Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

my oldest niece, the firstborn niece/granddaughter of the 6 girls born between my sister and i, is now 14 and officially a high school student as of today - oh, wait, that's high skool, because if you are up on your texting lingo and high school spelling, then you know that you do not type grammatically correct whatsoever - it just isn't cool! i remember leaving a wedding reception at 1 am to ride along with my parents an hour away to the hospital to wait for her to be born - only to have to camp out on the waiting room chairs throughout the long night. i was repeatedly kicked off each chair by the staff there-- did i really appear like i didn't have a place to stay or were they really just that adamant about not sleeping on their chairs while waiting for a new life to appear? i am still confused by that night. finally a little after noon the next day, and several chairs later, baylee made her entrance into this world and i became an aunt. you are forever changed when a little baby enters your life. your own worries and your own entire "self " become secondary to this new little being. over the years, i have watched her grow and have absorbed all of her ups and downs and have enjoyed taking in her life experiences as though she was my own daughter. i pride myself that i get to be the closest to her, not physically as we live miles and miles apart, but emotionally, we are connected- and i don't say "get to be" the closest loosely, because wow, teenagers are tough these days. baylee's had a tough year, with well, just being a teen and a child of a recent divorce, something that our family has never had to cope with before.

today she had her first half-day in a brand new high school in a new school distict, after having gone to a small parochial school with the same 30-some classmates since preschool. we spoke on the phone this evening, yes, actually spoke, a step up from the usual texting - she described to me what she wore, how she did her hair, curly, not flat-ironed, that her boyfriend, (also a freshman, thank goodness!) walked her to all of her classes, that her lock is actually broken on her locker but that she's ok with pretending it works because then she can not worry so much about being late to class, and carefully broke down her schedule hour by hour for me, including all of her teachers' names. and oh, that she was up until 2 am throwing up from being so nervous. i remember the excitement mixed with the anticipation of my own school days and am just stunned that 14 years have passed and baylee has entered this stage of her life. i can't count how many times i've told her to make these years the most fabulous years of her life --how do you convince a teen that these truly are the most carefree days of your life? remember when a morning was just about what you were going to wear, how much hairspray to use, and who you were going to sit with at lunch? oh, the memories.

here's to my baylee bean, a name i for sure can't call her in public at "skool," but man do i love that girl!

keep that smile on baylee ...
and laugh your silly little heart out,...
and just live, live and live some more!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

happiness is like a butterfly...

i've enjoyed watching my adventurous twins become nature lovers, particularly "roly poly collectors" and "stick hunters" when we visit the numerous beautiful parks in our area. the bigger the stick, the more likely the question "can i puulllleeeeese bring it home mommy?" so needless to say we have a stick collection in the front of our house. there are two sticks that have lingered around longer than many of the others. after seeing this mobile idea in several editions of the pottery barn kids catalogue, i finally stopped "just" admiring it and got to work on creating a mobile for izzy's nursery. using the two lingering sticks (and fibbing to the girls about where there "sword" sticks had gone - we can find more right?), i spray painted them lavender using the same can of spray paint left over from the lamp and frame. without even intending to be THIS frugal, but my printer is not working well right now, i found a butterfly template on the computer and traced it onto paper on the screen - how's that for saving paper? (again, not intentionally because that is really almost embarrassingly cheap! ) i cut out several butterflies from scrapbook paper and put maddie to work on the glitter which believe me, you never need to ask a little girl twice if she wants to play with glue and glitter! we decorated the butterflies, grabbed some fish line (which if you purchase this once, unless you really use it to go fishing, you are guaranteed to have this roll of fish line laying around for years to come - it's endless!) and tied random length of fish line to the sticks and punch-holed the butterflies and tied them on.
izzy now has a very simple and inexpensive mobile in her room which she loves to look at while i rock her in her rocking chair. i'll be honest, i thought i was just fulfilling my need to be crafty and tackle this simple project and that it would turn out to be more of an accessory for her room, but she truly watches it when it blows around in the breeze in her nursery. so the next time your little ones want to bring home those dirty sticks, don't think about the mess it will make of your once clean car (i'm guilty of that often!) but rather, bring them on home and BE CREATIVE!

