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August 27, 2013

What's Hiding Under Our Beds & Lurking in the Pantry w/ Inspire Us Link Up Party

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Little bit of business, for the month of September we are going to be Co-Hosting the Blog Hop with Duck's in a Row. The party will open at 7pm on Tuesday and run through Wednesday. Your link will be showing up on 4 other blogs. We are doing this to try and get more hits to all of your awesome posts. 

Slim Jim and I have had some pretty financially slim times over the last 6 years of marriage (life of a college student and spouse does that). What is hiding under our bed has given me a lot of peace of mind through the tight times. This quick tip is to help you learn

What's Hiding Under Our Beds
3 month supply of toilet paper, when I quit my job to stay home with Rider and the only money we had coming in was Slim Jim's financial aid I knew we had to plan ahead. I knew if we ran out of money and toilet paper a month early it wasn't like we could wait around for the next semester. I trained Ryder at a very young age when we were out of toilet paper to climb under the bed and get a new package.

Several bags of Flour and Sugar. I don't know if this is common everywhere but in Southern Idaho and Utah the grocery stores do what they call a "case lot sale" where many food storage basics are at a discounted price. This is my favorite time to buy sugar and flour. I usually try to keep at least 4-5 bags of flour and 3-4 bags of sugar. Lately, we have been making a lot more breads, pizza crust and breadsticks from scratch so next case lot I will probably increase the amount of flour. The caselot sales are coming in October and I have about 1/2 a five gallon bucket of flour and 1 bag & 2 bags of sugar.

Home canned items. I love home canned applesauce, pears and peaches. The initial investment in the jars can be a little expensive but once I shopped around I was able to find a price I was comfortable with. I think looking at the jars as an investment made it more reasonable in my mind. Even Slim Jim doesn't complain when I say we are going to have homemade peaches with grilled cheese sandwiches and the kids love it. I found it is better with applesauce to buy the apples later in the year when they have had a few freezes this makes them sweeter. Pears and Peaches are on now. With Peaches you will make a lot less work for yourself if you are mindful to buy free stone peaches. I have done cling stone but you spend a lot more time cutting around the pit.

Blankets. Slim Jim and I both come from families and areas where common wedding, baby, birthday, high school graduation, etc.  gifts are blankets. Which means we own a lot of blankets. We don't often need all the blankets we have. Under our bed you will find a lifetime of blankets which I used to think was crazy. Until we had a power outage last winter where the power was out for 10 hours when it was very cold with lots of wind. Even though our house was cold all of us were able to stay very warm with all the blankets we had.

Lurking in the Pantry

It wasn't until I went to put the watermark on this picture that I realized the sticker is still on my garbage can. We have had this for 6 years now, how did I not take it off sooner.
5 gallon buckets. When I open a new 25 lbs. bag of sugar or flour this is where I put it is accessible and not too messy. This way whether I am making a single batch or quadripling a recipe I always have enough of what I need and because the bucket is so wide then it is really easy to get in there quickly without leaving too much of a mess. Little hint make sure the lid is on when you have little ones around our you might have this happen.

Twist top for the 5 gallon buckets. For a long time I didn't budget for these but when I finally did I was cursing myself for not doing it sooner. And I love them. I notice we waste less because they seal tightly so if the bucket gets tipped I don't have to throw away the contents.

Beans. At the case lot sale one of the things I buy a lot of is beans.  When we were unpacking, Momma Shaffer was helping with the pantry items and she was astounded by the amount of beans we had growing up I don't think many beans came into our home besides green beans. I love canned beans for soups, homemade chili or to put in our taco meat to help stretch the food dollar. I find that they accept seasoning really well even in a short amount of time. It gives me comfort to know that we will always have a shelf stable protein. I love buying them canned for quick use and dry for slow cooking.

Tomatoes. I love sauce, diced and spaghetti sauce because in a snap it can be a meal. Sauce is so versatile and makes a great a base. Diced I use in my taco soup, lasagna and red sauce for a little more substance. Spaghetti sauce is great for those times I don't have time to make my own scratch sauce. I will be purchasing more of all of these when caselot comes around because we are running really low.

Pasta. I love whole wheat pasta and WinCo is a grocery store in Idaho and Utah (I don't think they are anywhere else but I could be wrong) they make whole wheat pasta pretty affordable. And I love how full we feel on very little pasta. When the caselot sale at their competitors, they sell a 20 lb bag of whole wheat pasta that I pick up and divide into 1 lb bags.

I would really encourage you if you haven't already to turn your under bed space into preparation space. I know that our food and emergency preparation brings all of us peace from turbulent weather and economy. What preparations do you make for emergency situations.

