Category Archives: Crafty

Let there be light


Made this lamp shade today. Well, not entirely today. I traced and cut out the pieces on Sunday while watching Arrested Development. (I love Netflix…)  The picture is from my cell, so it’s not a great one, but it’s the one I have to work with right now.

No, I did not come up with the idea.  If you are interested, go here.  I used simple poster board.  The super cheap stuff.  2 for $1 at the dollar store.  I didn’t want to spend more money on another material until I saw I really loved it.  Now I’ll be heading back for those flexible cutting boards.  Also 2 for $1.  I sense a theme…

Anyway, it is going towards making Quinlan’s play space a well lit and cozy space.  A little paint and sewing is all that’s left…guess I better get to work.


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(No, I don’t know how to pronounce that.)

But, remember that post I did a while back on new beginnings and all?  (It’s okay, I kinda forgot about it, too.)  I’ll obviously not be doing that, because…well, I don’t know why.  Laziness, probably.  (Okay, definitely.)

Well, today that changes.  (Don’t get your hopes up for tomorrow tho.)

I’m sick today.  Summer colds are the worst things ever.  (Okay, I am exaggerating, but they are NO fun.)  So, I have been parked on the couch and hoping the kids find ways to entertain themselves without the need for me to be involved.  Of course, I have a six year old…

And she is beside herself excited about The Mom Jar.  I don’t really want to encourage misbehavior to dip into said jar, so I let her choose something to do, thinking that the odds were that she would get something she would be able to alone.  Without my help or input.

Drumroll, please…

I wasn’t terribly nervous, because this jar is FULL of things she can do by herself.  (Yes, by design.  I’m not stupid.)

And of course…

Of course.

Why wouldn’t it be one of the few she needs me for?

Being the dutiful Mom I am, I made the play dough, pulled out a tray for her to play with it on, and went to sit down, thinking I had at least bought myself a little slice of me-time.

About 5 minutes later, she was asking to pull another slip.

Sigh.  Maybe this whole thing was a bad idea.

Okay, so this isn’t just a nothing post, here is the recipe I used for the play dough:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup water

3 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 cup salt

1 1/2 TBSP cooking oil

Put everything in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes together into a ball.  Turn out and knead to the consistency of “real” PlayDoh.  Then I divide it into pieces and add a few drops of food coloring to one, kneading it in until the color is evenly distributed.   Quin got pink and pale blue play dough because I was too tired for more.

And no pictures, either…for the same reason.

And here’s your inspiration, from the fine site, Nature Moms:

Peanut Butter Playdough


  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • Nonfat dry milk or milk plus flour
  • Cocoa or carob for chocolate flavor (optional)
  • Edible treats for decoration


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix, adding enough dry milk or milk plus flour to reach the consistency of bread dough.
  2. Add cocoa or carob, if desired.
  3. Shape, decorate with edible treats, and eat!

Great fun.  Enjoy.  When I am feeling better I will even put this on a slip in The Jar.

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Mom Jar

I’m known amongst my kids’ friends as the “Strict Mom,” a title I am not altogether unhappy to hold.  (The actual title is probably closer to “Mean Mom”, which is also fine by me, because my kids fear of me is just being reinforced by the opinions of their friends.)  I have no problem whatsoever saying “No.” to my kiddos and meaning it with finality.  My kids also recognize the tone with which I use this particular “No.” and rarely ever try and push me to change my mind once I’ve used it.  That being said, I have GREAT kids who are very well behaved, but they ARE kids and they fight amongst each other.  A lot.

And that gives me a headache.

Which I don’t like.  I also don’t like yelling at them for it, even tho that is my instinct.  (Grew up in a family of yellers.  I come by it honestly.)  And a bit of backstory…I promise this ties in and there is a point…I homeschooled my kids for 4 1/2 years.  This past August, that all changed.  They went back to public school.  And now they are home again for the summer.  Soooo…now I need a way to keep them from fighting too much while we count the days to the next school year.

Enter The Mom Jar.

I’m sure you have all seen those ideas out there for “Boredom Busters” jars.  Cute jars decorated and filled with slips of paper with an activity on them.  There are rules that go along with them depending on the individual family.

Here are mine, as told to my children:  1. If you pull a slip, you MUST complete the task, for at least a half an hour, before pulling another one or complaining again or there will be a loss of privileges you DO like.  2.  If you fight with a sibling and cannot settle things amongst yourselves within 10 minutes, pull a slip and do the task listed, WITH the sibling(s) involved in the argument.  (You only get three slips a day for this one, or you are grounded.)  And be quiet.  3.  If you say “I’m bored!”  or “There’s nothing to do!”, pull a slip.  And be quiet.  4.  If you complain about having to do a chore, take a slip, complete the chore you were complaining about, then complete the task on the slip.  And be quiet.  5.  If Mom says to take one, take one.  And be quiet.

