Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breathe a sigh of relief

Well, today the appraiser came out to the house and hopefully in a couple of weeks we will have the mortgage loan on the house and not just a construction loan.  One day in the near future I will take you on a journey with us as we have renovated part of our house this past year to be able to obtain this mortgage.  :)
It has definitely been an adventure for sure!
Probably the best advice I can give is research your options thoroughly and don't feel an obligation to your local bank because they will not feel the same way towards you no matter what they tell you.  They are under so many laws and regulations that it doesn't matter if you are Uncle Joe's 4th daughter, they still might not approve what you have worked and slaved over for the past year.  This reason for this is the _______  people who gave mortgages to anyone a few years ago.  (Feel free to fill in the blank with any choice, mine is idiot.)
We have been blessed with friends and family who have helped us work on our house and hopefully in the next few days, we will have the mortgage.  Yippee!!   You will definitely hear when that happens.  So hopefully, once it does I will be able to get to my sewing and crafting with more regularity because I love it!  It is definitely my sanity at times.
So, the appraiser said everything looked great, so Thank you God for that!!  Next step is the bank officers.  Pray for us that it all goes smoothly.

Love all of you to smithers!!
Lee Ann

Monday, March 21, 2011

Recent "Housework" :)

We have been working around the deck area to fill in in front of the retaining walls and have a step at the front of our deck.  Of course, when we needed to start moving dirt, the truck was full of wood from the recent construction of the deck and wood siding.

Step 1: unload wood from truck and stack neatly in the chicken house.
(Yes, I said chicken house!  Our property used to have an active production laying house, not it serves as storage for us.)
Don't miss the 12x12 post!  It will become the post in the center of our kitchen one day in the future.  It is from a tree that my husband's parents cut down from their yard in South Georgia.

Step 2: Fill truck with dirt from pile that was removed from under the carport turned screened in porch that is now the addition to our house.  (Is that a real sentence? Not sure, but you get the picture.)

Step 3: unload dirt to fill in front of retaining walls.

Rinse and repeat steps 2 and 3 about 9 more times!!  I am about dug out!  I have dug some during the day while my husband is at work, then we have dug together once he gets home, and he has dug some once I gave out and sat on the deck and watched.  No, seriously I did sit and watch him.  I felt guilty at first but that didn't last long.  I was too tired!

During the dirt transfer, we also put it a drainage pipe to run from the gutters around the retaining wall and eventually it will water my fun flower bed that will line the retaining wall.

You can see the pipe just barely on the left under the spicket.
Not this wall, but the one we will build that will go to the driveway from this one.  :)  Yes, more digging is in my future, but that's okay with me. My wonderful husband and I are building our home (we are actually remodeling this one) together.

Once we got enough dirt in front of the deck we put the concrete table-top, I mean step down.  :)

Fun times and memories with our families.  His parents were able to come help with the deck (see this post), and now my mom is coming for a week to help texture the walls and maybe paint if we have time.  Our parents have been a tremendous help along with some friends too.

During a break from digging, we also put up my swing!!  Yippee!  His dad and our friend JR built the frame for me about 3 years ago and the swing used to belong to my parents.  I have already sanded and redone it once but I think it is time to show it some more love!

So, have a fabulous Tuesday because I know I am.  :)   I will be in my swing with my  honey at sundown hopefully, and deer tenderloin and veggies for dinner.  Yum yum.

Much love,
Lee Ann

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Laundry Detergent Homemade

Well, last week I read a post here, at Dukes and Duchesses, about making your own laundry detergent and I emailed Randi to ask how it turned out.  She replied that is worked well but like most detergents you buy you still need to use spot removers.
So I set out to give it a try.  I clicked on the page she references for the "recipe" and picked one to try. (Really I just went with the first one! LOL)

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
§  Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
§  Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
§  Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
§  Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel)

Well I made my selection and went in search of my ingredients.  I found everything at our local Wal-mart except the washing soda, they weren't even sure what I was talking about but said to try Kroger.  I went there (it's just across the street next to Home Depot, another place we frequent), and found the washing soda.

I then mixed everything according to the above recipe and put my detergent in a five gallon bucket.  I used a food processor to grate my soap and 3 bars made 6 cups so I put 4 in zippies and used the 2 I needed for the recipe.

Here is what I paid for my items:
Borax, 76 ounces:  $2.98 for $.03021 per ounce
Washing soda, 55 ounces:   $2.79 for $.050727 per ounce
Ivory soap, 44.7 ounces:   $3.76 for $.084116 per ounce

So using the recipe the cost per batch is:
Borax   $.62736
Washing soda   $.811632
Ivory soap   $1.34586
Total  $2.78 per batch.

