Friday, May 29, 2009

I Hate Crafts

I do. Truly. I know, I do several "craft-y" things myself, particularly knitting and sewing, but they don't seem like "crafts" to me. I'm thinking about the kid's painting, cutting, gluing, glitter, "making"-type crafts. You know, the ones that involve:
  1. a huge mess
  2. loads of materials
  3. several perfectionist children who all want help doing their thing all at the same time
  4. a huge mess
  5. an inordinate amount of time
  6. massive amounts of room to dry/harden/store said crafts
  7. a huge mess that I have to clean up

Problem: my kids love crafts. Excuse me, they LOVE crafts. They don't care much what kind, as long as there is some kind of "making" involved. So, I've been looking for crafts that they like and that I can cope with without committing some gross sin against the Lord. So, top three Kelly-style crafts for kids:

  1. Paperclip necklaces. We made these yesterday. Took half an hour, no drying or mess, and when I start finding little paperclips scattered about, I'll commandeer them for my own intentions.
  2. Rubbings. Leaves, coins, flowers, almost anything can be rubbed with crayon and paper. Why have I never thought of this before? I mean, Abigail's almost 7! And it can easily feature in our nature studies for school...
  3. Finger print drawings. We've made turkeys, people, chicks, flowers, etc. They like it because it's one of the rare times they are actually allowed to put stuff on their hands, and I like it because the mess is still minimal and we actually use some of the stamping inks I just had to have.

So there you have it. Anyone else have an excellent idea to share? We're all ears!

Oh, and respect to Mum, who spent more than any sane person's fair share of crafting with the girls. They had a ball, and I kept well out of the way (hiding in the sewing room). Thanks, Mum!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Location, location, location

A crucial requirement for house-buying: be sure to chose a house whose neighbors grow beautiful flowers and are willing to share. I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Becoming a "Dorcas"

This looks like a fantastic opportunity to serve - I'm going to get involved, and it would be great some others who are so inclined to do so as well!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's all happenin'

There's been a whole lot of making going on at Chez Gayner. Last week, I was finally able to finish the second of 2 quilts. The first I made in honor of my clever husband, who finally fixed my sewing machine (thanks for the loaner, Zo!). He wanted something handmade-by-me (how sweet) to hang above our bed. I was happy to oblige. Second was a quilt for Noah. Just a fleece backing with flannel quilt top. Both were just put together sans pattern - more of an experiment than anything else. And big thanks to Anna, for her binding tutorial - very helpful stuff!

Due to the kindness of my mother-in-law, I was able to get quite a bit of sewing done. Mainly some uninspired mending, but the kids now have some new shorts, trousers and dresses to add to their wardrobes.
Another reversible, this time for Anna. What a cutie.

Finally had to pull myself away yesterday to check on Toby's creativity...

My man made this. Too cool. It's been in the planning stages for a while, and now it's becoming a reality. Toby has spent almost 2 full days on this with Peter, and it's definitely been 2 days well spent. Once the rope bridge is adjusted and railings put up, I don't think I'll be able to get the kids away. Which is just as it should be.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Not that I think it's another plague or anything, but we have been noticing a few (more) frogs around the house lately. This big boy (I've started calling him "The Grandaddy") has been sighted a few times. He likes our rain barrels.
And yesterday morning at 6.30am, I noticed a new guest - this little guy was hopping around the laundry room. I can only imagine he got in throught the dog flap, but if he's strong enough to get through that thing, then I'm glad I didn't run into him in a dark alley.
He wasn't much interested in being held and kept leaping out of my hands. Fortunately, he only had to hit the cement floor once to calm him down.
And for your viewing pleasure, Noah and I, trying to show ole Kermit here a little hospitality.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Top tip

Should you ever find that someone has decorated your computer monitor with a Sharpie marker, color over with with a dry-erase marker and wipe off. It works beautifully - thanks to the very clever person who suggested this online. Thanks to you, our son shall live to see another day.
If you haven't encountered this problem yet, don't laugh, or we'll send Noah around with a Sharpie for a visit...

Seriously good granola

I've been making this stuff for a while now, and it is good. Care to try?
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Mix 4 cups oats, 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Make sure to break up any lumps of sugar. In a saucepan, warm 1/4 cup cooking oil and 1/4 cup honey. Whisk in 1 tsp vanilla. Pour liquid over oats and mix well.
Pour into an adequate baking dish - I usually use a large glass loaf pan or casserole dish. Bake for 40 min. You're supposed to give it a little stir every 10 min while in the oven, but I rarely bother. Once it's out, pour in 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, whatever you want). Let it cool a little, then keep it in one of those nifty glass counter-top jars, for asthetic principles.
You can omit the nuts if you prefer, or use pecans, which makes a lovely twist.
Modifications are wonderful, but the original recipe is in the 2002 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Annual Recipes book. Good stuff.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A friendly piece of advice

Never, never lift the lid on the salad spinner until it stops spinning.
Also found out that you should also never, never lift the lid on the popcorn popper until it stops popping.
Who knew?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eleanor Joy

Yesterday was Eleanor's first birthday. It is amazing to think that 1 year ago, we hadn't seen her smile or heard her giggle. All we had was this gorgeous pink girl with all the time in the world to get to know her.
It's also amazing to realize that I have no idea what she'll be like a year from now. She'll probably be talking plenty, if she's at all like her siblings. Will she be stubborn or compliant (yeah, okay, already know the answer to that one)? Will she be sociable or more self-contained? What will her voice sound like?

I can't wait to see what kind of person she's going to develop into, but I am so thankful for the gift and treasure that she is. She has brought an incredible amount of joy and delight into our home, and I can't imagine what our life would be like without her in it.

Happy Birthday, Little Girl

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Empty Nest

Well, our little robins have fledged! The first one flew past the bedroom window with a flurry of excitement. I ran outside to see the other 2, and as soon as I got out the door, number 2 left the nest! So cool.

And then there was one...

The little fledgling

I'm so glad I got to see it this year - I missed the fledging last year by about 10 minutes. Heart breaking, I tell you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another one of Abigail's snacks

Evidently, she must have thought I'd been having a rough day, since this was the snack I found waiting for me

To be fair, she said she thought it was root beer...

Monday, May 4, 2009

A quick catwalk

Where has the time gone? I've been meaning to put these pictures up for a while now...

First up, a skirt for the Abs. Serged the bottom, cut the waist too small. Doh! Throw a quick placket fastening at it (and thanks to Jennie Chancey for introducing me to the idea!); problem solved.
Next, a skirt for Anna. Serged the bottom again, but this time experimented with some fold-over elastic. Worked okay, but I'm not completely sure I'm using it correctly. Still, first time and all.

Next, the cutest little dress for Ellie-ellie-pink-belly. Love the fabric, love the pattern, love the girl. So sweet, had to make two.

Next, a crochet baby blanket I'm in the midst of, for one of many new little girls. Still working on the Lady Sweater, but a girl needs a new view once in a while, you know?

And finally, the Book Sausage. While really just a weight for keeping Toby's book pages steady, he coined this wonderful phrase that cannot be rejected. Never did I think I would sew something that would feature the word "sausage" anywhere in the title. Of course, it wouldn't be for my husband if it wasn't in Batman fabric (thanks, Zo) and weren't being used for his building-a-treehouse book.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A legacy of creativity

It turns out that I have inherited something from my late grandmother, Virginia. I've inherited the almost compulsive desire to make things. I remember as a kid going into her basement and being overwhelmed at all the ceramics and pottery there. She would paint and fire her own pottery - for years I had a wonderful lamp that she's made for me, Little Bo Peep and the sheep she (eventually) found. I am now the new mistress to her beloved African violets, complete with clever little pots she made herself.

I suspect she also crocheted the runner herself, too

She also seemed to be a wonderful knitter and crocheter. My mother has introduced me to the stash of yarn and needles and hooks she had been hording. Oh. My. Goodness. My grandmom had a small yarn shop in her attic, no joke. Now it's mine. Since there's no way I'll be able to get through all of it in my lifetime, anyone who's in need: please come and see if I have something you'd like first. I have several of almost every size knitting needle and crocheting hook! I'm willing to ship yarn to my dear UK people! Please, help me, I'm drowning in it!

I must confess to being a little sad that I was never able to share these joys with her while she was alive, but I'm thankful to know that we had this in common. This love to create things. It's a legacy I am blessed to have, and am hopeful to pass on.