Friday, December 31, 2010

The End of the Old Year

What are we doing tonight at the end of 2010? For that matter, what have we been doing for the last half of December? Well, buckle up and settle in. I may just be working on this post till the New Year arrives!

I have spent the last three days clearing away the Christmas clutter and decorations, and tonight I am prepping the house to celebrate my J's 12th birthday with friends and family tomorrow. Her birthday isn't till the 4th, but we decided to ring in the new year with a celebration of her (rather significant) birthday.

Kids are watching The Polar Express(still catching up on the holiday movies they didn't get to watch while they were sick--we're a bit behind on our traditions!). I made salsa and queso for their snacking urges tonight. The cockatiel went crazy when she saw tortilla chips with CHEESE. Cheese is her favorite; if it happens to be on a crunchy snack, all the better. I had to rescue it from her eager attempts to land in it. :-)


We finally purchased a new dining table this week, for a GREAT deal. All I will say is the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store is a well-kept secret!
Here's a picture of the table:





It is 88 inches long(with the leaf)! That's almost a full three feet larger than our previous one!


We didn't get chairs, though. They will come later. We are actually looking at benches for the sides, as they seat more AND have fewer legs to sweep around. I like these:







I thought I would share some of our Christmas fun this year:


Our main little tree--in the main area off the kitchen. This was the morning of the 23rd, and the kids had spent the night "under" the tree. We surprised them by opening gifts that morning, since on Christmas Eve we were going to my Mom's and Dad's house. This way they had a full day to enjoy their gifts before leaving them. I love, love, love the morning light in this area, anytime of year, but the SPARKLE of Christmas is magical!

They were so sweet, all snuggled up together. . .

Opening gifts:


This is a funny sequence: J opening the package. . .


"OH! A big blue blanket. O-kayyyyyy"
"Wait, it has sleeves?"
She looks more like the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come here!

Finally, laughing so hard she had to come up for air. She DID eventually get the thing straightened out, and was nearly inseparable from it during the recent cold snap. :)
C painted for her a bird figure to look like "Doodle"(aka, Noname, the cockatiel).
C got a PLANT--Clivia "Good Hope". That's it on the table behind her.
Have you ever seen someone so happy over plastic flowerpots?
They ARE self-watering, but REALLY???

The Redhead FINALLY got her redheaded friend, Felicity.


Legos. Legos. LEGOS.

On Christmas Eve we went "home" to the country. We spent the night and had Christmas Day with Mom and Dad and my Uncle.
And the dogs.
Amos enjoyed gazing in at all the goings-on--including the warm fireplace and the FOOD.

Incidentally, this is the dog who would be running crazily around right now, judging from the noise outside--he loves fireworks-- it must now be 12:00 a.m.--so HAPPY NEW YEAR.
I think if I were a dog I would be more of the hides-under-the-bed-for-loud-noises type. . .

I will have to continue this post sometime next week.

I'm going to hide under the covers!

May your new year be blessed and filled with the peace that passes understanding.

~april


















































Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Stuff of Life This Week



Four kids, each with three days of 101+ fever, cough, runny nose, achiness. . . .

countless doses of this and that, cups of water and sports drinks, and too-numerous-to-count handwashings. . . .

two holiday events missed so far, maybe more

equals:

One tired Mom.
Not sick--yet.

Enjoying:
New blend of tea and a pretty cup.


Thankful that my kids are sick at home, not in a hospital somewhere OR far away from home while we're on vacation. . .
at the current moment we have a friend with a son in St. Jude, and another friend at Disney with a stomach virus her family is sharing.

I'm thankful.
But still tired.

What have you been up to?

~april

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lovin' My New Table!

We set out last weekend in search of a table, and came home with something OTHER than the 8-feet-or-more model I am still hoping to find to seat our family of six and at least six friends all at one time. . . but I am HAPPY with this neat little find:


The green is my FAVORITE. It is 48 inches across, and with a slightly lower table height of 27", it is PERFECT for children to enjoy a bite of breakfast or lunch in the bay window. And it works well with the window seat.(Oh, and Brenda said it is French! Doesn't that add to the fun?)

Thanks to Brenda at Kindred Hearts Antiques for having such sweet fun stuff in her shop!

Linking to a VERY interesting Vintage Thingie Thursday!

~april

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet Roses, Vintage Pitcher

Thought I'd share quickly my latest fun find from a local shop, along with the latest beautiful flowers my hubby brought home a week ago.

This pink pitcher just screamed "PINK LEMONADE" at me when I saw it.

