Thursday, December 22, 2011

bird sewing project

The other day I was shopping and came across these adorable 10 pack bird paperclips. I don't have much use for dainty paperclips but I got them anyway, knowing I could make something else of them.
Here is what I did:
M1.gently cut the paperclip off the back
2. hand stitch a hair clip on being careful not to stitch all the way through
3. continue steps 1-2 with all birds
Below are five completed.
I love how they turned out! They add just a little whimsy to Avery's hair. Perfect for baby shower gifts too!

Well, today has been full of cleaning and packing. We fly tomorrow morning. Pray that None of our flights will be delayed and all will go well. I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to post the next couple weeks but there will be pictures at some point so be prepared.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Santa came to our house last night! We asked him to come early since we're going to be out of town :) We chose today to open presents so the kids had a couple days to play with their new toys before leaving everything behind to fly on Friday.

Below is Andrew reading out all the things Elliot got last year. I think Christmas is good for Andrew's heart. He's been sending me love texts all day and he's so happy.
Instead of writing "From: Andrew" on every present he gave me Andrew wrote a different endearing nickname. Here are the things he wrote:
"From: Sugar Plum, Dream Lover, Steely Buns, "The" One!, Hot Stuff, Dream Boat, Mr. Right, and Hot Lips". It gave me something to look forward to and laugh about with each present.
The kids love everything they got (whew!) so it was a wonderful family experience. Every Christmas gets better with kids!

a Christmas story

Monday night was the Stapley Family's first annual Nativity play with the grandkids. It was Kristy's idea. Grandpa (my dad) was narrator, Nora and Garrett were Mary and Joseph. The kids were all shepherds, wisemen, sheep, and angels with DJ and James to fill out the nativity scene and help the kids, and everyone sang the hymns in between the narrations. It was seriously hilarous!

Pretty much nothing went right. Costumes were falling apart, Josie kept trying to kiss baby Jesus, the kids were all over the place, but I think that's what made it perfect. What family Nativity goes just the way you plan it? The spirit was felt and the message conveyed so ultimately the night was a success. Afterwards everyone ate yummy food. I made my first cheese ball (actually three) borrowing a friend's recipe and it was also a success. Does your family do a Nativity scene too?

This morning we're opening presents so the kids have a couple days to play with them before we head out to England. I hope all goes well! Andrew has been anticipating this more than anyone. He's such a kid when it comes to presents :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

apron sewing projects

Do we not all agree that Anthropologie has the most charming and unique aprons? For over a year whenever I go there are look at their aprons wanting to buy one I tell myself " Marilyn, why buy one when you can sew one and it will truly be one of a kind?". Daunted by the task of making one up to par with Anthro's I never tried. Finally I told myself it doesn't have to be perfect. I'll just start with a simple design and go from there. Below is my first attempt. I made it as a gift for my niece.
Pleased with the results I made two more. This time for Elliot and Avery and they picked out the fabric (red and green for Christmas).
Some how Elliot's ended up a couple inches shorter than Avery's but he likes it all the same. It was difficult making it masculine looking when he picked red fabric with hearts on it.
Now it was time to try to sew an adult size. Up to this point my first was my favorite - until I made this one. Julie was so kind to model it for me.
This was truly a labor of love but I'm so glad I challenged myself. The floral fabric was cut from a vintage sheet I thrifted and I used this apron as my design inspiration. I sewed it for Andrew's work party's white elephant so now I'll have to sew a similar one for myself. Now I know what I am capable of.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

urgent care and reindeer

Every time I sat down to work on a blog post this past week the computer froze on me and I had to wait for Andrew to fix it, but it's back to normal again. Now I get to play a little catch up.

Life has been so busy and exciting lately. We had a little scare and a visit to Urgent Care. Avery got her elbow dislocated while playing a little rough with her uncle. She went two whole days without sucking those two fingers! She's perfectly fine now so I don't have to worry about her traveling with an injury. Have your kids ever done that before? The more moms I talk to the more common it seems to be.

