Friday, October 29, 2010

sneak peak

I'm wrapping up my next craft project and I'm pretty excited about the way it's turning out.  I thought I'd share a little sneak peak of one of the elements...

handmade felt flower
Adorable, right?!  There's more where that came from... Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

leaf bowls

In search of an inexpensive project to add a bit of personality to my Thanksgiving table this year, I came across a fabric leaf bowl on Martha Stewart's website that I thought would do just the trick.  How will this project be incorporated into the table setting?  You'll just have to wait and see...

If you're interested in trying this project out for yourself, you can find the instructions and leaf template here.

leaf pattern and fabric (felt, fusible webbing, and plaid fabric)

instead of taking my sewing machine out, I sewed the leaf by hand
finished "leaf bowl"
What do you think?   I love contrast and texture.  I can't wait to see how these (yes, I'll be making more than one) look on my Thanksgiving table amidst all of the dishes and other decor.  Keep an eye out for a detailed Thanksgiving post towards the end of next month.

Here's the breakdown of how much this project cost me:

Plaid fabric: left over scraps from another project - free
brown felt: $3.00 (and I bought way too much)
fusible webbing: $3.59
needle and thread: already had - free
total: $6.59
this made multiple bowls - and I still have enough materials to make at least 4 more!

Monday, October 25, 2010

made with love

Since our little man could potentially enter this world any day now, early last week I decided that it was finally time to finish up a quilt that I had started for our wee-man before we left Fresno.  Before the move, I had completely finished putting the quilt together and had gotten started quilting it (7 out of 42 squares).  The rest would wait for "down-time" once we got settled in our new place and we started playing the baby waiting game (which is certainly under way). 

I would have started working on the quilt sooner, but ever since my hands began to give me a hard time, around 33 weeks pregnant (the week that we moved), I've been putting it off.  Needless to say the carpel tunnel type stuff that I've been struggling with (numbness, tingling, tightness) hasn't really let up, so I knew I had to just dive right in and get it done.  It's not easy to quilt when you can't feel most of your fingertips.  After sitting at my coffee table for hours from Tuesday through Friday, the quilt is finally done!  My fingers have battle scars, but the quilt is finished.   My goal was to finish the quilt before "he" arrived - mission accomplished.

Last Thursday, I arrived home after my doctor appointment (and an hour of wandering joyfully through Hobby Lobby by myself) to a package waiting for me at the front door.  Little did I know that as soon as I opened the box I would instantly be put to shame.  My grandmother had sent me the most adorable quilt that she made for our little man.  (Thank you, Grandma!)  The colors are perfect for the nursery - one of the fabrics even almost completely matches our bouncer!  Of course my grandma has years of quilting experience under her belt, and I shouldn't compare my quilt to hers, but it's hard not to compare to perfection.

quilt from Grandma
so much detail
look at how closely the polka-dot fabric in the quilt matches the bouncer!
Back in July, I started my first baby quilt for our little man.  This was good practice for the quilts that I would be making in the following months.  Especially since I had never quilted by hand before.  The fabrics for this quilt I picked up at Joann's.  I don't love them, but this quilt will be nice to keep in the car as a spare.

If you remember, from a previous post, I had made a couple of baby quilts for two girls at our church back in Fresno for their baby shower.  Their baby girls should be entering this world any day now!  You can click here to be reminded of those quilts.    

And so this quilt, the one that I finished last week, is my fourth baby quilt.  It was so difficult to find fabric for a baby boy.  Finding fabric for a baby girl was so much easier.  And there were a lot more options.  I picked this fabric up off of e-bay.  It was a charm pack - pre-cut 5" squares.  All I had to do was sew them together and purchase fabric for the borders and back.  I like this quilt much more than the first one I made for our little guy. 

