Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ring in the new...

How fitting is it to have my 100th post coincide with the new year? Very fitting if I do say so myself!

I'll stray from my usual bland posts about sewing and knitting and wee ones just this once. I'm sure my one reader won't mind. Here's a bit of my 2010 in review:

  • In January 2010 we started the long, stressful, fun, scary process of relocating from Ohio to Texas.
  • In February we celebrated our sixth anniversary. I'm still totally in love with him.
  • In March our daughter turned 2 and our Ohio house went on the market.
  • In April our fourth child, Matthew, was born. I had no idea how silly he would be. I celebrated my 32nd birthday even though I still feel like a teenager. An offer was made on our Ohio house.
  • In May all was calm. Then came the storm...
  • In June we sold our home and bought a new one in Texas. My aunt passed away a week before we moved from Ohio. My mother passed away a week after we moved to Texas.
  • In July I moved into my new home and buried my mother two days later and had a birthday party for my four year old son two days after that. My best friend from childhood called me when he heard about my mother. I didn't recognize his voice and that saddened me.
  • In August my oldest son started Kindergarten.
  • In September I rested.
  • In October we trick or treated with our family. My sweet celebrated his 39th birthday.
  • In November my first born turned 6. I made him a cake and hugged him a lot.
  • In December my King celebrated his birthday. We helped him celebrate by baking lots of cookies and spending time together.
How do I feel about 2010? In a word, happy. I know it's a strange word to use when the year seems to have been so full of stress and heartache. But I do really feel happy. I'm happy to be living near my family, so the stressful move was worth it. I'm sad that my mother and aunt passed away because I miss them dearly. But I'm happy because they are no longer sick. And mostly I'm happy for all the little things that happened in 2010...the morning snuggles, the giggles, the countless board games and games of hide and seek, seeing my kids getting better at reading and writing, seeing the baby smile for the first time or roll over for the first time, walking the silly dog, playing World of Warcraft with the husband, date nights, the final Harry Potter movie, my morning cup of coffee, my afternoon cup of tea, I could go on...

What do I want in 2011? More little things. It's in those little things or little moments that I find happiness. I don't want to spend my time chasing after things that I think will make me happy. I want to sit back and notice all the things that do make me happy.

Happy New Year to all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some Christmas Sweets

I went out to do some late night shopping (along with everyone else in the city). As I was piling food in my cart for multiple gatherings, I stopped to look around at all the people in the store. It was very sweet to see a few young couples celebrating their first Christmas together and a few older couples who have done this Christmas thing many years but still enjoy every minute of it.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Here are a few (ok a lot) of pictures of some of our Christmas traditions... Our Advent Calendar (each day is a little book that tells the story of Christmas) lined with some porcelin angels that my mom used to decorate with.
Liam's first ornament.
Jack's first ornament.
Matilda's first ornament.
Matthew's first ornament.
One of my mom's old ornaments.
Some more of my mom's ornaments. I vividly remember taking these off the tree and playing with them. The polar bear is a candle.

Another of my mom's. This was one of my favorites as a kid.
Lining baby Jesus' crib with good deeds. The kids get to put a piece of "straw" in for every good deed they do. The more good deeds, the softer Jesus' crib will be when he arrives Christmas day.
Our Advent wreath. It's small and humble. We bought it our first Christmas together when we didn't have much money. I haven't replaced it and don't know if I ever will.
That cranberry garland took a while to make, but I kinda like it! And the Santa all the way to the left hold Christmas cards and candy canes. This is another thing I remember playing with as a child. And of course our Nativity is on the mantle so the kids can see it every day.
And here's a tiny new addition to our Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It's been around a month since I posted so...hi. I'm tired now, but I'll be back to give you some blog lovin' tomorrow. I've been taking some pictures for just such an occasion.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Legend of Zelda Birthday Party

Treasure chests filled with rupees, Link candy dispensers, and pieces of Triforce combined with...
a Hylian Shield birthday cake (with lots and lots of icing that turns little kids' mouths blue) along with...
the Triforce pieces making a map when put together that leads to...
a Ganon Pinata filled with candy and ready be be bashed apart by the Master Sword makes for one...
fun party with family and friends for one...
very happy little six year old.

