DIY Reusable Frozen Foods Bag from plastic bags

I read an article this morning that reminded me I’ve been meaning to get some reusable grocery bags made.

After watching an episode of Vet Adventures when Luke cuts open a cow and pulls out about 35 lbs of plastic bags, the kiddoes and I decided we really wanted to change our habits!

I went ahead and started getting some supplies together but haven’t found a tote pattern I really like yet. So, in the meantime as I was researching I found this post about fusing together plastic bags to make a new “fabric” that can be sewn together.

What a cool idea! I had to try it.

So I just jumped in and did it. I folded out 8 bags, and used my rotary tool to quickly cut off the bottoms and tops. Then I individually slit the middles to make each one a long rectangle.

I laid them all flat together and put parchment paper under and on top. I grabbed my iron, set it to the highest heat setting under the steam ones and then gave it a go. I kept the iron moving and checked as I went to see if it was fusing. It was!

Now, it was also shrinking, so I may have my temp set too high, but I wasn’t worried about how it would look. It was kinda shriveled and melty in places, but the layers were fusing.

Once I finished the top, I flipped it over and repeated the efforts on the bottom. And then I had a long single piece of “fabric” to work with. As I looked at it, I folded it in half and it kind of resembled a mailing envelope. And that’s where I got my idea:

I was going to use it to make a removable sleeve for my frozen groceries!

I just fused the sides and then trimmed off the edges. Then I sewed a quick seam up each edge and around the top to reinforce it.

For the cover, I cut some cotton from an old sheet I use for projects like this, and then I did the same thing: Cut it on the fold, then sewed a seam up each side. At the top, I flipped the edge down a little to make a small cuff and then sewed a seam to hold it. Turned it inside out and put the plastic sleeve inside:

frozenbag-inner-1

Perfect fit!

Now, for the closure, I poked a little hole in the top cuff and used my yarn needle to pull through a piece of cotton yarn. I tied it in a knot and put one in the end. Then I added a little button on the front of the cover so I could just wind the yarn around it to close it.

 

frozenbag-outer-1

This one looks pretty plain, I agree. But you could easily make it fancier by using this tutorial for printing on fabric. I did a test piece using this same old sheet using a graphic the hubs is fond of:

fabricprintingwithfreezerpaper-1

And it turned out to be really easy. (The hardest part was finding the freezer paper. I think I found it at walmart for about $7~.) The colors weren’t super saturated, but I can easily see that if I planned ahead, I could print “FROZEN” or “ICE CREAM” in a novelty font, or a cute graphic on the fabric before I sewed it up. (Another great idea is to use a novel print fabric.)

Next up, I will tackle actually making the grocery totes!

Would love to see what you come up with too-

Love,

Momma

Help your child relax after a minor boo boo

I burned my finger this morning trying to get a pastry out of the toaster.

I’m pretty sure it’s blistered, and it hurt like the dickens!

Here’s how I fix these kinds of boo-boos in my house, and they work just as good for the little’uns as the big’uns.

As soon as I realized I did it, I got that finger under running water in the sink. Maybe 2 seconds after. I took another couple seconds to realize the faucet wasn’t shifted all the way to the cold side, so then I did that with my other hand.

The water wasn’t getting cold enough to stop the burning sensation, so I filled a glass with cold water with my right hand, keeping my left hand with the burned finger still under the water.

Then I put my finger into the glass and carried it to the fridge where I grabbed some ice and put that into the glass. Then I got sweet relief! For the next 30 minutes, I just sat down and kept my burned finger in the glass, and whenever I needed to, I swirled it to up the cooling sensation. Note, I didn’t “ice” my finger, as that is too much cold. I used the ice to create cold pockets of water in the glass that I could swirl my finger in.

This works great for the wee ones who can’t stand having their burned finger held in the stream, which is more painful. Next, I took a few minutes to do something I like –pinterest! Great distraction to take my focus off the pain while I was sitting for my 30 minutes. For a child, this might be a good time to put on a favorite cartoon and snuggle with momma, or read a favorite book together. Just keep that sore finger in the cool water.

As the pain subsided, I took a few minutes to think about what actually happened and the thoughts that went through my mind as I was getting the pastry and right up to the point of getting burned. I kept swirling my finger in the cold water in the glass, and then I took a nice deep breath and held it for a second, then really slowly let it exhale.

That’s what triggered my relaxation and started to help the pain really go down! Just going back into the moments before and then doing the deep breathing and slow exhale helped me release the stuck, “Oh I’m hurt!” feelings.

With kids, you can practice having them do it by making the S sound, pretending to be Sammy the Ssssssnake, or Susie the Ssssssssssnake. Put the teeth together and really slowing the exhale helps to calm the body and kick in the relaxation system, (the parasympathetic nervous system) instead of staying stuck in the active, fight/flight/freeze response to getting burned (the sympathetic nervous system).

Once the slowed exhale has helped calm things down, and the helpful distraction takes the mind off the burn, the stinging starts to go away pretty fast, until you take the finger out of the cool water. But once it starts up, you can do the slow breathing again and it will fade out.

The last thing I did, was to get over my fear of using my finger. Guess how I did that?

I got on my keyboard and started typing up this post. 🙂  Yes, it hurt to use that finger for about 30 seconds, but then I got into what I was doing and forgot all about it. And that is what I have the kiddoes do too. We get the legos, or the barbies, the cars or whatever they really love to play with that requires finger dexterity.

The goal is to get them over the hump of not wanting to use that finger normally. It takes a few seconds, but once they get into the enjoyment of playing, especially when momma takes a greater than usual interest, it quickly appears that they can use the finger as if it never happened.

