Saturday, May 1, 2010

MilSpouse Blog Hop!

I'm having tons of fun looking through all these lovely blogs! So decided to join in!

Here's the link if you want to join in too!


My Bio:
My name is Gretchen. Hubby and I have been together for since we were 16! We've been married for 4 years. We have a lovely 3-yr-old daughter named Layla.

We are stationed at Ft. Bragg in NC. Hubby is currently on his 2nd tour in Afghanistan and Layla and I are holding down the fort here at home! When he returns from overseas, we have orders to move to Ft Benning which is much closer to home for us so we are super excited!

I love to blog. As we all know, military life is crazy busy but I love to share my life with others. On my blog, you will find crafty stuff, garden stuff, mommy stuff, deployment stuff and stuff about my small sewing business that I have been running for about a year now! That's alot of stuff!
I hope you find something for yourself here. Something to inspire, uplift or comfort you.
God knows we all need a little bit of that!

Thanks for checking out my blog! I look forward to chatting with you all!



Aches and Pains...

About a year ago, a very good friend of mine and I traded crafty things.

I made her an apron, she made me a heating pack. I'm beginning to think I got the better end of the deal! That apron was one of the first I had made, and probably not the cutest. But this heating pad has been a life saver for me! I get knee and back pain when I sew too much, so I pop that baby in the micro for a couple minutes and get instant relief! Love it!

Hop over to her shop, cuddlemeclose01, where her heating pads are way cuter than the one I got a year ago. I think I'm going to buy another one! I cannot say enough about these things! They have saved my back 3 days in a row!


Oh yeah... check out her other shop too! She has super gorgeous nest rings, great for Mother's day!

I hope youre having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Pretty things...

Ive been running like crazy lately, but I wanted to show you all whats going on around here... in pictures...Enjoy!





Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Domestic Abilities

My uncle, who is a well trained party-goer still at his age, has recently accused me of "losing my spark". By "spark" he means, I've lost my ability to have a good time, get drunk, sing too loud and cut loose.

To be perfectly honest, I never really did any of that crazy stuff. Maybe on very special occasions.


Point being, he says we (my sister and I) are "Domesticated" now.... well honey... if domesticated is this cute... I'll take it!

Here are some new aprons Ive made. Domestic-yes. Boring- heck no!



Hope you had a lovely Monday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated!

I loved reading all your comments about what you learned from the film. I'm really glad it is making an impact in some lifes!

Without further ado...

Recieving a Sample Pack from Clearwater Naturals :
Elena, Julie and Risya!!







The winner of the Large Laundry Powder is...
Hannah!

Congrats ladies!

I will be emailing you all shortly for your addresses! Thanks for playing along!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Funniest thing Ever!!

I borrowed this from AMuddyPaw

It will totally make your day!



Rainy Day Business

Lately, its been rainy and yucky here. I'm not complaining, April showers bring May flowers!
But after the laundry is done, house is clean, and the garden cannot be tended, I find myself twiddling my thumbs.

When I moved back to NC about 2 months ago, I got soooooo busy that I had no time for sewing. I had gotten out of my groove so far that I had no desire to get back to it right away. But the other day, the sewing bug bit me again.

 




When Im in the garden, I'm constantly trying to track down my tools, so I wanted a way to keep them all right at my finger tips. Enter: the gardening apron...










That "sewing bite" didnt hurt at all! Actually, it felt pretty good to be making things again!
So I made some more!

I have a couple more that I havent had a chance to photograph yet. I realize that I desperately need a dress form to make the photos look good. So today, after my chores are done, I'm going to Hobby Lobby to see if they have something I can use.
Today is, after all, a rainy day business day!

What do you all do to get through those rainy days??

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Your Trash, My treasure

Saturday morning, before hitting the Farmer's Market, Layla and I drove around the historic Haymount District here in Fayetteville. We had a mission, find some nifty stuff at yard sales in the "good side of town". There were lots of yard sales, but we only stopped at one.


I bought these two stools, $3 a piece. Oh yeah! I had it in my head already to repaint and re-upholster them. I'm going to give you a quick run down on what to do in case you come across something you can fix up for
yourself!


1. Give the furniture a quick wipe down.
Mine were pretty dusty and had a few cob webs on them.

2. Remove the tops and set aside.

3. Spray paint the wood.
 I used primer first, then applied a gloss indoor/outdoor paint.






4. While your paint is drying, remove the old upholstery from the seats.
Here's what the inside of my batting looked like... Straw!








5. Recover the Seats with a couple layers of batting, then the fabric.
To do this, simply lay the wood on top of the batting, with fabric underneath.
Then pull the fabric tight over the back of the wood and staple into place.






