Friday, December 31, 2010

Twas Two Nights Before Christmas (or Twas the Night Before Clara)

Our sweet baby girl is one week old today!  I can hardly believe all that has happened in the past week - it has been a blur and a whirlwind, but life is sweet and wonderful.  We couldn't be more happy or feel more blessed.
I wrote this little (ok, long) poem to tell Clara's birth story.  There are definitely some details I left out -- like the fact that even after 24 hours of building contractions, there was never a true "this is it" moment.  At one point in the evening, a contraction hurt so much it made me cry (I had three of those throughout the day) and I told Spencer we should get ready to go, but I still wasn't super sure.  I was never really confident that I was progressing, or that we needed to go to the hospital.  Even after we arrived at the hospital, we sat in the car for several minutes as I debated if we really needed to go in (I really didn't want to get sent home).  I also didn't mention that after we packed up the car, we delivered Christmas cookies to neighbors on the way to the hospital.  There was no way that the six dozen cookies I made at nine months pregnant were going to go to waste, even if it meant I had to sit in the car through some pretty intense contractions while Spencer delivered them to our neighbors.  I will write a more traditional birth story out at some point which may or may not show up here.  But for now, please enjoy!

Twas two nights before Christmas, and all through the house
Eagerness built, as I called for my spouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
But the space neath tree empty; no presents found there

"Bring your iPhone" I yelped in a weary worn struggle,
Then fell in a chair; the cat wanting to snuggle
In moments he came; my husband appeared
And handed phone over as he quietly cheered

Finding the app, installed days before
"contraction counter" timed as I slumped on the floor
Then rising in pain between a scream and a cry
I heaved and wrenched, then melted to sigh

Near 24 hours had passed of labor early yet true,
As contractions inched closer and intensity grew
On birth ball, on bed, on foot and in tub,
On trying things naturally, aye there's the rub

Could this be the night of the birth of our first?
Another contraction; one of the worst
"This is it," I managed as I fell in a sag,
"Grab the computer, the iPod, the camera, and bag"

Then off to the hospital we drove in a dash
The fog thick and heavy as we avoided a crash
At arrival and check-in contractions slowed to a halt
"They'll think I'm a fool, and not worth my salt" 

Soon we were admitted, to Triage Room three,
As monitors checked my veracity
One quick check and the nurse soon was saying,
"Oh look at your progress! You're a five and you're staying!"

Admitted, at once the phone calls began,
"We're here, and we're having her - at least that's the plan!"
Soon grandmas and grandpas and siblings arrived
So much excitement, and sleep soon deprived

"This isn't so bad" was my constant refrain
But the nurses encouraged an epidural just the same
When news of a doc breaking water soon came
I consented and ne'er felt a twinge of shame

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
The anesthesiologist and all of his gear
A couple of pricks and the numbness set in
The pain mostly gone, my face in a grin

When all of a sudden a warmth filled the bed,
My body beat doc to it, and broke my own water instead
Another quick check and I was in heaven
"You go girl," said the nurse, "hon, you're a seven!"

As deep pressure mounted, I gave a shout of hooray!
I'd meet my sweet girl soon; time to push, no delay!
Then chin to chest and count to ten,
Once, and twice, again and again

I curled around baby each time with great strain
As I pushed and I tried to composure maintain
Three hours of pushing only found the babe stuck
Neath a bone in my pelvis, and each push brought no luck

Finally my doctor was called to come in
At four in the morning - a different tone set in
"This baby's not coming," his mood very sober
"It's the knife or the vacuum - you think it over"

In moments he returned; our decision was clear:
Avoid surgery at all costs and get the babe safely here
Three more long pushes as doc pulled with his might
This baby would come, but not without fight

With one final push, then a sweet little cry,
Tears swirled down cheeks of all standing by,
A bundle of love gently placed on my chest,
My heart filled with joy -- this was the best!

Her eyes -- how they twinkled! Her dimples how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry!
Her head full of dark, soft feathery hair
Her eyes wide and happy, awake and aware

Spencer and I just basked in the bliss
As we held our sweet baby and gave her a kiss!
We're so in love; a family of three!
And that is how Clara Jane Evans came to be

Clara Jane Evans
12.24.10 - 4:14 am
7 pounds 8 ounces - 19.5 inches

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Remember how I'm due to have a baby on Christmas Day?  And how I'm hoping that she comes before Christmas?  Yeah, still hoping.  Especially since my tentative induction date is set for January 1, 2011.  And even though 1.1.11 would be a super cool birthday, I'd love to have the baby this year.  Please send any labor-inducing vibes my way.

