Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hot/Cold Rice bags – A group craft project

DIY-rice-bag-tutorial-how-to-homemakechic.comIn my last post I talked about the recent ladies retreat we had for my church. And being the Crafty McCrafterson that I am, I ended up being elected Craft monger for the retreat. I wanted to come up with a few crafts that would be fun to do, easy to prepare in bulk, and something that would be useful and appreciated by the women. Who wants to make lame crafts that just end up being thrown away or junking up your house, or that everyone has 1000 of already? Seriously, if I see one more bible verse bookmark or wwjd bead bracelet I’m going to hurl.

So I came up with 3 practical and fun craft projects for the girls, one of which I will be sharing with you today. (I’ll be sharing the others in the next few weeks.)

The hot/cold rice bags are simple to make, relatively inexpensive, and super useful! Even your hubby will be able to use this one! You can heat them up in the microwave for a few minutes, or freeze them overnight for a nice cold pack. It works both ways.

4-compartment-rice-heating-bagI had seen rice bags like this that had 4 compartments. This makes it so the rice doesn’t all pool to one spot, which I liked but I knew that wouldn’t work for our purposes since the bags would have needed to be filled with rice in small amounts in between sewing on the machine and then there would be nothing left for the crafters to do.

So I made a modified version with two long compartments. This allowed the rice to be divided into sections, and give the bag some structure and  flexibility at the same time. I’m pretty happy with the finished result.IMG_3623

You will need:

  • Flannel Fabric – I made 30 of these which ended up being about 6 yards of fabric. You could easily adjust for your needs. I chose several different colors and patterns to suit the styles of different ladies.
  • Each piece of fabric will need to be 40″ long x 6″ wide (these will be folded in half lengthwise). Or alternatively you could make them 20″ long x 12″ wide (folding in half widthwise). The finished bags should be around 19″x5″ +/- depending on your seam allowance.
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Needles

Here’s what you do:

DIY-hot-cold-rice-bag-tutorial-ladies-retreat-homemakerchic.com

DIY-rice-bag1. Start by cutting out your fabric strips. Iron the fabric so its nice and smooth, then fold in half rights sides together, lengthwise and press the fold down flat. 

how-to-make-a-rice-heating-bag2. Sew a straight line down each side. You can do whatever size seam allowance you like. It really doesn’t matter as long as its even on both sides. Be sure to backstitch. Snip off the corners at the bottom, being careful not to cut into your stitching.

DIY-rice-bag-sewing-tutorial3. Flip your bag right side out and press the seams nice and flat. Fold the opening in 1/2 inch and press flat. (This will make a really clean seam opening for the crafters so all that is left to do is fill with rice and stitch closed.)

hot-cold-rice-bags-DIY-tutorial4. Fold the back in half lengthwise and press the fold flat. This will create a guide for your middle stitch.

how-to-sew-your-own-rice-bag5. Using either a complimentary or contrasting fabric color, stitch a straight line right down the middle of the bag.

This will create your two rice compartments. double-compartment-rice-bag-DIY

At this point your bags are complete and ready for the crafters. 

To set up the craft station for your group you will need the following:

how-to-set-up-a-craft-station-for-ladies-retreat

  • instructions-how-to-make-rice-bagsComplete pre-sewn bags for all the crafters
  • Bowls for the rice (I had 4 bowls, since there were other crafts going on and the girls were going through each station in small groups).
  • Measuring cups for the girls to measure the rice
  • Funnels (you’ll want funnels wide enough for the rice to flow freely. I ended up making paper cones for the girls using card stock and tape.)
  • Rice – 2.5 lbs per bag (I needed 75lbs of rice. I found huge bags at Costco for dirt cheap.)
  • Various Essential Oils – Optional (if you use different oils you may want to designate a specific bowl for each flavor. I didn’t do this and the scents started to blend by the end of the evening.)
  • easy-sewing-running-stitch-example-drawingInstructions for the girls (I framed mine so it was easy to see). I also included a sewing diagram for those who do not know how to sew. I used a simple running stitch for the example.
  • A sample rice bag so they can see the finished product. I used a contrasting thread on my example bag so it would be easy to see how I stitched it closed.how-to-hand-stitch-a-seam-closed

Instructions:

fill-rice-bags-with-rice1. Fill the bowl with 2.5 cups of rice.

