Phew! Christmas was fun, but the preparations were stressful (more than I'd prefer for next year). We had so much fun at both Rob's and my family's homes. I had my first experience picking out a paint color and painting a room, (it's a lot harder than I thought), finished some little presents for people, and had a lot of fun with family. Jack was pretty good, he just didn't sleep through the night very well. I was pretty much a zombie for a lot of our vacation, but I still had a lot of fun.
We got back Sunday night, and yesterday, I pretty much just relaxed and hung out with Jack. Today, however, I got back into the swing of things. I folded laundry, organized Rob's side of the closet and our winter box full of clothes, made a big pile of things for donations (pretty sure Rob will take most of them back like always), cleaned the kitchen, mended some clothes, and made dinner. I also ate breakfast and lunch (often times, Jack doesn't let me).
Now that I'm listing this, I don't know how Jack let me do it. He must have liked the pile of pillows I set him on so he could watch me as I worked. He's such a cute boy and I love him so much.
Note on the goals: I finally finished the slippers for my little sister and painting of the Logan temple, but didn't take pictures of them. I'm almost done with the stockings, and will probably finish them tonight or tomorrow. I didn't do as much as I'd hoped, but that's what New Years is all about right?
Soft Sugar Cookies
makes: 2-3 dozen
oven: 350 degrees
1/2 cup soft butter (or 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in remaining ingredients.
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sift together and add to the creamed mixture. Mix until blended.
Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and cut. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup soft butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-5 tablespoons evaporated milk (or milk, it's just not as creamy)
Mix butter, about 2 cups sugar, vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk until smooth.
Gradually add enough sugar and/or milk until frosting is of spreading consistency. You want a nice creamy flavor- not too sweet and sugary.
Happy cookie making!
One year after Christmas, my parents gathered boxes for each of my siblings to put his or her special ornaments in. Mine was a big wreath box wrapped in plaid paper and one of my sisters' was an appliance box wrapped in green paper with Santas on it. Most of the Christmases I remember included these boxes. They were special because we each got to choose the paper, and they held all of our special ornaments. One of my goals before Christmas was to re-wrap my ornament box. The paper was tearing off and needed to be replaced. As easy of a goal as it was, I finally did it! Last year, I got some beautiful paper at a boutique. It was so beautiful, I didn’t wrap any presents in it because I didn’t want it to get ripped into pieces. I decided to use it to wrap my ornament box. I’m so happy because I’ll be able to look at it every year and it won’t get ripped into shreds until I replace it. I realized as I began, that my box has be red plaid for 11 years! Apparently, this fun day took place on January 2, 1997. Here is what it looked like. Now my ornament box looks like this: Lovely! I also made some ornament boxes for Rob and Jack. They’re just little shoe box size, but as their collection grows, so will their boxes. Here is Rob's: Jack’s box is very a shiny gold swirl. I originally didn’t know what to wrap it with, but while I was wrapping other presents, he kept grabbing at the gold. I cut off a piece, and it has become his new favorite toy. We also got ornaments for us this year! I’m so excited. They’re all wrapped, so I can’t show you, but just so you know, they are awesome.
One year after Christmas, my parents gathered boxes for each of my siblings to put his or her special ornaments in. Mine was a big wreath box wrapped in plaid paper and one of my sisters' was an appliance box wrapped in green paper with Santas on it. Most of the Christmases I remember included these boxes. They were special because we each got to choose the paper, and they held all of our special ornaments.
One of my goals before Christmas was to re-wrap my ornament box. The paper was tearing off and needed to be replaced. As easy of a goal as it was, I finally did it! Last year, I got some beautiful paper at a boutique. It was so beautiful, I didn’t wrap any presents in it because I didn’t want it to get ripped into pieces. I decided to use it to wrap my ornament box. I’m so happy because I’ll be able to look at it every year and it won’t get ripped into shreds until I replace it.
I realized as I began, that my box has be red plaid for 11 years! Apparently, this fun day took place on January 2, 1997. Here is what it looked like.
Now my ornament box looks like this:
I also made some ornament boxes for Rob and Jack. They’re just little shoe box size, but as their collection grows, so will their boxes.
Here is Rob's:
Jack’s box is very a shiny gold swirl. I originally didn’t know what to wrap it with, but while I was wrapping other presents, he kept grabbing at the gold. I cut off a piece, and it has become his new favorite toy.
We also got ornaments for us this year! I’m so excited. They’re all wrapped, so I can’t show you, but just so you know, they are awesome.
