My 3 Monsters: October 2010

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Sick to My Stomach, But NOT Morning Sick

I awoke a couple of mornings ago from one of the most wretched dreams I have ever dreamed.  It was SO REAL that it has taken me this long to completely convince myself that it was, in fact, unreal.  I dreamed that both of my boys were grown and had joined the military and gone to Afghanistan.  That scared me enough, but there's more.  I was pregnant.  My youngest was old enough to be in Afghanistan, and I was having another baby.  That would make me, what? Forty seven.  At least.  Starting what would be, for all practical purposes, a second family.  Holy nightmare!


Works in Progress

 Windows are too hard to photograph.  Really my house if bright and airy -- absolutely full of light.  We have seven huge windows in a 700 square foot area.  These pictures make it look awfully dark.  Boo.  But you get the idea.  I'm really liking the super-simple window treatments.  I was feeling like my house was looking so cluttered and chaotic, but by paring down the accessories and adding curtains that don't draw attention to themselves it feels so calm.  Visually calm, that is.  Things are still pretty chaotic around here, but at least my home decor isn't pushing it all over the top.
 Love this yellow plaid fabric!!!  $3 a yard!!
This is my project du jour.  I picked this old dresser up a while back for $10 at a thrift store. Brent sanded it down and I'm painting it the same antiqued Mermaid blue (turquoise) as the coffee table and adding cool knobs -- glass, I think. I'm also beefing up the moulding and adding a new top.  This will sit in the dining room (right behind our front door) and serve as a catch-all for homework, library books, insulin pump supplies and various and sundry personal effects that don't really have a home of their own.  Each child will have a drawer for their shtuff and I will use the top two drawers for the medical supplies.  It's taller and thinner than the dresser we are currently using so the dining area will feel more open (in theory).  It also has more drawers so we won't end up with so much junk piled on top (again, in theory).  So, theoretically, our home will feel even more calm.  Yeah, right!  A mom can dream, though.


Check Me Out!

So, today I have a "get to know you" interview featured on the Amys in the Arts blog.  It's kinda' fun.  My kids think I'm famous -- I had a book published (one copy, just for me), I own a store (online, tiny), and now I've been interviewed!!  They're so easily impressed.  Pop on over there and find out some of my deepest, darkest secrets.  Ooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeoooooooooooo.  {eerie music}  Starting Sunday they're going to be running a Nine Weeks of Amy promotion with a  giveaway from a different Amy's store each week from now until New Year.  (Mine will be running November 7th -13th!)  There are lots of cool Amys who make lots of fun stuff!  You'll want to bookmark it and check back often in the coming weeks.

Anyhow, I got some fabric last week to make new curtains for my living and dining rooms for $3 a yard.  I've been looking at different options for about a year now and have never been able to commit to anything.  Every option was either too expensive or too . . . not quite right.  But when I saw this fabric I knew it was *the one*.  The exact same shade of yellow as my walls with a subtle black and white plaid pattern woven through it.  I was almost afraid to look at the price.  It was $6 a yard on clearance and Jo Ann was running a 50% off sale on their clearance fabric.  Yes, please!  I brought home 13 yards and have been sewing all weekend.  Now I'm moving the curtain rods and I'll post photos as soon as I'm done.  It is the perfect, subtle, cottage-y finish for the room.  Awesome!!!


Field Tripping

Yesterday I went with D's class out to Tumbleweed Ranch to learn what life was like 100 years ago in our city.  They had an old Sears and Roebuck house (similar to this one, but not as fancy) on site that they had moved from a location about six miles away and fully restored to it's original condition.  It was fascinating to walk through the tiny little 3 bedroom house (with no indoor plumbing) and imagine the family with nine kids who had built it and lived there.  I don't know if the kids really appreciated how cool it was.  We walked in the front door and D said, "Hey mom, this house is bigger than ours, isn't it?"  Ummmmmm, no.  But ours doesn't beat it by much.  Dylan was excited to learn that kids played with Lincoln Logs back in the day.  He still has a set here at home and he LOVES to build stuff.  The other boys in our group were quite impressed with his fort.  The weather was perfect, the tour entertaining, and they all got a Life Saver from the lady who "owned" the general store.  So, yeah, it was a good day.



