Friday, August 31, 2012

Flashback Friday

Three years ago this little one came into our lives and stole our hearts.

She was an unexpected surprise, not something we had planned on; the best gift ever.

Straight from heaven so small, precious, and new.
Happy Birthday Sweet Girl....we love you!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

W.I.P. Wednesday

Today I am working on what is going to turn into a placemat for my 2 year old. The primary fabric used is Nursery Versery with a few others added in because I like to mix and match. I need to finish the center embroidery and a little applique. Add a little vintage lace, some hand quilting, then add the binging to finish. Hoping to be done by Saturday. I am linking up today with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Steve

My husband's birthday was on Saturday so we had a small celebration but will be having the rest of the family over this coming weekend when it is Ellie's birthday. The girls wanted to put lots of candles on his cake! Part of the cake wasn't frosted because Sam prefers no frosting. The cake was a guitar because dad rocks!!

All the girls helped blow out the candles, even the baby. I guess she can blow harder with her eyes closed.

Sam had just come in from swimming and I didn't notice he was shirtless.  I just can't seem to get a photo with everyone looking at me or someone's head chopped off (sorry E). I could not have a better husband...he is the best. Steve makes life fun and the tough patches less tough. He works 10 or more hours a day then comes home and does whatever he can to help, like making dinner,  swimming with the kids, sending kids off to the bath tub, home work help, etc, etc. He never complains. Never!!

He is a great role model for the kids and I can't imagine life without him and hope I never have to experience that. So, for all you do Steve...thank you! I appreciate you and love you tons and wish you a very Happy Birthday!!    xoxxo

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nursery Versery

This is a little something I sewed up for a certain little someone this weekend.
A certain little girl of mine who will be turning 3 very, very soon. She has auburn colored hair so I have always called her my strawberry girl.

Whenever I see cute fabric with strawberries on it I like to buy some to sew her some clothing or  make another project. When I saw Nursery Versery I knew I wanted to buy some not only because it has strawberries on it (in the bicycle basket) but because it is so cute!

Linking up for Make it and Wear it at The Train to Crazy. I would recommend checking out out the great projects there!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flashback Friday

Grandma Ruth- Easter, April 2006 
A couple of weeks ago my sister sent me a text as her and her husband were leaving town. She wanted to let me know that Grandma Ruth (her mother in law) wasn't doing well medically and it was unsure how much longer she would live. The doctors best guess was weeks . My husband, kids, and I loved Grandma Ruth and thought of her as our Grandma even though we were not genetically related. It had been awhile since I had seen her as she had been getting more and more tired the past few months and had not been up to coming to family gatherings. Things had to be juggled but thanks to my husband I was able to go and see her for an hour the evening my sister had texted me. Grandma just slept peacefully while I was there but I got to tell her how much I loved her and I am hoping she heard me. While I was there I visited with 2 of my brother in law's brothers and they told me stories of how Ruth grew up prior to electricity and running water. When she and Joe married (Joe passed away about 17 years ago), Joe was a farmer in the midwest and plowed his fields with a team of horses. She lived during World War II. She had seen so much history. She was a soft spoken person with a sweet sense of humor and always had a smile to give. She was full of kindness and grace. I hope I can age as gracefully as she did. She passed away a few hours after I left. I was so glad I had gone to see her as the next day would have been to late. She lived 87 years and had a full and blessed life. Grandma will be remembered lovingly and will be missed.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When Life Gives You Zucchini Make Bread!

My kids are not very good vegetable eaters. They like broccoli, green beans, and raw carrots . They love corn and potatoes but I consider them more of a starch than veggie. My husband and I love stir fries but my kids don't want to have much to do with a multicolored meal. They like their veggies one at a time so I have had to use some creativity to entice them into thinking vegetables are great. For example, my kids would never eat zucchini or pumpkin but when I put them into bread they gobble them up!
This time of year zucchini is plentiful. I prefer to eat my zucchini when it is in the small to medium size range. Have you ever been in your garden to find zucchini that are too small to pick and then go out the next day to discover a zucchini that is a foot and a half long?? Those are the zucchinis I like to grate and turn into bread.

