Thursday, April 5, 2012

Recycling Candy Wrappers

I have always loved this idea , with all the candy and what not the kids get for Easter and any other Holidays this is a useful and recyclable blessing. If you have a child this is a must to make since they go thru purses often. Simply ask your children to save the wrappers for you , of course you will want them to be as careful as possible so perhaps only the older children would be best to ask. Once you have your wrappers , candy  , chips or even cookie Bags decide what size you would like to make your bag , clutch or wallet. I have seen many on the internet but most are not very fashionable my goal was to make something fashionable as well as functional. Keep in mind this is a clutch it is not meant to over stuff  causing excess stress on the seams just as with any bag , purse and so on.
Please be sure to read the entire Blog before starting  , there is a trouble shooting section following the instructions and I really urge you to read them before beginning.

In this Blog post we are going to make a simple , stylish and functional clutch.

You Will Need :

Wrappers ( Pressed Flat either by ironing on a very low heat or pressing in a book or under a heavy book or box , trim edges insuring you get a straight edge )
Duct Tape ( comes in many different Colors these days )
Double sided Duct tape ( if sewing plenty of alcohol to wipe the needle to get the glue off as you sew)
* Optional : Ribbon or Rope ( many different things can be used for handles or shoulder strap if desired)
Scissors / Crafting Knife
Cutting mat
Pattern ( here is the pattern I used from Country Living  : )

What to Do :

1. Tape one side of a cutting mat over lapping the tape as you go along.
2. Lift tape from cutting mat.
3. Place the tape sticky side up.
4. Carefully place candy wrappers onto tape.
5. Trim any excess tape.
6. Place pattern on what is now your fabric and cut out the pattern
( I adjusted this pattern to a smaller version ( not shown here ) , to do this simply trim to the size you desire following the printed pattern going in an inch at a time to insure you get the size you want . You can measure with a ruler or eyeball it as I did. )

Clutch : 

Stick on Velcro does actually adhere well.
Once the pattern with the candy wrapper fabric is cut out find your fold it is the dotted lines on the pattern. Or it can be done by placing the front and back together and folding the top over. You might want to press it with a heavy book , I used a box with mason jars in it and let it sit for a day or two. Now take the front and back facing each other and use the double sided tape to adhere the front and back along the seams or as I did sew them together ( If you do sew either on the machine or by hand get your rubbing alcohol out and a rag or cotton balls and be sure to wipe the needle often  , this is to remove the glue that will attach itself to the needle as you sew. Also if you use your machine you may want to oil the sewing machine when you are done since alcohol is a drying agent and can remove the oil from the machine. ) Once it is sewn or taped together turn it right side out and press again with a very heavy book or box. Now you can add velcro or a button , if adding a button you can easily cut a button hole in the front. With the duct tape you will not need to worry about fraying there simply isn't any.

Trouble Shooting :

You may have a few seams come apart when turning right side out. In this case simply measure your seam and cut a piece of duct tape to secure the area. No , this won't work all the way around on the inside since you are going to have a rounded corner not a square one.
If the thread breaks while sewing on the machine it means your needle is gummed up with glue from the tape. Take the needle out and clean it with the rubbing alcohol , just remember to go over the area where the thread broke. I personally wiped every few stitches while sewing , it takes a little time but does work and allows you to have the rounded corners as will the double sided duct tape.
Many sites will say to use glue guns , super glue , and all kinds of glues. They will not adhere well if at all and you will not get a secure bag in the end.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Homemade Buttercream Frosting

I would post pics with this but we finished the cake last night , yet my little girl wanted me to post the recipe because she loved it so very much. Using only the things I had in the house I came up with this recipe based on one I had learned some time ago. Now keep in mind that cooking is an art/craft , no really it is (lol). I don't usually measure much of anything unless I am using a new recipe. I like to eyeball it and taste as I go , so here's my recipe.

Homemade Buttercream Frosting :

2 sticks of salted butter
Powdered Sugar
Real Vanilla extract
Sour Cream

Place butter in large mixing bowl and let soften. Once soft beat butter til creamy , add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and a splash of Vanilla and mix with mixer on low increasing the speed to med. Add more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time as it stiffens add 2 large spoonfuls of Sour Cream , continue to mix adjusting the speed up and down while adding more powdered sugar and a small splash of milk until it is smooth enough yet stiff enough for frosting. Store in the fridge until you are ready to frost. The sour cream gives it a cream cheese like flavor and is perfect for any cake.

