Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back on 2011 & Forward to 2012

2011 has been a year of ups and downs for me.
And I'm so grateful for all of you who have stuck with me through it all.

2010 ended with a nursing diploma.
And you guys encouraged me when I worried myself about my NCLEX (nursing license test).
You celebrated with me when I found out I passed and was a legit RN!

Not So Homemade got on facebook.
And most of us discovered a new addiction... Pinterest!

You guys listened when I vented about things like bad drivers and awful cheer moms.
You were excited with me about buying my first home!

And lastly, I can't tell you enough how much support I had during my time of hiding.
Breakups are never easy and every encouraging comment and email really lifted my spirits.

And since I've never officially announced it...
My boyfriend and I got back together in September!
3 months apart.
Although we aren't calling it a "break up".
More like a 3 month long fight.
And I hated every second of it.
But I feel like things are much better now.


So thank you.
Thank you to every single person out there that reads my blog
Thanks for being there through every happy, and unfortunately sad, moment.



Ok, ok, enough sappy stuff Courtney!

I thought we'd review some of the top viewed posts from 2011...
So here it goes!


Updated Bulletin Board


IHOP Cinn-a-stack Pancake Recipes Round-Up


Birth Info Subway Art


Easy Fleece Scarf







Ok now here's my blog new year's resolutions...

-blog more. don't let there be weeks between posts. try for at least once, if not more, a week.
-start what's cooking wednesday back up. and be consistent with it.
-post more projects.
-meet more blogger friends.
-do more blog designs. and timely.
-have a great year :)

And coming VERY soon is an AMAZING giveaway!
You guys are going to LOVE it!

Do you have any blog new year's resolutions?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic and blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Whip Out that Crochet Hook

So if you caught my post the other day, I shared with you one of Nichole's B-Day gifts.

And I promised to share more of her gifts with you guys!
So here we go :)

The first thing I made was a crocheted headband with a flower.


I used patterns found at Creative Yarn {lots of great patterns here!}.

I didn't follow quite exactly.
I modified because my hook wasn't the same size.

I used the heather gray yarn I used to make my beginner's crocheted headband.


Then I just kinda played around with this purple yarn I had to make this flower.
I used the first flower headband as a guideline so I'm editing her instructions as to what I did.


I'll try to remember how I did it for you guys...

Ch 4, join to make ring with sl st.
Round 1: ch3 (count as dc), 7 dc in ring,sl st to third ch of beg. ch3. (8 dc)
Round 2: ch3 (count as dc), dc in same space as joining, *2dc in next dc*. Repeat from * around, sl st to third ch of beg. ch3. (16 dc)
Round 3: *ch8, skip next 1 dc, sc in next dc*. Repeat from * around ending with sl st to previous joining st.


If you follow those instructions, you should end up with 8 petals.
Not 7 like me.
Since I can't count.

Anyways, I just slipped in a clip so it can be worn in the hair.
Or you could attach a pin to make a brooch.


This was also something Nichole had pinned.
I figured I could make it.

Source: etsy.com via Nic on Pinterest



I found an old typewriter font online.
Got on Photoshop and made the image.
Printed it on photo paper.

Then I had a white frame with no glass that I slipped it in.
Done.
It's not exactly the same but I think she liked it :)
{sorry... forgot to take a picture}

If I don't talk to you guys before then...
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

London Canvas Photo Key/Jewelry Rack

So this past Sunday was el bff's b-day!
Woooo!
Saturday we commenced Operation Party All Day Long.
Well, for a few hours anyways.
I'm super impatient and couldn't wait to give her her present.
All handmade stuff!

Here's one of her gifts:



{there were others, but I'll show you those later!}


Wanna see how I made it?
I couldn't post the tutorial until after I gave it to her :)

For the photo on a canvas part, I followed this tutorial HERE over at Little Bit Funky.

First I cut out my 8.5 x 11 piece of tissue paper.


Then I ironed it with my flat iron on about medium heat.
Yea, I used my flat iron.... deal with it.
I don't own a regular iron yet, what do you expect me to do?


I scoured the internet for a black and white photo of London.
Nichole is a big fan of London!
I found an image on Deviant Art {all credit for the photo go to Leanne Hailer}.
I added some words {using the "eight fifteen" font from KevinandAmanda}
Then I ran it through my printer (an HP Photosmart All-in-One).
First print?
Epic. Fail.


So I replaced my color cartridge and...
VOILA!
Photo on tissue paper!

I was a little skeptical... I didn't think it would work.
But it turned out great!
Just handle it carefully and let it dry!

Then I mod-podged it to an 8x10 canvas.
In the tutorial, she trims it, but I just wrapped it down the sides of the canvas.


I then added a layer of Mod-Podge on top.
It kinda smeared the ink a little, giving it a greenish tint.
But I liked the effect.


Then I predrilled holes for the hooks and put those in.
Kinda like my jewelry rack and key rack.


You can still see my unfinished edges, so then I glued some black fabric around the edges.


And now it's finished!



Happy B-day Nichole!



