Archive for January, 2009

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

The Goodnight Garland

Your favorite sweet girl or boy should have one.  I once saw fabric garlands on someone’s blog.  I remember thinking wow, those are really nice but what the heck would I do with one?  Then I read this on someone else’s blog but I had already made a tutu for Chase.  Then I bought a whole whack of lavender to make these levender sachets.  Then yesterday I woke up and thought, eureka!  And that’s how the goodnight garland came to be.  

With the exception of a few things I bought today (more on that later).  I used some bits of tulle and ribbon and some buttons that I had around the house.  I used extra wide bias tape for the main support.  I cut a little heart template out of paper and used it to cut the fabric hearts.  I stitched them on the machine, filled them with lavender and then closed them by hand.  I added buttons to them and then hung them using different lengths of pink bias tape.  There are six sachets spaced out along the garland which measures about 36″ long.  They smell heavenly, I can say that much.  Whether or not they help Chase sleep I have no idea.  She’s a pretty good sleeper so there’s not really anything to measure against.  

The rest of the garland is made up of bits of tulle and ribbon that match the overall scheme of her room. I added two strings of buttons suspended on ribbon just to add a little interest.  You can see them over towards the ends on each side.  I also used a little pink gingham and tore the strips cause I thought the frayed edges looked pretty cute.  

Ok, so more on the things I bought today.  I had tulle on hand in about four different colors, but none in pink.  Last week after gym we drove by “A Fabric Place” on the way to IKEA.  I was intrigued but I couldn’t see the store front and there was no time to stop.  BUT, I took Chase to gym today so I stopped there on the way back…. the place is HEAVEN.  It’s everything you could wish for from an independent fabric store down to the old ladies that just die over little baby girls and who don’t care when she runs wild through the bolts of fabric and squeezes under the shelves and squeals at herself in the three-way mirror.  It’s the kind of place where you buy your buttons individually out of boxes lined up along the wall on a shelf.  I can’t believe I didn’t know about this place.  In any event, I picked up some more ribbon and pink tulle and a few buttons just to finish the project up.  I can see this as an every weekend event.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  It’s just so much closer than the nearest JoAnn’s.  She said they’ve been there for 40 years, unbelievable.

Anyway, Chase loves it.  She showed her daddy when we had it up and showed him how to lean in to smell it.  Then she showed him the cat and duck buttons.  I love this project.  I’d love to try one for a boy.  I think it would be just as cute.

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Thursday, January 29th, 2009

More Quick and Easy with Leftovers

So I’ve been trying really extra hard to be good about planning dinner.  That is in spite of the fact that we ate at Papermoon tonight.  The rest of the week I tried really extra super hard.  So I didn’t plan all the meals at once but I tried to get a handle on it at least the night before.  

First was the soup.  This is like a leftover double whammy because I actually used leftover tomato soup that I froze from last week for the base.  To the tomato base I added some leftover corn that I had served the night before.  I added diced sausages and peppers from the night before that and voila.  Tomato, roasted pepper and corn soup with sausage.  Ben and I both thought it was really yummy plus it used up three different night’s worth of leftovers.  You can’t beat that.  

I learned from Erin that any time you make ground beef or turkey for tacos the recipe should be doubled and frozen.  The result?  A quick supper of taco salad.  It’s delicious because it’s topped with salsa, sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips but it’s not too heavy because I put a solid base of crisp romaine and add a healthy dose of vine ripened tomatoes.  Oh, and cheese, don’t forget the cheese.  I made another serving for myself the next day for lunch and was really happy with how it traveled.  I put all of the components except the toppings and chips in a container, transported the rest separately and then put it together at my desk when I was ready to eat.  It made a great dinner and a satisfying lunch.  *I thought of something else.  I think it’s really important to remove the seeds from the tomatoes.  **I thought of one more thing.  It’s really easy to make your own taco seasoning but if you can’t McCormick’s seems to be the best choice of the supermarket brands.  It has the least additives from my reading of the labels and it’s local company for those in the Baltimore area.

Last but not least the steak and potato hash I put together from the leftovers from a, you guessed it, steak and potatoes dinner.  I cut everything in uniform pieces.  Sauteed some onion, threw in the potatoes and let them get crispy golden brown and delicious.  Then I added the steak to heat through, made a well in the center of the pan and cracked in the eggs.  I know, I shouldn’t post a picture where the eggs aren’t fully cooked through but I didn’t remember to take an after picture.  This one was also a winner.  

So I’m really satisfied with my performance since last weekend.  I managed to get dinner on the table every night and keep the fridge from getting overloaded with leftovers that no one will touch.  All in all I’m chalking it up as a success even if I didn’t sit down and plan everything for the week in advance.  Now if only I can do it again this weekend.  I should start now but I’ll probably take a break tonight.  The Office you know, and start again tomorrow.