2. If desired add 5-6 drops of essential oil to the rice and mix throughly. 

3. Using the cone, fill each side with half of the rice.

closing-rice-bag-with-simple-stitch4. Using the needle and thread provided, hand-stitch the top of the bag closed.

5. Use at home by heating in the microwave, or chilling in the freezer. Apply to the back, neck or shoulders for relief of minor aches and pains. 

The girls had a great time making these bags and I was really happy with how everything turned out! Why not try this at your next group event, craft party or ladies retreat?

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Apple Cider Vinegar Cold Remedy

Homemaker Chic:

This time of year the weather in Florida changes more often than I change Luke’s diaper. We can go from 42 degrees to 80 in a matter of 1 day, and then back again, and reverse. It takes a toll on our nasal passages and unfortunately Luke and I have both come down with sore throats and sniffles. Luke get’s to rely on good ol’ fashioned breastmilk to make him feel better but Mommy relies on this tried and true remedy. I thought it was worth revisiting in case any of you are feeling crummy too. Here’s to feeling better fast!

Originally posted on Homemaker Chic:

natural-cold-remedyWell I’m sick. Boo! I almost never get sick, and here I am sick as a dog for the fourth time since Luke was born (4 months ago). Now before you say my immune system is probably down due to lack of sleep I have to say that God blessed me with one of those fabled, magical, unicorn babies who has slept through the night since birth! I figure He decided to throw me a bone after all I went through. I digress.

I guess its probably just one of the joys of the postpartum phase where my body is unrecognizable and nothing works the way it used to, including my immune system.

Since I’m breastfeeding I was leary to take any over the counter medications lest I negatively affect my milk supply. So I got to thinking and googling and came up with this super awesome get-better-soon-elixer.

organic-raw-acv-apple-cider-vinegarHere’s…

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How becoming a mom changed all my plans…

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Recently I was joking with a friend who is planning to start trying for a baby soon. I joked about the fact that my son is still sleeping in our bed at 6 months old, something I swore I’d never do. In fact the list of things I said I would or wouldn’t do [but have now completely changed my mind about] has grown considerably long.

For example I swore I would never nurse my baby to sleep, give him a pacifier, or any plastic toys. I was NOT going to co-sleep, and I was positive I wouldn’t give my baby anything but breastmilk until 12 months. It didn’t take long for me to learn that as much preparation as I had done, training for being a mom can only be done ON THE JOB.

 I may only be a mom of 6 months, but I’ve learned a few things in my short career.

1) When you are pregnant, or planning to be pregnant, or thinking about your goals as a parent- read all the books, do all the research and make a plan BUT be ready to change that plan to meet the specific needs of your baby, and your family.

2) Do NOT allow yourself to feel guilty when your plans change. So what if you let your baby watch a little TV from time to time so you can go to the bathroom? Oh dear God, you fed your precious little one NON-organic baby food?! Gasp!!  Yes try everything you can to be the best, most wholesome, crunchy mom you can be, but sometimes we just have to stay afloat! Do what you can to get through today and tomorrow you can give being a supermom another shot.

3) Don’t accept judgment from others for doing what you think is best. This is coming from a former Col. Judgy McJudgerton herself. Before I had a baby of my own I thought I knew what everyone should be doing with their kids and I enjoyed sharing my opinions with everyone. I apologize if you were ever personally on the other side of this. Now that I’m a mom I’ve learned that you never know someone else’s circumstances and personal journey might be. So let’s stick together moms! Don’t judge each other, and when someone else judges you just ignore it and be confident in your own choices. If you’re reading Homemaker Chic, then chances are you’re a bright, educated woman who does her research and wants to give her child all the best in life. You’re a good mom! Don’t let anyone (including well meaning family members or girls in your mom’s group) to bring you down!

