Wednesday, September 30, 2009

glue, glitter and $1...

while we are visiting our family here in illinois, i am having trouble keeping my little ones content while the " big girl cousins" are in school each off to the dollar store we went. we have a witch, tinkerbell and pea in the pod waiting for us in our house this year for halloween -- we found the must-have cheapo spider rings for mia's witch costume and decided to jazz them up a bit since every girl likes glitter! maddie is the crafter for these however as mia just wasn't in the mood --so much for my efforts to keep both girls content!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

treasured crowns...

because i will forever treasure these crowns given to my twins for their third birthday, i had to show a picture of them. i mentioned rosemary yesterday in my post at rose petite maison - she is the one who made these darling crowns that unexpectedly showed up in the mail just in time for the girls' princess birthday party. my girls were flower girls for rosemary's daughter amanda, and amanda sent these as their presents. i have them proudly displayed in my china cabinet - yep, right up there with the china and other breakables that the girls can't touch -- these crowns are keepers! and the little princesses are seen smiling here with their queen nana!

Monday, September 28, 2009

vintage heaven

i discovered this awesome clipart blog from rosemary at rose peitie maison - she takes the crafting with vintage art to a level that i only wish i could reach - just adorable crafts! - i am in awe of this graphic site because, although i own a lot of vintage "stuff" that i can and want to use for crafting, i am always afraid of that big ugly word -- copyright! i never know what i can and can't use -- so this wonderful gal at the graphics fairy takes that fear away. i found out about her new inspiring "get crafting" from rosemary, called Brag Mondays! If you use one of her great graphics you can post about what kind of project you used it on etc. If you are interested to see what other bloggers are creatingwith her fabulous free graphics please go to her blog: The Graphics Fairy. a little thing i read after creating my project - you can only use up to 4 graphics in one project. i just made it, having used 3 but believe me, if you are a fan of vintage clips, you may go a bit crazy downloading from her.

so thanks to the graphics fairy, i've created my first halloween project of the year... or finished project. (is anyone else like me? - the queen of starting yet never finishing????) i made a garland for the fireplace using only what craft supplies my mom has here at her house - she has a box full in her closet, um, i have a garage full! but i managed to get the look i here is my boo garland...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

clothespin creatures...

while staying at my parents, things are a bit un-routine-like so to cope, i craft! until the wee hours of the morning. some people drink, some people craft. my mom has a small assortment of craft items so my choices are slim, but finding these clothespins in her craft box, it reminded me of the dolls i made many times at my grandma's using her colorful fabric scraps. i made a few to surprise the twins this morning with new dolls for their dollhouse...

Friday, September 25, 2009

gossip at a garage sale...

found a garage sale yesterday -- a few actually. back in my small hometown, well, not small, but one of those places, like cheers, "where everyone knows your name," and in this case everyone knows your gossip! i got to gabbing with this guy who was having the garage sale for his family. i am always on the prowl for neat furniture for my sister's house since she is 'starting over' since her divorce. so i find a great handmade dining room table and mentioned that my sister is going through an ugly divorce, could use the table, has three kids..blah blah blah...well, of course he asks her last name -- i tell and thus, insert foot in mouth! he of course knows her, and knows her ex even better! he knows the family, knows the situation, etc. -- so if regret could show on your skin, i was glowing with it. needless to say, i didn't buy the table, got out of there with my glowing regret and dialed my sister on the phone to confess to my gossip! oh well, i have to remember this is where i grew up and again, everyone knows everyone in some crooked way, and i am going to support my sister no matter what the situation - that's what family does, right?

so, back to the garage sale - i love the annual church sales -the ones where all types of different collectors and hobbyists have donated their stuff for these sales, and women of all ages have donated their clothes and tablecloths and books and clutter from their homes - and they've spent at least the week organizing the sale so that it's "just right" -- it's really a fun scavenger hunt when there's so much to choose from, and the vintage treasures are usually quite plentiful at the church sales. today i scored two tablecloths, a large jar of old buttons, a birds' nest with eggs, a vintage children's thanksgiving book, and a skirt with flower appliques that will inspire me for some type of sewing project. i've done some research on crafts using buttons but haven't come up with anything too inspiring -- any suggestions out there? i would love to put the older 5 girls to work for some type of craft or gift using this great assortment of buttons -- anyone? anyone?


