s 2015 - The Kim Six Fix
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Half-Square Triangle Pot Holder Tutorial

Hey Everyone!
I'm so happy to have Pam back this week with another fantastic quilting tutorial.  I love this project so much since it so quick to go from fabric shopping to finished project.  If you are are scared to take on a whole quilt, or just want to try out her trick for half square triangles, this is a great way to get your feet wet.

 Make sure you check out Pam's (and my other contributor's) other posts for more great tutorials just like this one.  And don't forget you can find Pam regularly on her blog: Leaves & Stitches, as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  She is a great quilting teacher and I'm so thrilled she is here! 
Half-Square Triangle Potholder Tutorial: A super easy beginner project. Plus she shows you a bunch of great tricks for making half square triangles fast and easy!
Hi everyone! It's Pam from Leaves & Stitches again, back with another quilting/sewing tutorial. But first, a confession: I love the look of quilts and projects made with half-square triangles, but I hate cutting out all those little pieces. And sewing all those little pieces together with a 1/4" seam allowance on the bias? My sewing machine and I BOTH have issues with that one from time to time. So I went looking for a simpler construction method and I found one that is GENIUS. 

If you've never worked with half-square triangles, these potholders are a great beginner project. The blocks aren't very complicated and there are just a few seams to align, the pieces are big enough to handle easily, and the assembly method eliminates so much of the fiddly-ness that goes with making half-square triangles one at a time. If you're already a half-square triangle pro, you can probably knock these out in an hour.

How Does She Do It? 10 Do's and Don'ts when Balancing Family and DIY

If I had a penny for every time someone has asked me "How do you do it?" well.. I would have a lot of pennies. People, especially other moms of young kids, always want to know where I find time to run a blog, remodel my house, and decorate for every holiday.

And the truth is that it has taken me a lot of trial and error to find the right balance.. and it is still a work-in-progress. As the kids grow up and their needs change, so does the way I deal with balancing home improvement, craft projects, my blog and my family. But over the five+ years I've written this blog, I have learned a lot of tricks for finding where the balance lies, what works and what doesn't (at least for me) and by now I'm acutely aware of the pitfalls to watch out for.

If you have children at home and just can't figure out how to get any crafting, decorating or DIY projects done I want to share some advice with you. Since you don't need to put off DIY projects until your kids are "older." You may not be as efficient as someone without little ones under foot, but you still *CAN* accomplish a lot, with these strategies.

Home depot kids projects

5 Do's and Don'ts for Balancing Family and DIY'ing

200 Bloggers Share Their Top Post of 2015

Here it is!  My LAST Post of 2015 and it is a good one!  I've rounded up, sorted and listed more than 200 number one blog posts from 200 DIY and design bloggers.  These are the MOST POPULAR posts from all of these fantastic bloggers.  

I actually did this last year as well, but this year year I have TWICE AS MANY bloggers on the list! 

To make it easier to find stuff, I have broken down the posts into some general categories.  This was really hard, since I know a lot of these projects could fall in multiple categories, but for the ease of making the graphics I tried to split it up pretty evenly. 

Ironically, when I went to publish this post, I forgot to include my own blog! DURP!  (Confession: I was so tired by the time I got to the end of this post, there was no way I was changing the graphic to add my top post.)  So, if you don't think 200 posts is enough, you can check out my personal top 10 as well. 

Finally, I want to thank everyone who was willing to share their top posts.  I couldn't collect this much great content in one place if other bloggers weren't generous enough to share!   The DIY community is a wonderful place to blog, and if you have ever considered starting your own blog, I can't encourage you enough!


How to Make Your Own Sparkling Juice

How to Make Your Own Sparkling Juice.  Perfect alcohol free Champagne alternative.  Give a toast without getting toasted!  With New Year's Eve on the horizon, I wanted to share this quick trick for making your own sparkling juices to use either as a non-alcoholic Champagne alternative for the non-drinkers or as a great fizzy addition to mixers.

My kids LOVE sparkling ciders and juices, but they can be pricey if you buy them in the grocery store. They can be $3-$4/bottle which is only about 16 oz.  That is only a few glasses worth.
Commerical sparkling apple cider
I have figured out a few ways to make my own for less than half that cost.

Pregnancy Survival Kit (Mom-to-be Gift Basket)

Recently my second grader's teacher announced she was expecting her first baby.  My seven year old couldn't be more delighted! She considers herself a "baby expert" since she has so much experience with her new baby brother.  

Originally we were going to get her teacher a baby gift but because it was so early in her pregnancy, we decided to assemble all the "must haves" for any pregnant lady!

We made a shopping list and headed to the grocery store to pick up some essentials for any expecting mom.  

