img_4479

Farmhouse Decor: Cheap and Easy

I live in a 170 year old farmhouse on a working farm.  A genuine farmhouse kitchen in real life is slightly different from the farmhouse decor on Pinterest. One of my promises on my blog is to always be real-to show you how it really is single momming during spring planting, with six kids and a puppy, and  not having a lot of money to buy the perfect farmhouse decor.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
The wall behind my breakfast nook

I’ve been working on updating my kitchen. I have carpet in my eating area from 1987 y’all. We have had a lot of changes in here in the 15 years we’ve been married and I’m finally in a place to learn how to DIY on my own to make even more!

This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, all at no cost to you!

This wall has been blank since Christmas when we hang our advent calendars there, until Brielle, my 11 year old took two signs off the porch and threw them up on the nails. I started kind of thinking about what I wanted and decided I love the current trend of a collage. I don’t think I’m done yet, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

Here’s what my kitchen looked like in 2008! I have changed it so much over the past 10 years, even I can’t believe it!

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
Abide in my love John 15:7

One of my besties gave me this sign and it’s just perfect.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house hobbit subway sign lord of the rings decor
My children are homeschooled hobbits, for real.

I made this sign because homeschooled hobbits live around here. I’ve been thinking of inexpensively selling some of the prints I make. Let me know how that interests you!

The frame is from Goodwill. I took the cardboard off the back and wrapped it in regular 11×17 typing paper and taped the print on there.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house art for kids
My son drew this when he was 8 1/2

My 9 year old drew and colored this for me last year. He followed a tutorial from Art for Kids Hub, which we adore!

The white frame is from Goodwill. I spray painted it white, and my impatience and mistakes made for some perfect distressing and crackling. Here at Yellow Barn Farms,  I don’t even have to try to achieve the cheap chic look-that is just how I roll 🙂 I get that worn, farmhouse look accidentally.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
A real life farm house kitchen

The Farm Fresh sign is from Target’s Dollar Spot. I got the bird sign at Michaels on clearance with a couple of smaller matching ones. I didn’t even plan for it to be in the kitchen, so it’s especially crazy how it matches so well. The phone on the wall belonged to The Handsome Husband’s grandma. She was a rural telephone operator in the 40s and 50s. My diva dog dish is actually an old fashioned hors d’oeuvres server from Goodwill. The color is Tropical Heat by Behr.  All the paint in my house is Behr.  It’s my absolute favorite.

We bought the nook benches at Oak Express and long ago outgrew the table. This one was a Craigslist find on which The Handsome Husband put high gloss bar epoxy resin so it would hold up better to the constant beating our furniture takes. I love it. It looks like glass and the children have to try really hard to scratch it.

It doesn’t take a lot more time to thrift some of your ornamentation or furnishing and update your decor with inexpensive and quick little changes. I’d love to hear how you save money when you decorate!

 

Please follow and like us:
photo1

Clothespin Pocket Apron Tutorial

Or more realistically, A What Not To Do Tutorial, otherwise known as a Comedy of Errors.

I use tutorials quite a bit in my career and am immensely grateful for them. I decided, since I have been planning to make this apron anyway, why not make a tutorial at the same time? Sure! Great idea!

First, have your husband take a couple of the kids to the vet and to buy a two row sweet corn planter. Then get the baby down for her nap. Have the biggest sister read to the little brother.

Gather your materials. You’ll need

An iced coffee.

Depending on if you contrast fabrics or make it out of the same one, you’ll need about a 1/2 of a yard of fabric. I used leftovers from other projects. A couple of fat quarters would be perfect for the apron, but you’ll need a standard 45″ width for the apron ties.
You’ll also need several inches of double fold bias tape. I happened to have some that came in my sewing machine table drawer from when I bought it at an auction several years ago, so that was handy. I have never used store bought bias tape before this project. This should be fun! 
So 

what you really want is your fabric to be about 12 inches long in the end. You need a few inches for seam allowance and sticking the apron up into the waistband. I did 17 because I wasn’t sure how much room I’d need for the clothespins. (mistake #1).

I ended up folding up a few inches because after I used it the first time, it was too long for my hands to easily reach the clothespins. I made it 16 inches wide, because that was all I had left of the bird fabric and I really wanted to use it. (mistake #2) And of course, I didn’t want sideways birds while I’m here hanging up clothes, on the farm, with no one to look at me but the cats and kiddles, because that would just have driven me nuts every single time I used it. But if I were you I’d make it at least 20 inches wide. Fat quarters are 22″ and that would be just perfect!

To reiterate, ideal cutting measurements are 22″ wide by 14″ long. To make the pockets, nip off a corner of the top fabric while it’s folded. I went down about seven inches and curved in almost a right angle. This plan worked out!

