Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oscar and Henrietta

Before each of my children was born, I sewed a little quilt for them. I was pretty pregnant as I sewed them both, nesting and planning and dreaming with every stitch about the tiny person on their way.  The J-bird's is called Oscar, and Miss V's is called Henrietta. They both sleep with their quilts at night, and they occasionally carry them around during the day. When we go to Kansas in the summer time, we take Oscar and Henrietta. If it's cold out, and we're going somewhere in the car, we often grab their quilts. And right now, as Miss V is toughing it out through the last of the teething process (eye teeth and two year molars), she likes to wrap Henrietta around herself and snuggle quite a bit. It's so sweet to see my kids drawing comfort from something I put my heart into, almost as though I can wrap them up in a tangible piece of my love. I hope they take that feeling with them always.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine Decorations

 The J-bird loooooooooooves when I decorate the house for the different holidays, so I try to do a little something for each one. The other afternoon, while Miss V was napping and the J-bird was having a quiet time in his room, I decked the house out with lots of red and pink touches. Both kids were thrilled, and the J-bird was over the moon.

 This garland was super simple - hearts cut from scrapbook paper, holes punched on each side, and regular white string run through. I love it.

 These are two-sided, but the same basic concept.

 Centerpiece on my kitchen island.

 In my entryway

Front door.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Half Cup of Teddy

 For this little activity, I used my digital kitchen scale, a measuring cup and various things from around my kitchen. We weighed a half cup each of flour, sugar, chocolate chips, and red hots. I had the J-bird read me the numbers, and I wrote them down. After we'd weighed the first four things, he wanted to try some other items, so we weighed half a cup of crayons, and a little stuffed bear.

 Once we'd written everything down, he learned how to tell which was heaviest and which was lightest. Did you know that a half cup of sugar is heavier than a half cup of teddy bear? WELL NOW YOU KNOW.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Play Clothes

 The dress-up clothes have overflowed their basket. I wanted to try something fun to replace the basket, so the kids and I cruised through Goodwill and found an old suitcase.

 It was gross but had possibilities.

 I wanted to change the color, but I also wanted to keep the chrome and some of the red, so I taped that off.

 Then I spray painted it Ivory. This paint with the primer built in is the business.

 I found a cool font online, and, once the paint was dry, I sketched the word "play" onto the suitcase and then painted it in.

 I hit it with some polyurethane and let it dry overnight, then I pulled off the tape.

The inside was also kind of nasty, so I ripped everything out and re-lined it, using Mod Podge and some scrap velour fabric I had.

 I poured the Mod Podge in.

 Then I spread it evenly with a paint brush and smoothed the fabric on. It was messy and a little tricky, and it's not a perfect lining job, but I don't work for Samsonite. It's just for my kids, and they don't care!

 I left the existing leather strap around the top, so I could just tuck my fabric underneath, for a finished look. I also covered the hinges, to prevent pinched finger sadness.

Now the dress-up clothes have a new home!

 Happiness all around.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just Freshening Up

As of this past New Year's Eve, James and I have lived in this house for seven years. That's the longest I've ever lived in any house, ever. I love my house, and I love my neighborhood, but every once in a while, I get kind of itchy, and I have to change something up. So, a couple weeks ago, I rearranged my living room. I've always loved rearranging rooms. For some reason, it makes everything feel new. When I was a teenager, the urge would sometimes strike me to rearrange my bedroom in the middle of the night. What my poor parents must have thought when all the thumping and dragging started up, I don't know, but they always gave me free reign when it came to how my room was set up.

Anyway. My living room. If you care about the details, read on. Otherwise, skip down a paragraph.

Before we had kids, I had the living room set up sort of formally. I also had some notion that we'd not allow toys in there once children entered the scene, which is utterly ridiculous considering the fact that the kids and I spend the whole day downstairs, but who has any idea of the reality of children - I mean the TRUE reality - before they have them? No one, that's who. When the J-bird was a baby, I had a little basket of toys in the living room. That expanded to a set of shelves with canvas drawers full of toys, and then I emptied out one side of our built-in cabinets to house the toys, and now they have a whole play area in the living room. It was fairly cramped though - kind of jammed in a corner - and the toys constantly overflowed into the kitchen, which drove me crazy. I looked at the room and decided it needed to reflect its purpose - a room where the kids play, where we like to sit and watch them play, a room I look at all day long. I rearranged it accordingly, expanding the play area, organizing the toys, and using the furniture to divide the living room from the kitchen. Then I decided I could freshen up a few more things in there, while I was at it.

