Monday, November 22, 2021

A Christmas Story House Tour

A Christmas Story is one of my favorite Christmas movies (I skip the problematic Chinese restaurant scene) because I was a kid living in the Cleveland area where they shot some of the movie. I love looking for the dollops of 1980’s anachronisms like Ralphie’s glasses and Mom’s hair. You can watch the movie A Christmas Story here. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

The house they used in the movie has an interesting history. Before and after they made A Christmas Story a regular family lived in it as a regular house and modernized it accordingly. The current owner of the house saw it for sale on eBay and bought it fully intending to turn back into its movie accurate glory.

This proved a little harder than it first seemed to be because the inside of the house didn’t look like it did in the movie. They shot the interiors on a soundstage in Toronto Canada.

The owners watched A Christmas Story a million times, slowed it down frame by frame, gutted the house,  and recreated the staircase and sets we all know and love. They also put as much care searching for replica furniture and props to furnish it and now you can tour it! 

a christmas story house tour

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Monday, November 8, 2021

How to Machine Embroider a Canvas Tote Bag

Normally when I machine embroider something, I embroider the design on uncut fabric, layout and cut the pattern piece on the embroidered fabric, and sew it into the final project for perfect placement.

Which is what I planned on doing when I popped down to the fabric store for supplies to make personalized tote bags as a thank you gift for two friends who did huge favors for me, even though I was short on time to both sew and embroider the bags from scratch.

Luckily when I zipped through the Circuit section of the store on my way to the fabric I saw this exact lined blank canvas tote bag for sale.

The bag is super cute and has a nice big area to machine embroider a name. Best of all I didn’t have to decide on fabric (which always takes me forever because I must look at every bolt available in the store every single time) or a pattern, and would save time in the construction department. Not to mention, the ready made blank fabric tote bag probably cost less than buying all of the materials to make the exact same thing.

The only thing that made me pause is thinking, how to I embroider a store bought tote bag without taking it apart? 

 

handmade gift idea how to embroider a tote bag
Save this handmade gift idea tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

 

Easy! You float the tote bag  fabric on top of the hooped embroidery stabilizer instead of trying and failing to smash it all in between the hoops.

Friday, October 22, 2021

How to Find and Fix an Air Mattress Leak

The worse time to find out that your air mattress on has spring a leak is when you are sleeping on it.

I found that out twice this month in two different places with two different air mattresses – lucky me!

Fortunately, it is very easy to patch a hole in an air mattress. The slightly more difficult thing is to find the hole in the air mattress or at least it was for me, since the hole in my barely three month old air mattress was a tiny pinhole. 

how to patch a hole in an air mattress or pool float
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How to Find the Hole in a Leaky Air Mattress or Pool Float

Thursday, October 14, 2021

How to Make a Gnome Costume

I am playing a gnome at a renaissance festival. It’s a fun project because I’m a  second generation Danish American and nisse (what the Danish call gnomes. Some countries also call them tomte) are something we celebrate all year round but especially at Christmas when we thank the nisser (plural for nisse) for protecting the family and helping farms prosper with a bowl of rice porridge with a pat of butter on top on Christmas Eve (similar to American kids leaving cookies and milk out for Santa.) 

That’s why some non Scandinavians call them Christmas Gnomes when in reality, there is no such thing as a Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc. gnome. Gnomes are just gnomes all year round (similar to Irish leprechauns. They are dress and act the same year round too.)

 

Nissa the Gnome Ohio Reniassance Festival 2021
Everyone say hi to Nissa Tomtesdottir the Gnome!

Traditionally gnomes look like a little man (with or without beard) or woman wearing a red hat, a red, blue, or gray Scandinavian peasant tunic/bodice and skirt, and is the about the size of an 8 to 10 year old child. This is what I am using as the start of my women’s gnome costume while making it in a 16th century silhouette with Scandinavian elements (more difficult than it sounds because the Danish national costume is different by region and based on clothing from the 17th to 19th centuries.) 

