Friday, January 29, 2010

Things I Love -Jan 2010

1. Cath Kidston
Cath Kidston is a British designer.  The website sells homegoods (like umbrellas and gadget cases), clothes, fabric, kitchen stuff and more.  And all of it is in very lovely prints that are just adorable.  The fabrics are my favorite.  I would love to have a giant sewing stash of her fabrics.  Actually, I'd love to have at least one of every single thing on her site.  She has two cute sewing books, too.  I may have to go add them to my Amazon wishlist, like, right now.

2. Peanut M&Ms
There's not a whole lot to say about that, but I love them.  Not a huge fan of plain M&Ms, but I do also like almond.  Lauren also likes peanut M&Ms, so we get along just great when it comes to getting a snack in the checkout aisle.

3. Getting mail
Opening the mailbox and finding a letter just for me and not from a company or utility is such a little joy.

4. Bookstores
Specifically, getting to browse uninterrupted through a bookstore at my own leisure.  Not that it happens much anymore.  But when I get to, or when I used to get to, it made me happy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Creative Inspirations

Do you use Flickr? I ♥ Flickr! It's a giant collection of user photos. You can search based on user's name, groups the photos belong to, or key words (called tags) that the user has assigned to their photo. People from all over the world use Flickr and I can spend an afternoon browsing through people's pictures. I've searched the restaurant where the band my dad is in plays to see vacationers' pictures with him in the background. I've searched craft projects I'd like to do to see how others have done it. Often, I'll start on one search and end up finding a picture I like from one user, then looking through that user's photos, and then end up in another group with more pictures completely unrelated to the first topic. I suggest doing searches for "Bento" - I find that one really entertaining.

I love searching for Quilts on Flickr. It makes me want a sewing room of my own where I can have room to cut and piece and lay things out and store and organize more fabric than I can imagine. I find I'm drawn to scrap block quilts and appliqued quilts the most. And I love quilts with lots of white mixed with brights. There are quite a few I've found that are all done by a woman whose website is called Red Pepper Quilts. Look through those, they are amazing.

I really really want to get a quilting machine. I think I'd churn out a dozen quilts a year if I had one. It's the final step of quilting by hand which is so daunting, especially when I like to make quilts that actually work on a bed and not doll sized quilts. And I don't really need any more baby blankets. I could cut and piece all day long, but sewing by hand on something that large is intimidating and tiring. There are so many chances to mess up and I don't want to run out of steam before I finish. Buuuuuuuut.... a quilting machine costs money - lots of money- and so I don't think I'll be getting one any time soon.

For the time being, I'll plan quilts. And I may even piece them. I may even do some by hand. Learning to quilt with my regular sewing machine might be a good idea, but I'm worried about the quilt shifting under the foot and I'm worried about really screwing up something I've spent hours doing.

Lauren picked out a dress pattern and fabric at JoAnn's yesterday, so I'll have that to do. I'm also thinking about making another pillow for a friend of mine who just adopted a baby girl. If I use her nickname, I'll only have four letters to applique, so that won't take too long. My grandma also gave me two applique quilts that she started in the 80s and never finished. The pieces are cut, all I need to do is the sewing. They look like fun projects and not something I would normally choose to do, so I'll probably learn a thing or two doing them.

Sometimes I feel like there are so many projects I have set up for myself that I don't know where to start and so I end up doing nothing. Does that ever happen to you?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Story About The Movies

On Thursday, I got a call from Natalie's home therapist that she would have to cancel Friday's appointment. I thought this would be the perfect chance to head out to my grandma's house with the girls to spend the night. We hadn't gotten together since Thanksgiving because of weather and all of the appointments we keep every week. It seems like whenever we had two days off, it was storming and would make me nervous for the two hour drive. We left Friday morning right from Lauren's ballet class.

