Monday, November 29, 2010

Have a Handmade Christmas {Week 7}

 With Christmas lights now sparkling in the snow outside it is beginning to feel very holidayish. Inside we are still decorated for fall (I like to stay that way at least until December and often until after my birthday on the 6th) but we are working a little more often on presents, there are some secrets around the house and we are having fun!

  We don't give large numbers of presents and everything has to be fairly small because our rule is "Everything has to fit in the stocking!". We still have the fun of presents without much stress. I am thankful we have decided to do it this way.

 We had quite a few projects started but not much finished so I hurried and got this one done this evening so I could share it with you.

 It is a journal for Mara. She has a nice normal journal (which she enjoys using) but I had read an idea once about a journal which you use to encourage one another. My plan is to write in the front page some encouraging words for Mara and then if she wants she can leave a message for someone else and stick on their pillow or someplace that they will see it. Or maybe it will be used simply for Mara with Ken and I leaving new notes every so often. I will see how it goes. I do think she will like it as she loves getting and giving little notes to say "I love you" or something else like that.
To make it I took around 20 sheets of paper and cut them in half. Then I took stacks of 5 and folded them in half.
Next I sewed a 3/8 inch seam down the side of each folded paper set, to hold the papers together. I think it is rather fun to sew on paper! :-)

 Next I cut out front and back covers. I just used brown cardboard. I cut them 5 3/4 inches by 4 1/2 inches- a little bigger than the paper.

Then I measured and marked 3 places for holes across the spine area of the papers and covers.
 Then I used a hammer and nail to make holes there so that I could put a needle through.
Then using some sturdy thread I sewed through those holes and tied them tightly together. I decided to leave the covers brown cardboard but they could also easily be covered with fabric or a decorative paper.
 Next I made a spine cover out of fabric. I cut the fabric 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches. I put a tiny hem in the top and bottom and then I folded the sides in to meet at the middle and hot glued them in place.

 I then glued it on putting a strip of fabric over the back and a little bit on each side of the cover.
 Next I decided to put fabric on the corners. I took a little strip which I hemmed on one side and glued on the outside of the cover.
 Then on the inside I folded over the raw edges and glued and then I folded them into the cover of the book and glued in place.
 This is what it looks like at this point. It could be done now but I decided to add a couple of touches.
I added a ribbon place marker which I glued one end of it in the spine and then put a couple of beads on the other end. I also decided to add some fabric flowers which I made from scraps using this idea. You could decorate your journal however you like best!

I also wanted to show you one of the gifts Megan (my 4 year old) has made.
She wanted to make cards with me the other day and I suggested she make some for Mara for Christmas.
She decided she wanted to use some veggie pictures that I had and then wanted to decorate them like Veggie Tales.  I pulled out the googly eyes and pom poms and she had fun. I love the result. She also wrote a card for her with parts of the Veggie Tales song and other things she wanted to tell Mara. We had a lot of fun working on this little project together.

What have you been making lately? Please join me and link up your handmade Christmas posts!

I would just request that you link up your specific post not just your blog and that you would link back to here. Thanks much! I looking forward to seeing your ideas!

Oxygen Bleach from Tropical Traditions {A review and giveaway}

 I am excited to get to tell you about another great product from Tropical Traditions! Also one of you will get to win one. It is Oxygen bleach and though I'll admit I wasn't going crazy with excitement when I found out I won a jar (I was thinking- "oh bleach"...) I am pretty excited about it now that I have had a chance to try it and to read up on all the things it can be used for.

 I won my jar of Oxygen Bleach at the blog 50in8. I had happened over there because I have been following Tropical Traditions' blog that lists all the current giveaways of their products. Every so often when I have some extra time I go and enter in a bunch of them.

When they sent this out to me they said that I could also review it and give one away. Hurray! Not only did I get to win one but one of you can as well!

I have had fun reading up on what this is good for. It comes with some instructions and then they have even more here.

I was excited to find out it was good for treating carpet. Our carpet is in bad shape (cream just doesn't work well for our busy family- we hope to get rid of living room carpet sometimes) but still when there are spots that really, really stand out then I try to get rid of them. Once such spot arrived recently:
 I think it may have been cranberries from Thanksgiving.
I mixed up the oxygen bleach according to directions and used it. There is a little bit of a spot left but it is much better. However it did rather point out how yucky our carpet is as it left a lighter spot where I had treated.  There is hope though! The Oxygen bleach bottle says that it can be used in the carpet shampooer. I have been planning on shampooing pretty soon (I rent one about once a year) and I think this Oxygen bleach will help it to get much cleaner than the regular stuff does!

