Friday, June 22, 2012

House for Sale

Hello friends!  The day is finally here - my house is going on the market today!  I feel an immense amount of weight off my shoulders now that the sign is up and the advertising has begun.  That probably doesn't make a lot of sense, seeing as though the real pressure is getting it sold, but at this point I feel like I've done all I can do and it's a little out of my hands.  All of my projects are done, everything is organized - there is nothing left for me to do other than enjoy my summer, hoping someone likes this space that my family and I call home.

This is what my flyer looks like, minus some important information.  I took off my address, as well as the name of my neighborhood and my telephone number, but you get the gist of it.  Ryan has been insanely busy at work lately, which has left me doing some things (like this flyer) by myself.  One night while I was playing around with different layouts, color schemes, etc., the thought occurred to me to check etsy to see if anyone sold editable flyers.  Lo and behold, someone did, and for $15 and about 20 minutes of work, this flyer was born.

I created a flickr account tonight to hold all of the pictures of my house, and now I'm excited to use it more!  Last week I actually printed off 3 pictures of flowers for some frames in my main bathroom from flickr.  I couldn't believe I could just print them off for free (under the Creative Commons License).  I know that some of you use flickr quite a bit - any tips?  If you are interested in seeing my house pics that I just mentioned, here is my link:

Happy Friday friends!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Moving On

Ryan is working late tonight and I was so excited to find myself with a couple of minutes to jump on the computer and share my latest little project with you. Unfortunately, when I unloaded my camera card, my project pictures were gone! I'm hoping that Ryan downloaded the most recent pictures and just didn't catorigize them correctly (which would go against every perfectionistic organizational tendency he has....) and that they are somewhere on my computer. If not, I guess the only pictures of my latest project will be these:

Inspiration image via Pottery Barn
My version

I am really excited to share the details of this project with you because it was so rewarding in the end!  However, I am going to hope that I can find my lost pictures and save the rest of my headboard-making story for another post. :)

When I logged on tonight, I couldn't believe that it had been so long since my last blog post.  This last month has flown by and I have been busier than ever.   Big things are happening here and we are moving!  Ryan has accepted a job with in Seattle and I have been working feverishly to make sure my house is sale-ready.  It goes on the market this Friday and I'm finally feeling like everything is coming together to make it look like 6 people (4 of them under the age of 8) don't use every square inch of this house all day, every day.  I have completed more projects and organizational/decorating feats in the last month than I usually do all year and having my house so perfect makes me even more sad to be leaving.  Outside of our two years in Belgium, Ryan and I have spent all of our married life in Portland.  Our 4 kids were born here.  Our friends are here.  We LOVE Portland, and it's so hard to leave it all behind.  That being said though, we absolutely feel like this move is the right thing to do and I have the utmost confidence that everything will work out in the end.  I dare say, that outside of the leaving part (which is sad...) I am looking forward to a new beginning and some new adventures.  So stay tuned, and cross your fingers that I can keep my house looking un-lived in long enough to sell it and still remain a sane person!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pillowcase Nightgown

Summertime is almost here which means its time to swap out warm winter jammies for something that will keep my kids cool on those warm winter nights.

Charlotte loves to wear nightgowns in the summer, but the last couple of years I have really struggled to find simple, cute, affordable nightgowns. 

Enter this tutorial by iCandy Handmade.  My friend Meg tipped me off to this tutorial and she and I were able to make a little sewing night out of it and whip up one of these for each of our girls.  These particular pillowcases were $5 for a two-pack at Ross and the stretch lace trim was $1.49/yd at a local fabric store.  I used roughly a yard and a half of stretch lace trim for each nightgown. The nightgowns ended up costing about $5 each and I am so happy at how easy and fun they were to make!

The face I wanted her to make...
The face she wanted to make :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012


I have had a lot on my mind lately, which probably explains why the blog has been a bit quiet.  I find that when my mind is over-worked, I have far less mental energy to put words to paper (or in this case, a computer screen).  I have been feeling the urge to purge lately, and have spent the last week or so cleaning out and re-organizing many of my spaces.  As I have gone through these spaces, I am dumb-struck at how much STUFF I have.  I find myself wondering over and over again:  Where did all of this come from?  Clothes, toys, festive dishes/cake pans (that are fun, but very rarely get used), blankets, baskets, crafty stuff, excess home decor, and so on.  I have decided that anything I (or my children) do not use on a daily basis, that is not memorabilia-esque, is leaving my house.  Yesterday, I took half a car load of unwanted goods to Goodwill and I felt so light driving back home.  I have also sold a handful of nicer items on craigslist this past week.  It feels so good, but I still have quite a ways to go. 

