A Change is Gonna’ Come

A friend of mine just did a blog post about saying goodbye to 2010 and all the amazing things that she went through and I thought, “Um…I kinda’ did a lot of stuff. Maybe I should mention it too”

In fact, I have absolutely no reservations when I say, the year of 2010 was the greatest year of my life. So far. Period. And I think I am a little sad to say goodbye to it. I don’t think I’ve ever been sad to say goodbye to a stupid year before. Let me show you why.

I started writing down some of the silly things I know = this blog

 

I went to Manhattan for the first time to shop for a wedding dress

 

I turned 30 and RPK and I both quit smoking

 

after a year and a half planning
We totally, finally got married

 

RPK accepted a position at UW and
we took a trip to Madison to check out our new hometown

 

We went on an amazing honeymoon


to St. Lucia

RPK had a birthday and we moved to Wisconsin

We're both very excited despite what this photo implies.

 

6 days later we discover
WE’RE HAVING A BABY


 

Whew! I’m exhausted just from posting this!

Blog, wedding, honeymoon, move, baby…Um, yeah. I’m kind of a go getter.

Although I will miss it, there are obvious reasons to welcome this new year so I hope you ring it in with joy as well and decide to join me in 2011 for whatever crafting, cooking, tipping, sewing, stitching, knitting craziness I decide to get myself into.

Oh yeah! And don’t forget to eat your black eyed peas!

 

 

 

December 30, 2010. Me and Mine. 7 comments.

DIY Ornaments & Home for the Holidays pt.1

So this year is going to be quite different for RPK and I. Not only are we having turkey day alone together but we are doing the same for Christmas as well. Last T-day, I cooked for 6 people and the one before that, I cooked for just he and I. That was our first Thanksgiving together in our own home. We have also usually traveled to North Carolina for Christmas minus last year. Our trip was canceled at the last minute due to the pilots being scared to land in Providence (where we were) because the weather was so crazy. We ended up having an impromptu Christmas in our own place. This meant buying one of the last packages of tiny ornaments they had at Michael’s and placing beads on hooks as opposed to ornaments and using a rosemary bush as our tree. (How ’bout that pile of presents, ‘eh?)
Oh yeah. We totally used socks for our stockings too. They looked completely ridiculous.

Of course, it was a beautiful thing. But as I said, this year is different. This year we will have a tree. A real one. In our house.  With decorations and real ornaments. And real stockings. In a city that we will live in for a very long time. However, you can’t just go out and buy all the ornaments you want right away.
(Or maybe you can. What do I know? You very well could be a millionaire.)
These are things that must be gifted and collected over time. But you don’t want your first tree looking naked or repetitive either so here are some ideas for making some of your own ornaments. They are inexpensive and since you made them, you can choose when and if they should get scrapped and replaced with a nicer one down the road.
This was also a really nice craft date for me and RPK. I’m going to really love seeing the ornaments, year after year, we made together for our last Christmas alone, before we have this wee one.

Here are some ideas for those super neat blank and plain ornaments. You can find them at all the craft stores now a days. They come in 4 or five different sizes. They don’t come with ideas on how to make them pretty though and staring at all those DIY glass balls can get kind of intimidating. You can also totally do this with your kids. I think it’s nice to let them make “real” ornaments instead of just things made out of popsicle sticks. If you are uncomfortable with glass, they are also selling ornaments exactly like these but plastic. No one will ever know the difference.

For marbled ornaments:

Go get some of these guys.

and get some of this. It doesn't have to be this brand. Just any old cheap acrylic paint will do. It MUST be acrylic though. These were 2 for a dollar. I bought 4. I chose red and white but obviously there are many more options. Some metallics might be pretty too!

Squeeze some of your paint into the ornament. There's not really a right or wrong way. You can pool the colors on top of each other at the bottom or pour it onto the sides. Remember, it would take a LOT of agitation to actually mix your colors into pink so don't be afraid!

Concentrate very hard.

Make sure you have enough paint in there. Put a piece of tape over the top.

Shake vigorously! The more you shake, the more marbled it will get. If you shake waaaaay too much, it will just mix and turn pink.

(Oops, I forgot to mention an old egg carton is good to have around. I accidentally threw mine out.) When you've achieved the desired look, turn upside down and pour the super excess paint out. Then sit them upright on a clean surface. Since I forgot my egg carton, we used the clear plastic top to rest them in after dumping the paint.

