Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Crafting

This year, I had wanted to have a handmade Christmas.  I have some what managed this goal, but not as much as I would have liked.  As usual, I didn't plan well and I am so far behind!  I am getting there, but I need to spend some more time actually finishing up certain things.

I have 1 of 2 stockings completed.  I have 2 mostly finished, but I need to embroider names on the cuffs, and then sew on the cuffs.  Not too much to complete, but enough that I really need to get it finished.

I made one new felt ornament, but I still need to finish sewing 2 more.  I have them all cut out, I just need to finish hand sewing.

I finished 2 pillow cases, and have 1 more to finish sewing.  They came together so easy and I really like how the boys came out.  I can't wait to pull out my sewing machine and finish my daughter's pillow case!

We made a Santa plate to leave cookies for Santa Christmas Eve.  I used a project that I found on pinterest, only I used Bic markers, not sharpies.  I read that Sharpies didn't work as well as the reports said they did.  I have to admit, I just now remembered, I didn't cure it in the oven (though I did read that the oven curing didn't matter).  I guess I should through the plate in the oven just in case it makes a difference.

I still have some pj bottoms to make.  I didn't even want to attempt the tops.  I know I have a limited time to finish everything, so I have to do what I can.  I have a bunch of soap that I made and plan on giving for gifts.  I am going to try to see what else I can easily make so that I can give out handmade gifts like I want, but not things that people don't want.

I'm loving my new sewing machine.  My Sofia2 sews wonderful and is so light.  It is so easy to take it out and put it away.  I can even do the simple embroidery on the cuff of the stocking on my Sofia.  As much as I shouldn't have really spent the money and I should have gotten a less expensive machine, I am so happy that I have this one.  I love it and I love using using it.  I have been thrilled with Babylock products.  Totally recommend getting one!

Have a great Holiday,

Monday, December 10, 2012


Sometimes I feel like a big fake!  I spout off all these beliefs that I have, yet I don't always follow through with them.  It seems like I'm all talk and no action sometimes.  Yet, I guess since the name of this blog is "The Balance of Living a Handmade and Natural Life", I should focus more on the balance piece of things, something I don't always do well at.

A lot of time, I find myself thinking I need to do things in an all or nothing manner.  I forget that I don't have to follow things 100% of the time, I just need to follow my beliefs most of the time.  Balance is something that I really need to work on!

I was trying to live a lifestyle that is mostly free from animal products thinking that it was a more healthy way to live.  It probably is a better way to live, but then again, it's all about balance!  The problem is, a) I think I really do like meat, and b) my kids really, I mean really like meat.  I am trying to lose weight, but I need to make a lifestyle change not just a diet.  I want and need to start making more of my own food vs buying prepared foods just because it is easier.  I need to plan better, then it won't be an issue and i will be living that handmade and natural life with my food choices for me and my family.

I need to start making sure that I take time to create.  I know that I feel so much better when I do.  I have a bunch of WIP's (works in progress), but my latest project that I need to finish are family Christmas stocking!  I have finished my daughter's and am almost finished with my sons', then I need to start on mine and my husband's.  We all have some, but mine is from when I was a kid and my husband's and my kids' all need to have better made stockings!  I have a lot to work on and maybe some day I'll even be able to sell some things that I make.  That is one goal that I have and hopefully I'll be able to actually meet it.

Balance is the key to having a happy life.  For me, I need to remember that it is not an all or nothing thing when it comes to my beliefs.  I don't have to always make things from scratch, wether it is food or anything else, but it is important for me to try to make things as often as possible.  I will try to remember that I can buy things from the store already made, but I need to follow through with my belief that I want to make things for me and my friends and family.  Maybe my next posts will be more about projects that I have completed or projects that I am trying to complete!

My daughter's new Christmas stocking!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Trying To Be Productive

It's amazing how little time you have when your kids get to be preschool age.  When they were babies, I had the luxury of naps.  Now, naps are few and far between and I never have all 3 kids occupied where I can spend time and create.  Of course, as usual, there are also good points to the kids getting older.  Now that they no longer nap, life is a little easier to plan or not plan and just go and do.  We can do so much more with them now.  We may have less free time on our hands, but I wouldn't change a thing.

