Friday, September 30, 2011

Garage sale finds Friday 13 Halloween edition



Welcome to another week of Garage sale finds Friday, where today happens to be lucky number 13! I thought I would share with you some of my fall decorations that I have picked up at garage sales. And show you that decorating for a holiday doesn't have to break the bank!

Here's the mantle in my living room all decked out. Most of the items on it, came from garage sales.


Let's look from left to right. See the candlesticks that the pumpkins are sitting on? Garage sale. The mason jar? Garage sale. The lantern? Garage sale. The fall leaves? Garage sale. The three pumpkins in the middle are real, from a local fruit stand, but the faux ones next to them? Garage Sale.

I actually wrote this blog post before I found a few other things to add to the mantle. It's like those pictures you see in the magazines "can you spot the differences?"

I added a few things. See the cool jars on the far right? Those are old pharmacy jars. I couldn't pass them up when I saw them. The guy wanted $5 a piece, but I ended up finally talking him down to $12 for 5 jars. They have such cool labels on them and are so authentic!


On the far left of this picture there are a few more bottles. Love them!


Here's a close up of a few more jars that I picked up recently. The small jar was 25 cents, the brown jar and the apothocery jar were both $1 each.



The Beware sign was something I made last year.


This ceramic pumpkin still had it's $30 price tag on it from a local boutique. I paid $2.

I got this mirrored tray at a garage sale for $1, added the old books (I never pay more than 50 cents a piece for them), and the little apothecary jar was $1 at a garage sale. The crow is from the dollar store last year.

Even Rocky, our bear, got a little decoration.

The copper pumpkins are all from a garage sale and the Subway sign was downloaded last year from some super awesome blog. I just don't remember which one.


I picked up these big wicker pumpkins for $5 for both.

This window sits on our front porch and now has a "spooky" sign that I won last year from Christina.

And this leaf wreath is one of my favorites! I got it several years ago for $4 and love it! I love it more now because it matches the outside of our new house even better than our old one.

And speaking of wreaths, this feather wreath is inside in my den on a wreath stand that I got at, where else, a garage sale. The wreath was $2 at a garage sale.

So while I love to window shop and dream about buying things like this and this, I'm happy to buy most of my decorations for nearly next to nothing!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

There's a mouse about the house

A few weeks ago, when I was out window shopping with my hubby, I saw these little mice at one of the stores we went into.

I thought they were darling. So for my birthday, my husband surprised me, went back to the store and wrapped them up.

And now, we play a little game we call "the mouse about the house". There are two of them, and both of them get around.

The kids think it's fun to see where they have moved to.


Isn't that fun?!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Free food is the best food


Free food is the best food, which is why I love this time of the year in the Pacific Northwest. We have the perfect weather for blackberry growing. It's not too hot, not too cold.

This is a picture from a bush growing along the side of the road by my house.

Blackberries are everywhere this time of the year.

I can't pass up free stuff, so I have been picking and freezing for the past month.

I'm sure this tip is nothing new, but if you put the fruit on a cookie tray, then freeze it flat for about 2 hours, then bag it, your fruit is easier to use when you are ready for it.

I use blackberries in smoothies, in pancakes, and in blackberry cobbler.


Today I thought I would share with you my favorite recipe for cobbler.

1 1/4 c raw oatmeal
3/4 c melted butter
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix until crumbly. Press 1/2 of the mixture into a greased 9" pie plate. Cover with 4 cups of blackberries (you can also use rhubarb or blueberries).

Combine 1 cup sugar, 3 T tapioca (or 2 T corn starch), 1 cup water and 1 tsp vanilla in saucepan. Cook on medium heat stirring often until thick and "clear". Pour over fruit. Top with remaining crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cloth diapers and wipes


My babies are all getting bigger and it's been years since they have been in diapers (does anyone else hear the hallelujah chorus or is that just me?), but several friends and family members that I know of are starting to jump on the cloth diapering bandwagon, so I wanted to share a few of my experiences just in case you are in the same boat.

I cloth diapered because it was cheaper. After buying most of my kids diapers used, I was able to resell them all for nearly what I paid for them, sometimes even more! Making cloth diapering virtually free for us.

My oldest was only sort of in cloth diapers. That was before the internet was available to help me research all of my options. The new cloth diapers are definitely not the same ones your mama used to use!

My younger two kids were both in cloth diapers full time, with the exception of some nights (I wasn't getting any sleep and wanted to make sure a wet diaper wasn't to blame!).

Both of the younger two kids potty trained SUPER early. And by super early, I mean before their first birthday.

Back when my little brother was a baby, I remember my mom rinsing out diapers in the toilet. YUCKO! I didn't rinse a single diaper out. I figure if you join a diaper service they don't make you, so why should I do it at home?

We used cloth wipes on our babies bums too. Easy to make, and easy to use. And no joke, so much better than the disposable wipes. They really get the job done, especially when the "job" is messy!


My sister in law is planning on using cloth diapers on her baby, so I whipped a few of the wipes up for her like the ones I used on my kids.


