March 29, 2009


Is there anything better on a lazy Saturday than making a blanket tent?

Remember that? I have such fond memories of crawling inside with my dolls or stuffed animals and playing school or hospital or animal doctor.

Best of all was when my Mother would let me have the tent all to myself (I'm oldest of 4) without younger siblings to bother me and I could curl up with a book for some alone time..... especially if it was a rainy day!! That was just the best thing ever!

Even though I'm 51 years old, when I'm occasionally down in the dumps for no real reason (hormones probably?) I think what I really need is my own blanket tent for a few hours.

I'm pretty sure if I were to make a blanket tent in the corner of the dining room and crawl in there with my pillow and a book, I think my family would think I was slipping off the deep end.

BUT, the next time everyone is gone for a few days and I have the house to myself........

March 27, 2009

OLE! Fiesta Apron Swap

I've been waiting for someone to do a swap with this kind of theme. The perfect theme for me and my avocados! Besides all the avo cookbooks and avo doo-dads I have in my collection, I also have several avocado fabrics that have been calling out to me every time I dig into my fabric stash......
How's this for a FIESTA apron??? I made it entirely from things I already had on hand.
I'm really pleased with the way it turned out! This just might be in my top 10 favorite aprons that I've created! I embellished a kitchen towel to match.(did you know you can make ruffles out of grosgrain ribbon? Look how cute it looks)
The Fiesta swap package is also to include a fiesta-themed item of my choosing and at least one fiesta-themed recipe......WELL, what's more fiesta-ish than a big bowl of guacamole? Of course I'm sending along a big pile of avocados and an avo slicer.
Our family has so many much-loved Mexican food recipes that I couldn't choose just one, so I made up a mini cookbook with 25 of our favorites.
These are a few I included:

This package will be on its way on Monday to my partner in Texas...I sure hope she likes avocados!

I lOVE THIS SWAP! and I haven't even received my package yet!!
Thank you Val from Yarni Gras for hosting such a great theme!

March 14, 2009

Maid Service anyone?

I was doing a little weekend house cleaning this morning and since I was doing the chore I absolutely hate the most, it occured to me how funny it is that we all have our most hated chores and those we don't mind so much, and how much they vary from person to person....


We have dark carpeting (and 2 pre-schoolers) and it doesn't take long for the stairs to get covered with stuff. I actually sort of enjoy vacuuming the rest of the house, which is every other day with this carpet, but the stairs are evil!! They get done MAYBE once a month. In between I use a sticky lint roller when I can't stand the lint and blonde hairs that really show up on dark plum carpeting. Is there some kind of magic vacuum or appliance that would make this any better for me? Any one have any suggestions?


I think it's the organizational aspect, the sorting, time planning (catch the dryer before cycle ends....I can't handle wrinkles!), folding, hanging........When my laundry is done I really feel like I've made a grand accomplishment!


I don't mind washing dishes by hand or loading the dirty dishes, but....well, I have no explanation for this one.


This one's obvious....wouldn't everyone have fresh, clean sheets every night if they could? This one also feeds into my liking to do laundry, a double treat for me!

This carries over into yardwork as well...I LOVE mowing the lawn, but I hate everything else about gardening and yardwork (don't even get me started on pulling weeds!)

I've been asked many times how house cleaning works in our 3 generation household. How did you decide who does what? Who cooks? Who cleans the kitchen or mops or dusts? The only explanation I can give is that we've never even really talked about it....if someone sees something that needs taking care of, you just do it. It's that simple. Everything seems to get done without any problems. It's been working for us for 5 years now, probably because we all seem to have different likes and dislikes so it all evens out! (except I have a feeling Daughter-in-Law hates vacuuming the stairs as much as I do!!)

I'm going to add a Gardner and a Maid to my wish list for when I win the lottery...but I'd probably just end up being one of those people who thinks they need to clean up before the maid comes!

March 8, 2009

Tea Party for nine.....and a need fulfilled!

What should Daughter and I do with our genuine NEED to plan and cook for special occasions and nothing on the horizon? Well...create an occasion ourselves, of course! Daughter and I share this need, especially since we now live only 2 miles apart, instead of 400. We love doing this together any chance we get.

We have both attended High Tea before but never even thought about trying it ourselves. We decided it was time to create a special Tea Party for some of the ladies in our family.

We spent a week planning a menu; poring over cookbooks and our collections of recipes and looking up things online. I even made several phone calls to Youngest Son, a Chef in Martha's Vineyard, to pick his brain a little.

