Friday, February 27, 2009

I have a Crush...

...on Jamie. I love watching him cook, the way he throws it all about and is messy and carefree about it. It reminds me that it does not always have to be perfect, and that is definitely a lesson i could use a little more. There is not a thing he makes that looks bad or unappetizing. It all looks absolutely amazing. Because of how much i loved the show Jamie at Home i knew i had to have the cookbook. I finally got it for Valentine's this year from my hubby. He also was looking forward to anything i would make from it. Last night i made my first and one of my favorite recipes from the asparagus, potato and cheese tart(click here for the recipe). It screamed make me! It did not disappoint. Even though i could not find all the exact ingredients, with a little improv i made it all work and it was amazing. It is good company food...good comfort food....who i am i kidding, it is good food no matter what.
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First Finished Projects

Last night and into the wee hours of the morning i finished sewing a binding on Avery's first quilting project. A little while back i showed the top after she had sewn it all together. She went on to choose what kind of quilting we would do, and what fabric we would use for the backing and binding. I think she did a really great job with all the sewing and quilting. She was so proud to make it and give it to her friend that is moving soon. She has a great eye for the color, i am very proud of her.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Displaying Treasures

i love the way nature and natural things is encouraged in Charlotte Mason and Waldorf styles of teaching. I especially love the use of a nature shelf or nature table. I really wanted one. My kids are forever collecting up tons of treasures on all our walks and hikes into the woods....for that matter i am too!! I hate to get rid of them so we are now happily displaying them on our newly dressed up nature shelf.

The other night i quickly made up this little quilt to put everything on. I just used some tan linen and a green floral for the binding. I wanted it to protect the paint on the shelf and make it a little easier to see the treasures...dark treasures on dark shelf get kind of lost. The kids were so excited when i put it there for them the next morning. Right away Avery very neatly laid out all the things they had collected which had previously just been in one big heap. They are actually coming to look at them and study and enjoy them now instead of them being forgotten.
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nature Sculpture

My sweet husband has once again made me something fantastic!! On one of our recent nature walks with the kids he collected up these two beauties for me, and had the idea to make them into a "sculpture" of some kind in the house for me.
Mitchie wanted to get in on the photo session! The tree ended up being too tall for where i wanted to put it, so for now it resides on a previously empty table in my dining room. I love it, i love everything about it, except that it does not fit where i want it. Thank you my secretly artistic husband!
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Quilt-a-long Part 3&4

So i did the final two parts of the Sew Mama Sew quilt-a-long together. They were to quilt it and finish it with a binding.
I was nervous about the quilting but wanted to continue doing things on this project that i was not familiar with or comfortable with. I am very NOT comfortable with stipple quilting but i jumped in and did it anyway! I think it turned out, although i am not sure how i would do it on something bigger.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009


These sweet little shoes finally made it to their new home today so i can now blog about them without giving the surprise away. I found a simple tutorial to make these complete with the pattern and knew that they had to be made for the new little Brown. They really only took me about half and hour. The inside that you can not see that well(sorry about the bad picture...i forgot to take more before they were mailed away) is black with white polka dots, and the pink was made with a old vintage pillowcase. Glad that you like them Dee.
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Afternoon Project

Yesterday i saw this craft project to make with the kids....i wish i could remember where...but i can't. i knew the kids would love it and it was so easy. Easy enough that i just remembered what to do instead of needing some hand holding with directions.
I collected up our empty toilet paper rolls(man we use a lot of toilet paper). Then i had the kids color a picture on construction paper that we cut to the size of the roll. Avery colored on a pre-cut piece and mitch we just cut out of his full size drawing. Glue the drawings on with a glue stick.
Pinch the end of the roll together and staple it. Now fill it with whatever kind of noisy stuff you have....we used bells, beans, birdseed and rice. You could also use beads if you have them, anything that makes noise when you shake it up! Next pinch the top together in the opposite direction, see the picture above, and shake!! Have a kid parade and make some noise!!!
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

I had heard from a friend that lived here recently that there were some fun hiking trails in the woods behind our house. Monday Chris was home from work so it seemed like a great time to try to find where it was. We were in there for hours exploring everything and making lots of wonderful nature finds. I had pockets full when we got home.
Part of this months book of days was animal tracking. We were keeping an eye out and found some deer prints and lots of other evidence of deer as well. We did not have a plaster kit to make a cast of the track but we got this picture and Avery did some sketching of it too.
There were "sunshine towers" spread along the trail. They are about two story high decks built out in the middle of the woods so that you can get a better view. It was really nice up there.
We spotted lots of these little fungus guys on the dead trees out there. I love to watch the kids get really into it and notice, really notice the things around them and on the ground. That is why i ended up with so much treasure in my pockets.
I caught Avery sitting on this old stone wall with her sketching book....drawing the trees and plants around her. She was so intent. She really just loves to be out in the woods and enjoying all that is around her. When we first left she was complaining about having to go on the hike but before long she said to me, "This is way better than being in the house and watching tv"...score!
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I bet you never saw this coming...

