revisiting the pear

Thank you, dear readers, for all your great ideas and encouragement regarding my pear pillow conundrum last week. I finished it today while the little birdie took a long snooze after baby swim class this morning. I decided to skip teaching myself the slip stitch for now and do something a bit more creative. I’ve had an itch to embroider something almost as much as my desire to felt or pickle something this year. So I decided to take the stuffing out and cut a new hole in the piece and then machine sew the top. Then I stuffed the pear again and embroidered a little orange (duh!) detail on the bottom. It needed something… What do you think? I think it adds a little funk. You?

pear help needed!

I’ve been working on a gift for a special someone and I’m stuck. So close to being done and yet, so far… Can I get your help, sewing wizards?

It’s a simple stuffed pear pillow thingy and I’m happy with how it’s come out so far, but I can’t figure out how to close it up without seeing the end stitches and a “slip stitch” is frustrating me. Any suggestions? Remember, I’m new at this sewing thing so sometimes what might be obvious to you, is simply NOT to me.

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day to you, lovelies!

Do you have any plans to honor our favorite Mamma, Mother Nature? Getting outside? Digging in the dirt? Taking a shorter shower? Beginning some new green habits?

I’ve been wanting to go a shade greener in my nesting so thanks, Earth Day, for giving me this opportunity. Truth be told, I do not have laundry detergent loyalty. I usually just buy the eco-friendly variety that happens to be on sale or sometimes, just has the nicest packaging. I know, I know. This has come with mixed results, but regardless of how clean the clothes may or may not be getting, it’s still really expensive. And I always have green guilt about buying yet another container. It doesn’t really make me feel better that I recycle it because there’s still all that manufacturing, shipping, marketing, trip to the store, etc. It’s enough to make this Mamma’s head spin.

So I scoured (no pun intended, I swear!) the Internet for a super simple, economical, earth-friendly laundry recipe. Sure enough there were 152,000 hits just for “Homemade laundry detergent.” And I stumbled upon this simple idea multiple times so I figured this would be a great place to start. Here’s a secret our Grandmothers knew. This stuff rocks! And you’ll gasp at how cheap it is.

Simple Green Soap for Your Duds

4 cup load of homemade laundry soap, which will endure about 32 loads.

2 cups grated Fels Naptha bar soap
1 cup Borax (check out their new look in the photo above!)
1 cup baking soda

Place in an air-tight container.

Shake or stir and you’ve got a container of laundry detergent. I also threw in an old measuring spoon and labeled the old water container so ALL the squirrels in our nest would know what to do on laundry day.

Directions: Use 2 T per load and dissolve in water before adding clothes.

$$$$$  Financial breakdown  $$$$$

16 oz box of baking soda: $.59. Only used about half the box.  About $.30

Fels Naptha soap: $1.09 for the bar. Only used about 1/4 of the bar.  About $.30

4 lb, 12 oz box of Borax: $4.49. Only used about 1/8 of the box.  About $.30

1 cup=16 Tablespoons so… about 32 loads! That comes out to almost $.03 per load. Wow! Not too shabby. Sorry, Seventh Generation. You just can’t compete with this! Not even with your new(ish) and improved packaging…

Now what to do with all those clean, wet clothes. I’ve been researching easy ways to dry the laundry outside without erecting a permanent clothesline system and not spending a lot of money. Do you have a system for this that you’d like to share, dear readers? I’m not thrilled about the idea of hanging my Mamma panties and nursing bras up for Bert and Ernie to enjoy, but I’d love to hang towels, the duvet cover, jeans, sheets, and wouldn’t a wee onesie or two be cute?

For your Earth Day enjoyment, check back later today. I have a couple more thoughts and pretty pictures to share with you.

Until then, for our Mother’s sake, please don’t buy bottled water today at the very, very, very least. Come to think of it, don’t buy it tomorrow either…

Eye candy

Something was needed on the blank wall above the changing table in Wren’s Nest. It was just boring ole ‘Northern Pear Tree’ and begged to have some more eye candy. Plus it’s getting (A LOT) more difficult to change the squirrely babe’s diaper so the more interesting distractions, the better, this Mamma says.

It’s funny from where or what or whom one draws inspiration, isn’t it? If I ever pursue a PhD, my dissertation might just be on the elusive idea of inspiration. But I digress. I found some silver frames at a local consignment shop for about a buck each and they’d been staring at me every time I went down to the basement for at least a few months. Soooo… today I got inspired and I designed and printed some fun Wren pictures. What do you think?

It’s a bit hard to see the details in the picture. Maybe this is better? I put all the designs together for your Saturday afternoon eye candy. I’m really happy with how they came out, if I do say (write) so myself! Enjoy and happy weekend to you, dear readers.

