Saturday, October 25, 2008

And the winners are. . . . Oh -- and a craft project!

The lucky winners of my lavender dryer sachets are Sophie and Keyomi! Yay! :) Just send your mailing address to me here, and I'll ship your new sachets to you next week.

I know this blog has been pretty sporadic lately. . . I do apologize! I'll have to give you a big update next week.

Until then, how about a weekend craft? Seriously, this will take you maybe fifteen minutes (for the first one.) And why did I say "first one?" Because these are completely addictive. . . and would make great Christmas ornaments, for those of you that like to make your own. (Sophie, I almost fainted when I saw this post in your blog! lol! Yours are SO adorable!)


I made these for a recent swap, and the birds are, from left to right, a blue bird, a robin (see the red breast? awwww. . .) and a cardinal from Texas (the bandanna fabric.)

I first saw these in my Design*Sponge newsletter, as a mobile -- I MUST make myself one! (And they used the most gorgeous fabrics ever!) My girls actually made several of these before I got a chance to make a single one -- that's how simple these are. Owen snatched one, and now it's his favorite chewing/teething toy! These are great for kids, decorating, ornaments. . . . so fun! To go directly to the pattern, click here, and download the pdf pattern from the left side bar. Happy crafting!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lots of goodies in the mail!

Oh, I am a lucky woman. First, my sweet friend, Sophie, sent me a fantastic gift last week. Some awesome quilted fabric, originally from South Africa, with a detour in Australia, and now, in my stash!
And tucked inside the fabric? A super-cute pattern book!

Can't you just see my youngest boy Monkeys wearing these??

Too, too cute. Thank you, Sophie! You have no idea how you brightened my day!

And a lot more goodies. . . .

A few days later, my Spotted Box prize arrived! It was heavier than I expected, and overflowing with neat samples:

I am now wishing I had written down a quick inventory, but my Monkeys (OK, I) tore into this so quickly, it just wasn't possible. There are a couple of items missing from the above picture -- an adorable ring that Monkey 5 claimed, and some delicious nut brittle and caramel fudge pecan turtles -- yum!

Here is a closeup of some of the goodies, without most of the packaging:

Hair clips, magnets, pins, nose wipes, cloth wipe, crochet embellishments (hi, Liz!), soy tart, cell phone charm, stitch marker, felt food, candle cover, decal, stationery and knitter's balm.

And a few more:

Buttons, crayon, play-doh, soaps, bath bomb, diaper pail deodorizing powder. . . . I hope I didn't leave anyone out!

I have to say that I was incredibly pleased with everything. The samples are all high-quality, and I can use almost everything. (And if I can't use something, I know of someone who can!) If you would like more info on these crafty, talented work-at-home moms, please check out the contributor directory for October's Spotted Box.

Our most recent adventure. . .

. . . took us to downtown Dallas, to the Nasher Sculpture Center. The museum is celebrating its anniversary by offering fun, free activities for the community. First, I have to show you our favorite sculpture:

This sculpture is by Jonathan Borofsky, one of my favorite sculptors. (I first saw one of his exhibits years ago (when I was in college) at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. These figures are all life-sized. The steel pole rises 150 feet into the air, at a 75 degree angle. This is so much more impressive in person, and my sorry pictures cannot do it justice.

The Monkeys first participated in a scavenger hunt, which they really enjoyed. Here we stopped for a moment by a beautiful fountain:

Monkey 5, tightly holding her clue sheet, was very serious about this hunt! Probably because once they found all the clues, they could turn in their sheet for a cool coloring book. Not just any coloring book, but a glossy-covered special edition coloring book that both the author and illustrator signed for each and every child! Here is Monkey 4 with his book, during our lunch break:

After lunch, we enjoyed some yummy punch, adorned with a Wolfgang Puck ice sculpture.

This cool sculpture was nearby:

Next, some of the Monkeys took advantage of sketching on the terrace. . . .

Monkey 4:

Monkey 5:


Monkey 3, on the far right:

(That's Monkey 2 on the left, then Owen, then my sweet sister!)

Meanwhile, Monkeys 6 and 7 were decorating quilt squares to be attached to the community quilt:

Monkey 6:

Monkey 7:

And the rest joined in:

It was such a perfect, exhausting, lovely day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

So, what's new with you? Plus a giveaway!

I'm so glad you asked!

To celebrate this sweet little milestone, I'd like to give away a set of my lavender dryer sachets to TWO lucky readers! But there's a catch -- we all want to hear what's new with you!

So just leave a comment, and tell us about something new, and I'll draw two names one week from tonight. Tell your friends, too!

Oh -- and this morning. . . .

A sweet lady from Simply Sentimental: The Blog featured my dryer sachets today! Thanks, Sydnei! (You might want to check out her Etsy shop, too. . . . these bird tags are so cute!)

We're planning a trip to the Nasher Sculpture Center tomorrow -- so excited! I'll be back tomorrow night to tell you all about it. Plus, I have some cool new fabric to show you, and maybe even the goodies I received from The Spotted Box! Lots to show and tell. . . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Best of the Box -- Me! And a reminder. . .

