Friday, May 30, 2008

Belong to Me

Okay, I have about a dozen things I should be doing in the next hour before I have to go but I can't do any of them until I tell you all how much I looooooved this book! I just allowed myself the luxury of a bowl of ice cream and the last chapters of a really good book, a treat I highly recommend by the way. It was the perfect ending for a nearly perfect book. Any of you who have been visiting me for awhile may remember my talking about Love Walked In awhile back, or maybe you have just read it too. It has been very popular. Well, this is the sequel. But not your typical sequel. Most sequels sort of count on the fact you liked the characters enough to invest more time and money in them which I generally do if I really enjoyed the first book but let's face it, it is pretty rare I ever like the sequel as much as the original. This one sort of pretends you have never heard of them before. It could absolutely stand on its own.

I don't want to ruin one little bit of it but I will tell you this book is perfectly titled. It is about all the people that belong to us, neighbors, friends, spouses, children and how we belong to them. The first book was a bit hard for me to take, Claire an eleven year old is abandoned by her mentally ill mother. Don't do well with bad things happening to kids, no I don't. But don't think bad stuff doesn't happen in this one, I will tell you there is a friend with cancer in it which is number two on my list of subjects I abhor as the child of a breast cancer survivor, but it seemed more like bad stuff I am familiar with I guess. It was wonderful fun to love these characters again and meet new ones. I loved this thought that Cornelia, probably the main character, expressed near the end, "I've found that if you insist on goodwill, if everyone insists on it together, goodwill comes. I've found that love can be a decision." Isn't that a wonderful concept?!

Okay, now I have gushed about my new favorite book I hope you will at least put it on hold at your library. You won't be sorry, I really think I liked it better than Love Walked In!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New dolls in the Shop!

Well, I just finished putting three new dolls in the shop!

I had to snap their picture among the miniature roses on our walk to school today. As you can tell I am really hooked on the combination of black and white with the pink hair! See that little tiniest one in front, she just about drove me nuts!
Here are their studio portraits, you can see them a little more clearly.

This little girl is totally different than her sisters, funny when having pink hair makes you one of the crowd!

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments you girls leave me, they mean so much to me. And it make creating these little girls so much more fun!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A new doll and a shop update!

I just finished a new Little Miss Polka Dots. She is over in the shop and I think I will actually have four more done for a little shop update over there tomorrow at 1 p.m. Pacific time. These will probably be my last for awhile. With school ending and getting ready to go visit the homeland in Utah I probably won't have time for awhile.

And how did I have time today?

This is how! Bless Elmo's furry little heart!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Glass Castle

I really loved this book! The funniest thing about this book to me is that I couldn't figure out why I liked it so much while I was reading it. It is the story of a very strange family. The story is told by one of four children, a daughter. The parents have a very different idea of what their responsibilities are in the raising their children. Feeding them, clothing them and providing for them is not necessarily on the list. It does seem very important to them that they be smart, even if it is just so they can outsmart different authorities. This could have been a fairly common sort of story about a dysfunctional family and how the daughter, Jeanette overcomes her difficult beginnings to become an outstanding person. We have heard that story before and probably will again. It is a good story, we all like to hear how people overcome obstacles. What is different about this one though is that Jeannette Walls tells her story with great humor and love. I never found myself laughing out loud while reading Angela's Ashes or An Ordinary Man, both of which were good books, but I did while I was reading this book. The parents do some bizarre things that I have to say make for an interesting and entertaining story, such as the time the family is driving a long and the author falls out of the car and it takes awhile for the parents to figure out she is gone, but again it is the ability that the author has to tell us these stories without bitterness and with great humor that made this book a new favorite for me.
The parents undoubtedly had some serious psychological issues but they somehow did produce amazing children. As much as the parents bothered me I felt like they did love their children, especially the father. They just somehow how had a bizarre idea of what their job description as parents were. I would definitely recommend this one, especially if you have kids. I promise it will make you feel like you are the parent of the year!
If you want to read some more review on this book from our blogging book club you can go here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This is how things were this week!

