Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Pretend I Bead

I actually buy beads like I DO bead, I do dabble when making my beaded zipper pulls which go on my wristlets, but I rarely put them into anything actually wearable. I have been on the hunt for a clear crystal bracelet for quite a while. Either they aren't exactly what I am imagining or they are too expensive (for my budget anyway). I really don't spend too much on jewelry in general, but I decided to make this bracelet for myself.

I actually had an inspiration bracelet to work with that belongs to my step-mother, she let me use it as a model, I am super happy with the outcome, in spite of three trips to bead stores, Michaels and Joanns. I used Swarovski crystals in a few sizes and finishes, I opted to use silver plate as the price of sterling would make you faint, I actually have a few sterling beads from a few years ago so I did add those.

It is actually a stretchy bracelet but I added a closure for a more finished look, a dangle at the end will also make a great pair of matching earrings, which means a fourth trip to the bead store.

Monday, August 29, 2011

7 Ponds Nature Center Day Trip

I have only known about the 7 ponds Nature Center for a few years, and finally made a day trip with my daughter recently. This was about an hour drive north for us in Dryden Michigan. What I love about trips like this is the amazing feeling of being far away when really so close to home. It was very rural and green driving to this lots of farms, horse ranches and small towns along the way.

This is the main building, quite a large facility with a lecture hall, classrooms, displays, hands on exhibits and a gift shop.

A few pictures of the wooded pond areas, smartest move I made for this trip was packing a camera for my daughter to use. She was so engaged at looking for things and taking pictures of our "camping trip".

On the grounds was a butterfly garden and an herb garden, peaceful and colorful. On the way home we stopped in Metamora and by a fun chance stopped at the White Horse Inn for lunch, this is Michigan's oldest running restaurant, opened in 1860.

Inside, very rustic and charming many parts of the building are original.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Extreme Couponing 60 Items for less then 15.00 at Wal Mart

This was a fun coupon trip(s) to Wal-Mart this week, most of the items are small or sample sized items that were completely free with coupons, like dental floss, deodorant, toothpaste, Tide travel packs and Cascade trial packs. Additional items under a quarter were first aid kits, deodorant, all items were less then 1.00 and included the food items and the Gain dryer sheets. This was actually my goal was to shop the items that were under $1.00, so I went with that the only shopping to do.

I used a total of 46 coupons for a $46.20 in savings and my total out of pocket was just under $15.00 for 60 items, and about $3.00 of this was sales tax. I did this in two trips so a about 10 items are not shown. I will add I did not clear any shelves at either store, except for an item that only had 3 left.

I am done buying quite a few products even if they are free, these are some of the basics that I am well stocked on for our family of three. When I first started couponing I quickly learned there are items you should almost never pay for, I found these to be true right from the start, items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, deodorant and razors (oh my especially razors). This week I also scored Bic disposable razors, 14 count bags for .56 cents.

I am shifting my focus to lunch items for back to school and fall cooking. Building a small stockpile of pantry items as well, and hoping to build some shelving in the basement to help store it as well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stuffed Animal Sleepover

We attended our library's second annual "stuffed animal sleepover" last night, this year we took this purple teddy bear "Nina" along for the fun.

Our library has tons and tons of activities for kids of all ages, this event seems to be one of the highlight of the summer, there were probably 100 kids in attendance, many in pajamas and all carrying along a stuffed friend.

It was an action packed night with story telling, songs, skits and of course tucking in the animals for a night at the library.

Here we are placing Nina on the sleepover blanket, the stuffed animals will have run of the library, they take pictures of many hanging out all around the library, on the computer, and in the play area so the kids can see their animals were having a good time.

Not sure, looks like none of these stuffed friends will get a good nights sleep!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Teeny Tiny Coin Purse From Scraps

I love trolling through my scraps, it is like a trip down fabric memory lane. Like many sewers I have an elaborate sorting system, from new large cuts of fabric down to shreds. These small pieces which many would just toss are usually less then 2 inches in size. Now some are full selvedge to selvedge pieces others are small squares. These pieces are stored in grocery bags (need to make something a little prettier) by color and when inspired I pull them all out of the tub and have open to me at the work table.

I have been wanting to piece a tiny coin purse for coins for a while and challening myself to fit a lot of fabrics into something so small.

This is how it starts, bags of scraps, from these I pulled out a few to make my coin purse. They get ironed and cut, 12 pieces 1 inch by 5 inches.

I made this just like I make all my coin purses, fully padded with fleece and lined with no exposed seams.