Now to the features, I know I say this every time but I wish I could feature each and every one of you but Jo and Al said I just can't do that (it is a big stress point for me so once again I will try to get through it), So here are my top 3:
Max California's - Alpine Adventure Hoodie
I am sure most of you are already following her if your not you should be because her writing style is so fresh (I often am giggling in bed when I read, which usually gets strange looks from Slim Jim). She hand made the buttons for this Hoodie which I think is so fun and totally am going to try someday.
Peaches and Bees - Shirred Summer Dress with Tiered Skirt
I am a sucker for this dress completely. Which should come as no surprise because I love shirring. I love the bold fabrics. I love the bow in the back. I love the flowy tiers. But my favorite part is Annie's complete honesty in the things she would change for next time. Her post is like a reverse tutorial on the things you should do differently than what she has done. Annie I have totally done math at night and then the next morning it was all wrong. 
Two Many - Coffee Dress
This dress looks so classy and beautiful. Renee's fabric choice is spot on!  It is results like this that totally inspire me to bite the bullet and make more clothes for myself. The pattern she used for this is a free one available on Burda Style website. 
If you were featured today you could grab a button.
August 26, 2013

Black Staple Dress for Fall & Other Exciting Announcements

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Today you can find us over at Ducks 'n a Row. Sharing the my long sleeve Sierra Dress that I made for Boston. This dress is one of the first items in the kids Fall wardrobe. Which I am going to try to sew the entirety for 20 dollars or less, which could be difficult because I just spent 12 dollars on the pleather.

Which brings me to our next announcement we are going to be participating in Winter Wonderings Wanderings & Whatnot's Operation Project $0 
Where each one of us is going to share an item or outfit that we did for our children's fall wardrobe for as close to $0 as possible.  We are excited to be included in such a talented line up. Suzanne was sweet enough to open 3 spots so each of us could share.

Here is the Line Up!
Frances Suzanne

You can read about the origination of Operation Project $0 HERE.

One last piece of business is Project Run and Play (probably our favorite thing about blogging, the best community of women I have interacted with anywhere). Liz and Elizabeth did not disappoint with this Season's Themes. I am personally excited and nervous about Week 2 because I have 3 items per kid that I will be sewing. Jo has a really fun project for Plaid week that I am excited to see. Al and I went shopping at the church's swap meet for some refashion items and I know in true Al fashion it will be bold and clean. If you haven't sewed along before you should, this community is so encouraging and it is the perfect place for a beginner, seasoned professional or if you need to refresh your skills.
Come back tomorrow for our Tip Tuesday and Inspire Us Link up party.
August 23, 2013

Facet Friday: A week of Buttons wrap up

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To wrap up our "week of buttons", I wanted to show you this.  Sometimes we as sisters think of ourselves as the sewing/cooking type of girls.  That is what we usually do for our projects and our blog posts.  But each of us actually have hidden talents.

Scary helped make a this sweet sign, for a friend, out of buttons.  Isn't it adorable?  

On another note, not completely related, I read this pretty awesome quote the other day.
"Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.

The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy." - President Uchtdorf

Please take time to look at the simple elegance of the everyday moments around you.

With Love,
-The Shaffer Sisters 
August 22, 2013

What do you do when all of your well laid plans fall to pieces?

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Well, if your name is Jo, you may or may not shamelessly post embarrassing pictures of your children.  You know its all about shifting the focus.  So here is one of my little Nicky-Poo AKA my very own sweety boy.
 In an apology for making the epic week of buttons in to a "guest posters saved my backside" week, my little sweety offers you this apology flower.  Here is to hoping I can find my camera cord before, I have to post again.  If not, please expect more embarrassing old photos of my cute babies.

with love,
-Jo and Little Sweety
August 21, 2013

A week of buttons: Oh My Summer Foods: Frozen Yogurt Buttons:Lady Behind The Curtain

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Lady-Behind-The-Curtain-Photo-107x150 Hi, I’m Sheryl from LADY BEHIND THE CURTAIN. Where you can find fun and easy ways of entertaining along with some everyday meals. Whether that’s by creating a centerpiece, party favors or delicious food LADY BEHIND THE CURTAIN has it all. I'm so excited to be here today at Shaffer Sisters. Thank you Ladies for allowing me to introduce myself to your awesome readers. Today I am sharing a fun, easy and healthy kid friendly treat. Yes, those are all good no, GREAT reasons to want to make these frozen yogurt buttons. But, you want to know what the BEST reason is?