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In Which We Wake Up in the Dark

It's getting to be that time of year . . .It gets dark earlier.  It stays dark later.  And it is sooooo much harder to get out of bed when it is still dark and cold.  (Yes, 60 degrees feels cold here.)  Yesterday, the first day back to school after fall break was especially difficult.  Ri came downstairs and asked, "Is it supposed to be this dark when we wake up?"  His sister stumbled down a few minutes later and said, "I'll pay you $20 if you just let us go back to bed."  And man, that was a tempting offer.


One of the Few Things I Love About Facebook

I'm not a super big Facebook fan.  I rarely go on there.  I write this blog.  I read other blogs.  That's what I do to stay connected.  But I LOVE the e-mail I get from Facebook once a week or so reminding me of my friends who are having birthdays.  Sometimes I need a reminder, and let's face it, the older we get the less likely we are to remind people we have ANOTHER birthday approaching.  Yesterday when i checked my e-mail and found a ton of birthday messages that people had left on my Facebook wall, I was thrilled.  It's just nice to be remembered.  I'm simple like that.

It's also super nice to have your husband stay home from work, entertain the children all morning, get you some yummy breakfast when you drag yourself out of bed at 9:00 to grace the family with your presence, and THEN spend the next several hours doing all the yucky household chores that you have been putting off for months.  The ledges and ceiling fans in my living room are finally dusted.  That may well be the best birthday present I've ever got.


The Big 3-7!

So, today is my birthday.  Yay me!  I don't really have much to say about that.

In honor of my 37th year on this earth, I am holding a ONE DAY ONLY sale in my Etsy shop.  Every item is currently 37% off.  I've just listed some fun notebook and planner covers made from vintage books and I'm working on listing some super cute onesies too.

Thanks for putting up with my "used car salesman" commercial.  We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.


An Interesting Turn of the Tables

Our dog is naughty.  We love her, but she is naughty.  No two ways about it.  When she gets a little too feisty, the kids will open the front door and yell at her to go outside.  Just often enough to make them feel like it's an effective punishment, she obliges them, but probably only when she was planning to go outside anyway.  If dogs can actually plan things.  Which I'm pretty sure Cassie can because here's her fun new trick:  If she doesn't like the way we're acting or to punish us for some perceived injustice such as sitting in "her" spot (which is pretty much the entirety of both couches) she tries to put us out.  Oh, I'm being totally serious here.  She'll go stand in front of the door and look at us, which is how she has trained us to let her outside.  When one of us goes over and opens the door, she'll back up, crouch down and bark.  If the person steps out the door, she stands up and stops barking.  Step back in and she's back on the offensive.   NO JOKE!  We laugh and laugh every time this happens (daily).  She's a naughty little brat . . . and we love her all the more for it.  Sometimes I fear that we have ruined her by letting her get away with that sass.  Maybe no one else would have her, but she's ours and she fits right in here.  And, really, why should we raise our puppy any different than our children?! 

(For the record, our children are all very nice, mostly polite, well adjusted children in public.  Sure, they get a bit sassy at home, but laughing at that ridiculous behavior seems to get much better results than yelling.  I truly believe it helps them to see the absurdity of that kind of attitude when we respond with amusement rather than anger.  But this is a post about my crazy dog, not my philosophy on parenting.  The end.)


Fall Break

"If there were no schools to take the children away part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers."        -Edgar W. Howe

Truer words ne'er were spoke.  I love my kids, I really do.  Really. Those sweet, sweet, adorable, beautiful children so full of wonderment and vitality.  Please ignore the odd facial tick I have developed this week and go about your business. There's nothing to see here.  Just me.  Loving my precious, bless-ed children.  All.  (The everloving) Day.  Long.



