Saturday, July 31, 2010

it rained last week

so... last week it rained for a few days...we weren't able to go to the pool.
we were at a lost as to what to do... okay the kids weren't they loved the puddles...but what did i used to do?

oh yeah.
i think i sort of remember the sewing machine and paint and some other stuff i used to have fun with...
i blew the dust off the 'ol craft area in my brain and started to unleash some hounds that have been needing to...well be unleashed i guess. the kids kind of got excited and hovered as i tried my hand at something crafty. i think both parties kind of have missed that little bit of me.
i made something for my house...
and i'm editing pictures on how to make it so you will have a tutorial sometime next week.
oh hey and by the way i have a HUGE giveaway on monday. yeah, it's the biggest ever here on the 'ol blog.
uh yeah you won't want to miss it i promise!!!

btw keep the organizing coming! you can link up your progress till the 5th! thanks to the gals who have already shown their progress! it's keeping me motivated for sure! i'm working on my closet and my storage area in the garage... ;) i'll try to add a few more pics (camera was acting up...okay no it wasn't i'm just super lame when it comes to figuring out computer stuff. so i was acting computer means me not knowing what i'm doing for a little while till i get used to the new system...i'm an old dog with no new tricks to be learned when it comes to computers i guess!)
anywho...come back monday and next week for a HUGE giveaway and a tutorial.
have a great weekend!

Friday, July 30, 2010

get the crap out of my house party

well did you do it? did you gain a little more control on the clutter and crap?
this last week the kids and i tackled their closets, drawers, toys, and "treasure" drawers.

this time i want to talk about how to get the kids to help.

one way to get my kids to help with the process is to let them know that no "new things" can enter our home, or toy bins without getting rid of something that has seen better days or things that are no longer used. we've been doing this process for a few years. i want to say 5 to 7 years. they have essentially grown up knowing that this is how our house works.
they also know that mom is on a weekly/daily cleaning schedule and this summer we've been working on getting everyone involved so they can learn to be able to do it as well if need be do it on their own as well. hopefully not but i'm trying to set them up for the future. next in the next few weeks i'll talk about that said schedule. it's been tweaked here and there and it works great for our family. of course it will have to be tweaked again once school starts next month.
but we'll talk about that later on.
so now, are you ready to link up your success posts?
please add your button somewhere in the post!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

get the crap out of my house challenge

alrighty. you have spoken so we are going to do a link party this friday and you can link up your progress or your success story.

here are the official rules:

here's the post that started it all

**starting friday you can link up to the post where you talk about with a picture of the area you have tackled or are tackling.

**place this badge in the post (either beginning or end) or on your sidebar to show you are actively trying to get the crap out of your house!

that's it.
no before and afters are necessary,
you can just do the after if you want to.

this is here for motivation or support. please no nastiness or else i'll have to unleash my colombian mother on you and she can put you back in your place.
we'll see you on friday so until then get the crap out of your house!

and then we'll talk more about schedules and how to get your kids to help.

Monday, July 26, 2010

my cupeth runeth overeth

happy monday!

so many of you are on board in the get rid of crap process! good for you! it's contagious and let me tell you...
you guys motivated me to organize a little more than what i anticipated on doing in the first place. we went through and organized all three boy's dresser drawers, and closet, we went through and organized little miss katie's drawers and closet, and i went through a few of my drawers as well. we're going to work on katie's toys this week sometime and then i'll try to tackle that mess of a craft area i have.
ew hives.
now some of you have commited and some of you have already left comments saying you tackled basements, and drawers and closets!! YAY! see this is what i'm talking about. this is why i blog. just that whole awesome encouragement that goes on and all the help we give to each other! fabulous!

so here's the next question:

do you want a show and tell? like say come this friday we do a link party of before and afters?

or would you like to move on to the next post of organizing and cleaning and schedules?

it's up to you guys. i'm here for whatever.
let me know and we'll move in the direction of the most popular suggestion.

did you have a nice weekend? we roasted marshmallows to celebrate two full days of working hard on the sewer. yeah you read it right...the husband dug up our pooper (well the leach line and made sure it was running right. he found a few problems and fixed them. i was his trusty sidekick.
and let me tell you, having to spend umpteenth hours together in a trench and working on crap (literally) really makes you appreciate the other things in life you work on together.

my cupeth runeth overeth on the love i have for that man, and the crap he's willing to work on.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

first step to organizing and cleaning your home

so i don't care if you have never been in the game or if you are trying to get back in the game (as i am) or have never left the game and are interested in hearing other ideas (and sharing your own!). i have this organizing/cleaning schedule that works for me and my family.

