April 28, 2009

A Place to Rest Your Coffee Cup

I found a tutorial recently that has made me very happy! In fact, I have hosted two different parties this month to let my friends in on it. That means it must be good, right?

It's a set of coasters made out of porcelain tiles (the cheapy kind you can find at the hardware store) with a decorative napkin mod podged to the top. Can I use the term "mod podge" as a verb? Well, I did.

I got the idea here. I can't remember how I came across it, but it was immediately placed in my "Projects to Come" document - a document (on my work computer *sheepish grin*) that is now 8 pages long where I keep inspirational ideas, links to tutorials and pictures. It's a wonderful resource.

Here's the set I made for myself. I absolutely love the napkin print - it goes so nicely in my house for the summer season. Sorry, the pictures aren't very clear. That's kind of annoying.

Here's a set I made for my dear cousin. I sent them to her for her birthday. I have no idea if they will look good in her home, but hopefully I didn't go wrong with simple black and white.

If you want to make these yourself here are a couple of things I would suggest:
  • It was more difficult to find decorative napkins then I would have thought. Target was a great resource.
  • Work in a well ventilated area. After one of my parties (particularly after painting on a couple layers of polyurethane) we all began to feel a little loopy. Oops.
  • Use a pencil to trace around the tile onto the napkin. Then cut out a square from the napkin that will nicely fit on top of the tile. Don't mod podge the napkin to the side of the tile like it says in the instructional video. The simpler, cleaner version just simply looks better in the end.
I hope you try this project. It's easy, fun and instantly gratifying!

April 23, 2009

Gifts Sent to Mexico

I have a wonderful friend whom I met in college. She is a kindred spirit, and I'm ever so thankful for her. She is kind, compassionate, gentle, a good listener, an eager learner, hysterically funny, and a passionate follower of Jesus. Those are the kinds of people that you just have to snatch up, right? I feel honored to be her friend.

In February she and her family moved to San Miguel, Mexico to start a church. They have been full-time missionaries at a school called ACTS in Tieton, WA for almost five years now. Has it really been that long? This stint in Mexico is part of their partnership with ACTS. We think they will be there for a year, but the Lord only knows. You can read more here about their journey, if you would like.

I was able to send Kristin a gift at Christmastime, but I was too overwhelmed at the time to include a gift for her sweet daughter, Eden. (Thankfully Eden is too young to notice that nothing was included for her in the package. I realize I will only be able to pull that off for another year or so.) I was hoping as the winter months lingered post-Christmas I would be able to put together a gift and send it to them after they had moved. I guess part of me knew that they would need a little package in the mail a couple of months into their new adventure. You know, the time when the adjustment/new culture/new friends gets a little overwhelming.

Last month I began this little dress/shirt using Simplicity 3808. I guess it's technically supposed to be a shirt that should have coordinating bloomers. However, I didn't think I would like the pants that came with the pattern (at least with this shirt) and I didn't have a pattern for bloomers, so I justified not sending anything pant-like to go underneath with the idea that jeans could be just as cute, if necessary. Turns out that on the day they received it little Eden was wearing lime green leggings that matched perfectly. Love that!

I love the little "divits" that the pattern placed at the bottom of the shirt. They're kinda hard to see, but look carefully. Isn't that so cute? Wish it was my idea, but it wasn't.

Well, I couldn't send something for Eden without sending something that matched for my friend. Kristin is one of those sickeningly cute moms who can actually pull off the matchy thing. I found this little purse pattern here. When I saw it I immediately thought of Kristin. I'm not sure why, is it the buttons? Anyway, in an attempt to not go too overboard with the matchy-ness I found a pretty blue fabric in my stash and just lined the purse with the fabric from Eden's shirt.

The lesson I'm learning as a new(er) sewer is the importance for using the right kinds of fabrics for specific projects. In this case I used fabric that is too flimsy for a purse. Next time I would have used home decor fabric or something with a little more umph so that it would hold it's shape well.

