You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover

Here is another DIY gift idea for Christmas.  This is for the eReader in your family.  Last year, on Black Friday, my mom & dad got themselves a Kindle.  They ran across a great deal & picked up a couple.  I got a Kindle Fire for my birthday also.  I really love it!!  My hubby has not crossed over to the dark side.  He loves the feel of a book in his hand.  The smell of it as you open it up.  The sound the pages make as you turn them.

I’m not against books.  However, when we go on trips, I don’t have room to tote around all of my kids stuff PLUS 3 or 4 books that I want to read.  That’s the beauty of a Kindle (or Nook or iPad).  You can take thousands of books with you and read them at any time.

The downside of a Kindle or other eReader, is that you pay a lot of money for them, and in return, you want to take care of them.  The protective covers are a dime a dozen.  You can find them anywhere.  The problem is, the don’t really cost a dime.  You feel like you’ve gotten a great deal if you can find it under $20.

Thank goodness for Pinterest.  The tutorials for making your own cover for your eReader are also a dime a dozen on it.  This is where I got gift ideas for my mom, dad, mother-in-law and father-in-law.  All proud owners of some variety of Kindle.

I got the idea for my mom & mother-in-law’s Kindle cover here.  (Thanks to my little brother for helping me put my links up in a neater fashion!!).

Each cover was made in the same style, I just picked out fabric that fit each mother’s style.

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My mom loves purple & green together.  I thought the plaid in the ruffle complimented the floral print that was the main part of the cover.

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My mother-in-law’s was made with what I consider a more Victorian style print for the main cover.  Her favorite color is yellow and I loved the color combination with the green and reds.

I did something with this project that I’ve never done before & I love…I covered my own buttons.  Super easy…super cheap…and super cute!!!

For the Dads…floral and ruffles just wasn’t going to work, so I found this pin…

For this cover, you simply take an old book and cut away the pages from the spine (my hubby hated this part!).  For the books, I went to a thrift store and then visited my hubby’s library :).  Both dads are ministers, so I found two books that were commentaries…very appropriate!!

ImageHere’s my dad, reading a “book”.  Here’s what you can’t see…

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ImageHere’s my father-in-law doing a wonderful Vanna White impression 🙂

Image   All in all, the Kindle covers were a hit!!  I’m happy to say, I feel confident that these gifts will be enjoyed year round.

These are nice gifts that you can knock out in a few hours with very little invested in materials (sorry guys…I was cheap this year!!).  The important thing is that your loved ones know you were thinking of them while making these gifts…it’s a labor of love!!

Happy Friday!!!

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Gobble Gobble!

Like most Americans, my family participated in our annual eat-a-thon  Thanksgiving feast.  We had it all!   Turkey, pork tenderloin, TWO kinds of potato casserole, cranberry salad, regular salad, rolls, green bean casserole, gravy, stuffing, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, chocolate pie, cheese ball, fudge, cookies, crackers, the list goes on and on and on.  Like most Americans, we ate and ate and then ate some more.

While the ladies were in the kitchen, cooking enough food for an army, my mother-in-law found this cute little edible craft for the kids to make:

Oreo turkey instructions

While I realize Thanksgiving has come and gone, I’m sure all of my Pinterest buddies will pin this for next year!  Hey…it’s never too early to plan!!!

The Oreo Turkeys turned out really cute!!

ImageAll you need are Oreos, mini Reese’s cups, malt balls, candy corn and some melting chocolate.  We used chocolate chips.  They worked just fine for us, but didn’t melt really smooth like melting wafers would have.  The important part is to get something that will “glue” everything together.

ImageMy only regret is that I didn’t get any pics of the kiddos making the turkeys.  I’m not sure what was more fun for them…making them or eating them!!!  No matter what it was, it was a great way to keep the little ones (and big ones too!) entertained while dinner was being prepared 🙂

I can see this becoming a great family tradition.  Happy Holidays!!!

Fear The Beard!!

Well, my family is on our way home from a very quick Oklahoma Thanksmas.  We had a great time and got to see a lot of family members…some for the very first time.  But, like all things, it must come to an end and we go back to the “real world”.

