Thursday, February 4, 2016

Gearing up for Laundry Room Transformation

After living in this new-to-us house for about 10 months now there are some things that I would like to adjust to better accommodate the way we live.

Right now the most bothersome area for me is the front entryway, which is the dumping ground for everything.  You know how that is, right!?  Drives me bananas.  There are just too many of us to not have some place really set up nice and organized for all our shoes, coats, backpacks, and general stuff.

So to alleviate the mess in the entry, we are going to make some adjustments to the garage entrance area/landing and the laundry room. (Excuse the case of Gatorade--put it there so I wouldn't forget to take it to the swim meet the day I took these pics.)

Shortly after moving in I took down the cabinets above the washer and dryer with a couple of my kids.  Until about a month ago there were just sitting in the garage.  But now Hubby has hung them up out there for his shop area.

I started painting over the green and brown (awesome combo, don't you think--blech!) but lost interest.  The plan is to stack the washer and dryer and then Hubby will build some shelving to the left of it for all the laundry baskets to get them off the floor.  Hallelujah!  This has been the plan from almost the beginning of our move in.  And yet, here we still are.

There is a little sink area and closet to the right of the washer and dryer when you walk into this area.  Excuse the mess.  I was rearranging things in the closet to get an idea of what I'd like to do.  This is another area that has sort of been a dumping ground for stuff we can't figure out what else to do with it.  I hate that.

And the closet with the bi-fold doors off (and one wouldn't even stay closed).  I moved the bench from the front entry to here so that no one could pile up their things right when they walked in. it isn't the right size, but just to get an idea.  I also removed the door to the entrance so I could get a feel for how that might be.  It was rarely closed anyway.  I'd like to remove everything and take that closet completely out--clear up to the ceiling and back closer to the sink, and probably even flush with the right side too.

One thing I am still working thru is what to do with this deep section of closet by the sink.  It goes back 33 inches deep.  It is like the black hole abyss.  Still thinking about that part.

Other than my washer and dryer about the only other things I like about this room are the hooks that I put up for the wet stuff to hang so they won't mold and smell in the baskets.  (yes, that is a gold sequin Speedo--don't ask)

And the little flower holders I made. I needed something happy to look at in this room.

This will be a work in progress while Hubby and I try and get on the same page about what should occur here.  He already said he will build a bench for the area, so that's a plus.  He just doesn't agree with some of my other ideas.....yet.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Small bench redo

If you'll remember, WAAAY back, I found this little bench along with it's pretty desk at the thrift store. Daughter #2 was going to have the desk in her room, changed her mind once we moved, and so now the desk is in the office room and the bench became an orphan.

Hubby and I needed a little seat or something in our bedroom and so I recovered the bench, once I finally found my staple gun. Love that tool!  I also had to order another staple puller (below) because I have yet been able to find that tool since our move.  Though I have seen it once in this house, I just can't remember where I put it.  Oh well.....Taking off old upholstery is an absolute pain in the backside without this tool. FYI.

I made some piping too and stapled that on once I had the new batting and fabric attached.

I think I found this fabric piece at the thrift store.  I love the watercolor looking stripes.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Massive Framed Mirror

Before we moved last year, some friends of ours were also in the process of moving and in so doing were gutting their master bath.  They had this 3 ft. by 7 ft. mirror that they were giving away to anyone who wanted it.

Although I didn't know what house I would be moving to, and if I would even have a place for this big 'ole beast, I went and got it from them.  Big mirrors aren't cheap!  So a free one, PLEASE! I had to take it.

We stored it in our pod while we were trying to sell, and have been storing it down in the basement since we moved last March. is done and hung up. (it took me some time to figure out exactly where I wanted it to go)

The first thing we had to do was to cut off about a foot of the length.

Where it is hanging is only an 8 ft. ceiling and since I wanted it framed it wasn't going to work at that length. I bought a glass cutting kit at Home Depot for about $13.  I practiced a couple times on some scrap mirror until I figured out how best to do it for myself.  And then hubby helped me on this big piece. It was a thicker mirror than my practice pieces.

