Monthly Archives: March 2012

Gifts for Baby Girls

I have a brand new beautiful niece, and several friends who are expecting baby girls later this summer.
The sewing room has been filled with frilly, feminine goodness.

Here are just a few of the gifts I’ve been making.


Tea dyed onesies with vintage lace, carved mother-of-pearl buttons, and chiffon flowers make a
one-of-a-kind gift.


~Ruffles on the bum~


I like to add a little vintage inspired hair clip.

I also made some baby dresses


This free pattern can be found here


No zippers, no scary buttons holes… just two little ties and a bit of bias tape for the hem.  Brilliant!


I realize that a baby dress might seem a little intimidating, but this is a lovely, breezy little pattern that goes together so quickly.  One hour… tops.  But you don’t have to tell your friends that.  Feel free to let them think you labored away for days to make a dress for their little girl.  I won’t tell.  Mums the word…

If you are looking for more sewing inspiration you can check out my sewing board on Pinterest.  It is filled with all of my favorite tutorials and patterns.

Now go have fun making something lovely for someone you love.  ~April

ps~ I tried to keep the post from being too wordy, but if there was something you wanted to know a little more about, I’d be happy to oblige.  


You’re three now my love, and even though you think you are quite grown up, you are still very small.  I love the way you twirl around the house in your mix-matched clothes, and the way you make up silly little songs that never rhyme and rarely make much sense.  You are an intriguing mix of sweet femininity and fiery determination.  You are loud and you like to boss everyone around.  You wear your sparkly shoes when you play in the dirt.  You are my favorite little girl.


We celebrated by decking the kitchen out with lots of steamers, balloons, and fresh blossoms.


All the grandparents came for dinner.  We had pesto pasta with sweet tea, and lots of garlic bread (because you like garlic bread).


You wore you church shoes.  You said (and I quote), “I love my church shoes, they are so clicky.”  And I smiled because I remembered a time in my life when having “clicky shoes” made me impossibly happy :)


We all sang to you.  You liked being sang to, but you had a hard time blowing out your candles.  It took several good blows and your brother, may or may not have, helped a little with the last blow.

After all the presents were opened and you donned your new princess finery, the grownups were sitting around enjoying coffee and chatting.  Your brothers were busy playing with your new pink cash register.  We were all so busy we didn’t notice that the birthday girl was nowhere about, until Grandma W. noticed what was going on in the kitchen~

There you were, all dressed up, helping yourself to the last of the birthday cake.


Helping yourself to the last of the birthday frosting to be exact…


You share your mamma’s love of all things fluffy and frosted ;)

The next morning your daddy took you to get breakfast, just you two.  You had the strawberry waffles.  The strawberries and whipped cream were devored, but the waffle sat untouched despite your daddy’s best coaxing.


There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for sending you to us.  There was a time in my life when a house full of rowdy boys was all I wanted.  Then you showed up… my beautiful, funny, messy,  rowdy little girl!

Love you, Mamma

Lately

Lately life has been full of the everyday things that define this stage of our life, a life with little ones in the house.

Occasionally I wake up to this sight~


A little girl who has crawled into our bed in the wee hours of the morning; wedged herself between me and her father and snores her baby snores.

Everywhere I look there are traces of them.  Sometimes it makes me pause and smile, other times… not so much so (is it that hard to get clothes in the dirty hamper?  really?)

~~~~~~~~~

A few weeks ago, on a perfect spring Sunday, we were on our way home from church when we spontaneously decided, a picnic in the foothills was the perfect way to spend our afternoon.  We stopped off at a grocery store and picked up all the makings for sandwiches and drove to Knights Ferry.

It’s a great place to let the kids roam.


Climbing rocks, running down paths, dipping their fingers in the cold river.


The poppies covered the entire hillside (it’s moments like this I wish I were a real photographer).

And here’s me, the girl behind the camera.


There is a covered bridge and several other historic buildings around Knights Ferry.


It really is the perfect place to visit on a warm spring day!

All in all March has been a very packed month so far, which has made me appreciate all the more my days at home with the kiddos.

~~~~~~~~

So I bought these cookies at the store the other day.  They’re an off brand $1.99 a package, generic cookie.  I thought they’d be good enough for the children.  Oh if I had only known…

If I had only known how good they would be, how they would haunt my dreams… I would have never let them in the house. 

~~~~~~~~~~

We made a trip to the library too.  There is just nothing like that “post-library-trip-quietness” that descends on the house.  Three children sitting mesmerized on the couch, pouring over every page of every book.  It’s almost worth the astronomic late fees we always manage to incur.

~~~~~~~~

Today was the first day of spring.  We celebrated by taking a morning walk in our PJ’s to pick blossoms and daffodils to bring in the house.  The house needed some fresh springiness.  The windows were thrown open, every room got a good scrubbing, and there were flowers on the table…


We gathered up a small bunch of daffodils,


and put our blossoming branches in a large vase and suddenly the house seemed brand new again.