I have the added challenge of designing a mythical creature described as looking like a small human (at least I have that part down!) like she belongs with a group of Shakespearean fairies who have very elaborate makeup which doesn’t work for a gnome.  I’m required to have rosy red cheeks (which I’d rather not do at all but I’d rather that than being required to airbrush all of my exposed skin a different color) and wear my hair in braids (I bought these cute rose metal hair hooks to hide my modern hair ties.) (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) 


Ohio Renaissance Festival Fairies and Gnome

 Family entertainment from the Fae Family! Sprout, the Seed Fairy (left,) Fawn the Fairy of Fluffy Animals (center,) and me as Nissa the Gnome (right.) Photo courtesy of Steven Kohus

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Fall Chili and Friday Favorites Linky Party 600

 Yesterday was the official start of the Fall Season and the weather decided to cooperate.

With a 20 degree dip in temperature and overcast rainy day. Which makes it a perfect opportunity to brew a cup of tea, break out a cozy afghan, and count the minutes until tonight's chili dinner finishes cooking in the Instant Pot.

Why do they call it chili when it's hot?

Let's get this party started! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Friday Favorites Linky Party 599

Let's get this party started! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 


 


Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small Things - Pin

Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jennifer at Busy Being Jennifer - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

 


 

You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing! And if you love all of this week's favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week's linky party!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

How to Make a Fairy Walking Stick

I will be walking untold miles throughout the day while I’m performing at a 35 acre renaissance festival. I’m thrilled to “people” (with safety precautions) again! 

 

Until the day after a first rehearsal when my legs reminded me how much time I sat around the house in 2020  instead of being active and out and about. Let’s hear it for Epsom salt baths!

 

A walking (or more like hiking towards the end of the day) stick should help. Let’s make one!

 

DIY fairy costume walking staff
Save this costume idea to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Easy DIY Elf, Fairy, Gnome, or Wizard Staff

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Wearing Wood Dutch Shoes Part 2 and Friday Favorites 598

One of the first questions I get when I'm wearing my Dutch clogs (called klompin. You can guess why) is are they a comfortable shoe to wear? I've had my shoes for awhile, broke them in during outdoor show rehearsals, and the opening weekend (12 hour days) of the festival I am performing in.

My answer is :

  • Yes, once you get used to walking in them (toe first instead of heel toe,) and  as long as you are wearing very thick socks/leather klompin socks (if you want to wear a slightly thinner knit sock) and
  • No, because I bought the wrong size. My first pair was a smidge too small and gave me blisters, they felt like they were heavy as rocks at the end of the day because my feet hurt so much. 

Fortunately, I found an unworn pair of wood shoes in my size on eBay and was able to get them much more quickly than ordering a new pair from the Netherlands. The correct size pair looks giant compared the original shoes I bought, take a look.

I am not wearing my thick wool socks in the photo so you can see that a correctly sized Dutch wood shoe is supposed to have a much larger gap between the shoe and your foot than when you size and buy leather shoes.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Labor Day Weekend and Friday Favorites 597

We're celebrating Labor Day this weekend in the US which we traditionally consider the end of summer.  Our agenda is full of BBQs, gatherings, and lot of head scratches for Lacey.

DIY dog treats
If you could fill this empty treat jar with some yummy homemade treats, that would be good too.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Machine Embroidered Shirt Cuffs and Friday Favorites 596

One of the funny things about being a historical entertainer is creating three layers of clothing and still be considered unseemly (by historical standards) even though you are not showing any skin because you are still in your underwear.

But one of the fun things about creating historical clothing is the chance to really go to town with the embellishments! For example, I just finished the machine embroidery on the collar and cuffs of my 16th century Danish chemise. The next step is to cut out the pattern (this Easy Noblemans/Noblewoman's Shirt Sewing Pattern by Alter Years
) with a few modifications to make it in the Scandinavian style and sew it together. (I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

diy redwork embroidery shirt cuff

Sunday, August 22, 2021

How to Make a Fairy Ivy Leaf Parasol

I’m performing a fae (a fairy. Well, actually, I’m a gnome) character at an outdoor renaissance festival. True to a gnome’s (and my own) Scandinavian roots, I’m fair skinned and burn easily in the sun. I’m also not fond of standing out in the rain without an umbrella either. 

