Sunday, January 30, 2011

Afternoon by the Lake

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day in Dallas. Almost 75 degrees F. And it's still January! However, we are maybe going to have snow in a couple of days, so I guess winter's not over yet!

We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather by going for a walk. Even though we live in the middle of the city, we are lucky that there is a lovely lake nearby with a walking/biking trail all around it. We haven't taken advantage of the lake as much as we should yet, but I'm hoping it will become a regular part of our lifestyle as we get used to Texas living. Here are some of the photos I took on this beautiful January day. Enjoy!







Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Handmade Christmas Gifts

I'm so excited that I can finally share the Christmas gifts that I sewed for my family this year! If you have been following my blog, you'll remember that I just returned from visiting my parents and sisters in Iowa to celebrate a late Christmas. They all read my blog, so I couldn't post any pictures until all the gifts were distributed!

I was really happy with how everything turned out, so I'd like to share photos of each of the projects I tackled for Christmas.

I made the pot holders below for my grandma and my mom. My grandma had been complaining that it was so cold and depressing in Minnesota, so I made sure to include lots of bright, cheery colors to help her get through the winter! The pattern was free on Sew, Mama, Sew and it made two pot holders - perfect!


The cute high heel shoe pot holders below I made for my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. They love shoes and pink, so I thought these would be perfect. They were really my first foray into quilt block piecing and I'm pretty proud of how they turned out. I got the free pattern for the quilt block on Quiltmaker (scroll down for shoe) and sewed binding around the edges to make them into pot holders.


The bags below are my most complicated projects to date. I made them for my sisters using the Runabout Bag Pattern I purchased from Noodlehead. I just LOVE how they turned out and can't wait to make one for myself. I feel like I could sew anything now!


Finally, I made these lil cutie pouches using a free tutorial I found on Noodlehead. These were so easy to make and I think I'll be making lots more! I gave my sisters each a pouch that matched their bags. The blue paisley pouch went to my mom and I've been using the cute strawberry pouch to hold my new iPod (yes, I got an iPod from my hubby for my b-day! I feel like I have finally made it to the 21st century!)


Hope you enjoyed looking at my projects! Be sure to click on the links to all the patterns so that you can try them out yourself!

Monday, January 24, 2011

An Iowa Kind of Special

Well, we're back in Texas.

Our trip to Iowa was wonderful, but I can't believe it's already over! The whole visit already has a dream-like quality, especially since I don't know when we'll be able to visit again. I didn't take as many photos as I planned to. . . partly because it was COLD! One night it was 22 degrees below zero - and that's before adding windchill! So, we didn't spend a lot of time outside, like I had been hoping. But I still should have taken more pictures of my family. I guess I was so busy relaxing that I didn't get around to it!

I did want to share some of the few photos I took during our trip, so here they are!


We saw snow . . .

Visited a museum where we saw a beautiful one-of-a-kind hand-built car . . .

. . . and some old steam tractors!

I got to meet my parents' BEAUTIFUL new cat, Jasmine.
(Henry is the one in the back, but I already knew him. :)

My hubby and I made some major scores while antique shopping. (This is just a sampling of our loot!)

We saw more snow!

Visited the puppets from "The Sound of Music"!



Came across these BEAUTIFUL bowls that belonged to my great-grandmother! (Now, I need to start looking for the largest sized bowl (reddish-orange), when I go antiquing!)


Celebrated Christmas and my b-day with my family - I got this awesome museum shirt that I just had to share!

And saw even more snow!
We did all sorts of other things too:

. . . got a behind-the-scenes tour of the candle-making factory that my little sis works at.
. . . painted-our-own pottery.
. . . visited the crazy gnome house (hmm... I might have to share this story later).
. . . checked our my hometown's brand new community center, complete with beautiful auditorium, indoor swimming pool and historical museum. My little town has gone big-time!
. . . had the best soup ever at a cute little cafe (cheesy cornbread soup, yum!).
. . . sat in a coffe shop and drank hazelnut hot cocoa while I played Battleship with my sister.
. . . sorted through old postcards.
. . . sorted through lots of other things that have accumulated in my parents' house!
. . . met my sister's boyfriend! They have been together for 1 1/2 years and I still hadn't even met him! I hate living so far away!
. . . played lots of Wii - especially Mario Cart and Wheel of Fortune!

. . . and most of all, spent lots of quality time with my family!

It may sound dull to some people, but I love this place.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How to Attract Birds

This is kind of a random post [well, very random, actually], but I just typed out this document for my dad. He works in a hardware store and wanted to post a copy of the chart below by their birdseed so that shoppers know what kinds of seeds to buy in order to attract certain types of birds. I thought I would share it just in case any of you like to put food out for the birds during the winter! Hope it's helpful! :)

(Just click on the document below to open it for printing)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Postcard Party

So, I'll just come right out and say it: I come from a family of packrats . . . though we prefer to call ourselves "savers". The difference? My family only saves the good stuff! While that might not always be the case, it certainly rang true last night.

