Friday, January 30, 2009

Love Me Legs

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. When you have a little girl in the house, it always seems like Valentine's Day. With the pinks. And the hearts. And all the girly stuff.

So when I saw a pair of striped socks, I knew they would be loved as leg warmers. Year round.

I didn't even notice the little "Love Me" hearts on the sides at first. She simply adores them. We made up a little, silly song about them. (I'll spare you.)

Today, Spenser and I have an extra pair of Love Me Legs to give away.

If you would like a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post. I'm guessing the legs would fit a child between the ages of four and ten (give or take). We'll pick a winner on Sunday evening.

(Sock FAQ: I have bought most of the socks at Walmart. They are ladies' knee-highs. They are on an end cap near the unmentionables right on the main aisle.)

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Congratulations, comment #21: Diane of Little Birdies Nest! You are the winner of the Love Me Legs. Please email me with your address and I'll stick them in the post. Thanks for playing, friends.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Cord Wrap

I recently found some purply-red corduroy in my stash. I don't remember why I bought it. I started to wonder what could become of the cord. There wasn't enough for a dress. I thought maybe a new skirt. But, there wasn't enough for the pattern I wanted to use.

Then it hit me: a wrap skirt.

I had just enough to make the skirt. I did not have enough to make the ties, so I improvised. I grabbed a little vintage fabric from my stash and made the ties. I complemented it with a bias-tape hem. Just enough bling to work. I think.

(Seen here with my winter-white skin. Now that's a whole lotta bling going on.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cake Mix Cookies

Today is another snow day. I'm happy, though. Really. I'm happy because Taylor's Outdoor School has been postponed until later in the school year. So, in a sense, I'm sacrificing my sanity (today) for Taylor. And I'm good with that. It also helps that the kids have been pretty good this week, too.

This morning I whipped up some very simple, but yummy cookies.

Cake Mix Cookies:

1 box flavored cake mix*
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
2 - 3 TBSP water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together well. Drop on cookie sheet.** Bake for 12-13 minutes. Devour.

*This batch was made from Triple Chocolate Fudge cake mix, but French Vanilla is extra yummy, too. (Coming back to report that I like French Vanilla better.)

**I always use a Silpat lining. Don't forget to use your coupon there. They never expire.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Great Weekend

We had another great weekend. In fact, it was so good, Joe decided to take off yesterday. (No, the truth is that he has had to work crazy hours lately. He had his midnight-night recently and he's had to be at work at 6 a.m. many, many mornings, and it's almost an hour and a half commute. And he still has regular work hours those early mornings, making him come home later in the evenings, still. And then he had to work on Saturday, all day, too. We just love the Army. You know, the running joke is that soldiers are issued everything they need when they join the Army. And families and spouses were not issued. We're "optional." Yeah, we just love the Army. But he's less than three years from retirement ...)

On Friday night, Taylor camped out for the annual Boy Scout Klondike Derby. Carter and Jackson spent Saturday (day) at the Klondike. They all had fun. And they didn't freeze too much, which is always a plus.

Saturday night I made dinner and took some to an elderly widow neighbor of mine. I stayed an hour chatting with her. It was so nice. She keeps inviting me over, but I am always strapped for time. I need to visit more often. She has some cool stories to tell. Especially since she has lived in this town for a very long time. And I did not know that our karate-teaching mayor is her nephew. After an hour, Joe came looking for me. Well, Jackson was with me and it was time for his shower.

I almost sewed Saturday night, but I ran five miles instead. Man, it's hard to make those decisions.

On Sunday evening we had some friends over for dinner. We had Belgian waffles with all the trimmings. Homemade blueberry pie filling, cherry pie filling, bananas and honey, all kinds of flavored syrups, powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, molasses, marshmallow cream ...

It was a good time.

The boys had off of school on Monday, so we spent yesterday at the National Zoo in DC. It was cold and a little snowy. Mason is obsessed with gorillas. Jackson is obsessed with pandas. It was so cold that most animals were not out. So we hung out in the indoor exhibits. They were warm and very smelly. We were able to see most of the animals we wanted to see, but no penguins or giraffes.

Last night we packed up Taylor for Outdoor School. He was supposed to go this week, but today is a snow day. I'm waiting to hear if they will go tomorrow (weather depending) or next week. I hope it's pushed back to next week. Outdoor School should last more than two days. (I went in sixth grade and loved, loved, loved it.) I've already emailed the principal to let him know my opinion about this. Oh, and of course, I have an appointment this morning. And all the kids are home. Loveliness.