Some of the items we picked up were:
Ginger Ale
Saltine Crackers
Stretch Mark Cream
Baby gift thank you notes
Protein Bars
Pregnancy Magazines

Some other ideas for things you could include:
Ginger/Lemon Candy (Preggie Pops, Lemon Drops)
Baby Laundry Detergent
Hand lotion
Pregnancy/Peppermint/Decaf Tea
Parenting/Pregnancy Books
Heating Pad or Rice Sock (for cramps/back pain)

And of course you can't forget the..
Pickles and Ice Cream:
Because you obviously can't include real ice cream in the basket, I picked up a $10 gift card for Cold Stone Creamery, and attached to the pickle jar.

I had a large basket that I spray painted green (you could do pink or blue if you knew the gender) and added all my goodies.

I attached a baby rattle to the handle and added a big pink and blue bow:

So it was clear why I was giving her a random basket of groceries, I added a "Pregnancy Survival Kit" gift tag:

Finally, I asked my daughter to write a note to her teacher, and this is what she came up with:
If you can't see it, it reads:
 "Dear Mrs. XXXX,
You are going to be a good mom like you are a good nice teacher."

Awww.  That melted my heart. And summed up my sentiments exactly!

My fingers are crossed that her teacher has a easy, uneventful pregnancy and hopefully this basket will help!

If you have any other ideas for things to include in a "Pregnancy Survival Kit" feel free to leave them in the comments. 

Gift Ideas for the 2nd Time Mom (or Third..Fourth..)

What to buy for a mom who already has children. Gift giving to non-first time moms can be tricky, and this list of gift ideas will ALWAYS be useful.
As a mom of three kids I have a lot of experience with gifts for new moms.  As our family grew and grew I became really familiar with all the “stuff” that babies require.
Baby e
With baby one, I was all about the registry. When requesting gifts, I asked everything I thought I needed, from wipe warmers to bouncy seats. Some of those items were more useful than others, but it was easy to come up with a gift list.

With baby two, I was a little wiser.  We already had the basics, and reused a lot of the stuff.  Stroller, crib, car seat, clothes, bottles.. but we did ‘upgrade’ a few items (like moving from an audio baby monitor to a video monitor, or adding a jogging stroller along side the regular and umbrella strollers)
PicklesBy baby three, I felt like I didn’t ‘need’ anything.  And even though my third baby was a different gender than the first two, there was still very little I could put on a ‘wish list’ for when people asked what they could get us as a baby gift.   But in hindsight there are always some great gift ideas that moms can use no matter if their new addition is their first or their fifteenth.

In the past I’ve shared ideas for a Pregnancy Survival Kit and Baby Shower Gifts, but not all new moms need that stuff.  Some of us more ‘seasoned pros’ have a much shorter list, but it doesn’t mean these things are practical or much appreciated.

Animal Shelter Christmas Tree (Plus A COTS Update!)

An animal shelter tree decorated with donationsLast week I shared Christmas Tree Market’s "Christmas in the Community" Tree that my daughter’s Girl Scout troop helped decorate for Bay Area Community Services.  What I didn’t mention is that it was not the only charity tree that the troop worked on.  This winter the girls are working on their Animal Journey badges and so we also partnered with our local SPCA shelter to not only decorate their lobby, but also to collect donations on behalf of the shelter animals.
Spca logo
The girls collected donations of toys, food, treats and other pet supplies and we turned them into ornaments for the tree.    I also created some simple paper ornaments by printing out all the images of the current animals which were available for adoption.
Animal shelter christmas tree ornaments

Easy Rolling Toy Box with A Chalkboard Label

How to build a toy box
Phew! I’m getting this project finished just in the nick of time!  For Christmas this year I’m wanted to build a toy box for my toddler and I finally got it done.  I love how it turned out and I can’t wait to show you how easy it was!

I didn’t want to just buy a toy box since I knew this project would be really straight forward. I wanted something that would be lightweight, it needed to have casters so he could push it around and I wanted it to match his nursery design.  I didn’t add a lid because I didn’t want any pinched fingers.  With that in mind, this is my final design (filled with his gifts under the tree!):
Custom toy box for Christmas
I think I nailed it.  (And I love the chalkboard label on the front!)  

So how did I build it? You may be surprised when you see what I used:

How to Wrap Gifts With Textiles

I have a huge treat for everyone today.  Jill, from Sew a Fine Seam is here with some beautiful gift wrapping ideas.. and instead of using paper or other more traditional methods, she is sharing some gorgeous ideas using textiles and fiber trims.   Any gift recipient would be awed by a present wrapped these fabulous materials!

I am so excited to have Jill as a contributor, since I have been a fan of her blog for a long time.  She has some of THE MOST beautiful photography.  Seriously, just check out her holiday dining room or fall home tour.  She makes me want to move in!  Plus she is an amazing seamstress and crafter.  This colored pencil flower ball BLEW MY MIND! I promise, you will become a fan of hers after reading a few of her posts.  And if you can't wait that long, of course you can already find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest

Welcome Jill! 

