Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring Fashion


Here is my inspiration for spring fashion. I find myself gravitating to an updated funkier version of the 40's or 50's fashions. I love a crisp tailored look but also am drawn to a looser bohemian style. This seems to integrate both and is my inspiration page for a spring wardrobe.
I need an afternoon to thrift store shop and find some goodies. I am so eager to trade in my cashmere sweaters for lightweight cardigans.
With an impending cold front headed this way I will be wrapped in the warmth of my scarves and leg warmers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Goodbye Grandma's House



So my style tends to lean towards the shabby chic side. A bit like Grandma's house meets 2009. Lots of quilts, cream colors, hues of blues and grays, and linen. Our bedroom has always taken that same style direction...until this week.
A couple of months ago I was lying in bed and thinking of how I could "spruce" the space up a bit. The walls definitely needed painting but beyond that I feel like we were in need of a change. My thoughts then drifted to what feeling I wanted the room to have to Mike and I.
When we travel, we like to travel in style. No 2 star budget inn's for us. We love to get on Priceline or Hotwire and try to get the best deal we can on a 4 star hotel. This isn't because we can't stay in anything less. We have stayed in plenty of budget inn's, slept on concrete floors in Mongolia for 6 weeks, and on tribal hut pit pit floors in Papua New Guinea. We both went to camp growing up and have slept on little cots. But there is something much more restful and rejuvenating to stay in a hotel with really nice linens, rich colors, great accessories, and nice lighting.
So there it was~ my inspiration for our new master bedroom. I told Mike that I want the room to feel sexy and fun and cozy (but not cozy in the patchwork quilt kind of way). He was definitely on board! We went with eco-friendly Benjamin Moore paint in the color "Pine Cone Brown". I wish you could see it in person b/c the pictures just don't capture the depth and richness of the color! We kept the trim crisp white.
I have always wanted duponi silk curtains in my bedroom but at $50+ a yard I wasn't expecting to actually get them.

While in Orlando last I went to the fabric store and stumbled upon this beautiful damask print duponi silk that was normally $50 a yard for $7 a yard!!! Can you believe it?? I bought 7 yards for the price that I would have paid for 1.
The room still needs alot of work. Usually I can piece together a room from what we already have. I will re purpose stuff and re-use it in new ways to keep things fresh. Unfortunately we don't have alot of silver or glass which is what I want to accessorize with. I did have this large mirror my parents bought for us at auction for our 1st anniversary. It has been used everywhere in our homes! The dining room, above the fireplace, in the living room, and now in the bedroom.

You'll see on my grandmother's dresser that there are some sparkly glass thing-a-ma-bobbers. I found them at a goodwill in Cincy for $3 a piece. I am hoping Mike can use his McGyver skills to turn them into hanging lights in the room. We'll get the lighting supplies at Ikea soon and try it out...I'll keep you posted.
I told Mike last night that I would love for a $500 gift card from Z Gallery to drop out of the sky. I could put a hurtin' on that store for this room :)
Slowly it will come together. Some artwork and pictures will help fill up the empty wall space. And I am hoping a dust ruffle that is white and chocolate brown will discount even more at Target from its current $27 price.

I keep saying that after the kitchen we won't do anymore home improvement projects for a while. But I am already eyeing that pesky front bathroom of ours with gold trim tile and old linoleum floor. I will have to start hunting around town for good deals on tile, tub, sink, etc...
Let the fun begin again!

Crafternoon

I have been sewing, painting, and stenciling alot lately. And today I got my bundle of goodness from Hancock's of Paducah (thanks Mrs.Needham for the tip!!). Seriously I have been like a little 5 year old on Christmas morning!!

Now I am ready to make some spring totes and aprons.
I have been working on a couple of paintings for 2 new little babies born recently to friends of ours. I have covered up the name so as to not spoil the surprise!



I found some great plain Gap tees at Gabriel Brothers for $1.99 and grabbed some up to work on for spring.





