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July 20, 2010

Simple Chairback Covers Made From Placemats

When we first moved into our house, I was not sure if I wanted bar stools at the little bar area of the counter. But a friend of mine was having a yard sale and selling these chairs that were her mom's...
I knew  I could breathe some new life in them and decided to paint them white.  I would have left the seats alone but I have too many things already that have that white and wood look so I committed and made them all white.

These chairs are really sturdy but the country look of the back of them is not really the look I am going for.  Since power tools are out, I decided to cover them up a bit.  My first thought was using a kitchen towel or cloth napkin because I was looking for a no sew project.  But they proved to be kind of big until I realized a placemat was a good size to work with.
 I found these at Pier 1 on clearance and since they had the color of my kitchen in them, I grabbed them up.  I also figure I can make a few sets of these if I grow tired of this one.
 I needed to fold it over to give it a clean look and to fit the back of the chair. 
I stitched it closed on the bottom.
 They had this cute ball fringe on them but I had to cut them off on one side for this to work.
Velcro is a delightful invention, is it not?  I used it for my closure since I wanted to be able to remove these easily. I also used it to secure the one side I folded down. I used super duper, stickier than sticky Velcro too. 
At first, I was going to do it like this but I wanted the look to fold over so I changed it to this...
It was fun.  Hope you might be inspired to do something similar.  I will let you know what else I come up.  I have another idea to do this but I have not found the perfect placemat or material yet.
I want to do one like this pillow from Pottery Barn... 
 So ridiculously cute!  
I promise to post it when I do it. I am totally inspired.

Let me know what you think!  Your comments make me happy.  Really.  They do.

Linking to:

July 19, 2010

Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette

Yesterday, we had our neighbor friends over for dinner and they made this amazing Chicago style pizza (which I do NOT have the recipe for since it intimidates me. I mean, I was in awe of the size of pan it came in).  

But I added a salad as my contribution and decided to use this awesome Strawberry Vinaigrette recipe.  I haven't a clue where I got it but have used for several years. And it is ALWAYS a winner. Honest to goodness.

So I decided to share it with all of sweet you.  Your welcome. :)

2 pints strawberries (extra berries to garnish salad)
1 cup brown sugar
1 oz honey
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2-3 oz. extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in processor, adding oil and vinaigrette at the end until desired consistency.

I halved this recipe last night and it still made an entire bottle of dressing.  Just so ya know. :)

For the salad, you can use whatever leafy, green, yummy stuff that you like.  All I added were cucumbers, extra strawberries and Kashi Summer Berry Granola.

Hope you enjoy it.

I am linking this recipe up to my sweet friend Keren's blog...Free Pretty Things for You

July 18, 2010

A Shout Out to Good Old St. Nick!!!!

The Scene:  
Today's drive home from church.

The Dilemma:  
My ability to understand some aspects of CATIese.

The Subject:  
Cati singing.
Picture it as you read...

Cati:  "Ho Ho to Santa! Ho Ho to Santa" (She is moving around and I think it's dancing)

Confued Me:  What?

Cati:  "Ho Ho to Santa!"

More Confused Me:  Cati, what are you singing?  Ho Ho to Santa?  Is that what you sung in Sunday School today? 

Cati:  Yeah. Then Silence. Apparently no further clarification is needed.

Growing Impatient Me: Are you celebrating Christmas in July or something?

Cati:  I think I heard crickets and possibly a distant cough. No response available at this time.The singing then resumes.

Exasperated Me:  After 801 more rounds of a ho ho to Santa, I say, "Cate?  What song are you singing?"

Equally Exasperated Cati:  HO HO TO SANTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suddenly Enlightened Me:  OHHHHHHHH!  Are you singing HOSANNA????

And this is the song she is trying to sing...

Hosanna Rock

Hosanna (Put hands to mouth like yelling) I was wondering why she was bellowing for Santa.
Ho, ho Hosanna (put hands to mouth like yelling)
Hosanna (do the twist) this explained the animated yet limited movements that one can do in a car seat.
Ho, ho Hosanna (continue doing twist)

Whew.  So happy to clear that up but that's when she starts singing the next chorus...

