Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Project #2 Complete!

The garland that we've had for our Christmas tree for a few years is very pretty, but kind of difficult to work with.

I love the natural look of it and the festive feel of the red berries, but it's wire and that makes it a little contrary when you're trying to place it just so on your tree. It requires bending and shaping which, if you've already dealt with fluffing your artificial tree branches as we have, you've had enough of. So this year I wanted to get new garland but wasn't sure what to do with this stuff. It's actually pretty nice, so I didn't want to just toss it in the trash.

That's when it hit me that we also needed a new wreath for the door. I picked up a simple, undecorated grapevine wreath from Hobby Lobby for $5 and simply worked the berry garland around it, securing it with a little floral wire along the way. 

 You can get "grapevine" wire, but it's more expensive and much thicker. I thought it might be a little harder to work with and just opted for the green floral wire instead. You can see it if you're standing right in front of the wreath examining it, but I don't care.

The final result was this:
I love it. I thought about adding a few other small items to make it less "plain" but I couldn't decide what to add. Maybe a bow? I was looking for some pine cones but didn't find any. There's still time! I tend to have simple, classic taste when it comes to holiday decorating anyway so for now this wreath suits me just fine. 

This is the garland we chose to replace the wired berry one. Still berries, still simple, just much much easier to place on the tree. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nothing Says Thanksgiving Like...

Delicious food...

Cute and cuddly cousins...

A few good naps...

Decorating for Christmas...

A big family football game, followed by sharing food with your cousin (or stealing your cousin's food, if you're C)...

Aaaaand some more Christmas decorations...

Happy Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Do you see what I see?

The other day we were coloring, and I know that experts say you can't tell until a child is around 3 years old, but I couldn't help but notice the difference between this.....

and this.....

Coincidence? I'm not so sure. 

I am a lefty with two right-handed parents and two right-handed siblings. J is right-handed as are both of his parents and all 3 of his siblings. Interestingly, J and two of his three siblings have paired with left-handed people. My brother also married a lefty. My best friend is right-handed although both of her parents are lefties! While I know it is determined before birth, I am not certain exactly how handedness is determined in our inner workings. Any genetics/bio people out there have an explanation? It doesn't seem to be as simple as a Punnett square which represents the extent of my genetics knowledge. 

As for C, she definitely uses both hands when coloring or feeding herself. And she doesn't always hold a crayon perfectly in her left hand. She rarely holds it "like a pencil" in her right hand though, and I would say she seems to prefer using her left hand maybe 70% of the time. I would be tickled (and I know a few of her aunts and uncles would be, too) if she turned out to be a lefty, but I'm very aware that it's not something you can influence and that trying to do so can really cause a kid difficulty. I'm just an observer when it comes to crayons and sometimes I have to take pictures to prove to myself that I'm not just making up what I want to see :)  

Anyone else notice a dominant hand in their child before 3 years old? Anyone have some insight into how our hand-dominance is determined? Do share! :D

Monday, November 21, 2011


Since I haven't been posting what I'm thankful for on Facebook each day this month, I thought I should at least write a blog post about it. Honestly I could sum it up by saying I'm thankful for everything I have, because I am. I'm truly thankful for every person and every experience good and bad because it all adds up to who I am and where I am today. But there are still a handful of things I thank God for each and every day...

1. Forgiveness- I thank God every day that He loves us all enough to have sent His only Son so that we could be forgiven.

2. My baby- She is truly the one thing I ever wanted most in life. It's not humanly possible to express how thankful I am for her, that I get to be her mom, and just the absolute blessing it is to love someone like that.

3. My husband- He's my best friend. He gets me like no one else does. He provides for our family and makes our lives what they are. I couldn't have dreamed up a better partner in life.

4. Our families & friends- I always think of them when I consider how blessed we are. I truly believe the people in our lives are God's way of showing us how much he loves us. How do I rate? I've got no idea, but I'm so so thankful that these are the people I get to spend my life surrounded by.

5. Our health- I look around me, on the news, among my friends, and know that it could easily be me. Healthy, young people, healthy babies fall ill every day. There's no reason it's them and not us. I just know I'm thankful every day that we're healthy.

6. Our home- We might not have much but we have a safe, warm home full of the comforts we want. Our refrigerator is full of food. Each room is comfortably furnished. Our closets and dressers are full of clothes. The truth is, our house is full of much more than what we need. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of and pray for those who are without these things.

7. J's Job- I get to spend every day with our baby because his job provides enough income for us to live on. There is no salary or dollar amount that could replace the time I get to spend with her, or the hugs, kisses, giggles, snuggles, learning experiences, tears wiped, books read, etc. My heart breaks at the thought that I might be missing all of these things every single day if I were working. Yes, we're on a tighter budget. Big vacations and home renovations and new cars are years away, but I'd rather have this time with my baby than any of those things.

8. Our country, military, and leaders- Regardless of what anyone says or thinks of our current circumstances and leadership, there are a lot of people and nations around the world that wish they had our problems. America still is and always will be the greatest country on earth and it's all thanks to our incredible men and women who serve in the military keeping us safe and free. I will never stop being thankful to have been born here over anywhere else in the world.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Project #1 Complete!

This is probably a very pre-mature post, but I'm writing it anyway. Naturally, since the holidays are around the corner, I've been inspired to start a million projects. It's not actually a million but the list is pretty long. It's just so exciting to have a bunch of project ideas swirling around in your mind. I say that the post is pre-mature because I may list them out and then not complete them all for one reason or another. That's ok though. Maybe writing them in a post will give me an additional sense of obligation to finish them? We'll see.

