DIY Paper Bag Hardwood Floors

I love DIY projects and before kids, my hubs and I remodeled our first house. Like down to the studs sort of a remodel. But after kids….Let’s be real! Time is just not there. So we’ve been living for the last 6-7 years with half completed projects. But this last month we got all amped up to get some of these projects done. And while I’m being honest, the daily tasks of the household really went by the wayside BUT we made some major progress.

So here’s my most recent project. I had a carpeted front porch that I scraped clean of all the carpet a few years ago and it’s been plain concrete since. But we got a new door and I couldn’t leave it!

 

So….I did a DIY project and am so happy with the way it turned out.

Want to try it out?

Ingredients Needed:

  1. To start, I painted the lighter color on the strips of craft paper and let it dry.
  2. Paint the second color over and follow the instructions on your faux grain tool to make the wood grain. (I had to experiment with this a little bit so give yourself some extra strips to play with.IMG_1352IMG_1357IMG_1359
  3. Once they are dry, mix together 1 cup glue and 3 cups water. Dip all your painted strips into the glue mixture till completely wet.
  4. Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup glue together and paint mixture onto your floor surface. (PS-make sure your floor is really clean before you start this process)
  5. Lay down the strips of paper on the glue and use a squeegy tool to smooth out all bubbles.IMG_1348IMG_1350IMG_1349
  6. Continue process till floor surface is covered and let dry.
  7. Paint a layer of polyurethane over the floor following can directions.
  8. Continue with 8-10 layers (per can instructions).
    1. Tips! Clean each time you do a layer. I had to sand out some bugs and hairs and such. I even got a dirty foot print that I didn’t notice till it was already under polyurethane.
  9. Step back and admire your beautiful floor.

What do you think? Have you tried it? Would you try it?

Teaching Kids about Money with DIY Money Jars

Americans in total owe $11.68 trillion in debt (according to here). That’s crazy! We need to train the next generation to get out of debt.

My parents did a great job of trying to teach me about money as I was growing up, but I sure wish I knew more and managed my money better.  I am grateful for all they taught me and hope to teach my children the value of money.

When my daughter’s piggy bank was unexpectedly broken recently, we decided to be a little more money wise with her rather than just saving.  Because even the Bible talks about not just saving our money but using it wisely to make it grow (Matthew 25:14-28), and at the same time not serving money as a master (Matthew 6:24).

I wanted to teach my daughter how to give the first fruits of her money to God and to others. Thus we created a “Give” jar.  She contributes to this jar first.  She then has a “Save” jar which is used for saving and making investments for growth.  She also has a “Spend” jar in which she contributes to last.

I look forward to teaching her more in depth and with more complexity about money as time goes on but being only 2, this is a great place for us to start.

Here’s what we did…And again, we used supplies we already had around the house (teaching the value of conserving money by recycling).

Supplies Needed

  • Glass jars
  • Food Coloring
  • Mod Podge
  • Various craft supplies

banks (1 of 5)

1. Add tablespoon of mod podge, 1/2 tbs of water and about 5 drops of food color

banks (2 of 5)

2. Swirl it around in the jar till covered and then flip upside down and let liquid run outbanks (3 of 5)

3. After about 30 min put them on wax paper in the oven on warm for 10 min.

banks (4 of 5)

4. Remove from oven and let continue to dry.

5. We painted the lids too with just acrylic craft paintbanks (5 of 5)

DIY Easter Empty Tomb Craft

cross (1 of 1)
Our empty tomb after the chia seeds grew! Love it!

Easter is just around the corner! One off my favorite times of the year.  Not only is it a spring, with all things new, beautiful flowers, and bright colors, it’s also the celebration of Jesus dying on the cross and raising from the dead.

empty tomb
This was our inspiration photo that has been floating around the internet. My mom shared the photo with me.

My mom sent me a picture to make an empty tomb decoration with my daughter.  My daughter was incredibly excited about it (she loves watching the stories of Jesus on my iphone Bible for Kids app by YouVersion and reading in her Bible).  We got so excited we set out looking around the house for the supplies.  Luckily, we found everything we needed…thus also learning the value of recycling, re-purposing, and saving our financial resources.  I love craft projects that don’t require purchasing anything and yet you are still able to make something new and beautiful.

