Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I finally tried this awesome idea today.  
Reusing foaming hand soap dispensers?  
With regular old hand soap?  
Making it last forever and ever?  
Love it. 

Click HERE to learn how to make your own foaming hand soap.
Thanks to Emily of Not So Idle Hands for this awesome (and mega easy) idea. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to clean some more...

Today devoted (if all goes as planned) to cleaning the apartment.  I might have one of my adorable nephews visiting and while there's really no hope of our house being little kid proof, it would certainly help a lot to have the clutter put away.  And if all goes well, I just might finally have things ready to share a little something with you all in the coming days.  Think happy cleaning thoughts.  :)

Happy Sunshine Day!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two Post Tuesday

First off, look at this picture:

Now go and look at THESE PICTURES.
(And be sure to leave a nice comment there, wont' you?)

Now answer this question: Which do you think I'm going to save and cherish and put on my wall for years to come?  The lovely picture above?  Or the beautiful, adorable, professional portraits taken by Marcie?

Duh, right?

And so will you.

P.S. Scroll down if you'd like to see the previous post from today about embroidery.  :)

Sweet French Knots

Remember how I was in the mood to embroider last night?  Well, this is what I stitched.  You can find the free pattern for the sweet, simple branches and an excellent video tutorial on how to stitch french knots HERE on Early Bird Special

Maybe the rest of you are already cooler than me (figures) and know how to do the french knot stitch (those little green balls).  But I didn't know how until last night.  I've been wanting to know how to stitch french knots for a long time and then yesterday I was reading about it in a wonderful embroidery book I checked out from the library (see yesterday's post), but it still didn't quite click.  Then I saw this wonderful video and it made perfect sense!  Oh, and, by the way, it is mega easy.  Mega.

I stitched it into the corner of this napkin.  Uhh... ignore the wrinkles, will you please?

To transfer the pattern, I just held the napkin up to my computer screen and traced the pattern with my Fine Point Mark-B-Gone Pen.  I've used this pen for a few embroidery projects now and I absolutely love it.  And I'm not generally a fabric pen person.

And, for those of you who are interested, here's what the back looks like.  I tried to keep everything fairly tidy since it's just on a napkin and the back threads will be exposed.  I think I did a pretty good job.  Does anyone know any great tricks or tips for keeping back threads tidy?  Or do you think I did okay? 

When I showed this to Bryan he was (ahem) impressed.  As he should be.  :)  He asked me if I was going to make "the rest of them" all the same. 

As in, he was referring to the rest of the set of napkins.  This caught me a little off guard.  I had sort of lazily thought about making a matching set, but mostly I just did this last night since I was in the mood.  I hadn't really planned on embroidering a whole set of napkins.

Then he added, "Because I think you should just make them all different.  So they all have their own personality."  Aww.  :)  Well, how could I say no to that?  So I've been thinking up some other simple, moderately coordinating patterns to embroider onto the remaining napkins.  But if you have any great ideas please feel free to share in the comments. 

Oh, and, P.S.

When I showed this to Bry and he was looking it over I told him, 
"I really like how it turned out.  Simple and pretty and fresh."

To which he promptly responded, 
"Just like you."

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yesterday, Today, Now

Yesterday we had a lesson in church about having real relationships.  Spending time in the real world.  Etc., etc.  Don't worry, I definitely feel that my little blog here is a good thing.  I still plan to post regularly and all.

But Today I made a list of things I want to get done this week.  And things I want to get done today.  And I've been doing them.  And I've been thinking.

Now I want to sew.  Just found this wonderful blog today.  And, coincidentally, checked out this awesome book from the library today.  Anyone else up for some embroidery this evening?  I am.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Great Buys

I love a great buy.  It's like finding success on a treasure hunt.  And, in my opinion, way more fun than just regular old shopping, though I do love that too.

