Friday, February 27, 2009


Today I feel *fabulous*! It was one week ago that I got up in the morning and decided that moving around probably wasn't going to be in the cards for me. And it wasn't- for the next few days. But I'm feeling better now and have already had a productive day. We were out of groceries-like seriously scrounging around for food. So I dropped Chloe off at school (um, maybe just a wee bit late) and Halle and I went to Publix and bought a ton of food. Now it's put away and I need to do the 18 loads of laundry that have piled up since I was sick. I thought about working out today but I know that Trav will be most displeased if I do- so I won't. There's plenty of housework to catch up on anyway.

So last night, for the first time in a loooonnnggg time, I went to a sewing party! I don't think they're called sewing parties anymore though. I think we're supposed to party less and sew more. This week's project was a child's apron and I was determined to make one. I hadn't actually seen Travis since Tuesday because he worked way too late on Wednesday but I was still determined to go. But I forgot about a snack- like, I should bring one. So I stopped in Publix and picked up some pineapple (fabulous for a girl that's not supposed to have baked goods) and decided I must have a latte. So I dashed across the parking lot to Starbuck's. Sugar free, hazelnut latte, mmmmmm. Then I headed north, just me, Michael Buble' and my latte. No fighting kiddos- it was heaven. Until I hit a traffic jam- drat. Thankfully it didn't last too long and I was only about 10 minutes later than I would have been if I only got a coffee. That's my way of saying I would have still been a little bit late.

When I did arrive Mary was there, of course, and Amber (I've known her as long as we've lived here) and another Amber. Mary, Amber and I caught up and I realized how much I've missed hanging out with them. Sigh. It's easy to take people for granted when you live close by. We chatted and ate pineapple, some amazing toasted ravioli that Mary made- I wish I'd been able to eat more of those- darn IR- and I had a spoonful of Amber's cake batter ice cream. I'm telling the complete truth when I tell you that stuff is crazy good. It will kill you but at least you'll die with a smile on your face- wowza!

Then I made an apron. I actually, really finished a sewing project at a sewing party. I used to go just to eat and talk. And I made this little apron for someone special. It's kind of a surprise so I won't tell who it's going to but I have another one to make just like it that didn't get finished last night.
This is the side with the pocket. If you couldn't tell, this one is for a boy and I figured that boys like pockets, right? I'm not sold on the brown grossgrain ribbon that I used- actually I'm not even sure if it's grossgrain. It seems to be a little bit more fragile than that. I have an idea but I'm not sure if it will work. If it does I'll show you.

And it's reversible! It wasn't my idea but it's a good one. I love this fabric and would have put the pocket on this side but my lines are all crooked and it shows much more on the light blue fabric so if I was going to do a contrasting pocket it wouldn't look very good. I didn't notice that my feet were in this picture until later...not fixing it.

So I guess I can sew at least a little. It turns out that my problem has been the bobbin and when I quit freaking out about it I was able to fix it pretty easily. All in all it was a great night and I'm looking forward to next time. Although it won't just be me time since I've promised Chloe that she can go with me. That should be fun too though.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Operation BDHQ

My dear friends Eric and Tisra have been on a very long adoption journey. But now they're nearing the end and have a precious little face and name to go along with the little one they've been dreaming about for the past few years. Her name is Dorothy and they're praying to be able to pick her up from her orphanage this summer. We're praying with them and if you click on her button it will take you to the site where they're raising funds to be able to complete the adoption and also to donate to Shaohanna's Hope to help other families with their dream of adoption. There are lots of fantastic prizes and several ways to be entered. So sign up and pray with me for sweet little Dorothy to be home with her family soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I did a post a few years ago (have I been blogging *that* long) that listed a few things that I really like and I thought that maybe it's time to do one again. Mainly because it's fun :)

About a week and a half ago- the day Chloe's flu really started- she convinced me that she was feeling just fine and was absolutely well enough to go to the mall. So we went and all of the spring merchandise is out so we squealed and said 'isn't that the cutest thing' about 500 times. If you don't have daughters of your own you should borrow mine for a while because it really is fun to shop with them. But we headed into Body Shop to look for a little thing that I'll list later but what we stumbled upon was their Hemp Hand Protector! OK, I'm not a hippie and I've never owned or desired anything made out of hemp but I tried it and it is incredibly fabulous! It smells, well, earthy but not like patchouli- which I don't like- it's more subtle. Amanda says it smells like pot and it scares me to think that she knows what that smells like. But she did go to public high school. I bought it for Travis because he has seriously dry skin, but I haven't let him take it to work. It's on sale right now for $9 so I might have to buy another tube. And as an added bonus there's *no petrolatum products* in this product. I asked the sales girl if their products were petrolatum free and she didn't know so I can't say for sure that all of their products are.