is my house perfect?
can you find occasional dust bunnies under my couch?
do i spend all day every day cleaning?
can my house look somewhat put together in 20 minutes if someone were to come and drop by?
most often yes.

see nobody's house is ever completely clean. i don't care who you are, it just isn't going to happen. because guess what...
everyone poops and takes showers in your bathroom, and everyone makes dirty laundry and dishes in your house.
if you never have those things get dirty in between cleanings then you must be pooping and eating at someone else's house every single day. (and btw that's not very nice. i'm just sayin.)

nope a rotating cleaning schedule wont make your house completely clean all the time but it will keep it somewhat tidy and look clean enough that if by some chance your mother in law calls you from en-route to your house for a surprise visit you can get that baby looking spic and span within 20 minutes just in time for her arrival.
are you ready to gain control?

okay first things first:


that's right before you can be on a cleaning schedule that will work you have to get rid of the extra crap lying around in hidden places.

ever feel like you are just moving one pile of crap to another section so you can clean off one surface only to make the other surface now cluttered?

yeah you have too much stuff.


here's where to start: inside your drawers, closets, and under the beds.

get three boxes label them:
*throw away
*give away
*store away

empty out completely all the contents of your drawer, closet, or under the bed.

now start placing in the boxes where things go.
if you are keeping that particular item in that drawer or area then keep it and place it aside for it to be placed nicely back in the area you are working on.

***here's a few tips for you people having a hard time getting rid of your glory days jeans...yeah i know you are out there.

if you haven't fit in your glory day jeans in say a year. GET RID OF THEM.
if you can still fit in them...good for you, you should be proud that you still can, but ask yourself this...when was the last time you wore them?
if its more than one year.

now do that with all your clothes and all the stupid nicknaks and junk that is clogging up your closets, and drawers and make room for the stuff that is all over your house being pushed around from surface to surface.

***this is what i'm doing right now. i used to do this every 6 months and weed out broken things and papers and just junk that collects because we have 6 people that live in my house.
6 people can break and create a lot of junk in 6 months. it feels liberating once your house is under control and you can open up closets and not have things stuffed in there falling out and know what is in every closet in your house. no really i dare you. do it.

if you are having a hard time getting rid of things even if you know you haven't worn or used something for the last year...put it in your store it away box. and then seal it up with duck tape and then put a date of 6 months from that day's date. if you haven't touched that box or needed anything from that box in 6 months...GIVE IT TO GOODWILL!

so here's my challenge.
for one week your challenge is to tackle one closet or drawer or heck go nuts and do a ROOM. go around every single corner of that or closet or drawer and then room, and get rid of things you are not using and get rid of junk that's just taking up space.
and watch how your clutter on surfaces disappear.

i'm going to do it too.
my craft closet is on the list, and it gives me hives just thinking of tackling it. i may just try something easier first but i don't know...

are you ready to regain simplicity of your house with me?
who's with me?

Monday, July 19, 2010

getaways and hair "issues"

this last weekend we went on an adventure.
as our summer continues, we are seeing some pretty fantastic weather (our summers aren't really hot so when we get into the 90's we're pretty excited.)
not too far from us we have a little reservoir big enough for people to go boating or fishing, and the shores make for a good mock up of a beach. (not really says this southern cal girl but it was good enough for the day)

the boys had a blast skipping rocks and got pretty darn good at it, the 10 year old could get up to like 7 skips by the end of it.
there were a ton of rocks to explore...
and dragon flies that were interested in using us as landing strips.
it was kind of cool.

the water was great and basically just a good 'ol time was had.
so the kids and the husband tell me.
i have a bunch of water dogs in my family.
i blame it on the high school swim team/water polo playing of a father they have. i on the other hand... had to stay on the sidelines.
well because i forgot my swimsuit...

but i should also mention that i have some major issues stemmed from a childhood trauma.
it has to do with my HAIR. yeah, i know.
no really it's a serious issue like as in i don't ever get my hair wet unless i know there's a hair dryer, de-frizzing serum, and a hair straightener within reach...or a really good baseball hat to wear and rubber bands made of steal to hold it all in.
yes...i know, you could say i have bahama monica hair:
when left un-managed or if left in humidity for too long, or when it gets wet and don't have any way to bridal it. it starts having a mind of its own.
nope not kidding.
just insert my face and add a few pounds on that monica body and hair and that's me.
but see all this stress over my hair stems back to one pivotal day. i was 8 or 9 and still living in los angeles, and we would go to the santa monica beach a lot. normally i would wear a pony tail but for some reason this one day i forgot to or didn't. who knows who cares. so naturally when my hair had dried after i had gone in the water, it got a little on the ginormous side. i mean i could poke somebody's eye out with my hair that's how bad it was. and well, you have to remember my mom is a little on the over cautious side so i had on (addition to the large hair) a big white shirt over my bathing suit and i had desitin ointment on my nose and cheeks (yeah that white heavy cream stuff...why in the heck she didn't just put sunblock on me i don't know but water under a bridge people water under the bridge) anyways as you can gather, i was kind of little bit like a freak. well two boys, probably around my age (and probably some male child actors just to add sting to the story)...passed by as i was on all fours building a pretty sick sand castle. they stopped to look at the sand castle, and that's when i looked up...

