When I got to the entrance, I knew he wasn’t going on the helicopter. The responders’ faces told a sad story that I wasn’t ready for. I remember screaming “DADDY!”

They were in there. A whole team trying like hell to save him.

I truly believe this. My mom used to work in this very emergency room. With these very nurses and doctors. A couple of my classmates were working. Some were my parents’ Christian biker friends. Some went to our church.

They tried.

I’m sorry, but I have to continue next week. I hope you understand, this is not some ploy to get you to come back, this story, my story, is a hard one to write.

Need to catch up? part 1, part 2, and part 3

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lil’ Monsters, and Christmas Plans

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you had a good holiday. Ours was wonderful! Oh yeah, sorry for being M.I.A. this past week (not that you probably noticed, but anyways…).

Here’s a little peek at a couple of past projects, my lil' monsters:


These hats are what started my most recent crochet hat obsession. I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn, and this pattern. I had to add a strap to the green hat because boy 1 kept pulling it off.

Onto other things…I have been thinking about Christmas gifts. Bought some goods to make them, tried to stuff into one of my ‘hoarding spots’- and got completely overwhelmed. I have TOO MUCH CRAFTING STUFF! I know for my sanity that now is not the time to effectively deal with this though. So I’m just closing the door until the holidays are over.

Here is a glimpse of my Christmas crafting plans:
  1. Faux fur and flannel blanket
  2. Card Table Playhouse
  3. Christmas Stockings
  4. A personalized camo fleece blanket, per hubby’s request
  5. Coffee mug cozies
I hope to at least finish the blankets, cozies, and stockings this week.

Wish me luck! Have you started Christmas crafting?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Letting You In, part 3

Where were we… I was taking an extra-full load of college classes, bartending two nights a week, and planning a July wedding.

While working on Wednesday night, I had a couple surprise visitors. First my parents came in. They were on their motorcycles, taking a ride around the thumb. (We live in Michigan, ‘the thumb’ is actually a place. Beautiful drive actually.) They had just visited my brother and his (pregnant) wife, and had stopped in to see me. Shortly after that my soon-to-be husband came in.

Things were slow at the bar, so we had time to chat. We started talking about the final details of the wedding. It was only 17 days away! Gasp!

Dad was wondering what I wanted him to wear. “Nice jeans and one of your good t-shirts.”

“I can get a suit or a tux.”

“I want my dad to give me away, not a stranger in a suit. I don’t think I have ever seen you in a suit.” So it was settled. (I was more worried about the people who are talking about coming, that have not sent in their RSVP. How can we make sure we have enough food and drinks?)

We chatted some more, and when they were ready to head home, my fiancé and I walked them outside. What a beautiful night. We gave our hugs, said our good-byes, and watched the two Harleys rumble toward home.

Twenty minutes later I got the worst phone call imaginable….

I hope you are enjoying these posts, or at least tolerating them. I am so sorry for chopping it up so much, just bear with me, you’ll see the difficulty I face writing these.

Miss part 1 and part 2? There you go.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Little Man Refashion

While I was pregnant, I had dreams of making a room in the basement my craft room. I plugged away as best as I could, but never fully finished. (One of the downsides to being pregnant with twins, I was huge, so nesting was about impossible.) Needless to say, that room became a catchall, and my craft stuff is still spread out (or hidden…) throughout the house.

This past week, I decided to devote at least twenty minutes a day to cleaning up this space. Twenty minutes flew by, turned into an hour or so, and the room is much improved. I was so inspired, I spent Saturday’s naptime sewing in there!

First up, daddy shirt to toddler shirt:

I have a bit of a hoarding issue. A craft hoarding issue. I hate to see something go that could be turned into something we could use. After our garage sale this summer, I snagged hubby’s button-up shirts that did not sell. I have been holding on to them since… you may be wondering why...

Enter Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. I am not much of a ‘pattern follower.’ And, I shy away from sewing clothing. So, I have to admit, this shirt took some time. The instructions were not as clear as I needed them to be. But the result was worth it! This shirt looks professional (almost, I’ll explain later). I am predicting that it won’t take as long for the next one either, because now I am more positive about what I am doing, and I have more of an idea of were I can use existing hems.

