Craft/DIY Ideas

Hymnal Page Lid Ornaments

What do old hymnal pages and canning lids have in common? These holiday ornaments, of course!

How did I make them? If you’re a crafty soul like me, I’m sure you can figure it out just by looking at my pictures. However, I’ll give you all a quick tutorial just in case.

Start out with a canning lid and a page out of an old hymnal or old sheet music. I’ve gotten old hymnals from used book sales for super cheap and used them for a different project in previous years. Using the lid as a template, trace and cut out a circle from the music page. I also went around my edges with scalloped-edged scissors just for extra embellishment.

Using Mod Podge and a paintbrush, I lightly covered one side of the lid and pressed the page onto it. You could use either side of the lid–mine are reddish around the edges, so I wanted that to show a little. As some of the pictures show, I also did a couple with the gold showing from the flipside.

I left a couple of ornaments just plain, but added a rolled fabric flower and a button to some as well. In order to hang it, I also hot glued a loop of thin wire to the back. Ribbon would certainly look pretty cute too.

I’m sure there are lots of other ways to embellish these. I plan on making more, so feel free to leave a comment with any suggestions you may have. Thanks! Rachel

Craft/DIY Ideas

Homemade Laundry Mousse

One of my very first posts as a blogger was a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. I still love it and recommend it, but I came across an intriguing recipe for homemade laundry mousse a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to try. Actually, I just used up the last of my liquid, so it was perfect timing for me to try making this kind. The ingredients are all the same, it’s just putting them together in a slightly different way.

The texture of this recipe is kind of creamy, almost like a paste. It actually reminds me of whipped butter in appearance and has a fresh smell that I love.

Intrigued as to how I made this? Here’s the recipe that I followed, taken from the Raising 4 Princesses blog:

6 cups water

2 bars Fels Naptha Soap

2 cups Borax

2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

I get all of my ingredients at an Amish Dry Goods store that is local, but you can probably find these at WalMart or your grocery store in the laundry aisle.Washing soda is slightly different than baking soda, so just be aware of that before you start. The first step is to take a large saucepan and heat up 6 cups of water in it. In the meantime, grate the 2 bars of Fels Naptha soap and pour them in the water. Heat to almost boiling until your soap flakes are dissolved. Add the Borax and washing soda and stir for about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour into quart sized mason jars (wide mouth), leaving about 1 1/2″ at the top. Let this mixture sit for about 8 hours or more.

As you can see, the mixture does separate as it sits. After this, pour the contents of each jar (do one jar at a time) into a blender and whip it up. On a personal note, I found it easier to pour all of the liquid portion into the blender and then bits of the solid (top) part in gradually. I actually added in some extra water too. Eventually you will get a nice creamy texture like I noted earlier. It almost looks good enough to eat–but please don’t, unless you need to wash your mouth out!! Pour everything back into jars or another kind of container with a lid. Use 2 TB a load.

Happy laundering! Rachel

Parenting Tales, Points to Ponder

One of My Favorite Projects…

Today I am sharing one of my most favorite projects with you. It’s one that our family participates in every year and gets a lot of joy out of doing. In fact, you may also do it with your family or at least have heard of it–it’s called Operation Christmas Child.

What is it? Operation Christmas Child is a ministry run by Samaritan’s Purse that brings Christmas gifts to children around the world. Basically, people can get a shoebox or shoebox-sized container and fill it with toys, candy, school supplies, and hygiene items that an impoverished child would delight in receiving. Samaritan’s Purse has distribution centers set up that then work at delivering these shoeboxes to many different countries, having them ready for children to open on Christmas day.

To me it is an easy, practical, and fun way to bless someone else around the world. We not only do this as a family, but for the past few years I have gotten my Sunday School class involved as well (I teach elementary aged kids). I believe it helps teach kids an attitude of giving rather than getting. They LOVE putting these shoeboxes together. Here’s some pics of what we did this past Sunday:

The week before I usually make a huge trip to The Dollar Tree and buy a bunch of items at once. The Dollar Tree often has about everything we need to put in these, including the plastic shoebox-sized tubs I like to use. Often I end up with a big cartload and people look at me like I’m nuts! I then set up an assembly line of all our item choices–school supplies, hygiene items, toys, etc… The kids get to choose whether they want to make one for a boy or a girl and also the age group it will be for (2-4, 5-9, 10-14).

After they’ve chosen the gender and age and I go over some of the rules, I pretty much let them go to town picking out things and putting them in their boxes.

Often after we have our boxes assembled I have the children each make a card for the child who receives their box. However, this year we got these wonderful preprinted worksheets where they can fill out info about themselves, including their address if the child wants to correspond with them. One year our family did get a letter from a boy from one of the West African nations who thanked us for his box.

If you would be interested in more information on these, check out┬áIt really is a wonderful way to give back and bless a child who may have never gotten a Christmas present before. Oh, and in case you want to get started, I though I’d share some things that we typically put in our boxes:

Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, lip balm, pencils, pencil sharpener, erasers, stickers, crayons, playdoh, bouncy balls, jumpropes, slinkys, matchbox cars, small books or notebooks, markers, barrettes, headbands, toy jewelry, tops, small frisbees, small stuffed animals, candy, gum, lollipops

Craft/DIY Ideas

Ruffled Jersey Knit Scarf

My pretty pink new scarf.