"Everybody, Everybody plays the Lord!"
"Everybody, Everybody plays the Lord!"

Ever LITERAL Me: "Um, Cati?  It's PRAISE the Lord." (this took like 5 minutes for this correct pronunciation to sink in).

Then I hear Ella chime in..."Airbody Airbody paze the WARD!" Waving her hands enthusiastically for emphasis.

Just precious. 

So when we got home I asked Cati to do the hand motions so I could snap some pictures.  
I am a proud Momma of my gospel loving, getting her praise on, cutie patootie girl.
Ho, Ho to Santa (Translation...Ho, ho, HOSANNA!)
Action shot :)

This was a big finish on the word LORD and if I am not mistaken she may have added jazz hands.

God, thank you for these girls.

July 13, 2010

My Brother and I Need an Intervention

OK, OK. I have a Brother sewing machine.  

There is nothing more delightful to me than a play on words.  Remember...I am a word geek and you choose to read my silly blog...SO THERE! And I actually have 3 brothers.  And none of us need intervention. 

But I am serious.  I can not use it. I am horrified at what is produced when I attempt to use it. I actually lost sleep over my complete ineptness in all things sewing machine.

Let me back up.  My girls are having their birthday party at the end of this month.  Wait, have I told you that they have birthdays two weeks apart?  I think I have but if I have failed to tell you this, I am so sorry. They do.  So since I am FANATICAL about birthday's they must share a party or I will craft myself to an imminent death.  And I have this cute favor idea I want to do inspired by this tutorial for reverse applique bean bags.  They are so stinking cute!

Let me show the heinous creations I have made...(could I be more dramatic?)

Now don't look at these too closely.  It will look like someone who is legally blind and can not see the BIG E on the eye chart with the naked eye put these together.  

Oh wait.  

That would be me. 

True story.  When I was little and needed glasses I kept saying I could not see the biggest letter on the chart.  Me being the jokester from the womb, my mom thought I was making a funny for the nice doctor and kept saying under her breath...(quite menacingly I might add..."KNOCK IT OFF!"  Sadly, that E was a big blob of smeared ink for me.  I was telling the honest to goodness truth. 

Yet, I was wearing my contacts when I produced this...

Um, what on earth?  
It looks like I was a bit of a lead foot. And what made me think a project such as this should be my first endeavor after accomplishing only a "sort of" straight line using a sewing machine?  But I had to show you this because I still plan on giving this to little children that I assume will not be examining my sewing skills and will only delight in beaming this at someone in close proximity.  (Not it's intended use)
In this photo, one that would make any seasoned sewer proud,  the rice is spilling out where I have failed to sew a hole.  So instead of starting over, I go over and over and over it again until it looks...well, like THAT.  I basically cut the fabric underneath the circle a tad too small.  To add insult to injury, I did not pin it since I am the most impatient person and arrogantly deem that prep work is for amateurs.  Which I have gloriously proven in this magnificent piece of work. Oh, the horror.
Oh, for the love of all things crafty. If I could just stay away from the blasted fabric!!! But I must say the circle actually looks like a circle rather than a crazed, haphazard sewing frenzy. Sort of.

Do you hear the hallelujah chorus?  LISTEN! I think...I think I am actually improving!  
By golly I think she's... Alllllmost got it. 
Still went wayward onto the fabric.  I am driving myself crazy. Oh and just so you know, the original tutorial has the circles kind of messy on purpose.  And I DO like that.  But not my kind of messy.

So.  All you sewers out there. Wait...even if you at least know how to thread a machine, you must leave me a comment.  For the love of all things SEWN WELL you must give me guidance. Yes. I am begging.  

Do I just need to practice?  Am I trying something too difficult?  I admit I have not used one of these mean things in YEARS! Was that shocking?  

Do you think I should just go for it and keep going even if they are not perfect because they are still, kinda, sorta, cute?  Be honest.  I don't want to give away the favor idea yet since every parent of the kids read my blog...and I don't want this post to make them...cough in sick for the party.

Help a novice sewing girl out. Please.