Number two on my list is an oil burner. I bought one a couple of Christmases ago with a gift card that Amanda bought for me and I've loved it. Why? Because it works infinitely better than candles; it can even be overpowering at times in my little house. But since I have 3 cats (I can't stand the smell) I don't mind an overpowering *good* smell. You can get the burners pretty much anywhere but the oils tend to be a little pricey- $7.50 for .3 ounce. I bought Satsuma because Travis has wanted it forever and the orange smell is amazing. I find that Bath and Body works has the best deals though because they'll offer their oils for $3- I get their e-mails and stock up. I also find that cinnamon-ey smells last the longest. And any of their seasonal fragrances are fantastic- "A Perfect Autumn", "A Perfect Christmas", etc. What I don't think works all that well are their Scentport plug in type things- unless you buy two of them. I have one Scentport and one Wallflower- because I had a coupon for each and they were free or next to free- and they work well when you have the same fragrance in each. If you're at all interested in their stuff you should sign up for their e-mails, you get quite a lot of good deals. One time I bought about $40 worth of stuff for $12. I just signed up for Body Shop's e-mail so I don't know what kind of deals you get there.

Yankee Candle. I love it there. I dated a guy once (the one right before Travis) and he was allergic to everything. He started sneezing every time we went into that store- it would have never worked. I think I've mentioned before that Cranberry Chutney is my absolute fave but by this time in the year I'm looking for something a bit more springy. So on Valentine's Day as part of our date, Trav and I went to Yankee candle- because I had a buy 1 get one free for their jar candles. Yay! He'd already decided that he wanted Vanilla and lime but I don't really like it that much and this was my Valentine's Day present. So I decided that I'd pick one and he'd pick one and we'd compromise. We smelled every candle in the store, as usual, and I picked up Starfruit and Orange for the very first time. It smelled heavenly. More importantly it smelled Florida-esque so I was hooked. And Travis picked Mandarin Cranberry, still yummy although not as strong as what I picked out. Last time I bought a candle, I bought the slightly more modern looking jar with two wicks and the metal lid but two wicks just burn the candle a lot faster so I went with the more country looking jar.

I'm sure I stumbled across these Blumebuds by someone else's blog a while back so if it was yours then I'm sorry. But aren't these just the cutest little things? I've never actually done place cards before, mostly because I never have enough seats when I have people over. One day though, I'll have enough room and when I do I'll be happy I saved this little idea.

I also love this- how cool is it to make your own clock? I've seen the clock making kits at Joann's and I have plenty of canvases so it seems like it would be easy peasy to have a piece of art that's all you and tells time too. Fun.

(Edited to add)

And last but not least- caffeinated eye cream to get rid of puffiness. I was skeptical when I first heard about it but figured it was worth a try for those days when I haven't had enough sleep. I read about Moxie's Double Shot eye cream for men and Garnier's Eye Cream. Since Garnier's is easier to get (Wal-Mart) and the price is only about $13 I tried that one. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It's easy to put on and if you apply it repeatedly when you're really puffy it does help. It's supposed to help with dark circles over time but I really can't remember to use it every day.

Alright, I think that's enough for today. I still have tons of things floating around in my brain but I think I've been sitting here for about an hour now- I should check in on Halle.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back...To Randomness

OK, I'm back. From where you ask? The flu- that's where I'm back from. Yes, I get sick quite often but I'm encouraged because I'm not getting sick as much as I have. I actually went four whole weeks without getting sick at all- nearly the entire month of January! And I'm bouncing back from this nicely. My fever is down and I put makeup on and went out of the house for the first time today. I took Chloe to the Dr. because she's been sick for over a week too. She had the flu and I'm pretty sure that's where I got it. She's missed five days of school but the Dr. said that she's OK to go back. She's only 7 but the makeup work isn't anything to sneeze at, plus she has her very first project due next Monday. Please don't get me started on a 2nd grader doing projects.