Also, I need some snow boots.  We were at REI the other night and I spotted these Sorel Tivoli's - so cute!  I think I'm in love.

Also, I'm curious what everyone is doing for neighbor gifts this year.  I think it's fun to do something a little different - like last years pico de gallo and chips, but this year I'm debating whether or not I have the energy to do anything at all.  At the same time, I know that it's just the kind of distraction I need at this point, so send your super easy ideas my way.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

For the Babe, Part iii

I think I'm done making quilts.  At least for this baby.  Five should be enough, right?  Oh, and by quilts, I don't mean blankets (there are a few of those too).  I mean cutting, pressing, piecing, sewing, quilting/tying, binding quilts.  Yes, five.

I really wanted to show the finished products today since I just finished binding the last of them last night, but my quilt-holding-husband is gone during daylight hours so decent photos in natural light will have to wait until Saturday.  But I did get some ok photos of some of the details.  The colors aren't showing at their best, but it'll give you an idea of what I've made.

First up is my "Sunshine Squares" quilt.  It's white and yellow and has all different sizes of offset squares and rectangles.  I created this one after seeing photos of a similar quilt online.  My mom helped me figure out the best way to go about how to cut the pieces and put it all together to get the look I wanted.  After piecing the top and back, I handed this one off to my talented cousin who machine quilted it for me.  She said it reminded her of a bouquet of daisies, so she quilted it like petals and blossoms coming out from each center block.  My mom generously paid for the quilting and binding - thanks mom!

Here's my "Wonky Star" quilt in aqua, pink and yellow.  Nothing like a photo to show you that a quilt needs a good pressing.  :)  I used this tutorial which was pretty easy to follow - I just increased the size of each block.  This quilt actually came together pretty quickly and it was my first attempt at binding.  Yikes!  I just kept this one simple and tied it with pink embroidery floss.  The colors look kind of dull here, but it's bright, fun and vibrant. 

Here's part of the back of the Wonky Stars quilt.  I have always had it in my head that the backs of quilts had to be one big solid piece.  But I've fallen in love with pieced quilt backs all of my recent creations have them.
Here's one that's pretty simple - just five inch squares and two borders.  I bought the fabric for this before I knew the gender of our baby and I think the bright blues and greens will be perfect for our little girl!  I used a a satin stitch on the machine to "tie" this one.  It's the smallest of the quilts and will be good for outings in the stroller.
Here's a changing pad cover I made (there's also a yellow one in the top drawer).  It's super soft and cute!  The little book on the left was a gift from a sweet friend - a scrapbook baby book with the cutest papers and nursery rhymes on each page!  It has a spot on each spread for photos and stats and is so darling.

There's another quilt I don't have at my house right now, but it's pretty awesome.  It matches the custom moses basket bedding my mom and I worked on together.  Pictures of that (and more projects) to come!  Oh, and in case you are wondering, there are five weeks and two days until Christmas.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mapping it Out

I have a thing for maps.  Not the kind you can pick up at state lines or national parks (Spencer is much better at appreciating those), but cool old (non-folding) maps of... just about anywhere.  I'm still kicking myself for not buying that cool vintage map of Brasil that I found at the market in Lille.  Since Spencer and I have done our fair share of traveling and living abroad, we both have some cool photos we've taken (except those from my four months living in Brussels -- let's not talk about it), lots of travel books, and small souvenirs from various destinations.  That's what made me want our basement family room to have a little bit of international flair and be our main spot for putting such items to use in the decor.

