Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is it Friday yet?

Oh my goodness, it's been quite a week! Mason came home  from school on Monday not feeling well....sore throat, tired, and 100.3 fever. I took him to the doctor the next morning, and sure enough, strep again. That's the third time this school year...and he's never had it before. I think we might have to consider getting his tonsils out if this trend continues. Anyway, he's on amoxycillin again and he's feeling much better. He stayed home for two days, but he went back to school tonight. Poor little guy. He doesn't complain much so when he does you know he's really not feeling well. I'm glad he's better today, because tonight is the school's Open House. He and Annabelle have all sorts of things to show us in their classrooms so he'd be really disappointed if he couldn't go. Plus the kids get to make-their-own sundaes there....hmmm, maybe that's the real reason he doesn't want to miss it??
I haven't been sewing much lately, since hangin' with the sick child. I did manage to do a little shopping this morning at Walmart...I got these pretty Better Homes and Gardens storage boxes...
The one on the right is a 2-pack. I love the trim and coordinating lids. There were a few other styles as well; also matching baskets and candles. I bought a matching picture frame, forgot to take a picture. Anyway, these will go in my laundry room, along with my fancy pink boot tray.
It is almost time for another Gooseberry Patch cookbook review and giveaway! I received two copies of this in the mail this week...
Now I am a HUGE fan of autumn....and autumn cooking. By September I am sick of grilling hamburgers and eating salads. Turning on the oven during the summer is frowned upon in this establishment. So when it's chilly outside I love to make a roast or casserole or something like that. So, with that in mind, we're going to make a few of these recipes before it gets too hot out. So I've got a good three months. Just kidding, I'll test them out in the next week or so. Then you'll have a chance to win a copy by random drawing. I'll let you know! If you just can't wait, you can pre-order this book here!
Funny story about this cookbook. The other night, I was browsing through it, noting which recipes I wanted to make. I got to a page that had a recipe by me, and one from a woman from Syracuse on the facing page. I said to Dave, "Hey look, they put someone from Syracuse mine..." Ha! I didn't even know that they were publishing a recipe of mine in this book! OK, I'm sure Gooseberry Patch must have told fact I have a vague recollection...but I completely forgot! So I said, "Hey! I'm in this cookbook!" Dave of course thought it was hysterical. Oh I am so scatterbrained sometimes! My recipe is a really good one, I must admit..."Simmered Autumn Applesauce." I won't review it, because obviously I like it, but I'll include it in my sample of recipes

Have a great day!

♥ Jen

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birds, baking and boots

Hey peeps! Are you glad it's Friday? It's been a busy week, I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with the family this weekend. We're planning to go to a Maple Farm on Sunday. Every year at this time they have tours of the sugar bush, maple syrup-making demonstrations, and a delicious pancake and ham breakfast (with fresh maple syrup, of course!). Unfortunately it's going to be pretty cold, but we'll just bundle up. We actually didn't go last weekend because it was a bit chilly; little did we know it would be even colder this weekend! Ah well.
I seem to gravitate towards birds in my springtime decorating. I have little faux nests with eggs all over in addition to ceramic birds. I just got these two cuties at Hobby Lobby the other day...
I love the aqua. 50% off, not too shabby either! See that fabric under them? I just got that today from Desperate Quilters. It's from the Penelope line by Lakehouse. My plan is to make pillow covers for the new sitting room. Dave wanted a pop of red and I like how it has some blue, yellow and green in there too. I also got this...
I have a thing for toiles, and of course I love the birds. This one is from Pom Pom de Paris from French General. I'm thinking of making one small accent pillow out of this one.
My kids like to have a little something to eat when they get home from school. (Don't they all?) If at all possible I like to keep it homemade. Today I was mentally wandering around my pantry and came across Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix. Don't you love when you find things in there? LOL Anyway I made Raspberry Streusel Bars for today, and yum they look good! But I'll be good and wait to have a smidge later.
Speaking of eating, I'm happy that I've been doing Wii Fit every day this week. I've been feeling a little stiff lately--my back tends to give me a bit of trouble. Plus I need to get in shape for lighter clothes. So anyway, the yoga and stretching has really been helping. The jogging was tough at first but it's gotten better. I just have to keep up!
Before I go, I just wanted to show you something that I thought you'd get a kick out of. This is what makes a mother from Syracuse happy...
A pink boot tray! Found at Target. Hey, if we're going to have muddy/snowy shoes, at least we can make the best of it!

♥ Jen

Monday, March 21, 2011

Favorite slow-cooker recipe

Hey quilty buds! How are you doing on this fine day? It's rainy and chilly here, but cozy and warm inside! Did you have a nice weekend? I got some work done on Rose's quilt...this is my favorite block so far...
I have about 5 blocks to go, then I have a bunch of setting triangles and such to make. It's not the easiest project, but I like it because it's challenging. Plus all the cute little 30s prints are so cheerful.
A new cookbook arrived in the mail today from Gooseberry Patch!
I have another recipe in this one. My twin sister Karen gave it to me several years ago, and it is a staple in both of our houses. Definitely my favorite slow cooker recipe of all time.
Try it, I know you'll like it! Only, if at all possible, use the red wine, not the beef broth. It adds just so much flavor!
I'm going to go do some Wii Fit now. I don't think I've been on that thing since November, aack! Time to shed my winter coat!

♥ Jen

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Is randomness even a word? Well, I'm using it anyway. How are you? Annabelle was home sick yesterday with a stomachache/headache/fever thing, but thankfully she's feeling better today so both kids are at school. Wednesdays are early days...she has to be at orchestra rehearsal at 8:00 a.m., so Mason and I drop her off then kill some time at Walmart until he has to be there at 9. At least I get shopping done early!
I went to Michael's afterwards and got a basket to hide my cable modem and router in the "new" living room.
It's a bit better than the tangled mess it once was. OK it's still a tangled mess but at least you can't see most of it now.
Over the weekend, Dave and I hung up some artwork and sconces in the living room.
I got the sconces and flameless candles at Hobby Lobby at 50% off. The candles are on a timer so they come on automatically every evening. Very cozy! Underneath that is the new liquor cabinet. It's pretty cool, the doors have storage in them, and when they're open, the top folds out so there's a big drink-pouring surface. Now we have some drinking to do. LOL That lamp there will one day house a terrarium. the lamp part lifts off and you can fill the glass bottom with whatever. Christmas Tree Shops! Oh and all the art is from there too...
I love all these prints! And they were super-cheap! Here's the other wall, not quite finished though...

Dave and I have spent several evenings in this room already. In fact I even took an inadvertent nap there on Sunday!
On Monday I was inspired to make my own laundry detergent. I belong to a handmade soap group on Facebook, and some of the vendors make and sell their own laundry detergent as well. That appeals to me because it's gentle, natural, and cheap to make! So rather than pay for someone else to do it I figured I could give it a go. I took pictures of the process but unfortunately I deleted them from my camera by mistake. Oops! Anyway it was just need three ingredients.

2 bars of soap (I used Fels-Naptha laundry soap; but any pure-type soap will do, like Ivory)
2 Cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (found in the laundry aisle)
1 Cup Borax (also found in the laundry aisle)

Grate the soap with a cheese grater or food processor. (*note: I used a hand grater - be prepared to work out your arms! You can buy the soap pre-grated, I'm looking into doing this next time!) Mix all ingredients. Most laundry loads will use 1 tablespoon; large or heavily-soiled loads, use 2 tablespoons.

The verdict? I LOVE it! It smells so fresh; my clothes get very clean; it was cheap beyond belief; and last but not least, how cute does it look in the jar??
Anyway, that's my frugality of the week!
Have you decorated at all for spring/Easter yet? Annabelle and I got a few things out yesterday while we were home. I don't seem to have a lot of spring decorations, but these are the tall bunnies we put by the fireplace every year. They hold the kids' Easter baskets until the big day.
I bought these little painted eggs at Wegman's the other day; aren't they sweet? The plate is from Target last year.
Here's a decorated cake stand, crowded-out by the new book that arrived today from Amazon...can't wait to read this! Kathleen you can borrow it when I'm done!
I've been working on the 1930s quilt that I started last year. Each block takes me awhile to do, but hopefully at this rate I should be done in time for Christmas. I better be, geez! Anyway this will be for my niece who is already looking forward to her Christmas quilt! She's such a sweet girl so I think the dainty little prints will be perfect for her.
The pattern is 4 OT from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company...which suits my niece perfectly since her name is Rose!

Talk to you soon!

♥ Jen

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Painting done!

Hey there! I hope you're enjoying your day...all is well here, except for my silly sinuses. It's raining and whenever it does I get a lot of congestion and pressure, including headaches and fatigue. But enough about that, let's talk about fun things!

Last week the painters came. We had them install crown molding in all the bedrooms as well as do the living room. In the living room we got molding with a rope detail, a matching chair rail, and standard shadow boxes installed. Before/during...

And After!
Now bear in mind I'm just showing you the painting and molding. We still have a lot to do in the wall hangings and furniture department! We're not keeping the striped chair in just seems too big and bulky. We've got a more streamlined one on order. The walls are Lenox Tan by Benjamin Moore on top; white on bottom; and a very light blue for the ceiling. Can you see it? Here's a closer-up shot...

And of course that's the chair I got at HomeGoods awhile back. Bookcases by Target; couch slipcover from LL Bean.
 We're looking for an ottoman/coffee table, and an end table too. We also ordered a liquor cabinet/bar that should be here next week. And, I'm going to make new pillow coverings for the couch, I think in some sort of a red print. I have a few in mind, more on that soon.
pink divider
I stopped at Joann's the other day and I could not resist this rotary cutter! Isn't it cute?
I have the standard yellow Olfa one but a girl's got to have variety, right?
pink divider
Talk to you soon!

♥ Jen

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A few finishes

Hey buds! It's a bee-utiful day today here! Ok, still a bit chilly, but the sun is shining! Also, it rained a lot yesterday so a lot of the snow melted away. AND, it's March 1st, spring is not far behind!
I finished my little teacup table topper. I think it came out great!
I had a hard time figuring out what to use for the binding. Ideally I wanted something green...but I didn't have anything appropriate in my stash, so I went back and forth with a few other options. Finally I decided on a red with white polka dots (one of my favorite fabrics), but I only have a teensy bit of it left. Instead, I cut 16 charm squares in half, pieced them all together and made a binding strip that way. Took a little extra time but I like the result. Here, you can see it better on the back. (Backing fabric from the Fresh Palette line.)
 I did an allover stippling for the quilting pattern, which has become fun to do!
The pink polka dot fabric I used for the inner border is from Lakehouse; and you may recognize the outer border from this project. I adore this fabric!
I also wanted to show you a pot holder I made for my sister Kathleen. I gave it to her as one of her birthday presents last week.
It's the first potholder I ever made. I've had that cherries panel forever, it was just waiting for the perfect project to come along. The pattern was in Quilts and More magazine (I believe it was the winter issue??). It was easy as pie, I'll definitely be making more of these!

Ok all, off I go--have a fabulous day!

♥ Jen