That being said, I still try to find time to be creative and maybe even blog about my creative projects.  It may not be as often as I want or as complex as I want.  My blog posts may not be as intellectually stimulating as I would like.  But, I am finding time to create and some how, some way, journal about it; and that is what is really important to me.

Since my last post, I have done a decent amount of projects.  I have also treated myself to a new sewing machine.  I decided that my cheap $100 Joann Fabrics Singer, was just too frustrating for me to actually use.  I loved having a more portable machine than my Baby Lock Ellageo embroidery machine, but the Singer was just not a good quality machine.  At first I didn't understand the negative comments, but then After just a couple of uses, I realized how right all those reviews were.  I love my Ellageo, it's just not really portable.  I was looking at a Janome QDC3160 and a Baby Lock Grace.  I ended up at "Nashua Sewing and Vac" on Black Friday and ended up getting a Baby Lock Sofia2 for what I was quoted the Grace to be at another store.  I had heard really good things about Nashua Sewing and Vac and felt really good about trying out sewing machine and buying there.  There is nothing wrong with the Janome.  I know a few people who love the Janome and they all have different Janome machines.  One of them is not a Baby Lock fan.  I decided that it must be ike buying a Nikon vs a Canon.  I have always used a Canon, but I know that Nikon is just as good, just personal preference.  I wish I had more time to devote to my sewing!

What I've been up to:

English Paper Piecing Diamonds

Ballet Slipper Ornaments

Thanksgiving Skirt

Matching Thanksgiving Tie

My New Sofia2!

Embroidery On My Sofia2

Embroidery On My Sofia2

Embroidery On My Sofia2

Sewing On My Sofia2 With A Stitch Sampler

Cookie Plate for Santa

Cinnamon Ornaments

Now if I could just make sure that I continue to be creative both by myself and with the kids, I would be a very happyMommy!  I can't wait to sew more often.  We are in the process of decorating for Christmas and then cleaning up after that!  Right now, Creativity is going to be limited.  I am trying to make sure that I ambling creative with the kids so that they get to be creative as well as me.  Some days are better than others, but often as things are with kids, they don't go as planned, but we are still making memories and that is what is most important!

Happy Holidays to All!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hand Sewing

So, I have kind of become a little obsessed with hand sewing.  It all started when I read my friend Liz's post about hexagons.  I started making hexagons, and then I started looking into other shapes.  I got a little obsessed with youtube craft videos too.  I have now also hand appliquéd, which I have never done before.

I have to say, even though I will never give up my sewing machine, there is something very satisfying about hand sewing.  I kind of feel like it is a meditative process in one way, and I totally love that I can do it any where.  I love the portability of hand sewing.

I've also decided that I like to create traditional quilts and other hand crafts.  I am also totally enjoying the history behind things the hand crafted things.  At one point, I read a story on the underground railroad and quilting.  There is some discussion about wether or not this is real history or just stories, but I find it interesting.  I can't wait to read more!

Hand sewn (English paper pieced) hexagons!
Hand appliquéd dresden plate block

Hand pieced (English paper pieced) dresden plate fan butterfly

English paper pieced yellow flower octagon

English paper pieced pink flower octagon

English paper pieced pink flower octagon

I'm really looking forward to reading more about the history of different hand crafts and learning to make them!


Monday, October 22, 2012

A Little Obsessed

I love being with my kids, but I also love trying to make sure that I do things that I love for me!  One thing that I love to do is craft and create.  I love to just absorb myself in being creative, no matter what kind of crafting it is.  I do have favorites, but pretty much any creative outlet is fun for me.  I try to tell my husband that we both need to find time to be creative (his is mainly woodworking and mine is anything from sewing to knitting/crocheting to paper crafting to making my own bath and body things).  I am trying to do more than pin things on interest and watch youtube videos!

One of my twin mom friends has me a little obsessed with English Paper Piecing.  I saw a post she did on hexagon quilting and from there on, I have been obsessed.  I started learning all I could with hexagon quilting.  I put together a hexagon quilting kit.  I bought and made templates.  Now I have moved on from hexagon paper piecing to different shapes.

I am still obsessed with leaning different things about English Paper Piecing.  I really want to learn the history behind it, especially now that I have been actually doing it.  I have also started to become obsessed/addicted to youtube craft videos, including English Paper Piecing!

