Friday, November 21, 2014

Eleven Twenty One Fourteen

I'm about to sound like a broken record again but really, a week gone again? Time flies. This past weekend and week were great. Busy, but great.

And this girl.. she's great. We've been able to spend some one on one time on Tuesday nights  when Cohen is at Cub Scouts (and Matt is with him) and I've become so thankful for those nights. We snuggle on the couch and watch Gilmore Girls. It's a new tradition for us and I love it. Being able to share a favorite from when I was younger & time to chat and snuggle. I couldn't ask for much more. Also, she's beautiful & it's hard to believe she's mine.
I took Brookelyn and her friend to see Grease, the musical, at one of the local high schools. The two of them had such a great time together and enjoyed their Grease car cookies.
We all braved the cold last weekend to go out and snap some family photos. Thankful for a friend who loaned us a tripod and for my camera remote. The four of us were freezing, but I think we got a couple of decent shots. I'll share them all soon, but for now... this boy! Handsome!
Siri has come up with so many names for Cohen. It's both annoying and hysterical sometimes. This time? The colonist. Really? 
I spent some time working with my friend who's a photographer, in her studio this week. I'm just helping pack print orders, but it's cozy and warm and so happy in her studio! How much does this wall make you smile?

So, how was your week? And what are your weekend plans? Are you ready for Thanksgiving yet?

Linking up with Jeannett for InstaFriday.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Keeping warm & a DIY

We're all looking to save a little money here and there, are we not? And maybe more so even in the fall & winter, when there are the added costs of the holidays, gift buying, fancy meals, travelling to see family, etc. One area that Matt & I have been working to cut costs in is our Energy bill. Making our home more energy efficient is important to us. Not only because we live in a home that was built in the 1930's and is drafty, but also because we were shocked when we received our first energy bill here in Wisconsin, nearly 2 years ago. And of course, we want to keep the house warm & cozy throughout the winter. When the temps are in the negatives outside, we want nothing more to walk into a warm home. 

Keeping the house warm requires a little more work than just turning on the heat. We want to stay warm in our home, but also save some money & be energy efficient, put less strain on the grid and natural resources. Every little bit helps.

Over the past 2 years we've discovered a couple of things that have helped to keep our home cozy, without cranking the heat. There are also lots of great energy savings tips, here

Keep the closets closed.
The kids' closets are both very tiny (old house), but they don't need to be warm. To get the kids in the habit of closing their closets, we charged them 25 cents every time we saw the closets open. After the first winter, we didn't have to charge them anymore because it became a habit. Our closet has no insulation and is in the front of our home (upstairs). Matt & I make sure to keep our closet closed and limit the number of times we walk into it, because it's freezing in there. All it takes is about 45 seconds of having our closet door open for our room to have a chill to it!

Weather Stripping.
Each fall Matt makes sure that all of our weather stripping is on the doors and replaces any that has come loose or off. This can make a huge difference because of the cold drafts that could sneak in through doors that don't seal when they're shut. 

Draft stoppers.
I know, you're probably thinking about those old crafty cat draft stoppers that your grandma used to have in front of her doors, right? But no, there are far better looking ones now. And, I made some that look nice. We use them in our room for the door that goes to our (cold) closet and the door that leads to storage next to our bedroom. The drafts we were getting from those two doors were keeping the temps way down in our room, therefor making the heater work harder. Using the draft stoppers has helped tremendously! 
How to make Draft Stoppers:

You'll need just a few things and about an hour of time. They're easy!

Fabric (Measure the width of your door, double that number and add 2. That's how much fabric you'll need. Say your door is 24 inches wide, you'll need 50 inches in length and 8 inches in width.
Sewing Machine
Tape Measure
Rice or beans
Small funnel

1. Once you've cut your fabric (8" wide) and the length you determined from the instructions above, you will fold it in half long ways. 

2. With the front side of the fabric together sew the long edges together (when sewing, you should be looking at the back side of your fabric). When finished, turn it right side out. You'll have what looks like a long rectangular bag.

