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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Guest Post!

I've been on the road for the past couple days so I just noticed that my guest post went up on Clothed Much this weekend. Go take a look!

Friday, July 29, 2011

From the Archives

I wrote this while pregnant with Baby 2. Aaron and I have a beast of a time naming our baby boys. We disagree heartily as to what constitutes an acceptable name for a boy child. Girl names come to us in droves but boys? Oh heavens. Our marriage might not survive if we have to name another one...




If this baby had been a girl we were going to name her Jane. Jane Grace, after my great grandmother Grace Angeline Walker Knapp, of whom a gorgeous wedding photo hangs on the family tree in my living room. Also, after we chose it my mom discovered we have a whole mess of Janes up in the family tree further back, so apparently it's also a family name. But mostly we both just liked it. We didn't have to discuss it or fight about it. She was just...Jane.

And then she was a he.

Once upon a time (like a month ago) Aaron and I got our hands on the single season of Firefly on DVD and watched it and fell in love with the series. And hey!

There's a man called Jayne!

Jayne Cobb in Firefly is...very manly. And sort of a meathead. And he has an entire episode devoted to him about the town he thought was filled with enemies but it turns out he's a local folk hero akin to Robin Hood and there's a song about him and his awesomeness and it's all very funny.

In any event, Aaron and I were like, "Well...maybe we can still name this baby Jayne..."

Except then I remembered that the son I already have loves my 4-inch heels and has made screaming like a girl an art form. And that basically no one else has ever seen or heard of Firefly and knows that a man named Jayne could be a really manly person. And also we're both skinny and pale and our boys have almost no chance of being taller than six feet and weighing more than 160 (ok, 150).

A short, pale, skinny white boy who likes his mama's shoes could totally be named Jayne and still turn out ok, right?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kimono Sundress

This is the guest post I wrote for iCandyHandmade last month but I wanted to share it here as well. Enjoy!






As a freckled girl with a family history of skin cancer, sundresses are more about sun protection than exposure for me. I wanted something light and breezy enough to handle our not-for-wimps Arizona temps but with enough fabric to cover my delicate shoulders and burn-prone knees.




I'm an amateur seamstress so my dress had to be super simple. I spent weeks trying to figure out exactly what I was going to contribute to this fantastic series. Autie and Jen sent out an e-mail with the lineup a while back and I sort of froze. I am in serious company here, people. These girls actually know what they're doing, as opposed to me who just Googles things and hopes to find a decent tutorial and then flails through.


I ultimately decided on a project that doesn't require any skill beyond the ability to cut a rectangle and sew a straight stitch. My kind of project. When my husband, who lived in Japan for two years, saw my prototype he said, "It looks like a kimono!" And The Kimono Dress was born.

This is in no way the most original project out there. After I finished I found a couple online tutorials that basically accomplished the same thing and saw a handful with the same silhouette for sale in stores at the mall. So, you know. Great minds and all.

We're going to start with some measurements. They don't have to be exact! Just ballpark it. You can always trim it down later if your dress is too large.





My shoulder measurement was 14 inches but, if I were to do it again, I'd use less. More like 12.

These measurements are the dimensions of your rectangle. You're going to want to cut two of them.


I spent $5 on a bedsheet at goodwill and cut it on the bias. I did this for a couple of reasons: 1. bias cut fabric doesn't fray, which means I could skip the seam finishing and save myself a lot of time and 2. I'd never done it before and I wanted to take a crack at it. If you don't cut on the bias then you're going to want to finish your seams.

If you're doing ties you'll need to cut a couple more rectangles. I cut four 5 inch x 48 inch rectangles then sewed them with right sides together, leaving one short end open, then turned and pressed them. Alternatively, you can use a piece of elastic stitched directly to your dress or threaded through a channel. Or just use a belt (I was tempted). My mom suggested a yellow or coral sash would have looked lovely with my dress and I kind of wish I had tried that. Whatever suits your skill level.



Put your 2 rectangles together, right sides facing. You're going to sew along the edge, leaving a 16 inch gap in the middle. If you want a more plunging neckline then you can leave a larger gap. If you're more conservative, go smaller (but make sure your head fits through the hole). Also, you want to use at least a half inch seam allowance so you can finish the edges around the neck.