Get creative! RPK used a toothpick to swirl his paint around and got a beautiful super marbled look:

You may have to work the paint around the ornament slowly depending upon the effect you want.

OR you can this effect by NOT shaking and just slowly swirling the paint around.

O.K. The hard part is letting them dry. They will take a week, sometimes even two or three, depending on how much paint is still in them. Leave the caps off and just let them sit upright for that time. After a week, stick a toothpick into the bottom of one to see if it’s totally dry or not. This will be the thickest part of the paint accumulation and when that’s dry, you can put the tops on.

 

 


 

November 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Art and Neat stuff, Me and Mine. 9 comments.

In the Works

Well, in my head anyway. It’s a bit too early to put the babe’s room together but while going easy on pinched sciatic nerves, aching hips and a sprained neck muscle, I’ve got some time to (internet) window shop, find inspiration in a billion places, and plan lots of little oohs and aahhs. Here’s inspiring pretties, whether it be the colors, textures or projects, that will eventually be thrown in the blender that is my brain and come out jumbled in a baby room.

One more thing: In case you’re wondering, I’m not planning on turning my focus to raising kids on this here, blog. Just going to try and keep with crafts and things that may be nice for all, whether you be the child rearin’ type or not. I mean, I would totally still be making these things for myself anyway.

 

Go visit this site! You will adore it.

 

from Mini-Eco

 

and pretty much all the garland/pennants in this post over at Poppytalk. Instant happy is right!

(My brief Flickr rant: I actually found this over on Flickr (but I’m linking it to another post featuring the whole nursery [which Jennifer did an amazing job on]) but Flickr has now made it impossible to post photos if someone has disabled their downloading. Totally understandable but it just means I would have to write every single person and ask them to send me a jpeg of the picture I want. Kind of annoying for honest folks who would give credit anyway and it makes blogging with visuals especially difficult. SO, if you are the crafty type but like your stuff to be shared with others, you might want to reconsider allowing the public access to your pictures. Just so you know. O.K. I’m done.)

 

I LOVE these mirrors!

 

Area rug from The Land of Nod

Adorable flashcards illustrated by Julie Mostad

I’d also love to get her books:

I’m also really looking forward to making a lot of Sunprints. I have always loved these but I think they will really look fantastic against our grey/blue wall and I have done so many in my life, I’m looking forward to the challenge of being more creative with them. If you’ve never done these…well, why not?! They are so fun and you don’t have to be interested in photography to have fun with them. They are great fun for kids too.

Go get creative!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 1, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Art and Neat stuff, Me and Mine. 8 comments.

Needles and Threads

Recently I have been battling the two projects I have and have had on my needles for some time now. A nice sweater for RPK to celebrate his new job and first fall and winter here in Madison and a pair of socks for him. The sweater is being done in a sport weight which has planted the mental note in my brain to never, ever knit a large sweater in a sport weight ever again and the socks are my first toe-up socks. They feel fantastic but I’m having a LOT of problems with Wendy Johnson’s book and having to find my answers and tips elsewhere on the internet. Both of these items, being for a 6’1″ tall man are quite large and seem to be taking me forever. I’ve completely lost count of the number of increases I have had to do on the sweater.

Now, I am very happy to be adding some very different thingies to my knitting queue. Some much smaller things.
Things such as these:

Tiny Shoes by Ysolda Teague

Elijah and Sophie also by Ysolda Teague

Aviatrix by Justine Turner
This adorable one (and baby) made by RogueSheep

© FrenchPressKnits

And a cute teddy bear by Debbie Bliss

Are you seeing a theme here?

O.K. I’m sure you get it but just in case,

Meet my newest distraction:

9 weeks, 4 days

We were still up to our necks in boxes, unpacking bubble wrap and we had only been in our new home for 6 days before we received this wonderful news!  That puts me at beginning of my second trimester on Thursday. Due date at the moment is April 14th.

So yes, I am totally going to use this as my excuse for being more absent lately but on the bright side, this is bringing numerous crafty pretty thingies to light that need to be made which will, of course, be documented here.

September 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Knitting, Me and Mine. 9 comments.

For The Past 2 Weeks…

So I have been a bit preoccupied. Here are some of my excuses.

We left...