July 10, 2010

It's Not Fun Anymore

Dang it!  I missed my ONE year anniversary with this blog.  July 5th was the day and what did I do?  


So guess what I decided to do instead?


Can you tell the blog glow is fading for me?  

It's funny.  I decide to give my blog to God.  Totally.  Fully.  And it is not so important anymore. This utterly shocks me.  I'm serious.  I used to lose a follower and it was hard to choke down the ice cream I would turn to in total defeat and failure, lamenting at how I LOST ANOTHER ONE. In this carbohydrate induced haze, I would feel like a blog loser. 

But suddenly it is not so important.  In fact, I am actually wondering why I MADE IT so important. Well, I am not wondering.  I KNOW.  It was to feel good about myself.

But I have decided that I want to do more. WRITE more.  Share my heart.  And funny as this seems, I have come to the conclusion that I don't want to do Two Tips Tuesday anymore. So I am saying goodbye to my weekly post.

And I feel f r e e.

No worries, though.  I will post a craft now and then if I think they are fancy or fun for THE BLOG. I am a craft girl.  Can't change how God made me.  But I realized I was a slave to that Two Tips post.  If you had any idea how much effort I put into them...well, it doesn't matter.  What does matter is that it was fun but I am done.  Poetic. Nice.

I am sure this is not a big deal for a lot of you but it is for me.  This is just one more step to my being obedient to God and doing His will.

Funny that I find His will much more joyful than my own will.  And I find that when I trust Him, He never fails me.  Ever. His ways are so not mine.  Well, good.

Because my way never works.

So I am humming a sad but a kinda happy little dirge to Two Tips Tuesday.

So long, Tuesday post.  Now you will arrive each week as just another Tuesday.

And that is OK.

July 7, 2010

Two Tips Tuesday: DIY Window Shade and a Fun Activity

I am NOT off on my days.  I am just busy because it IS summer, you know. And I have been wanting to really focus on the girls and getting a better schedule together.

Um....let's just say I am still TRYING to get it together. But I am getting there...:o)

So this is Two Tips Wednesday.  Not as fun of a ring to it but it will have to do...

TIP #1:  DIY Window Shade...Use What You Have
I had the hardest time getting a photo of this because the shade makes the room as dark as night and the lamp in there is like 2 watts.  No, really.  I am so serious. SO DIM!  But I loved that lamp and I had to have that lamp.  I mean, a polka dotted, pink lamp just begs to be bought. So the pictures are dreadfully dark but you get the idea.  
Here is what I did in a nutshell...
Took my cheap roller shade and spray painted it. I used Mod Podge on Dollar Tree letters for the "good night" on the shade. They are uneven because I was lazy and did not ensure they marched straight across the shade. I can be so craft lazy. I did not even stage this photo.  I consider us all tight like that now.

It looked kind of blah to me so I decided to embellish the bottom of the shade. I glued 2 coordinating ribbons the length of the bottom and the ring is none other than...a shower curtain ring. Give me time and I may find 101 uses for them.  I tried wrapping it with ribbon. Then yarn.  No go.  The thing would not cooperate do I left it and it suits me just fine. The flower is an iron on applique I had in my sewing box. I just hot glued it on. The total cost for this project was the cost of spray paint which was $3.99 and everything else was stuff I had on hand.

Tip #2:  Have a Photo Scavenger Hunt 
I really have struggled to find fun things to do this summer and I came up this idea born of my daughters obsession with the camera.  I daily take photos and if the camera is within her reach she starts snapping.  The other day I found about 8-10 pictures of her one eye and forehead on the camera. Praise God she is not blind.

Things to Find:

red car
bird in a tree
chalk on the sidewalk
mailbox with the flag up
a leaf that is not green
a family
the number 7
an animal with four legs
something hot
something cold
a rock

Here's What You Do:

Look around your neighborhood and house to find all the items on the list. Do your best to let your child find all of the items.  When you find one, let your child take the photo .  If they do not have their own camera, show them how to point and shoot with yours.

After you have completed your scavenger hunt, develop your pictures at home or a 1 hour photo place.  (I just upload mine to Walgreens and pick them up).