We have been visiting some antique stores since we've been in Iowa, and lately my mom has been attracted to the cute antique holiday postcards. In fact, she has even bought a few of them to set around the house. When she showed my dad, he said "Hey, you know we have a whole barrel of those up in the barn." My mom didn't know. So, he went up with my husband and lugged the barrel down and brought it into the house to show us.

There are TONS and TONS of old postcards . . . some that were written to family members, others that don't seem to be related. Many are holiday cards, others are from vacations and trips. I don't really know how we ended up with these, but we spent the whole evening flipping through postcards with my parents, setting out the extra special nice ones, and laughing over the old inscriptions.

One of the first cards - and the funniest - was one from the 1950s . . . written to my dad from his grandma when he was just four years old. It had a fuzzy kitty on the front. "Dear Peter," it read, "Here is a kitty that won't run away, or die. Love, Grandma." We roared with laughter over that one, imagining the kitty troubles that poor little Peter must have had. My dad just smiled.

Below are just a few of the cards - we didn't even get through half of them and we spent hours looking through them.


Below are the ones that are still left to look at!


I scanned some of the postcards that I thought would be fun to share. Enjoy!

A family standing beside a huge whale skeleton - in the middle of a field?? This one is dated 1906.

Here's one with a colorized photo of President Teddy Roosevelt and his family. The reason I like it was that all the dark lines that you can see on it are actually glitter!

Here's one postmarked from Jacksonville, Florida in 1917.
I just really liked the design of this one with the alligator border.

I think this one is a joke that the man keeps making it look like he's about to propose.
Cute. Postmarked 1913.

The obligatory "Postcard from Hell". No date.

"I am in Texas, but my ass is in New Mexico." LOL.
This one is a bit later, postmarked from El Paso in 1958.

And we'll end with a cute one of children on the beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
I think this one is from 1913.

Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Item Was on Etsy's Front Page!

 For the first time ever, one of my items was on Etsy's front page! Yesterday morning, my small vintage brass buttons were featured in a front page treasury created by Maulani. I was sooo excited! I did notice a definite increase in shop traffic . . . I'll have to make an effort to get there more often!

Thanks Maulani!!

Notes from the [Snowy] North


Hi all! I haven't blogged in a few days, but it's because I'm visiting my family in Iowa! We flew into Minneapolis on Saturday morning and my parents picked us up. It's cold here, but it's been so nice... I haven't been home since Easter and hubby hasn't visited since last Christmas! I've been kind of bad at taking pictures too... Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and hope everyone is having a great week! I'll try to post some pics of our adventures shortly! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Flashback Friday: The Snowman

Just for fun, I thought I'd share an old photo today.

In honor of the season, I picked out a snowy picture of me and my sister, Sarah. Probably when I was about 5. I'm the older one... on the right. Please notice my classy vest-style coat, my pink bunny earmuffs and pink bunny scarf, and the hat that covers my eyes so that I can hardly see. Yeah. I was definitely a little fashionista [ha. never was and never will be]. At least Sarah is a bit more coordinated. Go Sarah, you rock.

Anyway, I remember this day very well. Despite the homeliness of this poor snowman, I was actually incredibly proud of it. In fact, it was the first snowman we had built entirely on our own, without any adult intervention [yes, my dad was a snowman whiz. if he had been helping, this poor snowman would have been a whole lot less homely.]

Anyway, we decided to build a snowman in secret. We picked a hidden location in the backyard behind the garage so that our stealthy work couldn't be spotted from the house. When it came time to add the snowman's accessories, I ran into the house and snuck items out of the fridge, carefully hiding them under my coat and running back outside to add them to our creation. An old mushy apple and an old mushy pear for eyes. A carrot(?) [maybe a baby carrot?] nose. A banana-shaped cardboard cut-out mouth [couldn't find anything mouth-shaped in the fridge]. Broken stick pieces for buttons and a butter container for a hat.

I remember being so proud when I called my parents out to see what we had been working on. They ooh'ed and aah'ed... and luckily they snapped a picture for posterity.
Those days were awesome.





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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Valentine's Swap

I just signed up for a Valentine's Day Craft Swap at the Strumpets Crumpets blog. What is a swap? Well, each participant gets paired up with a partner. Everybody makes something crafty and awesome and then mails it to their partner. That's right, everyone involved gets a handmade Valentine's Day goodie in the mail! I've never done a swap before... (and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to make yet!) but I'm quite excited about this. Hopefully it will be lots of fun and I'll get to meet at least one new crafty friend!

