Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Resolutions

It's that time of year again when you look at the year behind you -- the fun times, the tough times, the changes, etc etc.
But most fun of all, is think about the year ahead.
As you already know, I just love New Year Resolutions. I love looking at where I am, and thinking of where I could be -- not only physically, but spiritually and mentally.
Below are the Resolutions I made for 2010 and how I fared with them:

[ ] stretch every morning
[ ] establish food garden
[ ] establish Corvallis Freecycle
[ ] take Tak'e to off-leash area once a week
[ ] explore the state of Oregon
[ ] do Wii Fit every day
[ ] give blood regularly
[ ] volunteer every month
[x] knit something every month (minimum)
[ ] eat less sugar
[x] potty train Ella

Uh-oh!
I didn't stick to my Resolutions very well at all. ;_;
But that's okay! Because this year...will be different!
Ha! Bet that's not the first time you've heard that one.

But really, I am feeling a kind of energy in me that I really think will last.
Maybe it's because Ella Rose is a smidge older and so just a smidge more independent. I can have her help in a few of my Resolutions this year, for sure!
And though I loved Oregon a bunch last year, I feel like I've figured out how to work with its wet weather more and not wuss out just because it's cold and whatnot.

So! Without further ado, here are my Resolutions for 2011:

[ ] jog every other day
[ ] raise chickens in the backyard
[ ] knit at least one thing a month
[ ] get involved in the local community more (volunteering, etc)
[ ] insulate the house
[ ] establish a thriving worm bin
[ ] reduce waste in our lives more
[ ] create a stained glass masterpiece
[ ] try a new recipe at least once a week
[ ] only eat dessert/drink alcohol for special occasions
[ ] get Ella to sleep in her own bed, on her own


Wish me luck, guys!
And until then, Happy Resolutions and a Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Mantel - Christmas/Winter ver.

A Belated Merry Christmas to all, and Happy New Year!!
I hope everybody had a warm and beautiful Christmas last weekend.
At our own Home, we had a lovely visit from my mom-in-law, June, as well as my twin sister, Kathy, and her significant other.

There were homemade donuts on Christmas morning (courtesy of Daddy) and most bustling exchange of gifts.
I think Kathy enjoyed the legwarmers I made her (photos coming soon!), and I hope Ella Rose gets a lot of use out of the child-size broom I scored her from Goodwill. Since she's absolutely smitten with Kiki's Delivery Service, she loves to hold the broom between her legs like a witch. Though, she'll also occasionally "help" Mama out with the sweeping chores. Heh!

Here are some snapshots Daddy took of our "Christmas Corner" where most of the celebrating took place:


There's a little cameo by our tree from last year too:


Nothing says Christmas, like Chili Lights, eh?


As for some gifts I received, I am most excited about the retro stained glass grinder Daddy got me. Hopefully, you'll start seeing some stained glass-related posts coming up in the new year.
Speaking of which, I gotta get on with those New Year's Resolutions and 2010 Reflection!

Until then, Happy New Year once again and much love to all my family and friends out there.
Ta-ta for now!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DIY Christmas Card & Envelopes

Time for another DIY-oriented post. :)
In line with our make-or-own-Christmas-Tree tradition, it is becoming a tradition here to design our own Christmas Cards from the ground up too.

Some of you will be receiving this in its physical form already, but for those of you who don't, please enjoy the following and our sincerest Holiday Wishes!


Hurray for having a Graphic Artist for a hubby :)
Since Ella's favorite spot in the house is the bed, we figured we ought to incorporate it into the shot if we wanna get a smiling baby for the card. And tickling her feet off-screen helped too ;)

I was also happy that I was able to use some plain old envelopes we had hanging around and simply spice them up with a gentle hint of Christmas:


Everyone got a unique little design unique to them.
Well, with all the cards shipped off, all that's left is to receive some company, party down, and exchange gifts on Christmas Day!



Until then, take care and Happy Christmas Carding~!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yarn Tree Reinvented

Hey, everybody!
Do you remember that Yarn Tree my lovely hubby made for me back in March?

Well, ever since we moved to our new Home, it's function as a yarn-storage device ceased (due to space issues) and it was relocated to our backyard as a plastic-bag dryer (for when we've washed plastic bags for reuse).

