Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How I Do It


I am often asked, "how do you do it?", how do I find the time to do the things I love, to sew, knit, crochet, bake, all while parenting my 3 kids.
I have no secret abilities, I can not fly around the world, make it spin backwards and give myself more time in the day (yep... superheros reign all my thoughts!), but I do have a few tricks that make my life a bit easier and allow me to find time to do the things I enjoy in addition to raising a family.

1. I stay home. While being a full time mom is no easy task it does mean that I don't need to come home from a long day dealing with other peoples problems, feed my family, deal with any possible family dramas, clean the house, tuck my kids into bed, do laundry, and then find the energy or desire to work on something other then my dreams. I can easily find a minute or two during the day to sew a quilt panel, knit or crochet a row of something or glue down some pictures in a photo journal. I can bake at 10am instead of 10pm and clean up at noon instead of midnight. While my day is still only 24 hours, how I spend those hours are a bit more flexible then they would be if I worked outside the home.

2. I set goals and I plan. We've established at this point that I am an over planner but in this case I think that is one of my strengths. I set out weekly goals (sew ___ quilt squares, finish the cowl I've been working on, decide on pictures for the journals etc) and then I plan how and when I will work on these goals so I will be successful in completing them.

3. I follow a schedule. This could probably be tied into my planning, but our family is pretty well based around schedules. After I had Zac I realized how important it was/is for my sanity to work off a schedule. I realize scheduling isn't for everyone, believe me plenty of people have teased me about it, but I need to know that at 1:30pm each day I will get a break due to nap time; or if everyone is grumpy at 3pm it could be because I forgot snack. Knowing what to expect everyday also allows for me to plan some crafty intervention times during a nap time or at the table while the kids eat their lunches/snack.

4. I prioritize. Everyone has priorities in life, creating and loving my family are mine and I will always allow/find time to do those things. Having a spotless kitchen or a tidy living room are usually not a priority for me, while we do tidy our house, I will always opt to "wait until tomorrow" to wash that pot or clean up after the kids if it allows me 10-20 minutes extra in front of my sewing machine, reading a book with my kids or alone with my mister.

5. I keep all my supplies out and easily accessible. It is so much easier to find 5-10 minutes to work on something and if I am going to spend those 5-10 minutes pulling out all my scrapbooking/journaling supplies then it's not going to get done. If I keep all my stuff in say a basket or on a shelf that I only need to pluck something off of, then when I find the time to work on a project I will work on the project, not getting ready to work on it.

6. I married a very supportive guy. My mister really is an awesome man and he knows that I need time to create, food or items, to be happy. He will almost always watch the kids to allow me a few minutes to finish something I'm working on, or get to a point that I am happy to leave it for a few hours. He's just as proud once I finish a project as I am, not sure I could ask for more.

There you have it. No tricks, no special powers - that's how I do it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apple Cider

There is something about apple cider that screams holidays. It could be the cinnamon, it could be the cloves, it could be the warmth. Either way, it's warm, cozy, comforting and wonderful.
I have had a hankering (yes I said hankering) for weeks for a nice warm mug of cider but if my grocery store carries it they have moved it into the hidden section. I searched high and low with an intense determination and then decided that I would have to make my own cider in order to fulfill my cider wanting needs this year. It's a bit sweeter then traditional cider but oh so delicious!

Apple Cider

2 cans apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 1/2 cups water *
3 clementine oranges, sliced
4 (2inch) sticks cinnamon
60 whole cloves

Put everything into a pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. Pour into a mug and snuggle under a blanket - the holiday's have begun!

*water amount can easily be increased to 4 cups if you find the cider too sweet.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Musical Monday: Mumford and Sons - I Will Wait

I shared this one a little bit ago. But I made you travel to go and see it since I couldn't link it properly... I have since figured out how to get the video here for your viewing ease... we'll just leave out how uncomplicated it turned out to be!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bits 'n' Pieces


This week has included infected wisdom teeth, baby immunizations (resulting in a very grumpy baby), top bunk early morning vomiting, bags of new hand me down clothes - for both the boys and Charlotte (yay!), domino superhero houses, a growing pile of books to read and a minute of "me" time to try my hand at spinning yarn.
It's had its ups and downs but it was another good one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Easy Sew Tote Bag

