Cleaning & Organizing Tips

10 must have supplies for learning to sew on a machine, sewing, tips and tricks, lifehacks, sewing machine, sewing supplies

10 Must Have Supplies For Learning To Sew On A Machine

For my first Christmas married (many, many years ago;)) my husband gave me a sewing machine.  I thought he had lost his mind.  I had never sewed other than the occasional button or since high school home economics class. I was terrified of that machine and didn’t want to get to know it because I was afraid of how bad I would do. Thanks to some help from my husband (thank goodness his Mom had shown him a little bit of sewing) and my mother in law, I love sewing now!  I would definitely not call me an expert, but I can sew things for my home and have even done some clothing for my daughter.  It has probably been one of the best gifts I have ever received.

My point is, if you are new to sewing, there is nothing to be afraid of!  It is relatively easy.  And, thanks to the internet, there are so many awesome tutorials and help available that there is no reason not to try!

These are the top 10 things that I use every time I sew, that are definitely something you want to have in your sewing box!

1. A good machine. Seriously.  Don’t waste your time or money on a cheap beginner machine.  My daughter was given one for her birthday one year and it didn’t work for more then a couple of stitches at a time.  Get a basic, real machine.  It will last for years and as long as you aren’t sewing quilts or denim, a basic yet good machine should be more then fine for learning.  Too complicated or expensive comes with so many options that it makes it hard to choose and gives you more choices then you need as a beginner.  *This one is similar to the one that I have.  It has been going strong for 14 years now, and works great!  This is quite inexpensive and has great reviews!

2. Good thread.  I have a lot of thread, some of it is older than I am and was my grandmothers.  I don’t use it a lot, but it is good quality thread, and much better than the cheap junk I have gotten at Walmart.  I have found that some machines don’t like the super cheap thread either.  Don’t spend a lot on it, but it is worth it to get a little better thread than have your stitches break off and have to sew it again anyway, right? I truly don’t know which kind of thread is the best, as I am thrifty and don’t like to spend a lot.  That unfortunately, is how I learned that not all thread is created equal!

10 must have supplies for learning to sew on a machine, tips and tricks,learning, sewing, lifehacks, sewing machine, sewing supplies

3. Seam ripper.  Unfortunately, my seam ripper and I are close.  I wish I could say I only used it on occasion, but I can’t.  I have to pick stitches a lot.  Pretty much every time I sew.  It seems like I am great at messing up and not so great at sewing a straight line.  Your seam ripper can save you a lot of time.  Do yourself a favor and get one you can hold comfortably.

10 must have supplies for learning to sew on a machine, tips and tricks, sewing,  sewing supplies, lifehacks, sewing machine,

4. Extra bobbins.  You should get a couple with your machine, but unless you want to have to remove thread off your bobbin to change it with another color, get extra so you can have one for any color you might need.  While you are at it, get something to store the bobbins in to help keep them from tangling. They come in metal and plastic.  I have both and find them equal.

10 must have supplies for learning to sew on a machine, sewing, lifehacks, tips and tricks, sewing machine, sewing supplies

5. Straight Pins are a must!  They are something you absolutely should use, when you are beginning and even after if you have issues with keeping things straight like yours truly does. Pinning can be the difference in a project coming out great or having to be picked and done over.

6. Paper clip HolderYes, you read that right.  This is such a great way to keep your pins by your side ready to be used!  They are magnetic and keep the pins from going everywhere.  With a little shake, the pins are right at the top ready to be grabbed without you having to stab yourself by reaching into the box to grab them.  They are super inexpensive, and quite possibly the best sewing trick I have ever used!

10 must have supplies for learning to sew on a machine, tips and tricks, sewing, lifehacks, sewing supplies, sewing machine,

7. Measuring TapeYou are going to want to measure twice cut once.  Fabric can be expensive and it is an awful feeling when you cut and then realize that you weren’t right on measurements.  Be sure to keep your measuring tape nearby to keep track of your seam allowances and hems too.  This helps insure that your product comes out looking like it wasn’t sewn by a preschooler.