We finalized the menu,

tangerine curd tarts
strawberry yogurt scones
fruit and cheese turnovers
double chocolate mini cakes
cucumber tea sandwiches
chicken salad puffs
broccoli & cheddar mini quiches
fresh fruit salad
assorted teas

Daughter did the shopping and planned a lovely table setting, and we got together Friday afternoon to get things prepared for our Saturday Tea Party for Nine.

Grandaughter #2 was the most interested in helping and not only did she work on several of the dishes,

she took on the task of designing and creating our display menu (she is quite the artist!)

I arrived early Saturday morning so we could have everything ready for our guests by 12:30

Daughter got out some of her much-loved-but-little-used serving platters, pitchers, and teapots. She set a beautiful table!

The two little girls got their own special table with their own special teapot filled with "Pearl Tea" (1/2 hot water, 1/2 hot milk, and honey)

Our guests arrived dressed in their finest, ready for a special treat

Our Tea Party was HUGE success with everyone! It was such fun to do something that all ages could enjoy and share together. We will definitely be doing this again for more family members in the future. We're already thinking about what we'll serve when our Seattle family is in town! Granddaughter #2 loved all of this so much, from start to finish, that she is considering having a Tea Party for her 12th Birthday party in May........ YAY! another reason for menu planning and party throwing!

...but May is so far away!....hmmmmmm...I guess we'll just have to come up with another self-made ocassion in the meantime.....

March 6, 2009

Super Dora? (a tutorial....sort of)

I was in the mood to sew something quick and easy today, so I decided a friend of mine needed superhero capes for his grandkids. The two boys were easy:
....but the 3 year old girl loves DORA, not superheros. Here's what I created...after all a 3 year old just wants to play "capes" with everyone else, she doesn't care if a Dora cape makes no sense!

These capes are made out of fleece and are super easy to make since you don't have to finish the edges of fleece.

A 20 in. wide cut of fleece will make 2 capes:

Cut a piece 20 in wide and 24 in long. Cut the bottom edge the correct shape for whatever super hero you are making. I rounded the corners for Superman, made pointy "bat-wings" for Batman, and a scalloped edge for Dora.
I found logos for Superman and Batman online and printed them out to make the appliques. I used scraps for all the applique pieces. For Dora, I found a scrap from a previous project and cut out a Dora figure. Sparkly gold thread around the Dora appliques made it extra "girly".

for the neck loop, cut a strip of fleece 2 in. wide and 16 in. long.

Gather the top edge of the cape. Fold the strip in half lengthwise over the gathers and zig-zag stitch along along the long edge, enclosing the gathers inside. Stitch a piece of velcro to each end of the neck loop.

You can whip up one of these for your favorite little person in about 30 minutes, including cutting. And while you're at it, you might as well make two at once from your 20 in. cut of fleece and have an extra one on hand for a gift for your next birthday party invite!

These are going in the mail today to my friend and I can't wait to hear if Grandpa earns himself some good "brownie points" with superhero gifts for everyone!

March 1, 2009

I Love kid's books!

I recently joined my first non-apron swap.
Since I'm so crazy about children's literature (see here), I was really excited to accidently find a children's book swap over at READING TO KNOW.
I was partnered with Jennifer and her 3 kids in Dalton, GA. We were to e-mail each other and discuss our book preferences. Her kids are 9, 7, and 4 mos. My grandkids are 5 and 4. We have so many favorite books at our house that it was really hard to decide what to send in our package!

I decided on "Bread and Jam for Frances", part of a series about Frances the Badger written in the early 60's. These were my favorite books as a child, then also the favorites of my 3 kids, and now all my grandkids favorites, too. I also sent "Love You Forever", a book I give to all new Moms whenever possible. Every Mom in the world should own this book! Jennifer tells me that she used to own it but lost hers during her last move and was very happy to receive a replacement.

We sent the two books:
and we made weiner dog bookmarks for the 3 kids:
Then.......look what Jennifer sent to us!
We received both the child and adult version of the "Marley & Me" books (the movie is currently at theaters starring Jennifer Aniston). That was so thoughtful of Jennifer to include a book for me! There was also this beautiful bookmark for me, too; a "real" one! No more Post-it note bookmarks for me!
And a bonus.....some yummy jelly beans to share......
This turned out to be such a fun swap! Even though I know there are swaps of every kind out there in internet-land, something for every taste and interest, I was a little surprised to come across this one that was so perfect for me.
Thank you Jennifer for adding to our library of favorite can never have too many books, right?