But I'm happy to say that our lovely little Yarn Tree will be filling an even greater purpose from now on.
Behold, the Yarn Tree Reinvented:


What my ever-so creative hubby decided to do was:
- stain the wood darker to look like a real trunk
- remove the dowel branches and insert real clusters of fir tree boughs into the holes
- festoon with old Chili lights and new popcorn garlands!

The whole thing cost us $0 and perfectly fits our space needs and our matches our newfound Christmas tradition of always creating our tree from scratch.
You can see 2009's tree in this post.

Definitely an upgrade, if I do say so myself. ;)


And it's so funny, how every year I insist "no gifts this year!" and yet look at all those packages under the tree already... Oy ve~!
Granted some are from other folks, but with a great used bookstore downtown, how can I resist??
Also, you'll be seeing some more knitted presents in posts after Christmas ;)

Until then, Happy Little Trees!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baby Legwarmers Take...7!

You've all seen them before.
At least a couple times on this blog before.
Baby Legwarmers.

This time, with the addition of little pom-poms at the top (or bottom, depending on how the recipient chooses to wear them ;)


I'd like to take this time to go over all the baby legwarmers I've made over the past year...

1) Ella's first multicolor set
2) White-and-purple striped set for Ella
3) White-and-purple striped set for Maia!
4) Turquoise/purple meld set for Ella
5) Brown-and-red striped set for Douzen (photos coming soon??)
6) Art-deco rainbow set for Ella (I gotta take photos of them, they are fun)
7) Christmas Pom-Pom set for _____

I am only leaving the name blank here, just in case the Mama of the baby for whom these legwarmers are meant happens to read this post before I gift them tomorrow ;)
Hopefully she'll take some photos of the happy girl in them so we can see how they look with some chubby baby legs in them.

Well! Happy Knitting to all and to all a good night! ♡

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Hey, all.
How has your month been going?
Knee-deep in that Holiday energy yet? :)

I'm really excited, because I just partook in a activity that is commonplace for many of you, I'm sure, but was a first for me.
Decorating Christmas cookies!


I can't boast as to any "fine craftsmanship" -- after all, most of these were "designed" by three toddlers and their parents who were trying to juggle their kids in one hand and sprinkle cookies with the other.

I also can't claim credit for coming up with the idea. It's all thanks to my lovely friend, Tracy, and her beautiful family who so generously invited us to what turned out to be the most fun-filled evening of the season so far! :)


They may not have that store-bought picture-perfect look, but where else do you get to find a gingerbread cookie with a big ol' Hershey Kiss plopped right in the center?

It's interesting how as of having Ella Rose and staying home more as a freelancer, activities like this have become so precious -- for the moments they create for us, the memories I hope to instill in Ella, and the DIY aspect in general!
I never considered myself as having a "deprived childhood" or anything like that...but as I raise my own daughter and cultivate a more solid grasp on the kind of home I want to create, I realize how much I might have actually missed out on! The simple traditions of making popcorn garlands for the tree...decorating Christmas cookies...heck, creating anything for that matter. What's so common for many of the folks I've come to meet, was completely nonexistent in my own childhood. I think that's why the DIY movement appeals to me so much. I felt so hopeless when I left home -- I didn't even know how to cook spaghetti!
So, finally 10 years later, I am adamant to learn as much as I can to make myself more self-reliant and pass on that knowledge to Ella Rose, little by little.


Cookie decorating may not be crucial for survival or anything, but it's nice knowing how to fix a truly unique batch of cookies that you'd never find the supermarket. ;)

Well, Happy Cookie Decorating (and eating!!)
I'll be seeing you again soon, I'm sure~ ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Protein Patties


The above photo may not look appetizing, but trust me, you will want to read on.

This is a recipe introduced to me by a good friend, which has become a staple in our home.
The perfect alternative to some sugary treat as a snack, these protein-packed patties are a toddler's best friend! Read below to see how it's done~

Brown Rice Power Patties
(makes 12 patties)
  • 2 C cooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 C grated carrot
  • 1/2 C raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 C sesame seeds, raw or toasted (optional)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 C peanuts (or toasted slivered almonds)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2) In a mixing bowl, combine rice, cheese, carrots and seeds.

3) Combine the eggs and seasonings in the food processor and blend for about 5 seconds. Add nuts and process another 5 sec. Don't over process the nuts, their texture is important.

4) Add to rice mixture and mix thoroughly.
5) Scoop mixture onto baking sheet, and form into plump patties

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn patties over and bake 10 min. more.