As you all know, last Sunday was my birthday.  My sister surprised me with a $10 gift card to Old Navy.  Woot wooot!  I was super excited.  I figured I should at least be able to get a new shirt or something.  Which my wardrobe is desperately in need of.  So on Tuesday evening Bryan and the big O and I went to Old Navy.  We looked at all the new stuff.  It was nice, but I didn't see anything I really wanted to spend my sweet birthday gift card on.  Then we hit the clearance section.  Where I belong.  Some of the stuff there, sadly, did not belong.  Some of the things were not on clearance.  They were just on sale.  (Yes, cute, trendy skirts, being available for $24 when you used to be $26 is hardly clearance.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.)  But when I stopped gawking at the shameless trendy skirts, parading around the clearance section when they obviously belonged in some private country club, I noticed the jeans.

Oh, the jeans.  I usually don't even look through jeans anymore.  They never fit right and it usually ends in some postpartum body remorse.  But when Bryan said, "Hey, there's jeans," or something like that, for some reason I decided to check them out.  Now, we all know that jeans in the clearance section usually have awkward butterfly bling on the rear end or some super strange strings lining the sides, but these ones didn't.  They were lovely.  So plain.  So normal.  So I grabbed six pairs to try on.  Three in one size, three in another.

Well, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the smaller size fit!  And they fit great.  Instantly my new favorite jeans.  BFFs.  And I never say BFFs.  Oh, and guess how much they cost?  $5.  Five dollars!  Ah!  It still fills me with joy every time I think of it.

See?  They are so miraculously normal!  And just the right ratio of sungness-looseness.  So comfy and wonderful.  Absolute bliss.

And since I still had some extra gift card dough left over, I also bought this awesome shirt.
Uhh... for $1.97.  That's less than two dollars, folks.

And it is absolute perfection.  Light and breezy, bright, fun color.  And fairly flattering on pudgy old me, if I do say so myself.  Aaaaand it has these wonderful little sleeves with the holder uppers that keep me from sweating like a pig.  So wonderful. 

So, in short, that's about a $7.00 steal from Old Navy.  With some extra cash to burn.  Awesome birthday present.  Thank you!  And to my wonderful siblings who didn't send me birthday presents-- I still love you all.  A lot.  And I never remember to send you birthday presents.  Or cards for that matter.  So we're still cool, right?  :)

Next up on my great buys from this past week are these little friends that I bought last Saturday.
Total cost for the contents of the basket?  $6.50.  Which, admittedly, was more than I was hoping the lady at the garage sale would ask for them since I fished them all out of a huge box of McDonald's toys and other junk.  I kind of thought she'd say something like, "Oh, 10 cents a piece.  I don't really care."  Especially since they were already packing things up.  But when I asked her how much she wanted for them she leaned in close so the other shoppers couldn't hear and said, "Well, we were asking $1.00 or 50 cents per toy," (now she was almost whispering), "but I'll give them to you for 25 cents a piece."

Seriously lady?  25 cents?  Gosh.  I guess, sadly, she knew as well as I did how much name brand, Fisher Price Little People figures go for.  So I sucked it up and  paid the 25 cents per toy.  Which is still way, way cheaper than paying $10 for a set of three.  So, even though I still kind of feel like she ripped me off, I think it was a good purchase.  Especially since Olivia actually really likes them.

Unfortunately, one of her favorite figures seems to be this one:
The Swarthy Sister Missionary

Eew.  Why did I even buy this one?  Oh, right.  Because I wanted to be a good mom and teach Olivia about the gospel and missionaries and stuff.

Seriously, doesn't she look like a man?

With sideburns?

But, alas, she is a sister missionary.  Mega mondo huge fatty ponytail and all.  And Olivia loves her.  Or, loves to bite her head, anyway.

Here's the rest of the gang.  Doing a line dance.

Chickens, as you know, are great at line dancing, being from the country and all.

And so are these sweet little folks.  With their hands out just so as they doe-c-doe.

Sadly, hippos are not known for great line dancing.  What's a hippo to do?  Growing up in the jungle, he never learned such things.  But he does try.


Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Boring Mailbox

Man, junk mail is just so typical, right?  So not exciting.  Maybe my relationship with mailboxes is a little distorted after only being able to write letters to and receive letters from Bryan for two whole years while he was away on his mission.  Haha--I feel fairly certain that my mailman during that time thought I was insane.  And, rightly so.  At least once when I thought there'd be a letter from him (uhh... Bryan, not the mailman) I crept down to the mailbox (it was downstairs from my apartment), only to see that the mailman was there right that minute and then I was left with the awkward situation of either having to creep back up the stairs unnoticed (which was impossible) or to just go down and either wait for him to finish or ask if I could have my mail.  In my agony of heart I decided to be bold and just ask for my mail.  Which he gave to  me.  Which was not a letter from Bryan.  Which may or may not have set me off crying.  Hahahaha!  Oh, me.  It really does make me laugh to think about it.

So, like I say, maybe I have a strange relationship with mailboxes.  Maybe nobody else cares about those weird spots of time where all you get in the mail for days and days and days is junk mail.  This has actually not been the case with our real mailbox lately.  It was my birthday, remember?  So I've been getting pretty cool mail there.  But my e-mail inbox has been a bit depressing for the past couple of days.  I don't know exactly what I expect to be there.  Just something amazing I guess.

Perhaps after the huge influx of comments on my birthday giveaway my more regular flow of a few fun things to read each day has become a bore.  For some reason when I turned on the computer this morning I felt that I should have a lot of exciting e-mails in my inbox.  Umm... but there was only one.  One nice e-mail from one of the lovely ladies who won my birthday giveaway and then two boring lame-o e-mails, one from Amazon telling me about some sale on Endless (I swear I get that e-mail at least 3 times a week) and my (practically daily) e-mail from Borders telling me about some sale.  These are sales that, by the way, I have NEVER taken advantage of.  But I definitely don't want to mark Amazon as spam since I do actually buy things there occasionally.  And although I never use the coupons from Borders, I think if I were to be completely honest with myself, the reason I don't mark those as spam is because then there would be even less in my inbox to greet me in the morning.

Anyway, it's not that I expect you all to do anything about this.  I just felt like telling you all how boring my inbox has been these past few days.  Has yours?

Edited to add:  I just received the following in my inbox from Kim at Seven Thirty Three.  I felt that the art work was too great not to share.

Thanks Kim!  Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Winners Announced (uhh... again)

Well, sadly, one of the winners I initially picked (via didn't follow the directions and leave any contact information, doesn't have a blog that I can go comment on, and didn't respond to the note I put out there to contact me.  So, I'm moving on and I've picked a new winner!  So now the winners of my birthday giveaway for a Ruby Lou Doll pattern from Sew Much Ado and a scrap pack of awesome fabric from Cherry Lane Textiles to go with it are:

1.) (*our new winner*)
#21 Bree who said:
And I shared on my blog!

Happy birthday! 

2.) (Still the same as it was before--hooray for leaving contact info!)
#67 Marie who said,
Hello sweet Katie - I just Tweeted about your fabulous giveaway via tw33tmarie! Tweet Tweet!

tw33tmarie Enter to win an ADORABLE Ruby Lou Doll pattern! Hurry!

Thanks again to everyone who entered!  It really made for a fun birthday!  And for those of you who didn't win, let me just say that after using the Ruby Lou Doll pattern myself, it is totally worth buying.  These wonderful little dollies are very easy to make, the instructions are super clear and easy to follow, and the finished product is so professional and classic that it would be a wonderful gift for any occasion.  And so easy to customize with all the fun fabric at Cherry Lane Textiles!

Anyone know a little girl who would love a Ruby Lou Doll for Christmas?  Or five little girls?  This pattern is so worth while.  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  It's not like I get some secret prize for telling you all how great it is.  Just trying to spread the love, that's all.  :)

Have a great day everyone!
And congrats to our winners!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tank Top Refashion

Our neighborhood is great.  Every so often everybody gets together for a sort of garage sale... where everything is free!  You can bring stuff you want to give away and take whatever you want, even if you didn't bring anything.  I love snatching up t-shirts at these events because there are often lots of cute t-shirts that people bring down that are too short or something, but still in really good shape.  So I snag them to turn into cute clothes for Olivia.  It's hard to pass up free fabric!