Pin your bias tape to the top fabric pockets. Sew.

If you miss some of your bias tape (mistake #3), make sure you go back over it. This is easier to do before your apron’s all assembled (mistake #4).

Now you’re going to sew your apron pieces together and flip it right side out.

Normally, when you do this procedure you put right sides together. Thusly. 
DO NOT DO THIS! (mistake #5)
You want the right side of the  bottom piece to be facing the inside of the top piece when you flip them right side out. You should layer them with the right side of your top piece facing the wrong side of your bottom piece.
If you don’t listen to my advice, you’re going to have to sew another panel onto your bottom piece, like so. 
Sew the wrong sides together, flip that right side out and carry on as if nothing happened.
Also, double check you didn’t miss any edges and have a hole in your new apron already. (mistake #6). If you do, sew it up!
photo by three year old assistant
Now you’re (finally) ready for your waistband. What you really should do is measure across your middle and that is how wide you should make your waistband. Or, you could just really want to use this fabric in your apron, because it’s all you have left from when you made a dear friend her apron for her birthday, so you make it as wide as you can with the fabric you have. In my case that was 14 inches. I made the little bump just to be fancy. 
You know aprons are fancy.
Then you’ll sew wrong sides together (mistake #7) along the top only. 
Know what’s a good idea? Making sure you flip BOTH pieces to wrong sides, not just the one you see. I could blame a husband or miscellaneous children, because I know I started to get interrupted about now, but as this was not my first error…probably I won’t.
Know what else is a good idea? Not using a really tiny stitch when you sew them wrong. (mistake #8) I decided to just leave it. Even though it will annoy me, I just zigzagged the raw edges. I couldn’t flip them so I didn’t have raw edges, you see, because I had frugally used the selvage edge of my fabric, planning for it to be on the back of the band where no one would see it.(mistake #9) I decided the raw edge was the lesser of the two annoyances. 

When you’re done with correcting all your mistakes—no scratch that, YOU won’t make any mistakes, because I’ve already done them for you—, you’ll insert your apron into the waistband. You’ll need to turn up the edges of your fabric so you don’t have any raw edges showing. I usually fold down about a 1/2 “, iron, fold my raw edge into that crease, and iron again. If you know of a faster way, please tell me.

Insert your apron into the bottom of your waistband, taking care to not catch and cut your thumb on the needle for the first time ever (mistake #10).
If you misplace (somehow) both of your pairs of sewing scissors, even though you just had them, do not think that your son’s school scissors will actually cut thread, even though they will cut into the upholstery of the dining room chairs given enough tenaciousness. 

Moving on to the apron ties. I like wide ties. So I cut two 45″ lengths of six inch wide fabric. The only one I had enough of was the blue. So I picked that. 
Fold it in half and sew along the long end. If you want to get fancy (again) cut a 45 degree triangle off the end of it. Turn it right side out. It doesn’t take long if you like wide ties like me.
If you need to turn narrower strips, I highly recommend a tube turner. (Those are the ones I have, but I didn’t get them there; I don’t usually shop at Walmart). Once you figure out the directions, you will thank me. (There are also youtube videos, if the directions still don’t make sense.)

Gather the end of your apron tie a bit, fold your raw edges in on the sides of your waistband and insert. I made sure I inserted it at least 3/4″, because I have been known to be a bit skosh (pronounced with a long O) and had to re-do the entire thing. (I’m sure this comes as a big surprise to you.)



 Sew it well.

Voilà! You’re done! And all before the baby woke up from her nap, despite all the mistakes, which proves if you do it right the first time, this is a very quick project.

Now go hang some clothes!

My photographer is short, and was trying very hard to
get the apron in the photos. I promise, I really do have a head.
The first time my bum was ever on my blog.
(at least to my knowledge)

as it looks hanging in the laundry room

Please follow and like us:
alphabet18-june-31

Alphabet Baby Book

A long long time ago, when I only had three kids, I made an alphabet book using family pictures. It turned out to be pretty cool, but it wasn’t very sturdy. It’s not very nice to make a book “for the kids” that you won’t let them play with for fear they’ll wreck it. And believe me, they’ll wreck it.

Then in the blogworld, or on Pinterest, I can’t be sure, I got the idea to just edit the pictures, and put them in a cheap photo album, that just holds one 4×6 on each page. Here are some examples:

Please follow and like us:
DSC_0120

Becoming Minimalist: Easy Pantry DIY

I’ve been purging a lot lately.

Getting rid of the past feels good! Getting rid of the junk feels good! Getting rid of all those maternity clothes feels amazing!

I saw a post on organizing your pantry a while ago, and I finally got kind of started on that project. I don’t like investing a lot into my organization though. Spending tons of money on baskets and glass jars for my pantry just doesn’t ring true to my miser’s heart. I’ve been putting a lot of it in Mason jars, but often those aren’t big enough so it’s still not really helping.