One of the things that I love about paper piecing is that you can take it with you.  There is also the newness factor of trying and learning a new craft, but the biggest thing is the portability of it.  I love that i can take it with me where ever I go.  I can do it while the kids are playing outside.  I can do it while I watch TV.  I could take it in the car while my husband drives.  I love that you can buy the templates already made, you can buy acrylic templates, or you can create your own.  So far I have either created my own of I have bought acrylic templates.

I haven't started yet, but i am little obsessed with the whole dresden plate template.  I have bought one and plan to use it soon, but just haven't found the time yet.  I guess in general, I am starting to get a little obsessed with the whole template things.  I am totally loving listening to youtube craft videos while I drive, while I lay in bed, or even while I half listen to TV.

I guess I am just a little obsessed with crafting again, and I am loving it!  I just wish I had more time!

English Paper Pieced multi shaped hexagon

English Paper Pieced multi shaped hexagon

English Paper Pieced multi shaped hexagon

Card I made from a youtube tutorial

Spiderman card I made from a youtube tutorial

 first paper pieced hexagons

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday

"What Do You Wish To Do One Day?", ask Jamie at  Such a good question and so many answers.  One thing I know I wish to do, travel cross country with my children and my husband.  I did this with my husband about 10 years ago and loved every second and can't wait to do it again but with better planning to make sure I get to experience all that I want to.

Another answer would be to have a career in something I love.  This is one area that is going to be difficult!  Mainly it's going to be difficult because I need to future out what it is that I truly want to do with my career.  I have thoughts about going back to school for art therapy, natural health, aromatherapy, herbs, or for nutrition training. I have crazy thoughts about opening my own studio with a healthy cafe and shoppe.  I think about doing more with flowers and gardening.  Then I think about just being a social worker.  I know that I will be going back to work sooner than I expect.  My twins will be in school within the next couple of years, and at that time, I hope that I can actually get back into the work force and love what I do.  I am trying to use this time that I am not working to figure out what I want to do with my life and hope that answering questions like this will help guide me to my love and passion!

"What Do You Wish To Do One Day?"


Monday, September 10, 2012

Hexagon Maddness

With it being National Sewing Month, I am really trying to get some sewing projects completed.  My friend at posted a hexagon project a while ago and I was intrigued.  More recently she posted a picture of her hexagon quilt and it got me thinking, this would be a great take along project for the part (maybe), and a great project to use up my scraps.  Of course now I want to branch out and maybe use things that aren't part of my scrap bin.I'm tempted to buy fabric, but I really want to try to use what I already have.  I can't afford to buy more and I don't have the room to buy more!  I'm trying really hard to be organized and right now I have my material pretty organized so I don't want to add more unless I have to!

My first hexie flower put together with a ladder stitch

Daddy and Thomas were watching the Patriots while I sewed and the other 2 kids were playing in their room

I am also working on a doll sized granny square afghan.  I was able to spend some time working on it while the kids played at the park!

4 flower hexies 1 completed with a whip stitch and 3 with the ladder stitch

I have been trying to organized my craft things and have been trying to get rid of some things.  I have free cycled some things, but there have been some stuff that no one seems interested in.  I have some yarn that no one has wanted and I have some stamps that I haven't posted yet.  I am hoping to get more stuff together so that I can get rid of rings and have a more organized place to work and know what supplies I have.  It's definitely a work in progress and really difficult to get rid of things.  I also just found out that I have some yarn that I totally forgot about.  I think once I finish some of the projects that I am working on, I need to go up in the attic and decide if this yarn is stuff I need/want. or if I should just get rid of it.  

It has been nice to have a more organized space.  I am not making a ton of things, but I really have been able to create more easily, know what I have for supplies, and not have to stress about cleaning up a project in the middle of working on it.  I like having a place for my dewing machine to be out all the time.  I like having small projects organized so that I can work on something while watching TV.  Of course all the new shows are starting up so it is really important to have things that I can work on while watching my favorite shows.  That way I can be productive as well as veg out in front of the TV and enjoy some good shows!  The funny thing is, I really like to be organized, but I am not one to get organized easily!

What are you making for National Sewing Month?


