Friday, December 21, 2012

Graphic Organizers for Mom (Or How to Play Games With Your Mind)

For some reason, I dislike making lists for myself of things to do.  They tend to become taskmasters to me, and make me feel like I must get them DONE before my day or week is a success.  Typical first born, perfectionist, I suppose.  But I've come across another method for helping me organize tasks, that feels more like a game of Bingo or Black Out.  :)  Oh, the games we play with our minds!  I call it a Graphic Organizer for Mom, and I love how it organizes my want-to's and need-to's into nice tidy little squares.  Here's how:

Just take a piece of computer paper and fold it in half, and then fold each half several times until you have either 16 or 24 little squares.

Then as you think of things you WANT to get done and NEED to get done, write one on each square. I also write down some fun things I'd like to do.  This particular Graphic Organizer is for me over Christmas Break from homeschooling our 9th grade son.  I still have a few empty squares on it, so that I can add to it as I think of something else.

As you complete a task or a fun To Do, put a nice big X through it.  Ahhhh, doesn't that feel aaaamaaaazinnnggg?!  And it looks so tidy.  Plus it feels like I'm just playing Bingo with the goal of a complete Black Out by January 2.

Some of these things I am REALLY looking forward beginning my new Smash Book Scrapbook. Playtime with paper!!

Other items...not so fun.  Like mopping the kitchen and sewing my husband's coat buttons on tight. But, because of this Graphic Organizer I really didn't mind doing it and then having the fun of crossing it off.
My photos today are subpar because I used my iPhone rather than my camera, but you get the gist.  
So give it a try and see if it makes you feel more organized and less mastered by a To Do list.
Works for this Mama!

Christmas Blessings!


Linked to:
Made By You Monday

Thursday, December 6, 2012

10 Minute Trees

This Christmas, I have had so much fun coming up with new Christmas displays for my home.    Partly because I didn't want to get out all of my usual decorations and have the work of putting them all away again in a few weeks.  Partly because I just wanted something different to enjoy.  One of those little projects has been to try my hand at Origami!  I found a website that visually showed pictures and gave instructions for making Origami Pine Trees. But since I am not good with geometry, (at all!), I also searched You Tube and came up with a video that showed how to make them.  The little tree above is one of the ones I made.  

I decided to do our mantle this year in the calm, peaceful colors of Aqua, Green, Silver, and White.  The plate is a North Star treasure I found at a flea market for a couple of dollars.  LOVE it.  It was my inspiration piece.  I already had the glass containers, teacup and saucer, and the vintage green copy of Little Women, so just added an aqua print fabric belly band around the book and put inexpensive aqua and silver ornaments in the glass containers.

The three trees were so easy and quick to make.  The link for the blog site that gives instructions on how to fold them is HERE.  And if you are like me and need a video to help you figure out the folds, then watch this ONE (just through 1:45 minutes of it, because then they do a different design than the simple one I wanted.)  The 3D stars came from THIS blog link, and were fun and easy to make.  I can't decide if my favorite tree is the aqua one with the green star, or the sheet music of Good Christian Men Rejoice (a photocopy of it) for the small tree.

These would be fun projects to make with kids.  You can practice on a square of computer paper first.  You can make them any size...just start with a square.  Add a loop of ribbon or embroidery thread at the top if you want to hand it from your Christmas tree.

Come back soon, and I will show you the Origami dresses I've made to hang on a Christmas tree.  Sweeeeet!

Have Fun!!

Christmas Blessings,

Linked to:
My Romantic Home
Funky Junk Interiors
Sunday Showcase

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Vintage Little Christmas

My love for all things vintage is sparking some creative fun as I decorate the house for Christmas.  I am using some of my vintage belongings to make a few new tablescapes.  Here is the coffee table's new look for December.  The little old muffin tin is something I found at the flea market this past weekend, and I already LOVE it.

The same scene with the flash used, so you can better see what makes up the vignette.  

Eloise Wilken's book Baby's Christmas is a true favorite.  Both of my darling grandbabies have Eloise Wilkens cheeks and profiles!