So, here's a great deal to check out, what with gift-giving season quickly approaching.  Canvas People is offering $55 off any gallery wrapped canvas photo print.  That makes an 8x10 print FREE!!!  You just pay shipping. I paid the extra $9.99 to upgrade to an 11x14 because I made a $90 sale in my shop today and I feel rich.  (Whatever. With this $90 sale I finally broke even on this business venture.  Does that make this "Black Tuesday" for me?  Hopefully it's all up from here!) Here's what I printed:
Someone bought the one I handmade at the Girls Camp Fundraiser so I digiscrapped this new one. (And I like it so much better!)  You can download the files to use for yourself -- I mean, if you're interested.  I made it in 4 color ways just for fun:  the brights above (16x20 poster print here)
 chalkboard  (16x20 poster print here

and neutrals  (16x20 poster print here
I hope that helps somebody out there. Have a great day!!



It Never Happens to You . . . Until It Happens to You

As I mentioned this morning, Brent and I went out to a couple of our favorite thrift stores looking for cool things.  I sold that cute Jane Eyre clutch I made to a really nice gal in Singapore (I know, right?!) so I was, as always, looking for cool old books.  I found a few at Goodwill and Brent picked up a couple for me at the Lutheran Thrift Store nearby.  $1.00 each.  And I was thrilled.  Then, when I got to working on one of them this afternoon, I found a letter tucked in the pages.  It was a letter from the author, a Professor at Stanford, to the man who owned the book, a calculus teacher.  I was even more thrilled.  I love to find these little hidden treasures that open up a story line in my mind.  It's just fun.

A while later as I was sewing, Brent was flipping through another book when a bunch of papers fell out.  We picked them up and noticed immediately that some of the papers were tickets to a movie premiere.
"They Came to Cordura" starring Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth.  I've never heard of the movie, but a quick internet search revealed that these are probably authentic.  The Broadway Benefit Premiere was indeed on October 21st, 1959.  Sweet, right?  Now the plot thickens.  There were also several sheets of stationery from the old Drake Hotel in New York City.  One of them was a list of names, most of them illegible.
 Harry E. Maule seemed pretty obvious, so we googled him -- an author well known in his time.  Interesting.
Most of them are hard to make out, but it looks like they say "For so-and-so" followed by a signature.  I'm guessing these notes accompanied the tickets.
But whose signature is that?  Well, here's where another letter comes in.  It is a letter from Bennett Cerf, the co-founder of Random House publishers on Random House letter head to Glendon Swarthout dated November 2, 1959.
Bennett Cerf (who also happens to be the author of the book we bought which contained all these cool mementos) was the one who signed the other little notes.  It was all starting to make sense . . . Bennett Cerf got the movie tickets for Jay, Dorothea, Linda and their "beautiful mother" who were friends of Glendon Swarthout.  Who is Glen Swarthout, you may be wondering?  He is the world famous author of The Shootist and about 19 other books.  Makes sense that he would be able to call in a favor from the president of Random House, right?  And that Harry E. Maule would have been there, too. There was another note that fell out of the book, from G - G to Marje.
I LOVE IT!!!!  But is Marj "the curvaceous Mrs. Havighurst" with the new hat?  That sounds like a funny little inside joke.  Is this Marje maybe-Havighurst the "beautiful mother" of Jay, Dorothea and Linda?  Maybe I'll never know -- I've been looking on the internet all evening trying to piece this all together. It must be her -- why else would she want to keep the note?  Anyway, amongst all these notes and tickets there was one more piece of Drake Hotel stationery, just blank on the front.  I happened to turn it over and GUESS WHAT!
GARY COOPER'S AUTOGRAPH!!!!!  Yeah, I was skeptical, too.  Brent and I looked at each other for a minute saying, "It can't be.  There's no way." before we ran to the computer and found this image on an autograph auction website:
Looks like a match to me!  Crazy!!!  It's absolutely crazy the series of events that led to us finding these hidden treasures.  That someone in Singapore would buy a book purse out of my shop.  That I would be looking for more books today.  That Brent would go into that thrift shop and buy that book.  It's like one of those stories you hear about on the news or on Oprah.  But it never happens to you.  Until it happens to you.  I tell you, a good day thrifting is priceless!