So this has been a pretty fun week! There was some of this:
I love when they can actually work together!
These are the new homes for the new Webkinz Brittany and Matthew have been saving for. In desperation yesterday to occupy them I volunteered the couple of boxes I had for them to make house from.I recommend this activity! Kept them busy for at least and hour!
The arrival of the littlest superhero! Yes, Joshua has joined forces with his brother and they will be out fighting crime together!
I gotta say, super hero pjs are the best! Don't you love how neither of my boys would look right at me? Guess they didn't want to risk injuring that x-ray vision.

My little flower children! You were supposed to pick a favorite decade and dress like that time period. We didn't have too many choices so we tye-died for the first time. I have to say it was really fun and I think we will be doing it again. Josh thought he was really cool to dress like the big kids!

So that was our week, once school is out there probably won't be much to post. Look for pictures of our clean closets and tidy rooms. (Yeah who am I kidding?)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More Pink Ladies!

I finished two new little girls last night. I am really liking this new size. I did one that is even tinier but I am not happy with her yet. I think this is going to be the size I stick with for awhile, I guess I finally learned that less really is more. I am so happy that they have been well received and you guys like them! This is one of my number one favorite things about blogging. I love having someone to show my little creations to, it makes creating them even more fun!

So here they are!

I tried the pink and brown combo that seems to be popular right now. I like how she is kind of soft looking.

This Miss Polka Dots is ready for a party! Maybe one celebrating Spring? I love this happy color of pink and as you can see I covered her in pink!

So they are over in the shop waiting for new homes, I will definitely be making more. I like how they come together faster and take less of my favorite fabrics. I really don't enjoy turning their tiny little limbs. I need to teach my kids how to do it, I bet it would be easier for them with their little fingers. That is it, I could start my own little sweatshop!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Another Great Swap!

I received my mermaid swap from Tracy this week so now I can show you my treasures sent and received!

I sent Tracy off these goodies. She like teal and purple so I tried to use those colors.

I had fun painting this mermaid painting, I haven't done anything like this in awhile.

This is the fun package I received yesterday! It was just amazing!
I love the boxes she altered and I love that we both sent each other a mermaid doll! I have been so lucky with the great swaps I have done lately!

I am working on some more little dolls, I hope to have at least two in the shop tomorrow by noon. See that tiniest of the tiny one? She is making me nuts!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Throw-back Thursday, Me and Barbie

This is the little family that started it all for me! I adored Barbies! From the time this picture was taken, probably around five, until I was an embarrassingly old teenager.

Actually I guess it never really ended, William gave me a bride Barbie for Christmas the first year we were married. I would have paid good money to see him wandering down that pink Barbie aisle too!

Anyway, the Sunshine Family started it all for me. I remember them so clearly too. The Dad and the baby had such curly hair. And the mom was shaped more like a preteen than the mother of a child. I loved them! I have been thinking about my Barbies a lot as I have been working on miniatures. That became a huge part of the appeal for me. I had a cousin who taught me how to cut out the tiny little images of product that were in the paper on adds and coupons, then make little boxes and glue them to the front. Presto, Barbie could have a full pantry! Believe it or not most of them have survived and are still in residence at my mom's house. When we go to visit this summer I am taking pictures! So does Brittany love Barbies as much as her mother? Not really, but it is okay, I think I got it all out of my system when I was a kid!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Teeny-Tiny Little Miss Polka Dots!

Here she is, my littlest doll! I have sort of been obsessed with making this little doll for the last couple of days. When I signed up for Viv's miniature swap she warned me that I could become easily hooked. And I thought to myself "I really don't think so". Wrong! I am totally hooked! What is it about little tiny things? I have been wanting to make a tiny version of my original gingham girl. I have decided that there is just something I really love about a round headed doll. Weird, never would have thought I would think about the shape of a dolls head but there you are! I also really love felt hair. It never gets messed up and always looks cute. In fact I wish I could have felt hair myself. And that it could be just this color pink too! I love pink and black together. And polka dots. Are you getting the feeling that I really love all the things that make up this doll? Well I do, I am really happy with her. I thought she looked like a birthday girl so I made her a birthday cake to take along on her journey, where ever she goes. Another good idea, always bring cake!

