Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Busy, Busy

Things are hopping around here right now! Wahoo! We finally got someone in here to rebuild our basement bathroom. Yes, that was April that I mentioned it. It took us up until about 2 weeks ago to get anywhere on it. I'll show ya that later. Its not finished yet.

We also have a new garage door coming on Monday. We ordered that over 2 months ago and what should have been 2 weeks turned into 10ish? Apparently we weren't the only ones looking for a new door right now. Figures!

BUT . . . I did find a bit of time to be crafty lately. I have been working on the little crochet animals in the evenings, but I managed to make a quilt top. Yay! It was super easy and came together quickly. Wonder how long it will take me to get it quilted??

It is my version of a quilt that is included in the Amy Butler software. I didn't quite get the colors I was going for, but it will do. I would have liked the gray a bit darker and the yellow a little more subtle. Oh well. I guess that's what happens when you buy fabrics online.

I do like it, though. It is intended for the Little Man. If I ever do finish it. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jellycat Plush

I found these stuffed animals from Jellycat awhile ago and contemplated getting something for the Little Man. Aren't they cute? These are the bashful animals.

I find myself torn between wanting to buy him everything and wanting my house less cluttered. What?! Those don't go together?? It is Christmas, though...

Monday, December 14, 2009

KitchenAid Pasta Press

photos from Williams Sonoma

Did you happen to see this KitchenAid Pasta Press on Martha? I soo need one. Or maybe not at that price. But I want one. It looked so easy and the packaging they did for the pasta was cute.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Amigurumi

I worked on more of these little animals over Thanksgiving and I finished several little ones.

The bear needs a bow or something, doesn't he?

This is Dutch in amigurumi form. Sorta.

The penguin is my favorite. He's silly looking, but cute.

I really need to hurry up if I'm going to get any more made for Christmas, don't I? I've gotten sidetracked with other things just lately. I'll hopefully get around to showing you what those things are soon!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Outdoor Lights

I know this will be super-fascinating, but I was excited that we finally bought outdoor lights. The old ones needed to be replaced badly, but I was looking for something in brushed nickel that I liked and never did find anything, at least in my price range. So I finally gave up and we bought these instead. We've ordered a new garage door and I figure that they will match any hardware that we put on that. So yay! One small thing checked off my list.


After - does anyone else think it seems weird to have a single light up there like that?
I'd rather put up one on each side, but oh well. There are house numbers underneath it,
so that helps a little, but still. It feels a little strange to me.

Front porch before - chipped paint on the railing and all!

After - whoops! Forgot to take an after for the front door and a before for the side. Whatever. They're the same light. I finally got The Man to finish painting the railings for me.
Looks much better.

After - side door light.

There's so much more to be done, but those old lights were really bugging me! One thing at a time........

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Amigurumi Elephant

Have you ever tried amigurumi? I've thought about it, but I always assumed it would be more complicated than it looks or would be too time-consuming. I decided to give it a go the other night, and make some little animals for the Little Man.

It wasn't hard at all. The hardest part is sewing all those little pieces on. That hurt my fingers, but I didn't have the right needle and it was a giant pain in the butt trying to get it threaded with the yarn.

Isn't this little elephant adorable? I hope he likes him! Now I have to decide whether or not to save him for Christmas... I realize the Little Man won't remember either way, but I should give him something for Christmas, don't you think?

I'm envisioning a little galvanized bucket filled with amigurumi animals, handmade by his Mama for his first Christmas. Perhaps I will do that. Now I need to make a run to grab some more appropriate colored yarn for these animals. I actually picked the elephant because I had gray on hand.

Patterns are from Lion Brand....elephant here and lots more here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Measuring Spoons

I saw these Measuring spoons from Anthropologie as a Christmas gift idea in the December issue of Country Living, I believe. I think perhaps I need these!


Is it sad that I've discovered some cute pictures of the Little Man that I don't remember taking?? I'm running about a month behind in editing my pictures and I found some last night that I'd forgotten about. Ack. That's what I get for taking so many, huh?

I guess I'll get to them all eventually . . . Too many is better than too few!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Child's Bookshelf

I have been going through my Cottage Living magazines recently, looking for something that I think I remember seeing in there and not finding it. I am starting to think perhaps that it is in another magazine. Ugh. This is going to take me awhile to find, I'm afraid. In the meantime, I've been copying recipes and other things that catch my eye, since I have a terrible habit of putting down magazines and forgetting altogether the things in them that I liked.

Anyway. I found this in one of the issues. Unfortunately, I've already forgotten which one, and I'm not going to look it up to find out but I scanned it in to save it for when we start putting together the Little Man's room.

The Little Man is currently set up in my office and as much as I like that, I think its a bad idea. At least for long-term. I am not getting as much work done as I would like and I think after the beginning of the year, he's going to move into the spare room so I can get some work done while he's asleep.

I think this is simple enough that perhaps I can persuade The Man to replicate for me. I like the idea of having a little bookshelf that the Little Man can reach. We'll have to see - its a little room!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Single Serving Pie in a Jar

What a cute idea! I am now craving little strawberry rhubarb pies with a crumb topping.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

I just finished watching the first season of HBO's "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Its based on a series of books by Alexander McCall Smith. I discovered his books a couple years ago and have read them all as they've come out (there are several ongoing series) and have enjoyed them. They're light and funny.