If you'd like to participate, just click on the button below and follow the directions to sign up! Tomorrow (Jan. 12) is the last day to register, though, so get over there and do it! :)

becky farleys craft blog

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

Remember how I was complaining awhile ago that we probably wouldn't get any snow here in Texas?  Well, we did! Yep, it snowed a bit yesterday and then some more overnight. This is nothing compared to where I'm from (and I'll be able to share some *real* snow pictures with you next week when I visit the snowy Midwest!) but around here, it's a big deal! So much in fact, that I didn't have to go into work at the regular time this morning. I'll be leaving to go in a bit, but I definitely won't complain about the opportunity to hang out with my kitties and get a few things done around the house!

Yesterday, we just stayed home and it was divine! Didn't do anything special, just some of those nagging projects that have been hanging over my head forever . . . I tackled the junk drawers, and my bedroom closet (yikes!) cleaned the bathroom, and am still in the middle of setting up my craft room. Sometimes it's so nice to have a day with no plans and nothing to do.

I took a few pictures of our "snow" that I thought I'd share with you.
Not a lot, but still pretty. Enjoy!

Ok, I totally cheated with this photo!  I used the "add snow" option in Picasa that makes it look like it's snowing! That's why it's snowing under the awning, lol. It was snowing when I took the picture, but it didn't show up that way in the picture. A little extra snow never hurt, right?  :)



When I was moving my car this morning, (my husband still had to go to work early, hehe), I was looking at the snow on my windshield and noticed that instead of snowflakes, there were little "sticks" of snow. Turns out, they are actually called "snow needles". These change from thin plates to needle shapes in the air when the temperature changes a few degrees and only grow at around 23 degrees F. So even though I was hoping for pretty snowflake shapes, it sounds like snow needles are rather unusual, so that's kind of cool. I zoomed in on one of my pictures (below) so you can see them. Or go here to read all about types of snowflakes. Awesome website.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Moo!

I've never seen a purple cow;

I never hope to see one.

But I can tell you anyhow;

I'd rather see than be one!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

30 Before 30 - A Birthday List!

Well, today is my birthday. Incidentally, it's also National Whipped Cream Day, which I just now learned about. Hmmm . . . who knew?

Anyway, I'm 27 years old today. Happy birthday to me. So many people have done so much to make sure I have a good day, but I just feel old and tired. Boo. [People, I know 27 is *not* old, blah, blah, blah... but let me have my moment here!]

To combat the old and tired feeling, I've decided to make a list. Yes, a list. A list of things I want to do. Since 30 is a big number, I've put together a list of 30 things to do before before then. That's 3 years, an average of 10 things per year. Should be do-able. Some of the things are big, some are small. All are things I either already love to do, but don't do often enough, or are things I would like to do or experience. I do of course, have other *big* life goals, but those probably couldn't get done in the next three years - I did try to keep the list reasonable. Should be fun . . . I'm getting happier just thinking about it! Wish me luck, I'll be sure to keep you updated! :)


30 before 30
1. Sew a full-size quilt
2. Crochet a granny-square afghan
3. Start a family :)
4. Tat a lace doily
5. Get something published
6. Find a trilobite fossil
7. Learn how to make sponge candy
8. Read War & Peace
9. Have a full-time, permanent job with benefits
10. See the aurora borealis
11. Visit a volcano
12. Take a photography course
13. Get a piano
14. Eat squeaky-fresh cheese curds - preferably straight from the factory
15. Make strawberry jam
16. Refinish a piece of furniture
17. Take a hot air balloon ride
18. Drink pink squirrels with my sisters
19. Pay off my college loan
20. Try sushi
21. Volunteer my time for a good cause
22. Make creme brulee
23. Do yoga (Wii) 3 times a week for at least 2 months
24. Take a canoe trip
25. Be more confident
26. Go sledding
27. Sew an article of clothing and actually wear it
28. Go hunting for diamonds
29. Catch a fish
30. See the bats in Austin

Ok, I also want to make homemade noodles. (<- bonus round! ) And probably some other things. But that should cover me for now.

Update: Click HERE for an interactive list (or just click the "30 before 30" tab at top of blog!)


Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Goal


Ok, I've been meaning to post about my New Year's resolution(s) for a couple of days now . . . the only problem was that I couldn't pin down a resolution that I know I will really be able to stick to. And there are sooo many things I need to work on! So, I've decided to make just ONE resolution this year, but it is broad enough that it will encompass many different parts of my life.

Here it is:
In 2010, I resolve to quit waiting for things to happen.

That's it.

Quit waiting to eat healthier . . . just do it!
Quit waiting to clean the toilet (or vacuum the house, or organize the junk drawer) . . . just do it!
Quit waiting to reply to an email from a friend or acquaintance . . . just do it!
Quit waiting to try a new project or decorate the house or learn something new . . . just do it!
Quit waiting to live my life, or to have fun . . . just do it!

See? It is quite versatile. It's not just about procrastination, though I am a procrastinator . . . it's more about realizing that I don't always have to wait for the perfect conditions, for the stars to somehow magically align, to do things.
It's about jumping in with both feet and actively trying to make a difference.
Life will only be as good as I make it and I plan to make it a great year!

Happy New Year Everyone!