Tomorrow I will post some pics of the freshly painted master bedroom!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I've been tagged...

I have been tagged by Erica over at Faith in the Midst of Life to participate in this little game.

These are the rules:
1. Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on the computer
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder
3. Explain the picture
4. Tag 4 people to do the same
5. No cheating (cropping, editing, etc.)




Let me explain...
After 3 computer crashes in recent month's I store almost no photos on the computer. I now dump them onto an external hard drive. I keep a few folders with photos (not my own) that have sewing ideas, creative things, and random things I like from the internet. This is one of those pics...#4 in the folder :)

We just had a candlelit, bluegrass music dinner with the boys and now I am off to get them in bed. We have been busy in recent days painting the bedroom, re-arranging furniture, replacing a broken toilet, and having many sleepless nights as Ezra has been sick.

Goodnight!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Goals


I keep this inspiration book of sorts. Its just a plain book with plain pages that I occasionally fill with artistic thoughts, sketches, ideas, and dreams. I go long periods without using it and periods of time where it is with me all the time. I pulled it off the shelf the other day to sketch some ideas I have for my someday shop I will have.
I took some time to look through the filled pages. It was so much fun to read window gardening ideas I had planned when we lived in Florida, favorite quotes I had written and since forgotten, sewing project ideas, and little tips about sketching that I had written on page 1.
Most surprisingly was a page I came across titled "Goals". It was from Feb.1, 2002. I don't remember even writing this page actually (that isn't saying much since I have a terrible memory). It was 9 days before Canaan, my first child was born. We lived in Florida at the time doing full time missions work for an international missions organization. We lived in a tiny 2 room mother-in-law sweet we rented from our co-workers and we spent our days planning trips for students into remote tribal locations.
Here are what my goals were for 2002.(This is before I had ever learned to sew, didn't do a ton of cooking, and was 24 years old.)
I had written: "What do I want for myself? Who am I? How do I desire to be defined? I want to be defined as Creative, Passionate, Sincere, Decisive, Carefree. How do I cultivate these?"
Goal #1 Spend at least 30 minutes reading my Bible and 15 minutes in continuous prayer.
Goal #2 Become more aware of my passions and why I have them
How do I do this? I grow in passion by setting goals and striving to achieve them. Learning what I love and becoming more passionate about them. What do I love and enjoy extensively? What gives me goosebumps and gets me motivated and excited?
- cooking/entertaining - dreaming up new ideas
- learning - pleasing others and bringing joy through
- doing creative things kindness
- spending time with Mike - travel
Goal #3 I grow in decisiveness by learning more about who I am and what I truly like. Each day make a decision I otherwise would have not made before.
Goal #4 I will strive to step out of my comfort zone more often. I will approach people and not wait for them to approach me. To be more assertive in situations I typically would back down from.
Goal #5 Do 2-3 creative things a week. To explore my creative energies and whole heartedly embrace my ideas and not put down myself or my ideas.

Going over these writings from 6 years ago confirms to me that I truly do try to achieve my goals in life. I have seen all areas of my life improve in these goals. Part of this is just maturing and growing as a person but much of it has been a conscious choice to live my life to the fullest and embrace everyday and live it to the fullest potential. I know I don't live my life to the fullest but I continually seek to and try to be honest and truthful with myself in my weaknesses so I can grow and deepen as a person.

I hope we all can continue to grow to a deeper level. It bugs me to no end when I meet people who feel that they have "arrived" and have nothing left to learn and feel that as a person they are the best they can be. I listened to a sermon online this week and the pastor was saying that the Bible says to "walk in Spirit and in truth". Walking in truth is hard and acknowledging the truth about ourselves sometimes can be painful. Although painful, it is essential for growth and a life that is lived to the fullest!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tada!