Monday, August 24, 2009

matter the most monday #2...

ever since the twins arrived 4 1/2 years ago, the quote "the little things, they're not so little," has been one of my absolute favorites as well as a daily affirmation. with "back to school" just around the corner, my goal for the week is to maximize these little moments, grab the girls' journals (that i've slacked on a bit) and record these memorable times, and notice, enjoy, and appreciate the little things that define summer.

a must-have for your book shelf is the book "14,000 things to be happy about."

kudos to Barbara Ann Kipfer for recording her 14, 000 thoughts to inspire those of us that can barely accomplish a grocery list, let alone record a list of thoughts. think you could record your own list of 14000 happies? her book represents 20 years of recording all the things that made her happy. she began in 6th grade, first with a tiny spiral notebook, then larger notebooks, finally graduating to a computer. she uses it as a pick-me-up on a gray day, and as inspiration for what to cook for dinner or what to do with her son on the weekend.

a few favorites taken from her book to inspire me for the week :

-the rising of the sun on a misty morning

-being told you are dazzling

-flashlights that work

-"colour my world" by chicago

-birds nests

-strangers that you see so regularly that you feel they're almost friends

- loose strands of hair

-a well-worth-it wait

-deteriorated cookie particles in the milk

- handbags with room for everything

- thinking of the day, of your home, of your family, of things past, of things to come

happy monday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

a few fabrics, a new look!

our backyard patio has taken on a new look which i will elaborate on in another blog, but with this new look, new pillow covers were a must. i am sure my husband would agree (said with much sarcasm!) i purchased fabric that, in my viewpoint, coordinated with the burnt orange seat covers that are on the furniture, as well as with the blue theme that seems to be present throughout our house. so blues, browns and oranges it was! using the excellent tutorial on,(, i refreshed my memory of how to make these basic slipcovers for pillows - ones that can be quickly replaced once i get that itch for a new color scheme. i had various sized pillows to cover so i jotted down some measurements. little did i know that i had an apprentice carefully watching me. my daughter, mia took her own measurments and recorded them for me (see picture for her inventive letter and numbers). the navy and white pinstriped pillows were the 4 that i received from a friend - she purchased a couch off of craigslist that came with these pillows - she didn't end up using them so i had myself a deal at our joint garage sale that we held when she sold all 4 to me at a garage sale for $5. I took the zipper covers off, freecycled them, laundered the actual pillows, and went to work on my new fabrics. i purchased 4 yards for 6 pillows, with all fabrics being 30% off at JoAnnes Fabrics. the finished look was just what i had hoped for - casual, comfy and eclectic.

the iz gets cozy!

happy last few days of august everyone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

good tunes, a dancing family, and a happy blanket

our family summer tradition here in southern california is to experience, and enjoy, the free summer concerts offered in the parks throughout the area. we've found a new favorite in dana point as there is nothing better than a great band belting out the dancin' tunes in front of you and the ocean waves behind you - you truly feel like you are in heaven on earth. my girls are just free spirits blissfully dancing at these concerts and are often the first few out on the grass "dance floor." i love to see that they don't have a shy bone in their little bodies.
although i am not one to love the packing and loading for these evenings -- the adult food, the kids food, the diaper bag, the cooler, the ice, the sippy cups, the extra clothes in case someone potties, the list goes on and on - i love the feeling of spreading out the picnic blanket when we first arrive - the audible "pooooof" of the blanket being spread out in the air and onto the ground - and watching the girls scramble to get it laid out "just right." the particular blanket i have used this summer was a thrift store purchase. it's a king sized bed sheet and i once used it for a couch cover but decided rearranging it on the couch on a daily basis after two sets of little feet jumped on it each day, just took the fun out of such a vibrant piece of material. so it's now the official summer picnic blanket.

the secret in such a fun find for you non-thrift store shoppers: Target often sells its' out of season items to Goodwill. You aren't always guaranteed a huge deal, but the price is always lower than what the store price was. I paid $7 for this brand new sheet, originally priced in the $20's when sold at Target. The best Target items you will find at Goodwill are following holidays and the back-to-school season; items that need to be removed from the stores and that are often in a large supply. i tend to find Target's leftover holiday decorations quite fun to sort through at Goodwill and buy them at cheapo prices. give it a look in september - i can almost promise there will be a notebook or two waiting for a desirable price -- maybe you can stock up for next year???

my little dancing queens!