Hubby cut the 1 x's so that the mirror would inset a little.
We then attached a backing to keep the mirror in place.
Sorry, but I didn't take any pics of that.

We made two wood cleats to hang the mirror. One piece goes on the wall and the other on the mirror. We did this on both the top and bottom of the mirror since it was so large and heavy.  We also didn't want it to bang back and forth if someone touched. Check out this video to get the idea of how to make the cleats.

It now hangs in our foyer by the front door.

I really like it here.
Though it definitely is massive.
Easy way to check your present-ability on the way out the door.

This is to show how far it is off the wall.  The wood is only 7/8 inch thick.

I used pine boards and a gray stain because I like the knotty look and this makes it appear somewhat distressed without having to actually do anything to get it that way.

  • RF Supply Glass Cutting Tool Kit at Home Depot
  • 2 - 1 x 6 boards 10 ft length. (or enough for your needed size)
  • OSB 3/8" board for backing--cut to size
  • Scrap board to make the hanging cleat
  • Minwax Wood Stain in Classic Gray.  Same stain I used for the boys' headboards.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rambling Cable Scarf turned infinity

Daughter #2 has wanted to knit herself a scarf ever since she crocheted her first afghan.
Last Christmas she got some yarn for a gift.

Since then she has been working on this scarf off and on as she needed a break from homework or felt more motivated to get it done. And also in between the craziness of moving earlier this Spring.

As the weather has been cooling off here in MN she pulled it out and we realized that the only thing it needed to be completed was to sew the edges together to make it an infinity style scarf, and then block it.  Both of which turned out to be my job.

This scarf pattern is intended to make randomly placed cables through the 3 columns for a "wonky" type look.  No reading of cable diagrams to follow.  I have to say that daughter #2 is not at all random.  She decided that she wanted each column to cable at the same time. So by the time she was finished her project it appeared that she had followed a pattern.

"To each his own" as my mom would always say.

I still think this is one of the best scarf patterns to start learning cables.


  • Pattern here.
  • First version I knitted of this scarf pattern.
  • 2 skeins of Loops & Threads Impeccable in either Aran or Heather. We threw away the yarn label.  Her next project she wants to make a scarf in Burgundy.  She has the yarn ready to go.  Just needs to decide the pattern and style.
  • Finished dimensions 6 inches wide by 100 inches long. (She can wrap it 3 times shown in the picture immediately above).

Friday, November 20, 2015

Modern Solid Scraps

I tried my hand at a scrappy solids quilt this year.
I've been working on it for a few months here in the new house.
I like it.
A lot.
I might just have to start another one.

  • Inspiration from CrazyMomQuilts and this quilt.
  • Used leftovers from this quilt and the stash.
  • Added the white sashing to make the quilt bigger for us tall folk.  I may cut it down some.  Not sure yet.
  • Won't get quilted for awhile since Lynn isn't taking any new quilting projects 'til after Christmas.  Bummer!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Some Fall Canning

With this new house I  have a new set-up for canning.

My kitchen stove has a flat glass top which is lovely most of the time, except for when you're doing canning.  I have used it for some pressure canning for short amounts of time--i.e. peaches (6 min. at 10# of pressure).  However, I have been nervous about using it for any meats or beans which take up to 90 minutes for quarts.  I've heard stories of broken glass tops with the canner heated for so long.

Plus, let's be honest, I need to do more than one canner at a time if possible.

Earlier, in late summer, I was looking for a camp stove at my local Fleet Farm store. Which for those of you in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Iowa you know how much fun this store can be.

I was looking for a 2 burner stove which runs around $80-100.  My sister, a cousin, and one of my good friends all swear by their camp stove canning set-up.  However, instead of a 2 burner I found a 3 burner stove, on sale for $100.  Regular price $200!  Hubby thought I was a little nuts to get one this big.  However, he did help me set it all up and hook up the propane.

