Simple Money for Kids

This holiday, I thought my oldest son, now 6, needed more help understanding that Christmas is about giving. With so many aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, and grandparents, there sure is a lot of getting going on! Getting is easy to enjoy… but so is giving. Giving time, giving thought, and giving donations are all ways that we can help support our communities. I love this article from Yahoo sharing  6 simple ways to give back. A great place to get started when thinking about others.

I came up with a plan for him to help earn some Christmas money that would be spent on holiday gifts. He enjoyed helping, and he loved shopping. It was hard for him to pick gifts for others when there were so many cool things HE wanted. And it was hard for him to spend money he had worked for on others. But he did enjoy finding the right thing for each person, and getting some special shopping time with me.

As he gets older, I want to keep this lesson of giving, as well as an overall responsibility with money. These are great lessons to learn young.

To help teach these concepts all year long, I grabbed three mason jars, some construction paper, scissors, and pens. I made three mason jars – one for money to save, one for money to spend, and one for money to give. I know some people use a similar system, and have certain percentages of their money that should go into each. I don’t want this system to be that rigid. I’d rather my son decide where he’d like his money to go. And because the jars are glass, he can see how much money is in each.

Simple Money for kids

I traced the lids onto the construction paper.

trace lids

Cut them out, then cut a slit in each. Make sure the hole is big enough that a folded dollar can fit in.

cut hole

Each lid gets a word – spend, save, give. You can choose different words if you like.

write on papers

Remove the metal plate portion of each lid, replace with the paper, and screw the lid back in place.

put on lid

Repeat for all the lids, your jars are done!

finished savings jars

If you’re looking for more ideas for giving, check out the Yahoo article on  6 simple ways to give back.

Quilted Christmas Stocking

Looking to make new Christmas Stockings this year? Or just want a fun way to practice your free-motion quilting? These quilted Christmas Stockings are easy to make and fun to quilt!

Fairfield Quilted Holiday Stocking

Start by grabbing your fabric, stocking pattern, chalk pencil, basting spray, backing fabric (one for the back of the quilting, one for the lining of the stocking), ribbon for hanging, and of course your Fairfield Batting.

supplies for quilted stocking

Baste your layers – the batting between a layer of red fabric and a layer of backing fabric (I used muslin).

Trace the stocking on the fabric. Flip the template and trace again, a mirror image.

trace stocking

Quilt both sides of the stocking – but make sure to go beyond the lines.

quilted layers

Cut out the stockings, and cut two lining pieces.

cut lining pieces

Stitch the top of a lining piece to the top of a quilted piece. Repeat with the other set.

stitch tops

Lay the layers on top of each other, right sides together as shown in the above image, then stitch all the way around, leaving a 4″ hole for turning.

Turn right side out through the hole, stitch the hole closed, and tuck the lining into the socking.

tuck in lining

Stitch on a loop of ribbon to hang.

attach ribbon loop

Now make more for the whole family!

tie up holiday stocking

Thanksgiving Leftovers Pot Pie

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias
We don’t live close to family, so the past few Thanksgivings have been just me, my hubby, and our two picky eaters. We have no idea where they inherited their picky eating genes – we love food. And I love to cook. So we go all-out for Turkey Day. Big turkey in the oven, potatoes, several different veggies, lots of stuffing, rolls, salad, deviled eggs… did I mention we love food? After we’ve cut into the pie, it is time to put all the leftovers away. Because as much as we love to eat, we barely make a dent in the bird. And there are lots of leftover sides. These all become a great base for future fast and easy meals! I love coming up with creative ways to spread out the leftovers over the next few weeks – including making these Thanksgiving leftover pot pies.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Pot Pie

Making these pot pies is super simple. I’ve given exact measurements in the recipe below, but feel free to use a little more or a little less if that is what you have handy – we are using up our leftovers after all!

If your family loves stuffing as much as mine does, you might not have enough to whip up these pot pies… don’t worry! I went to my local Walmart to pick up a box of turkey-flavored Stove Top Stuffing, which is perfect for topping off my pot pies with lots of yummy crunch! My little guy even helped out with the shopping!