So here it is...the haircut. I actually really love it. It has been so drab for so long that it feels great to have a style again. I went with bangs b/c...well just because. The stylist thinned out my hair a ton, which makes it so much lighter and comfortable. I kept the length, for now. We'll see what the future brings...


V-Day Goodies


I know, its late, but I wanted to share what Mike got me for Valentines Day. Usually we don't do much (or anything) for the day but this year I got some special surprises! Lots of tulips and a beautiful heather plant, 2 crafting magazines and a copy of Fine Cooking, AND he totally surprised me by getting my Itty Smitty company registered with the State. Now my business is "official"! What an amazingly thoughtful and unique gift, isn't it?

In other news, I am getting a hair cut today. Yes, this is news. I haven't had a hair cut in quite a while and my hair is nearly to the bottom of my back by now. Really I like it long but it has no shape and is in dire need of thinning. I have super duper thick hair which means the weight of thickness and length leaves me with a major headache/neck ache nearly every night. So off I go with pictures in hand and we'll see what happens. I may keep the length or may chop it off...ugh...I am SOO nervous! I never have good haircut experiences!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Little Drummer Boy



It has been quite busy around here lately. A Valentines dance, a birthday, a quick trip to Cincinnati, an auction, more beer making, and some business to attend to.

With all the craziness, we have had plenty of fun. Ezra is still drummin' like its nobody's business. Along with his 7 piece drum set he will often construct his own traveling drum set that he can move around the house. Today it consisted of a half filled paint can, an empty tinker toy cylinder turned upside down, and his cymbals. His "drum sticks" rotated between real drum sticks, my knitting needles, and water bottles. I like to think he is an experimental musician.
I turned on a Carlos Santana concert and he jammed out for nearly an hour, running from room to room banging on anything he could find.
And I will say, it isn't just haphazard banging. This boy has some nice rhythm. He actually thinks through it and tries to match his drumming to the music.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Working Out



I have been wanting to blog about this topic for a while. Working out has become a part of my life, especially in the past year. I have always been an active person but last year I kicked it up a notch.
Last March I joined a gym. I felt like I really needed to do it. For my sanity, as a stress reliever, to get me out of my "same old, same old" routine, and of course to help me feel a bit better about this 30 year old, mom of 2 body of mine.
It costs me $40 a month which I sell extra things on Ebay to pay for. It includes the classes and childcare for Ezra. Although we are trying desperately to watch our finances and pay off debt, for me this $40 is the best spent money and non negotiable in our budget discussions (I gave up cable to keep the gym). I can sacrifice the hair cuts, the expensive makeup, and the girls nights out right now so I can have my time to work out.
This morning I headed to my hip hop dance class which was followed by a yoga class. The hip hop class helps me let loose a bit and reminds me to not take myself so seriously! I love to get in there and shake my boot-ay to the music. I crack up at myself at least once, usually more, during that time! The time doing yoga really reminds to to take time to breathe deeply and just listen to my body. During the day I find I am focusing all of my energies on the boys, my husband, and my responsibilities, that I neglect this body of mine. I forget to loosen my shoulders, unclench my jaw, and just fill my lungs with air. Its so necessary!
So I encourage all of you to pay attention to and pamper your body. I want nothing more than to be a good mom to my boys and one of the best ways I can do that is to care for myself so I am healthy, relaxed (not stressed), energetic, and happy. I also want to be a great wife and I find I am much easier to get along with when I work out. Also, I feel more confident in my own skin and feel sexy wearing fun little lingerie :)
Now, with all of this said...if you cannot pay to go to a gym, thats ok! For YEARS I just used Tae Bo videos or yoga dvd's at home. I even found a great 30 minute workout on PBS called "Body Electric" that I did after having Canaan.
I am not up to snuff on the health benefits of working out. I don't have the data or the percentages but obviously it is good for us and helps keep us looking and feeling younger and healthier and happier.
If nothing else, spend 30 minutes a day dancing around your house. Turn up the music and dance with the kids. The boys and I love to dance around and act silly. Or start a garden this spring and spend time digging, pulling weeds, tilling, and planting.
Lets be the healthiest, hottest, and happiest mama's (and daddy's) we can be!