Speaking of which, do you notice anything? Look closely:

Remember that I am trying to use up my stash? Well, I have quite a few iron-ons. I figured I would use one of them to spruce up the shirt. The whole project went great, no unpicking. Then I ironed. I ironed that dang thing upside down! I was going to put a patch over it, but hubby insisted I leave it. We’ll see…

If you’re looking for a boy sewing pattern, this one looks nice- just give yourself time to read and re-read the pattern through the first time.

Do you have any favorite boy sewing patterns/tutorials?

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Weeks Egg Free Recipes

If you’ve read some of my recipe posts, you know that I have a toddler with a severe egg allergy. My boys are very independent when it comes to feeding themselves. (They also have pretty good arms, just ask the spaghetti sauce covered wall.) Not only is figuring out healthy, balanced meals to feed toddlers difficult, then throw an allergy into the mix? Needless to say, the rest of the family is beginning to lose trust in my cooking abilities.

I didn’t take food pictures this week, so here’s the picture we used for our Thanksgiving card. (No, I am not a crazy, send a card for every holiday, person. Rite Aid had a coupon code for 5 free cards, and we do not have a decent picture for Christmas cards yet.)

Big Picture Dump 706

Recipe #1: Baked Oatmeal Cups from Sugar free Mom

This recipe is not egg-free as written, but the flax seed/water combo worked great. This recipe is awesome, completely customizable, freezable, and easy to eat on the go. Different flavors I made: blueberry, strawberry, (mix berries into mixture), coconut, chocolate chip, blueberry craisin, and pomegranate craisin (these are toppings, just press on top before baking). Another bonus- no oil, or sugar (although I substituted honey in place of the Stevia), and lots of fruit. These are wonderful!

Recipe #2 Egg-Free Meatloaf Cups from Jazzy Allergy Recipes

These weren’t bad. I will be experimenting with this recipe the next time I make it. I feel it needs more substance, maybe oatmeal or rice. I am really glad I found this, because I had no clue of what to use instead of eggs. This is also my first experience with ‘muffin meatloaf.’ I froze the leftovers for quick lunch/dinner options.

Recipe #3 Twice Baked Potato Casserole from Taste of Home

Holy Crap! These are awesome! We are potato people around here. Anyway imaginable, we devour  them. This recipe is like cheesy potatoes, but with real potatoes, not the frozen hash browns. It does take a little more time (baking the potatoes first), but it is worth it! Make these for your next get-together. They are that good! (Definitely not low fat though…)

Do you have any egg-free toddler recipes?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letting You In, part 2

Where was I? I had decided to be a nurse…

I went to the college to sign up for classes. By my calculations, I could finish up my remaining prerequisites in the upcoming Spring-Summer semester.

I met opposition. The guidance counselor did not think it was a wise idea to try 18 credits in the condensed semester. He told me that most people have trouble with 12 credits, the most success coming from only taking 6 credits. The issue was that by taking these classes now, I would be on the outrageously long clinical waitlist a year earlier than if I were to stretch it out. The consoler told me, “You will not do good, and will more than likely fail. Why waste your money?” After I insisted on taking all 18 credits this semester, he made a note on my file along the lines ‘warned student about difficulty of course load.’

Things were going great. I was fortunate to make friends with some like-minded students going into the nursing program. I was getting great grades, keeping up on all my reading, homework, and class projects, working two nights a week bartending, and planning a July wedding. I was set on proving that ignorant counselor wrong.

Then the unthinkable happened….

…to be continued.

miss the first post, I’ve got you covered Smile

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 by 30 Update, Only 6 Months Left!

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I made a list, a list of thirty things I want to accomplish before I turn 30 (next May). This is not a crazy-exciting list. This is not a outrageous, adventurous bucket list. This is just a list of a few things that I have need to personally work on. Sorta a list to help corral the chaos.