10 must have supplies for learning to sew on a machine, learning, tips and tricks, sewing, lifehacks, sewing machine, sewing supplies

8. Scissors. Don’t use the same scissors that you use for cutting paper. It dulls them out and when you are cutting fabric you want those babies to be as sharp as possible to get the cleanest cut.  I have my grandmother’s sewing scissors because I just happen to be the only left handed grandchild that was interested.  They are old, but they work great and outdo my newer pair even!  If you are serious about sewing, invest in a good pair.  If this is just an occasional hobby, no need to shell out big bucks, basic sewing scissors will do.  If you aren’t the only one that will be near the fabric scissors, consider marking them in some way so that no one mistakes them for paper scissors.  I have a friend who has a tiny scrap of fabric that she ties around the handle of hers to let everyone know they are for fabric. Great idea!

10 must have supplies for learning to sew on a machine, lifehacks, sewing, tips and tricks, sewing machine, sewing supplies

9. Fabric scraps to practice on.  Either get a cut of inexpensive material, or ask around, someone is bound to have small amounts they don’t mind parting with to help you get the experience you need.  Sometimes, even now, if I am trying out a new stitch or am changing my dial to different settings I will try it out on scrap fabric first so that I don’t risk messing up and having to pick another thread.

And finally, 10. Iron and Ironing board. I hate ironing, like most of us do, but this is a must.  When I started out I didn’t realize just how much I would be ironing and how important this step was.  Not only does it help give you crisp, clean lines, it also helps you use less straight pins if your project has the seam allowance ironed down to help you follow it.  You may think you can escape this step, but trust me, your final product will turn out so much better if you take the extra time to iron your work!

So what do you think?  Are you an experienced seamstress? Are there any you agree/ disagree with?  Anything you would add?  Tell us in the comments!

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keeping track of your child's medicine doses, #medicine, #sick, #antibiotic, #child, #parenting, #medicinesafety

Keeping Track of Your Child’s Medicine Doses~ Good Advice During the Winter Season

I love pretty much everything about Fall and Winter.  I think I can count on one hand the things I dislike about the cold months; heating bills, icy roads, and kids getting sick every time you turn around.  Honestly, with multiple kids it sometimes feels like someone in our home is sick constantly the whole season!  Don’t get me wrong, I feel blessed that they are small illnesses.  Colds, ear infections and sinus infections mostly.  But with our hectic life, and sometimes multiple children on medicine at the same time, it is easy to lose track of whether or not someone got their dose that morning/evening.  And then if you add 2 parents in there, what if one of us gives the medicine not realizing that the other one already gave it to them?

Here is the solution: Use a sharpie, or put a small label on the bottle of the medicine.  I tried the Sharpie, but with the red bottle, I didn’t feel like my oldish sharpie was dark enough. My son is taking his medicine for 10 days 2 times a day starting on the 12th.  I made 2 columns, one for am and one for pm and listed the dates down the side.  Now my husband and I can keep track of  when we gave him his medicine to make sure neither of us are double dosing him and that the child is actually getting all of the doses of the medicine so it can be most effective.

keeping track of your child's medicine doses, #medicine, #sick, #antibiotic, #child, #parenting, #medicinesafety, #chart

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How to naturally clean and deodorize a microwave in less than 5 minute, simple cleaning tips, cleaning hacks, Natural Cleaning recipesMy daughter was heating up her heating pad and she cooked it way to long so it smelled burnt. It smelled up the whole kitchen and smelled burnt every time we used the microwave.  Lets face it microwaves can get pretty “funky” smelling, and can be a chore to clean as well.  But I have a great tip that will allow you to both deodorizer and clean your microwave in less than 5 minutes.  No harsh chemicals or cleaners needed, just three things that you probably have in your kitchen already.

You will need: Baking soda, lime or lemon and water.  In a microwave safe bowl, add half a lime, 2 tablespoons baking soda mixed with 1/2 cup of water.  Put in the microwave on HIGH and heat for 3-4 minutes.  The baking soda with deodorize the microwave and the lemon with leave a nice clean scent.  The water and lime will also steam, and soften up all the cooked on “bits” on the inside of your microwave. So when you open the door you can take a cloth and easily wipe down the inside and it will be clean without to much scrubbing.

