Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I can't believe 2009 is almost over

First of all, we survived Christmas! Mary got a piggy bank from Santa. She was so happy. She got a dress from Grandmother and of course wanted to wear it right away. She wore it for 3 days straight I think. Ellie was less excited about her gifts, but really liked unwrapping them. I got new flannel sheets for our bed! I love them. I got a cool book on making sock animals. I need to find some funky socks and then make some of them. Not for toys but for me to keep!

This year flew by. I'm already thinking about planning Mary's 4th b-day party and it seems like her birthday was just a couple months ago. I can't believe my baby will be 4! We're trying to figure out what school we'll send her to next year--either back to pre-school for 3 days a week (she currently just goes 2) or if we'll start her in a multi-age pre-k/kindergarten which would be 5 days a week.

Ellie's currently (well, in this moment she's sleeping on my lap) having a word explosion. Not much we can understand yet, but she's very into identifying things. And playing a game we call "where's your fork?" while we eat lunch/dinner. She takes her fork, hides it behind her, waits and if we don't notice she says "fork? fork?" We have to ask her where it is, then she produces it from behind her back with a HUGE smile on her face. And speaking of things I can't believe, in three weeks Ellie will be the same age Mary was when we moved here!!! How crazy is that? The first 16 months of Mary's life took 5 years and the first 16 months of Ellie's life have taken just a couple months, if that.

After Ellie's nap, the girls and I are going to take the Christmas stuff down. I didn't even put much out this year, but thinking of taking it all down and packing it away is overwhelming. I'm ready for it to be gone though, so I can go back to some of the decorating projects I was working on in November.

Speaking of projects, I finished my Christmas knitting at 7pm on Christmas Eve. Time to spare! Now I'm crocheting a baby blanket. It's a fun project. I really hope the recipient loves it.

That's 27 of 143 squares sewing them all together and weaving in what will be 572 ends. It goes quickly though. I'm hoping to finish it this month (errr, I mean January!) IF I don't get sidetracked by other projects.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa's coming

For 3/4 of our family! I got John's stocking (right) done and blocked. So the girls and John are set. Guess Santa will just have to leave mine in a paper bag or something. Or maybe he'll just knit me a stocking?

We're all sick. I'm so tired. I still have a tiny bit to do on Mary's gift, we still need to wrap everything, and I JUST THIS MORNING started my last knitted gift. Speaking of which, I should get back to work on it.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Mary Elizabeth, 15 months old, 28!!!! pounds.

Eleanor Ruth, 15 months, 22 pounds.

I don't have a current pic of Ellie in short sleeves. But the girl is a bean pole.


I swear we feed her!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Things that keep me busy

1. Making curtains for Mary's room to replace the too short ones I made two years ago. They technically weren't too short. If I would have put curtain weights in them or not used such light fabric, they would have hung better and been fine.

Hmm, they actually look better in the picture than they did in real life. They were supposed to sit on the sill, but were about a quarter inch short.

The new ones. These sit at apron length on the window. I got them started and was feeling pretty good. Then I realized they needed to be lined as you can see the pattern on the back of the fabric. So I took down the old curtains, ripped out the side and top seams and reused them as the linings. John also moved the rods (oh, there are two windows in her room) up just a bit and onto the wall. They were previously mounted on the window frame because I reused holes left from the previous owner. I love the fabric I found. It matches the walls now, and will also look good when we get around to painting the room pink.

2. Christmas knitting:
A scarf in progress (now done) for our Christmas exchange. And matching fingerless gloves. (and a Barbie type doll trying to get under the refrigerator)

Don't mind the little bump near my ring finger. I hadn't woven the ends in yet.

3. Christmas sewing!

A diaper for Mary's doll. I'm hoping to get a few more made this week. I didn't have a pattern, so I made several before I was happy with the final product.

Outfits for their dolls. Still need to trim all the threads and embroider stems/leaves on the flowers. I made all of this stuff with fabric in my stash.

4. A new craft/obsession!!! Because that's what I need this month!!!!!

Salt dough ornaments. Mine are on the right, and the rest are Mary's. Last year she painted those wooden ornaments you can get for $1 (but I always got them on sale for 50 or 60 cents). This year we got thrifty! We made all these out of 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup salt, and a cup of flour. I want to make more. We had fun painting them today.

5. The thing(s) that keep me super busy--Miss Ellie and Miss Mary!

Ellie all dressed up and ready to pick Mary up from school. Yes, she's chewing on something she shouldn't have. But I got a picture, didn't I?