Stovetop at Store

Thanksgiving Leftover Pot Pies
Serves 5 – Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
4 cups assorted cooked veggies (cut into 1″ pieces, if needed)
1.5 cups shredded turkey (all the bits from of the bones work great)
1.5 cups gravy
2 cups mashed potatoes
leftover cranberry sauce (optional)
2 cups Stove Top Stuffing

ingredients for turkey pot pie
1. Mix the veggies, turkey and gravy.
2. Divide into individual containers. Fill each no more than half way. Depending on the size, you can fill 4-6 containers.
3. Spread on a layer of mashed potatoes.
4. If you’re a cranberry fan, add a layer of cranberry sauce.
5. Sprinkle with a generous amount of Stove Top Stuffing.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

 

cover with mashed potatoes

pile stuffing on top

cover pot pie to freeze

You can freeze these individual servings to eat later, or to serve after a busy day of decorating, shopping, and gift wrapping. Always nice to have those “emergency” meals in the freezer for busy days! These emergency meals are not just life savers, but they’re money-savers as well. Tossing a pre-made leftovers pot pie into the oven takes no time at all – and doesn’t cost any more money! Great when I’ve got lots of Christmas shopping to do…
If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. It has recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!

Easy to make pot pie from Thanksgiving Leftovers
#TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

 

 

Quilt as you Go Basics

Have you tried Quilt as You go yet? I have to admit that it is one of my favorite time-saving techniques. Quilt-as-you-go allows you to piece your quilt and quilt it at the same time!

Quilt as you go basics

I’m using Fairfield’s awesome Fusi-boo Bamboo batting for today’s quilt as you go demonstration – though you could use other batting, this batting is uniquely suited to the quilt as you go technique. Check out all the details in the video!

 

Hosting a Dr Pepper and Dye Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

For more ideas on how to create your own #BackyardBash, check out the tumblr page at www.drpepperbash.com.

hosting a dr pepper and dye party

This past weekend, I invited my friends over for a backyard bash for some one of a kind tie dye fun. I recently took a class on shibori dye techniques, and it amped up my pre-existing love for dye. I wanted to share this with my friends who haven’t tried dye before and… (spoiler alert) they loved it! I love throwing parties, including outdoor parties, and this was a one of a kind idea for creating a get together for my crafting friends!

Several of my friends came over, kids in tow, for a fun mommy-date. I hired a sitter to stay inside with the kids while we moms braved the 100+ degree heat to play with our dye.

I have a big bin in my craft room filled with all my dye supplies, so for me hosting the party was as easy as having people bring their own items to dye, pulling out the bin, gong to Wal Mart for some Dr Pepper and Cheeze-Its… and tidying the house of course! If you want to host your own dye party, but don’t have a dye bin handy, I’ll give you some tips on what to buy at the end of this post.

dye party supplies

We had a great time trying different dye techniques. We did traditional twisting dye…

pour on the dye

and I shared some techniques for using rubber bands to get different looks.

rubber bands to tie dye

Once everything was sitting in dye, we headed inside to snack. The fabric got to marinate in the dye, and develop a nice, rich color.

dye in a mason jar

After we ate, we took turns rinsing out our dyed creations.

rinse off the dye

It was so much fun to see what everyone created! This blue shirt below was as easy as folding, clamping, and soaking in dye.

shibori tie dye technique

 

These pearl grey and petal pink dyed fabrics will be going into a quilt.

grey and pink tie dye

Different colors and different techniques, and in one afternoon we made half a wardrobe!

drying off the clothes

Although it was hot, we had a perfect day with just a slight breeze. To keep garments down while dying, I was able to use Dr Pepper cans! These worked perfectly!

use dr pepper to hold down clothes

This shirt is a new technique I thought I’d try – I can’t wait to show you the results later this week!

 

If you want to host your own dye party (and you know you do!) here are my tips:

Tips for hosting a dye party

Start by deciding on a day and time that works. I picked a day when I would have a sitter handy to watch the kids. Half a dozen kids over while I have my hands in dye could be a recipe for disaster… so I wanted someone to keep an eye on the goings-on inside the house. Since I live in the desert, I wanted an early morning time (but not TOO early!), so we went from 10-2. This gave us enough time to prep our pieces, let them soak in the dye for at least an hour, and give everyone time to rinse.

If you’re new to dye, look for some different dye techniques online. Try them out before the party, if you can. I had a sampler from the class I took to show my guests what different dye techniques would look like. You might want to print out instructions for various techniques if you have lots of people coming.

Make sure you have the supplies you need on hand. Depending on the techniques you’ll be showing your guests, you’ll need different supplies. I headed to Wal Mart to buy my Dr Pepper, and any other supplies I didn’t have on hand already. While I was there, I also picked up a little Coleman cooler to keep my drinks cool during the party.

shopping for dr pepper at walmartMy shopping buddy wasn’t in the mood for taking pictures.