Here she is in my hand so you can see how little she is. She is in the shop now.

I am working on an even tinier version, believe it or not! It is really hard to make clothes this tiny though so we will see if she make it or not!
**Yeah Tiny Little Miss Ginghamworld has been sent to her new home! I am glad she is so well liked! I will be starting some more!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A couple of good flicks!

I watched Iron Jawed Angels this afternoon while I worked on the project I had hoped to have finished to put in the shop today. I will have it tomorrow. This is an HBO film that start Hillary Swank, Patrick Dempsey and a few other faces you will recognize. I decided to watch it after Tif reviewed it last week. You should read her review here, it is much better than mine will be. I didn't know too much about the suffrage movement and I kept thinking that although I knew these women has fought for the right to vote for many years, I didn't think the movie would get too rough. I mean I guess I think of the turn of the century as a somewhat more civilized time. They didn't contend with porn on the Internet, nuclear bombs, terriorts and such. So surely, although I knew no one was going to roll over and just give women the vote I didn't think it would get too brutal. I was wrong. Those women really did literally fight for us all to have the right to vote, something I know I have taken for granted. It was really a good movie, made me think a bit and that is always good! Needless to say I will definitely be voting in the next election!

Last night I stayed up waaaaaay too late watching the end of Cranford, the PBS masterpiece theater series. Loved it! It just might be my favorite Judy Dench movie, and I really liked Mrs. Brown. If you missed it add it to your netflix Que. You can still see it here online too. Some of the witty little one-liners in here just killed me!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Update!

Just a few things going on around here this week.

First William had almost finished the playground/garden area this weekend.

It is looking so good now! The swingset looks so much better over here. Now we just have to finish that little area the roto-tiller is in. Probably some more dirt and a few trees.

Brittany got new glasses this week! They look waaaay too grown up!

Matthew drew this great picture of my hand during sacriment meeting. I know it is hard to see, but I had to show it as those little squiggles everywhere are apparently the veins in my hands! I guess I must be aging even faster than I thought! Hysterical to me that he had to draw them!

Mr. Joshua got a warning in nursery today at church for kicking. Apparently I am raising "that" kid. He looks too sweet doesn't he? He is saying "cheese" while I took the picture! These two boys want to wish you "Aloha" in their aloha shirts too!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Yummy Lemon Chicken!

This is one of my new favorite recipes! It started with a recipe my friend Tif's Sister-in-law's recipe for lemon chicken. I think she got it from Rachael Ray. It called for lemon curd which makes it really easy. The problem is lemon curd can be kind of hard to find. And sort of expensive in these parts. So I figured out how to make my own lemon curd. It wasn't hard because lemon curd is basically the lemony part of lemon bars. We love this recipe because I think of the crispy chicken and the yummy sauce which basically make it okay to eat dessert for dinner!

2-3 Chicken breast cut into small chunks. Salt and pepper chicken. Dip in egg, then in cornstarch. You can dip in flour but we use cornstarch because it is gluten-free and it doesn't seem to soak up the oil as much. Heat enough oil in a small sauce pan to cover the bottom about a half inch. Brown chicken chunks in the oil and then remove. I sometimes do this part in advance. Of course the last time I tried doing this Mr. Mathew snuck into my fridge and nippled his way a quarter of the way through my chicken!

If you don't want to buy the lemon curd this is how I make it. In a saucepan I combine 1 cup sugar, 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 eggs. I cook it about 8-10 minutes over a pretty low heat, it will scorch easily, until it thickens a bit. Then I add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to about a tablespoon of cold water and stir that in until it thickens more. This part can be done ahead also.

Then just before we are ready to eat I heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan, add the chicken to reheat if I made it ahead. Remove that to a plate for just a minute while I add about a tablespoon of vinegar to the pan and then the lemon curd. Add the chicken back in and heat it all together, but really lower the heat because that sauce will scorch so easily. Serve over rice. A little green onion garnish on top looks nice but my kids won't eat it! This make really good leftovers except there usually aren't any!

Friday, May 16, 2008

More Incredible Mail!