This was supposed to be a decent head shot for another project. Mary would not hold still or quit goofing off.

Kneading the dough for our salt dough ornaments. She got so into it!

So that's it, my week in pics. I guess I technically made some of it last week. But the scarf I started last Saturday and got it done Weds. Then I made a fingerless glove Thursday and one Friday. I really need to work on sewing. Christmas will be here before we know it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ah, the Christmas to do list

Forget the to do list of a month ago. Or two weeks ago. Whenever I posted that. Last Tuesday, we drew names for our Christmas exchange. Of course I immediately decided I'd give a handmade gift. I'd told myself earlier in the year I wasn't going to give handmade gifts this year. But then, I don't know, I had a moment of sleep deprived insanity and thought "Well, there's PLENTY time to make stuff."  So I ordered some yarn that day. It came Saturday, and I started knitting.

To do before Christmas:
1. Make scarf and (if I have enough yarn) fingerless mittens for exchange recipient.
2. Make doll diapers for Mary and Ellie's Waldorf dolls, an outfit and diaper for Big Baby (Cabbage Patch). Finish outfit (almost done) for each Waldorf doll.
3. Finish John's stocking that I started last week.
4. Start!!!! and finish John's gift without him seeing me make it. hmmmmmm

Well, that's it. It looks like less when it's typed out, but it feels like a lot to me. I also got some yarn in the mail today to make Ellie some new longies as she has outgrown all the ones I made in the fall. I think she just had a growth spurt. She's so tall and all legs. I'd love to have those done by January as I have a couple paid jobs/projects that I'd like to start then.

Back to toddler chasing!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas on my mind

If I told you I was busy making Christmas stuff, you'd probably think I was making gifts. Nope, I've been busy making stuff for our house. First, I made this scrappy wreath based on this tutorial. I used some vintage fat quarters that I got at a consignment shop downtown.

Then I made this little button wreath after seeing it on Martha Stewart's website.

Then I made these.

I saw them on a blog I read, and she'd seen something very similar on the Williams-Sonoma website for $70 each. Want to guess how much I spent on mine? $7.60 for all three including tax. The hurricanes were $1 each at the Dollar Tree, I had two of the candle sticks (from my parents' wedding) and got a third from the thrift store for 25 cents. Two of the candles were $1.50 each, and one was 90 cents. I have no idea how or why one was cheaper. I came home, glued the candle sticks to the bottom of the hurricanes, and then glued the candles inside of the hurricane. Woot!

Last up is this mistletoe I knitted and then felted. It's so cute! I think I'll make more next year and give them as gifts.

We started putting up the tree today. I realized John didn't have a handmade stocking, so now I'm making him one.

I also got the material for Mary's new curtains. I'm hoping to start on them tomorrow night. I still need to paint the darn picture frames. Maybe I can work on those tomorrow too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

to do list

So many ideas, so little time and energy. John just got home at 5am this morning from vacation. He went on a hunting trip with his Dad. I survived 4 days alone with the girls. Ellie's teething and Mary has an ear infection. Needless to say, I didn't get much crafting done. I made a hat for myself. Oh, and a Christmas wreath. And started on a felted mistletoe.

Now what? Now, I want to put the Christmas stuff out! I am so ready. I still have some (regular) decorating stuff I want to do, but I take down most of the regular junk, er, stuff and put out the Christmas stuff. So, I'll be working on that and saving that until after the New Year.

1. Finish painting white frames I started weeks ago.
2. Finish up green room closet.
3. Paint butterflies for Mary's room.
4. Paint two small frames from thrift store and figure out what to put in them.
5. Make new curtains for Mary's room.

I know there's more. But this will give me a starting place. I'd love to have all this stuff done by January 1st. Then we're going to do some more home improvement stuff (like finish the dang basement).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby blanket

For months now, I've been knitting this baby blanket. I'd work on it a while, then get bored and do something else. I finally got it done Wednesday night. It's blocking now, but the sun came in the window and I was able to get a good picture of the pattern. It measures 31 by 32 inches, and contains 42,480 stitches. (Can that be right? the end borders are 180 sts for 10 rows times both ends--3600 sts. The main part is 27 squares, 8 rows each, 180 sts per row--38,880.) It took forever, but it's so pretty. Worth every minute and every stitch. We're just waiting for some friends to have their baby in the next couple weeks, and I'll be shipping it out.

