Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mommy Poppins Bag [Pattern Test and Review]

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When the lovely Jodi over at Sew Fearless asked me to test her new pattern for this here bag,
there was little hesitation.
My actual thought in response to her email was, "omg... okay so wait at least 5 minutes before you respond or she'll think you're a total stalking freak."

You see, Jodi made her first Mommy Poppins Bag what feels to me like FOREVER ago,
and I've been borderline coveting it ever since.
(Okay, NOW she'll think I'm a total stalking freak.)

Anywayz... I've used Jodi's patterns before for my nephew's Christmas gift Pajama Eaters (link to pattern here),
and for Ben's Sidekick Suitcase (link to pattern here), which I have to say we use about every weekend.

Jodi is super talented sewing things herself, but she really shines in the clarity of her patterns.
The directions are not only thorough, but there are plenty of pics alongside.

PLUS, whenever I've had a problem, she always obliges me with a quick and helpful tip.

Monday marked the release of this new pattern, and if you head over to Sew Fearless,
which I strongly suggest you do, you can enter (this week) her giveaway for some free bag patterns and one lucky person will win all the necessary hardware (my favorite part).

So the details:

The Mommy Poppins Bag is a nice roomy handled bag with a "carpet bag" style closure at the top.
It has four, count em FOUR good sized pockets on the interior in addition to the main compartment, as well as two exterior pockets, one featuring a nice accent flap.

I used this geometric print from Joann's for my main fabric.
I chose that first, loved it, and then chose my accents from there.
The brown corduroy seemed to match nicely, and then I got a little funky with the floral print for the lining. 
I know, I'm crazy like that.

The pattern includes directions for attaching the handles to the D rings by sewing, which I had originally planned to do as I have never riveted anything before,
but once I got started and saw how everything was coming along...
I just knew.
I knew the way you know about a good melon.
Had to rivet.
And I'm beyond happy with the results.

I had a hard time finding double capped rivets (without waiting ions of 2 days for delivery), so I ended up with single capped rivets, and I just made sure to the put the capped side on the exterior of the handles.

All in all, I LOVE this bag, and the pattern was a nice new challenge for me, but not so difficult that I got frustrated. For those of you who know me or have been following the blog for awhile, you'll know that I'm somewhat pattern illiterate.
In my opinion, though, this pattern reads more like a lot of online tutorials than a pattern you would find at the store, but with much more clarity than many tutorials. Best of both worlds.

So give it a shot!
If I can do you, SEW can you!
See what I did there?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Favorite Homemade Cleaning Products [Link Roundup]

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Howdy strangers!
I'm back!

As I mentioned on our Facebook page, we've decided to list our house for sale.
More details on that later, I'm sure.

but for now, suffice it to say that "Meg's Projects" have been limited to cleaning and keeping the house straight.
Which includes my workspace! ahh!!!

Serious DIY neglect going on over here,
but I have managed to finish up some long-term projects
which I'll be sharing with you over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, it's all about keeping my house clean for prospective buyers.
Which also means I've been able to test out a TON of homemade cleaning products.
Some of them I've found online, and I'll include the links for you all.
Some of them are just tips I've learned along the way which I thought I would share.

Most of these require only a few common ingredients:
Baking Soda
Lemon Juice
Hydrogen Peroxide

Microwave and Slow Cooker Cleaner

Cut a lemon in half and squeeze a little juice into a large microwave safe bowl (or slow cooker).
Add the lemon halves and a few cups of water.

For Microwave, just zap it for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Everything should wipe effortlessly outathere.

For slow cooker, turn on high for a good bit (I just left it for a couple hours which was probably longer than necessary). This is great especially you have an older slow cooker which doesn't have a removable bowl.

Frontloader Washer Cleaner

Between the two adults, one cloth diaper-wearing child, and two big old dogs in this house, we I do a lot of laundry. I have a high efficiency front loader which I really like, but they do get funky after awhile (especially that front gasket which keeps the water in, and sometimes trapped). Even your laundry can start to smell funky. boo! hiss!


I found this great post on maintenance and a cleaning solution using baking soda and vinegar.
I didn't use bleach on mine, although that is recommended if you have a lot of mold build up... ick. I hate even typing that.

Bathroom Cleaner

A lot of shower and tub cleaner can be pretty caustic... not a fan.
So here is the miracle recipe to avoid bleach and other fumey products...

Are you ready? 2 parts baking soda, 1 part hydrogen peroxide.

Yeah, I know. Complicated.

Is my tub new, you ask? No! just really REALLY clean. :)
Make a paste and cover any stained part of your tub, sink, whathaveyou. Let dry for about 30 minutes.
Scrub (honestly,  I barely had to even scrub mine), rinse, done.

This got my tub cleaner than soft scrub. Cleaner than bleach. Cleaner than anything!
No joke. Looks like new.

Grout Cleaner

Our kitchen and bathrooms are all tiled with ridiculously wide grout lines. The kitchen is also the path for people and dogs from the back yard, so my grout gets pretty gross.

I found this recipe, and gave it a whirl. And yes, it worked better than the expensive fancy special grout cleaner that I got from the home improvement store, using only baking soda, vinegar, water, and lemon juice.


*you can also use ammonia, but that makes me sick even when I use all the necessary precautions.

So there you have it. Those are some of my favorites so far.

I'll let you know if I find any more gems.

There are more on my Pinterest board "natural cleaning" (please note that I haven't tried all of them out)
Anyone out there have a fav? Please share!