Sunday, January 31, 2010

I had a rough night on Saturday, so I sifted through my brain (very scary process) to try to find something that I could do with the supplies I had on hand.

I had an idea...and then I had another idea...and then...well, my trains of thought are kind of like the twilight zone, but I'll try to simplify it down to the just the "cars" that make sense. (Please note that my definition of "sense" may differ from yours).

1. It's been a rough night. What can I do for me?
2. I'm going to have a beer.
3. And watch a chick flick.
4. And make something.
5. What will I make?
6. I have a bunch of stuff in the ever-handy "Kendra's got another wild hair" closet...which one do I feel like doing?
7. Sewing? No. Takes too long...too much stuff to pull out.
8. Knitting? Absolutely not. Need someone to re-teach me anyway.
9. Sculpting? Ugh.
10. Painting? Hmm...I've done quite a bit of painting lately, but it's easy to get out and put away, and it makes me happy. Painting it is.
11. Oil? Acrylic? Definitely acrylic. Dries faster. I'm impatient.
12. What to paint?
13. What to paint?
14. What to paint?
15. I really like the new background on my blog.
16. Reminds me of something that would have hung at my Mamaw Tessie's house.
17. She would have had paint by numbers.
18. Ooh! Paint by numbers!
19. (Google searching and becoming mildly obsessed over vintage paint by numbers)
20. "Wouldn't it be cool to do a paint by numbers of...{insert a million ideas here}?"
21. I would love to do a paint by numbers map of the USA. Wonder if that exists? Nope.

That's when I found this:

I love's a wood carved USA cut out with a paint by numbers on the top of it. Not exactly a map of the USA, but I actually like it better. Since I didn't have a wood carved USA in my closet-o-stuff (imagine that?), I improvised. I didn't like the little man (or his little goat - or whatever that was), so I took him out. I used the colors I had on hand instead of matching the ones in the wood carving. This is my loose interpretation of the art above:

(1) 18x24 canvas
Acrylic paint in predetermined number of colors. I used:
- light green
- medium green
- dark green
- salmon
- yellow
- red
- dark brown
- taupe
- sky blue
Assortment of paintbrushes
Paper towels
Chick Flick
1. Freehand a US Map on the canvas with pencil
2. Do a sketch of the (faux) paint-by-numbers you want inside your map (I stayed with basically what they had done on the wood carved art - changed the layout and colors just a little).
3. Pretend like you know what you're doing. Fill in colors. NO SHADING (this was the hard part for me).
4. Choose a background for the map. I thought of 100 patterns I could use, but finally decided I really liked the cloth that they used in the original wood carved piece, but I didn't like the colors, so I just changed them.
5. Let dry.
6. Find it a home! :)


Nutella Cupcakes!

I saw this recipe last night and thought it looked amazing - mostly because it involves Nutella, and anything that involves Nutella (a.k.a., hazelnut spread of the gods) is ok in my book. I used the exact recipe at I Heart Cuppycakes, and I think they turned out pretty well. My only advice? Skip the Nutella buttercream - it's fantastic, but not for these - these absolutely don't need icing. Don't ruin a good thing :). Make the icing - use it for something else - maybe a regular white cake or something? I don't know...would *love* to know if you find something great to use the icing for!

Makes about 12 cupcakes


For Cupcakes
10 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
12 tsp Nutella

For Nutella Buttercream
1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar (or more to taste)
1/4 cup whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup of Nutella (or more to taste), softened


Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

To make cupcake—
Cream together butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs on at a time, until fully incorporated. The batter may not look smooth, this is fine. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder until batter is smooth and all flour is blended.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin liner with batter. Cups should be 3/4 full if you’re not using a scoop. Top each cake with about 1 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, folding a little batter up and over the Nutella as well.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove to wire rack and allow to cool before frosting.

To make buttercream—
In your stand mixer with flat beater, cream butter. Add 3 cups of the confectioners sugar, then milk and vanilla and beat until the mixture is smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining confectioners sugar, beating about 1-2 minutes. (You can add more sugar to get a thicker consistency if you want.)

In a microwave safe bowl, soften the Nutella until it has a spreadable consistency, about 15-20 secs.