 My recipe calls for 2 cups of grated zucchini. I measure out 2 cup portions and freeze the portions I don't use to pull out during winter so we can enjoy our summer produce for a long time. If I have a portion that isn't enough for zucchini bread I will use it in my homemade spaghetti sauce. I sneak other veggies, such as carrots and sweet potato, by pureeing them and adding to sauces .When we have pasta or a casserole type dish my oldest son will ask me what kind of vegetables have I hidden in our dinner.

 Here is a recipe handed down to me from my mom. I am not sure where she got it but will ask her the next time I see her.

3 C flour
2 1/2 C. Sugar (1 1/4 brown, 1 1/4white)
1-2 tsp. cinnamon ( we like lots of cinnamon!)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. Oil
1 tsp vanilla (I think I use about 1/2 T.- we love vanilla too)
3 eggs
2 C grated zucchini

Mix dry ingredients (except sugar) together and set aside. In another bowl beat eggs and sugar. Add oil and mix again. Add in the dry ingredients 1 C At a time. Add zucchini and vanilla at the end. If you like nuts or raisins these can also be added in at this time. Bake in a bundt or loaf pan for 1hour @ 275-300.

At a certain point during the baking process your house will start to smell yummy. My kids usually start circling the oven about this time asking when the bread will be ready. As soon as the oven timer goes off they are in the kitchen wanting to know when they can eat! We prefer our bread with a little powdered sugar sprinkled on but some of my extended family love it with cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

the New Old Scrapper

Family, pictures, cameras, and documenting life are all things that I love. As a kid I kept a diary and loved to journal. During High School I made an album with all my class pictures and report cards that started with kindergarten on up through my senior year. I made photo albums with maps, paper ephemera, and wrapping paper before there were any scrapbook companies. Fifteen plus years ago my sister's best friend became a consultant for Creative Memories and I was introduced to 12x12 scrapbooks and terms like archival quality and acid free. 

I have a big family and like to bring my pictures out of my scrapbooks and onto the walls. This wall leads from the entry way to the kitchen and is open to the family room so not a day goes by that I do not look at this wall. Pictures are a big part of our home.

I have scrapbooks in the family room, study, and on bookcases in the playroom. I think there are around 7 shelves full of the stories of our lives. Yet that is documenting a very small slice of our life. I have used 12x12, 8 1/2x11, 8x8, and all sizes in between.

I have made mini albums, school albums, travel journals, and family albums. I have documented  events as well as every day moments. I did a Photo a Day for a couple of years, before Project Life was around, and that worked well for me.  As life gets busy scrap booking is one of those things that goes to the bottom of my priority list. As our family has grown I have taken more and more photos but printed less and less. I bought a Project Life album a year and a half ago and journaled in it for 3 weeks but never printed pictures. I wasn't very fond of the album because journaling cards and papers all seemed so similar and I had ordered the wrong color album so the colors were not my favorite (although they go well with a lot of my photos). It was different from the style of scrap booking I was used to  (using many different colors and lines of paper) and for whatever reason I had decided that I needed a photo and documentation The album has sat on my back kitchen counter for the past year and a half. What was I thinking??  Last year I hit rock bottom when I had photos printed 1 time (for the whole year). This year I had set a goal to go through pictures each month, have my favorites printed, and put them into my Project Life album. If I do not have time to do scrap booking I figured I could at least take the time to print some photos on a monthly basis. Well the months have flown by this year and I never did take the time to go through photos, upload them, and order prints. I have actually been putting a lot of thought into figuring out what effective memory keeping looks like to a mom of 6, aunt to many, sister to a few, wife to 1, etc.
 August came and I decided I needed to take some initiative to acheive my goal. I took the time over a couple weekends staying up way too late choosing my favorite photos for each month of 2012. I uploaded them, chose print sizes (mostly 4x6 with some  12x12s, 8x10s and a few other special sizes), and had them printed. It was mail order so I didn't have to go pick them up at a store which is very convenient at this point in my life.
After doing this I have come to a few conclusions: 1.) I could have made life easier by sticking to my goal and going through pictures on a monthly basis instead of wading through seven months of photos at one time :). 2.) I will become more discriminating as to which photos are my "favorites" the longer I do this. As I placed photos into the sleeves I saw places where I could have told the story with less photos. 3.) Sorting photos on a monthly basis instead of daily/weekly is something that works for me at this time. 4.) Becky Higgins is amazing for simplifying scrap booking in this way making it easier and more doable in this day and age of busy lifestyles.!  I have used her Sketch books and admire her classic style of scrap booking.  5.) I am looking forward to making this project more "me".  There are some different configuration of page protecters I would like to try.  Heather Bailey, one of my favorite fabric designers is a new graphic designer for Project Life so I think this will be the route I take for 2013 too.
Lastly, the best thing I learned and the thing that makes this the most worthwhile, is my kids love this book and have wanted to look at it every day since I have put the photos in it. They love seeing themselves , seeing each other, and remembering the times of their lives. That's all it takes to make my heart happy and give me the motivation to do this on a monthly basis {and at some point tackle the past 10 years of my incredibly photo heavy good life}. If you have managed to stay with me through this whole post you are amazing!! p.s. this is not an advertisement; just me sharing my thoughts and the process that is working for me :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nature's Pace

