Denim Pocket Rug

I have sorely neglected my blog lately. Too much end-of-the school-year craziness, followed by the annual adjustment to summer and kids being home 24/7. I apologize and will totally admit that I miss writing!

Also, I have not shown a single decent crafty project in a long , long while. Believe me, it’s not for lack of making things:)

One thing that I’ve totally been into is repurposing denim to make cool stuff. I will perhaps share one or more denim projects in the near future. Here’s one that I found to make with all the pockets of jeans I’ve cut up and basically deconstructed.

DSCN4601

A sturdy little accent rug. I saw an example or two on Pinterest and decided to try a small one to see if I liked it or not.

I did not do any step-by-step pictures, but I can give a brief rundown of how it was made. Basically I took a rectangle of denim, then took a variety of pockets that had already been cut out and arranged them randomly all over the rectangle. I pinned each one down to hold them in place.

DSCN4603

Then I took my handy dandy heavy duty Singer and began carefully sewing around the edge of each pocket. I tried to do all of the “top” pieces first, then went around what is visible of the ones that are more underneath. (Hopefully that makes sense?) Once they were all secure, I took a slightly larger rectangle of denim and sewed it so it is underneath and peeking out behind the original rectangle, just stitching around the perimeter.

DSCN4604

All in all, this didn’t really take that long to make. The prep of cutting all the denim is what actually takes more time. I would recommend definitely using a heavy duty needle, plus a heavier model sewing machine for this kind of project.

DSCN4602

Before use, I would also pop some Rug Gripper on the back so it doesn’t slide.

Overall, a unique little rug that is casual, country, and cool.

Creative Ways to Display Christmas Cards

So I have to confess that I literally just put up the Christmas cards we’ve gotten so far late this week. Honestly, with Thanksgiving kind of late this year, we hadn’t gotten that many cards until this past week/week and a half. I also confess that I did nothing creative as far as displaying them. So, if you sent me a card, it is currently scotch-taped to my wall. It’s a chalkboard wall, so I guess that makes it slightly more creative? Maybe?

Anyhow, I thought it would be fun to share some ways others have displayed their cards. (And if you haven’t yet, never fear, no judgement here!)

First off, a cool bicycle rim from Organized Clutter. (Lots of other super cute Christmas ideas on here too!)

Who would’ve thought an old bed spring could be used for this? A novel idea from Sugar Bee Crafts.

An easy little idea from Thyme is Honey. Kind of like my taping cards to the wall, just much cuter.

DIY Christmas & Holiday Card Display

An adorable display utilizing chicken wire–from Lolly Jane.

A pretty use for an old shutter, from A Diamond in the Stuff.

This one is simple, but I absolutely love it above the bench. Check it out, along with some other beautiful ideas, at The Painted Parsonage.

25 Ways to Display Christmas Cards

We don’t have an open stairwell in our house, but if we did, I would be tempted to display my cards in this way. (From Martha Stewart.)

25 Ways to Display Christmas Cards

Love this cute idea using a wire tomato cage–from Family Fun’s website. My kids would really like attaching cards to this.

Bring an element of the outdoors inside with this branch tree. Hang cards on the branches using a bit of twine. (Source: Shutterfly)

There’s tons of other ideas out there, but these are a few that really caught my eye. Who knows, maybe I’ll try one of them next year??

Merry Christmas everyone!

Ways to Use Leftover Bacon Grease

Today let’s talk about bacon.

Do you love bacon? Really, really love bacon?

If your response is, “oh yeah,” then you’re going to love this article. (If your answer is no, then why the heck not?)

images (1)

Well, we love our bacon around here. If you only know me by this blog, you may not know this little fact about me–I am a butcher’s wife.

Yes, my friends, my man makes such wonderful things as bacon, sweet bologna, ham, and many kinds of sausage.

Then he brings them home for us to eat.

What’s not to love about that? One of my favorite things is to smell his shirt when he comes home from working in and out of the smokehouse. Yup, I give him a big old hug and then breathe in that woodsy-smoky smell. (I’m weird, I know.)

Anyway, on to my little post about bacon, and the uses of bacon grease. I started a quart-sized mason jar to collect and keep our bacon drippings after we’ve cooked a batch. Because it’s a shame to just waste it, man. Here are some of the uses I’ve run across to use some of that leftover bacon goodness: 9445e6236fb4443b3e8259a76050cd91   Make stove-top popcorn. This one is newer to me, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. I used some bacon grease in lieu of my usual coconut oil (which is good too!) and it totally rocked. It provides the grease and the saltiness. bca218ff11263dfddd84a2f4edd679c0 Fried Potatoes. Potatoes, onions, a little s & p, all fried up in bacon drippings. Yum. Image courtesy of this blog.DSC02697_thumb[7]   Bacon Dressing. Just add a little vinegar and sugar and you voila! a tasty salad dressing. Image and recipe found here.