(Oh, and guess what I finally did? I filed a formal complaint against the neighbor's Pit Bull on Friday. One of the dogs was running loose down the street on Friday as the kids were getting off the bus. Yep. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I grabbed my camera, as was advised by the Humane Society, took photos and promptly emailed them. They've issued a warning to the owners for now, but at least they know I'm serious. Don't mess with Lera or her kids. That's fair warning. lol)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Did You Know There Were Attachments?

Back in October, when Karyn shared her newest Martha magazine, I knew I had to have it (even though I had looked the day before and didn't see it at the store). When I saw the felted projects, I knew I'd have to make something. Specifically the hot water bottler cover.

Oh, I used to love our old hot water bottle growing up. My older sister and I always used it when weren't feeling well. Or when we were just cold and wanted to be warmed. I started dreaming of my kids using one. I didn't know if they still made them, but I had to find out.

So a few days later, on a trip to Walmart, I found the beloved red pink rubber hot water bottle. (I always thought ours was red, but faded. Apparently to Karyn, the Walmart worker, and the rest of the world, they are pink. WhatEv.)

Then I noticed, on the box, something that disturbed me:

There are attachments!

I did not know there were attachments. I emailed Karyn. She did not know about the attachments. I called my friend, Kim. She knew about the attachments (and secretly wondered why on earth I was so desperate and obsessed to find a hot water bottle). I called my sister. She, of course, was as dumbfounded as I.

So, tell me. Did you know there were attachments? Or have I been living in a bubble for the past 39 years?

>>Edited to add: Click on the 2nd photo to clearly see the attachments and their names.<<

P.S. I did not buy the hot water bottle that day. I was too embarrassed. I recently bought it after thrifting a striped wool sweater to felt. It took almost three months to conquer my fear of what the Walmart cashier might think of me.

Oh, and my sweater was not a turtleneck, like Martha recommended. I just used the hem of a regular sweater instead.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Corduroy Dress

A few years back, I bought several yards of dark brown corduroy on sale. I made a skirt and a pair of pants/lounge pants. Oh and a pair of pants for Sawyer, too. And a bonnet. I also lined a few bags with it. I was a little obsessed.

I think that obsession is back.

Most recently I used it for a few Christmas gifts (which I keep forgetting to post). And then for Spenser's jumper.

This dress is another Simplicity 3835. It's super comfy and warm. I like making new skirts and dresses for church. It makes it easier to get out of bed in single-digit temps because Hey! I have something new to wear! I think I need a new corduroy shirt. 3835, of course.

Do you think it's bad to wish my entire winter wardrobe was made of brown corduroy?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm Back

Please excuse my sudden absence. It was not intentional. I have to say (once again) that my readers rock. Thank you for your emails, comments, and phone calls. Nothing tragic happened to me or my family. We're all okay. Thank you.

So, where have I been hiding and what have I been doing? Looking back it doesn't seem like much, but I know my days were occupied and pre-occupied.

I'll give you a quick rundown. It will probably bore most of you, but hang in there.

Thursday we got a teeny tiny bit of snow and school was delayed. I had an appointment (which deserves its own post) that I could not cancel (or even postpone) so I had to rush around delivering my children to different houses before school. By the time I got home, the kids were coming home from school. (Love those shortened days.)

Friday I had all intentions of showing you the fab new dress I sewed. But ... after my morning run I got sick. Sick as in sneezing 50 times in two minutes and not being able to catch my breath, and pulling a muscle in my shoulder blade. (You know you're old when ...) The sneezes at first were little petite allergy-type sneezes (I kept thinking there was a cat on my back). The sneezes then developed into the cross-your-legs, cover-your-ears, obnoxiously violent ones. I'm better now, thanks. And, yes, this makes the third time I've been sick in the past month. Not including the pinkeye incident.

Saturday was just a busy Saturday. The kids had a breakfast at church. Joe had a potluck to attend (that I bailed on) for Sunday School (he teaches the adult Sunday School class). And two of our boys had birthday parties to attend.

Sunday. Well, it continues to be my most favorite day of the week. Always relaxing.

On Monday everyone was home for Martin Luther King Day. I made my boys tidy their rooms. That took hours. (Can someone tell me how a room can be clean one second and completely obliterated the next? They've had to tidy their rooms several times since that morning, too.)

