Showing posts with label Crafting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crafting. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 24

W.I.P Wednesday

I finally finished the last baby quilt I needed to for the year! Now, don’t think that means I’m done or have no other projects to do. I still have to make both girls’ quilts, and a quilt Peter {which will be the same as the big boys’ sailboat quilt}, and I’m sure there are a few others, but at least none of them are as pressing as the two that I did finish.

I had planned on making the most recent quilt from my stash, but I just didn’t have the brain power to think about all of it. Then I was sitting there thinking about what pattern to use, but didn’t really have the brain power for that either. Obviously, I knew I didn’t have a lot of brain power for anything.

Then I came across JediCraftGirl’s quilt on Instagram: Come Sail Away with Me….and I loved it! It looked simple, but awesome…and I like simple but awesome! I then headed to the quilt shop down the street {can’t tell you how huge a blessing it is to literally have a quilt shop down the street from your house, especially when it is the ONLY one within an hour’s drive}. I walked around a bit and settled on Fig Tree and Co’s Somerset line.


I did figure this was an easy enough pattern that I could come up with it and alter it, as needed, on my own…and I was right. Opened up my trusty Electric Quilt 6 and got to work! I managed to have the top together pretty quick, but then I was procrastinating about pinning the whole thing, because I didn’t want to sit on the floor at 39 weeks pinning the quilt and go into labor while Matt wasn’t home.


It only took me a week past when the recipient was born…I thought that was pretty good, considering the last quilt was given 8 months after the baby was born. I really just wanted to have it done before our little one was born, so that I didn’t have to be trying to finish it with a newborn.


I loved how the rounded edges came out…it makes binding a touch easier too, when you don’t have to miter every corner and worry that things are pulling too much one way or another.


Voila! There it is, all done and ready to gift!


Friday, April 24

How I Manage to Find Time for Fun

You can find this post on my new blog,, by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, February 4

W.I.P. Wednesday

Due to a series of fortuitous events, I managed to get the baby quilt top that I was working on DONE! Yay! It just so happened that on Sunday night 2 of the kids stayed at my parents and the other 2 at Matthew’s parents, then we had a good dumping of snow {12” +}…so no one wanted to venture out, which mean I had the WHOLE day home…ALONE! Woot! Woot!

I got up, and got to work! One of my favorite kind of days: Snow and sewing! IMG_7362

I had spent the night before cutting apart all of my HSTs, so at least that was done. I ironed them all, got them all laid out and then the dog laid on them and made a mess of my organization: GAH!


I got them all figured out again and then it was piecing the columns and stitching the rows together!


I’m glad the top is done, at least now I can work on the hand tying sitting on the couch in the evening. The hardest thing about quilting is that I can’t do it during the day, because of the kids, but I don’t want to sit in a room alone at night, when my husband is home in the evening. At least now there’s handwork.


I’m rather pleased with the top…I’m loving the turquoise and the orange together. Not sure what color I’ll bind it with, but I’ll figure it out!

*Linking up with Lee from

Thursday, November 13

How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {For a lot less than buying them}

This post does contain affiliate links. You can find my complete disclosure policy HERE.

I've had several people, online and in person, ask where we found our gallery shelves for our hallway. The short answer: We made them. I had looked at buying them and as many have found, they’re not cheap to buy: Upwards of $50 for nice looking ones. I headed over to Pinterest to see what I could find there for ideas. How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

There were tons of plans for “$10 Gallery Ledges” but they were all very simple, and I have no idea how they actually were $10 each, because the materials alone were more than that….maybe the posts were old. I ended up spending about $50 for materials, which gave me 3 – 32” shelves {still pretty cheap at $16 and change each.

What did I need:

If you have a nail gun and finishing brads, awesome! If you don’t I would recommend using a power drill, small screws and a drill bit slightly smaller than your screws {always pre-drill your holes so you don’t split the wood}. If you don’t have either, see if you can borrow them, OR if you want to take things a little more chancy, just glue it with a strong wood adhesive and clamps {I don’t recommend just using glue though…the last thing you want is glass all over your floor}.

I ended up picking up 2 – 1/2”x 4”x 8’ board, 1– 1” x 8’ lattice trim, and 1 – 2” x 8’ molding.

