Sunday, April 25, 2010

Crafting and Conference

I'm going to have to add my blog to the "people who should blog more often" tab on the side of my blog! I just downloaded a bunch of pictures from my camera, reminding me just how much I haven't blogged about.

Here are a few things:

Conference weekend! I know I mentioned having family in town, which was great--but I didn't post my favorite pictures.
I don't know how you all do Conference, but its a struggle for us to watch with 4--or 8!--kids running around. This year, I listened to Conference while cleaning out my fridge on Saturday, but on Sunday we set up 2 computers (one with the regular broadcast, one with the ASL interpreting) and turned around the couches, like a theater. The kids were set up with candy, crayons, and Conference booklets, and they did remarkably well.While DeAnn was here, we decided to try out some of the crafty ideas we'd seen on our favorite crafty blogs. We made a quick stop at the local Goodwill, and then went to 3 stores until we found the special "oil-rubbed bronze" spray paint mentioned by the Thrifty Decor Chic. While the guys went to Priesthood sessions, we primed and painted our stuff--2 vases, and 2 iron-like wall thingies. The kids were a little too curious and broke one of the vases, but I think the other things turned out well. Here's mine!So, I promised Christian I would finish 2 projects last week (and before I started anything new). It was something of a struggle, because I had set aside projects I wasn't in love with, waiting for inspiration to hit. I worked my way through it. One thing I worked on was finishing the detail painting in the kids' bathroom, but I won't post pictures until its fully accessorized. I took a bit of a risk with the color, and I'm not completely in love with it, which is why the project stalled. Still, I decided to finish it as it is before I decide what needs to change. So more to come on that, later.

I did, however, finish a hairbow holder I stared a few weeks ago. I got the idea from HowDoesShe.blogspot.com...a blog that is really more of a compilation of other blog ideas. Basically, it is a picture frame with ribbon or chicken wire in place of a picture. I intended to use chicken wire, but struggle getting it attached (a staple gun would have worked...didn't have one), so I used ribbon instead. The ribbon is hot-glued, and the backing is mod podged-scrapbook paper.
For the frame, I used a finish technique mentioned on KnockOffWood.com. I first painted the frame a bright blue. Then, I spray painted a few coats of white over it. With a fine grit sandpaper, I lightly sanded off the white paint from the edges, letting the blue show through. When I liked the look, I covered it with a few coats of polyurethane, mostly because it will hang in the bathroom and I wanted it protected. I hung it from the regular picture frame hook, but hot glued a ribbon to the top and hung that on a small nail.
I kind of want to do another one, just to try it with chicken wire, so see which way I like better.

More to come! I'm aiming to finish 2 more projects this week...but I might start one, too. :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My April's Fool

Rachel started the birthday countdown months ago. She loves to look at calendars and mark her birthday. This year, her birthday came during Spring Break, just before Easter and General Conference weekend. Our family tradition is to do a party only every other year (to save my sanity), and this was her year. We decided to do the obvious--and have an Easter-themed birthday party. We were lucky to have Jonathan and DeAnn and family spend the weekend with us as well.

Let's back up. Thursday morning we started with a special bagel breakfast and presents. Since it was also April Fool's day, and since I ran out of wrapping paper, we wrapped all her presents in Christmas wrap and wished her Merry Christmas, Happy Valentine's Day, etc...until she got made and told us to stop. Grandpa Green sent this very cool doll (he made it), and its 3 dolls in one--Little Red Riding Hood, the Grandmother, and the wolf. Very cool.
Later that morning, we met some friends at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum for some playtime. The have a very cool exhibit right now about Robots, and there was a display about cochlear implants, including a good demonstration of what it sounds like to listen through an implant. I thought it was awesome.
On our way home we stopped at a park for a picnic lunch.
Then, for dinner, this cake--truly a cake wreck to begin with, and utterly hopeless after Rachel added sprinkles.Friday morning was a mad rush to get ready for the party (they always make me nervous). Jonathan and DeAnn came with their kids early in the afternoon. By 2:00, kids started coming. We began by decorating eggs; then, while they were drying, the Dads took the kids outside for some games. Next, we painted small birdhouses (while the Dad's set up the Easter egg hunt)--and then the kids looked for eggs and goodies while we set up cake. It worked well--much better than I had hoped--probably because we had to many extra adult hands. I think all the kids had fun. Rachel had an awesome birthday, and definitely had moments of suffering from "Too much birthday" because of all the excitement.That evening, we celebrated Uncle Jonathan's birthday (also and April Fool's Day kid) with an adult treat--brownie trifle and old episodes of NCIS.
Such a fun weekend! We always love having the cousins come play, and it was a nice way to spend General Conference weekend.

We are so proud of Rachel. The past few years have challenged us in ways we never anticipated, but she is so resilient. She's a happy kid. She loves life, she loves people, and she works so hard at overcoming any challenges she has. She is challenging her doctors' expectations. She is so fun to have around! Here are a few of my favorite pictures of her from the last few years...

(check out the lovely green and gold decor of our Provo place)
(you can see how lopsided her smile used to be--but cute!)
(downtown D.C. with Hannah)
(at a petting farm in Baltimore-2 yrs old and barely walking)Happy birthday, Rachel!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spank me?

Last night, Aaron wasn't inclined to eat his dinner. Daddy said he could either eat his dinner, or be spanked. Aaron took a bite, then said he'd prefer the spank.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I made a table (with a little help from the guy I love)

Hasn't everyone heard about the blog, Knock Off Wood? If you haven't, you should. I like to think of myself as a DIY-er, but really, I'm a planner and project starter more than a project finisher. For as long as we've lived in this house, I've wanted a table for my entry hall. When I saw this blog, I was excited by the possibility of building something myself for a fraction of the cost of purchasing. Thank goodness my husband knows how to use power tools, because had a tried to do this myself I might have hurt someone. With his help, some borrowed tools, a few hours on a Saturday, and a few nights during the following week, we were able to transform this pile of wood......to this unfinished table......to this finished table.We did just a few things differently from the plans--We shortened it because planned length would have been too long for our entryway; we had a few gaps between the apron and legs and added some narrow pieces of trim, which I actually like, to cover the gap, and we filled the screw holes with wood plugs rather than just wood filler, which I also think adds to the rustic feel. We also sanded the thing to death before staining it, and realized that it is much easier to do the heavy sanding before it is assembled than afterward. Now I am really itching to make some bookshelves, a bench, some bedside tables, etc....I still am not sure what to put on the table or on the wall above it--I'll post again when I figure it out.

We have enough leftover wood to make a coffee table.

Hello, hello

Poor, neglected blog. I need to take a break every once in a while...or just get lazy. Whatever the excuse, we have actually been quite busy, so here's a little update.

For St Patty's Day, Hannah wore all green. She likes to do this anyway, but I try to dissuade her from wearing all green on regular days. Hannah was so excited for warm weather, she tried to wear shorts despite the cold by layering them over pants and wearing 4 shirts to keep warm.

I'm working on transforming the kids' bathroom from hearts with gray/purple walls to monsters--here's a shot of it halfway completed...We spent a windy Monday evening last week teaching the kids how to fly a kite......Until this happened...