Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Buttercup Bag


Last night my little sewing group got together and made these cute "buttercup" handbags. I thought they looked so hard before I made one, but it was a surprisingly easy project. They remind me of the "Bermuda Bags" that were in style when I was in about 6th grade or so- you remember the ones with the wooden handles? I have vivid memories of those bags because my best friend had 2 or 3 of them and I never did get one, so I guess that is what scarred me for life. Just Kidding!
Anyhoo, we had a fun night sewing, chatting and eating delicious cupcakes.

I know we got this pattern from a free tutorial online somewhere, but I can't find it on my computer. I'll let you know if I figure out where it came from. I think I will make another one of these in pink for my little gal so we can be matching purse buddies!

update: The pattern for these is found here on Made by Rae.

Pie Isn't Hard



So, I always think of pie as hard to make, or I guess it's the crust that I think is tricky, so I don't make it very often. So for Father's Day I decided to make an apple pie. I made the crust, and five minutes later when it was done I thought- that wasn't tricky, it was easy as... well, pie! So I think I have conquered my pie phobia and will try making it a little more. I did use homemade pie filling that was already made (thanks Kristin, it was yummy!) so that sped up the process too. As you can see, things like pie don't last long around here! It was so pretty when it came out of the oven, too bad I didn't get a pic before the hungry hordes got a hold of it!

So anyway, if you're intimidated by pie, here is my hubby's grandma's pie crust recipe that I use and always works out well for me. I have a cookbook that she made for the family of all of her recipes and it is my favorite, I use it all the time.

1& 1/3 C flour

1/2 t salt

1/2 C Crisco

3 T water (or a little more)

Cut Crisco into flour, then add water and mix with a fork, then roll out. I doubled it for a bottom and top crust, and I fold it in half after I roll it to put it in the pie plate. I also sprinkled sugar on the top crust.

Bring on the pie! I think I'll try cherry for the 4th of July.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Preschool Musical



I saw this on Sesame Street today and I think it is utterly hilarious!


If you want another laugh, click on this post to see a hysterical photo. I almost feel bad for these people, but I'm sorry, if you're going to do something so ridiculous then that's what you get!


Also, thanks for all the comments on my quilting dilemma. I am including the damask fabric since your opinions were almost unanimous that I should. My husband also liked it that way, and I guess he should get an opinion since it's his bed too! Actually, he is the one who is always commenting that I never make quilts to actually go on beds, so that was one of my inspirations to make this BIG quilt.

I even got a vote from Vanessa of V&Co (one of my top favorite blogs of all time!) and a comment from Kristin, my personal quilting guru who agreed with him so that settled that.
So anyhoo, I have got all the blocks done and will post pictures as soon as the quilt top is done, and before it is sent off to the long arm quilter lady. Very exciting! (for a big quilting nerd like me anyway).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

.

With or Without?



So, here is my latest quilting project I'm working on (yes, another one! My husband was like- why don't you try finishing one of the other ones first?! I say, what fun would that be?!) I'm trying to decide whether to include a fabric, it is the dark brown with white damask-type print you can see in the first picture. I really love the fabric but I don't know if it sticks out too much, or if that's a good thing, or what. So, please share your opinion and tell me what you think! Sometimes I look at something for way too long and over analyze it. Basically, I don't want one fabric to jump out at you too much and have that be all that you see, but I like the visual interest of a bolder print too.
This isn't finished yet, there will be more squares, for a total of 42 squares, 6 across and 7 down. I'm just trying to get an idea of what it looks like before I sew the rest of the blocks- so hence the photos.
This quilt is to go on our bed, my first bigger quilting project (it's a queen). It will coordinate with some Ikea bedding I bought a few years ago that is dark red (maroon I guess you'd call it) with white. If I didn't use it in the quilt, another option would be to make a pillow or something out of it. I always go back and forth on decisions, I'm so wishy washy sometimes! (I've already brought some blocks to church to ask some friends' opinions- you guys can vote again though too!)
So anyway, if you have a spare minute, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I'd like to get sewing and finish this up! It is a really easy project, I just started it the other day and it's halfway done. The pattern is called Triple Treat, and it's very simple and fast to sew.
Thanks for your input!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Take a Quiz




Click here to take a fun quiz on Sproost.com to find out your personal decorating style. Here are some of the pictures I either liked or loved from the quiz. The first time, I ended up with 60% Nantucket style, 30% cottage chic, 10% traditional country. The funny thing is, the second time I didn't have any cottage in my results, but I had a little "French Eclectic." It's kind of fun to take it a few times because they show you different pictures, so the results vary a little each time. I'll summarize my style by calling it, "Country beach-cottage, with a tad of French eclectic and "Rustic Revival" thrown in- whatever that means!
Something to do if you've got a couple of minutes to waste! If you have a couple of other minutes to waste, leave me a comment with your quiz results. I'm curious to know what your decorating style is!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Calling

Today at church I began a new calling, serving as a counselor in the presidency of the Relief Society in our ward. I'm pretty excited about it, especially since my good friend Ellen is the president! I think we are going to have a lot of fun, and hopefully be able to do some good also.