Frozen Yogurt Buttons - Lady Behind The Curtain



August 20, 2013

A week of buttons: Simple Simon & Co.: Quick tip Tuesday link-up party

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A long time ago- about 8 months to be exact, my sister Scary told me about a blog that the crew of Project Run and Play maintains.  A little blog called uh, Simple Simon and Company.  OK, OK, I know they aren't little and I was in the dark ages.  However, one of the first posts I ever read was this button holeing tutorial.  its brilliant!  :) liZ and Elizabeth were sweet enough to share it with us for Quick Tip Tuesday.  Don't forget to link your tips below.
So the other day I was cleaning off my sewing table and ran across the instruction book that came with my sewing machine...and since I was tired...and not really into my work...I started thumbing through it and I ran across this little beauty of an idea that has changed my entire life. it hasn't changed my entire life but it's a really terrific (yes terrific) idea and I've already used it like a million times.  It's simple, easy, and genius---here's what it is:  Pin the button hole.
Yep, that's it.  Pin the button hole.
How many times have I been ripping open the button hole and have zipped right through the end and had to go back and stitch up that dang button hole?  Too many times!!!!
But not now.  Now I just slide a pin across the end of the button hole and rip away and the pin stops me from going too far.  Like I said:  simple, easy, genius.  I wish I had thought of it...
I actually wish I would have thought of a lot of things...the microwave, refrigeration, triple bypass heart surgery, nachos...but no, I didn't.  Not me.    Oh well, I guess I'll just have to bask in the genius of others.  So until I think of something terrific myself (or Wednesday comes) I'm signing off and heading down to the gas station for a soda---something else I didn't invent.  Talk to you then.
August 16, 2013

Necessity Sewing: First Real Nightgown

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With the heat of this summer the traditional PJ options have left the kids, hot and sweaty. For the most part the kids have been sleeping in their diaper or underwear. One day I was looking through fabric to separate out usable scraps from unwanted clutter. One of the scraps that I found was a strip of eyelet fabric with little bows I knew that it would be perfect for Boston's first night gown.

Do you spot her Minky blanket? She was so ready to go to sleep when I took these pictures. It was one of those times that she gave me the look like, "Mom, why? Oh why? Are we going out to take pictures? It really is my bedtime."
When Ryder saw her in it for the first time he said, "She is a pretty princess." I have to agree. She is starting to look more like a little girl and less like a baby. This sweet little nightgown helps makes the transition from baby to little girl a little easier for me to swallow. Boston is a fan of how cool it is.
It was a really simple dress I just serged the top and the sides. I folded the top by 3/8" and then ran 10 rows of shirring. And made simple straps by fold a strip of eyelet (about 3 wide by 8 inches long) over 1/2" elastic (length 6 inches), making a simple flutter sleeve. Then tried them on her and trimmed the excess strap off.
Boston is a satisfied with the Minky blanket and the nightgown combination. What is your favorite scrap project that you have done?
August 15, 2013

Downtown V-Neck: Fishsticks Design Blog Tour & Pattern Giveaway

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The pattern (from Fishsticks Design) and fabric (from Riley Blake) were received free of charge, but all opinions are mine.
Just over four years ago I found out I would be having a little boy. I was so excited and was determined I would dress him preppy like his daddy. I had been able to do that pretty solidly until last year when my "little boy" started outgrowing his 4T stuffI went shopping and was horrified to find everything in the boys section was littered with skulls and other undesirable graphics. I remember calling Momma Shaffer crying. I was totally frustrated, because my new 3 year old who was scared of the dark should not be wearing skulls (to be honest I really don't like skulls for any age, guess I got that from my momma).

It was that day that Momma Shaffer reminded me that I knew how to sew and though I didn't know as much about styling for boys I could do it. I started small, shorts and pjs. Then I sewed a few collared shirts. When Bonnie ask me to join in her pattern tour I couldn't have been more excited because a knit V-neck shirt has always seemed scary but my boy style boards are full of V-neck shirts, so I was up for the challenge.
This pattern goes from size 12M-14Y!  I am excited that I will be able to sew this shirt pattern for Ryder for years! The instructions were so easy to follow that I was able to make this shirt in one naptime! Ryder was beyond excited to find the pieces of fabric when he went down were a full blown shirt when he woke up.
I made the size 6 even though Ryder is not quite 4, because he has strong shoulders. And what fits today is sure to be outgrown tomorrow (always in the 99% on head size, height and weight). The sleeves and the length are a little longer than I usually would make but I think this might because of the great recovery and drape in this knit. I think if I was do it again with a similar fabric I would shorten to the size 5 length and sleeves. But then I might not because he is probably going to get another growth spurt next week. And this shirt worked good tucked into his pants or out, really it is just a personal preference.

