Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Teeny Tiny Trainers Pattern

Midterms of next week, so I don't have time to do a full tutorial for these but I still wanted to post the pattern for these cuties.

They are size 18-24 months, but you could size them up by adding 1/4 inch to each side seam and the waist of the body front and back to make them 2T. 

The outer is knit and the inner is 2 layers of super heavy organic bamboo fleece (when I use heavy obf, I do 3 layers).There are directions on the pattern which can be found here.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Nighttime Wool Diaper Cover

This pattern is approximately 6-12 months. You can add or remove stitches/rows to make it bigger or smaller. This is my first pattern, so if anything is confusing let me know so I can clarify.

2 skeins fingering weight wool yarn (mine were 213 yards each and I had a bit leftover)

Ch –Chain
SC- single crochet
SL- Slip stitch
DC- double crochet
FPDC- front post double crochet
BPDC- back post double crochet
Step 1: F Hook Chain 30 (15 inches)
Step 2: E Hook Chain 1 turn, skip 1st chain, SC in each chain after
Step 3: Repeat Row 2 x 4 (for 5 total SC Rows and approximately 1 inch) ~skip~
Step 4: Chain 1 turn, 2 SC in first stitch after hook, SC once in each until last stitch SC in it twice
Step 5: Chain 1 turn, 2 SC in first stitch after hook, 1 SC in each stitch after
Step 6: Repeat Step 5 for total of 20x
Chin 1 turn, SC 1 in each stitch
Repeat for total of 26x
(Back to bottom)
SC 2 in first stitch of original chain, SC 1 in each following stitch until last one, SC twice
Chain 1 turn, 2 SC in first stitch after hook, 1 SC in each stitch after until last stitch SC 2
Chain 1 turn, 1 SC in each stitch, ch 1 turn sc in each stitch
Reapeat for total of 6x
Chain 7, turn, SC in first stitch from hook, SC rest of row stitches
Repeat 1x
Chain 1, turn, SC in each stitch
Repeat 25x (until matches back height)
Hip Seams:
Step 1: SL seams together
Leg Cuffs:
Step 1: SC all the way around, join with SL
Step 2: HDC all the way around, join with SL
Step 3: DC all the way around, join with SL
Step 4: SC in every other stitch, join with SL, tie off
Step 1: Join yarn with slip stitch, chain 3
Step 2: round one- DC in each stitch, join with SL in 3rd chain of ch 3 (2x)
Step 3: DC back of portion of soaker, HDC front portion (repeat until desired waistband height has been reached)
Step 4: for drawstring chain 155, finish off, weave through round one of waistband
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Feeling It - Helping Your Children Express Themselves Appropriately

I recently read the book Not Like My Mother: Becoming a Sane Parent After Growing up in a CRAZY Family by Irene Tomkinson (which is free for Nook btw!). It is full of great information! At one point, it talks about what happens when someone is not allowed to express themselves emotionally and how the hurt and resentment of being stifled presents itself later as anger. I grew up in a family that didn't allow me to express my sadness and frustration and I now see the repercussions in my own life. Things tend to get brushed aside and pushed down only to explode later. I continue to struggle with properly expressing myself and am prone to pendulum like behavior at times. But I want more for my daughter.

As Cadence gets older (she'll be 2 next month), she is having more instances of frustration. Some people would call them tantrums, but I don't think it is helpful to negatively label her behavior in this way. She is expressing herself in the only way she knows how. It is important that I create a supportive environment for her where she feels safe to feel her feelings. I have to help her learn to identify and label her emotions so she can express them and her needs in an appropriate way. It is my job to help her find a way to work through the emotion instead of pretending it doesn't exist.

For example, we were in the couch together. She was coloring and I was journaling. She grabbed my mechanical pencil and when I took it away from her she threw herself onto the floor, flailing and screaming. I didn't tell her to stop crying or not to pitch a fit. Instead, I said, "I know you are upset that I took your pencil away, but it is not yours and it can hurt you. Ouch! You can draw with these", and directed her back to her crayons. 

I validated and labeled her emotional reaction, rationalized with her, and gave her an alternative. The idea is that, eventually, she will be able to self rationalize and therefore regulate her own emotional responses. Since implementing the Validate, Label, Rationalize, and Offer a Solution method, I have begun to see a noticeable difference in her behavior. Instead of having a meltdown when her dad wouldn't let her hold her toothbrush, I got down on her level and made eye contact, explaining to her that I knew she was sad she didn't get to brush her teeth, but she could have a turn after daddy. She immediately stopped bucking and grabbing for the toothbrush and sat calmly waiting until she could take a shot at brushing her teeth (which she happens to really enjoy!).