In the past, I carried a waterproof bamboo parasol but that is not really going to work for the over the top Shakespearean fairy esthetic I need to create. Can we talk about how difficult it is to design a mythical creature described as looking like a human the size of an 8 year old boy and  looks like she belongs with a group of fairies who look like natural elements like this this acorn green man wall decoration (you can buy it here)? (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

Elizabethan fairies look less human and more like trees, flowers, animals with a humanish face. The more human-looking Tinkerbell type of fairy we are more used to came about during the Victorian era.

 

I figure the best way to do that is make a waterproof canvas bamboo parasol in the shape an ivy leaf.

 

diy fairy ivy leaf parasol
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How to Make a Waterproof Bamboo Parasol

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Dutch Wood Shoes and Friday Favorites 595

I'm in rehearsal for a show (all things being equal given the current health climate.) I'm hard at work breaking in my new character shoes!

  how to wear wood clogs 

This is an immediately slapped shoes on my feet after opening the box photo. You are supposed to wear thick socks which makes them more comfortable.


I quickly learned why the Dutch call clogs klompin
.

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Greatest Waterproofing Spray Can Hack of All Time

I made a new canvas cover for an outdoor umbrella. Naturally I wanted to waterproof the canvas. If I can keep the sun from fading the color, that would be nice too.

The most eco friendly way to waterproof fabric is to coat it in melted beeswax. It's a messy process and  I'm afraid the wax coating will melt in the high heat days of summer we like to describe as Hell's Front Porch.

A fabric waterproofing spray is the easiest and least messy way to go. Since I am doing this project outside while wearing a dust mask, I used this exact Scotchgard Sun and Water Shield Spray because it repels water and UV ray resistant. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) Although truthfully, I wasn't looking forward to the finger cramps and pain and uneven coating result of using a traditional aerosol spray can - until I hacked it!

When I noticed the button on the can of Scotchguard looked like it was the same size the large button on a can of spray paint, I had a flash of inspiration and hoped it would work. I made my aerosol spray can pain free by grabbing this exact wide button spray paint trigger, excuse me comfort grip from the garage and attached it to the Scotchguard can. It fit! 

 

how to spray scotchguard waterproofing spray evenly
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Thursday, August 12, 2021

How to Buy the Correct Size Backpack and Friday Favorites 594

Many parents are buying school supplies before their children start school (a few schools have already started!) It's much easier to tote that stuff back and forth to school, or anywhere really, in a backpack. 

 I almost always use my old college backpack instead of giant purse to hold our stuff. I almost always end up with a backache and at least one migraine during the trip too. I thought that is just the way it is when wearing backpack and after some research, I realized I couldn't be more wrong!

Once I learned to look for certain strap configurations, where the backpack sits on your back, and the proper size for my height (bigger and tiny small is not always better) I bought a backpack that hasn't given me issues and wrote a guide so you know what to look for too. You can read my comfortable book bag backpack buying guide 7 Tips for Buying a Comfortable Backpack here.

 

Let's get this party started! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

How to Machine Embroider Leather and Pleather for Beginners

My new Bernette sewing machine says it can sew everything from light chiffon fabric to leather. I need a new belt bag/pouch and figure this is a good project to get my feet wet  and lean how to sew leather.

Since everything worth doing is worth over doing (and I bought a cute machine embroidery file from Urban Threads) I am going to machine embroider the leather before I cut and sew it into a purse!

 

How to machine embroider leather for beginners
Save these tips, tricks, and sewing hacks to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share Them with your friends!

I admit, I had concerns about sewing and embroidering leather. If you sew a mistake and remove the stitches the holes left behind in the leather hide will not  close like fabric will. But with practice, patience, and a few sewing hacks, you can embroider leather and the results will look fabulous!

7 Tips and Hacks for Sewing Leather, Suede, and Vegan Leather on a Home Sewing Machine

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Saving Tomato Plants from End Rot and Friday Favorites 593

The tomatoes on my plants started to ripen with a bad case end blossom rot last month because there wasn't enough calcium in the soil to allow the tomato plant to grow well (this was news to me.) 