So, I woke up from Jack's crying this morning at 5 am. Not 12:30, then 2, then 3:30, then 5 and so on until I finally got out of bed. This is the first time I've slept 5 hours straight in probably 3 weeks. I feel especially rested this morning and since I got out of bed at 9:30 instead of 11:30, I think I will blog.
A month ago, I posted a list of very ambitious goals. I didn't think they were ambitious at the time, but now I know for a fact that they were too ambitious for me. I have finished 4 1/2 of the project goals and 1 of the study goals. The food goals?... obviously my last priority... again.
I have been especially stressed and busy this Christmas season. I'm surprised, because it is the first time in 4 years that the season hasn't had the dooming cloud of finals. I feel more stressed than I did with finals. Rob says it is because of the lack of sleep. I have to agree with him. Little things are always harder when you aren't well rested.
For example, yesterday I took Rob to work and had to wake up at 7:30 am. Shouldn't be too bad, right? Wrong. I got out of bed and went to the kitchen to grab a quick breakfast. I looked in the sink and the dishes were piled up. I almost cried because I felt to exhausted to have to deal with it. After I dropped Rob off and came home, I went back to bed and slept til 11:30. I woke up and the dishes weren't so burdensome- no tears at all. I finished them in 15 minutes.
Anyway, I don't have pictures yet of my few accomplishments, but I thought I would post one. I made felt finger puppets for my nephew James' Christmas present, and actually finished them in two nights! I was very persistent because felt spread all over the floor is very messy. They were a quick and fun project.
Jack likes these a lot too. I think I will make some more for him after Christmas.
Every Christmas that I can remember, I've received an ornament from my parents. I also usually receive one or two from a grandparent or aunt also. We always got to open our ornament presents on Christmas Eve so we could put them on the tree for Christmas morning. It has been a treasured tradition and memory for each of us.
In our family ornaments are very special keepsakes. Each of my siblings has a special ornament box filled with our little treasures. Every Christmas, we pull out our boxes, and together reminisce about previous Christmases. One by one we unwrap our ornaments and mention how beautiful each is. We loved to show our ornaments to all our friends. When Rob and I were engaged, I went through the whole box with him.
I've probably bored many friends to tears with this ritual, so I won't show you all of them, just some of my favorites.
This has been my favorite one since I got it. I'm pretty sure I made all my sisters jealous that Christmas. It's so exquisite.
This is another favorite. I probably got it 4 or 5 years ago. Of course I love fairies, and this is made so beautifully.
I got this from one of my great-grandmothers when I was very young. My sister got a banjo that matches. One of the lute strings is broken, but I still love it!
My mom gave us this a few years ago when we were engaged (We got married right after Christmas). I love it! and it makes me happy to think of that special Christmas.
So yesterday, I asked Robert what type of ornament he wants this Christmas. He acted suprised, "I'm getting an ornament?" Yes. The tradition will continue.
I was checking all of my favorite design blogs the other day and what did I see but someone asking for suggestions for a fairy birthday party! Totally up my alley. I always want to go to fairy tea parties in the library, but realize that it would look funny to go without a little girl. I've always wanted to throw a party, but I'm not sure who to invite. I'm a little obsessed with fairies, and I don't know many people who feel the same way I do.
This table setting basically consists of a gorgeous Amy Butler tablecloth (well, a hemmed piece of fabric), wooden bowls to hold little treats, brown and green partyware, and a beautiful centerpiece of pink gerbera daisies. Ideally, I would want acorn looking teacups, but I couldn't find them anywhere.
When I was little, our favorite birthday party game was "Dance Freeze." Pretty, much you just get to dance around and when the music stops, everyone freezes. If someone moves a little or keeps dancing, they're out.
The idea behind the mushrooms is fairy rings. It is said that when you find a circle of mushrooms, it is called a fairy ring. Fairies and elves supposedly dance around in circles and create these fairy rings.
Little mushrooms on the ground and little girls dancing would be very fitting for a fairy party.
I found the darling colorful wooden mushrooms here. Or, if you would like more budget friendly mushrooms, make some out of colored paper.
Any mommy planning a fairy party needs to refer to this book. It is full of awesome ideas for a fairy party. It tells you how to make pixie dust, fairy crowns and fairy wings. It also has some recipes of little fairy foods.
Also, every fairy friend should go home with something fairy. Be it fairy wings, pixie dust or a crown.