So while we were at the Dr. we noticed that a new kids consignment store opened next door. I was actually somewhat impressed with the clothes and the prices so I think I'll go back when I run errands on Friday. If any of you are interested, it's right behind Costco. The girls were impressed too which was evidenced by the eardrum piercing squeals coming from the two of them. It's amazing the pitches those little bodies can produce.

Then we ran to Blockbuster and Publix and the Factory. One of those was a necessity- I'll let you figure out which one. They're having a consignment sale at the Factory and I wanted to see how long it was going on and what the clothes were like. I haven't really been to one of those before but I wasn't really impressed. It seemed kind of like a trumped up garage sale. It wasn't dirty- in fact everything smelled of fabric softener- but maybe it's just not my thing.

Rewinding a few days- I'm not sure how many because I could barely get out of bed since Friday...Travis brought home a Michael Buble' CD for me! I haven't listened to it all the way through yet but I know I'm going to love it. I recently wrote 25 things about me on Facebook (because none of you have heard of that, right?) and one of them is that even though I have a music degree, I'm shamefully ignorant of popular music. See, I haven't put music on the priority list of things to buy because everything else comes first. But I watched a video clip of Christy's son Drew play the euphonium and felt all giddy and happy inside and realized that I've let a huge part of me die. So I decided to do something about it. I remembered Kris talk about Pandora a couple of months back and decided to jump in. I've actually always been a bit clueless about popular music because I wasn't allowed to listen to "secular" music when I was growing up. I never really decided what I liked because I just listened to whatever my friends listened to when we were together or contraband Q105- *before* it was a country station. Then it was whatever music that whatever guy I was dating listened to. Gangster rap (hangs head in shame), Eric Clapton, Classical (he was a much better choice), New Age, Alternative (garage band) get the idea. The only artist I was sure I liked was Bon Jovi- I still like Bon Jovi. See Travis doesn't really make music a priority. Probably because he likes '80's Christian Rock and I hate it. I mean, I liked it in the '80's. Who didn't *love* Petra? Or Whiteheart? But I don't love it now. I love jazz and guys like Michael Buble' and Harry Connick Jr. Apparently I like Coldplay too- Amanda says everybody does. So I said all that to say that I'm taking suggestions. Who do you guys love? I know I love James Blunt- acoustic guitar and vocalist. But other than that I think (except for country and death metal) I'm an open book. I think this will be fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You Know It's Got To Be Good...

...if you start out with this much butter. I have to admit I've been in a colossal rut lately. I haven't felt inspired to do much. I haven't felt like cleaning or creating or cooking. Well, I did in theory but everything just felt like too much of a chore. " I don't feel like rolling out sugar cookies...I can't eat them anyway...Alfredo sauce takes too long...we'll just do leftovers". You get the idea. I had a bit of a feeling sorry for myself breakdown today and the Lord just sort of intervened and made some things stand out to me that I hadn't thought about. Like the new quote on the sidebar. I used to dream of owning a house and all I can see are unfinished projects and ugliness, a lack of counter space and less than stellar appliances. I've felt lost and unfulfilled and have found myself saying that 'this isn't what I prepared for, this isn't what I saw myself doing with my life'. But if I were doing something else I'd be missing it. I'd be missing my girls growing up and sharing life with them. So, with some help, I got things into gear. This is my job- and it's a really important one, so I should get on with it.