Next try out was some laundry.
 This pair of Megan's pants had some very set stains in the knees. I mixed up some hot water and Oxygen bleach and soaked them over night. Today I washed them in the regular laundry.

They aren't perfect but they are much much better and with hardly any work at all. I am pleased!

I did also try soaking some very old and stained dishcloths and napkin. I think they were to far gone- I didn't really see any change in them. So Oxygen bleach isn't a miracle worker but it works well and it is safer for us and the environment.

 Another thing that I like about it is that it is going to stretch so far. You get 6 lbs of powder and you only use an ounce or so at a time.

If you would like to buy this you can get a great deal today! It is on sale for $16.75 but through the end of the day if you use code: 241110 you can get $10 off. Also if you chose "referred by a friend" on your order and put in the code: 6527139 You will receive a free book about Virgin Coconut Oil. It looks like it would be very informative and useful. I would also benefit. If you need any help at all their customer service department is available.

Would you like to win some Oxygen Bleach?

This is open to those in the United States and Canada (though those is Canada will be responsible for any Customs or Duties that may be charged). The giveaway will run through December 8th.

To enter:
Mandatory 1st entry:
~Visit Tropical Traditions and tell me what you learned Oxygen Bleach can do or tell my about one of their other household cleaners that you would like to try.

Additional entries (do any one or all of them and then leave a comment for each one):
~Subscribe to Tropical Traditions e-mail sales newsletter.
~Become a follower of my blog (let me know what method you use).
~Leave a comment on my Thanksgiving post and then come back here and let me know you commented.

Please be sure to leave an e-mail address if your e-mail is not in your blog profile. I will need to be able to contact you if you should win.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some reminders for me of what I want to be like.

"Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing,
modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,
but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness."
1 Timothy 2:9 & 10

"But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good."
2 Thessalonians 3:13

These verse just help to remind me of where my focus needs to be. I also find them encouraging and motivating. Sometimes it is easy to grow weary and think what I am doing doesn't matter all that much anyway. I love how God's word is there to remind us to keep doing what is right!

 What have you been motivated by in God's word lately?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The winter fun has begun!

Megan gets ready inside
 It is now cold and snowy around our place and it is time for winter sports. My kids are quite happy and excited.

  They had been wanting to make a skating rink in our yard but then discovered that the swamp behind our house was frozen and there were some spaces available for skating. This summer (with assistance from a friend who frequents garage sales) we found bigger skates for all the kids (though no good ones for me unfortunately) for not much money. Skates can be expensive- even used ones at the stores, so this was a blessing!

Megan and Mara testing the ice

Megan's skates have double blades.

The boys got pretty fast on their skates.

Mara had to hold Megan up.

Aaron purposely laid down to pose for the picture and then showed my how he could lay his bare belly on the ice.
After the skating adventure we got snow. They will have to do some shoveling before they can go again. But they have had fun sledding.

 Since Thanksgiving the big job has been putting up Christmas lights. This is Ken's project but he even got me out their this year stringing lights around trees. He decided that he wanted the yard lighted up this year too- not just the house. However, he did have to do things a bit differently on the house this year because he didn't want to go up to the peak of our house with all the snow on it.
Ken working on lighting the garage and Megan watching.
 Today we pulled out the cross country skis and the younger three had a wonderful time skiing.
Megan thinking about going down a slope but she decided against it.

The boys tumbled some but had a wonderful time on the little hills.
That is some of the fun we have been having in our "Winter Wonderland". Do you have snow or ice? Are you having fun outside?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Crafting!

 In Case you have some time on your hands and want to do something fun with your kids to get ready for tomorrow I thought I would share these crafts. We made them last week at our Homeschool Get-together and actually the kids are upstairs right now working on some more so we will have one little person to hold a name tag for each guest.

How to make them:
The Turkey Box This we plan on lining with a napkin and putting rolls in. You could also have your napkins in it. We have a couple of them since Megan and I (with Aaron's assistance) both made one.