I opted to have finished arm bands and bottom band, instead of the raw edges like instructed, this probably added to the length as well. I also left the chest pocket off because I don't want him putting something in pocket that ruins the shirt. I also think it goes more with the preppy style I love!
I love the vivid colors in this fabric. I had Ryder select which fabric he wanted and he most matter of factually declared he wanted the large orange stripe pointing at the yellow stripe (we are working on colors good thing he has 2 years before kindergarten). So I corrected him and sent him away as I decided that gray would be a good contrasting color to the orange yellow.
The fabric and wear ease in this shirt,  allowed for good movement with every direction and speed Ryder moved. As he rushed busily around the library, through the different reading rooms, changing books, rushing to the elevator and splashing in the water at the fountains. In ever instance the fabric recovered well and handled everything he threw at it. On the way home from the library he spilled red sports drink on it and I wanted to cry.
I am happy to report that this fabric even washes well with a pretreat soak the red was out! I think I would have cried if it wouldn't have come out. Now I am trying to figure out what store near me sells Riley Blake knit fabric, so I can buy more of it to make me something. Does anyone know the Salt Lake area well enough to give me a suggestion?
This bright yellow shirt is sure to be the burst of sunshine for loads of laundry in the future. And the energetic little boy who it belongs to is sure to keep up with its positive energy as he meets friends at the library, store or playground.
 Want a chance to win your own Downtown V-Neck pattern?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not to be bossy or anything but you should check out what these talented ladies made as part of the Jersey Love by Fishsticks Blog Tour.
Tuesday, 8/13: Call Ajaire & Rock the Stitch
Friday, 8/16: Rooibos Mom & Mama Says Sew

 I am going to let you in on a little secret...each blog has a pattern to give away so you really should check it out not just because they are talented but because it gives you more chances to win patterns. 
August 14, 2013

Non-fat Rootbeer Floats: Your kids won't even notice the difference

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When I think of summer, I think about going over to my Grandma Twila's for Rootbeer or Cherry 7-Up Floats. I usually I went for the Cherry 7-Up floats but since they added all the antioxidants a few years ago it just doesn't taste the same. So I have made my peace with Rootbeer floats. And they have become one of my new favorites.
This summer I have tried to be more mindful of the things I am putting into my husband, children and my own body. When Ryder, Boston and I were doing our grocery shopping we walked by the frozen yogurt/ice cream section. I spotted some Vanilla Non-fat Frozen Yogurt and I thought I should be able to make a float out of that because any dairy product when mixed with a carbonated drink will fizz and usually a little foam.
Long Story Short: IT WORKED!!

Non-fat Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
Rootbeer brand of your choosing

Put the Frozen Yogurt in a cup. Then Cover it in Rootbeer. Enjoy, knowing that you have made a slight comprise with your kids so they can get a taste of childhood without lots of calories of fat (the calories from sugar I am not going to do anything about because I think diet drinks taste gross!)

August 13, 2013

Inspire Us Link Up

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Sorry about last week and not hosting a link up party. We were in recovery mode from trying to be "crafty". (Guess what we aren't that for us...we didn't make the cut of the top ten, but we will try again next summer.)  Al was in charge of it and got too busy organizing. Then our Grandpa got put in the ICU and it was pretty scary. All together just a busy week that didn't lend itself to an inspiration link up party. But we are back in the saddle again.

I Love this 30 minute refashion from shirt to romper. It makes me want to go to the thrift store and find a shirt with the shirring and make a romper for Boston.
Refashioned Romper
I also love cheesecake of any kind and parfait and this little number combines the too in a no-bake cheese cake. I think I will have to make this for my family soon!
Cheesecake Parfait
Shaffer Sisters encourage. inspire. uplift. create.

August 13, 2013

Necessity Sewing: Miniature Minky Blanket for my Blanket Baby

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Before Boston was born I made her a "travel" minky blanket that was supposed to stay in the car. And then I made her a beautiful pieced blanket. The minky blanket stayed in the car for a couple weeks and then she wouldn't let it go.  She totally disregarded the pieced blanket. And since that day her 45 by 60 inch blanket was her constant companion so much that when she was trying to learn to walk she only had enough courage to walk when she had the blanket in her hands. I knew that for her to be totally mobile she had to a miniature version of her favorite blanket. 