they jumped back 10 feet and probably peed their designer swim trunks. but that wasn't the worst part... look on their faces and what they said is still burned in my brain and self esteem to this day.
as they kept walking i don't know if they meant for me to hear it but they said:
"oh my gosh she's so ugly! look at her hair!"
tears welled up in my eyes and i probably swore to myself that i would never ever let anyone see me like that again.

and that my friends is what started the whole issue/obsession with the hair.
in high school (before straightening irons) i used to have a whole routine. wash hair at 5 pm, put in frizz serum, place in pony tail for about 20 minutes. release hair while still somewhat damp, lay down on one side with hair all under head, then flip and do same with other side. rotate back and forth till dry. then get a curling iron and smooth it down by using the heat from the barrel to make it just right. avoid fog and humidity at all costs, and if necessary to be in it...wear a baseball hat. yes when i said "i can't because i have to wash my hair tonight" it wasn't an excuse it was my reality.
flash forward 20 somewhat years from that day at the beach, and i can honestly say only a handful of people have seen my hair in its true form right after i blow dry it. two being those stupid boys on the beach, and my husband who bless his heart, tells me time and time again he could learn to love me with that beast of a hair and just to embrace it. the kids aren't fazed any more, well katie still calls it "mommy crazy hair" when she sees it, but i'm okay with that.

all is well in my hair land. all i have to say is thank heavens for the invention of the straightening iron and thank heavens we moved to utah. because there's no humidity here. utah is like give you nose bleeds dry kind of weather.
and well, it's absolutely perfect for my hair.
but the most exciting and happiest thing is that my daughter got straight hair, just like her dad.

and she'll probably wish she had curly hair.
C'est la vie

off to the pool later today...with a baseball hat, just in case.
we'll talk soon.

Friday, July 16, 2010

the perfect day

in attempt to simplify my life i've decided that having a cleaning schedule that starts from the minute we finish breakfast till about 10 am everyday would be a great start to tackle the house simplifying part. this summer i finally got back to it. it's a routine i've done for years (and yes i've started to right a few posts on it...i just have to keep typing out the ideas as i get a few minutes here and there, so expect that sometime soon) but as of late it seems to of taken the back burner as other things and needs kept getting added more and more in my life.
but like i said, i'm getting back to the basics.
so we've seen our household chores actually getting done and not only that, but because we get the daily chore and the everyday stuff done by 10 am mon thru fri...we've actually opened up the rest of the day to do whatever we want.
yesterday was the epitome of the perfect day for me.
*chores were done at record speed. so we added a few unexpected chores.
*the weather was in the high 80s low 90s. that makes my crankies go away for sure.
* went to the pool most of the day. tired children, clean house behind, awesome situation.
* appliqued while kiddos swam themselves tired in the pool. that means i'll be able to do a shop update in the "near sometime" future
*got to talk and laugh with other mommies at the pool. so i don't forget how to talk to adults.
*it was thursday so it was pizza night...i didn't have to cook.
*10 year old got his webelos. holy crap the kid is getting old
* on our way home from scouts i took this picture of katie. i'm going to frame it.
sigh...i love summer.
this weekend looks like it's going to be a promising one as well. i'll make sure to take pictures.
who knows i may even get some more appliqueing done while the husband we watch a guy movie.
i'm such an awesome wife.

have a great weekend.
we'll talk soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

overheard at the dinner table

same kid that said this...
gave the prayer last night over my home cooked dinner his prayer went like this:

10 year old: "thank you heavenly father for this food, please bless it that it will not cause us harm or accident, and help it give us the nutrition we need. in the name of Jesus Christ...AMEN"

giggles were had all around the table.
and some tears...mine... but only because i was trying real hard not to laugh so hard during the prayer.


winner winner chicken dinner

winner of the awesome fat quarter shop giveaway goes to:
random # 387

I left a comment at the jolly jabber!

now email me your info and i'll get you your winnings! thanks to all of you moochers out there for playing

next month we're having 2 giveaways. i know i don't normally do that. but just you wait till you see them.