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I was inspired by Monet's Water Lilies to make a page in my art journal

It's not exact, but not a bad effort for a colored pencil sketch while eating lunch =)

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Is Your Period Killing You?

For 13 years I suffered from intense cramps. I'm not talking Take Some Acetaminophen and Break Out the Heating Pad Cramps, these were debilitating cramps that landed me in the ER several times because they were so intense I thought I had a kidney stone (which I have frequently, but that's another post for another day). I saw several OBGYNs, but no one could pinpoint the cause of my menstrual pain. One doctor suggested I had a low threshold for pain, another said redheads experience pain more intensely (which is true, thanks MC1R and my mutated Chromosome 16), and the general consensus was that I would have the live with it until menopause. 

Fast forward... After the birth of my daughter I got on a Go Green kick. Cloth diaper, natural cleaning supplies, the whole 9 yards. I even started using Mama Cloth (gasp!). And guess what? Nearly 2 years later and my cramps are pretty much obsolete. This got me thinking that maybe disposable feminine care products had been to blame the whole time. What I found was shocking and disturbing.

Dioxin is used in the bleaching process of commercial pads and tampons. It builds in the body over time and has been linked to cervical and breast cancers (it's also one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange!). They also contain BPA and BPS which linked to heart disease (the number one killer of women) and cancer. They contain crude oil pastics, phthalates (which are known endocrine disrupters), and DEHP which has been shown to cause multiple organ damage. The adhesives of pads and the odor neutralizers of both pads and tampons (polyethylene, polypopylene, and popylene glycol) are link to cancer, birth defects, and infertility. Yuck!

Not only are the chemicals and toxins a deterrent to using disposable pads and tampons, the financial and ecological repercussions are as well. Worldwide $15.2 BILLION are spent annually on feminine care products. A five year stash of disposable pads or tampons will cost approximately $330, while reusable mama cloth will only run about $48. That means that disposables are 6.875 times more expensive than reusable ones! Disposable pads and tampons take 25+ years to decompose and the average woman will create 300 lbs of waste from them in her lifetime. 

If disposable feminine care products are so dangerous than why are they still legal? The FDA has found a way around the hazards of the toxic ingredients. They say that the chemicals are only dangerous through repeated exposure. I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure 24 hours a day for about 60 days a year for an average of 37 menstruating years per woman's lifetime constitutes repeated exposure. 

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Showoff - What I Did Today

Mondays are pretty much my only really "free" day. I try to make the most of them by doing as much as I can around the house, working on projects, and writing blog posts. 

Today I deep cleaned the kitchen - I did the stove top, oven, and floors using my homemade cleaners found here.

I made a new batch of deodorant, using my recipe specialized for my sensitive skin. 
I whipped up a quick wet bag using a 12 inch square scrap piece of PUL. I just made a hem along the top and added velcro. Then I sewed across the bottom and up one side with the piece right sides together (first pinning the handle facing inwards). Super easy and the perfect size for the bathroom "pee cloths" as The Mister calls my cloth toilet "paper" (aka family cloth).

I picked fabric for the patchwork fabric covered notebooks I'm going to make to "pretty up" my school supplies. The teal will be the main notebook area and the flowers and mushrooms will make a square patchwork stripe along the right side.

I worked on some coordinating 3 tier ruffle skirts for the girls. I didn't want them to be too matchy-matchy, so I decided to do the tiers in the opposite fabrics. If these fabrics look familiar, it's because they come from the same fat quarter pack as the fabric for my notebooks. I loved the set so much I bought 2!

I worked on my Life Binder, which I'll be telling you all about soon. I finally have all the printables and am excited to start using it (I'll be sharing links to those too!). It is different than the typical Family or Home Binder and I'm going to use it to keep track of menus, my cleaning schedule, to do lists, workout logs, blog planning, craft project progress, and pre-school lesson plans. I had thought about including a section for my homework, but decided to keep that in a separate planner, so I can take it to class with the rest of my school stuff.

