Friday, February 27

kids craft corner

Here is my son's craft corner.
It is a bit of a mess right now - it was his birthday a few weeks ago, so he received new supplies and he's had a lot of projects "under construction".
You will notice my table to the left. That way (theoretically) I can be working and look up from my sewing machine to see what he's doing. It doesn't quite work out that way, but that's my dream! It also means that all my supplies are at hand, so if he needs to borrow my scrapbooking scissors or yarn or ribbons, we don't have to go far!
The baby gate is the entry to the kitchen so it's easy access for all things messy (paint, playdoh). The playdoh and paint are in tubs to take into the kitchen, and all other crafting things (pencils, markers, stickers, paper, pom poms, pipe cleaners, etc.) are in the drawers in the black and white plastic containers.
He also has a "road trip bag" for a quick grab if we're going someplace. It has a couple special things - wikki stix, post-its, clipboard, and a couple standbys like pencils and crayons.
You will also notice a cork strip above his work space - it's for displaying his special works. Right now it has a couple pictures from his birthday party.
Check out flipflops & applesauce for more kids craft spot ideas.

Thursday, February 26

library time

I was a teacher and a librarian before I was a mother. This is my dream come true! (I only wish I had taken it on something besides my cell phone camera. It was the only one with me at the time.)

join us won't you...
Cheaper Than Therapy

Wednesday, February 25

my new brother

Yay! My BROTHER finally arrived.
No, my brother has not traveled from NC to visit me. I HAVE A NEW TOY!

Thanks SO much to my hubby for supporting my hobby. my insanity. my crafty side. Whatever you want to call it, THANKS sweetie!

We're going to spend a little quality time getting to know each other over the next few days. There is so much to learn!

Favorite things so far...
1. It's so quiet when it's sewing.
2. I could dump over the accessories box and nothing will fall out. They latch in!
3. Hard-core box for the embroidery stuff.
4. The manual is actually useful (as opposed to another previously owned machine which was not so helpful in the manual department.)
5. Self-threader
6. It's blue and white (my favorite color combo ever!)

(little) annoyances...
1. I'm supposed to be able to load pics for a screen saver, but it won't take my pics yet. :(
2. It sews so fast that it kind of bunched up on my trial embroidery run yesterday. Luckily it was a dumb design on scrap fabric. Gotta figure out how to slow this brother down!
3. Could they have maybe saved on the dust cover and given me $50 off? It's kind of ucky fabric and it's never going to have time to collect dust!
4. I did a bunch of designs on my old machine using a 40mm x 40mm hoop. That isn't an option now, so I have to redo/ rethink some of my old designs.

Last night I ran out of bobbin so my first job is to see if I can wind a bobbin without help from the saleslady! Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 21

music pieces

I am the "typical" quilter - I make a lot of quilts for others, but not very much for myself. Time to rectify that situation! OK, I'm not actually quilting for myself, but I'm quilting for my kids and the quilts are staying in my house!
I bought a bunch of Eric Carle fabric to play around with - Very Hungry Caterpillar & Brown Bear. I haven't quite decided what I'm doing with all of it yet, because I want it to be special. But I can't let it sit around forever or my son won't appreciate it.

My other project is for my son. That one I started yesterday. He picked out some guitar fabric the other day. I am going to be paper piecing some music squares and mixing that with some bright colored squares and the guitar fabric.
I spent the afternoon nap cutting some of the squares and tracing a bunch of the patterns for the specialty squares.

Here are two of the squares done. I'm not entirely happy with how the notes lined up, so I may be ripping some stitches today. It was too late last night when I finished the square for me to fuss about it then. Really, I have been self-taught with a little help from a friend. I need to figure out a better way to make sure it will line up BEFORE I stitch.

Today I'm going to work on a few more squares, and I may head to the store for some more grays and silvers for backgrounds. I didn't have as much in my stash as I thought! It's snowing now though, so I may just sew with what I have and save the excursion for tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19

he was teasing

I have always loved "Southland in the Springtime" by the Indigo Girls for a lot of reasons... but mostly the line "When God made me born a Yankee he was teasing." A part of my heart belongs in the hills of West Virginia and eastern Tennessee. I spent two summers there working as a staff person for Appalachia Service Project. Let alone numerous other week-long excursions as a high school volunteer and adult leader. In college I also volunteered with RedBird Mission in eastern Kentucky. Those experiences changed my life, for reasons to numerous to list - and for reasons I still discover here and there in my life today.