Can I get an Amen?

So what about you? What are you doing differently as a mom that you never thought you’d do?

Super Easy Kitchen Drawer Makeover

Well if you’re planning to buy a house ever let me just give you one little piece of advice. Whatever amount of work you think you have to do to get it looking the way you want, multiply that by 100 and you will be closer to reality. We are very quickly realizing how many projects there are to do here! Its just crazy. Its not even that the house is in bad shape, its just that the people who lived here before us did not share our taste or desire for precision and excellence in decor.

But I’ve been chiseling away at projects one at a time and one super cheap and easy upgrade took place in the kitchen. I’m not in love with our cabinets but we can’t afford to remodel the kitchen right now so I had to find a way to spruce things up. For under $20 I was able to give my cabinets and drawers a much need update and it didn’t take long at all.

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I found this dazzling Turquoise Chevron contact paper on Amazon for a great price and got free shipping with prime. Ohhh how I love prime! It took about three rolls to do all the cabinets and drawers in my medium sized kitchen. Don’t you just love the color and pattern? And its such an improvement on what was there before. It just adds such a cheery feel to the kitchen! I can’t resist Chevron.

Please do yourself a favor and take the extra time to put contact paper in neatly. Measure the pieces properly, account for little cutouts and spaces and make sure your pieces fit. Don’t just slap them in and hope for the best. A few extra minutes of time here will really make the project look finished and professional, and your corners will not peel up as easily with extended use.

contact-paper-without-bubbles-homemakerchic.com

Here’s a couple tricks for getting your paper down without bubbles.

1) Peel back about an inch of the backing and press down just a small strip of the paper all the way to the farthest edge in your drawer or cabinet.

2) The paper will be curved from being rolled up. Lay it down in the direction of the curve in the paper. This will make it easier to go down.

3) Use a straight edge like a ruler or a paint stirrer (or just your fingers will work) to firmly press the paper down on one side as you gently pull the backing away from the paper on the other side. Work slowly and smoothly. If you accidentally get any bubbles just peel back to the bubble and smooth it out.

With a little effort you can have lovely liners that totally add color and fun to your kitchen! (or bathroom, or book shelves….)

Inspiring Blogger Award

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I just love getting blogging awards. It means I can write on my business card… “Award Winning Blogger.” That makes my mother proud. I especially love getting awards that have really pretty icons because they put the CHIC in Homemaker Chic! Is it bad that I only like to accept the ones with cute icons? Judge all you want but a girl’s gotta keep things looking cute up in here! :)

So the Very Inspiring Blogger Award was bestowed upon me by the adorable blog Run, Runner Girl, Run! She has a great writing style and if you read her blog you might learn a thing or two about living a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to check her out!

So part of being awarded means I have to do two things…

Thing #1) List 7 things about yourself.

1- My husband Adam proposed to me after only knowing me for 3 months and we were married 3 months later. :) I ask him all the time what I did to get him to marry me so quickly but his answer is different every time. It varies between “having a really nice booty” to “being really sweet” to “cooking amazing food.” I’ll take it all. I have no idea how I knew he was the one either really, I think we both just got amazingly blessed!

2- I was homeschooled from 3rd grade through graduation. I absolutely loved it. No I’m not anti-social, yes I went to prom, no I’m not a total weirdo, and yes- resoundingly yes – I will homeschool my own children if and when God ever sees fit to give me any. 

3- I have a not so slight obsession with cheese, particularly of the goat variety. Its like xanax for me. When I’m feeling down, a little bit of goat cheese will make everything better. 

4- I’m drinking a Dos Equis and listening to the sound of onions sizzling on the stove as I type.

