Sunday, April 17, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

I just checked my list for this week and you know, overall, especially with how tired I am, I got a lot accomplished off of my list!

1.  I got the couch repaired (seen above), got the nasty peeling cushions covered by making a new slipcover for them (seen above) and got pillow shams made (seen above). 

The couch has been terrible for quite some time.  I kept adding quilts or throws to it to try and cover up the damage, but here's a quick look at the "before" state of the couch...

Between age, a son who liked to pluck any leather that was peeling in the least bit and two cats who thought the couch downstairs was their personal scratching was awful.

I bought a length of really heavy dark brown corduroy at the used store a couple of months ago and thought that the colors might match.  I have to say I was GOOD at matching the colors in my head (probably from all of the repairs I've made to the love seat *laugh*).  I stretched the cloth over the existing leather (doubled up) and used nail tacks to basically reupholster the damaged parts.  I was a bit short on tacks, so I didn't get to flip the couch over and tack it all over the bottom, but it's tacked enough that it's not going anywhere until I can get to a home improvement store and get some more tacks.  And I only smacked my thumb once with the hammer!

I really like how the couch turned out (not so much the pictures as they don't really do the couch justice).  The corduroy looks like a suede type of leather from a distance and it's not until you are really on top of it that you can tell what the material actually is, so it blends with the couch really well and adds a bit of a texture variance to the couch. 

The cushion covers ended up taking a turn down a different path from my original intent.  I had a plan set in mind for some pretty embroidery to do and then I ran across the cushion cover in the center at the thrift store for 1.00.  I fell in love with the embroidery and thought it was a table runner, so I immediately bought it only to find it was a cushion cover.  Well, my son's speech therapist had given us a child's room pillow to use when he has speech therapy (hit the pillow, not the human being next to you), but it really did not go with the room decor at all.  Since it was a really soft and not well stuffed pillow, I shoved it into the pillow case and used a safety pin to close it completely.
I had muslin all cut out to make some embroidered throw pillow covers for the side cushions, but I found the prettiest crocheted doily type of cushion covers at the used store that someone had made.  I didn't like the material that was underneath the doily upper though (it was an orange color I just didn't jive on), so I plucked the covers apart and cut out a new pattern for the top using the old one as a guide.  I then made a new top out of unbleached muslin and sewed them all back together (without having to mess with the invisible zippers the other person was kind enough to install for me on the back ;). 

The slip cover for the couch cushions was super easy.  I measured out how wide my unbleached muslin was and realized that all I had to do was sew two lengths together and it would encompass the cushions nearly perfect.  So, basically I made a GIANT pillow case and just shoved the cushions inside.  I might add a bit of length to the end of the pillow case and put some velcro in to keep the end of the cover closed, but that's only if it starts slipping off all the time.  So far it's been working just fine.  I picked the muslin not only for it's width, but also because it matches the tablecloth I made of unbleached muslin for the coffee table (seen) and the undertones in the couch cushions...and it's easy to clean (which for me is an important factor).  I think it ties together pretty well considering I made a two toned couch *laugh*.
The crocheted throw was actually a nearly finished project that someone had dropped off at the thrift store a bit ago.  I got it for 1.50 (craft stuff was on sale 50% off).  It was in a bag and I was thrilled to find it came with the proper size of crochet hook in the yarn and it had the pattern written on a little piece of paper (neat trick that...I must remember it).  I messed around, ripped out a couple of squares until I figured out the ins and outs of it and finished it (which honestly don't give me much credit as the thing was about 95% done for me).  I threw it into the photo mainly to show my step mom as I'm super proud when I can crochet something the least bit fancy (not a natural crochet person am I).

I actually REALLY can't wait until I can get the mending done on the one quilt I found (making progress on that!) as I think it will look really really pretty on the back of the couch.

So, there's some of the things I got accomplished this week (well yesterday and today). 

Next up is...

2.  Applesauce!

I finally decided now was the time to make the applesauce out of the reduced apples I bought or I was going to end up with applesauce whether I liked it or not (translation:  I was going to find a science experiment in my vegetable drawer).  So, Friday, once my husband was home to help field the kiddos, I got to work and got the applesauce done and canned.