Scrapbook your fun scavenger hunt as a memory to keep forever. They will be so excited over what they found and the photos they took.

Try to cater the list to your child's age and make it more or less challenging.  You can even create a theme.  Great summer activity to do with kiddies and grandkiddies.

Happy Hunting and HAPPY!

July 4, 2010

I Did It! I Sconed The Neighbors!

You have no idea how so many of you were with me when I baked these scones and put these together.  Your comments encouraged me and I knew that your caring words are what gave me the courage to just go out there and do it. I even went back and read through your comments several times to remind me that what was important was to be an example of Christ for my kids and for my neighbors.  I was to extend love and expect nothing back in return.
So I did.  I stopped worrying if people would like me and just decided to love them.  Nothing more Christ like then that.

And I was BLESSED!

First of all, we woke up Saturday morning with my next door neighbors having a garage sale.  Come to find out...they are moving.  I am a little sad they are leaving before we can get to know them but I am VERY excited for the opportunity to welcome the new neighbors when they arrive. And guess what...I asked them point blank if she felt weird after what happened with the dog and Cati and she admitted she was!  I marched right up to her sweet self, hugged her tight and told her I was so sorry she felt this way for the last month and we were not upset AT ALL.  Details in this post. Cati had a slight incident with their Great Dane. She's fine.

While we were outside, our new friends from down the street came by with their kids for a hello and we all spent the morning outside getting to know one another.  All the other neighbors were outside so I just took my basket of goodies and started saying hello.

It was amazing.  People were so warm and sweet.  I think it was just like a lot of you said.  Our lives get busy and people are afraid to make the first move. But once I did this, the neighborhood stopped feeling cold.  I suddenly knew names, asked about their lives, and it began to feel like a community.  And I was so happy I did it because I now I understand sometimes if I notice something that may require initiative, God may call ME to make that first step.  So be it.  He has always gone before me and He won't stop now.

We even had our new neighbor friends over for dinner and we are excited to get to know them better. Actually, they cooked it at our house because um...I need to go grocery shopping.

Thank you so much for all your kind words and feedback.  It meant so much to me that I could turn to you and ask your advice.  ALL OF YOU! You wrote so honestly and openly and it felt like a community right here on my little blog. case you would be interested, I will give you my scones recipe and the scoop about these simple treats and how I put them together. Here we go...

Chocolate Chip Scones

1 stick of butter (the original recipe I found said 6 tablespoons but one day I just threw the whole stick in there.  Simple.  Convenient. Yummy.)
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of buttermilk (more if needed)
1 cup  milk chocolate chips (but I like LOTS so I put more in)
1 egg slightly beaten

Combine dry ingredients and then cut in the butter until the  mixture looks crumbly like cornmeal. I don't own a pastry cutter so I just pound it with my whisk.  Buy another whisk after you do this. After you get back, make a little well like hole in the mixture and pour the buttermilk in the well.  The key to a good scone is MINIMAL MIXING AND HANDLING.  Mix, fold, whatever it all together until just combined and add chocolate chips.  At this point, I am unconventional and do them easy by just dropping them by the spoonful on a baking sheet. Brush tops with egg..
Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until just golden. Eat em' or give em' away. :)

The Cutie Patootie and Oh So Simple Packaging

I loved this because you can do this with ANYTHING.  Hostess, thank you, anytime of the year or occasion kind of gift.  And it was inexpensive but looked great!

Clear Treat Bags: Wal Mart $1.50 for 20 (party section)
Red Scalloped Box: Wal Mart $1.50 for 8 (party section) I was able to fit 8-10 scones in the bag and box.
Ribbon: Wal Mart $2 for 15 feet.
Clothespins and Label Background: 4th of July scrap paper I had on hand and directions from this post.
4th of July Flip Flop Printable: Go here.*
4th of July Circle cupcake topper printable: Ahhh...I can not find it for the life of me.  If any of you know please tell me so I can post the link*
 *(I realize 4th of July is over but wanted to give links back to appropriate sources)

Total Cost to me: $5
I hope all of you had a fabulous 4th of July and none of your children were as traumatized as my Ella over the neighborhood fireworks.  I believe she thought the sky was falling...the poor thing.  So glad we decided to forgo the ACTUAL fireworks extravaganza and stay home. 