Then I saw a Pinterest post (probably) on making your own “baskets” out of cardboard boxes and rope. Brilliant.

So for the price of several glue sticks and a couple pounds of jute twine, I was able to go from this:

to this:
I just used construction paper with white colored pencil as labels. These are up high in the pantry so all you can see are the “baskets”. It really helped a lot, but I’ve got a ways to go 🙂
Please follow and like us:
DSC_0014

Farm Fresh Finances

 I am weird about money.  I’ll use the white out correction tape that is broken and all pulled out of the dispenser and rub it on with my fingernail instead of throwing it out. I’ll save the 1/2 c of hamburger meat that didn’t fit on the pizza even though my husband is exasperated and doesn’t think that little dab is worth saving. I re use plastic bags. I teach my children to sparingly use toilet paper and to use family cloth if it’s only wee. I won’t buy a book unless it’s not available at the library, or I know (because I already checked it out at the library) that I’ll come back to it, time and time again. I’ll talk myself out of an adorable $3 sweater at Goodwill to make into wool longies because I already have several unfinished or worse, unstarted projects languishing in my studio.

But then I will spend money rather freely on what some people would consider serious splurges. I guess I feel like I can because I am so frugal in other ways.

One of the frugal projects: Dying Playsilks.

A word about play silks: Ah-mazing. Check into them. Seriously. My children of all ages, play with them every day. Every. Day.

They are kind of pricey though. I love supporting Etsy stores, WAHMs, and that is where I got our first set. But they were a serious splurge. I wondered if I would be able to make them myself. And guess what? I could!

Directions are all over the ‘net. I got the 35″ x 35″ hemmed silk scarves from Dharma Trading for about $5 each–much less than silk at the fabric stores. Then I dyed it with food coloring. I thought this would be a fun project to do with the girls, but really, it’s kind of boring.

Ok, really boring.

First you have to boil the silks in water and vinegar. For a long time.
Then you mix your colors with a little bit of water, and let the silks sit in them. For a long time.

Then you have rinse them, one by one. For a really long time.
I got them fairly well rinsed and then just got tired of it, so ran them on the rinse and spin cycle in my washer. I got a little pink on the yellow one because of that, but Aviana told me she wishes I had gotten more on it. 

 Then I dried them in the dryer. And they turned out like this.

 Then the chiddlers will play with them. For a long time 🙂

Another frugal project. 2013 calendar.

We use our calendar on the wall to write down all our appointments and dates and events. Archaic, I know. It works for us though because Handsome Husband is very good about checking it before making plans and good about writing down what he has going on. As this is a habit that has been several years in the making, I am not planning on switching it up on him any time soon.

We got a very nice calendar as a Christmas gift from one of my author friends. Because the side bar was advertising books coming out from her publisher though, the date boxes were fairly teeny. As much as I love books and supporting her in her endeavors, I love big date boxes more.

We also got a free calendar from the bank–which had one picture. Of their logo. But it had nice big date boxes.

So yes. I did. I sat down with my scissors and my glue and reinvented our calendar.

 And saved myself about $20.

Which I then turned around and spent purchasing Season 4 of Sister Wives.

(I told you some people might consider them splurges ;-))

Please follow and like us:
2012-07-06-12.12.02

Fudge Pops and Ice Boats

 I bought the Taste of Home Smoothie and Blender Drinks Recipe Cards cook booklet the other day. I am so glad I did. We have already made several recipes from it and they have all been terrific. This recipe for Homemade Fudge Pops is also on the Taste of Home website.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 20 Popsicle molds or disposable plastic cups (3 ounces each) and Popsicle sticks

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Stir in the brown sugar, cocoa and salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool for 20 minutes, stirring several times.
  • Pour 1/4 cupfuls into Popsicle molds or plastic cups; top molds with holders or insert Popsicle sticks into cups. Freeze until firm. Yield: 20 servings.
.

                                      
The recipe was simple enough for Brielle, 5, to help extensively with it. We made a few alterations as usual (I can’t seem to follow directions whether it’s intentional like with my recipes or unintentional like with my knitting). I used about 1/3 less sugar, half unsweetened almond milk, and almond extract instead of vanilla. I also used shaped ice cube trays instead of popsicle molds for smaller servings and much less meltage.