I got ten pints out of twelve pounds of apples.  Yes, I said ten and I know there are only nine in the photo.  For the first time in my canning career (or whatever you would call it) I had a jar break in the canner.  The bottom snapped clean across, so I'm thinking that it was some type of fault in the jar.  With the way the rest of my week had gone boy I had some choice words and felt discouraged when that happened.  Luckily it was the first batch of applesauce so there was only 4 pints of applesauce in the canner, so I didn't have a ton of jars to clean off after the canning was done, only three of them (luckily the majority of the applesauce actually stayed in the jar until I moved it to remove it...what a mess that was).  Made me really nervous about the rest of the jars, though, until everything was canned, sealed and happy. 

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to getting more discount apples at some point and making more applesauce and other related things out of them.  We LOVE home made applesauce and stuff around here, so if I can get the means to make it cheap it is a wonderful windfall for us :).

3.  I got all of the carpets upstairs shampooed (a LOT), got the upstairs windows washed and got one of three ceiling fans dusted super well.  I'm hoping to get more done tomorrow while the kids are in school since I lost two days with my son home sick both days and such.

4.  I spent a good portion of the week on the phone trying to find a new care coordinator for TEFRA (my son's Medicaid insurance) as our care coordinator is shutting her business down.  I was starting to panic as everyone I called was either not returning my calls or was telling me that they were booked solid with other clients due to my care coordinator quitting and I was starting to worry that I was going to have to learn how to be a care coordinator.  Luckily, one lady called me back and gave me the number of a gal in Soldotna who takes care of TEFRA, so I called her and am hopefully getting set up to use her services toward the end of the year for my son's TEFRA renewal (fingers and toes crossed on that one).

5.  I cleaned off and moved my son's small bookcase out into the living room area.  I put my rice cooker, my slow cooker and some of my books on it, which got a bunch of stuff off the floor (sadly that's where my rice cooker and slow cooker have been the last little bit) and it looks a lot better. 

Overall, considering how wiped out I've been and such, I was quite proud of myself for getting so much done.

So, here are my goals for this week.

General Goals:
  • Get husband through dental appointment.  No matter how much it ends up being I am determined to stay positive about it as the more money it costs that means they save the tooth.  Here's hoping it works out.
  • Organize pantry better to accommodate more home canned goods as produce seems to actually be going for cheaper prices this year compared to last, which means I might actually get more canning done this year.  
  • Put applesauce in pantry (organizing the shelves better is step one to this *laugh*).

Cleaning Goals:
  • Clean children's rooms and scrub down walls.
  • Move son's bed and shampoo under it, wash it down with bleach water to kill any germs on it (it's plastic so this is definitely something that I do) and reassemble.
  • Vacuum mattresses. 
  • Continue to clean and organize kitchen.

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on dress for self
  • Work on gift for new niece
  • Finish bag holder (no, I haven't gotten to this yet.  Yes I know I'm sad *laugh*).
  • Continue to work on mending quilt.

And there you are folks.  My goals for this week.  Do you have any plans?


  1. My goals: Spend some time with the bills and budget... get that all figured out. make tuna salad for myself (no one else in my family likes it), fill out a Kroger survey for gas points, make some phone calls regarding doctors, clean under the kitchen sink (my least favorite cabinet to clean), fix a pair of jeans, measure the windows in some of the rooms, register my daughter for one class she wants to take through our parks and rec department, and on Saturday we are going to clean and straighten the daughter's room. I have my normal cleaning, laundry and dishes routine as well. I work 3 hours a day at my daughter's school, so I have to use my time wisely. I did get the bathroom clean today and meal planning is done for the next two weeks. I also hung up a special hook so that my daughter's razor scooter can hang by the back door and won't keep falling over, scaring the entire household. So I did good today and have some things left to accomplish this coming week. Thanks for your posts... they help me keep focused too. I hope you all get to feeling better and can get some good quality sleep.

    1. Wow! I hope you can get all of that done! That's quite a list :).

  2. You did really well with your goals this week, Erika! Way to work through the exhaustion!!!

    You know, I've never had a canning jar break on me either. I'm pretty sure I would have had some choice words as well if it ever does happen though. I'm so glad you were able to can some cheap homemade applesauce. If you continue to watch the sales, it won't be long before you fill the pantry with lots of healthy, delicious fruits and veggies to keep you going over that long Alaskan winter!

    Great job on the couch repairs, too. It looks amazing...I had to really look to see where you had repaired it! Love those throw pillows as well. You are really getting good at reupholstering jobs, Erika. Perhaps you should consider make this into a side job!

    1. You can not believe how excited I am that I already have some apple sauce and some grapes put up this year :). Last year it was terrible...apples never seemed to go below 2.49 lb and they weren't great quality at that and I couldn't find deals on any produce that was worth buying. This year so far is shaping up well on the produce front. I'm praying it continues!

