Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baby Shower Gift

(I wish I could come up with more clever blog post titles….)
This particular project was one that scared the crap out of me, yet turned out to be pretty easy. It scared me because it 1) required me to do a lot of sewing, including curves (which I didn’t know how to do) and quilting (which I also didn’t know how to do). I was happy with how easy it turned out though! I think this is one of the first projects I have ever done that I didn’t have to redo something because half of it was inside out! Hooray!
I used Simplicity Pattern 2493 and flannel from Joann Fabrics. The pattern shows eyes on the turtle, but they scared me in figuring out how to sew them on evenly, so I figured it was just as cute without eyes. My sister’s mother-in-law made one for my sister’s baby, and the original pattern calls for a layer of fleece inside of the layers of flannel. I opted not to do this as hers was super thick and being used as a rug now, and I wanted something a bit lighter. Plus it saved me about 60% of the cutting time for all of the cute little fringe on each seam. This turtle is heading to Michigan to live with my brother-in-law and his wife, who are expecting their first baby (a boy) in mid-June. I hope they like it!
This project has been linked up to these parties.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mother's Day Cards

I am trying to get on the ball a little earlier than normal this year in making cards for loved ones. Mother’s Day is coming up, and I have chosen to make a total of 6 cards: 2 for our moms, 2 for our grandmas, and 2 for our sisters who are new moms this year. So far I have 4 of the 6 done and ideas for one more in my head. Here is what I have so far:
This is the card I made for our moms. I used the Serenade Cartridge for the Cricut to cut the tree and the heart was cut out the old fashioned way with scissors. All of the paper was from scraps or my stash, which I love because I feel like I’m actually using it up!
This is the card I made for our grandmas. I used the Walk In My Garden cartridge for the Cricut, and again all of the paper was either from scraps or from my stash. I really like how the card itself is shaped to look like a beehive. The beehive was also embossed using the Swiss Dots Cuttlebug folder.
I have an idea for what I want to do for my sister, but haven’t figured out sister-in-law’s card yet. I’m just glad I’ve gotten this far already!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Painting the Living Room

I have a confession to make. I’m a little obsessed with painting my living room. I want to paint it so badly that I have spent a LOT of time imagining what it would look like, and today I even made a mockup. I took a “before” picture, which you can see here:
I had a couple of kids over this morning, and my life is actually a lot easier when there are other kids around. I got that whole section of the living room cleaned and vacuumed today! Hoorah! Anyways, you can see how I chose to paint this room about a year and a half ago. Blue on the bottom half all the way around the room. I loved it so much when we did it, but now not so much. The room feels really saturated on the bottom to me, even when it’s clean. All of the color is in the bottom half of the room and I still haven’t figured out a way to make this look good. My cousin, who is in school for interior design, suggested I paint the whole wall a warm grey. Have I mentioned grey is my FAVORITE color? Seriously, it goes with anything. And it’s not brown. Here is a mockup of what I would like to do:
For one thing, we are stuck with this blue carpet. Loved it when we got it, and I wouldn’t mind it now as long as I can get it to work with the rest of the room. I’m thinking painting the walls grey all the way up, then painting the trim, the plant shelves, and maybe the ceiling (?) white. I feel like it creates a cooler palette that is a bit more consistent and modern.  The ceiling is going to be a pain though, so I need to figure out if it’s really necessary. So far I am loving this idea though! Please leave your feedback and your thoughts, I could really use some help. (PS, the color of the carpet in the second picture is MUCH closer to what it is in real life, not the grey color that is in the picture above).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Might As Well....

Have you heard about the blog Nook Deals? It is an awesome blog dedicated to sharing deals (and freebies!) for your Nook. I have gotten several books because of this site! They were asking for someone to create a logo for them. I decided to give it a whirl and this is what I came up with:
It’s okay, I was pretty happy with it but I think it would be hard to read if it was a little thumbnail. But I figured, hey, why not? I submitted it last night, then chickened out about 5 minutes later and tried to delete it. Apparently they still have it because they posted it today, and surprise, surprise! People like it! So, now that I know somebody out there likes it, I’m asking my (2) readers to go to Nook Deals on Facebook and “Like” my design. If I win, I get a $20 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Teaching Kids Money Values

About two years ago, my husband and I took the Financial Peace University class at our church. It was a really great class to get us back on track with our money, and we actually did pretty good with some of the principles for about a year. It was nice to not have to scramble for money for our yearly trip to Michigan or Christmas since we had planned ahead. Sadly, we have not kept it up, but we are hoping to start again and get back on track.
A friend of mine told me how she gave her five and four-year-old allowance for doing daily chores around the house. They were expected to clean out the silverware from the dishwasher every day, empty the trashcans from the bathrooms, and I think something else, but I can’t remember. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we need to start teaching our kids healthy money principles right now. My husband was pretty good with money when we got married, and I was not. Unfortunately my habits have trickled to my husband and we are not good about saving or budgeting. We want our kids to understand how to save and tithe at an early age to get used to it.
We both agreed that just giving them money was not okay, they needed to earn it. Both of their rooms are usually an explosion of toys, and they often didn’t play in them because it was so hard to navigate around. I have stubbed my toe or stepped on toys more than once while putting a sleeping child to bed, and I knew that the first thing they needed to do was keep their rooms clean. Plus, with all the money parents spend on cool bedding for their kids, they might as well make their beds every day too. I felt though, that even though this was enough for our 2 year old, it wasn’t quite enough for our 4 year old. I decided the idea of him emptying the trash from the bathroom was a good idea (I HATE doing that job and never do it!) and he should also feed and water the dog every day, which would end the daily conversation of “Did you feed the dog today? Nope. You? Nope. Well, I guess we better feed her.” I whipped up charts for both kids, superhero for the boy and Dora for the girl. We decided on a rate of 50 cents per year of age, so my girl gets $1 each week and my boy gets $2. We snagged the idea from my friend of using dimes to pay them instead of dollars. It feels like more money to them, and it makes it so easy to tithe and save! They each have a bank now, and extra jars that say “tithe” and “savings” on them, and we count out their money with them and every time they get to 10 they put 1 dime in the tithe jar and 1 in the savings jar.
I was a little worried about how my boy would react to having to put 20% of his money in places he couldn’t spend, but he reacted surprisingly well. (The 2 year old girl could care less, she just has money now!) I remember in psychology class learning about good habits and how they take 28 days straight to build. Well, we are on day 14 of clean rooms (which, by the way, they clean right before bed. I don’t care what they get out and make a mess of during the day, as long as they clean it up before bed. Talk about bringing peace into my house!), made beds, and a fed dog. The trash in the bathrooms has been emptied 2 weeks in a row, and the kids are still loving this process. I haven’t stubbed my toes putting kids to bed in a long time, and  it is so nice to have a least 2 rooms clean in the house all the time. Plus, I love having them be excited about giving money to the church already and saving money for “when they are grownups.” I hope this trend can continue, and maybe my husband and I will take some lessons from them and start saving again too.