Here is my supply list:

Several different colored bottles of Rit Dye
Rubber Bands (I buy the large pack of black rubber bands from the hair section of the store)
Several containers for dye baths (large mason jars, wash bins, and plastic storage bins all work well)
Salt (helps give more vibrant color on cotton)
Stir Sticks (to stir your dye)
Water
A sink close at hand for rinsing
Rubber gloves (or guests who like colorful hands)
Dr Pepper, pizza, and some snacks – like Cheeze-Its!
Puppy Pads (for under dye trays)
Squirt and spray bottles
Plastic bags for taking home wet dyed clothes.

Have your guests bring their own items to dye – shirts, towels, sheets, shoes – anything white or light-colored (over-dying on pinks, yellows, light blues, and other light colors looks awesome!). The items can be old and stained (the dye will help hide the stains) or brand-new from the store.

 

After your guests rinse out their clothes, have an area they can hang them to dry. Because of the Las Vegas heat, lots of the clothes dried before my guests headed home. I also gave them washing instuctions: Wash each piece in LOTS of water (with a second rinse cycle if your washer has it). Don’t mix colors – if you have several garments with blue dye, they can be washed together… but don’t wash two different garments of different colors. Washing red and blue together, if you haven’t fully rinsed, can result in a whole lot of purple (ask me how I know!)…

Thanks again to Dr Pepper for making this such a fun party! #BackyardBash #CollectiveBias

Foam-Mounted Quilt Block

Foam Mounted Quilt Block

Do you have orphan quilt blocks lying around that need a home? Maybe one day you might turn them into a scrappy quilt… or maybe not. Maybe you have quilt blocks given to you by a friend or relative, and you have no idea what to do with them! Here is a super simple way to turn quilt blocks into home decor – mount them onto foam! I was sent a box of foam to play with, and I’m so excited to share what I came up with!

Foamology is a brand new product, and so easy to use! You can check out the whole line on the Fairfield website. I used just one sheet of foam for this project … imagine what you could do with more! I’ll show you how I made this simple foam mounted quilt block, and you can think of more ways to use this same foam block… once the wheels start turning, you’ll come up with so many ideas!

I started with a package of the Design Foam with Stickybase soft tiles. The tiles are 12″ square – perfect for most quilt blocks.

stickybase design foam

If you have a 10″ or even a 12″ quilt block, add a border around your block. I used a block that was 16″, which gave me plenty to wrap around the back.

quilt block and foamology

The process is simple. Lay your quilt block right side down on the table, then center the foam square with the sticky side up. Peel back the adhesive strip on one side, and fold over the fabric. Then peel the strip on the other side, and fold the fabric over.

secure down other side

Lift up the center paper on one side, and pull the fabric over, then repeat on the other side. And just like that, you’ve mounted your quilt block onto a foam square! You can peel back the rest of the paper, and stick the mounted quilt block right to a wall. Bam. Done.

secure sides and corners

I decided to add some big stitch quilting to my block, just for fun. So I covered the exposed adhesive with the paper I’d removed.

Using 3 threads from a skein of embroidery floss, I tacked the thread in place on the back of the block.

secure thread in place

Then I stitched into the fabric and foam, creating a running stitch.

stitch into foam

Normally, when I do a running stitch, I load up my needle with several stitches before pulling it through. This foam was dense, though, so I could only do one stitch at a time. Which was fine. However, if you have poor strength in your hands, you might want a set of pliers handy to help pull the needle through.

To stitch the center, I just poked my needle up from the back, leaving a long tail.

poke through center

I stitched all the way around.

stitch center of block

When done, I poked the needle back through to the back, and tied a knot with my beginning and ending threads.

tie down from back

It took about 2 hours to complete the big stitch quilting, but I love the added texture that the quilting gives!

stitched foam quilt block

I’m not sure where I want to hang it yet, so to give myself lots of options, I stuck the foam mounted quilt block to a 12″x12″ canvas. This way I can lean it on a shelf, hang it on a wall, or do whatever I like.

stick foam to canvas

Wasn’t that simple? What kinds of decor would you make using Foamology? While you’re deciding on your first project, head over to JoAnns or Fairfield to order yourself some foam squares! If you order on the Fairfield site use the promo code 14FOAM25 at checkout for 25% off of your Foamology order.