My creation

we arrived...

we conquered.

And in exactly 2 weeks time, we have unpacked completely as well as put everything in it’s rightful place.

finished!

…er…O.K., except for that bud light box with books in it. And yes, this is just the office, but the rest of the house is actually is just as good of shape. How do I do it you ask? I’m incredibly impatient, anxious and have a very tolerant and helpful husband. I’m also determined and very well organized.

Today, I got to experience the incredible Dane County Farmers’ Market which happens to be the largest producer only market in the country. What’s even better? It’s every single weekend all year long minus Christmas.

Our Take?

2 cucumbers, 2 red onions, 2 sweet onions, 2 zucchini, 5 heirloom tomatoes, 1 pint raspberries, 1 bunch lettuce, 1 large bunch cilantro, 1 large string chilies, 7 heads garlic, large pint of plums, peach/jalapeno jelly, strawberry/raspberry jelly, cherry jelly, lavender plant, peppermint plant, and Kentucky Colonel Mint AKA Mojito mint plant….

for a grand total of…

$55

With 3 jars of jelly and 3 plants! Can you believe that?! We are going to buy all of our fruits and veggies for each week from here from now on. It’s a lovely little walk to the capitol;only about 15 minutes.

I have quite a few other things that have been distracting me and I’ll let you in on those pretty soon.

August 21, 2010. Me and Mine. 6 comments.

Next Post from my New Home!

That’s right! Tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of my hubby (which is the most important days of the year to me), entertaining on Tuesday, movers come on Thursday and we head off on Friday!

We should arrive at our new home and new home city on the second of August so while I’m thinking about more things you need to know, that I can tell you, why don’t you do me a little favor and tell a friend or two about all the neat things I do over here. No, you don’t have to go telling everyone your secret but I’m a giver, see? And I am just not helping quite enough people at the moment so I’d love to see some new faces (not that yours ain’t pertty) around here. Thanks and I’ll see you again soon!

July 25, 2010. Me and Mine. 2 comments.

Smooth Move

I’m in the process of packing to move about 18 hours away. I actually enjoy moving. Let me repeat that…I LIKE moving! (echo, echo, echo)

I have to learned to love the feeling of cleaning out the corners of my mind which, if you’re obsessive compulsive like me, is really what you’re doing when you are packing and decide you don’t need that chipped glass anymore or those pants you are seriously never going to fit into again. These things that we keep around clutter both mind and home which eventually starts to weigh you down emotionally.

My favorite part of moving is getting to the new place and starting fresh. With boxes whose contents are well organized, you make setting up your new home a fun and exciting activity. No, really!

Okay, Okay…Well, these tips may not make it fun for you but they may, at least, make it easier and less stressful so if you’re moving or know someone who is, here are some things I have learned throughout the years that I find are very helpful and worth considering. I’m sure you know some of these already.

  • Start early
    It IS possible. The earlier you start, the more casual this chore can become. You say, “but what if I need my stuff?!” How much stuff do you need when you travel? Do you need more than half a dozen books? I don’t think so. Do you need your entire out of season wardrobe? I am knitting a sweater, 2 sets of socks, planning menus, and posting on my blog right now…I move in less than two weeks. I have time to do these things because I started early.
    Starting early also helps cut down on the amount of things you will have to move as well as your costs because it gives you more time to make difficult “toss” or “keep” decisions. When you are pressed for time, you tend to keep everything in order to avoid going through it which makes you move more things which costs MORE MONEY.
  • Keep trash
    Hah! Okay, what I really mean is hang on to paper bags, plastic bags, pieces of cardboard, old boxes, and newspaper. These will all prove extremely useful. (We were receiving wedding presents so I started saving all the boxes and packing materials. Crate and Barrel use awesome, excessive amounts of padding paper which comes in VERY handy.)
  • Keep a station

    This is very important. Find a corner. This may seem like it will be an eyesore but it’s not as much of one as having moving supplies and paper and boxes strewn about your entire house. I’m using an old card table in the spot where all my art supplies were. You will need it free of things so that you can do all of your wrapping and taping and packing here. As soon as you are finished with a box, move it off of your table.
  • Invest in materials

