Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bach Flower Essences

Today I would like to share with you some information about the healing power of Bach Flower Essences.  Why is this important or relevant to you?  Because most of the flower essences are safe to use not only on adults, but also on young children.

I know that as a mom you can feel a bit powerless when  your child is ill - many of the adult remedies are not suitable for young children.  PLUS most western medications only address the physical symptoms rather than the emotional or mental causes.  The flower essences, discovered by Dr. Edward Bach, relieve "stress and emotional imbalance".  There are 38 flower essences:

I have just begun my journey with the flower essences, but here are two I have recently learned of:

Honeysuckle - "helps you put the memories of the past into proper perspective if you are feeling homesick or overly nostalgic".
Mustard - "brings back joy and cheerfulness when gloom descends for no reason".

Here is how you take a flower essence - they come in liquid form and are in a vial with a dropper.  You can put four drops under your tongue four times a day, or you can put four drops in a glass of water and sip that 4 times a day(recommended for little ones).  They don't have much taste at all, but I would stick with putting it in water or juice - I have found it alters the taste of my coffee.  SO the Honeysuckle flower essence can be useful in situations where a child has Separation Anxiety, or in my case, helpful for someone who has just moved.  The great thing is that they have no negative side-affects.  If you don't need the essence, your body simply will not use it.  You have nothing to lose!  If you would like more information, a great introductory book to natural healing is
Natural Healing Wisdom & Know How: Useful Practices, Recipes, and Formulas for a Lifetime of Health

**And remember today is the last day to leave a comment for a chance to win the "Spooky Bunting".   
I will announce the winner tomorrow**
Have a healthy day!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Charlotte and the Amazing Technicolor DreamRug

 The idea for this rug was first conceived when mom and I found a foam Floor Mat at Ross for $12.  I have been wanting to make a rug for Charlotte's room for sometime now, but making rugs is really hard - what do you use for the base?  Well, this playmat was the perfect solution.

Browsing around online I found this rug at Anthropologie:
It was the perfect inspiration!  This rug costs $198.  
The one I made cost $30.  

So when your hubby comes home and you haven't done the laundry and there's a frozen pizza in the oven...just show him the beautiful rug you made and tell him you SAVED him $168......of course that never happened here.....Anyway, this is a very simple project.  All you need to know how to do is use scissors, sew a straight line, and use a staple gun.
(these instructions are for a 4'x4' square rug, but you could buy as many of those little playmats as you like
and interlock them together to make whatever size you want.)

Here are the supplies you will need

3 yds of 72"wide felt 
(I bought mine at Joanns.  It was on sale and cost a total of $9.) 
I bought six colors, a half yard each.
Glue Gun
Staple Gun
Sewing Machine/Thread
Foam interlocking Floor Mat

Optional: Some cute trim - such as ribbon or this extra-large rick-rack.

**Several of you asked where I bought that rick-rack I used on the snuggle quilt.  
I bought it at this store in TN.  I spoke with one of the owners today, 
and she said that if you would like some, just give them a call and they will ship it to you.  
It only costs about $1.10 a yard and they have EVERY color!**

Okay - back to the rug.  Once you have selected your felt colors, cut each half yard into 3 1/2" strips - using the entire width of the fabric.  If you bought half yards, you will get 5 strips of each color.

Now it is time to do the fun part!  Design your rug!
Assemble the playmat.

Lay the strips on top of each other - overlapping so that they make 2 1/2" wide strips. Play around with the order of colors.  I kept the repeat random. 
When you are happy with you design, pin the strips together, making the strips 2 1/2" wide.
Isn't it pretty??!!

Carefully lift it over to your machine.  Starting at one end, topstitch the first strip to second strip.  Sew about 1/8" away from the edge of the strip on top.

Once you have sewn one, you will notice that underneath on the "wrong side" of the rug, there will be about 1/2" overlap.  Be sure you have that, because that is how you will attach it to the playmat.  Continue sewing the strips together until they are all one piece.  Enjoy this process - don't rush!  It's kind of like sewing a rainbow.