Monday, August 17, 2009

the little things...they're not so little!

Synonyms for grateful

2 senses of grateful
Sense 1:
grateful (vs. ungrateful), thankful
Sense 2:
(vs. unpleasant)

(borrowed from

Grateful Monday?

Marvelous Monday?
what do i call it?

after having such a wonderful family-blessed weekend with my husband and little ones, it's inspired me to make sure mondays are the days that i express my appreciative attitude for the little things; having a weekend to slooooooooooooooooow down, be together, giggle with the girls, and make the little moments matter, mondays make the most sense to share this thought.


Matter the Most Monday it is!

(cute tag above taken from "journal-it girl" scrapbook paper by teresa collins - ..cute stuff, huh?)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

a sentimental touch for the grandchild...

the song, babes in the woods, begins "oh don't you remember a long time ago...", i don't. yes, i remember the song extremely well and my great grandma keyl's warbled voice singing it to each great, great grandchild, but i don't remember when i asked her to write down the lyrics to the song for me. i know the "why" in asking her; she had entered her nineties, and i accepted that i was not anytime soon going to be giving her more great great grandchildren to sing this song to, and that when that time did arrive for me, i was probably not going to be lucky enough to still have her inviting arms available to rock my little one in a rocking chair and sing this lullaby to him/her. i wanted to be sure that i had a sentimental keepsake of this memory.

it must have been around '98 that i asked her because i remember framing it above my bed in an apartment i had in chicago; it was framed in 3 more of my bedrooms in different houses up until 2005 when i was blessed with the twins and proudly hung it right above their twin cribs. i have copied it for both girls for their scrapbooks, as well as for the scrapbooks for my three nieces. the original copy now rests on a shelf in izzy's nursery, and because i have the lyrics, i learned the song when pregnant in '04 and have carried on the tradition of rocking the girls while quietly singing this song in hopes that they'll peacefully fall asleep. i often find myself trying to imitate my great grandma's aged quivery voice. (i sure hope i've never been overheard doing that by anyone other than these little ears that the song is intended for - it's not a pretty imitation!) my grandmother and mother have also carried on the lullaby and have sung it to all of the grandchildren as well. in fact, right before we went home for a visit, my mom claimed she was a bit rusty on the lyrics. she received a letter in the mail with a copy of grandma's handwritten song and i simply wrote "start practicing."
search in your collection of family traditions - maybe there's a lullaby, poem or picture that has been passed down and cherished. what a simple and cheap idea to add to the decor of a room. with three girls, it will be tough to figure out who will have the original handwritten copy someday should they want it - thank goodness for copy machines!

and i can't keep you wondering who my precious grandma keyl was - 6 years ago she passed away, 2 weeks before my wedding. i miss you Gramma K! thanks for leaving behind the inspiration to use that creative gene inherited from you!

my sister and i in '76 presenting our great gramma with her annual calendar - remember those fantabulous calendars? we've come a long way in photography gifts, right?

... and great great gramma k still smiling with her great great grandchildren in 1999.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

oops, i love this paint!

i've been in search of the perfect color for various projects, and often find that close- to perfect color in the "oops cans" at hardware stores. for 5 bucks, it's worth the risk to bring it home and decide it's not only nowhere near perfect but not even tolerable. but that's rarely the case - i seem to find a place for these random colored cans of paint. our door was a brown color of stain and needed some work. i wasn't ready to tackle the sanding and refinishing work of a door which would require a DIY class at home depot or the like, so i decided "why not throw on a can of paint?" fortunately, my dad was more than willing to be the door painter when he was here for a visit - he's known to accomplish a few handy man tasks for me here and there! thanks dad! when Electric Blue is what i found - not the official name but the name it earned when my neighbor kim saw it for the first time. so Electric Blue is what i am greeted with when i arrive home each day. i've made it a tradition since moving in when the twins were 10 months old, to take monthly pictures of the girls in front of this door - i've printed these pictures and titled the album "on our way out" since they are always taken right before we've left for an occasion or simple day at the park.