A few months back Christy linked to this wonderful apricot tart and I read that post again drooling over its yumminess. That tart wasn't in the cards because I determined that I was only going to use ingredients in the house for dinner but it lead me to a pie crust recipe which gave me the inspiration for chicken pot pie tonight. In the past I've made it with just a Bisquick biscuit top and my whole family loves it. But it doesn't have that great homemade flavor plus it has hydrogenated oil in it so I don't use it anymore. It was my very first time to make a pie crust and I haven't done it before because I thought it would be too difficult- but I was so wrong. Not only is it easy, it seems to be idiot proof too- long story. And even though it was my first attempt at making a pie crust I decided to do a 50/50 blend of whole wheat flour and white flour. It turned out perfectly. It was still buttery and flaky and delicious. I think it would make a great crust for apple pie or anything else you could possibly make with a crust. I really didn't even have the right veggies but I improvised with peas, corn, spinach and black-eyed peas- about 3.5 pounds of veggies for two pies. You have to feel good about that. Plus chicken breast. If it weren't for all the butter in the crust it would be totally healthy. But as it is you aren't eating *that* much crust since I only put it on the top.
I decided for a nice little surprise, I'd use some teensy butterfly and flower cookie cutters that I bought forever ago ($5 at Ross- score!) to top the pie.
Then I left the room for a minute and the girls decided to surprise me back. See how thick some of the cutouts are?
They begged to be able to roll out the dough too. I figured that they couldn't make *that* much of a mess so I let them... And they loved it. They were all smiles and didn't want to stop playing with it all to eat dinner.

But it all turned out very nicely and I felt happy and fulfilled. The girls were all smiles and they scarfed down the dinner that they "helped" make. I need to really tweak the filling because I wasn't totally happy with that but, whatever, next time...

Monday, February 16, 2009


This past weekend was a pretty eventful one. Valentine's Day was low-key and that's fine with me. When I was a kid Valentine's Day usually involved a heart shaped box of chocolates and a stuffed animal of some sort. My parents probably went out for dinner, but I can't remember. And I find that the holidays that weren't huge at my house when I was younger, usually isn't as big of a deal at the Button casa. Trav and I had a few hours out but it was kind of lame on the Ooh and Ahh-o-meter. I don't really mind lame things that much usually and had a great time just being out.

Amanda had a big thing though. She auditioned for an acting thing and was invited to go to a super-big, high-falutin' acting thing in June- in Orlando! Apparently this is *the place* to meet agents and directors and such that you could not get an audience with otherwise. She prayed about it and we prayed about it and even though the cost is going to be really, really high, we know that this is the thing she's supposed to do. So my daughter has dropped out of college to become an actor...and I'm encouraging it. Funny.

Oh, and you probably should know that the insurance adjuster came out this morning and said that we do, in fact, need a new roof that they will be mostly paying for. The window guy came out this morning and installed a new window in our bedroom- finally. I can actually see Westhaven from my window now. Trav's van is fixed- and it took amazingly little money to fix it. And I'm thankful.
So on to the crafty stuff. I've finished block #2 of Kyleigh's- sans bells. I watched Holiday Inn last night while I was hand-stitching it and forgot to put the bells in. Which I was reminded of by Halle, Travis and Amanda. Bummer.
And I decided to go a different direction with one of those frames I bought. I mixed a little bit of white artist acrylic paint (the amount shown was *way* too much) with a really wet brush and brushed it over the frame. Easy peasy.
The watered down paint pooled nicely in the grooves while still coating a lot of the frame itself.

Then I took the black ribbon off and switched it for this nice brown and blue one. Beachy, no? Ignore the palm tree-ish things inside. It was an experiment with masking fluid gone awry. I'm pretty sure that I can do better than that, which is why I haven't let Travis take this one to work.

And just for giggles, here's a shot of the gutter that was blown off the house. If you look closely you can see a shingle stuck in the bushes. That was some wind we had last week, wasn't it? When that nasty rain storm that was part of it came through our area I was stuck in car line waiting for Chloe. I got a bit nervous at one point and was thinking about tornadoes, not realizing that the school had apparently gotten some sort of tornado warning. I probably should have turned the radio on. But I was busy reading my very first issue of Coastal Living- and I love it.