Cookies. Substitute bacon grease for 1/2 of the butter or shortening, or whatever fat your recipe calls for. (Ex: Instead of 1 cup butter, use 1/2 C bacon grease and 1/2 C butter) It will lend a little extra something to the taste, but shouldn’t overwhelm.

imagesMake soap. This site tells you how to get that bacon grease ready to make into soap.

grease candle

Make a candle. Spring Mountain Living has a good tutorial on doing this.

Feed the birds. All you need to do to make a simple bird feeder is a pine cone rolled in bacon drippings, then rolled in birdseed and hung up.

download (1)

Season your cast iron cookware. You know I am loving my cast iron skillet and have learned the importance of having a well seasoned one. Use this instead of other fats/oils for seasoning purposes.

Season veggies and soups. Or pretty much anything. Trust me, you can hardly go wrong by adding at least a dab of it to almost any old thing you’re cooking.

194cbe7e339766118005f0b99d94bead

-Rachel

4 Boys, 1 Bedroom

I am beginning to do my post-Christmas purge of the house. This is an opportune time of the year to pull this off because 1) There ain’t much happening in January 2) It’s yucky out and I’m stuck inside a lot and 3) Christmas just happened and things have accumulated much more than I wanted them to. In other words, I hate too much clutter and we have a lot of crap to get rid of. Granted, we really don’t have an exorbitant amount of stuff per person, but there’s 7 of us here and our house isn’t that big. Therefore, if more stuff comes in, other stuff needs to leave. That’s where today’s lovely little post comes in. I certainly didn’t intend for my purging to become a blog thing, but after cleaning up my boys’ room yesterday (a.k.a. getting rid of junk while they were at school and couldn’t see things “disappear”), I realized how good it looks cleaned up and organized. I also realized that I’ve never done a little tour of any of our rooms.

Therefore, today I am sharing about how we fit all 4 of our boys into 1 bedroom. Sounds a little crazy, I know, but it works for us. If anyone has 3 or more children, unless they have a really big house, it’s likely that some siblings will share a room. I draw inspiration from seeing how other people pull things off, so hopefully today’s picture tour can give you some sense of how we make this work.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 043This is a view from when you first step in the door. As you can see, we live in a Cape Cod, so I have to deal with the angled ceilings upstairs. This can make furniture arrangement a little tricky. Thankfully this is probably the biggest room in our house, so we’ve got floor space to work with.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 022

To get more specific, I’ll start at the back wall and work my way front. We have 2 sets of bunk beds set up in an “L” formation. The bigger boys have the one set and my little guys have the other set. I do all red and blue bedding to keep it boyish. The left set of bunk beds were made by my very capable husband a number of years ago. The other set was given to us for free soon after the twins were born. They were used by some people that we knew who were moving and wanted to pass them off to someone who could use them. Thank you Lord, for they have worked beautifully for us.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 024

In one little corner, I have a desk set up for doing homework. The desk was also a hand-me-down and above it I have this cool antique needlework map of the world, which I wrote about here. My “keeping it real” moment for you–when I examined the little white container on the floor under the nightlight, it was full of yellow water (Not pee, which wouldn’t be an impossibility!) and dead stinkbugs. Apparently my 10 year old had made a homemade stinkbug trap that really worked. Luckily for you I didn’t do a close-up of it;)

world map 012

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 049

This is the one lonely dormer window in that room. Underneath it I have a child-sized rolltop desk that I found years ago at an antique store. The curtains are some basic panels I made out of a fabric found at a thrift store. It looks like heavier mailbag fabric and has things like “airmail” and “US Mail” printed all over it.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 050Now for the front corner of their room. We have a grand total of 2 dressers that they share. As an aside, my boys, even the older ones, seem to like wearing the same 3 shirts and pants all the time. Does anybody else’s kids do that? I’m like, “let’s rotate our outfits a little more guys, okay?” The dresser on the left is part of a bedroom set that I refinished when I was pregnant with my first child. (That set was mine and before that, my aunt’s when she was growing up.) The taller dresser on the right was a freebie that I refinished a few years ago, painting it a glossy royal blue on the outside and doing chalkboard paint on the drawer fronts.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 039

The top of said dresser, topped off with Pinewood Derby cars that my older guys have made through the years–with a little help from their Dad, of course. (Just as another aside, he is a pro at making these! The last couple years my bigger boys have won “Best of Show,” as voted on by their peers, Not to brag or anything….)