Thursday, September 24, 2009

                                    “the earth laughs in flowers.”

e.e. cummings

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

there's no place like home...

i don't usually blog twice in one day, but i had to say
welcome me that is! My REAL home -- there's just an indescribable comfort of being back in the home of where you are raised, where your parents are there to keep you safe once again, and to be back in the home of so many cherished memories.
we made a surprise visit back to Illinois to see the family. Only my parents knew of our arrival, and surprisingly, my mom managed to keep it a secret for two months. we've surprised my sister so far and are heading to pick up the nieces here in a few minutes to surprise them at the bus stop. i can't wait to see such genuine smiles and to see a big hug full of cousins.
i want to ...feel the fall weather,
...see the leaves turn colors,
...collect a few fall treasures for the girls to take back, ...feel the warmth of my illinois sweatshirt at an illini football game, ...
eat a greasy cheesy krekels burger,
...hit my favorite thrift stores and hopefully find a neighboorhood-wide garage sale on saturday,
...visit my grandmother who isn't feeling so well
...and just surround myself with the love and laughter of FAMILY!!! welcome home to me!
and we're off to the bus stop!

rocks for sale...

"knock knock: would you like to buy some crystals for 50 cents a bag?" says a little voice overpowering 4 other little voices attempting to ask the same question!
nostalgic me - "why of course! make that 2 bags please!" (with an extra quarter thrown in as a tip so that all 5 little girls can earn their payment)

when i opened the door to see my two with three neighbor girls standing on the front porch with their mini walmart cart full of rock bags, i flash backed to when my friend ashley and i were little girls. we had gathered rocks, painted them and towed them in a wagon, proudly selling them door to door . i specifically remember being so darn proud of those little masterpieces! so when my two joined in on the fun, i smiled right along with their belief of these rocks being crystals (rather than bagged landscaping rocks). off they went, selling door to door in our friendly cul-de-sac, hoping to make a fortune off their crystal collection.

i read in a magazine, that the little children standing behind the makeshift lemonade stands on the corners are our next entrepreneurs; our job is to stop walking, pull over the car, put the brakes on the bike, whatever you need to do, to buy a lemonade from those eager youngsters. keep this in mind the next time a rock seller might appear at your door.

Monday, September 21, 2009

matter the most monday #5

maddie and my dad, "papa bob" planted sunflower seeds back in march when my parents visited for the girls' 4th birthday. maddie was diligent about watering her planted seeds and spent most summer mornings running out onto the back patio in her jammies checking to see if her sunflower had appeared. thank goodness that little seed decided to sprout!
so thank you little sunflower for showing my daughter how compassion and care can create a beautiful thing! her love for nature has been strengthened with your sweet vibrant yellow appearance!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

my $5 find

who: me!
what: 1968 gold chandelier with dirty crystals
when: june2009
where: summer block garage sale in decatur, illinois
why: the seller just wanted it out of her garage!
how much: originally asked $10 but bargain-jen chimed in with "will you take $5?" it's a deal!

i left this yard sale feeling like i had just stolen from this lady. has she heard of ebay or craigslist? out here in california, this chandelier would have been $200-plus in a beachfront shabby chic store. but why am i complaining? i removed all of the crystals, gave them a good windex and water bath; i packed them and brought them back on the plane with me. the frame of the lamp, i spray painted black, and then shipped it to california. when we returned, some touch up paint, two sets of little hands to help me hang the now sparkling crystals, and i now have my rescued treasure.

i hung it outside in the canopy on our patio - i eventually plan to hot glue candle tealights where the lightbulbs used to be so that we can enjoy the candlelight in the evenings. love those garage sales!

Monday, September 14, 2009

matter the most monday #3

(mia and me)

i have been passionate about photography since i can remember but it was the arrival of my first niece, baylee, that i decided to really take notice of photojournalism and documenting life through pictures. there truly isn't a day in this house that a picture isn't snapped - if it isn't my camera, it's my husband's, and now mia has become the newest photographer. as much as i gasp for air when she grabs my not-so-cheap camera, i try to relax, letting her explore, while I walk silently behind her, holding my breath, not wanting to distract her focus but having my hands ready to catch that family member in my hands if it gets dropped - yes, the family member, the camera; mia would be fine if she stumbled, she's a tough girl!

i love to see the mia's world as she sees it from behind the lens...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

please keep your word little one...

FRIDAY - orientation for preschool, Year #2 physicals with the Doc - (literally the day before) - check school shoes purchased - check
...outfits laid out the night before - check
...bedtime at 8 instead of some of the unmentionable hours this summer - check
...morning, wake up on time - check
...ten minutes before heading out the door, one twin throws up - check!

obviously the morning didn't go as planned and maddie's tummy threw us a loop for the day. i "fibbed" and told maddie we were going to the store and shuffled mia outside quietly and told her we were still going to school but we didn't want to upset maddie. jason stayed home with sick little maddie and izzy. off to school mia and i went.

our conversation in the car --which mind you, conversations often don't happen with three kids in the car, or at least not my three girls, - it's more me giving directions, over and over, and a competition for who gets to speak, or who gets to hear what song, rather than a conversation. so on this morning, mia and i had a true conversation. it went like this...

me - "mia, you look so beautiful today. you are a big 4 year old. remember last year, you were only 3 and remember how scared you were on the first day?"
mia - "yes. and now i'm 4."
me - "i know - you are so big now."
mia - "you don't want me to grow up?"
me - "yes, i do, but i just want it to slow down."
mia - "but mommy, i will always be your baby"
me - speechless with heart melting.
mia - "and we will get to do new things, and have new toys, and go new places when we are big"
me - with tears and a big smile "yes, baby you are right."

i looked at her in the rearview mirror and with her hair perfectly brushed straight, and her matching funky headband and her shiny bonnie bell lipgloss, her face turned right in to that 16 year old mia that i will soon enough see, sitting in the backseat of my car on the first day of school (...or wait, she may even be driving herself that year if she gets her way at 16..) and i just pray that she will stay true to her word and still in her heart, feel as though she is still my little baby and be willing to have a conversation with her "mommy" on the way to school. for all the things they will outgrow, may my daughters never outgrow my love.

so listen up little clock, just like most of us mothers are attempting to do in our daily life why don't you jump in right along on our mission to just sloooooooooooooooooow it down a bit! thank you - we'll all be very appreciative!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

the ever-changing wreath

for some ridiculous addictive reason, i love having the door wreath match the season - maybe it's just an excuse to make a craft for the day, but this poor wreath has seen every season, every color of ribbon, and has been burned with more hot glue than any item should be! but then again, maybe that would make the wreath the fashionista wreath of all wreaths - the one who gets the new look, the new colors, the new hairstyle, the new wardrobe, just like we'd all like to have each season. so be it!
my four year olds have been saying that they don't want to go back to school, and as a former teacher and a child who just loved loved loved school from kindergarten on, (i truly did!) it made me cringe to hear these dreadful words, already, at age 4. so we've been trying to get in the school frame of mind around here -- so, yep, enter the wreath!
again, using all craft supplies that i already have -- a box of crayons, various ribbon, a hot glue gun, and a paintable minature house ornament that i bought at a post-Christmas sale -- i didn't spend a dime, or at least not any additional dimes that i had already spent, just a bit of glue and time and excitement for my preschoolers! if they should repeat again that they don't want to go back to school, you can find us on our front porch staring at this wreath until the excitement overcomes them!

here's to a great school year for all of your little ones! ...and to those big kids too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

kindness for the prego

when i discovered i was pregnant last summer, it was a welcomed surprise but a very huge surprise, as i had to have a lot of medical help to get the twins -- this pregnancy, four years later, came out of nowhere! early in the pregnancy, my dear friend, kim, also my next door neighbor, created a month-by-month gift for me - there was a card to open each month all the way until the month i was due. in the card, there were gift cards for a smoothie, ice cream, or a favor such as a cooked meal, a car wash, and a day of babysitting. in addition to the little gifts, there were little messages or kind words written by her, which meant even more than the gift itself. my shower gift from kim? she painted my bathroom chocolate brown, the bathroom attached to izzy's nursery, so that it would match the decor of the nursery! do you want kim as your neighbor? sorry, you cannot have her but i'll share her friendship with you because she is one of a kind. God blessed me when she put her into my life!

to duplicate this feeling of being loved each month, i created this same idea for my sister-in-law. (jackie, if you are reading today - STOP! i don't want you to spoil your surprises!) we have a bit of distance between our homes however so i am unable to pop in to cook for her or wash her car, so what i created for her month to month gifts are items rather than favors. using my "well-stocked of craft supplies" garage, i went to work and this is what i came up with:
...and because i know that jackie might get tempted to continue reading, i can't tell you what little suprises are wrapped beneath the paper of each present, but i hope my efforts to put a smile on her face each month are successful.
i thought i'd share this with you and tempt you to treat your pregnant friend to this easy and cost-friendly gift. she'll be grateful beyond words! ..and she might even share that little precious one with you after he or she arrives!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Matter the Most Monday #3

i remember in my working days, like most people, mondays were often dreaded and never really viewed as the best day of the week - trying to get back into the grind of work after a weekend was always challenging. even as a stay-at-home-mom, i still have a bit of that feeling - mondays have become cleaning days, the girls have to get up early for school after having slept in on the weekends, and the husband is back to work so there goes my extra two helping hands that i just grew accustomed to over the past two days!

so when i began the blog, i designated mondays as "matter the most monday" - i've always loved the quote "the little things, they're not so little" ..combine that with "take time for the things that matter the most" and you get my goal of monday -- the little things that matter the most -- soak 'em up and enjoy them!

we have a few this week in our household...

1. my sister, christen, my one and only sibling, began her 39th year of her life yesterday - one more year before the 4-0 sets in - she has a new chapter ahead of her life being recently divorced, having a new house, and just a new beginning with her life -- so happy birthday "tata" - (i called her ta ta as a toddler so we gave her the name aunt ta ta when the girls were born)
2. our precious iz-belle turned 6 months yesterday -- PLEASE STOP THE CLOCK!!! but i love every minute of her even if the clocks still has to tick.

3. "no worky" today for daddy! those two helping hands will be around four an additional day, but more importantly, it's family day! off to "aguna" according to maddie, aka laguna beach, with the family!

happy monday everyone -- enjoy the family time today!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

FIRST AWARDS - woohoo!

woot woot! i earned my first signs of recognition - feels so good to know that your written words are out there and being read...
thanks nancy, the humorous writer of "if evolution really works..."(how come mothers only have two hands?)i have often questioned my daughters over the last couple of years why the octopus got 8 arms and moms, only 2 arms so when i came across nancy's blog, i was hooked from the beginning! nancy "showcased" me in her sunday morning reads back in august ( and had these kind comments to say about me: In my next life I will come back with the time to be as creative as Jennifer. I’m hoping to find out that she lives close by and will redo the patio cushions for me!! She’s got a lovely blog and really wonderful, creative ideas. ok, so telling me i'm creative and that you'd like to "be creative like me " earns immediate frienship, right? she's been a fan during my first few posts and i so appreciate her comments and for being a reader!

thanks to heather, from theta mom, who awarded me the Honest Scrap Award. i found this a fun one to

read and was honored to see my blog listed on a new reader's site!

Rules of for the Honest Scrap Award:List 10 things about yourself and pass it along to 10 other blogs.

1. i have been homesick since age 18.
2. i wanted to be a journalist and would love to be a photojournalist in my "next life."
3. i love chips and salsa and can't seem to diet no matter how much the scale tells me to.
4. my girlfriends are what keep me going - i don't know where i'd be without girlfriends to share my triumphs and struggles with.
5. my biggest accomplishments are having my three daughters.
6. i love to shop at yard sales, thrift stores and am known to happily accept a hand-me-down or two.
7. i love photography and scrapbooking.
8. i'd love to have a month to relive my junior year of college at the university of illinois
9. i love yoga and working out, once i actually get myself to the gym.
10. we lived next to a zoo growing up so i have fun memories of being chased to school by a kangaroo, capturing a tarantula on our street, and having a peacock on the neighbor's roof.

now off to find those 10 other bloggers to pass on this award...