I cannot wait to work on some projects that only take a couple days. And I doubt I'll be doing another large project any time soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

For Mom

I hope she likes them! They are her Christmas gift. I am giving them to her tomorrow so she can use them this year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Custom fuse panel cover up

Woot! I knew there was a way to cover the fuse panel/box/thingy. John made a frame that was deep enough then cut down an old cork board and attached it to the front. I added the fabric (an old curtain panel that I was saving), the ribbons, and the push pins. This project was made completely of things we already had around the house. Good thing we save everything:).

I've been up since 5:45 am. Hopefully I'll have more to post about if I ever get to sleep in again.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A bird, thrifty finds, and basement progress!

John almost finished the structure of the shelves today! Woot! No pic though. Sorry. A week ago when he started he asked me "how long until I forget that light is there and break it?" Answer: today. It was just a bare bulb, no big deal, but when I went to go take pictures it was too dark down there. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some if the sun comes out.

(Part of) this week's crafting:

I saw the pattern for this while reading One Pretty Thing last week. The actual pattern can be found at Attic24. I really want to make a couple more.

Today's thrift store finds:

Can you tell what's getting spray painted ASAP??

I've always been a Goodwill girl. I donate there and I shop there. Well, last week I finally stopped in at Salvation Army. Holy cheap stuff!! Plus, stuff is all marked down?? Things are either "new" or on sale. Some stuff is 75 percent off. Strange but I'm not complaining.

Butterflies: To be painted. Pink? White? They are going in Mary's room, which currently has blue walls but really needs to be painted (pink? probably). Don't tell John I want to paint it though, okay? He painted the room blue for me before we moved in. Anyway, butterflies $1.50 for all three of them.

Ceramic leaf thing; LOVE IT!!! I think it's handmade? There's a name and a year carved into the bottom. "Clements '68" I have no idea what I am going to do with it yet. It was $1.99 marked down to $1.

Wreath: It's barely in the picture in the bottom right. It's just a styrofoam wreath with fake moss attached to it. I'm hoping to turn it into a fall wreath for next year. Possibly using this tutorial? Anyway it's new in the package, but had a Goodwill tag on it for $2.99. I paid 29 cents for it at Salvation Army.

I also went to a little independent thrift store. I'd never been there but will go back. Cool stuff and great deals.

Green votive candle holder (with candle!): 25 cents. It's going up on the black bookshelf.

Little wire basket: 50 cents. I love little baskets like this yet never actually find them.

Matching gold frames: 50 cents for the pair. To be painted!!! Black? White? not sure yet. I think I'll do some embroidery work and stick it in there.

I've got to get some knitting done. Christmas is coming. I have Mom's stuff knitted, but it needs felted. I'm trying to get 2 more things knitted so I can felt them all at once. Hopefully I'll work on that tonight. Or that basket I'm painting. Or both:)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

before, during, after

Busy, busy, busy.

Closet before (couldn't even shut it as there was so much crap inside):

We'll call this during (still need to make a shelf and hide the fuse box):

I used to really like purple. Still do, but when the spray paint calls.....

I painted it black, distressed it a bit, then finished with a couple coats of wipe on poly (my new best friend). I did the other frame with wipe on poly too, so the finishes would match. I still need something for the table.

This clock, already at the spray paint factory:)


Top of the hutch before:

After: (all of this was FREE!!--had the spray paint from an old project, had the 3 white things in storage for the last 2.5 years, had the cloth balls in the craft closet)

Remember the little tin holder thingy?

First I spray painted it an olive green, but it needed more work. I worked on it with some craft paint, then put some clear craft varnish over that so it was glossy.

It's holding my apron that was lost in the move. I found it last week while going through boxes of stuff looking for something to spray paint.

Tonight I started painting another basket. It's going to take a few coats as I am using regular old wall paint on it and want to get into every crack inside and out. Then I have 4 frames I want to paint. Then....maybe I'll catch up on sleep.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Inspired.....or crazy?

My newest obsession is decorating blogs. It started when I went to One Pretty Thing one day and there was this dresser makeover. Well, I clicked on that blog, then another, then another. I landed on a blog called Nesting Place. Suddenly, I had ideas! One of her suggestions is to "shop the house" to makeover and decorate when you can't afford new stuff. Huh. Well, between that and another new obsession with spray paint, I was ready to go. I made a list of things to paint. Then last night I went to town. I have some random things to paint, but mainly I wanted to make over the top of the bookshelf in the living room.

Before: some mismatched pictures I just threw up there when we moved in almost 2.5 years ago. The vase looking thing, hmm, I'm not sure I ever really liked it. And the basket was a gift that I want to keep, but I just can't find a place to make it fit in.