(Confession:  I am SO sick of referring our son as "our little guy" or "our little man" (blah, blah) in order to keep his name a secret until he officially enters this world.  He has a name, people!  I promise!  He can't come soon enough - I desperately want to refer to him BY NAME.)

it looks so cute in his crib :)
I can't wait to get started on my next baby quilt - for my niece/nephew due to arrive in March!  My sister and I plan to shop for fabric (whether it be online or at Hobby Lobby) while they are here visiting for Thanksgiving.  Hopefully by the time I start working on this next quilt, my hands will be back to "normal"...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

an unpredicted day

Today was unpredicted.  We left our place a little after 1pm to head to a pumpkin patch just a little ways outside of Enid.  We pulled into the "pumpkin patch" and were a little disappointed.  We saw a giant corn maze, a maze made out of hay bales, and a petting zoo.  It looked like it could have been fun...if we had kids.  (Maybe next year.)  But there was no pumpkin patch in sight.  The whole point of driving out there was to pick a pumpkin.  Preferably a mid-sized, squat one to sit in the middle of the coffee table.  Oh well.  Moving on.  We decided to head down the road a little bit further to check out Stillwater, OK.  There's some shopping there, so we'd walk around for a few hours and then head home.  But then again, maybe the road would take us to Oklahoma City...which it did.  Well, Travis took us there, but still... 

Once we got into the city, our first stop was at Bass Pro Shop.  What a cool store!  Aside from all the taxidermy.  You could say I have taxidermy-phobia, or whatever the technical term for it is, if there is one.  But I'm getting better.  At least I'm trying.  There was a department for everything outdoors - hunting (guns and archery), camping, boating, fishing, clothing...I'm sure if you're looking for something that has to do with the outdoors, this place has it.  I'd almost be willing to bet on it.  (That is, if I were a betting woman.)  While we were walking through the fishing department, we checked out some of the flies that they had.  This one was my favorite. 

he's cute!
After we left the Bass Pro Shop, we headed over to Bricktown to do some walking around and exploring.  We heard that they have a river walk down there, so we wanted to check it out.  We parked the car (for $5, in a lot) and took off on foot.  (I was secretly hoping that the walking would help to induce labor, but no such luck.)  As we were walking through the Bricktown area, along the river, we discovered a cute little shop in which individual sellers had booths set up where they could sell their products.  One booth, in particular, caught my eye.  Samantha Lamb is a photographer from Oklahoma who has an amazing eye for capturing soft natural light as it gently caresses all that is beautiful.  If you're into photography, I encourage you to check out her site (by clicking on her name above).  Below are two postcards that I picked up today.  I'm in love with her work. 

Once we paid for my postcards (only $1 each), we headed next door to a little wine tasting corner called "Put a Cork in it".  Really cute, really friendly.  Travis tasted (for free) a sweet wine, called "Red Dirt Road".  It's description is as follows: "a special combination of wild field berries is blended with a delicious big red shiraz to create a wonderfully fruity treat".   He enjoyed it so much, he picked up a bottle for $13.95.  We'll be saving it to celebrate with later. 

a little wine conversation area - those "grapes" hanging above are actually lights!
After we left "Put a Cork in it", we walked around for a little longer.  We strolled river-side for a bit. 

After walking back up to street level, we stopped in at a candy store where Travis picked up a Boylan's creamy red birch beer in a glass bottle.  He enjoyed sipping it as we made our way back around the block to where the car was parked.  At this point, we were ready to get on the road and head back in the direction of home.  We decided to stop and grab some dinner on the way.  Joe's Crab Shack was on the way home and we had been wanting to try it out - dinner location, agreed upon.

how cute is he :)
Travis enjoyed a "shark bite" with his dinner
Travis had a big 'ol pot of seafood goodness for dinner

I had coconut shrimp with a very yummy pineapple sauce and onion strings
he really enjoyed his meal
Once our bellies were full, it was time to roll ourselves out of the booth and head out.  Next stop - Target.  We needed our fix.  And toilet paper.  Amongst other things.  