7) Transfer patties to rack to cool, flipping them so their toastier side shows.
If you're not eating them the same day, keep in the refrigerator. They will easily last at least a week if kept cold and stored in an airtight container.

You can also add/substitute for lots of the ingredients above. For example, zucchini is a popular addition, while peanuts can be substituted with almonds or some other hard nut.
Let your imagination fly with this one!


That's all for now.
Happy snacking, everyone!!

[NOTE: My friend, Rachel, has pinpointed the original source to this recipe which is from "Good Food, Great Medicine" by Mea and Miles Hassell. Check it out for other great recipes!!]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Words

Hi, all!
Time for a rare photo-free post~! :)

I've been meaning to post more about Ella Rose's milestones in development for the benefit of keeping relatives up-to-date as to her going-ons. I know I've missed a lot, but before I forget this quasi-milestone, I want to record here that...

...Ella's first two-word combo was on November 26th: red balloon

...and her first three-word combo was on December 6th: hi, baby dinosaur

And then today, she said "shark eat pink" when she stuffed her mini pink dolphin into the mouth of the shark she plays with on the potty. Hee ^_^

She's really sailing with the two-word combos now with lotsa color-noun statements and her top favorite has to be "pink socks".

I don't think this is particularly early (or late?) in the way of speech development, but again, I just wanted to record this somewhere.
I remember her first word was "bye" at 9 months in the airport out of Cancun, and her first sign-language word was "light"...though I don't quite remember when that was...

They say the time between 18-months and 2 years can be one of a lot of change, so very soon these little two- and three-word combo statements will lose their esteem. But for now, they are music to my ears!! <3

That's all for now. So see you again soon and until then, happy talking!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No more diapers?!

Guess whose these are...



That's right!
At 19 months old, Ella Rose has finally graduated from cloth diapers to panties as she now regularly uses her potty.
Not bad, right?? :)


Granted it's not a perfect system yet as she really is only comfortable using her potty (thanks, Arc ReSale Store!) And, if left in the company of anyone other than Mama and Daddy, it's likely that she'll fail to communicate her elimination needs...and have an accident. Oopsies!
But still~ All in all, our happy household is very much enjoying this step forward -- Ella especially. :)

I know that everybody has their own way of going about potty training and it's not like Ella Rose is terribly young in comparison to most children, but I still thought I'd take this time to share our way of introducing it into her life as reference for other parents out there tackling the big ol' P.T. stage.
Here goes!

(1) The Rhythms

It's quite clear to me that most of these P.T.ing efforts are not so much Ella's as my own. Knowing her elimination patterns and watching for signals to get her where she needs to be to keep from soiling herself. That's my job~!
Although I'd been Elimination Communicating as best I could starting when Ella Rose was 4 months old, all I really did was catch her first elimination of the day -- which consisted of holding her over some container immediately after waking in the morning, to save just one more diaper. She didn't necessarily signal anything to me (at least, nothing that I picked up on). It was just me realizing that that was a constant pattern in her biological functions.
The potty aspect of the whole deal started when Ella Rose was maybe about 8 or 9 months old. Same deal, only on a potty. It slowly but surely progressed to noticing that she also had to empty her bladder immediately after napping. So just with those sleep patterns perceived, I was good to "catch" at least two potty trips a day.
Finally, starting around 17 months old, when Ella Rose was really holding her pee pretty well, simply offering a trip to the potty right before an outing and immediately upon returning was good enough to catch all her elimination needs. Then, with one more sit on the potty right before bedtime, that cinched the deal and I realized Ella really didn't need the diaper on anymore.

(2) Location, location, location

Ever since I first nabbed her little potty back in October of last year, it's been a staple fixture in our bathroom so that Ella Rose could get used to its sight and always knew that bathroom = where you do your business ;)
Some folks recommend having different potty stations throughout the house for the convenience of the child, and I see where they're coming from. But in our case, the one sole potty in the bathroom was plenty enough for Ella.
And it was definitely very much personalized to accommodate her as you'll see below...

(2) Making it fun!

As I mentioned before, with Ella Rose sitting on the potty first thing in the morning, it was important to keep her happy while on that potty no matter how chilly it could be in those winter mornings. And that was all thanks to the loyal group of books we kept by the potty. That has not changed to this day, and I think it's her favorite time to read, period!


Again, around the 17 months mark, when she started happily agreeing to sit on the potty in general, we introduced other sources of entertainment that helped greatly too.
Namely, her little sea-life friends... (thanks to Alexis' pop, Eric~!)


And, most recently, crayons!


What better a place to really let the "creative juices" flow.
Get it? Eh? Eh?? Punnnnn~

So yep! That's all I can really say on the matter.
And that's another 2010 New Year's Resolution taken care of. Phew!
Now to see if Ella Rose could maybe graduate to using the big person potty~?
Because, for now, it looks like we'll be taking Li'l Miss Potty with us all the way to Tucson! Ha!

Until then, Happy Pottying~!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Mantel

Hi, again!
Sorry for not writing in so long, but we have been busy, busy, busy! :)

And now we are fully into the Autumn Season and entering the Holiday/Winter one too!
But I'm glad that before that happened, I was able to instate what I hope will become more of a tradition around here!
Our Seasonal Mantelpiece:


I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Amanda Blake (or "Soule Mama") has become a real source of inspiration for me ever since Ella Rose was born. And she has reminded me how beautiful and important it is to be aware of the changing cycles of seasons, to embrace them, and to bring them into the home so that our homes reflect the nature outside.
So here is the Autumn 2010 version of the Seasonal Mantelpiece. Not much, but it warms the area immensely, I think ;)
The branch was something I picked up while on a walk with Tak'e and I must admit I don't know what species of tree it came from, but I'm glad it has a nice home now. :)
Ella Rose and I have been picking up all the beautiful leaves we've been seeing on our walks and in the park, and adding them to our display. And we even have a seasonal "greeting card" (a Happy Halloween shout from Ella Rose's great-grandmother!)
As Winter starts to take hold here in the Northwest, we'll probably see a sprinkling of pine cones and needles, and some crafty homemade snowflakes too! :)

Until then, Happy Autumn and stay warm!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spa Fashion Show!

Okay, so this was actually a couple weeks ago, but I only just now got around to doing a post about it -- sorry!

So! Saturday, September 18, The Epic Day Spa in Corvallis celebrated their One Year Anniversary with a fashion show!!!
And since Celeste is one of the administrative directors there, I got (happily) roped into being a model for it :)

Even though Celeste kept insisting I was doing them a huge favor...I felt like I was the one getting the favor! For the week prior to the big event, I got my hair dyed, my nails painted, my eyebrows shaped...and all for free! I felt so pampered and girled-out~ For the first time since...my wedding!!?

Then, the day of the event, I got my hair and make-up done, and got to model clothes from the local consignment shop, Second Glance. All in all, I rocked a Mad Men-esque retro sexy office worker. I loved the bright red lipstick, beehive hair, and plaid jacket.

That's me in the pedicure section of the spa. Doesn't it have the most beautiful interior design? And, yes, those are rose petals floating in the bath water...siiiiigh~

As you can see, Ella Rose was there too!

They also had the most killer food which I wish I had photos of...but oh well!
For the record, these are who did me up:

- dye job = awesome Alicia
- nails + eyebrows = magical Michelle
- make-up + hair-do = noteworthy Nicole

A fabulous team in all and I will definitely be going there to book any future grooming needs! :)

Ta-ta for now, and happy modeling~!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Chore for Every Day

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday.


Perhaps some of you are familiar with this traditional saying that sorta dictated how American household chores were to be handled back in the day.
It made a fair amount of sense, too. By cleaning all week, your house was nice and clean for Sunday and the guests you might be entertaining. And by baking on Saturday, all your good eats would be fresh and ready for the big Sunday evening dinner. And finally, if you washed all those good linens and clothes that might have been soiled over the weekend on Monday, you eliminated the risk of stains setting in.
A very good system indeed.
And I have decided to make up such a Weekly Chore system for my household too.
Here it is~

Bake on Monday
Vacuum on Tuesday
Sweep on Wednesday
Clean Bathroom on Thursday
Clean Kitchen on Friday
Laundry on Saturday
Dust on Sunday


It goes without saying that I don't need a day for churning or a day for ironing. For the former, I don't make my own butter (yet ^_-) and for the latter, I just don't iron my clothes. Ha!

I can't claim any clever logic as to why certain chores go to certain days, besides baking our weekly bread on Monday to get us off to a good start. ^_^
And I suppose that by cleaning the bathroom later on in the week, it will make it clean for company we might have over Friday through Sunday.
And today is Saturday, and first thing this morning, I threw in a load to do. And it felt nice, so might as well do it every Saturday hereafter why not ^_-

Well!
I'll let you know how this Chore Schedule goes and if things get swapped around for one reason or another.

'til then, take care and Happy Housekeeping!
HA!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Our Daily Bread

I don't think I've ever told you all this, but for the past year, since moving to Oregon, Daddy and Mama have been baking our own bread. :)
Nothing fancy, just your average whole wheat bread. Someday, I'd like to venture into adding dried fruits and whatnot (like Kae and her amazing raisin bread that sustained us for the first part of the trip East earlier this month ;) )
But, I must say, for us novices, even nailing down whole wheat bread has been a challenge.
The challenge being, namely, how to make it light and fluffy. Not dense and squat.

We initially started with the "Honey Whole-Wheat Bread" recipe from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking but it was a little rich for all the us. And so thick and heavy!! ;_;

So we started to adapt the "Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread" recipe from The Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary (a must-have for any kitchen, we say!!) and have slowly but surely been getting better and better results...
One effective trick we learned was keeping the bread, while it was rising, in the greased rice cooker on "Warm".
But what would start out as a big, fluffy mass of dough...would inevitably collapse into a thick log.

It wasn't until reading The Little House Cookbook that I learned the key tidbits of advice to making a fluffy and delicious bread.
And that being heating the water and milk in the recipe not to piping hot, but to an eerie but effective bloodwarm.


Just look at that fluffy, golden-brown bread!!
I swear, I am never going back.
No more having to slice the bread horizontally to make decent-sized sandwich slices! XD

Even Ella seems to approve...sorta.


You know who she reminds me of in this photo?
One of the Gelflings from the Dark Crystal!! Don't you think~?
And can you believe she's just shy of turning the big ol' 18 months old!!
My, how time flies~

Well! Happy baking, everyone~
And take care!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our new home


That's right.
We did it.
:)))))

That's
why I've been so AWOL for the month of August.
Buying a house can be like that, apparently -- you feel an ever flux in how close the house is...and then how far! But when the lender and Title company and the whole gang finally announced that the place was finally ours...wow. What a good feeling!!!! o(^.^)o

But it really was a drama all the way up to the last day...and hours!
We officially closed on Friday the 27th, and proceeded to completely empty out our old abode, live off of fast food while our plates were in boxes, and wait and wait until Tuesday the 31st came around so that we could:

(1) load the moving van - 9 am
(2) wait for the current inhabitants to skedaddle - noon
(3) finish unloading the moving van - 3pm
(4) catch a plane to the East Coast for my oldest sister's wedding!! - 8pm

What a day!!
So glad it's over and so happy to start putting our happy little Home back together again!

But first, below is a video that Dash put together for me of our Home moments before we started filling it with boxes. Enjoy the tour!!

video
(Music is "Lonecroft Ramble" by Railroad Earth from their album "Amen Corner")


We've now been here for almost one week, and despite the terrible cold that struck Ella as well as mad rushing to meet some deadlines, we are down to only two or three boxes left unpacked :) Not bad, all things considered, I say.

The only regret I have is...I didn't picked up my needles once the whole month of August and have therefore technically broken my 2010 resolution of knitting something every month ;_;
But, hey, when I made that resolution I never even imagined something like this coming along to take up my time and attention! So I think that excuses me this once ^_-

I'm also glad that we've already had three home-cooked meals using an initially intimidating retro Jenn-Air style of range + oven including Corn Chowder, Carrot Soup, and the Dashiell Family staple: Mexican Night!!

I even made my first batch of blackberry jam.
Which I would like to mention was one of the main reasons why I decided to start blogging just about a year ago. Because I wanted to show off my newfound canning skills. Pfft~!
My, how the time has flown!!
I hope I remember to mark the 1 year anniversary coming up on the 26th -- it'll be fun to reminisce over all that a year can do...

Well!
Next time I write here, hopefully there will be some knitting news. Or better yet! Another video showing a more put-together Dashiell Dwelling ;)

'til then, take care and thanks for stopping by~!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rainbow Stool Cover

Phew!
What a month it's been here in Oregon~
My brother, who just graduated from college, has been with us all this time, enjoying the wonders that this fabulous state has to offer.

Here are just a few examples of what we've been up to:

- made Oregon Grape Jelly from this nifty tutorial

- went to the Oregon Country Fair and got to see Hot Buttered Rum!!