You will need:
  • An empty tissue box
  • Paper to cover box.
  • Construction paper cut into many hands for the tail and cut into a head and waddle.
  • Glue
  • Google eyes- though you could just draw the eyes on instead.
How to make it:
  1. Cut the top off of the box.
  2. Cover the box with paper.
  3. Cut out the feathers (hands), head and waddle.
  4. Add eyes to head.
  5. Glue feathers (hands) on the back in a fan pattern and glue head on the front.
  6. We also later added Thankful verses on each side.
Pilgrims, Indians and a Pine cone Turkey Our plan is to have them each hold a name card at the table. Right now however my kids are having fun playing with them. :-)

You will need:
For people:
  • Toilet Paper tubes
  • Construction paper
  • glue
  • markers
  • Lace, little feathers and other decorative supplies could also be used.
For the Turkey:
  • Pine cone
  • paper
  • glue
To make the People:
  1. Cover toilet paper tube with paper color of choice.
  2. Cut out a face and draw details and then glue it on.
  3. Add clothing, hats, and arms and any other details you want, gluing them on as well.
To make turkey:
  1. Cut out little feather shapes- I had three feathers attached together.
  2. Cut out head with waddle.
  3. Color waddle red and draw eyes.
  4. Glue feathers and head onto pine cone as pictured.
I hope you have as much fun with these projects as we have!

Happy Thanksgiving!
If you have a moment- would you mind going over to this post on Thanksgiving and leaving a comment if you haven't already? I entered it in a contest and the more comments I get will help me to win. Thanks so much!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have a Handmade Christmas {Week 6}

 Hello! Welcome to this week's Have a Handmade Christmas! To be honest I am a little more in the mood for Thanksgiving right now as I am sure many of you are as well. We will see if their are many other posts linked up this week or not. :-)

 However we will press on with our creating of handmade gifts, decorations and other things to make our Christmas memorable and hopefully frugal too!

 This week I decided to make some note cards. I like to give them to friends. They are a simple but fun and practical gift and something I think is extra special about them is the fact that not only do they make the one you give them to happy but if that person uses them they will make a bunch more people happy too.

 I have written about note cards before but these are a bit different style and are easy to make while at the same time recycling old seed catalogs, magazines or calendars.

To make them you need:
  • Card stock
  • Pictures
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • A damp rag
  • Pen or pencil
To start I cut the card stock in half and then folded each half in half to create a nice card. Then I found some pictures that I like that were big enough to cover the whole front of the card. I decided to do garden photos. The are from the Baker's Seed Company and they are very pretty high quality photos that I think a gardener will really love.
 Next I traced around the card on the picture (choosing the spot I wanted to have on my card- to be where I traced).
 Next I cut out where I had traced.
 Now I put a smooth layer of glue all over the front of the card.
Then I carefully put the picture on to the gluey card front and pressed it flat. Then there are usually little edges that hang over so I trim them off. If you get a bit of glue on the card or your hands- just use your damp rag to wipe it off.
 They are ready to dry! I did some cards with the pictures vertical and some horizontal. It works fine either way. I made a couple of sets of these garden cards- above is just one of the sets.

 Then I like to make envelopes from some of the really big pictures. You don't have to make envelopes, you can buy them, but we like the cheery colors of homemade ones (and the people that receive our letters say that they like them too) and we also like the fact that we are recycling when we make them.
 This is what the envelopes look like after being folded up. After that we put on a blank address label so that the address can be written on white rather than on the very colorful envelope. You can just tape the envelopes shut to seal.
I also made some floral cards in a little different way. These pictures were smaller so I cut them out, mounted them on a colored piece of paper that coordinated with the flower and then using double sided tape I put that on the front of the card. It is very quick and easy but yet colorful and pretty! 
 Here are two finished sets each with 6 cards and envelopes (the garden produce set has homemade envelopes and the floral set has plain Jane purchased envelopes). I have plans for giving away some of my garden sets to some friends but one of these sets is for one of you! The winner will get to chose the set they want.

To Enter the giveaway (read carefully because I am going to make it a little different)

  • 1st entry (do this one first or any others will not count) Head over to my post on Thanksgiving and tell me something about your thanksgiving (either this year or a past year) and then come back to this post and tell me that you did and which card set you want if you win.
  • additional entries: Link up a Handmade Christmas post to this post and then leave a comment saying you want to be in the giveaway drawing. Become a follower of my blog (using google connect, e-mail subscription or an RSS feed)-Current followers count too. Then leave another comment saying you did that.
This giveaway is open to anybody. It will be open until December 4th. Please be sure to leave your e-mail so I can contact you if you win!

This post is linked to Frugal Fridays- $10 gifts (and under) edition.

Now it is your turn to share what handmade things you have been working on!

