Monthly Archives: April 2011

Thursday April 28, 2011

To my three children who may one day read this~

Never assume that someone else will take care of it.  If you see a need and you are able, by all means do something about it.

Always kiss your mother.

Never take yourself too seriously.

Always remember to smile when you meet someone new.

Never smack your food when you eat; it is unbelievably rude.


Always remember that the choices you make, not only affect you, but those who love you as well.

Never stop being curious.

Always respect the laws of physics.

Never forget that wherever you go; whatever path the Lord leads you down, you are loved by me.

One last thing… try to avoid using words like “always” and “never”.

Love Mom

Tuesday April 26, 2011

For this week’s Show & Tell Wednesday I thought I would shake things up a bit by doing a “How To” post with a little giveaway thrown in the mix.

{the giveaway is officially closed}
First:  the “How To” portion of the post~


How to make flirty flowers for your hair.

A few years ago I started seeing these lovely fabric flowers popping up all over the internet.  I was fascinated and determined to figure out how they were made.  My mom and I put our heads together and figured it out.  So, if you would like to make some for yourself here’s how it’s done…


I like to use a small torch to make my flowers.  I think the torch makes better petals, and it allows you to have better control of the heat.  If you don’t have one you can use a candle instead.  You also need large, medium, and small circle templets for tracing (different sized cups and plates will also work).


You need small amounts of polyester satin fabric in a variety of colors.  It needs to be polyester so that the fabric will melt.  Natural fabrics like linen, silk, or cotton, will just burn (burning is not good).


Start by tracing circles onto the wrong side of the fabric.  Begin with the largest circle and move down to the smallest size.  Keep in mind that the circles will get smaller once you have melted the edges.


Cut out the circles.


These circles will be the petals of your flower.  You can make them all the same color or you can create a variegated style flower by using different colored circles.  The more circles you cut, the fuller your flower will be.


Now for the fun part; burning the material.  Hold the edge of the circle up to the candle and carefully glide the edge along the flame.  As you do this the edge will begin to melt and curl up.  The more you melt the curlier and more ruffled you flower will be.  Don’t go too crazy though, or you will end up with a little puddle of goo… and that’s not the look we’re going for.

Learning to control and manipulate the heat is the key to making really pretty flowers.  It takes some practice and experimenting.  Every fabric melts and curls a little differently.  I’ve certainly incinerated my fair share of petals over the last few years.


Once you’ve sealed the edges of all your circles, stack them up largest to smallest.  You can re-stack the petals, twist and turn them until you are happy with the shape.


Next, thread a needle and stitch about a half a dozen stitches in the center of the flower.  You don’t have to be real neat and precise you just want to keep your petals together.  The stitching will be covered up later.


As you can see, you can use a variety of materials and layer them together to create different looks and styles.  I like to add netting, lace and tulle layers in between the satin petals.  It’s not necessary to seal the edges of the lace, netting and tulle… they won’t fray.   Now for the fun part: the finishing touches.


Sometimes I like to hot glue leaves to the back.


You can put lots of different things in the center of the flower.  Seed beads, pearls, antique buttons, small gems, vintage velvet flowers… the sky is the limit.  I like to use extra strength glue for gluing any nonporous items like bead or buttons.


Just put a dollop of glue in the center and pile up the pearls or beads.  Have fun with this step, use your imagination.  I just keep messing with mine until I like the way it looks.  Once it looks right I walk away… you gotta know when to walk away.


I like to finish the back by hot gluing a felt circle to the center.  It covers up the stitching and gives the hair clip or pin back a level place to stick to.


Last, I use a little bit of the extra strength glue and apply it to a metal hair clip (or pin back).  I hold the clip open with a pencil so that it doesn’t get glued shut.  Then I center the back of the flower onto the clip.  Let the glue dry completely before using (duh).

Here are some other variations of flowers you can make~



Alright, here’s the “Giveaway” portion of the post.

If you leave a friendly comment on this post, your name will be entered to win your choice of 4 flower clips, from the selection shown in the following pictures~


I will close the giveaway on Monday, May 2nd, and announce the winner Wednesday, May 4th.  Be sure to check back to on the 4th to see if you won!  Comments on my FaceBook page will also be entered into the drawing.  Don’t be shy, even if you are a first time visitor please feel free to say “hi”.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you feel inspired today!
~ April

Friday April 22, 2011

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

I didn’t take this photo this week, and I have a few words to say about it. 
So why choose it as a Friday {this moment} picture?
Because it was a simple, special, extraordinary moment that I wanted to pause, savor, and remember.

A few words~ It has become and almost-every-Saturday tradition for quite a few years now.  Someone runs to the taco truck for carne asada tacos and burritos.  Grandpa W. shows up in his big blue truck.  The kids start jumping and clapping their hands, “Grandpa’s here!”.  We scrape our plates clean and heaved a contented sigh.  Grandpa always lingers for a little while, to play with the kiddos.  He always takes the time for a push on the swing or a, “Hey Grandpa, watch this!”.  Lately Grandpa has been Jude’s pitcher, catcher, cheerleader, and fly-ball finder.  It is a good life we live.  The kind were grandparents stop by to have lunch, say hi, plant a garden, play legos, toss a ball, put a puzzle together, read a story… the kind of life I always wanted my children to have.