The other day I was doing some cleaning in my scrapping area and I came across a card my sister made me a year or 2 ago. I have always loved that card so I sent her a text to see if I could borrow her stamp set, Nature's Pace from Stampin' Up, and the frame embossing folder she had used to make the card. She is always more than happy to share her supplies and ideas! We both love paper crafting and it has always been fun to share and swap supplies. I didn't take a picture of the card she made me. It looks like this but different colors, ribbon, and sentiment. 

Sorry for the night time pictures. I went into assembly line mode to make a few cards so I won't need to borrow this stamp set for awhile. I gathered up some card stock pieces, a couple different types and colors of ribbon, inks, markers, sentiment sets, bone folder, markers, a paper scrap to stamp the bee image, and some scraps for the frames.

Keeping the card bases the same color would have made this a very quick project but I always like variety and try different color combos. I embossed the frames by running the folder through my Big Kick then say down and did all the stamping. I colored in the bee images and cut them out. Lastly, I adhered all the pieces together. Quick and fun especially since my sister did the design work. Thanks sister!!

All lined up.

...And thanks to my little helper who always seems to get a little hand in the camera frame!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Out to Sea+ vintage pattern

I wasn't sure I could love another Fabric line as much as I loved Children at Play but Sarah has done it again. She is so good at capturing the best of childhood; the place where kids are so lost in their imagination that the imaginary becomes reality. What I really love about her fabric is that I always know what I want to make. There is a lot of fabric I love but sometimes I am not sure what I want to make. So much better to be inspired to making along with loving the fabric! 

This is a cute narwhale print. I bought my fabric from Pinked FabricsAmy ships orders out super fast and has cute fabrics and trims. The pattern is a vintage Mc Call's pattern #7994. I love to sew using vintage patterns. My favorites come from the 50's (think Mad Men), 60's, and 70's. Dad drove by as we were taking pictures and distracted my girl.

As I am looking at this sweet girl I need to jot a story down. The other week we went to my  best friend's house for her son's 10th birthday. My friend also has a 15 year old daughter who had a couple of friends over too. One of the girls had on a beautiful necklace made with a large aqua stone. The next day my friend left me a message saying she needed to tell me a story about something Jessica had said. My first thought was, "Oh no, what did she say".  Apparently little Miss J asked Deandra if someone she loved gave her the beautiful necklace. Deandra said that her mom had given it to her to which Jessica replied, "I don't suppose you would want to cut it in half  and give me half of it then would you?"( they had been talking about friendship necklaces earlier... the kind where each friend gets half of a heart). The girls ended up talking about slumber parties and Jess told her that by the time Jess was old enough to go to a slumber party Deandra would be a mom. Kids say the darndest things and this little girl sure knows how to make me laugh!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flashback Friday

Yesterday was the first day of school. I love the first day of school. There is so much excitement, so much anticipation. Everything is fresh; new shoes, new clothes, new pencils, new teachers, new classrooms, and my personal favorite, new crayons. The slate is clean ready to be written on. Growth will happen this year. There will be successes and there will failures, good stuff and bad stuff. Two will graduate this year. One from high school, one from Jr. High. Life is changing. I can feel it. I am sure I will blink and June will be here and today will be a shiny memory.

