Handmade Onesies

Katie, my best friend of forever, had the wonderful gift of a new baby girl this year. Miss Hannah Grace was born back in August and I had to make her something special for her first Christmas. I figured onesies are a staple in the baby wardrobe, so I added a few details for a handmade gift for the little one.

First I used some fabric scraps that were a b-day present from Lesley to craft this adorable cupcake design. I used Amy Butler for the cup, and some pink fleece from Wal-mart. * Note- have you ever visited the fabric section of Wal-Mart?? Super cheap!!! Anyway, I used interfacing to bond the two pieces together then hand stitched them to the onesie ( because I couldn't figure out how to maneuver the onesie on my sewing machine ). Then I added a cute red heart button as a topping for the cupcake.

Second, with more gift fabric, I drew this little sparrow pattern. Dwell Studio was my inspiration with their adorable baby line. I used the same pink fleece for the belly of the bird. Interfaced again and hand stitched it on. I also used a button for the eye and hand stitched using brown thread the beak and feet. On the back of both I used another piece of interfacing on the inside of the onesie to make it extra soft against Hannah Grace's belly and to ensure that all my hard work didn't come undone. Fabric Check was used on the edges of the fabric to keep them from fraying in the wash.

I also used my fabulous neighbor once again for her bib-making tutorial and crafted two bibs for Hannah Grace, but I forgot to get pics of them before dropping the gift in the mail. I think I'm getting better at my sewing projects and I'll be doing even more since I scored one of my gifts from my wish list!!

What did you get/give that was handmade this Christmas?


Holy Present Wrapping!

Today I finally finished wrapping gifts for our sponsor family. We decided to shop for a needy family instead of for ourselves this year. Erik's and my family all chipped in and created a huge mound of gifts for the family of 5.

There are two boys, 2 &6 years old, and two girls, 4 &8 years old and they are cared for by their grandmother. Total we got them each a new winter coat, pants, shirts, sweaters, PJs, socks, toys, drawing materials, hygiene gifts, and even a huge tub of food for Christmas Dinner. I really wish I could be a fly on the wall come Christmas morning at their house. This was one of the most fulfilling shopping season ever.

Along with the gifts we bought, I also made a stocking for each of the kids and grandmother. I sewed a felt initial for each kid and used a pretty paisley for grandmother's. I put their toothbrushes, shower gel, and other treats inside. I hope they enjoy them.

Thanks again to everyone that helped out, and to Lesley and her family to pitching in and helping another family at school! I hope you all are able to do something selfless and great for someone this Christmas!!


Christmas Sewing

I am striving to have an all-Handmade Christmas this year. Erik and I are actually not buying Christmas presents this year. We decided, along with our wonderful families' help, to sponsor a family at my school. The family has hit hard times and were not going to be able to have a Christmas on their own. So we shopped for them. But I also wanted to give something special to those who I love and appreciate. Some will get yummy treats and some will get a handmade gift.

I have been busy sewing up a storm and have realized that I need some gear to make things easier. I would love to have a space to lay out and cut my fabric- other than my bedroom floor. This would do nicely:

Straight lines are difficult to manage on said bedroom floor, so if I had one of these to use on the table above, I'm sure to get even lines:

Don't want to scratch that new table, must have a mat:

{ All products from Joanns.com }

Now that I have some new tools, these would be the first fabrics that I would like to create with:

{ Fabrics from Fabricworm.com }

Do you have any special gifts that you're making this year?


Saving Pennies, Ch. 1

Erik and I are simple people. We like things to be as easy and stress, worry, drama, anything 'free'. So when we were constantly clicking the buttons on our thermostat up and down every morning and night to get the most efficient use of our heating and cooling system, I knew we needed a better solution.

We picked up this little guy from Hunter. It is their 7-day Energy Star Programmable Thermostat. It was a chore to install- I highly recommend keeping the help line number at arm's distance- although to be fair, I have zero experience with electrical stuff, but the guy I spoke to was super nice and knowledgeable. Once it was installed it had to be programmed. I chose the energy star settings that turn the heat low during the night and while we are at work, and then the house gets warmed up in the morning when we are getting ready for work and it is toasty by the time we arrive home and until we go to bed. It has eliminated our need to manually lower the temp. and it gives us the flexibility to change the settings as we need them. Plus it has the awesome ambient red light for the heat and a cool blue for the AC.

