Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Part 2 and Resolutions

Ah Resolutions. I seem to make them every year and they seem to be round about the same every year as well. With the all the moving I did and the holidays both my budget and my health are way out of whack and I need to do something about it. So this year I'm committing to The Chic Life's Eat In Month challenge for January!  She leaves a lot of the rules up to you so you can tailor it to what you want your challenge to be.  Click the banner below to read more about it on her site.

For me anything from the grocery store is okay and I'm going to allow myself 1 cheat meal a week.  Even with one meal out a week I'm going to have a tough time.  I'm also going to allow coffees out but only until my Starbucks and Dunkin Gift Cards are spent. Wish me luck and join me in the challenge!

I also hope to be posting some of my home cooked meals here.  You won't be seeing the meal-in-a-bag PF Changs of course (which are totally delicious and AWESOME for those days when you don't feel like cooking) but I hope to experiment with some more recipes and show them off here.  Who knows, maybe I'll even join the 52 weeks of cooking again.


Now back to Christmas.  I still can't share my knitting or the mailed package so expect a part 3 to Christmas to show up in the middle of January, but I wanted to show off the gift my sister made me:

And close up:

She said she got the idea from pinterest but I don't know exactly where to cite it. :)  She definitely knows me well- 2 of my favorite things reading and travelling.  I absolutely love them!  Anyone else have cool things that they are dying to share?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Part 1

I have been running around like a crazy person for the last month or so frantically trying to get everything done in time for Christmas.  Like usual, I totally failed.  It never seems to matter how early I start, life gets in the way and I perpetually overbook myself for Christmas.  

You may remember the quilt I was working on.  I thought starting as early as I did I'd totally have it done for Christmas Eve when I was supposed to give it.  I didn't.  I came SO close.  So very close.  But I wound up giving the mostly finished quilt and then taking it back to give back to the recipient once I fully finished it.  I had 2/4 edges left finish come Christmas Eve, but ran out of time and fabric (AGAIN!  I'm really bad about figuring out how much I need ahead of time!).  I finally finished it on Friday and should be seeing the recipient again on New Years Day to give it to him.  I forgot to take a picture of the quilt in its full glory, but here it is nice and pretty all tied up with ribbon and ready to give.

I'm also still working on some knitting projects that I cannot yet share on here.  Thankfully though I still haven't seen those recipients for Christmas so I'm not really late.  It doesn't count if I haven't had the opportunity to give the gifts yet :)  

Oh and then there's the mailed gift that really should have been done a week before Christmas so I could post it but I haven't even started yet.  Thankfully shes a forgiving friend and won't mind a belated gift.  

One of the gifts I put together this year for some people was mulling spices.  I do a lot of cookies usually so I found this on pinterest and thought it might make a nice change of pace.  I bought some bottles of 3 buck chuck at Trader Joes to package it with for a frugal gift.  My recommendation if you try it is to get spices from bulk bins for the best price.  In my case this meant that Whole Foods was the cheapest source of spices (who would have ever guessed!?).

Stay tuned for Christmas Parts 2 and 3 where I'll share some of the other things I made and some of the gifts I received from people (my sister made a fabulous crafty thing for my craft room that I have to share!).  

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Draft Snakes

I had to take a quilting break.  I'm a little afraid I won't get it done in time but this is our first winter we're living on the top floor of an old farmhouse.  And you know what farmhouses are (aside from adorable)?  They are freaking DRAFTY!  Not only is each window and door drafty, but we have like a bajillion of them.  When I was sitting in front of the couch wondering if the window was cracked because there was so much cold coming out of the window behind me I realized we were going to need to do something if we didn't want to spend a year's salary heating the place for the 4-5 months that make up a Chicago winter.  My solution- draft snakes!  Or draft stoppers, whatever you want to call them.

So this is what I've spent my quilting break doing.

I have made a total of 34 draft stoppers and filled them with about 130 lbs of rice.  Some are scrap fabric, but I eventually just used Black Friday to buy cheap flannel for the rest of them (and get adorable patterns too)  

So to make them I was cutting fabric about 36x7( I prefer 8 but I was getting closer to 7 to get the most full stirps out of a yard)

Then you just fold it in half lengthwise so that the pretty sides face each other and stitch the short end and most of the long end together then turn it right side out.  I used a zigzag stitch to hopefully hold it better.  

After its turned right side out fill it with something (sand, rice, beans- anything like that) and sew the other end closed.  Fold the rough edges inside so you have a nice clean end.  

I sealed the window draft stoppers because I figure there isn't much chance of them getting wet or dirty and therefore needing cleaning or risking the filling getting moldy.  I wasn't sure how the door stoppers would do so I went searching for alternate solutions and used velcro for the end on those.  That way they can be emptied, thrown in the washer and refilled.  

This is what the velcro end looks like.  I can definitely tell the house is far less drafty than it was before them.  I still have 3 more to make, but I need to pick up another 25 lb bag of rice at Costco to do it. :)  

I'm considering working adding these to my etsy shop and selling them unfilled (because shipping them filled is way expensive and makes more sense for buyers to fill it themselves.