Make sure to check out Fairfield on on Pinterest and Facebook, and Foamology on Facebook for more inspiration!

Thanks Foamology for sending me this fun new product to play with! It makes home decor so simple!

 

World’s Best Turkey Cheeseburger

I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

World's best turkey cheeseburger recipe

Summer is in full swing! For me, this means lots of time in the sun, and of course, grilling! We love grilling meats around here, and one of our favorite things to throw on the grill is a great burger. I’m a fan of turkey burgers, which are easy to add tons of flavor to! I set out to make the World’s Best Turkey Cheeseburger, so I headed to Walmart to pick up my ingredients.

While I was shopping, I used the Blippar App. It is a fun, free app that gives you bonus information on participating products. When I scanned my Kraft cheese, I had access to some great cheeseburger recipes, and I could take a photo with Brad Paisley! Hey look! Brad Paisley is shopping with me! You can also register to get Paisely Points and win some sweet Brad Paisley Swag.

Brad paisley in cart

Then I headed home to make some cheeseburgers. Yum!

make a turkey cheeseburger

You can find the full recipe at the bottom of this post. My burger patties included the basics – ground turkey, salt and pepper, egg and breadcrumbs (as binding agents), and then lots of flavor – I added Kraft Barbeque sauce, Kraft Cheese shreds, and minced garlic – yum!

Everything was tossed into a bowl, and thoroughly mixed. I pulled off my rings, washed my hands, and mixed it all in with my hands.

mix ingredients

Once my meat was mixed, I divided it into 4 sections for my patties. You could also make 6 smaller patties.

split up meat

Each section was first rolled into a ball, then pressed flat. To keep your patties from puffing up into meatballs on the grill, make a crater in the center of the burger. This way, the burger will be an even thickness when cooked. I put the patties onto squares of parchment paper, making them easy to transfer to the grill. This also makes them easy to stack in a container if you’re taking them to the park or to the beach to grill.

make burger patties

While the burgers were grilling, I prepared my fixings. First I chopped up some onions to caramelize.

onions to caramelize

Then I chopped up my avocado and tomato. Tear the lettuce to prevent the edges from browning. I like a little salt on my avocado and pepper on my tomatoes.

burger fixings

The it is time to toast the buns…

toasted buns

And then build the burger!

delicious turkey cheeseburger

Some people like to put the cheese on their cheeseburger while it is still on the grill. I like to put the cheese on RIGHT after it comes off the grill. It still gets melty, and none of it gets lost to the flames.

To make it a little easier to eat, I cut my cheeseburger in half.

cheeseburger with a side of cheeseburger

Hey, look who is hanging out in my cheeseburger!

brad paisley burger

Why yes, I’ll have my cheeseburger with a side of Brad Paisely, thankyouverymuch.

World’s Best Turkey Cheeseburger Recipe

Burger:
1/5 lb ground turkey
3/4 c Kraft Barbeque Sauce
1/2 c cheese shreds
1 c breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Fixings:
Hamburger bun
Kraft Naturals cheese slices
Kraft Miracle Whip
Lettuce
Tomato
Avocado
Caramelized Onions

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Divide into 4 large patties or 6 small patties. Grill until done. Add Kraft naturals cheese slices, and your choice of fixings on a toasted bun, and enjoy!

#SayCheeseburger #CollectiveBias

Quilted Tie Dye Pillow

Sometimes, you have a shirt that you love, but can’t wear. Either it has gotten worn out, or it isn’t the right size, or it has a stain on it. Don’t tuck it into a corner of the closet, or into a bottom drawer – celebrate your tie dye by turning your shirt into a custom decor piece! I work with the folks at Rit to come up with original dyed pieces, and was super excited to work on a quilted piece using a shirt I dyed with Rit dye.

If you’ve been following my Instagram feed, you know that I’m into quilting feathers lately… and I thought it would be fun to combine quilted feathers and tie dye in this handcrafted decor piece. I love how it came together!

Make a quilted tie dye pillow

Of course, you could use different quilting designs on your pillow, but be sure to get the how-to over on Rit Studio!

quilted tie dye pillow

Dyed BBQ Apron

Looking for a unique Father’s Day gift? I whipped up BBQ aprons for my husband and father-in-law. These aprons are totally unique because my sons’ handprints are right on the aprons! I didn’t have to expose their hands to bleach or dyes – just some non-toxic glue!

