Monday, February 28, 2011

What we're reading:

Well, this week Serenity is still loving her "I Love You" collection.  It has five stories, I Love You Because You're You, "I Love You, Too," "I Love You Stinky Face," I Love You Through and Through," and "Mama Loves You."  She wants to hear each and every story, and after nearly every page she says, "I love you Mama"  It's so snuggly and sweet to cuddle up in the reading chair with her and this book.  It's really long, and I've read it as many as five times through in one sitting!  I'm wondering if she's realized that picking long books extends story time...

We've also got a great new batch from the library, including "Knuffle Bunny," another by Mo Willems that is just hilarious.  Serenity thinks even the name is funny and often asks, "Mama say Knuffle Bunny!" and giggles.

We're also doing a LOT of reading at  It's just amazing, we hadn't been on there in a few months and Serenity has gone from reading random words in the Learn to Read section to reading whole stories in the I'm Reading area!  It's a blast, although getting her off the computer the last two days has been a serious challenge!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recovered Chairs...

I have a beautiful antique table that was my Grandma Bair's... I love it, but the chairs have fabric cushions and they were a disaster!  I don't know what possessed me to buy fabric with a white background.  Sure, it was four years before I had children, but they were a mess even before Serenity, and a year or so after her, this is what they looked like!

Well, since I'm on a get things finished kick, I finally pulled out the fabric I'd bought to recover the chairs, and something that I hope will work well to keep them from getting nasty too soon... iron-on vinyl!  I bought it by the roll at Jo-Ann's.  It went on very nicely, but I will have to do an update on how well it lasts.  It was only 17 inches wide, which is exactly the width of my chair, which means that the edge of the vinyl didn't tuck all the way under the chair.  So I worry that it'll start to peel.  We did have breakfast on them this morning and the milk and cereal wiped off nicely.  So far so good!  Here's the finished product.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Finishing Things...

I don't know if it's nesting, but for whatever reason I am on a serious organization kick.  We finally tackled the office closet, which means I got rid of two whole tubs of knick knacks.  Basically, anything that I didn't think we'd use in this house got sent off to Goodwill.  My husband and I don't like to have a lot of clutter out at the same time, so we used to rotate our decorations every few months.  We don't have that kind of time right now, and we need to limit the breakables anyway =)  But sorting through all our goodies I found a few things I wanted to save, including these bird pictures.

My Mom gave them to me, and I love them.  They used to have gold frames.  When we lived in our apartment I was on a silver kick, so I painted the frames silver.  It was a mistake, the color so did not go with the browns and tans in the picture, but I am a little OCD when it comes to matching finishes, so I left it.  Well, now I have copper finishes in my kitchen and adjacent living room, and when I saw them I thought copper was the perfect solution!  And so, since I didn't want to take the time to do something crazy like shop for actual supplies, I hunted up some acrylic in my paints and went to work.  And here is the finished product!  I love them, and the copper is so much better!   

Fruit Loops Necklace...

Well, today we pretty much had a nutrition fail.  We started with cinnamon rolls for breakfast... which could possibly have been redeemed later in the day.  But while we were grocery shopping I decided to pick up some Fruit Loops for a little craft activity I'd been thinking about doing.  Well, once she saw them, that's all she wanted to eat!  And then we made the necklaces, she ate more!  She loved the necklaces, and we did little patterns and good educational stuff while we worked on them... so that sort of redeems the fact that I've been dealing with repercussions of her sugar high and my crash all day long right?  =)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Monkey Blanket complete!!!

Well, I finally finally got the monkey blanket finished.  After making the center I had a terrible time deciding on a border.  I considered a crayon box, but with the big stripes the crayons going the same way didn't look very good.  Plus I was snowed in and couldn't get more fabric!  I ordered some adorable monkey fabric from, but when it got here the pink was wrong, which was such a bummer.  So now I have two yards of pretty adorable pink monkey fabric if anyone needs something =)  Anyway, I finally settled on the pink solid.  Since the walls of her future room are dark purple, I wanted to add a little more pink to the total.  I stitched down the appliques and added some purple bows that Serenity chose to each monkey.  She tells me every day now, "I love my blankie!!!"  We'll see how it lasts.  I love the different textures of the satin, minkee, flannel, fleece and cotton, but I am definitely not doing one like this again without investing in a walking foot!  The border got horribly wrinkled and drives me crazy!  Serenity doesn't care and as I imagine it will never lay flat again once it goes into her room, I've decided to ignore it and just be happy that she loves it even though it's not perfect.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Garden Design