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 040

Our other boy’s dresser is topped with an antique soda crate stood on end and adorned with various trophies and ribbons. They also have their rock collection stored there.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 037

On the opposite wall, as you walk in the door, is this monstrous thing. It takes up a lot of room but I love it! Yep, this antique wooden shelving unit was found at a barn sale just this fall. I ditched my other toy storage bin shelves and set up all the boy toys in this. My husband put wooden “risers” underneath so it sets up higher and has storage for wider items. I put a lot of their building toys under there.

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 029

On top of the shelves are a toy wagon that belonged to my husband’s uncle as a boy, a vintage globe, and a vintage Playskool mailbox toy. On the wall behind this I also have a “You been farming long?” print that my Mom-Mom had handed down to me since I had blond twin boys. (Anyone remember those from the 80’s? I think every farm family we knew growing up had something with that on them in their house.)

christmas, boys bedroom, veggies 035

Another view of those shelves close-up. Trucks, tractors, Nerf guns, GI Joe’s, and other goodies are all tucked into their places.

Well, that sums up my tour of the boys’ room for now. After purging and generally organizing it, I snapped some pictures before they got home from school! I did a lot more dramatic improvements to my girl’s bedroom, which I may show on a later date.

Thanks for stopping by!

Rachel

Handmade Christmas 2013: Sheet Music Glass Ornaments

Well, Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is suddenly only a little over 3 weeks away. {Yikes!}

I have to confess that while I have a lot of my gifts bought/made, but certainly not wrapped, I have yet to do a single bit of decorating.

Today’s idea can be a great little gift or used to deck your own halls.

scrabble board, music ornament 014

The best part is that since they are SO simple to make, you can easily whip up a bunch of these in one sitting.

scrabble board, music ornament 027

All you need is a clear glass ornament (one where the top pops off), some old sheet music or book pages, a bamboo skewer, a clothespin or clip, and some curling ribbon.

Regretfully I didn’t take any photos while making these, so hopefully I can just explain how I made them with words.

First you take off the metal top portion of the ornament. Second, cut your music or book pages into thin strips, maybe 1/4-1/2″ wide and a few inches long. Using a bamboo skewer, wrap a few of these strips at a time tightly around the skewer. Hold these in place for a few minutes using a clothespin or clip. After waiting a few minutes, remove the clip and slide the end of the skewer into the top of the ornament. Slip the curled strips of paper off into the ball.

scrabble board, music ornament 020

Fill it as full as you want, put the top back on, and finish it off with a nice little hanger of metallic curling ribbon.

scrabble board, music ornament 024

Easy, elegant, and perfect for the holidays.

Handmade Christmas 2013: Scrabble Names Wall Art

This next gift idea is one I whipped up for a friend…so don’t tell her I made it.

It’ll be a secret.

Not really.

I think she reads my blog at least semi-often, so I know she’s going to see it soon enough.

Oh well. We were never too good at surprising one another anyhow.

scrabble board, music ornament 001

Take a peek. It’s all the names in her family spelled out in scrabble tiles.

scrabble board, music ornament 006

Each name intersects with at least one other. I started with the parents, then did the oldest child, and built from there. The letter tiles I purchased off of Amazon and the burlap board I found at Wal Mart (or you can cover a plain canvas with burlap). Wal Mart had many sizes and shapes, and I believe this one is 10″ by 10″. Each letter is just hot glued onto the burlap.

scrabble board, music ornament 007

One corner of the board looked a little empty, so I placed their last name in that spot by itself.

scrabble board, music ornament 008

All in all, I think this is a neat family gift that is very personalized.

I wouldn’t mind making one for my own family, so I may be doing one in the coming days for us. We’re kind of nerdy, so the Scrabble tiles suit us pretty well:)

Handmade Christmas 2013: Teacup Candles

In continuation of the series I just began several days ago, I have another handmade gift idea for you.

teacup candles, lace earrings 015

No, I realize this isn’t a brand new, original idea to some of you. I think I may have first seen these a couple years ago, but they’ve always been on my “to try” list. I made a few of them yesterday morning and they really didn’t take long to make at all.

teacup candles, lace earrings 022

I picked up some random teacups at Goodwill. Except for the one that came with a saucer, they were all 97 cents a piece. Since I’ve made candles before, I had the rest of the supplies on hand. The basic materials for these are: a teacup, wax, fragrance oil, color (optional), and a wick.

teacup candles, lace earrings 001The wax that I had already was a soy wax that can be melted in the microwave. I like to use a big glass Pyrex measuring cup for this job. (If you are using other waxes, they may need to be melted on a double boiler.) So basically I melt the wax down, heating it in increments of time and stirring it in between until it is a liquid consistency.

