Monday, March 30, 2009

I can't wait for spring 2

One day while at the dollar store I found this:

I love gauze; especially the way it feels. It's hard to find at fabric stores. So I was so excited when I came across this. I bought two of them and made Rachel a skirt.

Since the fabric is so thin I folded the top 1/3 or so down, so that it would be two layers thick. I added lace to the edges and elastic to the waist to finish it off.

I'm thinking about going back to the dollar store to get some more gauze to make a matching top!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rachel's Babies' baby quilts

My daughter Rachel is one little busy girl. She has 3 baby dolls to take care of. When I make a quilt and have left overs, I make a baby doll quilt for her to play with. Last time when I was working on this quilt, there was some left overs, so I made a third baby doll quilt.

This quilt is 17" by 19". This is my second attempt at machine quilting. I just have to keep practicing.

While I was working on it, Rachel kept asking, "Is it mine?" I'm so glad that she gets excited when I make something for her. I hope someday she will pick up sewing and we can sew together. Wouldn't that be fun!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sweet Scent of Happiness

One of the things I love to do is make strawberry jam. I love the sweet scent all around the house. And in the end you get tasty jam. The recipe I have is pretty straigth forward and simple.

Strawberries 2.5 cups
Sugar 1.25 cups
2-3 slices of lemon

1. Wash the strawberries and remove the hulls.
2. Put the strawberries in a large pot and pour the sugar over them. Let it sit over night.
3. Sterilize the jars and get them ready.
4. The next morning, put in the lemon slices.
5. On high heat boil the ingredients. Use a ladle to remove the foam.
6. Turn the heat down to below medium and let simmer for more than 20 minutes, until it thickens.
7. Remove the lemon slices and while the jam is still hot, pour into the jars.
8. Lightly close the lid and play the jar in cool water. This removes the air in the jar and vacuum seals the lid.
9. Tighten the lid.

We're still eating the jam I made last April. This jam is not for shelf storage, it must be refrigerated. I'm not the expert on canning, but this is one of the things I would love to learn more about.

While the jam was simmering, guess what I was working on.

I'll let you know on my next post!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Waiting for Spring...

I've been working on Rachel's spring and summer outfits. The process is slow, but I finished one outfit today. I used Amy Butler and Mary Engelbreit fabrics to make a skirt.

The top fabric is Amy Butler, the bottom is Mary Engelbreit.

I cut out a design from a piece of Amy Butler fabric and machine appliqued it onto a t-shirt I bought at the store. When I found the t-shirt, I was so excited. I already had the fabric and color matched so perfectly.

Rachel loved her new outfit, since it was so cold, we couldn't play outside.

Meanwhile I was going through her closet and found a white top with lace and a black t-shirt. These would look cute with the skirt. Her new t-shirt would also go well with jeans and white capris.

I am so excited! I am working on different skirt from a dollar store find. It will be very cute when it is finished. I'll post pictures of that when it's done. Check back in a few days!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A boy is made out of......

Many interesting conversations happen during the drive to our house. This is one of those stories.

Few days ago, I picked the boys up from school. In the back seat Michael was making disturbing noise with the spit in his mouth (Sorry if you are turned off by this imagery. If you are ok, please keep on reading).

me: Michael, that's disgusting, stop doing that.
M: But, mom, I have venom in my spit.

I was cought off gard by this and though, "what!? This boy is always something to say... oh boy.."

me: What do you mean?
M: It's true, the other day, I killed an ant with my venom at grandma's house!
me: You spit on an ant?
M: uh-huh
me: Well, Michael, I don't think the ant died from your venom. He drowned.
After a moment of silence.
M: NO, really, I have venom!!
me: Oh, OK let's tell daddy later.

I was trying not to laugh so hard! I wonder for how long he is going to believe that he is a venom boy. He is stubbern, so no matter what I say, he won't change his mind. I will just let him be. It's harmless.

