1/20/2015

Mama's Chicken Noodle Soup



We're nursing illnesses here...which means Chicken Noodle Soup!  When I was a little girl my mom would often make me chicken noodle soup when I was sick, and it was the ONLY thing good about being sick (well, in addition to being able to sit on the couch and watch I Love Lucy all day long, haha!)  I don't remember ever eating the soup when we were well, so being sick really was a special treat.  My favorite part has always been the homemade noodles--which my mom made without a pasta machine--they are nice and chewy.  My kids love those noodles too--so much so that chicken noodle soup can't be called chicken noodle soup without them!  That love definitely makes the extra effort of making the noodles worth it.

Would you like to have the recipe?  Here's my version of the soup that I used to have growing up.  If homemade noodles and boiling chicken is more than you have time for, you can easily substitute pre-made noodles (I especially love the fresh ones!) and rotisserie chicken.  I think you'll be surprised though by how the noodles actually don't take that long to make, and clean up is pretty easy too.

1/15/2015

Up-cycling: DIY Leg Warmers



Our floors are in, our floors are in!  I'm excited, can't you tell? You know what that means though?  It means that I can start moving things into our brand new art and crafting space.  Well, maybe not totally yet because I um, well, don't have furniture really to put in there in there yet.  That didn't stop me from dragging an Ikea table and my sewing table into the room today to make these little beauties!

I love the look of little ballerinas in leg warmers, and Ellie's been begging me for a pair.  I found an old pair of leggings and transformed them into legwarmers.  It was so easy and the whole project took me less than 30 minutes to do--with my 3 year old "helping" me.  So yes, this projects and easy one! Want to make your own legwarmers?  Keep reading below!

1/12/2015

New Year, New Roof, New Lights

 Westside Wholesale provided some of the materials for this post, but the opinions are my own.

Good morning friends!  I've blogged a bit about our big housing project, and I think it's time for a bit of an update.  We're making great progress!  In fact, we're almost "done" which basically means that we're switching over to the point where the rest of the stuff will be things we're doing ourselves.  Things like painting, landscaping, and decorating.  Yay!  Today I'm going to show you the before and after pictures of the front of our house, which--thanks to Westside Wholesale--is looking a whole lot brighter these days!

A few months ago I showed you this picture of the plans for our home addition.  The addition created a roof line that looked a little bit funky on paper, and I was worried it might look a bit weird in real life.  For a quick refresher, let me remind you what our house looked like before the addition:

1/07/2015

2015 Random Ramblings....


Happy 2015!  There's something about a clean slate that I just love.  I don't take new years resolutions super seriously, but I do love to take some time to set goals and assess priorities.  I feel like these "assessing and reevaluating" times are super critical to making sure me (and the family) are living the lives that we want.  Otherwise it's just so easy to get stuck in routine, you know?  And yes, sometimes these reevaluating times have led to HUGE changes for our family--including picking up and moving across the country to be closer to family...or even beginning to plan and save for a home addition.  Both those changes were difficult, and stressful, and....totally worth it.

So what do I plan to work on this year?  A lot of the normal stuff:  better food, more exercise, more time to just stop and appreciate beauty in the world.  And what about this little old blog?

Yeah....about that.  Blogging is strange in so many ways.  As a pretty private person, sometimes it feels immensely strange to share so much of myself with people I've never met. Some of you might know that I started this blog a few years ago to motivate myself to be creative each and every week. Some people relax by getting a manicure, or taking a run, or going shopping.  I'm one of those weird people that relax by making thing with my hands... or designing projects in my head.  And I love reading the blogs of people that do the same. You all inspire me each. and. every. day.  Whether you blog or not, I hope you find inspiration here too.

I've learned so much from this whole blogging experience the last couple of years, including taking better pictures.  You see, I'm a scientist, not a photographer.  Yet blogging requires pictures... so I take them.  But even more than that, I've submitted my projects to Craftgawker over and over again.  (For those of you who aren't familiar with Craftgawker, it's a lot like Pinterest, except that it's moderated.  Pretty pictures are required...)  The majority of times I've been rejected.  I've studied every rejection message and photographed again and again, until I got it "right." I haven't agreed with every rejection, but I've learned so much from them.  Somehow, I've managed to get a few accepted.  (You can seem my gallery here.)  Slowly, my photography is improving, and for that I'm grateful.  I hope to get even better at photography in 2015.

What projects can you expect here in 2015?   You can expect more crafty projects in 2015: sewing projects, kid crafts, and house stuff too.   More about that soon.  At the same time though, I'm not going to just limit my blog to this type of content.  It's important to me that this blog is a reflection of who I am, and I think that, more than anything else, is going to be my main motivation for my blogging line up.  Even if it means random rambling posts like these every one and a while :-)

What about monetizing? Over the last year I've sold a few patterns.  I've had the opportunity to work with other talented bloggers, and even done a few sponsored posts.   I appreciate the monetizing opportunities, because that little bit of extra income is a trip to the snow for my family, or a day at Disneyland, or maybe something I've been hoping to buy for the house that just isn't in the budget.  I hope you'll support me in this, whether it's through an affiliate program or ad network.  If it's too much, or too annoying, I hope you tell me that too, because I truly care what you think.