***Post edit on March 16, 2012 I notice that I still get a lot of view on this one post. I love that people like my party ideas, so please feel free to use them for the Zelda lover in your life! If you want more nerd craft love, check out my new-ish blog Humble Dwelling.***

More pictures here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mario and Luigi costume tutorial

Items needed: one sheet each of white, red, green, and brown felt; elastic cord; scissors; red newsboy hat; green newsboy hat (purchased here); sewing machine and thread; overalls, red and green shirts
Cut two "domes" out of the white felt. I held the felt up to the hat to gauge what size I would need to cut it, then I folded the felt in half and cut half the dome on the fold so the sides would be even. You could also do a circle instead of a dome if desired.
Cut an M out of the red felt and center it on the white felt. Sew it on to the white felt. I used red thread to blend in with the felt.
Cut an L out of the green felt and center it on the dome. Sew it on using green thread.
Next, pin the M onto the hat. Carefully sew it to the hat. I found that using lots of pins to hold the M in place helped.

Repeat the pinning and sewing with the L hat.
TaaDaa! The hard part of the costume is done!
Now we're ready for moustaches! Cut the moustaches from the brown felt. I measured my kids' faces to see how big of a moustache I'd need to cut. For my kids, I needed one approximately 3 inches long and 1 inch high. For Luigi, cut a moustache shaped like the one above.
Then poke holes on the sides and tie the elastic cord onto it.
Mario's moustache is slightly different than Luigi's as can be seen in the picture above.
Finally, get a plain green shirt, a plain red shirt (I got both at Target for $5 each) and some overalls. Throw in a Princess Peach and you have a Nintendo Halloween! These costumes have made their way into our dress up trunk and are still used a lot!

mi familia

Saturday, November 6, 2010


the day when my husband is here to help change diapers and kiss boo-boos
the day when I can get some cleaning done
the day when I can get a few uninterrupted hours in front of the sewing machine
the day when I can make the party favors and pinata for the birthday party next week
the day when the whole family can go to the park together
at least that's what my Friday night imagination is telling me
then it turns into
a day when my four year old crawls into bed at 5 am and vomits everywhere
a day I spend comforting him
a day I spend watching Toy Story 1, 2 and 3 just to keep him still so he can heal
a day when my super hero husband washed the knee deep sheets, towels, and blankets known as the "vomit pile"
a day when I take my tired and whiny 2 year old to grocery shop because I know she loves it so much
a day when I push a full grocery basket while holding a sleeping 2 year old
a day when I pray the three other kids don't get sick
a day when I smile because the sick kid says he's not sick anymore just so he can help me clean the bathroom
a day when I snuggle on the couch with the littles to read them as many books as they want

I prefer my real day to my imaginary day any day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

obligatory halloween post

Mario, Luigi and Princess peach prepare to set out.
The little pumpkin obviously borrowed Princess Peach's crown.
Returning home after filling up their candy buckets.
OK, so this isn't so Halloween-y. We threw a surprise party for the husband. I let the kids decorate the cake.
They also chose to put 39 candles on the cake instead of the boring #3 candle and #9 candle.

Sorry about the oh so boring post, but this mama is tired! I have been mulling over a few posts on crafting vs. art, feminism and a promised Mario and Luigi costume stay tuned!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

busy bees!

Between sickness, family pictures, Renaissance Fairs, getting put in jail and elephant riding, we've been busy little bees! But the end of busy-ness is in sight! We have costumes ready for Halloween. Now we just need to make all the good food for the trick or treating party!
Then I'm going to wrap up all the projects I have going and start on my handmade Christmas!! I'll keep everyone updated on what's knitting and sewing at the Jones house.
Look here for a Mario/Luigi costume tutorial in a few days.

Friday, October 15, 2010

getting there...

I love seeing my sewing queue dwindle down! I finally finished this jump rope dress just in time for family picture day next week. I used fabric from Heather Ross' Far Far Away II collection. I love the way it turned out.
This dress probably isn't great for beginners to tackle, but if you're pretty comfortable in front of a machine, give it a go!

lots o' laundry

I have four kids and a husband. One of those kids is a wee one who spits up on everything. The other three kids are, well, kids who are capable of getting their clothes really, really dirty. And the husband runs a lot therefore produces sweaty clothes. That's a lot of laundry folks. I could do a load a day and still not be caught up. That's also a lot of laundry detergent, which as most of you know can get expensive. Instead of telling the kids they can either go to college or have clean clothes, not both, I decided to try to make my own laundry detergent. I tried many different recipes and finally settled on one that I'll share with you.