After checking out, and hitting the bathroom one last time before our hour + drive home, we were ready to hit the road.  (And at this point, ready to be home.)  On our drive home, we had front row seats to a simply breath-taking sunset.

We had a wonderfully unpredictable day.  We enjoyed each others company.  We laughed.  We held hands.  We enjoyed what could have possibly been our last little day trip before we add another member to our little family.  We'll miss these days as a couple and being able to take off on a whim, but we are incredibly excited for what the future holds for us as a family of three.  God's got a whole new kind of adventure in store for us.  We're saddled up.  

Friday, October 22, 2010

apple-sausage rigatoni

Travis and I love each other.  A lot.  We like to share things.  Even colds.  (Thanks, babe.)  I woke up Wednesday morning feeling quite stuffy.  Runny nose, congestion, a slight cough, nasal pressure - on top of being 37 and a half weeks pregnant.  Not fun.   At my doctor appointment on Thursday, my doc hooked me up with an Rx to try to kick the cold asap.  It has helped immensely.  (The appointment went well - doc guesstimates our guy to be about 7 lbs. at this point, no dilation, but my cervix is starting to soften, so we continue to wait...patiently.)

Anyways, after laying low for a few days, I'm finally back to cooking dinner and working on a few projects.  Tonight for dinner I tried a new recipe - "apple-sausage rigatoni".  It requires few ingredients, only a couple of steps, and start to finish time was quoted at 25 minutes.  A nice, easy, tasty dinner is great to have on hand.  (This one will be great to whip out during the first few weeks of welcoming our newest family member home.)  The flavor combination of the sausage, apple, and cheese is so enjoyable.  This recipe is a keeper.  

If you're interested, here's the how-to:


6 oz. dried rigatoni (about 2 cups)
8 oz. cooked smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 lb. Golden Delicious apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (I used 2 Granny Smith apples - next time I might use 3)
1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
snipped fresh basil (optional) (I used dried, and little fresh ground pepper)

all of the needed ingredients for this quick and easy dinner - minus the basil and pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Set aside.  In the same pot, cook sausage until lightly browned.  Add apples; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in cooked pasta, whipping cream, and cheese (and dried basil & fresh ground pepper).  Heat through.  Makes 4 servings.  (If actually feeding 4 adults, it might be best to double this recipe.)  Enjoy!

finished product - couldn't have been easier!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

stormy night

At around 3 in the morning last night, Travis and I both (and Ellie) woke up to the most incredible thunder and lightning storm that we have experienced in a long while.  Lots of lightning, huge cracks of thunder, quite a bit of rain and hail.  The whole storm thing would have been a bit more awe inspiring if it wasn't right in the middle of a good night's rest.  Mind you, I LOVE a good storm.  If it had been during the day, I would have had the blinds pulled up and been "oohing" and "ahhing" at every brilliant flash of lightning and thunderous crack. 

Ellie was in bed with us and shook with every boom.  Poor thing.  The storm, and Ellie, kept me up for about 2 hours.  The power went out at one point, and stayed out for several hours.  It came back on just as Travis' alarm went off to signal him to start his day.  Needless to say, I went back to bed after Travis left for work.  It was a long night.  A wonderfully stormy, tiring night. 

While I couldn't sleep, I was able to catch a few moments of the storm on video, although they hardly do it justice.  But they'll give you an idea of what we couldn't sleep through. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

dinner and a play date

One of the hardest things about moving away from Fresno, for us, was leaving some really great friends behind.  If we could have loaded them in the back of our Penske rental truck and taken them with us, we certainly would have.  So here we are in Enid, 1500 miles away from our CA friends, having to start friendships from scratch.  Thankfully, Travis works with some pretty decent guys.  Last night we got together with one of his co-workers (Josh) and his girlfriend (Lesley) [and his girlfriend's dog (Pickle)] for dinner, dessert, and a round of Scrabble.  (These are the same people we met for lunch at the Texas Roadhouse down in OKC last Sunday.)  We had a lot of fun getting to know one another better over the course of the evening.  The cherry on top of the night was the fact that Ellie was invited to have a play date with Pickle - the most adorable, deaf Jack Russell terrier.  He is incredibly sweet, energetic, and he even knows sign language!  Pickle and Ellie had fun playing together and sniffing each other you know where.  I think they're going to be good pals. 

