Saturday, July 24, 2010

Already thinking about Christmas

As much as I hate thinking about it, this is the time of year I start getting visions of sugar plums and stocking stuffers. Why, you may ask? Well, I like to make a lot of gifts for my little family and in order to get them all done, I need to start early. Another bonus is that I can spread the costs of materials over the course of months instead of weeks.

We all know how crazy it can get around the holidays. We have to go see this person and go to that party or event. Trying to schedule homemade crafts in with cookies, candies and get-togethers can be nearly impossible, so I start early.

I have a few ideas of what I want to make this year. I have a simple quilt idea for the kids and hubby. I am planning on making things for my doggies, such as treats, tags and beds.

With everything I am planning on doing in the fall preparing for winter, I think this time of year is a good time to start my crafting for the holidays. Are you thinking about your celebrations yet?

Is your home company ready? *Challenge*

Tom and Sally are coming over for dinner Saturday night. You look around your home and see papers piled up on the tables, couch cushions and pillows look like they've been slept on for three nights straight, the bathroom sink covered in an array of brushes, cosmetics and toothpaste glops. What do you do?

I have been guilty of my home getting into this shape. Heck, who am I kidding? My home stays in this state of disarray quite a bit. Why are we more concerned with how our homes look when company is coming than we do when when our own family is coming home?

Home is supposed to be a sanctuary from the big, bad world. After our husbands have been at work and our children at school, they want nothing more than to come home to a relaxing place, a place free of clutter and mess.

I have a challenge for you (and me, to be honest). Let's see if we can clear all hard surfaces everyday. Throw out the junk mail. Designate a place for bills and other important mail to be gone through after dinner. Clear off the bathroom sink and wipe out the goopy mess. Run the vacuum and light a candle or two for fragrance. See how much more relaxed you are. Ask your family if it makes a difference to them.

Let's make a pact to treat our families as well as we treat our friends. My family went on vacation last week and when I came home, although the house was neat enough, it was not company ready. I thought a lot about this and wondered why I am not treating myself and my family as well as company. It's really given me a push to get my house back into order that I have let slide as of late.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My two new dogs

Back in May our beloved dog, Putter, died. We miss him a great deal.

We wanted another Sheltie because they are such wonderful dogs. They are so smart and loyal. They're great watch dogs and good with kids. I started looking at breeders to get a feel for pricing and availability. While I am usually a huge advocate for shelter dogs (which my lab mix was), I knew that I would have to pay to get the temperament I wanted. Putter was a free dog that I got from my sister when she moved, so I had no real idea of what they cost.

I found a breeder about an hour away and called her. She had two male pups left and wasn't going to breed her female for another year. She had three other females, but her one male would not mate with them, so she would not have anymore puppies for about a year. I decided to go get one of the puppies.

She also told me that she was thinking of selling her females that her male wouldn't touch and wanted $600 a piece for them. I told her I was interested, but would have to wait before I could afford it.

She called me, a week ago this past Friday, telling me that she had one of the females she wanted to find a home for. I told her I could not afford the $600 right now. The dog was afraid of loud noises outside and was escaping every pen she put her in. The breeder was worried that the dog would get hit by a car or semi on the highway and wanted to find her an inside home. She offered the dog to me for free as long as I gave her pick of the litter in the spring.

She is fitting in wonderfully here. :-)



Saturday, July 10, 2010

My new homesteading blog

As I said in a previous post, my husband and I are looking into urban homesteading. I wanted to write a blog dedicated to our journey of learning and thought an entirely separate blog would be the ticket. While the two blogs go hand in hand, both cover different topics. Some people could be interested in one and not the other, while some people may find both subjects to their liking.

You can always find The Good Little Housewife's Homesteading Adventures in my side bar by clicking the title link or the chickens right below it. For now, to make it simpler for you, just click on the chickens below. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cheap and Easy Decor

Several years ago, a friend and I went too an auction. It was my first time going and I checked out all of the items carefully before I decided on something to buy. There was a six place setting china set that was not stamped on the bottom, but I was fine with that. I just thought it was pretty.

I have never really used it as I have not had occasion to, however, I was sick of them being in the cupboard over my refrigerator never seeing the light of day. I was watching a commercial one day (can't remember which one) and on the kitchen wall was the most wonderful collection of mismatched china. Different patterns and sizes hung in no particular order, just placed randomly on the wall in a grouping. A light bulb went on in my head.

I went to Lowes and purchased plate hangers. Since I had already measured my plates, I picked out the right sizes. I came home and laid my plates out on the floor trying to decide how I wanted them to look. They were very easy to hang up.

The plates will look great with the paint I am planning on using in my kitchen. I am going with a buttery, golden yellow color. I can't wait to get started. Either way, here is a pic of the wall.

Sorry it's a little dark. I tried to brighten my pic, but was not very successful.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Cutest Little Pincushion

I made this a few weeks ago. It was so easy. I thought I'd share the tutorial for people wanting to make one for themselves.

The little "napkin" on the saucer is a needle book and my own creation. I didn't take pics, so it's hard for me to do a tutorial for it. Maybe I'll make one soon and do a tut for you.

Looking into Urban Homesteading

Urban Homesteading is a term coined by folks looking to become more self sufficient in their own yards. Some people do this from their apartment balconies, some in their small yard and still some in their average yards.

