Friday, September 28, 2007

Needle Fabric Case

These little needle cases made from fabric are quick and easy. They make handy items to sell at craft bazaars, or to give as a small gift to seamstresses you may know. A 1/8 yard piece of material will make about four of the needle cases. Open the fabric and cut into four equal parts lengthwise. You will want to cut a 3 x 2 inch piece of quilt batting or felt to use in a 6 x 6 inch block of fabric for the case. Put the batting or felt in the center of the fabric about 3/4 of an inch from the bottom portion. Fold the top part of the material down and tuck the edge in between the batting and the bottom fabric piece. Sew the bottom of the case with hidden stitches, or running stitches from front to back. Now turn the fabric all around at both ends outside in by about 1/4 inch, to hide the edges, and use the same stitches to close them.
Attach a five inch piece of 1/8 inch ribbon to the center of the left third of fabric. Now fold the right third of the case over the top of the batting/felt portion. Attach the other five inch length of ribbon to the right outside center part of the fabric which you folded over the middle portion. When you tie the two pieces of ribbon into a bow, the bow should be on the left side of the needle case. Untie the needle case and weave needles back and forth through the inner piece of fabric and batting (don't let the needles show from the outside). Tie the bow again, and you have a quaint little needle case much like the ones pioneer ladies kept in their sewing baskets.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Candle Decorating With Oil Paint

When you are going to have company over to celebrate a special occasion, using candles can set the tone for a nice evening. Buying inexpensive candles and decorating them yourself can save you a good bit of money.
Melt one or two white candles in a pan, and remove the pan from the burner carefully. Add a smidgen of oil based paint until you get the color you desire. You may need to heat the wax a time or two until you finish your project depending on how large the candle is, and how intricately you are decorating it. Remember the hot wax may ignite easily, and that is why it is safer to turn the burner off, or remove the pan from the burner in between heating it. Keep a lid handy to cover the wax in case it ignites, or keep the proper extinguisher for oil fires handy when doing this project. Always use the correct type of gloves for working with hot wax, and a long handled wooden spoon or wooden paint stick when stirring the heated wax.
Using a small wooden paint brush, make whatever designs on the candle you desire. If the hot wax cools it will become clumpy, so pay attention to this, and carefully heat the wax again if you need to. You may want to try to paint a scene on a larger candle when you master candle painting on small ones. Use one color at a time, and allow each of them to cool well, so the colors will not mix. Using an old candle to practice on a little will give you more confidence when you wish to work on your newer candles. The painted candles can be as decorative or as simple as you would like them to be, and they make wonderful homemade gifts for all occasions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuna Casserole

Here is a fast and easy recipe to make when company drops in unexpectedly. Use three regular size cans of tuna (drained), two small cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup of sour cream, about 25 small round crackers (crushed), and salt and pepper to taste. Put drained tuna in bottom of 9 x 9 baking dish. Mix sour cream, salt and pepper and cream of mushroom soup together and pour over tuna. Then sprinkle crackers over the top evenly.
This tuna casserole will serve about six people. I have also added a 303 can of mixed vegetables to the sour cream and cream of mushroom soup for the recipe to make a meal in itself. Served with a salad and Italian bread, this is a great meal.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thought For the Day

I began writing in a journal several years ago, and recently I have included a thought for the day as one of the daily entries. It allows me to reflect on things that matter in my life. Some of the thoughts may influence me to become a better person, and some of them are words of encouragement to myself.
At times I have shared the thoughts with others, but more often than not, they are meant to be a focal point for me to remember something special that happened on a particular day. Some of them are posted across the top of my computer desk to remind me of my human characteristics, either good or bad. I've learned to take them with a bit of humor, because most of the time the thoughts portray my frailties. I like to look at each of them as a building block for my character. With each one I write, I strive improve the character that is writing them!

