Friday, February 26, 2010

The Next Mr GQ...

...sporting a trendy style of bathrobe all the haute couture-conscious youngsters are wearing these days.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Train Wreck

This picture is an apt description of how I feel.

That's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mmm, Mmm, Toasty

My best buddy ScrappyGurl sent me some recipes recently.

I hate to admit it, but I haven't felt very adventurous in my cooking in a long time, and chances are, had it been anyone else that sent the recipes, I probably would have tucked them away in my binder until such time as I could have disposed of them without paining my conscience too much.

But, this was ScrappyGurl, and not only is she a great cook, she's a great friend too, so I actually read the recipes, added the ingredients to my shopping list, bought them, and stored them away.

Till this morning.

When I opened the cabinet to grab a box of cereal, the loaf of Texas toast I had bought to make ScrappyGurl's favorite french toast caught my eye. Inspiration struck. And oh my, how glad I am it did!

This french toast is the most unusual I've ever's crunchy! But not in the I-left-it-in-the-oven-too-long way in which mine is usually crunchy...hers is crunch with a purpose. The lofty purpose of holding up under the sweet weight of homemade cinnamon syrup.

You can see little spots of cinnamon on the plate above...I was chintzy with the syrup for the picture because I didn't want you all to see the embarrassingly huge puddle of syrup that's usually on my plate when pancakes or french toast are involved. ScrappyGurl's cinnamon syrup is good enough to drink out of the pitcher.

Not that I would do such a thing.

If anyone is interested in the recipe, post a comment and I'll seek permission to pass it along. And then I'll give you ScrappyGurl's phone number, because I know you'll want to be calling her and drooling over the phone the way I did this morning.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Comedy of Errors

After a week of quarantine, I couldn't take it any longer. We went out today and ran errands.

One of which was to deliver this odd package to Mrs. Smith, who will in turn deliver it to its intended recipient. I won't mention any names since doing so would incriminate me.

Let me explain.

Well, first, let me explain where the idea originated.

Note: I love to tell stories in a round-about fashion so as to keep people on the edge of their seats, waiting (with bated breath, of course) to see how all the details tie together in the climactic finale. You love that too, right? :)

So our story starts out on an evening not unlike this one, in the depths of a frigid Missouri winter, where a handsome man, his sweet wife and his above-average baby are en route to his superior's home in one of the loveliest sections of their fair city for a little Midwestern potluck. The wife, being a new mother, is excited and a little flustered over the rare opportunity for an evening of stimulating adult conversation and gratifying baby adoration.

When the little family arrives at their destination, the handsome man takes charge of the baby and leaves his sweet wife to struggle under the load of diaper bags and potluck contributions. As this is his wont to do while out in public, the wife struggles under an even heavier load of resentment, watching the husband soak up all the initial baby-centric attention while the wife brings up the rear like a pack mule. But that is another story. And, as has already been mentioned, she is a sweet wife and does not hold a grudge. :)

Unfortunately for the handsome man, though, this is one evening when he would have been wise to let his wife enjoy the accolades of infant perfection, as her struggle proves to be her downfall. Downfall, as in all the things loaded in her arms, including the food which she had so lovingly prepared, teeter for one eternal moment before they fall down to the ground. The particular ground on which she is standing happens to be covered with an exquisite oriental rug. And the particular foodstuff at the tippy-top of the teetering stack happens to be chili. Enough to feed a large Midwestern crowd.

It is a sad state of affairs, to say the least.

As much as I love details, I cannot bear to dredge up the peculiar mortifications of this poor wife in this moment, so let us instead cast our glance upon the host and hostess of the gala event, who naturally have an interest in the recent goings-on in their foyer. A particularly striking couple, their outward charm is exceeded by a graciousness that defies explanation, and somehow they manage to convince the wife to stay for the evening's festivities. Their kindness truly is the only thing keeping her from jumping off the nearest overpass.