How exciting! My lavender dryer sachets have been chosen for The Spotted Box's "Best of the Box" award for October! Yay!

I even get a special page for this month. Come and see! My prize is a Spotted Box of my very own. . . . I can hardly wait until it arrives! I'll be sure to post pics of what's inside, too.

OH, and just a reminder. . . .

If you're interested in purchasing a Spotted Box for yourself, be ready to pounce on one around noon ET. These boxes sell out within minutes. You can purchase one here or here.

Pumpkin scones = love

You gotta try these. They're the new fave in the ReFabulous household.

But are you lazy like me? Then you may want to take a few of the shortcuts I did. . . .

  • The recipe tells you to put this bowl or that ingredient in the freezer or refrigerator. If you have lots of time to do that, great. I didn't do any of that, and our scones turned out great.
  • I never buy cake flour, so I just used all-purpose flour. Just remember to pour your flour into your measuring cup -- never scoop it. My cook book also says to subtract 2 tablespoons of flour per cup of all-purpose to substitute for cake flour -- I didn't mess with that, either.
  • I always double my spices!
  • The recipe calls for butter. . . . I didn't have any on hand. I just used margarine (not spread!) and I softened it in the microwave.
  • Heavy cream? Never. I just used sweetened condensed milk and omitted the brown sugar. Then, I added water to get the correct consistency of the dough.
I first made a double batch, and we loved them so much, we made another double batch. These 4 regular batches used up an entire can of both the condensed milk and the pumpkin. I like that it finished those cans, so no little straggling ingredients had to be put up or wasted. I know that sounds like a lot of scones, but you can always freeze unfrosted scones for later. . . if you have any left over for later!

I'll try to take some photos next time I make these. Gotta be quick around here!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My recent thrift store find

I just love this whale cutting board. Lots of scars. . . . lots of meals prepped for hungry loved ones. . . . lots of conversations overheard. Now, he's just going to eavesdrop from his new perch on my hutch.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The natural progession of things



We had every intention of letterboxing today. Didn't happen. But we did get to spend some time with my sweet nephew, and enjoyed the remains of a lovely afternoon. Yes, those two on the end always greet each other like that (like little bear cubs wrestling,) and no, it does not matter where we are when they meet. Mud, dirt, shopping malls, restaurants, wedding receptions. . . . it's all fair game.
I love it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pincushions, and our homemade laundry detergent

Keyomi, you're so sweet! Thank you for your concern. We have been sick lately -- 7 of the 8 Monkeys came down with something. . . even baby Owen! Owen is also teething, so it's been real fun around here lately.

I have crafted a few small projects. I managed to stitch this order of pincushions when I wasn't rocking sick babies, and while enduring another bout of insomnia. I guess 2 dozen pincushions isn't really a small project, but it took me two weeks to complete it!

I've been on another poppy kick:

The other day I wanted an autumn hair clip, so I whipped this one up in just a few minutes:

Yikes! This photo really highlights my gray!!! I'm trying not to worry about that. Really. I consider myself lucky to have kept my color this long, as premature graying runs in our family. My grandpa was completely gray by 20, and my aunts had gray hair for as long as I can remember. . . and they aren't that old. Sigh.

Oh! I have to tell you about our recent laundry escapade!

Our normal laundry detergent suddenly stopped working last week. Just stopped. I am guessing that it is build-up or something. . . I don't know. What I do know is that our clothes weren't getting clean, and they stunk.

My friend Cathie, of SweetWolf fame, told me about this fantastic homemade laundry soap she discovered! It was awesome timing, and funny, too -- because my dad had just forwarded me the same website. It was meant to be.

Cathie tried the liquid soap recipe, and said it worked great on their clothes. Very low suds, and if you want a scented soap, you can add whatever essential oils you want to the mix.

I decided to try the dry recipe (at the bottom of this page.)

This recipe recommends using Fels Naptha soap, but I had found other recipes that said you can substitute other soaps and still have great results. Zote is readily available on the laundry aisle in our local stores, so I used that. (And it was only $.97!) The borax was also available there for about $3. I could not find the washing soda anywhere, so I ordered it online from drugstore.com. It was on sale at the time, and had free shipping, so it was the cheapest option at the time -- $4.99 per box. I also bought some biokleen cleaner for a laundry booster and other green cleaning jobs.

One of my older monkeys grated the soap for me, and then we let it dry out for a day or two. Next, we grated it in a cheap blender (that we use for non-food items) and mixed it with the washing soda and borax. Easy, quick, and green.

But how does it work? AMAAAZING! Our clothes smell so fresh, and they are getting clean. You do have to start running the water in your machine first, then add the soap (I use about 3 tablespoons because we have large, dirty loads) and let it dissolve a second or two before adding the clothes. When I have a load of laundry with a lot of protein-based stains (think kids,) I use a squirt of the biokleen to help break those down. I love this recipe, and we'll be using this for a long time. (Thanks, Cathie!)