After that I remembered the saying "Snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made out of." I think they forgot to add venom.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Anonymous Gift

Yesterday was one of those very hectic days. The day before was just as hectic. Two days ago, my husband had to work through the night to get some stuff done for work. So naturally he was too tired to take the boys to school. I took them in the morning, then went back to pick up Michael and then again to get Christopher.

Then the next day I picked up Michael, then a few hours later, I picked up Christopher, then rushed them off to Tae Kwon Do. Between those times I was cleaning and trying to cook dinner when I realized that there was an art festival at the boys' school soon after their martial arts.

I was feeling tired and pulled into our drive way, when I noticed something on our front door step. I got out of the car and went to see what it was.

I was surprised and puzzled at the same time. There was no note. Just these cute candle holders. It wasn't my birthday. Who would do something like this? I looked around to see if anyone was hiding waiting to surprise me or something, but our bushes are so tiny there wasn't really anyplace for anyone to hide.

I know there are eartly angels everywhere watching over and helping each other. It is so nice to know that I have one watching over me! Thank you! Whoever you are. You made my day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tutorial--Topiary for people who don't have a green thumb--

My grandfather, who I was very close to growing up, was a gifted licensed gardener. His backyard was a beautiful Japanese style garden. He was very knowledgable about agriculture. He grew all sorts of vegetables and flowers. He made it look easy. Unfortunately I did not inherit his talent. I would love to be like him and have attempted many times. It so far has not worked! I still love to have green in my house, so I decided to make a topiary out of fake greenery stems a few years ago. I've made several since then, today I picked out greenery stems with tiny white flowers and decided to make a tutorial for anyone like me who doesn't have a green thumb.

First you will need a container, foam, artificial plants (two stems), glue gun, wire cutters, a knife to cut the foam, and fake soil. If you can't find fake soil, you can always use dry moss.

Cut the foam to fit the container. You want to be careful, if it is too loose it will fall out eaily and make a mess.

Cut it so that you have to push the foam a bit to get it all in. I've been told to glue the foam to the container, but my method allows me to change the topiary easily.

The stems I bought were too long for this project so I cut them off. When you cut the stems keep in mind you need to keep enough of the stem to insert into the foam until it reaches the bottom. Use the glue gun to secure the stems. Wait until it drys before continuing on.

Here is what mine looks like before I bent the stems down.

To secure the stems together I took branches from each stem and intertwined them around the base stems.

Take the ends of both plants and intertwine them together to form a circle. Then I braided the other branches around the main stems.

Here I was working on some loose ends. Trying to get it to look just right.

I used this fake soil to cover up the foam. I bought this a long time ago, so I don't know if stores carry this one anymore, but you could always use dried moss. You can find dried moss at craft stores.

Place the fake dirt on the foam and gently press in. If you are using dried moss, take a little at a time and use the glue gun to secure them to the foam.

There, you now have a pretty topiary that you don't need to worry about, it will never die!

Monday, March 16, 2009


"Simplify" is one of my favorite words. This word can be applied to so many different things. You can simplify your schedule, simplify your relationships, your projects, your work load, and in general, your life.

I am a mother of three. My two boys attend a charter school about 25 minutes from home. My husband drops them off by 8:30, I pick up our kindergartener at 11:30 and our second-grader at 3:15. Twice a week they have martial arts class at two separate times. Our oldest has piano lessons and cub scouts. Between school, homework, and extra-curricular activities there is cleaning, cooking, spending time with my daughter, squeezing time in with my husband, and volunteering, if I have any time left I can do some sewing.

During the week, I feel that I'm in a river and the current is just taking me where ever it wants to. I just can't seem keep up with life. Has anyone felt that way? I don't think there is any room to simplify my schedule. Sometimes I get frustrated and I get sad if I don't get things done or accomplish my own goals. Now, don't get me wrong, I want to do things for my children, I want to spend time with my hubby, and I want to be me! I wish I could clone myself and get everything done by bedtime.