It was interesting to see the book as a show and The Man and I both enjoyed it. It was taped entirely on location in Botswana and the scenery is beautiful and even the credits and colors of the whole thing were bright and beautiful. I'm not sure what I expected Botswana to look like, but it was interesting to see the actual place after having read the books.

Check it out. Its available from Netflix. You should really also check out his books as well. Our library has most of them available as e-audiobooks, so I imagine that other libraries do as well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Long Walk in the Woods

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I decided to take a short little trip that was supposed to be a nice hike through a wetlands area and end up at a waterfall. It was something that we had read about in Pursuits magazine (a magazine about Pennsylvania designed to get you to visit PA) and since it was near the outlets in Grove City as well, we thought we'd go up, take a nice walk, take some pictures and hit the outlets before heading home.

I'm not sure what's wrong with us, but we didn't read the article as closely as we should have, apparently. We knew it was about 3 miles back to the falls, but it seemed to take forever and for some reason, I was thinking a 3 mile loop. The wetlands, while interesting, were not an hour's worth of interesting. We saw lots of redwinged blackbirds and one crane.

The Little Man behaved wonderfully. He doesn't mind just looking around at everything usually. Dutch gave up after awhile and insisted on being carried. We walked and walked and wondered where in the world the waterfall was. Finally, we came to the main road. Where was the waterfall? Did we miss it?

I got a little bit of cell reception, so I called Mom & Dad and asked them to read the article to me again. Turns out it was just down the main road a little ways and behind an antique shop. The walk through the wetlands was completely unnecessary and most definitely not a loop. We had, however, parked our car back at the other end of this loooooong trail and it was getting dark, so we turned around and made the hour long walk back to the car.

By then, of course, it was time to feed the Little Man again so we gave up on the waterfall altogether. I was tired of walking and lugging around the camera and the dog and The Man had carried the Little Man the whole way. We were both starving. So we popped in to the outlets long enough to look at Carters and decide that the clothes were entirely too expensive for such a little person and we got fast food for dinner.

Moral of the story is read the entire article closely. Next time, at least, we know where the dumb waterfall is and we won't have to walk through the boring wetlands to get to it. At least the weather was nice and the trail was pretty.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Occasionally, we have some visitors to our backyard that I like to snap pics of and send to my Dad, because they get lots of turkeys at their house and he enjoys them. I like to remind him that we even get them in the big city. Dad always teases that mine are just decoys.

So these are my decoys wandering around the back yard and finding things to eat. I don't mind these visitors. They don't eat my flowers like the other visitors tend to.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh, Good Grief.

I need these.

image from Victoria Trading Company

spotted at Bakerella

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Hat

I made a hat for the Little Man this week from this pattern that I tried for myself awhile back. It took me several tries to get it right. I had to undo it and add more rows and use a bigger hook than called for to fit him. I crochet rather tight and maybe he has a big head. I don't know. But it fits and its done and since it doesn't take too long to make, I didn't mind too much. I think it looks much better on him than mine does on me! Perhaps its the lack of hair.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Soup for Fall

I found this recipe for butternut squash soup last fall when Mom gave me some squash and I had no idea what to do with it. The soup smells heavenly while cooking - onions & garlic and then cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cayenne pepper. Mmm. Its a bit sweet, but it has a nice bite to it. I'd consider it more of an appetizer or side rather than main course, but its nice and even The Man likes it.

I didn't take a picture because I didn't have a chance, and well, its orange soup. Use your imagination.

Creamy Butternut Squash with Cinnamon Soup


* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 1/2 pounds peeled and seeded butternut squash , cut into 1-inch chunks
* 1 large onion, cut into large dice
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 pinch sugar
* 3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 3 cups chicken broth, homemade or from a carton or can
* 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk)
* Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Garnish: store-bought apple chips


1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep saute pan until shimmering.

2. Add butternut squash, then onion; saute, stirring very little at first, then more frequently, until squash start to turn golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to low and add butter, sugar and garlic; continue cooking until all vegetables are a rich spotty caramel color, about 10 minutes longer.

4. Add cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cayenne pepper; continue to saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.

5. Add broth; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.

6. Using an immersion blender or traditional blender, puree until very smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (If using a traditional blender, vent it either by removing the lid's pop-out center or by lifting one edge of the lid. Drape the blender canister with a kitchen towel. To 'clean' the canister, pour in a little half-and-half, blend briefly, then add to the soup.)

7. Return to pan (or a soup pot); add enough half-and-half so the mixture is souplike, yet thick enough to float garnish. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed. Heat through, ladle into bowls, garnish and serve.

Original recipe located here.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Mobile Modifications

I've been wanting to do something else to the little man's mobile for awhile now, but couldn't quite decide what. I tried just punching out circles and hanging them in there, but it wasn't doing it for me. Then I remembered Martha's bird mobile. Perfect.

I printed out the template and cut one out of black cardstock. I liked it, so I made more. You can get 8 out of one sheet of paper and it doesn't take very long. My kind of crafting, these days . . .