Finally, I'll leave you with a few housekeeping things.  I'm now on Twitter.  And Instagram. Also, just FYI, it looks like Facebook is now only showing my blog post links to a small number of you (unless I purchase ads, which I don't plan to do).  So if you don't want to miss out on my posts, make sure to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or my feed, or me on Pinterest.

Be back real soon... Let's get crafting!

1/05/2015

A Doll for Ellie: Thoughts on Waldorf Dollmaking



Happy 2015!  I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm just trying to get myself back into gear
 after a few lovely weeks spending time with family. So while I get my head back on straight, here's a little update on the gift that I made for Ellie this Christmas.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of making a "Waldorf" style doll, because I think sculpted doll making is such a beautiful art.  Ultimately my goal was to make a special doll and doll clothing for my kids that incorporated some fabrics of personal significance--embroidered scraps from grandparents, baby clothes, etc.  In the end all I accomplished was the doll.  December was insanely busy, and in all truthfulness, I'm just happy I finished the doll. Of course a doll needs clothing, so I ended up raiding my childhood closet to find this strawberry dress that I made as a little girl for my dolls--probably when I was about 10.  The sewing is atrocious.  Luckily Ellie doesn't seem to care. :-)



Now you might be wondering why I only made one doll, being that I have two little girls in my house.  It turns out that my older daughter fell in LOVE with American Girl dolls this year, and she received my old American Girl doll (with a new outfit I made) as a gift for Christmas.  That left only one doll to be made, for Ellie.


A while back I blogged about my first attempt at making a sculpted doll, just using materials that I had on hand.  Unlike last time, I bought the "real" waldorf supplies this time.  I bought Weir Craft's premium cotton knit doll skin fabric (new fair) and their Bio Wool Core Fiber Wool Stuffing.  I purchased a Mohair Weft and stockinette from Reggie's Dolls on Etsy. I was pleased with all of the products, and I loved the weft, even though it was quite a splurge.  My curly haired daughter is quite insulted by the lack of curly haired dolls lately, that the hubby and I felt the splurge was worth it to make the doll look more like her..especially since it was her Christmas gift.

So you might be wondering how the products compared to the products that I used last time, and whether the increased cost was "worth it."  For more on that and a few "in progress" pictures I took while making this doll, keep reading below.  I apologize that the pictures aren't pretty, but since this was a Christmas project I had to work on it at night after Ellie went to bed.  Darkness means ugly pictures...but hopefully they are still helpful! 

12/29/2014

Top Posts of 2014


Hi friends!  I hope you are enjoying the holidays!  Big plans for New Years Eve?  I'm debating how long I should let my kids stay up this New Year's Eve.  I love the idea of staying up to East Coast New Years (9pm our time), but we'll see how the day is going. 2014 has been a good year, and I feel that I have so much to be thankful for.

Since 2014 is coming to a close, I thought it'd be fun to look back at the year here on the blog.

First, my favorite post...the fabric headbands pictured above! 

Now, a few numbers, in case you like this type of thing:

6041 of my patterns were downloaded from Craftsy this year.  The large majority of those were free. Hooray for free stuff, right?  And for those of you who sprung for my paid patterns?   I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

7097 people have viewed my Introducing the Anna Jumper post..the most viewed project here on the blog this year.  I guess the rest of you are as crazy about Frozen as my kids :-)

Since my blog began a little over two years ago, it's had 142,313 page views.  That may sound like a lot, but in blogland that's really just an itty bitty number.  For those who have followed me and continue to follow me here...THANK YOU!  I appreciate each and every one of you!  

Finally, here's a look at my most viewed posts of 2014, in case you missed them!

The Anna Jumper:  Inspired by the young dresses that the Frozen ladies wore as kids:

and the grown up variation here:

My sleeping bag tutorial got lots of love too:

These sugar cube flowers received lots of love as well--this one surprised me!

I have very fond memories of this Eric Carle Inspired Art day.  I'm glad it inspired you too!
And the top 5 list wraps up with these baby headbands:
Want to see some more highlights from this year?  Checkout this post!

Wishing you a very safe, and wonderful New Year's Eve.  I look forward to seeing you all back here in 2015!

12/25/2014

Merry Christmas to All!


 Merry Christmas to all....and to all a good night!  Just stopping in after a lovely Christmas to wish you all a very wonderful day and a wonderful 2015.  I hope that this blog post finds you with your hearts and stomachs full.

I've spent the last few days spending time with family.  We've been incredibly blessed to be spending this Christmas with both my grandmother and my husband's grandmother (who is visiting from Argentina).  I feel incredibly grateful to be able to spend such quality time with family, and we've just been trying to soak in all of this quality time.  
 
Most of the gifts I gave this year came from Amazon this year.  Yet I did make time for one special curly haired doll for Ellie.  I didn't finish it in time to take pictures before giving it to her, so this little picture I snapped on my phone at bedtime will have to suffice for now until I can properly introduce you.  I think she likes it....what do you think?

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

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