Without further ado, here’s my updated list. (a strikethrough means completed):

  1. purge home, clear clutter {Ongoing. Seriously, will this ever be done?}
  2. make cleaning a habit {Still working on this. Taking a cyber-break helped a ton!}
  3. make recycling a habit {After a few visits to town council meetings, our town finally started curbside recycling in August!}
  4. scan pictures, organize pictures {Have not even touched this. To my defense, the desktop started deciding when it wants to work, and it is not very often. (Lame excuse, I know.)}
  5. organize recipes {Same result as #4}
  6. paint bedroom; decorate {Started thinking about colors…}
  7. paint living room; decorate {Picked a color, bought a sample, loved it. Need to remove wallpaper border at top of 12 foot wall, buy paint, and paint!}
  8. learn how to effective manage household, and time {Ummm, I am thinking this is going to take me a very long time…}
  9. make wedding album {See #4}
  10. journal for the boys {Procrastinator! I will do this this week. I’ll tell you about it when I’m done.}
  11. journal for my husband {See #10}
  12. learn how to use my camera, and take more pictures {Getting better.}
  13. have monthly date nights with my husband {Sitter situation has been difficult. Note to self; make this a priority!}
  14. go on mini-vacation with hubby {We did go away overnight in September. For a wedding. Does that count?}
  15. go on vacation with the family {Thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift last year we took the family to Great Wolf Lodge. This is probably going to have to suffice for this year.}
  16. read to the boys every day {Ongoing.}
  17. learn to/teach the kids to pray (and Lord's prayer, and Ten Commandments) {Am I a bad mom?}
  18. teach my step-daughter to sew and/or encourage her creative interests {Struggles here…}
  19. implement a budget {Nope}
  20. start nursing clinicals {Find out in a week if I’m in!}
  21. manage time better {Isn’t this the same as #8? Guess I know what I need to be working on!}
  22. get up early (like to start day by 6:00) {Boys are early risers. I am no means perfect, but so much better.}
  23. dress for my hubby more often (less jeans and t-shirts) {I am struggling in the colder season, but I am crossing it off because 1. I wore skirts/dresses most of summer and 2. hubby likes me in jeans and t-shirts.}
  24. style hair more, less ponytails {Since I made the cut, I have been better, not perfect, but better.}
  25. blog regularly {Ongoing.}
  26. exercise regularly {You would not believe that one of my previous careers was a full-time fitness instructor and personal trainer.}
  27. craft through books; get rid of books not needed {I have not actually been crafting through books, but I have been getting rid of the ones that do not inspire my creativity.}
  28. craft through stash {Stash is still here, but getting smaller. The only materials I have bought have been project-specific.}
  29. make a dress, and wear it {May make more, but check this one out.} 
  30. start selling on etsy {I am scared…}
  31. do a 365 project {Have been thinking of ideas, may start Jan. 1st.}
  32. have a (semi) handmade Christmas {have ideas written down, need to get cracking!}

Wow! I have so much room for improvement!

Thanks for bearing with me on this long, boring post.

Do you set goals, if so what are your methods for achievement?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Crocheted Turkey Hats and Reindeer Hat

I have to say, I am feeling like a very accomplished crocheter (okay spell check, I sometimes make up my own words). My skills have improved drastically. I am able to dissect patterns, and then use the bits and pieces that I feel will make my finished product look the way I have imagined.

My boys are now ready for Thanksgiving (one of mommy’s favorite holidays). They have turkey hats!

turkeyreindeerhats 004
turkeyreindeerhats 056
Yarn used: Red Heart Super Saver
Adapted from these patterns: My Creative Side and Stitch11

I also whipped up a Rudolph hat. This is my most recent pride and joy. I used a pattern for the hat, and made up the rest. This hat is so stinking adorable if I do say so myself Smile
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Yarn: hat- Vanna’s Choice, Barley; add-on's- Red Heart Super Saver.
Earflap hat pattern: Alli Crafts
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Here’s my dilemma, hubby is very insistent that I should making these items to sell. (Actually most people that see them say the same thing.) I love and appreciate his confidence in my abilities, because quite frankly I have my own insecurities. For instance, I am a naturally frugal person. I go to craft fairs and bazars to “project shop.” You know what I’m saying right, “I can make that.” Anyways, I have no idea what people would consider a reasonable price for the things I create.

This is where I need your help, if you were in the market for hats like these, how much would you pay?

Thank you for your input, I hope your week is wonderful!

Participating in this linky party, and this one.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Letting You In, part 1

I started this blog to help me see through the cloudy chaos that my life has become. I have a strong feeling that I am not the only person dealing with these struggles. BUT…. right now, it just looks like a chaotic blog. I have to-dos, goals, cleaning, mommy-hood, crafts, and of course cooking. Well, this is me right now- a big jumble.