This project was sponsored by the awesome folks at Rit, who challenged me to come up with a great Father’s Day gift… and I think it was a big success!

BBQ apron for dad

I made the apron in 3 steps, allowing the aprons to dry overnight between each step. The waiting was really the hardest part of this project – the rest was easy!

Handprint BBQ Apron

 

If you’d like a full tutorial on how to make these fun aprons, check out my step-by-step dying instructions over at Rit Studio.

Nancy Zieman “Seems Unlikely” Book Tour

When I was asked to be a part of Nancy Zieman’s “Seems Unlikely” book tour, I immediately said yes. I’m a fairly new member to the Nancy Zieman Fanclub. My mother is a garment sewer, but I have always taken more to quilting. I made several garments including dresses for school dances, an 80’s shorts-and-top set in unfortunate matching fluorescent patterns, but the garment sewing classes I took back in 1996-97 were in Europe. So I missed out being introduced to Nancy and her expertise.

Though I’m new to the club, I’m not a token member. Nancy truly won my everlasting sewing love with her Create a Strap (I did a review that is best defined as a “love note” over at Craft Test Dummies). I’ve had a chance to play with her laser cut fusible appliques as well as her trace and create tablet keeper. I was able to “meet” her during a closed-circut session at Riley Blake Fabric Fest this last fall. Each one of these times I’ve had the chance to connect with her through product or experience, I’ve walked away an even larger fan.

SeamsUnlikelyBookCover

So, enter the chance to read Nancy Zieman’s Biography, and I was all in. At about 300 pages, it is told as if you’re sitting down to coffee with Nancy. As if she’s telling you the story of where she was born, how Bell’s Palsy and multiple knee surgeries affected her confidence, and how 4H played a significant role in finding her joy.

As I’ve been reading Nancy’s book, I have found myself relating to so many of the stories. I didn’t grow up on a farm or have a smile that was higher on one side. But those are characteristics of Nancy’s life – not elements of her character.

While writing this post, I’ve put a bandaid on one child’s elbow, fixed a Lego car, and had a 20-month-old crawl over me, needing some extra snuggles. Trying to manage a career from home while raising boys and managing a household isn’t easy. But as Nancy showed, it isn’t impossible. Through the support of her husband, and the help of family, she turned her single-page flier into a booming catalog (and now online) business. Her traditional farm upbringing gave her a work ethic that helped her plow forward through adversity.

Today, women-owned businesses aren’t rare. And gals like me working out of our homes at laptops while children play not-so-quietly may not be “normal”, but it isn’t the struggle it was when Nancy began.

I’m loving reading this book. I’m inspired by Nancy’s journey. She didn’t let small spaces or small minds keep her from being successful. I wish I could tell you that I’ve read it cover-to cover already, but other commitments have kept me from getting much further than halfway. But I’m really looking forward to the second half. If you don’t already have this book on your nightstand, make sure you pick up a copy. The first half alone is enough to get you writing lists of your dreams, re-naming them goals, and start making them happen.

Thanks, Nancy, for sending me your book. I’m truly loving it. I’m sure you have many more years of amazing adventures in front of you… I’m already wondering when you’ll be publishing the next installment.

My post is part of Nancy’s Book Tour. You can comment on Nancy’s Post if you’d like a chance to win one of 20 copies that are being given away. If you’d like to read what some others have to say about Nancy’s amazing journey, check out these other stops on the tour:

February 4          Nancy Zieman          

February 5          Eileen Roche

February 5          Pat Sloan

February 6          Melissa Stramel

February 6          The Long Ladies

February 6          Tori Thompson

February 7          Amy Barickman

February 7          Melissa Mora

February 8          Shari Butler

February 8          Vicki Christensen

February 9          Carolina Moore    (you’re here now!)

February 9          Kate Mclvor

February 10          Amy Ellis

February 10          Melissa Mortenson

February 11          Ilene Miller

February 11          Liz Hicks

February 11          Rachael Pannepacker

February 12          Bill Gardner

February 12          Elizabeth Evans

February 13          Amy Webb

February 13          Lindsay Wilkes

February 14          Gertie Hirsch

February 14          Veronica Philips

February 15          Jenny Gabriel

February 15          Laura Wasilowski

February 16          Frieda Anderson

February 16          Rita Farro

February 17          Cindy Cloward

February 17          Joan Hawley

February 17          Patty Young

February 18          Nancy Zieman