Giant Wedding Dream Catcher
My daughter is getting married and we are so excited to welcome her fiancé into our family. They have plans to get married down by the beach and hopefully the weather will be beautiful that day because my daughters father-in-law to be is making a birch arbor for them to be married under with this giant wedding dream catcher hanging at the back of it behind them. This is why the dream catcher had to be big. Really big. When all was said and done this beauty measured in at 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall! Wow!
But of course none of that mattered to me as long as my little girl is happy. I made another simpler, and smaller, model that uses feathers to be hung behind their seats at the reception. Read more about DIY Giant Dreamcatcher with Feathers!
(crochet directions and more pictures below):
Hoop Crochet Center Directions:
I really don't have directions per-say, I can just give you an idea of what I did. A couple of pointers ahead of time:
- All stitches are into spaces, not into other stitches. This is important for spacing later on.
- When you are finishing up your final loops to connect, make sure you have an even number. It helps to have an even number so you can connect the loops equally around the hoop later on.
- For this reason, every row must be crocheted separately from every other row. You cannot do this pattern in the round.
- To get to the center of each loop to start the next round I would slip stitch up the side of the first hoop in the level. When all is said and done you can't even see these extra stitches. The directions for this are in row 6 below.
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Why I Freeze My Cherry Tomatoes
The only, and I mean only, tomato I grow is the cherry tomato. To be more specific, I only grow heirloom sweet 100's. They are the only kind of tomato I actually like, and to be more direct, I really only like them fresh direct from the vine when they are super red, and super sweet! However, the vines produce so many that I simply cannot eat them all fresh!
These sweet 100 cherry tomatoes are called indeterminate tomatoes. This means they take a little longer to start providing the fruit, but once they do, well, they simply don't stop! In fact, I had heard of so many people complaining that they just don't know what to do with all of them that I wrote a post called "Save All Those Cherry Tomatoes" for a list of ways to make sure that no surplus goes to waste. Even my over ripe cherry tomatoes that have split are a delicious treat for my hens!
Though I dry some, eat some fresh, and save a few to add to my favorite Cucumber Salad Recipe, I actually choose freeze the majority of them! Why? Well, to make my favorite Super Simple Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce with (you can watch a video of how it's made if you check out that link)! And boy is it simple :-)
How I Freeze Cherry Tomatoes:
I simply continue to add cherry tomatoes to the same bag as they ripen and until the bag full. I write the date on the bag when it is filled and then I move it from the kitchen freezer to the basement freezer. This just assures that I use them in date order during the winter. Simple!
Here's my super simple recipe:
NOTE: I use my frozen cherry tomatoes during the winter instead of the fresh. When blending the frozen tomatoes I simply and add some water so they blend better (Yes, I blend them frozen. No need to defrost so no planning is necessary!). This just means that the sauce has to be cooked a little longer, but believe me, it is just as delicious and it allows us to enjoy my fresh cooked cherry tomato sauce all winter long! YUM!
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preserve and save fresh fruits and vegetables
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Five 'Must-Have' Essential Oils
I believe in using natural ingredients in my daily life and that is why I strive to use essential oils whenever possible. However, I don't have a lot of different kinds of oils (Of course this is because I like to keep things as simple as possible!). So I have a basic go-to assortment of what I call my Five 'Must-Have' Essential Oils because they cover just about everything I need to use them for on a daily basis. So whether you use essential oils already, are new to them, or if you're considering getting started, then these are the five oils I personally need on a daily basis!
Feel free to download and print our FREE instruction card about the Five "Must-Have" Essential Oils and their uses! It can be found below the video:-)
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DIY Giant Crochet Dreamcatcher
This post is dedicated to two special people: my daughter since I am making it for her wedding day and my friend Patty who recently said "I want to make one for my kids room." I will be posting another giant dreamcatcher soon, however the difference is that the center is crocheted a little different and there are no feathers so the bottom part is much simpler to make!