The product of my closet purge.  You can't really tell from this picture, but the pile was about 2 feet tall by 4 feet across.

A friend-of-a-friend, who writes a beautiful blog, said this in a recent blog post:  "{we} have made the big decision to down-size. i've been wanting to do this for a long time: to shed as much as we can, no matter how attached i am and live with less so that someday we can give our future kids more."  Her quote struck a chord with me as I thought about how much time I spend keeping up my large(ish) house, picking up stuff, cleaning stuff, putting stuff away, and doing umpteenth loads of laundry for all of the household clothing.  It made me truly recognize a thought that I knew innately, but hadn't fully realized: my stuff is not liberating, but rather constraining.  My stuff steals time from me that I know I could put to much better use!  I also thought about this in regards to my kids and their stuff.  I have noticed that the more stuff my children have, the less they take care of it.  If presented with 2 or 3 different types of thing to play with, my children are pretty good about playing with something and putting it back where it belongs.  Not only that, but if one of those 2 or 3 things goes missing, it is noticed.  Conversely, give them an entire playroom of stuff to play with, and at the end of the day, it's trashed.  Toys everywhere!  Pieces to puzzles and games littered throughout the room with legos and doll clothes intermixed in the type of mess that takes hours and many hands to clean-up. I have begun the process of picking up toys left on the floor and putting them in a special closet.  If no one notices that the item is missing in a week, it goes to goodwill.  I figure this process will naturally weed out the non-favorites.  By allowing my children to accumulate too much stuff, I feel like I'm not teaching them to appreciate what they already have and be satisfied, and that collecting stuff is something meaningful and important.  

So, I am jumping on the simplifying wagon to shed as much as I can no matter how attached I am so that I can give my kids and myself so much more.  Want to jump on the wagon with me?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tutorial: Knit Maxi Skirt

I have been a sewing fiend lately.  I like to get projects in here or there, but I have been abnormally prolific lately.  My latest (and most favorite!) thing I have been sewing are knit maxi skirts.  

Last summer when I was visiting family in Utah, I went to a fabric warehouse with my sister-in-law and stocked up on TONS of $1/yd knit fabric.  Although I had big plans for it originally, it has sat on my shelves, relatively untouched.  Inspired by all of the maxi skirts I am seeing this season, I used THIS tutorial as a base as to how I should construct the skirt.  After reading the tutorial, I still wasn't exactly sure how to make my correct size, so I created a pattern from an existing skirt of mine and made it knee length so that I would only need 1 yard of fabric (and if it was crappy then I had only wasted one yard instead of two!) My first attempt turned out pretty good, but it felt a little big around the waist and I didn't like the fold-over waistband sitting right on my hips.  The last thing I need sitting around my hips is 4 layers of knit (2 layers, folded in half) all bunched together to create a nice, large roll under my t-shirt.  Or is that just me? ;)  I fixed both problems from the original skirt by cutting my waistband pieces smaller, both width-wise and height-wise.  By doing this, I was able to create a nice, tight, waistband that tucks me in a bit (if you know what I mean...), as opposed to a loose waistband with lots of extra fabric.  

I created this little picture to show you the dimensions of the skirt I made, in hopes that it will help you size yours correctly. I have a waist measurement of 28.5" and a hip measurement of about 35."  I wear a pant size 6, and am 5'11" tall with a 34" inseam.  The white pattern piece you see is the pattern I made for my first skirt, and the outlined section was how I cut my full-length skirt.  One of my favorite things about this skirt is how long it is.  Maxi skirts in the stores almost always hit at - or right above - my ankle, and it just makes me smile to have this skirt skim my heels.

I didn't take a picture of my waistband pieces, but I cut them 14" long and 4" wide.  Once I sewed the waistband pieces together, I stretched the waistband to fit the 16" opening that I cut at the top of the skirt. This gave me the nice, tight 2" waistband I mentioned above.  (again, refer to this original tutorial for more specific pictures)

This is a picture of the skirt hot off the sewing machine and while it hugs a little more than I traditionally like in this picture, it had stretched to the perfect tightness about an hour into wearing it.