April 20, 2009

3 of a Kind

A couple of months ago Jesse asked me to display some pictures that he had. I think eventually he wants them to be hung in his office at the church.

They are pictures of his Grandpa Ed, his Dad and himself. The significant part is that all three were taken during separate fishing trips. When placed all together these pictures capture and symbolize a common thread in each of them.

I just finished this little project today before Jesse returns home from a weekend turkey hunting trip. I hung the frame in our office at home, and I'm going to see how long it takes for him to notice it! Course, he is usually more observant than I give him credit for . . . we shall see.

While I was taking these pictures Scout wanted my attention. Look at that face. Hilarious. He is so needy.

**Update - I'm not sure if he saw the frame in the house or on the blog first. I didn't even think about him reading about it here! Nevertheless, I'm proved once again that I don't give him enough credit. He saw it within only a couple of hours of returning home. Very impressive!

April 15, 2009

A New Nephew

Last weekend I attended a baby shower for my sister-in-law. She is due in a month with our new nephew, Lincoln David. I'm so excited!

I really struggled this time around with what to bring to the shower. My in-laws are not really crafty types so I didn't want to go over the top in creating something that they wouldn't "get", you know? Maybe that's a weird thought, but oh well, it is what it is. At the same time I had just created those onesies/pants for the babies of my friends so it felt weird to not do something more personal for my own nephew.

At the last minute I came up with a good, useful project. I used this boppy cover pattern (I had to modify the shape, but the directions were perfect) to create a boppy cover for her. My sister-in-law has two girls so it feels necessary to change out those pink accessories for her new boy.

Once the sewing was completed I added some freezer painted stenciling in an effort to match the crib bedding that she has.

I love how it turned out, and so does she . . . whew.

April 13, 2009

Our 3rd Anniversary

Our anniversary often falls at a very busy time of year - right before Easter. For Jesse this is just as chaotic as the week or two before Christmas. Not exactly ideal. But, as a result, I'm learning (slowly but surely) a simple lesson of being grateful for small things like a nice dinner out (in between Jesse's meetings/rehearsals), a thoughtful card and a bouquet of my favorite flowers (a day late, but still perfect). Sometimes we don't get to have a fancy night away, and that's okay. This year was simple, but just as wonderful.

April 6, 2009

Dinner for a Crowd

A couple of months ago I was asked to prepare a meal for the college group at church. Our church offers the students a free meal before their worship/teaching session on Sunday nights. I quickly agreed - clearly not having fully calculated the level of involvement.

My turn came around and I asked the college administrative assistant how many students I should be preparing for and she replies with . . . 175. What?! Well, I guess I knew that the college group had grown since Jesse and I had been apart of it. But, for some reason, that was at least twice as many students as I had expected. I guess I just didn't think it all the way through. Oh well, there was no turning back now.

I came up with a menu: chicken enchiladas, refried beans, chips & salsa, veggies & dip, and cookies. And, multiplied the menu to accomodate 175 people. That's a 30 lbs. of chicken and a whole heck of a lot of tortillas, refried beans and green chiles! Thankfully, between the bulk food store and Wal-Mart all of my groceries were available.

I spent a couple of hours on Saturday - with the music turned up loud - chopping vegetables.

Then, Sunday I gathered my college small group girls together to help me prepare. They rolled 250 enchiladas, made veggie dip and arranged the veggie and cookie trays. They did such a great job!

Here's the food ready to be served. (No pictures of refried beans because refried beans in bulk should never be photographed)

In the end it all went well. We ended up with about twice as many enchiladas as we needed. But, we were able to plate them up and hand them out to students as they left. The boys especially were very happy about that!

I even got this email from one of the students, "...dinner last night was superb. I heard so many people say it was one of the best so thank you so much for the time and energy you and your girls put into it. :)"

Isn't that so great?! I'm just glad it's over . . . until next time.