I made the birds last night after he went to sleep and hung them up this afternoon. I think I like it! Unless you consider that the black birds are slightly creepy, but I still like it. You could always do it in patterned paper or other colors or shapes, for that matter, I suppose. Come to think of it, robin's egg blue might be even better.

For now, anyway, it satisfies me. Its nice and simple.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Crochet Slippers

photo belongs to Lisa van Klaveren

Found these via the Etsy shop of Lisa van Klaveren of Holland Designs. Its a free pattern of hers at Petite Purls for crochet ballet slipper flats They look cute. I'm tempted to try them - too bad I don't have any little girls! Maybe I will anyway just for the heck of it.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I Actually Sewed Something

I am full of big ideas. I think its because I've managed to surround myself with inspiration from all the blogs, magazines, catalogs, and TV that are full of things that I just have to have or make. The problem is, I never get enough time or focus or whatever to do the things that I would like to.

Part of it is because I am cheap. Part of it is because the Man and I sometimes can't make a decision to save our lives. Part of it is because there are too many ideas, too little time. Whatever it is, its ridiculous and frustrating. I've got to adjust my expectations down to realistic levels and learn to be content with whatever it is that I can do with what I've got. And try to focus.

So that's where I'm at. My house is a mess, there are projects started and not finished. There are improvements that should be made to our house. But we'll get there. Right now, I am trying to just enjoy a certain little man who smiles and laughs and thinks its hilarious if I squeal back when he squeals. I am crazy about the little monkey.

But anyway. I did sew something the other day. I saw this bedskirt at Pottery Barn and I wanted it. I figured I could just add buttons to my bedskirt and get the same thing. It would make those pleats lay nicer.

I couldn't find any fabric-covered buttons, so I just bought these shell buttons cause I thought they were prettier, anyway. I took it off the bed and measured 3" down the pleat and sewed them on. I wrestled the thing back on the bed and then it occurred to me. You'll never see them! The duvet is much too long for that. Suck. Now what? I don't know. I'm still mulling that one over.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Pics on the Wall

Its amazing! I finally hung some pictures on the wall! Okay, there are a few hung up in my house, but precious few. The Man likes to give me a hard time about all the pictures that I have sitting around that are never hung up. My official reason is that I'm waiting until we get our "real" furniture so that I know for sure where I want to hang them. Nevermind that we may not actually buy furniture anytime soon.

So Mom had the idea awhile back that I should frame our feet pictures and hang them above our bed. I actually thought that was a good idea and so I tried to get the pictures printed at Costco. I found frames first so that I could make sure I had the right size. It can be hard to find square frames. I picked these up at Ikea. BTW, did you know that Costco now prints 8x8 and 12x12's? That's cool. That will be nice for scrapbooking. If I ever get around to doing anyway. I have plans. Big plans.

Anyway. So I submitted my pictures to Costco online and got a phone call the next day to let me know that they couldn't print them. She wasn't sure why, but perhaps they were not high enough resolution. The computer was just kicking them out. Okie doke. I made them bigger and resubmitted them. At least they called. I was surprised at that. Then I went in to pick them up. They were kicked out again and they couldn't tell me why. I knew that they were plenty big enough that time.

They gave me a phone number for technical support. I e-mailed customer service online and for some reason, they just resubmitted my order again. Same one. So I stopped in again. No. Still didn't print. ARGH! This time, I decided to try to make them smaller. Good grief, it worked. Who knew? They don't tell you anywhere that there is a maximum size that they can be. The whole thing was just ridiculous. But anyway. I got them. After something like a month.........

I'm not quite sure that I love them there above the bed. Perhaps its just the bed frame that doesn't look right with it. But whatever. I have pictures hung. And that's a good thing.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Pumpkin Hats

I always thought those pumpkin hats were quite goofy, but then I saw this. . .

Oh good grief. Might want a pumpkin hat for Jack. I need a photo like that.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big Bad Wolf

Need a big bad wolf costume for your dog?? Awesome.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

SWAK Embroidery

I found SWAK Embroidery a little while back and really wanted to do some more embroidery. Check out the monkey. Wouldn't that be cute? There's one for applique and one that is completely embroidered. Of course, there are other animals as well.

Also found this cute polka dot alphabet.

And applique alphabets.

And an argyle font frame.

Also found instructions for embroidering on a baby onesie. I was wondering how you would do that.

Anyway, it gave me the "bug", but unfortunately, I don't have time to mess with that stuff right now. I really have other things to focus on around here, such as my messy house, but I'm filing this away for later.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Monkey Quilt

Still not accomplishing much creatively since my little monkey takes up all of my time, but I borrowed this book from the library the other day to check it out. There was a cute monkey quilt by Laurraine Yuyama of Patchwork Pottery. I have filed that away for future reference. Perhaps a monkey quilt of some sort is in Jack's future. Someday. Check out the pictures on Flickr.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fern Animals

Found this little bird awhile ago and loved it. Seriously, how stinkin cute. I need one for my window ledge. Check them out on Etsy and Big Cartel. More photos of her adorable birds here.