Recipe For A Simple Life

Simplify your life, one day at a time

Try This! Paper Clip Bookmarks

By now, you know that I love to read.  My girls also love to read, and I think my little guy will be a reader too, but I don’t think he’ll love it as much as we girls do.  When I saw this adorable idea on Pinterest, I immediately thought of my 11 year old.  It’s just the kind of thing she would love to do and it reminded me of some really cute hair ties she got this summer from another softball mom during a weekend tournament.

Check out these simple, useful and adorable bookmarks:

photo from Altered to Perfection. blogspot.com

I’m planning to make some of these with the kids.  What a fun way to mark your page in a favorite book or journal!!

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Try This! Kool Aid Play Dough

     My children asked me to make play dough today. That might not seem unusual until I tell you that it’s been, literally, years since we had play dough in the house.  My kids are 14, 11 & 8 now and much more interested in electronic gadgets and hanging out with friends than something like play dough.  They also seldom show interest in the same thing on the same day.

Since play dough is such an easy (and cheap) thing to make, I did it.  They all three played with it!  In fact, they asked me to make more.  (Who are these children and what did they do with my kids?) Here’s the recipe we used, complete with illustrations.  It’s so easy, my 8 year old made the second batch with very minimal assistance.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C. Flour

1/2 C. Salt

2 T. Vegetable Oil

1 pkg unsweetened Kool-Aid (just the mix, do not add the water)

1 C. Hot Water (does not need to be boiling, but it should be HOT)

Put everything in a bowl, adding water last.  Mix with a spoon until a soft dough forms and it is cool enough to touch.  Knead until all dry ingredients have been absorbed into the dough.  If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little it more flour until it feels right.  Store in an airtight container.  (I think the original directions, which I lost, said to keep in the frig.  We never do this, we just keep ours at room temp and it seems to work fine.)

    

See, I told you, easy as can be.  The most amazing thing to me was how long my youngest two kids played TOGETHER with play doh.  We don’t drink much Kool Aid, but I think I might pick up some more next time it goes on sale……….

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Try This! My March List

I did fairly well on my February list of things to try, with only one thing that didn’t quite get done as intended.  My March list looks like this:

Monthly Meal Planning

Freezer Cooking

Homemade Hair Detangler

Homemade Baking Mix

Recycled T-shirt Headbands

In case you are wondering why I choose the things I do, there is a method to my madness.  I try to include at least one recipe idea, one craft idea, and one organization idea.  Since I’m writing about one idea each week, I also try to make sure I have as many ideas as there are Tuesdays in a month.  That’s really all there is to it.  Now, I better go get to work on the first one – meal planning – because I have NO IDEA what we are eating this coming week!!  Hopefully by the time you read this in a couple days I’ll have that figured out.

 

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Try This! T-shirt Rug Variation

Okay, so I was planning to make the t-shirt rug on a hula hoop loom.  It was the only hard item on the February list and I was hoping that by throwing it out here on the web I would be motivated enough to get it done.  That ALMOST worked.

I started to cut up the t-shirts I had set aside and realized I should have left them in loops.  So, I decided to scale the project down and start a little smaller by making a dishcloth.  Here’s how it went:

We started with a pile of old t-shirt purged from my closet.  I picked the ones with holes and the ones that are too big now, and tried to pick a couple different colors.  I forgot to take the photo before we started cutting them up, so the colors we chose aren’t in the pile.

Next, I cut the shirts (lost that photo – Hmmmmm) into strips.  I started at the bottom, just following the seam.  When I got almost all the way around, I zigged upward and just kept cutting in a spiral until I got to the sleeve.  Then I rolled up the really long strip into a ball.  I did this for three colors:  hot pink, light pink and orange.

We used a “Nifty Knitter” loom we had in the closet as our weaving loom instead of a hula hoop.  We just wound the hot pink t-shirt “yarn” back and forth across the middle and then changed directions and started weaving the light pink around the remaining pegs when it looked like it would end up square.  (Highly scientific formula, I know) We pulled the yarn slightly at the end of each row, to keep it a little tight.  After we got going, I thought for sure it was going to be a disaster because, as you can see, there were a lot of spaces and the t-shirt yarn looked really thin.  But, I was determined to see it through to the end, so we kept going.  (Mainly, I didn’t want to disappoint Peanut, who was helping with this project).  When we had finished the weaving I realized that I didn’t have a plan to “finish” the sides.  Thankfully, I remembered that I had a crochet hook from my “nifty knitting” days and decided to finish it off like some of those hats I made 5 years ago.

We un-looped one of the loops, then another, pulling the second through the first to make a chain stitch along the edge.  (I hope that makes sense)  We went all the way around until we got back to the beginning and then knotted it off.  We did a little pulling and stretching to even out the tension and………….

TA-DA!!!  Our very first homemade woven t-shirt creation.  I used it to clean the kitchen and it worked really well.  The only thing I noticed was that it was hard to wring out because it was so thick and tightly woven.  We’ve already made 2 more, but I think we need to weave more loosely if we do any more so that we can wring them out more easily.

All in all, it wasn’t what I planned to do, but it was a fun little project for Peanut and I to do together and we enjoyed ourselves.  I’d give it a thumbs up.


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Wednesday Wow: Re-use Old Magazines

 

Do you have a pile of old magazines that need purging?  Junk mail taking over your mailbox?  Here are some cute ideas that you can use to turn that mess into a masterpiece:

Rolled magazine cross!

The first one is a cross and looks a little delicate, but would make a nice wall decoration or a gift.  The original blog post that it came from (at least where I found it) with full directions is HERE.  I’m not sure if I have the patience to complete it, but it does look really nice and I can picture it in my house already.

The next one is a small basket type container and looks more like something I could do with the kids without losing my cool.  The link with detailed directions is HERE.  It also reminds me of something I saw in Hobby Lobby made out of Chinese newspaper a while ago.  I can picture this one on my new desk at work.

Easy-Weave Newsprint Basket

The best part of both of these projects, in my opinion, is that they don’t require you to go to the store to buy expensive supplies.  Just save your junk mail, expired weekly sales ads or old magazines for a few weeks and you’ll be ready to craft the night away.

Let us know if you try either of these and how they turn out.  Or, if you have a crafty and unique idea you’d be willing to share.  I might have to put these on my “Try It” list for March or April.  If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know how they turn out and whether or not they are kid friendly or not.

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