Packing is pretty easy, I packed one large duffel bag with all the clothes and toiletries and diapers for myself and the girls. I also take the playpen for Natalie and I let Lauren pack a small backpack of toys. Before ballet, we loaded everything up and Ben set Lauren up with the DVD player and her case of movies. It's one of those zippered books that holds around 100 DVDs and has a little handle. Lauren carries that case all over, from her bedroom where she watches a movie in bed, to her playroom or the living room where she'd like to watch something. All of her movies are in it... the Disney classics like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, the Nick Jr. compilations with Dora, Backyardigans, Kai-Lan, the Barbie movies, Strawberry Shortcake movies, Max & Ruby.... all of her favorites.

I drove straight to ballet, got Natalie and Lauren out, sat inside. After class, I loaded the girls back in the car. Over the sound and through the woods to grandmother's house we go. Or, went. We got to her house and when I was bringing the bags in, she stopped me. She had a family from church staying with her. They were getting ready to move to Ohio. Their house was being packed and cleaned for showings by the realtor and they had been staying in her spare room. They were leaving that afternoon, but their things were still in the bedroom that the girls and I would be in that night. She told me just to set my things down and we'd put them in there after the family left. They were out when I got there, but she expected them back around 4:00 to load up their stuff and head to the airport.

We let Lauren paint, and I painted with her, we played some hide and seek with Lauren, played Lauren's My Little Pony board game and then headed out to the store to pick up a few things so that I could cook dinner. We got home just before the family did and I was cooking up some chicken breast when they came in. The dad and daughter were running late, so they were rushing around to get all of their suitcases packed and loaded into the car. Another friend of theirs from church was going to be driving them to the airport, and he was helping to load their things, also. It was kind of a mad dash and I just did my best to stay out of their way.

After dinner, Lauren asked to watch a movie, and ... that's when we realized we couldn't find the movies. Right away, my grandma figured it must have been loaded with the stuff the family was taking to the airport. I called Ben to ask if he had loaded the movies, he said he was 99% sure they had been on the seat next to Lauren. He thought there was a small chance he had left them on the roof of my car, so he went and checked the alley off the garage, the street, and called the base police to inquire about the lost and found. My grandma called around until she got the family's cell phone number and she called to ask if they had it, but they were in the car and would have to wait to look until they got to the hotel by the airport.

The next day, we still hadn't heard back. I searched all over my grandma's house to see if they had been moved out of the way, but couldn't find them. I stopped at WalMart on our way home and picked out a few movies for Lauren from their $5 bin so she'd have something for the 2 hour drive home, and something for bedtime. Saturday came and went and we didn't hear anything back.

Sunday I started browsing eBay and Craigslist for secondhand kid movies because I figured our collection was long gone. I was getting really sad about the thought of replacing all those movies. Over a hundred movies at an average of $10 each (if not more) is a THOUSAND DOLLARS worth of movies. And they were just gone.

My grandma called me last night. The family had found our movies! They are putting them in the mail Monday morning. We're so relieved. Lauren did get about 10 new movies out of it, including Beauty and the Beast, which she didn't have and I won on eBay. I'm also fairly certain we'll be only taking a few movies when we travel from now on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I just realized that those pictures of the pillows are super small and that clicking on them doesn't make them bigger! Whoops!

Here are the pillows:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunny Day! Sweepin' the Clouds A-Way!

It did not rain today. Can I even explain just how excited I am about that? The only bummer is I did not realize just how nice it was outside today until sometime after 1:00 when we left for a lunch out at our favorite place. Ben took Lauren to the park this morning to run around and although he said it wasn't raining, he did not mention it actually felt kind of warm out there. We didn't even need coats today. Do you understand? Mid-fifties! Sheesh, I'm about ready to break out the tank tops and flip flops, y'all!

Well, maybe there's still too much California girl in me for that.