Here’s our starting list of things in the jar:  (You will note lots of fun stuff, and some stuff that is not so fun.  Hopefully the threat of those will keep them from turning to the jar too often.)

Play in the hose/sprinkler

Make a lemonade stand

Do a load of laundry from start to finish

Unload/load the dishwasher

Take the dogs for a walk

Clean out the refrigerator

Pull weeds

Make cupcakes

Make a batch of cookies

Go swimming

Go to the beach

Read a book (turn the TV off!)

Go to the park

Water the plants

Have some family time

Play a board game

Go shoot some baskets

Play baseball in the backyard

Plan a family night

Do a scavenger hunt

Do some schoolwork

Start a journal

Draw some pictures

Go outside and play!

Have an art show

Write a letter to a grandparent

Write a letter to your friends

Play hopscotch

Play with sidewalk chalk

Look at a photo album


Do yoga

Make an obstacle course

Make an indoor fort (using the couch, table, chairs and blankets)

Play a video game

Ride your bike

Play dress up

Go take some pictures

Help plan dinner

Have a picnic

Watch a movie with popcorn

Color some coloring pages


Take out the trash

Clean your room

Organize your toys

Clean the toilets

Clean the windows

Go for a walk

Take a nap

Sweep the floor

Sweep the driveway

Sweep the front walk

Wash and clean out the car

Build with blocks

Build with Legos

Make a treasure map (and hide “treasure”…give the map to someone else to find it!)

Make homemade play dough

Do a jigsaw puzzle

Build a dollhouse out of recycled materials and furnish it too

Learn some origami

Make paper airplanes and have a flying contest

Go to the library

Help Mom with one of her projects

Learn to juggle

Make a collage

Learn to knit

Learn to embroider

Mend things in the mending pile

Straighten up the living room

Straighten up the kitchen

Straighten up the family room

Straighten up the bathrooms

Straighten up the dining room

Clean the back porch

Call and chat with a friend

Go thru your books and pull out some to donate

Go thru your clothes and pull out some to donate

Create a new look with some old clothes

Listen to a cd of your parents (the whole thing!) and tell them what you think

Learn the words to one of your parents favorite songs

Make a music video for one of your favorite songs

Dust the bookshelves

Poop patrol the backyard

Make puppets and put on a puppet show for your other siblings

Play restaurant

Play store

Make a track for Hot Wheels using the entire living room floor

Play a round of American Idol on Expert

Make up your own card game and teach someone how to play

Teach Quinlan how to multiply

Learn how to say basic things in a foreign language (Pretend you are stuck in a country for a week.  What would you need to know how to say?)

Make a fairy/gnome house

Pick a destination and make a travel brochure to convince your parents to take you there

Design, contruct and play your own musical instrument out of recyclables

Plan a Backyard Olympics Day

Teach Brody or Missy a new trick.  (One that won’t get you or the dog in trouble.)

Make bread from scratch

Make a batch muffins and put them in the freezer for busy mornings

Read a book of Mom’s choosing.  Out loud.  To everyone.

Help Mom sort the photos and put them in albums

Make a Christmas List

Make a Christmas present for someone

Make shadow puppets

Make sun prints

Make leaf print cards

Make a stencil for a t-shirt

Play with the Magic Window

Make all the beds in the house

Make a dog toy

Give the dogs a bath

Lost and Found the house

Learn a magic trick

Go thru your toys and pick out some to donate

Spin in circles in the yard

Make smoothies for everyone

Create your own comic book

Pick a part of the yard that will be yours alone and decorate it

Dust all the baseboards in one room

Pick up all the trash outside

Pick up all the fallen branches and sticks in the yard

I’ll add more as I think of them, but for now, they are printed out, cut into strips and living in a vintage jar in the living room.  I’ll let you know if it works.  And if I keep my sanity.

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Photography Assignment

I’m not really one to jump on a blogging assignment bandwagon, but I like the idea of the sense of community it creates.  Anyway, I was reading this blog today and decided to give the Depth of Field thing a go for this week.  (Yeah, I’m late to the party.  Story of my life.)  Depth of field is not something I have much experience with.  I haven’t taken a photography class since high school…when I had my awesome 35mm Nikon…and only recently got a decent digital camera again.  It sorta does the depth of field stuff for me.  So, while I have a basic understanding of how it all works, thanks especially to the refresher course provided by this site, I don’t really have a WORKING understanding of it.  It just sorta seems like magic to me.

This is what I came up with today without actually moving from my spot on the couch.

This is basically the same shot with a difference of zoom only.  But what a difference.

The bottom two are to show the difference between the depth of field.  Pay no attention to the mess on the floor of my living room.

That is all.

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When life hands you t-shirts…

…you make skirts.  Of course.  Duh.

Here’s the process:

Read many blogs.  Find super cute ideas for re-purposing t-shirts, etc. that inspire you so much you actually drag out and dust off the sewing machine that has been lurking in the corner mocking you for not having the drive to actually sew the couch cushion covers.  While you are thinking about what clothes you can pillage to re-purpose them somehow, the girl children decide, oddly, to clean up their clothing dumping ground (aka closet).  Then, this conversation occurs:

–  Eldest Girl Child:  “Mom, I found this shirt and I don’t want it any more, what do you want me to do with it?”  (Y’all saw that hint, too, right??)

– Me:  “Let me see it…hmmm…Oh!  It would make a super cute skirt for you!”

– EGC:  “Uhhhh..sure, Mom.  Whatever.”

– Me:  “I’ll add some ruffles to the bottom.  You’ll wear it, right?”

– EGC:  “With the ruffles…ummmm…I don’t…”

– Me:  “No, no!  The ruffles will be cool, not girly.”

– EGC:  “Maybe…”

– Me:  “You’ll see.”

I don’t have a before picture of the shirt because I cut it up just about immediately.

Simple, simple.  Cut across the top, right under the arms.  Folded down and sewed a channel for an elastic waistband.  Turned some of the scraps were turned into ruffles.  Ba-dow!

Yeah, she’s totally wearing it.  And loves it.

The T-Shirt Skirt

Okay, I’m not done yet tho.  I was so inspired, I made a trip to the thrift store.  They have a rack outside that is a fill-a-bag thing.  That day it was fill a bag for $2.  I got several t-shirts for the EGC to wear, a couple for the YGC (that’s Youngest Girl Child, btw), and this awesome boy shirt I had plans for:

Boy shirt/skirt before


I knew there was no way I could get the YGC to wear this as-is, so the skirt solution was the only way to go.  Partly because I just couldn’t think of anything else to make with it, but mostly because I fell head-over-heels with the border at the bottom and I didn’t want to do anything to disrupt the awesomeness.

I cut straight across the shirt right under the arms.  Then, since it was missing a button down low, I pillaged one from the top scraps and sewed it on.  Sewed the shirt shut on either sides of the button channel.  What the heck is that called?  I know there is a name for it.  It’s going to drive me crazy…brb, going to look it up…PLACKET!!  I *knew* there was a word for it.  Moving on…

Sewed an elastic waistband in at the top and ta-da!  Done and done.  Super cute, too.

But that might just be the model.

Boy shirt/skirt after

After - Close up

She kinda just makes everything cuter.

And that’s all there is to it.  Next up for those surplus t-shirts…PANTS!

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The Great Grey Couch

The Husband came home yesterday early from work.  He was “sick”.  (It isn’t that I don’t believe he was “sick, per se…but he is a bit of a Chicken Little/Boy Who Cried Wolf kinda fella.  He’s “sick” a lot of the time.  And I’m sure it’s not just an allergic reaction to my copious eye-rolling when he informs me of his most recent ailment.  But that would at least explain why he’s “sick” so often.)  While he was home, he happened to ask me when exactly I was going to start on the painting of the couch.

<Insert great, big evil grin.>

“Well, you’re home today.  Why don’t you give me a hand?”  I mean, what else could I say to the challenge he’d extended?  Out came the vacuum (the couch had been on a front porch for 2 years and my back porch for the last 5 months, so it was bit cobwebby…ick), the sander (No big, just to smooth out the grain on the arms and back…remember the porches?  They weren’t completely weatherproof.), the brushes, the primer, the paint and we got to work!

Here’s the before:

couch before


It was just kinda…dated and tired.

Priming took a long time, because I had “help”.



And finally, after one coat of paint:  Ta da!

Couch After

Couch After

Yay!  Now to get to sewing the cushion covers.

I’ll get right on that.  But I have this whole wedding thing happening next week.  People are showing up tomorrow to help put stuff together, so hopefully I will have time to do that after that happens.  Fingers are firmly crossed.

And now, off to clean the house.  Sigh.  I hate cleaning.

*A note on “grey”:  I have a very hard time using the word “gray”  , even tho I am American and have spent very little time out of the country in my life so far.  I figure I am just preparing for my eventual immersion into British life.  Cause it’ll happen someday.  Sigh…someday.

**A note on grammar and punctuation:  Grammar in this blog is not exactly reminiscent of high literature, I know.  I doubt it will ever be my strong point, so if you can wade through the casual nature of my language in these posts, I applaud you.  Also…and this is the biggie…I suck at commas.  I overuse and misuse them to the nth degree.  (And this is nothing compared to my addiction to the ellipsis.  But I can nly make so many apologies in a single blog post.  Oh, you three dots in a simple, tidy row, how I love thee.)  If that bugs your inner punctuation policeman, I heartily apologize, but I doubt that I will make many changes to my blogging in the coming months.  Hopefully you can forgive me and hang in there with me!

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Couch is painted!

Pictures tomorrow after the second coat, but it’s finally painted!  Now to sew the cushion covers…

I really need a time machine.

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