I gave my tomatoes a good dose of this exact organic tomato fertilizer to get the calcium party started. I also started watering my tomato plants with a few teaspoons of powdered milk dissolved into my watering can. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) 

The only reason I used powdered not fat milk instead of watering down regular milk is I bought the no fat milk by mistake and didn't realize it until I used to make a batch of failed yogurt. Turns out my yogurt's loss is my tomato's gain.

After a week of having more little fails than successes laying bathroom tile and sourcing material for a new costume commission, I finally have a big, fat, huge win! My tomatoes are ripening and there isn't any black rot eating away at the end of the tomato! 

how to save tomato plants from end blossom rot
My tomatoes are on the small side for Roma tomatoes but that probably has to do to the lack of calcium in the soil from the time I planted them. At least I know what not to do next year!

  

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Friday Favorites Week 592

 Hello friends!

My apologies for posting our link party late. My computer's operating system decided it didn't feel like working properly. Since I'm pretty much a one woman band, I spent a good chunk of the last two days troubleshooting and correcting the issues.


Let's get this party started! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

 


Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small Things - Pin

Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jennifer at Busy Being Jennifer - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Why Are My Tomatoes Rotting on the Bottom?

I’m attempting to grow tomatoes in this year’s garden. I say attempt because I haven’t had much luck in the way of getting a plant to give me more than a handful of tomatoes any time I plant tomatoes.

I am determined that this summer will be different. I read everything I could find on how to grow tomatoes. I bought a more mature tomato plant instead of attempting from seed and upped the watering schedule.

I was excited to see more  blossoms than I’ve ever had on a tomato plant. I cheered when they grew into green tomatoes.  I was overjoyed when I plucked the first red tomato. Finally I broke our tomato curse!

Until I turned the tomato over and found this.

how to prevent blossom end rot in the garden
 Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Blossom end rot!

Vegetable Garden Blossom End Rot What it is, How it Happens, and How to Fix It

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Friday Favorites Linky Party 591

Let's get this party started! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

 


Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small Things - Pin

Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jennifer at Busy Being Jennifer - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

How to Make a Folding Wagon Spotter ID Tag

I loaded up our folding wagon for its grand debut at an outdoor rehearsal. It immediately paid for itself the second I didn’t have to struggle carrying  all of the things I needed that day down the long path from the parking lot to the outdoor rehearsal space. No wonder so many of my fellow cast members had folding wagons! *mind blown*

 

The only downside of the day was playing Where’s Waldo for my wagon in a sea of folding wagon that look like. 

 

I need a name tag or label or spotter for my folding wagon that lets me identify it quickly and easily.  I tried putting the bumper sticker I got at rehearsal on my wagon but it didn’t stick to the nylon fabric. Bummer.

 

I wanted something a little more fun than using a permanent marker to write our name.  I wasn’t feeling machine embroidering our name or monogram on it either. My inspiration came from the small license plate I had on my bike with my name on it as a kid. Hanging one of those off the back rail of the wagon is ideal!

 

And stupidly difficult to find in a brick and mortar store.

 

I decided to make a quick and easy wagon ID tag that’s more durable than the cloth and cardboard stroller spotter tags I found on Etsy (not to mention they are all cutesy baby related. Great if you have toddlers. Not so great if you don’t.) You can use this project to make a wagon, stroller, or heck, even a bicycle ID tag if you like. Here’s how.

 

How to Decorate a Folding Wagon

 

how to decorate a folding wagon


Save this DIY project tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

How to Make Easy DIY Compost Tea and Friday Favorites 590

If you garden, one of the best zero waste ways to deal with food scraps is to compost them. 

So what do you do when everything breaks down into a lovely full bin of compost? 

Make compost tea and fertilize your lawn and garden the natural way! My husband and I couldn't have turned the sad chunk of clay pretending to be our yard into dark, rich soil without adding compost to the soil when we plant and compost tea fertilizer later in the season to keep them growing.

 

If you can steep a tea bag in a cup of hot water you have all of the skills necessary to brew compost tea. You can read my How to Make Compost Tea Fertilizer the Easy Way tutorial here. Your plants will thank you for it!