Wren’s Nest

Happy Spring to you, dear readers! After two weeks of sunny afternoons, 50 and flip-flop sightings, we’re back to 32 and a bit too cloudy on the first official day of Spring. Aaah, Mother Nature, how you love to keep us on our toes. Or curled up in a ball on the couch.

How was your last week of winter? Time zoomed right by in our nest. When I wasn’t taking care of my little birdie, I was focused on ridding 605 of Cabbage Smell and happily finishing Wren’s nest upstairs. It’s been a year and we spend a lot of time in that room (at all hours of the day and night). Please tell me that the following scenario also happens in your nest? You mean to get around to doing something about that dresser (insert your item/nook here) and it nags at you for a while. Then time passes and you just get used to it being in the same old shape/place/state of disarray. You look at it every day and it doesn’t phase you after a while. Then one day it hits you. You just can’t take looking at it anymore! One more day cannot pass. Arrghhh. Impatience and aggravation set in. Must. Do. It. NOW. Oh, human nature, you’re just as odd  and beguiling as Mother Nature.

I don’t know about you, but I often need a bit (or A LOT will do too) of external motivation to get me going on something from time to time. Deadlines imposed by someone else are really wonderful. It’s true, I am not an island. So when I heard about the Dwell Studio “How You Dwell” contest, it was just what this Mamma was looking for. Simply take a picture of their products in your home, e-mail them in and they’ll post them on their Facebook page. The photos with the most ‘likes’ by next Friday wins a $1000 shopping spree. Yahoo! Now that’s what I call a good kick in the ass. Insert shameless plug here. Dear readers, please ‘friend’ Dwell Studio on Facebook and vote for Wren’s Nest next week when the voting begins! Did I say “please?” And thank you in advance.

Soooo… here’s the photo tour of Wren’s Nest for you to peruse.

Demolition is fun.

Now doesn’t that look like a space you’d let your newborn sleep and play…? We decided to repaint everything and refinish the floors so things were looking up for our little birdie.

Then we acquired an old dresser from Grandpa Tom. I decided to have some fun with it so I painted the drawer fronts–you guessed it–orange and put in cute-as-a-button green drawer liner. In progress here…

And after a bit more sprucing up and “derranging” as we like to call it… the dresser is finished, things are finally hung and the nest is (mostly) complete. Just in time for Wren’s new phase of development: destruction!

Wren’s Nest Now!

Wren likes her nest so much that she wakes up every 2-3 hours all night long just to see it…

Thanks for touring Wren’s Nest today, dear readers. I hope you enjoyed it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Any big plans (fun pagan rituals?) to celebrate the arrival of Spring? Best!

P.S. Big thanks to Dwell Studio (glider, crib sheets, etc…) Don’t forget to ‘friend’ them and vote!

springtime nesting!

Happy Ides of March!? Will you celebrate this festive day with a toga run like they do in the streets of Rome? I’m not so sure that celebrating Mars, the Roman god of war, is a great idea. Did you know that Mars used to be the Roman god of fertility and vegetation? What does that say about the state of humanity that fertility and vegetation got usurped by war when things turned more violent as the folks got greedier and the Roman Empire began to expand? Damn humans.

The Ides of March for me means the anniversary of beginning the nesting process at 605. It’s been a year, yahoo! And what a year it’s been. We are just beginning to feel that the house we live in is our home.

To celebrate, we spent the weekend improving our nest in a big way. As you well know, we’ve been meaning to get the croffice finished for a while now. It was the catch-all junk room/craft room for months (10?) and now it’s the office/craft room=croffice.  Almost. We have some more work to do, but we’re thrilled with the progress we made this weekend. Because we moved the office stuff into the croffice, that meant that the sun room/play room could be just that. Thank you, domino effect!

Here are some pics of the progress I feel compelled to share.

Sun room BEFORE:

In progress:

We discovered that the faux wood paneling and two layers of wallpaper were covering real wood paneling. We had a good laugh about that. Funny how trends come full circle. They didn’t want the wood so they painted it then they wanted it again so they brought in the faux wood. What?!

Sun room/play room NOW:

We love the space and spend A LOT of time in here. So worth the effort! I do not miss those blue curtains and paneling to say the least…

The Croffice is mostly done so I’ll share a few pics with you. Exciting!

Croffice when it was the “master bedroom.” Ha!

Then it got  A LOT worse before it got better. Oof. Poor Wren, can you even find her in there?

Then my friend Sandy came along and helped give the project some inspiration and direction. Thank you, Sandy!