It's yet another house project that remains somewhat unconquered, but I'm encouraged by a recent find: bird's eye view maps.  In the late nineteenth century, bird's eye view maps became quite popular - artists would depict a city as though standing on a mountain overlooking the town.  Details and geography are not always complete or accurate, but these tell us a lot about how life was back then.  Plus, they look pretty cool.  So imagine how happy I was to stumble into the full gallery of bird's eye view maps, scanned, stored and downloadable at super high res thanks to the Library of Congress.
So great, right? I'm planning on printing up all of the cities where we have lived (DC, Salt Lake, Portland, New York) and framing them for the basement.  Now I just have to figure out how to open a jp2 file...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Making it Masterful

For a while now, I've been feeling like our "master" bedroom needs a major makeover.  Like something that would make you think that it's actually a bedroom where two adults reside.  Since we are typically the only ones who see it, it has taken a back seat to other projects and continually remains at the bottom of the list.  But working on baby girl's bedroom and taking the time to pull it all together has been really fun and satisfying.  And it's made me want to start thinking more seriously about the direction our bedroom needs to go.  I've been thinking about this for sometime, making a mental list of items, colors and projects that could take our room to the next level.  This morning I took the time to put together a little mood board as a first attempt at putting it all on paper.

Here's the breakdown:

1. Dupioni Silk Thermal Curtains (in bone - no valance) hung wide and high to give the room a little extra height.  We have three 31" windows all next to each other on one outside wall and these would be hung on either side and pulled shut at night for added warmth.

2. Our bedroom is painted a pretty sage green/gray color that we really like.  It's warm and relaxing and we're planning on keeping it that way.  The rest of the room will be mostly neutral - tans and creamy whites - with additional pops of sage and slate blue.

3. Blinds!  We have four windows in our room that currently have horrendous blinds.  They are awful to open and shut and they badly need replacing.  We'll just go with a simple faux-wood 2" blind from Home Depot.

4. A full length floor mirror to replace my $5 bendy walmart mirror.  This one is pretty and large and I think it would bring a more masterful feeling to the room.

5.  Some throw pillows to bring the color palette together and make the bed look complete and inviting.  The ones shown are from Target, but I have a few pillow forms I could easily make fun covers for.  It would just be a matter of finding cute fabric.

6. Until about a month ago I had a very juvenile ceramic lamp (which found a new home in the nursery) and Spencer had a brown flexi-neck desk lamp.  I've been wanting to get matching lamps for a while - little things like this can make a big difference!  I have one of the lamps shown, now we just need to get one for Spencer's side of the bed.  His desk lamp has been replaced by a much cuter alternative (given to us by my mom), but I'm still liking the idea of them matching.

7. I bought this Havana Duvet set about a year ago.  In sage.  So we've already got it.  Strangely, it's not on the bed right now, but we have it none the less.

8. Right now we have a mattress and box spring on some kind of generic bedframe, but we don't have a bed.  Meaning a headboard or footboard or anything of the like.  I've thought about making a tufted headboard myself, but at $99 this bed might be a good alternative.  Oh, and we also could totally use a new mattress.  Nothing like being pregnant to make you aware of that!

9. I'd love to get a pretty rug that goes under the bed and comes out on three sides.  We have nice hardwood floors, but it would be nice to have those first-steps-getting-out-of-bed-each-morning be on something soft and warm.  This rug is plenty big (7.5x10.5) to provide the needed floor coverage.

10. This woven round storage ottoman would be a perfect little table next to an armchair.  I'm not too keen on the price or the fact that our cat's one weakness (in scratching) is materials like this, but I'm sure I could find something similar and less expensive at Home Goods.

11. This is the Ektorp Jennylund armchair from Ikea.  Again, not set on this particular chair, but I love having a chair in our room.  We've had the glider in there since we bought it a few months back and it's such a nice addition.  Last night I had Spencer move it into the nursery (so I could make sure it fit where I was planning) and I can definitely feel the void in our room now.  Some kind of armchair would be great.

12.  We have a floor lamp, but it's a plastic one from Wal-Mart.  I keep waiting for the shade to melt.  I don't mind it that much, but I'd really like something with a bit more warmth and texture.

13. Nightstands.  We have these!  Well, not these - but I figured they were a good representation of what I'm aiming for.  We picked up two mismatched night stands (black and wood color) at an antique shop in Midway before we even got married.  In fact, I think that was the same day that marriage first came up in a conversation for us.  Anyway, I've been meaning to paint them a creamy white, but I'm waiting until the babe takes up residence on the outside of my body so I don't have to worry about the fumes.

So there you have it.  Thoughts?  Advice?  Anything I'm missing?  I'd love your input!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Update in a List

- Despite my initial plan for Spencer and I to dress up as Juno and Paulie Bleeker, I just didn't feel like pulling costumes together since we didn't have any Halloween parties to go to.  We spent the evening handing out candy to cute neighbors and enjoying a visit from Carol.

