Monthly Archives: July 2010

Thursday July 29, 2010

It seems like we spend so much time working on the “big” stuff in the house (painting, installing, fixing, replacing) that we never get around to the little details.  The comfy touches that make a room feel inviting.

Over the long 4th of July weekend my husband (and our kind, hardworking friend) ripped up our old, stained, and tattered living room carpet and put down new bamboo flooring.  I took advantage of the room being empty to paint trim and completely rearrange the furniture.  I’ve spent the last few weeks sewing and adding all of those much needed finishing touches to the room.

It took me a year to finally stumble onto a furniture arrangement that suited the shape of our living room.  You can’t see it but I took this picture from behind the couch.

My new curtains.  I’m sorry it’s not a great picture… too much light coming through the window to see the details.  I got this designer length decorating fabric at the Home Fabric Store for $3.00 a yard!  I was able to make curtains, and a table runner and I still had plenty of fabric left over.  I love that store!  I don’t allow myself to go in very often because I can get a little frenzied.

Made some new toss pillows for the chairs and believe me they get tossed, all the time.  My husband hates decorative pillows.  He thinks they are couch parasites; completely unnecessary and a total waste of space.

These are my coffee bean bag pictures.  Justin and his dad roast coffee and they had a small collection of large burlap coffee bags with coffee logos printed on the side.  The green coffee beans are shipped all over the world in these bags.  I loved the graphics, the fonts, and the color scheme so we purchased large frames from Ikea and put them on display.


… and this has nothing to do with decorating but, I made Focaccia bread the other night.  The recipe was so simple and tasty; I thought I would share.

2-1/3 to 3 cups of flour
2 T chopped rosemary (I omitted the rosemary)
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package of yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
3 T olive oil
1 cup of warm water (120-130 degrees)
2 T grated Parmesan cheese

Mix 1 cup of flour, rosemary, sugar, salt and yeast in stand mixer.  Add 3 T. of olive oil and the warm water.  Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth (occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl).  Stir in the remaining flour until mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Kneed 5 to 8 times on a floured work surface, place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 30 minutes.  Gently push dough down and divide in half.  Flatten dough into 10 inch squares (this recipe makes two) and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Let rise 30 more minutes.  Once dough has risen carefully make depressions about every two inches with your finger.  Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

We like to slice ours open and make warm turkey sandwiches with pesto mayo and provolone cheese. 
So. darn. good.

P.S  Once again I have (unknowingly) uploaded a batch of pictures without resizing them.  Which means, in one fell swoop I shot my allotted photo uploads for the month and am now on photo probation.  No more picture posts for the rest of the month… bummer.

Thursday July 22, 2010

NO… it’s not my shirt.

It’s my sister-in-law’s maternity shirt.  She is going to be in a friend’s wedding this weekend and asked if I would dress up a top she had picked out.  She supplied me with fun fabric, trim, buttons, and bravely let me have my way

Here’s what I came up with~

I decided use the teal jersey knit fabric to make rosettes.  I found some matching polka-dot netting I had stashed away. 

I started by cutting the material into 1-1/4 inch strips.  I used my cutting mat, ruler and rotary blade, but scissors would work just fine.

I pinned the two fabrics together.  The knit fabric is pretty stretchy; I wanted to make sure it did get longer than the netting as I sewed.

I turned my stitch length dial to the biggest stitch.  You’re probably wondering why I thought it necessary to take a picture of my sewing dial… what can I say… I’m a visual person.

Then I sewed along the bottom edge of the strip, being sure NOT to back stitch on either end, and leaving enough thread at either end to work with.

This is were the job got a little tedious- the gathering.  I started by pulling the top thread at one end of the fabric.  Bunching up the fabric as I pulled, and sliding the gathers down the length of the strip.  Once I had gathered one side to the middle, I flipped over the other end and began gathering that side.  I had to be careful not to pull the thread too hard otherwise is would break, and sometimes the gathers would want to bunch up and not move.  I just patiently worked the ruffles with my fingers until the whole strip was gathered.

The possibilities of this little ruffle are practically endless.  Sew it onto the edge of a cardigan sweater, the neckline of a t-shirt, add to the bottom of a skirt, trim out a pillow…  this one however is going to be a flower.

Next I traced a circle out of the jersey knit, making it slightly smaller than I wanted my finished flower to be.

I tucked under one end of the ruffle, pinned it to the circle and moved to my sewing machine.

I carefully guided the presser foot in a circle around the bottom edge of the fabric.

As I came back around to the other side of the circle I began to spiral the fabric towards the center of the flower.  When I got to the very center I tucked the other end of the fabric under and back stitched several times.  The center didn’t look super tidy but the button in the center would hid all that mess. 

The finished product.

Next I used some of the silver organza to make smaller sheer flowers.  I started by stacking 4 layers of organza together and pinning them in the middle.  Then I cut out a four leaf clover shape.

I used my fingers to fan the petals out and then stitched up the center of the flower.

I laid the flowers out and hand-stitched them to the shoulder of the shirt, tucking the little organza flowers around the larger teal rosettes.

Now that I have figured out how to make the rosettes I’m looking forward to making some for myself.  In fact I think I might just start sewing ruffles and roses onto every article of clothing I own   If you notice me suddenly wearing an excessive amount of roses and ruffles, don’t worry about it too much, it’s just a phase…I’ll grow out of it.

Sunday July 18, 2010

Some weeks I get cabin fever.  The kind of weeks when you intentionally forget to get something at Target just so you have a reason to go out again.  “What?  I forgot to get thumb tacks!?  Well kids lets load up and go to town.  Who wants popcorn at Target!?”

Lately that hasn’t been the case.  We’ve spent a lot of time at home and passing the time very pleasantly.  Lounging around reading books, dancing in our P.J’s to cheesy 80′s music (no pictures of that, sorry!), playing in the water… good times.

The boys will argue about who gets to snuggle with Eliza in the mornings.

It’s sweet… in an annoying kind of way.

She likes sitting in baskets.  Which is nice because I happen to like taking pictures of her in sitting in baskets.

Reading Calvin and Hobbes on the couch.  Boy that brings back good memories

Lots of legos being built at our house.  For three days I had them all over the living room.  I admit I’m a little up-tight when it comes to clutter, but lego clutter… I can live with that.

We celebrated with our friends this week~

.:The birth of their son:.

A strong, healthy boy with two sisters waiting to shower him with love!

.:The garden:. 

I’m sorry if I seem a bit obsessed with the garden, but what can I say… I’m kind of obsessed with the garden. 

We’ve also been making a lot of homemade ice cream!  It is important to always wear appropriate head attire while making ice cream.

I don’t mean to sound like a preachy know-it-all, but if you aren’t using parchment paper when you bake cookies; you really should.  It’s great stuff.  When you pull the sheets out of the oven you just slid the paper and cookies off, which allows the cookies to cool off and rest without being crushed or mangled by a spatula.  And the best part about parchment paper… NO WASHING DIRTY COOKIE PANS! 

We made homemade ice cream sandwiches.  It’s a thing of beauty.

Thursday July 8, 2010

I hardly know were to begin…

The weekend was so packed full of special moments and exciting events (exciting for our little world anyway).  The children spent the  entire time being dirty and delighted!  It all began on Friday.  My dad spent his day off putting together the new play structure we bought for the children. 

Jude was never more than 3 feet away from his Grandpa the entire time.  It was a never ending stream of questions that my dad answered with the patience only a Grandfather can muster   Justin came home from work and headed out to finish up the work.

Grandma and Grandpa W. came for supper that night.  We feasted on what I like to call “gourmet junk food” i.e, hot dogs, garlic fries, sweet potato fries, fresh sweet corn, and watermelon!  Then we went out front to get the camp fire going and have dessert.

Now that’s how you start a fire!

Homemade cookies and ice cream

I love this picture

Grandma didn’t get very much of her ice cream

At the beginning of the week Daddy had promise the boys a camp-out, so we set the tent up in the front yard. 

They really do bring so much joy and excitement to our lives.  They are delighted with little things like, sleeping in tents, sparklers, and campfires.  They make the whole world seem new again.

Pumping up the air mattress

Oh yeah that’s the good stuff!

Grandpa surprised the children with sparklers.

Daddy was good to sacrifice a night of sleep and he was repaid with the undying gratitude and admiration of the boys!

Usually on the 4th of July we have our choice of several firework shows but not this year.  The closest one was in Stockton on the Delta, so we packed snacks and loaded up into Grandpa’s boat.

We met friends for dinner.

Then we made our way down the Delta towards the fireworks.

Don’t tell my Lucky Yellow Hat but, I’ve been seeing another hat lately and it’s getting kind of serious.

Eliza being a good sport and munching on a sandwich in her life jacket

At last… what we had all been waiting for!

I love the look on the boys faces in this picture

Amidst all the fun we also got a lot of work done… but more on that later.

In other exciting news, we had our first real harvest from our garden!

A handful of carrots and a basket of green beans.  Here’s hoping that the excitement of picking vegetables leads to an excitement of EATING vegetables

In addition to our veggies we’ve also had a nice crop of Zinnias and sunflowers come up.  They look so happy sitting in vases around the house.

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend too!

Friday July 2, 2010

I have accumulated pictures over the last week and was trying to think of a clever way to link them all together, but there really is no common thread.  Just the comings and goings; the everyday hum of our little world.

I do love mornings with the children.  They toddle down the hall on sleepy legs with tousled hair, blankets trailing behind them.  Everyone congregates in the kitchen.  Toast, butter, jam, cheerios… they are slowly waking up and chatting happily with one another.

~A breakfast picnic~

The other morning, as I came in to the kitchen to make coffee, I found this little note.  It was carefully placed next to one of the mouse traps.  Jude must have left it there the night before.

It appears to be some kind of warning to the mouse.  I pictured the little brown field mice huddled around it and one of them saying, “It says ‘Don’t eat the food!  IT’S A TRAP!’”.

Everything is growing.  The days are growing longer, the children are growing taller along with our garden.

Our green beans are not ready to harvest yet but Holly gave us a nice big bag from her garden.  The boys pulled their stools up to the sink to help snap beans.

Today we took our first trip of the year to the Farmer’s Market.  The cousins went along with us making it an extra special day.


The whole clan.  We must have been stopped a half a dozen times and asked, “Are all these your children?”

No… most of them we kidnapped

Off to the park for swings, water fountains, and enjoying some of our Farmer’s Market purchases.

Oh yeah, that’s the good life

She seemed to think is was a giant drinking fountain.

Alli and I also enjoyed some much needed catch up time.  The topic of blogging came up, as it occasionally does, since we both blog.  The one criticism that seems to come up over and over is the question of “realness”. 

No, this blog is not our “real” life.  It is a small part of it, but it is certainly not inconsistent with the way we live and conduct ourselves.   It is not the entire picture; nor would I want it to be.  There are days that take every last bit of strength I have, and there are days that leave me feeling broken and empty; when I lay in bed and night and pray “Oh Lord please don’t let them remember this day.”  I don’t say that to gain sympathy; I merely mention it because it is true.

Tonight however, is not one of those nights.  Tonight I am perfectly happy and content.  The children are all asleep in their beds, with dirt on their toes and smelling slightly of sunscreen.  The house is full of fresh cut flowers (thanks to my mom) and I am enjoying some delicious dark chocolate.