Like I’ve mentioned before, we do Thanksgiving & Christmas together, because the weather is somewhat predictable.  This year was no exception.  We had great weather in Oklahoma…most of the time it was warm.  A couple of days, I even went around with a short sleeved shirt on and no jacket.  Remember people…it’s November!!

A few months ago, I sent my very crafty & talented mom-in-law this pin:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/72562217/kids-ultimate-bb-warm-brown-2-stripe?ref=sr_gallery_2&sref=sr_b3b9684774597235f6dd97cc48c1e327584ffe5d385863abebbceefc9bd36259_1336854492_14163598_hat&ga_search_query=crochet+hat+with+beard&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_search_type=handmade

Sorry for the long link….had no idea it was that long!!

Anyway, I do not knit.  I do not crochet.  Not for lack of trying.  My mom-in-law tried to teach me (in a very short amount of time, I have to say) and it was no use.  I felt like my fingers were going to get tied in knots, instead of the yarn.  So, when I see a cute knitting/crocheting project, I defer to her 🙂

She came up with this cute, adorable gift for my son AND hubby!!

ImageSince the link I found on Pinterest is to an Etsy shop (and I’m sure if you or someone you know doesn’t knit, you can order one instead), my MIL had to do some research and she found the pattern for the beard here:

http://www.jjcrochet.com/blog/crochet-beard-hat-free-pattern/

For the men’s hat pattern, she used this website:

www.knitting.about.com/od/pattersformen/p/ribbed-hat

Now, for the kids hat pattern, she started explaining that she cast on 80 stitches and knit one pearl one, etc…I think when she saw my eyes glazing over (she might as well have been speaking French), she said “Well, you can pretty much adapt any hat pattern to work with this”.

One thing she did change from the original pattern…she made it to where you attached the beard to the hat using buttons on the inside of the hat.  This way, the person wearing the hat can adjust the beard.  I thought that was genius.

Now, I asked her how much time she put into it and if it would be for beginners/intermediate/pro…since I have no way to gauge these things.  She said it was hard to tell the time put into it, because she did a little here and there, but estimates about 6 hours.  As for skill level, she said the beard was easy, but it would just depend on what kind of hat pattern you used.

So there you have it.  The world’s cutest knitted hat.  My son loves Duck Dynasty, and yesterday put his hat on so he could watch the show :).  I think my hubby is even thrilled with his hat…might make a good one to wear while hunting!!  Watch out deer!  Fear the beard!!!!!

There’s An App (Magnet) For That!!

While trying to figure out what to get the men in my life, I hit a snag.  I had no problems picking out things for my mother, grandmother, sisters-in-law, etc.  The women are no problem to buy for.  Maybe that’s because I’m a woman too…whatever the reason, I think we could all agree that men are hard to gift for.

My brother is especially hard to buy for.  He’s into Apple products.  He has the iPhone 5, two iPads, an iPad Mini, Apple TV, etc.  Even if I could afford one of those to give him, he already has it all.  I had a conundrum.  What do I get the techy who has everything??

While on Pinterest one day, I ran across this pin:

http://www.redtedart.com/2012/03/31/craft-ideas-for-him-fathers-day/

This has great gift ideas for the men in your life.  While perusing the list, I stumbled across this jewel:

http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2011/02/iphone-magnets.html#more

Perfect!!  My brother develops iPhone/iPad apps (see www.316apps.com) and thought I could check with my sis-in-law and see which apps he uses/likes the most.  Then, I got a brilliant idea…why not use the apps that HE has developed???  Genius 🙂

I ended up with these:ImageMost of the apps had a significant reason why I used them.  Some, I thought, just looked cool!!!  I think they were a big hit with him.  After opening them, he immediately took this picture and added it to Facebook 🙂

One word of caution.  The tutorial doesn’t say this (well, I don’t think it does…maybe it did & I just missed it), but you will want to print your pictures off on a laser printer.  I learned the hard way that ink jet printed pictures will just bleed after you put the Dimensional Magic on it.  

I love this project.  As he develops more and more apps, I’ll be able to add to his collection.  For my parents, my grandmother and my in-laws, I used pics of the kids and made them a set of magnets too.  They turned out pretty cute…of course, the subjects made the project!!

This is a quick, easy, and fairly inexpensive gift to make that can hold a lot of meaning.

