Our home

 

Because I am a curious nosy person, I love getting glimpses into peoples’ homes.  I like the way a person’s home reflects their personality and interests.  It dawned on me the other day, that I’ve never done a post about my home.  I know you all catch glimpses each time I write, but I thought it would be fun to give a quick tour of our little place.

We live in a double-wide trailer with three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. I love my house.  It’s cozy, warm, colorful, very lived-in, and a little worn around the edges.  In the span of a month my house will be everything from beautifully clean to embarrassingly filthy.  In other words: a completely normal household :)  These pictures were taken the day after “cleaning day” so you are enjoying the benefit of a tidy house.

This is our front door and table where we set our keys, sunglasses, and mail.

Our Home | Inanorchard

This little table was a wedding gift from my brother and it is my favorite piece of furniture!  It has lived in every one of our apartments and houses.

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The pictures are burlap coffee bean bags that I trimmed and framed.  The door just to the right of the table leads into the master bedroom.

Our Home | Inanorchard

From the front door you can see the double doors that lead out to the back porch, and our desk area.  That carpet is most often covered with children and toys.  The kiddos love playing there.

Our Home | Inanorchard

This is our Ikea desk/office center.  Justin works from one desk, and the other desk is for the children to use.  I keep all of our art supplies in the drawers.  The kids have access to the art supplies at all times and are allowed to get them out anytime they like.

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This is my Ikea photo holder and it’s the one item of the house that people stop and admire more than any other.  I like taking pictures but I’m not good about hanging and framing them.  These wires and clips make it easy to keep current photos on display. I swap them out 3 or 4 times a year.Our Home | Inanorchard

I like having funky pieces of art hanging in funky places on the walls.Our Home | Inanorchard

This is our kitchen table where we do… well… everything!  Homework, fold laundry, decorate cookies, cut patterns, craft projects, eat… it all happens here.Our Home | Inanorchard

My mother-in-law bought me this darling tray and I use it to keep our spoons, napkins, sweetener and such.  Basically anything we use at meals on a regular basis is in that tray.Our Home | Inanorchard

 

This is were the kids and I bake.  On top of the cabinets is my collection of cake plates.  It’s a mix-matched assortment of new and antique cake plates.Our Home | Inanorchard

The other side of the kitchen where I do dishes and watch the children run around the backyard.Our Home | Inanorchard

And this is my life right here.  This picture captures our home so well!
Our Home | Inanorchard

This is our bedroom which is located just off the living room.  Actually it doesn’t look like this anymore.   Justin and I spent a weekend and freshened it up.  Our bedroom somehow ended up being brown and beige all over.  It was a little dark, and drab, and needed some help.

Our Home | Inanorchard

Nothing that a new bedspread and a coat of fresh paint wouldn’t fix!  I have lots of little projects to finish in our bedroom but I love the way it’s shaping up.

Our Home | Inanorchard

Those are our closets and you can get a little peek at our living room from this angle.

Our Home | Inanorchard

I use the top of our dresser for Miss P’s changing table.  The girls’ room is pretty tight just with beds, toys, and a dresser so there really wasn’t room for a changing table.

Our Home | Inanorchard

 

Our Home | Inanorchard

Our bathroom needs a little updating.  It’s a fine bathroom but storage is a problem.  No drawers!  Can your believe it?  Not one.  Which is why the counter is often cluttered with stuff.

Our Home | Inanorchard

So we make do with what we have, and get creative with storage solutions.

Our home | Inanorchard

Just off our bedroom is a small room that was probably intended to be an office space, but I have a wonderful, generous husband who turned it into a sewing room for me!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is where all the creative magic happens.  This is my happy place.

Our Home | Inanorchard

This big cabinet houses all my fabric!  I have a darling set of vintage lockers that I’m planning on refinishing to replace this cabinet.  My list of things that need to be refinished is a long list :)

Our Home | Inanorchard

Our Home | Inanorchard

And this is where the house tour abruptly ends because I have run out of pictures!  Maybe next cleaning day I’ll snap some pictures of the kiddos rooms and the guest bathroom.  Or maybe I’ll post some pictures of what they look like on a regular day and you can all have a good laugh!

Once again, thanks for stopping by  ~April

 

Get aways

I love my town.

It’s not perfect and it wouldn’t make any “Top 20 destination” lists… but I love it.  It has it’s own kind of beauty and it is full of people we love.  I also love my town because it’s easy traveling distance to amazing places that would make a “Top 20 destination” list.  This summer we took the opportunity to get away, out of our valley and into the mountains and to the beach.

At the beginning of summer Auntie Alli sent me a text that said “Come to the lake with us?  I’ll drive and you can buy ice cream cones.”  I said “Deal!”.  So we loaded all 10 kids in her big van and headed up the mountain.  It was one of my favorite days of summer!  I still laugh thinking about the smiles and points we got from people, as Alli and I marched to the edge of the beach, arms loaded, and 10 kids in tow.