3. Measure the thickness of your door. Mine was 1.75 inches or so. Make a mark on your fabric about 2 inches from one of the long edges. From that mark, measure and make another mark to account for the thickness of your door. This is the part of the draft stopper that goes under the door. Sew along those lines for the whole length, from the bottom where the fabric was folded over to the top where it's open, minus 1 inch (for seam allowance). You now have the "tube" where you'll put your rice in on one side and you have the section of fabric that stays underneath the door. You'll also have a section is a wide open "tube".

4. This is the part that's a bit tricky and can be messy. You'll want some sort of funnel to help poor the rice or beans (rice is easier) into the small tube you've created down the side. It takes a little bit of time and you want to pack the rice down in there good to fill the empty space. 

5. Once your side tube is filled with rice, fold the seams at the top inward and sew the tube with rice shut.

6. Now you'll fill the wider side of tube with Fiberfill. You can fill it loosely or pack it in tight, it's up to you. Mine somewhere in the middle. Once you've got what you want in there, you can sew that side shut as well. And, you're done! It should look something like this...  


Simple, but it'll make a big difference and keep those drafts out without being such an eyesore. 

You can barely see it from this side, but the other side (photo below) is very visible. You can put the larger side on the side of the door where the air comes from. Also, this stopper was NOT made for this room (the lighting was better though), it's actually too short for this door and belongs in another room. 
Some other great tips for saving money & reducing the strain on the grid & our natural resources:

- Check out these tips and more on the PG & E website. Some are no cost, low cost and         investment ideas. 
- Plan projects by focusing on specific areas in your home. This Money Saver Tool will help!
- Do some research when you're planning to buy a new appliance. Make sure that you're         sure of what you're getting and that it'll be energy efficient. 
- Recycle an old refrigerator. 

There's even  a #PGEhome Instagram Photo Challenge Contest happening from November 17-23! Check out the PGE Instagram account & join in on the fun. You could win 1 out of 7 $100 Gift cards to Home Depot! 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

4 Gifts - Week 3: Wear

Week 3 of 4 is underway and today our 4 Gifts category is WEAR. My family is clearly living in a cold state, you'll see lots of comfy and cozy gift ideas below. Something for everyone on your list! 
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Jeans  //  Aztec Sweater  // Winter Hat  //  Boots  //  Pajamas

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Beanie  //  Gloves  //  Boots  //  Hoodie  //  Jacket  //  Jeans

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Belt  //  Shoes  //  Beanie  //  Cardigan  //  Aztec Cardigan

 photo 4giftsboysgiftideas.jpg
Pajamas  //  Jacket  //  Balaclava  //  Gloves  //  Slippers  //  Boots

What's on your "wear" list this year? Are you keeping cozy, being practical or wishing for some fun clothes that you might not normally buy yourself? 

Be sure to check out posts 1-3 as well for gift giving ideas in the Want and Need

Link up with Sarah, Mandy & me!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dream. Create. Inspire. 5

Dream Create Inspire Party

Welcome to the fifth week of our Dream Create Inspire Party! I am so excited to be hosting this new link party with Holly, Alyson, and Tabitha. Each week you will come and share your favorite creative blog posts. You are more then welcome to link up to four posts each week. We do ask that you visit and comment on some of the other links. We will be featuring some of our favorites next week. I am looking forward to checking out your posts! Meet Your Party Hosts. Dream Create Inspire Party Hosts
Check out what we have been up to lately. 2014-11-17_0001
Our favorites from last weeks Dream. Create. Inspire Link Up.
Dream Create Inspire Party

Dream Create Inspire Party Guidelines

  • Link up posts that are diy, crafts, printables, tutorials, recipes, etc.
  • Leave a link to the specific post, and not just your blog.
  • You may link up to four posts each week.
  • Do not link up shops and other link ups, your entry will be deleted.
  • Add the button to your blog, or a text link directing back to the party.
  • Make sure to visit and comment on some of the other links.

Our favorites from Dream.Create.Inspire. Follow Sarah Halstead's board Dream Create Inspire on Pinterest.