Tonight, I did all the bedtime routine; reading, singing and praying and tucking my little girl in to bed. At the same time I was thinking to myself, "Oh, it's almost over, I can relax and do something that I want", just then she looked into my eyes and said "I love you mommy." I don't know why, that almost made me cry. I guess it is because I get up every morning and go through the same routine and do mommy duty. It was just simple "I love you".

I hope I can be the mother, who passes on everything I know and have experienced to my children. More importantly, I want them to know how much I love them and I appreciate them. After that I felt like my soul was cleansed and strengthened for tomorrow.

I learned something today, even though I can't change the situation we are in right now in life, I can at least slow down and evaluate myself. Where am I and why I am doing this and where I want to be in the future? That, will simplify my life in some way. My schedule won't change but my state of mind will. Of course, I have to keep reminding myself to do that too.

At last, I found this quotation and wanted to share it with you all...

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--- that's why we recommend it daily.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tutorial--Place Mat Cafe Apron---

One day I was at Target, one of my favorite stores and found this place mat at the clearance section. Ooh! I love the color. I see potential!

So I decided to take it home.

First I picked out three different fat quarters from my stash. All strips include a 1/4" seam allowance and are cut 1/2" wider than the place mat. The red fabric at the bottom was cut 2" wide, the flower print fabric was cut 6.5", and the teal fabric was cut 1" wide. I decided to include red trim which I cut 1/2" longer than length of the place mat.

Sew the red print strip and the flower print strip together. Fold the seam towards the darker color fabric and press with an iron. I got creative and used a zigzag stitch between those two fabrics.

Lay the trim and the teal fabric (right side down) on top of the flower print fabric at the edge. Pin them in place and sew them together.

Remove the pins and fold the teal fabric twice (like using bias tape) and pin it to the other side and sew.
Finish the side and bottom edges with your favorite method. (Zig zag, serger, etc...) Fold the edges 1/4" and sew onto the placemat.

On the pocket, draw a line to divide the pocket. You can be creative and do whatever you want. My side pockets are each 6" wide. Sew on the line.

To make the apron strings, cut two 2" wide strips from borth the red and flower print fabric. Piece a flower print strip and red strip together. Now you should have two long strips. Fold both edges together and iron. Then fold in half length wise and sew.

Attach one string to each side of the apron and sew.

I sometime enjoy putting things together and going with the flow. The great thing about this apron is that you can do pretty much anything you want. Be creative and be an artist, you will end up with a one of a kind apron that you will love!

I'm still learning how to write tutorial, so if you don't understand something just drop me a line and I'll try to help you out. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bedroom Facelift

I have been wanting to redo my bedroom for while, but I couldn't bring myself to buy new stuff for the room. Well, it has been several years since I got the bedding for our bed and it was in a pretty sad shape. Also I really wanted to change the look of our room. I would say this is not a major make over, but a little facelift.

I searched for several months for new bedding. I've been to stores and got online too. I didn't see "The One" anywhere, some things came close, but the bed sets were usually a little over $500! There is no way that I would spend that much for bedding alone. I thought that I might have to make my own, but it would be such a big project. I wanted to avoid that option.

One day I went to one of my beloved stores, Ross, and found a quilt. Usually king size quilts like that will cost around $200 or so, but this one was only $49! The disign was close enough that I decided to get it and went home happy :). When I opened the package, I discoverd two pillow shams inside!!! Wow was I lucky or what? I didn't pay attention to the details and did not see that it came with pillow shams. I was so excited! After a tiny victory dance, I had to come up with some plans.

The next day I went out to some fabric stores and found the perfect fabrics that matched the quilt so I could make pillow cases. With excitement I sewed five pillow cases and came up with this:

I wanted to experiment with more patterns and designs this time. I made euro pillow cases with solid and used moda fabric in front. Aaron teasingly complained that there are two many pillows on the bed, and he needs to start getting ready to get in bed 15 min before the actual time he wants to. :)

I love how it turned out! Oh, and last weekend I went to garage sales with my friends (I know it is already starting!) and found this beautiful iron decoration for $2!! I am going to hang this above my bed. I love finding good deals and being creative with what I already have. This bedroom make over will take a while till it's complete. Eventually I will post an update!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Help Wanted

A few days ago I told the boys to clean up their room. Usually Christopher will start cleaning right away and he will finish the job. But Michael is going through the phase where he will drag his feet for a long time and won't do what I ask him to do. A couple of times I went back to check on the boys and went downstairs to cook dinner.