I also picked up some Gorilla wood glue {which I love}, 150 grit sand paper, a disposable paint brush, and black semi-gloss paint.

If you’re in a Home Depot or Lowe’s they’ll very often cut your lumber for you {I’ve never had any luck finding someone though}. They do have the saw and miter box for you to cut your own lumber, which works too. I came home and used our chop saw {I had all 4 kids with me, alone!}.

I cut all the pieces 32” long (or 1/3 of 96”). I wanted to get the most pieces I could out of my wood, without things being too small or too big: 32” worked perfectly for the space I had in mind for my shelves. Do double check that your pieces are all the same length before cutting them down, if they’re not, make them the same length and refigure your width.

How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

Once I had all my pieces cut and they were the same lengths, I took my sandpaper and just smoothed ALL the edges down a bit, not a ton, just enough to make them not sharp. This is really easy to do by hand, but I just had to use my handy-dandy new birthday present, which was AWESOME! How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

I’ve wanted a sander for a really long time, and finally, with all the projects we have this year, I got one for my birthday! I may have been unusually excited about this…I have a thing for power tools, especially when they’re MINE! This thing is fantastic! It works well on small projects AND big projects! I used it to smooth out some of the flooring in our master bathroom.


Once all the pieces were sanded I grouped them together for each shelf, it just made it easier to focus on the project this way. Now remember you can make these shelves as simple or as fancy as you like, depending on the types of molding you use…take your time looking at pictures of gallery ledges and decide on how you want them to be put together. I wanted something a little more fancy, so mine have more pieces.

The first thing I did was {following the directions of your adhesive} glue the 2” molding to the bottom of a 1/2” x 4” board. I put glue only on the molding, then I made sure it was flush to the edges. We clamped it {you can use some heavy books to do this too} and let it dry.

While I waited for those to dry we took the other 1/2” x 4” boards and the 1” lattice and glued them together: The lattice trim to the short edge of the board {this is what’s going to keep things sliding off the shelf}. It isn’t really necessary to nail/screw this part, we did just to give it a bit extra stability.How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

Now you have 2 pieces to your ledge: The back part with the fancy trim and the shelf part with the lattice. This part was a bit tricky and took an extra pair of hands. Using the Gorilla glue again we put glue on the narrow edge of the shelf piece and placed it just above the molding on the back piece, again making sure it’s all flush and nice. We did clamp this for a little while, it was tricky because of the varying heights of all the molding.

IMG_5239Once it was all dried {we left it for a couple of days, but the instructions say it’s dry in 2 hours} we flipped it over so all we could see was the back and very careful nailed a couple of brads through the back into the shelf pieces. This is definitely the part that I would screw or nail, because it’s what’s going to be keeping the whole thing together with all the weight on it.

Once it had all setup and dried nicely, I ran some sand paper over it one last time before painting it black. I did put some push pins on the back side so that I wouldn’t have to touch it when it was wet. I didn’t get crazy with painting the back either. I even missed some places in the front {Oops!}, but they’re not spots that people will see.

After that they were all done! They sat around for a few more days, until I made the kids help me get them on the wall {I need someone to hand me tools!}. I made sure that I found studs in the wall, marked a level line to follow on the way, and put 2 screws straight through the back part of the ledge into the wall. They’re not going anywhere. You do want to make sure you get a stud, so that they don’t rip out of the wall and come crashing to the ground in a heap of glass and memories.

Once they’re up, then comes the fun {or hard, depending on the kind of person you are} part…figuring out the placement of frames and pictures! I still have no pictures in my frames….maybe by Christmas.

How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at

Let me know if you make one and how it came out!

Wednesday, March 19

W.I.P. Wednesday

I finished another baby quilt! One more down to finish all of the ones needed for this year, so far. I haven’t gifted this one yet, but I doubt the recipient will see it here.


I’ve also been busy working on the Easter dresses for the girls. I was waiting for the re-release of the pattern from TheCottageMama {it’s a freebie for newsletter subscribers}. I had made this dress for Avelyn for the babies’ baptism in 2012. The problem was it didn’t go beyond a size 4 originally. I had begun to resketch the pattern, when I saw that it was being re-released in sizes 6months to 10. WOOHOO!