The roses have opened beautifully.


Linking to:



Happy weekend to you!

~april

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's beginning to look a LITTLE like Christmas!!

Linking this post to Suzanne's Vintage Thingie Thursday! There are some BEAUTIFUL Christmas decorations over there this week!
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Ok, so two boxes and a small tree out of some fourteen-odd parcels, boxes, and bundles that hold my Christmas decorations in the attic REALLY is just a small dent in what I will get out and "put up" just-so before the 25th, but a gal has to start somewhere, and today I managed to get these two boxes opened and mostly unpacked--two shelves in my kitchen dusted(cough, cough, sneeze!)and decorated. . . .of course there is the mandatory rearranging of the STUFF that normally sits on the shelves. I think they look SO much better! It's kind of a mini-hug everytime I walk toward the kitchen!


My big red teapot is on the low shelf right by the sink where it is easily reachable for those cold-morning, huge pots of Irish Breakfast or Earl Grey. I think the red and white dots are so cheerful! Thanks to my sweet friend Alli who gifted me with that chunky cheerful teapot for Christmas last year!


Moving up a shelf we have a vintage pitcher I found at GW, and a sweet little rooster that belonged to my hubby's grandmother. He looks happy about his Christmas tree!


And moving up another shelf we have my big white ironstone teapot that the hubby bought me at one of my favorite local shops, Mothers and Daughters. The ladies there are WONDERFUL, fun, and very creative. They have SUCH sweet stuff there!
The Christmas gnome with his tiny tree makes me smile--and of course the mushroom matches the teapot below! If you could see the TOP shelf(I will get a picture soon, but I didn't want to climb back up on the bar stool!), you would see more mushrooms along with a sweet hobnail milk glass pitcher(more dots!)that also holds a bottle brush tree. I love those, too.

Oh, and here is my (now) blue and white shelf. It previously held most of my collection of dollhouse-scale kitchen miniatures. I like it better blue and white! The minis are waiting for the DOLLHOUSE that hubby got me for Christmas to be assembled so they can move in. . .I have more projects going than I can keep up with!

That's about all I've gotten done so far--this week is the children's Christmas concert for LPCC, and we have four nights of choir-related running. We will be tired and joyful when the concert is finished Friday night. It is a wonderful way to usher in the Christmas season every year, and I usually leave with a sense that Christmas has truly "arrived".

I will be back with concert videos(hopefully) AND an update on our Thanksgiving day at my Mom's SOON!

Christus natus est,

~april

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stitches and Time. . .

Hi all! Not many posts here lately. I guess it's been a combination of busyness with kids and house, school that *needs* to be done, and PROJECTS. No time for blogging! I thought I'd share what I've been up to--in my own crafty way--since the last post.

Roman shades. For the then-dining, now-living/sitting room.(Have we discussed the chronic furniture rearranging gene that seems to have established itself in my brain? More on that later, I'm SURE!)

They turned out pretty cute, even if I AM biased a bit!

The fabrics I started with:

I have had the floral for TWELVE YEARS. Yes. Twelve.
The ticking I picked up a couple of years ago when our Walmart was ridding itself of the fabric department(SAD!). I think it was $1.50/yard. I measured it, then realized that I didn't have quite the width I would need for the two skinny windows, so I decided to make an edging for the shade from the floral--something to the tune of 320 inches of 3-inch strips. So I cut, and I cut(This would have been a good time to have a sharp blade on my rotary cutter, but I didn't, so I cut them with scissors!), and then I stitched those strips together, end to end, till they looked like this:
In a pile on the kitchen floor, waiting to be ironed.
After ironing, they looked like this:

Only there was a MUCH bigger pile by the time it was all done!
Then the pinning along three sides of my fabric. THEN, the stitching.
And a neat mitered fold for the corners, and more stitching.


While I was doing this, look what my hubby made me!
First official cappy-mocha of the season! He loves me!(this pic was an afterthought-it was MUCH prettier BEFORE I slurped--er, SIPPED--most of the lovely froth from the top! :)

Here are the shades hanging, finally--raised:

and partially lowered:
I am amazed at how much these have helped with the draftiness in this area of our home! Now I would like to make similar ones for the three shorter windows in the bay window of that area, but I will be scrambling for a coordinating fabric. I have ONE already, but I need more yardage than what I currently have. I guess I'll have to go fabric shopping(oh, no!!!!!!!).

On other projects, the Redhead and I have been baking. She helped me revisit homemade pizza crust for lunch a couple of weeks ago.