On a different note, Christmas is WEARING. ME. OUT.
I'm STILL not done shopping.
I know.
Slacker.

Are you ready for Christmas?



DIY Club

Link

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Swaddle Your Baby Like a Pro Using Blankets

Working in a NICU, I swaddle A LOT of babies.

You figure this...
On average, I take care of 3 babies a shift.
We feed them and change them every 3 hours.
That's 12 swaddles a shift.
Not including if they spit up or I have to change them again.
That's 36 swaddles a week.
That's about 144 swaddles a month.
That's 1872 swaddles a year!
Whew.... that's a lot of swaddling.

When I first started, I was TERRIBLE at swaddling.
I just couldn't do it.
I didn't have any kids of my own.
I had never swaddled a baby before.
But everyone worked to teach me and I feel I'm pretty good now.
And I teach parents on a daily basis.

And today, I wanted to share the "how to" on swaddling with you guys.



First, let's cover the why of swaddling babies....
Swaddling works best in the first month of life.
Especially if your baby was premature.
It helps to make them feel secure.
In mommy's belly, they were snug and contained.
If you just lay them down, their arms and legs can go everywhere.
Swaddling gives them that comforting, secure feeling.
It also helps keep their hands near their face, which they like, without having them open.
This is especially helpful if your baby likes to scratch or something.

But remember, it's not a forever thing.
You can't swaddle your 14 year old when they start talking back.
As much as you want to :)

First, get your materials.
Baby (or baby doll if you don't have a baby-everyone meet my doll I've had since I was a baby... she's seen better days.)
Blankets- 2 preferably, but you can work with 1 (the hospital blankets or receiving blankets work best... not too big... or in my case, scrap fabric since I don't have any small blankets)


Now some blankets are square, but the blankets may be rectangular.
That's fine, I'll show you how to work with rectangular blankets.
Turn down one corner of the blanket, as shown.
You want it turned down enough to where your babies hands can comfortably tuck inside without wiggling out.


You should now have an almost diamond shape, with 3 corners.
You have the bottom corner and 2 side corners.
If your blanket is rectangular, one of your sides will be smaller than the other (this is fine).

Gently lay your baby centered over the folded edge.
Their neck should be even with the line.


Next, carefully tuck one hand under the folded corner.
If you're using a rectangular blanket, always start with the short side first.

Here's what I'm talking about with the short side for rectangle blankets:
See how the left side is smaller than the right?


Ok got the arm tucked in?
Great!
Now carefully bring that corner (the short corner) across the baby and tuck into their opposite side.
Their hand should tuck in up towards their face.
You want them snug, not smothered.
Snug enough that they can't wiggle out but not so tight they can't breathe!

Alright, got them snug?
Now bring that bottom corner up and tuck it into that same side the corner is tucked into.
Make sure their feet get covered and tucked in.


Ok, now repeat with that other hand, tucking it snugly under the folded edge.


Now bring that final side corner across the baby, making sure the hand is near the face, all the way around.
You'll probably need to pick the baby up for this part.
Now doesn't she look so much more content already?


Now take another blanket and fold it hamburger style if you have a smaller baby and then fold the folded edge down a little more so it's a good length for the baby.
Wrap if carefully around the baby.
If your baby is bigger, you may want to fold it hotdog style so you have more to wrap around them


Swaddling makes it so much easier to hold your baby!
I suggest this method...

Change their diaper first.
Then swaddle.
Then feed.

This way, when the fall asleep, you don't have to wake them up to change them or anything.
Just lay them down to sleep.
Unless they dirtied themselves while eating.
It's something about a clean diaper that makes them want to dirty it up.

Anyways.... remember....

ALWAYS lay your baby on his/her back or side (NO TUMMIES) to prevent SIDS.


But when your baby is awake, be sure to give them "tummy time".
Let them lay on their bellies while awake and SUPERVISE them.
This allows them to start building those muscles to pick up their head and crawl.

Ok I hope this tutorial can help someone wanting to swaddle their baby!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sleeplessness & Super Simple Christmas Stockings

Dear consecutive night shifts where I work 7 pm to 7 am,

You're messing with my sleep schedule.
It's 1:09 am.
I should be asleep.

And I just used to work "sleeplessness" in my post title.
Is that even a word?
Apparently it is.
I googled it.
"a temporary state in which you are unable (or unwilling) to sleep"
AKA insomnia.
But it's the most ridiculously long word I've ever used in a title before.
And speaking of my title.
It's quite the tongue twister.
Try saying that 10 times fast.

It's not that I'm unwilling to sleep.
I've just only been awake since about 2 this past afternoon.
Not even 12 hours awake yet.

So please, can I have my sleep schedule back?
Pretty please?
With sugar on top?

Sincerely,

A Strict Morning Person being forced to become a Night Owl


Yep.
I just don't feel tired.
So I thought I'd blog a little.
So please ignore my random ramblings.

