Thursday, January 31, 2008

Weeks in the making

I started making this pillow several weeks ago. I finally had gotten around to ordering the ruffler attachment for my sewing machine, and I wanted a project to put a ruffle on when it arrived. A million and one things got in the way of getting it finished, including wondering what on earth I had done when I pulled that attachment out of the box and discovered there were no directions on how to use it. It looks really complicated, but it is actually quite easy, and if I didn't still have this darn cough, I would be ruffling everything in sight. LOL
I used a book page that Jen Duncan has kindly scanned for everyone to use as the pattern for the embroidery. I fully intended to make those cherries red, but when it came time to do it, I couldn't bring myself to make them anything other than pink.
Look at that perfect ruffle! And they are fast too.

The rest of the pillow is a patchwork of different Simply Shabby sheets that have I picked up at the thrift. The hard to see one on the edge is green with pink roses.

I always love the throw pillows that Target carries to go with the sheets, but can never afford to spend $25 on a throw pillow, so I am totally pleased with my version.

Now if I could just get Jack to settle down in his room so I could close my eyes on it for a few minutes while the snow falls fast and furiously outside.

There will certainly be the much anticipated sledding in his near future.

(You can watch a video of the ruffler foot in action here . I ordered mine through my Husqvarna dealer.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

6 hours and 17minutes

The official weather report today: 6 hours and 17* minutes of crazy.
Jack and I woke up to 65 degrees this morning. Knowing that it would be fleeting, I dressed us as quickly as I could and out into the yard we went. At 10 am the sunshine was so warm and bright (it made Jack's hair look so red again), and I soaked it up reading magazines and digging in the mud with Jack.
Here he is pouring some sand on his dirt pile, "so it can grow big, like a planet."

After I heard him say "I'd like to see the manager please", while playing like he was in the drive through window, we came inside, ate lunch, had a nap and woke up to this at 4:17:
It's snowing. That's where we were soaking up the sun a mere 6 hours ago. It is now 27 degrees (and falling), with a windchill of 7. Jack is already asking where his snow pants and the sled are, and wanting to know if Meghan will go sledding with him again when "there are piles of snow to fall in."

*17 would be "eleventeen" to Jack right now. He can count to 16, but he much prefers to count to 10 and then start throwing in "eleventeen" anywhere he can.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Oh my. Sometime last Thursday (actually, about 1/2 way through our play date), I was hit by an almighty nasty virus or something. I knew things were bad when I actually started to cry on Friday morning because Jack spilled milk on the clothes I had *just* put on him to wear to school that day and I could not find an ounce of energy to get him dressed again. So, I have spent 3 days in bed, burning up with fevers, coughing my fool head off, and using box after box of tissues. Honestly, I don't think I have spent that long in bed since before Jack was born.

But, I am somewhat on the mend now (although putting new batteries in Thomas this morning was still a test of strength, lol), and hoping against hope that Jack's immunity proves as strong as usual and that he escapes this beast.
There has been gorgeous mail arriving for the Valentine exchange, (you guys are going to love them!) and if you haven't mailed yours yet, remember I need to have them by the first to get them in the mail to you by this coming weekend.

One other thing I want to note while it is recent is that Jack started really spelling last week. He came home from school with a project they had helped him write his name on, and all the way home he kept saying "this says Jack, J-A-C-K, Jack!" Then as we arrived at our play date on Thursday, he said, "That sign says stop, S-T-O-P, stop." And even more at home "Can you turn the light to on, N-O, on?" (He spelled No instead of on.) We bought him a self correcting spelling puzzle for Christmas (can't seem to Google one up), and he played with a lot last week, putting the pieces together, and the "reading" them to me, "this one says kite, K-I-T-E, kite." I also noticed yesterday that he was asking Dave what letter every word they were saying started with.


*The pictures are the cupids I made last year. I traced Jack's feet to make the wings, and used a photo booth photo of his face.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Since those summer days

The thrift gods have not smiled upon me in so many months that I almost didn't bother going thrifting today while Jack is at school. But my husband left a little extra cash and a note that said maybe I would get lucky, so I went ahead and hit a few close to home thrifts.

And since wonders never cease, I actually did find a few things. And it did cheer me up slightly. Not as much as Jack telling me in the car that I needed to go to court again tomorrow*, but the sun is shining, and I am pushing onward.