Enter: color scheme, drapes and pillows. My favorite color is red, and I collect red glass, so most of my accents were red. Some of my glass collection graces the tops of my built-ins, a large painting hanging on the wall was mostly red, and the (very worn out) throw pillows were red. The drapes were a very nice, serviceable oatmeal colored set that my mom gave me as a house-warming gift seven years ago. I started planning, looking at ideas, and I decided I wanted to keep the glass, but get rid of the painting and most of the pillows (re-covering a few) and sew my own drapes, using heavy (insulating) fabric with a bold print, probably NOT red. I searched online and at a local fabric store, and found things I liked, but drape fabric is pricey, and I needed to find a deal or a sale to swing what I was hoping for. I saved up my money and waited, and then James heard about Fabric Depot in Portland, and it was ON.
We made a day of it last Saturday, and I was beyond thrilled and impressed with the store. Fabric for miles, fantastic prices, a huge sale going on, and the employees were incredible - friendly and helpful. The best part was that I found the exact fabric I'd coveted at the other fabric store, but Fabric Depot had it at a price I could actually afford. Seriously, It was TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS CHEAPER for the amount I needed. I did a happy dance.

After the fabric store, we all went for lunch at a really great place called the Observatory.

The oregano fry bread was particularly awesome.

James had a spicy cocktail (to recover from the fabric store, maybe? Ha!)

And the kids and I split a blackberry Italian soda.

We wandered down the street after lunch and picked up some coffee at the Bipartisan Cafe (delicious)

And got some cookies at Pastry Girl for later.

 We had a great day, and every time I look at the curtains and pillows I sewed for my newly freshened room, I'll think about what a steal the fabric was and what a fun day we had, finding it.

Note - I wish I'd taken "before" photos, but I plan on posting more "after" photos soon, with all the things I'm adding.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fashion Maven

Adventurous. Daring. Definitely opinionated.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dress Up Mirror

 I have this lovely old mirror that my mother gave me when James and I got married, and it hung by my front door until we got a security system installed, and I had to move the mirror to make way for the control pad. I decided to hang the little mirror at kid height, so the J Bird and Miss V could use it when they play dress up. Which they love to do. Frequently.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Straw Box

The J-bird likes straws. A LOT. When I see the the big, cheap pack of bendy straws, I usually buy it, and the straws had taken over an entire drawer and kept falling out, which was irritating. To solve the problem, I covered a box (that used to hold Ziploc bags) with pretty paper and added "Sip" to the front. It contains the mess, and he loves it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The J-Bird's Babies

Guarding his bed, day and night.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012


I'm not sure why they felt hats were necessary, but they fetched them and put them on and were adamant about wearing them. So there you go. Hats and Play-doh for all!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Coats And Snowpants Drying Everywhere

 We got some more snow the other night and woke up to the magic that is a snow-covered yard. Fun, right? Only down-side is when the power flips at 4:30 in the morning, and then goes on to do so three more times in the next hour. It wouldn't be a big deal - I mean, at least the power didn't STAY off, right? -  except that every time it flips, everything in our house that can beep, does beep, loudly. The lights on our ceiling fans come on. The J-bird's white noise machine shuts off and then comes back on at TOP VOLUME, which scares the living daylights out of him, causing him to shriek until I run, bleary eyed into his room to fix it, while James stumbles around, turning off lights and jerking cords out of clocks that randomly decide to alarm. It's a wonderful way to wake up from a dead sleep. Three times.

I asked the J-bird today if a loud noise can hurt him. He answered that it CAN. It can hurt his FEELINGS.

Now I know.

Thankfully, Miss V's white noise shuts off and comes back on at a very low volume. Also, she could sleep through the Crack of Doom, which is helpful.

 Anyway, with the promise of a warm rain that would undoubtedly melt all the snow, the kids were in a big hurry to get outside. As soon as they finished their eggs and toast, we suited up and headed out.

 (I'd like to thank my darling neighbor, Wendee for the hand-me-down snowpants for Miss V. They're so great!)

 Mama, we will steadfastly refuse to look at you, no matter what you do. No, we do NOT care that you're trying to take a cute, keepsake photo. For our will is as strong as yours, and our kingdom is as great. Hahaha. (Quick - name that movie!)


We played in the back yard for a long time, made a snowman, even made a tiny snowman to put in our freezer, so we'll have him this summer. Then I stripped off all their snow clothes and got them inside. Approximately five minutes later, they saw that D and M from across the street were playing out in their yard. Nothing would do but to immediately suit back up and go play.

 So we did.

Afterward, everyone came over to our house for hot cocoa and homemade shortbread cookies shaped like Darth Vader, followed by a rollicking hour of playing dress-up and fighting with plastic swords, while Wendee and I, who had done all the snowman work (she made FOUR), sat in an exhausted stupor, drinking coffee on the couch.

And yea, it was as though the Heavens had opened, and angels had made that coffee.

It was good coffee, is what I mean to say.

The End.