When you own 3 pressure canners like I do, a 3 burner camp stove is perfect.  The short story of the pressure canners is I bought one after we got married, inherited one when Hubby's grandmother passed away (that is the heavy double stacker), and then found another one at the thrift store for about $8 and I just had to replace the rubber ring and overflow plug (another $9). 

Here is the set-up all running out in my garage. 
With 3 canners I am able to can 32 pints in one sitting.  That beats 8 at a time, or even 16 with the double stacker.  This just worked out so slick.

Besides beans I have also recently canned Apple Pie Filling (recipe from the Ball Blue Book)

This is my favorite little contraption to help out with pie filling.
It peels, cuts and quarters all at the same time. 
This one is from Pampered Chef, but I've seen them at Target and other stores too.

Just quarter cut the slices and add them to some salt water to keep from browning.

This year I got apples from Fall Harvest Orchard and tried their pie mix bags.
You can see that different apple varieties produce different colors of apples.  Some are more white inside than others.

Delicious looking!
We made some crisp with the amount leftover that I didn't have room for and it was yummy!

Just last week I canned meats.
Above are jars of venison and black beans (they can the same amount of time) and below some pork chunks.  With beef as expensive as it is around here we've been eating a lot of pork.

I bought a pork loin at Sam's Club for $1.88/lb.  It was 10.21 lbs. for $19.19 and I was able to can 6 1/2 quarts worth of pork chunks.  I think I will go get another one and do it again.

I'm so excited to get our food storage back up to speed.  Canning does take work, but I like being able to just open jars later in the winter and basically have dinners ready to go.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Scarf for Ashlee

My sister-n-law Ashlee and I made a trade this year.
Actually I initiated the trade.
She made this fun porch sign for me for our new house.

And in return she wanted a knitted infinity scarf.

I love trades.
It makes me happy to give something that I love to make in return for something someone else loves to make.
It's a Win-Win all the way around.

I just sent it off last week.
Sorry, Ashlee that it took me so long.
It's not that it was difficult.  I just kept getting sidetracked.

Here you go!

Ahhh, my helpful model (daughter #1)
And yes, she wanted me to actually take these goofy pictures.

  • Pattern is Meringue Hand Knitted Cowl (before the updated version) from My Little City Girl.  I have to say the first version pattern was a little difficult to read and follow.  Hopefully the second version really is easier.
  • Yarn is Red Heart Soft in navy. 
  • Porch sign idea from HERE.
  • I think you can find some of Ashlee's stuff here. Check it out if you live in the Casper, WY area.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A round of baby swimsuits

I haven't made any little baby swimsuits for what seems like years.
Honestly, I don't think it has been that long, but it seems like everyone was having boys for the longest time. And while I'm not opposed to making little swimsuits for boys, not everyone (or every dad) can appreciate a Speedo on their little guy. (Mostly I make them for a fun reaction!)

However, we might be back in baby girl mode now.
I recently made 4 sets of baby swimsuits and it was so fun.
My girls are done with any pink.  I may be the only one of us who ever wears any pink anymore.

Anyway, I had a fun time sewing up these teeny little suits for my friends and family and the new babies.

Size 2T suits.

Close-up of the texture of these BRIGHT pink suits.
No more embellishment needed.

Nothing like a good little skirted suit for the princesses.

I photograph these suits on my hand so you can get the ide of how little they are.
This is a 1T size suit.

Size 24-36 months

Love, love, love a good ruffle bum swimsuit for little girls!!

I have to say my friend Jenny, who received this purple suit, was dying!!.  She is having her first girl after 2 boys and she couldn't be more happy.  She told me she wished this suit was smaller so that she could bring her new daughter home from the hospital in it.  She's due the end of December and lives in MN--even if it did fit that might not be the best idea Jenny.