Not that all this time indoors has gone to waste. I have been getting good things done. Like these pillows I made for the girls. Hand appliqued letters and rose, and machine stitched the rest. The buttons keep the envelope closure closed.
And here's the dresser that I redid for Natalie:
Fun dresser (10/365)
This photo is from before I actually finished so there's still a little bit of the wood laminate showing in the bottom corner, but that's gone now. The dresser is in use in the girls' room now. It's so wonderfully bright and cheery and girly. Perfect thing to keep the clouds away! Which will be good, because this sunny weather is not supposed to stick around, we'll be back to rain over night and tomorrow.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Things I Love - etsy All-Stars

Two things I love in one easy post, for your browsing pleasure:

1. Star Silver and Gold Ring by trudiedavies, $32.00

Cute, dainty, mixes metals and has a cute star. Love it!

2. Star Dust Necklace in Sterling Silver by Roundabout, $24.00

Tiny and adorable. I love how the chain goes through the star. Click on the link to see other images and how this necklace hangs right in the dip between the clavicles. My A&P terminology is failing me now, but you know, that spot. Just see the picture.

3. Japanese Star Moss 3/4 Sleeve Tee by Xenotees, $24.00

I just like it. The green, the cluster of stars. Really cute.

4. Star Drop Earrings Key Lime by cashmerebark, $36.00

I like these for a couple reasons- the little stones, the length of the earring, and the way the star is a little accent. I can totally see me wearing these with my purple scarf.

This looks like the perfect little activity book to take along to restaurants, waiting rooms, dressing rooms... anywhere the girls would need to sit and be good (and quiet!) for a short while. It has a spot in the middle for a pad of paper, and pockets on each side for a total of 12 crayons. Love this. Will probably buy soon!

Forget glow in the dark stars on the ceiling! You could make an amazing wall or room with these stars! They're available in metallic silver and stick right to the wall. I would LOVE to do the girls' room with these. Or my own.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The PNW is.... wet.

I finished the dresser I was redoing for Natalie and it came out pretty cute. I'm really happy with it. Next project is the pillow for Lauren.

Natalie has home therapy today and Lauren had ballet this morning. She came home from that in a really really good mood. I've officially signed her up for soccer now. Bedtime has been going great, it's getting easier every night.

I know we've only been living here about 5 months, and it's probably way too early for this, but I'm getting really sick of the rain and dreary weather. Of course, partly I'm just over winter and cold. I think I wouldn't mind the rain quite so much if it was warmer. I want to be able to take the girls outside to play and not be drenched or in quite so many layers. Sigh. Spring will come. Soon enough. Or not soon enough.

Playing Together (13/365)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Falling into a Routine

Lauren is settling into a bedtime routine which has her in bed by 8:30 and hopefully asleep by 9:30. She's been doing great with it, falling asleep last night at least 10 minutes before I came in to turn off her movie. Now I'd just like Natalie to be able to fall asleep not laying right up against me and then we'd really be getting somewhere.

I did get a good start on Natalie's dresser. I have two sides and all the drawer fronts decoupaged and have put on new drawer pulls. I need to get the one low face on the front finished, and the top, and then add another coat over them and I'll be done. I'm really excited with how that's coming along. Natalie's pillow is finished, and I have finished the applique for Lauren's pillow. Now I just need to piece it all together, which, once I get the chance, should only take me an hour or so. I'm not planning on doing anything particularly complicated with it. Dragging everything out and setting it all up takes up a chunk of the free time that I get to work on it. Once that's done the actual sewing goes pretty quickly.

I've already finished my first book of the year. Now I'm just waiting for an Amazon order to get here so I can get going on book number two. Ben has been working on the cars a lot lately. He found someone who was selling off parts of a Jetta with a busted transmission that was otherwise in really good shape. Ben got me some window seals and got himself heated seats, and a back seat with a fold down arm rest. He's been keeping himself busy with his new goodies.