    There are some things you are just going to need to buy. It’s worth it. 3 or 6 packs of packing tape, bubble wrap, blank newsprint (see last tip) and FRAGILE stickers. I know moving is expensive but I swear, the money you spend on these three things is worth it. Bubble wrap comes in huge rolls for 17 dollars. This roll goes far when used in conjunction with paper and they are usually perforated! When I discovered that, I was thrilled. The Fragile stickers are bright red so you can’t miss them. They aren’t that expensive either so you do not have to use them sparingly. You’re going to need a lot of tape. Suck it up and buy the value packs. You’ll save in the end.
  • Recycle boxes
    (Okay, I know you’re thinking you already know this, but just hear me out.)
    Ideal places to hunt for boxes are in the dumpsters/cardboard only dumpsters behind shopping centers. We scored two giant boxes filled with earth friendly (water soluble) peanuts! We found ours behind an electronics store. If you think about it, there are some stores that sell fragile things. Well, they have to have these things shipped to them, right?  These are the places you’ll have the best chance of finding free peanuts, bubble wrap, and stuffing paper!

  • Check box bottoms
    Always check the bottoms of your found boxes that haven’t been broken down before packing them. You may need to add some extra tape to insure the bottom doesn’t fall out once it’s packed.
  • Make your own boxes
    You’re going to eventually come across something that has very odd shape to it and won’t fit in any boxes you’ve found. Don’t go hunting down some perfect sized box. Make your own out of a larger box. (I’ll admit, I am no good at this but RPK is.) All you have to do is break the box down flat and the use it more like wrapping paper.
  • Multiple boxes in view

    Have many different boxes taped up and put together and have them in plain view in your area. This makes it much easier to just grab a box of appropriate size.
  • At least two of everything
    This is if you are the only one packing. If there’s 2 of you packing, have 3 of everything. This means, markers, tape holders, and areas. This will cut down on wasting time and getting frustrated searching for a misplaced roll of tape or a marker that rolled under a box. It may sound small but it’s the lack of these little “situations” that keep you and your loved ones…well, loving one another.
  • Pack decor first
    I have ALWAYS done this. This means all knick knacks, anything on the walls and anything that serves no purpose besides sitting there and looking pretty. You won’t believe how great this makes you feel. This is something you can do very early on, at a nice pace and it is helpful when stacking boxes against the walls as you will not have to worry about anything on the walls. This is also nice because when you open these boxes in your new home, it will feel easier to switch up where things are as opposed to hanging all the same things in the same rooms.
    *Doing this will really make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and can get the ball rolling.
  • Then books
    This puts a serious dent in your packing!
  • Color code rooms
    This can be good for kids to help. Kids LOVE putting stickers on things. When all the boxes from their room are taped up, skip writing which room it’s for all over the box. Let your kiddo pick out his/her color and stick the appropriate stickers all over it. This saves YOU time and gets the wee ones out of your hair for a little while.
  • Go Easy on yourself
    Take plenty of breaks. If you start to feel stressed, go outside or away from the packing for a little while. Being surrounded by chaos can make you feel, well, chaotic. Lift as little as possible. If you need to see if something is going to fit in a box, put the box over the item upside down instead of lifting the item itself. Drink lots of water.
  • Blank Newsprint
    You can buy large boxes of blank, fresh wrapping newsprint. Often, you can also buy it directly from your local newspaper for very cheap.
    Yes, printed newspaper is very cheap and easy to come by but keep in mind these major things: it gets your hands filthy and feels gross AND you will need to wash/rinse EVERY dish that is wrapped in it after you move. Blyuch, right?

Remember, this is a great opportunity for a fresh(er) start. Be nice to yourself so your start in your new home is a happy one.

July 18, 2010. Tags: , , , . Cleaning tips, Me and Mine. 9 comments.

Pretty Little Things

Unfortunately, RPK inherited about 75% of his belongings from his parents about six years ago. Since this is the first time we have moved as “we”, I am getting to see a lot of things for the first time. He is RPK the fourth and like his father and his father and his father’s father, he keeps many of the family belongings that have turned to heirlooms. There are a lot of beautiful and strange, things. Lots of silver with RPK senior and juniors’ initials engraved as receiving from Tiffany and Co. back then was the thing, amazing family documents and photos, old toys from his childhood and more.

I thought I’d share a few of the neat things I found.