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Retail Therapy

On Saturday we took that family trip to IKEA. Since then I’ve been trying to put all the jazz I bought to use so I don’t have to spend the next 6 weeks feeling guilty about buying a lot of stuff for projects I’ll never get to. So far so good.

Ok, so these didn’t come from IKEA.  We dropped our car off at Sears for an oil change while we shopped and on the way up and out of the store I saw these.  My new slippers!  They’re the best.. the best!  Not to mention that all their Land’s End stuff was on sale PLUS an additional 30% off.  They were virtually free.  That makes them extra cozy.

How cute are these?  I stuffed them full of all of the miscellaneous items that float around on Chase’s dresser.  

I bought  plant stand to add a little height and interest to my not-dead plants in the living room.  I think planty likes it.

I hid a bunch of DVD’s inside the storage boxes and the baskets are full of bits of stuff that used to lie on the shelves collecting dust.  It’s hard to get a good shot but the new scheme appears to be working.  

Today we had to get out of the house for a while so I dropped some stuff off at the thrift store… and then poked around inside to replace my junk with someone else’s.  I found a cool guitar for Chase that’s just the right size for 3 bucks.  

I found this cute little wooden frog toy that Ben is trying to teach her to give massages with.  

I also picked up the slate and the counting bears but they didn’t come from the thrift store.  They’re not counting beard, they’re farm animals but the concept is the same.  I’m have some ideas for fun activities to do with them.

We got these new toys for the bath too.  Up until today, our bath toys consisted of nesting cups and rubber ducks so I thought these would be a nice addition.  They’re just foam and they stick to the side of the tub with water.  Finally, is this picture I took tonight of Ben.  I’ve been struggling with this new lens I got because it’s not autofocus compatible with the particular camera body that I have.  For some reason though I haven’t been using my external flash and have been trying to shoot with whatever lighting is available.  Well, I put some batteries in my flash and it turns out that um, I should have been using it all along.  I don’t know what I was thinking about.


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Saturday, January 24th, 2009

CB2 in My Room Too

I’m not sure how I should feel.  Flipping through the catalog for Crate & Barrel’s CB2 line I happened upon this: 

Which is kind of crazy because well, our bedroom looks like:

I think I’m satisfied with feeling smug in the fact that I was ahead of the curve.  On the other hand part of me is still paranoid that there are tiny cameras inside the motion detectors.  Speaking of bedrooms, Chase got her very own big girl bed today.  Big time!  Here she is checking it out with dad and getting all settled in:

The sheets are a problem.  I have to deal with it. And I have to get crackalacking on that new blanket.

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Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Soup, It’s What’s For Dinner

Dinner… every. single. night.  It plagues me.  I have not successfully managed to be consistent about planning.  It makes it so very hard to get through the week.  I find thinking of what to make for dinner way more exhausting than anything that happens at the office.  I even find it exhausting on the days when I’m not in the office.  Like today.  All I did today was take the kids to the library, the playground and out for a snack.  That’s it.  The rest of the day was spent around the house and still at 5pm I had no idea what we’d be having for dinner.  

And all of that wouldn’t be a problem if I could just reach into the freezer and find something to too into the oven to bake until hot.  Don’t get my wrong, that happens from time to time especially when things get really hairy but I don’t like to keep processed foods in the house.  We always have ingredients but never anything to eat in a hurry.  I try to keep some extras or other meals I’ve prepared ahead of time in the freezer but I can never seem to stay ahead of the game.  Anyway, back to tonight’s dinner.  

I thought and thought and thought about it and around 5:15 it came to me.  Out of nowhere.  Soup!  Tomato soup!  A quick search turned up a few possibilities.  My criteria were simply that it be quick and consist of pantry items I had on hand to wit, Rachael Ray’s Quick Creamy Tomato Soup.  It’s consists of virtually nothing.  I even fancied it up by tossing a crushed clove of garlic in with some olive oil before the tomatoes and broth.  Of course then I unfancied it by adding 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil instead of fresh but you know, whatever.  I didn’t make true toppers either but we used some dinner rolls we had on hand to make quick garlic toasts.  All in all a really satisfying dinner for 30 minutes worth of thought and work, combined that is.  I still need to be better about planning.  The chest freezer is almost empty it’s almost time to place another order for meat.  I can’t remember anymore when our last order was but I believe we were wearing t-shirts when we picked it up.  Apparently 100 lbs of meat lasts a long time.  