Did you watch Diane Sawyer's special?
Watch it here if you haven't already.

It reminded me again of this place that is hidden deep in my heart. The very first place I ever volunteered was in Hazard, Kentucky. The first family member I worked with sold me one of her quilts. I still have it today. It is nothing more than a bunch of scraps handsewn together, and the layers tied together rather than quilted. It isn't a work of art, but rather a work of heart.

I've been feeling kind of "lazy" in my life. I do a lot of work in my church and with various community organizations. But I haven't done anything BIG and exciting. I haven't been a part of something inspiring in a while. Yes, I've been a *little* busy being a mom. But I can and SHOULD do more with my life.
I think I found the answer. (thanks rachel g. for pointing me in the right direction.)

Thanks Rachel C. for giving me a way.
I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do, but my heart is calling me back to the hills.


Here's my son, patiently waiting for the 2007 4th of July Parade.

We're kind of in waiting mode around my house... waiting for my new sewing machine and waiting for the new cousin/ niece to arrive.
A waiting picture seemed appropriate today!

join us won't you...
Cheaper Than Therapy

Wednesday, February 18

let's talk about me

love for self.

That really got me to thinking. What do I do that helps me take care of and love myself? I started this blog as a journey of sorting out all the parts of my life that I love and trying to make time for all of them. It's still a long road, but both kids are sleeping so I have a little time to show the love.

Here's my list in no particular order of things I do: (some more frequently than others)
-spa days (pedicure, massage, hair cut)
-sleep in
-indulge in the many forms of chocolate - especially mint chocolate
-play piano
-make cards
-go for a bike ride
-send my kids off with my hubby
-read a book or magazine

Nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary. But doing something on that list for as little as half an hour daily really helps me get myself back in gear to do all of the not-for-me and/or not-so-fun parts of my life that are important and necessary.

Monday, February 16


My ruffler is on to greener pastures (my mom) and I'm still waiting for my new toy.

So what better way to spend my time than gathering fabric and tulle by hand and fixing up some pants for a friend's daughter.

It came together pretty easily and I think she's going to love them. I'm just thinking yippee - a way to fix up some "boy" jeans for my daughter!

Saturday, February 14

sweets for my sweeties

This is what a week without a sewing machine will get you in my house. (see previous post about marshmallows and cinnamon sugar cookies.)

Thank you Bakerella! My adaptation for Valentine's Day was made with the Funfetti cake mix (red sprinkles added in to regular cake mix) and so the cake ended up kind of pink when mixed with the frosting. My son thought it was GREAT fun to tear apart the cake and mix it all up.

I love the pretty plate of the completed cake balls. My dipping technique definitely leaves something to be desired, but I had fun and they are delicious!


Thursday, February 12

biking boy

Gorgeous weather (not typical for February in IL!) + new birthday bike = my exuberant son on his way to preschool!

join us won't you...
Cheaper Than Therapy

Wednesday, February 11

cinnamon hearts

Well. I'm still patiently (???) waiting for the phone call. My craft room lies in wait. All is quiet.

So - what better way to spend a rainy day than to cook. I got out an old recipe from a college friend and dug right in. They are cinnamon sugar cookies basically. The best part is the frosting... you melt cinnamon red hots, mix with egg whites & sugar and you get a delicious glazed satin finish. Gorgeous. Yummy.
Yeah. I'm off to get a couple more before bedtime I think.
(anybody want the full recipe? let me know.)

While the cookie dough was cooling in the fridge, we spent half an hour making these quick little treats for Valentine goodies at preschool. Sticks in marshmallows, melted pink chocolate, sprinkles. Thanks for the idea Grace Violet!

Put them together, and you've got a hyper 4 year old! He had fun doing the sticks, and was able to roll them in the chocolate and sprinkles with hardly any intervention.
I then let them harden, wrapped them in cling wrap and tied with a little ribbon. Perfect for his little pals!

Monday, February 9

fishing set

Check out these adorable fish! Each one of them has a small magnet sewn inside. Using your fishing pole (with ring magnet attached) you can go fishing without the bait or a boat!

making room

I've been busy. But I finally have some pictures to share. I'm being brave. Not so brave I guess - it's my front room so anyone who comes over has seen the insanity. Just most people don't see it when it's this bad. You'll see the vacuum cleaner, exersaucer, piles of fabric shoved wherever. You may also notice the piano bench next to the vacuum cleaner. Yes, the piano is in the front room too. It's my creative space, and since I'm really the only one (at this point) who plays the piano, it works out pretty well.