Gone Thrifting . . .


So, while I'm out looking for some junk to fix up today, head on over to Simply Handmade by Paige. Paige contacted me this week about doing a giveaway on her cute blog and I jumped at the chance.  She has a bunch of really great ideas and tutorials on her site and does lots of fun giveaways.  She also has an Etsy shop called Pink Lemonade full of cute clothes and accessories.  And she's only 14!!!  Take my word for it, you definitely want to check her out!!

Come Shop Pink Lemonade


You Really CAN Judge a Book by It's Cover

I LOVE old books.  I've been collecting them for a while now.  Not the valuable ones, no.  Just the ones I can pick up at thrift stores for a dollar or less that have interesting titles or graphics on the cover.  I guess, if we were being picky (which we never are here at My 3 Monsters, but IF), I'd have to say that I love the covers of old books.  I've never actually read most of them.  Never planned to.  Which is why I was more than thrilled when Cathe Holden from Just Something I Made posted a clever tutorial about turning a vintage book cover into a notebook cover.  (It has just taken me a while to get around to doing it.)  I'll probably never meet Cathe, but I love her.  She has such great vintage style.  If you recall, she was my inspiration for the art in my living room.  Anyway . . . Here are a few things I've been working on lately:

 Riley asked me for this airplane one.  He's cute -- he takes it everywhere he goes, but he is having trouble writing in it.  He just doesn't want to mess it up because he likes it so much.  That makes me feel good.  However, this was my kid who, when he had the opportunity to pick any toy he wanted from the toy closet at the hospital, picked a tiny spiral notebook and a cool pen.  That's just his thing.

So cute, huh?  You just slip a notebook or planner right inside the printed cardstock pocket you glue on the inside of each cover.  Here's another one, done with fabric, that is more of a mini-clutch or wallet.

I've always enjoyed my books laying around my home in decorative stacks, but I love them even more now.  Plus, by clearing some of them out I am making room for a whole new slew of them to come into my life.  Saturday is half price day at Goodwill here . . . Come to mama!

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Drumroll Please . . . . . . . . .

And the winner of the super cute headband according to is . . . . . . . . . . . .#6:  Tania on the Hill
Thanks for helping me get the word out there, ladies!!  Tania, I'll email you to get your contact info.

And now, because there are no losers here at My 3 Monsters, I'll share a delicious recipe I found out in blog land at Lisa's Recipe Cards.  Everybody wins!!  Do you all ever worry about eating raw cookie dough because of the egg in it?  Me neither.  I've eaten buckets of the stuff in my lifetime and come out unscathed, but better to be safe than sorry, right?  So here's a recipe for eggless cookie dough, meant to be eaten raw.  My children (and husband) will be thrilled!

Have a great Wednesday friends!


Hopping on the Bandwagon

So, I know I'm not even remotely on the leading edge of the giant cupcake trend.  It's old news.  I've always been staunchly against them.  I'm anti-anything that is sold exclusively on TV.  And I've seen a bunch of them on the internet and they never, ever look that great.  BUT I had to make one last weekend for that wedding AND I did it without the $20 pan.  AND I think it looked . . . OK.  Fine at best.  AND I'm not getting any younger so I thought it would be a good idea to document my method just in case I ever have to make one again.  ALSO, I've been seeing a recipe for Cookie Dough Buttercream Frosting all over lately.  Of course, I HAD to try that . . . AND SO . . . a project was born today.  However, as I started baking, the sky clouded over and a torrential downpour broke out.  It was like dusk at 1:30 -- no natural light.  And so the photos, taken in my dim little galley kitchen, are not ideal.  (We never did get that chandelier put up the weekend before last.  The faucet and microwave, thankfully, yes.  But no light.)  Anyway, I plowed through and here it is, more for my benefit than yours, really.  Because it's my blog and I can do that.