I've been collecting felt for the stockings and animal puppets I plan on making. I came home with my last stack of felt earlier this week and laid it all out. Every time I look at it, I just feel glee. So many beautiful colors!
So, I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday. Amazingly, it was the best surgery I've ever had. I can't believe I was able to do the dishes yesterday and start a pattern of a pea coat for Jack. I decided that since the loratab is causing me to loose focus, I would write down everything I would like to do before Christmas. Hopefully, this will help me accomplish my goals.
- Make slippers (Please refer to this if you want to make them too)
- Finish painting of Bountiful Temple
- Paint picture of Logan Temple
- Make little felt finger puppets similar to these
- Make Jack's pea coat
- Finish dress/skirt (I started to make a dress I designed last year, but realized I ran out of fabric. I still need to figure out if I can squeeze a dress in, or just make a skirt).
- Make an 1800's Christmas Caroling dress
- Make a plum-colored jacket to match the Caroling dress
- Wrap my ornament box
- Finish Jack's bedding and quilt
- Finish blanket I started a year and a half ago
- Make family Christmas stockings like this
- Finish the Book of Mormon
- Pull out my French grammar book and review so I don't forget everything when I start studying Italian next year
- Listen to a book on CD by James Barry
- Read all the Conference talks
- Write in journal about all tender mercies I've been experiencing lately
- Get 5 recipes down really well, so I can actually cook something for dinner more than twice a week
- Make pumpkin pie
If you're like me, you will watch movies over and over again just to study the styles and fashion shown in the movie (especially vintage ones!). Luckily, I have a lot of sisters who will do this with me because it's not Rob's most favorite activity.
My top vintage fashionista movie stars:
1. Grace Kelly: Grace Kelly has such a classic and beautiful style. I don't believe I have seen a movie in which I didn't like her outfit.
Some favorite Grace Kelly movies for fashion:
- Rear Window
- Dial M. for Murder
- High Society
- To Catch a Thief
2. Ginger Rogers: The 1930's is pretty much my favorite era. Ginger Rogers has such beautiful flowing dresses to dance in. I can't say I've loved every one of her outfits, but she is definitely always wearing serious haute couture.
Good Ginger Rogers fashion movies:
- Top Hat
- Swing Time
- The Gay Divorcee
- Shall we dance
3. Audrey Hepburn: I'm not a fan of all her movies, but definitely her clothes. Her style is so timeless.
Favorite fashion movies with Audrey:
- Roman Holiday
- My Fair Lady
4. Norma Shearer: Some of the early 1930's movies are a little out of control, but I love how Norma Shearer dresses.
Favorite fashion movies with Norma:
- The Women (If you are into vintage fashion, you have to watch this movie before you die. It even has a color fashion show!)
- Marie Antionette (Wonderful movie. Just heart wrenching!)
Yesterday, Rob and I were outside at night and the sky was this color! I usually only see this color when it's about to snow. It didn't snow last night, but it did rain. As much as I don't like winter, I love the winter sky.
Halloween was so fun this year! I loved doing a family theme. My 15 year old sister drew out a picture of our family at Jack's blessing and it finally convinced me to give up Jack Frost, and do Jack and the Beanstalk. Our costumes pretty much represent her picture (I wish I could have gotten a good picture of it to post). Rob is the beanstalk, I'm the goose that laid the golden egg, and Jack is Jack. She is so creative and cute! Anyway, with a few modifications, we came up with our costumes!
My sister called the other day and needed help for a Halloween costume. We put this one together in a few hours, then had a photo shoot.
We used my practice wedding dress, some vintage black and white hats and hairpieces, and sheer fabric. Check out that creepy wedding ring: a diamond on a spider! White cream and black and dramatic makeup, it makes for a glam ghoul bride!
I made a diaper cake for the first time yesterday. I did a monkey theme because there were monkeys showing every which way I rolled them. I used construction and tissue paper for the leaves, tissue paper for the yellow bands, and felt for the monkey and butterflies. I got the monkey shape from here and the idea for leaves around the cake from here. It's held together with rubber bands and wire. It was so fun!
I was looking through my labels, and noticed that there is only one for recipes. Because of how often I cook, I probably shouldn't have even put a label of recipes, but for some reason I did.