Here’s what you need:

  • A small terracotta pot (ours might be a little big but again, we were trying to repurpose things we had)
  • A round pan, or pot bottom/tray
  • Some rocks
  • Some dirt
  • Chia seed, grass seed, or moss
  • Some sticks
  • Pipe cleaner, glue, or other means of fastening the cross

It’s pretty simple to complete once you have all the supplies (and feel free to improvise as needed). We used chia seeds and after the first few days, the dirt was so dry I was worried that they wouldn’t grow and was planning to go buy some moss.  However, today I noticed  a few little sprouts. I’ll post a picture as it gets green!  I was just too excited not to share this now so that others could do it for Easter too! (SEE OUR PICTURE AT THE TOP OF THIS POST!)easter (1 of 2) easter (2 of 2)

DIY Nursing Cover

nursingcover (15 of 17)

This year, there are so many new babies in my family! My son as born 4 weeks ago and I’m expecting two nephews and a surprise 2nd cousin in the next few months. It’s so much fun to watch our families growing and for our kids to all be close in age (my son and nephew will be nearly exactly a month apart!).

I love to sew and try to create things, even if I’m not the most experienced.  I think it’s the fun in seeing something created from just pieces.  I’m a HUGE advocate for breastfeeding. I’ll maybe write a post about that one of these times because I’m surprised at how little people actually do know about the benefits.  I have found breastfeeding has received a lot of publicity in recent years, especially regarding to cover or not to cover and women’s rights to nurse anywhere they choose.  I won’t get into the debate here. It’s a whole other can of worms.  However, for me, I have found much more comfort and peace when nursing when I’ve had a cover. My cousin is the only one having her first baby and so I decided to make her a nursing cover (knowing both my sister and sister in law don’t need one).I’m going to share with you how I made it, and trying to give you pointers in what I did wrong and how I would do it differently next time.

I’ve had 2-3 nursing covers and liked different features of all of them.  Thus, this one combines those features.  Many nursing covers have a D-Ring with and adjustable strap. I found it to be unnecessary and honestly the extra fabric for the strap just got messy and in the way. That’s why I found it brilliant that a friend made me one with an elastic strap instead! Love it! One of my covers has fabric on 2 sides, thus making it a little stiffer.  This is beneficial for keeping the cover’s shape so you can adjust and see your baby without your cover just collapsing on you.

Supplies you Need:

nursingcover (1 of 17)

  • 2 different fabrics 3/4 yard each
  • 17-18 inch piece of 3/4″-1″ elastic
  • 15 inches of boning

(Sew at 1/4″ unless otherwise specified)

1. Cut a piece of both fabric “A” and fabric “B” into 36″x25.” Cut a piece of both fabric A & fabric B that is 20×2 (if you use 3/4″ elastic, you can make this a little thinner instead of 2″).nursingcover (3 of 17)

2. Pin together the 20×2 pieces together with right sides facing each other. Pin your elastic to one of the short ends. Sew along the 3 sides you pinned, leaving one end open to turn it inside out. Your elastic will be sewn in on the one end but able to freely move otherwise.
nursingcover (4 of 17)

3. Put a safety pin on the free end of the elastic so that it makes it easier to retrieve once you’ve turned your strap inside out. Turn the strap inside out. Press with an iron.

nursingcover (6 of 17)

4. Press 1/2″ hem along the top (one of the long sides) of Fabric A. This will be the outside of your cover so choose the fabric you want visible. Find the middle. Tuck the boning into the hem and pin in place.Image

5. Retrieve the end of the elastic out of the collar piece and pin both elastic and fabric along hemline at end of boning. Pin other end of collar at other end of boning.

