Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Going to be MIA

I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been slipping in my blogging again recently and I’m here to tell you it’s going to continue for a little bit longer.

You see that little countdown on the left of my blog?

It says 30 days until baby girl arrives. 3-0. Wow!

What makes it even crazier is that it’s still looking like she’ll be coming early so it’s not even 30 days most likely. Yesterday I saw my doctor again, and according to her we have an “old baby” in the womb because of her size and how well she appears to be breathing already. She’s sending me for another ultrasound tomorrow to check her weight, but it’s sounding like my doc may even decide to induce me before my delivery date. Granted it could just be because she doesn’t want to spend her Thanksgiving Day at the hospital either, but doesn’t bother me at all! Ha!

So, in trying to finish getting the nursery ready, filing a year’s worth of papers that I let accumulate (what in the world was I thinking?), getting ready for possible out-of-town guests this weekend, training my replacement at work and trying to get everything set for my last day on Nov. 5th, things are a little crazy around here.

Oh, and hubby’s re-election campaign is also in full force which means that until Nov. 2nd comes and goes that’s pretty much where all our focus is. I’ve had to design three mail pieces for that which takes up more time too. And, it’s hay season which means we’ve been trying to get hay off the fields before the frost sets in.

Yeah, busy doesn’t even begin to sum up our lives right now. I may actually get a break when the baby comes! Ha!

So, all this to say, I’ll try to blog when I can, but I don’t think it will be too consistent over the next few weeks.

Tutorial Tuesday: Box Pleat Crib Skirt

I’m slowly making progress on the crib bedding and last week I finished up the crib skirt. I’m so happy with how it turned out.


It is 18” long which is the perfect length because it hides the drawers under the crib when the mattress is at the top setting and it will just brush the floor when I drop the mattress down to the middle setting. I guess I’ll just have to go without when/if we drop the mattress down to the very bottom setting.

(Side note: HUGE thank you to some great friends from church who gave us their old crib. Ideally, I would have taken the time to paint it white, but at this stage in the game, it works just fine how it is.)

As you see in the picture, the crib sheets are pink (2 light and 2 dark) and the bumper will be out of the green fabric with the striped fabric as binding and ties. My mother-in-law made the binding for me quickly this past weekend and I’m hoping to get the bumper complete this week, but we’ll see.

I made up my own steps for sewing the box pleat skirt as I went along, so I’m sure there is a faster/more proper way to do it, but here are the steps I took to make an 18” skirt with two different fabrics and a box pleat (NOTE: I only had the skirt hang on the front and sides of the crib since the back is against the wall. If you want a 4-sided skirt, repeat the steps/materials for the front.)


For under mattress:
1 - White sheet cut to the (length + 1”) x (width + 1”) of your crib

For front of skirt (double if you’re making a 4-sided skirt):
1 - Main fabric (green paisley in my case) cut to 15” wide x (length + 8”) of your crib
1 - Accent fabric (stripe in my case) cut to 5” wide x (length + 8”) of your crib

For sides of skirt:
2 - Main fabric cut to 15” wide x (length + 1”) of side of crib
2 - Accent fabric cut to 5” wide x (length + 1”) of side of crib


For the front and side panels, place the top of the accent piece against the bottom of the main piece right sides together and sew using a 1/2” seam allowance.

Fold the bottom of your accent piece up a 1/2” and pin. I did this step second so I could ensure that my accent strip was exactly 4” wide because I’m not the best when it comes to cutting my fabric straight, but you could do it before you attach your accent piece to your main piece if you prefer.

Sew hem using a 1/4” seam allowance.

Trim excess fabric along the hem you just stitched.

Press seam between the main piece and accent piece open and then press it back over and sew 1/8” from your original stitch line to create a top stitch on your main fabric. (I did this for the sides, but didn’t do it for the front – it’s optional).

Trim the excess fabric from the seam.

To create the box pleat (only on the front panel), I laid my fabric right side up. Find the middle of the panel and place a pin there. Fold one side of the fabric over the middle pin (right sides together) so that you have 1.75” to the side of the middle pin. Refold the fabric back on itself (wrong sides together, but right side again facing up) and pin. Repeat on the other side. Each fold on the side of the middle pin should be 1.75” long from the middle pin to the edge of the fold, giving you a total pleat of 3.5” from the edge of the fold on one side of the middle pin to the edge of the fold on the other. Here’s a closer look at the pinned pleat.


Using a 1/4” seam allowance, run a quick stitch across the top of your pleat so you can remove the pins.

Hem the sides of all three panels (2 sides and front) by folding the fabric up 1/2” and sew using a 1/4” seam allowance. Trim excess fabric.

With right sides together, pin the top of the front of your skirt to one of the long sides of the white sheet. Sew using 1/2” seam allowance.


Repeat for the 2 sides.

You’re all done! Place it on the crib under the mattress and step back to admire your work. Well, maybe iron it again first unlike I did and then step back to admire your work.

You’ll notice the crepe paper flower wreath peeking out the top of the crib. Sorry I haven’t shown you yet what I’ve done with it like I said I would last week, but this very pregnant momma is running a little behind.

The best part about the crib bedding is that I get a custom look for a very affordable price. For all three fabrics (the green paisley, pink stripe and green lattice print) I paid less than $50 and I have enough to make the skirt, bumper and valances for the windows.

The downside of my crib skirt making experience?

I completely forgot to account for the fact that due to the drawers underneath the crib, the side of the skirt is not able to hang down so half of my fabric is just bunched up on top of the drawer. Haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take the drawer out and forgo it or if I’m going to hem my sides up shorter…I hate cutting off perfectly good fabric :(

Linkin’ up to Tutorial Tuesday at Hope Studios. Hop on over to check out more awesome projects.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

DIY: Framed Nursery Art

This nursery remodel is being done on a very tight budget. Thus, I’m having to think outside the box for some ways to make a big impact with small funds.

I was shopping the local dollar store the other day and came across 4x6 unfinished wood frames that were 2/$1. I snatched two packs of those puppies up and headed home to work on them.

A few coats of white craft paint with some pink and green dots around the edges made them coordinate beautifully with the nursery colors.

I used some scrapbook paper I already had on hand as mats behind the three ultrasound photos we have of our little one at different stages throughout the pregnancy. (Ignore my poorly centered taping of the photos.)

The frames still needed something more, so I hung them with ribbon I found at the craft store (7 yards/$2.50 on 50% off sale) by hot gluing the two ribbon ends to the back of the frame. To hang the ribbon on the wall, I used some green ribbon that came on a shower gift I received to make tiny bows which I hot glued to some thumb tacks and then poked through the pink ribbon into the wall.

The final touch for this area was to use a vinyl decal I picked up a year ago for $5 at Kohl’s when it was on 80% off clearance. Score!

Here is the finished result:

Framed Nursery Art

Here is the total cost for the project:

4 x 6 wood frames: $1.50
White, pink & green paint: Free
Scrapbook Paper: Free
Photos: Free
Pink ribbon: $0.50
Green ribbon: Free
Thumb Tacks & Hot Glue: Free
Vinyl Saying: $6 (but I kinda consider it free since I bought it over a year ago)

TOTAL: $8.00

The best part is I can easily change out the pictures as our little girl grows.

I’m linking this post up to Tutorial Tuesday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you love carrot cake, you will LOVE this cake. Heck, even if you don’t like carrot cake, you will love this cake.
Apple Cake
If I remember correctly, this recipe came from one of my mom’s best friends. Her name is not Jill, but she must have gotten it from someone named Jill because the recipe is called “Jill’s Apple Cake”. Whatever it’s called, make it today. You will not regret it!
Cake: 4 c. diced apples (I use Granny Smith)
2 c. sugar
½ c. cooking oil
2 beaten eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. nuts, chopped (I use walnuts)
1 c. flaked coconut
2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt

Frosting: 1 stick butter, softened
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 t. vanilla
1 box powder sugar

In a large bowl, combine apples and sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, combine oil, eggs, vanilla, nuts, and coconut. Add to apple mix. Combine remaining ingredients and add to apple mix. Stir to combine. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes in 9 x 13 inch pan. Mix frosting ingredients and spread over cooled cake. Take a bite and try to avoid devouring the whole cake instantly!

NOTE: My hubby is not a big frosting fan so he loves this cake, but thinks there is too much frosting. Next time, I’ll probably only make 2/3 or 1/2 the frosting recipe. It is by far the best cream cheese frosting recipe I’ve ever used, though.

Thanks for the delicious cake recipe, Jill – whoever you are!
Tomorrow I’m going to link this up to Tutorial Tuesday

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feature Friday: How to Make Crepe Paper Flowers

Crepe Paper Carnationsource

I’ve been working on a project for a mobile to hang above the crib. I saw a picture in one of the Pottery Barn catalogs and I’m making my own (much more affordable) version. I’ll show you the tutorial for that next week.

For now, make yourself some of these beautiful crepe paper carnations.

I modified her tutorial a little bit. Here are the steps I used:

1. Cut 36” strips of crepe paper streamer (2 rolls/$1 at the dollar store)

2. Fold strips in half and use scalloped craft scissors to scallop one long side

3. Starting with the short folded edge, roll up tightly a few rolls

4. Continue rolling, gathering and rolling slightly looser until you reach the end of the strip

5. Twist/pinch the bottom together tightly (use a small dab of glue to secure the end of the streamer to the rest of the flower if desired)

6. Separate the layers until it reaches your desired fluffiness

These flowers would look super cute on cards or canvases for wall art too. Join me next week to see what I did with the 60+ I made (4 rolls worth of streamers).

Have a great weekend!

33 & 34 Weeks

Due to computer trouble, I didn’t get a chance to post last week’s pregnancy update, so I’ll lump it together with this week.

Here’s the picture from 33 weeks:

33 Weeks

And here’s the picture from yesterday (well really this morning) when I am 34 weeks. Only 6 weeks until we should get to meet our lil’ turkey! We are so excited!

34 Weeks

I am so thankful that I still have quite a bit of energy. Of course it’s getting harder to squat down and pick things up, but that’s to be expected. I finally found a position that allows me to get some sleep without my back hurting too bad so that’s great. Everyone still tells me I look so tiny. I know they’re probably just being polite because I feel gigantic!

Here’s what to expect this week:

Your baby could be as tall as 20 inches right now and about five pounds. Need a visual? Hold a five-pound bag of flour in your arms and imagine it's your soon-to-be-born baby (cradle it, and you'll only get strange looks in the baking aisle). Then stack three such bags one on top of the other (and get ready for some more strange looks). That's how tall your baby is.

Your baby's fingernails now reach the end of the fingertips and may even curl over the tip, making a manicure one of the first things you'll need to do for your little bundle.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Can I just say how much I despise computers sometimes?

My laptop officially bit the dust about a month ago so I'm only able to blog when I have free time at work or can sneak in time on my hubby's computer (shhh...don't tell him!).

Well, then the internet was down at work because our SonicWall was fried. When it was brought back up, the installer put a lot more restrictions on it than he was supposed to so then we had to wait a few days until he lifted the restrictions and restored them to their previous settings.

Anyway...all this to say I'm still here and I have some things I've been working on to blog about soon. Some things like apple cake, artwork for the nursery, mobile for the nursery, pregnancy updates and more bragging about my handsome hubby.

Be back soon (barring more computer glitches)!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Feature Friday: Waxing Leaves

Well, I started to pull out the fabric I needed to make the fabric pumpkins I featured last Friday, but then I reminded myself that I have a baby due in a little less than 2 months and that I have many projects to finish for her nursery before she arrives. This coupled with the fact I really have no additional space to store any extra decor when the season is over caused me to put the project on hold for now. So, as much as I’d like to make some fabric pumpkins for this fall, I’ll have to stash that idea away until next year.

This week’s feature is a tutorial I’ve had saved in my favorites since last fall, and while I’m going to wait and do it next fall for the same reasons mentioned above, I thought some of you might like to do it now.

Go find yourselves some beautiful autumn leaves, a block of Gulf wax, a disposable pan and some newspapers and then hop on over to Clover Lane to learn how to make these beautiful Waxed Leaves:

Waxing Leaves_Clover Lane

Waxing Leaves at Clover Lane

If you make these, leave a link in my comments so I can check out your finished project. And, don’t forget to leave a comment on Clover Lane thanking her for the easy and affordable tutorial for autumn decor. While you’re there, why don’t you let her know I sent you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our 3rd Anniversary

Three years ago today I married the most amazing man – my best friend, my lover, my confidant, the one who helps make me a better person.

Thank you photo
It’s hard to believe it has already been three years.

The first year of marriage flew by in typical newlywed bliss. We questioned how people ever got divorced in their 1st year of marriage. The second year was a little rocky, mainly because selfishness crept in and we started to understand why people got divorced. Thank goodness we relied on God and persevered because this third year of marriage has been a huge blessing.


Has this third year been easy? No. We’re struggling financially, we still live with hubby’s parents until our place is built, we’re once again facing frivolous attacks in the press related to hubby running for his second re-election, etc.

Has this third year been full of blessings, though? ABSOLUTELY! We have loved getting involved from the start with a new church plant and the friends we’ve made there. We had the opportunity to purchase the 100 acre wood & farmland parcel my hubby has dreamed about owning since he was a kid and in turn got to bless our friends when they used it for their wedding reception. We’ve enjoyed trips to watch my brother graduate from college and visit extended family in Michigan. And most importantly, we’re ecstatic about the birth of our first child this November.

Three years ago when we stood at the altar, we never would have imagined where we’d be in three years. All I know is that thanks to my hubby I am a better person because being his wife has pushed me to grow in patience, love, and kindness. It has taught me to think less of myself and more of others.

I love you so much, sweetheart, and am eagerly looking forward to watching you interact with our daughter as you take on the role of daddy. I have no doubt you and her will have a special bond that will last a lifetime.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Homemade Caramel Apples

This past Sunday hubby & I hosted the leadership meeting for our church. Thankfully it was a cool fall day so a giant pot of chili with cornbread and salad was a perfect meal to feed 20 people cheap and heartily. I made homemade caramel apples for everyone to enjoy for dessert.

Want to make your own caramel apples? Just follow these simple steps:

Step 1

I used a mix of Jonamac & Macintosh apples because they were the most affordable to buy in bulk. If I wasn’t making 26 apples, I would have used Granny Smith because I like the contrast between sweet caramel and sour apple much better.

Step 2

I used thin sticks I found in the kid craft area of my local craft store. Place the stick in the BOTTOM of the apple to help it sit better once covered in caramel. Chilling the apples until you’re ready to use them helps the hot caramel stick better.

Step 3

…and unwrap…and unwrap…and unwrap. I used three bags of Brach’s Milk Maid caramels. Two bags would have probably been more than enough. Place your unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Resist eating any. Oh, alright, go ahead and enjoy one. You have to make sure it’s good caramel after all.

Step 4

For each bag of caramels, add 1 Tablespoon vanilla and 1 Tablespoon of water. Microwave, stirring after 90 second intervals, until caramel is melted.

[Unfortunately my camera battery died so I couldn’t get a picture of Step 5]

Dip the chilled apples in the hot caramel. Swirl the apple to let the excess caramel drip back into the bowl. Set dipped apple on a lightly greased sheet (with Pam spray) of waxed paper. Repeat. Reheat caramel as necessary. If desired, dip apples a second time once they have set.

Caramel Apples

[I found more batteries!]

Once your apples are covered to your liking and the caramel has cooled, place each apple on an upside down cupcake liner (I found these in the $1 section at Michael’s) and tie a ribbon around the stick. Chill until ready to serve.

Check out the other great tutorials posted today over at Hope Studios Tutorial Tuesday.

Friday, October 1, 2010

32 Weeks (8 to go!)

This past Thursday (9/30) was 32 weeks which means our lil’ turkey (and all your Thanksgiving turkeys) is due to arrive in 8 short weeks! I shocked myself by walking all around NYC this past Saturday when our friends were visiting - my pace was a little slower than normal, but I still did great keeping up all through Central Park, Times Square and around Ground Zero. My friend works as a NICU nurse, so she made sure to keep me filled with fluids and pause to take breaks so I wouldn’t go into early labor. I told her what I tell everyone else, “I’m pregnant, not an invalid!” Ha!

32 Weeks

Here is what our lil’ turkey is up to this week according to What to Expect:

This week your baby weighs almost four pounds and could be up to 19 inches long. And though that's a head-to-toe length, your baby is actually back to a curled-up position (you try standing up in those cramped quarters!). You're likely feeling tapping and squirming instead of your baby's signature rocking and rolling. That's because, while comfy, your baby is a bit tight for exercise space right now. Your baby has also probably settled into the head-down, bottoms-up position in your pelvis in preparation for birth. That's because the fetus's head fits better at the bottom of your inverted, pear-shaped uterus. It also makes it easier during childbirth if your baby comes out head first.

While your baby is still getting nourishment through the umbilical cord, it won't be long before you'll be bringing on the breast milk or formula (and soon after, the mashed carrots and peas).  In anticipation of that momentous transition to mouth feeding, your baby's digestive system is all set and ready to go.

And because your baby is accumulating more fat, his or her skin is finally turning opaque (like yours), which means those see-through days are over.  Though weeks away from D-day, your baby's looking more and more like a newborn. And speaking of that big day, hope you're resting up for it — because your bambino certainly is. In preparation for that big first date with you, your baby is sleeping like a baby — with sleep cycles of 20 to 40 minutes long (which would also account for the decrease in movement you're likely feeling these days).

Last Thursday we had our 31 week ultrasound to see where our baby is at in terms of weight gain. I know ultrasounds in the end of pregnancy can be a little harder to read because of the cramped position, but our little girl is measuring two weeks ahead of schedule, weighing in at an estimated 4 lbs. 7 oz. already! That in addition to the fact that she’s had her head down 2 weeks sooner than they normally due and I’m really hoping she is on schedule for coming a little early. Heaven help me if she’s just a big baby!

Here are some cute pictures we have from that ultrasound:

31 Week Ultrasound

Every time we try to see her this pregnancy, she has her left hand covering part of her face. Hubby says she sleeps like her mama. Look how insanely cute those chubby cheeks and lips are…can’t wait to kiss them!

31 Week Ultrasound_labeled

31 Week Ultrasound_3D_2

Feature Friday: Fall Fabric Pumpkins Tutorial

In an effort to help me be more consistent with blogging and to help me keep track of different projects/recipes I want to try, I’ve decided to start a new thing called “Feature Friday”.

This week I’m featuring a craft project I found at The Cottage Home. I don’t remember how I came across her post, but I knew it was a “must-try” the moment I saw it.

How cute are these fall fabric pumpkins she made?


I have some upholstery fabric scraps that have been sitting around waiting to be put to use. I think this will be the perfect project for them this weekend.

Go visit Lindsay at The Cottage Home (don’t forget to tell her I sent you) and check out her awesome tutorial for Fall Fabric Pumpkins.

Hopefully I’ll be able to make some this weekend so I can post pictures next week. Happy crafting!