Hey there! Merry Christmas! Ho-Ho-Ho! I'm beside myself with excitement to be here at 'The Kim Six Fix'! I'm Jill Flory and I blog at Sew a Fine Seam.  Thanks so much Kim, for the opportunity to share some fun stuff with your readers! So who's ready to wrap some gifts?

This year I'm using textiles and vintage items from my stash to bling out my packages and I'm thrilled to share some of that with you. So put on some Christmas tunes, grab a mug of something hot to drink, dig through your stash of fabric (if you don't have fabric we can still be friends, and you can grab some fat quarters of fun fabrics at the store) and let's get started!

10 Minute Vegetarian Four Bean Chili

10 minute four bean chili: Easy to make using canned beans and tomatoes
With the busy holiday season underway, i have to admit that I haven’t be great about keeping the fridge stocked.   I am so pressed for time, trips to the grocery store are a little less frequent and my ability to make home cooked meals suffers.  We have all been there.. you walk through the door and you think “What in the world are we going to have for dinner?”  I need a recipe that is fast, easy and filling.. but by Thursday night, the fridge is bare.

Traditional Christmas Mantel Featuring Lighted Santa Sleigh Sign

Chistmas Mantel featuring lighted Santa and Reindeer Sleigh Reclaimed Wood Sign
Even though I've already shared my holiday home tour last week,  you may have noticed I only gave a tiny glimpse of my (at that time, unfinished) Christmas mantel. I have been sitting on this post for a while because I was invited by Jen Woodhouse to be part of this year's “Deck the Halls DIY-Style” blog hop.  I have joined with 17 other bloggers featuring great holiday decor with a DIY spin.  (All their links are at the bottom of this post!)
Deck the halls diy graphic

10 Christmas Eve Gift Ideas For Kids

I want to thank my sponsor, Hasbro Gaming, for providing the games mentioned in this post.  All the games that were not prominently featured were donated to the 2015 Toys for Tots Campaign.  
10 Gift Ideas for Christmas EveTracking Pixel
In our family we have a few Christmas Eve traditions that my kids really look forward to.  We go to church and then we come home and the kids all get a new pair of matching Christmas pajamas. Since we live pretty far away from our extended family, we tend to have quiet Christmas Eves at home, and truthfully, I like it that way.  There are very few things that we all do together, and so getting into our special pjs, turning on the Christmas music, playing some games together and watching a Christmas movie has become a cherished tradition.
Christmas eve pjsSo today I’m sharing ideas for what you could include in a Christmas Eve gift basket to set up a perfect evening of family togetherness. Since my kids range in age from 10 to 2 and are mixed genders, it is often hard to come up with gifts that they can all enjoy together, but these ideas are pretty universal.

10 Christmas Eve Gift Ideas for Kids

Easy DIY Hello Kitty Ornaments

Personalized Hello Kitty Christmas Ornaments made from vinyl.  Includes free layered Silhouette SVG cut file to make your own
I’m really excited to be including this project in this month’s Silhouette Challenge (The theme was "Holidays").  I love it for a multitude of reasons.
1. It is really easy!
2. It uses nothing but tiny pieces of scrap vinyl!
3. IT IS HELLO KITTY!!  My kids love Hello Kitty and so I thought this project was even extra fun!

I also am so happy to let you know that if you don't own a Silhouette, this month you have a chance to win one so you can create these wonderful ornaments too!  
(Head to the bottom of the post for the giveaway)

But first.. the Hello Kitty Ornament Tutorial: 

The Kim Six Fix's Most Popular Posts of 2015

Hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, 2016 will be here.  So, once again I am taking time to look back at the past year to see what really resonated with my readers.
Here are similar posts for 2012, 2013, and 2014 (Wow! How far I've come!)

One thing I realized about this list, is that my readers like a little bit of everything.  I know I write about a very diverse range of topics, (which is why I give you so many different options when subscribed to my emails) and I am so happy that  The top 10 broke down into 3 Building Projects, 2 Upcycles, 2 Round Ups. 2 Instructional Tutorials and 1 Recipe.

It was also interesting to find that of my 10 posts, 4 were sponsored.  It is quite validating to discover that the effort I put in to make my sponsored posts interesting and informative is paying off.  As a blog reader I totally understand how much of a turn off it can be to see bad sponsored content on a blog, so I really try to offer my readers something great in every post.. especially those where I am also writing on behalf of a brand.

For everyone who willingly clicks through to my sponsored content.. I want to say THANK YOU!

So, which 10 posts were the most popular?  Let’s start at 10 and count down to number 1:

Traditional Christmas House Tour

Traditional Red and Green Christmas Decor
Christmas is only 2 weeks away! So it is time to give you a quick home tour of my holiday decor.  
Bottle brush tree vignettes inside jars
Candle mason jar centerpiece
I’ve already showed you my exterior decorations, so today is the day we move to the interior!