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts!

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Natural Gardening Hacks and Friday Favorites 589

I spent a good chunk of the week doing plant therapy, although you may call it gardening. I transplanted the sweet fennel that was outgrowing our container garden into the front flowerbeds. Every time I pass them on my way to take Lacey in and out I whisper,"please live" to my transplants. 

It worked when I transplanted my golden oregano earlier this summer. I'm hoping the same good vibe strategy works with the fennel. Well, that, and heaps of compost and all natural gardening hacks and techniques.

You can lean how to make plants grow the inexpensive and frugal way by reading my 12 Natural Gardening Tips for Beginners post here.

 

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Celebrating an International Holiday Weekend and Friday Favorites 588

This is a big holiday weekend for our readers in not one but two countries! Today (1st, July) our Canadian neighbors are celebrating Canada Day! This Sunday (July 4th) my fellow Americans will celebrate Independence Day!

How to make an easy Captain America t shirt

My husband likes to celebrate the Fourth of July by wearing his Captain American shirt to backyard BBQs. You can learn how I made this quick and easy Captain America t shirt here.

I hope you have a happy, fun, and safe holiday weekend (or regular summer weekend for all of you non North American readers!) And if you are in the US and Canadian heat wave areas, please drink plenty of water all day, take it easy, and please try to stay cool in the shade!

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

How to Prepare Walls for Painting

As much as I would love to jump into my bathroom and start slapping new paint on the walls, the new paint would look awful. I’d make the job ten times harder if I don’t prepare the walls for paint first. I lot of folks  don’t bother filling nail holes and such thinking they’ll hang the same stuff in the same place on the walls of the newly painted room. Sometimes that’s the case. More often than not, plans change and the little hole you have to fill and repaint is going to look worse than if you filled it before you started the project.

Trust me. I get it. I’ve had this conversation with myself every time I’m tempted to take a shortcut when my master bathroom renovation throws me another unexpected curve ball.

“Do you want to do it fast or do you want to do right?” is always the last question I ask myself before I make a decision about a task. Then I sigh and say,”I want to do it right.” Sure it may be more of a pain or take longer (hence the internal sigh) but doing it right the first time is better than cheating and having to do it over again.

 

how prepare a room for painting
Save these painting tips to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

How much preparation your room will need for paint will depend upon:

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Celtic Fest Ohio and Friday Favorites Week 587

Last weekend I got a little bit of normality back and went to a shortened version of Celtic Fest Ohio, a celebration of Irish,Welsh, and Scottish food, music, dance, food, shopping, did I mention food? and drink. 

But I really had to work for it - as a volunteer! 


serving celtic feast at Celtic Fest Ohio
A little peak at the back stage magic it takes to serve patrons all the best food the British Isles have to offer at both Celtic Feasts!

And I worked my butt off - hard.

A huge thunderstorm knocked out the electricity in the area and flooded a section of the park (the water was waste high in that area during the storm) greeted me at volunteer check in. It threw me a curve because my assignment changed slightly due to a bunch of volunteers not showing up like they promised 😠. 

It was nothing I couldn't handle because I used to put on large scale events like this and curve balls and Plan B are the norm. Besides, waiting for power to come back on so I could get my cash box gave me a chance to pop into some of my friend's booths for fully vaxxed IRL tackle hugs. My emotional and spiritual gas tank started to fill and it felt wonderful.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Container Garden Organization Ideas and Friday Favorites Week 586

 Lacey realized that all of the plants in our patio garden are herbs and vegetables and tries to sneak  snacks from the small pots whenever we go outside. I needed a fast (and hopefully less expensive) solution to organize all of the new plants we bought from the garden center.


how to organize a container garden
The white tubes are watering tubes. You read my DIY self watering planter tutorial here

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Ten Things You Need to Know to Level and Repair an Uneven Floor

After  I replaced the moldy wood subfloor in my master bathroom, I checked it with a torpedo level (a torpedo level looks like this,) declared it level, and promptly passed out in bed from exhaustion. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) The next day, I double checked the new subfloor with the correct tool for the job, a large I-beam level (an I-beam level looks like this.)