 

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The day went pretty much like this: swim, snack, float, repeat.

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We couldn’t leave the lake without getting soft-serve ice cream cones from the snack shack.

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Even Miss P got one :)

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All the big kids took turns attempting to make it to the end of the log run.  I think my niece was the only one who managed to get to the end and back.

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We also made several day trips to the beach, which is really  the perfect place for kids to play and explore.  They never tire of the waves and the warm sand.

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This little one took off for the waves anytime you set her feet on the ground.  Justin and I took turns dipping her in the ocean.

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Hey there brown-eyed girl…

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Playing in the waves is hard work

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We also did a family hike near Santa Cruz.  Well, the boys, the baby, and Daddy took a hike.  Momma and Miss E made it about 30 minutes into the hike when Miss E suddenly and urgently needed to use the restroom.  We hiked back up the hill… I should say I huffed and puffed up the hill while Miss E ran circles around me… and made it to the porta-potty just in time.

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Hopefully we can squeeze in some more hikes before the weather turns too cold but we shall see. Time goes so quickly!  It makes memories like these all the more special.

The Baby Turns One

 

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IMG_0249 (1)IMG_0274 You had an amazing 1st year baby girl, and we celebrated it in a big way!  Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Great Aunt and Uncle, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends… we all came together to celebrate you my love.  It was a warm night in the back yard.  The children swam, the adults took turns holding you and loving on you.  We dinned on your daddy’s amazing tri-tip sandwiches, but you were mostly interested in the watermelon.  We piled the presents in front of you, as all the big kids pressed in to watch you open your gifts.  You got your own little cake and you beamed as we sang to you.  When the singing was over you put on a good show!  Cake and frosting everywhere! You grinned and hollered and waved you messy hands around in the air.  The more we all laughed the more you whooped and hollered!  The sun went down and you watched from the porch while the big kids ran through the grass with sparklers. You stayed up WAY past your bedtime :)

Happiest of Birthdays my love!  You are a bright, happy spot in our lives… our precious pearl.

 

We Wander around the Garden

My computer broke.

Just like that.

One minute we were humming right along, and the next it was spiraling towards a slow death.  My husband resurrected my photos and a handful of my favorite sewing patterns, but it was time to move on.  He also bought me a shiny new computer.  It’s turquoise.  The trouble was, I didn’t want to take the time to get to know my shiny new turquoise computer.  So I drug my feet.  But our summer was so full of good things I didn’t want to let it slip by without writing about it.

So here we are again and I hardly know were to begin.  Sometimes I try to squeeze everything into one big, fat catch-up post, but that will not do this time.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be filling in the spaces but tonight that feels like a big task.  Instead I think I’ll ease in slowly.

The cutting garden is growing.  After dinner is the perfect time to wander around in it.  Especially with a little one who’s been known to nibble on unsuspecting dahlias.  Who likes to sink her pudgy fingers into the moist dirt and drink from the garden hose.

The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

We are so flush with flowers right now that we put them everywhere. Bouquets in the bathroom, next to the stack of books by my bed, on the kitchen window sill… basically any flat surface in the house.

The cutting garden | Inanorchard

The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

The zinnias have bloomed beautifully this year.  Unfortunately I planted much smaller varieties than I had intended (seed shopping with 4 children can be distracting).

The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

The dahlias have been such a treat.  They are on the tail-end of their blooming.  Most of my large white dinner plate dahlias have come and gone.

The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

The cosmos decided to be finicky this year.  They played hard to get, but I wooed them in the end.

The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

Just when I was about to give up and turn them into mulch; little buds appeared at the tips of the new growth.  Looks like I’ll be picking cosmos clear into September… not a bad thing.The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

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The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

 

These little Bachelor Buttons were my favorites!  So easy to please.  Bloomed straight away and the little pops of blue looked amazing in every bouquet.  You my friend are getting a much bigger part in next year’s garden… especially if the cosmos decide to be divas again.

The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

 

The Cutting Garden | Inanorchard

 

Good night friends.  See you again soon

~April

1st Birthday invitations

Miss P is turning one this summer!  I’ve saved each of my children’s 1st Birthday invitations.  I’m not much of a saver, but those handmade invitations are very dear to me, and I wanted to continue the tradition with Miss P.

I went to Hobby Lobby with a few ideas in my head, but when I got to the paper craft aisles I felt completely overwhelmed!  So many pretty options but nothing was jumping out at me.  I wanted them to be sweet and lovely but simple too.

I was so close to leaving empty-handed when I came across this packet of papers.  I loved them!  I stood in the middle of the aisle staring at those papers trying to come up with a good way to use them, when inspiration struck… they would make perfect envelopes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I opened the package, not only did it have full sheets of beautifully patterned paper, but there where sheets of small tags that could be cut apart.  They were supposed to be used as gift tags but I decided they would make perfect address labels.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI downloaded and printed off this free envelope pattern, and spent a blissful hour cutting, folding, and assembling party envelopes.

Party envelopes I couldn’t be more pleased with the way they turned out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like that each invitation will be a little different.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe address labels are one of my favorite parts of the envelope!

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This little striped envelope is so sweet, but I wish I would have been more careful about lining up the stripes with the envelope template.  It makes the envelope look a little slanted and not quite squared up.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the actual invitation I decided to keep it very simple.  Just a pretty shade of pink, a playful font, and a boarder of white lace sewn to the bottom.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1st Birthday invitations OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a little strip of washi tape to seal the back of the envelope.

Naturally I want to make a million more of these darling envelopes in ALL shapes and sizes, because… hello! you can’t have too many pretty envelopes!!

PS- if you’re interested in making your own envelopes there are lots of free downloadable templates on the web.  A quick search on Pinterest will give you lots of great templates!

The Week that Was

Pictures from our week and a few words to go with them:

1.  Imaginary worlds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2. Colorful blocks scattered on the floor

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3. Silly girl

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4. Daddy and the boys find cool new storage for the boys’ room

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5. I take advantage of half price bins from The Land of Nod, and replace the tatty fabric bins that were falling apart.  Which reminds me, when J saw the three huge boxes that had been delivered to our door the fist thing he said was, “Whoa Mom!  That’s a lot of fabric!”.  I think it’s pretty telling that his first guess was fabric ;)

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6.  Miss E gets a hand-me-down desk and insists we put a jar of flowers on it

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7.  I do a little sewing for a sweet friend and neighbor, to welcome their new little girl.

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8. Another small gift for a baby boy, soon to be born

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9. Momma gives the baby the spatula.  The baby is surprised and then delighted.

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10.  The same baby girl spent the week not feeling well and needing extra love, which her daddy was happy to supply

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11.  Mr. G wanted to sleep on his new toolbox and much to his momma’s surprise he was still there come morning light.

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12.  We all want to be the one who snuggles with her at the end of the day.

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My thought for the week:

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.“  G.K Chesterton

Some how I like the idea of our Heavenly Father doing each day’s work with a child’s unbounded enthusiasm.  It gives me the strength and courage to do the same in my small way.

 

Sub-par Vegetable Gardener

 

Things I like/am borderline obsessed with: snacks before bed, British sitcoms from the 1970′s, Italian cream sodas, polka-dot fabric, harmonicas, and cut flowers in the house.  All of the flowers, all over the house, all of the time.

As soon as we moved into a house with a little bit of land I started planting flowers.  For the first few years I would plant a vegetable garden with a couple of rows of flowers mixed in for good measure.  The truth is I’m rubbish at vegetables.  I never harvested them at the right time, I quickly ran out of ways to cook them, and my efforts to unload them on all my friends and family failed 9 times out of 10.  You can only give squash to the same group of people for so long before they start politely refusing.  But here’s the brilliant thing about flowers… no one ever turns them down!

“Would you like 74 zucchinis?”  “No?”

“Would you like a bucket of sunflowers?”  “You’d like that very much?  Well great! Because I happen to have a whole bucket full!”

Do you have any idea how much fun it is to have a bucket full of sunflowers?

{flowers from gardens past}

The Cutting Garden

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I’ve given up all pretenses.  No longer will I be a sub-par vegetable grower.  It’s all flowers from here on out.

In past years I’ve had trouble with gophers.  They’ve eaten over 70 daffodil bulbs, 4 lilac bushes, half a row of sweetpeas, and a couple of rose bushes.  I got so tired of spending time and money on flowers that only served to keep the gopher population fat and happy.  So this year Justin made me three good-sized raised flower beds, and lined the bottom of them with gopher wire.  Now I can plant to my heart’s content and gleefully thumb my nose at all those dang gophers.

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This summer I planted dahlias, two varieties of zinnias, a whole box full of cosmos, cornflowers, a row of cutting sunflowers in a variety of colors and sizes, and a few herbs.

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Right now the boxes are all full of summer flowers, but this fall I plan on planting 4 English roses, 100 daffodil bulbs, and a whole row of sweetpeas!

I thought that three boxes would be plenty but I’m already daydreaming about three more.  A girl needs room to plant flowers!  So many more types of cutting flowers that I’d like to grow… more dahlias, bells of Ireland, amaranth, hollyhocks, iceland poppies, a small hoop-house for peonies… {sigh}

Maybe someday

 

 

We make pancakes

 

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He’s my early riser.  The first one to shuffle down the hallway with sleepy eyes and tousled hair.

“I wish we could make pancakes this morning momma.”

So we do.  Because it’s summer and we have no deeds to do, no promised to keep.  We make pancakes; just the two of us.  It’s not often that my second born son gets me all to himself.

I dig through the bottom of the pantry and unearth the griddle.  He gets the Bisquick box out and reads the ingredients.  I measure milk.  He reenacts Chip & Dale cartoons for me.  He doesn’t really know which one is Chip and which is Dale (neither do I for that matter) so he calls them “funny chipmunk” and “funniest chipmunk”.

The pat of butter drops, sizzles and slides across the black griddle.  He grins.

We make pancakes in all different sizes.  He makes “baby pancakes”. I attempt to make a “G” and fail miserably.  We make heart pancakes.  We’re good a heart pancakes.

The rest of the house starts to wake up.  The kitchen is smelling good.  But for a little while it was just the two of us, making pancakes on a slow summer morning.

As the dust settles

 

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When I met my girlfriends for dinner last week Trisha leaned across the table and asked, “Is May trying to kill you?”.  I laughed because that’s exactly what it felt like.  May was trying to kill me.  My house had become a place where we dumped our things, got more things, and ran out the door again.  I’m not a person who can handle that for very long.

But what started out as a hectic month has eased into a deliciously slow pace.  School is out for the year, most of our weekly commitments are ending, and my brain has finally stopped buzzing.  The mornings are wonderful.  We wake up slowly, eat zucchini bread with a generous helping of butter, turn on the music, and stay in our pajamas.

I’m really looking forward to summer!  Trips to the library, swimming, maybe a little camping, Miss P’s 1st birthday, summer fruit, and fireworks… it sounds perfect.  The flower garden is on the verge of taking off which means bouquets all over the house!

So how will you idle away your summer?

 

Working out the kinks

For months now I’ve been pattern searching.  Looking for the perfect dress to make for Miss P’s first birthday.  I wanted it to be simple, summery, and carefree looking.  Nothing too fussy or flouncy.  The fabric I chose for her party dress is a gorgeous bright floral pattern, so I wanted to stick with a dress that had clean lines.

I decided on McCall’s M6944.  A sweet summer dress with coordinating bloomers peeking out from under the skirt.  The finished measurements listed on the pattern were vague, so I decided to make a practice dress just to get the feel for the pattern and work out any sizing kinks.   And this is the finished practice dress-

McCalls M6944 | In An OrchardI love the pattern!  The directions were clear, and it truly was easy to sew.

McCalls M6944 | In An OrchardI added some trim to the waist line just to break up the busy pattern (and to hide some sloppy seams)

McCalls M6944 The bloomers I made in a contrasting fabric.  The bloomers gave me trouble, which seems counter intuitive… they should have been the easiest part of the dress.

The crisscross back was what sold me on the pattern.

McCalls M6944 back

The straps are adjustable and simply button on the inside of the bodice.

McCalls M6944So now we get to the nitty-gritty details.  Just because a pattern sews up nicely and looks good hanging on a hanger doesn’t mean you’re home-free.  Fitting is everything!  And that’s were things started to unravel for this dress.

While I was cutting out the bloomers a little voice inside my head kept saying “Man those look big.  They’d almost fit me.”  But I pushed those thoughts aside and kept sewing.  Sure enough…they’re huge.  MC Hammer’s got nothing on these pants.

McCalls M6944 bloomersThe dress is just too big as well.  It is supposed to be loose fitting, but this has a really big pucker in the back right were the straps crisscross.

McCalls M6944

You can see from this picture how much it sticks out in the back.  Sizing is the most frustrating element of sewing.  Pattern companies all size differently.  The store-bought size your child usually wears is not necessarily the size you will end up making for them.  Miss P is a tall girl and a bit big for her age.  She’s been wearing 12 month clothes for several months now, so I was a little surprised when the size 1 (as it’s called on this pattern) was so loose on her.

McCalls M6944Now I have to decide what to do next.  The pattern has a 6 month size (or as they call it 1/2 size…which is just dumb), but I’m worried that it will still be too big.  The bloomers are just ridiculous and not even worth trying again.  I think I’m going to cut out the smaller size, and make another practice top out of muslin.  I’m going to scrap the bloomers all together and use See Kate Sew’s, bloomer tutorial.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll make her birthday dress using Rae’s tried-and-true Geranium pattern.

I still haven’t given up on the pattern!  I just think she might need to be a little older and a little bigger before it will fit right.

So, the moral of the story: listen to the voices in your head, and make the practice dress out of cheap fabric instead of darling fabric you actually like.  Hopefully this will fit her next summer!

EDITORIAL NOTE:  After reading this post, my friend Aliya, cleared up some of the sizing problems I was having.  The sizes on the pattern are listed like this: 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4.  I assumed that the 1 was equivalent to a 12-month size.  Aliya explained that the 1/2 is actually the 12-month size.  Which would make the 1 approximately an 18-month size? I guess?