Oh, and one more tidbit before I sign off. If you have time you should totally take this quiz. Yes, it's another one about style but I really liked it. I scored 33% Nantucket Style, 33% Cottage Chic and 34% Modern Elegance. I thought it pretty much nailed the looks that I really like. So have fun with that one. I didn't think I had much to write about but sometimes once I get started I just don't stop. So I'll stop now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

From Zero to Discouraged in 2.4 Seconds

My mind has been swirling since last night about what to write today. Sometimes it's just hard to get the thoughts going but I'll do my best. Trav and I have been through a lot in the last several years (I think I've heard that somewhere before) and it has become clear to me that it has been a faith building exercise. Maybe one day I'll outline my argument for God bringing hard times into your life. Yes, I believe that even though it flies in the face of several mainline denominations stance on, well, God. That God is all flowers and sunshine and would never, ever want us to go through anything remotely difficult much less make them difficult for us. Even though all throughout the old testament God tells Moses that He is testing the Israelites. But I'm not talking about that today because I haven't formulated my whole stance on it. And if you're going to make an argument like that you have to be able to defend it. Moving on.

Faith. We've come a long way since we first moved here and I was hyperventilating because we couldn't pay our bills. Seriously, hyperventilating. That's how terrifying it was to me. It's now several years later and I can see impending doom- like our mortgage about to adjust to a higher rate that we cannot afford to pay- and say, eh. OK, whatever, God will either a). make a way for us to refinance this thing or b). He'll make a way for us to pay the higher payment or c). we'll lose our house. C) sounds bad but at least I wouldn't have to put a new bathroom in it. I'm kidding. But throughout that whole refinancing process I barely batted an eye, didn't even come remotely close to worrying, and never, ever lost a night's sleep in the process. Even though we talked to several mortgage people that said they couldn't help. I was faced with losing my house and it did not move me.

Now, lest you think I'm bragging I'll fast forward to Tuesday (or rewind- whichever way you want to look at it). Travis car has pretty much died. The tires are completely worn out, it doesn't always shift into gear so sometimes he has to turn it off and then on again *while he's driving on the interstate*! And the less important thing is that it's 14 years old and smells like dirty feet- it used to be my dad's work van- and has no A/C. So Tuesday, we're praying and figuring, figuring, figuring and came to the conclusion that we cannot buy another car. It would make things too tight. Like miserably tight. Then I took a quick trip to the bank and a guy was hitchhiking in my neighborhood. I wasn't about to stop and pick him up and drove past him. He apparently didn't like that and swung at my van and started yelling at me. Earlier when I was in car line waiting for Chloe two things came to me 1. was that God had this all worked out and 2. was a really, really bad feeling. The bad feeling left after I didn't pick that guy up. But it was enough to knock the wind out of my sails and make me want to curl up in bed and cry.

Wednesday I woke up feeling better and then during the wind storm (?) one of our gutters blew off and exposed some rotting on the roof line and some shingles have been blown off. So Trav and I started talking about what the insurance company might do and whatever it is there is a $1,000 dollar deductible and blah, blah, blah and immediately my mood went to discouraged and my thoughts to "I can't take this anymore". Yes, I had two crummy days. Two crummy days that I wasn't expecting which led to my humanity taking over instead of faith rising up to say "God has this too". I'm not beating myself up or anything like that. My thoughts are just that in some circumstances- apparently the far off things that I can see- I can say, 'no problem, God will take care of it, I'm not worried'. And the surprises make me depressed and I want to curl up in bed and cry.

We were scheduled to lead worship for Life Group last night and when I was praying all week I felt a sense of diving purpose for us in that. As I sang through the first song I felt like I needed to share all of that and went into the second song not even thinking about what song it was. After the first verse I started sharing all of this that I've just shared with you and declared that my crummy mood wasn't going to affect my worship to the creator of the universe. Then I realized what the song was- Mighty to Save. "Saviour, He can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save, mighty to save". We picked that song weeks ago and I was singing it and not even thinking about it but God knew.

Later, we broke up into small groups of three and since I'd shared about my crummy two days one of the ladies said, "OK, so what's wrong" and I shared about my awful, crummy, blah, blah, blah. But I also shared about being called to go back home and how it came about and I was so surprised that they were really interested and cared and were excited for me. Then we continued to talk and I found out that this same person was facing really tough financial times too and she had the same questions I had at the beginning of our whole journey. "Why is this happening? Am I sinning? It isn't supposed to be this way"! And I was able to share with her a little bit about it building faith and that it's a season, not forever, even though it feels that way. Then we talked to the couple that host life group and we were able to talk about being called home and he was really encouraging and seemed happy for us and I can't even tell you how much it means to me to be able to talk about it. Because I'm excited and am looking forward to God fulfilling that in our lives.

