Monday, February 27, 2012

monday menu

[banana, strawberry, kiwi]

I am pleased to report that by the middle of last week I was feeling much healthier and was able to pretty much stick to my menu plan!  It's such a relief to be back up to speed.  Here's what I'm planning on making for our dinners this week:

M-brazilian style beans over brown rice
W-pancakes, scrambled eggs, and fruit
F-spaghetti and meatballs and green beans

What are you making?

Friday, February 24, 2012

happy mail-bracelet in a canister

After my last happily successful happy mail adventure, I couldn't wait to spread some more happiness through the mail!  This could get addicting...

The whole time I was working on this blue and white button bracelet, I kept thinking of my friend Katie. She loves buttons and artsy projects and has just the coloring to pull of wearing these shades of blue.

I wasted very little time in finding a small, clear canister, putting the button bracelet inside, attaching a pretty-lettered address label, sticking on a couple of stamps (why, yes, we're still using Christmas stamps; aren't you?), and dropping it in the mail for her.
Happy mailing is so much fun!

Linking up with the lovely Jennifer's Studio Sneak Peek today.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

button bracelet tutorial

Materials and tools you'll need:
assorted buttons
embroidery floss, waxed cord, thin twine
(any sturdy thread that is small enough to fit through button holes will work)
something to measure your floss
nail polish (optional but helpful)
super glue (also optional)

Choose the buttons that you want on your bracelet.
For a single strand bracelet, you'll need 9 to 14 buttons.
The number varies with how big your buttons are
and how long you want the finished bracelet to be.

Choose what you're going to thread the buttons on.
I used embroidery floss for this bracelet.
You'll want enough thread to have some extra at the end,
so measure and cut a piece that is 30-36 inches long.

If the thread you're using is prone to fraying,
coat the ends with nail polish.
When the polish is almost dry, twist the floss to make a nice point.
This is optional, but it makes the whole project significantly easier.

While the nail polish on the ends of your floss is drying,
arrange your buttons in the order you want them to be on the bracelet.

Fold the floss in half.
Find the button you want to use last,
and tie an overhand knot in the floss
 On one side of the knot
there should be a loop that the button will fit through snugly
and on the other side should be two evenly long "tails" of floss.

Now thread the first button onto your floss.

There are two ways of doing this with two-holed flat buttons.
You can thread both "tails" of floss through both holes
like in the photo above.

Or you can thread one "tail" through the holes
and leave the other loose on the back.

I find that this second method works better for me;
the buttons seem to do better at facing outward
when the finished bracelet is on your wrist.

Tie overhand knots in the floss between each button
to keep them from sliding around too much.

You can also use shank buttons (above)
or four-holed flat buttons (below).
Continue stringing buttons onto your floss
until your bracelet is as long as you want it.

Tie a square knot after threading the last button onto the floss.

Trim the "tails" of floss
so that they don't peek out from behind the last button.

Add a dab of super glue to your square knot
to ensure that your bracelet doesn't come apart.
(Once again, this step is optional.)

Here is the back of the finished bracelet.

And this is the front.
Super-cute, right?

This blue bracelet is made of vintage buttons,
but you can also use all new buttons
or a mixture of the two.

Experiment with adding some beads.

Make some bracelets extra long
so that you can wrap them around your wrist
two or three times before slipping the last button through the loop.

Try using different types of thread.

Layer multiple bracelets
that are in complementary color schemes.

Put together one or two
or go overboard creating a rainbow
of button bracelet looks.

Happy button bracelet making!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

handmade Christmas 2011

Quite a while ago I received a jacket made of this lovely, textured blue and brown plaid as a hand-me-down.  It was too small on me, and since there aren't many grown ups smaller than I am, I decided to upcycle it. I made a hat for myself out of it, and Mum loved it, so I thought I'd make another hat for her for Christmas.

When I began cutting, though, I realized, there was only fabric for half a hat.  When I explained my dilemma to my mom (we are bad about keeping surprises like that), she requested that I go ahead and make the hat using another kind of fabric for the missing pieces.  I was skeptical, but she was reassuring, and it ended up turning out pretty cute!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

handmade Christmas 2011

Well, I took my time getting around to photographing my parents' Christmas gifts, so these last two installments of my handmade Christmas 2011 posts are quite late.  Deciding what to make for my dad was simple.  I have made calligraphies of the first two sections of his favorite Psalm (Psalm 19), and I wanted to complete it.

[I'm not sure why this is so blurry; it wasn't before I uploaded it.]

This is part three, made of verses 12, 13, and 14.  I am quite pleased with how it turned out.  This is a new script for me; it was born as I worked on this project and is a mix of my normal handwriting with a few aspects from copperplate.  I'm not entirely comfortable with it yet, but I like it enough that I think we'll continue our relationship. : )

If you're interested, here is part 1 and part 2.  My dad was very happy with it though he hasn't hung all three up together yet.  When he does, I'll take pictures and post again.

Monday, February 20, 2012

monday menu

[heart cinnamon roll]

Last week was rough.  I thought I was over my cold, but either it returned with a vengeance or I caught something new. I'm still not feeling great, but I'm hoping for a better week.  I'm planning on making the following dinners this week:

M-crock pot chili
T-broccoli quinoa casserole (didn't get to it last week)
W-tuna melt sandwiches
Th-beef stew, bread
F-spaghetti and meatballs

What culinary adventures are on your horizon?