I took two coordinating pieces of snuggle flannel 6"x7" and serged it together. Easy as that. I even made my own baby wipes solution. Here's the recipe:


Basic Wipe Solution


1/2 cup baby oil
1/2 cup baby wash
2 cups water


I kept the wipes solution in a used Huggies tub. In the diaper bag I kept it in a small squeeze bottle.

Just think, if you use cloth diapers, you don't want to be using disposable wipes because then you can't throw them in the same container together. It's easier to be able to throw everything dirty in the same container and wash it all together like that.

bummis large wet bag group
Speaking of containers, I just used a sterilite trash can as my diaper pail and lined it with a large bummis wet bag. I had two bags and washed the diapers once a week. When the bag was full, I brought it to the washing machine, dumped it in and put the bag in the wash.

I also had 2 small zippered wet bags from happy tushies for the diaper bag.

I don't necessarily feel like the expert on the whole cloth diapering matter anymore, since I have been removed from it for about 5 years. However, I will share with you a few of my favorites. They are still making all of the ones we used to use, so there must be a reason they are sticking around!

sewing cloth diapers

I had a stash of Very Baby cloth diapers that were perfect for my newborn. I loved them! They were a great fit with the umbilical cord cut out and were snug enough that nothing leaked.

Available in Snaps or Hook & Loop closures
My husbands favorites were Happy Heiny's pocket diapers. I just looked at their website now and man they have come a LONG way. I used to order directly from Linda (the owner) and she would custom make the diapers for me probably in her basement!

I loved the velcro close diapers because I had squirmy kids who wouldn't sit still while I snapped 600 snaps! I also liked that the pocket diaper allowed me to stuff it with however many layers I needed and make it as thin or thick as I needed it for my babe.

After I washed the diapers I would stuff them before putting them away, that way they were ready to grab when you needed it. Probably why my husband liked them...he didn't have to think about them!


BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz
Speaking of stuffing, I had about 4 dozen of these fleece topped babykicks joey bunz hemparoos that were phenomenal! They were a bit pricier as far as inserts go but they were well worth it. They kept the diapers from being too bulky and they were super absorbent.

Proraps Classic
One of my favorite covers were the proraps classic

I would stuff the proraps covers with a babykicks hemparoo and would have a very slim cloth diaper that was also very absorbent.

I really loved using cloth diapers. I was surprised at how easy it was, and with all of the fun prints like this:
Groovy Circles Blue
and this
Retro Swirl
and this
Glow in the Dark Skull

How could you not love a baby bum all wrapped up in one of those?!

Happy diapering!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

For the past few months our family has been spending our Monday nights making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the Tacoma Rescue Mission. I happened to read in our newspaper about a local gal named Jenny who saw a need and decided to do something about it.

Jenny contacted all of the necessary people, started getting donations and her idea of peanut butter jelly night was formed. We serve every Monday from 7-8. We have donated supplies, and some consistent (and not so consistent) volunteers. We work with lots of hands, or with just a few but we work hard that whole hour or until the loaves of bread are gone.


Every Monday around 500 sandwiches are made for the homeless shelter.

The thing that our family loves about it is that everyone can participate. It doesn't require any special skills and there is no age minimum to volunteer. Even our 6 year old can help out.



The sandwiches get packaged up and ready for delivery the next morning.



We love that we can give our kids the opportunity to serve in the community in this way. To share God's love to the homeless community even if we aren't meeting them. It's a way to think about something bigger than ourselves. How do you get your family involved in caring for others?


Friday, September 23, 2011

Garage sale finds Friday 12


Welcome to another week of Garage Sale Finds Friday, where I share with you some of my best garage sale finds. Are you ready?!

I have been sewing for most of my life, but the thing that is most discouraging for me about sewing is the cost for handmade vs the cost for buying mass produced. Which is why I love garage sales so much.

Several years ago, I was dying to have a serger, and guess what? Good things come to those who wait! I found this older Toyota model in very good working condition with all of the manuals and extra spools of thread for $50!

Knowing that I couldn't pass this in the box dress form up, but not really knowing what I would do with it, I snatched it up for $15. The original receipt was still inside the box for nearly $150!


My current machine is nothing special. We have a love hate relationship, but after taking it apart several times on my own to fix problems, I feel like I know it too well to get rid of it and get a new machine. BUT, there are those days when I want to throw it out the window so when I saw this fully restored Singer machine for $5 I bought it...you know, just in case!

Garage sales are a seamstresses dream for fabric and notions. I picked up these three still on the bolt ruffles for 50cents!

I also got a bag of bias tape and zippers as well as a jar of vintage buttons all for $1!

I can sometimes even pick up patterns. I love vintage patterns, and some of the simpler patterns are great for using as guides when I repurpose 25cent garage sale clothing. For 10-25 cents a pattern, it's worth it!

I even scored on this stack of fabric. There are several yards of corduroy, an organza, denim and about 4 yards of black jersey fabric. Guess how much I paid for the WHOLE stack? $1...yep, such a steal!

I even picked up my sewing cabinet at a garage sale. Before I had my cabinet I was dragging my machine out to the kitchen table. This cabinet has a table that can pop up on the side, several drawers and lots of little places to put pins and scissors. I paid $10.


Hobby's can get expensive, but I love to have garage sales to help keep the expenses down.

So, what did you find this week?