Lauren is going to have her first ballet recital in late May or early June. They are starting to work on the routine this month. On Monday I need to call and enroll her in soccer. She's very excited about that. I'm looking forward to her getting a chance to run around and wear herself out three times a week. We don't know her schedule yet, but there are supposed to be two practices each week and one game each Saturday. I think the whole season is just February and March, but we have a parents meeting to go to at the end of this month and we'll find out more then.

I'm getting anxious for spring to come to the PNW. I just want the weather to get a *little* bit warmer so we can head out without having to be all bundled up. Hopefully the girls will be over their runny noses soon. Warmer weather would probably help with that, too. I'm looking forward to spring and summer shoes most of all. I want to get back to flip flops and cute ballet flats and - dare I dream?!- skirts and dresses. Plus, I'd love to be able to head out for a run without being soaked, but up here, the chances of that are low. If I'm going to be soaked, I at least want it to be warm.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Things I Love - kid edition

1. Plastic Plates, Bowls and Silverware from IKEA

These are SUPER cheap - $1.99 per six piece set of each at IKEA. We use them daily. Mostly Lauren uses them, but I use them, too. The plates are great for a quick snack and the bowls make great prep bowls for cooking.

2. Britax Car Seat

I didn't think I'd really have an opinion about car seats when we first bought one. But I've seen car seats used by friends and family, and had to borrow car seats when we travel, and I really do love the Britax seat. It feels sturdier and safer than others, and it has handy little features, like velcro to hold the straps to the side when taking Lauren in and out of the seat. We just bought a second one for Natalie to use as soon as she's ready to face forward.

3. Books by Sandra Boynton

I can recite "The Going To Bed Book" from memory. I used to read it to Lauren all the time. I whisper it to Natalie when I'm trying to calm her. The books have adorable illustrations and a great tempo. You can almost sing each one of them. I do sing a lot of them, actually. Lissa just brought us the Spanish version of "Moo, Baa, La La La" (which is translated as "Muu, Bee, Asi Fue!"). Here is Sandra Boynton's website, and her books are available all over the place.

4. "Snacktime" by the Barenaked Ladies

Abby recommended this album to me. Lauren loves and I love it. I listen to it even when she's not around. My favorite song is "The Ninjas" and Lauren likes "Popcorn". She sings a lot of the songs on her own, out of nowhere it seems. It doesn't grate on parents like all those Kids Bop cover albums or how many repeats of "Wheels on the Bus". These get stuck in your head in a good way. This band is clever and really shows an ability to produce diverse music. Amazon sells it for $11.99, and you can listen to samples of the songs using the same link.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Things I Love - Baby Edition

1. Wee Gallery art cards

These are adorable. There are nine different sets including Garden (pictured above), Jungle, and Pets. Each set has 6 cards inside. Each card has a beautiful illustration of an animal in black on a white background on one side, and in white on a black background on the reverse side. They say babies see high contrast images best from birth. Natalie has three sets that she got after her eye surgery (Thank you Aunt Sarah and Aunt Abby). There's a mobile you can buy to clip the cards up over the crib, too. We just let Natalie play with the cards on their own. Each one is a pretty thick card, similar to the pages of a board book, but light and with rounded corners. On Amazon, they run about $13-15 depending on the style. And you can get cards, wall decals, canvases and more on the Wee Gallery website.

2. Trumpette socks

When I was pregnant with Natalie, my good friend Jen sent a box of these socks. I am in love with these! The Trumpette website has a bunch of different styles, including the Mary Jane socks for girls and Converse sneakers for boys. There are ballet shoes and new pixie shoes (which look like a ballet flat). So adorable! I may have to get every style. You can search Trumpette to find other sellers, or you can orders through the Trumpette website.

3. Burt's Bees Baby Wash

This stuff smells SO CLEAN. I bathe Natalie in this and wash Lauren's hair with it. So it kind of isn't just a "baby thing I love" but also a "kid thing I love", which I plan to do in another post. It is supposed to be "greener", too, without the chemicals in other brands. I pick it up at Target for something like $5 a bottle and it lasts a good long time. I keep one in my shower and one in the girls' tub.

4. Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths

This is another one that Jen got me before Natalie came along. It was part of a whole gift pack, but this product is the stand-out from that set for me. Natalie used to get lots of eye goo when she woke up in the morning. I would use one wipe to clean off her face. It smells good, it's gentle, and it gets the job done. It works for after a biter biscuit or lunch out when the bath is just too far away. And it is safe to use around a baby's eyes, so I prefer using it to a baby wipe on her face. Did I mention how good it smells?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to the year 2010!

Ben caught one crab yesterday and boiled it right up. His friend brought along his two kids to play with Lauren. The girl was five and the boy was 3. Lauren was worn out and fell asleep on the couch at 6. It worked out rather well, though, she was in a good mood and stayed up to count down to midnight like she had been wanting to do. We all went to sleep about thirty seconds later and are feeling pretty good today. Oh, except for Natalie. She threw up on me this morning at 8:30. But she's been doing fine since, so I don't know what that was about. I cleaned the downstairs bathroom, vacuumed upstairs and down and am working on my second load of laundry already, and it's not quite 1:00.

I spent a huge chunk of time yesterday (too much time, really) looking at the website Making It Lovely. Thank you Jen, for sending me a link to her site. My goodness! Such talent! Such a creative eye! She started right away at month one taking monthly pictures of her adorable daughter in the same spot. She's up to month 8 now, I think, and it's such a cute idea. I guess I could do it for Natalie's second year if I start on Sunday and do it every month on the third. There's still a lot of growing in the second year.

I joined two 365 groups on Flickr. The goal is to take a picture every day and post it. I've been a lot better with my camera lately, so I'm hoping I'll keep it up. Of course, the pressure of joining a group specifically for that purpose may hinder me from picking it up. Again, it's not quite 1:00 and I haven't picked up my camera yet today. OH MY GOSH! I haven't taken any pictures since LAST YEAR, Y'ALL! Hee hee hee. That will only be funny today. If I'm still saying that at the end of the month, I will really be panicking.

Did I mention that I finished the pillow I was making for Natalie? I did. And I got a good jump on appliqueing on the letters for Lauren's pillow yesterday. I mostly finished the L, A and U. Of course, once I pinned everything on, Lauren decided she did NOT want a butterfly like I had laid out, and that she wanted a rose like Natalie has. Hopefully I still have the template for it, it should be easy enough to do again. I'd like to get it finished soon, but it seems like every time I sit down and really am starting to make headway with stitching someone needs me urgently. Sigh. I guess that's motherhood.

Oh, and looking through Making It Lovely inspired me to get the girls' room more in order. Yesterday I went through Natalie's drawers again (didn't I just do that, like, hours before?) and cleaned out the stuff that's too small. I am saving very few items, I think I only set aside two things, and will be boxing up and sending out the other things to friends with baby girls. A few of them, though younger, are already getting close to Natalie in size. I just make small girls, I guess.

But back on track, I set the crib to the lower height yesterday since Natalie is sitting up on her own and starting to pull up on her knees. The goal for this spring is to have her sleeping in her own bed at night. When I lowered it, I had to take out the storage bins I had underneath since they no longer fit. More stuff to go through! Yipee! I also am so SICK of the crappy brown dressers in their room. Lauren's is in the closet, so it doesn't bother me as much, but Natalie's is the first thing when you walk in the door. I think I'm going to paint it a really really pale pink, add a new top, use some Modge Podge and a cute fabric across the top (which I am thinking might be neat to replicate in new curtains?) and then make a new bottom with feet so it doesn't sit directly on the carpet. I have the idea all in my head, but without sketching it out, scanning it in and posting it here, I don't know that I'll get the idea across. But I hope I do it, and I hope it turns out cute.
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