Then on the way home, we stopped at our former life group leaders house to pick up Amanda (we left and she stayed) and both of our former leaders came out and talked to the little kiddos and hugged us and told us how much they missed us. And Marianne talked on and on about how precious Amanda is and how much God has done in her life in the last few months and how much she loves her. Then she talked about how exciting it is that God has called us home and was so happy for us. And I was able to tell her what was in my heart and that I feel like God has restoration in store for our family. Which she said was exactly what Pastor Dale is talking about right now.

When we left their house I was so very encouraged and excited about everything that God had done. Yes, the other stuff is still there but whatever. We'll figure it out, God has is under control and there's no reason for me to worry and be depressed. So yes, I can go from zero to discouraged in 2.4 seconds but God is there to meet me in those times because he loves me so much. He's not condemning but is there to encourage me and to give me a big hug through his people. And I am very thankful.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Check Out the Dollar Bin!

I usually try to run past the dollar bins at Target because I really don't need any more junk at my house. And technically these are from the $2.50 bin but aren't they sweet? A pack of 3 frames with glass fronts that hang on little ribbons *and* you can paint them whatever color you want. You could also change out the ribbon or just hang them with nails from the metal hooks on the back. I painted a little bird but a piece of cute wallpaper, greeting card or wrapping paper would work too. I painted the frame black with some artist acrylics I had lying around but, again, you could use anything you have at home. You might want to hurry though since the stuff in the dollar bins don't usually last long. Happy crafting!

20% Country! Seriously?

You have to take this quiz. I found it at How About Orange. Remember how I told you I was design schizophrenic because I like nearly everything? Well apparently I'm 40% modern (which will come as a great relief to my husband), 40% Scandinavian (really?) and 20% country (bummer). Which I'm pretty sure gives me license to be 100% Amy. I'm OK with that.

Miss Mary

At the beginning of last year Mary had a great little pay it forward crafting idea which I signed up for. I'd actually forgotten about it until she reminded me last week, so imagine my surprise when this beautiful scarf landed in my mailbox last week. Isn't it beautiful? And the kicker is that it's made of *bamboo*! I didn't even realize that they made yarn out of bamboo but it seriously is the softest most yummy yarn ever. And since it's been so cold it has been my constant companion for the past few days. I haven't actually owned a scarf since we've lived here. I haven't really needed one in the last few years because there have only been a few weeks that it's been really, really cold...but we all know what this winter has been like. I think it looks smashing with my black pea coat. Thank you Mary.
That picture was taken a couple of days ago with my "old" hair. I just came back from the salon and it was heavenly. I used to go to Fantastic Sam's because of budget constraints but I was really, really tired of bad haircuts. And since I only go about every 4 months I figured we could fit it in. The salon has recently remodeled and now they have chairs that give you a massage while they wash your hair...heaven. I didn't take a picture because unlike Christy, I stick with the same haircut pretty much every time. I've tried different styles, really, but it always ends up bad. My hair is really fine and I have a strong jaw so long and straight is the only thing that works for me. After the salon, I got a cup of coffee at Merridee's. It was just coffee. Not a latte, or mocha anything- coffee. I suppose I should add that I tried Jamaican me Crazy but it was still coffee. It was good though not strong enough for me. I don't have to have coffee every day, I don't want it every day but I am really starting to enjoy it.

And see the cutesy picture that I bought at Target last night? I've wanted a dandelion something for a long time and believe it or not they're incredibly hard for me to paint. I've tried. This isn't really a painting, it's canvas but more like a furniture canvas that's colored- not painted- with the dandelions screen printed on or something like that. It reminds me of an iron-on shirt. But it's cute and it was on sale for $10- yay! Their whole furniture event that they have once a year is 50% off right now and they have some pretty cute stuff.
Ooh, and my sewing machine isn't broken! Apparently I inadvertently pulled out a knob on the side and that's what made it quit working. I'm so glad Travis looks for the simple thing first. So it's back to making blocks today. I almost headed over to Hobby Lobby to get some new fabric but decided I'm not buying another scrap of fabric until I finish what I'm working on. I'd like to get Kyleigh her blocks before her first birthday...sheesh.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Getting Crafty

