Sunday, January 29, 2012


We had a terrarium-building day today!  Here is all you need to do.

Step 1.  Have your incredibly crafty, generous and gardening-loving sister organize materials. This may be tricky, unless you have an awesome sister like mine.

You will need: charcoal, pebbles, and soil, for the base,
 eye-catching glass jars, fish bowls, or Parmesan shakers,

 darling little greenery,

 handcrafted miniature penants,

and other assorted flair.
Step 2: Spread the charcoal, pebbles and soil in thin layers on the bottom of your chosen glassware.

 if you have very skinny hands you have a distinct advantage here.

Step 3: Arrange plants, shells, and flair in a pleasing display.

It helps if you and if you act like a mad scientist while doing so (also helpful: children's chopsticks).


Step 5:  Gaze lovingly at your completed terrarium. 

Step 6: Attempt to steal sisters' and friends' terrariums because they are cuter than yours.

Optional: Consume copious amounts of cheese, crackers, and cupcakes in between each step.  Recommended!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

this week in pictures

It was a VERY busy, but good, week!  

 saturday: breakfast at randy's

 sunday: pie crust

 monday: class poll: boy or girl?

 tuesday: my newest read

 wednesday: dreaming of maui

 thursday: our ultrasound! my class was right--it's a BOY!

friday: my revived jade saying, "spring is coming"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

my new table

Jamie got me a new table for making a breakfast nook near our kitchen. I use it all the time! It is this one from Ikea.

I didn't have patience to shop around thrift stores for a cool table, but I think I can hang with my ugly folding chairs until I find some awesome thrift store chairs. Help please? Anyone? Sisters/Cousins/Aunties . . . this means you.

Something like these, perhaps? :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

happiness is...

...fresh baked bread!Even if it IS from the bread machine. I did a Google search for "best bread machine bread" and found this recipe. I have to say that it turned out just as good as the reviews said it would! I followed one reviewer's advice and added an extra 1/2 teaspoon salt, with excellent results.

oh...the guilty pleasure of white bread...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

more quiet book pages

More Quiet Book pages to show you today!  This one was done except for attaching a few snaps (to my sadness I actually had to purchase more snaps...I was hoping to make the entire thing ONLY with existing items in my sewing room. Oh well):

It's a ferris wheel, can you tell?  Yeah probably not.  I thought it was too boring.  So I added some passengers on the ferris wheel!  Finished page:

And when you match the shapes...

And finally, count the birds on the fence:

I'm sorta out of ideas now.  Anyone?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

on my bookshelf...this summer

I read a bunch of excellent books this summer!

The Sixteen Pleasures : : Robert Hellenga
I read this book to get ready for my trip to Italy.  It made me excited to go there, drink wine, see art and old churches, meet an Italian man.... oh wait, scratch that last one. :)

The House at Riverton : : Kate Morton
This is the third book by Kate Morton I've read...and sadly, she has only published three!  I loved all three (the other two are The Forgotten Garden and The Distant Hours).  They are fantastic stories that span generations and involve unraveling mysteries...loved them!
**Also contributing to my love of this book is the fact that I read most of it on the beach in Italy........ah! memories!

Faithful Place : : Tana French
Another mystery, really well written (well, to my standards: it kept my attention). 

Brain Rules: : John Medina
So, in virtually EVERY grad school class I was hearing someone recommend this book, whether it was the instructor or my fellow students. If you are a nerd like me that is fascinated by how the brain works and why, you should read this book too!  Great for everyone, but a must-read for teachers.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks : : Rebecca Skloot
If you haven't heard of this book by now, which country have you been living in??  This was another one I'd heard recommended over and over.  For good reason!  It's the story of a woman whose cancer cells were taken without her consent...and were subsequently used in thousands of medical studies.  It's not too over-your-head with medical jargon, though.  Really interesting to read about her story and how it affected her family.

Italian Shoes : : Henning Mankell
This book was pretty dry, but worth slugging through.  It's the story of an old hermit living on a secluded island in Sweden, until several people come along to shake him out of his hermitude.  This was an audiobook, which is a good thing because you learn what all those Swedish names and places
are actually supposed so sound like!

Olive Kitteridge : : Elizabeth Strout
I like books where I really care about the main character. Olive Kitteridge is not a character I grew to love dearly, (she's a cranky old hag) but I found a soft spot in my heart for her by the end.  Especially because a bit of a crankerton lives inside me.  Would you guess? :)  Looking back, I should have read it when I had a solid chunk of three days of so to really get through it.  As it was, I started it after school began, so forcing me to read it 3-4 pages at a time (which is all I can get through on a school night before nodding off).

Plentiful summer reading!  Alas, school really puts the brakes on the reading schedule.  But never fear, I'm getting my winter "on my bookshelf" post ready...there are some real gems coming up!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

shhhh... it's a Quiet Book!

It started with a banana. This banana, in fact.

Why would I make a zippered banana? For a Quiet Book of course! A Quiet Book is, by definition, a book of quiet activities (usually made from fabric or felt--so much more quiet than paper) with which a little munchkin might practice such fine motor skills as zipping, buttoning, lacing, snapping and such cognitive skills as matching, counting, and recognizing shapes and letters. And here you thought I just really liked bananas!

So anyway, I'm not sure exactly when I made it, but I'm fairly positive that I still lived in my old apartment with my sissy, so that was at least 2 1/2 years ago! Who knows what inspired me to dig it out today and actually continue the project. But here is the finished page...

Hmmm... what is it? Well, unzip the banana...

...and make your own banana split!

I had so much fun making the Banana Split page that followed it up with a Button-the-Flower-on-the-Stem page:

Sooooo...two pages down, at LEAST 6 more to go, I'm hoping. Also hoping that subsequent pages will be finished and appear here in less than one year...but I can't make any promises.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

more snow day pics

It snowed all day here! Really tiny flakes, but still! Some pics from this afternoon after my walk to QFC...

front steps

2.5" since this morning (ok, not that impressive)

thank goodness for my new boots!

evidence of some critter on our back steps. probably some vile squirrel..

not-so-cozy hearth

believe it or not, we have been seeing a hummingbird at this feeder on and off for the past 2 days!

guess it's been awhile since our last backyard party.

chilly greenery

one of my neighbors trying to get her Akita to give her a tow... I don't think he quite understood.

pretty for now, I'm sure it will be gone tomorrow though!