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Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Mom, A Portrait

I made this magnetic felt board for Chase around Christmastime. Aside an unresolved issue of how to store the pieces when not in use she enjoys it a lot. She puts together the face, stands back and proclaims, “that’s mommy!” I particularly enjoyed the time she put the hair under my nose instead of on my head that was awesome.

Things have been a little slow around here.  I was knocked totally out of commission by a brutal gi  bug that’s been going around.  I managed to go to work today and am feeling better but was still pretty sure I was going to die as of last night.  

I have no idea why we have two televisions in our office but both of them were on today.  We all watched the inauguration together.  It was so exciting to see.  That is until I had to leave for court but I think I only missed about two minutes while I sprinted from the office to the car.  I can’t imagine standing out there in the cold but I can imagine how wonderful it must feel to really be a part of history.  

It was cold but I don’t think they got any snow in DC yesterday.  They really would have been stymied even with two measly inches.  We got a couple of inches here.  I already posted these pictures on Facebook but I don’t think I’m linked to all of you there.  

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Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

It’s Cold

… and I’m wishing the weather was more like…

cherry and blueberry picking at Shaw’s this summer

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Tuesday, January 13th, 2009


So… Joann’s is having a sale.  You know, one of those sales where the patterns are 99 cents.  I can’t resist them.  So I bought a bunch of patterns that I don’t need and didn’t even really want.  I mean I wanted a pattern for cute pyjamas but not one meant to be made from stretch knits.  Duh.  Anyway, not only are patterns on sale but so are most of their fabrics including the already reduced clearance items.  I picked up a cute corduroy and a twill for making jumpers.  I picked the vintage inspired flannel and Chase, of course, picked the monkeys.  I don’t know what I’ll do with the apples, probably more jams.  I already cut the cute vintage jumper out of the acorn print. 

The pink fabric was the best find by far.  It’s going to be a new cover for Chase’s big girl bed!  I’m torn between making a pieced kind of a quilt reverse or doing something a little soft and cuddly like the cotton chenille she has now.  Either way it’s going to have a green accent like the rest of her room.  I’m on the prowl for something fantastically girly, not too juvenile just fantastically whimsical.  


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Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Looking Forward

I’m actually looking forward to this week.  A glass of wine last night was what the doctor ordered.  I want to thank all of you who offered your support, your sympathy, your stories and your ears.  It was all helpful and much appreciated.  I think I’m almost done sorting out all of the thoughts floating around in my head.  All with the exception of one lingering doubt.  Although it’s comforting to hear the stories of how many people successfully conceive after miscarriage, on a personal level it would be that much more comforting if I hadn’t delivered Chase by c-section.  It makes me wonder about the ability of my body the way I would had this been my first pregnancy.  In any event, I can’t and wouldn’t change anything about Chase’s delivery.  We’re incredibly blessed that she’s here.  And so I think I’m almost done talking about it.  I’m feeling much more like myself physically and emotionally.  I fell right off the health wagon. I stopped taking my vitamins and spiraled into a vortex of deli meats, coleslaw and caffeine.  This morning though I slept in and woke up thinking you know, if I want my body to heal quickly and be ready to try again ASAP I should probably get right back up on the health wagon and I think I’m going to do that.  So, I’m looking forward to this week and feeling ready for Monday.

I even felt good enough to work on a few projects that have been rattling around in my head.  I made a few tea bags for our tea parties.  They’re very simple.  I stitched together several layers of tulle and attached a short piece of yarn with a felt tab on the end.  She was pretty excited about it.

I also transformed a pair of broken overalls into a pair of jeans.  Although I haven’t had a chance to photograph those I did get a few shots of the little coin purse I made from the little pocket on the front.  I stitched a piece of fleece to the back and added a C for Chase.  

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Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Fake Steaks

We watched the Eagles win today!  It’s hard to watch football without fuel for cheering… although we wouldn’t necessarily know that.  We’re learning slowly in the post season that if you don’t eat you tend to tire easily.  So, at halftime we made sandwiches.  I haven’t done the week’s groceries yet so meals today were really a challenge.  A challenge but not impossible.  You know how I love to work over my leftovers.

A strip steak leftover from last night’s dinner was sliced thinly.  The last hoagie roll from the week’s sandwiches was split in half and spread with a little mayo.  Then the steak was layered on and topped with a couple of slices of provolone.  I popped both sandwiches, open faced, on a sheet of parchment and popped them in the toaster oven until the cheese melted.  Pile on some, what probably should have been Herr’s but we live in Baltimore so we eat Utz, chips and lunch is served.   While we’re on the topic, I bought Hellman’s recently because it was on sale.  I always buy Kraft but I’m thinking about making a permanent switch, tasty stuff. Of course Ben has a sudden affinity for 365 mayo which requires a special trip

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