Well hello there! This is the place where I share my crafts, recipes, knitting and crochet projects, photos, and moments of family life in the Midwest.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Visiting Santa

Yesterday we went to see Santa. Riley was very excited to see him and tell him everything. Everything that has happened at school, what he wants for Christmas, what Max wants for Christmas, etc. (I had to cut him off, poor Santa) As you can see from below Santa is serious business. Even though the line was super long, it was totally worth the wait.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Christmas Tree

It's that time of year again when we head out to Handley's Holiday Hillside and walk through the rows to find our tree. This is the third year we have gone to cut our own tree and I think I can safely say it's a Dieter Family tradition now.
This year there was a light covering of snow but it was quite comfortable in the sun. There were so many beautiful trees to pick from this year since we had lots of wonderful rain this year. The boys mostly liked playing in the snow instead of picking trees.
We decided on our Canadian Fir tree again this year, though I was almost swayed by a gorgeous blue spruce for a hot second. The Fir just has the best shape and branches for ornaments. And the smell of pine is amazing.
The boys let me take their picture with the tree before helping with the falling. Jered carried the tree back to the shake and bag area all by himself. It made me realize won't be long before the boys will be carrying the tree for us.
I remembered to pack the tripod for the camera this year and got a pretty good family portrait . I think this one will be going in the Christmas cards this year. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to a long winter break.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Riley's Super 5th Birthday

My little guy is now a big FIVE year-old guy. I can hardly believe it. This year Riley wanted a super-hero party for all his cousins and pre-school friends. I made super capes for all the kids and they got to create their own super masks for their secret identities. We also had bouncy houses and a gym full of toys so they could try out those super powers. 

 For the cake I made chocolate and vanilla with sprinkles, decorated with fondant. We also had cupcakes that work better with little hands. The biggest hit was the rock candy "power" crystals.
Thanks to all our friends and family that traveled to come help us celebrate Riley's birthday!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Bat Costume

This Halloween Riley ask to be a bat. Not Batman, but an actual bat. Of course there are no bat costumes at the stores, so I decided to go the easy route and start with a black hoodie as a base.

What I used:

  • 1 Black Hoodie
  • 1/2 yard of Black Fleece
  • 1/2 yard of Black Satin (machine washable)
  • Black thread
  • Needle
  • Sewing Machine

This costume is basically just 4 pieces; 2 wings and 2 ears. I started by cutting out a bat wing shape from black fleece that fit from the cuff to the waist band. Then I cut a mirror image for the other wing. Finally I used those two pieces as a template to cut the satin fabric. 

Putting the RIGHT sides together I sewed around the edges and left an opening large enough to flip the wings inside out. I pressed the wings flat and the 'quilted' the wings to make them look more like bat wings. The last step was to sew the wings along the arms and the body of the hoodie. 

I made the ears by cutting triangles, two out of the fleece and two out of the satin. Again, sewing the RIGHT sides together, leave the base of the triangle open to flip the ears inside out. Press the ears flat and then fold the ear in half, satin side in, sew along the bottom of the triangle. To attach the ears to the hood, I hand-sewed each ear with a flat bottom to make the ears stand up on the hood. Just a few stitches holds the ears on tight.

This costume was super quick to make, and it doesn't take a pattern since you just cut it to fit based on the size of the hoodie. The best thing is that because of the fabrics this whole costume can just be washed in the machine and wore over and over. Halloween is coming soon! What are you going to be this year?

Friday, October 10, 2014

School Pictures 2014

It's that time of year again, when the leaves turn and the air gets a chill and children have school photos. This is the first time I get to share Riley's official school photo, so its a special one for me. I also just noticed they were both in plaid this time. (shows how much I have been paying attention) Max has a silly grin, but that is what makes these special. No re-takes. You get what you get. I love both of them, just the way they are.