- It's November!  I'm almost 33 weeks pregnant and my doctor's appointment yesterday showed that everything is perfect and right on track.  Baby girl is positioned head down, has a strong heartbeat and is kicking around A LOT. BP, weight and all other factors for me are in check.

- There are some things about pregnancy that you don't hear about until it's your turn to experience them.  For me it's been third trimester insomnia.  Since everyone seems to tell Spencer and me to be getting as much sleep as we can before the baby comes, I thought that would be just a matter of, you know, sleeping.  Not so, my friend!  My body thinks the best way to prepare for baby is by waking up several times during the night, including the entire period from roughly 3-6 am each morning.  At least when I have a baby I'll have something meaningful/necessary to do during those hours.

- We started our childbirth class a few weeks ago and so far it's been good!  I think we both learn new things at each class and have enjoyed getting more mentally prepared for labor and delivery.

- We took a weekend trip about two weeks ago to San Francisco.  We wanted to take one last getaway before life changes big time and we figured it would be great fun to go back to San Francisco - one of the first places we traveled to while dating, and where we got engaged.  I guess this is called a babymoon, but I kind of refuse to call it that.  We had a great time relaxing, eating, and exploring the city.

- I can barely zip the one jacket that still fits over my belly (see photo above).  I really don't want to buy a maternity coat since I'll only need it for a few wintery weeks -- do I need one?  Plus, I hardly get cold anymore since I have a built-in internal space heater now.

- I saw this cute tutorial today for a turkey applique shirt.  I want to remember it for next year and make one for the babe.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Due to a Few Requests

When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought it would be fun to take a weekly photo to record the pregnancy.  Turns out you become a little less motivated to take these photos when you feel larger than a house.  Actually, I've only done 5 over the entire pregnancy.  Oh well.  But since a few of you have asked, here they are! (click to see the whole thing a bit bigger)
I will say though, that God does compensate for some of the discomfort of the last part of pregnancy by giving you awesomely thick hair.  Although I hear that it all falls out after the baby is born, I'm trying to enjoy this while it lasts. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bit By Bit

We're definitely making some progress on getting ready for baby.  It's funny, because I hop on all the time, and in the forums for my birth club (the month of your due date) people are talking about having their hospital bag ready and their nursery has been finished for weeks.  Seems a little OCD to have a hospital bag packed with 10+ weeks to go... but maybe that's just me.  I'll be totally content if we have bedding in the crib, a place to change diapers and store clothes, and a some art on the wall by the time baby arrives. Even though I've been working on lots of projects, I'm not sure they'll all have a "home" before our little girl is here.

Spencer painted the room on conference Saturday with Benjamin Moore's Dolphin's Cove (mixed in Behr Satin paint) and it turned out just lovely.  It was exactly what I wanted.  We're still debating painting the trim and ceiling since they could both use it, but I've brought in a few things to see if "the look" is coming together how I imagined it.  So far, so good.
Isn't the little owl toy cute?  I made it one afternoon last week and I'm quite proud -- no tutorial or pattern, I just used some scraps and winged it (no pun intended) after seeing how cute this was.  I added a little loop of ribbon too, so we can use those linky things to attach it to... well, anything. :)  I made the ball in a few minutes on Saturday.

I started writing this a few days ago - now we've got the crib set up, I made a crib skirt and my cute yellow sunshine quilt is hanging over the side.  We found a dresser in the as-is section of Ikea (so nice that we saved $50 AND didn't have to assemble it!) which will double as a changing table.  The moses basket is ready and has new bedding that my mom and I made together over conference weekend.  The roman shades are done and only need to be mounted in the windows.  With all we've gotten done, I still feel like there's much to do and my energy wanes as I get a little more uncomfortable each day.  Soon enough it will all be worth it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

For the Babe, Part ii

I don't have lots of projects to show today, but I just finished one that I wanted to share. I made this blanket for my little one (just over 100 days to go!):

I know the top looks pretty wrinkled. That's partly because it is and partly because somehow the camera really emphasizes the wrinkles. When I finished sewing I tossed it in the dryer to get rid of any random fluff and it came out like this. Apparently no amount of ironing will help. Meh, baby won't mind. I used a combo of tutorials; this blanket was super easy and pretty fast to make. I used this bunting quilt tutorial for the quilt top and this baby quilt tutorial for finishing it off. And it's really soft and comfy. Bonus.

