Friday, November 23, 2012

DIY Hand Scrubs

I was in charge of Craft Club for November and I decided we would make some fun hand scrubs that we could use as Holiday gifts! We made a Candy Cane Sugar Scrub, Gingerbread Sugar Scrub and a Honey Coconut Sugar Scrub. They all smell SOOOO wonderful and are so easy to make!! Plus they make GREAT gifts!!!

You can use any kind of baking oil for these recipes when it just calls for oil. Olive Oil works fine, but it has a stronger smell than some of the other oils. Grape Seed oil works well and doesn't have a strong smell.  These all make about 16 ounces of scrub!!
My favorite is the Gingerbread Sugar Scrub because I LOVE Gingerbread!!!!

Gingerbread Sugar Scrub
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 cup oil

I also LOVE LOVE the smell of the Honey Coconut Sugar Scrub.... this one is good enough to eat....

Honey Coconut Sugar Scrub
1 cup Coconut Oil (in the solid form)
1 cup Honey
1/2 cup white sugar
Mix together the Coconut Oil in it's solid form together with the honey until they are mixed together. Add in the sugar.

We learned from experience that you don't want to melt the coconut oil into a liquid state or it will not combine with the honey!!!

Last we made a Candy Cane Sugar Scrub.

Candy Cane Sugar Scrub
2 cups white sugar
1 cup oil
Several drops of mint (to your preference)
Split into two portions and add a VERY small amount of red coloring

The first time I made this I used food coloring. While it gave a really nice red color, it also slightly stained my hands red when I used it!! We used soap colorant and that worked better, but didn't give us a bright red color. In my opinion, I prefer this to red hands....

And I am SOOO nice :) I here are the labels I used to decorate my jars with!!!!

Sugar Scrub Printable Labels

I can't wait to give these as gifts and use some myself this Holiday season!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Using Grommet Math to Add Grommets to your Cutains!

Nothing sounds more nerve racking than spending so much time sewing curtains only to cut huge holes in them for Grommets!! But I love the look of Grommets and I think they are easier to open and close especially if you have a bulkier fabric and they lay a bit better on the rods.

After spending hours and hours sewing curtains for my son's room that I lined with black out fabric, I was then tasked with cutting holes in my beautiful curtains for the grommets!

Adding grommets to your curtains are very easy. Besides grommets you really only need a scissors, pencil, ruler and a calculator.

Grommet Math 101

I personally think one of the hardest parts to adding grommets to curtains is figuring out the math! (And I love math!!!)

The first step is to measure the width of your curtain and determine how many grommets you want to use. My packet came with 8 grommets, but since my curtains were only 50.25 inches wide I decided to make my life easier and only use 6 of them.

Time for some grommet math!!!!

1. Measure the width of your curtain and determine the number of grommets you will be using.
2. Determine how far from the edge you want your first and last grommet to be. I ended up putting mine 2.5 inches from the end (from the center) This number is up to you and you can sort of play around with it and the next steps to make your middle spacing work out for you! You probably don't want to go any closer than 2 inches (from the center of the grommet) to about half of your spacing for your below spacing, so they hang correctly. In my case my spacing was a little over 9 inches, so I would not want my grommets to be more than 4.5 inches from the edge so it folds nicely)
3. Next subtract the end amount from your total curtain width. (5 in my case)
4.  Now take this number and divide it by the number of grommets you are using minus 1. (Because you want the inches between each grommet)
5. This is how far apart your grommets should be.

A helpful way to figure out even spacing number for your grommets is to divide your total curtain length by your grommets minus 1. In my case I get 10.05. This gives you an idea on how far apart they will need to be so you can play around with your numbers to get something that works out well and makes measuring easy!

Once you have the math figured out, it's best to layout your grommets and make sure the math will REALLY work!!

Once you have the math figured out, it's time to measure!

Packages of grommets should come with directions and a circle template. In my case I had to cut out the circle and mark the center myself on my template. 

My grommets I bought over a year ago on clearance and have since used a newer package and it came with a better template!! Marking the center makes it easier to line up your template!

The you simply line up the center of the template to your measurement and draw your circle on the fabric.

Next is the difficult part.... cutting your beautiful fabric.... it's so difficult to make that first cut!!!! Emotionally that is! It's better to make the hole small and if you need to you can always remove more.... you can't add back more fabric..... 

The hole..... it won't look pretty at this point, especially since my curtains had about 6 layers at the top with the liner!! 

Place the grommet in according to the directions of the package, but they should just snap together... SO EASY!!! 

And you are done!!!! 
Repeat several more times and then its off to hang your lovely new curtains!!! Again, here are the finished hanging curtains!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chevron Lined Black Out Curtains

I could not find curtains I liked for Little Man's new big boy room, so I sewed my own!! AND since his room is East facing they needed to be blackout curtains!!

So here we have my first time sewing lined curtains!