Don't mind the dirty mirror or the squinting person in the mirror....I'm obviously not very experienced at self picture taking. :)
Using a serger (or sewing machine), this skirt requires exactly 5 seams and about an hour of your life from start to finish, including the pattern drafting.  I used my serger for every seam, and the sewing part of this skirt took no more than 10 minutes.  I've decided that at a couple of dollars a pop, these skirts are going to be my summer wardrobe staple.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday Charlotte!

In the weeks between mid-April and mid-May, we celebrate 4 birthdays in my house (7 if you count grandparents!)  Charlotte was the most recent birthday girl and we had a very fun day!  

Traditionally at five, my kids get their first friend birthday party, but after going around in circles with Charlotte about what kind of party she wanted and who she wanted to invite (both of which changed on a daily basis), I decided to just keep it simple and invite her closest little girl friend to have an afternoon tea party.  Charlotte requested dress-up gear for the occasion, as well as the accompaniment of a favorite doll or stuffed animal. I set up a small kids table on the deck with a lace tablecloth and we used Charlotte's polish pottery tea set for the dishes. Charlotte chose all of her favorite junk food + crust-less sandwiches on white bread to eat for the party and instead of cake, I put a candle in a raspberry filled powdered doughnut from our favorite hole-in-the-wall, and split it in half for them to share. The girls had such a fun time and it was so cute to watch.

One of my favorite parts of Charlotte's birthday was the way the boys in the family stepped up to make sure she had a special day.  Ryan gave Charlotte flowers for her birthday (in all of her wonderfully garish favorite colors) and Brayden spent the evening before her birthday making her a friendship bracelet (his first one ever - can you tell?? ;))

Last night as I was cleaning up from the festivities of the day, I was thinking about Charlotte and all of the qualities and attributes that make her who she is, and I settled on the thought that Charlotte has taught me more about the divine nature of women than any book/poem/quote/story/lesson ever could.  For someone who always wanted boys, and - in my younger years - never quite embraced the "soft-side" of being a female - she has been a teacher to me. From the time she was very little she has been compassionate and a natural nurturer as well as very playful and athletic.  She is taking care of her dolls while wearing a dress-up and heels one minute, and then outside in basketball shorts and a t-shirt tearing down the street on her bike the next. 
Charlotte, last summer, riding with the neighborhood bicycle gang
I love that those two worlds combine so flawlessly in her. Although she can be frustratingly stubborn, she's a girl who knows what she wants and how to get it and I have to admire that kind of tenacity.  Hopefully she uses it to create a wonderful life for herself!  She is soft and delicate, but equally strong and independent.  She has taught me that as women, not only can we live in both worlds, but that we were innately created with the specific capability to do so!  I have come to realize that those two worlds work perfectly together to help us tackle the lives that we lead as wives, mothers, neighbors, bosses, employees, or leaders in our communities and churches.  I see a lot of potential for the type of woman Charlotte could become, and I look forward to being with her every step of the way.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Weekending: Mother's Day Edition

Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful women in my life!!  I hope you have had a wonderful day!

I have had a busy, fun weekend, starting yesterday with a 10k that I did with some girlfriends.  I hadn't planned to run in this particular race, but a friend of mine had to back out last minute and asked if I wanted to take her spot.  I have been running very casually as of late, so I thought it would be a fun thing to do to push myself.  It definitely pushed me, but it was so fun to cross the finish line with girlfriends.  Don't you feel like accomplishing hard things are better with friends by your side?

Ryan and the kids have been very sweet today, making sure that I do nothing but be a lazy person. :)  I was treated to breakfast in bed, and after church this morning, the boys ran home quickly so that by the time I walked in the door, they had lunch all ready.  They were so excited and proud of themselves for this service.  After an early afternoon nap (!) we loaded the kids up and headed over to Hoyt Arboretum for an afternoon hike.  It's been in the 80s this weekend, and it's pretty much impossible to stay inside when the sun is streaming through the windows.   The trails around the Arboretum are all named for the different groups of trees along those trails, so it's not only beautiful and relaxing, it is also quite educational.  Julia was probably my favorite little person to see experience this hike, as she was just so curious.  Her chubby little fingers were constantly reaching up and out, trying to touch every branch she encountered. 

Not the best family picture, but I'll take them when I can get them!

I'm looking forward to wrapping up the day on the couch with Ryan as we watch the season finale of our favorite show - Survivor.  Are any of you Survivor fans?  Who do you think will win?