{Per Angi's Request}

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The House of Whimsey linked this cool font, which looks even cooler when made into a holiday banner. Easy-peasy...print, cut, glue, string, hang, post (a picture of finished banner on blog, that is).

And for Belle's class Valentine's exchange, I'm bringing these pencils with heart tops- simple felt project, which could easily be glued rather sewn.

Then I varied it a bit. I cut up a ziploc freezer bag for one side of a heart, so I could fill the heart with some conversation hearts before I stuck it on a pencil...didn't have any candy yet, though, and fortunately, my kids still think almonds and craisens are treats!

And now for the Forth File/ Forth Photo Tag from Angi: This is my sister-in-law, Mr. Smarty & I in 2002, maybe? We're in our second apartment in Austin getting ready to go to a cousin's wedding...if you look to the left, you will see the brown wall-I asked our apartment complex permission to paint and they agreed if I promised to paint it back...then when we moved out, Mr. Smarty and a friend had to repaint it for me, while I took care of our newborn...ahhh, memories...i tried to remove the red eyes, but ended up giving us all raccoon eyes...

And, the free manicure & pedicure coupons are still here!!! Please some one use them!

{Attention Local Friends In Real Life}

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hey girls! (don't think I have any local guy readers...)

Remember those free pedi/mani vouchers I got months ago? Yup, still have them...and yup, they expire on the 31st!

Can anyone use them by Saturday? Stop by and they're yours!

Please someone use them!!!

{Nordic Babes in Tejas}

{Mod-Podge Barn Star}

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I had this barn-star from pre-christmas, when everything was 60% off. Thought I would use it for something...I was thinking of using b&w photographs...but never did. So I grabbed a few sheets of scrapbook paper and schmeared some mod-podge magic all over it. the kids helped to, as I was pretty confident you couldn't apply it incorrectly.

I like it. It's now shining over my sewing table hutch.

{my attempt at a crayon roll}

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Got another itchin' for some sewin'...and I remembered the vintage fabric from my mom's. The orange floral still had the receipt pinned on. There was no year, but it was bought on April 30th, uh, a while ago and it looks like Mom paid $1.33 for at least 2 yards. So I'd estimate this project probably cost about $0.10.

These are perfect for a diaper bag/purse for restaurants that don't hand out crayons to kiddos, don't you think?

Here's a better tutorial than I could give.

And here's a shot of Boo from this morning, just because.

{I always wanted a pet}

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

That's what Belle sighed as I told her she would be making a cricket habitat in her Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! co-op class on Monday.

I think the first day back was a real success! On the ride home, three times Belle reminded me to make sure we fed her crickets an apple slice. We also had a lengthy "discussion" (ahem) on how many more days til next Monday's co-op- was it 7 or 6? Do you count THIS Monday or start counting in the morning...anyhoo...so glad she, and the boys look forward to the day.

So anyone know the life expectancy for crickets?

{Out of the Mouths of Babes...or something like that...}

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Last week, the Nester showed a framed beautiful colored pencil drawing of her beloved old house. And it was beautiful. I loved the idea of having a picture of the place you call home for your family. So I picked up a pencil then next time my kids were at the table drawing and started drawing our nest...I haven't gotten very far, but you get the idea...maybe this will make it on the wall somewhere in our home...maybe not. But it cost nothing, and the kids got to practice drawing with me.

The next day, I pulled out the colored pencils and thought about a life goal of mine. Someday, I want to do a portrait of Belle. I'm not sure of the medium, but likely it will be just a pencil drawing/sketch. But it's a goal, because I want to be really proud of it, and find it an accurate portrayal of her at a young age. As we sat again at the kitchen table, I thought I might as well start practicing, right?

This is drawn from a picture of her at the pumpkin patch last fall, and was started and finished during Baby's naptime, so really just practice. But I thought it captured something, right?

So I asked Belle, after putting it up on the fridge with their drawings of the day, "Do you think it looks like you?"

After an overwhelmingly loud sigh, she said, "Don't worry, Mom, I'll fix it later." Followed by another long, and too loud sigh.

Speaking of silly things that I've heard come out of my daughter's mouth this week, here's another convo that will get recorded in her journal:

Belle: Mom, Does slow and steady win the race?

Mom: (totally surprised by the question, but whatever) Yup.

Belle: I thought Fast and steady would.

{The World of Little House Lesson Plan Week 1}

Thursday, January 15, 2009

This semester in our homeschool coop, I'll be teaching a 1st & 2nd grade class called "The World of Little House". Each week in class, we will read one of the My First Little House books adapted books from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, and then do loads of hands-on fun stuff.

I've been getting really excited (and just a teeny tiny bit overwhelmed) since I was asked to teach this class, and am looking forward to Monday when we kick the semester off.

This week we will read Christmas in the Big Woods. In the short story,
"Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams onto the snow."
So, that's what we'll do, although we'll be using crushed ice from Sonic, rather than Wisconsin snow.

We did a test run this week at home using this site's recipe:

and squiggled the spoon into our initials:

Although, honestly, everyone in our family had to spit them out...guess when you don't have any other kind of candy to compare it to, it must taste pretty good. We, however, prefer modern candy with all it's yummy fructose.

Later in the story, Laura receives a rag doll for her Christmas gift. So to the thrift store I went in search of old sheets to rip into strips for each student to make their own rag doll. And I ripped and ripped and ripped the sheets until we had little threads all over the house. I followed these instructions to make this doll:

And finally we'll string some bells on a piece of ribbon to ring along to "Jingle Bells." Should be great fun!