Monday, July 12, 2010

giveaway: fat quarter shop

well first off thanks for the kind lovely encouraging words. it's nice to hear that people like me for more than just my tutorials. happy day! i promise to continue the tutorials but i need to most def make things well rounded and i need to make sure i'm here for a while and not crash and burn because i've been moving too fast. which is what i've been feeling, and then add 4 kids. so no crashing and burning for me...just moving forward a little more slowly.
thanks for understanding.

but you are not here for that at the moment. you are here for free stuff... you moochers you. i don't blame you. this month's giveaway comes from the ever popular fat quarter shop. if you don't know about the fat quarter shop well you are welcome for the introduction but really? you don't know about them?
huge selections, on new arrivals, sales, kits, name it people they've got it.

and their giveaway is not only gorgeous but worth over $100.
check here to read more and enter!

Friday, July 9, 2010

word vomit

okay i need to say this.
so bear with me.
i've been simplifying. that's been the name of the game this summer.
not only have i simplified my extra curricular activities (aka trying to keep up with the ever super duper fast paced tutorial blogging world), but i'm using this time to simplify my life all around and return to the core basics.
that means:
i've returned to exercising daily, that means i've returned to dejunking my house from the inside out on a weekly basis(my kitchen feels the most organized at the moment), that means i've been going places with my kids...just because we have time to kill, that means i've started picking up a book and reading it, that means i've spent too much time in the yard with the husband because he's good at gardening and i'm not but i'll be supportive which opens up a ton of quality and lovely times as a couple, that means i've been spending less time in front of the computer and seeing what's going on in the blogging world and spending more time with my family having lazy afternoons and sitting and watching my kids grow right before my eyes. that means i'm reclaiming and going back to who i am.

i've decided you have a right to see the other sides of me...and not just the "here's another tutorial for you" me.
my kitchen with less things on surfaces
so what that means is i'm going to go back to blogging about... well just sometimes lame things and whatever comes to mind that day. right now at this very moment i would probably do a whole post on how awesome it feels to be on a house cleaning schedule again and how awesome it feels to try to teach my kids to clean, fold laundry, and organize. how insanely rewarding it is to say to the boys "clean your room" and they know what is expected and they can actually follow through with it and consider it a normal and valid request. that also may mean that i'll blog about trying to decorate my house, and how i'm trying to figure out exactly what look i'm trying to achieve at the moment and how frustrating it was when i decide after 10 years of trying to achieve one look... all of a sudden start thinking "i don't know if i like that anymore."
trying to decide what to paint my walls

so yes, a little soul searching has been had this summer. i knew something had to change when i started to have a love hate relationship with blogging. as in i loved to see the #s go up, but i hated how i knew what i needed to do to keep them going up. so i started letting that dictate what i did. i thought so many times about quitting this little corner of the cyber world, but i knew that i would miss it and all of you tremendously.
so i'm going back to the basics.
oh i'll still create new tutorials, and i'm in the middle of starting like a bazillion new patterns because i've been drawing new ideas out like crazy...but i'm not doing it for the #'s anymore, and i'm not doing it so i can get it out before anyone else does, i'm just going to create because i love it.. i hope not much will change on your side, but lots is changing on my side. it feels rather liberating really, and i really can't wait to show you some of the stuff i've been creating to waste the time at the pool.
have a great weekend.
i know i will.
we'll talk soon.
ps next week we'll have a giveaway.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

guest blogger: notes from a very red kitchen

kathleen from notes from a very red kitchen is my guest blogger today.
i'm so excited about her tutorial because it's just so darn cute and my kids would love this! i'm pretty sure yours will too!
take it away kathleen

Hi everybody! Today I'm going to show you how to make your very own...

Kids love books. But littler kids also have a tendency to destroy them. Making your own books using sheet protectors as page covers is a great way to create personal books that your child can enjoy for a loooong time. It's fun to include things they see everyday and can recognize on their own, or to include new things to help them learn about the world around them.

Today I'll be showing you how to do this with photographs, but the options for variations are really limitless here. You could easily use fabric, paper, or other mediums instead. And how fun would it be to add velcro to the top of some of the pages to make a quiet book or matching activity? It's so easy to think of fun ways to use this simple method of book making!

Here's what you'll need:

-top loading sheet protectors
(I recommend using a standard weight or heavier for durability)
-cereal boxes or card stock*
-sewing machine
-paper scissors
-scotch tape

*In this tutorial I used white card stock that was left over from another project, but if I hadn't had that on hand I would have just used cereal boxes. It's a great way to recycle and it all gets covered up anyway!