If you follow me on instagram you’ve been getting a lot of teaser-shots of the dresses over the past few days.

Dress collage

Ellie got a surprise when the sewing machine started sewing! Can I just say how much I LOVE this fabric?! Well, I will anyways…I LOVE THIS FABRIC! It is so fun and so cheerful! It may just HAVE to make an appearance on my blog as the inspiration for my new spring/summer blog re-design! It’s Summer Breeze by Riley Blake and is perfection for little girls, or anyone else for that matter!

Here they are!

DSC_0175 Party Dress Stitched by

I still have to make the buttons for the backs of the dresses, but I’m beyond pleased {once again} with how this dress comes together! You’ll have to wait until Easter to see the girls’ in their dresses. Now on to making bow-ties for the boys!  No, they won’t have pink…both boys will have white button downs with the turquoise fabric.

I have a couple of other projects in the works, but I just haven’t sat down to give them any thought. The last baby quilt I have to make is for a baby-girl due in July; then I have to get started on my girls’ big girl quilts.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for this weeks W.I.P. Wednesday…

Tuesday, February 4

Ideas for Indoor Fun!

Last week, I shared with you how I was starting to lose it, what with being sequestered indoors for weeks on end with 4 kids 4 and under. This past weekend, Matt and I decided to grab the bull, uhh to do list, by the horns. We’ve been wanting to make a tent/fort/teepee thing for months now, and it was just time.Ideas for Indoor Fun {some assembly required} TeePees and Other Fun Activities for the Cabin Crazies

Activity One – Teepee

We asked Ave if she’d rather have a “house” or a teepee and the teepee won out. We found this awesome tutorial, and Matt headed to the hardware store: For around $60 he got everything we needed. The instructions were pretty good, but the blogger wasn’t quite sure how the previous person managed to get all of the pieces out of a 9x12 tarp, so being the person I am, I spent about a half hour figuring out how to cut all the pieces out of one drop cloth.

The way I worked it out is this way…
Ideas for Indoor Fun {some assembly required} TeePees and Other Fun Activities for the Cabin Crazies

I had all the panels cut out in about 20 minutes. The first one took the most work, with figuring out the measurements and such. We used a chalk line to mark it. Then used that piece as the template to cut out the other 4 panels. I did hem the bottom edges that were un-hemmed; I didn’t realize that drop cloths frayed the way they did.
Ideas for Indoor Fun {some assembly required} TeePees and Other Fun Activities for the Cabin Crazies

The rest of the instructions on the blog were easy to follow. I did end up serging all of my inside seams, because of how much the fabric frayed and because it strengthened the seams too. We didn’t have ribbon on hand to finish the inside ties, but we did have some good rope that Matt pulled out {one of the perks of having a nautically-minded husband…you always have rope}.

I thought I had this great project for Matt to do, and it ended up making more work for me than him. Matt had all the PVC pieces together in about 15 minutes: I spent about 2 hours {with the ties being stitched in} sewing together the whole actual teepee {not quite what I had planned on doing during nap time}. The whole thing came together awesome!

We do think that there needs to be some adjustments on the teepee frame, because the legs on the front get spread too far back and then the teepee falls over. Have to figure that out still.

Activity Two – Doorway Bean Bag Toss

Before Christmas everyone was asking me for gift ideas for the kids, but we really didn’t WANT anything more. One thing we did find was a 3-in-1 monkey toss for a doorway, which looked pretty awesome. Then they were out of stock, so my mother in law, crafty lady that she is, made something similar.Ideas for Indoor Fun {some assembly required} TeePees and Other Fun Activities for the Cabin Crazies

It was pretty simple construction on this, and wouldn’t even need to be made as fancy. Depending on how much you spent on fabric, will determine just how much the project costs. If you could find $1/yd fabric, the whole thing could be made for less than $20, plus the rod for the doorway {Target has tension shower rods for $7.00}.

My mother in law asked how high and wide we wanted it to be {it did end up being a bit longer than we needed}. She took 2 pieces of fabric that were the same size {she was going for fish and picked these fabrics out}. On the front piece she cut out holes and then finished the holes with a bias tape {if we were to make this again, I think the holes would be smaller—they’re about the size of a small dinner plate, which means the kids fit through them}.