It's been a super long time since I did a little DIY "how to" so I thought I'd break the crafty silence and show you how to make a super easy to sew tote bag!
First you'll need fabric, scissors and a sewing machine, quilting batting is optional as well.
Decide how big you want your bag to be and cut 2 pieces of your exterior fabric and 2 of your interior. I made mine 18.5" x 19.5". Also cut two long strips of each fabric for your straps, mine were 24" long by 2.5" wide. Now sew your bag together (no pictures of this part sorry...)!
Lay the exterior fabric, right sides together and stitch along 3 sides, leaving the top open. Do the same with the interior fabric.
To finish the corners of the bag and to form a bit of a bottom, fold the corner of the bag so that the side seam lines up with the bottom seam, pin in place (measure how far in the pins are placed as you will be doing this on both sides of the bag to both exterior and interior pieces) and sew.
Cut the excess fabric (the triangle part) and turn the exterior fabric right side out. Now stuff the interior bag into the exterior bag (if using the batting be sure to do all the steps above with the batting, creating a bag out of the batting and then layer that bag between the interior and exterior pieces.)
Fold the top of the fabrics over 1/4-1/2 an inch and press so they lay flat. Set the bag aside so we can work on the straps!
Sew an interior and exterior piece, right sides together, down one long side, across the short and then up the other long, leaving one short end open. Using a knitting needle turn the strap right sides out and press. Totally an optional step but, top stitch down the long sides of the straps.
Tuck the straps into the top of the bag pieces just assembled and pin like a mad person! Do this on both sides and then top stitch around the entire bag.
Done and done!
This is my standard bag "how to" and I can usually pound out a bag in about an hour. You can also fancy it up as much as you would like. I quilted panels and made bags for my boys using left over ribbon as the straps!

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I have always wanted to be a runner... but I am so very much not a runner.

Every year a town a little over from ours has a 10k race in the summer and this year I have decided I am going to do it!
My sister in law is quite the runner so I contacted her and she gave me this plan to start. I'm only on week 3 now, and still really not a fan of running, but I have seen huge improvement in my ability.
So... what do you say? Run with me and we'll do this crazy notion of a 10k in 8 months together?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Musical Monday: Phillip Phillips - Home

I heard this song awhile back and loved it. Then forgot about it. Then heard it again, loved it again then forgot about it again. Then heard it again and had to share it before I forgot again!
Happy Monday!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bits 'n' Pieces

Not too much to report this week. It's been rainy and dark out but a nice week none the less. We put the boys bunk beds together a bit earlier then we expected which meant I was able to give them their quilts. They were a huge hit! I love how special it makes the boys feel when I make them something, and I love how much they appreciate the work that goes into making something like that for them. Zac has not stopped thanking us since we finished putting the bed together and gave him his quilt. He actually got a little choked up and teary eyed when he was thanking us the first time. Such a sweet little man he is. I have started running again... boo to pregnancy weight! So much easier putting it on then taking it off! The boys planted apple seeds and we finally got a decent shot of Miss C smiling.
Hope you had a great week!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Panel Rag Quilt

The very first quilt I ever made was a rag quilt. I cut many pieces of fabric into squares, did the same with quilting batting, made little batting sandwiches with fabric on either side and sewed each square together with the seams exposed. I was so excited about it during the snipping phase (snipping slits into the exposed seams), and while it washed and then oh so dissapointed once it finished and I realized that the instructions I had been following had you cut the batting the same size as the fabric pieces... this meant that the finished product had bits of batting sticking out between all the ruffly goodness of the different fabric squares.
I do still love rag quilts though, they just seem so worn and comfy. When I saw the idea of making the quilt in strips instead of squares I was sold. Reading over the instructions I found here I was in complete awe, using flannel instead of quilting batting? Brilliant! I whipped this sucker up in about 2 days. I really think you could do it in a night if you had the time to dedicate to it. It's super simple and lovely and warm.
You can find tutorials all over the internet for quilts like this so I didn't do one up, but this one is a good one.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Eli's Quilt

It finally happened.
I finished Eli's superhero quilt.