Thanks for being great friends to me!

July 2, 2010

I got a House Warming Package...from Oklahoma!

Now before I share this with you, I wanted to thank SO MANY OF YOU for addressing my neighbor issue.  All of you made me smile and really think about it.  I was surprised by how much this hit home with you. 

And I really take for granted that those of you who read this blog actually KNOW me but you  have no idea that I greet most everyone.  In the grocery store.  On the street. In a store.  At the Y.  On the playground.  Everywhere. So much so that my girls do it too.  I am pretty outgoing and  I am not afraid to say hello.  Not at all my issue.  My fear is NOT BEING LIKED. So yes, I have been greeting all my neighbors, asking how they are, etc.  It seems to pain so many of them to say hello back.  And it makes me sad.  Especially when my kids say hello and they just look at them.  

But I LOVE what a lot of you said about making the first move and that it will possibly break the ice. That it should not matter what their response is to me because I am doing what I feel is right to do.  I want to love people, share the love of Christ and make some friends too!  My favorite line was from my friend Alaina who said SCONE 'EM!

So I am going to do it and I PROMISE to follow up and let you guys all know how it went. 

Oh but guess what, guess what?????  I met a sweet woman down the street who...get this...knows my BFF, her son went to the same school that Cati is going to next year but she has decided to home school full time...and she loves Jesus.  God is so delightfully good. And she is so getting the BEST scones.  Hahahaha...just kidding.

Now let's talk about my friend who knows what it means to be a sweet bloggy friend in Oklahoma! Who is not just a bloggy friend but a heart friend who I adore.

It astounds me that someone who has never laid eyes on me in person decided to send this fabulous care package to me as a house warming/birthday gift to me. My sweet, wonderful friend Marla is seriously amazing.  She is this glorious concoction of pee your pants funny with selfless giver. Sorry to be gross but there was no other description more fitting.  And I would assume upon meeting you she would hug you, possibly feed you, and then let you stay 5 months if you so desired.  She is THAT wonderful.

And she sent me presents.  Which is like guaranteeing my undying love. She describes these things as a whole bunch of little nothings but not to me.  To me, these are tokens of friendship that speak straight to my heart.  And I am so touched that she would think of me and still manages, within this amazing gesture of friendship, to make me laugh. She attached these cute little notes to each and every one.
Here is my beautiful card (oh, and above is 2 beautiful notepads for the girls to doodle on..I almost took them for myself but I gotta have a little integrity. With it she sent a beautiful journal where Marla wrote inside..."keep writing").  Oh, that woman is a soul mate friend.
OK.  So I surmised that she either unloaded this piece of loveliness on me orrrrrrrrr...knew I would love it and wanted to give me something her.  And I do love it.
The candlesticks literally made me laugh and squeal.  Do you see what it is says?  For your 1/2 birthday at Christmas!!!!  Now I am gonna stick these chunky candlesticks smack into a cake and sing a little diddy to me.  For like 5 minutes.  I promise I realize Christmas is NOT about me. And she called those "perfect for me" candlesticks, funky vintage.  I call them pure goodness.  Love them!
Such pretty little dishes that I will find oodles of use for.  I love little pretty things.  This woman gets me.
Oh yes.
An awesome stamping/journal set that I am so excited to get my hands on.
WOO HOO!  I am an official Okie. 
And really, there is nothing like jar of dirt. It is on my bookshelf and I will treasure it.
What a sweet little liar.
And it all came in this box. 
Can we talk about how I had a moment of sadness (I am such a greedy thing) that this was not 36, individually wrapped, ice cream treats for me?  I got over it but I still laughed lots that it all came in this box.
 Miss Marla CLAIMS to have eaten all 36 in order to send me this box.
I think that was a bit cruel.

So Marla, my precious friend that invited me for the holidays and may regret this invitation if I show up on her doorstep since she left her return address for me to stalk her and I have two very busy children who never stop moving and...

Thank you so very much.  
How I wish you were my REAL neighbor.