To our grandparents out there, I have plenty of copies for all. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Maquoketa Caves

 One of the great things about living on the eastern side of the state is that we have Maquoketa Caves about an hour drive away. This is a great hike and there are some really interesting cave formations to climb around in, if you are brave. The trail has about 100 stairs, so you have to be ready for a climb, but the views are truly worth it.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Striped Play Rug - DIY

I have been working on Riley's room for the last week; painting, organizing, and cleaning out old toys and clothes. (I still need to hang his book shelves and his pictures on the wall.) Since we went for a neutral white walls in his room too I thought I would add a bit of color with a rug. OK, a lot of color. This rug is actually four small inexpensive rag rugs from a big box store. Each rug was $3.50 and I choose two rugs of each color pattern so the stripes would line up when I stitched them together.  Thirteen dollars for a 6 foot by 4 foot play rug is a steal!!
You can see a seam where I attached the ends, but it should flatten out with time. Riley decided that he needed a play ice cream shop too, so I made him one from an old presentation board Jered had left over from school. He loved it, probably more than the rug. We have been enjoying beautiful weather here in Iowa. Hope your weekend was as nice as ours.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spring Pictures

Spring picture time again, for some reason Max looks like a teenager in this picture - don't know how that happened. I am loving the fact that he actually smiled this time! (Not so happy with the background) It is hard to explain; he has grown up a lot this year and 9 is very different than 8.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Industrial Pipe Desk -DIY

When Max decided he wanted his own room again I knew he was at the age that he was going to need a desk in his room. I decided to make him an industrial style desk out of galvanized pipes from the hardware store. It's very simple and boyish, and hopefully will hold up to rough treatment. 

Here is what I bought at the hardware store:

  • 2 of  a 12 X 48 Shelf - $21.52
  • 4 of 18 inch pipe - $12.96
  • 4 of 8 inch pipe - $9.16
  • 2 of 12 inch pipe - $4.98
  • 4 of T-pipe - $4.96
  • 8 of Floor Flanges - $26.88
  • 1 can black spray paint - $3.68
  • 3/4" screws  - $0.64
  • 4 metal braces - $2.18

Total Cost of materials - $86.96

The floor flanges are the feet and the connection to the desk. I used the 8 inch and the 18 inch pipes to make the legs, and the 12 pipes are the brace between the legs for stability. The T-pipe makes the connections between the legs. 
The Floor Flanges have places to connect to the desk with screws. I used 3/4" screws so that they did not pierce the top of the desk. 
The desk top is two shelves put together with metal brackets. Four brackets are evenly spaced along the seam of the two boards and bind them together.

Before I put the legs on to the desk top I sprayed them a flat black quick dry paint to match the shelves in his room. 
I also made Max a recycled can light from a large can and a light cord. The industrial pipe desk was a pretty easy project to complete and it took about an hour from start to finish. The cost of the materials was a bit higher that I expected, but the results were great. Max really likes having his own desk and has actually been doing his homework without being asked, and that is priceless.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Max! 9 years old

My boy turned 9 years old today. Max is growing up so fast these days. He decided that it was time that he had his own room, so I worked this weekend transforming the toy room as a bedroom for a growing boy. I made an industrial desk out of galvanized pipes for him since he needs some where to do home work. (I will share more on that later!) Max also told me that he wanted a low key birthday this year. No embarrassing parties or anything, Mom. So instead we went out for pizza for supper and had some chocolate cake with neon candles. Max is a kind, sweet guy and I hope he doesn't grow out of that anytime soon. Happy Birthday big guy.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

All you need is...

Love - isn't that what we all need right now? Winter is really hanging on hard here in the Midwest and my family has been fighting the flu all week. (Not fun!) Also my family is going through lots changes right now which makes me need a good cheering up. I saw this pin on Pinterest and I absolutely knew I had to have a marquee LOVE sign. I have been wanting to make this for a while and February seems like the perfect month to finally do it. Lights always make me happy! 

First I bought some cardboard letters at Jo-Ann fabrics. 

I cut out the back of the letters and removed the inside cardboard support. Note that MOST letters are the same either way - L is not one of those letters!
Then I figured out where to place the lights evenly across the letters. I used two packages, with 20 lights each, so 40 lights total. My lights use battery packs and LED so they are not a fire hazard. 
To poke the holes was actually quite easy. I used a nail and hammer to make a tiny hole, then enlarge the hole with a pencil, and then even larger with a paint brush handle. The holes were just large enough for the lights to fit through.
I used some cardboard poster sheets cut into strips, 1 1/2 inch wide, glued around each letter. Just plain Elmer's school glue worked the best, and the clothes pins held it while the glue dried.
Once the glue was dry, I painted the letters with white craft paint, let that dry, and then spray painted them gold for the final shiny finish. 
I pushed the lights through the back and hid all the cords inside the pockets of the letters. I really like the way it looks when the sign is all lit up. Right now I have them hung on the wall, but you could also place on a shelf or mantle since they do stand up on their own. What would your sign say if you made one?
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