This was in progress, but still. I needed help! I had to organize and make room for my new toy, coming later this week. Luckily I had some sleepy kids and a helpful husband.

ahhh... much better. Tulle in one tub, stabilizer in another, ribbons in another, and square scraps for a special project in another.

And my fabric stash. I make a lot of blankets for friends, and try to buy fabric on sale and have choices so they get exactly what they want. But this is getting ridiculous. Gotta stop buying and start sewing!

Where all the magic happens. I didn't include my son's little craft corner, but it's next to my light colored table. That way (theoretically?!!) we can craft together. It hasn't quite happened that way yet, I usually end up sitting next to him in a really small chair doing whatever he's doing. Or we end up at the kitchen table. But we're working up to it!
The tubs underneath the dark table are for my paper crafting. They hold scissors, punches, stamps, etc. It's not a perfect system, but it works for me. When I do paper crafts I usually would spread the tubs out all over the table, so why was I keeping them on the shelf anyway? This way, I put them on the table to work and voila, I have leg room to sit at the table. Duh?!!!

Now if only my new toy was here....
patience Beth, patience....

Thursday, February 5


I was sitting with her on the floor and the morning sun from behind really caught her 9mo. old wisps, wouldn't you say? Such a sweet face, and so much to look forward to with her.

join us won't you...
Cheaper Than Therapy

breakfast puffs

This is our special, indulgent breakfast treat carried over from my childhood (thanks to Betty Crocker). My brother and I would fight to lick the cinnamon sugar off the plate when we were done eating... yeah we're that crazy for them.
Now my husband and I make it for lazy mornings (we don't have a lot of those!) and for birthdays. This batch we made recently for our son's 4th.

The recipe makes a dozen - obviously they didn't even make it to picture time!

Mix 1/3 c. shortening, 1/2 c. sugar and 1 egg.
Stir in 1-1/2 c. flour, 1-1/2 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. nutmeg alternately with 1/2 c. milk.
Fill greased muffin cups about 2/3 full.
Bake @ 350 until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Immediately after baking, roll puffs in 1/2 c. melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar (1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 c. sugar).

yummmm. Don't forget to lick your fingers when you're done.

Wednesday, February 4

lovey duvey all the time

My view on lovey-duvey stuff has changed throughout the years. When I was in high school and “everyone else” had a boyfriend, I got annoyed with PDA.
Then I got to college, made new friends, met a nice boy, and found PDA not quite so awful. ;)
Now that I’m happily married with two kids of my own, you couldn’t stop me from hugging and kissing on them and my sweet hubby.

Time has also taught me though that being lovey-duvey is more than just a line from a Steve Miller Band song, and it’s more than PDA.

It’s thoughtful surprises…
My husband’s favorite cookies brought home from the grocery store.
Laundry done before my hubby even runs out of workshirts or underwear.
Remembering a comment from March and turning it into a birthday present in July.
Getting all the garbage and recycle taken out before my hubby even gets home from work. (instead of just piling it by the door!)
Arby’s waiting in the car after I pick up my son from preschool.
Handmade clothes, toys and presents.

And special moments…
The “roll-over” game.
Butterfly kisses.
After bathtime.
Dancing “the way Poppa did”.
Playing Candy Land AGAIN.
Sharing the green chair by the fire.

Hope you can find a lovey-duvey moment to celebrate today.

Sunday, February 1

crafting with a boy

I'm still trying to figure out how to find time to craft with my son. I've set up a little table next to mine so he can craft when I do. He's helped me cut with the BigKick, wind bobbins for my sewing machine - I try to include him whenever I can! He even helps stuff pillows.
So what did he want for his birthday? "Mommy, I want more stuffing to make more pillows."
Of course I obliged. (As did my mom when she heard the story!)

His birthday party - glitter glue to decorate guitars of course.

I do what I can.

4 year old performer

Happy Birthday Conner!

Although he is not a Guitar Hero yet, he loves music, performing, and all things LOUD. So we happily threw him a rock star birthday party. It was just family - a cozy intimate gathering of the people he loves the most. We had a taco bar extraordinaire and enjoyed being together with the grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncle. He talked on the phone with one missing uncle and we Skype-d the other uncle (so he could watch him open his present). It was a wonderful evening.

Quote of the day "I'm 3-1/2 not 4! I looked at my whole body and I don't look like I'm four years old."