For those who HAVE to measure everything :

I added aprox. 2-2 1/2 c. of powdered sugar , aprox. 5-6 tbs. milk , aprox. 1tsp. maybe a little more of Vanilla and aprox.1/2-3/4 c. sour cream. these are all aprox. and not meant to be exact. As I said I tend to eyeball things when cooking and I encourage you all to change it around as you see fit. If you don't have any sour cream you can always sub. cream cheese or leave them both out and make using more milk to get the desired consistency.
Let me know if you like it and how easy or difficult it was for you. Happy Cooking :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

MIA and Raised Bed Gardening

Yes , I have been MIA for some time now about 4 months to be exact. Many things have been taking place in my life since that time. Dealing with the Holidays of last yr. being one , the cold weather taking it's toll on me in respect to the fact I tend to shut down during the winter months and recently my adopted father passed away and my mom came to live with me. So as you can see I have been busy and letting nature take it's course with me.
I am BACK!!!! LOL in full force and with many new and exciting ideas , tips  , tricks and so much more.
One of my latest projects has been to build a raised bed garden , now we were very lucky to find a kit at a very affordable price from the HOME DEPOT   , but you can use many different things to achieve a raised bed.  Some people use old tires ( although these days unlike our great grandparents have many , many chemicals so I really don't recommend them ) , bricks , cement blocks or left over wood can all be used. One of the most interesting things I have seen recently is a garden made totally of 2 liter soda bottles , so you see as always get creative and use what you have at hand.
From Pergola Nurseries FB Page
Living in Florida I have no real soil to work with so a raised bed garden was the best solution , now keep in mind this means purchasing soil as well as all the other needed items such as bug spray , fertilizer and since we live in a such a humid environment fungicide as well. Many of these are organic and some can even be made at home with such items as simple dish soap , cooking oil and vinegar. The choice is yours to make when it comes to the things you use. I myself try to be as organic as possible but even I have to use a bug spray that will kill leaf miners and although most people say they do little damage to a plant I am here to tell you they are wrong when it comes to Florida. I have lost more tomato plants to these little pests then I can even list but my spray is mainly organic so I feel as if it is a nice compromise , considering I would loose everything otherwise.
I started planting in early Feb. and the pics you see are the result of time , watering and plenty of care taken.
We currently have tomatoes , collard greens , onions and strawberries growing but our newest plants are peppers spicy and bell , eggplant and green beans. Now you will need to keep in mind where you live before planting , what are your seasons and how long do they last? In many cases with proper care you can in fact keep your plants longer then recommended by the companies selling the seeds or starter plants.
I recommend you plan ahead , you can start your own seedlings with an egg carton , little soil and seeds
( which are much cheaper then starter plants ) plan about 2-3 months ahead and place in a window sill so they can get about 6 hrs. of sunlight a day but be sure to move them in the evening when it gets cold if you live in a northern climate.
Once they get big enough about a month into the growing process you will have to transfer them to something larger perhaps a milk carton such as the ones children get in public school or anything in this size will work just be sure to make drainage holes no matter what you use. Once they are well into the growing cycle about 3 months after first planting the seeds you can transfer them to your garden.
Another tip is to save your seeds from any produce you purchase. Some may not like this idea since so many chemicals are present in store bought produce but it will also work from any produce you grow such as watermelons and peppers to name only a couple. Any seeds your can safely remove can be dried and then planted. To do this take your seeds and gently wash with cold water then place on paper towels or newspaper to dry. Depending on your seeds will depend on how long it takes them to dry out fully most take a few weeks and when fully dried can be stored for future use. Remember to keep them dry!!! Once done simply plant and watch them grow.
This is one of many Unschooling projects we do , many more will be soon to follow since hands on education is our families main goal.
All of this being said here is a list of links you might find useful to get ideas for your own garden :

Pergola Nurseries

Raised Bed Gardening

Recycled Tires For Raised Beds 

Brick Raised Beds

Home Depot

Friday, October 7, 2011

Simply Unplugged

I had been wondering why I was struggling as to finding time for this blog as well as tending to my home and the needs of my family. I found that I have been so connected to the internet that I was missing out on many things. I found this out by reading my own blog posts , ironic I know but it's true.
You see it was and is very full filling to share and write my blog posts but I realized I wasn't truly practicing what I was preaching. Oh sure I was making and doing with my family but not to the extent I really wanted. The house needed dusted , floors needed a good scrubbing and so on. In general I was slacking on some of the most important things , to me that is , my home which to my thinking is the center of family. For days now I have been cleaning , organizing and preparing for the upcoming holidays. I have not had time for getting online daily and I have left FB behind outside of sharing my blog posts with my group. I have to tell you this is such a relief , I am happier , more relaxed and still find time to make and do with my family. Of course I usually plan certain projects for certain days and other things I find time for in the evenings. I actually picked up my crochet needle last night and started crocheting.
One of the other things we have done to unplug is to turn off the Television once we have watched the morning news. We turn it back on around 3 or 4 in the afternoon but other then that it is off. We have not missed it at all in fact it actually makes things go faster and we are more relaxed even as we do chores or other projects. Like many people we would leave it on just to make some noise but it was actually draining us of our day.
I find it odd how we can get so caught up in the latest technology that we really do waste our time and lives with it. And I am as guilty as the next person , but I have vowed to only get online to write my blog posts or check up on my grown children. FB is no longer a part of my daily routine and the television is only an entertainment provider not something I have to have on 24/7.
I will still be posting pretty often but not as much as I did at the start. If I am to actually teach people about a simpler life then I need to practice what I preach and to be honest it is working out just fine. We couldn't be happier just enjoying the simple things in life and at times that may mean a little more work but for us it is just fine. We enjoy working together for one common goal. That goal is to just be happy and healthy by making sure we have enough food to eat , a decent roof over our heads and clean clothes to wear.
I suppose to some it sounds odd that a woman in her late 40's would find such pleasure in slowing down and just enjoying life. Not stressing about the fact I may not have designer this or that  , or perhaps being all consumed with my wrinkles starting to show. Actually wanting to go back and do the work that is so rewarding , basic and simple. But I can assure you that I am that woman and as I said when I started this blog I am relearning to live simply , this is a journey for me as well as you the reader. I am sure there will be more enlightening to come for me , since I have only been on this journey a short time. But I think I am headed in the right direction for me and my family and am as excited now as I was when I first began.
Many thanks to all my followers and all my FB group members for your support and encouragement.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