First you'll need a yellow cake mix, a 6" round cake pan, and a Pampered Chef Large Batter Bowl (or any other bowl that is oven safe , vaguely round at the bottom, and looks like it will sit nicely ontop of a 6" cake).  Mix the cake mix according to the package instructions.  Generously grease your pans.  Pour 1/3 of your batter into the pan, 1/3 into your bowl, and the other 1/3 into another 6" pan (or save it to cook later if you only have one pan like me.)

 This is what it looks like all stacked up -- more like a beehive than a cupcake.  That's OK.
You'll probably want to crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting.  I did that last weekend and it worked out better.  Then frost the bottom part.  Just get a good even, kind of thick layer so that you can use this fancy tool:
 (cut out of a paper plate) to drag up the edges from bottom to top all the way around the cake so it looks like:
 (kind-of) a cupcake wrapper.  Last time I used a different color of frosting for the base and I thought that looked more authentic.  Today I was lazy.
Then go in with your giant star tip (Wilton M3? Maybe.) and bulk up the top a bit and get that cupcake shape.  Decorate it however you like.  I decided that Cookie Dough Buttercream is a little too soft for this project.  I'd probablt stiffen it up a bit with powdered sugar next time.  However, the flavor is to. Die. For.

Here's the recipe I stole from Kevin and Amanda dot com:

Cookie Dough Buttercream Frosting

3 sticks of softened butter
3/4 C. lt. brown sugar
3 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and brown sugar.  Beat in powdered sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in the rest of the ingredients until smooth and combined.  Top with mini chocolate chips and DIE AND GO TO CUPCAKE HEAVEN.


The Sunday Funnies

One of our favorite family activities is to sit and laugh at watch D dance to the pre-set ring tones on my phone.  (No, it's not mean -- he loves the attention.  He's his father's child.) This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks.  If I can get him to break dance or do his signature "pencil dance" on camera you'll thank me for it.  Man, I love my kids! 


New Onesies!!

You all (maybe) know how much I love to embellish onesies with freezer paper stencils for my friends who are still having the babies.  Thankfully I am not still having the babies. These were some of my favorites to jog your memories:

Thanks to my sister in law, Daina, for teaching me how to do this!!  I've been addicted to it ever since I started.  Almost anything that stands still enough and can take the heat of an iron gets a stencil around these parts.  Well, I'm trying something new -- fabric embellished onesies.  I found some cute pink onesis the other day that are 3% spandex so they feel a little bit like leotards.  I was instantly taken back to the days of my childhood when all I ever wanted was to be a ballerina.  The black and pink of the leotards and tights and the fluttery little skirt I just had to have.  Except at my dance studio we were required to wear red leotards with pink tights and white ballet shoes.  Dumb.  Even as a young girl I think I knew that they were doing us wrong by making us wear pink and red together.  But that is neither here nor there.  The pink onesies . . . I wanted to do something tutu inspired, but even I know an actual tutu is impractical at best. So I found some sparkly black organza in my fabric stash and an idea was born

Are you ready for this?  Can you handle the cute?

The ruffly bum is to-die-for adorable and every girl deserves a good "corsage".  I made another ruffly bum onesie that has a bunch of pearl and chain necklaces and a fancy pendant a la Coco Chanel painted on the front.  No pictures of that one because the paint is still drying.  First thing tomorrow morning these babies are going to be listed in my Etsy shop

. . . only $5 for this week only . . . yes, I'm turning into a hopelessly cheesy salesperson fit to hock my goods at a used car lot.  I am giving away a free headband and flower pin to try and make up for it, though.  I need some friends to start having the girl babies so I will have some models.

I'm linking up to:

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