Bird in the hand embroidery

Another Sublime Stitching embroidery. This one from the Craft Pad. With all the coffee I've been drinking, I knocked this out in an hour.
I'm almost brave enough to start designing my own patterns. It's more difficult than it sounds. Simplicity is complicated.

2 kids under 3? How do you do it?

If you've spoken to me in the last month, I won't shut up about this coffee. Won't. Shut. Up. The boys and I had a $50 a week Starbucks habit, so I went looking for something I can make at home that's as good as a skinny vanilla latte. How About Orange had a link regarding a cold brewed method, which I thought maybe my husband would enjoy. So I tried it one morning and...hello, lover!
I used this recipe and agree completely with Jessica. Straining = pain in the bottom and cold brew = creamy coffee. And I also don't dilute, but mix the concentrate with nonfat milk and a packet of Stevia.
And I'm pretty much high all day. But my house isn't any cleaner.

Banana Cake!

For his birthday I made Bee a Monkey Cake. But I made a few changes. I used a smaller bowl to make a mini-cake. I thought it would be cuter, not to mention easier. I also substituted cream cheese icing for the buttercream. Buttercream always tastes like I'm eating a spoonful of grease so I hardly ever use it. And I used brown M&Ms for the eyes instead of the licorice drops,(Really, Martha, licorice drops? An entirely different store for one item?). I also piped the mouth and nose for the same reason. Which,...scary as hell. I was sure I would mess it up and ruin my 2 days worth of work.
The most amazing part of the whole thing is that after working for two days on this cake, I actually let Bee attack it with both hands. Or just one.

My Bee is 1!

I can't believe it's been a year. My sweet little guy is one!
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Today the whole family went to the car wash. With the car. To have it washed. As we were wrangling the kids and keeping them from "helping," my husband noticed this butterfly. Turns out it was stuck in a spider web. So before I did anything, I took some pictures. It was my chance to get an up close photo of a butterfly in captivity! But it was way too bright for me to even see if I got any good pictures. So I gave up and used a pine needle to scoot the butterfly out of the web. I was thinking he would take off and flutter around my head in a spectacular gesture of gratitude. He just kinda limped away.
And then I thought, what if some catastrophic event happens today and it's all my fault? I freed a butterfly and somewhere in Minsk a bridge collapses. Just what I need.

A whopping

A friend of mine just had her second baby. And to celebrate, I made these baby blocks. The recipe was from this book. The only problem was, the recipe was really complicated. Then, two days ago I received an email from with the very same blocks, but an easier recipe! Their assembly was much more simple.

They ended up being a lot puffier than I thought they'd be, even when I starched the fabric. And I added cat toys, which were a bell inside a plastic ball, inside two of the blocks. Now that I know how simple they are, I think I'll make more. But only for really nice people.

(Hey, A. Surprise!)

Women be shoppin'.

This is my week where I decided I wouldn't spend money on crap. Sometimes I go to Target in an effort to do anything other than sit at home and watch my kids destroy everything. And then I end up buying totally random things (Do I really need kitchen shears shaped like a bird?) So this week I decided, no spending any money on stuff. Like, we went to Amy's Playground, but I didn't buy the super cute animal flashcards she had for sale there.

I did spend $14 on video tapes at the Salvation Army. I really needed to have a TV that I can watch anything else on, so I put it in my bedroom and my husband is supposed to run the cable up there. In the meantime, I transferred my ancient VCR to my room and found a bunch of old videos in the garage. (The Birdcage, anyone?) But I needed more cartoon-ie stuff, and Hartwell has become obsessed with Thomas. Friday: “Who’s Thomas the Tank Engine?” Saturday: “Mama, watch Thomas? Watch Thomas?” So I went looking for Thomas and The Lion King. I found them along with Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Muppet Show. And at $2 each, I felt really good about myself. Then, I decided to go to the antique Salvation Army. Which is where I found this alligator. I think my face lit up and I may have gasped when I saw it. Turns out it’s an ashtray. There are two little dips for ash with a corrugated middle section to hold the cigarette. I called my husband to see if he thought I was crazy and maybe talk me out of it. His response? “I don’t think kids should have ashtrays until they’re at least 10.”