I must say, it is working like a charm. Our gas, heat pump system is working great and the gas bill is staying in the low $20 range! This is just another way for us to make the most of our hard earned money to keep our house a cozy home!

What types of money saving upgrades have you made lately?


Artwork a-moving...

Since I added a new mirror to our living room, the artwork that was there needed a new home. First I removed a large metal star that hung above our kitchen table and moved it to our back porch that we worked on this summer for an added punch of color to go with my nature inspired chandelier.

Then I put my painting from above the couch into the star's old home:

We still have many more works that need a home but they are not ready for their debut just yet, stay tuned...

Have you added any new pieces to your home?


Thankful for Cookies

Our Thanksgiving was spent with family in Nashville, TN this year. My aunt and uncle and 2 cousins live there and it had been way too long since we all got together. Isn't it funny how the ones that you are close to- distance-wise- are the ones that you never see? Well we thought it was high time we made the short and easy drive up there.

My lovely aunt, who is a breast cancer survivor ( Yay Aunt Sue !!!) took care of the dinner and my family was in charge of the sweets. So per Erik's request I went with my now famous peanut butter sandwich cookies. They are my take on a recipe I found in a magazine. They go something like this:

Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Mix filling
( cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, mini chocolate chips )

Combine and then destroy :)

It really doesn't get easier or yummier than that.

Do you have any go-to recipes that are sure to please?


The Artwork Switcheroo, Part 354

As my profile states, I am fickle. I change my mind constantly when it comes to accessorizing my home. My Art Wall above the living room couch is the main victim. I think it is because we spend so much time in that room that I am constantly looking at it, and I get bored. So once again I have taken down all the pictures, patched the holes and came up with a new plan- No More Art- over the couch that is. I am never happy with what goes up there, so I am ditching the idea entirely. Our ceilings are high, and the couch is long, making it difficult to come up with a good layout and properly proportioned Art.

I popped by Ikea the other day and found this great mirror. I originally was going to go with using 3 frame-less ones that would be cheaper, but after all is said and done this one at $69 was the best option.

It is 27"x67" long and brings a ton of reflective light into the room from the only window in the room. My grand plan would be to put either mounted lights on either side or arc floor lamps like these to add height to the room. I believe I am finally down with this area, but who knows what I'll have up my sleeve in a few months. As for the Art, it definitely has not left the living room, stay tuned to see how I bring it back into the space, and where the old stuff found a new home.

My Apologies...

It seems as though
when life gets busy my blog, and my readers get neglected. For that I am sorry :) The past month has been busy and stressful. There were ups: I earned my Master's Degree!!, had some quality "porch time" with neighbors, and then there were downs: Erik's continued struggle to find a new car, busy-body parents at school. So I am writing to apologize for neglecting SD and I hope to be back posting as usual. After all, I am always doing something!

Thanks for still following me and my itchy, home decorating fingers!


Almost there...

This week marks the final week of course work for my Master's in Education Degree. Hense, I have been overwhelmed with essays, rationales, and stress making me absent from my posts. Wish me luck as my portfolio is reviewed and am I evaluated for my degree. I'll be back soon.


The Other Love in my Life

Besides labels, Doc, and the husband, cleaning is next on the LOVE list. I tend to always keep my home 'picked up' just in case company pops by, but the deep down cleaning is not as often. Our couch has needed some TLC for a while now. We got it about 3 years ago and it has taken a beating. One Great Dane, one move, lots of friends, and one dachshund. It was time for a deep clean. Luckily for me, my wonderful family graced me with this amazing birthday gift:

Bissell's Little Green Machine is life changing. It is a handheld cleaning system for upholstery. We looked into the at home steamer companies, and even renting a steam cleaner, but getting this little guy was the best option. For around $100 initially, you can have cleaning muscle at your finger tips.

