Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thrifty Spring Floral Arrangement: Branch in a Vase


Instead of forcing forsythia stems in a vase, try an entire branch! I really like this idea, and could kick myself for not buying a large round bottle vase like this at the thrift. It was only a few dollars. I do have a tall arching Japanese rose bush branch in a liter Diet Coke bottle which I plan to sink into a basket, but the colored glass would have been very pretty. Tree trimmings make a thrifty and dramatic spring floral arrangement.

Friday, March 25, 2011

First Try: DIY Clothing Iron-Ons


This was my first attempt at trying to fuse plastic bags to fabric. I used a thin plastic shopping bag on my first attempt, and all it did was fuse to my wax paper. A thicker plastic bag did the trick.

I traced an image onto a white plastic bag using a Sharpie, then cut it out into a nice oval with clean edges, and placed it drawing side down onto my cotton t-shirt. I laid a piece of wax paper on top of that, then a piece of paper. With an iron on the highest cotton setting I pressed down for a few minutes, and ironed with a lot of pressure over area of the plastic bag drawing. It did not seem to be sticking, so I ironed the other side of the decal(through the shirt) just to get it good and melted. After it cooled a bit, I gently peeled the wax paper off.

It worked nicely, but my Sharpie was a little old and flat. I'd have gotten sharper lines with a new one. I have no idea if this will stay on through a wash, but for now it's firmly attached. I'll post an update. I'd like to try this again with colored plastic and/or different pen colors.

I tried drawing this snail free hand with the Sharpie but didn't like the results. I'm not a proficient artist; tracing is the way to go with my skill level. I'll go ahead and embarrass myself with a picture of my hand drawn snail - it's the one of the right. The stubby old Sharpie didn't help matters. Tomorrow I'll buy some fresh ones.

Paperless Wallpaper Created with Sharpie Pens


What a money saver! This was done using an overhead projector and a few Sharpies, but a purchased or homemade stencil would work as well. Click here.

Children's Rain Cycle/Evaporation Cursive Copywork


I found this story about evaporation in a 1910 "Primary Education" teachers' periodical. It is free and in public domain. Click on image to enlarge and save.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bean Development Illustration













This is from a 1911 "School Arts" teachers' periodical. It is free and in public domain.

Click on image to enlarge and save.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dollar Tree Chinese Dinner for Two



Sometimes I tire of making meals from scratch. It saves a lot of money, but an inexpensive frozen dinner is a lovely reprieve from kitchen duty. This Dollar Tree Teriyaki Chicken (196 calories per serving) for two was really delicious, just like Chinese restaurant food. I added about half a bag of frozen stir fry mixed peppers and onion(Save-A-Lot), minced garlic(Dollar Tree), and a splash of Japanese rice vinegar(Walmart). I served this over some delicious Mahatma brand(Walmart, USA grown) brown rice with soy sauce(real).

Dollar Tree also sells frozen bags of stir fry vegetables which I got along with their frozen salad shrimp(his favorite) for my son. Also found, two thick pizza crusts for a dollar, Hormel pepperoni for pizza(two pouch box), and a bag of ten tortillas.

Homemade Hyacinth Water


This year I added some daffodil flower leaves. I make this with 2/3 water and 1/4 alcohol(grain alcohol or rubbing), and stuff the bottle with hyacinth blossoms. Store in a dark place for two weeks, discard the blossoms, and you'll have some lovely scented water. It helps to shake occasionally while the scent is being extracted.

I've tried witch hazel and rubbing alcohol in lieu of vodka or grain alcohol; however, the scent is overpowering. I might try again using just a few drops of rubbing alcohol or witch hazel.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Children's Vintage Spring Animal Cut and Paste, Drawing Lessons










I found these in 1909 and 1910 "Primary Education" teacher's periodicals. They are free and in public domain. Besides cut and paste, these could work well as traceables or for teacher's bulletin board displays.

Click on image to enlarge and save.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Picnics



The weather has been gorgeous here, and we are enjoying the light breezes and perfect temperatures before the heat sets in. We have very long hot summers.

After she raided the kitchen, my daughter insisted that her older brother join her for a picnic this morning, and surprisingly he indulged her. Lent comes with some beautiful sacrifices.

On the menu:

- cheese sticks
- cheerios
- water


Her flower arrangement - lawn flowers.

Friday, March 18, 2011

First Garden Cucumber of the Year


My indoor organic Sumter cucumber plant finally produced an edible four inch cucumber(half eaten in image by my daughter). It smelled wonderful upon cutting and tasted even better. It is warm enough here that I was able to plant this potted cucumber outdoors today. I may try indoor cucumbers again next winter but use a much bigger pot and a plant light.