(p.s. if we ever happen to get another cat, I'm naming it Bonus)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

For The Babe

I've been working on lots of projects for our little one. I haven't been great about taking photos of everything I've made, but here are a few.

I bought some knee socks at Target and made them into baby legs. Baby legs are cute baby leg warmers that cost $12 a pair. Target knee socks are $2 a pair. And they take about 10 minutes to make. The after photos aren't that exciting - they'll be much better when there are chubby baby thighs sticking out of them. :)
I've heard that Target gets new knee socks quite regularly, so this could be a dangerous hobby to have.

I also cut out some cute fabrics to embellish plain old gerber prefold cloth diapers to make burp cloths. Easy peasy.
There are tons of tutorials for this around the interweb. My favorite is right here.

I'm also making some progress on the baby's room. I wish I was as inspired to work on my own bedroom, because I think hers will be pretty cool. For a color, I've settled on Benjamin Moore's Dolphin's Cove. I read about it in House Beautiful's blue issue when they interviewed various designers about their favorite shades of blue. It's a pretty Tiffany aqua blue that I think will go magnificently with the bursts of yellow and hints of pink I have planned for her room. More on that later.

Some other projects I've started: some quilts (yes, more than one... I can't help myself! Too many cute fabrics and color combos out there), t-shirts transformed into infant gowns, homemade roman shades for the windows, knit baby caps, a changing pad cover, a mobile and closet curtains (we're taking down the doors). So far it's lots of fun! Here's a peek at one of the quilts at an almost-done stage.
Also, I've learned that I'm definitely a better sewer than crafter...

Friday, August 13, 2010


A new neighbor of ours recently had their first baby - a boy. I made a little collection of gifts to welcome him to the world.
A ric-rac edged flannel blanket, a knit hat (with ears!), a burp cloth, and an appliqued onesie.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yesterday's Harvest

The Scream

I had my 20 week ultrasound on Tuesday. I was so anxious to know that the baby was healthy and that everything was developing properly. Of course, I was also excited to find out the gender! I have seen plenty of ultrasound images, but when it's your baby on that screen everything becomes fascinating: the heart valves, the kidneys, bladder, the spine, eyes, nose, mouth, tiny fingers and toes. It really is incredible that an entire being can come about in such a short period of time. Our favorite part of the ultrasound was catching a glimpse of our baby yawning. Pretty much the cutest thing ever. Here's a picture of the baby mid-yawn (I think it looks like Munch's "The Scream")
After some prodding the ultrasound technician was able to confirm that our baby is a GIRL! Everything about her seems to be healthy and normal and we are very relieved. We are really excited to welcome this little girl into our family and teach her about all the wonderful things in life. Plus, now I have an excuse to sew ruffles onto the bums of onesies.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I finally cut some gladiolus from my garden today and brought them inside to enjoy. Am I the only one who thinks that glads are {among} the prettiest flowers?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

For the Overzealous Mother-to-Be

...who obviously has no idea what she's getting herself into (that would be me). I've recently found lots of great blogs with super cute ideas for homemade baby and kid things. I've had a hard time keeping track of them all and my bookmark list is getting a bit out of control. I thought I'd create a post just to organize these projects in case I ever have time to make them. Last night I looked at the list and thought, "twenty-three projects... twenty-three weeks (until baby) - that's doable" -- well, we shall see. I may or may not have added to the list since last night... Maybe I'll even post some finished projects here too.