Make the hoop and wrap it with yarn.
Crochet the center:
HINT: always do an even number of loops.
Add the fringe and feathers:
Supplies (some are affiliate links):
P.S. Sorry if some of the pictures are a little blurry - it is kinda hard to be working and snapping pictures at the same time!
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Fun Bridal Shower Games
My daughter did not want to spend any of her time opening presents during her recent bridal shower. Instead she wanted all gifts to be unwrapped so they could be set up on tables and viewed by everyone. This created a slight problem because bridal shower games were basically created so that guests are not too bored during the "present opening." I loved the idea of my daughter not opening the presents because I personally find that part of showers excruciating, but I still wanted there to be some fun games to play. Actually I needed guests to play some games because I intended to do a small auction during the party (I got that brilliant and fun idea from my sisters recent bridal shower and I loved it!).
The auction I made had about 20 gifts to give away so we gave everyone about 20 tickets as soon as they arrived. We did this simply by putting the 20 tickets in the mason jar mugs everyone would get to drink from but you could easily just hand them out which is what they did at my sisters shower. This was not enough tickets though and that is why games were necessary! Winners could earn more tickets! More tickets = more chances to win a prize gift.
NOTE: nobody would go home empty handed even if they did not win one of the auction prizes because guests could keep their mason jar mug and they also received a mini dream catcher favor - See how the mini dream catcher favors are made here!)
Affiliate Links through Amazon.com:
So basically since we needed to give out more tickets I came up with these two simple fun games (Thank you to Pinterest for the general ideas!).
The first game is a matching game of famous 'love quotes' from movies. There is a free MS Word document download below. We had a mix of ages at my daughters shower so the movies I used spread over a long period of time. Feel free to change them as you see fit and enjoy!
The second game is a multiple choice 'test' about the bride and grooms lives. again, there isI have a free download for you below (MS Word document) where you can cut and paste in your own questions and answers. Don't forget to put the brides name and the date of the shower at the top too!
Both games were given out during lunch time for the guests to collaboratively work on. Toward the end of the lunch I gave out the answers and guests graded their own answers. They were rewarded an extra ticket for every correct answer! It's all in fun so nobody checked for honesty or not, because well, who really cares?
During desert the bride pulled a ticket for each prize gift and they were distributed to the winners to take home! So simple!
Everyone had great things to say about the games and the way the shower was run. The bride to be had quality time to be with all the guests during the shower and I have had many people share with me how wonderful and relaxed everything was. In my eyes that spells S.U.C.C.E.S.S.!! But most importantly, my daughter was truly happy and enjoyed herself immensely. What more could a mother ask for?
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Just the other night someone asked me if I was planning to stay up and watch the solar eclipse that's going to occur on August 21, 2017. I didn't even have an answer. I just stared at them with open eyes and mouth....thinking.....stay up???? The science teacher in me nearly had a heart attack. Clearly this person had no idea what a solar eclipse is. If they did they would have realized that the Sun has to be in the sky so that the moon can move in front of it. This can only happen during the day. So unless they think I sleep all day, there's no reason for anyone to 'stay up' and watch it. In fact, it's going to be almost impossible NOT to watch it! And that brings me to safety.
The eclipse is going to occur on August 21, 2017, during the day, across the USA.
The Sun rises in the Western US first so this is where the first eclipse will be able to be viewed. The first total eclipse will be viewed in Oregon at 10:15 AM PST (Pacific standard time). Here in New York we should begin to see the partial at about 1:23 PM EST, and it will continue until 4:00 PM - that is 2 hours and 37 minutes smack in the middle of the day my friends. Pretty hard to miss. And pretty tempting not to look at!
Check the times for any city here: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/
And yes, a total eclipse can be viewed without protection. BUT THE PARTIAL CAN NOT. I mean, you can choose to, but that would be like committing vision suicide. Stupid choice. The partial leading up to the total, and the partial that will be viewed by the millions upon millions of people that are not in the path of total eclipse MUST be viewed safely.