The boys will be moving into bunk beds at some point over the next few weeks, so nothing like having a deadline to motivate me to sew that dreaded binding on!
When I started the quilt I had troubles deciding which patterns to go with, Thomas the Train, Superheros, squares, triangles, big shapes, little shapes. I decided to stick with superheros, like Zac's, so it may grow with him a little longer then Thomas might have. That said, I had Thomas fabric so I did the backing with that fabric so he could have a little bit of both. I opted to do large, squares for the pattern, because I was being lazy and it seemed like less work!
I'm really pleased with how it turned out, it's warm and cozy and boyish, everything I hoped it would be, and I know he will love it.
I had hoped to save the quilts for the new house but since our move has been put on hold for a bit I'm going to gift these with their bunk beds. I'm hoping it will make the transition to sharing a room (and move to a big boy bed for Eli) a little more exciting... fingers crossed at least! 
I can't wait to give it to him!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Musical Monday: 10 000 Reasons - Matt Redman

I love this song. It's one of those songs that you will be singing along with by the end of it and will be singing for the rest of the day. 
A real beauty! Only catch is you need to click here to hear it. Sometimes YouTube doesn't let me share the songs I want to right here... sheesh... 

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Stuff... we have SOOO much of it.

We are currently going through a (very slow) purge of our entire house and it already feels so good.
Could we live the minimalist lifestyle? No, I don't think we could, but we could totally live a lifestyle with so much less "stuff".
With Christmas coming up (less then 2 months away now!) we know we are about to get a load more toys, clothes and what nots, to just pile that on top of what we currently have seems... extreme.
I'll keep you in the loop of our progress, we want to reduce our stuff in at least half by Christmas (eek!). Sounds like a lofty goal, but that's how I like them.

**what does the soup picture have to do with simplifying our lives and reducing our stuff? Nothing. But it was good soup, and it was super simple... what? maybe there was something behind that picture! ... no, there wasn't... I'm not that deep (soup recipe can be found here).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pieces Of Me Mini Book

Scrapbooking has always intimidated me.
I love the idea of it so much, but I have high expectations of myself, never seem happy with my final pages and find the whole process mildly overwhelming. Something about filling in those 12x12" pages seems impossible... So when I heard the concept of a mini book I was all over it!

What is a mini book? Quite simply it's a small book completed in scrapbook style.
The pages are roughly 4x6" and completely doable!

I will admit to being mildly frightened to start the process/development of my first book so I signed up for this class and while I didn't follow the instructions to the letter I found the general guidelines so helpful.

I'm a complete convert! I have 3 new mini books started and waiting in my craft room right now and another 2-3 started in my head!

If you've ever wanted to get into scrapbooking but are afraid of the huge pages I really recommend trying a mini book! You'll never look back.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another's Words

I think sometimes, someone else can just "say it better". I have wanted to write a wonderful post about how it feels to be a mother, to me. About how full my heart feels every time I look at my little ones and how much it breaks to hear them cry. How overwhelming it can be and how joyous it can be.
That said, I'm not always good with words... especially the heartfelt ones.
Jess wrote this post last week and it's everything I want to say... right down to the smiling nursing baby!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Musical Monday: Amy Savin - Hide Me

Happy Monday!
Seems like a bit of a heavy song this morning, but I love it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bits 'n' Pieces

I have been exceptionally bad at taking pictures these days so this isn't entirely an honest snap shot of our week but a few pics of the last two.
Tisk Tisk, I know... I'll do better for next week, I promise!

A fun ride on tractor.
Daddy and Zac feeding a donkey.
The cheeks!
First smiles caught on camera and the chins!
Trick or Treat?

This weekend is an the annual craft show in our little town and I am so excited! Not sure if I'll try and pawn the kids off on the mister so I can have some time to wander alone of if we'll make a family event of it. Either way, it should be awesome!
Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I think banana bread is one of those things that makes everything better. It makes mornings bearable with a coffee, afternoons brighten as a snack... it's just good stuff.
I can say that exact same thing about chocolate. So chocolate chips + banana bread... well now that's just comfort on a plate isn't it?


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
1 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
Beat butter and sugar together until light in colour, add eggs one at a time, vanilla and mashed bananas. Add the flour mixture and mix until almost completely combined, add chocolate chips and mix until they are combined.
Pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Yum yum yum!