Happy Turkey Day!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diamond Diggers

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  I did a quick update to a blog I did earlier, but that’s been about it.  I have good reasons…other than being a busy mommy, I have been gearing up for a trip to Oklahoma.

We call it “Thanksmas”.  We travel to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving because predicting the weather in November is a little safer than predicting it in December.  We visit family & celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas with them at once.  It gets a little crazy, but we have a great time.

Traveling with two kids can be…challenging.  It’s a 1,200 mile trip one way.  That’s at least 2 days in the car.  I have to say my kids are troopers!  We left Virginia around 5:30 a.m. and drove until we could drive no further & actually made it to Little Rock!!  17 hours in the car in one day.  My parents place is roughly 5 1/2 or so hours away from there, so we felt pretty good about the next day’s trip.

One thing we’ve always wanted to do, but have never had the chance while driving through, is to stop by Murfreesboro, AR.  Why??  Murfreesboro is at the corner of No & Where.  Well, that’s where you’ll find the Crater of Diamond State Park.  This is a unique state park.  They actually allow you to dig holes and find diamonds!!  Anything you find, you can take…up to a 5 gallon bucket.

http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/

So, we decided since we had a “short” trip the next day (hey… 5 1/2 hours is nothing compared to 17) and see if we could find a fortune and dig for some diamonds.

ImageSo, we rented a shovel and screens and plopped the kids down on the dirt and got to work.  As you can see, we had a nice, bright sunny day!

ImageWe dug…

ImageLoaded up the screens…

ImageAnd started sluicing…

ImageHere is some of our finds.  Someone played a cruel joke by leaving a diamond looking sequin in the dirt.  Shame on them!!

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While we didn’t find the world’s biggest diamond, we did have a great time!!!  I think the kids were excited that I was letting them get dirty…doesn’t happen a lot :).  

The park had really nice facilities.  I was very impressed with how clean it was.  When you purchased your tickets, there was a small museum that talked about the park and what un-cut diamonds look like.  They had information on some of the larger diamonds found at the park (I think the largest one was about 40 carats!).  The employees were very friendly and they had a great demonstration on how to dig and process the dirt, plus some interesting facts and stories about the diamonds that are found there.

So…if you’re ever driving through Arkansas, you might want to think about stopping in for a little bit at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.  Who knows…maybe you’ll get lucky and find the next big diamond!!!!

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

I have been working on some Christmas gifts recently & have been dying to blog about them. However, most of the people I’m making them for also read my blog, so therein lies the problem.

Luckily, my almost 3 year old nephew hasn’t started following me yet, so I can show you guys what I made him for Christmas 🙂 Of course, I got the idea off of Pinterest!!

http://homemadebyjill.blogspot.com/2009/12/cozy-car-caddy-tutorial.html

As I have stated in earlier blogs, I’m very limited on fabric stores. Where I live, we have Wal-Mart, and…um…oh wait…Wal-Mart! If I want to travel to the closest larger town, (it’s only about 30 minutes away), I could go to JoAnn’s. But, so far, Wal-Mart has been adequate.

When I read the list of materials, I was puzzled by “duck cloth”. Huh??? This sewing newbie had never heard of duck cloth, so I googled it (where would we be without google?). Basically, it’s canvas. Why couldn’t they just say that??

So, I trucked it on over to my local Wally World and saddled up to the fabric counter. I found the felt, and canvas, but wasn’t happy with their denim fabric. I guess I could have used my hubby’s old jeans, but I decided to check out my local Goodwill store (next door to Wal-Mart), for jeans. I found the perfect pair and paid only $4!

I got home and started cutting up my jeans. Turns out, I only needed one leg, so I have enough fabric from the jeans and canvas to make another car caddy!! Woo hoo!! I know a sweet little boy who this will be perfect for as well 🙂

This project had two new challenges for me. #1, I have never appliqued anything…ever…in my life. I looked up a YouTube video on it, and it didn’t look too difficult, so I felt pretty good about that. #2, I have never used piping. It didn’t look too challenging either, so I dove into the project.