And, oh Tuesday, school was delayed again. It barely snowed on Monday, but school opened two hours late. And, as my luck usually runs, Sawyer had a doctor's appointment that had to be kept. (He is having a health concern and the specialist is only in this office one day a week.) Yesterday was much like last Thursday.

But there was something spectacular that happened on Monday. My brother and his wife had another baby. I made the above baby blanket on Monday evening (they didn't know what they were having) to take to the hospital on Tuesday. Except with the school delay, and the snowball effect that had on my schedule, I wasn't able to visit. The blanket is flannel and chenille and it has fire engines on it. So perfect for my firefighter brother's son.

Now I bet you're sorry you asked ....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Little Collections

I'm always finding little "collections" of things throughout the house. Legos. Rocks (they go back outside). And, Jackson's all-time favorite: "The world's smallest pencils." These are pencils that Jack has sharpened and whittled until there's barely anything left. Sometimes removing the erasers, so he can make them smaller.

He's the artist in the family, so I'd like to think that he keeps them in his pocket for impromptu sketches. That would explain why most of these have gone through the washing machine. And for some, the dryer, too.

What do your children collect? (Or what do you collect?)

I should to a whole series on "You know you're getting old when ..." This happened to me again this morning. This time I was lowering the deck of the treadmill and sniffled simultaneously. I guess my body can't multi-task anymore. I could only run two miles today. The movement of my arms and the jarring of my neck hurt too bad to continue.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bunny Pouch

Before Christmas I saw the free pattern for this bunny pouch. It was one of the things I wanted to make (just because), but pushed it aside for more important Christmas crafting.

Last night I decided to sew it. It is made from vintage dark blue gingham and light blue linen.

I'm not sure if I enlarged the pattern enough, because it's kind of dinky. I did not add the tail because I know that a little person in the house would just pull it off.

I think I would make this again. I'd make a few changes though. The first being sewing it in pink. (What was I thinking?? How dumb am I?)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Vintage Finds

Last week, when I bought my thrifted oven, I found a bunch of vintage treasures, as well.

Two Windswept (by Syracuse) cups. Manufactured between 1958-1970. I think these were like 20 cents each.

A bunch of Pyrex mugs. My children use these mugs regularly for hot cocoa, soup, etc. They are the perfect size. Plus, I don't worry that they will break too easily, which is always a concern when living in a house of boys. These were 25 cents each.

A vintage Homer Laughlin (Spring Garden) dinner plate. 35 cents. Did you notice the price for a replacement dinner plate? $10.99. Oh, I love this pattern. I would have bought more if there had been more.

And a vintage Fire King one-quart casserole, in the Candleglow pattern. The pattern was made from 1967-1972. I think this was either 25 cents or 50 cents.

The dorky previous owner had red and white paint on the inside and outside. With a little TLC, and a lot of elbow grease (and splintered thumbnails), it's back to near-perfect condition. I bought it because I liked the pattern. When I saw that it was 40 years old, I became determined to clean it up.

The best thing about thrifting is coming home, cleaning my treasures, and researching them. I buy what I like and what is appealing to me. I don't usually know what I am buying at the time or its history. When I buy things I like, and I find out how old they truly are, it's just the icing on the cake. The yummy, yummy icing.

(Later in the week, I will post some other treasures. Oh yeah. There's more ...)

For the record: I ran 5 miles on Saturday night. And I didn't die.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Modern Pioneer?

So we're riding around in the car last week, while geocaching. The kids are in the back watching Where the Red Fern Grows (courtesy of Netfix) and I keep thinking about the mother's dress in the movie. Now, the movie takes place during the Depression, if I remember correctly, so it's not "pioneer" times, but still.

So, anyway, I'm thinking about her dress and looking at the bland, dead, wintry landscape (it was overcast and ugly that day, too) and I decided I should make a dress just like the mother's, inspired by the great outdoors. Except, when I got home, I realized I don't have any patterns like that. And there wasn't enough of the vintage brown floral fabric I wanted to use, that reminded me of the brown landscape. I dug through my vintage fabric jackpot and found this red calico:

Or maybe it's deep orange. I can't really tell.

The dress itself is another Simplicity 3835. It had been awhile since I last made one. I used the shirt style dress with the elastic neck. Added the darts in the back. Cut the back in one piece (on the fold). Just like in the past, but for this winter dress, I chose the longer sleeve, no elastic/no tie option.