Then she stitched the two pieces of fabric together on the short ends. With it right side out, she stitched another row about 3” down from the top, to create a sleeve for the shower curtain rod. In the bottom you can put a a shallow tote or an old cookie sheet to spread it out and way down the bottom. I ended up going back through and stitching the sides together, because the kids kept climbing between the 2 layers of fabric and pulling the whole thing down on their heads.

My mother in law is a seamstress, so the kids got actual fish-shaped bean bags, complete with painted gills, spots, and faces. You could just as easily stitch together squares or circles. Our fish weigh around 4ounces, which is a good weight, and are filled with dried beans {but you could use rice to fill them, too}. This project could be as simple or as detailed as you want to be. Honestly, your kids aren’t going to mind too much either way.

Fish Collage

That’s what we’ve been up to lately. Believe me, the TV is still on way more than I would like, but most of the time they’re not even paying attention to it…they’re too busy moving furniture and making mountains out of cushions…yes I am one of those moms. I figure furniture can, and will be, replaced eventually, but these days inside…they can’t.

kids on couch

Wednesday, December 11

W.I.P. Wednesday

I managed to get quite a few things started and finished since my last post. The kids’ Christmas outfits are sitting patiently by waiting until Christmas Eve, the jammies were finished just in the “Nick” of time for St. Nicholas Day, and I got the binding stitched on the boys’ quilts…I’m now just hand stitching it down.

I love how the boys’ quilts came out. There are a couple of spots of quilting, that I would’ve done differently {more symmetrically}, but they’re beautiful still. Once they’re finished, I stitch the label on them, and pack them away until next year…when, hopefully, the kids will all move into their big kid rooms!Sailboat Quilt collage

And here are the kids in their jammies! We had to pull out one pair of bottoms from last year for Ellie, her nightie kept hiking up on her and she was getting cold at night. I had to bribe them with chocolate to get this picture.


Linking up with Lee at

Wednesday, November 27

W.I.P. Wednesday

I picked up the boys’ quilts last week!!! I have yet to pull them out and look at them, but I will have to this evening after the kids go to bed. I’ve got a couple of things in the works. Next week is St. Nicholas Day, which means I’m in the process of making PJs for the kids {I guess it’s going to be a tradition}. I had bought a TON of fabric last year, with the intention of making ALL of us PJs, but that didn’t happen, so I had plenty to use. I did decide to do something different, the girls are getting nighties, the boys are getting pants.

Growing up my Oma made my mom and I beautiful matching nighties with buttons on the front and puffy gathered sleeves, hems down to our toes, they were beautiful. I cannot find a pattern like that. They were probably from the same pattern that my Oma used when my mom was a little girl. Someday….

In the mean time I wanted something simple and easy, and since I couldn’t find a pattern that I loved I started searching for alternative methods. I found one using a t-shirt that was too short, and adding the skirt to the bottom. Bingo! That’s what I did. I had a few trials and error, I haven’t sewn kids clothing since LAST Christmas.Girls nightgowns from a knit shirt and skirt at

I took the shirts that I used as the tops for last year’s PJs, trimmed the bottom and stitched on a skirt. Ellie’s is still super long, but I’m not sure if I want to hem it further or not. These will probably fit them for a few years, since the top is so stretch, which was somewhat problematic with sewing. I’m not at all familiar with sewing with knits, but didn’t feel like investing too much time and energy into research.

I still have the boys’ pants to do, they’ll have the same shirts from last year too {there are perks to intentionally buying clothes that are too big…they last longer}. I think I’m going to use a current pair of pants as a template, because last year it was a nightmare trying to find an easy template that was free.

