Friday, February 26, 2010

Garden Dreams

In long, cold, February, the new garden catalogs start to arrive, and I find myself thinking all sorts of impossible things.

"I could grow asparagus, and broccoli, and yellow beans, and sugar snap peas, and green beans, and squash and zucchini...and fruit trees! And berries! And we'll have a flower bed here..."

When we all know that I'm a marginal gardener at best. Possibly improving a teensy bit each year. Come Spring we'll find out what actually made it through the winter. I'm a little worried about the trees, and the bushes I planted in front of the house, and the ornamental grass I got for my birthday and already replaced once. (The local garden store will give you another one, even if you kill it.)

But for now, I'm feeling optimistic, and making plans...have any of you started anything from seed? How'd it go? And do you have a good gardening blog recommendation? Just someone to inspire me a little, give me some hints.

Most of all, when the garden catalogs come in the mail and the snow is swirling outside, I think of this: (From "Emily Climbs" by L.M. Montgomery)

"I love a storm like this at night when I don't have to go out in it," wrote Emily. "Cousin Jimmy and I had a splendid evening planning out our garden and choosing our seeds and plants in the catalogue. Just where the biggest drift is making, behind the summer-house, we are going to have a bed of pink asters, and we are going to give the Golden Ones – who are dreaming under four feet of snow – a background of flowering almond. I love to plan out summer days like this, in the midst of a storm. It makes me feel as if I were winning a victory over something ever so much bigger than myself, just because I have a brain and the storm is nothing but blind, white force – terrible, but blind. I have the same feeling when I sit here cosily by my own dear fire, and hear it raging all around me, and laugh at it. And that is just because over a hundred years ago great-great-grandfather Murray built this house and built it well. I wonder if, a hundred years from now, anybody will win a victory over anything because of something I left or did. It is an inspiring thought.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A totally new project

I had the idea to make this way back in June.

Finally I got some dimensions and got to work. I carefully chose fabric (of course choosing one piece that was just BARELY big enough, and then having trouble with that choice) and then quilted it.
I used some narrow seam binding (a first!) and put in a button hole (another first!). I love this lining.

Can you guess what it is?A thank you to Chelsea's Jim, who took such good care of us while Chels was working.

I'm really hoping it fits. It was a super fun project.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Handel's Birthday

Heard this weekend on Sunday Baroque (one of my favorite things about Sunday morning) that today is Handel's Birthday! (1685-1759)

(pic from wikipedia)

He's one of my favorites.

Matthew played some pieces from Water Music on Mother's Day, right before Anna was born. She kicked up a storm during "Alla Hornpipe", so I think it must be one of her favorites too. :)

Happy Handel's Birthday!

Monday, February 22, 2010


When Matthew is out of town, Anna and I like to make up our own fun things to eat that Daddy doesn't like. When he was gone in January, we made this frittata with spinach and tomatoes and yellow squash and mushrooms and egg whites and eggs and a little cheese. Frittatas are my new favorite thing. You just cut up everything, mix it all together (except the cheese), and then cook it on low heat in the skillet (I put a lid on it). Then I sprinkled some cheese on top threw it in the oven at 500 for a little while. That's it! We loved it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Engagement Photos 2

I love this series. Congratulations Beau and Hailey!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Engagement Photos

Way back on New Year's Eve Matthew and I got to take some Engagement photos for two of Susan's dear friends.

I love these two people.

We had a wonderful time taking pictures.

And I think Matthew did a fantastic job.

How can you help but smile?

A few more tomorrow, I can't resist.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

I spent a long time looking for something else, but nothing is as good as this. Let's watch it again.

I'm limiting my internet time for Lent; no facebook and no craft blogs. I feel kind of crazy when I think about not looking at craft blogs, which I figure is a clue it's a good sacrifice. I'm also going to attempt to quit hitting "snooze" and use that time for a little prayer. I say 'attempt' because asleep Betsy doesn't always do what awake Betsy wants her to. Wish me luck.

What are you doing this year?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anna's Blog

One day when I was sewing and Matthew was reading, Anna asked if she could use the camera. Sure thing! Here's what she recorded.
Mr. and Mrs. Frog
Her door decoration.

Her latest coloring on the fridge.

And a windsock made in school.

She also took a video! (it's short)

Monday, February 15, 2010

15 years!

In honor of 15 years of being Matthew's girl, I'm re-posting our adorable video.

Maybe we'll go to Wendy's tonight...back to where it all began. :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine Portraits

One of my favorite personal traditions is taking Valentines Day Portraits of Anna. Last year
I got some beautiful pictures, so I was half excited, half nervous, when it was time to try again.

This was the first shot of the day. She was really into this pose.

It was tricky, because she has this funny fake smile right now, so I had to keep her talking in order to avoid it.

Towards the end she realized we hadn't taken any in a crown! *gasp*

I don't know why she had her hands above her head, and I don't know how I caught a moment where she's looking at the camera and not making a strange face. I love this one, though it seems a little "model"-y.

And this one is probably my favorite. A real face. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The nice thing about Anna having a tiny class this year is that I can be a little crazy.

We made barrettes for the girls in her class (4). She drew the hearts and then I cut them out.

and then we slid hair clips into them and hot glued a smaller heart on top. Easy Peasy. (You can see stitches on this one, it's before I thought of hot glue).

