Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Time to update on some of my favorite projects!

This one is probably my favorite I've EVER done. Not sure if the kids like it as much right now just because it's still WAY TOO HOT outside! Stupid 100 degree temperatures in JUNE. And here I thought I moved AWAY from St. George. Oh well! It could be worse. I could actually be in St. George. Where they're hitting 115. Sorry Mom. But that's just horrible.

Anyway. On to the project.

I found these plans at Have I ever mentioned how much I love her? She's amazing and one of my inspirations in life.

Anyway, enough gabbing. On to the pictures!

 Here's the platform as it stood at the end of the first day.
 And here are the four walls all up at the end of the third day.

 My sweet little one had to pose. Can you tell she's taking a dance class? This is the "pop it" pose as she calls it.

 I was working SO hard to get the roof on, but the wind was blowing like CRAZY that day, so I was only able to get the rafters up. I had to wait two whole days to get back to work on it!
 But it finally got there. Phew! But then I didn't have a roofing blade for my utility knife, so this is how the play set sat for a while. Until my darling husband got up to fix it. I still need to go take some pictures of it now that it's almost done, but we still need to get the top shingles up and then paint the whole thing. But I also really want to put some shelves in the windows so little hands don't get slivers.

Let's be honest here, shall we? I actually have about a thousand other things I want to do before I'll call the whole thing finished. But let's enjoy some more pictures before I list those, shall we?

So here's the current to-do list:

  • Paint the house blue.
  • Paint the trim white
  • Add shelves to the windows
  • Add window boxes to all three windows
  • Stain the deck, railing, and ramp with some kind of sealer
  • Add a mailbox to the bottom of the ramp
  • Add a can phone to be used from the house to the sandbox
  • Weed out the whole surrounding area
  • Line the sandbox and fill it with sand (possible gravel instead -- we'll see how much work I want to have after playtime)
  • Add stone tic tac toe set outside of sandbox
  • Add tiled hopscotch outside of sandbox
  • Figure out some kind of cover for the sandbox
  • Paint the inside of the house with chalkboard paint and buy chalk for drawing inside
  • Cover the ceiling inside the playhouse so kids don't play with all the roofing nails.
  • Cover ground surrounding the whole play set with rubber mulch
  • Add swing set to the south side of the platform
  • Sit back and enjoy the silly thing! (And quit daydreaming of all the fun things I can do! Just imagine twinkle lights all around the bottom of the platform, some kind of pillow mattress for each of the kids to sleep outside, toy boxes to store all the sandbox toys...the list keeps growing!!!)
Do you ever feel like projects just NEVER end! My goodness! There's so much to do!

But at least the kids seem to like it. Maybe. If it weren't so hot.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I thought I'd post some pictures of my playroom. A little history on my house, first. We bought our house from my in-laws. This is the very house my husband grew up in. When my in-laws purchased the house, the basement was unfinished. Over the 22 years my in laws owned the house, they gradually started finishing things off. First off downstairs was my husband's old bedroom (now our oldest son's bedroom). Then the bathroom, and then the playroom. But for them it wasn't a playroom. It was a full apartment for my husband's oldest brother and his wife while my husband was on his mission. It was pretty much a rectangular room with carpet and your basic dover white paint on the walls. Nothing wrong with that, but it was just not working for me as a playroom. But, I'll be honest, I'm lazy and we're cheap, so nothing was done to really change it up for the first 9 years we lived here. Then our basement flooded. And the insurance company was willing to pay a set amount and I could do as much or as little of the work as I wanted. If I chose to do it myself, they said I could use any extra money to fix things up a little more. Well, sheesh! Twist my arm! So the kids are now starting to get their dream playroom. It's so much nicer.

This is the only picture I could find of the playroom before we fixed it up. Can you tell how much we liked it? At least it was fun.
Here's one side of the room post-remodel. We made an entertainment center out of three IKEA bookshelves and put lots of fun baskets.
I painted these fun trees and put on fabric circles for the obvious holes. I attached the fabric circles with a cornstarch mix.
And here's our fun new window! The kids are loving it. We still need to finish off the rest of the room under the stairs, but otherwise it's still lots of fun!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Picture Frame

One of the most liberating things I've ever done was telling a framing store to stuff it. Well, I didn't really do that. I'm not mean, after all, but I did refuse to spend that much money on a frame that I could build on my own. I was intimidated by it, but now that I've done it? Easy peasy!

Here's how it's done:
Buy 10' of moulding (whatever you think would look like an awesome picture frame -- my theory: the thicker the better -- at least 3" for me, please!)

Figure out how big you want your frame to be (I was framing an 18x24" picture, so I made my frame 17.5"x23.5" so the frame would cover 1/4" of my picture on each side).

Miter the end of your moulding to 45 degrees (you can buy a miter box at Home Depot for $5 and just use a hand saw to do this part -- not super hard, but your arms will get way tired!). Now, where the point comes in (the obtuse angle, if you want to be technical), measure one length of your frame from there. I measured down 17.5". Mark it with your pencil.