Add the softened Nutella to your buttercream and fold into the frosting until well blended.

I did the icing while the cupcakes were baking - timing was great! The finished product is below - pre and post icing. Seriously, skip the icing. It's good, but it's not necessary.

Sadie - emphatically disagreeing with me about the icing. She loved it!!

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

There are moments when it becomes abundantly clear that my life is not my own. I bow to the will of those around me with very little protest. I'm a good wife. I'm a good mom.

I can say that I am especially good today because I didn't threaten my daughter within an inch of her life when she (purposely) stood up and peed in the floor so she wouldn't have to take a nap. (she won, by the way. It was 4:30 in the afternoon - what point is there in a 2 hour nap at 4:30pm???!!). Also, I didn't threaten her within an inch of her life (outloud, anyway), when she got the "I need to poop" look and the following ensued:

"Sadie do you need to poopie?"
"Ok - listen, you look like you need to go. If you need to go, where do we go poopie?"
"In the potty."
"That's right, we poopie in the potty. Do we poopie in our panties?"
"No, we poopie in the potty."
"That's right"
{poopie look}
"Sadie, do you need to go? Let's go right now!"
"No, I don't need to"
"Ok - if you do, PLEASE tell me so that we can go."
"Mommy, I poopied in my panties!"(triumphantly)
{insert a thousand mumbled four letter words}

Sheer stubbornness. That's it. Not lack of body control, not an honest mistake. Just stubbornness.
- get the carpet cleaner
- strip the kid
- wipe her won't work
- put her in the bathtub
- should I run the tub once to clean off the poop and once more for a bath? she needs a bath anyway...yep, that's what I'll do.
- get her all cleaned up
- assist her with sitting on the potty again
- wash dirty clothes
I did all of this without talking so that the words in my head wouldn't accidentally escape my mouth. That takes effort, friends.

And, if I might add, I know that the single thought going through Eric's head was:
"Kendra's ticked. How can I look like I'm helping right now?"

I'm ok now...I've made some big decisions since then:
1. I'm not cooking dinner, we're going to let the guy from Dominoes cook our dinner tonight.
2. I'm going to do something for me tonight. Have a beer? Make something? I don't know...something just for me. I need a little "just for me" time that no one can interrupt with...well...the stuff my "me" time gets interrupted with.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Day of Firsts...

Guess who looked like "country-come-to-town" taking a picture of this at the three-story Target today?
I got off the escalator and was so excited I forgot to take the cart with me! I hope it had a nice ride :)

My very first encounter with a celebrity...THREE celebrities:
That's right. Don't hate.

Me rubbing elbows with the stars:

Another first:
Half trucker, half Zha Zha Gabor...I was very confused, but not as confused as he appeared to be.

When I was on the drive home after watching Avatar (in IMAX 3D - my very first 3D experience!), I was contemplating the movie and still trying to wrap my head around the plot and the alternate world. I was thinking to myself, "wow...if a human, finite brain can come up with a place that amazing, heaven must be beyond spectacular." And then I saw this moon... {sigh}, the Earth will do for now, I guess :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brownies, Lucy, and Recycling...

This is our family motto, I think...


I decided while sewing the blue dress pillow on Sunday (did I tell you that it's completely inside out?...not on purpose, either) that if it were humanly possible for Martha Stewart and Lucille Ball to have a child together, I'm fairly certain they would have come up with a pretty close approximation of me. I ripped the seams out of that pillow on two separate occasions...when I finally got finished with it, I turned it right side out...only to discover it was *actually* wrong side that point, I couldn't have given a crap. Because of my distinct lack of 'giving a crap' I've convinced myself of three things:
1. It's not really that obvious.
2. If someone does see it, they'll probably think I did it on purpose. ("wow! that's so creative!"; "why, thank you! I really worked hard to give it that 'inside out' look")
3. If someone does see it and they realize it's inside out and they also know it was a complete flub up, I will promptly hand them the pillow and the seam ripper and let them re-sew it themselves.

With that as a lovely preface...