Please remember to link to your specific post and to link back to here so that more people will hear about it and join in. Thanks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Plans

We are quite excited around here that it is the week of Thanksgiving! That means company is coming, Ken/Daddy gets to be home extra days, we will enjoy lots of good food, play games and have other relaxing fun and it is a time to really reflect on how much God has blessed us and thank Him for it!

 One of the fun things that we have done this year (I want to make it a tradition!) is to have a "Thanks Tree". I brought in some branches from the woods and put them in a secure container and then I cut out a bunch of colorful leaves.

  On the leaves we have been writing things that we are thankful to God for and then hanging them up. It has been lots of fun to think of things big and little that we are thankful for and to read others' notes too. One of my favorites is Megan's, it says "I am thankful for everything except salad and tomatoes".  We will continue to add leaves through the end of this month.

I have the leaves ready and waiting by the base of the tree along with our little homemade Thanksgiving characters.
Another fun thing that we are doing this week is reading stories about the first Thanksgiving. Here are the books that we have and are enjoying:
  • The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving  by Ann McGovern (A book from my childhood)
  • Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas
  • The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy J. Skarmeas
Reading the stories of their hardships really helps us to put life into perspective and join with them in Thanking God for what we do have. We have so very, very much!!

Food of course is an important part of this day! My Mom and I work together to make the meal. The kids and I will have a baking day the day before and then on the day we will roast the turkey and do other stuff as well. Mom will bring a bunch of food that they got out of their gardens. We enjoy having a very homey sort of meal filled with things made from scratch and harvested by us as much as possible. Here is our menu:
  • Turkey
  • Potatoes and Gravy
  • Butterhorn Rolls (Recipe)
  • Dressing
  • Broccoli with cheese
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Cranberries
  • Pickles and Olives
  • Fruit Salad
  • Lots of Pies (Pumpkin, Pecan, Peanut Butter, Mince and more)
  • Apple Cider
  • Mint Citrus Cooler (this is a new recipe I plan to try)

  On Thanksgiving day we always enjoy having company come to our house. My parents and 2 youngest siblings come over and we love to have any other family come that can. This year my oldest brother and family are planning to come, we haven't had Thanksgiving with them for several years so this is a treat.

Besides family we enjoy having over other friends too. We especially try to include anybody that might otherwise be lonely on Thanksgiving. This year several of our single friends are going to join us. I think our total number is around 17. I love crowds and Ken doesn't mind, he just requests that I don't invite more than can sit down at "the" table. I can get pretty creative in making our table large enough! :-)

 Decorating is always a favorite of mine, so we have fun figuring out frugal ways to do that. I enjoy making name cards, lighting candles, pulling out my tablecloth that my Grandma made for me and finding things around the house that will look pretty on the table.

 When we aren't eating we enjoy playing games like Bohnanza (a fun card game about beans), Risk, Rook, Apples to Apples, Taboo or one of the other many games we have!

  The kids are also dreaming of possibly ice skating on the frozen swamp behind our house or maybe they will end up playing in the foot of snow we just got! We will also enjoy visiting and playing with my baby niece!

  But most of all- it is my hope that our hearts will be turned towards God and be filled with Thankfulness for all that He has done! I want my prayer to be like David's in 1 Chronicles 29:10-13:

""Blessed are You, O Lord God of Israel our father,
forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power
 and the glory and the victory and the majesty,
indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth;
Yours is the dominion, O Lord,
and You exalt Yourself as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
and You rule over all,
and in Your hand is power and might;
and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.
Now therefore, our God, we thank You,
and praise Your glorious name."

 What are your Thanksgiving plans? How do you celebrate? What is a tradition that is important to you?
I would love to hear! I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

This post is part of the “Plan it, Blog it! 2010 Thanksgiving Blog Writing Contest” which is sponsored by UPrinting. The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Target as well as free 250 Greeting Cards. Your comments will help me to win. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!! Thanks so much!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Call to Prayer

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and Thanksgivings,
be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority,
so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
This is good an acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray,
lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension."
1 Timothy 2:1-4,8

What a good reminder verse for this Thanksgiving week! I was trying to figure out what verse I wanted to share this morning and then I happened to read this in my morning devotions. I love it!

God really wants us to spend time in prayer for our leaders and for all people. He also wants us to Give Thanks! Our prayer can help it so we can have a peaceful and godly life where we can serve God and His will can be done. Sometimes I don't think we put enough emphasis on prayer and we forget how very important it is.

So this week let's pray! God wants us to ask for what we need and He also wants our thanks!


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