Here are some details of my biggest garden change from last year, actually changing the shape of my flower beds and planning what should go where!  It was fun deciding where to put flowers, and I love the fluidity of the new shape.  Here's what I started with:

And then here is what I ended up with:  (Please forgive my sketchy photoshop drawing =)

I have a few hopes for this year.  I really hope the peony bush lives and even blooms, I got it in kind of late last year.  I hope the hydrangea starts to grow taller.  I got the bushes free from work and they may be some kind of miniature thing that stays short, we'll see I guess if I need to buy real bushes. =)  And finally, if the clematis doesn't do well there I need to move it and get something else tall... or maybe a hanging basket from that side.  I'll post a pic and you'll see what I'm talking about, it just needs some height there! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Even though I was a floral designer for five years, I'm still a complete novice when it comes to gardening!  Last year I had a great time experimenting with my brand new yard, and it was a definite learning experience.  All the snow the last few weeks has made me start to long for Spring, so I'm starting to plan my gardening goals for this year! 

My dad and I built two beautiful raised beds that we put on the rv pad in my back yard.  Last year I used them for a vegetable garden, but this year I'm thinking about shifting at least half of it to a cutting garden.  Since I will be having a baby in May I'm just not sure that I'll pay enough attention to it at the right times to harvest veggies and all that.  If I don't cut the flowers, they'll just be pretty in the yard I think.  So I'm looking into ordering seeds right now.  I do have a good idea of what flowers I like to arrange with, since have done a LOT of that =) 

I already have a few hydrangea bushes, and I planted a peony bush last year that I hope flowers this year, if I didn't kill it yet.  I also had a great crop of larkspur, which goes nicely in a vase. In the fall I planted a variety of tulip bulbs at one end of the raised beds.  I hope to add stock, which is one of my favorite flowers to arrange with because it's not too pricey but it fills a vase very well.  And I like the scent!  My cart at also includes cosmos and sweet peas.  My plan is to kind of just scatter the seeds and hope they grow, and possibly get one set of little pots to start a few seeds so Serenity can watch them grow. (And so I know what is growing in the ground so I don't pull out flowers with the weeds =)  We'll see how that goes... it may or may not work!  But I'm sure something will come up.

The second raised bed will hopefully still contain strawberries and two blueberry bushes... but I did not take very good care of them last summer so I won't be surprised or alarmed if they didn't survive.  I now know it's good to have a watering plan in place BEFORE you plant a bunch of things.  Especially if your hose doesn't really reach the far end of your raised bed.  I'll post more about the design of my flower beds later, but today I just wanted to think about next year =)

hmm... Poppies and Yarrow might also be nice... I still have some thinking to do.  Good thing there's still snow on the ground.  You can check out my raised beds in the bottom scrapbook pages, plus some pictures of my larkspur and other gardeny things =)


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Digi Scrapbooking Sources

Digi Scrapbooking Sources

Ok, here are all my very favorite digital scrapbooking sources!  I keep it fairly simple, but I have a few places I find really useful.  When I was first considering the switch to digi-scrapbooking, I found a ton of gorgeous free kits to download from here.  I downloaded all of them and have used them again and again in my pages!  I usually go here first to shop now when I need new things as well and I love everything. =)  She has awesome tutorials, both free tutorials and classes.  When I was ready to move a little bit beyond the basic “fill in a square with a picture” scrapbooking her classes were perfect.  She’s also got a great collection of designers for her shop too, and every Wednesday she puts stuff on sale for a dollar!  She has a fantastic website too, but the thing of hers that I use the most is my “Best of Becky Higgins Sketches for Scrapbooking” book.  It’s a collection of the sketches she published for years in Creating Keepsakes.  I’ve turned nearly all the sketches into photoshop templates and I just use them over and over!  It makes it so quick and easy, which is definitely helpful the busier I get. : I love her site for ideas on topics mostly.  She makes beautiful things! :  I like this site because they let you put in 120 pages.  At the time it was the biggest I could find, and the quality is great.