      I'm laughing at the upholstery repairs. I never thought in my life I would be doing things like this, but here I am. Although, I've done enough of them I really wouldn't want to do it as a side job unless I had's hard work! My thumb is telling me how unhappy it is with my poor aim today *laugh*.

  3. That applesauce looks awesome! Was it hard to make?

    I am slowly making progress in the great room switch. I had to go a few days without working on it, and as I feared, losing my gumption.

    We live in Va, near a national forest and for the first time in my life, I've seen one up close now. Not 5 miles from our house, for 2 days we've watched the smoke get bigger and bigger...tonight, as it got darker, we saw 3 mountains covered in flames. Took photos. Found out its now 2000 acres of fire. Human started, they say. The air has been thick with smoke, I've never experienced anything like it, so been watching out the window more than getting stuff done.

    1. Sarah, applesauce is one of the easiest things to make. All you do is peel and core the apples, put them into a pot with just a little bit of water on the bottom to start and cook them until they break down into a sauce consistency. You do not need much water as the apples will start to release their juices once they start to cook. You may wish to use a hand blender or potato masher to break up some of the lumps, depending on how chunky you like your homemade applesauce. You can also add sugar to taste, but I highly recommend tasting it first. Most of the time, extra sugar is not necessary. In fact, I never add sugar to mine. Once the sauce is ready, you can process it in canning jars while sauce is hot, or let it cool and package in baggies/containers for the freezer (or put in fridge to eat fresh).

    2. If you aren't going to freeze it I would definitely recommend soaking the apples for a short period of time, once peeled in some lemon water (apple cider vinegar lends a more apple flavor that is a great alternative if you can't do lemon juice) to prevent the apples from browning. Then just cook them down, adding sugar if you wish (I usually do as my daughter likes things sweet, but be sure you don't make it as sweet as you think you need as it gets sweeter as it sits in a jar...ask me how I know this ;) and be sure if you are going to can the applesauce to add a couple of TBS of lemon juice (I went by the recipe from Ball for mine and for 12 lbs of apples it called for 1/4 of a cup of lemon juice) as the acid helps to even out the acidity in the apples as different varieties and growing conditions, they've found, create different acid levels and you want to make sure to have the acid high enough to kill any wayward nasties. The lemon juice also helps to waken up the taste of the applesauce and I think lends a really nice flavor to it.

      I'm sorry about the fire. Wildfire season is just starting up here and we had a pretty dry winter, so we're worried it's going to get bad this year. We already have a 10 acre one burning by where a couple of my in-laws live. I pray they can get the fire out before your home is in danger. I'm praying for you!

  4. Erika, awesome job on the furniture repairs!

    1. Aw thanks! I'm rather proud of this one myself :). Even though it isn't perfect it looks SO much better than it did before that I can't help but feel good looking at it *laugh*.

  5. Great job on the couch! I would not have thought to use the corduroy. If you didn't want the couch to be 2-toned, you could also make cushion covers out of the corduroy. I think I'll try that when my cushion covers they'd coordinate but not match.
    Also, after a lifetime of making applesauce (learned from others, not from a cookbook), I never knew to soak in lemon juice (or cider vinegar, which I have plenty of). Ours is always darker, and I just figured the commercial stuff was somehow artificially (temp, climate, substance) kept or made lighter. Thank you!!

  6. I do my applesauce differently. Your way is yummy, too, though, and is similar to the way my grandma did it. The way we do it is to cut the apples into quarters, and chop the seeds out. We leave the peels on. Those chunks are put into a large pot with a little water and cooked/steamed. You do have to stir it frequently to keep it from burning. After that has cooked enough that the apples are soft, I put them through a hand-cranked food mill. This sends the ground applesauce into a bowl below and leaves the skins and any core pieces in the discard bowl above. My kids love "grinding" the applesauce. After it is in the bowl, I do add sugar, then can in jars. This method is a good way to make lots and lots of applesauce a little more quickly. I like to use Gravenstein apples, which can be purchased by the bushel for around $20-$25 in August, from fruit stands around here. I often do 3 bushels or so, as it is a favorite of some of the children. I can get about 21 quarts from a bushel, so that's usually over 60 quarts. Some years I can get away with less if they didn't eat as much the previous winter.

  7. Love the couch repair-refashion! I had to do the same thing to a chair with the match waiting for my efforts. I covered the chair in denim, and plan to do the second one the same way.
    Woohoo on the canning of the applesauce! I love homecanned applesauce!