Baby Boy or Girl
Knit Baby Hats
Stroller Quilt
Wet Bags
Newborn Gowns
Burp Cloths - Appliqued Here or Flannel Here or Embellished Gerber Here
Shirt Sleeve Baby Hat
Baby Legs
Appliqued Onesies (I don't have a tutorial, but I've made a few so no need)
Bitty Booties
Hooded Towel
Sock Animal Rattle -- so cute!
Fabric Blocks
Stardust Shoes
Changing Pad
Taggie Animals
Jingle Ball
Cloth Baby Rings
Black & White Board Book - images here
Owl Toy
Flannel Receiving Blankets - I've been making these for new babies I know, here's a tutorial I like
Bath Toy Bag

For Baby's Room
Fabric Covered Night Light

Lamb Pillows
Bird Mobile
Pom Pom Curtains
(to replace closet doors)
Custom Crib Sheets - here, here and here
Changing Pad Cover
Decoupaged Stool (to use as an ottoman with my glider)
Embroidery Hoop Wall Art
Crib Skirt
Furniture Decoupage
Window Shades -- not sure what I'll do for these yet

Baby Girl
Baby Bonnet
Vintage Bloomers
Black Apple Doll
Petal/Ruffle Onesies - love these
Itty Bitty Dress
Rose Barrettes
Another Bonnet (I realize I have lots of hats/bonnets, but I'll need to keep our December baby's little ears warm!)
Baby Tights
Felt Baby Shoes

Stretchy Baby Headband
Wool Felt Hat

Baby Boy
Diaper Change Cone
Shirt Pocket Quilt

Older Baby/Kid
Car Playmat
Felt Food
Rollie Pollie
Play Food Salt and Pepper
Cozy Car Caddy - love.
Crayon Roll
Fabric Memory Cards
Kneepad Pants
Photo Memory Game
I Spy Bag
Alphabet Flashcards
Dishtowel Bathrobe
Quiet Book - fab examples here, here, here, here and here

Monday, June 28, 2010

Looking Forward to Christmas

We're looking forward to Christmas a little early this year -- and probably with a lot more anticipation and anxiety than ever before. It is the day that Baby Evans is due to join our family!

Spencer and I are thrilled, of course. Here are some answers to questions you may or may not have.

Did you plan on a Christmas baby? Um, no... who would do that to a child? At the same time, we are happy for the prospect of a growing family on any day of the year. We are also excited that we'll probably have some extended family in town for the holidays when the baby comes.

Will you name a boy Jesus or a girl Mary? You never know what Spencer might pull out of his sleeve on blessing day. One of my nephews, in a moment of sheer brilliance, suggested Santa.

How are you feeling?
Pretty good, considering I'm growing another human. I'm about as tired as anyone might be while growing a baby (read: very). I think I have fared pretty well compared to all the stories I've heard. I'm starting to get over it, but for the first 12 weeks I hated the thought of planning or preparing meals. I would gag: at the grocery store, while putting away groceries, retrieving anything from the refrigerator, trying to plan my dinners for the week, trying to prepare any meals (especially anything with meat). Thankfully, this seems to be improving.

Do you guys think it's a boy or a girl?
No strong inklings yet. When I imagine the doctor handing me a baby at the hospital, it's a girl. When I imagine a small child (gently) tearing the house apart, it's a boy. I'm not sure what this means. In a poll taken of our nieces and nephews, the nieces think it's a girl and all but one nephew thinks it is a boy. We're definitely planning on finding out the gender (this should happen in early August). I can't wait to start painting, sewing, and shopping for our wee one. We'll be thrilled with a boy or a girl and are only hoping for a healthy baby.

How did you tell your families?
We found out that I was pregnant in mid-April and decided that Mother's Day (May 9th) would be the perfect occasion to share the news with our families. Both sets of our parents, Spencer's sister Carol, and my grandma Betty would be at our house for dinner. I wanted to do something clever to make our announcement, but wasn't really sure what. About a week before Mother's Day, my sister Mollie sent me an email suggesting that we create something similar to this for our mom's gift. Unbeknownst to Mollie, this was the perfect solution to my "telling the family creatively" dilemma! Everyone on both sides of the family took silhouette photos and emailed them to me so I could create the charts; one for each mom. Here's what we came up with:

I printed, framed and wrapped them up for our moms. Carol (Spencer's mom) noticed the newest posterity right away. My mom remarked on how lovely it was and passed it around the table for my dad and grandma to see (to my mom's credit, I think the new baby is not quite as obvious on the Madsen chart). I told my mom she should look a little closer... Soon enough, the whole family was in the know and smiles and misty eyes were everywhere. We emailed the final product to out-of-state siblings and called them to share the news that day.

Have you picked out names you like?
We both have names that we like (I have lots of favorites; Spencer's list is a bit shorter). There are several that we agree on. I have a name philosophy (and rules to boot) that probably merits its own post. We probably won't name our baby before we meet him or her, just settle on a few strong contenders and then make a final decision once the babe is in our arms.