One Day My Tree Won't Be Ugly, But I Will Be Heartbroken

Today’s post isn’t going to be one that drives thousands of views with its eye-candy images or breathtaking decor.

It isn’t going to be filled with beautiful vignettes and awe-inspiring holiday decorations that belong in the pages of a magazine.

It isn’t one that you are likely see on a lot of other blogs, since it isn’t the type of post that most design bloggers would want to share.

But today’s post comes from my heart.
Today I want to share my cheesy plastic ornament-filled, terrible pop-culture referencing, asymmetric, overloaded, unmatched and down right UGLY Christmas tree. 
Personalized christmas tree
"Wait?! What!?"  You are probably thinking.  "Why would we want to read about that? Nobody wants to see the Walmart of christmas trees when everyone else is giving us the cover of Martha Stewart Living!” 

DON’T LEAVE JUST YET!! Let me explain:

Simple Rustic Winter Front Porch

Rustic front porch with all natural elements for winter
I’m still in the midst of getting my full interior holiday house tour ready for you guys (since you know that requires me to clean my house!), but until then I want to share the exterior this year.  On black Friday I picked up about 100 feet of real cedar garland and so this year I decided to forgo any of the fake plastic stuff (Not that you can’t make the fake stuff look great, but I didn’t want to mix and match with the cedar.)

To play off that gorgeous greenery, I decided to use mainly natural elements in my decorating. For a start I created a pretty vignette by the front door:
Christmas front porch with rustic natural winter elements in reds greens browns
I always struggle with the fact I have a corner front door which and one-sided side light (Oh how I envy those beautiful large symmetric front porches!) But I try to make do.

Making New Friends and Giving Back at Christmas

Girl Scout Christmas TreeIt is time to share one of my favorite posts of the year: My annual Christmas in the Community tree on behalf of Christmas Tree Market.  And this year I'm especially thrilled that Hometalk.com and CountryLiving.com are giving me a chance to share it on their Home for Christmas blog hop!

Last year, I installed a beautiful tree at COTS shelter for the homeless and it was a wonderful experience.

Scrappy Christmas Pillow Tutorial

You guys! I can't wait for you to meet Alicia!  She is a wonderful creative blogger and I know she will inspire you to get crafty!  I actually asked her to be one of my contributors since I love her quilting. You should see her little camper applique quilt. It is adorable!  If you own a sewing machine and think it is intimidating, Alicia has so many great tutorials for simple projects (like this little mug rug)  that would be great for the beginner.  Her instructions are super straight forward and she breaks it down really well.  You're going to love it!

So without further ado, let me introduce the fabulous Alicia: 
Creating this darling christmas pillow out of scraps of fabric.  A great way to create a custom christmas look on a tiny budget

Hi Everyone! I am so excited to be here to share some really awesome sewing tutorials with you! I have a passion for sewing and I love to create great tutorials! I am usually over at Two Kids and a Blog sharing fun sewing tutorials so if you need more you can head over there! 

A while ago I did a fun Rudolph quilt and I made it using a bunch of precut squares that were just a touch too big. So I was left with all these tiny little scraps! If you don't have leftovers that is ok too. These scraps measure about 1/2" by 5", but you can cut strips in just about any size you want for this cute project!
Scrappy Christmas Pillow - www.kimsixfix.com

Easy Frozen Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups

Frozen Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups
Now that the holidays are here, it also means it is holiday pot luck season!  Today’s recipe would be a great dessert idea to take to a holiday party.  These Frozen Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups are bite sized, easy to make, don’t need utensils to eat and look like you slaved away for hours.
Chocolate Filled Cookie Cups ChristmasBut the truth is that you can whip these up in no time.  We are all busy during the holidays and anything that makes life easier is okay in my book.

Easy Upcycled DIY Cable Knit Sweater Pillow

Is everyone else in the throws of holiday decorating right now?  I know I am!  And even though I have been busy busy busy, today’s tutorial is something I threw together LAST NIGHT in less than 20 minutes!   It was the ‘perfect storm’ that actually brought it together.

I was setting up the tree and decorating my living room and realized I didn’t have a decent Christmas pillow to go on my dark brown club chair.  I had a small square one, but I wanted something bigger and brighter that would stand out against the dark (faux) leather.   
Knit pillow for christmas
And, in what happens to be a fortuitous twist of fate, I also recently pulled an old cable knit sweater out of the dryer only to realize it had a big latte stain on one of the shoulders.    The writing was on the wall.  Turn that sweater into a throw pillow! Of course!
Knit Sweater PillowThe process couldn’t be easier.  You really only need to sew two straight lines.. nothing else.
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