Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My son. At a McDonald's

de·file 1
tr.v. de·filed, de·fil·ing, de·files
1. To make filthy or dirty; pollute: defile a river with sewage.
2. To debase the pureness or excellence of; corrupt: a country landscape that was defiled by urban sprawl.
3. To profane or sully (a reputation, for example).
4. To make unclean or unfit for ceremonial use; desecrate: defile a temple.
5. To violate the chastity of.


I won't go into too much detail. I only went because they are having "How to Train Your Dragon" toys and Jackson's on spring break and I thought it would be a nice treat to take the boys to lunch there. I'm not sure I will be allowed back in.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

blessed

Sunday, March 28, 2010

bloom


And in other news, my orchid, which I thought I killed but refused to toss 'cause I hoped it was just being dormant, recently bloomed four new blooms and has little sprouts going for several new buds. That makes me happy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Everything's Coming up Roses

One $9 bundle of pale pink spray roses = 7 delightful nosegays spread throughout my house
LOVE!

(click to enlarge)

We got yet another winter storm last night. I'm defying it by purchasing flowers for myself. A small bundle with loads of potential. I love love love fresh flowers. Once upon a time we had fresh flowers in our house almost daily. Our weeds in Seattle were even beautiful, and yes, I put them in vases. Then came children. And life got busy. And fresh flowers gave way to juice boxes and sleepovers and playdates. But I got a bee in my bonnet this week and splurged. I immediately scoured my cupboards for my saved up vases. I'm not into anything big or fancy, just tiny little containers that would look sweet. I used a teapot that I bought when I lived in London in the hall. A very patina'd silver vase in my bathroom. An empty spice jar in the kitchen. Another empty spice jar in my office. An empty beverage bottle in the bedroom (say that 10 times fast). And tiny, aubergine tealight holders for my dining room Easter display. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to walk into the various rooms in the house and seem these lovelies staring back at me. Happiness.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peas and Carrots

These two are the very best of friends. They laugh. They squeal. They argue. They play. They run. They giggle. They squeal some more. They are awesome. I'm so happy my son has found such a wonderful pal. They are peas and carrots.

And Holden is pretty happy in the mix, too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

From His Point of View

I let Jackson take my camera this morning to snap a few pics of our crazy snow storm aftermath (seriously, we were riding bikes yesterday morning!!). We lost power twice this morning, but stayed warm via the fireplace (that's run on gas), and managed to eek out enough coffee for us to each have a cup before the power shut off again. By 10am power was restored, and by 3pm the snow has already tuned to slush and started the "river" flowing behind our house.

By the way, the kid's got a good eye I think!

frosty windows
sleepy brother
6-8 inches
the view from our window
a pretty decent shot of mom and dad in jammies...
Check out the aperture on this one! Good job baby!

Jackson's room: Firewater the fish; paperwhites he planted at school earlier this month; lucky bamboo

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Glare

Glare in a photograph is supposed to be a "bad" thing. Whatev. I love it.







Saturday, March 20, 2010

Granny's Quilt


Growing up, this quilt (the one the precious sleeping child is snuggled up under), and its pair, adorned the guest room at my Granny's house. We girls would argue over who got the "bouncy bed" and who got the "soft" bed. But both had these beautiful quilts on them that my Granny made. We flipped on those beds and made tents with the quilts, us three girls and our cousins. They are a constant reminder to me of the great times we had at my Granny's house when I was a kid.

I'm not sure I remember how they ended up in my hands. I think when I moved to Seattle they found their way to me because it was so cold there. But I'm thankful they did. And now there is one in each boys' room. Never mind that they have flowers on them. They don't care. They love them. So do I. They keep them warm, and warm my heart.

As for the sleeping babe, he fell asleep on the couch during his cousins' visit. He was zonked. I covered him up, to keep him warm.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kiss'n Kin


Naturally I have a bazillion (or as my boys would say - " A GOOGLE!") pictures from the Texas cousins' recent visit. But I'm sleepy. And I have a bit of a sore throat that I'm blaming on allergies. For reals. So I'm just uploading 3 for tonight. I have such beautiful nieces. For reals. Check out their eyes -stunning. I'll upload more pics of all the kids together asap. But for now, please enjoy...