Partying all night long...

Well, maybe not all night long. But a 9pm party to a 6 year old seems like all night long!



We had a great time last night for Canaan's birthday. He had planned out a menu of his favorites to eat (nachos, creamy chicken pasta, and bruschetta). Friends came over, Wii was played, gifts were opened, and fun was had all around.
I made Canaan's gifts this year. We had taken him to the museum for his big gift this year so all else was handmade.



He has been wanting a sock monkey so I made my first sock monkey and he loves anything Wii at this point in life so Mike used Photoshop to make a Wii design and I whipped up this little number.

Monday, February 09, 2009



Happy Birthday Sweet Canaan! I can't believe you are 6 years old now. You have such an amazing spirit and you make everyday so special. We are so proud of you and love you with all that we are.



(Canaan was 4 months old when we traveled on a 6 week trip to a tribe in Papua New Guinea)












Canaan's 6th birthday is tomorrow. I can't believe another year has come and gone and my dear sweet little Canaan is 6! I try to not get too sentimental about it all but of course its so hard seeing my little baby grow up. I am so proud of him. He is such an amazing little guy. He always has an encouraging word to give and is so optimistic and positive. He is full of life and loves those around him so much. Just yesterday we were all dancing in the living room. Canaan kept saying "wow mom, you are such a good dancer!" Then he said "and you are so beautiful too." How amazing is that?
Mike and I decided that instead of buying Canaan gifts this year we would surprise him and take him to the Indianapolis Childrens Museum for the day. He has been asking to go to a children's museum since we visited the Portland C.M. last fall in Maine. I was listening to NPR the other week and heard a story about the C.M. in Indianapolis and that it is the world's largest.
It took 3 hours to get up there which meant we were up and out the door on Saturday morning at 7:30am. After a long day of playing, exploring, learning, and laughing we rolled back in town at 9pm...looonnnnggg day! But well worth it :)Also~ we were loving the fact that at the dino exhibit, the dinosaurs bones were REAL, not casts. All were found in the US on farms and such. The T Rex was found by a kid on his farm in South Dakota!


Dinosaur Rubbings




Learning about Rivers and Streams



Parachute fun



A Real Indy RaceCar





After a long weekend we settled in last night for a nice quiet dinner. I made a quick frittata and a salad and we sat, candlelight, with the boys and had a wonderful, yet simple, meal. Canaan loves eating by candlelight and having nice music playing and so do I. We tucked them in bed, and as is tradition around here for the past few months, Mike pulls out this old hymn book we found at a thrift store and sings old hymns to the boys. Then they all sing "Holy, holy, holy" together before they go to sleep. It is the best part of the day...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

7 Days~21 Meals ~$70



My friend Kristie and I have been having ongoing discussions about our grocery expenditures. I think this is one of my biggest frustrations nowdays.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, getting out of debt in 2009 is one of our resolutions. This means, although we live very frugally anyhow, we are really going to have to buckle down and work to get this paid off in a year.

Which brings me to those pesky grocery store outings...I find it hard to still feed the family the healthy way that we choose to eat AND try to bring our grocery bill down each week. Does anyone else have these same frustrations?

I found this website today that I had a good time looking through. See what you think...

hillbilly housewife

I also found this website which I was able to get a ton of great recipes from for next weeks menu. They have a whole section for budget friendly meals and kid friendly healthy meals. I am looking forward to trying the Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers (Canaan loves chicken fingers!)

Eating Well

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

And They Said It Couldn't Be Done...