I played student to Chris' teacher this weekend. In an effort to be a good wife and try to understand some of what he does i made a "Flemonitor" as Mitchell calls it (thermometer). This was a project that his students were doing in class today that he wanted me to try. He was Tricky McTrickster about it...laying out all the parts and getting set up and then telling me that we were going to make it. By then it was just too late to argue. I made it start to finish from all those itty bitty pieces you see there....and used a really hot, stinky soldering(did i even spell that right) iron. I have never touched one before in my life. I will admit that completing it and it working was satisfying on some level, and the iron thing was fun but i don't think i need to use one again. Does this put me on the Chris path to nerd-dom now?
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Quilting for Australia

Some of you may have seen the news stories about the tragic bushfires in Australia. I think there is a natural instinct in all of us to want to do something when there are people in this much need. But, being so far away from there what could i really do? Then Friday morning while i was blogging around before the kids got up i found this project, the Bushfire Quilt Project. Generously put together by this wonderful lady at Camp Follower Bags and Quilts Blog.
She had the idea to have a international quilting bee to make quilts for some of those people that are in need. A hug, if you will, of love and support from people all around the world.
A tutorial was put out on how to make these "wonky stars". When i saw this i knew this could be my way of helping. Quilting is not much but it is something that i can do. This project was also nice for me because it was something i had not tried before and it stopped at piecing.
I did not have to make a full top or quilt anything, so there is no unfinished project hanging over my head. It was all the satisfaction and none of the guilt. It is really nice to be part of something bigger that me.

This one is my very favorite. I had these pieced and finished all in one day. And despite my usual aversion to the post office i had them ready to go out Saturday. This was foiled by the post office closing early, sunday and a holiday....but i will get them there tomorrow, i swear!
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Family Date

Happy Valentines! We had intentions of going out on a mom and dad only date tonight but again our life took over and we ended up having more fun and having a better "date" than we could ever have planned to have at a restaurant. We left around lunch and headed out to go see some birds for the backyard birdwatch.(all those geese they were chasing flew right at my head...i ducked, otherwise there would have been a better picture).

This turned into a family trek, stick hunting along the river. I have a habit of accumulating sticks. I love having them in the house, so i am always looking. There is a stick project to come, made by my wonderful husband....i can not wait!

Anyway, i digress...we grabbed some lunch and checked out the visitors center and museum here. The kids loved it...especially Mitch, lots of weapons! On the way home i mentioned this lookout point that i remembered so we took the kids there and ended up having a leisurely trek through the woods, exploring and enjoying the woods so close to our house. We were tired but had enjoyed every minute. This picture of Mitch was taken by Avery, as was the one of her at the end.

Super Husband/ Daddy/ the best Valentine ever made us heart shaped pancakes for dinner. We got the table all decked out and had dinner by candlelight(something we should do more often, it is a lot of fun).

My three valentines are was a great day!

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine Crafty

I kept thinking that i should be making some kind of project with the kids for valentines, but could not seem to find anything that i thought they would be up for. But sometimes with kids things just happen. I had paper and markers already out so that we could make cards and hearts. Then i remembered this bucket of beads and stuff that we could make a craft with.
All you need is some pony beads, pipe cleaner, ribbon and a little glue.
You thread the beads on to the pipe cleaner, leaving a little space on the ends. Once beaded just twist up the ends and bend into the shape of a heart. Place another bead or two on the exposed cleaner and secure with a dab of glue. Add a ribbon to hang with or wear.
When you are done you have a lovely heart to keep or give to someone that you love!!
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It's Backyard Bird Weekend

For anyone out there that is interested or has kids that love through the 16th is the Great Backyard Birdwatch. We have been looking forward to this for weeks now. We participated last year and it was so much fun to see Avery get excited about birds. Last year it was like the watch pot that never boiled...we had tons of birds until we were making a concerted effort to sit there and watch them. However I have great hope for this year. We have plenty of birds here and we just might make another trip back to the river to see if we can spot those eagles again for the count. So have fun, click on my link and count some birds!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chocolate Yumminess

Not very long ago, i came across a recipe for homemade chocolate syrup at this blog, My inspired heart. You know the kind you use for chocolate milk.I always want to buy it but i just never do, probably for good reason. But it looked yummy and easy, so why not give it a try. We were not disappointed.


1/3 c. cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
pinch salt
1/2 t. vanilla

Combine the cocoa powder, sugar and salt in the water, whisk so all ingredients are combined. Bring to a boil over medium heat. watch out for boiling over. boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Once it cools pour in a jar to store. Refrigerate....this makes it a little thicker, more like store bought.

When i make it again i think that i will lower the sugar and raise the amount of cocoa powder. It is also very good over ice cream....just ask the kids or Chris. They say it is great.

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