Sunday, September 28, 2008

a little cake

for those who didn't know, i dabble in a little cake decorating - when i'm not up to my elbows in something quilty...lol!
i got started by taking the wilton cake courses with my friend kelli and had intended on using my new found talents to create special birthday cakes for dd. unfortunately, he doesn't like sweets.
well, i didn't give up easy but after the ducky (1st birthday)....
the elmo (2nd birthday)....and the blues clues (his 3rd birthday and by far the most difficult with all those little color-flow pieces!)failed to sway him and i realized that their beauty and magnificence (humble, ain't i? lol!) still didn't tempt him to enjoy the traditional birthday dessert with his pals, i succumbed to my defeat and switched to cupcakes instead! much easier and a lot quicker, but not as challenging to my creative skills.
you know, that didn't stop me from using my cake skills though because i still found myself receiving numerous requests to create cakes for friends and their little ones. the best part for this mother of 2 boys was the ability to create some "girly cakes".

this is one i get a lot of requests for. i have made it for 3 different and very special little girls. i discovered marshmallow fondant and quickly became enamored!


oh well, maybe in about 10 months i'll have another shot at the birthday cake thing.... looking at those cheeks makes you think he may be a cake lover, huh? lol!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

my granny

grandpa carlos and grandma laura

(my favorite picture of them)


just a couple weeks ago my granny went to be with the Lord. she passed away quickly on a Sunday afternoon. unfortunately as my father and mother made plans to travel the 8 hrs. to be with family, make arrangements, and say goodbye, i came to the realization that i would be unable to attend. with a newborn and a 5 year-old and without the aid of dh (his work made it impossible for him to take the time to go with me) i simply couldn't make the journey.

so i said goodbye from home.

no, it wasn't the same, but the Lord was here with me reminding me of his love and grace - even as my heart was there.

upon his return, my dad and i sat down to talk and he presented me with a very special gift. a thimble. her thimble.

the thimble isn't much to look at - but oh if it could talk! to tell of the stitches it helped create! you see, my granny sewed. she sewed as an occupation, she sewed out of necessity, and she sewed in the name of love. this precious thimble is rusted and tarnished. it has 5 holes in the top where her needle pierced the metal from use. and it is so tiny - what fit on her nimble middle finger snugly hugs my pinkie.

my dad kept that thimble close in his pocket all week. when he began to miss her, he slipped it on his pinkie and felt close to his mom. that thimble stayed with him until he brought it home to me - and i will cherish it always.

i do have a quilt she stitched by hand, just for me. in fact, she and her sister - my aunt orlean, were the reason i began quilting. they showed me the fun and creativity that can be sewn into a quilt and i can never thank them enough for introducing me to my favorite creative pass time. my father also returned with bag filled with just some of the fabric scraps that granny had set aside for quilting. she also had begun a quilt for my niece, her great-granddaughter. i will finish that quilt, and i will see to it that her fabric scraps find their way into quilts for years to come.

i love you granny, and i will see you again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

introducing....

well, here he is folks! the little blessing that has been bumping and kicking me for the last nine months came home with us 3 weeks ago tomorrow. he was a big boy, and he really didn't want to come out... i mean, really, how many kids have to be vacuumed out during a c-section??

anyway, he is beautiful (says his completely unbiased mother) and is doing really well. a very mellow little guy who loves to cuddle....what could be better.

big brother is happy, but there has been a little bit of regression as of late. mainly because not only is little brother home now, but dad is also back in football season at work and is, therefore, not home. bad timing, i know, but hey... what are ya gonna do. he is working through it like a champ and we are making every attempt to help him feel included and remind him of the special big guy that he is. big brother is so helpful, and he really loves the little guy.
just wanted to let everyone know i appreciate all the emails and good wishes! we are a little sleep deprived, but overall doing wonderfully. hey, i might even get back to my sewing machine in the next week or so- before i have to return to work that is...
by the way, i appreciate all the prayers, but the job teaching at the local Christan academy fell through. the Lord knows what is best for my family and i trust him totally, so now we are in a holding pattern, waiting to see what will come next. yes, i was really disappointed and quite disheartened after getting word that they passed on me, but i have such great encouragement around me in the form of family and friends and they all reminded me of how the Lord has blessed us so much so far and i have complete confidence in His faithfulness.
blessings to all. i'm gonna go take a nap! lol!

Monday, June 30, 2008

fun with the cuzns...

my sister and her two children were in town for the week of father's day, and the kids had a great time.....

there were bubbles, wonder how they taste?...

a swimming pool...

some exploration....

a fishing trip....


and a lot of fun!

getting a room ready

well, with a lot of help, and i do mean a lot, my former sewing room has been transformed into a sweet baby room.

yes, the walls are a sweet green color, and while at first i did question my judgement it turned out just as i wanted! i chose the green to coordinate with the stripe pattern in the crib set, knowing that there would be no other green accessories present to compete. i chose blues, yellows, oranges, and chocolate browns instead for the complimentary pieces. the rocking chair was already covered in jean, and with the pale furniture i felt that a yellow would be far too pale and a blue far to, um, well, dull!

while the walls are a little bare as of yet, i did create two wall accent pieces. this was both to save money and to allow me more control over the colors.

the first project was to place our little man's initials on the wall. big brother has the same, with his initials painted like sports balls to match his room theme, so naturally, his little brother had to have it too ~ lol!
the initials came preprimed from michaels craft store for less than $1 each, and the animals were prepainted and prefinished for less than with jungle animals fifty cents apiece. add to that $3 of craft paint and the entire project only cost me $8! yeehaw!

the second project was a clock. granted, this clock cost a little more to make, but i am so tickled with the finished project. again, the animals were less than 50 cents each, and the clock parts came from a walmart kit for about $6. i had to purchase two additional paint colors (pale blue and yellow) to compliment the paints used in the initials so that was an extra $2. the most expensive piece was the wooden plate that was about $12. dh had to drill a hole in the center for the center piece to slip through. all in all, it took about 2 days (with paint drying time) and about $20 to complete this sweet clock.

thankfully, all of the furniture came from big brother, so bedding and decor items, clothing and bb necessities have been our largest expenses.

if i have the time, i am hoping to finish his monkey quilt. i haven't been able to do this as of yet because i simply cannot physically handle basting the quilt together! oh well, when i feel i can i will, he has several wonderful blankets and quilts to use in the meantime, including the one pictured on the rocking chair in the top picture gifted to him at a recent shower.

my c-section has been set up for sat., a week early, but little guy is measuring large and in charge just like his brother so induction is out. although, if i go on my own, who knows? so with a lot of help from family and friends, we are ready! until then, i can sit in this calming room and rock and picture my new little one....can't wait to meet him!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

my final llelc grad cake

well, each year it has been one of my many duties for our preschool graduation to make the cake for the reception. i took a wilton course years ago, anticipating the joy and pride i would bring to my son when his yearly birthday parties came equipped with a custom-made, theme-based cake.

ok, um, well, my kid doesn't eat cake! turns out, he would rather have a banana than a slice of mommy's made with love giant elmo head cake. don't take me wrong, i'm not complaining, i just had to find uses for my cake skills at other venues.

i have done a couple for pay, but graduation clearly gave me an annual opportunity to drive myself into a pastry frenzy trying to concoct the perfect multi-tiered cake that would not only be large enough to feed 200 people (yup, that many!) but would also provide the strongest flexing of my creative muscles.

this year i had no real grad responsibilities because i am no longer the director, but with the pregnancy i had to really reign myself in.

i went with a three-layered square cake. found the bottom two pans on ebay and squared off a rectangle for the top.

to make icing easier and reduce crumbs, i did a light crumb-layer of icing, then made a large batch of marshmallow fondant to cover all three layers.


i love marshmallow fondant for so many reasons. first, it is CHEAP! all three layers cost me one bag of powdered sugar and a bag of mini-marshmallows....compared to the $12 for a box of wilton fondant. also, it tastes a lot better. i can't tell you how many people will peel the other off a cake slice, but this stuff gets eaten.the other great thing about fondant is that you can color it and roll it out like play dough to decorate.

how much more preschool-y can you get! i colored and rolled out the mmf to make the stars, and glued them to the fondant base with some vanilla food coloring.

once at school, i put the layers together, added the stars around the base and on the sides of each layer, and titled the top.


all in all, a very successful and yummy piece of work. and best of all, when i make the cake i don't eat it...having spent the previous 2 days with my whole house smelling all cakeish.

i'll post pics from the ceremony later this week. it was quite precious.

oh, and i didn't cry, lol!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

a little pomp...and circumstance?


yup, my handsome little man is graduating from preschool on friday. he has woken up each morning enthusiastically counting down until the big night! surprisingly, i am just as excited as he is about it. uh oh, maybe i am missing that sentimental mommy gene that compels others of my kind to weep and cling to their offspring on such classic occasions....hmm....
naw, i think that i am simply proud of his independence and confidence in himself. after all, he has been working right along with me here at the preschool from it's beginning 5 years ago. he has had the benefits of having me close by while still getting to have other christian adults sowing into him both spiritually and academically. while he naturally loves to socialize, he can get along with anyone, i have been close when he needed me. when he has needed some extra...ahem, guidance... i have been there to correct and instruct. and when his ego has needed a boost, he has benefited from a host of folks around him to remind him of who The Lord says he is, and that he can do all things through God!
ok, so why am i not delicately tapping my eyes with a tissue? well, he does still climb in my lap at night for cuddles, he still wants me to play games and sing songs, he doesn't hesitate to take my hand and walk beside me in public, and he still asks for my help when it is needed.
...and it's not friday night yet.....

Sunday, June 01, 2008

out with the old....

goodbye my quilty sewing haven....

you've a new little boy to get ready for...
on the agenda:
  1. a new coat of paint
  2. window topper
  3. new light fixture (with ceiling fan)
  4. dresser (from big brother's room)
  5. rocker & crib (from storage)
  6. extra shelf/rod in closet
  7. misc. decor items.
update:....painting is done (thanks mom and dad!!!), crib is coming outta storage tomorrow, and furniture is being prepared for painting. uh uh uh, no pics till it is ready :)

one for t. and one for me....

from this...to this...


the pattern came from the summer 07 fons and porter quilts for kids magazine.


yummy moda fabric was discovered when visiting a local shop during this years shop hop. at about $12 a yard, the prequilted was pricey, but being a sucker for pretty things, home it came.
when visiting, cousin t. picked out some pick and chocolate fabric from moda and while we contemplated sewing them together in cousinly joy, magazine reading, spa visits, and girl talk won out instead. so, being as how i love her so much i offered to throw a bag together for her while doing one for myself. can u believe? the brave gal actually left the fabric with me.
the pattern was well-written and fairly easy, although the zipper was a little tricky. hint, unzip the bag partially before finishing your final seam 'cause you feel a little ridiculous trying to turn the bag inside out when you can't get the zipper undone from the inside.....not that im speaking from experience or anything, but you know its bad when your 5-year-old comes in and asks, "mommy, why are you fighting with the bag?"


anywho, mine will be used as my "hey im in labor lets get to the hospital" bag, while hers, hopefully, will be soon packed to accompany her back to see me soon! LOL! more importantly, i know it will give her a smile when she opens the usps box on monday.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

thank you, my friends, for allowing me my few minutes of pouting in my previous post. you were all so kind not to kick my booty and tell me to get over it! don't worry though, i have done my own booty-kickin' and now, as my daddy would tell me to, i am "bucking up and dealing!" lol! i have decided that what gets done gets done and what doesn't, doesn't. baby has a bed and clothing and a loving family. besides, we don't want him starting out expecting everything to be perfect, right? lol!

i have actually enjoyed a very productive weekend...ok, the extra day helped, but still, with dh's help i got several "to dos" done.
#1: matthew's bumper is done! i had intended to show you the bumper that i finished, only to discover that stevie has determined that the bassinet is, indeed, for her - as i imagine any self-repsecitng cat would. she apparently discovered it soon after i finished the new bumper for matthew. you can actually see the bumper in the background.....stevie wouldn't move to allow for a better shot. hmm, this explains the fuzzy paw pats i have been getting as i pass by....

in the back left corner of the pic is the diaper bag that i finished a week or so ago. with the nursery yet incomplete i have found the bassinet very convenient for storing misc. baby items like sheets, diaper bags, the boppy....the cat.....

#2: tomatoes are planted! i also drafted hubby into helping me put together and stuff my new earth boxes. i ordered the kits knowing that a full garden would be out this year. now, we gotzta have our tomatoes, folks, and our neighbors have had a tremendous result from their earth boxes, so i figured, what the hey?

they are a little pricey, but you get everything in the kit including soil, lime (for tomatoes), and fertilizer....in other words, all but the veggies. the boxes are obviously reusable, with refill kits being less than $20, so i am looking forward to seeing if my investment pays off. honestly, these two boxes and supports cost about the same as what i spent last year prepping my garden soil and purchasing fencing to keep the local crunching critters out.

dd picked out a cherry and roma plant (his favorites!), dh requested a better boy, and i picked out 2 early girls and a golden. so far, they have been very low maintenance. it took about an hour to get them both together and planted. there is a planting guide included, very clear instructions, and once you plant all you need to do from then on is water daily - no fertilizing! yippee!

best part? i can skip the lifeguard this year 'cause the boxes have an overflow drain! i cannot over water the plants. before you question your counting skills, i do have one little early girl who couldn't make it in the box, so she is eagerly awaiting a new home in an extra large pot i had left over.

#3: got zucchini planted! now, dd and i absolutely LOVE zucchini. we fry it, bake it, stuff it, and eat it raw! so, when scaling down the garden this year they were a MUST! but where to put them? well, these little guys ended up planted along my front sidewalk. a little goofy, i know, but the blooms are so pretty and i will be able to do watering and fertilizing much easier this way. edible lawn art....yum!

the deer gang are the most courageous and rude of our crunching critters and with about 8-10 of them spotted this year in our back woods, it qualifies as an epidemic rampant in our area. thus explaining the soap shards scattered around the pant. the boogers will walk right up my sidewalk to enjoy the buffet that they are convinced i planted for their enjoyment. and before you ask, the dog is scared of them so she is no real help. i tried just about everything, but after mourning the overnight beheading of my lovely petunias this year, i got a great tip and discovered that a little irish spring is all it takes to protect my petunias, zucchini, roses, and anything else they may want to munch. the scent confuses and confounds their delicate pallet, so the leave the plant alone.

hmmm. i sure hope the soap doesn't seep into the zucchini....how embarrassing to serve some for a special dinner and have all your guests foaming at the mouth...lol!

well, at least we will have irish-fresh breath!

#4: planted my rose bush. i put this pink pretty on the front corner of the front porch so she can happily climb the corner post for years to come. i love roses, they remind me of my gramma pauline. she had such a gift for growing these beauties. this is my first attempt. we shall see.....

well, my friends, i pray you all had a great weekend and that you and your loved ones had some peaceful time to reflect on the service and sacrifice of those in our armed forces who protect our freedom every day. i continue to ask for your prayers for my brother (in-law) maj. jeff stevenson, as he serves overseas.