Note: After seeing the inside of the old batting, I was thinking about how old it could possibly be.
Then I thought how old they might be when someone decides to redo what I have done,
years down the road. So I added a little "time capsule" under the batting.









I also added a layer of clear vinyl to one of the seats, so it can go outside.











6. After the spray paint is dry, replace the seats and youre all done!
Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Laundry Soap Giveaway!!!

Hello everyone!

Food, Inc is on TV tomorrow night!!!  This documentary has totally changed the way I look at our food and where it comes from. It has been my inspiration to start my veggie garden and make all my products for

To see what station it is playing on in your area, visit  PBS TV Schedule Enter your zip to find your channel!


In Honor of this (and a little last minute), I am having a GIVEAWAY!
Winner will receive a Large All-Natural Laundry Powder from my shop.
You can even pick your own scent!
I will also send out Samples of the Laundry Powder to 3 entries!

How to enter: Simply tell me something you liked, disliked or learned from the documentary.
If you havent seen the movie, tell me your plans for Earth Day.
You may also gain an entry for forwarding this on via twitter, facebook or something else of your choice (leave a link).

Please remember to leave your email address in the comment so I can contact you if you win!


Giveaway will end and winners will be drawn via random.org on
Saturday April 24th at Midnight EST.

COMMENTS CLOSED!!! WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY!

Good luck Everyone!

How to Make a Container Fountain for Under $50!

I saw the idea for this in a magazine and want to share with you how I did it. Its super easy and makes a soothing trickle sound when turned on. I bought all my supplies at Home Depot, so I will show you their prices (military gets 10% off too!)  Here goes!


You will need:
A Large Pot- $24.98 (you can find cheaper, but I like this pot)
A Small Fountain Pump- $17.94
Pea Stones- $3.38
Decorative Pond Stones (optional)- $1.89

Total: $48.19

Here's What you do:
1. Rinse pot and pebbles. I put the pebbles in the pot and rinsed them until the water ran clear.
2. Follow set-up instructions for your fountain pump. Once you have it all together, set them pump inside the pot on top of the rocks. You can also bury the pump with rocks.
3. Fill the pot with water and Plug in your pump. Note: Always arrange a Drip Loop on the power cord. This means that the cord needs to hang lower than the outlet when plugged in. Otherwise, the water will run into the outlet and you will probably get electricuted (please dont call me when that happens... I wont answer :)

I run my pump all day and unplug it at night. At first, my pump made a loud noise, but after a day of running it, the noise went away.

Now close your eyes and imagine you are somewhere far away! What an easy and cheap way to relax!

Monday, April 19, 2010

You think I can't do this???

Turns out I can!

Just because you dont ahve a man to do the work for you, doesnt mean it will never get done!

Case in point, This Gazebo. Yes... its probably about 10 feet tall, 10 feet wide, but I put it together. All by myself. Dont ask me how, Im just suprised I didnt break something! The furniture under it is new too... I put that together, all by myself. The problem is that I put it together on top of the deck, and now I cant move it. So you walk off of the raised deck right into the gazebo. Kinda cool, not sure if I like it there yet.




Onions coming up nicely. They grew all on their own while I was out of town. There are potatoes behind them coming up well too!
Some Yellow Squash I planted from seedlings. Yummy!

Keeping the pine seed/worm/thingys out of the garden is a daily task. They are all over the place!
Gardening is exhausting! But ohhh so rewarding!

I also made a container fountain for the deck. Tomorrow I will show you how I did it... for under $50!
Until then... Have a wonderful day!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Natural things

Here are some photos of what Ive been up to lately...





Playing outside... The weather is gorgeous!

Dinos in the garden! So thats who dug up all my potatoes!

Picking Dandies and drying them for later use.


Making Kelp Cold cream. I seriously love this recipe and love how it makes my skin feel.
Making more tonight.

Hope everyone had a good week!
The weekend is here!
-Gretchen

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life!

My seeds are sprouting! Yay!

I planted these seeds about a week ago. They are almost ready to go in the ground. I started them indoors to give them a chance to grow strong before I put them outside.

Sprouting: broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, peas, sunflowers and tomatoes. I also have basil, chives and rosemary in these fiber pots, but they arent sprouting yet.

Today looks like rain. Im going to prepare the soil for the beds today and hopefully it will get a good drink before I put the seedlings in a few days from now.

The rest of the day will be spent indoors. Im working on some all natural beauty and household cleaning products. After all of my reading, I realized that practically everything we use, from shampoo to laundry soap, has nasty chemicals in them and I dont want to use them anymore. Just last night, I looked at the back of my foaming anti-bacterial hand soap... it contains Triclosan! Yup.... not good at all.