The new wood subfloor is not level.

There are a few random areas where the floor isn’t flat, mainly where some of the seams of plywood sheets meet - a pretty common thing when you are replacing a subfloor (especially if it is the first time you’ve removed and replaced a subfloor.)

You can’t lay tile on an uneven floor. Well, you could, but the grout and tile will eventually crack and break in those areas and you’ll curse the day you were born when you have to rip everything out (probably) and do what you should have done in the first place. Fix the uneven wood subfloor with a self leveling underlayment coating for floors.

how to fix an uneven sloping floor

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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Giant Lawn Flamingos and Friday Favorites Week 585

How do you know it is officially summer?

  • It is after Memorial Day?
  • The lavender is starting bloom in my garden?
  • The weather is warm and kids are playing in neighborhood spinklers?
NO!

At my house it isn't officially summer until Divine my metal lawn flamingo takes residence in my garden  (much to the chagrin of my husband.)


She's no Frank the Christmas Gargoyle but she's 6 feet tall and I love her.



Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Edible Landscaping Groundcover Ideas and Friday Favorites Week 584

Last weekend was a long holiday weekend here in the US and my husband and I spent a chunk of it digging in the dirt. We want to add more color to our front flowerbeds which is largely an oasis of black mulch. Wood mulch isn't a bad thing. Mulching protects the soil from eroding and helps keep moisture in the soil after watering. Wood mulch also breaks down over time and add nutrients to the soil - which a good thing for our clay soil but also a bag thing because we have keep buying heavy bags of mulch. Anything we can do to less the chance of the yearly hefting mulch into the landscaping beds is a good thing in our book.

We didn't have to look any further than our own backyard for a practical zone 6 living groundcover solution: transplant the golden oregano overflowing its pots in the container garden to the front yard.  Thyme is another fast growing perianal garden groundcover we could use or mix in with the golden oregano but we don't cook with thyme as often as we do with oregano. We're hopping the yellow in the ground cover will make the lavender blooms pop a bit more.

Please don't die.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

My First DIY Cold Process Soap Project and Friday Favorites Week 583

I fell in love with using handmade soaps after trying some I bought at a renaissance festival. Every year I'd buy a bar or five. I dabbled with making soap with a melt and pour kit like this one   because I could play with herb add ins, natural scents, and colorants without messing around with lye because lye sounded scary! (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) A soap maker friend encouraged me to keep experimenting because that's how you learn how different herbs and oils interact and influence the final product.

When I stumbled upon a liquid hot process soap tutorial online, I realized I had most of the equipment needed and I could buy the soap ingredients at the grocery store. I gave it a whirl and realized working with lye isn't as scary as I thought!  But liquid soap is tricky (at least for me.) The book I have doesn't give a lot of why to the how and there is even less information on line unless you're making cold process bar soap. Cold process soap tutorials didn't seem as scary as they did before I started making soap in an old crock pot. I bought this exact The Natural Soap Making Book for Beginners book and made my first batch of cold process soap!

DIY cold process soap
The color is a little *intense*  and there were some slight bubbling after sequestering but overall I'm pleased with how my first batch of real deal bar soap came out. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How to Permanently Kill Weeds in a Sidewalk or Driveway the Easy Way!

I have an annoying group of weeds that grow in the space between my garage door and driveway. I don’t want to use commercial weed killer because I don’t want use that kind of stuff around my dog and we also have a bunch of neighborhood kids that use our driveways as turnarounds spots for their bikes, scooters, and such. I try to garden as organically as I can.

 

Also, commercial weed killer containers are so big I doubt I’d use it all.


I tried all of the normal natural weed killers that people with green thumbs swear work:

 

  • I pulling the weeds by digging out the roots and removing the plant – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by pouring hot water from my electric kettle on the weeds over a series of days – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by dousing them with vinegar – the weeds came back.