Pardon my left handedness


Open your fabric and press your seam open. You can top stitch just around the neck hole or do like I did and top stitch the whole way up and down both sides of the seam with a little reinforcement stitching at the bottom of the V on both sides.

Outside the neck hole
Inside the neck hole (you can see my reinforcement stitching)
top stitching all the way down



Then, you're going to fold your rectangle in half, right sides together.



Measure 8ish inches down from the fold and start sewing. These are going to be your arm holes, so give yourself more room if you need it.

This step took me a couple tries. The first time I just sewed straight down and the end result was...not attractive. I ended up curving in a bit under the arm holes and I'm happier with it (I still could have taken it in more except I had already added a pocket and didn't want to redo it). Also, I stopped a few inches from the bottom of the dress so I'd have some slits. Trim off the excess fabric.

leg slits


With the dress inside out, fold the seam allowance up over the edge of the armholes and stitch. If you left slits at the bottom, fold the seam allowance under then stitch around.

Sleeves from the wrong side

Armpit with reinforcement stitching
Slits from the wrong side



Hem, press and you're done!


Thanks to my lovely husband, Aaron, for being willing to trek up a desert hill with me while hauling his massive camera!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Wednesday Want

I saw this caftan on Pinterest and excitedly clicked over only to see a $298 price tag staring me in the face. Sigh.





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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Whole Foods Recipe: Pizza Sauce

No, pepperoni is not a whole food. Three guesses who the pepperoni half belongs to and who prefers the basil half...


One of the reasons we usually have pesto pizza instead of regular red is because, up until recently, I hadn't found a red pizza sauce recipe I loved. They were all too sweet or too boring or had a weird texture.

Aaron hasn't been able to stop raving about my pizza lately and the only thing I'm doing differently is this sauce so I'm guessing that's what he's talking about.

This makes enough for 2-3 pizzas (depending on how big your pizza is and much sauce you like). Store it in a tupperware in the fridge (although, I'd really like to try canning some and storing it away for winter pizza making).

I've never actually measured the amount of spices I put in so this is kind of my best guess. I always eyeball it and it turns out just fine. It does have a bit of a kick so if you're sensitive to spicy foods you might scale back the cayenne and crushed red pepper. But I can handle this sauce and if I can then you probably can. I'm a wimp.


Pizza Sauce

1 6 ounce can of tomato paste (or cook down and puree 7-8 medium sized tomatoes, which is my preferred method but rather time consuming)
3/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Mix everything together. Voila!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Christmas in July

Last week the girls of Fancy House Road hosted a Christmas in July meet-up. We crafted and snacked and chatted and had a grand old time! I didn't know most of the attendees and it was so fun to make new friends. I feel like when you're a stay at home mom your chances for meeting new people are so limited!

Debbie and Kiersten, who became a total Amazon since I last saw her (...like 8 years ago). But seriously, she towers.
Mandy, Ashley, and a lovely lady whose name I never got (sorry, I stink)
Jessica, who I've met twice now!
Keighley, one of the FHR girls
I loved Mandy's outfit
Crafty crafty
Cami and Keighley
Alex of It's a Love Story
More crafty crafting
The FHR girls went all out. I couldn't find a house number when I pulled up but there were Christmas lights in the entryway so I was pretty sure I was in the right place.
Rosemary's garland
The girls of Fanciful Number 2
One of my favorites of the night.
Our whole happy group (including Lydia, who somehow escaped every other picture)
(more pictures over at FHR)

Debbie, Cami, Keighley and Kiersten are going to be doing these get togethers every month (I think) so if you're local you should come out and have fun with us!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Love


Last week the doorbell rang and I opened it to a deliveryman bearing flowers and chocolates. I thought maybe my mom or someone from church had sent them because we had been sick since, oh, the beginning of time.

I don't think I really possess the vocabulary for how surprised I was to open the card and see that it was all from Aaron. He is not a gift giver, that one. Certainly not the type to get me flowers just because. I'm hoping that my appreciation was expressed in such a way* that he will learn that this is a Good Thing that should be repeated on a regular basis. I could get used to having pretty flowers on my table all the time...

*upon rereading this sounds super scandalous. I just meant that I made a really really big deal out of it!



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Friday, July 22, 2011

Formspringing

If money were no object, what designer article of clothing would you buy?