Wednesday April 20, 2011

A few weeks back Stephanie and I got together to do a little sewing.  Have you met Steph?  No?


That’s her on the far left-hand side (love this picture of her).  She’s my homegirl.  She’s all that and a bag of chips, and if she’s reading this she’s rolling her eyes and laughing at me… cause that’s the way we roll.
If you would like to know Steph a little better you can read about her here and here.   I could easily dedicate multiple posts on the subject of Stephanie but I think (for the time being) I have sufficiently embarrassed her.
(I didn’t take this picture, I’m not sure who did, I stole it off Stephanie’s FB page)

Where was I?  Oh yeah… sewing project.

{image courtesy of Maya*Made}
I found this pattern early last year on one of my favorite blogs Maya*Made.  Steph and I wanted to make one for ourselves, but we thought is would be easiest to start by making skirts for our girls first.


This is the one I made for Eliza.  It’s a fun, simple pattern that is easy to embellish and has lots of lovely variations.  The pattern is designed to make use of a large recycled t-shirt.  You make the skirt out of the various parts of the shirt.  I bought mine on the clearance rack at Target for $3.99.   The skirt is meant to have a casual feel to it.  Most of the edges are unfinished but because it’s make of cotton knit the edges won’t fray.


I added a few splashes of color to the bottom of the skirt by stitching a few circles above the hem.


It has a simple drawstring waist.


I also added a ruffle by cutting a strip of leftover material and running a basting stitch down the center, gathered it up, and sewed it to the hem line.


{image courtesy of Maya*Made}
I want to make several more for Eliza  like the ones in this picture.  I love the scalloped edges and the gathered sides of these skirts!  I also want to make several for me.  Check out these versions~


{photos courtesy of Maya*Made}
Aren’t they lovely?! If you are interested in purchasing this pattern you can buy it from Maya’s Etsy shop.  I LOVE her nesting burlap bucket pattern!  I have made several of them and I am smitten with their adorableness and functionality.

I don’t want to end this post without singing the praises of Maya’s blog.  What I love about her site, and what sets her apart from other sewing blogs, is her pure approach to sewing and creating.  There was a time (not so long ago) when sewing was about creating something beautiful and functional out of items you had on hand.  It is a skill and an art that was born out of necessity, fueled by resourcefulness and ingenuity.  That is what Maya manages to capture each and every time she sits down to create.  Her art and sewing are usually inspired by nature, and make use of recycled items. If you get a moment you should stop by her site.  Even if you don’t sew I think you would enjoy seeing her corner of the world.

As always it’s a pleasure to have you stop by ~ April

Monday April 18, 2011

It was good to gather around the long tables once again.  We came together to remember.  We remembered the sacrifice that was offered on our behalf, and the debt that that was canceled.  We looked into our hearts and saw our unworthiness.  We looked into each others faces and saw family… we saw eternity in each others eyes.  I washed the beautiful feet of women I love, and was once again humbled as I watched my own feet washed.  A simple act of selfless service, but it represented the heart of what it means to be a Christian… a follower of Christ.  The children sat between us, swinging their legs, they nibble on communion bread, they took it all in.  They don’t understand the immensity of what we were doing, but someday they will, and when their hearts and minds come to that place the foundations will already be laid.   It was sweet, to walk away with a full heart and a little taste of heaven on earth.

It was good to get the garden planted~
 


To watch the children hunkered down in the dirt with Grammy.


To watch my Dad patiently string up the bean poles. The very bean poles that had me one verge of saying some very un-ladylike words.


It was good to walk away at the end of the day, dirty, tired, sunburned and sore but oh-so-satisfied.

~

It was good to see the strawberry stands open!  There are two kinds of strawberries… there are store bought strawberries (which are certainly better than no strawberries at all) and then there are roadside stand strawberries; which are heaven on earth!  No sugar needed just stand over the kitchen sink, give ‘em a little wash, take a slow bite and savor.  Rinse and repeat to your heart’s content.


It was a good morning to pick more sweetpeas.  I hope your not getting tired of sweetpea pictures.  You are?  Well… tough beans.


It was a good morning to stay in our P.J’s

   
A good morning to play in the little pink kitchen with little pink rainboots on.


It was a good morning for blanket tents and legos.

And now is a good time for me to get off the computer.

I absolutely MUST get ironing done this week. <sigh>

~ April

Wednesday April 13, 2011

I think that deep down inside I have the soul of an 78-year-old woman…


…and possible the hands of and 78-year-old woman.  It explains so much about me.  My extensive collection of hankies.


My undying love of and obsession with, sweetpeas, lilacs, and daffodils.


Why I frequently start sentences with “Kids these days…” and “When I was little…”


The only thing I am missing is a teacup collection but I plan to remedy that in the near future.


My first crushes were not Tom Cruise or Kirk Cameron, they were Errol Flynn and Cary Grant.


You know what?  I’m just fine with that.

Tuesday April 12, 2011


This past week I’ve been having lots of fun with my leftover oilcloth scraps.  After I made my giveaway totes and made a few more as gifts, I had a quite a collection of oilcloth odds and ends.  I put on my thinking cap and came up with some good uses for them.


Who doesn’t need a super fun lunch bag?!


This Baby Mess Kit is a variation of an Amy Butler pattern from her book Little Stitches for Little Ones (which is a nice compilation of patterns. I’ve made several things from the book and been pleased with each item).  The mess kit is an oilcloth pouch that houses bibs, plate & cutlery, and some snacks.  Great for meals out, or meals on the go.


I whipped up this photo holder too.  I just got the kids pictures done at J.C Penny’s, and I wanted to take them to church to pass out to friends and family, and it came in very handy.  I also thought it would make a good present for a grandparent, complete with pictures of the grandchildren tucked inside.

Last~

You really can’t beat a good oilcloth bib.  They’re darling, and functional.  When you a mom, cute is nice but functional is a MUST.  I like these bibs in particular because they make a nice gender-neutral gift without being boring.

Oilcloth also works great for: aprons, kitchen chair or patio furniture cushions, diaper kits, spill mats for under highchairs, reusable grocery bags, tablecloths…

If you’ve never worked with oilcloth I highly recommend it.  It’s a very unfussy material to work with and you get a lot of bang for your buck.  There is no need to use special thread or needles (at least I didn’t), and it won’t fray so you don’t have to worry about finished edges.  I like edging my oilcloth with bias tape, just because I like the way it looks, but it isn’t necessary.  You can simply pink the edges and leave them be.  Our local fabric store just recently expanded their oilcloth selection so I have lots of styles to choose from, but you can also by it online.  Harts Fabric has an excellent selection of oilcloth available online, for very reasonable prices.  I’ve personally ordered from them.  They delivered promptly and the material looked just like it did in the picture.  If you do a search on the internet you will also see vinyl coated fabrics, which don’t have the same texture and thickness that the oilcloth does.  Plus it’s usually twice the price.

If you are interested in making any of these items just let me know and I can put together some tutorials.

Thanks for stopping by,  April

Tuesday April 12, 2011

Lemon Tea Bread ~ by Carol Mohler

(makes 2 loafs)

Batter:
1 c. soft butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. milk
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. nuts (optional) I didn’t include nuts in my bread
grated rind of 2 lemons

Glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. lemon juice

For the glaze mix powdered sugar and lemon juice well (I only used a little over 1/2 a cup of lemon juice).

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one at a time to mixture.  Gradually stir in milk.  Add dry ingredients.  Add lemon rind.  Stir until well blended, add nuts.  Pour batter into well greased loaf pans.  Bake at 325 for an hour.  Remove from oven and while the bread is still warm, pour glaze over the top.  Cool slightly and remove from pans.

Monday April 11, 2011

Last Thursday it was cold.  The sun was out.  It beckoned us and teased us saying “Come outside and enjoy my warmth, don’t bother with that sweatshirt”.  But the sun lied… there was no warmth only a cold, biting wind.

So we stayed inside and baked~

I had a half a dozen lemons that needed to be used so we made lemon bread.


I had my trusty helpers taste testers


We gave one loaf to our neighbors and by bedtime the other loaf was nothing but crumbs.

~

~A token of love~
I love that the boys pick me flowers.  The stems are usually a little to short and they are placed in whatever container they find lying about, sometimes the “flowers” are really a handful of weeds, but they are always a welcome site sitting on my table.

~

Our weekly schedule now revolves around t-ball practice.


Since t-ball is all so new and exciting we were all at practice to cheer him on.  It was cold and I didn’t come adequately prepared.  Fortunately friends offered warm blankets to snuggle up in.

~


Eliza~ working on her cereal eating techniques, which need some help.

~

On Friday we went to the zoo with Jude’s kindergarten class.  It was a small zoo filled with birds and monkeys and one aged leopard, but the kids thought it was great!
 


Right here is were my camera battery died and I (of course) missed a bunch of fun shots.  After the zoo we let the children play at the park and eat their lunches.  We got home just in time for naps… and after herding three children around all morning, I kind of needed one.

~

It’s time!  Time to start planting the garden.  This year my mom and I are doing the garden together.  We have grand plans for canning and freezing our bountiful garden harvest I am super excited!  I realize that gardens are a bunch of work, and that we live in a corner of the world were fresh produce is abundant and reasonable, but… I love the experience.  Call me a sap, but I want to grow it myself.  I want to get my hands in the dirt, feel my back muscles strain, watch those little green sprouts push up through the dirt, carry in baskets of corn and beans, feel sweat on my forehead as I stand over a kettle of boiling jars, line up all those beautiful jars in the pantry… you can’t see it but even as I type I have a big silly grin on my face.

Happy Monday, looking forward to a good week!  ~April