In the days that follow this crisis, the sweet wife racks her brain for an appropriate token of contrition that will recompense their gracious hosts adequately for the emotional suffering endured on the evening in question, all offers of recompense for collateral damage having been refused. In a rare moment of brilliance, the sweet wife opts for self-deprecating humor, and she sets about procuring and assembling a cornucopia of household cleaning products into a very cute metal wine bucket.

The coup de grace of this ensemble is the card made for the hosts. The wife remembers seeing miniature cleaning accouterments in her local craft store, and scores just what she's looking for. She then pulls up pictures of her wedding shower, which her gracious hosts also hosted in their lovely home previously for her and the handsome man, and she is delighted to find one that captures her hosts gazing towards the very epicenter of the chili disaster. And even more thrillingly, her host's hand is situated perfectly to hold the miniature mop that will hopefully bring some comic relief to an otherwise overwhelmingly unpleasant memory.

As pleased as the wife is with the execution of this cute and clever idea, she is still too mortified to face her hosts, and thus leaves the gift on their doorstep. When she arrives home, she notices the blinking light on the answering machine and plays a message recorded by her hostess, in which said hostess literally squeals with delight over the clever idea.

At which the sweet wife thinks to herself, "Perhaps spilling chili all over their rug and floor and walls was actually a good thing?" Probably not, but her humiliation is somewhat assuaged at least, and she learns that self-deprecating humor is a good thing.

Which brings us back to our odd package pictured above, yet another example of remunerative gift-giving. The crisis this time involves 2 vehicles and the unfortunate relocation of a side-view mirror. Instead of housecleaning helps, this lovely gift package is chock full of auto body repair products, including peel-and-stick imitation mirror glass, metal plasticizer, and, of course, the inimitable duct tape.

Godspeed to the lucky recipient! :D

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Love

One of my favorite wedding gifts was a beautiful serving tray, along with a note that read "Serve one another in love." (Galations 5:13)

I couldn't think of a better gift for Brad and Jennifer on their first Valentine's Day as husband and wife.

This tray was a joy to work on, and I hope it gives them opportunities to serve one another for many years to come.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Some Things Never Change

Today I am happy to report that I don't feel worse than yesterday.

That's the first time I've been able to say that for a week.


We're both starting to go a little stir crazy, being in the house so long. Jed's still coughing but otherwise is feeling well and getting desperate for something different to do.

I suppose that explains why a 6 year old would put a plastic container on his head and pretend to be a monster. :)

But instead of being scared of the monster, it put me in mind of when he first starting playing with this particular container...and the fact that his whole body fit into it at that time.

My, how things have changed!

Except the joy a plastic container can bring. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I used a couple of different papers for Valentines this year, duplicating the design on each. {once I find something I like I usually stick with it.}

I've never been a fan of stamping, at least not until this past year when I tried my friend Debbie Metti's masterboard technique. Well, actually, what I tried was my friend's masterboard...she sent me a hard copy.

But the new trick for me was stamping an image on the masterboard paper and then mounting that on more of the masterboard paper. I was surprised how much I liked the way it turned out...which only proves it must be a near-foolproof method. :)

What I haven't learned yet, obviously, is to quit taking pictures in artificial lighting.

It's amazing how it makes everything the same color.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Bath Time Fun

Last week when Jed was sick, I used the unexpected abundance of time at home to work on a few more projects.

One of them was sewing the 7 bath towel/wash cloth sets I had already purchased for baby towels, four of which I need for immediate use and three I'll have on hand for future gifts.

Unfortunately, by the time I took these pictures I was starting to get sick myself, so they're not as detailed as I was planning. I wish you could see the texture in each of the towels...the lion's mane and the monkey's fur; the lilies on the pads; the butterflies flying; the sea grasses and lobster claws. So cute!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spring Sunshine

What a difference a day (or two) can make

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Midwinter Night's Dream

My Dad's camera is completely incompatible with my computer, so after every trip to Maine he sends me a thumb drive with the pictures he took while here.

I was going through his Christmas pics recently when I noticed what looked like lightning bugs twinkling in the dusky light of a cold winter late afternoon, and I stopped short for a moment.