(question from Laura via Formspring)



The very best part of this question was getting to virtual window shop at high end places. Most of the time I don't allow myself the luxury because it makes me sad when I can't afford things I really love.

In the end, I chose this Temperley London dress. When I saw it I actually for reals out-loud gasped and it made my heart go pitter patter and I keep going back to just stare.


So there you have it. If I had an extra $3900 just kicking around, this is what I would buy. And then I would wear it to vacuum my house because I'm not really sure where else I would wear it.

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Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Filling



The shift to healthy eating effectively killed off one of my favorite hobbies: baking!

I've become a halfway decent baker over the years. I slowly collected a small goldmine of wonderful recipes that I no longer use because I have no off button and I'm actually fairly certain I could eat an entire cake in one sitting without trying too hard. And this is why, one day, diabetes will kill me.

A lady from my ward hired me to do the cupcakes for her daughter's baby shower this week and it was so fun to bust out my granulated sugar again.

These are some of my all time favorite cupcakes but I have to warn you that if you're looking for something that tastes good straight out of the oven then look elsewhere. These are strangely mediocre fresh from the oven. The magic happens after a couple hours in the fridge.

These don't really need frosting but, for the sake of prettiness, I have topped them with all kinds of different frostings and thus far have loved this one the best. Frost or don't frost. Whatever makes you happy.




Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Filling
Adapted very slightly from All Recipes


Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Filling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
 1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I prefer mini chips but regular works great too)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt and baking soda. Stir in oil, water, vinegar and vanilla until blended. Pour mixture into prepared muffin cups, filling each 1/2 full.

For the filling, beat together the cream cheese, egg, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt until light and fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop a heaping teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each cupcake. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Refrigerate for a few hours before enjoying.


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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Muumuu of Shame

Thrifted muumuu (altered), thrifted belt, Old Navy necklace, gifted necklace


I've mentioned this muumuu before but couldn't bring myself to post a picture. Some things are just too special, ya know?

There's some weird color going on here. It's actually quite purple.


I bought it for Halloween 2009 while I was pregnant with Baby 2 but secretly wished I could wear it all the time.  Aaron loudly and vehemently declared that I would be out of luck in the booty department forever if this dress ever saw the light of day again because he found it so horrifically unattractive.

I took it in and added elastic at the waist in hopes that it would change Aaron's mind. No luck.

So it has sat in the back of my closet for over a year. I take it out periodically and wear it around the house while Aaron makes loud gagging noises and I passionately defend it and then we end up all squinty eyed at each other over a muumuu and I have to decide who I love more.


Unfortunately, Aaron wins every time, darn him, and the muumuu goes back to the dark recesses for another few months. One of these days he'll come around...

Thrift | Everybody, Everywear


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Rebuttal

This morning Erica implied that my children are good birth control. She might have a point.

However, I would like to defend their good name and demonstrate that they are not always tiny crazy people hell bent on destroying things. Sometimes they are really really cute. None of these pictures are recent, as per my blog policy, but you get the idea.

I present the people's defense exhibits A through G.

Baby 2 in October 2010

Baby 2 doing yoga

Baby 2 in July 2010

Stinky in 2010 in his old man sweater (my faaavorite thing in both their closets) (ignore the mess in the background, I was packing up to move)

Baby Stink in 2008
Baby Stinky on Pi Day, 2008
Me and newborn Baby Stinky


The defense rests, Your Honor.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Extra Laundry Day

Wearing Spotted Moth top, Gap skirt (thrifted? I think?), Steve Madden heels (via Marshalls), Target watch, earrings from Charming Charlie

Baby 2 is 15ish months old which means he has zero control over his bodily functions. He does this thing where 30 seconds after he gets out of the bathtub he pees. This is why you either have to keep him wrapped in a towel or slap a diaper on his bum immediately. Aaron knows this but he doesn't KNOW it, you know?

Which is why on Sunday morning he pulled Baby 2 out of the tub and let him wander around our bedroom naked for a minute while pulling Stinky out of the tub. That little nudey baby wandered over to a pile of my clean clothes that I had folded but hadn't put away and I said, "Aaron, if he pees on my clothes..." and as the words were leaving my mouth he let loose. Whereupon I started shrieking at Aaron and Baby 2 was all confused because, "What IS this stuff?" and Stinky was giggling like mad and it was all very exciting.

So I had an extra load of laundry to do on Sunday.Good times.

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