Stuff to paint:

1. Vintage cats. From Mom. They've been packed since the move.

2. Vase thing I wasn't thrilled with, but like the shape of it.

3. Picture frame. It was on my dresser. Not my style anymore.

Then while I was at it, I grabbed:
1. Another frame which was stuffed in a drawer

2. A little basket--guess I didn't get a pic.
3. The little metal heart shaped hanger pictured above. It was in the box with the cats. I swear I've never seen the thing before, but clearly we had it before we moved.

I'll be using those three things later when I find a use for them.

Here's the top of the bookshelf after. I grabbed some other things and put them up there. The painting above was done by John's Grandma and was hanging on a different wall where I wasn't thrilled with it. Cost of this makeover: $3 for two half cans of spray paint. I'm pretty proud of it.

Of course now I have three more areas of the living room that need help. 1. Top of the way too big for this house TV cabinet. 2. Wall where I stole the painting that I placed above the bookshelf. 3. little table behind the oversized chair. But, I'm out of ideas. For now. I assume there will be more shopping the house and spray paint involved! Before this week, I was frustrated with the living room because the furniture is too big for the room, I want to repaint the walls, we need new windows, I want a smaller/shorter TV cabinet and a flat screen TV mounted to the wall (hey!!! I can dream, right???) and I'd love to have less toy clutter. But I realized something reading the Nesting Place blog. I need to do the best I can with what I have (aka, a $10 budget) and enjoy our home even if it isn't perfect. I'm going to keep thinking on the three areas that still need help. Hopefully I'll figure it out soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Finally some pictures! It looks so fresh and clean. John had the lumber for the shelves delivered today. I think he's putting the washer and dryer back tomorrow after work if it isn't raining. He's getting started on the shelves this weekend.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Small update

We've (er, I mean, JOHN) painted the basement floor!!! I wish I could remember exactly what John said (way) before we painted it. Something like "think we need to do anything with the floor before we paint it?" Turns out, yes. First, we patched some minor cracks and holes. Then we scrubbed the entire thing with a tiny wire brush. That alone almost broke our spirits. No kidding. Then John etched the floor so the paint would stick. The paint said it covered in one coat, but I've never had luck with just one coat. It took 3. Which fits in perfectly since I always say home improvement takes 3 times as long and costs 3 times as much as originally planned. Anyway, it's done!! We're letting it dry. I think we'll put the washer and dryer back over the weekend. Next, John gets to build his shelves!!! I know he's super excited. He has it all planned out. He's going to see if the lumber yard will deliver since he needs several 12 foot long 2x4s. Pics to come, if the sun ever comes out and once I can walk on the floor.

Of course, in true DIY fashion, I got bored with the basement and started something else. John didn't even complain!! I'm doing this one all by myself. In Mary's old room (aka "the green room") I've taken down the closet doors, taken out the clothes bar and shelf, patched the holes, and am getting ready to paint. The current color is some icky, old sorta tan/pink/orange/blah. I'm painting it medium pink.

The color chip in the middle is the one. And it's the middle color. Once it's all painted, that dresser in the foreground will be moved into the closet. Then I'm making a new shelf and painting it lighter pink. I have some green storage bins that will sit on top of it. The entire project was sparked by the dresser. John's Step-Mom gave it to us. It's a beautiful old dresser so I couldn't say no when she offered. But we had no space for it. That closet was full of junk anyway. I'm hoping to paint it in the next week or two.

Hmm, this is turning into more than a small update. More to come when I can get some basement pictures.

Monday, October 5, 2009

If I had time.....

I'm feeling the need to organize. I think it's something I feel in the fall. I know I'm going to be trapped inside all winter, and I hate the clutter of every drawer/cabinet/closet. Plus we've lived here over 2 years and the stuff is accumulating. I'd love to get some stuff organized and cleaned out before we put the Christmas tree up. That would be so nice. Then Christmas, then spring when we'll be outside all the time again.

If I had time I'd:

1. Clean out our closet, and take everything that didn't fit or I didn't like anymore to Goodwill. I'd go through the little side shelf thingy and see what we shoved in there in June 2007 that's still sitting there untouched. I'd get some storage shelving/closet organizers/something/anything!!! to go up over the hanging clothes bar. There's a shelf there now, but I just throw stuff up there and the piles fall over and it's too high for me to reach or see and now it's a huge mess. Then the stuff (clothes mainly) fall down and we think they are dirty laundry. They get washed, and I see them again as I put laundry away. I wonder why on earth maternity shorts or a top that fit me before I had kids got washed. Then I realize the closet is caving in on itself. Then I want to kick my own ass. So, I've asked John for ALL DAY on the 24th to start working on it. Including a trip to Goodwill instead of making a "Goodwill pile" and shoving it up on said shelf and having it all fall down and get washed AGAIN.