This will only hold coins literally it finished about 3.5 x 2.5 inches, I could barely fit a lip balm inside of it. I love it! So cute and totally perfect to help coral coins floating around, like a little work of art.

This had an unexpected happy ending, it is the exact same colors as my daughters pajamas that she slept in last night. It was too funny when she came in this morning and I realized this, wonders if this is where the inspiration came...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rust Belt Market

Finally made it to downtown Ferndale MI, to visit the new Rust Belt Market. This is a newly opened store that hosts vendors of handmade and vintage goods. Artists set up for this weekend market throughout the year. Below are some pics from our trip.

Lots of funky and fresh items available from a wide variety of goods, foods, clothing, bath and body, spices, art, jewelry, vintage, upcycled and repurposed items too. They also host each Saturday and Sunday local musicians in the center stage area. I spoke with the owner Tiffany about possibly joining in the fun later in the fall season, should be a fun venue lots and lots of people milling around taking in all the eclectic surroundings.

Our outing was cut a bit short by pouring rain but we did manage to stop at a local bakery and got these cute blue bird cookies.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Entertaining Salad Buffet

Just finished a big family gathering, I decided to break from the traditional BBQ fare of steaks, chicken, hot dogs for the kids, corn on the cob and all the usual items we would have at a summer gathering. This year we opted for a huge salad buffet, about 20 different toppings went into this event.

We did not do away with grill totally afterall it is summer and we usually cook out 3-5 times a week anyway. We had 3 meats as part of our buffet, beef, chicken and salmon, also grilling zucchini, squash and red peppers, the peppers went into a red pepper vinaigrette.

We had a full compliment of "fixings"
  1. Grilled Flank Steak
  2. Grilled Chicken
  3. Grilled Salmon
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Cucumbers
  6. Peas
  7. Brocolli
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Peas
  10. Onion
  11. Hard boiled Eggs
  12. Grilled Squash and Zucchini
  13. Crushed Ramen Noodles
  14. Homemade Croutons
  15. Feta Cheese
  16. Blue Cheese
  17. Sunflower Seeds
  18. Corn
  19. Pine Nuts
  20. Dried Cherries
  21. Garbonzo Beans

The menu was rounded out by an assortment of dressings made from scratch, ranch, honey mustard, Italian and red pepper vinaigrette. Add an assortment of breads, rolls and breadsticks.

When planning this party I assigned everyone 2 items to bring, an inexensive item and a more costly one, for example, someone was assigned cucumbers, and feta cheese. It was super easy for everyone to contribute and not spend a fortune or do a lot of work.

Favorite part for me was seeing my massive array of eclectic pottery on display, it was truly a beautiful spread, best part is there was something for everyone to enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Saltine Toffee Bars

This is a recipe I have had for several years but only make occasionally, not sure why they are amazing...oh yea I remember we practically inhale them. In spite of my husbands rationale these are not particularly healthy or good for you, but really should desserts ALWAYS be healthy?
  • Saltines, enough to cover cookie sheet, about 24 crackers (I also did a mini cookie sheet with an additional 12 crackers, the recipe will yield the single large cookie sheet).
  • 1 cup of butter.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Nut, any nut will work I used pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or foil and fill with saltines.

Melt butter on stove and stir in sugar, bring to a boil and stir for about 3 minutes.

Pour sugar/butter over saltines, it will cover crackers nearly completely. Back 6-8 minutes.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with chips, return to oven for about 1 minute. Remove from oven with spatula spread the melted chips to cover sugar/butter, sprinkle with nuts.

Refrigerate to set, when cooled remove from cookie sheet and cut using parchment it will easily peel from the tray. I have found it is best to store in air tight container in the fridge or even the freezer.

My taste tester agreed these were DELISH!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dumb Luck Supply: Jumbo Carabiners

I love bumping into a great new supply, this week I found while shopping for back to school items these great big carabiners. This is actually how my carabiner coin purses were born 2 years ago, during back to school time.

I grabbed about 20 some of these to make a new "limited edition" jumbo sized coin purse, well it can be more then a coin purse, more of a big catch-all. I was also thinking it would be great to be able to fit a few diapers in it and attach it to a stroller, well that is what I would do if I was in that time.

Above, this is how I begin the design process some fabric manipulation and folding for an idea of sizing should be.

Lovely jumbo carabiners, they came in black, hot pink, royal blue and red, now if I can control myself and resist buying hundreds. These will most likely be at Yellow Door this fall and maybe a few in my etsy store.
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