I have been bored beyond belief lately. And it's not that I don't have anything to do, I just haven't wanted to do it. I'm so burned out on home improvement projects that the thought of picking up a paintbrush makes me feel ill. So I decided that the girls and I needed a crafty pick-me-up. I saw and idea for a Valentine's Day garland on Ms. Tee's site and thought it looked easy and inexpensive enough to work. All you need is pipe cleaners and something to clip them with- I used pliers- and we were off. Actually it was so easy that the kids kicked me out of it and did it completely by themselves. Chloe was clipping the pipe cleaners and they made hearts like mad. But it didn't stop there, oh no. The kids went heart crazy making a heart and other things out of every-single-pipe cleaner (I think they're called chenille stems or something like that now). I haven't taken a picture of the garland but it looks just like the one on Ms. Tee's site that I linked to.

Chloe had other ideas in mind though. Like this swirly-whirly heart.

And a baseball cap...

I've always known that Chloe was creative but this really surprised me. I would never have thought of that. And the time has finally come for me to finish miss Kyleigh's blocks. Sickness and home improvement projects distracted me along with a messed up sewing machine, so I finally just sewed this one up by hand. My mom brought a newer, better sewing machine to me a few months ago and Travis put it away and I couldn't find it. I had decided that I just can't sew with one so I hadn't tried to use the new one. But after holding my left hand in an incredibly awkward position to sew this one up I decided I try the machine again. And it worked! Until I broke it. I was nearly done with the second one last night and the machine just quit working. It sounds like a belt broke or slipped off or something. So I guess I'm back to sewing by hand. Travis is going to try to fix it for me. It serves me right I guess. While it was working I had grandiose dreams of making a hobo bag that I've seen and a little butterfly t-shirt for the kiddos and an apron and all sorts of things but I suppose it's not meant to be...yet. Oh, and my grandma's quilt. I think I just need to put a back on it and some batting? I don't even know where to start. It seems like a nice ongoing project to work on after the kiddos go to bed. And I have an idea for another painting and on and on...

So I guess the creative kick-start worked...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Finally Outside

What a beautiful weekend. I was finally able to take the kiddos outside because the temperature was finally in the 50's. The botanical garden in Nashville was offering a $1 admission for the month of January and since I was a work widow Travis encouraged me to take the girls. I'd wanted to go since we've lived here but the admission always seemed too steep considering I'd been able to take Amanda to Bok Tower Gardens for a couple bucks a piece several years ago. Although they've raised their prices considerably since then. Anyway, most anything is expensive when your family multiplies to five.

It's pretty obvious though why they'd offer reduced admission in January- nearly everything is dormant and it's usually pretty darn cold. But the sun was shining and we really only needed light jackets to enjoy the day. The grounds were still pretty although the grass is brown and there were no leaves on the trees. Just the opportunity to get outside was enough. The garden used to be the estate of the family that was part of Maxwell House coffee and it is expansive. The old mansion itself is 30,ooo square feet and now houses the museum. We saw lots of interesting art, the scholastic series is on display right now which is by students all over this area. That was a little disappointing *but* I got butterflies in my stomach when I realized that they had a Faberge' exhibit! It was very impressive. I've never been to a prestigious museum but this was nice. I wasn't allowed to take pictures although I saw a couple of people brazenly carrying around cameras and snapping photos. All in all it was a wonderful day and I'd like to go back when things are blooming.

Here's Chloe with a statue of a 19th century woman as Sphinx. I wondered how she'd actually do her hair and put on that lovely dress with those claws. The kiddos in the herb garden. I liked the twisty-ness of the grape vines and the shadows.This is part of the mansion's garden.The japanese garden.
The kiddos...When I walked into the seasonal garden I gasped. The red berries was a huge contrast to the evergreen, brown grass and leaf-less trees. I'd love to have one of these trees but for the life of me I can't remember what their called. It seems like it was a "paw-paw" something. I'm probably remembering it wrong.