The bread box is plastic, and someone has done a rather horrible paint job on it. It's red on the inside, and I thought at first I might try and remove the paint, but eh, maybe I like it as is. I am sucker for those old Meyercord decals.
This old (maybe?) pottery console set nearly drove me crazy. I kept finding myself drawn to it, then putting it down and walking away from it. I couldn't decide if it was actually old pottery or not, and I think had the three pieces not been together I wouldn't have thought it was vintage at all. But seeing the three pieces together it screamed "console set", and well, that is a vintage thing for sure. Originally I only bought the candlesticks, because I am not crazy about the bowl. But, it felt wrong to split up the set, and my husband told me to go back for the bowl, even if I only stuck it in a cabinet.

When I got it home and put the candlesticks with the rest of my growing pottery collection, they definitely looked "right" age wise. But who knows? Maybe one of you has a better idea about it.
This is a GORGEOUS old light fixture. I nearly jumped up and down when I spied it on the bottom shelf of a Goodwill. (Goodwill wouldn't have put it out if they had known it was old. They don't believe in vintage around here, lol.) The guy at the cash register was a bit of a pain about it, not wanting to sell it, insisting parts were missing and so forth. I had to explain how it works about 3 times before he just took the $4.

I don't really have a place for it in this house, but since this isn't our forever house, I will just tuck it away for safe keeping.
And not the most exciting find, but I have been wanting fringed crepe paper forever. They had loads of red, but only one pink. It was clearly from Target, but I never remember seeing it in Target. I love that Goodwill is like the Target outlet sometimes.

*There was a big ordeal last summer where I phoned the police about a law breaking neighbor. When the Sheriff arrived, the neighbor, who was on a dirt bike, took off and a rather exciting high speed chase ensued. It ended in his arrest, with a million felony charges. Unfortunately, I was the only witness when the charges were filed. The day after Christmas I was served with a subpoena to testify as a witness for the state. So, when I went to court, Jack went to his friend Joey's house to play. His asking me to go back to court is his way of telling me he would like to visit Joey. Kids! (We are going to visit Joey tomorrow.)

**Has anyone figured out which artist the last two blog titles came from? :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heavy cloud, no rain

I still feel like a little black cloud is hanging over my head. It doesn't help that it is cold, cold, cold, but there is no snow to speak of. I have zero desire to cook another meal, wash another piece of laundry, or even craft. Woohooo, good times around here. LOL

I did manage to make some of Martha's felt fortune cookies after seeing them in the Feb. issue of Living. I folded them with an extra wrinkle, but really, I am not crazy about them. Maybe they are just cuter in theory than they are in my world. Instead of fortunes I am going to put my list of things that never disappoint me in them. Maybe that will make the cloud go away?

So, seven cookies, seven never disappointing things:
*Eating at my favorite Indian restaurant
*Finding a new tablecloth for the collection
*Sitting in the sunshine while watching Jack play in the backyard
*Time out of the house, alone, with my husband
*Watching the sunset over the ocean from our old homestead, Clearwater Beach
*Mailbox surprises
* Fragrant pink peonies
I've also been working a little on the January organization project. Last year it was a huge job, but this year most of the jobs seem to be going quickly. Obviously some of the things I did last year worked, as most everything just needs a general straightening up. Dave made these shelf dividers for my linen closet with cute little scalloped edges after we saw this organizing tip at Martha.

They do an amazing job of keeping the pillowcases from being a giant pillowcase jumble.
And I finally found some marbles so Jack and I could have swimming noodle marble races. He thought this was great fun, and would have played with it until he had managed to lose all 100 marbles in the house somewhere, but I don't really fancy trying to find 100 marbles so we don't accidentally fall on them. There are at least 20 lost in here somewhere already though.
It was fascinating to watch him try launching marbles from different positions. He put that noodle everywhere he could think of to see what happened to the marble.

I swear you can just sit there and watch his little brain "growing." Too cool.

Well, writing this blog post actually made me feel a little better. Perhaps I should be pushing onward a little bit more?

Friday, January 18, 2008

City of Love

I am feeling totally off my game at the moment. Not into the crafting, not into the cleaning or organizing, just Meh. LOL My china cabinet sat empty for weeks after I cleared out the Christmas stuff. I finally decided I should fill it up this week, but figuring out what to put in there for Valentine's Day is a challenge for me.

This year I put all my millinery flowers in rose teacups, added some glass bead pics in vases, the vintage candy boxes my husband gave me last year, and called it good. It was a little empty though.
When I saw the gorgeous glittery Eiffel Towers on Jerusalem's blog , I knew they were the perfect filler for the cabinet. I just cut and glittered some card stock.
My most precious Valentine collectibles are my two old cake toppers, picked up at a garage sale and a flea market this summer.
They are so sweet, and I really adore them. I wish they were easier to find, I would have loads of them!