You show me and everyone who encounters you what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ.
I love you dear friend.  Truly.

July 1, 2010

Please Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Oh, heck.  Let's just sing it together...

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It's a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So let's make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we're together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

Won't you please,
Won't you please,
Please won't you be my neighbor?

Um, what is a beautywood? And what does a neighborly day for a beauty mean?  I always wondered and chalked it up that I was just a kid who needed to get older to understand.

I am older.
Much older.
And I still don't understand.

Here is something else I don't understand.  I was talking to my friend the other day about a neighborhood issue we are having right now and she suggested I blog about it to see what people all over have experienced in their neighborhoods and to see if any of you have experienced what we are experiencing. Wow.  How many times can I repeat the same word in that run on sentence?

So we have lived here a month, right?  No one.  I mean NO ONE has come to say hello. Not a "welcome to the neighborhood" greeting. No waves. Maybe a half lift of an arm with 2 fingers to look like a wave. There has been a lot of staring. Some slow drive by's with people checking out what we have done so far to fix up the yard. My favorite was 2 men on bikes who kept circling the front after we planted some flowers and Japanese box woods.  I wonder what they would have done if they knew I was drinking my morning cup of coffee and looking out my window... my cold, aloof neighborhood.  OK.  Just kidding but I would not be me if I did not add my usual drama to a post.  

People...I wish I were kidding this time...walk by the house and when they see our family outside doing yard work and the girls playing with sidewalk chalk...THEY CROSS THE STREET to avoid saying hello.
Here is a man who is landscaping my neighbors yard.  He sees my cute little girls and not so cute me sitting out front.  Suddenly, invisible molecules captivate him somewhere yonder there across the street and he is unable to look away from them until he safely passes our house to edge the neighbors yard.  And the same invisible entities captivates him again when he walks by the front of the house again.  Unbelievable. 

I mean, I may be grossly biased but I think these faces would garner at least a wave.  Look at 'em...
 Look at this face!!  I am thinking it is all kinds of cute.
 Playing shy...
Playing peek a boo with Mommy and camera behind the bush...
Come on!!!!!
They even clean up after themselves...
Looky there.  All the chalk in the bucket.  See?  Good values.  Tidy front yard.

 All righty.  They may pick the flowers when they are not supposed to...
Cati, STOP IT! 
Cati, I can still see what you did even if you can't see me, silly goose.
But we are a nice family who happens to go outside in July.  In Florida.  Only a tad odd.

Friends, how hard is hello?  Is it really that taxing?  I am all about understanding someone's shyness.  You can be shy.  You do not need to come over with a big bear hug and an "on the spot" invite to dinner.  But I sure do believe that shyness is not an excuse to be rude.

So.  We have been here a month and my plan is to use those cute little 4th of July clothespins and labels and knock on doors with chocolate chip scones and a hello.  But my fear is I will shame people who may have meant to say hello and let this month go by.  Or people will tremble behind their closed door waiting for perky, scone lady who just moved in to go away.   

Or worse, my goodies will be refused because it may require...GASP...interaction.

But here is a dose of irony.  I am really fearful to put myself out there to do this.  How convenient for me to whine about what others are not doing because I am scared to do it myself.  But what am I scared of?
Rejection.  Plain and simple.  It is something that has hurt me deeply most of my life. I think I fear that more than anything else which is why I sniff it out. I saw it the other day when 2 girls told Cati to go away at the pool.  I think it was the first time in my life I entertained cussing out a child.  I think it hurt worse than when it happens to me!  Rejection also leaves scars that turn into tough skin.  And we wear that tough skin in many different ways. I know I do. Sometimes it takes on the form of AVOIDANCE.

I think it is what makes people hide behind their houses and never sit on their front porches.  I think it is why we become vested in the lives of other people on reality shows because we live vicariously through other people's reality.  Interaction requires a level of intimacy that has become foreign now. 

But I keep going on an on.  Does saying hello creep in on YOUR comfort zone?  Or are you perky lady comin' a callin' with goodies?  I want to do this and be the neighbor and witness God wants me to be.   But I am nervous.

Any thoughts?