Monday, January 31, 2011

Crocheted Hearts

A few months back I thought about crocheting some hearts to make a little garland for the dining room mantle. After I started making hearts, I couldn't stop. And then I decided they'd look darling in Spenser's pink bedroom.

I crocheted red, white, and pink hearts and sewed them together with fishing line.

For the life of me I cannot remember which pattern I used, but it was a free one off the internet. The kids have been off from school since last week (snow, ice, end of marking term) and I sat down one day and just relaxed and crocheted. They were pretty quick and easy to whip up.

I crocheted a chain and hung them from the chain on the lower half of her front bedroom window. I used two little Command clips to hang them up. I love those little clips. I have used them a lot lately.

*Edited to add: I found the link to the hearts.*

Monday, January 24, 2011

Illusion Necklace

Many years ago Joe bought me a pearl illusion necklace. I have loved that thing to death. I still wear it on occasion. Just last week at church a little girl told me how much she loved it. It reaffirmed my own love for it. The only teeny tiny problem was that it is made from white pearls and, well, some times I'd like to wear it, but need it in a different color ...

You know how that goes. You think about something you "need," and then figure out a way to make it. And that's exactly what I did. I think it was a wardrobe essential. And I'm pretty sure I didn't actually need it, but it was simple enough to pull together.

You can dress it down.

You can wear it with a scarf (because rarely do the two leave my neck -- it's been so cold lately).

And you can dress it up. I wore it to church yesterday with my Shabby Apple dress. [Can I just tell you how much I love their dresses? They are comfy, stylish yet classic and well-made. I wore one to Taylor's special night back in December. And then I bought another one with my town council pay check after Christmas. Oh, and Spenser has one, too! I owe my first two dresses (and Spenser's dress and this cute bracelet) to Groupon and a very awesome deal they had back in the summer. But now I'm hooked! I'm eyeing up the Truman, but it might be a little too short for me.]

I'm still in the very early experimental stages of making the necklaces. Spenser has requested one of her own. I made a second one, but it needs tweaking. I also found some baby pink pearls I bought to make a bracelet for Spenser a few years ago. I have enough for one necklace ... Maybe, if I'm lucky, she'll share it with me. Or I'll share it with her.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Banana Butter

Yesterday was a snow day from school. The kids were all playing peacefully and Sawyer was being entertained with all of his older siblings home. It was bliss ... at least for awhile.*

I was looking through my recipes yesterday and saw one for Banana Butter. I stopped and remembered the six (!) bananas I had sitting on my kitchen island that were overripe. I usually toss the bananas to the chickens, but that's when I have one or two. Not six. I think I am over banana bread right now and I really have no room in my freezer for any more leftover bananas for smoothies. (And honestly, I can only eat bananas when they are perfectly ripe and have only a few sprinkles of brown on the peel. If I try to eat overripe bananas, I gag. I seriously gag.) Banana butter it was.

Oh. My. Goodness. I did not realize just how good this stuff would be. I thought I'd share it with you in case you had some ripe bananas hanging about your kitchen, too. Sadly, I do not remember where I found this recipe because it was saved on my hard drive.

Banana Butter
  • 5 ripe bananas, peeled**
  • 3 1/2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Break bananas into pieces and either place in food processor with lemon juice or put in saucepan and blend with immersion blender (like I did) until smooth. Add sugar and spice and heat over medium heat until it starts to boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Store in refrigerator in airtight container. (**I used six bananas and kept the proportions as listed above. This recipe made 1 1/4 pints + a few extra tablespoons for "sampling.")

I then made some bread. And some barbecue sauce, just because I ran out the other night.

*Joe called in the early afternoon and I told him how peaceful the house was. Shortly after that phone call, all heck broke loose and it was wild and crazy. The rest of the day went downhill very quickly. In fact, when Joe left to take the four older boys to scouts, he told Spenser and Sawyer to be nice to their mama.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Introduction

Keen meet Merrell. Happy feet.

(My new Christmas boots.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

More Fun with Silhouettes

After making our Christmas cards, I still had silhouettes on the brain. Can I tell you just how much I love them? Because, oh, I do.

My real-life friend, Christy, reminded me that she had made silhouette ornaments one year. And I thought it would be the perfect time to make a few myself.

I made several of the one on the right for grandparents and Aunt Lettie. The one on the left was one that I gave Joe for Christmas. It was a last-minute idea, but they were all well-received.

And then I decided I needed one for my red-room Christmas tree.

Every year I try to give the children a handmade ornament. Last year's never got made. This year they had three. The first one was from Jackson's birthday party and they each made one. I thought I was off the hook (and caught up from missing last year), when I thought of the silhouette ornaments. Each child received his/her own silhouette in a frame. I can't wait to look back at these in the many years to come. I always want to remember Sawyer's full head of hair (we cut his hair the next day) and how he reminds me of The Great Gazoo.

(In 2008 I made the scrappy ornaments. In 2007 I made karate uniform ornaments. In 2006 I made felt ornaments.)