   None of these sites asked for recommendations, they are just what I use!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In the Jungle

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle… the lion may sleep, although Serenity didn’t.  Today, I asked Serenity if she wanted a game with cars or with the jungle, and she picked jungle.  So while she “napped” (actually while she rolled around in her room singing) I cut out a bunch of leaves, made vines, and covered her princess tent with a green blanket to make a jungle.  When she got up, I gave her a pair of binoculars made from toilet paper rolls to search for jungle animals!  We wandered around, saving monkeys and bears and turtles and bringing them to our jungle!  Eventually, we got to the point that we were saving sheep and ducks, so we got a big red tub to hold the farmyard animals, and put the polar bears and penguins on the stairs.  So we started with the jungle and ended up with a nice little talk about what animals might actually live there. =)  It was a blast, and she loved saving the animals.  (She is addicted to Diego after all =) 

We also tried several games I found on a post at Totally Tots.  Basically we sang the Animals in the Jungle (to the wheels on the bus tune) and then acted out the animals.  The monkeys were by far her favorite, although we had fun walking around like Tigers too. 

Later we did a few jungle art projects.  We decided to color a jungle, and I thought it would be fun to try out the painting the marker with water idea I saw here.  So Serenity colored with greens and browns to make a jungle.  I was surprised at how much she colored, often she just does a line or two and wants to switch to crayons or actual paint.  The water was a bit messy as she ended up pouring instead of painting, but it was interesting to see what it did to the marker. 

She also asked for an elephant to color, so I printed one and she used her Do-A-Dots to finish it. 

Scrapbook Pages!

Well, I did it!  I am caught up to New Years in my digital scrapbook! I am so thrilled as this was one of my major goals before the new baby arrives.  Here are a few of my favorites from the second half of the year, starting with our summer Gathering!

If you want to hear more about my digi scrapbooking, here's my first post on the topic!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snow Bound

What to do when stuck in your house for more than a week because of the “Snow of the Century.”  Well, for me, it was clear out all the activities I’d been saving in my google reader.  Here they are:

Valentines (several different kinds, but my favorite so far is this shape bear from Ramblings of a SAHM which we just added several extra hearts to.  It was for Daddy.  Serenity would make Valentines for Daddy every day if she could =) 

 Serenity was actually helpful in the kitchen this time!  She helped measure ingredients, pour, and stir!  It was so much fun we did way too much in the kitchen this week.  Cupcakes and Rice Krispies and snow ice cream... not good for my "healthy" diet.  Oh well, we had a blast!  I just pulled a stepstool in for her so she could reach the counter.  Oh, and she even cracked eggs!  Of course, I was right there to make sure they landed in the bowl, but it's a step =) 

So far, I’m lucky.  Serenity doesn’t seem to mind too much that she hasn’t left the house in more than a week, and that she’s only played outside a few times with her Daddy.  She did get to have Daddy work from home all week, which was nice!  =) 
Our Snow Turtle

Our "sled"- A tub with a luggage strap for pulling around our yard.  Eric and I don't drive in snow =)  He's from Cali and I'm from Tulsa... not enough experience to make it worth it to get out!

As for me, I’m either nesting or just lacking in other things to do because I went on an organizing kick.  I cleaned and organized my entire downstairs, except for the office closet which is a major challenge that will need to be addressed at bedtime.  Of course, this means I reorganized things like the pantry which will probably need help again when I finally get out and buy groceries.  Sigh. 

You would think I would have had tons of time to blog, but instead I’ve been digi scrapbooking like a maniac at nap and bedtimes to take advantage of a great sale at Inkubook, where I buy my photobooks right now.  So I am finally finally caught up to New Years in my scrapbook!  I’ll post some of my favorite pages soon! 

Well, if you’re like me and expecting more snow this week, hopefully some of these activities will come in handy =)  I’ll be out looking for more to do!  Maybe this week will be a sewing week since last week was all scrapbooking.