Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snow vs. Rain

Okay, so we wound up with 11.7 inches during our last snowstorm. But after two consecutive mild winters and very dry summers, that still left us in drought status.

That left us wondering...how much water IS 11.7 inches of snow?  We could have simply looked it up online, but what fun is that?

Instead, Mr. LH went outside and scooped snow into a 4 cup container. As you can see, it wasn't exactly 4 cups. It was more...

Then we waited.


It didn't take long for the snow to melt down to a mere 2/3 cups of water.


Not very scientific, but it'll do.

By the way, the average conversion is 10 inches of snow = 1 inch of water but that can vary a lot. Five inches of "wet snow" will yield an inch of water, but it takes 15 inches of dry powder. We've gotten some wet, heavy snow this year, but we usually get the drier stuff - sometimes sweeping off the driveway instead of shoveling.

I also need to point out that the snow here oftentimes evaporates before it can melt and soak into the ground. That makes it even more important to get a lot.



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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sledding - Finally!

It's kind-of funny that all Winter long we didn't really have an opportunity to go sledding. Now that Spring has officially arrived, along with almost a foot of snow, we have what might be our one and only chance.






Just in case you ever wondered, the round snowboogie boards and the inflatable tubes go faster than anything else.



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The Stupid Sock Creature

It's the Stupid Sock Creature. I'm not being mean. That's what we made...using instructions from the book by the same name.


I found the book at the library last week and let The Girl thumb through it while I browsed another book. She immediately picked out a creature, grabbed a couple socks (one of them had a hole in it), and requested I make him.


Meet Sid...The Girl's newest friend. I think he looks like a funky character from Monsters, Inc with claws for hands. But he was a first attempt. He's made from a dingy cast-off sock and a couple of buttons and she loves him. That's all that really matters, isn't it?


Now The Boy wants one, too.

I discovered the author, John Murphy sells some of his creatures on Etsy...so if you don't want to make your own...



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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pants Leg Extensions

My daughter must have hit a growth spurt. She also must have gotten more genes from her daddy than I originally suspected (never mind that she looks just like him) and is sprouting as quickly as her brother.

The girl has, in a couple months, moved straight from size 8 jeans to size 12. She has just skipped right over size 10. They are too short for her. Did I mention she's only 9 years old?

So what do I do with the size 10 jeans I had ready for her to grow into? Since the waist still fit her just fine, I simply added leg extensions. I have seen around the internet where people add lace to the bottoms of pants to make them longer. It's a great idea and very easy, but I didn't have lace wide enough and The Girl isn't a lace kind of girl anyway. She'd never wear the jeans if I put lace on them.

I had her try on her pants so I could measure the length needed. I would have to add a full 2 inches to the bottoms...after I had already let the hem out!


The Girl chose some fabric from my scrap bag.


 Of course, she picked out the flimsiest stuff I had so I folded it over some interfacing to stiffen it and sewed little cuffs to the bottoms of her pants.


I'm thinking I'll add another strip of fabric in above the cuff (either the same print or in white or black) to cover the discolored crease from the old hem. But really, when she has the pants on, it's not noticeable unless you're looking straight at it.

Thank goodness summer is around the corner and she can wear shorts while she grows some more!



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Homemade Seed Pots

The last couple years in Colorado have taught me to not rush Spring. Even though the calender says it's Spring, I know better than to expect the weather to understand.

The last frost date here is May 15th. Coming from North Carolina, May seemed awfully late to be planting and in previous year I actually doubted the validity of that date. But nature decided to teach me a lesson and snow and freezing temperatures last April made me decide I'd better get used to doing my planting in May.

Still, I brought plants out of the garage to get some sun by the kitchen windows.


I started to set up and fill the Earthboxes.


And I started my tomato and pepper seeds. It was then that I realized I needed something to start my seeds in. I never really cared for the Jiffy pellets I'd used in the past. They never seemed to break down properly in the soil once planted. I was also looking for ways to save money. I knew there was a way to make seed pots from newspaper, but I had lots of toilet paper rolls in my recycling/craft bin.


I decided to turn those empty toilet paper rolls into seed pots. With just a few snips of the scissors...


And a few folds...


And one piece of masking tape...I had a seed pot.


Repeat a dozen more times and I have a nice collection of tomato and jalapeno seeds started in toilet paper tubes filled with coconut coir on the kitchen counter (no wonder my kids' friends think I'm nutty).


At least I was able to get SOME gardening in before the first Spring snow fell...


Over 11 inches of it...


I guess we'll be going back to our Winter activities now.



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Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Pin"spiration - Scarf Storage

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

I have scarves I've kept in plastic containers in the closet. It's such a pain to pull out the bin and sort through the scarves for one that I want to wear that I just never wear them.

I recently stumbled across an idea on Pinterest that solves the problem for me quickly and inexpensively:


A clothes hanger + shower curtain rings = accessible scarf storage!

I didn't have shower curtain rings on hand but they are very inexpensive. (I actually picked these up at a thrift store for 75 cents)

Now I can see all my scarves at a glance and find one to wear without any trouble at all. It also keeps them from getting too many wrinkles in them.



