Oct 27, 2011

Blog Bash 2011

 Hey Y'all!
  I'm linking up to a HUGE blog bash put on by Courtney over at Women Living Well.  If you're stopping by from the party, welcome here.  Feel free to poke around and check out some great crafty tutorials and ideas.  If you're a fellow blogger and would like to link up, or you'd like to check out some of the other fantastic blogs that have linked up, just click on the button below.

Anyway, my name is Jen, and I love to be creative!  I'm a wife to a fantastic husband, and a mother to three wildly wonderful children.  I started blogging in January of this year, and I've really enjoyed sharing projects that I've worked on for my home, my family, and my friends. 

Some of my favorite projects to date are the Autumn Welcome Wreath I did just a few weeks ago, 

the Bustles of Love dress I made for my daughter, 

and the gorgeous Butterfly Wreath I made for my daughter's bedroom.

Thank you so much for stopping by and looking around!

Be blessed,

Make Your Own Household Cleaners

Sometimes when I sit down to write a blog post I draw a big, fat, blank.  I know what I'm going to write about, I just don't know how to start.  Today is one of those days.  Oh well, I suppose the best thing would be to just get to it! 

One thing I really dislike spending money on is cleaners.  They're expensive, they're potent, and they are not child friendly.  With three little ones of my own here at home, child friendly is pretty important to me!  And, chances are you've got everything you need in your kitchen cupboards to mix up a recipe of household cleaner in just a couple of minutes.  

Here are a few recipes for cleaners I've tried and loved using in my home:

All Purpose Cleaner:
(I use this for scrubbing down my bathroom, my kitchen sink and counters, wiping down appliances, and really any general mess that I come upon in my home.  I got the recipe here.)

1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cups water

Mix the liquid dish soap, baking soda and water in a clean plastic spray bottle, then add the vinegar so you don't get a massive fizzy science experiment going on.

Glass Cleaner:
(I've been using this recipe for all my windows and mirrors for a couple of years now.  I got the recipe from my wonderful friend Rachel.)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap
2 cups water

Mix all the ingredients in a clean plastic spray bottle.  When using, lightly spray the mirror/window, wipe it down with a clean dry rag, then with another clean, dry rag, dry the window.  It take a little elbow grease sometimes, but the finished product is great, and it's a safe glass cleaner to keep in your home.

I'm still looking for a great toilet cleaner recipe...but haven't found anything that I really like to use.  If I find "the one" I'll be sure to share!  The only thing that I didn't love about these recipes right off the bat is that even after all my scrubbing and cleaning, things didn't smell fresh and clean like they do when you use store bought cleaners.  That's simply because there are no perfumes in any of the above recipes.  If you just can't get past the lack of "Mountain Top Fresh" scented cleaners, you can always add a couple of drops of any scented essential oils that you can find in most health food stores.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Be blessed,

Oct 25, 2011

{Three Things} Autumn Edition

I tried something new the other day.

I canned salsa.

Wow, was it ever a lot of work, more than I anticipated.  By the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted.  My back hurt, my feet hurt, and I smelled...salsa-y.

Also by the end of the day I had a counter full of popping salsa jars, what a beautiful sound!  This was my very first time actually canning something, following the canning rules.  I heated, I boiled, I poured, wiped, and processed. 

And now I'm just so dang proud of myself.

I learned a lot, and I'll do a few things differently next year, but I'm already scheming about the different things I'd like to try and a few tweaks I'd make to the recipe I followed.

{Looking Forward}

Has anyone else started the hunt-and-gather dance in preparation for Christmas?

I've slowly been planning and preparing and I've got lots more to do.  I'm trying to take a more organized approach to Christmas this year, and not scramble to finish in the last week before all the festivities begin

I think I might even do a bit of Christmas baking this year.  I usually don't bother since there are so many treats every which way a girl turns, and I don't want to be stuck eating it all!  I think it would be fun to do some special Christmas baking with the kids, though.  I remember dipping chocolates with my mom as a little girl, and I'd love to do the same with my own children.