More Incredible Mail!
I know it is hard to believe I could be so lucky but after my gorgeous mermaid arrived the other day, my swap from the miniature swap I was in also arrived. I wanted to make sure these two had separate posts because they are so amazing they shouldn't have to share with anyone! I was a little nervous about this one because I have never made this kind of miniature doll before. I became even more nervous about my offering when this gorgeous creature showed up!

Can you believe the detail?

Her face is all embroidered. Look at her tiara and scepter! She has a little basket full of heart shaped cookies and ity-bity mail. Inside the envelopes are the name of her creator, another amazing Vanessa. She doesn't have a blog but oh, she is just amazing!

And look at these little shoes, I think I just might love them the best

She has been crowned the queen of the loveboxes and is presiding over them in grand style!

This is the finished Party Girl I sent her.

She is a party girl so she came with her own cake and present.
That is the box she traveled that she is standing on. I hope Vanessa likes her a fraction of how much I adore my little miss!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Throw-back Thursday!

I am a very sentimental soul! I am the person in our family who always wanted all my grandmothers' old stuff. So when my childhood friend The Motherboard started Throw-back Thursday on her blog I thought it was great and that I would steal her idea. So welcome to my first Throw-back Thursday! As I was looking through my old pictures I was thinking about the wonderful friends I have had through the years. I have been really lucky, so many of the friends I made in elementary school are my dear friends still. The wacky thing about that is no kid thinks to herself, "I had better choose good friends because I could have them for life". How silly, but for me it is true.

This is me with my friend Kim and The Motherboard on the steps on our first day of kindergarten. Do you see my little hands? See how they are reaching out to grab my little friends hands? I think that is the story of my friendship right there. Once Michelle gets her hands on you she does not let go!

There will probably be lots of birthday pictures on Throw-back Thursday. It seems to be one time my mom could be counted on to pull out the camera. My birthday is at the end of October so the Wear-your-costume theme is a recurring one. Our very own adorable Tif from Loveboxes is there in the front row. Isn't she the cutest little ballerina? I am wearing the kimono my Uncle Ron brought back from Japan for me. My sister is the little one in yellow, not sure what she is supposed to be. Oh yeah, that costume had bunny ears but I guess she didn't like them! I am still good friends with four of the girls, plus my sister of course, in this picture?

Then we all grew up, well we thought we were anyway. There are four of these same girls from the kindergarten picture and the birthday picture that are in this one. (Motherboard on the far right with her arm on my shoulder, and Tif on the far left in her signature hot pink!) Lots of big hair in this one! We are all at a youth conference at BYU. My friend Circe is mysteriously missing from these. She has a hysterical blog you should visit. But where is her picture growing up? I don't know, she was there! I swear we have been friends since we shared potato chips in 3rd grade! I was tempted to post a picture of a bunch of these girls last summer at the going away party they had for me but I was afraid I might finally jeopardize that friendship if I did it without permission! But when I see them this summer I will get one and warn them I am posting it!

Blogging has saved me during our move last year. It has made it possible to keep these friends, reconnect with some I had lost touch with and talk to them almost daily if I want. I have a couple of my close friends who have them now and I just am so grateful. Then there are the new blog-land friends I have made that have just been so much fun. So I guess the point of this silly Throw-back Thursday post is that I am so grateful for the friends who have gotten me to this point and the ones I keep making. And if you and I are friends, sorry you are stuck with me now!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Luckiest Girl!

Who is the luckiest girl you know? It is meeeeeee!!!! So of you are aware that a couple of weekends ago there was a swashbuckler soiree in blogland. It was lots of fun to run around and see every one's contribution to the seafaring life. As part of my exploits that day I entered Christine's give-away. If you are not familiar with Christine's work you need to get over there right now! She makes the most amazing dolls. It actually seems rather inaccurate to call them dolls, they are truly works of art. Anyway, she created the most amazing post that day featuring gorgeous mermaid dolls and a glowing pirate ship. You can and should see it here. So, she was giving away one of these amazing mermaid dolls so of course I entered, I mean you can always dream right? And would you believe I won!!!!!! You should have heard the shrieking around here! I had to call my friend Tif because I just had to tell someone who would understand how amazing it all was.