Soap Bar Fish

Making soap bar fish for your bathroom, or for gift giving, is a fun project. For making a fish soap bar, purchase fragrance soap bars that are in an oval shape, a spool of eighth inch ribbon, several yards of pastel tulle fabric (in different colors if you like), and you will need two sequins to make eyes for each fish.
Cut a 12 inch by 12 inch piece of tulle fabric, and lay an oval soap bar near the middle of it. Gather the tulle fabric around the soap, and tie a ribbon or string around the gathered end of the soap very tightly, and tie it in a knot. The gathered fluffy end will represent the tail of the fish. Using several strands of ribbon will add to the beauty of the tail of the fish, and you may want to cut the ribbon longer. Tying the ribbon into a bow will add to the beauty of the tail of your fish too. To make the eyes, glue one sequin to each side at the front end of the fish.
Find a small basket or bowl small enough to hold several of the soap fish. Add a few sheets of gift tissue paper in blue shades to represent water to place in the basket or bowl. Line the fish up side by side in the receptacle you choose, and you will have a beautiful school of fish to add fragrance to your bathroom. And for an extra bonus, if you ever need a bar of soap quickly, you will have some close at hand.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Car Visor Extension

A friend of mine that rides in our car is so short that the sun shines in her eyes even with the visor down. We devised a car visor extension to use when she rides with us. I purchased a half a yard length of pleated 1 1/2 inch wide ruffle from the fabric store. I measured a piece of elastic that would fit securely around the visor, over the passenger seat, of our car. I sewed the elastic together to fit the visor. I then sewed the ruffle to it, stretching the elastic about three inches out wider than the visor measurement as I attached the ruffle.
After slipping it over the lower edge of the visor, my friend and I took our project for a test drive down the road facing the sun. When the sun dropped down to the point where it used to allow the brightness to be in my friend's eyes, the new ruffle extension kept her comfortably able to see with no problem. Use a fabric ruffle that matches the color of your seat covers, and you will be riding in style.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Paper Picture Frames

To add a nice touch to your photos in scrapbooks, make decorative paper picture frames for them. You can lay the picture on a piece of acid and lignin free that has been cut about 1/4 inch larger than the picture. Or, you can cut out the frame on the inside just a bit smaller than the outer edge of the picture, and still cut it a bit larger than the picture itself. If you cut it the second way, you can lay the frame on top of the picture.
Using decorative scissors will also add a special touch to your photos. If you like, you may even use the decorative scissors to cut a border on the edges of the photograph itself. There are beautiful corner punches made to enhance pictures too. Some of these punches have three or more corner patterns on them. I have a special one I use that adds a Victorian look on the four corners of my photos. Whatever method you use, it will make your albums more interesting when people see them.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Greeting Card File Box

I have found that the easiest way to keep track of cards I needed to send was to have a greeting card file box. You can use a large shoe box for this project. Cover the box with wrapping paper before you add the cards to it. Make index cards out of pieces of cardboard or large sized index cards stood on end. Make an index card for each category of cards, such as birthday, anniversary, sympathy, etc. Put the index cards in the box in alphabetical order. If you are going to be using larger sized greeting cards, you may want to use a boot box. The cards should all lay horizontally so the index cards can be easily read. Another item you may want to add to your greeting card file box is a small address book. Keep it at the very front of your box. One that has a pocket in it will keep your stamps handy too. The use of my file box has saved me time and trips to the store when I have wanted to find cards. Buying cards in quantity will save you a lot of money, especially if you buy the assortment boxes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Computer Mouse Pad

You can make a computer mouse pad with any picture you like on it. You can glue an 8 X 10 picture that you have onto a mouse pad that you don't want to use anymore, or glue the picture to a piece of thick cardboard. If you use the cardboard, you will have to adhere a non-stick type of material to the back to prevent the pad from sliding around while working with the computer mouse. You can purchase non-slip rolls of cabinet shelf rubber at most discount stores. It has a waffle textured look to it, and comes in different colors. You will still need to glue the sheet of cardboard between the rubber and the 8 X 10 picture. If you don't, the picture will have a dimpled look to it and the mouse will not have the smooth surface it needs to glide correctly.
These make wonderful organizational fund raising projects. Many businesses give mouse pads away. Find a business that has a stock of the mouse pads and ask them if you can have some to make a project with. Convey that you will mention them with a special notice of thanks in the local newspaper for their help with your fund raiser. This gives them free advertisement, and gets the word out concerning your organization too. Most local newspapers have community columns that you could put the thank you in too.
You could use a picture of one of the animals from the local dog shelter to raise funds for the upkeep there. Make an enlargement of a previous family reunion and use the mouse pad as a gift. Make the mouse pads to give away, or sell, for any occasion you need them for. Covering the top picture with a sheet of clear adhesive paper will make the picture last much longer, and allow for it to be cleaned if marks get on it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Posters for Events