Why did it have to be snakes?

Hartwell was fascinated with the snakes while they were in their terrariums. He stood right next to them and pointed at them and would NOT stop talking about snakes. Then the guy took one out and I asked, "Do you want to touch the snake?" "No. No touch 'nake." And he walked to the other end of the yard to avoid coming near them. After a few minutes and mama touching the snake, I finally got him to do it. I felt bad that maybe he was really scared and that I was forcing him to do something he didn't want to do. Turned out okay. Except that I had to touch a snake.

Monsoon Season

We had an interesting day. I was sitting on the couch embroidering a cowbell, (yes, a cowbell), listening to the restful sound of cascading water when I realized that it had been cascading for a while. I was wondering what my neighbor was doing when I looked out my window and saw water shooting out from crack in the asphalt in my driveway. It was running down my driveway, flooding our new backyard. I ran to get my neighbor and we used our random concrete pieces to try to divert the water from running into the garage. It barely worked. As soon as the water people arrived, they shut off the water and started pumping it out,...and into our other driveway. Which leads to the other side of the backyard and our succulent garden. So, again, my neighbor and I had to dig a place for the water to flow so it wouldn't flood our yard. There was a lot more engineering this time because I didn't want all the dirt washed away. So I was building small dams with rocks. This video is shot while I walked from the backyard, where the water was "draining" out, all the way to the source.
It was finally over and now I have no idea where to begin clean-up. And I say "so" a lot.

On a steel horse I ride.

I've been working on this for a couple of weeks. I finally finished it last night. It's going to be a pillow for my Bee's room. We've forced a cowboy theme on him, poor kid. I'm waiting for my mother to send the leftover fabric from his quilt to me, and then I can sew the pillow. I think when I embroider in the future, I'm gonna use a thicker stitch than the backstitch, because the back of the piece looks richer than the front. Still practicing so I have an excuse.
I just ordered more patterns from Sublime Stitching and I can't wait to get started on those. I ordered the Om, Swanky Decor, Julie West and Country Cool.
I've become obsessed.

Clang, Clang, Clang, went the trolley...

We went with a friend today to see a free kids concert at The Americana. It's one of those fake cities with a trolley and an Urban Outfitters. The Squeegees played and Hartwell, the best dancer ever, hung on me and sucked his thumb. Then went to watch the musical fountain that plays "C'mon Get Happy" while the water dances.
Here they are playing on the playground before the concert. Someday I'll read about how to use my camera. Here's my trial and error versions. It's hard to capture the squirmies AND light them correctly. I thought I'd post this to remind myself to pay attention to the camera settings. And my kids are cute.

Chic Floozie

How About Orange featured a quiz about design style. I think they pretty much hit my nail on its head. "Pot-Luck Pro"...which,...exactly. I realized one day that almost all of my furniture was free. Or from a thrift store. And I think it all, somehow, works. So, thank you, quiz, for coming up with a phrase that actually does represent my design style. In a way that makes it sound chic.

I said, "NO sugar!"

Today after our mall lunch of veggie dogs on a stick, we wandered into Borders. Baby Bee destroyed a book at his friends' house so we went looking for a book. As we were waiting to pay. Hartwell spotted some chocolate, or "goggi," as he calls it. He'd been relatively good today so I bought a bar of chocolate. I gave him a piece when we got to the car and then gave myself a piece. Then I reasoned that I can't possibly allow my 2 1/2 year old to eat HALF a chocolate bar! That's way too much sugar! I better eat the rest! I must take the sugar bullet for my sugar pie!
I use that reasoning a lot.

Everybody can sew it.

I've been working on this all week. It's my own version of a sampler. I needed something to keep me busy at night while I watch The Closer and My Life on the D List, so I decided to do an embroidered cowboy pillow for Bee. But my skills needed some brushing up so I sorta drew this based on some artwork I found. I'm almost done. I learned a lot about what not to do, so the exercise helped.


This was a very dangerous photo to take. There were bees everywhere and I had to sneak into a forest of sunflowers.