I found it helpful to use that little ruler to make sure they stayed 2 1/2" wide.  As you go, roll up the rug so it will fit under your machine.

When you are finished sewing, lay the first strip you sewed, onto the playmat -right side up.  Staple it along the top of the rug.

Flip the rug top over so that you can see the wrong side and the 1/2" overlaps.  Take the 1/2" overlap from that first strip and staple it to the mat.  Be sure to pull it taut so that you don't get any unsightly wrinkles.   
Staple every other strip.  Lay two strips down - keeping the rug "flipped" up so that you can see the overlap of the strip.  Staple gun that to the mat.  Continue stapling  until they are all secure.

I used about 8 staples per strip.
Now that the strips are all attached,

trim the rug top to exactly the same size as the mat.  Staple along the two sides and bottom edge.  You will hide these staples with the trim.  Heat up your hot glue gun.  Pin the trim to the edge of the rug.  The last step is to glue the trim around the edge.  Use lots of glue since it is a rug and will be played on.

Once the glue has dried you are ready to play!  This should brighten up any child's room or playroom.  Of course, if you used a more sophisticated color palate and trim, you could really put it in any room of your home....or in the middle of a field.  Seems practical right?  

Remember to leave a comment this week if you wish to win that Spooky wordy bunting up there!  Happy weekend!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Feminine Essential Oils

As women, we have our own special set of physical discomforts and emotional fluctuations.  Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite essential oils that aid in womanly discomfort.

Clary Sage - has a calming effect on the nervous system, lifts minor depression, and, as an anti-inflammatory, it eases the discomfort of premenstrual cramps.  You can add a few drops to a warm bath, or mix with a carrier oil and massage into your lower abdomen.

Rose Geranium - relieves mild depression and anxiety, and balances hormones.  It is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.  This is the first oil I turn to when I am having PMS.  I usually put a drop on the inside of my wrist, rub my wrists together and inhale deeply.  This fragrance of rose geranium is quite strong, but the more you use it the more you will love it.
Rose Geranium and Lavender at the Keys Creek Lavender Farm which I visited in CA.

Lavender -  of course.  Lavender heals all.  If you never know what to use or if you have never used essential oils before, start with lavender.  It is safe for all ages and produces feelings of peace and calm - aiding in balancing those dreadful mood swings.  I like to put a drop on the outside of my eye mask, pull it down over my eyes and go to sleep.

So those are my top 3 essential oils for women.  Just a note - if you have never smelled essential oils before, they can seem very strong and some people think they are downright stinky.  Unfortunately we are used to more synthetic fragrances (dish soaps, lotions, shower gels, shampoos).  Essential oils are in their pure state and can be very overwhelming.  I want to encourage you to keep trying them anyway.  The more you use them, the more you will come to appreciate the potency - and certain oils will become your favorites.  If you have any questions about this post, or about essential oils in general, check the Contact Me section for my email or leave a comment on this post.  Have an aromatic day!

p.s. A good place to purchase quality essential oils is Floracopeia.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Enchanted Tent

When I redesigned Charlotte's room, I knew I wanted to create some kind of enchanted little nook - a secret place for her to play (and a secret place for Mommy to hide the mound of toys ;).  It took quite a bit of thought, but I came up with this little corner tent.  Here's how I did it - this is so easy I'm almost embarrassed to tell you.  For the fabric, I used a tapestry like this one.  I love these tapestries because 1. They are already hemmed 2. They are in one piece. 3. If you get them on sale it comes to about $3 a yard - even if they are not on sale it's about $6 a yard.  4. You can use them for all kinds of things - quilt backs, tablecloths, tents, and on and on.  I always buy them when they go on sale so I will have some on hand.  Anyway, I nailed the tapestry to the wall in three places.

I covered up the nails with these little butterflies - decorations from her party and you can learn how to make them here.  I think it kind of looks like the butterflies are carrying the tent.  Then I simply draped the fabric down over a tension rod that I had placed between the wall and her crib.