Anyway, there is one thing that I can make. Right after my freshman year, I moved to an apartment complex with a girl who was a very good cook. She gave me her delicious roll recipe and I used it every week my sophomore year. I had this recipe memorized, but now since I've had a nine month break from doing anything with the hot oven, I have forgotten the recipe. I did, however find a good one, and that is the one I will post. I got it from some place online, but I figure that since I'll use my dad's instructions instead of what the recipe says, I don't have to figure out where I got it from.
- 1 cup milk (110 degrees F) note: since I have to do the dishes, and don't like cleaning scalded milk, I usually just use 1/2 cup hot water, and 1/2 milk
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (haha, margarine)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 4 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons yeast
- Put the butter, milk and sugar in a bowl. Add the yeast and let it bubble a little. note: today I had to nurse Jack right before I put the yeast in, and the mixture was too cold. I put some warm water in a cup and put the yeast in that. It tastes pretty much the same, you just use more flour.
- Add the eggs.
- Add the salt after the yeast has germinated some. (My dad told me that salt can stop or slow down the germination, so you don't want to cut it off as soon as you put the yeast in.)
- Put a cup of flour and and begin to stir with a spoon. Continue to add flour until it is too hard to stir. Put in another cup or so of flour and start kneading/mixing with your hands. Add flour until the dough is just slightly sticky, but it pulls away from your fingers. (You'll know when because at first, your hands will be all doughy, but as you add flour, it will start to come off your hands. It is ready when most of the dough is off your hands.)
- Let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
- Grease a pan, and begin to form into roll shapes. (My dad taught me a cool way to do it, so I may post a video on how if anyone is interested.)
- Let rise for a while longer, then pop them in the oven at 375 degrees. My rolls take exactly 15 minutes, but who can tell with a mustard yellow oven from the 1970's.
- Tada! You're done! Eat and enjoy.
Have you ever been walking through a store and found something on sale? Suddenly you get an intense feeling that you will never find something this great for this price again and you think you have to buy it? You may have not planned for it in the budget and you probably don't need it, but you walk out of the store feeling pleased as punch that you got such a great deal. By the end of the month you wonder how you spent so much money.
This seems to happen to me all the time! I like to window shop but for some reason, I can't ever just window shop.
Today is a story about how I conquered the urge! After a dentist appointment, I found a little shopping place in Salt Lake City that had some interesting looking stores. One of them was Banana Republic (one of my favorite stores, but here, I really do window shop), another was Pottery Barn Kids, and there were some other stores I knew could work my creative juices. I determined I would visit the stores with the sole purpose of finding ideas for things I could make.
Rob called me while I was in the parking lot and I told him of my plan. He joked of my confidence in being able to do this. I responded with an anti-bribe that is probably too embarrassing to put here, but I will for the sake of any wife who feels she isn't doing what she should. I told him that if I bought something, I would have to make dinner for him every night this week (p.s. I was only referring to work days). Now all you can just feel better about yourself because at least you're not as bad as me.
Anyway, the anti-bribe worked beautifully. I went inside these stores, got some great ideas and left with only skimming the sale section.
So, sadly, the responses to my previous post about Halloween ideas were unenthusiastically responded to except one: My sister suggested that Jack be Jack from "Jack and the Beanstalk" and Rob should be the beanstalk. Rob was super enthusiastic about being a beanstalk for some reason, and I'm actually alright with being the goose that lays the golden eggs. My Mother Nature idea was getting out of hand anyway. I'll have to do it when I have more money to go all out.
My sister drew a really cute picture of our family dressed up in this theme for Halloween and I couldn't resist. I made Jack's costume today and decided to do a tutorial because it can work for lots of other costume ideas.
This costume was SUPER CHEAP. I actually already had all the supplies but the feather, so it didn't cost me a thing. If you were to go buy the supplies, it would probably come to about $3.
Supplies for Cap:
- 1 piece of 9x12" felt (if you want to make an adult hat, you will need about a 13x13" piece.)
- 3 little safety pins
- yarn or grosgrain ribbon (grosgrain ribbon isn't shiny so it fits the style of the hat more.)
1. Fold the felt so that the edges match on one side.
2. Cut off the extra rectangle piece so the edges match and you have a perfect square.
3. Cut the square in half diagonally so you have two triangles.
4. Sew along the edges that make a right angle. Leave the diagonal cut part open.
5. Press the seams (make sure iron is on a low setting because the felt is probably acrylic or polyester) and turn right side out.
6. Fold up one corner to form the brim and press.
7. Open up the brim again and sew a straight seam at a right angle from the opening of the cap up to the crease of the brim.
