Monday, December 9, 2013

New Website

OK, so I finally did it. I started a new website! You can visit here: The Blueberry Bee. I want you to know that all won't be lost when this blog is deleted. Any pertinent content, as well as tutorial uploads will be made visible on the website. I'm probably most excited about the addition of a print button, so that you can freely print recipes & free patterns without hassle. I'll be leaving this blog in play until after the first of the year, but I won't be adding anything new. All new offerings will be on the website. Thanks! Have a great holiday season!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Easy Soap Pump Cozy Tutorial

Cozies are all the rage. You can find patterns for cozies for just about anything, from coffee mugs to mason jars and a whole lot more. This project is easy, inexpensive, fun. Use colors to match the decor of your home or simply make a statement. Everyone will wonder where you got these. . . and you can proudly say, "I made them."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Bow Wreath

This project idea came to me suddenly, as I was trying to decorate for Christmas. Usually, the kids & I don't get started decorating until it's almost too late to enjoy it. And, quite frankly, I just wasn't in the mood last year. We were all still grieving over my Father-In-Law's passing, so the holidays didn't hold as much cheer for any of us. This year will still be hard, especially for my husband & Mother-In-Law, but the kids & I seem more able to get into the Christmas spirit. 

I've been in a Christmas music buying frenzy. I got a Bing Crosby CD (because I'm not sure what happened to the old one), Mannheim Steamroller, The Chipmunks, & 3 Harps for Christmas, Volume 1. I'm really happy about the 3 Harps CD. If you haven't heard it, you should give it a try. It's very pleasant & soothing. It's not down at all, though. It's lively & upbeat with that Christmas-y twinkle you would expect from a fine harp player (Sylvia Woods). I purchased mine through Amazon, but you can find it on iTunes, as well. I also purchased the second volume & downloaded it to my iPhone, so I can have it wherever I go. This is arguably the best Christmas music I have ever owned! I plan to listen to it often, especially mixing it in with The Chipmunks & Francesca Battistelli while we decorate the tree!

So, I wanted an easy fix for my front door & came up with this. I hope you enjoy it, as it's easy, quick, inexpensive, & fun. To keep it on the cheap, you could skip the plastic canvas & use cardboard instead. It would be a bit sturdier, too! Add jingle bells, ribbon, glitter, or whatever you can come up with. You could even do lots of them & have a Christmas fund-raiser -- a great way to raise money for your church or favorite charitable organization. Have a great Christmas!


We finally did it! Our first vacation in 10 years! I don't think we'll ever be the same. We had so much fun, except on the narrow mountain roads that never seemed to have an end! So I took some pictures & I'm sharing them with you. Enjoy!

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013

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Image The Blueberry Bee 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

An Apple for the Teacher

Here's a cute & quick little gift for any teacher in your life.

Cherry Coconut Dumpling

I had a mind to come up with something tasty the other day. So I went to my cabinet & pulled out some different things. This is what I came up with. (You can find the whole recipe sans pictures on the "Recipes" page.) Everyone in my family enjoyed it. This recipe is enough for 6 average appetites, but it really depends on what size portions you're used to. It weighs in at about 240 calories per serving (based on 6 servings).

Cherry Coconut Dumpling
A Crock Pot Dessert by The Blueberry Bee

Gather your ingredients:
1 can (20 oz.) cherry pie filling (mine was light)
1 can Pillsbury Grands Jr. Honey Biscuits
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice

Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces.
(My cutting board looks pretty rough, I know. It's stained from making play dough.)

 Place all the ingredients into the crock pot & combine well.

Put the lid on & turn it on low for about an hour.

Serve it up with some vanilla ice cream or sweet cream. 
Mmmmm. . . delicious!

If you don't know what sweet cream is, you're missing out! It's really good over cobblers & dumplings. To make it, simply combine a can of evaporated milk 
(or a small carton of heavy cream) with about 1/2 cup of sugar. 
I pour mine into a canning jar & shake, shake, shake! 

This recipe was a winner in my house & I hope it will be in yours, too.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Merry Mouse Ornament Tutorial

I think you'll agree, this little mouse is one of the cutest things ever! It's really inexpensive & fun! Get the kids involved & you'll have a whole colony invading your home in no time!

You can get more mouse ideas

here: Felt Mice

here: Mouse Crafts

& here: Mice, Mice, Mice!

There. That ought to be enough to keep you going!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Thanks

So it's nearly Thanksgiving & I'm really not sure where the Summer went! I know I've been busy, but I feel as though I have awakened from a deep sleep only to find that time has passed by.