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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quirky "Hungry Bunnies" for Easter


Aren't they cute?  I found a fabulous tutorial at Lil Blue Boo and had to raid my scrap bag to make these for the "Pickles" for Easter. These hungry bunnies have a zipper for a mouth and can be filled with candy, toys or other treasures.


I actually enlarged the pattern to fit an entire 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper but I think I'd enlarge it a bit more if I make more bunnies. Then again, I used thick materials (denim, fleece, etc) so that probably makes a big difference.


The green bunny is for The Boy. At 13, he's probably too old for stuffed animals (though he likes his plush Lego Minifigure and his Hobbes) but he really like things that are quirky...like the zombie I made for him...and quirky definitely describes these bunnies. In fact, the green one kinda looks like a Frankenbunny

Of course, if the green guy is for The Boy, that means the white bunny is for The Girl. 


Couldn't you tell? It's the one with his mouth open doing all the talking. Ah, the little socialite :)

You can find the downloadable pattern and instructions at Lil Blue Boo.



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Monday, March 11, 2013

"Pin"spiration - Jelly Doughnuts

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

I can't pass up a jelly doughnut. In fact, every time we go to Krispy Kreme we get two dozen doughnuts. One dozen glazed and one dozen that have to be to be filled - lemon, raspberry, cream, pudding, you name it.  So when a jelly filled doughnut recipe found me on Pinterest, I knew I was game. I had previously mastered the homemade glazed yeast doughnut and it was time to tackle the filled doughnut.

The Inspiration (from Saveur.com):

Photo from Saveur.com with credit to: Todd Coleman

My Version:



Taking on the filled doughnut was surprisingly easier than I had thought. I already knew how to make a yeast doughnut so that didn't intimidate me.


I fried these just as I would the glazed doughnuts, too...just no holes.


Filling the doughnuts was a little messy, but not too bad. It was actually a lot less messy than glazing a bunch of doughnuts (an excuse to make filled doughnuts instead).


The Girl was the first to try one and gave it a big thumbs up saying they tasted "just like Krispy Kreme" (which is a huge compliment to me)


We did wind up with some odd looking ones - those that were made from dough during the second rolling and cutting.


You can see The Boy's reaction. Yep, he liked them, too.


They did taste surprisingly similar to Krispy Kreme's jelly filled doughnuts but wasn't as "light and soft" as Krispy Kreme's. Apparently, that required almost no handling of the dough.

The recipe made 20 doughnuts. I put half of them (unfilled) in the freezer for a later date. I just couldn't see us eating all 20 doughnuts. Well, actually I could see it and it wasn't a pretty picture but I also wanted to try filling them with lemon curd or vanilla pudding later without having to make a whole new batch.


This recipe has definitely made it onto our "make again" list.

Get the recipe on Saveur.com.



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Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Pin"spiration - Love and Laundry Art

My "Pin"spirations are things I have found on or through Pinterest that inspired me to try something new, whether it's a new craft, a new project or a new recipe.

I have a problem. I can't leave things alone. I seem to always take an otherwise VERY easy project and turn it into a monster. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever had a project that should have been very fast and easy turn into the project that won't ever end?

This time it started with a simple free Printable. Got that? A PRINTABLE. You know...print. frame. done.  That's how it started. Then it became...a weekend of changes and tweeks and stuff.

The Inspiration (from APopOfPretty.com): 




There is absolutely nothing wrong with this printable. I like it. I was drawn to it, after all. AND, she's got it in several different color variations. Go choose yours!

So why did I have to go an change it? I wanted more color...and I happened to have a blank 12 x 12 canvas in the top of the closet...which meant the printout had to be bigger...except simply enlarging it would make it too tall...

My Version: 



See? Bigger...more color...

It's not as sharp as the original, and certainly is more "homemade" looking, but was totally worth the extra time (at least I think so now that I'm finally done).

Since the printable is 8" wide (actually, I think it was sized more for a 5x7 frame), I enlarged it to 10 inches wide and printed it out on cardstock in landscape layout...I had to print out 2 pages to get all the parts I needed.


Then (sigh), I used my craft knife to CUT OUT ALL THE LETTERS. This way I could place them on the canvas exactly where I wanted them. I told you I made this much more difficult than it should have been. I also started to use Sharpies to fill in the letters...but more on that at a later time.


I wanted to boost the color in the overall piece so I painted a border on the canvas. It looks green here but it's really more of an aqua.



Next to that newly painted border, the letters looked really washed out. So I painted those as well. Yep...it continues to get crazy. Actually,  this is where I started to color in the letters with Sharpies but gave up since I only had fine point Sharpies.


Some of those letters originally had borders...so I painted the borders back in. If I was really a perfectionist, this is where I would have started pulling my hair out...painting boarders. Ugh.

I did paint the border on the "o" (as you can see below) but really hated the look of it so I painted over it in solid aqua.  Then I later decided to add a pop of more color and made the center heart a raspberry pink.


Once everything was FINALLY painted and dry (the next day), everything was positioned on the canvas background...


Mod Podge "glued" everything down.


Once the letters were placed, secured and dried, the entire canvas was coated in Mod Podge and left to dry. I only wound up with a couple of wrinkles in some letters (probably because I was beginning to get impatient with this "simple" project).


Well, there it is. How to take a very simple project and turn it into a more brightly colored time suck. Still, I love it! Now on to the next project!





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