Thursday, April 29

Blue Room Makeover

There is a room in our house that has had a identity crisis since we moved in. It is in the middle of the house. It has three doorways. It has built in bookshelves which take up one entire wall. It also has a closet. Here are somethings it is not: It is not a bedroom. It is not a nursery. It is not a guestroom. It is not an office. It is not a playroom. It has tried all of these titles out, but none of them have stuck. We just call it the blue room. Currently, it is a dining room and lately I've been feeling like I need to make a bigger effort at helping this one stick.
I got a vintage tablecloth from Ebay. I finished out the windows with new blinds and fashioned some curtains from a Dwell tablecloth.

I recovered our homemade bench with fabric from my stash.

Refurbished some picture frames with new prints and some paint.

It still feels like it's missing something. Maybe a hanging plant. I don't know... chances are it will serve a different purpose next month.

Monday, April 26

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Rating: Liked it!
I had a hard time at first getting in to this post WWII novel about a reporter who is looking for an inspiring topic to write a book on. By happenstance, she begins corresponding with a group of villagers who reside on Guernsey Island, in the English Channel between England and France. Guernsey, while not part of the UK, is a British Crown Dependency. Axis forces occupied the island during WWII. Hitler became obsessed with reinforcing the island and felt he had his foot in the door to capturing England. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an epistolary novel that unfolds the experiences of the islanders during the occupation. The story was interesting and shed light on an aspect of WWII I had no idea existed. I think the letter-writing style took me about half the book to get used to, but once I did I enjoyed this quaint tale.

Friday, April 23

Sock Monkey PJs

Oliver + S Bedtime Story Pattern
It is getting hot here. Muggy hot. Henry has been needing something to cooler to sleep in, so I pulled out my trusty Oliver + S pajama pattern. Can I tell you again how much I love this pattern? I don't know why it hadn't dawned on me before that I could use something other than flannel with it!? I shortened the leg and the sleeve and used store bought biased tape for the trim. I think they turned out great and do the trick keeping this warm sleeper cooler at night. I bought the fabric {here}, if you are interested in that sort of thing.

Thursday, April 22

Making Cookies With Grandma

For many years I fantasized about the day grandchildren would come to my house to make cookies with me. So when out of state grand daughters and our oldest grandson managed to visit at the same time this winter, my dream came true! Nothing says love like flour on your face and a shared bite of cookie dough. You can tell it was a dream because I am still in my pj's.

Grandma's Butter Cookies
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. milk
Blend all dry ingredients. Cut in flour. Combine with wet ingredients to make a stiff dough. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Remove when cookies just start to turn golden on the edges. Cool on pan for a minute and then on a rack. Frost and decorate as desired.

Tuesday, April 20

College Graduation

Last week, our son, Daniel, graduated from BYU-I in Rexburg, Idaho. I was able to attend, thanks to my sister who works for Alaska Airlines. (Thanks, so much, Chris!) It was my first college commencement even though Mark and I and our oldest 4 sons have 11 degrees between us! So even though Dan's adviser forgot to tell the Political Science majors where to go to get their honor cords, it was a great day for our family! Dan's wife, Candice, earned this degree as much as Daniel.

14 month old Benjamin is proud of his Daddy. He was "reading" the graduation card.

Squinting the sunshine!

Amy Butler Tunic and Polish Arms

I'm hesitant to make clothing for myself because it takes twice as much fabric as children's clothing and my body is... lumpier... so, fit is always a bit of an unknown . Kind of a risky investment. But, I saw this Amy Butler pattern and it looked so tempting... like it would be perfect for the summer weather that's just around the corner. So, I thought I'd give it a try. This was my first time making something from Amy Butler's pattern line. Can I say how disappointed I am in the quality? The pattern paper seems thinner than the McCall's and Simplicity patterns you can buy for a dollar at Hancocks and the markings were minuscule and practically printed on top of each other. Aside from that, it was fairly easy to make. I chose the dress length option and used a light-weight almost linen like cotton polka dot and lined it with an ultra-thin cotton.

Once the whole thing was finished, I tried it on only to discover my little piping detail made the arm holes a bit.too.tight. Blast the matron arms I inherited from my great-grandmother Jadwiga! Oh, well, I guess my friend Holly will be getting an early birthday present. I'll definitely try this pattern again-- making sure to allow for my ample biceps. I only hope the tissue paper holds up for a second pinning.