The tin is holding miniature candy molds, Peppermint Pillow candies, and Scrabble tiles that spell Jesus.

With the flash, you can see my $2 bag of ABC blocks from this summer's garage saling is being enjoyed!  On the left is my childhood Christmas stocking, and I tucked in a few photos from my childhood Christmases in the 1960s.

That's me in the snow above right in 1967 and the lower photo shows my mom, my baby brother, and me with a large teddy bear in 1965.  :)

Lastly, this fabric underneath the display is called Dick and Jane at Christmas Time!!  Bliss!

Thanks for stopping in!

Christmas Blessings,


Linked to:
My Romantic Home
Funky Junk Interiors
Sunday Showcase

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getting Ahead, Holiday-Style

I LOVE to get ahead in my responsibilities.  It makes me feel prepared and better able to enjoy each day.  So a recent blog post really caught my eye.  It's called Stock Your Freezer in Just an Hour Each Week.  You can click on that title and be taken to Crystal's inspiring article.  :)  I love the idea of freezing meals and desserts to have on hand, but the thought of spending hours in the kitchen and dealing with sinks full of dirty dishes turns me off.  I homeschool our 9th grade son, plus have a thriving Etsy business, so I don't feel I have time to make a month of meals in one day.  So Crystal's idea of just spending an hour a week preparing something for the freezer really appeals to me.  She even suggests just spending 30 minutes at a time doing such.  

My husband and I have all of our adult kids,  2 little grandbabes, and parents coming to our home for Thanksgiving Weekend.  Can. Not. Wait!  I want to be able to really enjoy them all so I am thinking ahead about what I can do to get ahead of the game, food wise and cleaning wise.  Today I had so much fun preparing one thing for the freezer, and now it waits there, ready for holiday baking.  Yippee!  I'll take you on a photo journey of my first one hour freezer cooking adventure, which I divided into two 20 minute segments.

Peanut Butter Blossoms are one of our VERY favorite Christmas cookies.  I'd like to have some to serve over Thanksgiving Weekend, since that is when my grown kids will be home.  During a break from school, between Grammar and Math, I got out the recipe and made the cookie dough.

All good Christmas Cookie making starts with Christmas music on Pandora...

And donning the apron my so-loved Grandma made for me when I married in 1984....
One recipe makes 3 1/2 dozen.  Easy to mix up the dough during my break. (Then, back to school and lunch before I came back to finish this job.)

Roll into balls and roll in sugar

And now for the surprising part...I put the cookie balls on plates to FREEZE!  I'm not a huge fan of cookies that have been frozen.  Nor of making cookie dough AND baking it all in one setting.  I'm a short-project kind of gal.

I had two plates full of cookie dough balls...into the freezer for an hour and 15 minutes of while I cleaned up lunch and finished school with my son.

Took the plates out of the freezer.  Two plates of amazing cookies ready to bake and top with a Hersheys Kiss.  Bliss!  Fresh baked cookies will only be about 15 minutes away, whenever I decide to bake them.  Nom, nom, nom.

Lickety split, I slid them off the plates and into a gallon freezer bag.  Zip it up, easing out the air as I go. And just for the fun of it, I tied a red bow around it.  Christmas Cookies just waiting to be baked.  (Can you tell, I'm excited!)

I wrote the cookie name on the bag and the oven temp too.  My recipe never had the minutes of baking written on it, so every year I have to figure it out again.  Sheesh.  :)

I am visualizing baking half of these at Thanksgiving, and saving the other half for Christmas.  Wouldn't these frozen cookie dough balls make a fabulous gift for a friend, neighbor, teacher, or your Pastor's family?  You could wrap them cute, and add a nice tag.  We sometimes are given too many cookies at Christmas, so being given frozen dough balls might be a real blessing for your friends to bake and use at whatever time they need them.

I'm planning to make 2-3 more types of cookie dough balls to freeze before the holidays.  Also several pies (baked), a frozen dessert, and our Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole.  Any other ideas from you readers and friends?

Hope you are inspired!