We have also been continuing our goal of doing something to celebrate the holiday with the family each day. One night we watched my nephews, Dean and Robinson, so they got to join us.
Andrew read some Christmas books which the boys really loved. Two of our new favorites are Snowmen at Night and Snowmen at Christmas. I'm thinking of getting them for my nephews and nieces for Christmas next year.
Dean, Robinson, and Jojo also joined us in making personalized reindeer drawings. It was exciting for them to watch how their hand prints became antlers. The past couple weeks I've learned that it's not what you do, it's who you do it with that makes life fun.

Monday, December 12, 2011

drawing me in

I have a soft spot for white or cream tops. These to seem to be calling for me. I love the scalloped edge on the first one and the second one would look adorable with a cardigan over. I've been on the lookout for a cute top with a peter pan collar for some time . . . Since these won't fit me for months I might just have to make me a similar maternity white top. Yep, I think I will - if I can find the time. Is there a certain style that draws you in?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

busy hands

Are you one of those people that like to be doing something with your hands while watching a movie? Well, this is a perfect craft for you.

I have caught the crafting bug lately and have been working on about 6 different projects. What got me started was an effort to make personal Christmas gifts, but I've extended my crafting to home decor and other things. I'll have to share some more of my projects later. What have you been making this year?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Celebrate every day

To make some new traditions and keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our home this year we challenged ourselves to do a family Christmas activity each day from Dec 1 - Dec 25. It could be a craft, service, Christmas movie, caroling . . . you get the idea. Some of the things we've already done were picking out a tree and decorating it, cutting out snow flakes, listening to my sister sing at the Mesa Temple, making sugar cookies (I used this recipe).
So far the challenge hasn't been finding things to do but doing it as a family. Andrew has been busy with school, but the semester ends on Tuesday and things will get easier. We are also very busy finishing up buying Christmas presents, preparing for our Christmas in England, and getting our home ready for my sister, Louise, and her family of three to move in while we're out of town. Lot's to do! On a side note, Louise just found out she's having a baby girl! She has a boy already so they're really excited! She's due a month or so after me. Challenge yourself to do something a little extra this year to make the season more happy, fun, or spiritual.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Andrew's 31!

Happy Birthday Andrew, the love of my life!
I know it sounds cliche' but I honestly can't imagine my life without him. We've been together for over 7 years and we've come a long way. Being married to him is a piece of heaven on earth. Andrew's birthday is exactly a week after me. He may be five years older than me but I love having our birthdays close together. It makes the holidays even more special to us. Have a good one sweetie!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas crafts

In an effort to make more Christmas decorations the plan was to make some sophisticated pillow covers for my living room. The pillows were already acquired so I only needed to design a cover and make it out of fabric I own. I had thoughts of snowflakes, stars, and Christmas trees but when my mom suggested my kids paint wreaths with their hands and toes I couldn't resist. I wish I had made Avery's hand wreath a little smaller but I did hers first. With Elliot we used hs fingers instead of toes for the red berries.
With the help of my sister, Julie, Elliot and Avery made these simple felt tree ornaments. They can't wait to put them on the tree when we get one.
It's these simple projects that make our holidays and homes more festive. In a year when I bring out the pillow covers I can just hear Elliot and Avery say "I remember when I made that! My hands are much bigger now."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

thanksgiving recap

"How was my birthday/Thanksgiving?" you ask. Well, it it was amazing. How was yours?
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I had a good time.
I got to eat a lot of yummy food!
I got to spend time with family, including my grandma that I don't see very often.
I watched Andrew play with the bow and arrow he made out of bamboo.
That's his new phase right now but I'll have to share photos because it's actually pretty cool.
Instead of the usual football after feasting my dad set up a volleyball net and we played in the rain.
My family also sang to me but we saved the candle and cake ceremony for today.
My mom made this delicious heart shaped cake from scratch.
I know I just shared a belly picture two weeks ago, but who's keeping track?
This is me at 26 weeks looking smaller than I did in the last picture. I think the uterus is growing up, not out, right now. I also wanted to share the cute felt bow I made for Avery, and my hairdo that actually turned out the way I wanted it to. I love it when that happens!
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