Well, she came today! I have to tell you that as amazing as Christine's pictures are they still don't do her justice! Mine aren't anywhere near as good as hers so go check out her pirate post to see some really amazing pictures.

Look at her sparkly hair and gorgeous hair-do!

We love her so much! Brittany and I had a great unveiling ceremony as we practically performed surgery to get her out of her wrappings. She is sitting in this pretty spot in the living room where I can enjoy her most but where kids don't go very often. I am not sure it will be her permanent home. She is just making me sooooo happy today! Thank you so much Christine!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Girls and a new light studio!

I finally finished the two dolls I have been working on. It is so funny to me how I use basically the same pattern every time and yet they turn out so different.

This is Annabelle

This is Heather

They are both outfitted and in the shop! It is so silly, but I think I like their ity-bity flowers they like to wear in their hair and their stripey stockings the very best! Why don't we wear stripey stocking more in real life? They are so fun!

I have been working on making my own little light studio ever since I saw Adri working on hers. She gave me some good tips and I am happy with my results I think. I took the photos of these dolls with it. The best part was I was able to take them at 11:00 at night when I get no interruptions! I may add some different fabric, I don't know if I can take white all the time but I am thinking they may work better on etsy this way.

Here is my fancy new studio. I think I will probably try and make a large one. Best of all it was really cheap to make!

Monday, May 12, 2008

My favorite Mother's Day Dessert

I know Mother's Day is over, mine was lovely I hope yours was too, but I thought I would share our traditional Mother's Day dessert that we had yesterday. I didn't realize it was a tradition until it was almost Saturday night and William asked what I wanted for dinner. All of a sudden I realized we just had to have some version of strawberry shortcake. My mom loves strawberries so we almost always have some kind of dessert with strawberries. I think this is the version we have most often.

Yummy isn't it?

So these are the basic ingredients. Strawberries are on sale in most areas this time of year so it is a good time to make it. Brittany made the angel food cake mix. We make ours cupcake liners. I just love the perfect size and so do my kids. I mixed up the danish dessert. I don't now how popular this is with the rest of the world but we love it. You can usually find it on the top shelf near the jello. Matthew helped cut up the strawberries and stir them into the danish dessert. Then when we were ready to consume it all we just sliced the little angel food cakes in half, added a couple of scoops of ice cream, a layer of strawberries and a dollop of cool whip on top. Super yummy! I'm sure this counts as a serving of fruit right? Oh well, I consider Mother's Day a freebie day!

**There will hopefully be some new pictures of dolls in the shop tomorrow!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lovely Mother's Day!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day! I know Mother's Day can be hard in a paradoxical way, I remember several miserable Mother's Days when I wanted to be a mother but wasn't yet, and I know other things happen in life that can make this less than a great day. But I hope none of this is the case for any of my lovely blogging friends!

I am having a lovely day so far, granted we aren't too far in yet but it shows all the signs of being a good one. It is a good day for thinking about motherhood for me. I have always wanted to be a mom. From the time I was little. When I graduated from college I was at a total loss as to what to pursue. The only job I really wanted was to be a mom and it wasn't quite time for that yet. I have had a really great time being a mom. It has been a lot harder job, that isn't necessarily getting easier, than I had ever thought, but it really is the best job there is.

Of course learning from the best really helped. How do people who don't have wonderful, involved, loving moms become good moms? I really don't know, I would never be able to tackle raising these kids if I hadn't had this fabulous example. I always knew I was one of mom's two most favorite girls. From the time I was little until now. I think that may be one key my mom had to enjoying us even when we were teenagers. She just loved doing things with us and we knew it. (Aren't we the cutest in this picture? Did I know how to accessorize or what?)

It is really fun this year, both of my big kids are big enough to really participate and have made me all these goodies. Along with flowers from the dad. Isn't that what we are all hoping for on Mother's Day? A little recognition that this is a pretty hard job? And it is always nice to know that our families think we are doing an okay job of it too!

And when I look at these cute faces, even the one Joshua is making, I am so very, very grateful that I get to wear that title "Mom"!