P.S.I wish it were easier to take pictures in the winter. It is so hard to find any decent light. Guess I had better get on figuring out that new camera, eh?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just like that

I have tried a few times since Jack turned 3 to try and get him to start using the toilet. We've read books, we've watched endless hours of Potty Power (he loves that video), and yet, I was trying not to push the issue. I wanted to introduce him to the idea, but I wanted him to decide when he was ready.

Truthfully, it felt pointless to push. Jack does everything when Jack is ready to do it.

Yesterday, after changing his diaper, I asked if he would like to wear underwear. He always says yes, so I let him pick some, and figured he would come back to me after going downstairs to find a train with wet pants and would go back in the diaper.

But he didn't.

I was tidying up something, noticed he was quiet, called out to him and he answered that he was going potty. On his own. No prompting from me at all.

And so it went. For the entire day yesterday. No accidents, and potty power by the bucket loads.

He is in a pullup today, because he is at school, where the toilets are far away, and it requires asking a teacher. He is still very shy with the new teacher, so I am not sure what will happen there today, but I reassured him before I left that he could either use the potty or not, and that it was perfectly fine by me.

Secretly I am hoping that aside from school and sleeping times, that we are done with diapers. I am so over changing diapers.

But secretly, I am teensy, weensy, very tiny bit sad. Using the potty, well, it's all very grown up, isn't it?

Monday, January 14, 2008

As the world turns

Several weeks ago, I was tagged by Tiff for that random things meme. I've done it once or twice before, but since I have been a little unwell with some sort of virus (or perhaps it is food poisoning) since Saturday, I figured that random pics of recently acquired pottery and a random meme would make a great random post. Is that random enough? LOL

1. I love, love, love avocados. My husband says it might be unnatural to love them as much as I do.
1. Jack loves, loves, loves candy corn. He will do anything if a candy corn is the reward.
1. Dave loves, loves, loves ice cream. He could eat his weight in ice cream every day.

Maybe we need to finally make that avocado ice cream and a candy corn ice cream?
2. Right now I am dreaming of warm, sandy beaches.
2. Jack is likely dreaming of big piles of snow. (He is dying to go sledding again.)
2. Dave is probably just dreaming of a nap, since we stayed up too late watching Persuasion on PBS, and we are desperately short on naps around here as of late.

Clearly we need a vacation!
3. We took Jack to a cosmic bowling birthday party 2 weeks ago. I am forever put off bowling by a teenage boyfriend who was a die hard bowler. He constantly nagged me about my "bowling form", and it sucked the fun out of it.
3. Jack kept telling me he didn't want to go bowling at the party because "the ball is too heavy." Once he started he enjoyed it, but not as much as he enjoyed the bowling cake, which he is still talking about.
3. Dave thinks we should go bowling more often.

I think we can all agree that we could go bowling more often, as long as we don't go to that "so loud it makes your ears bleed cosmic bowling" thing again. Ever.
And last, but not least, I was awarded the "You Make My Day Award" from Monica at M&Co . I am terrible at passing those things along, because all of you make my day. Go dig around in that link list where you can find at least 174 of you that are making my day! (I say at least because there are more in my bookmarks. LOL)

Friday, January 11, 2008

A wooly woodsy owl

Sometime before Christmas I saw Martha make this owl backpack on her show. It took me all of 10 seconds to decide that Jack had to have that backpack, but I have zero knitting skills. Well, I could poke my eye out with one of the needles, if you can call that a knitting skill.

But sewing? That I can do. The wheels started churning and I decided I could make the thing with felted wool. The idea of hunting down all the right colored sweaters and felting them and then trying to figure out how to sew the thing was just too daunting. Heidi to the rescue! I bought the wool pre-felted from her and just went from there.

It took more than a little brain churning to work out how to put it all together and what size to make the pieces, but he is too cute! He is now safely stashed in the the present closet waiting to come out for Valentine's Day.
A recent picture of Jack. Just because I am so happy it is finally Friday. (Is time going really slooooooooow for anyone else? I feel like Christmas was months ago.)

And because he is so darn cute. Even if he does tell me that he is NOT a big kid, he is a tiny baby. LOL

He went back to school this week where he moved up a room again, to the "big kid room", aka the 3 year olds. He is not exactly enthusiastic about the change, but he never is. Hopefully some of their "big kid" habits (like not throwing your food at the dinner table!) are going to start to wear off on him.

