Monday, July 25, 2011

While he was away...

For the past ten days, Greg has been away in Colorado with a group of guy friends for some manly outdoor-adventures and fun.  Once he gets all of his photos sorted, he'll tell you all about it.  For now, we're just really glad to have him back home!

While he was away, we planned plenty of fun things to keep us occupied.  In the evenings I watched movies that he wasn't interested in seeing (catching up on the Harry Potter series, watching YouTube clips of Ellen), invited friends over for dinner, worked on projects in my studio (I have a new apron to show you tomorrow!), and read the The Hunger Games trilogy.

For our daytime activities, we planned playdates with friends, trips to the library, swimming, reading together (Mary Poppins Opens the Door), making playdough, etc.

The children and I ordered some ice pop molds from (Tovolo brand Star and Groovy) and had fun experimenting with all sorts of fruit juice mixtures, fruit and yogurt shake leftovers, pureed fruit (sweetened up with a bit of agave nectar), honey sweetened puddings, etc.
Little Popsicle Eaters

On Thursday we had a few families over for a Breakfast With Friends Potluck -- only 4 families total, but 13 children in all.  It was loud, but so much fun!

Breakfast Potluck with friends

Breakfast Potluck with friends

Early Friday evening, we brought dinner over to our friends Josh and Angela, who have just welcomed their brand new baby H into the world.

Visiting with Angela and her new baby "H"

Meeting Josh and Angela's brand new baby "H"

Jonah is still so very much my baby, so seeing him with this tiny little 5-day-old person was quite something.  (The other children were with us too, of course, but somehow only Jonah made it into the pictures.)

We had gotten our carpets professionally cleaned on Friday morning, so Saturday was spent scrubbing the rest of the house down in anticipation of Greg's Sunday return.

For months now our shower has needed re-caulking around the bottom edges, so I decided to surprise Greg by completing the project while he was away.  In retrospect, I probably should have just left it to a professional -- removing old caulking is no small task, and then the clean-up, bleaching, drying time, and finally caulking is incredibly time consuming.  But it's good to have a mildew-free shower at last!  (Many thanks to our neighbor Josh for some helpful tips as well as a tube of caulk remover.)

Re-caulking the shower
My first...and probably LAST home improvement project

After Greg arrived yesterday afternoon, we spent the rest of the day celebrating our togetherness.

Greg reading to the children

We had fun while he was gone, but we are ever so glad to be back together again.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Random Sunday

1)  Jonah has graduated at last to a Big Boy Bed this past week, and has not (yet) fallen out!

Billy's Big Guy Bed

Billy in his Big Guy Bed

Billy in his Big Guy Bed

Billy in his Big Guy Bed

2)  This is the embroidery I completed on our road trip to PA and NY last month.  They will be framed in ribbon-wrapped embroidery hoops and hung over Lavella's bed.  All motifs are from Aimee Ray's "Doodle Stitching: the motif collection".

Embroidery for Daisy completed on our road trip back East

3)  A Buttercup Bag that I made over the weekend. This is the third time I've used this pattern, and finally this one is for me!

Yellow and Grey Buttercup Bag

My cell phone, a lipstick, and a cute pen (thank you Becca!) all fit perfectly in the inner pocket.  It's also exactly the right size to hold the Gathered Clutch I made a while back, so I'm using it as a wallet inside.  It coordinates as though I had planned it!

Yellow and Grey Buttercup Bag: inside detail

4)  Currently waiting for me in the studio...

At the sewing machine: current work in progress

5)  My favorite sandwich of the moment: Black Forest Ham, Avocado, Arugula and Cream Cheese on toasted homemade wheat bread (I added some alfalfa sprouts to this today too!).

Ham and Avocado Sandwich with Cream Cheese and Arugula

I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Today, it was with tears in our eyes that we said goodbye at last to Rachel.  It's been wonderful getting to know her better (I moved out of my parents' house when she was only 1-1/2), and we will all miss her so much!

When she first got here, I taught her how to sew the Mendocino sundress, and over the course of our visit, she made 4 of them:

Rachel's Mendocino Dress #2

Rachel's Mendocino Dress #3

Rachel's Mendocino Dress #4

...and of course this one:
Moviestars: Billy and Rachel
The children's bathroom mirror looks like this within 5 minutes of cleaning it.  Fabulous.

I got her an identical fly-fishing box to the one I have, for use as an embroidery kit.  I got her set up with all of her favorite colors of embroidery floss and a proper sharp needle (she'd been embroidering back in NY with all six strands of floss and using a blunt-tip yarn needle -- perseverance, I tell you!) We cut out these cute little thread bobbins to organized our floss.

