Orange Furniture

Go on. Admit it. You’re jealous.

Well, maybe orange isn’t for everybody, but it’s definitely for me. I smile every time I walk through the dining room and see it sitting in the corner.

This was one of the colors I was going to use to paint stripes on my dining room wall, but we all remember how that ended. So, this table is my consolation.

It houses all of Elly’s crafts that are allowed upstairs. (The messier crafts like play-doh, paint and glitter are kept in the basement.) Oddly enough, pouring a quarter of a bottle of glue on a paper plate to make a tissue flower is not considered messy in my book.

Elly’s craft table is so bright and cheery now.

When Elly saw it finished, she gasped “It’s beautiful, mama.”

That’s my girl.


The Pillow We Made Together

A few months ago, I had bought some fabric markers. A day earlier, Dan had caught Elly trying to color our couch. He had laid down the rule that one could only color on paper. So when I tried to encourage Elly to draw on an old T-shirt of hers with the fabric markers, she refused and spat the rule back at me.

After reading a few posts from the current Kids II (Kids Inspiration Design Series) hosted by Jessica of Me Sew Crazy blog, I was inspired to pull the fabric markers out again.

This time, I let Elly pick out the fabric from my scrap drawer. Pink.

She used several colors to draw squiggly lines. When finished, she informed me it was a witch’s house.

Then, I turned Elly’s drawing into a pillow.

Elly helped a little by pressing the on and off button of the sewing machine. The trick lies in convincing her to only press the on/off button. She desperately wants to press all the other buttons.

The best part is that Elly loves it!
She loves that we made it together.
She loves that her witch’s house is now soft and can be dragged all over the house.
Thank you, Jessica, for inspiring me to pull the fabric markers back out.

Organizing Toys and Kids’ Crafts

The key to organizing toys or frankly anything that is starting to take over your house is to purge.

The rocking chair in Elly’s room that hasn’t been used in at least 2 years – moved to the basement.

The stuffed animals that Elly never plays with – stored in jumbo plastic bags and moved to the attic.

The baby toys Elly has outgrown – also moved to the attic.

The store bought blankets that were no longer needed because Elly has been gifted so many beautiful handmade blankets – donated.

Then, armed with a hodgepodge of old tins, mesh bags, baskets, buckets and plastic organizing bins, I start sorting. End result looks something like this.


I know many people like their containers to match, but I prefer the hodgepodge. First, it’s cheaper because you get to use what you already have. Second, it doesn’t require a labeling machine. Each toy gets its own unique home.

Tins are perhaps my favorite container to store toys and craft supplies in. I decided a long time ago that my life is too short to spend several minutes everyday to painstakingly inserting crayons or any toy or craft for that matter back into the cardboard boxes they are sold in. It is so much easier to just grab a handful of like items and dump. Pop a lid on and you’re done. It’s my kind of cleaning up.

The huge popcorn tins are perfect for storing legos. I’m sure I could organize all of Elly’s toys if I had a collection of these popcorn tins, but alas I don’t. Perhaps it is for the best, since Elly recently learned that rapping the tin with drum sticks makes a magnificently loud sound.

Baskets are great for corralling block collections. The size of the basket had to be upgraded after Elly got a set of foam blocks for her birthday, but the system still works. Baskets are also great for storing stuff that is too big to go anywhere else.

When Elly received a toy with itty bitty parts for Christmas, I balked and seriously thought about hiding them from her until I found this stackable container. Elly likes playing with the container almost as much as she likes playing with the toys inside.

Storing a variety of puzzle pieces in a large bucket is not for the OCD person, but I prefer it to the traditional method of returning the puzzle pieces to their original box. With this method, Elly can put the puzzles away. My trick to being able to distinguish the pieces apart is to draw a crude picture on the back.

Although Alex and Doug magnetic dolls are packaged in a wooden tray, I do not keep them stored that way because the wooden tray lacks a lid. Instead the dolls and all their clothes live in a plastic bin. These bins were designed to hold scrapbooking supplies, but they are awesome for kid’s toys. Check out the handle! Elly can tote her dolls from room to room. Plus they are transparent which is a necessity when your kid is too young to read labels.