I also cleaned up a couple of my Pinterest boards, started some crochet slippers, and worked on colors with Cadence. Now it's nearly time to start dinner. We're having lemon pepper tilapia, jasmine rice, and squash casserole. Yum!
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DIY Deodorant for Sensitive Skin

I have super sensitive skin. You can look at me the wrong way, and I'll break out in hives hahaha. So finding a natural deodorant that didn't feel like an acid bath for my underarms was no easy feat, and took a lot of trial and error. But I have (FINALLY!) found a recipe that works for me. Here it is - you're welcome =)

What You Need:
3 oz. Arrowroot Powder (you can buy this online or from healthfood stores, but I got mine from the grocery store in section with all the spices)
2 oz. of Coconut Oil
1 oz. of Cocoa Butter
4 tbl. of beeswax (pellets or grated)
1 Chamomile Teabag
Essential Oil (optional)
Empty Deodorant Container (or small jar if you want to appy with you fingers)

What You Do:
1. Melt Cocoa Butter, Beeswax and Coconut Oil (use a double boiler or microwave in a Pyrex pourable measuring cup)
2. Once melted add Chamomile Teabag, submerge completely with a spoon and microwave for 1 min. Then squeeze all the Chamomile-ie goodness out using your hands or a sieve and the back of a spoon.
3. Whisk in Arrowroot Powder, add the EO if you want your deodorant to have a fragrance (I like Cedarwood Oil or Lavender, which both have awesome properties for your skin and will increase shelf life).
4. Let sit for awhile to cool. I put my Pyrex measuring cup in the fridge while we had lunch. (Don't leave it too long or it will start to solidify and you'll have to re-melt it to get it into your container).
5. Pour into your container, let cool completely to harden. If you are impatient like me, pop it in the freezer for awhile.

Note: This makes 1 cup, which will fill a conventional deodorant tube twice. I fill mine and pour the leftover mixture into two 2 oz. portion cups I snagged from Blue Coast Burrito's salsa bar (I love free scores!). When it's time to refill my deodorant tube, I pop them out of the portion cups, re-melt, cool, and refill.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Recipe Card Roundup

I've been trying to get more organized lately because juggling school, home, and business related stuff is getting taxing. So I've been on the hunt for some really great printable recipe cards to replace the folder of magazine clippings and food stained scrap pieces of paper. I found a lot of really great ones, and wanted to share my favorites.

Fist up is this awesome online program by Skip to My Lou that lets you customize your own recipe cards. How cool is that?

I am in serious love with these vintage inspired cards with  coordinating dividers from Love vs. Design (which has lots of really great printables).

These recipe cards from The Cottage Market are sooo awesome, and there is an additional download for matching stickers to put on the goodies you give away.

There are several cute recipe cards from Erin Huffstetler, but these are my favorite.

The Marie Callender site has this great recipe page and matching cards.

With so many great options out there it's going to be hard to choose!

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Phoenix Wings for My Art Journal

I just got finished doing this watercolor. I'm going to write this first bit of a piece by Hans Christian Anderson along the right margin.

The Phoenix Bird
In the Garden of Paradise
Beneath the Tree of Knowledge
Bloomed a rose bush.
Here, in the first rose, a bird was born. 
His flight was like the flashing of light,
His plumage was beauteous,
And his song ravishing.

Eve picked the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
When she and Adam were driven from Paradise,
There fell from the flaming sword of the cherub
A spark into the nest of the bird, 
Which blazed up forthwith.

The bird perished in the flames;
But from the red egg in the nest there fluttered aloft a new one,
The one solitary Phoenix Bird.

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Little Girl's Pinafore Tutorial

I love, love, love pinafores on little girls. They are so versatile. You can put a long-sleeved shirt and leggings under it in cold weather and it grows with your little one, starting out as a dress and ending up as a shirt. Multifunctional and adorable, what more could you ask for?

This is the second reversible pinafore I have made for Monkey. I got the original 6-12 month pattern from Smashed Peas and Carrots, but have had to modify it a lot for my 22 month old petite little miss (the original pattern was way to wide for her and slipped right off her shoulders). This version is better, but there are a few more alterations I want to make. I will post the final pattern when I finally get it adjusted.

You will need 1/2 yard of each print (I used 4 fat quarters), coordinating thread, and 2 sets of snaps or 2 buttons.

Cut pattern from both prints of 
pre-washed fabric. Don't forget to 
flip the back panel pattern over 
before cutting the second piece or 
you will essentially end up with 2 
left sides or 2 right sides.

Pin back panels to front piece,
right sides together, and sew.
Then press the seams (this is an 
important step that really makes
homemade projects look more
professional, so don't skip it!).

 Pin the 2 print to each other, right 
sides together. I like to err on the side 
of caution, and use a lot of pins.

 Mark a 2-3 inch section across
the bottom, so you will remember
to leave and opening for turning.

Sew pieces together (I use a 1/8 inch 
seam allowance, but you can use 
what you are most comfortable with), 
backstitching about an inch on either 
side of the space you left open for 

 Before turning, clip little Vs on the 
curves of the straps, neck, and arm
holes. This will help the fabric lay
flatter once it is turned right side out.