So, what’s on my list of things to accomplish in the sewing department:

  • Start and finish the boys’ PJ bottoms
  • Alter the kids’ Christmas outfits from LAST year {yay for them coming out too big…I just need to move buttons and let out hems}.
  • Cut bias binding for the boys’ sailboat quilts and stitch on
  • Cut bias binding for MY quilt and stitch that on
  • Start working on a baby quilt for my SIL…{I can’t start until this fabric is released though}
  • Figure out what I want to do for the girls’ quilts…I’m thinking a sampler, but I want to put their names on them the way I did the boys {but not with the call signs}

And add to this list the rest of the Christmas stuff I’d like to do. Christmas is going to be low-key this year, I’m not even sure how much we’re going to do with gifts. We’ll have our tree, doing that Sunday, and stockings and Christmas lights and cookies, but I don’t think I’m putting up my village {James will break it} and I’m not doing a ton of baking. I do need to get our Christmas cards finished and mailed, but that won’t take long. I really do love this time of year.

What’s on your to-do list for the next few weeks?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced today, for WIP Wednesday.

Friday, November 22

Truth in the Tinsel

This post contains affiliate links: Click here for my disclosure policy.

This is the first year, that Avelyn is really old enough to get involved in crafts and projects that involve scissors, glue and other dangerous materials. A few years ago I had heard of Truth in the Tinsel, and was interested in it. Last year I bought a copy and decided we would do it, then I looked at the list of materials and kind of got overwhelmed: It didn’t happen.truthinthetinsel-leaderboard

This year, I decided I was going to take my time and really put the effort into preparing for Truth in the Tinsel, which is what I’m doing now! There’s a whole ‘nother week to get ready for Advent and the Christmas celebrations! Yesterday, I sat down with my printed out copy and set to looking at Truth in the Tinsel and organizing what materials we need to get, but I got overwhelmed again.

I love crafts. Crafting is one of my FAVORITE things to do; with a 4 year old, not so much. Then I read the last page of Amanda White’s {not a relative} ebook, and that clinched it. I don’t NEED another thing to feel like we HAVE to do this Christmas. I don’t NEED another thing to feel guilty about because I DIDN’T DO it. We can do Truth in the Tinsel and NOT let it take over Christmas, and not feel guilty because we accomplish the entire thing! Wooo! That made me feel a bit better.

So what are we doing?cover-230x300

I’m going to see to it that we have some of the materials on hand {we have a good portion of them} for the ornaments in Truth in the Tinsel. There were a few projects in there that I really liked, about half, which is a decent number to do, without leaving my head spinning.

I spent maybe 10 minutes reading through the supply lists, looking at each day, and deciding what I wanted to do. If the bathroom is your quiet place {it’s not mine, with 4 pairs of eyes looking over the gate} or maybe you can sneak into the pantry, go for it, spend a few minutes and just look at what is doable for you.

If you want to do something but not sure what, check out pinterest; there are tons of ideas for things on there. If you really just want to focus on doing a reading each day with the kidlets, but need something to keep them entertained, Amanda came up with this last year, printable ornaments for  Truth in the Tinsel.

These are awesome because they take ALL the pressure off: Print them out, hand them to the kids to decorate {crayons, paint, glitter}, string’em up, and DONE! I plan on doing these for the days that I don’t want to get into a huge project. Voila! You have fun ornaments to go along with the story, with zero effort.

I’ve recently been indoctrinated as the Sunday School teacher in our church, please, hold your applause. I plan on taking 4 elements from Truth in the Tinsel, and matching them up with a craft project for us to do during the 4 Sundays of Advent. Hopefully it works out and the kids enjoy it!

I think the most important thing for all of us parents to remember during this time of year is that it’s not about doing or perfection. If we do nothing more than talk to our kids, read to them, share with them the why and WHO of this season, the Lord with surely bless that.

You can pick up your copy of Truth in the Tinsel HERE, and the Truth in the Tinsel Ornament Printables HERE.
If you or your church are interested in a full out curriculum for Sunday School, youth groups or small groups, you can find Truth in the Tinsel Church Curriculum HERE.

Visit if you need some of the supplies to do the projects.

Monday, November 4

Tangled Basket Farm ~ a Giveaway

OH boy! Do I have a beautiful giveaway to share with you today! Last year I had ordered some garlic from Tangled Basket Farm, planted it, tended it, loved it! We ate all of what we had planted pretty quickly this year, so I had to order more of my favorite Killarney Red. Fortunately, they now have an Etsy shop with all their garlic goodness, as well as their beautiful hand woven baskets.