Today, the Cloffice part of the Croffice looks like this. Yahoo!

It’s not “done” yet, but it’s getting closer. And again, so worth the effort. Thank you, dear hubbie for your help! You’re the best.

Next on the agenda? Finish Wren’s room… not much left to do. Fun!

Snuggle bags.

Who doesn’t need something soft and cozy to snuggle up in? My three nieces and their matching American Girl dolls do! So I made them these fleece snuggle bags (three big, three little), which were *sew* easy and fun to make.

These are great for traveling or just lounging around the house. For simple directions on how to make these snuggle bags, click here. I also added a ribbon detail to the bottom of each so they could easily tidy them up a bit. Simply roll and tie!


My sweet Wren has her 9-month well visit this morning. We will find out just how big she’s gotten in the last few months. Gambling types, want to place a bet?


drafty ole bugger.

The night before our little birdie was born, we moved into our first house. We call this old wooden boat (err, house) a “bungalonial,”  for lack of a better term. While we don’t love the house quite yet, we love the location and you know what they say…

It was built in 1928 and has some issues, namely the entire house. But we’re making our house a home, bit by bit.

Before next winter we’ve got to figure out something different with the roof and the upstairs insulation (as you can see in the photo above). There really isn’t much insulation, at least in the walls. Smart idea in northern Michigan, eh? When a Florida couple was desperate for help, an insulation contractor company Orlando based Insulate it Solutions, stepped up to the plate and delivered a miracle to the Orlando natives. Insulate It Solutions provided insulation that helped cut their energy costs in half with spray foam insulation sprayed in the attic. In the meantime, we’ve been bundling up and using a small space heater in Wren’s room. But there is a huge gap between the bottom of the door and the floor so all the toasty air slips out into the unheated creaky hallway. Sigh. What’s a gal to do?

Get Wren a snake, of course! Not a real snake, silly.

I decided to make a draft snake for her room for two reasons. All the draft snakes in the stores are ugly and too expensive (always a winning combination, right?). This is a great beginner project, which uses fabric scraps. Again, dear readers, if I can make this, anyone can!

Isn’t it cute?

I pretty much followed the directions from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing with a few of my own tweaks. As you can see, it’s basically just a tube that you fill with dried beans. It’s difficult to use a draft snake when you aren’t in the room to snuggle it up next to the door. So I added these cute orange ribbons that serve as little handles to pull the snake snug as I close her door at night. I’m not sure that it makes a huge difference, but it makes me sleep a bit more soundly and that’s worth the work right there. This didn’t take me more than an hour to do, yahoo!

Happy crafting!

disaster zones.

I got a lovely e-mail from one of my three fantastic sister-in-laws the other day, asking me how I manage to do everything. I just chuckled to myself because this came from a woman who has three (3!) children, manages to always look amazing and I don’t think I’ve ever heard her raise her voice to anyone. “If only you saw the state of my affairs today,” I thought… I often ruminate on my domestic accomplishments, but today I’m going to ramble a bit about some of my disaster zones. (No, I’m not going to show you a photo of my cellulite.) We’ve all got at least one disaster zone, right? Please tell me you do too.

Disaster Zone 1

The catch-all craft/office/blech room that has yet to be officially unpacked since we moved in about eight months ago. Every day I work in this room and just about go over the edge. Where to begin? I’ve been procrastinating this project because I have no definitive vision for it yet. Dear readers, do you have some ideas or inspirations for this space?

Disaster Zone 2

My rain boots. I love these boots and I’ve only had them a little over a year, but they’ve acquired cracks. This has obviously rendered them useless. But I decided instead of buying a new pair, I would fix them! Great idea, right? Chris reluctantly picked up a roll of brown electrical tape that I requested from Home Depot. He was not optimistic, but I was. So the color wasn’t quite right, but it was close enough and I could get another season–at least–out of them. Wrong. The first time I wore them through the sloppy mess out there, the tape began to peel away. Damn! Now what, dear readers, do I do with this pair of boots? Is there a better way of fixing them? Is it worth it? Should I try brown duct tape? HELP!


  • I know many people in northern Michigan are appreciative of this thaw we’re experiencing. I am not one of them. Double yuck!
  • Orange is my favorite color today. Yup.
  • Wren has to have her flu booster shots this morning. Trying to figure out how I’m going to treat myself after dealing with that. It’s got to be one of the hardest things as a new parent and it doesn’t get easier, does it? I think she fares better than I do. Maybe I’ll get a mini Frosty. That always does the trick. At least for a little while.
  • I might need to invest in a pair of ear plugs because Wren is practicing a new very high-pitched squeal. OUCH!