Saturday, April 26, 2014

Last Minute Curtains

This post title may be a little misleading. These curtains are not something that only take a couple of minutes. In fact, they have taken me way too many baby nap times to finish. I call them last minute curtains because we found out that we are almost 100% moving to Maine (in July!) and I needed to finally finish them before we left the sewing machine forever.

These curtains actually don't take too much time, but I have very little patience with sewing and the ruffles can be a little tedious to do. But I think they turned out great, and I love them and I can't stop looking at them. I glow with pride every time I walk in the room.

If you want the same warm fuzzy feeling that I have, you can check out the tutorial that I followed here, which was pretty great and very easy to follow. They weren't even that expensive since I used coupons and I ended up getting an additional discount on two pieces of fabric because the bolt was already cut. (I would not suggest this. The colors were a little bit different, but you really can't notice now.)

The few things that I would point out after I've done the project is that her "unbleached" muslin looks a heck of a lot whiter than the unbleached ones I saw in the store. I went with an unbleached muslin and it turned out much more creamy colored than white. I thought maybe it was creamy colored because it was all together on the bolt, but I was wrong, and it kind of devastated me at first, but I think it turned out great in the end. 

Another thing is, if you have a ruffler foot for your sewing machine and you know how to use it, PLEASE use it. These curtains would have been done in a day or two if I didn't almost blow my brains out from ruffling all this fabric! It's a lot more than it looks like. 

Also, I used cafe rod clips from Walmart to hang the curtain. I left the tabs open on the ends so I could put it directly on the rod if I didn't like how it looked, but they turned out great. They were so cheap and they slide so nicely. It was a great decision. 

Overall, I'm really proud of myself for this project. I usually get really frustrated and cut lots of corners when I sew, but this time I decided that I would leave every time I got frustrated, and so it ended up actually looking great. It doesn't look exactly like the blog that I followed, but I was kind of going for my own look anyway. 

Even if you're a starter, this is a great project to do. When you're going through school, you can't really afford too many great accent pieces in your home, so this did the trick to add a little attention grabber. If anyone tries it, let me know!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

To-Do List Before the Big Move Part I: Food

Moving is not my favorite thing in the world. It's not even close. I don't think it even makes my top 100 favorite things. But it is a necessary evil, and one that our little family will have to do in a few months down the road. Even though I hate moving, I've done enough of it in my college days from apartment to apartment to know a thing or two about it.

Since it is still up in the air which state out of three we'll be moving to and it's still relatively far away, I can't plan renting the truck, buying the apartment/house, or too much of the actual packing... and it's driving me nuts! So I've decided to make a check off list for things that I can do months in advance. This is the first in a series of blog installments that I'll be writing as we get ready to head out.

Food Inventory

Our family falls under the poor college kids category and so letting food go to waste really brings me down. It is really hard to move with all of your things when space is limited and food is perishable, so our plan is to leave the house with as little food as possible in tow.

Freezer/ Refrigerator 
The freezer is the spot where most the food goes to waste in a move. We'll be moving at least a couple states away, so bringing all that food with us is just not an option. This is our freezer/ refrigerator game plan:

  • Make an inventory of everything in the freezer/ fridge.
  • Throw away everything that has been in there too long or has freezer burn.
  • Create meal plans from now until a month before the move using as much of the freezer items as possible.
  • Don't buy any freezer items or long term fridge items (such as large bottles of condiments, jams, and yeast) unless you can fit it into your short-term meal plans
  • Keep freezer completely bare except necessities that will be eaten soon (chicken breasts, quick dinners for moving week, ice cream, etc.)
If it's getting close to moving day and we still have a lot of really good stuff, then we will give it to a friend in the area. I mean really good stuff. I'm not going to give away something that has been in there for so long that it would take weeks to thaw it out of the ice shell its developed. I'm talking freezer jams and unopened packages of ravioli or something. The other stuff should probably be dumped. If you weren't going to eat it, your friends probably won't want to either.

The pantry is a little different as far as planning ahead because the items can last longer in normal temperatures, so you can bring a lot of the stuff with you. But if push comes to shove, you'll probably want to use the space for your clothes or furniture rather than your food, so this is all about compacting things!

  • Again, make an inventory and create meal plans to use up a lot of the things in your pantry, especially hard-to-move items.
  • Cans are easy to pack, but they are very heavy, so include this on your eating list even though they are longer lasting food items.
  • In fact, try to eat everything you can and limit your shopping trips for more food. You don't want to use up all your space packing something like cereal. 
  • Use this time to get organized! Flour or sugar packed in their normal bags run the risk of being punctured and spreading all over everything else, so you could invest in some dollar store containers. (Or if you're cheap and have a baby like me, just use old formula containers)

Other Things to Do Months in Advance (not food related)
  • Collect and save boxes. Save everything that comes into your home in a box.  We have a nice pile of empty diaper boxes ready to be loaded. You can also ask nearby grocery stores for their extra boxes, or just go dumpster diving. This will save a lot of money in the long run, because, really, who wants to spend money on a cardboard box?
  • Start packing away your winter (or summer) clothes. 
  • Stop buying in bulk for cleaning, office, and kitchen supplies.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring Salad

It was 70 degrees today! Spring has been slipping in and out of my life for the last couple of weeks, but I think it is ready to stay awhile.

I do enjoy the cold months because I love any excuse to drink hot chocolate and watch a movie in sweat pants (and the sun just makes you feel so guilty if you try to do that in the summer), but I am embracing spring more than I typically do because I have a very bored almost-one-year-old to entertain.

We've been going on walks almost every day which is great for his napping and even better for my thighs, who are just about ready to pull out the swimwear.

Which brings me to the recipe for today. What could be better for your swimsuit body then a wide variety of salads? Okay, salads don't really NEED a recipe but I made the poppy seed dressing from scratch, and it was delicious and so easy. Plus it looked really pretty to me, so I had to take a picture of it and fit it in somehow. I actually took this to a church activity and all the ladies loved it and didn't leave any leftovers.

So here's the recipe:

1 large romaine lettuce head, torn
3/4 cup craisens
2 sliced gala apples
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup glazed walnuts
1 cup poppy seed dressing

Poppy Seed Dressing
3/4 cup mayonnaise (low fat works if you're into that)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir until no lumps remain. Set aside. Slice apples and sprinkle with lemon juice to preserve color. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing in salad bowl, toss, and serve immediately.