It turned out REALLY yummy, and it was SO easy! Why did I ever give up making my own?

The Redhead has also been reading the Felicity books, which has inspired a revitalized interest in her "sampler" stitching. One morning last week, this was the scene while I was fighting with--COOKING--breakfast:

Yes, even the Boy is stitching away. Flowers. Hey, the guy has three older sisters!

And last, but certainly not least, C has been "into" any "bulbous" plant lately. That is, if it grows from a bulb, rhizome, or corm, she is ON it. I have learned much, and spent much. We gave in and placed an order for flowers for spring. They arrived like this:
Personally, not too exciting! But, my beautiful daughter, ever willing to daydream and see potential, looked like this:


Which is how I will likely look in early spring when the first pink daffodils appear.

Meanwhile, it is cooling weather, and I am glad to be cozy in my house with something hot to drink and a few snugglebugs to share a blanket and a story. What blessings!

Happy Rainy Monday!
~april



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We've been--

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .sewing!

Yay!
That makes me really, really happy. See, I enjoy sewing, but am not practicedly good at it, and so to take time to clear a surface, drag out supplies, FIND A PATTERN(accompanied by read the pattern, cut the pattern, mark the pattern, then FOLLOW the pattern--eek!), and ignore other responsibilities for a few hours is really not something I do often.
BUT,
Yesterday, The Redhead asked for a holiday dress for Ruthie. I thought that sounded reasonable. Nothing too fancy. I had fabric she liked. We just needed a SIMPLE pattern.

Google free 18" doll dress pattern, and see what pops up. PLENTY. We stumbled across this great site, http://raisingamericangirls.com/ , linked to another great site from there: http://www.agplaythings.com/ , and ended up with this:

Now. We already OWN some of these patterns, and I didn't drag them out of their box! I used these from the site because they were printable in PDF and I could just pick the pages I wanted to print, cut, and dispose of--if so decided--without tiny pieces to corral. Convenient! We settled on Samantha's party dress--the red one--because it is SIMPLE, right! :-)

A-HEM! Right.

Have you ever heard of "puff sleeves"?

Perhaps a certain redhead from a series of cherished girlhood novels comes to mind? Anne-with-an-E, perhaps?
You will remember that Anne wanted a dress with PUFF sleeves and Marilla REFUSED because they wasted fabric.(Noticing a redhead thread in this subject, too, btw!)
I now contest that the sleeves and the PUFFS were the issue, rather than the fabric. We will just say that getting those gathers RIGHT was a challenge--THREE times. Yes. I made a two-sleeved-dress' sleeves THREE times.
That's because the first time had to be done, ripped out, and re-done.

But it was FUN. And when the bodice and sleeves were finished, I was CHARMED.

The little ivory lace overlay(made with lace from my grandmother's sewing kit) was so SWEET!

So this morning I did the skirt. Talk about gathers! Gathers for days and days and days. I am SO GLAD this was SMALL and not human-sized!

It was fun to see it coming together on the machine:
Ruthie tried it on, and I think she likes it:

The Redhead is pleased. Mission accomplished.
Now J wants one too. *sigh*

She's got to pick fabric first. That may give me a few days. Thinking about some roman shades for the dining area, while the machine is already out. . . .

Happy crafting!

~april

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

A group of toothy grins from our house to yours--wishing you a Happy Halloween!





Have a boo-tiful weekend!

~april

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What the Bluster Brought


Beautiful!

~april



It looks like it may turn out to be. . . .

feels like it will undoubtedly. . . .
looks like a RATHER blustery day---to-day!
I love Pooh bear. He was a discovery of joy for me later in life, as I didn't really come to know and love the silly old bear till after I was married. My husband's niece was two at the time, and she LOVED Pooh so much that as part of our wedding-gift spending, we purchased the classic Disney video! When our firstborn came on the scene eleven months later, I would put the video on in the afternoons sometimes when she and I were together playing in the living room--she was too little then to care about the television, but it was always nice background talk and music, and before long she could watch and then sing along with the songs. Too sweet!
They grow up too fast.(I know I keep saying that, post after post--I guess that should be my blog subtitle!)
Anyway, TODAY here we are finally getting the wind that has been sweeping across the country this week. The humidity is in the lower 40s, and it FEELS LIKE FALL outside. WOW!

Enough to inspire SOMETHING. . .haven't quite figured out what, though. For now, though, I am puttering around the house humming the "blustery day" tune from Winnie the Pooh.
TTFN!
(ta-ta for now!)

~april