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The first half went great!! I was super excited to make this, and sometimes when I get super excited, I tend to speed through a project and end up making a dumb mistake. I showed great restraint today and reeled in my excitement 🙂

I have discovered a new & wonderful craft tool. Freezer paper. How have I never heard of this before??? This is the stuff you buy right next to aluminum foil and zip lock baggies in the supermarket. It has a regular paper side and a slick, waxy side…normally used to wrap meat. However, if you iron the waxy side down on something it sticks…making wonderful stencils! I asked my mother-in-law if she had ever used it & she casually said “Oh yeah…it’s been around forever!”

So, I changed up a couple of things in this project. Instead of stenciling the numbers on the pockets, I stenciled in my nephew’s name. The other thing I changed up is the closure. Oddly enough, neither Wal-Mart nor Michael’s sells belting. Instead, I used velcro and secured it to the denim side. It works ok…I’m not too thrilled about that part, but it does the job.

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After you have sewn the sides together and have turned it inside out, the directions say to topstitch around the whole thing. Be careful here. The material is very thick & I broke 2 needles while doing this. There’s nothing more frustrating that going along and suddenly BAM! Broken needle (not to mention kind of dangerous).

ImageI immediately had to scrounge around to find some of my son’s Hotwheels cars :). I wish I had found this when he was a little younger. He would have had a blast!

ImageI love how it folds up into a nice small pouch. It makes a perfect quiet toy for church or even long car rides.

With the material I bought, I have enough for at least 1 more car caddy. If you have old jeans laying around, this is a great project to repurpose them. All in all, I estimate the project cost about $4 (of course, it will be less if you use your own jeans). It’s probably less than this, because the felt was super cheap & I didn’t use a whole sheet of either color. It took me about 3 hours or so to whip together. Hard to estimate that because I did a little here and there & some of it was while the kids were awake, so there was a lot of stop & go.

Maybe you have a little guy in your life who would love one of these…I think it will make a great birthday, Christmas, or “just because” gift 🙂

Happy weekend!!!

Happy Birthday Michael!!

So, not only is tomorrow a national holiday (Veterans Day Observed), it is also my husband’s birthday.  He is exactly 3 months OLDER than I am.  I hold onto those 3 months…it does make him older than me 🙂

I have to brag on my hubby though.  We’ve been married for 12 years and we’ve been together for about 14 years total.  That’s quite a bit of time to get to know a person.

He’s a man of many talents.  He loves to make things in his workshop.  His hobbies include various woodworking, pen turning, etc.  He is also an amazing photographer.  He’s a pretty good skier (although, despite living about 45 minutes from a ski resort for the last 5 years, we haven’t been).  He loves hiking, fishing and camping.  His favorite way to vacation is via a cruise ship.  He loves to work on jigsaw puzzles (which I despise).  He has recently started hunting. For fun (and to relieve stress), he likes to go outside & split wood for our wood stove (I know, weird right!).

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Michael with his grandfather last Thanksgiving.

He is a wonderful father!!!  He would do anything for his children.  He does so much with them.  He helps Brayden with baseball & was at all of his games & practices.  They have spent hours outside in our yard playing catch, practicing swings, etc.

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Sophie has him wrapped around her little finger.  She is definitely a “Daddy’s Girl”.  She loves it when he brushes her hair (with me, she just screams).  He wouldn’t even touch a bag that was pink, let alone carry it.  At night, she loves to cuddle with her daddy before going to bed.  I’ve seen that look in his eyes when she asks him to do something & he just melts…so sweet!!

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I couldn’t ask for a better husband.  He is my best friend.  He can cheer me up when I’m down, he’s a wonderful provider, father, minister.  He takes such good care of our family.  One of my favorite memories is our first Christmas together.  We had gone to the mall to get each other a Christmas gift.  We split up, made our purchases and then got back together afterwards.  Then, we went back to our apartment and wrapped our gift.  This was about 1 1/2 weeks before Christmas.  We sat them beside our Christmas tree (we had the small, table top style…hey!  We were in an apartment).  The stayed there for about 2 hours or so, and then he looked at me and said “Maybe we should go ahead and open them!”  I laughed and we went ahead and opened our gifts.  It was so much fun!!  

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So, Michael, I hope you have a wonderful birthday tomorrow!!  I pray that God blesses you (and us) with many, many, many more years on this earth!!!!  I love you 🙂