5- I’m working on my degree in counseling. My dream is to become a Homemaking Coach. I would love to direct ladies on how to become better women, homemakers, mothers and wives. 

6- I talk to my mother for at least an hour every day.

7- Adam and I are in the process of getting certified to adopt. Hopefully we will be able to finally start our family in the next year!

Thing #2) Nominate 15 other bloggers. Hmm, I don’t think I have time for that. How about 5? 

Nurse on the Run

Gluten Free Zen

Le Zoe Musings

Dinner with Aura

Uncompromising!

Thanks for reading folks! You’re what makes writing this blog so meaningful and rewarding for me. 

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin!

Though Autumn has probably been upon most of the United States for the last month, it has only just arrived here in Sunny Florida. In most states you may know Fall has fallen when the air is crisp and the leaves are falling. In Tampa, we know it is Fall when the Pumpkin Spice Latte shows up at Starbucks :). It has been nice and cool this last week though, and I have been thoroughly enjoying stepping on crunchy acorns as I walk up to my front door. Why is it that the feeling of a dried acorn crunched under foot is so satisfying?

As an homage to what is possibly my favourite season of all (but mostly because it is the titillating time that leads up to Christmas, and the suspense is absolutely divine!) I am dedicating this entire post to PUMPKIN! As you know I am a huge fan of butternut squash in the roasted form, but I have never roasted a Pumpkin (I cheat and buy the canned stuff). This year I am entirely committed to roasting and eating a real live pumpkin. Here are some amazing recipes that I can’t wait to try! Click the images for recipes.

First up is Pumpkin Soup. This will no doubt be my first Pumpkin foray this year.

Here is a lovely traditional soup. I love the idea of serving the soup in Jack-b-littles. I feel warm and cozy just looking at the picture!

Of course I’ve had traditional pumpkin soup before, but when I saw this recipe for THAI pumpkin soup I was super excited and intrigued! What a clever idea to blend the smooth creamy texture of pumpkin with the exciting and spicy flavours of Thai cuisine. I definitely cannot wait to try this recipe.

Who doesn’t like a good fritter? Its fried, its crispy, and in this recipe its Pumpkin! Yum! These adorable little fritters would be a great appetizer for thanksgiving day.

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Speaking of thanksgiving day, here are some other great ideas for appetizers. These Pumpkin pillows are not only darling, they are light and sweet. With a crisp pastry outside and a caramel cream cheese pumpkin inside, they are sure to delight your guests.

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Apparently in the movie Harry Potter there is a food called Pumpkin Pasties. I’m not sure of the significance in the film but I’m sure that I LOVE pasties. Pasties are a staple in England and I grew to love them during my time in East Anglia. The Baker’s Oven made this amazing cheese and onion pasty that always made me feel warm inside. This version of the pasty is like a little pumpkin hand pie. Yum!

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I really shouldn’t write when I’m hungry because I want to stop right now and make this Pumpkin Gnocchi recipe! These pictures are just lovely, and the recipe looks delicious! Can you imagine this with a Brown Butter Sage Sauce? I’m in heaven.

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While we’re on the topic of pasta, check out this recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli. What is is about sage and pumpkin that just feels so right? This recipe is simple. Pumpkin, fresh herbs, cream… All together now… MMMmmmm.

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I feel really dumb for never thinking of this idea. Bake two bundt cakes and stack one upside down on top of the other to make a really cute pumpkin shaped cake! How adorable is this? Even better, make a spiced pumpkin cake with a maple glaze over the top.

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Or if you’re not the bundting type, here is a lovely recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting. Oooh these look so good.

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What goes better with Pumpkin Cupcakes than Pumpkin Spiced Latte? Who needs to spend $5 for Starbucks when you can make it at home? Here is a recipe for making that delicious fall drink right in your own kitchen. Here’s to saving money for Christmas presents!

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