Showing posts with label Crafts and Sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crafts and Sewing. Show all posts

Jan 2, 2019

Most Popular Posts from 2018

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site! 

Another year come and gone. To me, it seems time speeds up each year! But now that Chritmas and New Year's are over, I need to hunker down and get to work. I'm currently finishing up a historical fashion book for Dover Publications. (Years ago, historical fashion books were my mainstay and I've enjoying getting back into that subject.) And as usual, this year I want to try to make this blog better than ever...meaning, I want to hear from you! What do you wish I'd blog more about? Let me know in the comments or through a social media message.

This is also the time of year I look at this blog's stats to see if I can understand my wonderful readers even better. It's always fasncinating to see which posts you like best.






I also look at which posts are all-time favorites:
Happy new year!

Dec 5, 2018

23 Fun & Practcal Ways to Upcycle Feed Bags

How to Reuse Feed Sacks
If you have any pets or farm animals, you've probably thrown away a ton of feed bags. Each time you've done this, maybe you've wondered: Is there something better I could do with this?

Well in fact, there is! Feed sacks are made from wonderfully durable material and with just a little imagination, you can turn them into all kinds of useful and fun things. Here are some ideas:

1. Nail feed bags to the walls of your chicken coop (or garden shed, or stall, etc.) to help give added warmth during the winter.

2. Use a sack as a container for muddy/sandy clothes or shoes.

3. Cut open a bag or two and lay them flat in a car trunk, to help keep the floor clean.

4. Sew a bag or two into a tote bag perfect for groceries. Or a messenger bag.

5. Sew a feed bag into an apron.

6. Use feed sacks as a grow bag. This might work for potatoes and tomatoes, as I often see online, but I think they'd be even better for herbs, greens, radishes, carrots, and similar crops.

7. Use empty bags in place of landscape fabric, between garden rows. Pull them up every year, however, or you'll end up with bits and pieces of plastic all over your yard.

Outdoor cushions, via ThriftyFun.
8. Use bags as garden totes for hauling weeds, cuttings, compost, etc.

9. Use empty sacks to store manure you'll later use in the garden.

10. Use feed bags as trash bags.

11. Place donated clothes and household items inside empty bags (instead of wasting garbage bags).

12. Cut bags open and use as shelf liners in the garden shed or garage.

13. Cut sacks open and let your kids use them as sleds.

14. Turn old feed sacks into farmhouse decor Christmas stockings.

15. Sew feed bags into outdoor cushions. Talk about low maintenance!

16. Turn empty bags into a tarp.
Feed bag apron, via Scoop from the Coop.

17. Sew sacks into a tablecloth. This would be perfect for garden stands, the farmer's market, a picnic, or even just as a table covering for kids to do messy crafts upon.

18. Sew a sack into a zippered pouch. Really, you could use almost any purse, pouch, or bag pattern.

19. Turn an empty feed bag into a bib.

20. Make easy wall decor.

21. Turn a feed sack into a clothespin bag.

22. Make a pillow. This would be cute for the porch!

23. Sew some feed bags up into a dress?!
Feed sack grow bag, via Linn Acres Farm.

Dec 28, 2017

Top 5 Most Popular Posts for 2017 - Plus Top Posts of All Time!

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site!

2017 is nearly at an end, which means it's time for reflection and maybe some new goals. This year has certainly been a life-changing one for me: Reversing my diabetes (and most of my other health complaints) through a keto diet; hubby no longer commuting 92 miles one direction in order to get to work; and my need to do more to help support my family financially. And one of the things I always do around this time of year is access this blog.

So let me ask: What are my readers (you!) needing from me? Please, let me know in the comments below!

Another way I learn what readers want is to look at this blog's most popular posts from the previous year, and for the entire life of the blog. (Did you know I've been writing this blog since 2009?! Holy smokes!)

Most Popular Posts from 2017

# 5. Catnip for Human Medicine 
This popular post was inspired by the catnip patch that came with our homestead - and which our cat (who also came with our homestead) adores. I was surprised to learn catnip is so beneficial for humans, especially for helping us relax. It also repels mosquitos better than DEET. Find out what else catnip is good for by clicking here.

# 4. How to Get Out from Under the Laundry Pile
A lot of you struggle to keep up with your family's laundry, and in this post, I give you my best tips for how I make laundry easy and stress-free.

#3. Can I Use My Instant Pot Pressure Cooker for Canning?
The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker (buy it here) hit the world by storm in 2017, and my third most popular post definitely reflects that. In it, I dispell myths about using pressure cookers as pressure canners. Be sure to read it before you can!

#2. Cauliflower Chowder Recipe
Combine the Instant Pot and a keto recipe and you get my second most popular post from 2017. This is actually a revised version of a non-keto, non-Instant Pot recipe I posted in 2015. It's been a family favorite, so when I went keto, I was thrilled it was easy to make low carb. It's also easy to make in the Instant Pot (or slow cooker/crock pot, or the stove top).