Line up that dot with a point on your cutting line in your miter box. Make sure you're holding on really tight and start sawing there, again at 45 degrees, but this time going the opposite direction. (If this part doesn't make much sense, go look at a picture frame to see what it looks like.)

Repeat for all four sides of your frame.

Put a little bit of wood glue in between the corners (start with one corner at a time). Use a square to make sure the corner is, well, square. Then hammer in some finishing nails into each side of the corner. Repeat with all four corners. If you are cool enough to have a corner clamp, use one to make sure the corners stay super tight while they're drying. I also stapled my corners with my staple gun to help secure it.

Sand the whole thing down to make sure it's all nice and smooth. Fill in any holes or your corners with wood putty to make sure it has a nice smooth finish. Then stain it with your favorite color of stain (or paint it or just leave it if you want).

When I finished it, I taped my picture in place and stapled a piece of cardboard over the whole back of it.
My husband and I thought it was so cool that we totally had to take pictures while holding it. Cheesy cool, right?
Here's the corner. The wood filler didn't want to take the stain quite as well, but I still love it!
Here's the whole picture!
And in the room. The temple picture is by Keli B Photography. She has amazingly reasonable prices. I got my beautiful Jordan River Temple print for $40 and it was here within a week.

Benches and Storage Crate

So I have this huge seating issue in my family room. One wall is covered with windows, another is covered in a piano, and a third wall is covered with these weird archways (an entry and two little windows). The other wall just has this little love seat/hide-a-bed thing. So, in all, the seating in that room consists of one love seat and a wing back chair (poorly reupholstered by me a while ago).

IKEA to the rescue! You know those cheapy little LACK tables they sell? They're like $8 right now. Well, I love them. One day, I was browsing through one of my favorite blogs and saw a table that I swear was just two of those LACK tables put together. That got me to thinking: I wonder just how tall those things are? Are they sturdy enough to support an adult sitting on them?

Well, I got my answers. Yes! They are sturdy! And, they're about the same height as a kitchen chair. So, perfect for seating, right? I just wanted them a little bit longer, but was too cheap to buy the longer ones. So I just bought two for each bench, screwed a piece of wood to the bottom and glued the two tables together. Perfect bench! I wanted to snaz it up just a smidge more, so I found these great cheap little faux-fur rugs from IKEA, put them on top so it padded the seat just a smidge, and put on some pillows for back support. I did one for each of the archway windows. I think it turned out great!

Oh yeah! See those fun little crates underneath the tables? I built those out of some pallets my kids' elementary school let me have. The plans were actually for a floating nightstand, but I thought they'd look great as crates to store toys and books and such in my living room. Can't beat free, right? And it's helped with picking up clutter immensely!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Church Bags

I'm all about fun homemade Christmas presents right now. I'm also kind of big in wanting my kids to be quiet at church. Put the two together, and you get today's idea. Fun church bags that you can fill with crayons, paper, little toys, or whatever it takes to help keep your kids happy at church or on long road trips.

Materials needed:
1/2 yard of two different fabrics
1/4 yard of low loft batting (I actually just cut up some old flannel baby blankets my baby doesn't like)
1 button
sewing machine
erasable Fabric marker

Cut list:
1 -- 11"x18" -- each fabric (one for inside and one for outside)
2 -- 11"x18" -- batting
2 -- 11"x3" -- fabric and batting (handles)
2 -- 11"x8" -- outside fabric (inside pocket)
1 -- 5"x2" -- strap to slip around button
2 -- 8"x6" -- inside fabric (outside pocket)

Put one piece of batting on the wrong side of each piece of fabric (for inside and outside).

Use one outside pocket piece and attach a button.

Using the outside pocket squares, sew them together with right sides facing. Leave a little gap (about 2 inches) from the final edge. Turn the whole thing inside out and sew 1/8" all the way around the edges. Pin to outside fabric close to upper edge (about 2"). Sew in place leaving top part (closest to edge of outside fabric) open to create a pocket.

Sew your inside pocket pieces together. Just sew the top and bottom edges together, then turn the whole thing inside out.

Fold the inside pocket in half and either iron it or just use your fingernail to create a slight fold to show where the halfway point is. Do the same thing with your inside piece of fabric. Line up the folds and pin in place (through the pocket, the fabric, and the batting). Mark the middle fold with your fabric marker just so you can know where the middle is.

Now, with your ruler, measure along one side of the inside pocket marking every inch (only go to the halfway line that you just marked). This will be the slots for your crayons or pencils. I marked mine on the outside part of the pocket and again on the halfway line then drew a straight line between the two dots. You should get 10 lines. Sew straight along these lines. (Just turn your fabric around when you get to the end of a line, but don't sew between the lines.)

Next up, handles. Put one piece of batting one the wrong side of each handle. Fold in half lengthwise (so that the fabric folds in on itself and you'll end up sewing on the batting). Sew a straight line creating a tube. Turn the tube inside out (I used a safety pin and just fed it through to the other end). Pull your seam a little just to make sure it lays smooth. Sew a straight line right down the middle of your handle (lengthwise). Repeat with the second handle.

Attach your handles to the inside fabric. I found the middle of each of my ends and moved it out about 2" from there. Be sure to put your handles so the curved part goes to the inside of the fabric (toward the middle line).

Fold your strap fabric in half lengthwise (same way you did with your handles). Turn it right side out. Pull seam just a little to smooth it and zigzag stitch all the way down the middle.

Pin the right sides of your inside and outside together (making sure the handles and the strap are all on the inside!). Sew all the way around leaving a little opening on one side (about 3-4"). Turn the entire thing right side out, pull your seams a little to make it smooth and sew 1/8" from the edge all the way around (make sure to turn the opening in just a little bit).

Now, sew down that halfway line that you marked earlier (on the inside pocket). Trim threads and you're done!

Sorry I didn't have pictures of the whole process. I'm kind of one of those girls that can't be bothered with a camera in the middle of a project, but once it's all done I want to show the whole thing off, so here you go!

This is the inside of my 3 year old's. I didn't get the whole pencil slot thing when I was making this one, but I love the pattern contrasts with this fabric!
Here's my oldest's bag. See, I figured out how to do the button and pocket and everything!
I should have filled the pockets with pencils and stuff, but you get the picture.
Here's one for my oldest boy. My husband says it's too girly, but I think it looks great!
And here they all are in all their glory!

*Edited -- I totally forgot to give credit where credit is due! I got the instructions/idea for these from my friend Aubrey. She does some amazing sewing projects. Thanks!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Arm Warmers

Sorry for the hiatus for a long time! I got kinda frustrated trying to figure out how to do scheduled posts, then got super busy with school starting, sick kids, etc (you know, life stuff. Hence the reason I wanted to figure out scheduled posts).

But, I'm back on track, and oh man! do I have some fun projects to share!

This first one is one I found on They have tons of fun ideas, so I didn't link up to the actual post with these arm/leg warmers. The instructions are just so easy, why bother, right?

All you do to make these is head to Target and get the great super long socks from the women's department. I think I paid like $1.40 per pair.

Then, get out your scissors and cut them just above the heel. And guess what? You're done! The first time you put them on, they'll kinda curl up a little bit on the raw edge, thereby making it look finished.
I tried this pair on to make sure it would roll nicely and it looks great!

I'm planning on using three pairs of these for my 3 year old as leg warmers and the other 3 pairs will be for my 8 year old as arm warmers. I'll have to post pictures of them wearing them after Christmas, because these babies are going in the secret stash closet until then!

Hope you like them!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Food Storage Analyzer

So, I've been trying to be good and think about food storage lately. I just kinda want to have something on hand for the "what if" moments, you know? But, I have to be honest. Food storage is kind of daunting to me. I mean, I have four kids, my husband, and myself. And our cat, of course. Can't forget her!

When you think about having to store food for that many people, it's kind of overwhelming! Just think about how much food we eat in one year!

Well, I'm trying to get better. But, the question is, how to start? There almost seems to be like three different schools of thought when it comes to food storage. There's the traditionalist that wants to have enough wheat on hand to last through the millenium. There's the minimalist that wants to have just three months supply of your basic canned foods. You know, the kind of stuff you use every day that is almost like an overflow of your pantry.

Then there's the extremist who focuses mostly on emergency supplies. Well, I guess extremist isn't the right word. Let's just say this is the one that always has a year's supply of toilet paper, bandaids, and tampons. Oh, and their 72-hour kits. Lots of those.

I'm trying to decide what kind of food storage person I want to be. I think the perfect method is to somehow combine all three. To be sure you have the stuff that's going to last you forever, to be sure you have your three month of things you use all the time, and to have all your extra emergency supplies. Oh, and let's not forget water storage.

Wow. I think I'm getting overwhelmed again.

But, there are a couple of great websites that I think will help get me started! One is called Food Storage Made Easy. I REALLY like how they lay everything out. They give you 10 Baby Steps to get you going. It definitely made it less scary for me.

One other website I love is called I feel like this is the website for those of us that have started to build our food storages without really knowing what we were doing. They tell you all about what you have (with nutritional content) and where you're lacking. I've been entering everything I have in food storage into their system for the last little while and it's been fun to see the number of days go up saying how long we could last with our food storage. Sadly, we're only at 18.12 days so far, but I still haven't entered any of our wheat or dinner storage (I have all of mine organized based on meals for now). I think that's going to get us up to at least a month. Maybe?

Honestly, I do have a decent start. I have some beautiful shelves that we inherited when we bought our house. I have lots of grains and I know how to use them (VERY important when starting to think long term storage). And I'm adding a few things each time I go shopping.

How about you guys? How's your supply coming?