Thanks for making the trip out Debbie and Emily and Michaela! We had such a great time!! xoxox

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sistas'

Me & Debbie, Christmas 1974



My big sister is here. I like saying that 'cause it makes me feel younger. I am, by three years. We are missing the third in our sisterdom (love you Kimi), as well as Debbie's first of her three daughters in sisterdom (Allison is in NYC right now with her theater group), and our fair Mama as well who had obligations back home and couldn't make it (but we'll see her in a few more weeks!). But we are having a great time. Deb's youngest and my oldest are just a few months apart in age. That is so cool. Well, now it is cool. It wasn't cool when they were toddlers and fought about everything. But it is cool now that they love to play together and are having a "slumber party" in Jackson's room as I type this. They are both so worn out from today's activities that we didn't even have to tell them once to "pipe down and go to sleep!" They conked out in seconds. And speaking of conked out -- Holden fell asleep on the couch around 6:30 this evening. We plum wore him out!! And sweet Micaela is sweet Micaela, and I have a forever-bond with her 'cause she's a middle child of three girls just like me. We middles have to stick together (right Mama?!)!




Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thrifty Canvases


**Post Script: October 8 2012** I have had so many emails about this project, as well as posts, that I thought I'd try and answer some of your questions.  Thank you so much for all the nice comments and posts!  I am sorry I'm just now getting an update - please note I don't keep up with this blog any longer as my photography business is now full time - you can check out my photography blog at: www.cribtalesphotography.com
OK, here we go...
1. dimensions - several people asked about the dimensions of my portraits.  If you click on the image below that shows my scaled down print out you will see the dimensions of each portrait.  The largest is 24X20, the smallest are 4X6, there are a few 8X8's and 5X5
2. I've not tried modge podge but I have seen other sites that try it with success; maybe try it with a smaller less expensive photo first
3. Two years later my prints are still in pretty good shape.  The edges are starting to peel up so I will probably need to re-glue them soon, but no one really notices that but me. If I were to do it again I'd probably get the larger ones pre-mounted on styrene via my current print house, White House Custom Color.  That would cost a bit more but eliminate the peeling issue.  These really don't gather dust because they are hung on a wall so there's nothing for dust to cling to really.  I live in Colorado so dust is a factor typically.
4. My pillows - yea, they're not the prettiest pillows ever.  I've since changed them out and the room has tones of pink, green, and red.   Yes, someone told me how ugly my pillows were.
5. The portraits are glued onto the fabric side of the wrapped canvas. The ugly side faces the wall. I've had no issues at all with them coming unattached from the wall.  Yet...
6. The black fabric is just inexpensive, thin cotton black fabric.  It has very little "give" - you don't want a jersey fabric because it would pull and be thinned out.
7. The styro is the pink insulation stuff at Lowe's.  I've used the white stuff for projects as well and it works fine.  I used the white stuff covered in fabric to make large but light backdrops.  :-)

I think I covered all the main questions I've received. Thanks for the additional tips various posters have shared!  I hope this project brings you the joy it has brought me.  Two years and I still smile every time I walk in the room.  Bonus, I now have a small studio in my house and these portraits now serve as a showcase of my work.  And one other funny story - we had a holiday party last year and a friend brought her husband whom I'd never had over before.  He walked in my family room and immediately said "Hey, I've seen you on Pinterest!" Nicest thing anyone could say to me!

Cheers!
Amy

********************************************************************


I love the look of large portrait canvases in a room. They are personal, elegant and tell a story that no piece of store-bought art could ever do. They are also very expensive. Shhh...don't tell my clients this, I would like very much if they all ordered canvas portraits. Lots of them. But I'm also realistic. To do a wall of canvases such as I imagine, would cost me a small fortune. And since I am a part-time photographer and full-time mommy/homemaker, that does not fit in our budget. But I knew I could come up with an inexpensive "thrifty" way to get the same look for a lot less.

This little project combines 3 of my greatest joys in life: photography, thrifty home decor, and my family. Trifecta!! Here's how I did it:

supplies:
*several large print images - I used Bay Photo for printing- they are amazing! But they are a professional printer so as an alternative I do recommend Mike's Camera or another camera store that focuses specifically on photography.  I also highly suggest lustre or matte, never glossy. Don't skimp on photo printing if you are going large format. Go big or go home, that's my motto!
*layout of what you want your design to be (see below images for an idea)
*large pieces of custom cut insulation foam
*enough inexpensive black fabric to "wrap" each of the pieces of foam
*spray adhesive
*staples and duct tape
*adhesive Velcro
*level and ruler

ok - here we go...

I first toyed with using MDF. But I knew this would be way too heavy for my wall. So I scoured the Home Depot and found this pink insulation foam stuff. I asked the HD guy if it was ok to cut and glue on this surface. He said yes. He also said I could paint it, but that turned out to not be the best option since it warped the foam. I'll get to that in a minute. I had the nice HD guy cut my larger pieces for me. He would not cut anything smaller than 12 inches. I cut those at home with a razor blade. We tried using our circular saw but it dented the foam.

foam pieces cut to size:

Next up was giving the foam a canvas-y look. As I said, I thought about just painting the edges black but that warped the foam and was messy. I decided to just wrap them in inexpensive black fabric, sort of like a present. The only part of this fabric that will show is the edge. I wanted it to sort of blend into the background but still pop on the wall.

