Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fun with Kayleigh

Because we got to Utah so early, we were able to visit with friends and family before Christmas and maximize our stay.

The Saturday before Christmas I met up with my sister, Kayleigh, and spent the day spending money and hopping around the Provo and Orem area. First stop was to her house to pick her up, then a quick drive through a car wash to get the grime of 1000 miles off the car. Then the American Crafts Warehouse sale. It was awesome. I felt bad for spending so much time there when Kayleigh had already shopped there once! She said she didn't mind, so I took my time. I got a lot of ribbon! and Thickers! I've always loved their gift wrap and packaging but I didn't need much so I only grabbed a set of boxes and a few Christmas tags. I'm SO glad I was in town for the fun.

Next stop was another outlet store, For Every Body. They have an outlet in Lindon where you can buy candles (the 16oz jar candles) for around $4 and a home goods store and scrapbook store connected to it. Deals and gifts were found and purchased.

Next we HAD to stop for lunch. It was already close to 2:30pm and neither of us had eaten. Cafe Rio it is! Oh how I've missed thee. I enjoyed my pork salad bite by bite with enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
(side note, I FORGOT to buy uncooked tortillas. I can't believe I didn't bring any back. Maybe I'll need to drive down to TX to pick some up)

Since Kay is my go-to girl for thrifting, our next adventure involved the Provo DI. I sadly left two fisher price toys behind (space issues) but scored a few issues of Martha Stewart Living (for $0.25 each!) a mug, and a cute old christmas ornament that reminded me of Kermit the Frog. And a magazine holder that's tres cute.

Then Costco, which led to a round of 'let's find the New Super Mario Bros. game for Ryan for Christmas' that ended in Sandy at Target.

Probably one of the best days I'd had in a long time! Thanks for hanging out with me, Kayleigh!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Long Day {that kicked off the vacay}

Had we been ready and prepared as planned (does that ever HAPPEN?) we would have been in bed on the 17th by 10pm. But we went to bed at 2am. And then we couldn't fall asleep. I couldn't fall asleep. I shut my eyes, hoping to will my body to enter slumberland. It didn't work. I got up for a drink of water thinking the refreshment would be what my body needed and I could fall into that deep, deep sleep and wake up in the morning ready to while the hours away in a car. It didn't come.

Instead, I lay there for 45 minutes until I turned on a Christmas movie (White Christmas) I'd seen a million times (I might be exaggerating this number just a bit) and fluttered my eyelids for another minute before my brain shut down.

I slept 4 hours.

We woke up at 5:15am, I showered and got ready the fastest I have probably ever gotten ready in my life, gathered the last few things we needed for our trip and collapsed in the car as one dog, one wife, and one husband, ready for adventure.

The trip was mapped out as 1080 miles from start to destination. 15 hours 39 minutes.

With minimal stops and gas-uppages, we arrived in an impressive 17 hours.

Our prayer (and my letter) worked. Our car performed its carly duties, the sun was sunshiney, we both drove alertly and smartly (and quickly!).

We prepared ourselves for a fun-filled vacation with our family. And fun we had.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Last 45 Seconds

Thank you to April for sharing this. I wouldn't have seen it without her post.
Now that I've wiped away the tears, I'm sharing with you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Safe and Sound {and off to shopping)

I think my letter and our pre-travel prayer worked because we had sunshine ALL the way. The worst part was in Parley's Canyon (from Park City to SLC) but we got here after 17 hours on the road.

Ready to have fun now, okay?

Now, I'm off to hang out with my sister and hopefully head to the American Crafts Warehouse and score some deals (not many, I'm still unemployed).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear Mother Nature,

We all know how tempestuous you can be this time of year. It's only natural, you're a woman (whence, 'only natural' came to be?). In our travels tomorrow, it would be wonderful if you could hold off on the whispery winter snow. I mean, really, I DO favor it instead of arctic blasts and blizzard-like conditions, but you get the idea: no snow.

Sunshine would be great.

Please and thank you,

Chelsea Alexander

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vote for ME, please?