Blessings and Happy Getting Ahead!


Linked to:
Sew Many Ways Linky Party

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Purse Organizers Make Great Gifts!

A year ago, I followed a simple tutorial from a blog and made myself a purse organizer.  I blogged about it HERE and this link will take you to the blog where I first found it featured.  :)  I've used it everyday since!  LOVE it!  Keeps my purse tidy and makes it so much easier to switch purses.

Since I like mine so well, I am making them for my Etsy shop, Perfect Darlings.  If you are the crafty type, go for making it yourself!  And if not, head over to my Etsy shop and see if you are interested in one for yourself or a gift. These would make such nice gifts for b-days, Christmas, or any other occasion.

I'm just going to let the photos show you the prettiness and the usefulness of these little beauties.


Linked To:
Sew Many Ways Linky Party

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Means Soup

One of the wonderful things about the return of Fall is adding homemade soup back into my menus. Even though it is still in the 80s and 90s here in Southern Indiana, my tastebuds are ready for heart, healthy soups.  So last night I made one of my new favorites from this TOH cookbook.  I love Comfort Food and I love healthy food.  Win-Win!

I tried this recipe a few weeks ago and my somewhat picky 14 year old son, gobbled it down. It was a winner! 

See the '5' I gave the recipe in the margin?  I rate new recipes and books that I read with a 1-5 with 5 being a definite make again or read again.  :) This recipe is simple and fairly quick.  You can't see the last couple of sentences of the directions, so I'll give them to you here.  You mix the flour and the remaining cup of milk into a smooth consistency and add to the soup, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes to thicken.  Then add the cheese and let it melt.  Done!
I used frozen broccoli, fresh carrots, onions, and celery, and a can of little whole potatoes that I sliced (add canned potatoes near the end since they are pre-cooked).  I used grated cheddar cheese instead of Velveeta.  This recipe is very versatile...use what you have.  And a is meatless, yet still hearty!  

Makes about 6 large bowls of soup.  It fed the three of us (2nds for my husband) and will be a lunch for 2 out of the leftovers.

I added a cucumber-feta cheese salad and a whole grain roll.  Dinner is done!
I got this cookbook on Amazon, slightly used.  Highly recommend.  Lots of photos and we've really enjoyed every recipe I've made from here!

Happy September!

Linked To:  2805, My Romantic Home, At the Picket Fence,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

DIY Kitchen Towels for Gifts and for You!

Last Christmas I figured out how to embellish a kitchen towel for my mother-in-law into one that fastened on to her oven handle.  One of  our dear family friends liked it so much, she asked if I could make 3 for her to give as gifts!  So knowing that she wanted 3 towels in a green palette, I bought 3 nice towels on sale at Target, and used some cute scraps of fabric  plus rick rack and ribbon, and in no time had these three little ladies ready for giving.
This one has the potholder attached to the top, like the one I made for my Mother-in-Law so that it can be fastened to the oven handle.  I plan to attach green potholders to the other 2 towels as well, once I find the ones I need at the store.  

I ironed in a hem on all sides of the strips of coordinating fabrics and sewed them to the towel, plus added rick rack for a sweet vintage touch.

For this towel, I machine stitched 3 rectangles of fabric together to make one long strip.  Then ironed in a hem and sewed it to the towel, finishing it with some rick rack.

This 3rd one is my favorite.  I love the four bits of fabric sewn together, and I put a little green bow on the 'different' square which is mostly yellow with flecks of green in it.  Putting it off center adds interest.
I heat sealed the ends of the ribbon and sewed it on securely.

I also heat sealed the ends of the rick rack so they will wash up nicely.  I was sorely tempted to add some buttons as embellishments, but that would hurt when you dried your hands on these, so I stuck with soft embellishments.
I'm thinking these would make nice Christmas gifts...and who knows they might end up being a new product on my Etsy shop, Perfect Darlings.

You can make your own if you have a sewing machine and can sew a straight line!  Give it a try.


Linked to:  My Romantic Home, 2805, At the Picket Fence,
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