Be careful when you remove the bowl with the lime and water, it will be hot.  It is best to just leave it inside till it cools down a bit.  Once it is cooled you can toss it in the trash… BUT I prefer to put it in the garbage disposal and grind it up to freshen the disposal as well.

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Fastest way to get  sharpie maker off your skin

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Tips eliminating litter box smell, 7 ways to cut cat box odor #Cat, #cats, #PetTips, #LitterBox, #Pets

Our family has two cats, I LOVE my family and they all LOVE the cats, while I just “like” the cats. Since I love my family I allow these “fur balls” to live in my home.  Don’t get me wrong I am nice to them, and think they are cute and would never allow any harm to come to them.  I do however have a real issue with their hair, and the cat box being in my home.  I seem to be the only one that “smells” the litter box and I am totally paranoid that my house will smell like cats.

Here are a few tips I have found to keep litter box odor to a minimum:

1) The brand of cat litter you choose can make a world of difference.  They come in all different varieties, I have found I HATE the scented ones.  They are made to help “hide” the odor but I find I then just associate the smell  of the scented litter to a messy box even if it is clean.  So I personally prefer a scent free litter.  Plus my Mom’s vet told her that  the scented litter was causing her cat to have UTI’s (urinary tract infections) so a scent free litter might just be healthier for your cat too.

2) The brand of cat food you choose affects the smell of their urine and poop.  My husband loves to spoil his cats and buy them wet canned food, the cats LOVE it but oh my word…. it is like they pigged out at an all you can get restaurant.  As soon as the cat goes poop you can smell it throughout the whole house (yuck).   So I had to put a limit to how often the cats get wet food, due to the smell.  I also noticed that different brands of dry food make a HUGE difference in the  smell of the cats urine.  Some of them make the cats urine very STRONG…. I personally really like the Friskies brand dry food.  The cats like it, price is middle of the road and it seems to help the cats have a “mild” urine odor.

3) Scoop the box daily, or even twice a day.  As much as my kids think I am nuts, scooping the box OFTEN is huge to keeping odor down and keeping a fresh smelling box.

4) Use a box liner, we use a heavy duty black garbage bag to line the litter box.  This makes for easy changing of the litter box and also helps keep the box itself more fresh. The box is plastic and will absorb smells… so even with a liner I suggest to get a whole new box once a year.

5) Baking soda, can help cut down on odors.  I like to sprinkle it on top after scooping the box.

6) Change the litter at least once a week, with two cats at least twice a week.  Yes this is on top of scooping daily.  I know some people will put a lot of litter in and only change it every few weeks.  But I prefer to use less litter (about 2-3 inches deep) and change it more often.

7) Put the box in a well vented area.  An ideal room is one with a vent fan and a window that you can open to the outdoor.  Fresh air is your friend when…. after all most of us want a well vented bathroom.  Having your cats “bathroom” in a well vented area is ideal as well.

Bonus tip: to get the cat hair off the furniture I really like the Pledge Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair, Empty and Reuse.

Please note this post contains my affiliate link to amazon, prices and selection are due to change at any time. 

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Easily organize a Hectic bathroom, #bathroom, #chaos, #organizing, #hometips, #homecare, #toothbrushes, #kidsbathroom, #kidsbathroomorganize, #thriftytimesavers, #thriftymakeovers

Easily Organize a Hectic Bathroom Space – Thrifty Tip

It is really hard to get a good picture in a dark bathroom!  Try it sometime!  It is almost as difficult as trying to get my kids to put their toothbrushes away each time they brush their teeth.  Is that the way it is at your house too?  I swear, if they aren’t on the counter in the way, they are on the floor after being knocked off of the counter!  Not anymore, now they each have a spot and no one has excuses for not being able to find theirs anymore!

You will need:

Easily organize a Hectic bathroom, #bathroom, #chaos, #organizing, #hometips, #homecare, #toothbrushes, #kidsbathroomorganize, #kidsbathroom,  #thriftytimesavers, #thriftymakeovers

In that package is Scotch mounting tape.  It is awesome, and works great for a project like this.  It will hold up to 5 lbs, so that is great for a small cup and toothbrush.  The sharpie is for writing what goes inside the cup, alphabet stickers or vinyl would also work for this.