I think my next post will be about my Christmas list.  I need to get a plan in place if I want to make things for people for Christmas.  I need to have a plan in place so that I can get started.  I think I'll take the kids out in the back yard and work on my list!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Actual Sewing Project of the Month

I preciously wrote that I was going to tackle a tissue box cover for my oldest son's classroom.  Needless to say, I didn't get to it.  It is still on the list of things to do and will hopefully be completed soon.  I did put together my hexagon sewing kit (I think I have everything I need in it) and actually completed some.  I was pretty impressed with how easy it was and how I was able to complete some while the kids played with playdoh.

I used free templates from that I printed out on card stock.  I also punched a hole in the template as was suggested by  I then used this tutorial for completing the hexagons.  I have only made the start of a flower so far, but I plan to do more.  I love that this is a great way to use scraps, a great way to fussy cut material into easy shapes, and something that I can easily take with me or sit in front of the TV and complete.  Thanks to my friend at, I now have a new craft project to work on (not that I needed one, but it is nice to have one that is mobile).

I can't wait to make more hexies.  I can't wait to sew more!


Monday, September 3, 2012

First Sewing Pattern of the Month

So, it's national sewing month and my goal this month is to do some sewing everyday.  It's Labor Day weekend and my husband heads back to school tomorrow.  I didn't do any sewing today, but I did get my hexagon project case started.  I made a few templates and put them along with some material into a case.  Unfortunately I didn't get much else done.  I really need to get that finished so that I can have a travel case with a project to take with me if I go anywhere, where I can get some sewing done.  I am using this blog post to help me:

My next project, I think, is going to be something for my son's preschool class.  I had bought some material at the end of the year but never did anything with it.  Then, the other day, I found this on interest:




I have plenty of project that I need to work on and finish.  I am hoping that national sewing month will help me do what I need to do to get projects complete and actually work on things that I enjoy!

Happy Sewing!!!!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

National Sewing Month and A Little About Soaping

September is National Sewing Month.  I am going to attempt to use this to motivate me to work on some sewing project every day.  Even though there are things that get in the way, for me, being creative is one of the ways I de-stress and sewing is one of the creative outlets that help make me a better mom, wife, friend, and person.

One of my more recent creative outlets is soap making.  My friend T.J. commented on my last post that she wanted to make her own soap.  Honestly, if someone is really interested in making soap, I say go for it.  There are people out there that will tell you it is too dangerous and that you need to have an  experienced soaper around the first time you make soap.  I spent a lot of time watching youtube videos and researching soap making, but was a little petrified sue to one soapers comments about the dangers of lye.  Thanks to the support of my husband, I had the confidence to make a small batch of crockpot soap.  Since I have little kids around, I have only tried crockpot soap making.  That is because after only a couple of hours, the soap is dine and the lye is completely soponified and if done correctly will no longer burn you.

There are a few things you need to make soap.  Since I am just a beginner, please do your own research to ensure that what you are doing is correct.  I often have my iPad set up with a couple of youtube videos to help remind me the correct way of doing things.  Youtube has a ton of helpful videos and there are a bunch of great blogs that talk about soap making.  you also need to have access to a lye calculator.  The two that I have used are and with the second being my preferred calculator.  For me, the tools that I have are a digital scale, a crockpot, plastic tubs for measuring the lye, the water and the oils, a stick blender, rubber gloves, and a mold lined with freezer paper.  Once you use tools for making soap, you must never use them again for food!

My favorite oils to use right now are olive oil, crisco (yes crisco), and coconut oil.  I wasn't sure about crisco, but it is in the lye calculator and after some research, I did find one site that said Crisco was initially made for soap making purposes.  I'm not sure how true that is, but it is a possibility.  I chose these oils since they are readily available and according to the lye calculator, it made a good soap.  So far I am happy with how the soap has come out.

It can be difficult to get lye, but I found mine at my local Lowes.  You have to be careful that you are using 100% lye, I believe that Roebic is the brand that Loews sells.  You may be able to get it cheeper, but again, I wanted to have it readily available.  The lye is what makes soap making dangerous.  Lye is very caustic, but as long as safety precautions are taken, there is really little to worry about.  Again, as a reminder, please ensure that you look into safety precautions on your own before attempting to make soap.  

When working with lye, I recommend that you wear long sleeves, eye protection, rubber gloves, and have vinegar near by for spills.  I also do my soap making after the kids are in bed to make sure that they don't get hurt and that my attention is on making soap.  I also have started with crock pot soap so that the soap is finished before the kids wake up and they don't get into trouble.

There are a ton of blogs on making soap.  I love reading and learning about different techniques that can be used.  I really want to try cold process soap making but with the kids, I am a little uneasy that they may get into it.  I may try something called cold process/oven process soap making.  I need to research more, but I believe that it gives you the ability to do all the different things that you can do with cold process soap making such as swirling, but you basically cook it in the oven and then after that it is finished.  It's always better to let it cure for a couple of weeks, but it is usable after the cooking process.

So, T.J., if you can't tell, I say go for it.  Make soap, but be careful is can be very addicting!  There are so many things you can  do, and I would say that I have only skimmed the surface!

As much as I love making soap and other creative processes, I want to focus on sewing this month (since it is national sewing month).  I'm hoping to post more projects and maybe more sewing info as the month goes on.  Now that I am officially the Massachusetts representative for Enchanted Makeovers Sewing Projects,  I am hoping that National Sewing Month with give me a kick start to get some projects going and start talking to some shelters in the area.

Happy sewing and creating!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Soaping And Other New Adventures

Ok, so it's really just soaping that's the new adventure, but, I am loving the playing and the learning that is going along with it.  I guess my other biggest adventure is getting my craft stuff organized.  That in and of itself is a huge task.  I just went through my beads and freecycled a ton of them.  The best part is that I still have a ton left, but they are not ones that I am ready to get rid of just yet.  I have pretty much sorted though my sewing stash and I had sorted through my yarn stash, but I think I need to revisit my yarn stash and see if there is more to get rid of.  I did finish Michael's granny square afghan so I can now get rif of that yarn since I can't really picture myself using it.  I don't think I've posted a picture of it yet.  Next post, I will post pictures of my sorted out and organized fabric, Michael's afghan, and of course my soaps.  And spreaking of soap, I have moved all my soap making stuff to the basement, now that we have a new sink!  That is all organized!

My next task is to take on my paper making and my polymer clay and other craft supplies, and probably even craft books.  I have gone through my stamp collection and have a bunch to get rid of, most likely freecycle.  I need and want to go through my paper and other craft supplies and really try to have things that I will use, not just have things to have things.  I also want them to be better organized so that I can actually use them without having to spend time trying to find them and then going out and buying more only to find that I already had what I needed before I re-bought it.

I mentioned that I am offivally the MA Chapter Leader for Enchanted Makeovers.  I am so looking forward to learning more and doing more.  I have my first conference call the end of the month.  It feels so professional.  I am so excited to be part of this.

The other new adventure is being good to myself.  I am going to try not to be offended, hurt, or have other negative feelings about myself when it seems like people are responding to blog posts, instagram  posts, facebook post, tweets, etc.  I want to remember the comments that I do get (and I appreciate the time people take to comment) and remember that people actually may read and just not like or write something to things that I post.  I am also really going to try to follow through with being healthy.  I started to do well, but then summer hit and it all went down the tubes.  It's time to get my act together and get back to what I need to do for me!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday

It's Wednesday once again and once again I am joining in with with Jamie riddler at where she asks; "What do you wish to learn?"

This is an both easy and a difficult question to answer.  My broad answer is any and all creative thing I can learn.  I want to learn more about holistic health, aromatherapy, herbs, bath and body products, as well as more crafting creative ideas.  I currently am looking to learn about batik dying so that I can dye my own fabric to use in my sewing projects.  I want to learn to dye my own yarn.  I want to learn more about art and crafting as a therapeutic tool (for my professional career), I want to learn more about all the creative things that I already know and  do.    I could go on and on.  The reason that this question is difficult to answer is that there are so many specific things that I want to learn.  I guess, on some level, the most important thing for me to learn will be how to use art and crafting as a creative tool so that I can use it in my professional career.

As an aside, I am officially the chapter leader for Massachusetts for "Enchanted Makeovers".  I am the go to person for MA for people who want to donate dolls, pillowcases, and/or capes for children who are living in shelters.  This is my first way of introducing creativity and community involvement into my life.  Hopefully in time, I will be able to do more of this and branch out on my own with community involvement and crafting. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting more about Enchanted Makeovers and what I will be doing in the state of Massachusetts!

I recently went to an art therapy conference and it definitely made me want to do more with the arts and crafts with my social work practice!


Sunday, August 5, 2012


I finally made my decision.  I needed to take some time this week and think and pray and come to a decision about wanting to be the chapter leader for Enchanted Makeovers for Massachusetts.  I've decided that I want to be a part of this organization.  I want to do more for my community.  I've decided that I want to use my love of creating to help others.  I am hoping that Terry Grahl is interested in having me part of her organization.

After spending about forty five minutes on the phone with her, I was even more interested in being a part of her organization.  She told me stories that made me tear up and cry, stories that made me feel even stronger that this was something I wanted to do.  I was scared of failing at being the chapter leader, and still am, but I am trying to get over my fear of failure and trying to be more positive about things that I want to do!

My goal is to spend some more time reading the website for Enchanted Makeovers.  You can check out the website for yourself at  I plan to spend some more time talking with other chapter leaders.  I have gotten a lot a great positive feedback from the other chapter leaders and I'm sure they will be a great source of support and help if I am the chapter leader for MA.

I am looking forward to starting this new chapter in my life, that is if I become the chapter leader.  As time goes on, I will be posting more about this wonderful organization, even if I am not the chapter leader.  I believe in the mission and look forward to telling more people about it.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Am I Really Doing It?

Am I really moving forward with one of my goals?  I talked to my husband about potentially becoming the chapter leader for Enchanted Makeovers in MA and while he is supportive of me doing this, I think he would prefer that I either did it myself or it was a paid position.  I would love to be able to start my own "company" using creative arts to help my community or the surrounding communities, but I am not sure that I have the know how or the ability to do it on my own right now.  I am thinking that I can still do my own thing.

I talked with Terry Grahl, founder of Enchanted Makeovers, and I love what she has to say.  Being a chapter leader is an awesome thing to do.  I really like what Terry has to say and what her beliefs are.  I love that she doesn't want to label people that she helps.  I really want to be a part of this, but I am not sure if it is the right time for me.  Do I become a MA Chapter Leader or do I just contribute handmade items and try to start my own thing?

I love the idea of helping women and children.  I love the idea of helping people in MA.  I love that it would be a community effort and that it would tie into my social work career and my love of create handmade items.  The question is, do I have time to devote to this as much as I should, and/or is there something more I can do on my own to help another group or groups of people with handmade items and have it concentrate more in my town then branch out to surrounding towns and then branch out further in MA.  I guess I need to pray about this.  I am not someone who is a major church goer, but I do believe that someone (God, higher power, etc) out there hears us and helps us make different decisions in our lives, especially important decisions.

I just need to know what is in my heart and follow it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do You Wish to Share

It's again Wednesday and I remembered to join in with Wishcasting Wednesday at  This week we are asked "What Do You Wish To Share?"

For a long time now, I have been looking for a way to share my love of creating and my love of my career as a social worker.  I have tried to find a way to get continuing ed credits by taking conferences that are more creative driven vs. clinically driven.  They all have a clinical component, but they also have a creative component too.  I have taken an art therapy workshop, a journaling workshop, a yoga worksop, and next I am taking an art therapy for grief and loss next month.

After reading a couple of books, specifically "Craft Hope", I have been trying to find a way to craft for charity.  I figured this would be a decent way to combine some community work (social work) and crafting (creating).  I've been trying to find a way to go about doing it.  I was hoping to start in my own community, but didn't know where to start.  I was reading Facebook and saw a post about "Enchanted Makeovers" looking for dolls.  I still have to create some and send them off, but I looked at the website and noticed that they have national chapters and my state is not listed.  They are looking to have a chapter in more states, so I contacted Terry Grahl, the founder of "Enchanted Makeovers" and have a phone conference on Monday to talk about heading up a chapter in MA.  I am a little nervous about this phone call.  I haven't told my husband about it.  I have sent e-mails to over chapter leaders hoping to get some inside info on what being a Chapter leader entails.  I figured that this may be a good way to start to share my love of community (social work) and my love of creating.  It would be an established program and I guess I would just be a liaison to the company for local people who have questions or donations for area shelters.  I wish it was a paid position!  I would love to have something like this as my job.  I do think that this will be a great addition to my resume for when I have the ability to start my own type of program.

I don't want to be the person that has dream that never get fulfilled.  I don't want to look back on my life and say "I wish I had followed my dreams and passions".  I do like being a social worker, but I don't just want to do clinical work without creativity.  I want to share my love of creativity with others as well as my love of social work, but more the community work of social work, not individual clinical work.  I want to help my community by sharing my talents and gifts, both as a social worker and as a crafter!

What do you wish to share?


Friday, July 20, 2012

Dreams, Passions, and Goals

For the longest time, I have been trying to figure out what my dream, my passion, and my goals are regarding my career.  In the past, I have wanted to go into private practice as a social worker.  After getting my BSW and my MSW, I have decided, much to my husband's dismay, that I don't really want to have a traditional private practice.  I am considering going back to school and getting my art therapy certificate and then when I can go into private practice, I can do art therapy.

My latest thoughts have been spurned on by reading a couple of books and finding a website about crafting for charity.  Wouldn't that be an awesome way to use my social work degree as well as my love for crafting?  Now I need to research exactly how to go about doing something like this!  I'm sure there is a lot that goes into doing something like this and is not something that I can take lightly.  I'm sure that there are a lot of things that I need to learn.  I have no business background, no marketing background, and limited supervisory background.

I have certain ideas that I am thinking about based on my love of sewing, making jewelry, knitting/crocheting, making bath and beauty products, paper crafts, photography, and pretty much any craft.  What I need to do, is find out more information on non profits, see if there is anything already started to get information or even see if there are any positions that I can get hired for.  I need to find out what population I want to work with. I also need to figure out a business plan and maybe think about grant writing.  My social work background will definitely come in handy here!

I really need to find a part time job and I will be heading back to work full time with in the next couple of years.  I am hopeful that I can spend some time researching what is needed and maybe find someway of making my dreams, passions, and goals happen!

My latest crafting pleasure has been making a doll bed for my daughter's doll as well as a quilt to go with it.

doll bed made out of a recycled clementine box with hand sewn mattress and pillow

doll bed with quilt (I still have to bind the quilt)

crocheted rag rug for under the bed!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sewing and Soaping

Yesterday, I was more creative than I've been in a long time and the best part was that it didn't take a ton of time.  This week, all 5 of us have been fighting off the dreaded stomach bug in one form or another.  Yesterday, I decided that I needed to make chicken soup.  Of course, the kids didn't eat it but my husband and I had it for lunch and dinner.  Since it was last minute, I decided to buy packaged broth and use a chicken that we had cooked earlier in the week as well as some escarole from my husband's uncle's garden and frozen veggies.  I also bought a chicken so that I could make my own broth and chicken soup for later.

Later in the afternoon, I brought my sewing machine up from the cellar and made a quick strip rag quilt made out of flannel that I had bought when the twins were infants.  It worked up really quick, and even though I still need to bind them, the twins used them last night.  I like my daughter's blanket way better than I like my son's, but that could just be the colors.

All sewn and snipped, waiting to be washed

All washed, waiting to go in the dryer

Finished in the dryer waiting to have the binding put on

Later, last night, I decided to do something that I have been wanting to do for some time now.  I made soap in the crockpot.  I was a little nervous since I was told how dangerous lye could be, and even though it is very dangerous and caustic, it wasn't any where near as scary as I thought.  I most likely used the wrong oil mixture for a good hard bar of soap, but for my first try, it wasn't bad.  I am going to try again tonight with a better mix of oils.  I will use a different soap calculator than I used for my batch last night.  The one,, I used last night was good for telling me how much water and lye to use given the amount of oils I was using, but it didn't tell me that I didn't use a good balance of oils.  I am hoping that after some time curing, it will harden enough to be an ok bar of soap.  I removed it from the mold and cut it so there is more surface area expose to air.  I can't wait to make more soap.  I think I have become addicted after just one batch and that batch didn't even come out right!  I think, at least for me, the lye calculator to use is:  I like all the information that it gives.  I know there is some controversy to which calculator to use, but I like

In the crockpot cooking

colored and put into mold

un-molded and cut

I'm pretty happy with how creative I was yesterday.  If I could be creative, just a fraction of what I was yesterday, I would be thrilled!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Latest Projects

A while ago, I decided I wanted to make myself a baby carrier.  So, I looked up a tutorial on the internet and found one, bought my supplies and made one.  I have actually used it a decent amount of times especially given that I finally made it when the kids were older and most people don't start using Mei Tai style carriers at that age, but it worked for us.

finished carrier

My daughter in the carrier

Over the last few days, my daughter started asking for a carrier for her baby doll Rapunzel.  I looked online for some simple tutorials, knowing that I could probably figure it out myself.  I figured, I had already made one for a baby, this one was just for a doll.