I am reminded that time is short. Every person is placed here by God, with only the days that God gives them. Do we know how many days we are blessed with? No, but we can redeem the time by living for the Lord the best we know how. Living for Him will not leave us disappointed, rather will assure us that our lives are not lived in vain.

Thanksgiving is so much more than sitting down to a meal with family & friends. It is giving back to the One who gave us these moments together. It is appreciating what He has freely given us in His Son, Jesus -- and that is life, life eternal, life free from fear, life free from regret, life full, fervent, & hopeful. We have this life because of His sacrifice. And we are called to remember His death & resurrection, His grace & mercy, as well as the great sacrifices of our forefathers, who came to this great country in search of religious freedom. They knew they could not worship God fully under the dictates of a self-righteous king, so they came in search of freedom to worship the King of Kings.

I am reminded that those who came before us were willing to give it all. Many of them died that very first winter, but those who survived left for us a legacy. Let us not forget, but be thankful.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Little Birdie Told Me

Well, to be honest, it wasn't actually a bird that told me. I got this written tutorial from All Free Christmas Crafts, which sent me here Abby's blog.

Let me tell you, Abby is one crafty chick! Check out her blog A Feathered Nest. You'll definitely come away with the inspiration to do something!

So here goes -- my version of Abby's beautiful birdie ornaments. . .drum roll please.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Travel Sewing Kit

Here's a quick & cute idea for anyone in your life who sews. They make great stocking stuffers, too!

Get Martha's easy project guide here: Make a Small Decorative Sewing Kit.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Winter Mittens Ornament Tutorial

Here's my newest offering in the video tutorial world. This cute pair of mittens will hang so nicely on my Christmas tree, but I couldn't make just one -- I made three! So naturally I gave them to 3 of my 4 favorite people in all the world. And they loved them! I hope you will, too.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Stitch Fix

A while back, I did an internet search about how to choose my clothing. I used to be good at choosing stylish clothes, but I was 10 lbs. lighter, too! So I read a blog post about Stitch Fix (sorry -- I can't remember who wrote it). After some time deciding, I gave it a go.

Well, my 5 pieces arrived and I have to say, I really liked all but one. Really?

I didn't know what to expect, but found myself falling in love with Stitch Fix.

Each piece was hand-picked especially for my by my own personal stylist. What?

So now, I'm a Stitch Fixer for as long as they're around. I hate shopping for myself! I can't stand to look at myself in those dressing room mirrors, & if I don't try on the items in the store, I get home and feel like I have to keep them because it's too much trouble & too far to go to take them back!

They do charge a $20 stylist's fee, but if you keep your items, it is credited toward your purchase. You can check out online, and if you decide not to keep something, they include a mailing bag (postage paid).

I haven't convinced myself it's a good idea to sign up for a monthly "fix" yet, but I love the flexibility they offer to schedule one when it's convenient for me. It can't get better than that, except maybe for them to do a Kids' Stitch Fix. Ha!

So here's a link, if you want to check out what they have to offer:

You won't be sorry -- this is awesomeness in the making fixing!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Homemade toothpaste like salty cake with a side of bum wipes, anyone?

So lately I've been trying to do more making & crafting for myself, instead of buying so much stuff. You know, I figured that we spend roughly $200 a year just on toilet paper. Are you kidding? That's a lot for something you soil & flush!

So I got an idea from Sara's blog post about Toilet Cloth. I had some old fleece left over from a project for my kids, plus a blanket that one of my kids cut a hole in. So I cut all that fleece up, and Baby, I ended up with oodles of what we call "Bum Wipes"! By now I was hooked. What else could I get rid of, or at least buy less of?

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013

So I checked out some of Sara's other posts, like Reusable Disinfecting Wipes (Everyone's got some old t-shirts hangin' around, right?)

No Sew Cloth Napkins (This one, I had kind of already done, but with the sewing, and backed the fabric with a pack of cheap white washcloths I bought at Wal-Mart.)

And Cloth "Paper" Towels (I haven't tried this one. . . yet.) Sara had lots of other great tips, but this is enough to start on, right? Wrong!

After using Wen (which I loved, but it got too expensive), Biolage by Matrix, and other shampoos that promise good things. I was feeling jaded & without a go-to for my dry, frizzy hair. My hair also has a lot of gray in it (and I'm only in my thirties - it's hereditary), but I refuse to color it because it will end up worse than before!

So, by Sara's recommendation, I visited "Empowered Sustenance" & tried Lauren G's Honey Shampoo. Love it! The first day, I could tell a BIG difference. My hair was so soft. My wiry grays. . . not wiry! So I've been using it for 4 days now. Hair is still shiny. No scalp flakiness. No ill effects. Just clean, heavenly-scented hair. Tangles? Nope. Wide-tooth comb glides smoothly through the locks. I did change the recipe a hair (no pun intended), by adding some Tea Tree E.O. & Lavender E.O.