A batch yields 168 loads of laundry using the amount suggested  in the recipe per load (1/4 cup).  SOOO, the cost per load is $.01657!!!  Compare this to our normal detergent, All Free & Clear at $.11427 per load ($10.97 divided by 96 loads, price from and you can see the cost-benefit.

I would like to insert here that I used Ivory in my recipe and previously used the All Free & Clear because certain detergents make me itch.  I have tried to keep it simple.

Now as to  how does it work?  Well I have washed about 5 loads with it and cannot tell a difference between it or what I had been using.  I have washed delicates, work clothes and dress clothes with it and seen no evidence of problems.  I did give a hard test with our inescapable red clay.  We live on a mound of red clay in North Georgia!  I washed some of our work clothes with only the detergent to test it.  It did not completely remove it but it did get some out of the pants.

It is hard to tell but in the first picture, I laid out our pants for you to see.  The second picture is my pants after I washed them, I couldn't get my husband's because he was wearing them.  There is still red clay but not as much.
I have to show you my cute containers!  I used my Cricut and Make the Cut software (yes I am aware of the lawsuit and may be looking into a Silhouette if I can't use my software any longer) to label them.

I am currently researching some more cleaning solutions using my ingredients because I still have a lot more left to use up.  :)  Apparently, there are a lot of uses for Borax and washing soda that I had no clue about!  Dishwashing powder being the one I will try next.

So, my end results please me enough to continue using it i the future.  If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hoo Are You?

Well, time to learn a little more about each other at Night Owl Crafting's Hoo Are You? Linky Party!
(I totally confused the grammar check with that sentence! LOL)

Here are this week's questions!

1. What are a couple of your favorite green foods?
2. Do you decorate for St. Patrick's Day?
3. Do you have Irish in you?
4. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?
5.Use one word that represents each letter in the word LUCK in your life!

And here are my answers:

1.  Broccoli, avocados and any thing mint!  
2.  I have a few times but as whole my decoration is wearing green.
3.  I may have Irish but all I know is some family members are from England.
4.  I wouldn't say I celebrate it, but I may cook a few things that are "green."
L ove
U ber-happy
C herish
K  indred spirits

Now it's your turn!  Go post your answers and check out some other blogs!

Lee Ann

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hoo Are You?

This is fun to me to read each other's answers, so I am participating in Hoo Are You? this week.  :)

1. Do you pay your bills online or through snail mail?
Mostly online.  I tend to forget things so I try to schedule everything when I get it.2. How many email accounts do you have?
I have three but only use 2 actively.3. Do you use XM/Sirius, radio, ipod, CD, or etc.. in your vehicle?
I use my ipod most everywhere.  I am not fond of the radio because most of the time I would rather hear music than people talking.  There are exceptions though.4.  What shows are sparking your interest on TV right now?
Well, we don't have TV so I guess none.5. Name 3 things that you think of when you hear the word "GREEN"! 

broccoli, fabric or reusable shopping bags and St Patrick's Day.

Your turn!  Go link up and see what everyone is saying.
Lee Ann

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pink and Camo

Well, I can post these pictures now that the baby shower is over.  I made these outfits for a friend of mine that is having twin little girls.  :)  They found some newborn camouflage boots at a store and wanted outfits to match them.  They want to bring the girls home from the hospital in the outfits and boots.

So I made a onesie dress with a pink onesie and camouflage material.  As you can see, the camo material came from a t-shirt.  It was actually a men's 2XL.  I wanted to make sure to have enough.
I also made headbands with pink bows and pacifier clips/keepers.

So this is the finished product.  What do you think?

Lee Ann

Linking up here:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wedding pics on shutterfly

This post is for my mother-in-law.  She is trying to see our wedding pictures and she is out of town so she doesn't have the link.  :)

We are looking forward to seeing her and our aunts tomorrow!!!

Lee Ann

Friday, March 4, 2011

Opinion please and Friday Fun times

Well, so far today things haven't gone quite how I planned.  I have as you will see, created some logo options that I need help choosing.  I am being straight with you when I say I tend to get distracted and have at least 3 things going at one time.  This morning I thought I would clean up the kitchen and soak some dishes while I went and moved a couple bushes in the yard before the rain sets in.  Well, I did just that, except I soaked not only the dishes but the  kitchen floor and the basement because I forgot to turn the water off!! I have a problem with being still so I tend to walk of from things and I forgot to come back until I had moved the bushes.  So, the quick little chore turned into a longer and more involved one.  I will say though, I am soooo proud we have a Craftsman wet/dry vac!!  I would still be cleaning up water if we didn't!
On a more positive note, I have been trying to develop a logo and have a few options I would like your opinion on, if you don't mind please.  So here are the four I have so far:






So which one do you like?  Also, I was considering changing the name of my blog to Markham Made.  Yea or Nay?