I can't tell if it's rockin' or if I'm losing my mind... I guess if I wear it to church and the girls hate it, I'll know.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thrifted Oven

Yesterday Joe had to go to a hotel/conference center to consider it for an upcoming Army training conference. It was about an hour from home and he asked if we'd like to come along. While he was in his meeting, Spenser, Sawyer and I headed to a nearby thrift store.

I found a bunch of cool things, but this is my favorite.

A solid wooden oven.

I didn't even notice it at first. It was in with the toys, under a table. Since we really don't need any toys, I didn't even go to that section. It wasn't until I was in line buying my other goodies, that the customer behind me asked if I had seen the oven.

After my purchase, I went back over, saw the oven, fell in love, and got back in line.

It needs a little TLC ...

... but the kids have already given it plenty of love. They've baked cupcakes, cookies, birthday cake, and pizza in it.

The oven is from Community Playthings. Just check out their prices! Our stove? $8. $8!!!

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I want to know who snuck in and put nails in my throat overnight? It feels like I've swallowed nails. My throat hurts so badly, that I can barely swallow my own saliva. It's not my turn to be sick. I was just sick!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Big Three

No, I'm not talking about "The Big Three" automakers. I'm talking about my blog birthday!

Today is my third blog birthday. Three. Years. Man, time flies.

In honor of my birthday, I am having a giveaway. You don't have one chance to win. Or even two chances. You have three chances to win.

I have three snowman dish towels and three bars of handmade chocolate-mint soap that need new homes.

Just leave a comment (on this post) for a chance to win. If you can, please tell me how you found my blog, how long you've been visiting, and if you have a favorite/most memorable post, please share it. I will randomly pick three names some time on Wednesday.

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Wow! Where have you been all my bloggy life? I can't believe all the wonderful comments I've gotten on this post. Thank you! I wish I had 67 snowman towels and bars of soap to giveaway to send to each of you.

I used a random number generator to pick the winners of this giveaway. They are as follows:

Another Amy

Please email me your address, and I'll pop them in the mail! Thanks for reading my blog and thanks for your kind comments.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Getting Back to Normal

Today is the boys' first day back to school. While it's sad to see them go back (it means Christmas is officially over), it's also nice to get back into a routine. Each year over Christmas break I find myself loudly singing the line from It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas that says "And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again." This year, I don't remember doing that. It must have been a good break.

Saturday we decided to have one last hurrah with the kids. We took them to Home Depot for their children's workshop.

And went geocaching. (Someone placed two geocaches in our small town.)

And I did a little sewing. This little baby for a little baby that was born in August. And she will finally get her bib and burp cloth, too. (I'm a little behind ...)

But today I'm getting back to my routine. I ran. I'm on laundry load #2. I've taken down one Christmas tree (the last one is coming down today, too). I've taken down the Christmas lights from the front porch. I still have to take out the trash and mop the kitchen floor. And maybe vacuum a bit. Hmmm. Maybe I like staying out of my routine better.

* * * For the record: I ran 4 1/2 miles on Saturday night. * * *

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Because You Asked

I know this is long in coming, but here we are in our Christmas outfits.

I found the pattern of this skirt a little confusing. And the sizing, on me, is all wrong. Eventually I will learn that I am not a medium. Or a large. I repositioned the buttons last night, and it's still too big. When I feel like removing and sewing five more buttons, I may attempt to reposition the buttons again. But that will be awhile.

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I wanted to leave you with a quote that has been running through my head since the new year began. It's one of my favorites and it's worth sharing.

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."

I think I'll add this to my growing list of resolutions.

Friday, January 02, 2009

There's Something Satisfying

... about burning 575 calories before you've had breakfast.

Since recovering from my self-inflicted knee injury, I have been running only three or four days a week. I usually run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with the occasional Saturday evening. The Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, I ran my first three-miler. I didn't want to tell anyone, thinking it was just a fluke. Well, it wasn't a fluke. In fact, I've been running three miles three to four days a week since.

Until this morning ...

I decided it was time to pump it up a notch and I ran three and a half. Not fast, mind you. I tell myself "slow and steady wins the race." Not that I'm going to run any race ... It's just about endurance for me. I went from not exercising at all ... ever ... to running. And my body is a little old and achy.

I do have to say, though, that running has greatly improved my back. Even when I can hardly get out of bed in the morning because my back hurts so much, and it kills me to put on shoes and socks, I take a few running steps and voila! I'm healed.

My goal this year is, to, well, um ... run more.