I would say we have an average yard. We live in a small town in a neighborhood. I am not sure of the dimensions of our property, but it is plenty big enough to grow a nice garden that will produce food that can last us through the winter. This way we will only have to buy bread, milk and other dry staples such as pasta and rice. Of course, we will still have to buy our meat, but being in the area we are, there are several different local sources from which to buy.

We have set aside an area in our yard that my husband is getting prepared this year by putting lawn clippings down to suffocate weeds and grass. Next year, it should be a nice composty pile that he can till.

We have decided on an irrigation system that will be using rainwater from our gutters. We will be making collection tanks and running them to our garden and flower beds so we can utilize what nature offers.

Have you ever seen the upside down grow systems that are being sold everywhere right now? We plan to make our own. I am thinking vine veggies in the bottom and herbs in the top. I am calling them my Marinara buckets. lol

I have a section of yard on the side of the house allotted to flowers and possibly herbs. We renovated part of our garage into a bedroom and there is a door that goes from that room to the area, so I am going to make it a lovely flower garden. It will be a place to relax and I will benefit from having flowers to bring in the house.

We are also looking into animals. We have the typical slew of cats and dogs. We also have a rabbit that we were going to give to my husband's friend who has a rabbit of his own. We had two once upon a time, but one of them died and my rabbit has been kind of lonely. I have found out that rabbit droppings are excellent fertilizer, so we are going to get a second rabbit in the spring so my Kirby won't be lonely anymore and we have extra manure.

Another animal we are thinking about is a pygmy goat. Their manure is similar to a rabbit and he will spread it all over the yard to help promote healthy grass that we may later turn into more garden space. Plus, goats are just funny friends to have around.

The final critter we are looking into is chickens. I only want a couple for the eggs. I have heard that fresh eggs taste better, not to mention free range chicken eggs are healthier for you. More vitamins and less cholesterol. I am doing a lot of research right now because they are a lot of responsibility that I have never had to deal with. Cats and dogs are different. I have already called my local officials and it looks like it's a go on their end. Next, I have to ask my neighbors. lol

This is going to be a lot of work, but so worth it. Food is costing more and more and it's becoming less and less healthy for us. I am tired of putting pesticides and preservatives into my family's bodies. Organic is so expensive to buy and can we really be sure it's organic? I just don't really trust labels all that much.

So, wish us luck on the endeavors and keep watching this blog. I will be posting new things from time to time. Hopefully you'll get some glimpses of new critters in the spring.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bedtime Rituals

We all have bedtime rituals for our children. Some of us read, some of us sing, some of us rock our babies. Whatever your bedtime ritual for your kids might be, it is so important to them.

Something I love to do for mine is to spray their pillows and little sleeping buddies with lavender linen spray. They adore the smell right before bedtime and the fragrance is relaxing, helping them to drift off to sleep. My little one picks up his stuffed bunny and says, “Smell, smell!” so excitedly. Then he holds it up for me and Daddy to smell. It’s precious.

What kind of rituals do you have for your little sweethearts?

Second hand shopping

I love thrift stores. You can find so many unique things and at a great price.

Over this past week we went to a Goodwill in another town because we were in that neck of the woods. We found some wonderful things. We got a Star Wars Monopoly game that had never been opened. My son is really into Star Wars right now and was tickled pink to get it. We paid $2 for it. We also got him a set of kids encyclopedias.

I found a bunch of clothes for my daughter for back to school. Some still had tags on them. I like to get clothes in larger sizes and alter them to fit her. I found a great skirt in a size 14/16. I put new elastic in the waist and drew it up to fit her and now she has a tea length skirt (the length I like for little girls). Most everything I picked up was name brand and all $1.59 per piece or less.

I scored two Vera Bradley purses that were like brand new. One was $8 and the other was $12. I found some odd china. Three plates, three bowls, three saucers and three tea cups. I plan to use the cups for pin cushions. The rest? I don't know. I guess just add to my growing collection of odd china.

Finally, the best part was a Jenny Lind bed. It is the headboard and footboard. I plan to paint them and use one on my daughter's bed and the other on my son's. I paid a whopping $3.

There are several advantages to second hand shopping. One is saving money, but another is equally important to me. It helps my family leave a lesser carbon footprint which is something we should all be thinking about.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wipe Off Menu

I was browsing the web and came across an idea. It was talking about menu planning and gave an excellent idea for a menu to hang in your kitchen. You use a printable menu and put it in a frame then use dry erase markers to write your meals on the glass. I loved the idea and decided to make it, but I wanted to go one better. So, I thought I'd offer you guys this little project that takes all of ten minutes to complete.

First, I took my frame and put the printable in it. I also pulled the stand off of the back.

Second, I got out my hot glue gun and went to work with ribbon and magnets. I secured the ribbon to the back of the frame under the magnets with hot glue. The magnets, while not strong enough to hold the frame up, help to keep it straight on your refrigerator.

The two little stray pieces of ribbon are actually one piece wrapped around the corner and serves as a place to hang my dry erase marker.

I then put a Command hook on my refrigerator to hold the frame, and voila!

I found the printable here. I may have to change my printable since the marker tip is wider than a pencil. I can't fit as much onto a line, but I usually use this one, so I had a blank one already printed. I also already had all materials on hand, even the magnets which were on the refrigerater hiding behind the cabinet. lol Either way, I thought this looked prettier than having a piece of paper hanging up.