It is also just a little intimidating to feel like I am following in the footsteps of some incredible ladies. The woman who had the position before me was my seminary teacher and Young Women's leader, and someone I admire and look up to a lot. My Grandma was a leader in RS too for much of her life, and is legendary in our family for all of the service she gave in those callings, and just in life in general. So, I feel a bit out of my league but I'll give it my best. I know I've been given experiences in the last year that have prepared me, chief among them being a Gospel Doctrine teacher. That was so scary for me, that now I feel like church calling wise, if I could do that, I could do just about anything!

Ellen was out of town today so I got thrown right out into the deep end and got to conduct the meeting today. Despite the couple of nightmares I had about it last night, it went fine:) Ellen was right, they don't bite! I'm just kidding, because really all of the ladies at church are awesome and it will be a privilege to serve them in this way for a while. If you want to get inspired, click here to learn more about the Relief Society, it's an amazing organization!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Linen Pillow and a Baking Night




monogram detail

So last night I got together with a couple of friends, Anna and Cassie, for an evening of baking. Anna is an amazing cook and baker. She has had our family over for brunch a couple of times, and she is the type of cook that, every time you eat something she's made you think to yourself, this is the best ______ I've ever had! She's also brought me adorably wrapped boxes of cookies the last couple of Christmases, which I usually hide from the rest of the fam!



Anna was also kind enough to make a wonderful summery dinner of a corn, tomato& avocado salad with a yummy lime/cilantro dressing, bread with orange honey butter and fruit. Heavenly! And I have to say, to eat in a quiet home where you can have an actual conversation is a nice change of pace! I love my big rowdy family, but a peaceful evening every once in a while is very appreciated by me.


So, we made lemon-orange sour cream glazed cookies from this book that are melt in your mouth delicious!

They have orange zest in the cookie, and lemon zest in the glaze, and true to the book's title, lots of butter. Can't go wrong with those ingredients! The cookies turned out wonderfully, and of course now I feel the need to go out and buy that book, plus The All-American Cookie Book, where Anna gets a lot of her other wonderful cookie recipes. Something tells me that even with the right recipes, mine probably won't turn out as good as hers. Some people have just got the touch!



So, to say thank you for all of her wonderful hosting, and as a lateish housewarming gift for her new place, I made Anna this pillow. As far as I'm concerned, you can't get enough monograms! I used this awesome tutorial for pillow covers from CottagMagpie, one of my all-time favorite inspirational blogs. I love this tutorial because it is for a pillow sham that is open in the back, so the pillow cover is removeable so you can change it and still use the same pillow form, and also wash it, which is very important in my house! I love these pillows I made a couple of years ago, but they were sewn all the way around and you couldn't remove the cover, so the white one got really trashed and I just had to chuck it (I saved the pillow form though, of course). I was trying to figure out a way to make a pillow with a zipper or something and found these instructions and it was the perfect thing- I'd much rather make one of these than put in a zipper! The other great thing about this tutorial is that she tells you how to make one to fit any size pillow form. So, I see lots of pillow making in my future, for beds, couches, chairs, you name it! I told my husband how great this would be, and how it was another way to use up all of my fabric, and he very pessimistically said that it was more like an excuse to buy more fabric. I guess he knows me too well!



So just a little more pillow detail for those who might be interested in making one:

I sketched the letter A, then traced it onto tracing paper, then traced it backwards on to some Heat 'n Bond (possibly my favorite crafting invention ever), and ironed it on to the bottom corner of my pillow front. I did this while it was laid out on the pillow form to make sure it was high enough to show once the whole thing was sewn. Then I zig zagged around the whole applique, and that's pretty much it. After that, I just followed Angela's tutorial which was really easy, with pictures of each step. She also shows you how to add trim, which I will definitely do on future projects. I used tan linen that I bought at Joann's. Linen is pretty expensive, even at Joann's it is like $15 something a yard, but I bought a couple of yards when it was 1/2 off. Oh, and one other thing, she has you zig zag all of your raw edges, which I don't know if I would bother to do if using cotton, but if you're going to use linen, I'd definitely do it because it frays a lot. Anna has a gorgeous new white couch from Pottery Barn in her living room, and a brown leather chair, so the linen looks great in there. Let me know if you try making any pillows yourself, the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Bit of Birthday Sewing

So, a couple of months ago, my son pointed out that he had a birthday coming up, and that I hadn't ever made something for him (this isn't strictly true, I made him a blanket before he was born, and I really think I must have made him something in the last few years). Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make him a birthday project, something like this one, and this one I did for a couple of my other son's birthdays. So, I made him this penguin. I think he turned out pretty cute.

Here is a picture of it with his original drawing I had saved from a few years ago, when he used to draw penguins all the time. Unfortunately the paper version suffered a little water damage.