  • Purple suit pattern is Kwik Sew 3606.
  • Other 2 suit styles are Kwik Sew 2512. I've had this pattern for years! It appears that Kwik Sew no longer makes any baby swimsuit patterns. 
  • Swimsuit fabric from the stash.  Bought from the thrift store when I find it.
  • Used a 2.5 Stretch Twin Needle for the topstitching.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Can you be a sweat shop when sewing for your own family?

My youngest 2 children do NOT like to wear jeans.
I'm not sure how they are related to me.
I love a good pair of jeans.
Either way, they have to wear long pants some time, especially living in Minnesota.
Daughter #3 is currently 12 and absolutely won't wear jeans.
It is leggings or nothing for her. No lie.
At least my youngest son will unhappily wear jeans if all else is dirty.
But if he has a choice, sweat pants are preferred.

So a week or so ago I de-stashed and sewed all at the same time.
It was like a mass production site in my basement.
It felt great to sew.  I haven't really sat down and done a lot for a few months.
But then I did get to thinking, can you be a sweat shop when sewing for your own family?

After all was said and done I made for her
  • 1 pair black sweats
  • 2 pair black leggings
  • 1 pair red leggings
  • 1 pair green leggings
  • 1 pair orange leggings 
  • 3 pair of blue leggings
Seriously, if she even remotely complains about not having any pants to wear I might have to hurt her.

Another set she wore for her "Anabeth" costume for Halloween.
She is currently super-obsessed with the Percy Jackson series.

My son got 2 pairs of black sweatpants and so he is super happy.  Almost all his other sweats have been turned into shorts because he had either wrecked the knees or they were turning into capris for him.  Not a good look for 9/10 yr. old boys.

  • Favorite girls' legging pattern is Kwik Sew 1591.  It is out of print, so you could try KS 3476 or KS 3958.  The thing I like about this pattern is that there is no side seam.  Front and back are cut together.  Sews up super fast!  Also, the leggings aren't super skin tight.  I don't love that on girls.
  • All the knit fabric I used for her was from my stash. However, I can't decide if I actually made a dent in my knit supply or not.  Sad!
  • The sweat pant pattern I use most often for the kids is Kwik Sew 2617. I use this pattern for flannel pajamas as well.  It is, of course, out of print as well, but it appears that 3786 is their updated pattern version.
  • Black sweat pant fabric from Jo-Ann's.  Use a 50% off coupon as it is a little pricey, but it washes up really nice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


We live on a corner lot backed up to a pond.
Below is the view from our back deck towards the street and our large cottonwood tree.

As pretty as it is, I hate it!
It is extremely messy (think cotton fluff sticking to all your window screens) and hubby and some of our kids are allergic to it.  It also shades the "garden" area that we yanked out earlier in the summer.  Actually I paid my oldest son to get rid of it.  I didn't want to do it, and he wanted money.  Win-win for both of us.

The garden spot was a mess, raised bed with rotted wood, lots of weeds, landscape fabric poking out everywhere and horrible location, albeit probably the only realistic place to put a garden on the property. But really with the location of this tree there was just no way anything was ever going to grow there with constant shade.

So the decision was made that it would have to go.

Hubby and I have cut down trees before.
He does the climbing and cutting and I work the ground part hauling stuff out of the way, etc.

About halfway there.

All down on the ground. Big mess to clean up and even after all the wood we kept we had 3 van loads of other branches that we got rid of.

Hubby geared up for safety.  He straps in his safety harness when he gets up high.

So, what is the plan now that it is down?
Well, we are deciding whether or not to put a garden spot back in that same area, and/or we are going to put a fire pit area there.  We have all Fall and Winter to figure it out and tweak the plans.

We also put together a firewood storage station using this idea from Pinterest

and for kindling this one.

Can't split these yet until they dry out for next Spring.

We'll see if this stump removal idea works for us.

We drilled all the holes and filled them with Epsom salt.  So here's hoping that this along with a Minnesota Winter will rot it out good so in the Spring we can get rid of it easily.


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