I used it this past weekend on our light, camel colored micro-fiber sofa it worked great! It took out the drool spots, spills and other little spots that had collected over time. It is easy to use, just fill the tank with the cleaning solution and hot water and go to town. The only tricky part is making sure to vacuum up all the cleaning solution so that it doesn't leave a residue line. A great investment for any pet owner or parent for sure! I'm going to try it out in my car next...


Label Love

Labels are one of the most lovely gifts that the world has given me. They help me find things I need, dress up storage containers, and they are super easy to make. You can have the standard piece of paper with hand-written scribbles, but the next easiest is printed labels.

I have been working on cleaning up and re-organizing my office. I have new fabrics and felt that needed homes, and a growing card-making station. There were lots of little boogers that needed homes, and the recycling bin was happy to help.

I whipped up these super simple containers to house my various bits including twine, grommets, beads, tools, and brads. A Jif container and a bread-crumb container were the perfect size for the cabinet that I store my goods in. Next I added contact paper to the outside for a clean slate. For the labels I took transparent address labels and added the border with a simple shape from Microsoft Word. Easy, fast, and effective. The only way I live...

How about you, what makes a great label for your things?


Tip: Cleaning Fake Flowers

If you picked up Real Simple's October issue you would see the article about picking fake flower arrangements. I am a huge fun of the faux for two reasons: 1. they are cheaper, 2. you can get colors that nature doesn't allow. I began my love for the fake florals when deciding on flowers for my wedding bouquets. I used latex magnolias and was able to make all 6 of my wedding day bouquets for $50 and I still have mine on display 3 1/2 years later.

But the one problem with the fakes- dust bunnies! Swiffer won't do anything about it, and the dust is really what makes them look fake. I have the best remedy in my home office-

Compressed Air Duster

This handy little guy does an awesome job of getting the bunnies out without crushing petals, snagging a cotton cloth or wasting time. It takes just a minute or two and your immortal lovelies are clean and happy!


DIY: Chalkboard








.the end.



Here is our new chandelier in all its beauty in the dark:

Thanks again to my lovely husband for doing the heavy lifting, and my mother-in-law for the string lights that brought it to life.


Friday Flowers

My front porch planters have been updated for Fall/Winter. My Glory Blue Hydrangeas have been moved to their permeant home on the side of the house, and they were replaced with these tall boxwood shrubs along with pansies for color.

Changing out planters are a good way to add color to the landscaping and are easy to switch out when you get bored and need new visuals.


Weekend Funny

Dachshund gone wild:

Happy Weekend.

DIY: Natural Lighting

When I arrived home from work today, I was astounded by what I saw on my back porch. While I was away, my handsome, talented, strong and very manly husband had been building mama a rustic chandelier! It is very similar to something straight out of West Elm or Pottery Barn...

We were recently discussing the fact that we wanted a new light for our new back porch. Originally we had red lanterns hanging above, but after one good rain the color dye faded and we were left with ug-o shades. So since then we have just the bulbs hanging- not so chic. Erik's first idea was to weld an iron sphere that we would fill with bulbs for an industrial/modern light. Going with that theme, he decided to do some landscaping and lighting at the same time. He went in our overgrown back yard and cut down some hearty vines and wove them into the glorious sphere you see below for $0, yes it was absolutely FREE:

{ Doc & Uga love it too. }

All he did was cut the big vines first and he used some zip ties to make 2 circles. He put one circle inside the other and then used smaller vines to add more shape to it. Again, when discussing the iron idea, we wanted to paint it a fun bright color, but now I definitely want the rustic texture of the wood. I'll use twine to wrap around the zip ties to conceal them. As far as wiring goes, we are going to use big bulb string lights to fill the interior. I CANNOT wait to have it hanging on the porch. I'll keep you posted...

P.S. Did I mention how AWESOME my husband is?
P.S.S. And how I want him to make me 5 more?



My Etsy Shop is up and ready for your orders!

Mane Street offers headbands for adults and children that feature fabric and felt adornments. Currently, I have 5 designs for sale, but I'll adding some fun kid prints soon. Stop by and look around.