Pickle and Ellie
For dinner, Josh and Lesley made salad, garlic bread, and spaghetti.  This wasn't just any old spaghetti though.  It was "legen....wait for it.........dary".  The sauce was amazing.  I almost put some in my pocket to take home.  Travis and I were given the responsibility of bringing a dessert.  I wanted to make something that was fall-ish and a little surprising.  I found a recipe for a sweet potato cheesecake in a gingersnap crust that I though would be just that.  (You can click on the link to go straight to the recipe from Better Homes & Gardens' website.)  It's been a while since I have attempted a cheesecake, so I kept my fingers (and toes) crossed that it would turn out as tasty as it sounded.  Plus, who wants to cook/bake for new friends for a first time and have what they made turn our terrible?  Not me.  It was a risk, but I was willing to take it.  Luckily, I succeeded!  And I'm glad to have left overs in my fridge.  

sweet potato cheesecake in a gingersnap crust
you know you want a slice...
We had such a nice evening and look forward to getting together with our new friends again in a few weeks.  At that point, there might be 5 of us...7 if you count the pups.  That's some exciting stuff right there.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

under the weather

A couple of days ago Travis started feeling a bit under the weather.  Stuffy nose, coughing, all the loveliness that go along with having a cold.  Yesterday he was at his worst.  And with no accumulated sick time yet, the poor guy had to go to work feeling miserable (after a terrible night's sleep...for the both of us).  He came home from work, I encouraged him (although it didn't take much encouragement) to take a nap while I made some soup for dinner.  Ellie knew Travis wasn't feeling up to par and snuggled in with him to do what she could to make him feel better. 

While Travis, hopefully, slept away some of his sickness, I made sausage tortellini soup for dinner.  A warm bowl of hearty goodness always seems to do the trick (along with lots of rest). 

Here's the soup recipe, if you're interested:

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
2 (10 oz.) cans French onion soup
2 cans stewed tomaotes
2 c. coleslaw mix or coarsely shredded cabbage
2 c. uncooked tortellini
1-2 c. water
1 tsp. crushed basil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

In a large pot, brown sausage - don't toss the drippings, they make for great flavor.  Add rest of ingredients.  Let simmer until tortellini is tender (about 15 minutes).  Ladle into bowls, top with cheese.  Enjoy! 

This recipe is really easy and has great flavor.  This time around I used Buitoni's chicken and prosciutto tortellini - and they were excellent.  (If you can find them in your refrigerated pasta section at your grocery store, I highly suggest trying them!)  

After falling asleep on the sofa a little while after dinner and getting a better night's rest, Travis is feeling much better this morning.  Thank goodness!  I woke up this morning to make our favorite chocolate & cheese Danishes (click for the recipe) for breakfast.  Yes, 2 Saturdays in a row - they are that good!  Plus, I wanted to use up my marscapone cheese before it went bad.  They turned out just as tasty as the last time I made them.  Seconds?  Yes, please. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

a few of my (Fall) favorite things

It's been noted (several times) that Fall is my favorite season.  It's a gateway to many family gatherings and celebrations.  It's a season filled with fragrances, flavors, and textures. 

As I was in the kitchen, just a little while ago, making a "sweet potato cheesecake in a gingersnap crust" (I'll let you know how it turns out!) for dinner with friends tomorrow evening, I just started thinking about all the loveliness that Fall brings...

apple cider

real maple syrup



warm, cozy textures

natural, woven textures

pine cones

fiery foliage

not to mention a snuggled up puppy

What are some of your favorite Fall elements?  Do share!