I have made some Laundry soap and it works great, not to mention being soooo much cheaper than regular laundry detergent. It seems to me that most people think that "green" products dont work as well as natural... But Im finding just the opposite! My hemp body wash leaves my skin (and Layla's) feeling smooth and soft and it smells great. Not to mention the obvious lack of harsh chemicals and all that bad stuff.

Ive started a new Etsy shop to share my formulations with anyone who wants them. Have a look! Its good for you! Clearwater Naturals

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!
-Gretchen

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Setting up the Raised Garden Beds

Monday, I layed the groundwork for my garden.
Im having trouble with my card reader so Ive adding stock pictures until I can fix it.. or find my camera cord... sorry!

I started by going to Lowes to get the boards to make a raised bed. As I was wandering around the garden center, I stumbled on some raised bed "kits". They consist of 4 planks the set into each other to make a 4'x4' frame for the beds. One 4x4 section can be broken down into 16 one foot sections, so I bought 2 of the bed kits. They cost $69 each. A little on the pricey side but you could always just buy the boards and build them yourself. Being that I have no man to do the hard work for me at the moment.. I chose the easy way out.

Wait did I say easy?? Not all of it. Good thing I took the truck to Lowes because I ended up getting 8 bags of Organic Compost and 6 bags of Organic Soil. These are not light! After digging out the ground (my backyard is very slanted) to set the bed frames.. it was all I could muster to get the compost bags out of the truck, one by one, and into the beds.

Oh how I wish Bryan was here to do the heavy lifting! But, hey, maybe I'll lose some weight doing this. Heavy lifting, walking with the weight, digging in the dirt... fresh air...

Its been a little chilly here lately so I am waiting for a sunny day to add the soil to the beds and test the soil. More on that later.

I'm also starting my seeds inside to make sure they are strong before I put them in the ground. I've seen conflicting opinions on whether I should have started them earlier or not, but this is a "live and learn" experience for me. More on that later as well.

Also more on my trip to the shamefully lacking farmers market here in town and oiur surprising stocked Wal-mart trip.... later. I am learning alot very quickly so I need to spread things out to give you something to read!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A New Project... for a Good Reason!

I've been at the point in my life where I just knew something big was about to happen. I didnt know what it was, but I knew it was coming.

I've always known that most of the foods we eat are just terrible for our health. I've known that the meat is unclean, the fruits and veggies are tainted with pesticides and harmful chemicals. But it wasn't until a few days ago that I made the decision to do something about it for my family. I watched the documentary, Food Inc., and it really opened my eyes. Knowing the food is bad is not as real as seeing and seeing the way you need to go from there.

I havent bought meat in a long time as it is. With the exception when Bryan was home on leave. I just dont like meat. Every once in a while I want a good steak, but other than that, it doesnt appetize me at all. Trust me. I am in no way one of those people who are all about animal rights and what-not. I believe that God put certain animals on this Earth the provide food for His children. But His children have ruined that source for the most part, and until I can find wholesome, clean meat... We just wont use it. Period. No chicken nuggets, no burgers, no sloppy joes... its just not worth putting the chemicals into our bodies!

The things that we do eat, I will be buying as much Organic as I possibly can. For certain; milk, eggs, bread, cheese, fruits and veggies. I know that this will be quite a change from our normal, junk food life. But it is neccesary! This is a commitment to the health of my familiy, mostly Layla as she is the most vulnerable to the garbage in what she eats.

This blog is changing its direction. It will serve as a journal to track my progress on all things organic and green. I will also do my best to help you do the same with fun, easy ways to make your life more healthy. Anything new that I learn, I will share here. Certainly, my blgo will be flooded with information that I find!!

Im Excited!!! Are you? Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have. I would be happy to help you find the answer, and learn for myself along the way. I will still be posting family life things and happenings at Prettylittlepearl, so stick around for that too.

Here are some links to the books Ive been reading to help you see what I now see...

Do One Green Thing - A great book with easy , clean instructions on what to buy and what not to buy when it comes to green living. I carry this book in my purse!

The Omnivore's Dilemma - In depth research on where our food comes from.

I'm sure there will be more books... but these are what Im working on at the moment.

Thanks for sticking around. I hope this blog will help us all live greener, healthier lives. If not for ourselves, for our children!

-Gretchen

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Im in a Band!


Well, not really...



These are my results from a super awesome game they are playing over at http://shrimpsaladcircus.blogspot.com/.... Hop on over and play along!