Friday, February 25, 2011

The One With the Things I Love About Ellie (17 months)

Sorry for the delay in posts. I've been enjoying a little snow with Ellie. And by "a little snow" I mean enough snow that Portland freaks out, yet it is so little that it melts by noon. It just makes me miss the real winters in Idaho.

And also, I am very indecisive - which results in me finding myself in the middle of several projects with none actually completed and ready to show you. I'll try to get them post-ready soon, though.

In the meantime, I thought I'd take a minute to gush about the things Ellie's doing that I really enjoy these days. I'm told I won't remember if I don't write it down. So here I am, writing it down.

  1. I love the way she talks to herself in her crib after she's woken up from a nap (and sometimes before she's fallen asleep). I wonder what she's saying to herself... Every once in a while I'll hear a "Rawr" or a little singing. And I love it!
  2. I love her constant demand for her water bottle - although usually without any consonants.
  3. And I love those sparkly blue eyes. I know I always say that - but sometimes they just catch me off-guard and take my breath away.
  4. I love the pitter-patter of her little feet as she runs laps through the kitchen, dining room and living room.
  5. I love how she says "Bye bye" every time we close a door - and when she closes her bedroom door so she can more thoroughly examine her books in peace.
  6. I love how she says "Ooooh" when she sees something new or interesting and "Aaawww" when she is hugging her dolls or stuffed animals - or me!
  7. I love that little tuft of hair that curls at the nape of her neck.
  8. I love her little reading nook in the kitchen - and how she often gets trapped there by the bars of the bistro table.
  9. I really, really love her natural affinity for ducks. She can't seem to get enough of them. "Duck" was one of her first words and she loves to make a duck sound - which is more of a "gack" than a "quack." And she loves her Little Quack books and does not like to share them with the neighbor boys. And she loves her rubber ducks in the bath and likes to steal them from the bathroom so she can play with them elsewhere. And she loves the little duck salt-and-pepper shakers that now adorn the dining room table.
  10. I love her love of "E-I-E-I-O" and her little dance moves. I really need to get that on video before it's too late.
  11. And I love her recent desire to cuddle on the couch with her blanket and a book. And maybe her pink dog that she got for Valentine's day.
  12. I love that she always steals my hair bands to wear as bracelets.
  13. I love her "Uh-ohs" whenever she drops something. Or I drop something. Or anybody drops something. Even if it's on purpose - after which she'll giggle and then say "Uh-oh" somewhat sarcastically.
  14. I love her fake sneezes. And her real little giggles.
  15. I love the little baby ways she is trying to grow up - like when she wants to brush her own teeth or the pure delight she gets from hitting herself in the head with a hair brush in a mostly futile attempt to get it to lay down flat.
  16. I love her sloppy, wet kisses right on the mouth.
  17. I love her little high-pitched screams of excitement (though I try not to encourage them).
  18. I love her "that's good" noises like "Mmmmm," when she spots something she wants. And the way she uses "Yummy" as a command. "Yummy, yummy, yummy," really means "Give me, give me, give me."
  19. I love wrapping her up like a little burrito in a towel after her bath.
  20. And lastly (because I know that if you've read this far and this is not your kid, you are probably getting bored), I love how excited she makes me for the next one. I know I'll make it through the next couple of months of little sleep and lots of crying because I will be so looking forward to the emerging personality of baby #2, and Ellie's changing personality as she becomes a big sister. I can't wait for her to cuddle up next to the baby and say "Aaahww" while laying her head on her. Or to kiss her. I can't wait for her to share her pink dog and maybe try and read to her from her duck books.
Gosh! I just love her so much.