 #1. 50 Low Carb and Keto Thanksgiving Recipes
When I started eating keto in December of 2016, I never dreamed that keto recipes would turn into the most popular posts on my blog! It's really a testament to this healthy diet, which truly works for treating type I and type II diabetes, cancer, Lyme disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, metabolic disorder, sleep disorders, pain, infertility (especially PCOS), multiple sclerosis, and other diseases - not to mention for losing weight, especially when the pyramid diet fails. (I've lost 45 lbs., my husband has lost 60 lbs.) Keto works, my friends!

Most Popular Posts of All Time

#5.  Easy Refrigerator Pickled Beets
Here's a little secret: I hate pickled beets. But my family loves them - and, apparently, so do you! This post from 2014 continues to be among my most read.

#4. The Best Free Apron Patterns on the Net
I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves a good apron - or two, or three, or...Since 2011, this post has pointed ya'll to some pretty awesome, free patterns for my favorite kitchen accessory.

#3. 6 Ways to Teach Kids the Books of the Bible
I'm so happy at least one God-centered post is popular on this blog! ;)

#2. How to EASILY Clean Ceilings & Walls - Even in a Greasy Kitchen!
It turns out, greasy kitchens are my specialty. I also specialize in finding "lazy girl" ways to clean. This post from 2014 combines both these "talents."

#1. How to Train Chickens
This has been my most read post since 2012, which cracks me up! I'd have never thunk it. But I guess hubby and I are pretty good at getting our hens to cooperate and do the things we want them to.

Aug 30, 2016

Easy DIY Farmhouse Style Toothbrush Holder

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information.

 Our old suburban bathroom had a luxurious amount of counter space. Our new rural homestead bathroom has almost none. Organizing it is a bit of a challenge, and the toothbrush situation has been driving me to distraction. Four toothbrushes - plus a special toothbrush for my daughter's retainer - all strewn across one sink, along with toothpaste and soap...It was constant mess.

I looked both locally and online to find a toothbrush holder that would hold that many toothbrushes - some electric, with thicker handles than the manual kind - to no avail. Everything was either too breakable, too small, or too chintzy or cheap looking. (And, occasionally, more than I wanted to pay.) So last weekend, I whipped up a super easy solution that also fits in with my farmhouse vision for this house. And I did it all with stuff I had on hand.

First I'll walk you through how I made the toothbrush holder at zero cost, then I'll show you some simple and inexpensive ways to customize the look.
The commercially made inspiration for this project.

How to Make a Farmhouse Style Toothbrush Holder

You will need:

One pint sized canning jar with lid and screw band (I used a widemouth jar)
Small piece of chicken wire
Wire cutters

1. Lay the chicken wire flat on a hard surface and place the jar lid over it. Use the lid as a template for cutting the chicken wire into a circle the same size as the lid. Be sure to use wire cutters!

2. Lay the circle of chicken wire inside the canning jar ring.

3. Screw the ring onto the jar.

Viola! It doesn't get any easier than that!


* Use one of the "heritage" canning jars, which come in blue, green, and purple.

* Color the jar any color you like; there are many methods for doing this: This basic method; distressed method; "sea glass" look; metallic look; or colored glass look.

* Use any type wire mesh you have on hand, as long as a toothbrush will fit in the holes.

* Use a store-bought toothbrush insert for the jar, like this or this or this.

* Not crafty? Buy the Mason jar that inspired this project!

* Want a matching soap dispenser? That's really easy, too. Just purchase a pump! (This foaming pump insert works, too.)

Dec 29, 2015

Most Popular Posts 2015 - and All Time!

I've been blogging at Proverbs 31 Woman for six years (and have written over 1,140 posts!), but honestly, I never have any clue which posts are going to be the most talked about or viewed. They say the Lord works in mysterious ways, and judging by what posts are most popular here, I have to agree! It's always a pretty eclectic list. I hope you enjoy it!

(P.S. Want to see more popular posts from Proverbs 31 Woman? Check out the Pinterest page "Most Popular Posts at Proverbs 31 Woman.")

Most Popular Posts from 2015:

1. Why I Don't Watch HGTV (And Maye You Shouldn't Either)

2. Free Art History Curriculum: Edgar Degas (this whole series is popular, but this is the most popular post from the series)

3. How to Kill E.Coli on Vegetables and Fruits

4. No Fail Healthy Pie Crust Recipe

5. Keeping the House Cool in Summer (With and Without AC)

6. 12 Old Fashioned Birthday Party Games for Kids

7. How to Make a SCOBY for Kombucha

8. "I Am..." A Self Worth Craft for Kids

Most Popular Posts of All Time:

1. How to Train Chickens (and Get Them to Do What You Want Them to Do)

2. Best Free Apron Patterns on the Net

3. 6 Ways to Teach Kids the Books of the Bible

4. Best Ideas for Upcycling Jeans

5. How to Clean a REALLY Dirty Stove

6. How to EASILY Clean Ceilings and Walls - Even in a Greasy Kitchen

7. Canning Pickled Green Beans (Dilly Beans)

8. Easy Refrigerator Pickled Beets

9. Freezing Apple Pie Filling

Aug 19, 2015

How to Make an Easy Pinata

What with packing and prepping to move and preparing for homeschool to start, I'm not as organized as usual for my daughter's birthday party. But it's a big one this year: She's a decade old! So last week I worked like a mad woman to pull it together. I'd planned to purchase a pinata for the party - a kitty, to go with her theme. But I didn't order it in time and our local stores didn't have any cat pinatas. I considered buying a generic pinata, but I heard the ones in our local store break too easily. Then I considered making a pinata from a cardboard box - or making a pinata the traditional way, with all those little bits of crepe paper. But finally I decided we'd make a paper mache pinata, but instead of covering it with a gazllion strips of paper, we'd just paint it. Correction: I'd let the birthday girl paint it! And, for that matter, make most of the pinata.

Yes, this process is a bit messy...but my kids had such a good time with it. Making something out of paper mache is a project every kid should try at least once. I recommend making the paper mache part of the pinata outside - somewhere where the flour glue won't hurt anything (because, yes, it will drip all over). I also recommend only making a paper mache pinata when the weather is warm; the hotter it is, the faster the layers of paper mache will dry. If you must try this indoors on a cooler day, add a little salt to your homemade glue; this is supposed to help prevent the mixture from molding if it takes a while for it to dry.

What You Need to Make an Easy Pinata

A balloon. (I used a regular balloon because that's what I had on hand. A punch ball balloon is larger and more circular, and is another option.)



A whisk or fork for mixing

A large bowl


Non-glossy newspaper, preferably black and white

Exacto knife


Piece of cardboard

Large washer

Paint (we used Crayola Washable Kids Paint)

Colored paper or felt (optional)

How We Made Our Kitty Cat Pinata

1. Cut the newspaper into pieces about 1 1/2 inches wide.

2. Blow up the balloon and hang it somewhere outside, using string or yarn. Pick a spot where you don't mind the glue dripping on the ground.

3. Mix up the glue: Start by dumping 1 cup of flour into the bowl. Add 2 cups of water and stir well. You want the consistency to be close to Elmer's white glue; don't make it thick, like a paste. If the glue seems too watery, just add another handful and stir some more. Continue until the consistency is right. And yes, the homemade glue will be a bit lumpy.

4. Drip a strip of newspaper into the glue, then, holding the paper over the bowl, wipe it down, so only a small amount of glue remains. Place the paper onto the balloon. Smooth out the paper as much as possible. (Although, trust me, especially if kids are helping, the pinata will be a little lumpy!)

Cover the balloon with strips of newspaper dipped in flour glue.
5. Repeat step 4, overlapping the pieces of paper, until the entire balloon is covered. Let the paper dry completely, then repeat step 4 and 5 until you have at least four layers of newspaper on the balloon. Remember to do only one layer at a time, letting the newspaper dry completely before moving on to the next layer.
This is what our balloon looked like while the first layer of newspaper was drying.

6. Using scissors or a pin, poke a hole in the exposed end of balloon. Remove the deflated balloon from the pinata.

7. Cover the hole where the exposed end of the balloon was with several layers of paper mache. Allow to dry completely.
This is where the end of the balloon was exposed, now covered with a few layers of paper mache.
Here's what the pinata looked like, entirely dry. I put it in the bowl of my Kitchen Aid mixer, to make handling easier.

8. Being very careful, use an Exacto knife to poke a hole in the very top of the pinata. This is where the string for hanging the pinata will go. Now cut a trap door on top of the pinata, over to one side; this is where you will add the candy; the door shouldn't be huge - but it needs to be big enough to pour candy/toys through, and get a piece of cardboard into the pinata. Pry the door open; try not to completely break the door away from the pinata; ideally, the uncut edge of the door will bend a little. (If it breaks off, don't worry; just set the broken piece aside for a moment.)
Carefully cutting the trap door...
Trap door is cut and open.
 9. Cut the piece of cardboard so it's larger than the hole you made for the string, and will fit in through the trap door. Thread the string through the hole you made in the top of the pinata.

Threading the string through the hole.
10. Poke a hole in the center of the cardboard, then pull the end of the string that's inside the pinata through this hole. Thread a large washer onto the same end of string. (We actually used two washers, but I think one is sufficient.) Tie a firm knot. (So the layers are: Cardboard, washer, knot. The washer helps keep the knot from pulling through the cardboard and the top of the pinata.) Carefully insert the cardboard into the pinata. On the outside of the pinata, pull the string tight.
Adding washers.
Getting ready to knot the string.
Putting the cardboard, washer, and knot inside the pinata.
11. Fill the pinata with candy and/or toys. Close the trap door. (If the door accidentally broke off, just set it in back in place on the pinata.) Cover the trap door with a few layers of paper mache. Allow to dry completely.

12. Paint the pinata. Dark colors will cover the newsprint better than light colors. My daughter chose purple for her cat (grin), and she only needed to use two coats.

Painting the pinata.
13. To make our pinata look like a cat's head, we glued on colored paper ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and whiskers.

The finishing touches!

Ta-da! All done.

After the party.