Hey, I can dream right? :-)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'll be in the linen closet

I have been jonesing for junk for a long time now. The thrifts seemed to dry up sometime in October, the yard sales died out in November along with the flea market, and even cleaning out the closets has not yielded any great unexpected junk.

Out of sheer desperation, I decided we should go to a nearby estate sale Saturday morning. If you have, or have had, a 3 year old, you realize I was desperate. Estate sale + 3 year old = a recipe for disaster. Unlike the flea market with plenty of room to run free, or a thrift store with a cart to ride in, Jack could get in plenty of trouble. He didn't though. He was very well behaved. And I got a small junk fix.
These days I most often head for the linen closet at estate sales. Dave beat me to it, decided there was stuff worth having in there and stood his ground until I rounded the corner. (I could hear Jack yelling, "Where is mommy?" from around the corner. LOL)
Most estate sales are crazy over priced, and this was no exception. Thankfully it was the last day and getting late in the afternoon, so everything was half off or more. I would have never given them $5 for an apron otherwise. I am crazy about this pink one. The fabric has big dots on it in addition to the plaid.
I also picked up a pile of pillowcases. That one in front has a lily of the valley print, love, love, love it. There was a tablecloth or two in my pile as well, but I am not sure what I am going to do with them yet. The condition is pretty bad on one of them, but the print is nice.

Everything was filthy dirty, yellowed and stained, so I spent the afternoon boiling it all on the stove. Between the super warm weather, the open windows, Jack running around the backyard giggling, and a fresh pile of junk to boil, it was just like spring.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Making something out of nothing

I fell in love with the last page (well, really the first page) of the May '07 Cotton Time as soon as I saw it. Shortly after Christmas I was browsing the magazine again, and I knew I had to make one of those wreaths, even though the wreath is not one of the projects in the magazine.
Because I have been in super thrifty mode for awhile now, I wanted to make it with stuff I already had around here instead of buying a lot of supplies for it.
I love the finished product so much. So soft and natural and flowery. And the whole thing only cost me about $1.50. I think I am going to make this picture into postcards.
A run down of the supplies:
*Pink linen from Hancock clearance table, 1/2 yard = $1.50
*Green silk for the leaves, a small piece my aunt had given me a year ago = free
*Blue pips for flower centers, cut from flowers in my stash cabinet = free
*Wreath form made from branches that fell during our last storm, tied together with bits of twine I was throwing away from another project = free (Lovingly made by my sweet husband.)
*Styrofoam apple forms, reconstructed from egg shaped Styrofoam from last Easter = free
*Wool roving for the needle felted apples, from stash, dyed with lime kool-aid from the pantry to make it apple green = free (I love needle felting, why don't I do it more often?)
*Apple stems, plucked from the big red apples in the bowl on the counter = free *Piece of vintage velvet ribbon, from stash = free
*A lot of more of my time than I ever imagined, but really in love with the results!

It is crazy, unnaturally warm here right now (in the 70's), so Jack and I are off to play outside and soak up the sunshine. Happy Monday to you.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Heart to Heart

Last year I did a one on one Valentine swap with a few fellow bloggers, and it was so much fun. I really loved having handmade valentines to display, and I can't wait to get them out again this year.

I thought maybe some of you might like to participate too this year.
This year I think I can manage a group, so here is how it will work, if anyone wants to play along that is!

I will accept up to 14 participants. Each of you will create 14 valentines (that number will be adjusted if there are less than 14 participants), mail them to me, and I will send return packages to each of you containing the 14 different valentines.
The details:

I need your package by Feb. 1st. Your valentine does not have to be made of paper. There are a lot of other options. Maybe you like felt, or wallpaper, or fabric, or crepe paper, or vintage school valentines, or buttons, or beads, or embroidery, or yarn, the list goes on and on! (The pictures are just a few ideas that are already kicking around in my head.) Use whatever it is that you like to craft with. Please keep them to 5x7 or smaller though, and made of something that I can mail in a padded envelope. And please enclose $2 to help cover part of the cost of return shipping.

So, are you game to be my valentine? Leave a comment here (with an email address if you don't have a blog) or email me through my profile. I hope you will play along with me!

EDIT: Thank you! The swap is full. I will send a confirmation email to all participants sometime this weekend. Please let me know if you think you are in and do not recieve it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Light of day

Ahhhh, a bright fresh new day. The holidays are over. I've had some sleep. Jack is playing trucks for a moment. I've actually eaten breakfast. Dave is at work. The house is mostly tidy. (Except for the playroom, aka, the train explosion).
And I am making progress on a project, the first in more than 2 weeks.

Things are returning to normal. Awesome.