 Turn right side out, press, pin 
opening closed, and topstitch using 
the smallest seam allowance you
are comfortable with (this helps
your finished product look more
clean and professional).

Add snaps or buttons, and put it on your cutie!

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Inspiration - Jewel Tones

I really love deep, bold jewel tones. I like wearing them, I like seeing them, and I like working with them. Here is a collage I put together of some jewel toned photos that inspire me.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Recipe for Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Mahkani)

We really love "ethnic" meals at my house. Even my (nearly) 2 year old tears 'em up! Here is our favorite Indian dish. It is a little spicy but you could half the measurements of each spice to "white bread" it up. The recipe might seem intimidating at first, but it really is pretty simple and you can find all the ingredients at a run-of-the-mill grocery store.

 What you'll need:
For Marinade-
1/2 teas. salt
1/4 teas. black pepper
1 teas. cayenne pepper
1 teas. red curry powder
1 teas. hot madras curry powder
1 teas. cumin
1 teas. cardamom
1 teas. coriander
2 tbl. lemon or lime juice
5 garlic cloves - minced (or 1 heaped tbl. of pre-minced garlic)

For Sauce-
1 large onion - chopped
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
1/2 can crushed tomaotes (you need 14 oz. but I've only found 28 oz. cans)
1 pint heavy cream

1. Cube chicken to 1/2 inch pieces (I find it helpful to put the chicken in the freezer for about 40 minutes before I cut it. It really helps you get more uniform cubes)

2. Add spices, garlic, and lemon/lime juice. Let chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (the longer the better!)

3. After chicken has marinated, saute onion in half of the butter (1/4 c. or half a stick) on medium until translucent. [Start rinsing/cooking rice while the onion sautes and everything will be finished at the same time] Add chicken and cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add crushed and diced tomatoes cover and cook for 25 minutes.

5. Add cream and cook an additional 5 minutes with the lid off.

6. Serve over bismati or jasmine rice (these types of rice should be fluffy, not sticky. This is the method I use and the rice is perfect every time).

We like to pair this with curried zucchini (in picture above - recipe coming soon!) and homemade naan with raita (yogurt sauce), but sometimes I'm not up for the challenge. When I'm being lazy too busy to make everything from scratch, we have pre-packaged sides from the Indian section of the grocery store like Palak Paneer (creamy spinach with Indian cheese) and Puppodums (think slightly puffed, saltless cracker) with Mango Chutney.

*Note: This recipe is my own, after years of trial and error, so if you are going to re-post it or pass it along please remember to credit me as the source. Thanks!*

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

DIY Lavender Mint Sugar Scrub Cubes Tutorial

Homemade sugar scrubs aren't anything new, but I recently came across a recipe for cubed sugar scrub by The Idea Room and had to try it out. Being the non-conformist that I am, I also had to personalize the recipe a bit!

 The original recipe was for citrus scrub cubes. I like citrus scents in the kitchen, but am not a big fan of smelling like lemonade, so I decided to go with a Lavender Mint combo.
1. Because I love the smell of lavender, and
2. Because I had a butt-ton of dried mint I've been hording hanging around.

For my version, you will need:
A silicone mold (or you could spread them in a jelly roll pan i.e. cookie sheet with sides)
4 oz. of soap, chopped or shredded (I used a melt and pour olive oil soap [aka castile soap] from Hobby Lobby)
1/2 c. of oil (I used 1/4 c. of coconut oil and a 1/4 c. of vitamin E oil because I tend to have dry skin, but there is a lot of free reign here)
1 c. white granulated sugar
20 drops of lavender essential oil (EO) (it does take a good bit to balance the mint)
2 tbl. crushed dried mint

Dice the soap and melt it with the oils. I put everything in a Pyrex measuring cup and microwaved it for 45 seconds. You could also use a double boiler if you have more patience than I do.

 Add the EO and mint and stir well. Then add the sugar and mix it really fast so you can start putting it in the mold (or jelly roll pan) because it will start setting up incredibly fast (which is why there is no photo of the mixing step). I used my fingers to press it into the mold. Honestly, I don't think you have time to spoon it out unless you have octo-arms or something.

Let the mold sit for 3-4 hours, pop the cubes out of the mold, and cut
them into fourths.
Then, put them in an air tight container (mine's an upcycled jelly jar!), and spend the next hour and half scouring the internet for just the right printable label and brainstorming other scent combos =)

(P.S. I picked these from WorldLabel)

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