I'll (hopefully) be back soon with some crafting tutorials! And maybe a birth announcement, too...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The One With the Swaddling Blanket

To continue the baby preparation, I wanted to make a swaddling blanket to take to the hospital with us. I found the idea on Martha Stewart's website here. It was so simple I thought I'd give it a try. I think it will be nice to have her all wrapped up in something I made just for her. Plus, the fabric will look adorable some day in her memory quilt (see Ellie's here).
JoAnn's was having a sale so I picked up this cotton fabric and chose a pink flannel for the other side. I love the cotton fabric - so bright and fun. I was planning on just getting a yard, but there was only 1 1/4 yards left on the bolt, so I got it all and got the same amount of flannel. After washing them both in detergent and vinegar (to set the color), I was ready to put them together.
The process is pretty straight-forward: lay the right sides of the pieces together and sew all the way around 3 edges. Sew most of the 4th edge, leaving just 3 or 4 inches open so you can turn it inside out. Because flannel has a tendency to easily unravel with washing (and since baby blankets get washed a lot), I sewed a quarter inch seam and a 3/8 inch seam. Clip the corners and turn the blanket inside out so the right sides are now showing.

To finish up your fourth seam, press the pieces together so that this part lines up with the rest of the seam. Since I was using a pink fabric and a white background fabric, I need to use a pink thread and white thread to conceal the seam. All I had to do was switch the upper thread of my sewing machine to pink and leave the bobbin thread white. Then, sewing so that I could see the pink side, I sealed up the seam.

Upper thread is pink:
Lower thread is white.
Tricky, huh? Well, not really. But now you can hardly see the corner that was sewn on the outside. You could also do a seam all the way around on the outside if you wanted to. I ran out of pink thread, so I'll just have to do that later.

And here it is! So cute and cuddly.

P.S. This would make an adorable baby shower gift - and could be very inexpensive, especially if you're shopping sales.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The One With the Sweetheart Cupcakes

I realize I should have posted this before Valentine's Day instead of after, but I'm just not that on top of things.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make Sweetheart Candies inspired cupcakes to celebrate the day of love.
A friends sent me heart-shaped silicone cupcake liners (like these) a while back and I've been eagerly awaiting Valentine's Day so I could use them.
I filled the first batch too full, resulting in the cupcakes overflowing the liners and loosing their shapes. No harm done, though... ruined cupcakes still taste amazing. So for the second batch I filled the liners barely half full. This resulted in better shaped cupcakes that were petite - which means you can eat more of them.

Before frosting the cupcakes, I refrigerated them for a half hour to reduce crumbling. I wanted a smooth, glazed look instead of a frosted look. To achieve this, I melted the frosting in a microwave-safe dish in 10 second increments. Be careful here: if you don't melt the frosting enough it will get all gloppy on your cupcake. If you melt it too much, it will just run right off the cupcake. However, if you melt it too much, you can always just allow some cooling time. (This is another place ruined cupcakes come in handy - you can use them to test the consistency of your frosting before trying it on your perfectly shaped cupcakes).

At first I tried using white frosting to pipe the letters onto the cupcake. I had trouble with this because I'm just not good at writing with frosting yet. I should practice.
But then I thought about what Sweethearts look like - and how they are kind of "engraved" with red ink. So I cut the end of a toothpick so that it was flat instead of pointed and dipped it in red gel food coloring and then engraved the letters very lightly in the frosting.

After a little trial and error, I realized it was best to use very small dots to "paint" the letters instead of "engrave." Obviously the technique needs some perfecting, but it was a fun experiment.
If I had more time and fewer children needing my attention, I would have tried several different frosting colors like pastel green and blue, too. Next year, perhaps.

Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The One With the Griddle Goodness

Sunday mornings are delightful times for our family. We sleep in and then usually make something yummy for breakfast. We're breakfast people.
Yesterday, Ellie wanted to help with the mixing of the pancake batter.

We like to fry our pancakes in a little extra oil to make them extra crisp and tasty. They are scrumptious.

So there you have it. Pictures of Ellie mixing and some lovely pancakes. So exciting, I know.
Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The One With the Valentine's Day Preparedness (2): Easy-Peasy Valentine's Cards

Love is in the air, don't you think?
Valentine's Day is always a great excuse to make hand-made cards. You know, it's the grown up version of those Disney Princess ones you used to hand out at school.
If you're anything like me, you may have seen hundreds of beautiful handmade cards that require a million tools and gadgets and embellishments that you don't have. Well, here you'll find cards that require literally four things you could probably scrounge around for:
  1. Paper
  2. Scissors or a cutting board
  3. Double-sided tape
  4. Ribbon (which is even optional)
Think you could find those?