{Do You Trust Me? Acts 19}

Monday, January 12, 2009

(Photo: Dore Bible Gallery)

So maybe I still have New Year's Resolutions on the brain, but something struck me yesterday as I was reading Acts 19.

Paul is in Ephesus, where magic was big business! These people were used to seeing impressive acts. So when Paul was lead there, in verse 11 we're told that,
"God gave Paul the power to do unusual miracles."
Other translations say extraordinary or special.

The results were extraordinary, too. Verse 20 says:
"So the message of the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect."

In the verse before, we're told that many who believed were convicted enough to have a bonfire and burn their magic books, which had a value of several million dollars. SEVERAL MILLION DOLLARS! Wow, that's real conviction and devotion! And it reminds me of the few CD's I got rid of in college that I had gotten in the 12 CD's for a penny mail order deal, that really was no deal. That pales in comparison, huh?

Maybe because it's January and a new year. Or maybe because I'm getting older and mediocrity is becoming increasingly disappointing, but in reading this account of Paul, this is what has got me thinking:

God used extraordinary measures (big miracles: immediate healings and lives changed for the better) through Paul to reach the Ephesians. Beth Moore, in her study on Paul, says that God used him because He knew Paul could be trusted to bring attention to God, rather than himself or anyone or anything else. God used the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Paul was ordinary, but he was also trustworthy.

Today, in January, 2009, in my home, my community, I am so ordinary. But am I trustworthy? Does God trust me enough that should he use me, I will bring the attention to God?

My concern is two-fold, you see. Sometimes there are moments where I think I am doing pretty good. I may have a really good parenting moment and completely forget that I've prayed over and over for help in being the best mom for these kiddos. I think I have just willed myself to be "really good" at mommyhood, or I must have read the right book on whatever issue we're dealing with. I know in those moments, I am not being trustworthy to bring the attention or focus back on God.

Other times, when I do give God the credit, or bring the attention back to him, I wonder if He just cringes. I know He's bigger than that, but really...do I ever bring the focus on Him when a moment later or moment before, I do something completely uncharacteristic of someone lead by the Holy Spirit. Something so foolish or selfish or stupid. This happens so often, I'm sure.

So, it appears I have more to work on than brushing Belle's hair or putting the laundry away this year.

But while on that subject, we may have had a break-through, (or God has blessed us) with keeping Belle's hair less tangle-prone. Here's how we've been doing her hair the past few days:

{Vintage Fabric Brooch = Love}

Welcome Faithful Fashionistas! I posted this originally in January when I made these scrap fabric brooches. They took me maybe 30 minutes, but I wear them all the time! Scarves in every season and these brooches really are two of my favorite things!

This week, Kristin inspired me to think about using artificial flowers as brooches and in my hair. Check out the one I made for my daughter this week using a pink carnation. It might become one of our favorite accessory this summer.


Look at this awesome fabric my mom had stored away! Oh, the ideas were swirling in my head! I grabbed as much as I could fit into our suitcase without having to leave behind Mr. Smarty's shoes.

Right away, I started cutting out petals for my new brooch! What do you think?

Is this one too big? I think it's destined for an oversized brown cord tote. It's also destined for Charlottesville. I made this one for Laura but somehow it made it's way home with me...

Okay, I wore it twice this week knowing it would be going in the mail soon, but I don't think anyone noticed:

{Kimba's No-Sew Pillow Covers}

Friday, January 9, 2009

Saw this post today and loved the idea of ragamuffin pillows for our un-media room. I had some ugly pillows up there and had been wanting to recover them for a while...and yesterday I got this fabric from Mr. Smarty's aunt-thank you, Auntie Eva!!!! It was just enough for two pillows and just what I was looking for color-wise, for the room.

{2009 = Breakfast of Champions}

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Although I didn't make any formal resolutions (meaning I didn't jot anything down on a napkin and read to Mr. Smarty over Starbucks) I do have some things l would like to see become habits in my daily life. Be aware, these are not save-the-world-habits but more along the lines of bless-my-family goals. Last year, I vowed to sweep the kitchen floor everyday. I know, I'm awesome. This year, I want to brush Noelle's hair everyday....rather, I need to brush it more...or shave it off. I just don't know which one will cause more resentment against me later.

Another habit I am already working on is menu planning and preparing breakfast for my kids each morning. I'm so bad about getting them breakfast...they never ask for it, but mid-morning, they want 50 different snacks and we've accomplished nothing. When we start with breakfast, we've begun our day with some semblance of order and probably help level mood swings from not having eaten since dinner the evening before.

This is also helping with my shopping list, as I can write my meals down on this to-do chart and quickly check what I'm missing in the kitchen.

{Back to Beige-land}

Monday, January 5, 2009

The room looked so...well...beige. Nothing wrong with beige, but after a month plus of the vibrancy of the holidays, beige was looking, well, boring. Our living room needed some color. But free color. Hmmmm....

While at the folks', I raided my mom's fabric trunk and button box. I'm sure there will be posts to follow involving some buttons, but for this post, I remembered a package of JC Penney's gold draperies from a lifetime ago, well, at least my lifetime. Still in the package, with 30 years of wrinkles, I knew I could do something with them.

Can you see this image on the package? I don't know why, but Donna Reed's skirt cracks me up...

Here the drapes are folded over twice and tacked up horizontally with upholstery tacks. No sewing, no money spent, and a splash of color in my living room!!!!!

But I must give creative credits to my mom for this idea. In my brother's room, she used navy pillow cases tacked under white Ikea drapes. Very clever, Mom. I could have taken pictures in every room of their house with all her genius ideas, but maybe she'll get her own blog someday and I'll just direct you there.

Here's a parting shot of what's outside our window right now....we must have brought the cold back with us to Texas!!!!