Step 1: Preparing your photographs and card stock
Decide how big you'd like your book pages to be. Cut your photographs and card stock accordingly.

For each page you can include as much as two photographs and one piece of card stock. On some pages I only included one photograph and left the other side of the card stock visible so I could write on it.

Then decide what order you'd like all of your pictures and text to appear and arrange your photographs and card stock accordingly. The page in the picture above included two photographs (and no text) so I put one picture face up, put the card stock in between, and then put the next picture face down. All three of these layers together create one page.

Do this with all of your pages until you've got them arranged how you'll want them to appear in your book. I find it helps to turn the pages as if it's already in book form to make sure everything is facing the right way and each piece of text is next to the corresponding photograph. It's easy to get a little confused as you're doing this, so be sure to double check! :)

Step 2: Sewing your pictures inside the sheet protectors

Begin by sewing a straight line across the bottom of your sheet protector. (Don't sew your opening closed!)

Next, take one page (photograph, card stock, and second photograph) and push it into the corner of your sheet protector so that the bottom of the photographs are up against the row of stitching you just did and the edge of your photographs are up against the folded edge of the sheet protector.

Beginning at the top right corner of your photograph (the folded edge of the sheet protector) carefully stitch around the top and side of your photograph, ending at the row of stitching you previously did along the bottom.

Your page should now look like this.

Now sew another straight line across your sheet protector, above your photograph.

Insert your next page and make sure it's all the way down into the corner.

Stitch around the top picture just like you did with the first.

Do this until all of your pages are sewn inside your sheet protectors.

Step 3: Cutting your pages apart

Using your paper scissors, carefully cut each page apart, using the straight line sewn down the middle of your page as a guide.

I cut mine about an 1/8" away from my stitching.

Your page should now be cut like this.

Continue to do this until you have a neat little pile of individual pages.

Step 4: Preparing your book for binding
First, double check and make sure that your pages are in the order you want them to be in the finished book.

Next, arrange your pages so that the edge all line up nicely.

Firmly grasp the extra portion of your sheet protectors about where you think your binding will need to be. Depending on the number of pages you've included (i.e. the thickness of your book) you may need to hold a little farther away from your photos.

Still holding firmly onto the sheet protectors, open your book to check and make sure that it will be able to open easily when sewn.

Next, use your scotch tape to tape the excess part of the sheet protector from your pages together. This part will be cut off later, so feel free to tape it liberally. :)

I also attempted to make things more secure by stapling through the middle of the excess sheet protectors. My book was so thick that this didn't really work, but when I've made thinner books, adding a staple has helped quite a bit.

I also added some scotch tape closer to my actual pages, with the edge of the scotch tape about where I wanted my binding to be. (Just ignore the fact that it's already sewn in this picture. We'll do that next.)

Step 5: Sewing the binding

Using a zigzag stitch, sew your book pages together. Typically it works well to get your pages as close as you can to the presser foot of your sewing machine and just stitch your line there.

Stitch back and forth along this line several times. This will enhance the durability of your book.

Step 6: Removing the excess sheet protector

Your book should now look like this. If you still have scotch tape right up next to your row of binding stitches, take off the scotch tape. Don't worry about removing the tape that's farther away.

Starting farther away than you want the edge on your finished book to be, cut off the excess sheet protector. If your book is as thick as mine, your cutting line will probably look kind of funky. That's why we cut it a little farther away. :)

Now carefully trim the edge next to your binding until it's nice and tidy looking.


You're Finished!

You can now enjoy the fruits of your labors. :)

Or give them to somebody else.

I made these little books as going away presents for my little niece and nephew. They lived right down stairs from us for a long time, but moved to another state a few months ago. I knew they'd miss us, but that they'd especially miss their fun little cousin Olivia (my daughter). So I made each of them a little book all about the things they used to do with her.

"I put on my shoes and I walk to her house."

"We play with toys."

"We learn alphabet letters."

I gave each of them their books along with some other goodies the night before they left and they were a big hit. They loved looking at the pictures and pointing out themselves, each other, mommy, daddy, Auntie Katie and Uncle B, and especially their cousin Olivia.

I've also made other variations of these books in the past.

Here's a sample page from a book I made years ago using this method.

I printed off the words of one of my favorite primary songs and did some simple paper cutting for all of the little illustrations.

The possibilities are endless! I hope you'll enjoy making some of your own!

If you'd like to check out some of my other projects, you can find me over at my blog, Notes From A Very Red Kitchen.
Thanks so much for having me over Vanessa!

thank you kathleen! what a wonderful craft for the kids to enjoy forever!
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