8. Trim and fold the brim back up (the seam that you just made should be hidden when the brim is folded back up).
9. Pin two pieces of yarn or ribbon to the underside of the cap. If using yarn, tie a knot at the end, and push the pin through the knot so the yarn stays. I pinned mine off center so the cap point wouldn't go right down the middle of his face, blocking his view.
10. Pin a feather on with the pin on the underside and you're ready to go!
Supplies for Tunic:
- Woven fabric (for a baby, about 1/3 of a yard; for a medium sized adult, about 1 yard)
- Yarn or embroidery floss in a contrasting color
- Needle (if using yarn, an easy threading needle with a split at the top of the eye works best)
1. Lay out a shirt (or onsie) that fits the person who will wear it. Choose a loose t-shirt for an adult.
2. Cut a rectangle out of the fabric, around the shirt, leaving about 2 inches on each side of the shirt. (I forgot how fat Jack is and should have made it wider.)
3. Using the neckline from the t-shirt as a guide, cut a half circle at the top. Although the neckline on the shirt may not be very deep, be sure that it dips down between 3-6" (baby to adult respectively).
4. Cut a slit in the middle of the neckline on one of the layers (3-6" from baby to adult respectively).
5. Sew the two layers together at the side seam and shoulder seams. Leave 4-8" (from baby to adult) open on the sides for the arms. Hem the bottom. Sew a zig-zag stitch around the neckline to reinforce the opening.
6. With the yarn (one or two of the little strings unraveled from a piece of yarn) or embroidery floss, whip stich around the neckline and armholes.
7. Thread some yarn or floss in the slit area to form a criss-cross pattern. Tie a bow at the top.
8. Use some yarn or floss (or some of the grosgrain ribbon from the hat) to tie around the waist. I made my belt thicker by crocheting a single row.
For adult girls:
- You can make a long tunic dress with this pattern. All you would need to do is measure from your shoulder to where you want it to end. Add a few inches for good measure. Note: you will need more fabric for this. Get a little more fabric than the length measurement you took.
- Make sure to measure your bust and bottom before cutting. The width needs to extend 2-3" more than your bust and bottom measurement divided in half. You may not be able to get the tunic on if you don't do this. Don't worry about the waist. After you sinch it in, it will show off your skinny waist (or make you look like you have one!).
I finally finished it!
Here's the story: One day, while I was pregnant, I was at my friend Rachel's house and we were talking about blessing outfits for boys. It's so hard to find really cute ones! So Rachel pulled out this awesome one she uses for her boys. It was the cutest blessing outfit I'd seen, so I decided to make one like it.
She kindly let me borrow it so I could get the pattern and said, "You may want to make it a little longer. It was a little tight on my boys." I finished the pattern (adding length) and got 2/3 way through by the time I had Jack. I had done some pretty embroidery work on it, and it was turning out so well.
When Jack was two weeks old, I thought I would pull it out and start to work on it again. Luckily, I tried it on him before I did. He was way too big for it. I guess I didn't add enough length or Jack is just fat. Frustrated, I put it away, and dreading of having to make another one.
I decided to make it out of linen (I had a white linen shirt that I wasn't going to wear, so I cut it up). We WERE going to bless him in September, so it would have been fine weather for linen, but then Rob got his appendix out.
Anyway, I finally finished it! I didn't bother embroidering it, and I made it extra big, just in case he jumped another 2 pounds it 2 weeks. It's just a little big for him, but I do not care. He grows so fast, it will probably fit him on Sunday. He weighes 14 1/2 lbs and is in the 95% percentile!
I took a lot of pictures of him in it. He's just so cute, I couldn't resist posting more. :)
I was looking around blogs and came across a very cool website: mary engelbreit's home companion. I like the craft page. I especially like the slippers and the headbands. I will be making some varieties of the slippers I'm sure. I wish I had a little girl to make the headbands for, or that I looked good in headbands. (No, I'm not ashamed to wear little girl hair-things. I have little bows from Gymboree like this, that I wear on occasion.)
I have tons of projects I need to finish before I start the slippers, but be on the look out! I will post them when I finish.
I thought that since I'm obsessed with fairies, I should do a post or two or more. Well, this one features my favorite fairy artist: Mary Cicely Barker.
Mary Cicely Barker is famous for her flower fairies. I love them because they have the faces of children and babies. They look innocent and sweet. That's the way I like to think fairies would be if they were real. Mary is a great artist and I love how all her paintings include nature so much.
Here are a few of my favorite paintings: