Farewell Charming Christmas Chill

Tuesday, December 29

When it's Christmas and cold everything is charming and lovely. The moment December 26th hits that enchanting nippy nose weather turns into something more depressing and bitter.

This morning we woke up to find all of our Christmas garbage that we set out the night before scattered across the lawn and several of our neighbors lawns. Our recycling bin is no where to be found. And
it's so cold I can't imagine going outside to pick it all up.

I also want to go out to the fabric store and buy something for a 50s maternity dress I have in mind but the wind is blowing so violently and the only thing that feels comfortable on are dresses. It's one of those days.

I might have to put on a pair of snowpants to do some errands.


Friday, November 20

Wow. We were on the edge of our seats for two days. Then finally last week the results were in. Brian looked up at me with the computer in his lap and said, "They're in. Do you want to know?"

Me: "No. Let me look."

Me: "No. Just tell me."

Me: "No. I'll just look."

Scroll down....1....no....2....no....3...."Oh it doesn't look good for me." 4...5...6....7...."AHHHHHH!!!!!"

I do the game show dance. (In case you're wondering what that looks like, it involves singing and waving your arms around).

For the next couple hours I am bent over the computer evaluating all the details and comments and just EVERYTHING!

So....if you commented on the "Lawn Frock" or entered the giveaway or have just been a fan of Grosgrain, please, PLEASE go here and leave a comment with your vote for #7. You would make my LIFE!

You can only vote once but that doesn't mean you can't get your friends and family to join in. Right?! RIGHT! My parents are too computer illiterate to figure out how to vote so I need all the help I can get:)

Future Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce

Thursday, November 12

I wanted to post this a couple days ago but I've been so sidetracked this week. Did any of you watch the season finale of Mad Men? What did you think?

Here were some of my thoughts....

Bets and Don: I don't think everything will go well with Bets and Francis. For some time I was getting really jaded by Don's constant infidelity. I thought that storyline was getting stale. Then Betty comes in and mixes it up by running away with Henry Francis. I thought I'd be more 'you go Bets'! But actually I find that I'm really annoyed at her as well.

Rodger and Joan: For a long time there was just no good way for these characters to be together. Joan is a 'do-the-right-thing' character. She wouldn't sleep with a married man who she also happens to work for. But now that Rodger divorced this wife and remarried this young girl who Joan despises, there's room for them to reignite their -------------------------------------------------------------------attraction. I look forward to it because I -------------------------------------------------------------------don't like Jane either.

Peggy Olson: I was wondering for a while this season how she was going to climb up the ladder. I feel that the writers have always had a path in mind for her. She's the 1960s career gal who had to scratch her way to the top in a man's world. In the past few episodes she's been really stepped on and that bothered me. I LOVED how she stuck it to Don in the season finale and made him eat some humble pie. Man, was he being an ASS! I think this new change will allow her to take on a higher position of rank. I'd like to see all of them working for her someday.

Pete Campbell: I don't know what will happen to him. But oddly, I like watching his character. He does slimy things but he feels guilt over them and he has the ability to be wounded. I would really like to see some progress on the 'Peggy/Pete' secret baby storyline but I don't see any development in the recent scripts for this to happen. Maybe in two more seasons.

Paul, Harry, Ken and Salvatore: With Paul and Ken still at Sterling Cooper and Harry in the newly formed Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, I don't know how their dynamic will be affected. But I think this might leave a little bit of room for Salvatore to find his way back to the show.

Well, that's all I see in my crystal ball. What say you?

Hair Rut

Monday, November 9

It's been a very rare occasion that I've made a hair decision that I did NOT live to regret.
Soooo.....on that note....I've been thinking of getting high bangs.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 31

Have a great weekend!

My two girls were my treat!

Friday, October 30

Last night we celebrated Trick or Treat. Lily and her friend Kim spent two hours combing the neighborhood for sweeties. Brian, me and Molly tagged along and had a GREAT time. This year for the first time Molly reached that point where she understood the concept of accepting candy. It was absolutely ADORABLE!

As you can see, she was Flopsy from Beatrix Potter's 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit'. I made the costume with a little red cape just like the triplet bunnies wear and a little wicker basket with red gingham lining. I also padded the butt of the costume so her behind looked quite plump....too cute! I'll be featuring it on Grosgrain soon.

Despite my love of making costumes, this year Lily wanted to go out and pick out one from the store. So she and her dad bought a princess costume covered with Disney characters. She was so delighted by it I didn't mind a bit.

Too good to be true?

Tuesday, October 27

I've dyed my hair so many times it's horribly dry and damaged. I could probably go weeks without washing it and it would still look like straw. So I've only heard good things about this Keratin Hair Treatment. It's supposed to work better, the more damaged your hair is. Has anyone heard of it? Or have tried it? It's like $300 to have it done in the salon but I've seen the solution selling on ebay and online for $40-$60 and I found this video explaining how to apply with a friend. I don't know, what say you?

Lottery purchase #4

Monday, October 26

Someday we will have an RV. We'll go for weekend trips to the beach and week long trips to Key West. I fantasize about the layout of my RV the same way I fantasize about my dream home. I doodle on random scrap paper when I'm bored. Or imagine the layout when I'm driving and the radio dispenses a row of dull songs.

I know I go on and on about charm but I want my RV to be more functional than charming. If I wanted charming I'd fantasize about a Tumbleweed House. I want something that we can all be in while driving, has full air conditioning, a TV, plenty of unfolding bed space, full electricity and water and of course a master bedroom, oh AND LOTS OF WINDOWS! Someday if I win the lottery. But it would have to be the state lottery not the Powerball so that I only had enough money to buy a house and a few extra niceties...if I won the Powerball I'd just get a Hawaiian villa.

Last night I heard grown men scream

Saturday, October 24

We went to see Paranormal Activity last night in Lancaster. The theater was PACKED. There were people in the seat to my left and people in Brian's seat on the right. Very scary.

There's no blood or guts. Just the kind of scary ideas that you think about while lying awake in bed. Footprints in powder, doors moving, lights turning on, burned pictures in your attic. Subtle things that would freak you out in real life.

Brian's such a cynic about these types of movies but I thought it was really effective. The entire theater was in an uproar in the last minute of the movie. No kidding.

I admit it was a little 'Blair Witchy' but what's more scary than being haunted in the woods? Being haunted in your own home of course. It's more relateable.

The entire movie was made for something like $11,000 in 2007 and has now grossed $20 million since last weekend. If you are the kind of person who is afraid of being alone in the dark (like me:) beware of seeing this movie.


Friday, October 23

I want (NO NEED) one of these SOOOOO bad. Would look FABULOUS with my Shabby Apple Dare to Design Dress. Only $74 which includes shipping.

Gasp! Gatsby!

Thursday, October 22

My friend Cheila and I have been talking about doing a Gatsby party for sometime. Due to other priorities and lack of planning and let's be honest....funds....that dream has yet to come to fruition. But looking at how this group pulled their's off makes me want to try again next spring! They really got the details down! Even the vintage liquor labels. I love how the author describes in detail her planning of the event. Very inspirational! Although she doesn't say how they got their hands on SO MANY antique cars.

I wonder if a party like this could be accomplished if you marketed it to a couple counties and charged an admission fee?

Oooo, it could be an annual thing! I'd totally go!

I just discovered that the entire party was an event planned by the Art Deco Society of California. The above party planned their own 'picnic' at the party. Admission at the door was $70. Member price $40. Here were details on the event:

On Sunday, September 13, the Art Deco Society of California will host its Annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon at the historic Dunsmuir House in Oakland California. Now in its 25rd year, the Gatsby Afternoon lets several hundred aficionados of the 1920s and 30s step back to a time when elegance was a way of life and the Charleston and fox trot were all the rage. This is not a spectator event. From 1-6PM the panoramic Dunsmuir front lawn becomes a stage on which all participants picnic, dance and sip champagne, reminiscent of a scene from The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel of 1925. Afternoon attire from 1920-1940 (or reasonable facsimile) is required. With everyone attending this event in period fashions, the effect is stunning! Many guests bring period-perfect picnics, with settings from elaborate spreads, complete with silver, crystal, linens and china, to simple wicker baskets on vintage print tablecloths. http://www.artdecosociety.org/gatsby

The debate.

Wednesday, October 21

I've never been the type of person who did not vaccinate their child. But with the swine flu epidemic I find myself debating. Not only for my daughters but myself. Molly my youngest is too small to even be considered for a shot but Lily, my kindergarten daughter, is getting a nasal swab from her school. I (being pregnant) hadn't planned on getting one. I mean, how extensive a study could they have done with pregnant women when it takes 9 months to make a baby? But I hear stories like this and it makes me second guess.

"In the four months she (Aubrey Opdyke) was hospitalized, she spent five weeks in a coma, suffered six collapsed lungs and a near-fatal seizure. High-pressure ventilation blew her up like a molten balloon until “she looked like she weighed 400 pounds,” her husband, Bryan, said, and she has stretch marks from her neck to her ankles. Her muscles and lungs are still so weak that she uses a walker.

And, most important, she lost her baby. Parker Christine Opdyke, almost 27 weeks in the womb, was delivered by emergency Caesarean section on July 18, when her fetal heart rate plummeted during Ms. Opdyke’s third lung collapse. Her airways were too blocked to let a breathing tube in, possibly a side effect of the drugs saving her mother. She lived seven minutes."

Read the whole story here. It made me cry.

It's quite a scary decision either way. I really don't know what I will do.

Good Idea.

Tuesday, October 20

You know what would be a good idea? Renting a vintage photo booth for a wedding and having the guests take unlimited free photos. Then get the negatives of those photos and put them in a photobook like Mypublisher as a keepsake and send a copy of that book to each of the party guests. I think prices start at $12.95 a book for 20 pages BUT they always have a 40% off total order coupon going on. I think the one right now is HOLYSAVE40. Oh my goodness, it's such a good idea it makes me want to have a wedding.

I personally like the traditional kind with black and white photos using film in a long strip. They are kinda pricey so for a simple party you might want to set up a makeshift one with a portable printer that prints four different photos on one sheet.

I once ordered from mypublisher and got someone else's photobook for their wedding guests. I wonder if they also got a book filled with images of my daughters.

Some photobooth rentals....here, and oooo here a vintage one, I like this one too.

Photo via Oh Joy!

New on my maternity wishlist.

Wednesday, October 14

This yummy maternity ensemble. I contacted Caitlin about her lovely dress. She informed me that it was a Ralph Lauren steal at Nordstroms last year. I won't say how much but it was, but it was enough to fit in even my budget. So alas I'll either have to make one or compromise:(
Photos featuring Caitlin Wilson, taken by Nicole Carman

Which one of these things is not like the other?

Tuesday, October 13

A couple readers alerted me to this interesting fact....

What's different in this picture?

The price. One is $25, one is $53.

Am I wrong but are these not the same dress only with better staging and lighting on the left?

But it here. Or....if you like to spend more money buy it here.

Compliment and Castigate

Monday, October 12

During my visit with the OB on Friday I was given a compliment on my cute blue striped dress AND very stern 'dress down'. Apparently, I am not gaining enough weight. At 24 weeks I weigh 115.9 lbs which to me seems normal for this point. It was such a concern at the appointment I am supposed to go back in two weeks to get weighed again and if I haven't gained two more pounds I am to see a nutritionist. Plus my blood pressure has been consistently 80/50-ish. Weird.

Molly was born rather small at 5lbs 12oz. Lily was something like 6lbs 10oz. So I don't have big babies but I was told for the health of this baby I MUST start eating more. Or should I say at least, getting the most bang for my buck with what I can manage to eat. It doesn't even have to be healthy, just fatty and full of protein. Apparently my mid day snacks of fruit and chocolate just aren't cutting it.

We stopped at Walmart on our way back and bought a whole bunch of protein bars and shakes. I ate one on the way home and now I don't feel hungry for dinner. So I'm a bit skeptical. Maybe this is how my body works. Eating more than what makes me comfortable seems sort of wrong too.

As far as problems go, I admit, this one shouldn't be something to complain too much about. BUT, I am worried I'm going to have a full term 4lb baby.


Friday, October 9

I've been wondering what this new baby will look like. I can't imagine that she will look like anything other than Molly. I can't imagine our genes blending in any different way. I couldn't really imagine what Molly would look like before she was born either.
Could she have black hair?
Could she have blue eyes?
I think if we had 20 children they'd ALL have medium brown hair and hazel eyes....and be girls.

I guess I'm just too impatient to see this new baby, whatever she may look like, whatever she'll be named. She'll be my sweet, soft, baby.

This is kinda a lame post but....

Thursday, October 8

After much postponing and prolonging, we went to the grocery store yesterday. It was one of those ALL OUT trips. It might have been a record bill for us. Another shopper took one look at our cart as we made our way to the checkout and said "I wouldn't want to pay that bill."

But the food. OH THE FOOD. Isn't food such a blessing after you've gone without it for a few days? I woke up this morning thinking, I get to eat donuts for breakfast! FRESH donuts.

I am never going to take groceries for granted because, for me, they really are the foundations of a good day.

Dress me in ribbons and bows.

Wednesday, October 7

When I'm not pregnant anymore I would like to afford a dress from Modcloth once every week. And look like Zooey Dechanel:) This little number is only $53. Would look good with a wide aqua belt! If I were going to start a clothing company it would only sell dresses and LOTS OF THEM! Like 100 every season. And be inexpensive. And have a catchy blog name like 'smitten' or 'orange beautiful'.

Paper Straws knock my socks off!

Tuesday, October 6

Paper Straws are DIVINE! They look so retro and perfect in a table set up. You can buy them here for pretty cheap. I've never used them before but if someone has please let me know how they held up. Photos by Oh Happy Day.

My modest house of the moment.

Friday, October 2

I have been daydreaming of building a thin house. Do you ever do this? I find that it fills my downtime. I found this cute little plan. It's doesn't have anything special but I like to alter and decorate it in my head. The key point is that it would be super cheap to build if I could get some free land:)

My house would have dark hardwood floors in every room, recessed lighting in every room, faux wood beams in every room, a finished basement with a generous ceiling height and generous window height (that included a family room, guest room, studio and sewing room), a wide open staircase leading to the finished basement, vaulted ceiling in upstairs bedrooms, large walkout doors off the great room leading to a deck, a professionally landscaped enclosed backyard, a deep wide bathtub in the master bedroom, stainless steel appliances, and of course...a pantry.