Boston enjoying the library with her $1 drawstring fat quarter skirt and her blanket
Since I purchased the fabric almost 2 years ago I was worried about finding it but I knew that if anyone was going to have it, Porter's would (the fabric in Rexburg that I bought the original fabric from). Porter's is the smartest quilt shop that I have ever been to because all cotton and flannel remnants are made into fat quarters and the same is true for their Minky.  Al picked up a fat quarter of the blue back but the spots was only available in a third yard cut.
So I cut the 1/3 yrd. cut in half and sewed the halves together. The piece down the middle was very noticeable so I stitched some ribbon over and near the center seam for some added some blanket flair. At this point the spotted blanket was slightly larger so I off set the center seam and trimmed the spotted down to the size of the fat quarter.  Flowing the same steps as the original blanket, I finished the edge. 
I barely had time to clip the strings before Boston had it out of my hands. She knew from the moment she saw the fabric that it was for her. I have loved having it because we can alternate washing schedule of this and her larger one so there is no lost sleep (won't sleep without this blanket). It is so mobile which has been nice for all of us. Slim Jim even commented about how it was one of my wisest fabric purchases I have ever made.
The other day when we took the kids to the Salt Lake City Library for Baby Storytime my little introvert clung tightly to her blanket and sucked nervously until we left. It is interesting to me how one item can give a young child so much comfort and courage. For Ryder it was his bear, and if we left the bear somewhere he would cry through every nap and nighttime.
What are your kids comfort items?
August 12, 2013

Fat Quarter Drawstring Skirt: Made for $1

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When we lived in Rexburg, Al and I used to go into Porters (mom and pop craft store) and window shop on one occasion they some select fat quarters on sale for $1. Al picked out this bird fabric for the fun bright colors, but was willing to surrender it to me to make something for Boston (one of Boston's nicknames from me is, little bird).
So the fabric came home with me and sat in my fat quarter drawer of my sewing desk for a year. It wasn't until I sewed up Heidi with Elegance & Elephants Spin Skirt the little bird fat quarter had a calling. I the waistband is Riley Blake Tone on Tone Yellow Chevron that I had as scraps from the Waves of Summer tunic
I followed the same steps as in the Simple Fat Quarter Skirt, but used Heidi's instructions for doing the waistband.  This skirt might have been one of the easiest projects of my summer and I love all the bright colors in the skirt so no matter what laundry has been washed Boston is sure to have a shirt that matches.
The waistband is going to keep it fitting longer and more comfortably than the original Simple Fat Quarter Skirt.  
The length of the skirt is perfect for keeping up with an active older brother. And the width of the fabric made it fun for Boston to twirl.
What is the best price tag you have ever had on a handcrafted creation?
With Love,
PS. Come back tomorrow to get the low down on blanket that Boston is packing around in all these pictures.
August 09, 2013

Getting Organized In the Shaffer Home

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As you may or may not know, organizing is a MAJOR hobby of mine. It brings me great joy to have the order and balance that comes with organized spaces. This week I decided to give my mom the gift of an organized sewing closet. It has been a door that is never opened unless you really need something and when you get what you need you throw everything back in and quickly shut the door (much like you would an overly full suitcase that you have to sit on to shut it.

If you have a sewing closet that fits a similar description, you should get started on putting the function back into your closet. I took some empty cardboard boxes and cut them up to the same size (about 11" square pieces). Once I got enough pieces cut, I began wrapping my fabric around the cardboard until I was done. We've done similar to this with magazine boards at our homes, but it isn't essential and I just wanted to get it done that day.

When Samson got home I got him busy making shelves to build directly on the closet walls. We used particle board (the actual shelf) and 2"x2" boards (the support- on 3 sides) to put the shelves in. We started putting the shelves in 18" from the ground so that there was plenty of room for a tote or two to slide in. From that shelf we made a 12" spacing until we were out of space. When cutting the boards, we made them 1/2" smaller than the width of the wall so that we could actually slide the boards in. The depth we made so that there was some space to put a large cutting mat or an ironing board in the closet.

After we got the shelves cut, sanded, dusted off, and in the closet I was able to start filling them with the fabric I had wrapped. It's incredible how something can take up so much space until it's neatly put away. Once I got the kids to bed I continued working on the closet. My mom had all these really nifty clear containers and they were already roughly sorted. The only change I made was to add to the collection and then individually bag each type of thing. For example in my sewing tool tote, I have buttons, elastic, and zippers. Each of these has their own zip-lock bag so they're not jumbled everywhere.

It makes me so happy to see this. Now every time I walk down the hall I stop to look in. It's crazy how a little bit of order can bring peace to my soul. Happy late Mother's Day, Mom. So if you're wondering what I'm up to this week, I'm taking one of my talents and blessing my family. I'd love to hear if you have any helpful tips to get organized.

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