And that, my friends, is what YOU have a chance of winning. Kateri, owner of Tangled Basket Farm, is an incredible basket weaver, and is generously giving away one of her hand-woven baskets, made of wild willow and braided cornhusk. It has a willow handle and measures 10.5" x 8" x 8" tall, and approximately 4" deep. The perfect size to stuff full of goodies for a Christmas gift basket!

Tangled Basket Farm Handwoven Wild Willow and Cornhusk Basket Giveaway at

Enter here….Winner will be announced on Saturday, November 9th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 12

Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

Laundry PinFor the past year or so, I’ve been making our own laundry detergent. I had tried it a few years ago and was not impressed: The recipe didn’t come out right and I abhorred having this huge bucket in my laundry room. I knew there had to be a better way!

I searched and searched, sifting through different detergent recipes. Why did I need to have a 5 gallon bucket of WATER in my laundry room?! I found a few, but none of them were just what I wanted, so I tried and retried, coming up with my own recipe.


  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda {NOT Baking Soda}
  • 5 ounces of bar soap {We use Yardley’s English Lavender: It’s a natural soap, lightly fragranced and cheap}
  • 4 cups of Water
  1. Grate your bar soap {I use my food processor, but also managed to crack the plastic, because a hunk of soap got caught}
  2. Bring your 4 cups of water to boil {I recommend using a stock pot}
  3. Stir grated bar soap into boiling water, stirring constantly until it’s all melted.
  4. Once it’s all melted remove the soap soup from the stove and dump in your Borax and Washing Soda…..stir, stir, stir! Until it doesn’t feel gritty anymore.
  5. Pour the soap soup into a container and let it sit for a few hours.
  6. Once it’s separated, dump it all into one bowl.
  7. Mix all the ingredients together. I use my immersion blender for this, it’s great! A hand mixer might work too, but I haven’t tried it, as would a blender or food processor.
  8. Once it’s all a lovely consistency store your detergent.
  9. Use only 1 TBSP of detergent in a load of laundry.

It takes me about 20 minutes from start to finish, then a few hours of sitting time, followed by a few minutes of the blending the ingredients. It probably costs us about $1.75, if that, to make up enough detergent to last us a month and a half.

Once we got this detergent figured out, I wanted to figure out how to make detergent for our diapers. We use Purex Free and Clear, but it still gets pricey. The thing with cloth diapers is you have to watch what chemicals you use, because some of them will breakdown the PUL fabric, causing diapers to leak.

Are you ready for this? Seriously, it might be really complicated.

DIY CD DetergentIngredients

Equal Parts of {I usually use 1.5 cups of each, to fit it in an OxyClean container}:

  • Borax
  • Washing Soda
  • Sun Oxygen Cleaner {I bought mine at Wal-Mart}

Blend together {I use my food processor, but putting it in a container and shaking it works too}, and store. Use about 2 TBSPs per load of nasty nappies. Again, this is probably 50cents to make for a month, if that.

Wow! That was tough!

I’m able to make a couple months supply of laundry and cloth diaper detergent in about 30 minutes or so, then it’s done. On to bigger and better things!

Monday, August 12

Stopping Houdini

James is rather an active little fellow: He has tendencies like those of a troop of monkeys.

I’d like to submit Exhibit A into evidence:

JamieHe first climbed out of his crib before a year old. We kept putting him back in, putting him back in. Then he stopped for a while, which was nice. Then he started again…all the time.

When Ave started climbing out of the crib, we debated getting a crib tent, which was a mesh dome that attached to the top of the crib, and had a zippered door. We didn’t buy one, because she eventually stopped. We decided  to buy one with Jamie only to find out that they had been recalled, and no longer available. Not good.

I googled to find alternatives. Nothing. Finally I found someone who suggested using a sleep sack, so that they couldn’t get their legs over the side. We bought two, and it worked. For about 2 weeks. Until he figured out he could slide himself out the neck hole.

Out came the sewing machine. I stitched the entire top tighter {we couldn’t go down a size because of his height}. Jamie was once again contained and unable to circumvent my invention. That lasted about a month, before he figured out that he can get his legs far enough apart to get out.

I spent 2 hours…going back and forth in his room, putting him back in his crib. Not fun! Now what was I going to do?! We debated building up the sides of his crib with a 1”x8”, since the other sides of his crib are against the wall, but that would also make it hard for me to put him down and pick him up.

What were we to do?

Well, let me tell you about my genius: It doesn’t happen often. I took said sleep sack and stitched down the bottom part of it. Effectively making the leg area narrower. Voila! No legs over the side of the crib.

Yea, you’re probably thinking, “just convert it to the toddler bed”. I am not ready for monkey-boy to be clamoring around his room at will {he kept EVERYONE else up the other night with his nocturnal shenanigans}, and I am not willing to sleep on the floor in his room for the next 4 months.

If you have a fellow Crib-Climber-Out-ter this is what I suggest.

*Buy a sleep sack {I did get our’s while they were buy one get one half price at Babies R Us}
*Make sure the top is relatively fitted, that they can’t wiggle their arms out and through the neck opening. Adjust with sewing if need be.

If this only works for a short time. Then do this:

*Stitch the sides of the sleep sack in from waist to bottom, lengthwise. I took ours in from the arm hole gradually to about 7” on each side from the zipper.

Effectively going fromHoudini Collage It’s not my best sewing job by any means, but it works. I didn’t spend more than 3 minutes doing it. I didn’t want to take the time to make it pretty if it wasn’t going to work. Now that I know it works, I’ll spend the time and make it more attractive and serge the seams.

There’s still plenty of give and room in the waist area {since James sleeps with his legs curled up}. So he isn’t cramped or uncomfortable, but he is contained…for now.

If they get out of this then I’m at just as much of a loss as you are.

Wednesday, March 6

DIY Entertainment Center Reveal

If you follow me on instagram (@Jess_LITWH), then you’ve probably seen a few of the #DIYIntheWhiteHouse glimpses that I’ve done. For about the past month or so we’ve been working on building a new entertainment center. We had bought our old one from Ikea 7 years ago, and it held up well, but was starting to get wobbly and honestly took up a ton of room, since it was built for the old tube televisions.


I’m always seeing Ikea-Hacks online: People purchase Ikea furniture then make something fantastic from it. There’s a whole website that is dedicated to Ikea hacks! I kept googling “Ikea Hack Entertainment Cabinet” and never found anything. I gave up and decided I would have to be a first.

We purchased 2 of the Billy Bookcases with the Billy Olsbo (1/2 door) for the fronts. We got them in the dark brown, which is more of a black, with brown undertones. I then took the door to Home Depot and had them color match the door into Behr’s Eggshell. The person was looking at me like I was crazy, but I worked at Home Depot’s paint department in college and new how the color matching would work. The easy part was then done.

Matt and I worked together on creating the measurements for the base and upper cabinets, that would fit between the two book case and be where the TV would go. We wanted the TV to mount on the wall, so that it was more secure and we didn’t have to worry about someone knocking it over.

The first attempt I gave Matt the wrong width measurement. Instead of the full width of the TV, plus a few inches, I told him the width of the actual screen, which left our base cabinet about 5” too short {the TV wouldn’t have fit between the bookcases}. The second time we got it right. Matt mirrored the bottoms of the Ikea cabinets so that it would be uniform between our’s and the Ikea ones. {He did a great job!}

Then it was my turn to sand, prime and paint the cabinets. I ended up putting a coat of poly-acrylic on the cabinets, because we knew the kids would be really rough on them.

While it isn’t as elaborate as some Ikea hacks, it does serve its purpose and didn’t cost us tons of money or time to build it. Without further ado…

We haven’t filled it all in yet, but that probably won’t take long :-) The colors match a lot better than they do in the picture. There is a very slight difference, but most people wouldn’t be able to notice it.

DSC_0027The base cabinet just sits there: It’s not anchored or attached to anything. The baskets are Ikea’s Drona, which are great, but I can already tell they’re going to get destroyed very quickly. They are soft sided, which means that they bend when the kids sit on them. We have discussed building wooden boxes to fit the space, which we probably will end up doing down the road. We now have more storage for some of the bigger toys, as well as for the kids’ books on the shelf above.