Mind you this organizational system probably won’t last long. It seems that every few months Elly grows up on me, changes her mind about her favorite toys and then her room is in need of an overhaul.

It is true that at clean up time there is first a sorting process so toys can go back in their rightful container, but that little bit of extra effort means that Elly can always find the toy she is looking for. Plus I don’t seem to mind the massive amount of toys that Elly has accumulated so long as they stay corralled in pretty containers. It’s a win win. Elly keeps her toys. I get peace and harmony.

On a side note, the wooden tray from the magnetic dolls now sits in the drawer in my kitchen island and organizes all my small cooking utensils.

Crazy for Christmas

Last year, I bought my first Christmas gift in January. Not only have I done the same this year, but I have also started making stuff for Christmas.

Any guesses?

It’s an advent calendar that Elly can use. Made out of a metal Santa tray, bottle caps, magnets, stickers and a whole lot of E6000 glue, it’s virtually indestructible. Though I won’t hold my breath. Elly has been known to prove me wrong. In her defense though, we have ruined more toys than she has. Who knew that Barbie dolls broke if you stepped on them?

Our old felt Santa advent calendar had his candy cane removed, sucked on, and thrown on the ground. Any attempt to replace the candy cane with another object so that it could be moved from pocket to pocket was thwarted by Elly.

It is my hope that this year we can count down the days to Christmas together.

Married Too Long

Yesterday Dan and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.

As a sign that we have been married too long, we bought each other complimentary gifts.

Dan brought home a bottle of wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon by Clos du Bois for this was the wine that we both enjoyed on the Disney cruise we took last year, and a bottle of port because in my book wine is nice but port is delicious.

My gift to Dan was two wine glasses.

Unfortunately, one wine glass broke already when Elly accidentally bumped it and it rolled off the table and onto the floor.

For dinner, we had steak and Caesar salad. Though I had made a side dish of macaroni and cheese for Elly, she surprised me by asking for bite after bite of steak.

Two years ago, I would have been terrified to cook a steak at home, but watching an episode of Ina Garten changed my mind. She made it so easy. Rub some salt on the steak, I like smoked applewood sea salt, sear the meat on high heat, and pop it into the oven until it reaches the desired internal temperature. The steak tasted amazing.

Sometime this month or next, we’ll actually go out for dinner and leave Elly at home. It had been our plan to go out on Saturday, but Elly was so sick neither of us could bear to leave her. Thankfully, she is back to her happy-go-lucky self.

Fearless February update



The pictures look the same, no?

A side view is needed.

Before the seat cushion stuck out a full two inches from the chair base. It was so uncomfortable to sit in.

The seat cushion didn’t always stick out so far. It appears that my replacement foam cushions were thicker than the original cushions.

My original fix-it plan was to trim the seat cushion. Dan stopped me just as I was ready to cut open the muslin lining. He reminded me how long it had taken me to sew the slip cover. Wouldn’t it be easier to trim the back cushion?

Indeed it was. I cut a 2 inch depth by 4 inch tall section out of the bottom of the back cushion. Now the seat cushion fits snugly into the contours of the chair and doesn’t stick out.

It is much more comfortable to sit in. My feet touch the floor, which is a big deal when you are only 5 feet tall like me.

Quilting while Sick

Elly was sick the week before her birthday party. Two days after her birthday party, she was sick again. This time, I got sick with her. Misery does love company.

No progress has been made on my Fearless February project. I’m too sick to mount the energy required for it.

Instead I put together a mini quilt.

The winter picture is from an old 1978 calendar.

To turn it into a quilt, I just cut the picture out, tossed the calendar section in the trash and added two borders.

The fabrics were picked out from the huge selection at Generations Quilt Shop. Gosh, I love that store. The fabric is divided by color so it’s like walking into a rainbow. But the main reason I love the store is because they always have just what I want. I have never walked out empty handed.

But back to the quilt, I used fusible quilt batting to secure the quilt sandwich together. Then, I stitched in the ditch along the border seams. The rest of the quilting will be done by hand.

While watching the now memorized movie of Tinkerbell and Periwinkle, otherwise known as the Secret of the Wings, I squeeze in a little hand quilting while listening to Elly as she excitedly tells me what is going to happen before it does.