I am a little more than 14 weeks along and things seem to be progressing perfectly. Now we're just counting the days until Christmas...

Friday, April 23, 2010


About three years ago I picked up some chairs at DI for $10 (for 4). I recovered them in red stripey fabric, but now my dining room is headed in a new direction, so they needed a new look. Besides that, the seats were sinking and starting to get uncomfortable. I reinforced and repadded the seats and chose a pretty aqua floral for reupholstering. It's actually a quilt - from Home Goods (TJ Maxx) - so there is a little extra padding in the fabric itself. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Garden Planning

After my great gardening experience last summer, I was anxious to get started on things this year. I started planning what I would grow back in January, and just came inside from building a new raised bed -- it will double our garden size from last year. I've been clearing out old bushes to make way for blackberries and raspberries and identified the perfect spot for a strawberry patch yesterday (under 6 inches of fresh snow, then hail).

I've always used an excel spreadsheet to make a little map of my garden plan, but I just discovered a great new tool! Gardener's Supply has an awesome garden planner that goes by the square foot method. It's got cool little pictures that show you how many of each plant go in each square as well as lots of pre-designed garden plans based on your goals (salsa garden, kid's garden, high yield garden, etc.) to make it even easier. This is one of the best (free!) garden planning tools I've found yet, so I just wanted to share. Enjoy!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Room By Room

We've lived in our house for just over a year now, and I'm starting to feel more antsy about getting everything more.... decorated. Just for the record, I'm not a big fan of "stuff" and try to limit my decor to functional items, beautiful artwork, a few treasures from traveling, photos and good books. The first room I've set out to conquer is the dining room. It's already gone through a few changes since we moved in and I have the main pieces in place. Here's what I'm starting with:
The table is a mid-century piece I picked up on sale at my cousin's consignment shop. I love it because it has three leaves, allowing it to expand for large meals with lots of guests. The table top is painted a beautiful tiffany blueish teal and the legs are creamy white. The hutch is one I bought off of craigslist and have been meaning to paint (this will happen this summer, promise). The chairs were 4/$10 at DI and I recovered them with red stripey fabric from IKEA before I got the table. They need to be repadded and recaned, so I'll probably recover them once again in the process. The jute rug (Pier 1) was also a find at my cousin's consignment shop. The blinds are an ivory on linen damask pattern. Also, I have blue and white dishes in the hutch.

Now for the mood boards. I can't quite decide on the color palette, so I made two. I'm starting with a very neutral base and plan to use everything I have, but I want to make a few changes to add a spalsh of color and tie it all together.
The teal/blue room would involve painting the hutch a creamy white, while adding teal beadboard to the back (wouldn't that be pretty with the blue and white dishes?). I'd hang white curtain panels at the windows and sliding door and give the table top a fresh coat of paint to match the beadboard. I'd buy and frame "almond branch" by Van Gogh from and hang it on the wall next to the hutch. Also, I would recover the chairs in a blue/teal/white stripe or pattern to match.
In the red room, I'd paint the table top red, find a cool piece of artwork to hang, recover the chairs, but probably in a similar fabric to what they are now, hang Chris Madden checkerboard curtains, and paint the hutch a creamy white.

Oh, I also forgot to mention that I'm planning on doing a family history wall on the wall that currently has three photos on it. It will be similar to this:
I think the color schemes are both good options, but can't really decide. Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pumpkinlina Xue Bai Monkey Face

It's kind of sad, but I still feel like our cat doesn't have an official name. At the vet she is on the books as Pumpkin (mostly because it was too hard to explain and spell Xue Bai over the phone) and so that's what I tell people when they ask. But on any given day she's called by dozens of names - including but not limited to: Whiskerlina, Pumpkin, Pumpkinlina, Monkey, Monkey Face, Bebe, Bebekins, Stupidlina, Fatty, Charlie, Monkeylina, Xue Bai, Kitty, Crazy, Cheese Monger, Dirty, Dusty, Blackie etc, etc.

Poor thing. I think we make up for her lack of name by how spoiled she is and how much we love her. Fair trade, right?