Stitching with my little sister

Rachel's beautiful finished project (an embroidered pillow -- yet to be stuffed) for a friend back in NY:
Rachel's embroidered pillow for a friend
These embellishments are from Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection by Aimee Ray

Rachel's embroidered pillow for a friend

During our visit there were fun summertime drinks:

Baby Mocktails
Baby Mocktails

Baby Mocktails

Baby Mocktails

Breakfast Smoothies
Berry Breakfast Smoothies

Drinking breakfast smoothies

Drinking breakfast smoothies

A whole lot of cooking and baking:
Baking Banana Muffins with Rachel

Eating lunch and looking through the Shrek cookbook with Rachel
Perusing cookbooks

And swimming as much as possible:
Playing at a friend's pool

We love you Rachel, and we hope you can come back to visit with us again!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bandana-to-Headband: a semi-tutorial

Thank you for all of the positive comments on my new hairstyle.  You guys encourage me so much!  Here's the Big Bad Hair Story: So.  I was getting tired of the black hair.  I wanted a change.  I wanted to be white blond again.  So I bleached my hair.  Twice, with 30 vol. developer.  Then I dyed my hair with blond dye...once again using 30 vol. developer.  My roots turned white (yay!), but then there was the dark, bright orange demarkation, and it just looked horrible.  On top of the terrible color, my hair also felt like mush.

I put a deep conditioning mask on it and hoped for the best, but when I attempted to style it, the ends just started breaking off in my hands.  When I say "ends", I should probably clarify: a full 4 inches of my hair was completely destroyed, leaving only about 1 inch of healthy (and white) hair.

I scheduled an emergency haircut with my hair-stylist for the next morning, and brought this photo of Emma Watson.  As soon as I got home, I dyed over the orange/white with dark ash blond, and it turned this final shade of pleasant dark-strawberry blond.

This is not the first emergency haircut I've gotten -- I have destroyed my hair before, and I've had a pixie haircut several times in the past, but this is certainly the shortest, and it was not at all planned.  I cried the first night; I love the drama of having hair around my face, and I was completely emotionally unprepared for how bare and boyish I'd feel with such a short cut.  Now that I've had this style for nearly a week, I've adjusted, and I'm feeling a little more myself.  I do plan to grow it back out though.  Not sure what style exactly, but I look forward to having just a little more length again.  At the moment though, I'm enjoying the shorted prep time when I get ready for my day!

Alright, enough about my hair!  On to the "tutorial" I had promised (more than a week ago) (gasp!).  I'm not sure if I should actually be calling this a tutorial, because this is such a simple, obvious little 5 minute project, but yet here I am telling you all about it anyway.

When I want to wear a bandana as a headband, I often find that the multiple layers of folding feel and look bulky on my head.  I've been meaning to make this project for quite a while, so on Monday, about 10 minutes before we walked out the door, I quickly ran into my studio and whipped up this cute little accessory.

First, measure across the diagonal of the square bandana, 4 inches from the corner on each side of the point.  Using a rotary cutter and a large clear quilter's ruler, cut out the center strip as marked.  (Or just use scissors.  Whichever.)


Set aside the side triangles for some other use.

Fold the triangle lengthwise, right sides together, and sew along the long edge.  Turn right side out.  Iron flat with the seam in the center of the underside.


I think it would be kind of fun to wear this as a tie also, although it might be a little short...


Now put on your new accessory and strut your stuff like a rockstar.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Sanctuary

Well, since Faith likes to jump right on the whole blogging thing without giving anyone else a chance to put things in proper chronological order, here's what we did the day after my family got here. Nothing like putting the beginning at the very end.

The Riverside Sanctuary is a very nice rock climbing area on the banks of the San Gabriel river, right behind the hospital, making it a very convenient place to spend a Saturday morning. And since it's almost always shaded it's actually bearable to climb there, despite the intense Texas heat.

Rock Climbing
On belay!

Rock Climbing
Andrew, The Cautious...

Rock Climbing
Elijah, The Natural...

Rock Climbing
Jonah, The Quick..

Dad, The Strong...

Rock Climbing
Mom, before she broke her wrist (which didn't happen while climbing - just wanted to make that clear)...

Rock Climbing
Keith even climbed...

And made it to the top!

Rock Climbing
Elijah being brave on the steeper wall.

And since I'm the one writing this post, here's me conquering my first 5.8 - "Unbound"!

Rock climbing

Rock climbing

Rock climbing

Rock climbing

Rock Climbing

Check out the rest of the photos here.