Well, thanks for the input and I hope everyone has a wonderful (dry) weekend!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chocolate and mint frosting cookies

Ok, so these are my favorite cookies of all time:

No really, I can eat more than anyone should!  Sometimes I don't even realize how many I have eaten and then the little sleeve is empty.  :(  But there is hope!
So the other day, someone posted a recipe for homemade oreos and a mint frosting to go between them.  Hmm, sounded really good!  So I tried it.  They are really good.  The chocolate cookies are between a regular oreo and a cake oreo, and they require milk to drink to make the perfect snack.
Now, to make them even better the mint frosting recipe works really well! (just don't forget to set your butter and cream cheese out to attain room temperatire, just saying!)
So, here is the final product:
It is hard to see, but the frosting is green.  St Patty's day treat!!!!

Also, if you do make these, then you will need to make 2 batches of cookies to use all of them frosting.  At least.  or you could just eat it with a spoon!  :)

I apologize to whomever posted this the other day but the recipes tell where they came from originally.  I thought I had the link bookmarked.  :(

Edit:  I found it!  Thanks for posting these!!

Homemade Oreos
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons (45 grams) margarine (or Smart Balance)
2/3 cup (140 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large (30 grams) egg white

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and margarine until well blended. Add the sugars and vanilla extract and beat on high speed for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the egg white. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.
Place the dough on your work surface and, using your hands, form the dough into a log shape that is about 9 inches (23 cm) long. Carefully wrap the dough in aluminum foil, parchment paper or wax paper and fold or twist the ends. Try not to flatten the log (easier said than done, some of my oreos were square). Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a sharp knife, slice into 1/4 inch thick wafers. Place on the baking sheet spacing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the the cookies puff and the tops of the cookies have crackles (ripples). Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 10 days.

Cream Cheese Filling
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 block of cream cheese, room temp (8 oz)
3-4 cups - powdered sugar (depending on desired consistency)
1 - tsp mint extract
A few drops green food coloring

Cream butter and add cream cheese, add food coloring and mix well.

Add powdered sugar slowly until you reach your desired consistency.

Frost backs of cookies and smoosh together.

I am linking up here:

WIP Wedneday

Well, my WIP list is a little bit of a repeat.  My husband has been sick since last Wednesday night.  I have managed to get a few things done, but when I say sick; I mean in the bed.  The doctor said it was a virus and he was through the worst of it on Monday.  He has only had a minimal fever at times the last two days, like 99.  So, here is my WIP for this week.

1. The deck - woo hoo! Actually, the deck was finished but now we have finished the retaining walls that go along with it.
2. The front door was painted to a lovely green color (well, mostly I just need to take a little brush for a couple spots the painter's tape messed up)

3.  One rocking chair painted with an exterior paint so it can reside on the lovely new deck.
4. A reversible bag (read here about it)

5. Zippered pouch

6. Soap dispenser upcycle :) (read here about it)

In progress: (phew, here goes!)
1.  Plumbing, since J has been sick we haven't made any progress here.  I don't have the knowledge.
2.  Sheetrock, again since plumbing has to be done first, no progress here.
3.  Mudding sheetrock, and yes I count this separate because it is a big job
4.  Organizing bathroom closet (need a few more plastic shoeboxes - Dollar Tree time!) 
5.  Fun craft with little plastic bottles  :)
6.  Skirt for me- the pattern is cut out and waiting
7.  Black onesie with heart on it, waiting to be stitched
8. Creating a logo for my blog and selling adventures:  what do you think of this one (draft#2)?

Yet to be started: (well, I think about them, does that count for anything?)
1.  Wall hanging quilt forFIL
2.  Zippered pouch for MIL
3.  Zippered pouch for friend
4.  Car garbage bag for friend
5.  Going home outfits for friend that is having twin girls
6.  Long list of things to take to festival to sell (more info on this coming soon!)

I am sure I am forgetting something but this will have to do or now.  It makes my anxiety level go up looking at it!! But it also makes me smile because they are all things I enjoy doing!!