Monday, May 7, 2012

Package Pals Craft Exchange

Over at C.R.A.F.T., Jamie hosted another great Package Pals exchange. This time around I got paired with Ami from AliLily. She is so fun and we have become great friends. Stop by her blog because she has great recipes, craft tutorials and you will LOVE the jewelry she makes!

Participating in Package Pals is a blast because not only do you get to make something crafty for someone else, but you get the surprise of an awesome package in the mail.

After getting to know Ami, I found out her favorite color was orange so I went with a totally orange themed package. I got her a cute little matching stationary set and made a fabric covered box to put it all in. Then put in a decorated Hershey bar. The Hope Stone is a pocket sized painted rock with some inspirational scripture on it. I have a friend in New Zealand that makes them. It was perfect since it was painted with a sunset!

I made a tissue holder using the pattern from Very Purple Person. It was a bit tricky since the measurements are in centimeters but I got it all worked out. That was a first, so I'm glad I was able to do the conversions!

I had to put something in for her daughter Alice, so I had my sister make me a crocheted flower and I used that to make a hair clip for her. I noticed in Ami's pictures that Alie wears a lot of pink, so I thought it would be perfect.

The fabric scrap key chain is something I have wanted to make for a long time. When I went looking for the pattern, I realized just how much I had wanted to make it when I found that it was pinned to my sewing board on Pinterest 3 times! The tutorial is over at Craftiness is Not Optional and is so easy!

Bible Case Tutorial

Bible Case Tutorial

 My favorite part of the whole thing and what I did the biggest research on was the Bible cover. I wanted to make something really personal for Ami. As I got to know Ami more, I realized that the Bible cover was the perfect thing but I didn't want to make just a plain cover. My mother just recently got an embroidery machine so I decided to make Ami's cover personalized. Now in case she loses it, everyone will know it is her Bible!

The pattern is from Homespun-Threads. It's quite tricky to follow along. I found it easier to print out all the pages and flip back and forth through them all. 

I was really worried about it fitting since you never know what size Bible someone will have, but Ami sent me pictures and it fits like a glove! YEA!

Now, Ami was the most amazing Package Pal ever. The funniest thing was that we must have been on the same thought wave because we totally did favorite color themed gifts!

She sent me SO MUCH great stuff! She made 2 dry erase note boards and a cork board to go in my craft room and got matching push pins. She made an AWESOME sewing kit just like I had pinned on Pinterest and it was filled with all kinds of accessories in my favorite colors. Then she painted a heart shaped box and topped it with a rhinestone A. When I opened it, it had the most beautiful jewelry inside. Again, all in my favorite colors! Didn't I tell you she's an amazing jewelry designer?! She also got me this beautiful cross, which I love. Plus a reed diffuser too!

The sweetest part was that Alie painted me a butterfly magnet to go on my fridge. I hung it up right away and sent her a picture.

I tell you, if you haven't signed up before, you should totally sign up for the next round of Package Pals. She only takes the first 100 people, so you have to be quick!

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My niece is finally here!

We've been awaiting her arrival for quite some time and she kept us waiting an extra week, but Zoey Jane is finally here! She arrived this morning and is beautiful. I have so much more to post about her and many other things to share with you all but just wanted to give everyone a quick update about her.

I'm sure we will have much better pictures soon but I just had to share!

Zoey and me:

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

10 Tough Cleaning Solutions

It's that time of year when many of you are starting to work on your spring cleaning lists. I recently took an unscientific poll of my friends to gather up some of their most dreaded chores around the house. Boy did they have some tough ones! Lucky for you and for them, I've rounded up all the solutions here in one place.

1. Cleaning Baseboards

These seem to be one of the worst places in the house to collect dust and grime and for those with bad backs, one of the hardest to clean. I've found a great solution! If you have a Swiffer mop, it becomes an easy task.

I attached a Clorox wipe (since I didn't have any Swiffer wet cloths on hand) to the mop and wiped down the baseboards to get of the really tough grime. Then followed up by attaching a dryer sheet to the Swiffer mop and wiped them down again. This gets off the remaining dust and is supposed to help repel dust.

It takes some time to do all the baseboards but was much easier than the bucket and rag that I used to do.You can do this with out the Swiffer mop too, just use the wipes and dryer sheets by themselves.

2. Cleaning Candles

Candles are another place in the house that collect all kinds of dust and seem impossible to clean. There is a quick and easy way to get all the gross stuff off of them. If you have an old pair of pantyhose or knee highs, go ahead and grab them.

Take your dirty candle and gently rub the pantyhose across the candle to remove the dust and dirt. Be careful not to break the wick. A bit of mine broke off but it was just the excess burnt part at the top. You'll be left with a super dirty pair of pantyhose and a nice clean candle! Plus all that black mess on the glass was easy to wipe off too!

3. Cleaning Grout

There are a few great solutions for cleaning dirty grout. My favorite way and probably the best solution I have to getting it sparkling clean is Clorox Clean-up with Bleach. You just spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes and the rinse it off. It works like magic. Just be sure to wear something you don't mind getting bleach on - that's how I ended up bleaching my husband's black sweatshirt! I didn't tell him I was borrowing it when I did it either!