The other thing I've done is started making my own toothpaste. You can make a gob of it for next to nothing! I used Trisch's recipe (check out the video here), and tweaked it a bit. My daughter & I did some mixing in the kitchen & came up with a recipe that tastes a lot like salty cake. = ) We added vanilla, Stevia, & cinnamon to the mix & doubled the amount of coconut oil. Even my kids like the toothpaste -- and that's saying something!

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Robin's posts on Homemade Laundry Soap
Toxic-Free Bathroom and Vanessa Brady's Body Wash. Am I obsessing? Absolutely not! Well, maybe just a little. But I feel entitled. With the expanding technology these days and machines that can take the place of an actual human in the workplace, why must we feel stuck in the days of harsh chemical cleaners and things we know are not healthy for our bodies. . . did I hear someone say refined sugar & corn syrup? Just because that's the way it's been done for generations doesn't mean it's the best way.

God gives us common sense & expects us to use it. Not only that, He has called us to be good stewards, not only of the world around us, but of our families, our time, our money, and our bodies (which are His temple, after all). So let's take care.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Project Noah

Today I'm all into "Project Noah." Have you heard of it? Well, with my new iPhone, I was able to get hold of some really neat apps, including the "Project Noah" app for FREE!

Basically, it's a way to document wildlife all around you, wherever you go. People all over the world are getting involved. The information you supply is shared by all users and gives aid to scientists and conservationists.

I think it's such a neat idea -- it even has a special log-in for students & teachers! Joining missions & earning patches (think Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts merit badges) is only part of the fun. There are discussion boards, too, where you can connect with other nature enthusiasts. To top it all off, you can even create your own mission(s).

I just had to -- couldn't resist. So here's my mission info:

name: Southeastern Home School Nature Walk

mission statement:  This mission is for any home school family interested in documenting the nature that surrounds us on a daily basis. Take a nature walk and document as much wildlife as you can. Enjoy God's creation, get some exercise & fresh air, and learn at the same time. Let's get walking!

Sound corny? It's really not -- it's heaps of fun & it'll have you looking at the world around you like you never have before! So c'mon, grab your friends & family and let's go take a walk!

Image Copyright The Blueberry Bee 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall Decorating

Here are some pictures of how I have decorated my home this Fall. Last year, I didn't do much. I've been battling depression & even Christmas was a stretch. This year, I'm feeling better & I'm decorating like crazy! 

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013
I've had this wreath for my front door for a few years. It usually gets prime time, 'cuz it's usually the only thing I put out! =)
Image The Blueberry Bee 2013

This is my mantel -- simple, yet elegant & fun! Note the squirrel to the left of the pumpkin. =)

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013
Image The Blueberry Bee 2013
 These adorn my bookshelf. I haven't got a candle . . .yet! Isn't that sad? These & the mantel pumpkin were gifts from my mom. = )

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013
I made an appliqued & quilted table runner for my kitchen this year (took me a couple days). And then I added a canning jar ring pumpkin. (The original idea was not mine, though. I saw it on Google+. Sorry I don't know where the original idea came from -- super cute, though!) 

I tied about 20 canning rings together & rolled some brown print fabric for the stem -- just poked it down in the middle. Then I added a couple of crocheted leaves that I made. Voila! A neat silver pumpkin for the table.

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013
This hangs by our most-used door. You know, the one we exit to put shoes on. =)

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013
This "Welcome" pumpkin-shaped sign (Michael's Art Store) hangs on the outside of our door. Don't tell me, I already know -- the door looks terrible & needs to be replaced. Another time, another day. 
= (

There are so many neat items, ideas, & projects for this time of year. Have fun decorating!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What do you say when you don't know what to say?

I just read this quote today.
"My daughter, Grace, was not killed by a gun. She died suddenly at age 5 from a virulent form of strep. As I stood stunned in a church at her memorial, one of the hardest things I heard someone say was, 'I'm going to go home and hug my child a little tighter.' 'Well, good for you,' I thought.' 'I'm going to go home and scream.' "                       -- Ann Hood

That's tough isn't it? How many times, I wonder, have I said something that sent shockwaves through someone without meaning to.

Trying to say the right thing always is impossible.

Making everyone happy is impossible.

So what do you say when you don't know what to say?

Nothing. Simple? Not really. It's hard to have nothing to say, because I feel that I'm not being sensitive if I don't have the right words to say to someone, especially if they are really hurting. In my mind, I'm letting them down.

The best advice I ever got was from my husband. He told me, "If you don't know what to do, just don't do anything." That's good advice, and it also works for words. Now I'm not as concerned with not knowing what to do or say -- I just don't do or say anything.

Sometimes the best we can offer someone who is hurting is a hug, our presence, a listening ear, and a silent prayer to God.




What do you think? What do you do when you don't know what to do? What do you say when you don't know what to say?
My daughter, Grace, was not killed by a gun. She died suddenly at age 5 from a virulent form of strep. As I stood stunned in a church at her memorial, one of the hardest things I heard someone say was, 'I'm going to go home and hug my child a little tighter.' 'Well, good for you,' I thought. 'I'm going to go home and scream.'

My daughter, Grace, was not killed by a gun. She died suddenly at age 5 from a virulent form of strep. As I stood stunned in a church at her memorial, one of the hardest things I heard someone say was, 'I'm going to go home and hug my child a little tighter.' 'Well, good for you,' I thought. 'I'm going to go home and scream.'


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Newest Thing

My first sewing pattern. Aren't you proud of me?

Well, I've done it again. As if I didn't have enough things I enjoy doing -- I'm adding another to the list. I have begun making my own sewing patterns. I hold a B.S. in Home Economics (no wise cracks, please), and wanted to teach it -- until I graduated and found out it was being phased out of schools.

I use my education every day, so it's not wasted. But I never really got to teach it -- until now! YouTube is my new favorite tool, besides my blog, for getting my how-to's out there. They may not be great or super clear, but I'm working on that, one tute at the time.

I'm focusing on easy, quick, fun beginner sewing patterns. When I was a beginner, I was very impatient to see my work completed. My teacher (the best there is) was not of the same opinion, however. She is one of those people who will take as much time as she needs to make whatever she's working on perfect.

My Mom was that way, too. I remember nights that she would stay up into the wee hours of the morning sewing clothes for me. Unfortunately, she doesn't sew anymore. =( Mom has Alzheimer's Disease. It's wrecking me mentally and emotionally. I want Mom, you know? Want her here with me, encouraging me, laughing with me, playing with my kids, and helping me along the way. She was always my biggest fan, until I got married. My hubby is the best! But Mom runs a close second. And I love her so much!

So I hope you will tune in. I've been trying to upload a new tutorial once a week, but I may have to play around with the timing a bit. Home life has been really busy and I've been focused on writing patterns, so I haven't had as much time to turn out my tutes.

See how happy I am that you're watching my tutorials?

My patterns will be available to the public in my Etsy shop: Come on over & check it out! I have crochet patterns available, too!

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Refreshing Change

Image Copyright The Blueberry Bee 2011

I don't know about you, but I am enjoying this change in the weather. Don't get me wrong, every season has something to love, but I'm kind of glad to be moving on to cooler days & nights. The changing leaves and the fresh snap to the air make Fall one of my four favorite seasons. How about you?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Febreze vs. Smoke

Well, today I put my Febreze with Gain freshening spray to the test! I bought a trial size bottle for my vehicle, but it ended up in my house. I was tending the fire in my garden -- you know burning up old sunflower stems and dried grass.

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The smoke kept following me around. So I drenched my clothes with Febreze when I came inside. It helped, but did not remove the entire smell. =(  

Image The Blueberry Bee 2013

I was really hoping it would, but I still have a faint smoke smell to my clothes. My hair -- well, that's another story. =)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Heart Pincushion

Make up a few of these as Christmas gifts, Valentine's gifts, or even for Charity. They make great basket fillers, too! The best part is that they are quick & easy to make -- great for beginning sewers!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lotion Quick Tip

Out of conditioner? Hair got the frizzies? Grab your favorite lotion, squirt some into your hands, rub together, and spread onto your hair. It will add luster & tame that mane in a hurry! This is my go-to for a day when I've slept late & I'm practically flying out the door. I hope it works for you, too!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Harvesting Marigold Seeds

   Harvest those flower seeds & save money on planting next year's garden!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Quick Tip - Vacuum Maintenance


Do some quick maintenance on your vacuum & save on costly repair bills!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Pattern & Video Tutorial - Part 2

Here's the second part of the video tutorial I promised you. I'm very sorry it has taken me so long to get it posted. I hope you enjoy it!

All-Purpose Citrus Spray Cleaner

Want a refreshing way to clean up? 
Tired of using chemical-laden cleaning supplies?
Here's one honey of a recipe to go natural with.
This environmentally, family, and pet-friendly, 
inexpensive cleaner will have you wanting to clean up!