And, of course, I didn't stop there. We made silhouettes for the wall. This is in our newly painted family room.

It's the first wall I see when I walk into the room. I can't tell you how happy I am every time I walk in there and see my children's silhouettes hanging on the wall. (There is usually an elliptical machine under it, but I'm thinking about moving it and putting a bench below it. One that has a shelf to store games.)

And other exciting news:
  • Joe turned in his retirement paperwork last week!!!
  • My blog turned five last week.
  • Carter passed the sacrament for the first time since being ordained a deacon.
  • I was released as 1st Counselor in the Primary Presidency and am now calling-less.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Christmas Pillows

After repainting the family room this summer, I made some pillows for the new furniture. (But I think I forgot to blog them.)

This Christmas season I decided I'd like some festive pillows for the family room. I went to the fabric store and found two Christmas prints that I liked. There wasn't much of a selection because it was about two weeks before Christmas.

I came home and finally got around to washing the fabric. Then it sat around a little bit longer. I really told myself that if they didn't get made, I'd totally be okay with it. (I told you, I had a very stress-less holiday this time around.) One evening I had a few minutes to spare, so I sat down and made them.

The top one is probably my favorite. I really like that print.

Hey! How'd he get in there?

The other new fabric I picked up was this candy print. I thought the kids would like it. It's okay, not my favorite, but pickin's were slim.

And a fleece candy-cane striped pillow. I know you're thinking, "That's not new. You made that a few years ago." And you'd almost be correct. I had some leftover fleece and another pillow to cover, so I made a twin.

Well, only it's larger than the original. But still so comfy and soft.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Our Christmas Outfits

This post could almost be titled The Christmas Outfits That Almost Weren't.

A year ago I found a fun, festive, handmade tablecloth on sale and I knew it would be cute for our matching Christmas outfits. The only problem was, last Christmas I didn't have time to make them. And then I had forgotten all about the tablecloth. Somehow, in the hustle and bustle of the impending Christmas holiday, I ran across the tablecloth. I wasn't sure if it would survive a washing, but I tried anyway, and it came out unscathed.

As I started planning what exactly I was going to make (and if I had enough of that awesome border to go around), I realized that we were going to miss church the Sunday before Christmas. The day we always wear out matching outfits.

Knowing I was going to a Christmas cookie exchange, I forged ahead. I even told myself that, as long as I made something for Spenser, that was enough. (Did I tell you how chill I was the weeks leading up to Christmas? Oh, I must. It's just unbelievable. Especially when we also celebrate three December birthdays.) Anyway, I whipped up a dress for Spenser. It was a pretty quick sew. I decided to make the sleeves long because, well, it is winter after all. I used It's So Easy 4927 by Simplicity. I don't see it on their website, so it may be out of print.

And then, miraculously, it turned out that I did have time (and enough tablecloth border) to make myself a matching skirt. For my skirt I made a straight skirt with a side zipper. And, as usual, it turned out about five inches too wide. I almost didn't fix it. I was really running out of time. By the time I was determined that I would fix it, I had to pack and leave town within minutes. Although, I wasn't really stressed about it, just more frustrated that my skirts are always too large. I used the Sew What! Skirts and I'm really losing faith in that book. I take my measurements for every skirt I make, and they are all too large. Every last one of them.

I made it home in time from our trip to head right back out the door to the cookie exchange in our new Christmas outfits. And then I wore my skirt to a town meeting. And to church this past Sunday (I had a new dress for the Sunday after Christmas and that one took precedence). I guess now we'll put them away until December.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Sisters' Gifts 2010

My favorite craft is making gifts. In years' past, I have cranked out multiples of the same gift to give to my sisters, friends, and teachers.

This Christmas, I decided to give an embroidered linen handkerchief (with a bar of my homemade chocolate-mint soap).

At first I was really excited about giving the hankies. I love little vintage hankies. I collect and use them. (I have a very small collection.) But then I started to wonder and fear if this was a weird thing to give people. After all, I'm sure not everyone shares my affinity with hankies.

I still wonder what people think about them. And if they know what is is. One teacher sent home a thank-you note and thanked my son for the monogrammed "cloth."

You can see years' past here. My sister, Kate, reminded me last year that I gifted a gold-gilded picture of the temple one year. But there is one year that still eludes us both.

* * As I was typing this, I looked out to the chicken coop and saw an odd thing. We had a hen that was acting strange yesterday. She was very still and standing. Carter tried to pick her up, but she panicked and made some sad sounds. We patted her and told her we loved her, but I didn't expect her to make it through the night. Sadly, the "odd" thing I saw in the chicken run was more horrifying than just a chicken who died in the night. And more horrifying than a dead chicken who was eaten by her fellow hens ... It appears there was a predator last night and took the poor defenseless hen and dragged her to the chicken run door. She was too large to fit through the opening, so it ate her where it was: wedged in the doorway. It was gruesome. I am ever so glad that Joe is home today. (Just recently Joe shot an intruding opossum who was scaling down the chicken wire of the chicken run.)* *