1 cup Borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda
1 bar Castile soap

Grate the bar of soap and mix it with the Borax and Super Washing Soda. Put in a sealed container to store when not in use. Use 2 tablespoons for a large load.

If you want no additives at all, you can use a bar of Fels Naptha (but grate only about 1/2 of the bar) or Ivory soap. You can find all these items in the laundry aisle of your grocery store, except the Castile soap is usually in the "natural" section or body soap aisle. If not, you can order online from a number of retailers or ask your grocery store manager to stock it.

The great thing about this detergent is you can change it to fit your needs (fragrance, no fragrance etc). And it is super, super cheap!! One batch goes a long way. You can double or triple the recipe to make it last a long time. Another trick is to add vinegar to a downy ball and put it in the wash. The vinegar rinses all the soap out after washing. If there is soap left in the clothes, it tends to attract dirt and weakens the fiber of the clothing.

For those of you with HE washers, I think it works well. I don't have and HE, but if someone wants to buy one for me so I can test it out, you are very welcome to.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the fun of fall!!

Did you know that before pumpkins, turnips used to be used as jack-o-lanterns? Says so on Wikipedia so it must be true! (Check out the picture of the Irish jack o lantern on that page...freaking scary!) Anyway, I brought some pumpkins and a turnip to my sister's house to carve with her minions. I love the way my little turnip turned out! I plan on making a few more and hanging them with twine on the front yard tree. They look extra spooky when lit.

I used a melon baller to gut him. It worked really well. To keep turnips and jack o lanterns to last a bit longer, I hear soaking them in bleach for 8 hours then drying them out helps to keep mold away. But make sure you get all the bleach out and not let it pool at the bottom, or rot will set in.
Another great thing about fall is the squash that comes with it! This here is South American Ragout cooked inside of acorn squash. I got the recipe from this month's Vegetarian Times. It tasted even better than it looks!
And last but not least, a fall dress for the little lady. This is the Ice Cream Dress from Oliver and S made with my very last yard of mermaids from Heather Ross. If you're new to sewing or want to start, try this pattern. It's easy and sews up quickly.

Friday, October 1, 2010

spooky fail (but an awesome giveaway, yay!)

So the first day of my spooky craft every day until Halloween didn't happen today! Oops. This morning was a home school morning and by the afternoon, I had a sick kid to take care of. There's always tomorrow.

On a good note, there's a giveaway for this gorgeous necklace over at No Biggie. I want!

Thursday, September 30, 2010


It's almost Halloween!!! OK, we have about a month to go, but I can still get excited!! I love this time of year...the candy, the ghouls, the candy, the witches and did I mention candy?
Well this year I've decided to do one spooky craft with the kids a day. So craft along with me. It doesn't have to be huge, just fun! I'll post all the crafts (when I remember) that we do.

The pictures up there are from last Halloween. It's amazing how much the kids have grown since then! I'm working on their costumes (you'll notice last year was store bought/hand me down. I was super pregnant at the time so give me a break!) They are some super excited kids! Spook you later!

Friday, September 24, 2010

overdue diaper bag

My friend Sarah saw my diaper bag on the floor in my dad's living room. She asked everyone in the house who the "diaper bag that doesn't fall over" belonged to. I then promised to make her one also...that was almost three months ago. I'm embarrassed that it took me so long to sew, but we all get carried away in the stream of life sometimes and things get pushed aside.

Well, I'm happy to say it's finally done! I used fabric from Lizzy House's Red Letter Day line. The pattern is the Everything Bag in Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones.

***If you don't sew, you can ignore the next part or read and be bored!***

I'm not going to do a full pattern review, but I will say that it was pretty easy to sew up. The longest part was putting all the interface and fusible fleece on. I've made three of these bags so far and not found any errors in the pattern instructions. The only thing I don't like about the bag is that the divider is not attached at the bottom, so I may try to change that next time I sew it.

Oh and please excuse the poor lighting in that picture (and the messy desk).

Friday, September 10, 2010

jump rope dress

I made this dress from and Oliver and S pattern (the jump rope dress). I used fabric from Lizzy House's Red Letter Day line.
I loved the pattern since the collar was so easy and came out great! I think I'll make one other version of this dress then on to sewing some boy clothes!

It's official!

Ian is officially part of the family! This little cutie's adoption was finalized this morning!
Here's the now officially formed Nordin family! Congrats Evelyn, Kim and Ian!!