My recent Martha moment:
For the very first time, I ordered personalized Christmas cards. They had the perfect Christmas photo and a cute little Christmas tree pattern. I was pretty impressed with myself.

Followed (far to closely) by my recent Lucy moment:
For the very first time, I was completely unable to send Christmas cards. My adorable Christmas cards with the perfect photo and the cute little Christmas tree pattern arrived just in time for New Years.

I had them mailed to my Dad's house because I knew I'd be cutting it close on time and that's where we were staying over Christmas. Unfortunately, the cards made it to NC a couple of days after Eric, Sadie, and I were safe and sound back in PA. My dad gave them to me last week when we went down for Larry's surgery.

Here they all are:

cute, right?

I have decided that they are not going to be relegated to the trash can. They are the most expensive (and cutest!) Christmas cards I've ever had, and I can't bear to throw them away. I also can't bear to leave them in the closet collecting dust for the next 30 years until it's time to tell the story to my grandkids. What a waste! Since Sadie will be a year older (and a lot different looking) next Christmas, I've pretty much decided that I'm going to use these as a greeting card at some other point this year. Sadie and I will find a way to reinvent them as Valentines cards or something. Maybe I'll put a little note on them...something like:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eric walked in fresh off the plane from his trip to NC tonight. He walked through the living room with the new, GIANT magnolia wreath behind the sofa and new art on the walls. When he walked into the bedroom so that he could take a shower, he said, "You recovered the ottoman!" I looked at the room. The ENTIRELY redone bedroom. New comforter, new pillows, ALL new pictures on the wall, new curtains, random chair that was never there before. And then I looked back at him, and he goes, "What? I noticed. It looks good!"

I just smiled and nodded. I'm glad he noticed the ottoman.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Last Night's Fabric Samples...

Last night's fabric samples are tonight's completely finished room!

Sewing pillows

Stained old ottoman...


Do you like these shirts? Got them on clearance today at Target - grand total of $15.

I also bought some pillow forms...

Blue Dress:

Yellow Cardigan:

Green Argyle Sweater:

Purple Knit Top:

The lamp we had was a little too ornate, so I covered it with a bamboo placemat. It's a temporary solution, but it's good for now...Don't turn it around, it's safety pinned in the back :)

My very first EVER sewing project, circa 2003. The green window treatment:
It's back again...we just can't kill the thing.

Also, found a good spot for the I's, the birds, and the silhouettes! My favorite vignette in the whole house...

The taupe stuff now lives above the washer/dryer. With the cake-taker. And packages of toilet paper. It's prime real estate.

On a completely unrelated note, Sadie drew turtles on both of our legs today so that we could have matching tattoos - just like Nana' mother, like daughter, like grand daughter, apparently...and if I may say, those are some darn good looking blue turtles. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sometimes I get a wild hair and decide to redo a room. I've been thinking a lot about redoing our bedroom just because it feels so plain and blah right now. It's just very taupe. Taupe is nice, soothing, I do like it a lot...I'm just pretty sick of it in our room.

I think you can tell a lot about a person by the fabrics they choose. What I have learned about myself (after a quick trip to the fabric store today) is that I am crazy.

Hmm...I think I'll go super modern. No, wait! I like the colors I have right now. No, wait! Let's go with something BOLD and COLORFUL - something totally different! No, wait! I think I'll just sew them all together and make myself a straight jacket.

Added bonus of extreme indecisiveness: Sadie thinks I bought her 5 new scarves! All COMPLETELY different from one another.

Speaking of my kid and clothes - the day wouldn't be complete without a picture of Tallulah May in her favorite outfit...

Additionally, you'll note the wreath has changed homes again...

I think I love it...I'm trying to decide if I love it because of the labor I put into it or if I love it because it's really awesome. I'll let you know.

Also, in the spirit of narcissism and self-discovery, I did the "pick an artist" thing that was going around Facebook for a while. I'm disenchanted with Facebook today, so I'm posting it here instead. It was super therapeutic. I don't care if no one reads it - I loved doing it.