That's where I got this cute little tank top.

And after a little tinkering around last night, I turned it into this:
Despite the fact that the big O cries every time I pull it over her head (which she does about a lot of clothes, by the way), I really like how it turned out.  It was definitely one of those projects where I just made it up as I went.  Which isn't to say that it went flawlessly.  I made the opening for the head too small at first and had to pick out some stitches and rearrange things.  And if I do it again I'll definitely be making some changes.  But... it's great!  And it was free!  Can't beat that!

And I didn't really plan for sleeves, but it just kind of turned out that way and I'm so glad.  I love having clothes for Olivia that I don't have to add a bunch of layers to.  It's getting hot here now and I like to be able to keep her clothing layers to a minimum.

This dress is nice and long (but not too long), so I think she'll be able to wear it for a while.

And, once it's over her head, I think she likes it quite a bit.

It's comfy for sitting in.
(And trying to see what Daddy's doing.)

It's got a nice little stretch to it that makes it easy to move in.

Not to mention some fascinating buttons.

Perfect for practicing her little pincer grasp.

And for pointing out to Mommy.

And for looking adorable.  :)

P.S. I just noticed that my sister Polly posted a t-shirt dress refashion today too.  And she includes a free pattern!  You can check it out HERE.

Show and Tell Green Photobucket

Monday, June 21, 2010

One Year OIder and Wiser Too (...and our winners!)

Happy Birthday...
to ME!

For as long as I can remember my birthdays have been celebrated with big parties.  I invite all of my friends.  We play with the parachute.  We play the shoe game.  We eat cake (usually that I ended up making).  This year was different.  I didn't want a big party.  I didn't want to awkwardly explain why we're all outside playing with a parachute.  (Although I think we're doing that tonight with some friends--haha--so the tradition will live on, I suppose.  And I'm glad about that.)  I didn't want the stress of who to invite and who not to invite.  And, furthermore, I graduated from college a couple of years ago and, while I still have friends around, a lot of them have moved away.  That's what happens when you marry someone your own age and he's two years behind you in school because he was a good boy and went on a mission.  Anyway, this is all a very long-winded way of saying that we just had a couple of little celebrations this year.  And I feel good about that.

On Friday night we had a very little party with a few of our friends who we usually get together with on the weekends to play games.  Yes, we are nerds like that.  Be we all like it.  I had decided a week or so before that I wanted to have a carrot cake for my birthday this year, and that I wanted to make it from scratch.  So, I did.  And Bryan helped.

The cakes turned out perfectly.  And they came out of the pans perfectly.  Which never, ever happens to me.  Ever.

 (Thanks to Bomanda for letting us borrow her magic cake pans.)

Then I made cream cheese frosting and frosted the cake.  For the topping, I baked some chopped up pecans and sprinkled them around the edges (umm... like in the picture at the beginning of the "Cakes" section of my cookbook.  So original, right?).


Is your mouth watering yet?
Because it should be.

Here I am (in all my blurry glory--oops!) with my lovely little carrot cake.  
It was a total success.  I am so proud.

I kind of like our little hodgepodge of old birthday candles.
Almost like I planned it.
Almost Martha Stewart.
But better.

Twenty four here I come!

Bryan and Andrea, thanks for lighting my birthday cake.  
Even though it took a few matches.

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me-ee!
Happy birthday to me!

Got 'em all out in one blow.

I told Bryan he's going to have to have pink and yellow birthday candles on his cake next month.
Because these ones were definitely too small to be used again.
I guess that's what happens when it takes a long time to light all your candles.

Mmmm.  I think it's safe to say that this is the best birthday cake I've ever had.  It was soooo, so yummy.  Just the right mixture of moist, fresh, made-from-scratch cake with lots of spice and flavor, topped off with creamy, rich cream cheese frosting and crunchy baked pecans.  Sooo, so yummy.

And thanks to Lance for being patient and letting me snap a few pictures of his piece of cake before he could dig in.  Actually, thanks to everyone for being patient while I took a million pictures of the cake.