The Second Half

Last weekend Spencer and I headed down to Green River and Moab for the Canyonlands Half Marathon. We had signed up for the race together, but a back injury made it difficult for Spencer to train for, and run the race. Instead he got me psyched for the race, made sure I was hydrating and fueling properly (great excuse to eat multiple candy bars), and was there to take photos and cheer me on as I crossed the finish line.
This is right before I crossed the finish line. Those first few minutes after finishing are so incredibly painful, it's difficult even to stand up and walk. It's amazing that within 48 hours my body felt completely back to normal and free of pain.The course was beautiful. We ran right along the Colorado river and sheer red rock cliffs and on into town. It was a sunny but chilly day. As we made our way into Moab, we tuned into a local forecast that informed us of the current temperature on race day morning - 27 degrees. Yikes! The hardest part of the race was waiting at the top of a cold and shady canyon for over two hours after being bussed up. I stayed in my warm clothes for as long as I could before stripping down to my race attire and tossing my sweat bag into one of the trucks. No worries though, by the third mile I could feel all of my toes again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pasta Primavera

I've been trying to plan at least 3-4 meatless recipes a week so we can focus on getting all our veggies and more "clean" eating. Also, I recently watched Food, Inc. so I've been having a harder time eating meat and processed foods. (I still do, just not when I'm thinking about the movie...)

Last night I made Pasta Primavera, which I adapted from a recipe posted on This Week For Dinner. It was really tasty and I wanted to share. I can't wait to make it in the summer when I can get most of the ingredients from my own garden!

5-6 cloves of garlic
2 tsp olive oil
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup white grape juice (the recipe called for white wine, but I don't keep that on hand. I'm sure you could probably use chicken stock as another alternative)
1/2 cup basil leaves (I actually forgot this and it was still really good)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 red bell pepper cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 generous handful of sugar snap peas, cut in half
1 generous handful off green beans, cut into 2-inch chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound farfalle pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or you can use Pecorino)
(these are the ingredients I used, you can also add any number of additional vegetables... asparagus, snow peas, zucchini, green peas, etc.)
Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, saute the garlic and oil in a saucepan for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, grape juice and salt and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the basil and red onions, cover, remove from heat.

When the water is boiling, blanch the vegetables. Put the carrots in first. After one minute add the remaining vegetables. Cook for another minute or two and then lift them out with a slotted spoon (or colander if you're fancy like that). Reserve the pot of boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until al dente.

Stir the drained veggies into the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper, cover, and set aside. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the reserved water and 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese. Finally, top with the tomato-veggie sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.


two years

Friday, January 15, 2010

From Scratch

I have to share my internet find of the day. Spencer and I always talk and dream about building furniture. I love knowing that something is solid, made of real wood, and built with love. After my adventure in construction last year, I feel a little more comfortable and knowledgeable in working with wood and tools. Which is why I was so excited to find Knock Off Wood. It's a completely amazing site full of plans for knock-off furniture from all the (overpriced) favorites - Pottery Barn, West Elm, Land of Nod. I seriously can't wait to get started.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009 In Review

It's become sort of a tradition to review each year with some random lists. Here goes:

Best Things 2009:
1. Buying a house that we love
2. Taking a family trip (Evans) to Yellowstone and the Tetons
3. Weekend jaunts to Colorado, Oregon and Moab
4. Running my first half marathon
5. Helping my business grow
6. Growing my first real garden
7. Adding a cute kitten to the family

Not So Amazing Things 2009:
1. Losing a few key clients on the freelance side of things
2. A few house problems (thankfully solved) - termites, broken water valve, etc.
3. Some things just not working out as I had hoped

Places I visited in 2009:
1. Yellowstone
2. The Grand Tetons
3. Moab, UT
4. Portland, OR and The Oregon Coast
5. Loveland/Colorado Springs, CO

Concerts I attended in 2009:
Honestly, I can't think of any. Wow. Seriously?

Realizations of 2009:
1. Sometimes even despite your best efforts, you just can't please everyone
2. Losing a client is not always a bad thing
3. LOST is one of the best shows on television and I'm kind of sad that we're gearing up for the final season. I watched seasons 1-5 this year and everything since then has been more or less a disappointment.
4. Michael Cera is not really an actor. He's the same in everything, which I'm pretty sure is himself and not even a character. Despite this, I still enjoy some/most (not sure) of his movies/tv.
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