I also saved some money with these curtains. Little Man's nursery is accented with Silver Sage from Restoration Hardware Baby & Child and it seemed like they were clearing out the color from their nursery lines, I did what any sane person would do!!!! I bought two 94 inch canvas curtains in Silver Sage that were lined with blackout liners for a reality inexpensive price. I planned on using the fabric for many things.... well I am pretty sure I have had the curtains for over a year and didn't touch them until I spent time seem ripping them apart for the blackout lining.....  now I just need to find the time and energy to use the silver sage canvas.....

Assembling the curtains with the liner was pretty easy, the blackout liner is just heavy so its a lot of fabric to work with!

1. Finish the bottom edge of your patterned fabric. I made mine 2 inches wide.
2. Since I was reusing blackout lining, I did not have to finish the bottom edge of my blackout lining, but if you are using new blackout fabric you should do that now! 
3. Pin the right side of the patterned curtain to the right side of the blackout curtain. Your blackout linning will be a few inches shorter than your decorative fabric.
4. Sew the first side together.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other long side.
6. Flip your curtain so it is now right side out.
7. You should now have some over lap on the backside of your curtains of the patterned fabric. You may want to iron this edge now.
8. Sew your top edge. I made mine 3.5 inches wide.
9. Determine how you will hang your curtains, in my case I used grommets, so I then installed my grommets.
10 Hang and enjoy!!!! 

Little Man's new curtains in his room!!! Look at all of the light the grommets allow you to have when they easily open!
AND look how they actually do block out the light from outside!!!
Little Man's new big boy room is taking shape!!!! I am so excited for it to be done!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Patio Door Extra Wide Curtains

I decided I wanted to change up our dinning room patio curtains and could not find what I wanted so I sewed my own! Since it was for the patio door I wanted it to be EXTRA wide - and I wanted it to cover the entire door, so I basically sewed 3 curtain panels together into one HUGE curtain!!! It is around 150 inches wide!!!! Which let me tell you is not the easiest to pin and get all lined up when you are six months pregnant! That was a lot of on the floor time for me pinning and pinning and more pinning.

Since the pattern had to be matched perfectly I spent a lot of time pinning. A LOT!!!!

Here is the fast two second run down on what I did.

1. Sewed the left hand side of the left panel
2. Sewed the right hand side of the right panel
3. Sewed the left panel to the middle panel
4. Sewed the right panel to the middle panel/left panel
5. Sewed the bottom of the entire huge panel
6. Sewed the top edge finishing off the super large curtain panel

 Since our patio door is close to the windows in our family room I wanted to make sure they coordinated. Both fabrics are gray and white from Premier Prints, so they coordinate perfectly!!

 I do LOVE how they are still nice and full when they are pulled shut!! An advantage of using 3 panels and not 2!!! I would say it was worth the extra work!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I canceled cable

I canceled cable!!! Our last bill for phone, cable and internet was $172 a month!!! How insane is that!

Out of the three of these we use the internet the most. I personally barely watch anything beyond local channels and my husband watches cable because its there.... not really because he needs too.

I had two big concerns about canceling cable.

1. I love DVR, how would I live without that?

2. Little man needs to be able to watch Curious George 24 hours a day.... we have 89 episodes stored on our DVR....

I was recently talking to my youngest sister about our last bill and she told me I should check out Roku.

After some research I realized Roku would help with the no DVR issue since for $8 a month you can stream anything from Hulu plus. And Hulu plus has pretty much all of the current shows available for viewing the next day! (I still have not figured out how to stream CBS shows, so if anyone knows, please let me know!)

So that brings me to the Curious George issue. Little Man has no problem watching the same episodes over and over again. Well I am also an Amazon Prime member and you can stream Amazon Prime with Roku as well. However Curious George is not one of the free shows included with that. I broke down and purchased a season of Curious George, so we now have 30 episodes to pick from (not the 89!)

So I finally made the call today and canceled cable! I wanted to cancel our phone, but was talked into keeping it for now. "Do you know 911 is much faster from a land line...." What a great thing to tell a pregnant hormonal mother who freaks out about everything!!! So for now I kept it!!! I decided after some research to stay with the cable company for internet. We have really fast internet with them and switching to someone else may have saved us a few bucks a month but the speed would have been cut in half, and I figured with all of our devices we connect to the internet and wanting to stream, keeping the faster speed was worth it!

 Probably not the best picture to show how little this Roku box is!! But it's like 3 inches by 3 inches! So small!!

The cost break down:

We previously paid $172 a month with cable
Currently pay $72 a month for phone and internet (and if I am ever brave enough to cancel phone this will only be $50 a month!!!)

Hulu Plus is $8 a month (but we have it free for the next 6 months)
Amazon Prime is $6.50 a month but you pay for that up front yearly (I am not sure if I will keep this after my year runs out!!) 

I purchased two Roku boxes for $180 which each including 3 months free of Hulu plus  (Target had this promo last week!!!)

I also had to purchase one antenna to access local channels, as we already had two. That was about $14.
And I bought one HDMI cable to connect the second Roku box to the TV (I could have just used the cable included, but decided to upgrade to the HDMI cable)

So we are at $80 a month versus $172 a month!!! That is a savings of $1,100 a year!!!!!! (Minus the $208 I spent on equipment)