Because wasn't yesterday 2008? The twins were 3 and not even in school.  Sam still had his little boy haircut and was starting 4th grade. Erik was starting 8th grade walking in the shoes Sam walked today. Kids # 5 and 6 were not even a thought in our minds. I teared up in the school supply aisle the other week knowing this is the last time I will be buying school supplies for Erik. They say time flies and I agree. The older I get the faster it goes. I am holding on tight enjoying the moments wanting them to last but time slips away and I don't even realize it has gone so quickly. Thank goodness for these little snapshots in time that can take us back to these days and the sweet memories!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Heart Lists

I am a list maker. There is my to do list, the grocery list, birthday list, long term goal list, and many other lists. They keep me on task and organized. They help me remember that which I might forget. They give my day structure or at least a sense of direction even though I might veer from my original plan. I have always made lists. I am sure I always will.

Back in March Monika sent me this. Cute no? I loved it and signed up for 30 Days of Lists. (p.s. Monika has some great subway art too!)

It was fun and I had a little slice of my life documented for March 2012 with very little effort. I spent a few minutes each day jotting down a few of my thoughts. There is a Flickr group and it is fun to see everyone's interpretation.

When I saw 30 Days of Lists was going to happen in September I signed up because Fall is my favorite time of year and I wanted an excuse to pull out some pretty paper, scissors, and glue. Playing with paper is as fun as playing with is hard to resist the pretty colors , designs, and prints.

I made my own little smash book inspired by Monika's and I am already to do a little journaling each day come September. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Happy Birthday & a Thank you

It is very busy here this week which usually means not much sewing or crafting time.  I did want to give someone a thank you card so I made a very simple one. I die cut a daisy then stitched a button in the center after adhering a background paper to the card base. I had a scrap of floral paper on my desk so i stitched that on along with some lace trim. I stamped the sentiment then punched it out with a tag punch. I didn't like the tag shape so i snipped the the ends with that pennant look. For a 3rd bit of yellow I zig zagged the sentiment to the card instead of adhesive. The butterflies were leftover from another project so they went off my desk and onto the card also. Easy peasy!!

We celebrated my youngest sister's birthday this past weekend as well as my best friend's son's birthday. I didn't make a boy card but did put this card together at the same time as I made the thank you card. This card differs from the other using different patterned paper, sentiment,  and I used one larger butterfly instead instead of the 3 small ones. I think I had both of these cards made in about 15 minutes and didn't have much to clean up since i used quite of few scraps out of my scrap bucket. Have a good day!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pirate Girl to Mermaid

One of my daughters has a mermaid doll, which  she loves, but she has been asking for a  mermaid doll that is not always a mermaid. When Sarah Jane came out with her "Out to Sea" fabric line I knew I wanted to make a Pirate Girl to Mermaid doll. She doesn't look very "piratey". I think I need to add some cuffs to the top of her boots, a pirate hat, and maybe an eye patch. My daughter loves her so that's all that really counts.

I made a 2 sided cape. Here is the inside...

here is the outside.

Once she was made I laid her down on a big piece of paper and traced along her lower body sketching fins at the bottom. Then i added a 1/2 inch around my tracing for the seam allowance. After I sewed the front and back together I used an elastic thread bobbin to stitch around the waist and put some stuffing down in the fins to give them some substance. I measured around her chest then added about 3/4 of an inch to cut out her top. I turned a hem around all 4 sides as narrow as possible. Again I used the elastic thread bobbin to run the stitch along the upper and lower hem of the top and put a little velcro to attach the back.

Presto, she is a mermaid!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Flashback Friday

Today's photo came all the way back from this past Sunday when my family got together to celebrate my niece's 18th birthday. Sarah is the sweetest girl and such a wonderful role model for my girls. We are excited for her as she heads down the college path and love her! Happy Birthday Sarah!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Top 10 Summer Favorites (not necessarily in order)

1. Running through the sprinklers!
2. Sunshine and blue skies always make me happy!

3. Time to relax and just hang out together

4. Planning projects...not so much doing...heavy on the planning

5. Homegrown veggies from the garden. We love pasta sauce from our tomatoes and basil.

6. Ice creamy, ice creamy cold and sweet
Ice creamy, ice creamy can't be beat!

7. sweet, little bare toes.

8. playing dress up. OK, this one is not seasonal and goes on around here all the time.

9. Summer deep clean. I empty all the kid's closets , wash the shelves down, donate the" donateable", toss the "undonateable", move things to younger kids' closets, etc, etc. This is how I start summer break. Depending on what kind of weather we had up until the end of school sometimes I don't get a chance to rotate the winter clothes out and the summer clothes in until the kids get out of school.

10. Lake time!