When planted outdoors, these Sumter cucumbers are prolific and of a good size. This will be my second year growing these cucumbers in the summer garden.

I'm not sure if these are self pollinators, but just in case they were not, I hand pollinated them with a paint brush. The female flowers have a bulge right before the flower. We ended up with many mini cucumbers, but only one grew large enough to eat.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vintage 1910 Children's March Calendar(Same as 2011)










I found this in a 1910 March edition of "Primary Education", a teacher's periodical. I print out a vintage calendar every month for my daughter's homeschool area. Click on image to enlarge and save. Free and in public domain.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'll Be Back


We are all sick with a cold virus. I'm not so inspired to post right now. I am thankful for the gorgeous weather we have been having. It was warm enough to doze in a lounge chair outside. The sun did my body good, and the children where able to play and work quietly near me.

Image - hellebore from my garden, taken last week.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fabric Dollhouse Tutorial

See here.








HT to Craft Gossip

Moles and Daffodils

We went out into the garden this morning to find little mole tunnels throughout the lawn in the backyard. It needed aerating anyway, and the moles, as carnivores, keep down the population of insects(larvae) and slugs. My cat catches his fair share in the summer when they come up and away from the dry soil.

Enchanted Learning had a nice "Label the Mole" printout of a mole, and I've gone online to reserve a few library books about moles for my daughter.

Children's fact sheet about moles

I had no idea they were once prized for their pelts, as an aristocratic fur."Queen Alexandra, the wife of Edward the Seventh, ordered a mole-fur garment in order to start a fashion that would create a demand for mole fur, thereby turning what had been a serious pest problem in Scotland into a lucrative industry for the country. Hundreds of pelts are cut into rectangles and sewn together to make a coat. The natural color is taupe, but it is readily dyed any color."

Some of our daffodils after this morning's rain.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Young Children's Lesson Plan Ideas for March



Young Children's Lesson Plan Ideas for March(Vintage)

Ladybugs and Butterflies


Insect Lore Ladybug Land and Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden

I purchased both these habitats online for $26.84 with free shipping. We received the larvae today(separate purchase of $3.00 each) and have been enjoying the babies scoot around in their containers. There is a coupon for the larvae and website address which comes with the habitats. These two did not come as eggs, but as second stage babies - larval ladybugs and Painted Lady caterpillars.

We also checked out the butterfly and ladybug Backyard Book series(Kingfisher) from the library. They all begin with the same title, "Are you a ___ ?" These are very cute engaging stories of the life cycles of particular insects and bugs - clearly written and to the point with nice illustrations. My daughter was able to memorize these(restate the content) and enjoy them because they were short, made for the limited attention span of young children, and memorable. There is a snail book which is particularly cute with a mama and baby snail. All are written in the manner of speaking directly to the reader - perfect for preschoolers through Kindergarten.

Are You a Ladybug? (Backyard Books) and Are You a Butterfly? (Backyard Books)

Simple life cycle printables for the very young: ladybug and butterfly.

I'm thinking about getting a frog and praying mantis habitat. My daughter has a special interest in nature, so this has been a lot of fun for her, and me because it gives her joy.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Easy DIY Junk Wood Farm House Table



This looks like something we would make. She was able to scrounge all of the wood for free. See here for instructions.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Saving Money at the Thrift Stores


This is a good time to check out the thrift stores; people are cleaning out their closets. We brought a load of outgrown clothes and toys to a local thrift yesterday, and decided to do some shopping as well. I was able to find some light jackets, girl's winter pajamas(for next year), new-with-tags tops(Target and The Children's Place, long sleeved for next year) for my daughter, and a few summer T-shirts and Khaki shorts for my teenage son. I spent about $45.00 for 27 items(20% off with frequent donate card).

Sometimes I find next to nothing at the thrift stores, and other times it seems I've hit the mother load. To be successful, I have to check frequently. In the end, I save quite a bit of money on clothing and household goods. This goes a long way toward creating a savings cushion and extra money for vacations.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Heralds of Spring and the Season of Lent



From my garden. These Lenten purple hyacinths come back year after year, and are so fragrant. I've made some lovely cologne spray with these simply by soaking the blossoms in some alcohol.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Easy DIY Clothing Iron-ons


I've got these ideas on the top of my wish list(time, energy, motivation) for crafts to try in 2011:

Iron on decals from plastic shopping bags- brillant!(image pictured is from tutorial)

How to Print a Design Onto a Shirt Using Sandpaper

Crayon T-Shirts

I think these Iron-ons would be a super solution to cover children's clothing stains, or just jazz up a plain cotton t-shirt.