Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Watercolor Heart Doily Garland

Want to add some Valentine's Day flair to your home or office?  This simple garland is so easy and inexpensive to make, and looks darling!  Need non-electronic entertainment for the kiddos while you are cooped up in the house? Invite them to paint some, too! 

All you need is paper doilies (I found mine HERE for a bargain), watercolor paints and a brush, clear tape, and some white thread or dental floss!

"Doily" looked weird to me when I typed it out, so I looked it up. Turns out, it can be spelled correctly several different ways (per Wikipedia):  doiley, doilie, doyly, doyley, and doily. 
Ha! Who knew??

I made a video tutorial to show you how easy it is!  Have fun!

Participating in these link-ups.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016 Youth Theme Poster Printable

Today I am sharing this FREE printable of the 2016 Youth Theme for Latter-day Saint youth.  I made it to display in our Young Women's room throughout the year.  We will recite it each Sunday in the hope that by the end of the year each girl will have it memorized!

This would also be a great way to incorporate the principle of "ponderizing" into your family's life. Just print and put on the fridge!

I got my poster printed at Costco as a 16"x20" poster board. Have you ever bought one of their poster boards? They are of an impressive heavy, quality plastic and cost about $15.  My Costco takes less than 24 hours to have it ready! 

I saw a similar poster to this on Etsy as part of printable set for sale.  However, the one on Etsy did not have the words to the scripture on the board; it only had pictures. I wanted both, so I made my own design.  I hope your youth enjoy it!

Click link below to access downloadable file:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kids' Hiking Gaiters Pattern

If you follow my blog or my social media feeds (or if you know me personally!), you know that I love spending time with my family, especially if we get to be out in nature!  You will also be very aware that I like to sew, especially when I get to use original creative thought in the process!

This Kids' Hiking Gaiters project has been a perfect marriage of my love of outdoor adventuring and creative sewing! 

If the trail is muddy, dusty, rocky, wet, or snowy, gaiters are a hiker's best friend. They keep unwanted pebbles, dirt, ice, and anything else on the trail out of your boots. They add an extra layer of protection for your legs from thorns and scratchy underbrush.  No more frayed pants legs and scratched up shins! And if there is 2 feet of snow?? No problem!!

My husband and I have been working on fully outfitting our family for backpacking trips over the past 3 years. It has been a learning process that has taken time, research, money, and experience.  We have bought nice hiking gaiters for 4 of the 6 of us--the 4 who could wear adult-sized gaiters. However, child-sized gaiters are much harder to find. We wanted them to be as rugged as adult gaiters, but we needed them to fit our kids. So I told my husband I would design some.  I am SUPER excited about these. I used the pattern to make two pairs of gaiters for my kids, and it worked beautifully.

I designed these to be sewn using a standard home-use sewing machine. No industrial machine is needed. 

I have listed this pattern and tutorial, which includes a printable PDF of the pattern and an illustrated, step-by-step tutorial, on Etsy for an introductory price of $2.00 USD:

As an extra help for anyone making these, I am sharing here some places you can buy the materials to make these. Many standard fabric stores don't carry the sport utility fabrics required, but they can be found!

Here are some of my sources: 
  • FOR ONE-STOP SHOPPING: If you live in the Seattle area, Seattle Fabrics in Freemont is an excellent source for any and all the outdoor fabrics and sewing notions you will need.  I guess that is a bonus to having Outdoor Research and REI headquartered here. If you don't live here, no worries, Amazon (also headquartered here) ships everywhere and has many excellent outdoor fabric and notion deals.
  • PACK CLOTH :  Amazon has some great deals on this tough, water-resistant fabric. It is what your child's backpack is made of and makes excellent gaiters. (And my daughter would have LOVED that hot-pink option! Too bad I just found it!)

  • IRONING BOARD FABRIC:  I found this versatile fabric at Joann's. Although it contains cotton (which we generally avoid with outdoor gear), it has aluminum woven into the surface making it very tough and water resistant. It also won't melt if a hot ember lands on it (which can't be said of any of the nylon fabrics!).  In my gaiters pattern, I double up this fabric to give added stability to the gaiter. 
  • RIPSTOP NYLON:  Many fabric stores are starting to carry a limited supply of ripstop nylon. Not all ripstop is created equal. If you are wanting to use it for the main body of the gaiters, I suggested holding out to find a heavier, coated ripstop so it will be water resistant.  Amazon has some--but be sure to read the reviews; some say they are water resistant but do not have a polyurethane coating.  For the front panels of the gaiters, an uncoated ripstop would be fine. 

  • LADDER LOCK SLIDER BUCKLES and WEBBING: You might find these at your fabric store, but be careful of the quality.  You want webbing and buckles that can hold up to abuse since these will be right at the base of the boot. They will undoubtedly be scratched by rocks, get caked in dirt and mud, and get very wet.  Again, Amazon is a good source, but read reviews and go for the branded options.  Often REI and other outdoor outfitters will carry these where you buy rock climbing gear if you don't want to buy the large quantities offered on Amazon.