I admittedly have a pink fetish. Those of you who know me can testify to this–I wear pink A LOT. Even though I had made some infinity scarfs last month, I wanted to try out something with some feminine ruffles added in, preferably using some jersey knit fabric.

This pink fabric was found at Goodwill–I got a yard piece for $1.25! (I’m telling you, that housewares section is a great place to find fabrics!) I looked around at several ruffled scarf tutorials online, but ended up doing my own little design. This is the basic outline of how I made it:

Cut 2 pieces of jersey knit cotton fabric–mine are approximately 7″ wide by 60″ long. (the fabric is folded in half in this pic.)

Cut long lengths of 1″ wide fabric–cut these lengths into 6-@15″ long strips.

Using those 1″ wide strips, make a ruffle out of each one. Don’t know how to make a ruffle? On a long stitch length setting, sew a straight stitch down the very middle of the strip without backstitching at all. Pull on the bottom bobbin thread, making the strip ruffle up until it’s the desired length (in this case, 7″). Leave all threads hanging for now.

Pin 3 ruffles at one end of one scarf, about 1″ from the bottom and going up 1″ for each ruffle. Using a normal stitch length, sew a straight stitch next to where the other stitches are, but not directly on them. This will attach your ruffle to one side of the scarf. Now try to pull out those previous stitches that you placed in to form your ruffle. Repeat on the other end of the same scarf piece of fabric. You should now have 3 at one end and 3 on the other. (I’m still learning this, so mine aren’t great, but hopefully you get the idea.)

The final step in making this is to pin the two large pieces together and sew along the entire perimeter, about 1/4″ from the edge. The beauty of this fabric is that it doesn’t fray, so those raw edges are supposed to be there! Now your scarf is ready to wear.

My oldest child snapped this picture of me yesterday wearing my new creation. I thought I’d better step out from behind the camera once in a while!

Craft/DIY Ideas

Decoupaged Candy Bucket

I may have mentioned this before, but I’m not a huge Halloween fan. However, I do let my kids go trick-or-treating and dress up as something, even if it’s a costume we just threw together. Since I am a Dollar Tree fan, I came across these simple black buckets in the cleaning section and thought they may be a cute for Trick-or -Treat.

My $1 buckets

Of course I didn’t just leave them plain black. I toyed around with a couple of ideas, but I’ll share this one with you.

First, I chose some fabrics that coordinated with one another and were fall-looking to me. Yes, I do realize that my buckets are black and these have a brown theme, but I wasn’t being too picky. Most of the black was going to be covered up anyhow.

Mod-Podge Magic.

Then I proceeded to bust out my Mod-Podge and a foam brush. I applied the decoupage liberally to the surface of the bucket first, then smoothed down each strip of fabric.

Around the top I put a white grosgrain ribbon, a length of yellow lace, and another thin strip of fabric to cover up the extra empty spaces.

My finished bucket.

This may be a bit too girly for my boys, but I’m sure my little gal would be thrilled to carry it–or maybe I’ll just use it to display candy in for the rest of fall. All in all, it was a pretty cheap, quick, and easy project. Also, I imagine I can do this same idea with another plain bucket and different fabric once the Christmas season rolls around.

Craft/DIY Ideas

Button Bookmarks

Christmas gift ideas are totally swirling around in my mind. If you, like me, are also thinking of pretty little gifts that you can make ahead, here’s another quick idea for you. Also, if you are familiar at all with my blog, you’ll know that I did another bookmark idea not too long ago. Well, here’s another one, this time for all of you non-sewers out there. These are equally as sweet and completely easy to make.

Thinking of trying to make some for yourself? All the materials you’ll need are: fabric scraps, paperclip, button-cover kit, and hot glue/gun.

All it takes are a few simple steps:

1. Cut out a fabric circle approximately twice the diameter of the button cover.

2. Place the fabric printed side facing down in the button-cover mold.

3. Push the front half of the button rounded side down on top of the fabric.

4. Tuck the edges of the fabric into the center, and then press the button back into it until it is firmly encased.

5. Thread the paperclip through the shank of the button until the button rests at the top rounded edge.

6. Hot glue in place. I dabbed hot glue around the shank area and also where the edges of the button back rest on the paperclip.


Homemade Candy Corn

Okay, so I do realize that candy corn can be bought pretty cheaply, and I did use bought candy corn for my Butterfingers recipe last week, but I just had to try the homemade version of candy corn once I saw some on Pinterest. Hey, it’s worth trying once, right? So, I looked up the recipe from, rolled up my sleeves, and got busy with my ingredients. Here’s what I used:

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • food coloring

1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring granulated sugar, corn syrup, and butter to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to low and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add in the dry milk, salt, and 10X sugar mixture and mix well.

4. Let the dough cool for a few minutes until it’s just cool enough to handle. (Don’t let it sit too long or it will be harder to handle in the next steps.)

5. Divide into 3 parts. Add a few drops of food coloring to desired portions and knead well by hand.

6. Roll each portion into long ropes. Once ropes are formed, push one of each color together so you have 3 stripes.

7. Cut into triangle shapes and let sit out for @1 hour.

8. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

As you can see, they do look a bit different than the store-bought variety. They’re definitely not all perfect and uniform looking, but that’s the beauty of things made by hand, isn’t it? I do have to say that the texture is softer and the taste is nicer (less artificial maybe?) than the bought kind. This is also a fun one for kids to help with!