It was a good day, and now it is time to lay my weary head on my freshly washed pillow and tuck my tired feet into my clean sheets.

Good night friends,  April

What happened next

And now for the rest of the story…

I’m not by nature an adventurous person.   I rarely fly by myself.  Flight times and layovers in big airports make my stomach twist up in knots.  I’m never sure which arm rest belongs to me, and I always feel very self conscience eating food when people are sitting close enough to me to hear me chew.  So you can imagine it would take a lot to entice me into flying across the country, by myself, and leave my family for 6 days and nights. 

Over the years, through blogging on Xanga, I have had the pleasure to get to know the most amazing group of women.  They have each become so dear to me.  I have watched their families grow and change, laughed at their stories, mourned for their losses, been inspired by their creativity, encouraged by their kindness… I knew so much about them but I had never seen them face to face or heard the sound of their voices.  So when I got an email inviting me to meet up with these amazing women and spend a weekend with them, well I jumped at the chance.

My sweet friend Thelma kindly offered to pick me up at the airport.  I couldn’t wait to get off the plane and see her.  I wish I would have taken a picture of her as she came towards that night in the baggage claim.  She looked darling in her sweater, her converse tennis shoes and a big grin on her face.  We hugged like old friends.  The plan was to drive to our friend Cindy’s house, stay the night, and leave the next morning to drive into Ohio where we were all meeting up for the weekend.

It had been a long day by the time I arrived at Cindy’s that night.  The moment I walked into the door I was greeted by a smiling Cindy who grabbed me and hugged me.  Her home was warm, inviting and immediately made me feel welcome and at ease.  She has a way of making people feel at ease, when you are with her you find yourself smiling a lot.

We were shown to our room where Cindy had left a box of goodies for Thelma and I.  It had every good thing you can imagine in it!
 

We laughed a little when we realized we would be sharing a bed that night.  Thelma joked that that we were going to get to know each other real well, real fast!

We both slept well and woke up the the most beautiful breakfast.  Cindy had prepared egg casserole, fruit salad, coffee cake and a bowl full of perfect red raspberries.

And just when I thought that the morning couldn’t get any better, more friends began to arrive.  Our friends Rachel and Gloria were coming along for the road trip too!

Here we are all set to head for Ohio (we were leaving from Pennsylvania).  That is Cindy in the driver seat, Gloria in the passenger seat, Rachel is sitting behind Cindy and Thelma is sitting behind Gloria. 

This is the picture of Cindy’s beautiful home.  The history behind this house is just amazing.  When I got home I told the boys “I slept in a house that has been around since the civil war!  Union soldiers stayed in that house as they were traveling through the area.”  They were impressed!

We arrived that evening at Katie’s Guest House.  Ladies began pouring in, everyone was laughing, hugging, and talking.  Woman came from all over the states and even as far as Canada.  We stayed up so late every night talking and woke up each morning to the sound of woman’s voices and delicious breakfast.

One morning we were treated to facials and spa treatments. 

In the evenings we would head out to eat dinner at local restaurants.  The second night we ate at a little charming bistro.   As we arrived large fluffy snowflakes began to fall.

My camera didn’t like the indoor lighting so most of these are blurry but I wanted you to get a glimpse of the atmosphere inside.  The food was so very good!

After we left we stopped off at a local store to by some late night snacks.  I had Thelma take a picture of me in the snow.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have stood in falling snow.  It was a real treat for this California girls :)

One of the days we had a fun fashion competition.  We were all split up into groups and in each group there was one model.  Each group had one afternoon to go shopping and pick out an outfit for the model to wear.  Later that night we would take turns modeling our outfits for the whole group and then everyone would vote for a winner. There were cash prizes involved so the competition got a little heated.  Just kidding, it was all in good fun.

The following pictures were all taken by my friend Thelma which is why they all look so good.


A picture of Beth and I in the snow.  This is one of my favorite pictures from the weekend.


A picture of the whole group.  When I arrived the first day I really only knew half of the women but by the end of the weekend I felt like I had know all of them my whole life.  I love this picture. 


A picture of Clarita and Gloria looking so fetching in their yellow clothes.  These two girls right here, they are the sweetest most encouraging woman you will ever meet!


Another picture of my friend Cindy (that’s her on the right).  I wish I had the words to express how much she blessed my heart.  She has the gift of encouragement, when she listens she really hears your heart, and I have carried her words with me ever since.


Linda and Jenny… love these two!!  Love their style and sense of humor.  My one regret of the weekend was not being able to spend more time with them.