I would like to tell you that I sewed a rod pocket for the tension rod...but I actually just used some safety pins to make a little pocket so it wouldn't slide.  I think I will probably sew one eventually...or maybe not.

Once I had it in place and to the length I wanted it to be I cut the center with pinking shears from the hem up to the tension rod

- then tied these back with rick-rack.

That's it.  It's literally no-sew.  (and I mean, hello, it's not like it's an heirloom enchanted tent that I will give my grandchildren - it's just a magical little space for my two-year-old that we will probably change in a year.)

Hope you are inspired to create an enchanting spot for your little one!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cozy Woodland Snuggle Quilt

I told you that I was going to redecorate Charlotte's room woodland style - in light of her recent party.  
Here is my first step: this easy snuggle-size quilt. 

Even if you have never quilted before - 
this project is simple and quick to make (it took me about two days).

You could customize it to be any size really, but this tutorial will be for a small child's blanket 
- about 39" x 54" - big enough to keep her warm at night; 
small enough to tote around the living room.   

Ready to make it?  Here we go...
Step 1:  Pick out three coordinating fabrics.  The easiest thing to do is find a designer's collection that you like and pick three of them - this way you know they will all really match.
These are from Wendy Slotboom's "Frolic".
You will also need:
2 yds of backing fabric (i choose flannel to up the coziness factor)
some large rick-rack in a coordinating color
quilt batting
safety pins
sewing machine
straight pins

Step 2:  Cut four squares out of each fabric 14 1/2" x 14 1/2 ".  This gives you a total of 12 squares.
Step 3:  Design your quilt top.  Lay the squares on the floor and arrange them in the order you like.

Step 4:  Sew the blocks together - 3 at a time - to make four rows.  Use a 3/8" seam. 

Press the seams open as you go.
(this is really important for a pretty looking quilt).

Step 5:  Sew the four rows together and this will form your quilt top.
Still use 3/8" seam.  Again press all the seams open.

You just finished the quilt top!

Step 6:  Now it is time to make the "quilt sandwich".  Lay out the backing for your quilt right side down.
I used two yards of flannel - didn't cut it at all until I laid everything out.

Step 7:  Lay the batting on top of the backing, leaving an 1 1/2" border around the edge, so that the backing will be larger than the batting.

I bought a twin size batting that is 80% cotton and 20% polyester.
I usually try to only buy 100% cotton, but the budget was a little tight, so this is what I got. 

Step 8: Now, lay the quilt top down, right side up.  It's edges should be pretty even with the batting.
If you need to trim away some of the backing now is the time.  Be sure that there is just a 1 1/2" border of the backing all the way around. 

Step 9:  Break out the safety pins and pin all three layers starting at the center of the quilt and working your way out to the edge.  Be sure to smooth all three layers so there are no bumps or puckers.

Step 10:  Lay the rick-rack down on top of the seams that connect each square.
Using straight pins, pin it into place.

Step 11:  Now we are going to machine quilt this baby.  If you don't have a "quilting machine" no worries - I don't either.  The trick is to go slowly and use your hand to keep all three layers smooth and feeding through the presser foot at the same time.  Quilt along the rick-rack - start in the center of the quilt and sew toward the edge - this way any puckering will work it's way to the edge.

Step 12:  Once you have the whole thing quilted - it is time to fold over the binding.  Take the edge of the backing and fold it about 1/2" and press it.

Step 13:  Now fold it over about another inch - press it.  (It's fine if some of the fabric or batting gets folded over too).  Be sure to catch the raw edges of the rick-rack in the pressed binding.

Miter the corners like this:

 Pin the edges of the binding as you go.

Step 14: Last step!  Top stitch the edge of the binding to the quilt.  Once again, go slowly because you are feeding several layers through at a time.  You could also choose to use a blanket stitch along the edge.
You did it!  Go find a little one to snuggle.