 

DIY organic weed killer

I’m pretty sure that the weeds just laughed at me by this point. Ha! Ha! Ha! We are mighty! We are indestructible! WE ARE WEEDS!!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Steampunk Dinosaur Decor and Friday Favorites Week 582

I have a bad habit of buying a piece of wall art and not framing it and hanging  because I want to paint a  wall, rearrange a room, or have some grand project that often gets moved down in priority on my project punch list. 

I have bare walls when I could at least have something interesting on them. 

I decided it was time to frame and display this piece I bought at the Columbus Art Festival in the before times. Everybody say Hi to Uncle Morty!


steampunk decorating ideas
Uncle Morty is not the title of the work. I named him Morty, because its a name that brings up the idea of a lovable, life of the party, fun uncle, who miiiiight have a business where he knows a guy and you shouldn't make him mad but probably not because he's always a sweet guy who pulls a quarter out of your ear every time he sees you (maybe.)


Oh and if you are wondering, the friend I went to the Art Festival with when I bought the piece thought I was weird when I bought it and so did my husband when I brought it home.

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

7 Beginner Resin Casting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

I was able to salvage the last builder grade vanity  from my bathroom renovation for my workshop. I want to make it into the miter saw cabinet I desperately need – on wheels!

how to turn a cabinet into a rolling miter saw stand
I love that standard bathroom vanities are the perfect Lisa height work bench

I had to make some repairs to the cabinet to fix the damage I made to it when I removed it. I added a few reinforcements to ensure the cabinet  will take stand up to a heavy saw and before I added four locking casters just like these to the bottom. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) I chose casters I can lock in place to reduce the chance of the miter saw stand rolling backwards when I use the saw. I don’t think that would be a pleasant experience.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Easy Garden Watering Hack and Friday Favorites Week 581

I used to have a hard time not killing plants in my flower, herb, and vegetable gardens. I'd either overwater them or under water them. 

Often I thought a recent summer rain had already watered plants for me because the soil was wet on top but not deep down at the root of the plant. The result? Plant murder. (Unintentional, but it's still death.)

A few years ago, I learned a great little gardening hack on how to know when you need to water a garden that works 100% of the time - use a simple rain gage like this one! (Disclosure: I'm including an affiliate link for your convenience.)


best gardening tip and watering idea
I put my rain gage in a pot in my outdoor container garden.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Easy DIY Wood Crate Storage and Drawer Organizers

In our early just bought a new house and need new stuff to store our old stuff days I turned some vintage fruit crates I discovered neglected in the basement of our old rental into a down and dirty wood crate storage dresser by slapping the drawers from an old  cardboard night stand into the crates and calling it a day. The storage boxes aren’t very pretty but it worked at the time. I had every intension of upgrading to a better solution later.

 You can probably guess that Later never came.

This version of my fruit crate storage dresser is not working for me any more. The supplies inside quickly turn into a jumble that I have to paw through to find the thing I need. The final straw was finding feathers turning up here, there, and everywhere in the drawers and room except in the drawer that is supposed to store them with my hat making supplies. Gah! I need an organization makeover – stat!


 vintage wood crate dresser

I used a hodge podge of baby food jars and such to store beads and jewelry findings that barfed out their drawers. This isn't pretty, but it is honest. An honest hot mess!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

DIY Door Sign and Friday Favorites Week 580

It's funny how you think you come up with a totally new and original idea for a craft or decor project to find out someone (or many someones) have done it too. It's fun to see  how another person put their creative spin on a great mind think alike situation. Case in point:

I added a hanger to a sign I made with this exact Home paw print stencil and added my little creative spin using a woodburning tool like this one to add texture so it looks like the bottom of a dog paw. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

how to stencil and wood burn a Home door sign
I hang the sign on the front door sometimes instead of decorating with a wreath

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

How to Make Easy Storage Bin Labels

I am a famous for storing something in "a better place" and forgetting where I put it. 

And that goes double for my sewing room and craft studio.

I eventually learned that if I take 10 minutes of my time to make a label for an item, I will always put it back where it belongs and save an hour of searching for it later. It also keeps family members from asking me to stop what I'm doing to find household items that are staring them in the face. I tell them to read the label to the bin/caddy/pocket/shelf/whatever.

Genius!