I cut my own cards out of cardstock and used some envelopes left over from previous projects. I used the Brenda Walton Sweet Talk Postage Stamps paper by K&Company. I found it at Michael's a while back. But you could write your own lovey sayings, use stickers or any kind of embellishment from the glorious papercrafting aisle.

And of course you'll need some random paper to spice things up. All of these were made with paper I had lying around or in my scrap box. That's right - a whole box devoted to tiny shreds of paper left over from other projects. Don't have one? You should. I toss just about anything in there - even cards that I receive. You never know when it might come in handy.

And ribbon adds some extra fun. It's not necessary, but if you have some, use it! If you are afraid of the ribbon fraying, you can melt the ends of it with a candle flame. Don't get it too close to avoid burning or melting too much.
If you want, you can also use a marker or a stamp pad to ink the edges of the paper and add a little contrast and dimension.

And voila! You have some easy, yet personal, cards to send to all your friends to wish them a Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The One With the Valentine's Day Preparedness (1)

Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorites. I mean, what's not to love? All the pink? All the chocolate? All the adorable Valentine's cards and gifts?

When Steve and I were first dating our freshman year of college he remarked on our first Valentine's Day together, "Ahh... Valentine's Day. A day when everyone else pretends to be as in love as we are." Of course it made me weak at the knees back then and still does.

So in honor of this most lovely holiday, the rest of this week I'll be posting about Valentine's Day! Yay!

Although I love this holiday, it has been a little less at the forefront of my mind this year as we get ready to welcome our new little one. She's due in less than a month and I still have lots of things to get ready for her - not the least of which is ordering the art for her nursery. You may recall the mood board I put together for her Woodland Nursery featuring lovely art from the very talented Kit at Trafalgar's Square on It is just too adorable. Well, Kit has added some beautiful Valentine's prints to her collection. Check them out at her blog Lullaloo. The SweetHeart Badge set is too cute for words. And! She's having a giveaway, so check it out!

And speaking of cute, here's a picture of Ellie as Cupid for last Valentine's Day. I wonder if she'll let me get any good pictures this year...
I'll be back soon with some cards and gifts and possibly some more Valentine's Day picks from Etsy... because everyone should be spending their money there. They have much better gifts there than all those silly flower websites. I mean, seriously, who would feature a Justin Bieber Fan gift set. It doesn't even make sense.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The One With the Pretty Things (I Want to Make Edition)

I'm always collecting ideas from blogland of things I want to make. This seems as good a place as any to keep track... and maybe inspire you to make something, too!
  1. So many adorable baby projects out there... of which these little baby blankets is not the least. It would be so simple I'm thinking I might want to whip some up before the baby comes.
  2. One of these days I'm going to get around to making one of these handmade dolls for Ellie.
  3. The next three should be evidence enough that I'm pregnant: All I can think about are delicious baked goodies that I simply must try! I'm gathering all the supplies today and starting with this Melt-In-Your-Mouth Mint Chocolate Cake. (via How Sweet It Is)
  4. My mouth is already watering just thinking about these Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars. (also via How Sweet It Is)
  5. Pistachio Cake? Yes, Please! (via The Pioneer Woman)
  6. If only Ellie were a little older, I would have loved to make her these Valentine Gumball Necklaces. I wish I had a legitimate excuse to make them for myself. (via One Charming Party)
Well, this has sufficiently reminded me of all the things I should be doing. So I'm off to go do them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ellie v. The Powdered Sugar

Truthfully, I should have been more suspicious of the silence in the kitchen. In my defense, Ellie just recently established a little spot next to the heater under the bistro table in our breakfast nook as her reading spot. (Extra points if you can count all the prepositional phrases in that previous sentence.) So I assumed she was just reading away in there.

But then I came upon this scene.
Yes, that's powdered sugar.She was using the bag's obviously ineffectual clip as a dipping apparatus.Am I a bad mother for taking pictures of her (and therefore letting her eat a little more) before I cleaned her up? Maybe. But look at how cute she is. It's hard to resist such a great photo opportunity.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...