Another of my favorite methods is Comet or Bar Keepers Friend both in the powdered form. You can make a nice paste out of them and scrub it into the parts of the grout that need cleaning. Then rinse it off. You just have to be sure to rinse really well to get all of the paste off.

4. Removing Mildew

After a damp winter, it's very common to find mildew and mold along windows and walls, as well as in stored clothing and bathrooms.

Thrifty Living gives great solutions for how to remove mold and mildew from just about every situation.

If you have mildew on your curtains or other fabric, DIY Life offers a variety of solutions to remove it.

5. Cleaning Linoleum

Linoleum is a bear to get clean, especially if you have a white or light colored floor. It seems that all the little grooves seem to pick up dirt and never let it go. The best solution I've used for this is Awesome Orange cleaner from the Dollar Store. I mixed up a big bucket in warm water following the directions and mopped the floor in small sections. Then used a plastic scrub brush (also from the Dollar Store) to scrub those sections clean. I followed this by rinsing the floor with water and then used Pledge Floor Care Finish to seal it all up. The floors have stayed much, much cleaner and I have only had to do light moppings since.

6. Cleaning & Restoring Leather Furniture

I love the look and feel of leather furniture. I dream of having an office in my house with all my bookcases and some nice leather chairs to read on. Oh it would be nice! But cleaning them, that's a whole other story. If something spilled on them, it's not like you can just pick up the chair and take it in to the dry cleaners. 

If your leather furniture is showing signs of wear and age, you will love what The Boatwright Family shows us how to do.

And for a general guide on cleaning all sorts of stains on leather check out How to Clean Stuff.

7. Removing the Toilet Ring

The dreaded toilet ring! So unsightly and to matter how much scrubbing you do with the toilet brush, it just won't come out. Well there is a simple, chemical-free solution - Pumie Scouring Stick. I can usually find it at Walmart in the cleaning department.
This stick is amazing! It scrubs away hard water stains on porcelain without scratching or damaging the surface. You can also use it on sinks, tubs and so many household things.

8. Cleaning Stove Burners

This is an amazing trick! To get your stove burners nice and clean, Easy Off Oven Cleaner is your best friend. Be sure to use gloves and then spray your stove top and burners with Easy Off. Follow the directions on the package as far as how long to leave it on your stove. Then rinse. It may take a bit of scrubbing to get the tough parts off but in the end, you will have a sparkling clean stove.

clean stove with easy off

clean stove with easy off

9. Household Drains

It seems to be a regular occurrence that the drains in my bathroom get backed up. I swear I lose more hair in a day than my sister's cats but somehow still seem to have SO MUCH hair! We always keep a bottle of Drano in the cupboard and it works like magic.

For those that like to use natural cleaners as opposed to things like Drano when tubs and sinks get horribly backed up, The Manly Housekeeper has some of the best tips to keep your drains flowing freely that I have ever seen.

10. Cleaning Window & Sliding Door Tracks

These always seem to collect so much gunk and are so hard to wipe out! I found a great trick for getting all that stuff out. Use a flat head screwdriver to scrape as much of the dirt and grime loose as you can. Then use the brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner to clean it out. You may need to repeat this step a few times. Once all the dirt is out of the track, wipe it clean with a rag or Clorox wipe. Let it dry and lubricate the track with a bit of WD-40.

How to clean window track

How to clean window track

Now go take a nap or have a cocktail! That was a lot of cleaning!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

DIY: Diaper Cake and Cupcake Washcloths

My sister is well known for her beautiful diaper cakes, so I knew that I had to make one for her shower. The only problem was that I had never made a diaper cake before! It was going to be a big challenge. My mother and I came up with the idea of making a diaper cake and matching washcloth cupcakes.

Black and pink diaper cake

As a base, I used a dollar store platter, then taped a paper towel roll standing up in the center to have something sturdy to build the cake around. The shower theme was pink and black so I wrapped each layer of diapers with coordinating fabric to hide the white and yellow diapers.

I didn't want to glue anything to the cake so that all the diapers would still be useable. So to attach the Gerber daisies, I left the stems about 2 - 3 inches long and carefully stuck them down into the diapers. The lace on the bottom of the cake is glued to the platter itself. The ribbons around the layers of the cake are carefully tucked into the diapers to hold them in place.

I made a large bow out of the ribbon to decorate the top of the cake and secured it with sewing pins. Then as a finishing touch I added rhinestones to several of the flowers and to the bow on top.

I was glad my husband was home to give me a hand with it because it took more than my two hands to hold things in place and get the diapers assembled into a cake!

Black and pink washcloth cupcakes

The washcloths were a much easier job. We used the tutorial over at The Scrap Shoppe Blog and they turned out perfectly!

The best part was the comments I got when I walked into the shower with the cake! Lots of oohs and ahhs but some people didn't realized it was a diaper cake and I could overhear the puzzled comments. My favorite was, "How do you eat it?"

I'm linking up at my favorite parties.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

I hope you are all having a wonderful day with family and friends. We had a wonderful morning at church and will be going to a big family dinner with an egg hunt of course for all the kiddos.
Easter cross

Enjoy your Sunday! It's going to be nice and sunny for us today.

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