teacup candles, lace earrings 002

While the wax is melting I set up my wick and have something to hold it in place. I have these fancy-schmancy holders, but you can use whatever. (Note: I’ve also used No. 2 pencils laid sideways to prop them up, and they worked just fine!) Once the wax is nice and liquid-y, add in your scent and if you have candle coloring, add that in at this time as well. Give it a nice stir so that everything is distributed evenly, then pour into your candle container. Make sure the wick stays in the middle.

teacup candles, lace earrings 014Now you wait until it hardens up, which may take a good hour or so. Once it’s ready trim the wick and you’re all set.

teacup candles, lace earrings 021

Stay tuned for more ideas in the coming weeks! I have a couple that I’m really excited to show you 🙂

Lace Embellished Tee

I haven’t made any good projects involving clothing lately– at least none where I embellish upon something that’s already made. (I have made a few pieces from scratch lately, but that’s for another day.)

Upon seeing lots of cool lace inspired clothing lately, I decided to pretty up a basic long-sleeved T.

lace shirt, wheat crackers 038

It was really pretty darn simple once I got cracking on it.

Here’s the basics of what I did:

lace shirt, wheat crackers 001I started off with a basic knit t-shirt in this blue color. Since I’m a sucker for darker blue paired with white, I pulled out a Goodwill lace table runner thing that had been sitting in my fabric stash.

lace shirt, wheat crackers 002After literally slicing off the longer end pieces off the runner, I pinned them down the middle of my tee, placing the straight sides so they touch. I also left a tail of about 1-2″ at the top and bottom, tucking them underneath into the inside of the shirt. If you do this or something similar, use lots of pins! After making sure everything was in its proper place, I zig-zag stitched down the middle using white thread. This adhered both pieces to the middle portion. Following this I used a straight stitch down the side of each lace strip. I screwed up once and had to break out my trusty seam ripper to fix the situation. Another warning: knit material like this is sorta stretchy while the lace is not, so make you don’t have any bunchiness going on as you sew.

lace shirt, wheat crackers 004

That’s pretty much it. Now I have a new Tee to wear this fall and winter. The only thing I may change is the neckline–I don’t love how it looks just yet, so it may get fixed up a bit more, but I haven’t decided on how I want it.

lace shirt, wheat crackers 030

Paired up with my current favorite pair of earrings (which are a steal on amazon!), I really enjoyed wearing my new Tee to usher in some fall weather.

photo (2)

10 Earthy Ways to Decorate for Fall

Just in case you’re finally pulling together some fall decorations, or want to spruce up your current look, I rounded up some ideas that take minimal materials. By scrounging around your home, yard, and surrounding area, it’s likely that you may have most of the supplies for these pretty decor ideas already on hand.

IMG_6959

A pumpkin turned vase for mums–I have actually done this idea before, and it looks beautiful. Some great step by step directions are available on Kojo Designs.

St picnic, canning lid pumpkin 021

If this one looks familiar, it’s because I made it on my blog last fall! No, they’re not “all natural,” but I had to throw it in the list. Mine used canning bands, rolled burlap, and a little felt for an accent leaf.

dff23c849bd6e96fca453c20753622ae

I love the beachy vibe of these linen and driftwood pumpkins. Find the easy picture tutorial over here. (Bet you can’t guess what is under those linen strips!)

cdfa6f9272019a9df9fcf49f62209036

These acorn luminaries take very few materials to make and look great.

fall-decorating-ideas-white-pumpkins-3a

Isn’t this basket of white pumpkins gorgeous? I especially love the burlap chevron ribbon that dresses it up! Check out this blog for more details.

1e2f027c30054f56b77cadbff5e12d67

This burlap no-sew table runner, wheat centerpiece, and white pumpkins are from my cousin Leslie’s blog. (Go check her out!)

11c294b50164146a7614998f4a57853f

This layered hurricane vase contains popcorn kernels, dried red beans, and lentils.

bd7e5a7dbd1e50bae437f91a0e11bdab

I think these sheaves of wheat tied to the stair spindles are unique and elegant in their own way.

Acorn-fall-wreath-crafts-unleashed-682x1024

This acorn wreath is simple and beautiful. A great tutorial for it is found right here.

853f2887bcc2cf7d910639ebfc759f9c

And while we’re on the subject of wreaths, I absolutely adore this one made out of a wood slice. So stinking cool, and great for fall or winter. Check out East Coast Creative for the step by step on how to make it. This idea is one I’ve already shown my better half–just so he has a heads up in case I need to get my hands on a wood slice one of these days! (Yes, according to him, I am the Queen of Not-So Subtle Hints sometimes. Shocking, right?)