a time to celebrate

Somehow another year has come and gone.
It's exciting to have my birthday on Thanksgiving this year.
It's also special to be pregnant on my birthday.
This is the third time that has happened.
Today I plan on eating and relaxing.
Should be easy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

traditions and ducks

Today is going to be a beautiful day!
My house smells like yeast because I'm baking rolls for Thanksgiving.
That has to be one of my favorite smells.
My sisters/sister-in-laws are coming this afternoon to bake pies which will only make my house smell better.
I really want to enjoy this Thanksgiving with my family because I won't see them at Christmas.
Don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled to have Christmas with my in-laws. In fact, this is my fourth Christmas in England. I'm just grateful that I can always have Thanksgiving at home. Obviously, they don't celebrate that holiday in England.

Yesterday I took my kids to feed the ducks.
It's only a 5+ minute walk from my house. We should go more often.
They didn't want to leave. I love making them happy and making new memories.

So I want to start a Thanksgiving morning breakfast tradition. Our Thanksgiving meal isn't until 1:00ish, which is a long time to wait after breakfast(especially for kids and pregnant women) so I want to make something yummy. I was thinking cinnamon rolls or crepes with fruit or some sort of egg dish. Do you have any Thanksgiving morning breakfast traditions? Any ideas or suggestions?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Elliot draws

Check it out! Elliot's second picture he drew of himself. His first one was for pre-school a couple weeks ago.
I'm pretty sure he drew himself better than I would!
On another note, I made these spinach and cheddar strata for lunch the last two days and love it.
I was just looking at recipes online and came across this recipe and started drooling so I put my iPad down and made it on the spot. Have you ever done that before? My ramekins are smaller than the ones in the post so I took out half a cup of milk and it worked out. You should make some!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

a growing belly

I thought it was time to document another belly picture. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of these things when it's not your first. I'm at the point in pregnancy where each week I seem to gain another inch around my waist and have to put more "normal" clothing away for some time after baby comes. This dress is next. Have I ever mentioned how hilarious my boy can be? After Andrew took these belly pictures of me Elliot voluntarily posed like this:
Andrew and I are still laughing about it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

a hairy obsession

Hair has always been a hobby of mine. I love cutting and styling other people's hair. I've gone through quite a few styles myself over the past few years. I really should have gone to beauty school because I don't really know what I'm doing. Some of the time the hair styles and cuts I do look good, and some times not so much. Most of my hair experimenting was in high school. I was fortunate to have three younger sisters to practice on, although not always willingly.

I was looking through some old pictures and came across these of Ruth a couple years ago.
This is how I did her hair after watching this music video.
I'm not sure how much Ruth like it but it was just for fun! Since then I've done her hair really cute for dances. I also did Nora's for her wedding reception. I don't do my sisters' hair as often as I used to and I miss it! Avery's hair is so thin and slick -nothing stays. Mostly I just cut Andrew and Elliot's hair. As far as my hair I'm kind of in a frump. I never know what to do with it! It's so thick and bushy all the time and growing out my bangs is taking FOREVER! Do you ever feel like this? If you want me to style your hair give me a call. I can't promise it'll turn out but it will be a lot of fun!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Judging by this mess, can you tell what craft the kids and I did today?
If you guessed turkeys you are right!
Andrew is camping and I wanted to do something fun with the kids to help the time fly by.
It was a big mess but I love how our turkeys turned out.
Far from accurate but you get the idea.
We used materials that were already lying around the house such as feathers, card stock paper, Martha Stewart glitter, markers, elmers glue, and scissors.
Elliot really took his time coloring. Avery finished both of hers before he started gluing his first one.
Her face is hilarious here! It's like she's critiquing her own artwork
thinking she can do better next time.
I didn't want to miss out on all the fun so I styled my turkey with chevron stripes.
And here are the finished products.
I think we might make this a tradition and start making them every year
to get us in a Thanksgiving mood.
On a side note, Happy Bonfire Day!
Maybe we'll roast some marshmallows in our fire pit tonight to celebrate.