Friday, February 17, 2012

a new hat for Sweet Pea

Before Sweet Pea was born I made a little pink and green hat for her.  (Pink and green together is one of my very favorite color combinations.)  She looked adorable in it, but has already outgrown it.  Fortunately I had extra pink and green yarn and was apple to whip up a new, bigger one a couple of weeks ago.

[detail of the flower]

[Okay, I'm biased, but isn't she just the cutest little girlie ever?]

Every time she wears it she gets compliments left and right, and I am asked how I made it.  Maybe one of these days when I have some spare time I'll write out the pattern. Ha. It might be a while...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

blessed and loved

For many years I have loved Numbers 6: 24-26:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.

The idea of God's grace and peace shining on my life
and His care surrounding me wherever I am
is very comforting.

Imagine my delight when I was given
a collection of pretty items
themed around Numbers 6:24,
to review.

The products are truly lovely.
The journal has a sturdy, stylish cover
and is filled with good quality lines pages.
[The pen is not included.]
The perpetual calendar has an inspiring quotation or scripture
for each day of the year.
The cup is delicate
and comes with a coordinating coaster/cover.
The gift bag, of course, matches everything else perfectly.

I know for sure that I want to keep the cup,
but I haven't decided what I want to do with the other items.
I like them very much but would also enjoy
sharing the encouraging message and lovely products.

This gift set along with several others that are equally lovely
are being offered as this month's (In)spired deals
at a deeply discounted price.
Check them out. : )

Yes, Dayspring gave me these products to review
but don't worry, all the the opinions stated here are my very own.

free form

I had all sorts of nifty ideas for valentines to make with the boys pinned this year. However, when push came to shove, it just didn't happen.  We've been battling colds (nothing too horrible, just sore throats and body aches that we just can't seem to shake), and we had several appointments last week which interrupts the flow of our days.

The boys had been wanting to paint for a while, so I cut sheets of 8 1/2 by 11 inch cardstock into four pieces, and let the boys paint their own, free form valentines (aka mini-masterpieces) to mail to our loved ones.  I have to say that it was a brilliant idea. The boys were thrilled to paint, I didn't have to work as hard, and all the recipients were happy.

[a beautiful sight]

The following are a some of my favorite mini-masterpieces:

"a tree" by Little Man

"a palm tree" by Brother

shapes by Little Man

"a radio" by Little Man

Brother was loving brown and pink that day.

finger painting by Brother

A nice painting by Brother

Little Man's color hand

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Brother is two-and-a-half today.

He is
outside-of-the-box thinking
brilliantly imaginative
bursting with energy and enthusiasm
chock-full of  both attitude and sweetness
sensitive and tough
handsome and verbal

I decided to celebrate his milestone day a little differently than usual.  Instead of simply making a list, I did a little interview with him.  It went as follows:

Me: What's your favorite color?
Brother: Mater.
Me: Mater is your favorite color?
Brother: Mater. And Lightning McQueen.

Me: Tell me about your friends.  Who do you like to play with?
Brother: [Little Man]
Me: Why do you like to play with him?
Brother: Because...because yeah.

Me: What do you like to play with? What are your favorite toys?
Brother: Uh. Mater. And Woody.
Me: What about your trains?
Brother: Yeah.
Me: How about painting and play-doh? Do you like those things?
Brother: Yeah. And painting.

Me: what is your favorite animal?
Brother: A monkey.
Me: A monkey is your favorite?
Brother: Yeah.
Me: What other animals to you like?
Brother: I smashed the jellyfish! (He was playing with silly putty while I was interviewing him, and I think he had made a silly putty jellyfish.)

Me: Tell me about something that makes you happy.
Brother: Moody Man. (Moody Man was a squishy, latex fellow that could be stretched and squeezed into strange shapes.  He met his demise when his cheery orange skin was punctured and his mysterious white innards began oozing out.)
Me: Moody Man? I thought he made you scared!
Brother: No, he didn't.
Little Man: Yes, he did!

Me: Does anything make you scared?
Brother: Um. Yeah.
Me: What scares you?
Brother: Um. Yeah.

Me: What do you like to eat?
Brother: Pasta. Pasta. Pasta!
Me: What else do you like to eat?
Brother: Dinosaurs!
Me: Dinosaurs? You like to eat dinosaurs?
Brother: Yes. Dinosaurs. And Pterodactyls. They taste good.
Me: Where did you eat a Pterodactyl?
Brother: Um. At home.

Me: What books do you like?
Brother: Um. Little Man's books.
Me: Which book is your favorite? Which one do you like?
Brother: Um. Franklin. (A book they read at their Nonna and Grandpa's house; I'm a little surprised he remembers it.)
Me: What other books do you like?
Brother: My books.
Me: Can you show me one that you really like?
Brother: This one. My machine book.

And then he was off to inspect the cars Little Man was playing with, do some jumping, and splash in the bath.

a valentine cup

A while ago
I noticed that I could buy travel coffee cups
with a special space inside
that could be personalized
by inserting a paper of your choosing.

The suggestion was to fill it with a photo collage
which is a nice idea,
but what's the fun in conforming to the expected?

I knew at once that I wanted
to make a coffee-cup-calligraphy
especially for my Benjamin.

The words
were spun together by Brian Andreas, 
but they nestled in my heart,
and I adopted them as if they were my own.

It made a lovely Valentine;
he was delighted.

linking up with Jennifer's Studio Sneak Peek