Something about this time of year brings an odd desire out in me.

It happens each year, later in autumn.  Suddenly I am flooded with the desire to learn how to cross stitch.  Don't make fun of me

I think this might just be the year that I finally give in and give it a try.  I'm excited about this, and I'll be sure to keep you all up to date on my cross stitching adventures!

Well those are my {three things} that have been on my mind, what are yous?

Be blessed,

Oct 19, 2011

Jet Pack Racer Costume

How can it be October 20th?  Really, how has this happened?  The end of the month is fast approaching and I am slowly getting costumes done for these kids of mine.  Thankfully, Boden's costume took only a few minutes here and there throughout my day, and it's pretty much done.  Phew!

Ever since I saw this awesome idea (originally from Been There, Pinned That)on Pinterest, I knew I had to make one of these coke bottle jet packs for Boden.  They're so simple, quick to put together, and so much fun to play with...er, I mean, for kids to play with.

"Moosie" from Been There, Pinned That has a pretty straight forward tutorial, and my fancy little jet pack was completed in no time!  I did do a couple of little things differently from her tutorial.  

#1. I used ginger ale bottles...because I had one empty ginger ale one on hand already and then we'd only have to drink one other bottle of pop instead of two to get the cool coke bottles.

#2. I didn't prime my pop bottles first.  I did a trial run on one of the bottles, removing the label then very lightly spraying the bottle with regular Krylon spraypaint...not even the fancy stuff made for plastic.  
#3. I didn't use crepe paper, I used tissue paper that I cut into strips.  I also didn't glue my flames around the bottle caps, I used a sharp knife to punch a hole through the bottle cap, then twisted the top end of my flames together, secured it with a twist tie, and fed that part through the hole in the bottle caps.  It's plenty snug and easy to replace should the flames get torn up.

I used Krylon's metallic all purpose spraypaint in Brilliant Silver.  I applied four super light coats of the paint.  Be sure to remove the bottle cap while you're spraying the bottle, I don't know why, but while I was spraying the bottle with the lid still on, it started to buckle.  When I removed the lid the bottle returned to it's regular shape.  Weird.

And from there on out I followed Moosie's tutorial.  I added the black strap around the jet pack purely for decoration and to make it look...jet pack-y.  Ready to see my finished product?  

Bo was t-h-r-i-l-l-e-d!

And when I asked him how fast his jet pack could make him go, he had absolutely no problem showing me!


And he was back again in a flash of light.

The great thing about using this jet pack for Bo's halloween costume is that it's easy to get on and off, it's not too bulky, he can wear warm clothing under it, and it's so him!

So what are you making for halloween costumes this year?  I don't think I'm even going to make one for Judson...I've got a costume his size from when Bo was a little guy.  I guess that means I'm done!  Hooray!  

I hope you're having a wonderful week!

Be blessed,

I'm linking up!

Oct 18, 2011


Generally my house is okay, it might be a little messy here and there, but nothing too extreme.  But I've been getting overwhelmed lately, I feel like I've been white-knuckling my way through the last number of months.  Just holding on as tight as I can to maintain some semblance of control and organization.  I h-a-t-e feeling that way.

I despise how embarrassed I get when someone unexpectedly drops by and my house is in shambles. 
I loathe the feeling of always cleaning, but never getting anything done. 
I am disgusted by the topsy-turvy organization that's taken over my home. 

And so, a month ago, with the encouragement of a dear friend, I started following the FlyLady method on keeping a clean home and an organized life.

After dipping my toes into the FlyLady way, starting with her Beginner BabySteps, I started to see a difference in my home, and my attitude.  FlyLady is a method of cleaning and organizing your home, taking one small step at a time, cleaning in zones, and keeping a simple routine.  It's simple and straight forward, and I like it. 

To be perfectly honest, the first time I stopped by her website, I got totally overwhelmed and discouraged.  It seemed like a lot of information, and I didn't know how to properly utilize it.  But with a little encouragement from my friend to just get started with the babysteps, not get caught up in perfection, and to give it a try, I dove in. 

And now, over a month later, I've completed the Beginner BabySteps, and am learning how to clean my home efficiently and effectively.  It's great!  I didn't tell Zach when I started, and he's noticed a major difference in our home, not only with the cleanliness-factor, but with my attitude.  I'm more easy going, and he's enjoying that. 

If you've struggled with a messy house and a disorganized way of tackling it, I'd strongly suggest giving the FlyLady method a try, what's there to lose?

Thanks for stopping in today!  

Be blessed,

Oct 13, 2011

Robot Ballarina Costume

Is it just me or has October been flying by, far too fast?  Suddenly it's October 13th and I haven't got one costume done...time to get a move on!  

Addie is not the girliest of little girls.  Perhaps it's because she has no sisters, perhaps it's because her big brother is constantly playing racing, super hero's, or racing super hero's and she just gets sucked into the hubbub, or maybe that's just her.  Whatever it is, I'm fine with her tom-boyish-ness.  I like that she can hardly contain herself when I pull out a new dress for her to wear, and I equally like her excitement over playing cars with Boden.  In fact, this morning at breakfast she refused to answer to her name, she was only "X-Girl" and she had her angry eyebrows on to prove it!  And so, in the perfect marriage of pure boy and super girlie, her costume this year will be a Robot Ballarina!  Perfection, I tell you!

Before I get to the fun part, I've got a quick disclaimer for you:  I was not very good at taking step by step pictures as I made her costume.  By "not very good" I mean, I didn't take any.  Oops.

I started by cutting armholes and a curve for her next in a cardboard box.  I made sure that when I cut the armholes, I cut them on the generous side so she can wear something nice and warm under her costume.  Some years Halloween gets pretty chilly here, north of the border. 

  I covered the robot bodice with plain, 100% cotton broadcloth that I'd had from a previous project.  I used hot glue to secure the fabric to the box...no need to get too fancy here. 

Then I cut l-o-o-o-ng strips of white tulle, and ruffled them using just a needle and thread...I didn't feel like hauling out my sewing machine.  Then I attached the ruffled tulle to the bottom edge of Addie's robot costume using hot glue.

Then I added buttons and labelled their purposes, and added some cute robot-y details.

The buttons read: On/Off, Jump, Dance, Twirl
The dial reads: Sweet, Cute, Extra Cute, Dangerously Cute

And here is the finished product:

All in all, I put her costume together in one nap time (score!) and she's super excited about her sweet costume!

What kind of costumes are you whipping up for Halloween?

Be blessed,

I'm Linking Up!

Oh!  And one last thing!  If you're here as a first time visitor, I'd love for you to become a follower of my blog by hitting the "Join This Site"  button on the right sidebar.  Also, feel free to find me on facebook via the buttons at the top of the right sidebar. 

Oct 10, 2011

A Quick Question

Okay, I've got a quick question to put out there for my fellow bloggers:

 I'm thinking of starting a link party here on I Can't Stop Crafting.  If I would do that, would any of you participate, and what kind of party would you like to see?

I really enjoy linking up to parties, and would love to host one of my own...I'm just unsure it there would be interest out there.  Thoughts?  I'd love to hear 'em!

Church Nursery Printables

Hello People!  If you're a fellow Canadian, I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!  If you are not a Canadian, I hope your weekend was also excellent, and that you're looking forward to celebrating thanksgiving in just a few weeks.  Our weekend was great, filled with good food, friends, and family, as well as a few twists and turns to keep things exciting.

Each Sunday, my home church offers a supervised nursery program where parents can drop off their little ones and go focus on the church service.  My dear friend, Racheal, yes that is how she spells her name, is coordinating this program.  

After seeing a couple of my printables, like this, and this, Racheal asked me if I'd put together a few printables to hang in the church nursery.  Of course, I'm thrilled to help her out!  Racheal sent me a series of basic Bible beliefs that I've grouped into four different printables, ready to trim and pop into an 8 x 10 frame and display.

I kept the printables super simple with just a white background so I could print them out on patterned scrapbook paper.  And of course, what fun is it to make a printable and keep it to myself?  Feel free to print and share!

Here's what I came up with:

Click here for the printable version
Click here for the printable version
Click here for the printable version

Click here for the printable version

Once I settled on some suitable paper, I cut it to size, printed out the nursery hangings, trimmed them and placed them in 8x10" frames.  Here is the finished product:

I just popped them up on my picture ledge in my kitchen for the shot above.  Once they're hung in the nursery I'll snap another shot and share it here.

Have a wonderful week, enjoy each day!

Be blessed,

Oct 5, 2011

Wax Dipped Leaves

I know I've been on quite the fall decorating kick lately, I'm almost done, I promise.  While I do enjoy the promise of spring, and sunny joy that summer brings, I'll always be an autumn kind of girl.  The colors, the smell in the air, the warm days and cool nights, it's all good.  So when autumn does roll around, I try to soak it up and bring it into my home.  

Exhibit A: wax dipped leaves strung across my living room window.

I saw the idea here on Martha Stewart quite some time ago, and have just been waiting for the leaves to turn so I can preserve them in their autumnal glory.

So during the afternoon a couple of days ago, Bo, Addie and myself took a stroll through our backyard and down the street looking for bright leaves.

We collected as many different shapes and colors as we could find within a reasonable walking distance.

Then I took my big block of wax that I've had for years and cut it into smaller pieces.  The kids helped me out by putting all the pieces in a small pot, and we put it over a medium-high element.  Once the wax was completely melted and clear, it was time to dip the leaves.  Oh, you may want to use a pot that's not near and dear to your heart...the wax was pretty difficult to clean out of my pot.  Thankfully I used one that was pretty beat up already.

The kids took turns pinching each leaf stem with my (cheap-o) kitchen tongs, dipping the leaf into the wax, letting it drip off for a few seconds, dipping it again, then laying them out on a sheet of waxed paper to let the wax set.  I don't think you'd need to dip them twice, we just wanted to.

Once the wax has firmed up, the leaved are perfectly preserved...fun, huh?

We kept dipping and dripping and laying the leaves out until the table was cleared.

On a quick side note, be sure your wax stays hot enough. When the wax starts to cool it gets cloudy and clumpy as you dip the leaves in...see?

That's just not nearly as pretty as when the wax is clear and smooth.  But don't sweat it, just pop your wax back on the element and it'll heat back up in no time.

Once we were done dipping and the wax was set, I took a sewing needle and some strong thread and strung up the leaves to display across our living room window.

I love the way the sun shines through the leaves in the mid-afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed today's post, I think it's the last fall themed post I'll do.  Now I'd really better get started on some costumes for the kids, halloween will be here in no time at all!

Be blessed,

I'm linking up!

Oct 4, 2011

Blogging: The Prequel {Part 1}

As I was walking through my house the other day, I was noticing projects I worked on and completed before this blog ever was.  I thought it might be fun to do a little series of posts that show some of the things I made for my home before I blogged.  

Today's post will be all about autumn touches I added to my home over the last few years.  Since I made these all before starting to blog, there are no step-by-step pictures, no tutorial...but let's get real, the projects just aren't that hard!

Last fall I sewed up this autumn inspired wall hanging.  I sewed together squares of fabric, then appliqued hand cut leaves on top.  This hangs in the doorway leading into our living area, and I just love it, it's so warm and welcoming.

There are fabric pumpkins floating all over the blog world.  When I saw these ones though, I knew I wanted to try them for myself.  I followed the simple tutorial from Thompson Family Blog

There's an odd spot above my kitchen window that cries out for some kind of seasonal decor.  So last year I put together this fall swag.  It's simple and bright, and adds the perfect splash of fall color to my kitchen.

And lastly, I painted these "give thanks" blocks to fill in an autumn spread.  Their distressed faces add just the right touch of charm to my piano display.  I think I might paint something else on the other side of the blocks, so I can use 'em twice and only have to store 'em once!  Now I just have to think of something suitable with 10 letters.

And that's part one of my before blogging days!

Be blessed,