They were supposed to have been cleaning for about an hour, when Michael came to me and said, "Mom, would you give Christopher $5.00 from my spending money?"

Puzzled, I asked, "Why?"

"Well, I made a deal that I would give him my $5.00 and he would clean my part of the room".

Christopher chimed in, "No we didn't!"

I was trying not to laugh and said sternly, "Michael! Keeping your room clean is one of the things you have to do. Do it yourself."

He whined and dragging his feet went back up the stairs. Over the next little while, while I was preparing dinner, I kept thinking to myself, "Boy, where did he come up with that?" He's only six and is already trying to use his resources to solve his problems. How inventive! This is one of those moments that is both frustrating and funny at the same time. Well I guess Michael's first attempt to hire someone failed.

Parenting is not easy. Should I have just let him buy Christpher's services, if Christopher was willing? It is his money and he's gotta learn that the supply is limited. At the same time, he has to learn to work and carry his own wieght around here. Which lesson do I teach? Any one answer is not always the correct answer. And not every situation gets the same lesson.

I sighed and decided to worry about getting dinner prepared for that night.

First Give Away Winner

This was my first give away, and I just wanted to thank everyone who participated. I will be doing more of these in the future, so please keep checking back.

The winner is ....


Congratulations!!! I'll contact you soon.

Have a nice day everyone, I'll post soon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sitting Pretty

I bought these chairs and table from different places; yard sales and second hand stores. Last summer I found the table at a garage sale, it was marked $5, but I got it for $2. I love it! They are very sturdy, but need some work. I am not motivated enough to go through the process of sanding and painting and putting on the finish right now. But I wanted to give Rachel a pretty place to sit when she plays house. So made these zabutoun (Japanese for floor pillow).

She loved it!! That afternoon we had a tea party.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Free Give Away

OK! This is my first give away. I had a few ideas of what to give away. After going back and forth, I decided on this:

Here are the rules:

Leave a comment on this post. I will post the winner's name on Monday the 9th. If you are the winner, please email me with your info so I can ship this to you. If you link your blog to my site, please let me know in your comment and I will enter your name in twice.

The set includes one bib made from oil cloth, one headband, one white flower, and one pink bow. The flower and bow are interchangeble. If you have a little one or someone you know has a little one, this would be a perfect gift.

Good Luck!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Can't Wait For the Season

In the last few weeks, I had some conversations with my friends and neighbors about how much we can't wait for the garage sale season to start. Finding great stuff at a garage sale is such a rush, I alway get so excited. We have a few months until the season starts; I've been going to various second hand stores in the last few weeks. I'm usually trying to find something that I can fix or refinish, vintage fabrics, and dishes; unexpected finds are nice too!

The cute tin cans I bought to organize the kids' small toys and legos. The picture frame is in such a great shape, it is almost like brand new, I'm going to paint it white and add it to my wall of pictures. Since our last name starts with "A", the "A" is the perfect decoration for our house.

These cute enamelware dishes are brand new with the price tag still attached. I found three of them. I thought it would be nice to decorate a room around them. As soon as I cleaned them and dried them out, Rachel took them without me knowing and started playing house.

The twin size sheets was brand new, but the flower print make the sheet look vintage. When I think about what I'm going to make out of the sheet and a vintage looking bandana I get a little skip in my step. (Little things like this make my life happier.) The green basket, I might paint a different color. The handbag looking basket, is from Nine West and is in perfect condition. LOVE IT!

These findings have satisfied my cravings... for a while. I'm still waiting for the season!
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