Monday, April 19

Book Review: The Glass Castle

Rating: LOVED IT!
I couldn't put this is a fantastic memoir about an unconventional childhood down. Jeannette Walls writes about life with dysfunctional parents who, despite (or perhaps in spite of) neglecting the physical well being of their children, foster a love of learning. This well written, engaging story unfolds the complex relationship Jeannette has with her parents and how she over comes such an unstable upbringing. I would recommend this book to anyone who is not offended by a little language. A great read!

Thursday, April 15

Tutorial: Decoupaged Train Case

}Train case or hard plastic make-up case
}Mod Podge (I prefer the matte finish)
}1"or 2" clean, paint brush
}Pen knife
}Scissors or paper cutter
}4-8 different scrapbook papers (not card stock)
}whatever you'd like to embellish the case with- ribbon, chipboard letters, stickers, buttons, felt shapes, fabric flowers, decorative brads, photos, etc.

}Start by cleaning the case, inside and out, with a damp cloth and drying it thoroughly. Sometime, older cases are lined with fabric which often smell musty. I use Odo-ban which helps to deodorize and sanitize the fabric.

}Cut a section of paper (however big you like) and brush a moderate amount of Mod Podge on to the back. Let it dry for a minute before applying it to the case-- the Mod Podge works best when it's just a little tacky. While the paper is drying, brush Mod Podge on the case where you plan to adhere the paper. Smooth the paper on to the case, pushing out any bubbles or wrinkles. Pay special attention to corners and curved edges. I do a lot of smoothing with my thumb as I mold the paper around these tricky parts, trying to avoid too many creases. Sometimes, using smaller sized pieces at the corners help them go more smoothly. Continue this process until the whole case it covered.

}Use the pen knife to trim any edges, over hangs or around hardware.

Tip: Don't worry too much about little rips or creases, you can always cover them later with embellishments.

}Once the Mod Podge is completely dry (I usually let it sit over night), attach embellishments the same way you did the paper. Let the Mod Podge dry again, then paint Mod Podge over the entire case, sufficiently sealing all the embellishments and paper.

}Let it dry over night and voile! you have the perfect case for practically anything or anyone!

(My friend, Emily, made this one for her daughter. SO cute!)

P.S. I would love to see how your cases turn out! Post a link in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 14

Henry's Birthday Pictorial

Henry's big day started with breakfast and presents in bed. He got his own Leapster (no more borrowing Lucy's!), which he said was, "really neat". Lucy gave him a black dog, which he named "Skittle". There was also a pirate ship and a cow tractor from "Cars".

That afternoon, the gang came over for a "Cars" party. There was lots of racing and possibly a little cheating.

After the races were over, every one came in and cooled off with a little of this:

Then, on to "Pin the Piston Cup on Lighting McQueen". This is where things got a little wild.

A bit of rainbow chip cake with chocolate/sour cream frosting really hit the spot.

He opened some wonderfully thoughtful presents. Henry was in heaven.

We finished his special day with dinner at Cheeburger Cheeburger. Delicious AND served in a box shaped like a roadster! Does it get any better than that?

By bedtime, Henry was in a daze. As I was tucking him in, I asked him what his favorite part of the day was and he said, "The presents.". I've always loved birthdays, but they are exponentially more fun when they are for my kids.

Tuesday, April 13

Henry's 3!

Happy birthday to my little buddy!

Today is Henry's 3rd birthday. It's hard to believe that it's been three years since I had a new born in my arms! Even though technically he is far from babyhood, I'm not feeling too infant deprived... he is still in diapers, still takes a pacifier, and still doesn't sleep through the night. But, for all the exhaustion this one has caused, he is worth the weight of my heavy eyelids in gold. Henry is mischievous but quick to say he's sorry. He loves his tummy, face, back, and ears tickled. Can't get enough Medjool dates and tomatoes and anything sweet. He is obsessed with "Cars" and Richard Scary and "hee-hees"-- which is what he calls braziers. He loves babies and dogs. This boy is generous and good at sharing and has a vivid imagination. He spends his days telling me stories about boys who fall off their bikes and bringing me presents with pretend gowns in them (I have no idea where he learned the word "gown"). We sure love this guy. I am so excited to see what the future holds for this very special boy.