Here I am stapling the fabric to the foam. That was easy. Notice that is a plain stapler.
More stapling, and a view of the thickness of the foam. I just wrapped it like a present, doing my best to insure that I got the sharpest corners possible.

I then decided to use some good old fashioned duct tape just to further secure the staples. Elegant - no. Sturdy - yes.
Here are all my canvases, and a "peek" at one already complete

Next step - I sprayed heavy duty adhesive spray onto the front of each "canvas"
Next step - I don't have a picture of it. But I just placed each print onto the sticky canvas and rubbed it with a very soft cloth (my t-shirt) to get it to adhere. This was really easy, too.

Here are all the lovely big ones ready to go...
My little canvases - aren't the cute!
Keep'n it real - this is what my boys did while I was gluing
My laid out design with measurements. I wanted it to be centered on our family room wall. You can get a glimpse of what my sizes were for my images if you click on this picture. The largest print was 20x24. The smallest were 4x6's.

I used double sided Velcro to adhere the canvases to the wall. They are SO light. I probably could have used any of a number of sticky-type-stuff to hang it, but I settled on Velcro. That way if I want to change out my canvases can just take them down and put new ones up, like a rotating gallery. Plus this made it easier to make sure everything was nice and level. I followed my measurements above for hanging. And used a level and a ruler to insure every image hung perfectly. Tada!


This is the view into the playroom from the family room. Ignore that ugly lamp and shade, we're working on our lighting in this room.
Can I tell you how much I totally LOVE this project. LOVE it. It turned out just as I pictured it (har har!), and though there was some trial and error, it was fairly stress free. It was also less than the price of one canvas for me to get 13!! The prints came up at just over $100. I would only use a very trusted printer to do images this large. Smugmug rocks. I had it printed on lustre paper which gives it a bit of sheen but also does not show fingerprints like glossy. The other costs include: glue - $8; fabric - $5; Velcro - $12; pink foam - $10. I also bought black paint that I didn't end up using but since I have a thing for black painted furniture, I'm sure it will get used somewhere else (and somewhere my sweet and uber-patient-husband is grumbling about this comment...).

That is it! I think this project gave me more satisfaction than just about anything else we've done on the house. It is very personal to me. In fact selecting the images I wanted to use took the better part of a weekend. The rest was cake. I love it!Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Retro: First Date Angst

It was our 3rd Anniversary. How could we not celebrate the day we were wed? So with trepidation, and a bit of new-parent angst, we called our dear friend Heidi and asked if she would watch you for a couple of hours so we could slip out for dinner. Gladly she agreed to some smoosh time – Heidi always loved a good baby smoosh (and now she's cooking a 2nd baby of her own to smoosh)!

Mommy bought a special new dress, and spent lots of extra time playing with you that day. Daddy came home from work early to get into his fancy duds and get you prepared for your first babysitter. We wrote out complex instructions and fussed and fawned over you. Then, we readied ourselves for a picture to commemorate the event.

However would you react to being left with someone new for the first time?

Your face says it all.


And as a side note, this "baby" is nearing 6. He came home sick from school today. I'm sad for him. I hope he feels better soon. xoxox

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

breakfast

Friday, March 05, 2010

2 recipes - LOADS of veggies!

I honestly have no clue how many people read this blog, or if anyone even cares, but I'm so excited about a recent recipe I came up with I thought I'd share. My guess is most that read this are family (hi mom!) or friends (hi Lis!) or other mamas like me who are just trying to get by as best they can without messing up their kiddos too darn much along the way.

So this soup and salad, listed below, are sort of my new obsession. I'm feeling a need to lose a few pounds that have creeped on ever since I gave up diet coke last month (by the way, I am now back on the dc - long story, I'll get to it one day, but let's just say weight gain and crankiness do not a good mama make - we all need a vice). I know when I have a few extra pounds that veggies are what my body need. They are so packed with fiber, and fiber is my little "trick" for dropping down to a weight I'm happy with. It is not a big whoop. We're talking 5-10 lbs that my body drops and gains on a fairly consistent basis. My clothes all still fit, but they are just a little snug. So veggies are on the menu. Here's what I cam up with to fuel me this week for my lunches:

Roasted Veggie Soup

Preheat oven to 425d
  1. coarsely chop any veggies you enjoy; mine included: 4 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 large onion, a handful of asparagus, 1 red bell pepper, several cloves of garlic
  2. Layer the above veggies on 1-2 broiling pans (I didn't add the garlic until my last 15 minutes of roasting)
  3. drizzle veggies with a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss well to distribute oil and seasonings
  4. roast veggies for 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes or so to evenly distribute oil
  5. After roasting is complete, add a large can of diced tomatoes to the pan (you can roast your own if you prefer, but I like the canned roasted tomatoes) - toss
  6. In batches, puree the veggies with a total of 2 cups of chicken stock - mine took 3 batches
  7. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed, and any additional spices you like - I added basil to this soup, but next time I'm going to do cumin and chili powder to give it a more southwestern flavor
  8. Put soup in large plastic container and refrigerate - or enjoy a bowl as soon as it is ready and refrigerate the rest.
I ate on this soup all week. I added chicken one day. A little low fat sour cream another. I even used it as a base for stuffed peppers later in the week for dinner. You could serve it over rice or whole wheat noodles, too. Jackson actually loved the soup as long as he had big, thick slices of bread to dunk into it. He doesn't even have a clue how many veggies he consumed - it just tasted yummy to him! Holden wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot light saber. Can't win 'em all...

I can't wait to try it again next week with a more "Mexicany" type flavoring. And today, my jeans fit just that much better. Ahhh, yeahh!!!

Veggie Salad
This is yummy with the soup above, or on its own. This too I snacked on all week long, though it didn't last quite as long as the soup because I'm crazy about it and even used it as a dip for crackers!
  1. Dice the following veggies : 1 large hot house tomato (or 3 romas), 1 large English cucumber, 1 sweet onion, several cloves of garlic, small bunch of cilantro
  2. Put diced veggies in a large plastic container. Add the juice of one lime. A small drizzle of olive oil (maybe a tablespoon at most). Salt, and pepper to taste. If you prefer balsamic vinegar instead of lime juice, that would work, too .
  3. Toss all the ingredients together and refrigerate.
The longer this salad marinates in the fridge, the better it tastes. Besides eating it as a yummy salad, it is delicious as a topping for grilled chicken. Or add avocado for an additional yumminess. Feta or another cheese would be a good addition, too. Layer it like bruschetta on bread or dunk with crackers. Swap out basil for the cilantro to change the flavor. So good. So easy. So good for you.

I hope someone else will enjoy this as much as I do. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Bubbles

It is no secret that this house was filthy when we bought it. Truly. I tell people this as soon as they visit our house for the first time. Lest some funk from the previous owner show up in a dark corner that I missed cleaning. But we saw amazing potential. And we fell in love with it the first time we saw it. We just had to look past the filth... and hire a cleaning crew. We did both.

We've made a lot of updates over the past year. Some big. Some small. Here is a quick view of our laundry room update. Again, nothing major. Just a little bit of blue paint leftover from our bathroom revamp and a peg board leftover from the head board I made for our bedroom. Easy peasy. I love it. Now if only the clothes could fold themselves...

I'm showing the "afters" first - 'cause it was really that bad...

New washer and dryer, a few stenciled "bubbles," quickly revamped window treatment from a stained tablecloth, and a homemade laundry sign. This update cost us nothing...well, except for the new washer and dryer part...

Peg-board make-over: The boys can't reach the hanging bar (seen here) so I brought the hanging to their level. Painted a peg board we had left over from a previous project ( our headboard), bought some inexpensive hooks ($3), secured it to the wall at "kid-level", and now they can hang up their own coats, bags, etc. I love it.

Sign that I made - no cost: leftover MDF, paint, stencils & ribbon. All items I already had on hand. easy.

Um, yeah, these are the before's - as in before we moved. Before we put in an offer. I can't imagine showing a house in this condition. But they did. And we bought it. Go figure.
Before - yes, this is what it looked like for a showing.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Oh, hello sunshine...

Holden, the sun kicked in today. At last. It was warm enough for us to drink it in. So after your "mini-school" today (45 minutes once a week) we stopped by the park that is connected to the rec center. You ran. You climbed. You slid down the twirly-whirly slide. You grinned from ear to ear and so did I. 'Cause it feels like about forever since we were able to be outside playing. I've missed it. You've missed it.

It is harder on you now that Jackson is in school full time. Mommy has to do mommy stuff like laundry, cleaning, cooking, and yes, even some photography stuff (but I do try to save that for the evenings)...but that leaves you by your lonesome trying to have fun. And that just isn't fun for you. You whine for Daddy (who is by and far wayyyy more fun that I am). You whine for Jackson (who is by and far wayyyy-wayyyy more fun that I am). Then you whine for me and I try to manage it all. I can't always fill the gaps. But today I did. In the sunshine. At the park...

I caught you talking to yourself. You were playing pretend and having a conversation with somebody. I don't know who. But you were animated and chatting as you climbed the ladders and whooshed down slides. I loved watching you be so content and so happy. I'm sorry it isn't always easy being the only kiddo at home. I hope this big old shiny sun will stick around for awhile so we can park-hop and make new friends -- or just play pretend in the big old wonderful, great outdoors!