You may remember photos of my empty living room from past posts. I posted about my carpet and new furniture, but my living room was very bright because I hadn't yet put up the drapes. I loved the brightness in the daytime, but there was no privacy at night, so I began my hunt for drapes that would coordinate with my carpet and furniture.
Tip # 1: Carry your couch pillow with you in a bag to get the perfect color that you are looking for.
That is what I did! And, guess what? Nothing that I could afford gave me the look that I wanted. I was trying to avoid making my own drapes because of the time it would take me. But, when I had no luck, I went to the fabric store. The store was having a 50% off sale on their decorator fabrics, and I found the perfect color! But, I figured I needed about 11 yards or so of fabric and even at $10 per yard, that was going to be over $110! So, I decided, to try to cut costs even more, I would go to SAS, our discount fabric warehouse and see if I could get lucky finding the same color that I had fallen in love with at the regular fabric store. Jackpot! I found the same color drapery fabric in the clearance section of the SAS for $3.99 per yard! Plus, one spool of the perfect match of thread. After tax, the cost of my drapes came to just under $50!
Tip #2: Measure, measure, measure! Measure your windows before you shop and figure out how much fabric you will need, and add a little just to be safe. I ended up getting 11 3/4 yards of fabric because I had to use two different bolts because one didn't have enough on it. So, I didn't want a seam suddenly in the middle of my drapery panel, so I had to buy enough for 3 panels and then buy enough for the fourth panel from a different bolt. Now that I am finished, I wish I had figured the panel length a little longer because in retrospect I would have made a deeper hem.
Tip #3: Make french seams! No raveling allowed and you want the back of the panels to look as good as the front! I have taught french seams before on my pillowcase post, but I will go over it again.
Tip #4: Finish the edges of your panels very neatly, because they will show and be noticeable and no one wants to see puckering! I used my sewing machine's hem stitch to make a nice edge finish that looks great, if I do say so myself.
Tip #5: Decide how you want to hang your curtain in advance so that you will have measured for the correct amount of fabric and you will know what to measure for. I decided to have a casing with a 2"piece above it that would shirr onto the rod.
Remember that through all of these steps, your iron is your friend! Press down your seams, press down your hem lines. This will help you end up with a beautiful finished look.
Tip #6: Hang your drapes up to hem them to the right length. I feel bad that I forgot to take pictures of my husband putting up my drapery rod. He didn't even complain when I made him take out one end and put it up 3/16 of an inch higher because it didn't look even. Our house is old and not everything is square anymore. That is one reason why I felt I needed to hang the drapes to hem them. If I had only measured, they would have surely looked crooked.
Once I finished the pinning, I took the drapes back down and sewed in a nice finished hem. Then, I pressed the drapes and we hung them up! I am so pleased with the results and with the cost! Next, I am going to make tie-backs, but that will be a topic for another post!
Sewing your own drapes really isn't very difficult. It is all straight stitching. I think that the most difficult part is just the length and volume of fabric. It took me 3 days (a few hours per day) to finish these. I did one side each day for 2 days and then the hem on the third day. It was time well spent for me! Now I have money left over to spend on other parts of my house. Let me know if you think you will give this a try!
I have some dear people in my life who are diabetic. Some of them asked me if I would come out with a sugar free Hot Cocoa Bomb! Since last year, I have been putting a lot of thought into it. I have had the Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolate Chips in my pantry for a long time.
I just wasn't sure about the filling. I didn't want a terrible after taste like I sometimes experience with sugar free products. I wanted the sugar free experience to be as great as with my original product. Also, cost was a factor. I did find some sugar free marshmallows on line, but they are super expensive. I had to figure out what else I could put in the bombs. Then I found Russell Stover Sugar Free Chocolates!
I decided that these might work to flavor my bombs!
I was nervous about how well the sugar free chips would work, because I have had less than successful experiences with flavored chips. But, they melted really well and then hardened perfectly in the molds. The flavor of the chocolate was delicious and left no funny after taste in my mouth.
I used peppermint patties and peanut butter cups to make two flavors of bombs, (peppermint and peanut butter chocolate obviously!). I just broke them up and put them in the shell. (See my tutorial on this post.) I also added a little peanut butter powder to amp up the peanut butter flavor. I have blog posts about two kinds ofpeanut butter powder here, and here. I also usedSugar Free Nesquik! The results was delicious! No yucky after taste, just delicious Hot Cocoa! I am still deciding how to decorate the bombs with out adding sugar. Maybe a few chopped peanuts on top of the peanut butter ones, and I can probably find some sugar free peppermint candies to crush for the peppermint flavor. Any ideas?
Since Cocoa Bomb season has begun, look for a special give away coming soon! We are so excited about it!