One of the fun things about Halloween is all the crafting we do. One of our favorite projects is setting up an old fashioned grave yard , the kids in the neighborhood just love it. Now I used to actually dig up soil and dump it in the form of a fresh grave , until my husband complained that we did not get enough of the mess up after the big night and it was messing up his front One Year we even had a hanging tree we made out of a large tree branch , complete with a head separated from the body below.
So now we simply add tombstones and body parts , some cob webs , an old strobe light I bought yrs. ago , some scary music / sounds and call it a day.
To make your own tombstones you will need some simple things. Cardboard , paint ( Black and Gray ) , Scissors , Glue or Tape and a stake to secure into the ground. This can be done with old wood as well , hint  , hint......

Start by getting an old cardboard box and cutting it into the form of a tombstone. Saving some for a stand if making these for table top decorations.
Paint with the grey paint , front first let dry then the back. Once dry use the black paint to write something on it and decorate with any cracks  , spiders or other spooky ideas. These are not for rainy weather so you may want to place these a little before the trick or treaters make their appearance.
Attach to the stake with glue or tape and place in the ground. Make many of these for a full graveyard.
 For the table top decorations simply follow the above directions but instead of using a stake to secure this you will cut out a back tab to attach. To do this cut out a triangle ( one side should be straight and longer , see pics below ) , bend slightly at the longer end and glue or tape to secure. Place on the table with some other spooky decorations such as cobwebs and presto.

Some cute sayings for your tombstones :
Here lies Mrs. Derns Now being Eaten By Worms
Here lies I.M. Dead
I.M.A. Goner
Here lies Mr. Jones Now He's Just a Bag of Bones

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Short Break

As some may have noticed I haven't posted a new blog for a few days. I do enjoy posting and sharing but I also have to admit it can get a bit over whelming at times. I do my best to include step by step pics for people to follow but I don't have a great camera  , this makes it a little harder.
I am working on some new posts in keeping with the current holidays approaching. I am trying to purchase a few basic supplies needed but as with most Americans right now I am dealing with budget issues. So I am having to rethink how to make them in a way most can do as well. Little to no money is my motto in an effort to live more simply and I as well as anyone struggles at times with this concept. The fact that I can't run to the store or internet to purchase supplies makes me want to share my skills and ideas even more.
I have some wonderful ideas for table decorations as well as yard decorations and am bursting to share them with you all. So please be sure to check back in the next couple of days for the newest post / project.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trash Toppers ( Halloween Hats )

I love recycling , so much so I have found a way to use most everything others would throw away. This also saves me money and is just plain fun.
This is one of my many ideas for recycling and can be used for other holidays as well. But I thought with Halloween creeping up on us , hahaha that this would be something perhaps you could use or build on to make an inexpensive costume for you and your children.

You Need :
Plastic bowls / microwave bowls from store bought frozen food section , yogurt cups or old plastic drinking glasses. Glue gun , white glue , glitter , scissors , ribbon  , elastic / string and any other decorations you would like to add.

1. Clean and dry the item you choose to use as your base.

2. Poke 2 holes one on each side for the elastic or ribbon / string to secure your hat to your head. This can be done by hammering a nail threw or drilling with a drill depending on the thickness of you base.

3. Paint with white glue and sprinkle with glitter. Take your time doing this , it is best to do in sections. Let Dry. You may want to do this more then once and a final layer of glue can be used as a sealer. Simply paint on the glue over the glitter and let dry.

4. Attach any ribbons , flowers or other decorations securing if need be with the glue gun.

5. String elastic threw one of the side holes and knot. Now with the hat on your head measure the elastic to the proper size and thread threw the other hole and knot.