Check out my mini shop in the sidebar -->

New Accents

Again, I am fickle. I always need new visuals in my house to keep me interested. We have longed for a new couch, but it just isn't in the budget at this time, but new pillows are! I search Etsy, HSN, and West Elm and found these new cozy editions for our couch.

Doc was very excited when they arrived.

The beetle pillow is from Etsy. This shop features awesome printed pillows and the navy beetle was the perfect one for me. The knitted pillow covers are from West Elm. I love the texture that they bring to the couch.

The striped pillow is a Nate Berkus for HSN design. It coordinates well with the navy beetle and the pops of orange throughout our living room. All I need now is a new throw to bring it all together!

Do you have any new, low-cost updates to si casa?


Recovery Saturday

I survived another birthday.
Yesterday marked my 27th year and I was lucky to spend it with lots of friends at a little house party my wonderful husband threw for me. I'm not really a party girl on the regular, but I had a blast hanging with friends and decorating a pumpkin present.

Thanks to all who helped make my birthday special and this morning hurtful :)


It's Almost Ready...

I have been feverishly working on getting my Etsy shop up and running the past couple days. I have my banner done and am working on inventory. It will feature my fabric/felt headbands that I showed you guys earlier. Thanks again for the sweet comments and encouragement. As soon as it is ready for shoppers I'll let you know. But here is a sneak peek at a couple of the pieces that will be featured:

Stay tuned...


Making Babies

{ My Glory Blue Hydrangea }

Unfortunately I am referring to plants and not myself. I am totally in love with my Endless Summer hydrangeas, in case you haven't noticed. I want a ton of them in my yard, but I don't have the cash to buy 3 or 4 more plants so I did some research on propagating. Basically you are creating a new plant from the stem of an old one.

I found a couple websites that offered various ways of doing it. One site was way to "technical plant geek" for me and another gave info that wasn't really doable, so I combined what I read and tried it the traditional way- put a cutting into water to make it root. This is my way:

1. Find a stem on your hydrangea that hasn't had a bloom on it yet.
2. Cut the top section of the stem right above the 2nd leaf nodes- so you have one section of leaves on the stem and the very top leaves intact.
3. Put that baby in water, and wait... Forever... for some roots to grow!
4. Change and refresh the water every couple days and put it in a sunny spot in the house, near a window works well.

Keep checking your stem for root growth. Again mine took about 2 weeks to get some good roots growing. Once I had about 1/2 inch of root growth I transferred it to a small pot with a 70/30 mixture of potting soil and sand. Keep your new planting in a semi-shade spot outside and continue to water it. Try to keep it well watered.

So far mine is trucking away. I think I'll pull it up this week and replant it to check the roots. I hope this helps some of you hydrangea-lovin people from having to buy more plants! Let me know if you have some success too! I'll keep you posted on mine.


Update: Jasmine Run

{ They're going strong mom! }

I'm back again with my monthly update on my climbing Madison Jasmine vines. I planted them way back in July with the hopes that they will eventually cover the columns that greet you on our front porch. Last month the vines were about as tall as me!

{ Now }

{ Doc is checking out the new sprouts. }

It has been a little more than two months since they were planted and they have reached the top of the columns!! Once all the big vines reach the tops, I think I'll pinch them off to make them grow more off-shoots to fill in around the columns. I'm so happy with their progress. After a poor experience with some Carolina Jasmine, I was hesitant, but they couldn't be any better! I'll be back next month with more updates.


Gravy on Sundays

Sunday mornings have been marked by warm gravy with biscuits lately. Erik and I are trying to recreate one of our favorite weekend pastimes at the house- enjoying a yummy breakfast together. We used to get up and go out to one of our favorite spots to enjoy a late breakfast, but we have been trying to watch our pennies so making breakfast in-house has become our new tradition.

In the past we would do the usual muffins with fruit for me, and eggs and sausage for Erik. But the past two weekends have brought biscuits with white gravy. Holy goodness.

Going out and letting others cook our breakfast, on average, would cost us about $15-$20 with tip. Now a trip to the grocery store for biscuits for 3 breakfasts, gravy, OJ, and eggs runs about $10. Pretty nice, and the biggest bonus, we don't have to get dressed!!

So tell me, what is your favorite weekend tradition?