When making posters for events, you will need to add information that will target the people you are trying to reach. Always make the heading larger than the rest of the information on the poster. You can even catch more peoples' eyes with headings that are in a different color than the rest of the information.
Make sure you add the date, time and place of the event. You may want to add a few pictures to your poster, but don't over do it. Your main focus should be on the information you need them to read in order to get them to your event.
Put the posters up in businesses and establishments where the most people will see them. Always get permission to hang posters, and don't forget to take them all down after the event is over. Always thank people for allowing you to put the information up, either in person or by sending a note in the mail.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sharing Family Time

Sharing family time is something that doesn't happen often enough in our faster pace of living these days. At the moment, I'm sitting at my computer with one of our family members near by at their computer grooving to some tunes, and a third family member is working on the family budget at their desk. This is a room we use together almost as much as the kitchen...where some other really gooood memories are made.
We enjoy each other's company whenever we can get together. Don't think we can't interact as we all do our 'own thing' either. Why, sometimes this is the best opportunity we have to get into each others brains and pick around. One will make a comment off the top of their head out loud, and before you can say Jack Frost, the others chime in with their thoughts on the subject.
We all have a love for good music of all kinds, especially country! So it goes without saying that when our biggest music talent hits on a tune we all like, everyone else stops what they are working on, and we become the latest singing group to hit Nashville together.
Needless to say, we have a great time in this favorite room of our abode.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Scissor Cozy

I never can find a pair of scissors when I need them. I decided to make a scissor cozy to hang on the wall to keep a pair handy at all times. This a wonderful little project because the scissors themselves are hidden from view by others.
Lay a pair of scissors, that you want to keep in the cozy, on a doubled piece of fabric that is twice as long and wide as your scissors. Using a calico type of material will help hide any outside stitches that have to be on the viewed part of the cozy. Using a matching color of thread will help with this too. Now cut out around the scissors in a 'V' shape that is about three inches longer than the scissors and about one inch wider on the sides of the scissors.
Keeping the wrong sides of fabric together, sew around the two outer edges of the fabric using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn the fabric 'V' right side out. Now hem the top of the opening where you will drop the scissors into the cozy. If you would like a vintage look to the project, add some lace trim around the opening at the top of the scissor cozy. Now attach an eight inch piece of yarn or heavy string to the two top corners of the cozy to hang them on your wall. You could thread the yarn or string through the top hem before finishing it off if you would like a gathered look to the cozy. Put a large nail in the wall and attach a pretty button to the head of it with a strong glue. Now you will have a pretty place to hang your scissor cozy.
If you will be using the scissors frequently, you may want to strengthen your project by adding a felt lining to the bottom third of the cozy when putting it together to keep the pointed end of the scissors from poking through. You will need to do this before sewing the sides together. Then, using a matching thread, hem stitch the felt on the inside to the fabric with the cozy turned inside out. Doing this step will keep the scissors from going between the lining and the fabric when you drop them in. This is not a complicated sewing project, and it sure has saved me a lot of steps when I have a cozy hanging in every room where I need a pair of scissors. Like every room in the house!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pen Pals In Foreign Lands

One of the best ways to learn information about countries you would like to visit is to have pen pals in foreign lands. It is much safer to contact a trusted acquaintance or family member that lives in a particular country you have an interest in. Write down the information you would like to know about before composing your letter or e-mail. Start your letter by letting your pen pal know of some things you have an interest in. Don't allow the letters to become too long. Remember, part of the fun of pen pals is to keep the contact going back and forth between one another.
Stamps are fun to collect from the envelopes when sending letters through the mail, and swapping snap shots with each other is another great way to gain knowledge too. We all can not afford the expense of travel, so having a pen pal is the next best thing to living overseas yourself. Many people may have a pen pal in another country for decades, and then they might decide to meet them in person. If such a trip were to ever take place, you would be safer seeing the sights with someone else rather than by yourself.