Now that I’ve explained how I handle the basics for minor injuries in my home, I need to say that if you or your child experiences a burn, you will want to seek qualified first aid. My story is provided for your information and education only, and I do not intend it to be used as medical advice, nor it is my intention to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition. Please, if you need medical attention, seek out the services of a qualified professional.

I also encourage you to become proficient in first aid yourself. Check with your local fire department to see who offers courses in your area.

I share my story in the hopes of helping share ideas to comfort and bring peace and relaxation to a person in need so they can feel better faster.

Love,

Momma

PS. My finger completely stopped hurting before I started typing, started again, and then stopped before I published this post!

Daydream Hack #2: Clean the house

image credit: wikimedia.org

Once you have gotten good at feeling motivated to get out of bed, then you are ready to do a new daydream hack. This time, we’ll use visualization to get motivated to clean the house.

This visualization is for when you’ve gotten up and you can’t see to get moving. You’re in front of the tv and you know the housework is there, it needs to be done and it’s your job to do it, but you just can’t get going on it.

First, notice what time it is when you start.

While you’re sitting down and relaxed, close your eyes and picture the chore you are least excited about. For me, that’s usually doing the dishes, so I’ll pick that one.

Imagine the dishes going into the water in the sink. See the gunk and goo rinsing off. They are shiny and wet now, sparkling clean. I have a dishwasher, so I picture my hands getting all wet and feeling the water running over them as I reach into the sink and grab the dishes and then move them over into the dishwasher.

I hear the clink and clack of the dishes as I put them in; the tinny sound of utensils as I drop them into the basket. I focus on the sound of the water splashing on the sink and going down the drain.

Once all the dishes are loaded, I open the dish detergent and notice the smell of lemons and cleaner. It’s a sharp smell and reminds me of clean. I put the soap into the machine and close the door. I feel the pressure of the door again my hands until the sound of a click lets me know it’s really shut. Then I grab the dial and turn it, feeling the resistance in my fingers, listening for the sound of the water going in.

Then I imagine the sound of the machine for a second, swooshing water around and then silence. Now it’s time to empty it because it’s done. I open it up and the heat rushes out. I feel the steam against my face for a second and then I easily grab out the dishes and start putting them away. I see them all lined up and shiny clean in their spaces. My whole kitchen feels like it’s so much bigger and cleaner already just by doing my dishes.

Now, just keep going with the details until you feel motivated enough to go and start the chore you imagined. Once you’re ready to start, notice the time. How many minutes did that take? Repeat this same visualization daily for this same chore, noticing how many minutes it takes to generate your motivation each time.

How many days does it take until you don’t need to do it anymore because it’s automatic? Once you get there, you can do this one again for the next chore that needs a boost. Pretty soon, if you keep going, you will find that you actually build momentum as you go and the other household chores are easier to do and you naturally build a routine that lets you get it all done quickly and regularly.

Love,

Momma

Hack your daydream ability to get going in the morning

Here are a couple daydream hacks to help you get going first thing in the morning when all you want to do is sleep.

#1 The Get out of bed daydream

This one is for those morning when you wake up but you just don’t want to get up.

First, notice how much you don’t want to get up. Is it because your body is tired and you actually need more sleep? Or is it more that you aren’t looking forward to your day? Maybe even dreading it?

Next, notice what time is it? Hold onto that. Now, without falling back asleep, picture yourself getting out of bed, putting your feet on the floor, and walking to the bathroom. Turn on the light in your mind and grab your toothbrush. Splash some water on it. Put your toothpaste on the brush, and then put it in your mouth. Imagine the taste as your brush your teeth a bit.

Look in the mirror. See your face. Wow! You look cute! So bedhead cute! Spit out the toothpaste and rinse. Splash a little water on that cute face, feeling the wetness as it wakes up your face. Grab the towel, and feel the fibers against your skin.

Picture yourself getting in the shower. The water feels perfect. Let it run over your head a second as you put shampoo in your hand. Smell that clean, fresh smell that you love. Feel your hair in your hands as you wash and rinse your hair. Get your soap on and then rinse it off. Feel how your clean skin is awake now.

See yourself hopping out of the shower, grabbing a towel and getting dry fast. Wrap up your hair and grab some lotion. Smell that wonderful fragrance as you smooth it all over your soft skin. Now you smell just lovely! Is it cool on your warm skin or warm on your cool skin? Whichever feels best, imagine that.

Do you love the silence in the morning or have music? Put it on, whichever. Now listen to it for a second in your mind. Enjoy that. Now imagine picking out your clothes: pull it on, slide it up, fasten it, straighten, smooth it out.

Picture your shoes, boots, flipflops or slippers…whichever you want to put on. See them on your feet, fastened. Listen again to the sounds of your morning. Smell the lotion on your skin. Taste the flavor in your mouth. See yourself dressed and put together. Feel your damp hair in your hands as you dry it the rest of the way, ready to be styled how you like.

Keep going with the details until you actually get motivated and get out of bed. Notice what time it is…… How many minutes did that take?  Repeat daily and see how many minutes it takes each time. How many times does it take before it becomes automatic?

3 days? 5? 7? Once it is, you are ready for daydream #2, Clean the house.

This is one of my personal favorites, so I’d love to hear how this visualization works out for you.

Love,

Momma

Diamond Crochet Chart, row by row

I’ve been working on a diamond crochet pattern using this chart:

begin_chain
The chart shows a complete pattern with the sides 

And it was confusing because I wanted to make a bigger project and the repeat just wasn’t obvious to me. So I took it row by row, stitch by stitch. I wrote it all down and then I made a screencast, just in case you’d like to do the same thing:

How to Read Diamond Crochet Chart

Each row is a separate video of me explaining how to count off the stitches and where to make the repeats.

I will post an image of my project on this page as an update after it’s done and after Christmas. Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

Hope this inspires you to make something awesome, and I’d love to see it if you do.

Love,

Momma