That’s my problem though, I have neglected to share much about myself. You see its hard, opening myself up. I even have a hard time letting those close to me in. Of course its bad, but sometimes it seems better for everyone involved if I just bottle everything up and deal internally. This is a problem area of mine that I am committing myself to work on- sharing me. No matter how scared I am. Here goes (a little):

My life changed so much in just over two years time; most of it occurring in two months time.
I was working as a teller at a bank. I was good at my job. In fact, I was even told that I had a chance to be a supervisor in the near future. Sounds great, right? Nope. I was very unhappy and unfulfilled.
My soon-to-be husband had been prodding me to go into nursing, something that had been a part of my inner debates for a while. I decided to ‘get my feet wet’ before I took the plunge. I signed up for a two week Nurse Aide Certification class. After completion, I had a good feeling that this was the direction God wanted me to go in. So I registered for the few classes I needed for validation into nursing clinicals, put in my notice at the bank, and cashed in my 401K.

To be continued…..

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pink Cheetah Baby Shower Gifts

There’s a new baby on the way! It’s a girl. We don’t get many girls in this family. So of course, I have been crafting up a storm.
The color/theme is pink cheetah. I found this fabric at JoAnn’s, and used brown flannel as a compliment. We know her name, so that made these gifts really fun!
The first thing I made was a blanket. This blanket is about a yard widthwise, and lengthwise.
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For this blanket I used this tutorial from A Feathered Nest.
Next I made my specialties; bib, burp cloth, and onesie.
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I tried a new pattern:
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This pattern is the Snuggler from Simple Sewing for Baby. (I’m not getting paid for this- just wanted to let you know where the pattern came from.)
Next up was some yarn work (fulfilling my crochet kick).
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The hat on the left was made using this pattern (with some adjustments for 0-3 month size), the headband from here, and the hat on the right from this pattern.
Everything got the addition of handmade tags, including care instructions. I love giving handmade gifts! What are your favorite baby gifts to give?

Participating in these parties: TOO Cute Tuesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elmo Hat

This has been a busy week. I have been working on gifts for a baby shower on Sunday. (I’ll post pictures of them as soon as they are done.)
I have also been on a crochet roll! Our nephew turned one this week. He was having an Elmo birthday. I have been coming across some adorable Sesame Street hats on Pinterest that I wanted to try. This was the perfect opportunity.
I wish I could give you a pattern that I used, but I can’t. I looked at a few, read a few, then just went with my gut.
It gets cold here in the winter. So I tend to prefer half double crochet to double crochet when making child-sized hats. The tighter stitch makes for a warmer hat (and I think dc looks girly sometimes).
Here’s what I did:
Crochet earflap hat in appropriate size. I used hdc. There are many sizing charts online if your recipient is not available to measure.
Crochet two white balls, and an oval orange ball. (YouTube is a great reference.)
Make pupils, and stitch onto eyes. Stitch eyes and nose onto hat.
Cut mouth out of felt, and sew on.
This hat went extremely fast. Actually all of my crocheting has gone by fast lately. The only downside to my projects this last week is that I had to buy specific materials for them, so I haven’t been using up my stash…this week. I’m okay with this though.
Stop back tomorrow to see the baby shower gifts!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Did you dress little ones up and go begging for candy? We did! Halloween is a big deal around here. My mother-in-law comes over and hands out candy. Hubby’s brother brings his family over. We go showing off our kids to the neighborhood.
Last year, we even put my expecting sister-in-law in labor. (Story for another day…)
Needless to say, we love Halloween.
This year the twins were Vikings. They were oh so CUTE! (Even though they didn’t keep their helmets on.)
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I’m sure you all have seen Cheri’s Viking tutorial over at I am Momma. Well, this is where my inspiration came from.
She uses toilet seat covers (genius!). The hubs wasn’t too thrilled with that idea, he felt it would look like carpet and nobody would be able to tell what they were. He wanted authentic-looking Vikings. After all he was a Viking fan for a year…Favre fan.
So I took him to JoAnn's, and had him pick out some fur. We also bought some leather cord, and ordered our Viking helmets from Amazon. That’s it.
The fur was cut into two oval (like a toilet seat cover) shapes, and four rectangles. Then I cut a slit, and a circle for the head of the ovals. Fasten it on your little Viking. Wrap the rectangle around their boots, and wrap with leather lace. Take pictures, and head out on the town. So simple, yet so cute.
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What was your favorite costume this year?

Linked up here.