- attended Da Vinci Days

- went to a couple BBQs (thanks Celeste, you guys are the best!! :) )

- started house hunting...and maybe even found something!! (details coming soon~)

- saw what our local skaters could do at the Annual Sk8r Bash

- watched a lot of evening baseball games of the local Richey's Market team

- and one Corvallis Knights game!

- went blueberry picking

- cooked lots of meals at home and listened to lots of Thomas the Tank Engine music


And now I'm sitting in my sister's apartment down in Santa Clara, where we've come to visit for the weekend. :)

Through it all, I've still been able to get some crafting in and was able to finish this just in time to keep up my one-a-month knitting project goal.

Behold, my rainbow stool cover!!


Using the pattern from One Skein and drawing from plenty of inspiration from fellow Ravelry users' interpretations, I made this pretty little number.
(Details on my Ravelry projects page)


I somehow didn't use up all my yarn scraps, I am hoping to make a second one to fit the other stool we have! How darling it will be to have two matching rainbow-ified stools!!!


'Til then, happy knitting~!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Washcloths~

Wow!
Long time no write, everybody!
That's not to say there wasn't a whole bunch of stuff going on in May and June -- but it feels like for most of it we were either on the East Coast doing all sorts of visiting, or having long-term company (namely, my mom) over! So I'm finally back home and settled in again~

And don't worry! I've been keeping up with my one-knit-a-month project, and I'd like to present to you my June creations!


They are gifts for my favorite people of the 外薗 family in celebration of their new home!
They're supposed to be washcloths. Or drying rags. Or dishrags. Whatever they want them to be!

The pattern is a free one from JoAnns and it goes a little something like this:

Needle Size: 10 US
Yarn: various Lily 'n' Cream Cotton Yarn balls

(1) CO 4 stitches
(2) K all of 1st row
(3) K1, inc1, K rest of row
(4) repeat Step 3 until you reach 49 stitches
(5) K2, K2tog, K rest of row
(6) repeat Step 5 until you are down to 4 stitches
(7) bind off

The end!!
I have yet to present them, but I hope they are well-loved and well-used in their new adorable home!♡

Monday, May 10, 2010

Matching Legwarmers!?

I finally did it!
Matching legwarmers for Ella and I to perfectly suit the coming Spring weather -- they'll keep us warm, without that bundled up winter feeling. :)

The baby leggings were made using that pattern I used last time.
And the adult-sized one were one I just sorta concocted from logic and experience.
Using size 7 needles and COing on 60 stitches, it starts with 2 inches of 2k2p ribbing, and then goes the rest of the shin in basic stockinette, ending in another inch of 2k2p ribbing.
The end.
I also wove some green ribbon through the top ribbing because it wasn't as grabby as I'd wanted, and this helps them stay up. While adding yet more touch of color ;)
Now to work on some presents for other folks finally!
Enjoy the beautiful spring weather, all ya'll and happy knitting too!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday...to me! :)

Hey, everybody!
Today was my 26th birthday and not only was today excellent but the whole weekend!
I really am tempted to say it was the best weekend everrrr!! :)
It was my fabulous and loving husband and unparalleled friends who made it just amazing~
Allow me to demonstrate...

First, on Saturday, we did vegetable-shopping at the local Farmer's Market and also scored some seeds and starter plants for our garden! We have seeds for soy beans, lettuce, and cilantro, while our start plant is also cilantro, courtesy of the local Plant a Row for the Hungry program. I hope it grows and flourishes so that I can donate a whole lot to PAR recipients!!

After that, our good friend, Greg, told us about the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland so we drove up on a whim and had a great time!! Delicious Mexican lunch, inspirational artists, a long-overdue purchase... Craig Thompson's Blankets from Top Shelf!! Mr. Thompson was there himself Sunday but we weren't going to be there, so Greg kindly brought my copy to be signed by him for me!!


Then, when we got home that evening, the Hokazonos asked us to stop by...to present me with the Strawberry Shortcake Kae baked me!! Japanese style, so it's sweet but not too sweet, and just gorgeous! And the whipped cream frosting...so good!!! And the strawberries...so big!! :D They also gave me a beautiful gift basket of organic body care products -- just what I've been thinking about! I really do love that family so very much. ♡


Then came today.
Sunday, April 25th. Sunny, high in the 60's, and with a light breeze~
After an amazing oatmeal breakfast by Daddy complete with raisins, cinnamon, apples, and a pinch o' sugar, we took a family bike ride to the County Fairgrounds for what we thought would be a general "Swap Meet & Flea Market" but turned out to be an antique automobile show instead! So cool!!
On the ride back home, we took a route behind OSU that is all fields and greenhouses and agricultural buildings...fabulous!!


Then we dropped Ella Rose off with Kae and company and Daddy and I went roller skating just the two of us!! ♡


The rink was in Lebanon and so stuck in the late-80's, we loved it!!


We then topped the evening off with some fine Indian dining.
Saag paneer, vegetable biriyani, garlic naan...
I love Indian food!!!

And we still had plenty to bring home as leftovers for a tasty lunch tomorrow!
Scoooore!
That just about wraps up my birthday celebrating, because once we got home, I totally conked out! Daddy had to go and pick up Ella Rose by himself, while I slept straight from 7:30pm to 7:30am. Ha!!
See you all again soon and thank you everybody who made my birthday so very special!! :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pasta!

Hello, everybody!
This past weekend of April 16-18 was the Great Oregon Coast Garage Sale -- a united effort by coastal residents from Newport to Lincoln to simultaneously hold garage sales for that 20+-mile stretch of highway.
Naturally, we had to go, so from 9:30am until 5:00pm, we must've visited at least 12 different garage sale sites!
To be honest, the fruits of our travel were pretty menial...binders, paintbrushes, cheap videos, etc...
And then we found this. Our new pasta machine!!


For a mere $5, we can now make all the linguine/spaghetti/papparedelle/etc we want! And far quicker than by hand (me thinks...)
Wednesday night we made our first batch of linguine and it was divine! It took a little while to figure out how to balance the wetness and dryness of the dough as we rolled it through, but Daddy eventually nailed it -- thanks, love!!
I'd been boycotting buying pasta in our household for the very reason that I wanted to make it myself, so now that we have that down, you can expect a lot more Italian dishes in our home :)
'Til then!! ♡

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Sleeping Arrangements~

I know, I know -- I really should be blogging about the fact that Ella's turned one year old and had a birthday celebration we'll never forget (involving surprise visitors, lots of cake, and wedding dress shopping!) but I've just been so busy, that when today's developments happened, I had to blog out of order!
So pardon the non-chronological posting, but enjoy this latest bit of news from the Dashiell household:

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but since the day of Ella's birth, she has always co-slept with Daddy and I. That means she sleeps in the bed with us, making for frequent nighttime nursings and extra warmth and cuddling through the night as well as the first thing in the morning. It's been oodles of fun and very bonding, but it has occurred to us that Ella might be getting just a weeee bit too big to be sharing the bed with. Especially when she rotates herself 90 degrees -- that little body suddenly takes up 2/3 of the queen-sized bed...minimum!

And so this morning, Daddy suggested a way to accommodate our growing girl without totally dropping the co-sleeping arrangement. We toyed with the idea of bringing the futon upstairs into our room, but we settled, instead, on just removing the crib's mattress from the wooden framing and pushing it up against our bed.
This is the result!

That's our bed on the left, and Ella's mini bed butted up against my side of the bed.
We salvaged the mobile from the crib so that it (sorta) hangs over her head. I hope she enjoys it~
Tonight will be the first time she sleeps in it and I have high hopes that it will work out. She'll be close enough to feel the love, but far away enough that the constant smell of breast doesn't tempt and wake her up all the time. :)
When I wasn't preparing her bed, Ella Rose seemed happy enough, but we'll see how it goes tonight... This photo Daddy took wasn't exactly promising!! {:)

Wish us luck!! ♡♡♡

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Light Switch Plates

This is a craft project that I first took on back in November, taught to me by the ever-crafty and cool, Kim! Thanks again so much for teaching us. This has really added a lovely touch of color to our rooms.
I am finally featuring it here to show the latest one in preparation for the arrival of June, my mom-in-law, in preparation for Ella's first birthday party~!

I'll show you how I went from this:


To this:

Besides the light switch cover and paper of your choice, this little project only requires the few following materials:
  • Mod Podge
  • clear acrylic sealer
  • sand paper
  • X-Acto knife or scissors
Everybody ready?
Let's begin!

1) Sand the plate until it is just scratched (this will help the design stick to the plastic better) and then wipe down with a damp cloth.