I need to label the new storage bins I'm putting in my craft room. I want them to look cute but they also need to be something I can easily update because my supplies rotate in and out. I considered chalkboard labels like these  but figure the writing will wear off with handling based on other chalkboard labels I use (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.

how to make clip on storage container labels
Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


One thing I like about decluttering and organizing a creative space is I often find a long forgotten cache of supplies that I can use to make or build the custom storage solution I need. In this case, the buried treasure is a bunch of discontinued countertop samples a friend gave me. I'm going to craft those countertop samples into storage bin and box labels and show you how to do it! 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Best Ever Quick and Easy Sewing Pattern Storage and Organization Idea

I store my sewing patterns in a recycled shoebox because it is the width of a sewing pattern envelope.

Also, with a husband who is a long distance runner, I can get a replacement shoe box when I need it on the regular.

It worked for awhile - until it didn’t.

As I’ve done more costuming work, my pattern envelopes are  in all shapes and sizes. On more than one occasion I plopped the whole pattern into a gallon size zipper baggie because the pattern pieces won’t fold to fit back into its envelope. I try to store my sewing patterns by category but they quickly return to their natural disorganized state – a pile busting out of its shoe box(es.)

how to store and organize craft and sewing patterns
Please excuse the carpet that needs vacuuming. That’s what prompted me to move the pile and find a better solution.

This is not working. I need to find a better way to store and organize my sewing patterns that fits in a small, limited craft room space.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Favorites Week 579

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

  

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

DIY Farmhouse Floating Shelf

During our bathroom renovations the bed in the guest room/craft room has become a de facto storage area that also holds crafty bits.

Who am I kidding?

The bed is a  dumping ground. It is a mess and it is driving me nuts.

Fortunately I have a great spot for a wall shelf to store the crafty bits above the closet door if I use a floating shelf. Let’s do it!

how to make a farmhouse style floating shelf
Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


How to Make a Quick and Easy Floating Shelf

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Celebrate Earth Day with the Rule of Half and Friday Favorites Week 578

Today is Earth Day, although honestly we try to make every day Earth Day around here by refusing, reducing, reusing household items with the goal of running a low waste home.  One useful and FREE way to do that is to follow The Rule of Half whenever possible. The Rule of Half is to try using half (or at least less) of the amount of stuff  you would normally use to get the job done. 

how to save money for FREE with the Rule of Half

A good example of this is toothpaste. Instead of loading up the length of your toothbrush with toothpaste like the toothpaste companies show you, put the dentist recommended pea size to half a length of toothpaste on your toothbrush. You create a little less trash because a tube of toothpaste lasts a little longer. One tube of toothpaste might not seem like such a big deal but if you do the same (or at least measure items instead of just chucking it in) with the majority of items you use on a daily basis it can make a difference in the amount of household trash you put by the curb every week and all for the affordable price of FREE. No fancy eco products required! (Unless you want to.)


Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

10 Zero Waste Craft Projects that also Save Money

I recently read an article claiming that zero waste living doesn’t have to be expensive.

That immediately said to an interviewed college student who said that they couldn’t afford a $20 zero waste made from adopted unicorn tears deodorant that the student just needs to change their attitude because they are buying better and more expensive stuff. Because the superior feeling of spending more money on low waste deodorant outweighs the reality of then not having enough money for school books or tuition, I guess?

The author also said that no one who wants to go low waste (which is a more accurate description than the search engine friendly term zero waste) does it to save money.  It really burns my cookies that when confronted with the reality of price, a zero waste expert ignores it and tells you to buy it anyway. That's how zero and low waste living gets the (wrong) perception that its only for the privileged!

10 ways to make zero waste save money

Save these ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

My family is practically debt free because we don’t waste things. As I started switching from disposables to reusables the amount of trash we make plummeted and extra dollars accumulated in the bank. For example it cost zero dollars to stop using plastic zipper baggies and plastic wrap for sandwiches and leftovers and start using the containers with lids (many repurposed) I already had. I had no idea how much money we wasted on that stuff until we didn’t need to buy it anymore - and you could see a serious dent in how much landfill trash it kept out of our bin.