 Although, they still manage to get the chocolately deliciousness everywhere.
Aviana made Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothies the other day which we can heartily recommend. I also think everyone should keep some Iced Coffee Latte in their refrigerator to pour over ice for when I visit   those midafternoon lulls. (I actually used Sanka for no caffeine, and it was wonderful)
In other news, I saw Ice Cube Boats on Pinterest and figured, hey, it’s hotter than a volcano-(-Cadrian is going through a compare-everything- to-avolcano phase) we could fry eggs on the driveway or play with ice…We opted for the ice. We used empty yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese and whatever else we found in the recycle containers to freeze the water. We taped a bendy straw bendy side down to the bottom first. (Much better directions and pictures are at the link above)
 They were cute but didn’t float evenly at all and the sails made better crowns than sails as it turned out.
 And they only lasted for about a minute. Seriously.
It’s hotter than a volcano.

Please follow and like us:
028

Made

I love crafting blogs and tutorials. I am eternally thankful for the people who take time to make them. Because…look what I am capable of, with a little guidance!

  I used the tutorial at Ruffles and Roses.

The math only looks complicated, but if I can figure it out, you certainly can! I didn’t want to take the time to hem a circle so I made a ruffle and attached it which I think went a lot faster.

The girls loved them, especially the twirliness!

If you try it, I’d love to see–Happy Twirls to You!

Please follow and like us:
Nov252011015

Countdown to Christmas

I saw a fabulous idea for an Advent calendar on Pinterest, so I made it.

You make little cards from cardstock and fold them over ribbon stapled to the back of a picture frame. I just so happened to have a frame that was newly glass-less, so I was all set.

You clothespin the cards to the ribbon so you can’t see what’s inside.  Aviana and I decoupaged clothespins with scrapbooking paper, but it turned out that the regular sized clothespins were way too heavy for the ribbon.

I used some mini clothespins that happened to have a summer theme, but ah well. On the inside of the cards you write an activity for the day.

The blog I read this on ((The original post is here)) suggested using post-its, so you don’t have to re-make the cards every year, and it gives you flexibility to change up the activity if something comes up at the last minute. Is she brilliant or what?!

A few of our activities were ice skating…

and making popcorn strings…

do our Advent candles…

make Christmas cookies…

and go see Santa.

Even though Aviana made all the cards for me, I’ve since then found some K&Company paper that had beautiful vintage Christmas numbers. I did feel a little guilty about covering up all her painstakingly placed stickers, but I do love the calendar all the more with its new Victorian feel and matching numbers.

Please follow and like us:
Nov302011002

SIze matters

I saw an adorable elf hat pattern in a knitting book. I knew I just had to make it for my one year old sweet boy. Only it had me making cables.

I’ve never done cables. I’ve been knitting for about two years now, but I’ve never done cables. Or color changes either. Or anything with true shaping, like a sweater. Or anything else that requires a lot of attention…

But this time I thought, I can do it. So I watched a couple of how to videos just to reassure myself, and soldiered on. I went out and bought special yarn, knitted a size swatch because I wanted to make sure it would fit him, and began.

The hat turned out ok (except for the very first cable turn).

Oh, and except for the fact that it didn’t fit Denton! It was too big for ME! I have no idea where I went wrong (unless I mixed up centimeters and inches or some crazy thing).

So I tried again. This time– was pretty cute!

Now if I could just get him to keep it on for more than eight seconds.

Please follow and like us:
Dec032011015

Smart Bottom Kids

When I find something that I love, I feel compelled to share it with others who may love it too. While messing around the other day, I ran across an Etsy store called Smart Bottom Kids (and with a name like that you know it has to be good right?)

The shop owner, Darcy, puts together craft kits for you and your kids to do together. Darcy is a former elementary teacher and has a seven and a five year old (kind of like me 🙂 so one would think she’s pretty much a genius when it comes to small child craft kits). (Turns out she is.)

I ordered the Christmas Ornament Banner. It was a little pricier than I would normally spend on a craft, but I love to support Etsy shops and I love to do crafts with my chiddlers. I don’t relish the setting up and cleaning up part though. I was hoping the kit would take care of the setting up.

I wonder if Darcy would come and take care of the cleaning up too…

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I quickly got the kit in the mail. She said all would need is scissors, but is that really all I would need?

A great big resounding YES!

The kit came with everything clearly labeled in nifty little packets. Even the craft sticks were labeled “glue spreader”. Her proportions were extremely generous, we would actually have enough sparkles and decorative paper left to make an entirely different garland, all I would have to do is cut out the ornament shapes.

It was perfect for two children–it came with 2 each of several ornament shapes.

It was also the perfect size craft for them–they were almost to their crafting limit by the time they finished their last ornament. It was also wonderfully sparkly, and especially for the five year old, whose favorite color is “glitter”, this was another perfect.

This guy helped by playing nicely in his chair and

also finding, and subsequently, emptying, my wallet; having a dirty diaper; getting into other various and sundry mischief.

I originally hung it here,

but then we moved it to the archway.


( I am just posting this review because I want to, not because I’ve been asked to or given anything free ;-))

Please follow and like us: