Thursday, February 6, 2014

She's Here!


Meet the newest member of our family!...She arrived a few weeks ago and has been filing our lives with joy ever since! (I've decided not to post her name on the blog for safety and privacy reasons, so I'll be referring to her as "Baby Girl" when I write about her.)

Being a mother is not easy, but it is definitely the best job ever. It has challenged me in ways that I didn't expect to be challenged and blessed me in ways that I didn't expect to be blessed. Before she was born I didn't really understand what it would be like to have a little person so fully and completely dependent on me and I didn't realize how deeply I would fall in love with a baby that I just met.

I was blessed to have a really smooth labor and delivery. Once my contractions started, things progressed fairly rapidly and by the time we arrived at the hospital I was already 8 cm dilated. I had decided ahead of time that I would probably want to have an epidural...and I was right. The pain was pretty intense, so I was glad that I wasn't too late to get one. I know that there are many different philosophies about anesthesia during labor, but for me an epidural was definitely the right decision. Once it was in place, I felt like I was able to be much more present during the whole process of labor and delivery, rather than being so focused on the pain. Baby Girl was situated very low inside of me, so once I reached 10 cm and started pushing, she was out in no time. The birth of a child is a mind boggling miracle.


Having a baby has changed Andrew's and my life in more ways than we can count. While the adjustment process has been a little difficult and uncomfortable at times, this new stage of life is truly wonderful. There is nothing like the feeling of having a newborn baby asleep on you chest with her head nuzzled underneath your chin. I'm doing my best to soak up all of these sweet moments with my tiny baby, because I know she won't be tiny forever, but I'm also looking forward to the journey ahead. Motherhood is going to be a beautiful adventure.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Big News!


You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet around here the past few months. What you may not know, is that there has been something brewing behind the scenes...

Andrew and I are expecting our first baby in the middle of January!

We are so excited and so thankful to the Lord for this incredible gift He has blessed us with. We are having a girl and I couldn't be more thrilled. :)

I am 30 weeks pregnant. I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy is going by. It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago that we found out we are expecting, and now here we are, a little over two months from the due date. A couple weeks ago we went out for Chinese food and we both chuckled when Andrew opened his fortune cookie at the end of the meal to reveal the message in the photo at the top of this post. It was almost exactly 3 months before my due date, so the message couldn't be more appropriate!

20 Weeks Pregnant
28 Weeks Pregnant

My pregnancy is moving along well and seems to be following a fairly normal course of symptoms. I had a bit of morning sickness for several weeks at the start (although they should call it all-day sickness!), but once I made my way into the second trimester I started feeling much better. I'm now in the third trimester and still feeling pretty good, although it's getting a little uncomfortable to have such a large stomach. :)

I've missed this little corner of the interwebs, but I'm thankful to have given myself a break to experience the miracle of growing another human being inside of me...mind blowing!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Needle Felting Fun


My mom recently picked up a needle felting kit for this cute chickadee ornament when she was on vacation this summer. Neither of us had done needle felting before, so it was a fun introduction to a new crafting technique. I unfortunately didn't take any photos of the process of making this ornament, but if you're looking for a helpful tutorial to get you started with needle felting, I'd recommend this video.


The kit for the ornament I made is by "Wool Pets." You can find their kits for sale on Etsy here.

While I somewhat expected it, I was a bit surprised by how much of an art form needle felting really is. It appears that you are just poking a bit of wool roving over and over again with a needle, but it's not quite as easy as it looks. It is a very sculptural technique and you have to be constantly thinking about all dimensions of the form you are creating. It was a fun challenge and it was neat to see the fruits of my labor turn into a cute little ornament.

Here's a bit of needle felting inspiration that I'm loving right now from some Etsy crafters:

Christmas Mouse by feltingdreams on Etsy

Polar Bear Ornament by calicofarmchick on Etsy

Barry the Snowman by WhimsicalWoolies on Etsy


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Finished Products: Red, White, and Blue Quilt

Happy Fourth of July! in honor of this special patriotic holiday, I thought I would share with you a red, white, and blue quilt that I recently completed as a gift for my Mother-In-Law's birthday. I wanted to showcase the bold graphic patterns of the fabrics that I chose for this quilt, so I designed the blocks with large rectangles in a subway tile pattern.


I used my favorite quilt-as-you-go technique to create the blocks and the hinge technique to join them. I love the bright, bold statement that this high contrast quilt makes!


I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July! If you're in need of any last minute table decor ideas, check out my post from our family 4th of July meal last year.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pinspiration: Hammered Wire and Bead Earrings


I recently found this tutorial by Rebecca from My Girlish Whims while browsing Pinterest. Rebecca was inspired to make these beautiful hammered wire hoop earrings with beads after seeing a similar pair at Anthropologie. Up until I followed her tutorial to make these earrings, I had done very little jewelry work with wire and I had never experimented with hammering wire. I was surprised that after just a little practice, these were relatively easy to make.


As you can see from the photos, I gave my earrings a casual, beachy vibe, by using glass beads that are reminiscent of sea glass. I like how versatile this design is, you can completely change the look and feel of the earrings by switching the color of the wire and/or changing the beads.


If you are looking to take your jewelry making skills to the next level I'd definitely recommend trying out this tutorial.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sweet Southern Boy Baby Shower

Today I am super excited to participate in a virtual baby shower for my dear friend, Nikki! Even though this is a "virtual" shower, Nikki is not just my "virtual" friend. She and I met about 5 years ago when we were both living in Illinois. We attended the same church and Andrew and I were in a small group with Nikki and her husband, Ben. Nikki was one of the first professional bloggers that I ever met. I have learned so much from her by watching her blogging journey and she was a great encourager to me when I started Twinkle and Twine. Even though we don't live near each other any more, I'm glad that I can stay connected with her by reading her fabulous food blog, "Seeded at the Table."

This is the first "virtual" shower I've participated in, so I'm sure the concept is unfamiliar to many people. Here's how it works...a group of bloggers participate in a virtual shower on a pre-designated date by posting ideas of things they would make, were the shower to actually take place (since we're scattered all over the country it's not possible for us to get together for a real live shower).

Because Nikki's family recently relocated to Mississippi, the theme of the virtual shower is "Sweet Southern Boy." All of the posts for Nikki's shower feature a party idea or recipe that ties into this theme. Kelsey from Apple a Day and Jessica from Sunny Side Up coordinated this fun virtual shower for Nikki and both have written round up posts with links to the blogs of everyone who is participating. Kelsey's round up can be found here, and Jessica's can be found here. So pull up a chair and join us in celebration of Nikki's Sweet Southern Boy!


For my contribution to Nikki's shower I decided to create a table setting and shower favor. When I think of the South I think of, porch swings, magnolias, picket fences, sweet tea, spanish moss, and tractors. I wanted to infuse this classic southern charm into the table decor while also mixing in some culinary flair in honor of Nikki's love of cooking.


Although this table setting looks quite classy, it can actually be created relatively inexpensively. Here's how you can replicate this look...


Bay Leaf Spice Jar Favors...When I found these canning jar style spice jars at World Market, they were too cute to pass up! Since bay leaves are frequently used in southern soups and stews, they were the perfect spice to fill the jars with. I added a cute pun on the tag and voila!...fun Bay-by shower favors perfect for a foodie!

  • Spice Jars - (purchased at Cost Plus World Market for .99 cents each, available here)
  • Bay Leaves - You don't need to pack your favor jars full, about 10 leaves is plenty. (World Market sells two varieties, available here and here - I bought the $4.00 jar and it contained enough leaves to fill at least 5 of the favors. If you're planning a big party you could buy bay leaves in bulk from Costco or Sams.)
  • Baker's Twine - (purchased at Cost Plus World Market for $3.00, available here)
  • Tags - Designed on my home computer, printed on cardstock, and punched out with a tag shaped punch. 

To Assemble: Put the bay leaves in the favor jars and tie the tag around the top of the jar with a piece of Baker's Twine...easy peasy lemon squeezy



Candles...This little DIY project is super simple, but adds the perfect touch of warmth and color to the table.

  • Tea Light Candles - (purchased in bulk at Cost Plus World Market, $8.00 for 50 candles)
  • Baker's Twine - (purchased at Cost Plus World Market for $3.00, available here)

To Assemble: Wrap the twine around the candle three times and knot the ends together. Trim the ends of the twine, making sure to cut them short enough that they can't possibly touch the flame (we don't want to start any fires!). Adding the twine elevates the look of the candles and makes them a little more special.




Flower Arrangement...Originally I envisioned using magnolias or white hydrangeas, but those aren't so easy to come by in Southern California, so I opted for a more economical alternative, Alstroemeria. I added another culinary accent by using a super-cute mini green colander as the container for the arrangement.

  • Flowers - I purchased one bunch of Alstroemeria for $4.00 from the grocery store, but any white flowers would work.
  • Mini Green Colander - (purchased for $2.00 from World Market, not available online, but here's the item description)

To Assemble: Line the colander with something to hold the water. If you have a glass bowl that would be best, if not, do what I did and use a layer of saran wrap. Cut a large piece of saran wrap and lay it inside the bowl so that it covers all the holes in the colander (make sure it's secure). Fill with water. Cut the flower stems short and arrange the flowers inside the colander.

Tractor...Adding a toy John Deere tractor on the table ties the whole theme together and brings in the baby boy element. John Deere tractors are the perfect complimentary shade of green and they also pay homage to the culinary thread that is woven throughout the decor. The tractor will likely be the priciest element of the table setting ($10-$15), but it can double as a baby gift...the perfect toy for a Sweet Southern Boy.



Thanks so much for stopping by to celebrate with me today! Congratulations, Nikki! I'm so excited for you and I can't wait to see photos of your sweet southern boy! :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bridal Blooms

Spring is here and wedding season is upon us! Over the past few months I've had the joy of helping out with a couple of weddings and a wedding shower, so I'm excited to share some wedding-themed posts in the coming weeks.

Today I have some gorgeous wedding flower eye candy to share with you...


My brother-in-law was married last November and my mother-in-law offered to do all of the flowers for the ceremony. Andrew and I flew out to be with the family for the week before the wedding, so when asked if I'd be willing to help out with the floral arranging for the big day, I gladly accepted the invitation! My mother-in-law had taken a class on making wedding bouquets so it was really fun to watch as she assembled them.


She showed me the bouquet arranging technique that she was taught which involves holding the flowers between your thumb and index finger and twisting the bunch a partial turn each time you add some flowers (for a tutorial of this technique, check out this video).

The wedding had a fall theme and the decor was done in a palette of neutrals, so the flowers were all different shades of white. My mother-in-law pre-ordered a couple hundred white roses online and then the day before the wedding she and I went to a local produce market and bought all sorts of supplementary white flowers, berries, and greenery to mix with the roses in the bouquets.

One of our favorite finds were eucalyptus leaves which have a really lovely, soft, sage green, and slightly silvery hue. My mother-in-law used them around the base of the bride's bouquet. As you can see in the photos at the top of this post, they draped down in a natural, organic way and looked very elegant.

To add the finishing touch to the bouquets, the stems were wrapped with white satin ribbon and secured with a a row of beautiful pearl pins.

While the bouquets were being assembled, a family friend and I worked on making two large arrangements for either side of the church pulpit. Even though the roses had long stems, we couldn't get the floral spray effect we wanted by putting the stems directly into the tall glass vases we planned to use. To solve this problem, we filled each vase with a large block of floral foam. To hide the foam, we wrapped eucalyptus leaves around the interior of the vase between the glass and the foam.

Once the inside was covered in leaves we filled the vases with water. It was pleasant surprise to see the way the leaves glistened under the water. The effect was beautiful. We then created the arrangements by sticking the flowers into the top of the foam. The foam allowed us to take advantage of the long stems of the flowers and style a beautiful, organic spray with the roses and natural sticks.

My mother-in-law had read that when creating large arrangements it generally looks best to stick with just a few elements. We took this helpful advice (courtesy of Martha Stewart) and paired it down. We used roses, sticks, eucalyptus leaves, and berries and added in a few dried hydrangeas for texture.

This was my first time designing a really large arrangement so it was very rewarding to see it all come together...and as an added bonus, it knocked one thing off my 30 before 30 list. :)

The flowers complimented the beautiful bride, groom, and overall look of the wedding wonderfully and the big event was a very joyous day for all!


...isn't her dress gorgeous?!

Monday, March 11, 2013

DIY Vintage Button Earrings


Don't you love it when you stumble upon a project that is super easy to make, yet looks like a million bucks when it's done?! A couple months ago my mom and I went to a quilt show where we saw a vendor selling some gorgeous vintage button earrings. I loved the idea of turning beautiful buttons into earrings and since I recently acquired a large jar of old buttons, I decided to make some myself. This project ended up being very simple and it's incredibly versatile...all you need is a pair of cool buttons and a few basic supplies.

Here's how you can make your own vintage button earrings...


Supplies

  • 2 Matching Buttons (You will want to make sure to coordinate the size of your buttons with the size of the pendant backs that you purchase)
  • 2 Pendant Backs (I purchased mine from Hobby Lobby, 2 different types are pictured above - flat backs and bottle cap backs)
  • E6000 Clear Glue
  • Earring Wires
  • Toothpick
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wax Paper (optional)
Step 1: If you are using buttons that have a bezel protruding from the back, you will need to remove it so that the buttons will lay flat on the pendant backs. Use your wire cutters to remove the bezels.


Step 2: Place some E6000 glue into the indentation in the pendant back. Use your toothpick to spread it around so that there is an even coating on the pendant back (Be careful, because the glue can be a bit stringy!). Be sure to follow the usage instructions and warnings on the glue package. E6000 glue should be used in a well ventilated area.


Step 3: Place the button onto the glue coated pendant back. Make sure that it is centered and is resting in the glue. Allow the pendant back and button to sit on a flat surface in a well ventilated area until the glue has fully dried.


Step 4: Attach the earring wires to the button pendants. If you are using the bottle cap type backs, you will need to remove the jump ring from the pendant back and attach the earring wire directly into the hole in the pendant back.


Step 5: Show off your beautiful new earrings. :)



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