Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Weekend of Hard Work

Megan took her tomato plant (that she started from seed at our homeschool group)
out to our new land to plant by the fort that she made. Hopefully it will do well.
 This past weekend we took advantage of the holiday and spent parts of 4 days (and one night) out at our new land. It was fun to get some stuff done out there and just enjoying being out on the river but we did also end up quite exhausted by all that we got done. One of the big reasons we got the lot we did was because of the beautiful trees but unfortunately we had to get rid of some of them otherwise we wouldn't be able to put in a house or driveway. So lately cutting down trees has been the big project.

 Ken ran the chain saw (also my Dad and Brother brought theirs to help on Monday) and the rest of use picked up brush and moved it into piles (we are renting a chipper before long to make it into mulch) and then we also picked up the chunks of wood and made stacks of them. It is fun work but also very tiring especially since the weather was in the 80's and the mosquitoes had come out thickly.

 On Friday evening the kids and I decided to do something about our lack of a restroom on our property. This is just a temporary solution but it works for now and we had lots of fun making it.
We made a tee-pee of sorts with a bunch of the limbs that had been cut down.

 Inside Aaron and Mega dug a hole and then I used some logs and sticks to create a seat.
 This is how it works (kind of). It isn't super private but it is off in the woods a ways and we check to make sure nobody is in there before we walk up to the "door". It is much better than nothing.

 We collected sawdust to throw in after use to help keep the smell down.
 We set up tents and I brought along a book for my afternoon naptime. I really needed those naps!
 The river is still very cold but on Saturday we had fun getting in anyway as we were super hot. Ken didn't think I would make it in very far as I am quite cold blooded so I had to prove him wrong by jumping in all at once and getting completely wet. It felt good for just a moment and then I was out again. It helped tremendously for cooling me off.
 One easy meal I made was rice cooked with green beans and chicken broth. Pretty yummy. Do you like our little table?
 Around the campfire.
 One of the trees got stuck while Ken was cutting it with his chain stuck in it. Our super sweet neighbor came over and helped to pull it down with his four-wheeler.
 Megan enjoyed the fire.
 Blueberry plants were blooming!
 A bunch of guys at work.
 Ladies and children too.
 Dad tackles the cutting down of the really big tree that made us nervous. He did it perfectly.
 We took a break to canoe every so often.
 Cleaning up to go home. I forgot a broom for the tent but a piece of pine worked.
The boys ready to haul up Mara's new canoe (which she bought with money she earned from working and from getting a prize from an essay contest).

That was part of what was going on in our week. How has your week gone?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

3 Dozen Ways You can Re-Purpose Old T-shirts

Well it is the last Tuesday in May so I am going to share links to a bunch of ways you can re-purpose old t-shirts and then we will go on to a new re-purposing topic next week. Do you have any guesses as to what we might be re-purposing next?

 This month my featured T-shirt re-purposing posts were:

Making Napkins (and rags)

Here are some posts from other times when I have talked about ways to re-purpose t-shirts:


 And here are some ideas from others as to how you can use up your old t-shirts:

 Do you have any more ideas to share? I would love to hear them!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Our Heart

"I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; 
and they will be My people, and I will be their God, 
for they will return to Me with their whole heart."
Jeremiah 24:7
What is your heart like? Are you seeking to know the Lord? He wants you to! You will never regret following Jesus. I want my heart to be one that always seeks God and follows in His way!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Making Floor Plans For the House

If you are going to build a house something that you will need is a floor plan. Now I know I have seen a house or so that looked like it was made without one, but really, it is best to have one.:-)

 Now there are many places that you can get a pre-made floor plan and I am sure that could work just fine for some people but we think it is pretty fun (well at least most of the time - there were some frustrating times too) to make our own plan. Ken especially loves working on it so he has poured hour after hour into figuring out and creating the floor plan for the house we plan on building. Ken has gotten up early many mornings to work on it before he exercises and then he has work on it many an evening and weekend too.
 Here are some of the steps we went through when creating a floor plan:

  • Look over carefully the land where you plan on building the house so that you will know whether certain ideas will work for instance: Is there a hill so that you can have a walk-out basement? We would have liked that but it doesn't work for us.  Or maybe you can't even have a basement at all for some reason. Which directions have the best view? Where should the front door go? So many details depend on your land.
  • Brainstorm concerning the home you currently have and think of what you have the works and you like now and what you would like to change. We for instance wanted a much bigger kitchen but really liked our current spacious closet space.
  • Dream. Look at books and magazines and on Pinterest and find all sorts of cool ideas. Then realize that we are not millionaires and won't be doing most of the ideas but find one or so that you really like and go with it. Dreaming can be a lot of fun.
  • Talk to others about your ideas. Ken has drawn up many floor plans throughout this process. First we had one that we showed to some family and friends- after that we made the change of where the fireplace would go when we were told that it shouldn't be on an outside wall if we really wanted to use it (a wood fireplace) as having the temperature differences on the opposite sides of the chimney can cause creosote to build up which can then of course cause chimney fires. That was a little disappointing as we love the look on the outside of a fireplace but we don't want a chimney fire and we were talking to people that were pretty knowledgeable on the subject. 
  • Read up on house planning and organizing.
  • Think about traffic flows in your home and plan accordingly.
  • Think long term. We have made our plans to that though right now we will have our master bedroom suite upstairs and nobody will sleep on the main level but we do have my office there and so if needed at some point in our lives we could turn the office into our bedroom and not have to deal with stairs. I just really like the idea of being fairly handicap accessible as you never know who you might have come to your home or what might happen to you.
  • Talk to Contractors. They can give you ideas as to what sort of things might really cost a lot, what things might need more support and other things like that. After talking to contractors we have revised our plans a lot.
  • Consider ways to make things more economical - less corners (boxes and rectangles are cheaper to make), Plumbing needs close together, Measurement divisible by 4 to prevent so much cutting and potentially wasting building supplies, Make it less complicated and much more.
  • Talk to an architect. We did this a early on before we had really revised very much and I actually think we should have waited as he wasn't overly helpful then. He made up a plan but he made changes we didn't care for and then we ended up wanted to change a lot of other things anyway. We might need to use him again depending on which contractor we get and then I think he will be more useful just to be sure that the house structure will work and fine tuning the plan that we already have.

Do you have any tips for creating floor plans? Anything you really love or really hate about the floor plan in your house? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Lives From Old T-Shirts {A Cute Nightgown}

  I had a lot of fun with this project. Sorry I didn't get it posted yesterday as planned - I was busy making it instead! (sometimes I just don't get everything done in the timeliness that I would like but we'll make do with the time we have!) I made a fancy little nightie.  I had fun trying out a couple of different techniques on it that I have seen others do elsewhere. I now have lots more ideas of places that I would like to try some of the things that I did with this project.
 This project has been one that I have long been planning on doing (for a year or so now) since I saw the two shirts in my re-purposing pile that both had yellow, dark orange and light orange on them and thought how pretty they looked together and decided it would make a cute nightgown. As easily happens though - the project got put off to make way for more important things.

 Besides the two multi-colored shirts I did also use a yellow shirt and an old white one. I took a lot of pictures of the process which I will share but I am not really going to give step by step instructions as I am doubtful you will have exactly what I have to work with nor will you necessarily want to make exactly what I made. Hopefully though you might gain some ideas from the process to be able to use in whatever project you do want to work on.

I wanted the striped shirts to be the base of the garment so I did some holding up on myself and figuring out just how it might work best.

I decided to cut off the sleeves and neckline and V the neck as shown above.
 Then I took the white shirt and cut a section out like this to use as a base for the "skirt". This is just to sew the ruffles on to so it is not really seen.

 Then I cut ruffles out. To make these I found larger sections of fabric and simply cut them in a spiral strip with the strip being close to the same width all the way. It doesn't have to be perfect.
 Now it is time to attach them. I pinned on the first strip but then I just sewed them on without pinning after that. I spiraled up the tube taking turns between the yellow and the floral. I do think it would look good in all one color too but I didn't have enough fabric to do that.

The picture above shows the process of sewing it on.

 Next I decided to work on straps. I cut the hem (plus some extra) off of the sleeves and then just folded and sewed it again so that it was sturdy.
 I then pinned on the straps as shown and also put a folded over piece of fabric down in the V and pinned and then sewed it in place.
 Next I cut out a bunch of narrow yellow strips which I sewed, ruffling up as I went, all around the neck line and arm holes. I also attached the back of the straps to the back before I sewed the yellow ruffle on there.

I did also sew the side seams of the shirt in farther so that it wouldn't be gappy.

 I attached the skirt to the top but tucking the skirt inside the bottom of the shirt and then just sewing a top stitch to hold it all together.
 Here is a closer look at the top.
I think it turned out pretty cute though I am not sure how practical it is as a nightgown but it doesn't cover well enough for me to wear it elsewhere. I think it will work. Another time though I want to use some of these ideas to make some cute skirts and dresses.

 Next week I plan on sharing a list (with links) of a bunch of different ways you can re-purpose t-shirts. If you have written a post about re-purposing t-shirts I would love to know about it so I can add it to my list!

Or if you just have a comment or idea on re-purposing t-shirts I would love to hear them!


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