An adorable bib RPK’s mother made for him and his beautiful silver teething rattle. She sewed this and painted it with acrylics. She was quite crafty and since I was never lucky enough to meet his parents, I really enjoy seeing the things she painted and made as it makes me feel a little closer to them.

You may remember these silver teethers were actually very common as they are safer than plastic ones and work better. I am not really sure why they have gone out of style but we plan on reusing this one. These are very nice because you can freeze them and the silver retains the temperature for quite a while.

I can’t wait to very carefully sew the little buttons back on these amazing booties. These were most likely his grandfather’s or great grandfather’s baby shoes. I think they are incredibly beautiful.

Here’s another mom made cutie. It’s the Ark wall hanging with curtain style loops at the top.
I love the little animals.

Here’s the little lion!

These are so beautiful I want to learn to love grapefruit just so I can use them.

This carving set seems extremely extravagant to me.
I had a nice time using it last Thanksgiving when I cooked for RPK and 4 other friends.

Unfortunately my family never really took to keeping things like this, that I know of, so I feel incredibly lucky to be part of a family with such a rich history and beautiful heirlooms.

Do you have any favorite family heirlooms? Why are they you favorites? Do you make it a point to pull them out and actually use and enjoy them or do you keep them tucked safely away for the next generations?

July 6, 2010. Art and Neat stuff, Me and Mine. 3 comments.

Alarm Clock Frogs

If you play this through your stereo at full volume it will accurately represent what the frogs in St. Lucia sound like. (You can barely hear the band playing in the background also.) If you stay at a place that is open, such as Ladera, you absolutely MUST bring earplugs. Luckily, we did our research and brought an entire box.

Also, please DO NOT feed the wild cats your breakfast at the restaraunt.Thank you. That is all.

June 30, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Me and Mine. 2 comments.

I may be Home but that Doesn’t Mean the Honeymoon is Over

Hey everybody! (You 10 awesome folks that read me) So I am back from my honeymoon in St. Lucia. Of course, everything was amazing.  First we stayed at the Sandals Grande for 6 nights. If you’re considering, DO. This place and the people there are incredible! Every single person is treated like a rock star. You feel like you have your own concierge. Seriously, I actually asked for an email address for the head honcho just so I could tell him how amazing this location is. (I’m a firm believer in positive reinforcement…and the possibility of complimentary thingies.) I could honestly go on and on for a long me and frankly, I’m too tired. Just trust me. Totally worth it. Then we stayed on the other side of the island in between the famous Pitons at Ladera. Again. Incredible. It’s basically, super amazing camping. We ate at the award winning Dasheene every day and it was totally worthy. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos to represent and you’ll just have to take my word for it. Take a look at my video tour after some pics if you have 10 minutes. The view will stun you.

Sampling strange new fruits!

The larger pink fruit filled with gooey green stuff is a passionfruit and behind it is something called a wax apple. The passionfruit was surprisingly sour but still good. The wax apple is very crisp and crunchy and like a cross between an apple and a pear but less juicy.

There was actually a very large front that made it rain a large portion of the time we were there. BUT where there is rain...

...there is sometimes a rainbow! If you are as lucky as us that is! I still can't believe I got this shot. It was only there for about 5 minutes. How magical!

Fresh Coconut

A Julie Mango (or St. Julian). Our cab driver told us out of the dozens and dozens of cultivars, this was his favorite. I can see why. It melted in my mouth.

Perfect

There are lots more photos on my flickr and I’ll be adding some underwater ones later as well. Stay tuned for the next installment in egg class which will be over easy and over medium. I’ll also (FINALLY!) be showing you the easiest way to fold a fitted sheet nicely.

Here’s a video tour of our villa if you’re interested. It is pretty amazing. You may recognize the view from Superman II. (There’s a brief scene where he flies away to go pick a Bird of Paradise for Lois.)

June 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Me and Mine. 2 comments.

Honeymoon

RPK and I are going on our honeymoon! Hooray!!! I need some serious sun before I go running to Wisconsin so there will be a break and I’ll be back in about 2 weeks!

Thanks for reading!

June 14, 2010. Me and Mine. 1 comment.

Coreopsis!

I LOVE them! What a great way to brighten your day and remind you the summer is a time for beautifying your life. However, they can get a bit weedy as they reseed themselves.

What do you do when you need to tame the beast? These are great to bring the outside in.

Instant Happy!

June 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Me and Mine. 3 comments.

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