These two are so good at games.
I try to pretend to be.
But they are always about twelve steps ahead of my logic.
Uhh... and they usually win.

These two are so nice.
And so hilarious.
And so from Oregon.
They feed us meals they've never made before.
They eat stale ice cream with us.
They make me happy.

And here we are just being our regular old selves.
Bryan in one of his D.I. shirts.
And curly hair.
And hyper smile.
Me with my hair pulled back in a pony tail.
Stuffing my face.
And loving it.

Yesterday, on my actual birthday, Lisa (Bryan's awesome sister) came over for brunch.  Doesn't it feel classy just to say the word brunch?  Yes.  And, speaking of classy, Lisa brought me these beautiful peonies for my birthday.
Aren't they gorgeous?  What a way to ring in being 24.
Beautiful, lush, feminine, and so fresh and pretty.  And so big! 
I had to take a picture of this vase to show my good friend Alex that I finally have flowers big enough to use in the beautiful vase she gave me for Christmas back when we were sophomores in college.  Thanks Alex!  And thanks Lisa for the beautiful flowers!  Oh, and Lisa also gave me some rockin' socks, but no picture of those.  Sorry.  Thanks though Lisa!

My Nana and Granddad sent me this charming little rooster figurine.  I absolutely love it.  My Nana said one of her close friends gave it to her years ago and that she sent it to me because she thought it would fit right in here in my red kitchen.  Thank you Nana and Granddad!  It fits in perfectly.  You're the best!

Oh, and here's a picture that'll give you an idea of how big my little rooster is.  :)  I love him.

What did Heavenly Father give me for my birthday?

Perfect weather.  So warm and fresh and wonderful.  And, now that I'm looking at this picture I realize just how perfect it was--I was born in 86!  Woot woot!

My friend Sarah dropped off this awesome fabric (and some healthy trail mix that I forgot to take a picture of) while we were at church.  Thanks Sarah!  She knows me so well.  :)  Perhaps that has something to do with knowing each other our whole lives.  And going on walks every day.  Well, almost every day.  :)

Bryan's gift was perfect.  Something I wanted, but that I never would have bought for myself.  This movie is absolutely wonderful.  It was available to watch for free online a while back, and then it wasn't there anymore.  And I've really wanted to watch it since then.  And he even watched part of it with me yesterday, even though it was Father's Day too.  Oh, and Bryan also gave me the game Wizard on Friday night.  He gave it to me early so we could play it with our friends.  But I forgot to take a picture of it.

And, lastly, Bryan even did (some of) the dishes yesterday.  Even though it was Father's Day.  He's the best.  He makes being 24 fun.  He makes me happy every day of the year.

Well, now that the party's over, I guess I better leave you all with a couple of party favors.  After all, that's what you all came for, right?  Well then, I am pleased to announce that our winners are (via because I was going to do something way cuter but, in the end, decided I have a lot of other things to do with my time... such as finish washing the dishes... or eating breakfast)...

1. #26 Lisa* who said,

Well it's my birthday tomorrow so of course I'd like to win:) And a very happy birthday to you!  I'm a follower.

Happy birthday to you too, Lisa!  I promise I didn't rig this, but I think it's totally awesome that you won these great presents for your birthday.  Woot wooooot!

*Lisa, you have two days to get your e-mail address to me.  Otherwise I'll have to give your prize away to someone else!

2. #67 Emma who said,

Hello sweet Katie - I just Tweeted about your fabulous giveaway via tw33tmarie! Tweet Tweet!

tw33tmarie Enter to win an ADORABLE Ruby Lou Doll pattern! Hurry!


Congratulations ladies!

And thanks to everyone who entered and sent me all the birthday wishes!  It's been so fun!

And, finally, a HUGE thanks to 
Abby of Sew Much Ado for giving away two Ruby Lou Doll Patterns 
and to Holly of Cherry Lane Textiles for giving away two awesome scrap packs.  
Thank you so much ladies!

Have a great day everyone!