I decided to make a rectangle 13"x15" with fleece material and blanket stitched the sides.  I then used flannel material 8" wide by 42" long and folded the edges into the middle and then folded it in half and sandwiched the rectangle in the middle and stitched along the top.  I then cut more flannel about 6" wide by 45" long (this really depends on the size of the child, my daughter is small).  I folded this in half and stitched along the top and the long side.  I then sandwiched it between the 2 rectangle pieces and stitched across the top of the rectangle.  I could have done more to make it a little more neat, but I just wanted a quick prototype to see how it would work out.  After I finished sewing it, I put it on my daughter the same way you do a real Mei Tai.  I personally think it came out cute and would love to make more!  Only this time, I want to spend more time and make it a little neater!

Front of the carrier on my daughter

Back of the carrier on my daughter


Thursday, June 21, 2012

NuNaturals Giveaway Winners

Molly, TJ, Beth and Hinterlands are the winners of the NuNaturals.  I have sent the info to NuNaturals, but I don't have Molly's contact info.  Molly please send me your e-mail info so that I can pass it on to NuNaturals as well as e-mail you info on the next step.

I hope everyone enjoys.  I used the Lemon liquid stevia today in Lemon Seltzer so that my kids could have  a healthier soda.  They loved it!  I loved using the vanilla liquid stevia in my white, berry rooibos, and mint green tea.  I loved it!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

NuNaturals Giveaway!

Last year, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from for stevia products from NuNaturals.  I had been using stevia for years at that point, but had not used the NuNaturals product before.

Stevia is a sweetener from the stevia plant that is not supposed to raise your blood sugar like other sweeteners.  After using stevia for years, I know that there are certain products out there that are better tasting than others.  Some people think that stevia gives a bitter taste to things that they use it in.  I have to be honest and say that I haven't really used stevia in anything other than sweetening my tea, but it is all I use for sweetening my tea.  When I won the NuNaturals giveaway, I was a little uncertain how it would taste since I have had certain stevia products in the past that were not good at all.

So far I have used their liquid drops, their powdered stevia, their packets of stevia, and my favorite their stevia tablets.  All of their stevia products that I have tried are really good.  There is no after taste with any of the products that I have tried and that has been one of the complaints that I have heard from people who have tried stevia and have had negative reactions.  I have found that their stevia tablets are great to put in my bag and take on the go.  I used to use an artificial sweetener (usually Splenda) when I ordered tea out since no one ever had stevia, which I would have preferred to use.  Now that I know that there are these tablets, I just throw the bottle of the tablets in my bag and go and I always have stevia on hand!

I was recently sent their new lemon and orange liquid stevia.  I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I am looking forward to trying these new products.  NuNaturals has offered to give 4 of my readers one bottle of each of the lemon and the orange liquid stevia.  If you don't win (or if you do), NuNaturals is offering discounts placed on their website:  When you get to the checkout page you should enter the DISCOUNT CODE ;  BLG0612  and you will receive - 15% DISCOUNT on your ENTIRE ORDER. This discount remains  EFFECTIVE UNTIL  JUNE 30, 2012 .

Online ordering customers may also receive FREE SHIPPING to the CONTINENTAL U. S. on all orders exceeding  $ 35.00 after discounts.

How can you win?

  1. Leave me a comment about your experience trying stevia.  Did you like it or not?  How have you used it?
  2. Go to the NuNaturals Facebook page and like them.
  3. Blog about this giveaway, tweet about it, and/or Facebook about it.
Leave a comment for each of the things you do as well as your address so that I can contact you.  This contest is only open to readers in the Continental U.S. Sorry, my Canadian readers!  This contest will close on Wednesday June 20th and I will pick and post a winner Thursday June 21st.

I hope that you try stevia and enjoy it as much as I do.  I am looking forward to trying more recipes with stevia, especially since I want to try to cut out as much white sugar as I can for me and my family.