They're actually only the reflection of Christmas tree lights on our back porch window, but it was a sweet paradox for that brief moment.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Your Neighbor

I didn't mean to abandon the blog, but it's nice to not feel guilty for doing so. :)

Jed has been sick since last weekend, and now it's my turn.

Enter a kind neighbor, who brought flowers to cheer me up.

It worked. :)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Good Old Golden Rule Days

Jed is the proud owner of his first notebook.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud myself.

Even Tracy is impressed with the magnitude of this milestone.

He asked me tonight if I remembered how exciting it was to get new school supplies every fall. Yes, indeed, I do...and I feel that same excitement for Jed now.

The Teacher's Guide in our Five in a Row curriculum (which I am loving!) suggested the student use a five-subject notebook. I was a little hesitant at first, thinking Jed was too young for that, but he loves it (admittedly, mostly because of the rainbow dividers...but heck, I love them too!) and I now see that it will be a good opportunity to preserve some of what he learns each week, as well as a fun introduction to record-keeping and organizing things by subject matter...two things very dear to my heart. :)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Future of Art

I think I've found my niche.

I've always been intrigued with science, especially the hands-on kind. The problem is, I've never understood it very well.

Doing science experiments with Jed and the Smith boys has been fun for all of us. However, my fun always ended when it came time for the explanations. If Mrs. Smith wasn't around, I probably would have made something up and kept rolling. :)

I finally decided to stick to something I understand a little bit at least, and so I prepared an art lesson for this week.

Mind you, this was no "stay in the lines while you're coloring" kind of lesson. No sir. These kids got an introduction to fine art today, from the likes of Whistler and O'Keeffe. They tried different techniques for drawing water. They learned how to blend colors with pencils. They made collages, and we talked about composition, which was my favorite part.

This was way more fun than science! :)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dreaming of the Good Old Days

Was it just yesterday that I mentioned the demise of big hair?

Someone needs to let that woman on the left know the 80s are over.

Monday, February 01, 2010

One More Project Completed

It's amazing how one thing leads to another.

Brad sent me his wedding pictures on cds after the holidays, and I took my time going through them.

It's still hard for me to realize that young man is grown up.

Anyway, I finally printed out some pictures I wanted to show to a few people. I'm not sure, but I think brag books went out with big hair, and since I cherish the notion of being a hip mother-in-law, I wasn't about to go that route.

However, I couldn't carry the pictures in my purse unprotected, and a Ziploc bag seemed a bit anticlimatic for wedding pictures. I had on hand a 6x6 wire bound book, and all I intended to do was mount the pictures in it, just to carry them in my purse. {Not that my purse would actually accomodate a 6x6 book, but that's beside the point.}

The cover of the album was white...not a bad choice for a wedding album, but with white pages, it seemed a bit blah. So the first thing I did was paint the covers teal (which I made using a mixture of Lumiere's metallic and pearlescent acrylics) and edge the spines in silver. Then I attached two pieces of teal ribbon from the bridal luncheon on both covers, which I thought would be a nice finishing touch.

That's all I intended to do, and it was nice.

But not quite enough.

I found a string of iridescent purple and teal beads, separated by small silver beads (all of which were their wedding colors), and I adhered them on top of the ribbon on the front cover.

Now we were getting somewhere.

Since Brad and Jenn were married under a magnificent tree, the next thing I added was the metal tree embellishment, which has loops on some of the branches, to which I attached charms. The leaf was Tracy's boutonniere, made by Brad with the same fabric as his jacket, and I attached it to the tree with the silver wire Brad used for the pin. I added a few baubles at the end of the beads and the covers were done.

Since this was starting to turn into a scrapbook of sorts, I decided to include their Save the Date postcard, rehearsal dinner invitation, and wedding invitation. The rest of the book is filled with their unadorned photographs, taken by Cheyenne Schultz, which are so gorgeous they need no embellishment.

So that's how a stack of photographs turns into a project. One of my favorite projects, too.

You can see the rest of the book here.