Canning Jar Labels

Have fun with canning your own food by making your own canning jar labels. You can buy a package of labels to use for the project at any office supply store, if you want to do the project on your computer (blank name badge sized labels are a good choice). There will be instructions of how to type information on them to use for addresses, but this is where you may have to experiment with one sheet of them. You might have to make a whole sheet with the same title, such as PEAS, or GREEN BEANS. But you can keep the extras for the next time they need to be used. Take a close-up picture of your children holding a can of peas, green beans, etc. Scan the pictures into your computer, and then use the cut and paste method to place the picture on your food labels. Viola! A one of a kind label for Grandma!
You can also make your food labels, the old fashioned way, by hand printing the information on them. This could be a project the whole family can do together. Print the name of the food item that will be in the jars. Decorate the jar labels by adding stickers that you can buy at hobby shops. Or let your own children draw pictures of what is in the jars after you print the name of the jar contents on your labels. This would also be a great surprise gift to give to all those grandmothers who would love to get these special homemade labels from their grandchildren.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ink Stains

Once in a while when I do laundry for our family, I find stains on the clothing. Most of them come out easily, but ink stains had me stumped. Someone suggested using hairspray to remove ink...and it worked! Now I keep a can of cheap hairspray with my other laundry cleaning products. Almost everyone uses ink pens, and sooner or later you will find that the information on removing this stain comes in handy. I even dried a white cotton dress in the dryer, not noticing the ink on it, and it still came clean with a bit of scrubbing.
I have found that the stains come out easier if I spray first on the front side of the stain, and then spray from the backside too. I have not had a problem with ruining cotton or polyester clothing by using the hairspray to clean ink stains. If you are unsure about using the hairspray; take the garment to your dry cleaner. The best way to prevent of any kind of stain in the washer or dryer is to check all of the pockets in your clothing before washing them!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


To make rainbow colored crayons try partially melting all the colors in your boxes that are broken and not used any more. Try not to stir the crayon mixture too much or you won't get the striped texture you desire. Spray a muffin pan with a non-stick type of spray. Then pour the partially melted crayon mixture into the tins to about 1/4 inch from the top of each one. Be careful because the crayon mixture and the tins will become scalding hot! Set the muffin tins on cake pan racks to protect counter tops from the extreme heat. Doing this will also allow the liquid crayon mixture to cool quicker.
Let the mixture set up for at least three hours, or until they feel totally cool to the touch on the bottom of the pan. Pop them out of the muffin tins. Wash the crayons with warm (not hot) soapy water quickly to wash off the non-stick spray. Dry them with paper towels! Don't use your good kitchen towels or some of the colors of the crayon may ruin them. Lay them aside for a while to finish drying. Use these special crayons for drawing on large paper/posters or to make eye-catching large letters.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


One of my favorite things to do with my father was to spend an afternoon fishing. He made the search for worms almost as much fun as catching the fish. He told me that the worms liked places where it was moist and dark. I was fascinated by animals both big and small. I don't think there were many creatures in the Northern hemisphere that I didn't have in my room as pets, dead or alive, during my childhood. He taught me early on about which ones were harmful to me. And that was a good thing, because the rest of our family didn't quite share my infatuation for furry, slithery or crawly type varmints.
Back to fishing now. Dad would make a game out of who could find the most fishing worms for our activity to come. My favorite places were ones that I went back to time after time when fishing was mentioned. An old rotting board next to a shed in the backyard always had big red worms under it. I'd quickly pick up the end sticking out of the ground, and hold on tightly to the squirmy worm until it knew it could not go any farther into the ground. The worm would then begin to back out of its hole, as if it thought it could get all the way out, and then take off from me. Boy did I have it fooled. Not many of them escaped, because I knew the quicker I got a can full, the quicker we would be on our way to fish.
There's nothing like spending an afternoon fishing with your dad. Nothing that is except eating the fresh pan fried fish that you caught together!

Friday, September 7, 2007


The best way to store pictures is in an archival proof container, but we all know how often that happens. You can pick up the archival picture containers at hobby stores, or order them from catalogs. The containers are a little pricey, but they will add many years to the quality of your photos. They can also be stored safely in sheet protectors made for that purpose. Many albums are now made with the photo saving features too.
Sorting the pictures you have may take some planning and time, but you will be able to access them much quicker if they are in some mode of order. They can be put in chronological order, or you may want to sort them by holidays or events, such as birthdays, weddings, etc.
It would be a great picture opportunity in itself to get some of your cousins or aunts together to help you put your photos in order. It might make the process go a little slower, and some of your relatives may want to make copies of your pictures that they don't have. In return, ask them if they have copies of some photos that you would like to have from days gone by. Some family members may have pictures of their kin from the early days of photography, such as tin-types pictures or even hand-drawn portraits. It is much better to have several copies of these old photos kept by different family members in case some of the copies get destroyed by fire or floods.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I've used many different types of lighting to enhance particular settings and displays in our home over the years. Natural light on a sunny day is by far the best kind, but we all know there are times when it is not available or feasible to use. An up-light can be used out of sight to put emphases on a particular object, or to bring attention to a dark corner behind furniture where an artificial tree might be standing. This type of light will add a sense of length to a room too.
Lamps used overhead or sitting on a table can also provide excellent lighting. Most light sources now come with dimmer switches that you can turn to the desired brightness needed any time of day or night. Swag type lighting may be out of style for many people, but there are certain places where you might want to consider them when table space is limited.
If you can't find the right color of lamp shade for your decor, don't be afraid to cover it with materials to fit into the style of your room. Always keep safety in mind, and use materials that will not catch fire easily. When in doubt you might want to contact an electrician or your local fire station and ask them if they can aid you. Most will do this for a small fee or free when asked.