I began by writing my kids’ names on the cups. I had bought a 4 pack and have 3 kids, so my extra cup is labeled “toothpaste and floss”.  That has a habit of disappearing around here too.  I realize it is hard to see, but those blue cups do have a name written on them.

On the side of the cup without the name written, take a small piece of the mounting tape and attach it to the back of your cup. There should still be something over the tape on the outside, this will allow you to rub the tape and make sure it is attached firmly.  If your cups are larger than mine, you may want to go with a smaller strip on the top and the bottom.  If you are using a small cup, one strip will be plenty.

Make sure your cupboard door is clean, and then stick the taped side of your cup onto the inside of the bathroom cupboard door.  Now you are ready to fill it up with whatever is designated to go inside of the cup!

Easy enough, and helped cut down on the chaos in the mornings with kids rushing to make sure they are ready to get ready before the bus comes!  It is a thrifty, quick way to solve a problem that I am sure isn’t just a problem at our house!

Easily organize a Hectic bathroom, #bathroom, #chaos, #organizing, #hometips, #homecare, #toothbrushes, #kidsbathroom, #thriftytimesavers, #kidsbathroomorganize,  #thriftymakeovers

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sewing patches on a scout shirt, #sewing, #tutorial, #diy, #savingmoney

Sewing Patches On a Scout Shirt – Its Easier Than You Think!

If you are like me, and have a scout, you have likely had a pile of patches collecting because they are a bit of a hassle to sew them on.  They take time, patience and you have to have some knowledge with sewing.  Fortunately if you know what you are doing with a sewing machine, you can actually whip through them pretty quickly!  The most troublesome part will be getting out your sewing machine!  Sound good?

You will need

Sewing machine


Patches to be sewn on


Sewing scissors

Begin by pinning your patches on.  I think the reason the task is so daunting for me anyway, is that I want them to be straight and attached well so that they don’t fall off.  Plus, my sewing skills are not great and if it is on something like that everyone can see my mistakes!  Ok, now that you know that I stress about really silly things… 😉 on to the tutorial!

sewing patches on a scout shirt,  #tutorial, #tips, #diy, #sewing,#savingmoney

Once your patches are pinned on, and your machine is thread with the correct color of thread, put your scout shirt in your sewing machine.  Make sure that you line up the patch as close to the edge as possible.  The great thing about scout patches is that most of them seem to have a rim around the outside that if lined up right, your machine will sort of use as a guide.  Be sure to hold your patch and straighten the fabric of the shirt as you go along to avoid any puckers.

Another bonus is how stiff they are.  That helps keep them in place somewhat. The biggest hassle with sewing multiple patches on is having to change your thread repeatedly.  If you are like me and procrastinated, be sure to sew all of your patches that are the same color on at the same time so you aren’t changing when it isn’t necessary.

Don’t forget when you are sewing, to begin and end by locking your stitches.  That just means to go back and forth with your machine so that the thread doesn’t come out, that would be frustrating!

You want to stay as close to the edge as you can without going off.  Be sure to sew slowly and hold your patch and shirt so that it is steady.

Once your patch is sewn on, you can trim your threads as close to the patch as possible so there isn’t a strand hanging.

sewing patches on a scout shirt,  #tutorial, #tips, #diy, #sewing,#savingmoney

A new patch that I just recently learned about (I have been serving in my son’s scout troop for a while) are called Segment patches.  They are so fun!  You start with a circle patch that may differ depending on your council.  That is sewn on on the right side of the shirt under the pocket.  Leave it up far enough to still allow the shirt to be tucked in.

Once you have your round patch, each month the boys that participate get a small segment patch that is sewn on in a circle around the new patch.  You continue to sew those around each month and there are so many different segments for different things!  Seasonal, pine wood derby, service projects.  There are tons!  Not only are they cute, but then the boys that maybe haven’t earned any awards ares still being acknowledged and getting something for participating in the program.

So, are you into scouting?  Are segment patches something you do?  I have never seen them and I am interested in how many troops are using them!

sewing patches on a scout shirt, #sewing, #tutorial, #tips, #diy, #savingmoney

sewing patches on a scout shirt, #tutorial, #tips, #diy, #sewing,#savingmoney

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