2) Lay out your design on your plate, folding it tightly around the edges.

3) Poke holes in the design through both screw holes with a blade and then pen

4) Cut an X in the switch hole starting at each corner and fold the flaps over to the back of the plate.

5) Remove the design and trim until about 1" overhangs all sides, snipping off the excess at the corners too.

6) Apply a medium coat of Mod Podge to the front of the plate and the back of the design.

7) Quickly now, place the design on the plate and position it by lining up the holes for the screw holes.

8) Working from the center, smooth out the design, using a pen to re-establish the screw holes and smooth that whole situation out.

9) Apply more Mod Podge, this time to the back flaps, to stick nice and close to the back of the plate. Coat all this with a thin layer of Mod Podge for extra security.
It will look something like this:


10) Set the plate, face up, on an overturned yogurt container or any other such thing that can act as a pedestal for your plate to rest on with minimal contact.

11)Let it dry for a couple of minutes, then apply 2-3 coats of Mod Podge to the face of the plate, letting it dry 3-5 minutes between coats.

12) Let it dry again and then spray with 2 coats of acrylic sealer.

13) Mount to your light switch hole in the wall, screw in place, and enjoy!!

Here are some other ones I've done around the house:


The more switches, the harder, that's for sure.
And all the designs came from a stash of nice Japanese paper I received some years back. That means the paper is somewhat thinner than other stocks and the coloration on them is gorgeous~!
And for those of you who have covers with a far smaller flip-switch, lucky you! That means more surface area for your design to cover, instead of a big, white switch. {:)

Well, either way, I hope some of you try to give this a go yourselves and enjoy the end result!
Keep me posted if you do!!
'til then~ ♡

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Birthday & Yarn Tree

Today is Daddy's birthday!! Happy 38th, my love~!!!
Such a difference this past year has been, and I'm more in love with you than ever. :)
It makes me excited to see what this year holds for you and me alike! We'll see one year from now ;)

And on an unrelated note, even though it was the birthday boy's week and he should have been pampered and allowed to indulge in anything he wanted (which I tried my best to do!), he took it upon himself to indulge Mama and build her the yarn organizer she's been coveting for months!!

Behold, a creation from Daddy's own brilliant mind...the Yarn Tree!


Sure, it may look modest and small, but this fantastic combination of thrifted dowels and wooden planks has come together to inhabit a modest corner in our guestroom and bear fruit to a multitude of beautifully colored yarn!


Again, H4H supplied us with the dirt cheap materials for under $3 and were completely salvaged from old homes. Hurray!
By simply piercing my skeins of yarn through the center, I can work right off their branches as they slowly rotate around and around~ It's really quite fun!
And since about 90% of these skeins are also thrifted (thank you, Arc!), I have a ton of little scrap yarn balls too! I organized them in rainbow-order in a basket:
Pretty, no?


Looking at all these colors is much more effective to stirring my creative juices!!
Oh what to make next...in rainbow colors!!!!

I'll keep you posted as to that~
For now, off to wrapping up our lovely birthday celebration weekend :)
And to think Ella Rose's will be next weekend! What a time of the year!! ♡

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crackers~!

The Dashiell household's really gotten into homemade crackers this month. For young and old, alike!
Here, I'm going to share with you the recipes and step-by-step tutorials for making your own recipes at home.
First, baby crackers...

This is all they require:

And in these quantities!
  • 1 1/2 C rolled oats
  • 1 C brown rice flour
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/2 C water
The steps are as follows:

1) Grind the oats into a coarse powder.
(I use our Magic Bullet, and it's just the right size!)

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2) Mix ground oats and rice flour in a large bowl.

3) Add the olive oil to the mixture and mix by hand until it reaches a crumbly consistency.


4) Pour in water and knead until the mixture is pretty compact and sticks well together.


5) Roll out onto a greased baking dish until it's nice and flat -- it should fill to ever last corner with the help of a really good "rolling pin".


6) Cut into whatever shape and size you want. I like mine itty bitty.


7) Prick with a fork. I like mine itty bitty because the prick marks make them look like little Legos!

8) Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

9) Let cool and you're done!!


A salt-free, sugar-free, spice-free snack!
With the tiny Lego size, this recipe yields a gross of cookies! That's 144, in case you didn't know ;)

Well!
The recipe for the "adult" version of our crackers will be up soon too.
Until then, happy baking~!!