For 10 years now Mike and I have been married. And for 10 years now my dear, sweet, mother-in-law has said at least 3567 times (I think that is an understatement), "I need to clean out my craft room!". In her quaint brick home tucked away in the mountains of southeast Kentucky, she has a room in her home titled the "craft room". Mike affectionately calls it the "crap room". The room has good intentions of being a craft room. There are definitely crafty things in this room but over time it has become the room we just stand at the door and throw things into because there is no chance of actually walking around the room. It essentially is a room with overloaded shelves on the walls and literally stuff piled up to your waist.
So last weekend after hearing "I need to clean out my craft room" 3567 times in 10 years I announced to Mike that we were going to go clean out that craft room for her if it was the last thing we did.
So off we went. It is a quick 2.5 hour trip to her home deep in the holler. We arrived at 4:30 on Friday night and by 5pm I was writing out signs that went up around the living room that said things like "sewing, ribbon, screen printing, books, etc..."

Before Pics



The Living Room being Filled with Craft Room Goodies

Between Mikes brother, Mike, Joe Anne, and I we had the room fairly emptied and in piles around the living room in about an hour. It was at that point that I realized I had gotten myself into a really big mess. Joe Anne will self admit that she hates to get rid of anything. And I do mean anything. She loves all crafty things...even down to 4 inches of ribbon left on a spool. So needless to say, I began to feel a bit overwhelmed at the task ahead.

Working Late into the Night


By midnight I headed to bed and was up working again at 8am. We literally organized everything in every box, bag, basket, and plastic tote. I created a sewing area for her where her fabric is now color coordinated , her spools of thread are color coordinated in mason jars, and her needles are tucked away nicely in a basket. She has a designated area for her ribbon and florals, her craft books, and her screen printing supplies. I turned an old set of drawers into storage and clearly labeled each drawer with its contents.








I do have to say, I can't believe it all fit back in there with a cohesive theme and plenty of room to walk around. There is even a work space for her!
It took a total of 15 laborious hours but it is done and I think she is happy with the turnout.

There is floor space!


The best thing about the entire project was that she found her engagement ring and Mike's dads wedding ring that she wore around her neck after Mike's dad passed away. She thought it was stolen over 6 years ago and she found it tucked away in a medicine bag after all this time! It made the entire project completely worthwhile!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Kentucky State Fair...Here I Come!

Last year I entered 2 cakes in the Kentucky State Fair. I LOVE state fairs (although I am partial to the Ohio State Fair) and have always wanted to enter cakes and cookies, quilts and paintings. Well last summer I decided to enter the 2008 KSF in August. Luckily I called the offices just days before the entry sign up deadline and signed up to enter 2 cakes. Once I signed up, they sent the official "Rules" book along with my personalized tags to attach to the cakes. I was also given certain times to bring the cakes (which is 1 1/2 hrs. away in Louisville).
It was so exciting bringing the cakes the day of entry. There were hundreds of people piling out of their cars and into the exhibition halls with their homemade wines, matted artwork, photographs, fish tanks, crafts, and food.
I won 3rd place for my chocolate cake. You can see that here .
I couldn't believe how many entries were in each division! Just in my layered chocolate cake division there were over 30!
I decided last year that I would start earlier on entries for the 2009 KSF. Last fall I spent a couple of hours going through the book that lists the different categories one can enter. It is astonishing what catagories can be entered into a fair. Here are a few that I am hoping to enter: decorated Christmas tree, chair seat covers, place mats, bibs, half apron, and full apron.
So I finally started last week working on an entry. Its my half apron entry. I decided to stray a bit from the predictable kitchen apron and did a craft apron. This is risky, I think, but I hope it will hold its own among the other entries.
I have 6 months to get things done. I am sure I will only get to about half of what I'd like and that's ok too...






I'd encourage you to call and have your state's fair office send you a book of entries for the 2009 year. It really is super fun and is a nice state tradition to be a part of. Plus it is a real money maker! I won not only a ribbon but got a check for $8 in the mail :) !! That got me 3 skim milk lattes at Starbucks :)