6.Stitch along the edge of the hemline across the entire edge of fabric.  Also create vertical stitches at each end of the boning to keep it in place.

nursingcover (12 of 17)

Image

7. Press 1/2″ hemline on Fabric B just as you did on Fabric A. Pin together fabric A and Fabric B with right sides together. Stitch along 3 sides (not side with the collar). Once it is stitched together, turn it side out. Snip the corners so that they lay nicely. Iron/press along edges. nursingcover (8 of 17)

nursingcover (2 of 17)

8. Stitch along side with collar (as close to the edge as you like- you’ll already have one stitch line visible so it sometimes looks nice to have one really close to the edge to have 2 parallel stitch lines running together).

9. I added a stitch line around the other 3 sides at 1/2″ line to help keep the 2 fabrics smooth and neat. It isn’t necessary but adds a nice touch.

10. You’re done!

nursingcover (14 of 17)I love this fabric! I wish I were keeping the cover for myself.

nursingcover (16 of 17)The cover’s boning really allows for ease of seeing baby while nursing. This is a downward view while wearing.

nursingcover (17 of 17)

I meant to write these directions as I did it but got stuck problem solving and didn’t so if I missed something or wrote something incorrectly, let me know!

DIY Wood Floor Cleaner

Sorry it’s been a little while since my last post. It’s been a crazy whirlwind sort of few weeks.  We found out that we are expecting a little boy! We are very excited to add to our family and very excited that we will soon have a daughter and a new little son!   Then I caught the worst cold I’ve had in years. I’m usually up and back to work or working around the house within a day.  But this one took me out for 3 days of work and has me still lingering with congestion.  Thank goodness I have some oils that are safe to use during pregnancy.  When I was pregnant with my daughter I didn’t have that and chose not to use any over the counter meds. (A little side note, I started using protective blend essential oil on my daughter and husband when they started to feel a little cold coming on while I was sick.  Now a week later, they are both still running like a champ! Unfortunate, I don’t feel comfortable using protective blend while pregnant.  I did have it diffusing in my diffuser for the last week though.  If you have questions about why I choose not to use it during pregnancy, let me know!)

Anyway, on to my post. I have a refillable floor cleaner and have been using a variety of items trying to clean my floors.  This is what I’ve found that works the best.  I’m not absolutely in love with it as I feel it sometimes leaves streaks.  But I’m not sure if that’s my mop cleaner or the solution itself. So if any of you have suggestions or recipes you’ve tried, let me know! I’d love to give them a try.

Recipe

Roughly 16oz of water

1 tablespoon of Vinegar

3-5 drops of Essential oil (I chose Lemon for extra cleaning power)

A squirt of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (I added this midway through trying to further eliminate any streaking)

My before photos

september2013 (6 of 9) september2013 (7 of 9)

My After Photosseptember2013 (8 of 9) september2013 (9 of 9)

Did you know your bed might have bed bugs or dust mites? DIY- Mattress and Furniture Cleaner

Yesterday my daughter was throwing a bit of a tantrum.  She was in her room screaming and then all of a sudden it got quiet. Any of you parents, know that this is a BAD sign. I walked in to find her staring down as she peed on her uncovered mattress.  I’ve never had this problem before as usually she has a liner on the mattress and I take that off and wash it.  I searched the internet for ways to clean it up and ran across a lot of posts talking about bed bugs and dust mites. Eww! Apparently, cleaning your mattress should be something we do somewhat regularly.  I know that Joe and I have had a mattress for the entire time we’ve been married (7 years). Guess how many times it’s been cleaned? You guessed it! None.

I made a cleaner for my mattress by making the following recipe.

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 2-5 drops lavender oil
  • 2-5 drops eucalyptus (This one because of it’s ability to kill dust mites. See this study’s results.)
  • 2-5 drops purity blend

I added them together in a glass jar and shook until they were mixed. I used a sifter from my daughter’s play kitchen and sifted it onto her mattress.  Because I didn’t need to wash the sheets on our bed or the spare bedroom yet, I decided to use the rest on our couches and use it as a deodorizer and general cleanser.

cleaning (3 of 4)cleaning (4 of 4)I then let them sit for approximately an hour and then vacuumed them up!

It’s probably best to complete this process on your bed and furniture at least every few months or so, especially if you have pets or suffer from allergies.