All-Purpose Citrus Spray Cleaner
by The Blueberry Bee 2013

12 oz. White Vinegar
4 oz. Rubbing Alcohol (any %)
1/4 tsp. Lemongrass E.O., Orange E.O., Lemon E.O., or Grapefruit E.O.
1/8 tsp. Tea Tree E.O.
5 or 6 drops Liquid Dish Soap (any brand)

1. Pour all ingredients into a trigger spray bottle and then fill the bottle the rest of the way with distilled water (or tap water, if you prefer).

2. Shake it up well & spray your way to a clean, healthy home. 

*You may want to wear gloves while using this cleaner, as the essential oils may irritate sensitive skin and make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. If you are not using gloves, be sure to wash your hands well after cleaning with this spray to avoid contact with the eyes. Also, use of essential oils during pregnancy, especially the first trimester is not advisable. 

*As with any cleaner, be sure the container is clearly labeled and kept out of the reach of children. Exercise caution & be safe! 

* Lemon E.O. is said to be astringent, antiseptic, and uplifting.

* Orange E.O. is said to boost and balance mood.

*Tea Tree E.O. is said to be antiseptic, fugicidal, and anti-inflammatory.

* Grapefruit E.O. is said to be uplifting, stress-reducing, and able to help rid the body of excess water.

Feel free to change up this recipe. Use your favorite E.O.'s and have fun with it! Use of gloves during handling of E.O.'s is advisable. If you want to learn more about essential oils & their uses, there are many good sites on the web, as well as in print. Here are two of my favorites: The Essential Oils Book by Colleen K. Dodt & Bramble Berry

The Blueberry Bee will not be held responsible for any ill effects or accidents associated with use or mishandling of product. Use at your own risk. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Quick Tip - Air Freshener in a Pinch!

Company coming? Smelly bathroom? Laundry hamper? Shoe cabinet? Here's a quick fix in a pinch -- dryer sheets! No kidding. All you need is clothes pins & dryer sheets. I spent way too much time in the store, sniffing boxes of dryer sheets, trying to find the best-smelling ones. My nose finally landed on a winner! The downside is they don't last long. The upside is they will last through your visit with Auntie Maude!

Tip 1: Place an unopened box of your favorite dryer sheets in your linen closet. Those linens will smell lovely close to forever!

Image Copyright The Blueberry Bee

Tip 2: Use a clothes pin to secure a dryer sheet (still folded) to your vent register(s). Your bathroom, hallway, bedroom will smell very nice & fresh for a few days.

Image Copyright The Blueberry Bee

Tip 3: Place a dryer sheet inside your smelly shoes. Ahhhhhhhhhh. . .

Image Copyright The Blueberry Bee

Tip 4: Place a dryer sheet inside the lid of your smelly clothes hamper. (Like I said, this is a quick fix -- you will still have to launder them eventually!

Image Copyright The Blueberry Bee

Tip 5: Dust your furniture with a dryer sheet that has already been through the dryer. The dust will be gone, gone, gone, and you may actually enjoy dusting because it smells so good!

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Tip 6: Place a dryer sheet inside your pillow case for sweet-smelling dreams.

Image Copyright The Blueberry Bee

Now, step back, take a deep breath, and enjoy your day! I'm pulling for you -- right after I finish the laundry.  =)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Quick Tip - Removing Crayon from Clothes

Crayons in the dryer? That's OK -- here's a quick tip for removing crayon from your clothes!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New PDF Pattern & Video Tutorial - Part 1

I have posted a link to my brand new pattern on my Patterns page. 
You will find the written pattern there as well.  
As you know, the PDF is much more printer friendly. 
Just click the link I have provided and I will be happy to send you the pattern!
 Here is the video tutorial for it. 
I hope will enjoy the video and have as much fun making these as I have.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Make A Long Skirt In An Afternoon!

Make a simple long skirt in one afternoon. It just takes a little fabric & a little time.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Anyone Can Crochet A Belt

Check out my brand new video. Make this in an afternoon. It's quick, easy, and fun!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lace Overlay

I hope you enjoy the video. This was just a neat little trick I thought of -- I'm sure it's not unique to me, because there are so many talented people out there. I thought I'd share anyway. Have a great day in the LORD!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Yarn Holder

Who doesn't love a quick, easy, frugal way to organize? Here's a honey of an idea for your yarn stash!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome to my brand-new blog!

Hi there, everyone! I'm posting this to let you know that I have just started this blog. Here, I hope to bring you the latest videos & patterns fresh from the hive! I hope you enjoy!

The Blueberry Bee