There are many uses for greenery inside your home. Some of the best plants to use in your home are the Corn Plant, the Rubber Plant and the Mother-In-Law Tongue Plant. All three of these plants have some of the best abilities to take in the bad toxins in the air of your home and replace it with healthy air for you to breathe. All plants will help to a certain extent in this manner, but the prior plants mentioned are some of the best to do the job.
Artificial greenery can be used to bring the outdoors into a room. It does not require the maintenance as live plants do, but you will lose the air freshing quality that live plants give to your home. Some live plants will bloom, which adds to their pleasant ability to provide constant change in a room too. In the winter most plants will need to be placed in a sunny window, or somewhere they will receive adequate light during the shorter days. Read a practical book on how to care for live plants as the care of them will vary.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Many activities can be done for families to spend time together; and one of them is to make puppets for your own family show. This can be done by using tube socks. Cut the toe-end out and replace it with a two inch circle of pink or red felt. Use buttons for eyes, pompoms for the noses, felt that is cut in the correct shape for ears, and use ready-made doll hair to complete the puppet's features. Make one for each member of the family, and invite some friends over for an afternoon puppet show.
Don't forget to prepare some popcorn and drinks for refreshments too. You can decorate large cardboard boxes for 'The Family Theater' to perform in.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fabric uses

You can change the decor of rooms by simple fabric uses. If your walls are painted a neutral color you can use most any kind of fabric that will match the existing colors in the furniture that is already covered with material. Don't be afraid to use solids, stripes or solid types of cloth to bring about the new look you would like to achieve. An easy way to find out if you would like to have a new room make-over is by using a plain sheet of white paper. Draw your furniture into the room scheme on the paper. Then use colored pencils to fill in the color schemes you'd like to see in your new room layout.
You could also use cut out pictures from magazines or catalogs with the color of furniture you would like to have. The type of furniture may not exactly match yours, but it will give you an idea of how different colors will look with each other. You may also buy small amounts of fabric and lay them on your furniture to see which ones you would prefer to use together. You can save a lot of money by using ways to see what the ideas you have in your mind will really look like in the room you'd like to change itself. You may decide not to go to a great deal of expense, and only change a few accessories such as pillows or curtains.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Yard Sales

Our family likes to go to yard sales as often as we can. They are wonderful places to save a great deal of money on items we usually pay full price for at stores. Sometimes I have bought merchandise for 90 percent less than I would pay at even discount store prices. If you need anything at all, scour a few yard sales first to see if you can get what you are in need of.
Having a yard sale of your own can be very profitable also. Our family has at least one sale a year to clean out our closets of items we no longer want to keep. Whole room make-overs can be done for a reasonable cost. Sell what you don't want in a room you are redecorating, and make other yard sale purchases elsewhere to bring a new look to your room. If something is not just the right color, consider painting or staining it to match your decor. Fabrics can make a world of difference if you enjoy sewing. Change the fabric covers on bed or couch pillows to give them a new look.
Home decor trading parties are becoming popular in neighborhoods. When two or three families have yard sales together, most of the time they ending up trading the things they don't want for something their neighbor has brought to the sale. I went to a yard sale recently and discovered three piles of items behind the chairs of the three ladies having the sale. When I inquired to see if one of the treasures was already sold, all three of the ladies laughed. One of them told me they had traded for the items right out of each other's cars before they had time to get them out for the yard sale! Find bargains you have a need for at yard sales, and save a lot of money doing it, and a lot of fun too.