It's 1:16 am now.
I'm allowed to be a little more crazy than normal.
Plus one of those creepy movie trailers just came on the tv.
While I'm home alone.
In the middle of the night.
Not to mention some neighbor of mine was cutting some stuff with a saw a few hours ago at 11 pm.


Ok, Courtney. Nobody wants to listen to your jabbering. Get on with the post now.

Dang.
Thanks inner voices for getting me back on track.


Anyways, I had been on the hunt for the perfect Christmas stockings.
I wanted something cute that would match my colors.
But not cost an arm and a leg.
And I couldn't find anything I wanted.
{insert whining, feet stomping, pouting}

So, whatever, I said.
I'll make something myself!

And here's what I came up with....



First I got some of those cheap 97 cent stockings from Walmart.
Kinda ugly, but has potential.


Since my colors are red and lime green, I knew I needed to incorporate that green more.
I bought some green fabric from Walmart.
Then I simply sewed it over the white portion.
I folded the green over the top and sewed around the rim.
I also sewed the ends down the side.
You could probably hot glue the fabric down too if you didn't want to sew it.
Please ignore my wrinkled fabric.
Blame it on the fact that I don't own an iron yet.


The next thing I did was hot glue some polka dot ribbon to merge the two colors.


At this point I was super excited how they were turning out, but they needed a little more.
So I made some rolled felt flowers and glued them to the stocking.
They remind me of holly berries too!


And voila!
I now have stockings on my mantle!



Well, I think sitting here typing this helped settle me down.
So I'm going to go crawl into bed for a nice rest :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Free Shipping on Just 4 Fun Jewelry Orders

What? Huh? Me?

No I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

Christmas time is just super busy!

But for putting up with me, I wanted to offer you guys, my readers, FREE shipping on all orders placed at Just 4 Fun Jewelry etsy shop :)


Where you can get vintage jewelry like this:



Or this:



And we have special handmade jewelry, like this:



And this:



Check out the shop for more jewelry!
These pieces make GREAT Christmas presents!

For your free shipping, enter this discount code at checkout:


FREESHIP12




My mom custom makes all of the handmade jewelry you see!
And she does an AMAZING job, if I do say so myself :)
Let us know if you have any custom jewelry needs!


And an early happy b-day to her (her birthday is Friday!).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

CABOCHON!

Guess who picked up a new hobby?

I'm so excited! This was my first batch. Just pulled them out the molds today.

Now I need more colors! All I've got is red dye so far :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder & 11/30 What's Cooking Wednesday

So I don't know about where you guys are at, but it's COLD here in Louisiana.
Of course, my cold is probably nothing compared to you "northerners".
You're probably thinking I'm a wimp.
But it was 62 degrees in my house when I woke up the other day.
Yep... the heat came on that day (my first time to turn on the heat in my house).
Right now, highs are in the 60s, lows in the 30s.
What's the weather like where you are?

Anyways, the cold weather is seriously wrecking me.
I've been sick for over a week now.
Started with a little sore throat.
Then a cough.
Then severe congestion.
Luckily I only lost my ability to taste for 1 day.

Well, one of the days I was sick I really wanted some soup.
I really enjoyed that broccoli soup I recently made.
But I wanted something different... a little variety.

So I played off of that recipe, and searching online, to make my own recipe.
And this recipe is DELICIOUS!
Now I didn't even think about taking pictures as I went (blame the sickness).
But I do have a few of the finished project :)

Ok, enough teasing... without further ado...

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder


Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion {chopped}
4 garlic cloves {minced}

2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups white wine
1/2 cup half & half
1 cup milk

your choice of vegetables {chopped}
{I used 1 head of broccoli, a handful of baby carrots, 1 tomato, 1 zucchini, 2 red potatoes}

1 onion soup mix packet
2 tbsp dried chives
salt & pepper to taste

1 cup cheddar cheese {shredded}
4 oz Velveeta cheese {diced}


Directions:

In a large pot, cook onions and garlic in olive oil until soft.
Stir often to keep garlic from burning.

Add the chicken stock, white wine, half & half, and milk.
Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped vegetables.
Here's where you can customize.
Add as many kinds and as much vegetables as you want.
Cook for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft, stirring often.
{time will vary depending on size of vegetables}

Add the onion soup mix, chives, salt, and pepper.
Cook for 5 more minutes.

Add the cheese, stir until melted.

ENJOY!



It was SO good! It made a TON of soup too!

If you make it, let me know how it turns out for you :)



Ok, for 2 week ago's What's Cooking Wednesday features.
{sorry about last week- with the holidays and being sick- it didn't mix well with cooking}


Need a DELICIOUS, warm recipe?
Check out this one for Chicken and Dumplings over at Permanent Posies!


This MexiCrescent Casserole over at Sweet Southern Home looks YUMMY!
I really want to try this recipe... I love Mexican food :)


Ooooh... Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies over at I'm Not a Trophy Wife.
They. Look. AMAZING!






Now.... It's time to see what you have been cooking up lately!

Add as many recipes as you'd like!

Look for featured ones next week too!
Your recipe could be a favorite!


Grab the NEW button and share with others!





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