Click on on photo to enlarge layout. Then click on photo to zoom.

Mmmm, lunch.

Wednesday, September 30

I'm often at a loss as to what to make for lunch. I don't like to put as much effort as I do in dinner. It just seems like I'm stretching myself too thin. But every once in a while I come across a recipe that inspires me to put forth the extra effort. My dear friend Cheila of What's Goin' Down Episode made a WONDERFUL lunch for me when I visited one afternoon. She acted as if it was nothing to whip up but it was one of the BEST lite lunches I've had in some time. It was so delicious I asked her for the recipe and made some for myself.

I love the peppery taste of the endive mixed with the sweet taste of the salad mix. It really hit my missing lunch spot!
If you are feeling kinda blah about lunch too, you must try her recipe!

Cut chicken breast into 1/3" cubes.
2 slices of red onion chopped into tiny cubes
celery 2 stalks chopped into tiny pieces
a handful of cherry flavored craisins
1/4th of an apple, cut into tiny matchsticks
plop some mayo in until it looks right and season the whole thing with salt and pepper.
scoop into endive
(I found my endive at Giant Foods here in PA) I went everywhere else even other Giant Stores and couldn't find this vegetable. So it could be difficult to procure. You could also try a Farmer's Market or whole foods store but I have to say it's just not the same without it!

Faux Beams make me BEAM!

Tuesday, September 29

Okay, this IS the coolest thing. These are STYROFOAM wood beams. They are light and easy to install so you can furnish your ceiling without any 'professional' help. And they look totally real! I saw them on an episode of My Big Amazing Renovation on HGTV.

Happy Monarch Day!

Thursday, September 24

I woke up this morning and sat in the living room with my laptop. Eventually, I noticed a scratching noise coming from the jar we were keeping the chrysalis in. Brian had said that he thought it would start to emerge at earliest by this morning. But sure enough, I looked inside and there was a full sized Monarch butterfly scratching at the walls of the jar to escape.

I ran into the bedroom and woke up Brian to tell him. He got up faster than I think I've ever seen him get up before and all four of us followed him out to the deck to set it free. Both babies (that's what I call them) watched from the door, very skeptical. Molly cried when we tried to get her close to the jar. Lily was brave enough to stand next to the table the jar sat upon but that's as far as either of them got.

Eventually, we gently flipped the jar upside down and the butterfly found its way into the outside world and flew away as fast as it could. We were a little disappointed that the big show happened while we were asleep but the excitement of setting it free gave us some consolation:)

Repro Depot Does it Again.

Wednesday, September 23

As if Repro Depot couldn't get any cooler, they are releasing two different surface pattern books with a CD containing patterns you can use to make your own stationery, crafts and anything you can think of. They have Folk and Flora. The collection also includes stationary, notecards and a journal. The price is $24.99, not too bad. Would make a GREAT gift for your fellow crafty friends:)

Rain Gutter Bookshelves/Wainscoting

Monday, September 21

This is just the BEST idea from The Stories of A to Z. Looks just like trim but also functions as a shelf! Beth writes about some pretty amazing ideas. Also check out her inexpensive 'wainscoting wallpaper' post. Not as cheap looking as you may think as they are textured AND paintable not to mention a lot easier to install!

Let Me Introduce....The Elusive Monarch Chrysalis

Thursday, September 17

Brian and Lily left early one morning before school in search of one of these. I wholly expected them to return empty handed but when they came through the door, Lily was excited to show me this.

Brian said they looked and looked for half an hour then found this in a bushel of milkweed. We have a birdcage that we are thinking of moving this little cocoon to. Then (assuming we don't kill it in the process) we plan on setting it free. Isn't it strange how they all have that thin gold line? So amazing!

Brian had his heart set on finding one this year with Lily. As a 6-year old boy, he had sought these one afternoon. He told me that he searched and searched and searched and became so frustrated and disappointed that he sat down and cried. Then prayed to God for help in finding one and literally as he looked up from his prayer he saw one dangling from a leaf above his head.

Isn't that sweet:) He was a little embarrassed about mentioning it on this blog but I told him I'd say he was 6 instead of 8;)

Oh my! Oh my! Apple Pie!

Wednesday, September 16

Oh my! I'm only a semi-fan of COLD apple pie but these look too cute and easy to be true! Maybe someone could get me one of these mini pie molds from William Sonoma for Christmas! Only $9.99. If you made these for your playgroup you'd be the envy of all the other soccer moms:) And check out their PUMPKIN MOLD!