2. Organize the girls stuff/clean out the green bedroom closet. This is the place I shove too small/out of season/worn out stuff. I need to figure out what's done and needs to be donated and what I want to save for Ellie (and you know, for when we have a third girl). Right now, I open the closet and throw things in and shut it before more stuff falls out. It's awful.

3. Clean out my craft closet. I'm not even sure what to say about it. It's BAD. really bad. There's this HUGE tangled up "thing" of yarn. I have no idea how it happened. maybe one of the cats got a hold of it? I keep telling myself that I'm going to try to untangle it. I hate throwing things away. But I think I am going to. Then I dropped my bobbin box, and all my bobbins unraveled! Fun. I shoved the door shut before Ellie got to it. I think that's a theme around here. Shoving things in before Mary or Ellie sees. Well, I've reached the breaking point.

4. Organize the linen closet.I did this hmmm, 18 months ago? Another place I shove things. Ugh.

So, If I can get all that done before Thanksgiving weekend, I'll be so happy!! Of course, we need to work on the basement too. We haven't given up on it yet. Still scrubbing the floor. It's my turn to work on it tonight. I'm excited about it as I love scrubbing dirt. If I scrub for 45 mins tonight, and we each scrub for 45 mins tomorrow night, Weds, and Thursday.....hmmm....can we have it done? Maybe. It will be close. I'd love to get it painted this weekend. We already have the floor patched.

Ellie's waking up. Back to work:)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Project 33: fail

Yup, I'm giving myself a big fat FAIL on project 33. My birthday was a month ago. I gave up on the 100 push ups in April. We went on a trip and I couldn't get them in that week and I never went back to them. Ugh. And while I never set out to lose weight this year--I've gained 10 pound. Oh heck, maybe 15. So now instead of needing to lose those last 3 pounds of baby weight, I need to lose 18. Nothing fits. I went to Kohls for some stuff for the girls and tried on a pair of XL yoga type pants and they were too tight on my big fat tushie. In June, I told John I could lose 10 pounds faster than he could. I lost three.....and have gained 10ish since. Good times. I've tired to figure out why. Do I stress eat? Is late night eating a habit I can't seem to break? Yes. When I finally get the girls to bed at night, all I want to do is eat ice cream. And now that the weather is cooler I want baked goods. Pumpkin bread and brownies and banana bread. Now I have a huge zucchini that Grandma Mary gave me, and I will probably make that into bread as well. I love to cook. But then we eat it all in a day or two. Blah.

I didn't want this year to be about weight loss. So I guess I decided to gain instead. I am so mad at myself. I feel like crap. Nothing fits. I can't stand how I look. I feel bad about leaving the house. In June or July, I told myself I would get my rear in gear and that I wouldn't be the 'fat mom' at pre school. Guess that didn't motivate me either. Every trip, every event we've gone to this year, I've said "I am going to lose 10 pounds before X." But I don't. I'm so sick of it. But I feel like I don't know how to start. I mean, I do. Eat less and exercise. Well, the exercise equipment is buried under the stuff we took out of the basement storage area. So who knows when we'll see that again. Plus, it isn't like I was using it before we piled it up with junk. Plus, we are super busy working on the basement (on step 22 part c by the way.....scrubbing 45 years of dirt and grime off the floor with a tiny wire brush. It takes so much energy that the most either of us can do is about an hour at a time before our hands go numb) so there's no time to work out anyway. Excuses, excuses.

I did manage to knit one thing for myself this year. And I have kept my hair cut up which means I have to make myself find an hour or so for myself every 6 weeks or so. But besides that, I don't feel like I have accomplished anything for myself.

So now you know. I still have time, but I'm just not feeling like I have the energy or power to make things happen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

recent knitting

Fall is here! I'm so busy knitting longies for Ellie.

John loved her summer skirtie so much, I made her a fall one.

Action shot! Look how happy Ellie is--she'd just petted the cat and was looking up at John.

I finally finished up these Christmas stockings for my friend Lisa.

And last, but not least, a project I did a while back. Mom's b-day gift. I already gave them to her so she could enjoy them all fall.