Anyway, he mentioned something about wanting a bear, so I made another one of these Martha Stewart bears too:


I think I've made about 5 of them now. I ordered wool felt from the company A Child's Dream Come True. In the past I have bought wool felt from Joann's to make some toys and dolls with, and I wasn't too happy with it. In a very short time it became really pilled and fuzzy. If your project is going to sit up on a shelf only, the Joann's wool felt is probably fine. If it's going to be handled at all however, it just doesn't hold up that well in my opinion. This other wool felt I ordered online is kind of expensive, but I decided that if I'm going to put in all that time and effort, it's worth it to get a little better quality material. I'm happy with these projects, but if you want to make a stuffed toy for snuggling, I don't really recommend wool felt at all, it definitely has an itchy quality to it. For that kind of thing I'd stick with cotton.


On a side note, how do you like my new chair? There are two of them, and I really love them a lot. At first I was thinking I'd repaint them white, but I kind of really like them how they are. I rescued these from my neighbor who was chucking them. They actually took a little metal cart that we were chucking, so it was a nice little swap (I think I got the better deal though!) Someday I want a big old pine farmhouse table for my dining room (when/if I have a dining room) and I'd like to paint all my mismatched chairs white to go around the table, with a bench on one side. I've almost got enough chairs, which we've collected from yard sales and rescued from various sources. So, now I've just got to find the perfect table. I'll have to do a post with all of my farmhouse style dining room inspiration photos to show you what I mean. I've got a bunch of other recent thrifty finds to show you too, still need to photograph those.
Don't Blink, or You'll Miss Her:

I know these pictures aren't the best,

but with this one, you have to take what you can get
(when she saw this hammer she said,"This is Daddy's," then picked it up and wacked my table with it)
Most of the pictures I tried to take of her look more like this:
She doesn't hold still much


Doesn't she have pretty eyes though?


Love the supermodel-style hair too. Why can't my hair look like that?! People always ask if we had it cut in layers. No, it just grows that way naturally. Lucky duck.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I Was Here Last Night:



And it was awesome! This was almost our view, except just shift to the left a little more. Hubby won some sweet seats at work the other day, like seats that we would never even dream of buying for ourselves. Like, seats that together cost at least as much as I spent on books my entire first year of college, and maybe more! He's on a realy winning streak lately!

Going to see the Sox play at Fenway is an experience as much as a baseball game. I admit that I am not the biggest sports fan in the world. In fact, a funny story to go with that. So, when I told my 13-year-old that Dad won tickets and he was taking ME to the game, he said to me, "Name three Red Sox baseball players." I was like, "Um, well, there's that one guy, what's his name...?" He starts to shake his head like I'm the most pathetic person on earth, and I say, "no, you know the guy with the bloody sock?" So the 13-year-old just shakes his head some more and is like, "He's not even on the team anymore! I can't believe YOU get to go to the game!"

So anyway, pathetic or not, I did go to the game. We had a great time, and I have to say that sitting at Fenway to watch a game is a totally different story than sitting at home watching the tv, which is, frankly, boring as heck! The crowd is sooo into the game, and it's always full, and people are happy and excited (esp when they are winning, which they did last night, 8-1) It was a really fun night -Big Papi hit his second home run of the season, the pitcher almost pitched a shutout, until the very last inning someone scored one run off of him, the weather was perfect and we had an awesome view! Doing the wave, singing "Sweet Caroline," and best of all, it was a whole night out alone without kids!

Oh, and speaking of baseball, and kids, my 5-year-old got two awesome hits at his t-ball game yesterday, and made a sweet play fielding a grounder and tossing it to first. They may make a Red Sox fan out of me, but my boys will always be my favorite players!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Your Prayers are Needed

Hello dear blog readers. I thought I'd share a picture of my sweet little nephew Baby Duncan (as we call him at our house). It has been two weeks since his significantly premature birth and he has had his share of ups and downs. Overall he is doing remarkably well considering his age and size, which is just under 2 lbs. However, he has had an infection and needed some extra assistance with his breathing lately. He was given medication to close a hole in his heart, which worked and we are just hoping it continues to work and the hole doesn't open up again. He has had some other smaller scale complications but he is a strong one and a fighter. He just needs to get bigger and stronger and for his lungs to develop more. Around here we're praying hard for this little guy, and ask that you join us! I know that he can use all the help he can get.
I believe in the power of prayer, and have personally felt my prayers being listened to and heard as I have prayed for Baby Duncan, and have felt a sense of our Heavenly Father's deep concern and profound love for him. I have felt inspired to pray for specific help that he needs. So, if you are so inclined, please pray for his lungs to continue to develop, for him to grow and for his infection to clear up, and for strength for his parents. It truly makes a difference!
THANK YOU!

In other, much more minor medical news, I am home today with a boy who has come down with a severe case of hives all over his body. Poor guy, he is extremely sore, itchy and uncomfortable!We'll be sitting on the couch watching movies and eating treats all day today, the sure cure for all annoying ailments!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Funny Stuff Heard Around Here...

The other day one of my kids asked me a question, and I answered them with, "cuz that's how I roll."
My kindergartener gave me a look and said, "Mama, you don't roll at all!"

Apparently I'm way to old and uncool to "roll!"

Last night my husband said, "I don't speak whine."

In other news, as of 6:33 AM MST, I am the mother of not just one, but two teenagers. Good grief.