When I first heard about E-readers, I was sure that I wouldn't like them. In this post, I told you about my love of books and how I will pet the pages that I love. But, then, my sister gave me a Kindle and now, I love it. I want you to know that I am in an affiliate program with Amazon, but all of the opinions here are mine and I wouldn't be telling you all of this if it wasn't how I really feel. Here are the reasons that I love my Kindle:
*I can finish a book and then have a new one to read right away! I always have something to read!
*I share books with my mom and sister and niece since we are all on the same cloud.
*TheKindle is light weight and makes it much easier to read in bed.
*If I love a book, I can always go and buy it in hard copy. But, if I don't love it, it isn't taking up space in my house.
*Many of the books are much less expensive on Kindle.
*I can find books that are not as well known, that perhaps aren't in bookstores but are very lovable.
So, since so many of you enjoyed my post about my most loved books, I have decided to let you in on a few more of my favorites that I have read on Kindle.
Miss Buncle's Book, by D.E. Stevenson and others in that series are clever, lighthearted books about a young woman who, writing under a pseudonym, describes people in her town. Hilarious chaos ensues afterwards. All of the books in this series are terrific, but this first one is my favorite.
Interested in a new fantasy by a new writer? I happen to know B.K. Eastin personally! She has written a debut novel, Street Rat, that introduces readers to the magical culture in a place called Haraj. If you love stories filled with fantasy and magic as much as I do, this is a great read. I understand that another novel is in the works, so after enjoying this one, stay on the look-out for the next!
Deb Baker has written this great murder mystery series that is filled with humor about a 60 something sleuth named Gertie Johnson. If you know anyone who lives in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, they will appreciate that Gertie is a Yooper and the vocabulary that shows it in these books! They are a lot of fun.
Staying in that same genre with Gertie, We have Elizabeth Spann Craig's series about an octogenarian named Myrtle Clover. Somehow murder always seems to find this feisty sleuth who drives her police chief son crazy with her shenanigans. Another fun, light hearted series.
I just found out that there is a fifth book in theHangman's Daughter Series that I haven't read! It is only $2 on Kindle! These books by Oliver Potzch take place in around 1660 in the Bavarian Alps of Germany. They can be bawdy at times, but the history, the mystical moments, the realization that the Hangman is so much more than a hangman and his daughter is so much more than a hangman's daughter have just drawn me in and kept me hooked!
The Greystone Series hooked me because it describes life in Great Britain during WWII, which is something I love to read about. It always amazes me how these people survived all that they had to go through The government took over their homes, many sent their children away to what they thought would be safety. Everything was rationed. It fascinates me.
Finally, one of my very favorites that is definitely going to take a place on my shelves with my hard copies of books so that I can pet the pages, is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Zusak has written a book that describes "the ability of books to feed the soul" as Amazon so eloquently states. I know that I felt fed by it. It takes place in 1939 Nazi Germany and is about a nine year old girl's fascination with books, even when she can't read. I haven't seen the movie because I am afraid that it can never live up to the one that played in my mind as I read the book.
I have given you a fairly eclectic list to choose from here! I could have let this post go on and on! I hope that you will try a few of these titles and let me know what you think! Also, let me know if there are any books on Kindle that you think I should try, because I am always ready for a new read!
One of the things that we have enjoyed eating during this no-bake, hot summer is salad! They have to be hearty salads, too, because even though we are hot, we are also hungry! I made a few of those pre-packaged types of salads, but they always taste a bit packaged and you have to make a few packages to have enough to feed everyone. Not to mention, there are always weird ingredients that we have never heard of in pre-packaged food, plus a very small amount of dried out bits of what were once vegetables. I figured I could come up with my own, healthier and tastier version of our favorite flavors on my own.
Around our house, we love bacon. If anyone ever posts anything about bacon on Facebook, they always tag my oldest son. He is the King of all bacon lovers. One version of the packaged salads that we all enjoy is the bacon ranch flavor. Okay, bacon may not fit in with the "healthier" stamp, but since I am using the real thing and not artificial flavoring, it sure is tastier! I will be sure to tag my son once this blog is completed because today I am going to give you the recipe for my HOMEMADE version of Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad. (By the way, I loved the big red bowl that I used to make this salad in. It comes in a colorful set with lids! My daughter received them as a wedding gift. I liked them so much, I bought my own. There is an affiliate link to order them on the sidebar.)
, Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad
A 1 lb. bag of small pasta shells, cooked and drained
1 lb. bacon, cooked crispy and cut into bite-sized pieces.
1 can of corn kernels, drained
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
about 2 cups mozzarella cubes
1 diced tomato
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
In a large bowl, blend the vegetables, bacon and pasta together.
Mix the dressing mix with the mayonnaise. Mix this into the pasta mixture. Chill before serving, if you can wait!
You can probably imagine a lot of other stir-ins that would be delicious in this salad. Let me know what your favorite salad stir-ins are in the comments section!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!