For the boys (7), we made bean bags out of some animal print felt I had in the basement. Why do I have animal print felt? I'm not certain. I think it was a hand-me-down.

Then we made little cards. I had some blank pink cards (Super Clearance at Target...5 years ago?) so she just wrote "Happy *heart* Day" on the top and we taped a picture (of her choosing) to the front. On the inside, stickers and her name. We taped the barrettes inside for the girls.

It was really fun, but I don't know that I can keep it up if she has a class of 24 next year.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little Hearts

I feel like I'm never on top of things enough to have time to make all of the holiday gifts and things that I would like to. I need to remember Valentines Day way back in the beginning of January, because there are so many fun things to do. And they all involve pink. Here are a couple of the teensy things we've been whipping out.

A little door hanger made from the scraps of a project. (you'll see it just as soon as I know it's been received).
And a little pin made from more scraps of scraps.
These bits of polyester are scraps from a quilt I made Anna before she was born, from fabric I got at Goodwill, probably the extra bits from someone else's project. I love it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Resolution breaking

Remember how I'm not supposed to buy any new crafting things?

One trip to Goodwill = one pretty old sheet, two pretty pillowcases, and this sweet canvas fabric with barns and dancing folk people.

I figure, as long as I use it this year for something, it'll be OK. :)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Anna sings "Amarillo, amarillo..."

People always ask if I'm teaching Anna Spanish...

Here's what she's got:

Really, it's enough for me. It's spontaneous, creative language production, which is one of the things I'm always shooting for with the kids because it closely mimics the patterns of learning in the first language. (gobbledegook?)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Tea Party!

One Friday in January, Anna came in to the kitchen, dressed in a floor length gown, (as usual) and suggested we have a tea party. That seemed like a good idea, so we did. (Before you think too highly of me, I was ironing curtains, and who doesn't want to quit ironing curtains, if given the opportunity?)We used my pretty pink dishes.
We had Cheese and Crackers, cut "fancy", and Choco-Banana Pocky...very elegant.
And "Hors d'oeuvres"
This is something my Grandma Madge used to make for me, when we had "fancy" snacks together. Saltines, cream cheese, and sweet pickle. It's always been one of my favorite treats. These had a little too much sweet pickle, and I used relish because it was quicker, but I think it's better how she made it, with very thin slices of tiny sweet pickles.

We had a lovely time.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Cocoa Dolce

Matthew went on his "guys weekend" a couple of weeks ago and brought me a little box of chocolates back.
It came with this little freshness stamp, which was good, because sometimes I hoard things until they're not good anymore.

We have been having the best time, sharing one each night. (Seems much less expensive, spread over 9 days!)

We started with Irish Cream, and we've been eating right to left, in a nice orderly fashion.

It's practically impossible to pick a favorite, but maybe I can say... Glenmorangie Simgle Malt Sherry Wood Scotch. (The fleur de lis)

Highly recommended--and made in Kansas!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fear the Beard

I'll admit it, I've got no experience being a basketball fan. I didn't go to the games when I was in school, and I know that I was a terrible fan and all that. I'm sorry. I think it would have helped if the basketball players had been a little nicer in the weight room, but that's my only teeny defense, and I know it's feeble.

So, fine. Now I'm learning to be a fan and we're doing well and I know that's sort of bandwagon-y, but they're my team, and I'm happy to support them.

So anyhoo- it's the year of the beard. That's something I can definitely get involved in.

Here we are, in beards made from a fulled wool sweater, with a lining of flannel to help with the itchiness.

Go 'Cats! (And have you read Matthew's post about Frank Martin? Best Post Ever.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Calendar Project

This year none of us got Calendars for Christmas, so I got to thinking.
I had 5 or 6 old calendars in the basement that I couldn't throw away, because the pictures were so pretty. I knew, someday, I'd think of something...
So we cut them apart.
Printed new pages to paste over the old ones,
And then put them back together, all mixed up. So one month you have roses, and the next month you have Snoopy.
Then we punched them and bound them with the Bind-it-all! We made 6 new calendars in all. It was a fun project. Anna especially enjoyed choosing who would get which picture for each month. "This one for Papa, because it's funny. Susan would like this one..."
And we used up something in the basement!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Organize Now!

I picked up the book Organize now! a couple of weeks ago. I thought it looked like fun. Is that strange?

(pic from

I am having a really good time with it. It goes one week at a time through life, organizing little bits at a time. In January we were "organizing myself", getting all set up with a planner and a cleaning schedule and lists, all things that I love.

Remember when I was asking what sorts of things you're supposed to do to your house, other than the regular cleaning and tidying? I finally looked online and made up a list, and I'm going to do one bigish task each month. Some of these things Better Homes and Gardens thought I should do monthly, but if I haven't washed the windows in 5 years, it doesn't seem like something that I need to do every month. :)

Here's my annual list:

January: Wash Curtains
February: Deep Clean Carpets
March: Medicine Cabinets
April: Pantry
May: Windows
June: Fridge and Freezer
July: Rotate and Flip Mattresses
August: Check Batteries
September: Wash baseboards
October: Light Fixtures
November: Vacuum upholstery/wash slipcovers
(Don't judge me for never doing these things.)

Next month we're going to be organizing my papers. I've had "buy a fireproof box" on my mental list for years, and it's one of the tasks in the first week of February. Very exciting.