And here I am modeling my outfit with my amazing group of fashion consultants.  I had so much fum with them!  We started our shopping trip off right with at trip to Chipotle for burritos and rootbeer.  From L to R it’s Clarita and Thelma (the two adorable pregnant ladies), me, Beth and Beth.  Both Beth’s have last names that begin with G, so I will call them Short Beth and Tall Beth.  Short Beth has a sense of humor that will have you laughing until your sides ache!  She is smart, capable, down-to-earth and did I mention funny?  And Tall Beth is lovely in every single way.  She is so very smart, capable and kind.  She also has a wonderful dry sense of humor,… I just couldn’t get enough of her :)

Thelma snapped this picture of me goofing off in my new “too-cool-for-school” aviator glasses.

I could write pages and pages about everyone of the women I had the privilege to spend time with.  Each one of them beautiful, inspiring, strong, full of wisdom and strength.  I felt like I was full to the brim.  All of them sharing their hopes and fears, each of us looking into our each others’ faces and seeing ourselves.  I kept thinking I needed more time, I wanted to know them all better.  But the weekend was coming to and end and we were all headed off in our different directions.

Fortunately I had extra time with my traveling companions.  We drove back to Pennsylvania on Sunday and I stayed the night at Thelma’s house.  I loved being able to see her darling house, met her husband and her sweet daughter Abbi.  I slept in their comfy quest bedroom and awoke to the most amazing doughnuts!  Afterwards we drove to Rachel’s house to spend the morning with her.

This is my dear friend Rachel!  Rachel was one of the first people I met on Xanga (other than people I knew in real life).  I came across her blog and instantly fell in love with her.  At first I loved looking at her dreamy photography, and I was always inspired by her decorating style and creativity, but it was her words and spirit that kept me coming back for more.  I’m sure I will embarrass her terribly by saying this, but she truly has the heart of a woman who seeks God.  She is not perfect but she is running a good race, and she is running it with her whole heart and soul and she inspires me to do the same.  For so long I have wanted to meet her face to face, it really was a dream come true.  And I got a tour of her charming house! 

And this is the one-and-only Thelma!  Man I love this girl.  She has a great smile and an amazing laugh (although she claims it’s very ordinary, I would beg to differ).  She has a face that lights up a room.  Under that sweet, happy exterior is the heart of a strong woman.  I love her spunk and creativity.  I love her sarcastic sense of humor, and it kills me that we live hundreds of miles away from each other.  But at least I got to spend 6 glorious days with her, and I will forever remember her as the person who first introduced me to tomato pie!

As I am sitting here typing I am thinking of all the other woman who blessed me throughout this trip, Amber who has a way of making each and every person feel welcome and special, who is the picture of grace and ease.  Elizabeth who is so full of life and fun.  Audrey with her smoking hot style and has such a genuine heart for people; who sees people as God see them.  Clarita with her warm smile; who always has a kind word to say… the list is endless and my eyes and fingers are getting tired.

And there you have it, the rest of the story…

Have a wonderful weekend!  ~April

Let me tell you a story

This story begins, as all good stories do, with a pie.  A delicious, tender, flavorful, savory tomato pie.  I know what you’re thinking.  Tomato pie?  Those are not words one usually sees together, but oh my… it is out of this world fantastic!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I had been staying in various parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio for about 6 days.  It was Monday, the last day of my trip and my last meal before heading home.

Thelma, my sweet friend and host, said she knew the perfect place to get lunch.  The Tomato Pie Cafe.

And what does one get at the Tomato Pie Cafe?  Well tomato pie of course.


My excellent company :)

The adorable waitress in the fedora hat took our orders.  “Two tomato pies please.”  She smiled knowingly.

A few minutes later this glorious plate was set in front of me.  I took the first bite, closed my eyes and sighed. 

Please forgive the picture of the half eaten pie.  I was already well into eating it when I realized I really needed to document this slice of heaven.  If Thelma noticed that I was making little happy moans as I ate, she was too polite to say anything ;)   I don’t want to embarrass myself by telling you all how fast I devoured that slice… we’ll just say it didn’t really have a chance to cool off.

Here’s the trouble.  I don’t think I can be happy with just the memory of that amazing pie.  I want to be able to eat it over and over, but I can’t be flying to Pennsylvania every time I’m hankering for a slice of tomato pie.  I have to learn how to make it.  Thelma says that the recipe is a closely guarded secret and that the waitresses cannot be bribed.  So the quest is on!  The perfect tomato pie will be mine if it’s the last thing I do.  Thelma and I are putting our heads together to come up with the recipe and all the proper techniques.  I will keep you all up to date on our progress (for I am sure you are dying to know).

Now, you may ask “What on earth was a California girl doing in Pennsylvania, on a Monday afternoon, eating tomato pie with two lovely girls?”.  Well that’s another good story that begins like this…

Once upon a time, a slightly nervous woman boarded a plane, flew hundreds of miles to meet a bunch of strangers she met on the internet.  But the rest of that story will have to wait for another night when I am feeling a little less jet-lagged, and have had a chance to sort out the happy blur of memories that are floating around in my brain.

Until then…