  • COAT HOOKS: These can be found at fabric stores. They will come as "Coat Hook and Eyes." You'll only need the hooks for this. You can also order them on Amazon.  Be sure to get them large enough to hook around a shoe lace (there are some tiny hook and eye sets out there). 

  • 1.5 INCH VELCRO: When designing these gaiters, I ALMOST went with a 3/4" Velcro. That was my original plan. Then as the design went forward, I realized that if I wanted my kids' gaiters to be as tough as the adults', they needed the fat, tough Velcro.  Call your fabric store before driving there to just buy this. It is not as in-demand as smaller width options and so isn't always carried. For me, it was cheaper to just order it than spend the gas to go searching. I bought this Country Brook Hook and Loop Velcro. It is EXCELLENT. No regrets on this purchase.

I snapped the photo above while making my kids' gaiters, testing out my original design. It was truly a rewarding process--knowing I was making something useful to my family, and that I could share for others to use.
If you get the pattern download, I'd love to hear about your experience making and using the gaiters! And of course, I love hearing about any family adventures on the trails!

Participating in some of these link-ups

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Clean Eating Oatmeal Raisin No-Bake Cookies

Aren't you so glad I have given up refined sugars and flours for the month?? Otherwise I probably wouldn't have developed this AMAZING and EASY new treat that you can feel good snacking on!

I have made two batches of these so far. Right now there are 3 left in the fridge. Even though only my husband and I have given up refined sugars and flours, my kids are enjoying all of our healthy indulgences!! I KNOW he and I haven't eaten THAT many--though we could've...

Oatmeal Raisin No-Bake Cookies
Makes 30 

3 cups oatmeal (I use rolled oats, but quick oats will work, too)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup natural peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (Almond butter would work.)
1 cup baking raisins (raisins soaked in very hot water 10 minutes, then drained well)

1. Line a cookie sheet that fits in your fridge with wax paper. 
2. Place oatmeal in food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, but not smooth. About three 5-second bursts did it for me. 
3. Add honey, peanut butter, and baking raisins to food processor. Pulse until well mixed. You may need to scrape the sides once or twice during pulsing. 
4. Use a medium cookie-scoop to make 1 inch bon-bons, or scoop with a spoon and roll into 1 inch balls, and place on prepared wax paper.  They can be eaten immediately. Place cookie sheet in fridge to let them harden a bit more before removing to store in an air-tight container. I really like them at room temperature, but I LOVE them chilled!

Participating in these link-ups. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Banana Bread Cookies

Creativity in the kitchen so often arises out of necessity, am I right??  In the case of these cookies, I NEEDED something sweet.  However, my husband and I have sworn off refined sugars and flours for the month of January, so my sweet tooth was not easily appeased. 

I had some bananas sitting on the counter that I was guarding with my life so they would ripen enough to use in my sugar-free-sweet-treat-making endeavors.  Finally they began to turn brown, and I set to work. 

Now I know that raisins in cookies are not enjoyed by all. Usually you love'em or hate'em.  I am in-between. I love them if they are soft and don't break up the uniform texture of the cookie too much. I hate them if they are hard.  I think the Love'em camp would be larger if more cookie chefs took the time to plump their raisins in water before adding them to recipes.  Sun-Maid has figured this out and has done it for you with their Baking Raisins, available at grocery stores or on Amazon. 

You can also measure out your raisins, cover them with boiling water, and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Then drain off the water (but don't squeeze the raisins), and they are ready to add to your baking! 

But if you absolutely hate raisins in any form or fashion, leave them out. These cookies can stand on their own, with our without the addition of raisins!

Banana Bread Cookies

2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
3 cups rolled oats (oatmeal)
1 cup baking raisins (raisins soaked in hot water 10 minutes, then drained), optional
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment, silpat, or coat with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and coconut oil until smooth. Add honey and beat well. Beat in eggs. 
4. Add 1/2 flour mixture to wet mix. Mix in bananas, then add remaining flour mix. Stir in oatmeal, raisins and pecans. 
5. Place rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes, until edges just begin to brown and tops no longer look wet.  Cool, then store in airtight container. 

Participating in these link-ups. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Youth Theme Candybar Wrappers

Each year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a scripture-based theme for the youth program. I am so excited about this year's theme, from 2 Nephi 31:20, 

 “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life”

I love the feelings of hope and action that this scripture evokes.  It was hard to be a teenager 20 years ago. I know it hasn't become any easier today. In an effort to keep this scripture at the forefront of the minds of the Young Women in our youth program, we decided to give them these theme-wrapped candy bars for their birthdays this year. 

These would also be great to give out at New Beginnings, Young Women in Excellence, or as a welcome gift to new Beehives.  

These are sized for a regular, flat-shaped (approx 2" x 6")candy bar such as Hershey's, Mr. Goodbar, or Nestle Crisp. I went with the Nestle Crisp bar because it has the foil-edged wrapper, which looks nice sticking out the ends of the new wrap. 

Links to FREE PRINTABLES of these wrappers can be found below.