DSC_0024The upper cabinet is mounted to the wall {into studs} and then mounted to the side cabinets. The whole of it is then mounted to the wall, so that the monkeys can’t pull the thing over. We’ll probably get some baskets for this part too, but for right now it holds our surround sound/receiver, as well as the DVD player and wii…with lots of room to spare.

The nice thing about hacking the Ikea bookcases is that we got an adjustable shelf bookcase, with doors, for a lot less work than if we were to make them ourselves. It would have probably taken us months to get all of the pieces to fit together perfectly.

side cabinetsWe did put locks on the side cabinets, since that’s where the off-limits stuff will be getting stashed. One side has our DVDs and cables and such, the other side will have some of Avie’s toys that we don’t want the kids getting into. I will say that diaper boxes fit perfectly in cabinet {I do plan on painting them, to at least look less tacky}.

It’s so nice to have my cookbooks back in reach again, rather than having them in the dining room. I will miss being able to put flowers on top and having pictures above, but just something I’ll have to get over :-)

And that would be our first Ikea Hack. Not too shabby, if I say so myself.

cabinet collage

Monday, February 11

The Dry-Skin Dilemma

As much as I love winter, my skin doesn’t. Between the cold weather, washing my hands 50 times a day, and hot forced air heating…my skin gets dry. Fortunately not dry and cracked, but dry and very itchy, to the point of being painful.

I used to use Bath and Body Works Shea Butter, it comes in a big blue tube and would cost around $20 {I’m sure it’s more now}. The stuff worked great, but it’s expensive and had a bunch of other things in it that I wasn’t too comfortable with using on the kids.

I had priced out Shea Butter online and found that I could buy a pound of organic unrefined shea butter on for a whole lot less than I was paying for the other stuff. Before buying I googled to see how and what I would need to process the shea butter so that it could be used as lotion. I found this awesome video on youtube.

And lucky me, we have a huge container of coconut oil available at all times in our house!DSC_0001

One night last week I decided to finally whip up a batch. It took me a few minutes to melt the ingredients over the double boiler, then put it on the back deck for a few hours, attached the whip attachment to my kitchen aid and away we went!

It didn’t take very long to have it the consistency that I liked. I did add in a couple of drops of Sun Ripened Raspberry scent that I had from my last soap/lotion experiment {I think next time I’ll try and use something different}.


We’ve been using it for the past week and I love it! I got a little less than a cup of lotion for us to use. We’ve been using it on the kids cheeks {upper and lower} and it’s been great.

I’ve been using it on myself and it works just as well, if not better, than the expensive store stuff. Plus it has the added benefit of only costing a dollar or two to make and it doesn’t have a ton of chemicals in it.

I’d have to say it was a score!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, February 4

Valetine's Day Giveaway!

If you remember at the beginning of December some of my “Mastermind Group” decided to team up for a massive giveaway. No, we’re not doing that again, but I definitely felt the need for a little giveaway amidst the quiet of February. A few of us decided to do a much smaller Blog Hop Giveaway, for only a few days…and here it is!

What do we have for you?

*Natasha from {author of Pain Redeemed} is giving away a Set of 16 Valentines {2 each of 8 designs}

*Kateri from Dandelion Haven is giving away seed packs of 4 varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes

*Gretchen from is doing a 24 hour giveaway for a Copy of Christin Slade’s new e-book, “Blog at Home Mom” , which releases today! As well as some other book goodies!

*Shannon from is giving away a $25 gift card to

*Ginger from is giving away a Delectable Box of Chocolates.

Lots of fun things to brighten not only your February, but your Valentine’s Day too!

So, there you have it. Be sure to hop on over to everyone’s blog, real fast, because it ends at 11:59pm on February 6th {EST}!

On to my giveaway!

A while ago I posted about this wonderful tutorial that I had found to make necklaces from clear glass tiles and pictures {I’m not a jewelry person, but the one I made myself I love and wear it whenever I can}. Well, here’s your chance to get your hands on one without having to do anything…well, at least not anything too involved.

I’m going to be giving away one of these necklaces, the one up in the picture: It’s a Pink Asiatic Lily on a black cord/ribbon, with clasp.

Here’s how to enter:

The giveaway is now closed. Winner will be announced soon.