i've recently discovered a can of robin's egg blue paint, an oops can of course, for only $1. i am so anxious to use it but not sure of the project yet - maybe a frame, the wooden plant box out front, a chair?

so the wreath - need i mention it's from a garage sale? - from a crafty neighbor who always has an ever-changing front porch decorated with whatever holiday is near -always cute, always inspiring. i have remade this wreath many times thanks to the glue gun. this simple one is one of my favorites, using a gerber daisy and ribbon from the diaper cake that was the centerpiece at my baby shower and the ribbon that is circled throughout the wreath was from a toy that the twins got when they were newborns -- there is nothing cuter than reading ribbon everyday that says, among other words, "giggles, let's pretend, and hiccem-ups" -- if that doesn't make you smile, then please turn around, walk back up the walkway once again, and reread the ribbon and then smile!!!

that's a SIX DOLLAR project for you! - an oops can of paint, a garage sale wreath, a flower and ribbons saved from gifts, and there you have it - a "welcome to my home" entrance.

Friday, August 14, 2009

the Blogger Plunge...

alright, i am taking the plunge! i spend endless hours after my girls have gone to bed searching through blogs and looking for inspiration for this craft or that craft, or how to redo a piece of furniture, how to sew this pillow or that baby dress, so i've finally decided to jump into the blog world and create my own blog to keep track of my own crafty endeavors.

i've always been a bit thrifty, but fortunately with the new green movement, i can hide my thriftiness a bit and proclaim myself as "green," rather than, let's face it, cheap! i love a bargain, sale or discount. i even heard one of my four-year-old twins say to the other today at the craft store, "but it's not on sale." the lady next to me got a chuckle out of this, and i just said "i've taught her well." i love nothing more than sitting back in one of my decorated rooms and mentally sorting through each piece and remembering which garage sale or thrift store each item came from, or which hand-me-down was from what relative. i hate to waste and love to reuse. i love imagining the story behind each piece, be it a picture frame or dining room chair, and knowing that it's been cared for and loved before it reached my hands.

now my inspiration behind all of this is to achieve the look i am aiming for but to accomplish it without anyone actually being able to look at the item and say "THAT is from a garage sale!" and i think i've done that well! eclectic, yes; cheap, no! it's the challenge of buying it for nothing but turning it into something!

while leaving my neighborhood for an errand, i saw this vintage-looking lamp at the end of the driveway. a local charity had picked up the other items laying next to it, but i think they must have broken this lamp when doing so, so they left it behind. being polite, i knocked on the door to ask if i could have it; she didn't answer, so i figured, "fair game," right? pregnant with my third daughter at that time, i was intrigued with the three angelic cherubs that ran around the base of the lamp. it was originally black and gold and the crystals were missing.

with a can of lavender spray paint to match the color scheme of the nursery, a "who cares about the missing arm" attitude, and some crystal replacements (which i had conveniently saved from a not-so-attractive chandelier from a neighbor), i made the first official piece for the new nursery:
( and i must note that the bedside table was my first 'shabby chic' purchase at an illinois garage sale for $1! and my grandma even treated me that day! i bought this before a nursery was even a thought)

(one more notable - the vintage bird picture was made by my friend's little 4 year old boy and it sweetly says Isadella, with the d being a backwards b - makes it all the more precious, doesn't it? )
a few weeks later, in that same neighborhood laying outside for that same local charity pick up, i saw this large framed piece of art. i had no interest in the actual picture framed, but the cherry frame caught my eye from a distance. again, doing the respectful neighborly duty, i knocked on the door and explained to the man who answered that i would love to reuse the frame for a an idea i had in my own home. it was mine seconds later! out came the lavender spray paint once again, and some silver metallic spray on top of the purple to accent it a bit, and a double matte purchased from Michael's (which of course i used the 40% coupon for), and there was my frame waiting for my baby's first picture!

add a fantastic friend photographer to that project, mali workman from and i got quite a darling framed picture for her nursery!
and here is my adorable little bug who gets to call this luscious purple room her own(laying on my blanket from my baby days - i am 35 but i fear labeling any of my own items as vintage -- can i really be that old already?) who gets to call this room her own miss izzy belle!