So, what are all these projects?

Well, I told you before about wanting to make a Christmas stocking for C. My mom came over yesterday and we got to work! I'll admit that it's been a few years since I've used a sewing machine. Ok honestly, it's been since sixth grade home ec, so if I were 29 right now (is that possible??) that would be 18 years ago...gah! Anyway, with a quick refresher from my mom we started pinning, cutting and sewing! I didn't take any pictures of the process as a good blogger would have, but it was pretty simple. Here's my best step-by-step.

1. I used the stockings J and I have for ourselves to create a pattern. I just put one down over some paper and traced around it. Then I cut out the pattern.

2. I took the pattern and pinned it to my stocking fabric (I chose red flannel with a white flannel cuff, creative right?). I had the fabric folded in half to make each side of my stocking double-layered for some extra durability. I cut two identical copies of the pattern and placed them one on top the other giving me four layers of stocking-shaped fabric.

3. I pinned my four layers together and did one simple straight seam all the way around except across the top of the stocking, of course. Then I added a zig-zag stitch just outside of the straight seam to minimize fraying on the inside.

4. The last step was attaching the cuff. I turned my stocking right-side out and cut a 9" wide strip of white flannel fabric long enough to wrap completely around the top of the stocking with a little extra for a seam. I folded the 9" strip in half so that the cuff would also be double-layered and would have that nice folded edge along the bottom of it. With the folded edge sticking up above the stocking, I pinned the 2 rough edges of the white flannel to the top of the stocking with 1/2" of overlap. I sewed a straight seam all the way around to attach the cuff and then sewed another zig-zag along the rough edge to minimize fraying.

Then I sewed one straight seam at the back of the stocking where the two ends of the cuff met. The seem looks wonky in the picture but that's because I sewed it flat against the stocking at the bottom. Trust me, it's all good :)

All that was left to do after that was turn down the cuff and embellish!

I still haven't decided how to embellish it. Keep it simple with a monogram? That itself offers almost endless possibilities. Create a cute felt applique animal (penguin, polar bear, kitten) or other holiday symbol (snowflake, evergreen tree, mittens)? I could use a different one for each child's stocking since I intend to have more children and bought enough fabric to make their stockings as well. Who knew this would be the toughest part??

With that project (almost) completed, I have a few more on the waiting list!
  • A new Christmas wreath for our door
  • Cranberry topiaries mentioned, and pictured, in my last post
  • Knitted pillow covers
  • A new wet-bag for our cloth diapers when we're on-the-go (our current one has a hole)
  • A project so exciting (to me) that I'm going to make a huge deal out of it and make you guess what it is!!  Here is a hint...

What? A purse? Yes, this is an adorable hand bag (found here). So how is it going to be an exciting project?? You tell me....  What do you think it's going to be?

PS- Thanks to my SIL, Erin for this project idea!  :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Too many topics for one title

I'm considering changing the title of my blog to "What we did this weekend" as I feel like that sums up  the majority of my posts! Kidding on the actual name change, though.

Our long weekend last weekend was a fun one. We had a fun at-home day with J on Friday. We went to the new West Elm store that opened a little ways from here. It was heavenly! Only downside was that the sales staff were a bit overwhelming. We were approached by no less than 6 sales people who not just asked if we were "finding everything ok," but shook our hands, introduced themselves, asked our names, asked what we were looking for, explained that they were taking donations to help St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and offered their assistance if we needed anything. I get that they're a new store and want to be super helpful and friendly, but we're not actually friends. As a shopper, I loathe anything more than a passing smile from a sales person. Let me shop! So this was completely overboard as far as I was concerned. I did not feel like discussing my baby's name, shoe size or how many teeth she has with a chubby girl in an apron working at the West Elm. The store was great though :)

We also wandered into Pottery Barn, a store where I rarely buy things but rather prefer to find inspiration and re-create those things for half the price :) Here are two examples-

 Cranberry topiaries, how easy would they be? I think I'd use a shiny metal pot though to make it more fancy/festive.

Knit pillow covers! So cute and cozy. I'd have to brush up my knitting skills but nonetheless, it's still just a big square. 

I always hope no one is going to get upset that I'm walking around the store taking phone pictures of their displays. They publish them in catalogs and mail them to my house, so what's the difference?

Saturday we went to Nick's birthday party. I can't believe he's 2 already! The scariest part is that it means C's birthday will be here before we know it. She's not even one month past her half birthday, I should calm down. The party was lots of fun though. C had a blast running around with all the little kids there. She was so busy she couldn't even be bothered to eat a piece of pizza, and this girl loves some peeeesa!

She snoozed the whole way in the car and then took a regular nap when we got home. J met up with his parents for lunch, and then we stayed home for a quiet evening. We ended up watching the movie, Horrible Bosses. It's a bit off-color and used more bad language than I cared for, but turned out to be really hilarious.

Sunday morning was quiet. Once football games got started J had some friends over. I went to one of my friend's house to take pictures of her and her family. I had never done an actual photo shoot for other people before, but it went really well. They have a back yard full of trees and leaves so the backdrop was perfect. It was also overcast so the lighting was nice- no squinty sunny faces. Here are a few of them...

It helps that they're all super photogenic. I had a lot of fun taking their pictures, to say the least :)