Rules: Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions without repeating any song titles.
Pick Your Artist: Sister Hazel
Are you male or female?: Think About Me

Describe Yourself: Happy

How do you feel about yourself?: Work In Progress

How do others feel about you?: Strange Cup of Tea

If you could be an animal, what would you be?: Firefly

If you could have a job for a day, what would you be?: Elvis

What's the worst feeling in the world?: Shame

Where would you rather be?: Running Through the Fields

What's the weather like?: Vacation Rain

You know that: Life Got in the Way

When you're having fun: Champagne High

Describe your current boy/girl situation: Sweet Destiny

If you could go anywhere you wanted to go: Mandolin Moon

Your favorite form of transportation: Sail Away

Your best friend(s) is(are): Just What I Needed

Your favorite color is: Green

Your favorite time of day: In the Moment

If your life were a TV show, what would it be called?: World Inside My Head

What is life to you?: Lay It Down

What is the best advice you can give?: Surrender

Thought for the day: Look to the Children

How I would like to die: Best I'll Ever Be

My soul's present condition: Everything Else Disappears

Friday, January 22, 2010

How to Make Wreath in 18 Easy Steps

Tonight, I made a wreath out of the leaves of a magnolia tree - the magnolia tree in Diane's front yard. I will refrain from telling the story of my husband's reaction when he saw the giant trash bag of leaves in the trunk of our (already VERY packed) car. I remember saying, "but Honey, we can't get these kinds of leaves in Philly!!!," but I'm still not sure he *really* understood. Needless to say, the leaves maintained their coveted spot in our trunk so that I could bring them home and make them into a wreath.

You've waited long's
"How to Make a Wreath in 18 Easy Steps"

1. Go visit your hair stylist and get a giant trash bag of leaves from the magnolia tree in her front yard.

2. Convince your significant other that the aforementioned bag of leaves is just as important as your luggage and deserves to make the 10 hour trip back to your home.

3. Leave the bag of leaves in the floor of your living room until you feel inspired (this step is extremely important).

4. Refuse to eat fake food at the car wash/restaurant & malt shop.
ugh. ok. You're right. This one is really not critical to your success, but I took this picture on the way home from work out of the window of my car. THIS, friends...THIS is why it is so important to keep a decent camera with you at all times.

5. Watching the leafless trees on your way home from work, realize how blessed you are to have a bag of perfectly beautiful, perfectly waxy, perfectly green, perfectly Carolinian magnolia leaves. Also, realize how blessed you are that you have FINALLY learned to appreciate seasons of leaflessness...literally and figuratively.

6. Open the bag and (this is key) have a toddler (who we have already established never wears a shirt) assist you with chopping your gorgeous magnolia leaves to smithereens. You may also want to make sure that you have some temporary skull tattoos on hand, but these aren't absolutely necessary for a successful wreath experience.

7. Use wire to attach the branches to each other while shaping the pieces into an arch.

8. Get halfway through with your wreath and then discover that the type of wire you use isn't sufficient...your wreath will have fallen apart several times, but if you really want to appreciate your efforts after you're done, this step is extremely important.

9. Switch to a sturdier wire, reconstruct your previously unsturdy arch, and connect the two ends together to form what you naively believe will be a circle.

10. Discover that when you pick up your wreath (as if you were hanging it), it looks far more like an oval than a circle.

11. Mumble some words of dissatisfaction (to whatever degree you feel comfortable - I won't judge) under your breath, put the camera away, and get your game face on.

12. Find a wreath form that you happen to have lying around the house.

13. Attach the free-form-flimsy-floppity oval-ish, circle-ish wreath you have created to the existing wreath form. The "wrong" wire from step 7 is perfectly sufficient for this step.

14. After you realize that your wreath is MUCH too large (and much too special) for the small front door of your apartment, hang your masterpiece on the salvaged door you have in the corner of your dining room. *please note, your personal salvaged door in the corner of your dining room may be different from the one appearing in these photos. That is not an ideal situation, but it may still work.

15. Gaze with pride on what used to be a giant bag of magnolia leaves in the trunk of your car.

16. Survey the damage.

17. Promptly decide that the crap in the floor can wait until tomorrow. It really can. Seriously, you've worked hard - go have some chocolate and watch Cold Case Files (this step may vary).

18. Repeat step 15. Repeatedly.

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