Now considering that it is pretty much in the middle of a regular work day (Monday), and considering it is the summer, this means that most people, including children, will be out and about. Knowing it is human nature to be curious (especially children) it is extra important to be prepared. Whether you will be picking the kids up from camp, hanging out at the beach, or simply barbecuing dinner in the backyard YOU KNOW HOW TEMPTING IT WILL BE TO LOOK UP. So please, look up safely!
Here's why you need to look safely:
Remember looking at the Sun and then seeing black spots? Or how about temporary blindness when some idiot flashes his brights in your eyes at night? Why do welders need to wear special eye protection? Basically, the rods and cones in your eyes get over excited from bright lights and it takes a few seconds to minutes (longer, maybe never, if you looked at arc welding light) for your eyes to adjust back to normal. Watch this educational video for more detail:
So what does that have to do with an eclipse? Well, you are still looking at the Sun, and probably more often for a longer period of time in order to watch the eclipse. NASA's website states: "The solar radiation that reaches the surface of Earth ranges from ultraviolet (UV) radiation at wavelengths longer than 290 nm to radio waves in the meter range. The tissues in the eye transmit a substantial part of the radiation between 380 and 1400 nm to the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. While environmental exposure to UV radiation is known to contribute to the accelerated aging of the outer layers of the eye and the development of cataracts, the concern over improper viewing of the Sun during an eclipse is for the development of "eclipse blindness" or retinal burns."
Bottom line: view the partial eclipse safely. Check out NASA's page about when and why.
Oh, and using a filter for your eyes and then looking through a camera, telescope, or binoculars that doesn't have its own filter is a huge NO NO. Your eyes will not be protected enough. The device must have it's own special, approved, filter because of the magnification. So be smart and do your research!
Here's a few ways to view the eclipse safely with your eyes:
NOTE: even with these precautions do not stare constantly at the eclipse. Look, then look away. You need to continuously give your eyes a break.
A Few things NOT to do:
Enjoy the solar eclipse safely. It will be worth it!
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My new thing lately is making dream catchers. My daughter decided that she wanted a giant dream catcher for her wedding day and that was the beginning of my 'dream catcher' research! That led to the absolute first, and largest dream catcher I have made to date (post coming soon)! Since then I have made many more out of many different types of materials but my absolute favorite are all the dream catchers made out of what would normally be thrown out as garbage (or recycled depending upon where you live). I came up with this idea out of a need to make a lot of similar dream catchers as favors for my daughters bridal shower, and I think I need to pat myself on my back because, well, I absolutely love the way they came out! But you be the judge :-)
Completed Dimensions of Dream Catchers: Approximately 2" wide x 7" long (including loop to hang it)
FREE PRINTABLE (and editable) LABELS BELOW!
P.S. I know this is a lot of pictures so I am sorry ahead of time!
(see pictures, links, and prices at very bottom of post for affiliate link supplies)
Video "How-TO" (pictorial directions below):
FREE PRINTABLE TAG LABELS:
The two sides are separate so you can choose to just do one side, for example, just the "Dream saying" side. They are also MS Word documents so that you can edit as needed as far as the date and the name for the bridal shower side. Definitely do a trial on white paper if you are printing both sides so that you can tweak the positioning as needed. These were my final prints so they should be good but you never know.
Pictorial Directions :
Check out this simple picture for how to weave the center part http://www.craftsforkids.com/projects/dream_catchers.htm
I have to say that everyone loved these and my daughter was so excited over them! So not only are they repurposing plastic, but they are something nice that are small enough to be hung anywhere!
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Hi there! I'm Kathie, the author behind Creating A Simpler Life blog. I'm excited to share our longterm projects (and planning) toward building our future retirement homestead in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. In the meantime I will be sharing all the other little things we do that are part of creating our simpler life!