Over at Dollar Store Crafts you can vote for your favorite handmade wreaths! I'm number 12. If you loved mine, please vote! Voting closes tomorrow night for round 1. Help me make it through to round 2, por favor :)

{clicking on the picture will take you back to my original post with details and more pictures}

If you vote for someone else's wreath, that's okay, too! There are lots of really pretty ones to choose from.



P.S. Tomorrow I'll show you a sneak of a Christmas gift I'm making...probably the only gift I'm actually making this year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Estate Sale Goodies

It's far too cold for garage sales anymore - both to have them and attend them - so I go to estate sales. They're inside, usually warm, and have a much bigger selection. It's very rare that I walk out without anything. But it happens.

I didn't take pictures of a few of the things I found-they're in the dishwasher-but here are the others:

post cards from 1907 (I looked up the publishing date)

that's 102 years old!

Koffee Kit - cute, brand new percolater!
contains: 2 cups, 2 spoons, filter, carrying case, cord

smocking on a cute store-bought dress from the 60s
old school terrarium kit, just add plant-life
bingo game from 1939, metal toy soldier ornaments, old buttons

Much of it will be pirated and sold in an etsy shop near you!

An Update in List Form

It's been awhile since I've posted any personal-type updates, so I'll just breeze through the last few weeks in the form of a list, in no particular order. With a few pictures.

  • First snow! lasted about 4 days until the drizzling rain finally cleared it all out (today)
  • Sickness took over the Alexander household. For about 10 days. It was miserable and I was miserable. Have you ever had to deal with a man-cold? That's what I dealt with for a few days. Love you, honey!
  • Toilet upstairs leaks. Husband buys repair kit and fixes it. Still leaks. Fix again. Leaks in a different place. Fix a third time after much annoyance.
  • Silicone grease from toilet repair made the bathroom floor really slick. Like an ice rink. We had fun.
  • Fabulous Christmas party/ward Family Home Evening. We were there for almost 3 hours!
  • Dirty house. Must find time to clean. And decorate.
  • Decorate house. See pictures below:
{old Gurley fawn candles - one is in pretty bad shape}
{gussied up topiaries}
{Pretty much the same tree from previous years}
{In lieu of the store-bought tree skirt I've put up with for a few years, I used an old Christmas tablecloth from the 50s. Much better.}
{these came out of the closet and are on the couch for the holiday season. my mom made them for Ryan and I last Christmas--they're travel pillows}
  • Work on a few crafts to procrastinate cleaning the house
  • Finals - study for and take them (in progress)
  • Figure out travel plans (note to self: take pillows pictured above!) and update GPS with route
  • Bake delicious cookies for the Trunnells 1st Annual Cookie Exchange. Recipe card for you. They're really rich and delicious.

  • Hit up about 5 estate sales in KCMO. Post coming.
  • Lunch with friends
  • Christmas Baking
And here's my to-do list:
  1. Finish Christmas baking
  2. Pay all bills before we leave so our water/heater/gas/electricity is set for us being gone for 3 weeks
  3. Get thee to the post office (must happen tomorrow)
  4. Babysit (love the little boy!) x2
  5. Do all dishes, laundry, etc. There's nothing worse than coming home to a dirty house.
  6. Clean out fridge.
  7. Ready the car for the drive (ugh-did I mention we're DRIVING to Utah for Christmas? Shoot me. I'm pushing for getting it done in one fell swoop. We'll be saying a few prayers that the weather/roads cooperate)
  8. Finish Christmas shopping...or start it.
  9. Movies! Ipods need to be updated and portable dvd player needs to be charged. Have I mentioned the drive? It's 15.5 hours in good weather. oy vey.
  10. Watch more old Christmas movies, like Miracle on 34th Street, The Shop Around the Corner, Christmas in Connecticut, Holiday Inn.
Okay, that's a long list. I'm sure I could drum up more mundane details from the last few weeks, but I'm already bored...so....

Try the cookies. They're delicious!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I got lucky and found THE coolest treasures at an estate sale today. It was the last day of the sale and everything was half-priced, so I can only imagine what neat things I missed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Pictures tomorrow when I have some decent light.

Can't wait to show you!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Christmas Wreath

I stumbled on a beautiful wreath-of-sorts from Blue Cricket Design last week and knew I had to make my own version. As luck would have it, I had picked up 6 unfinished wood ornaments at Michael's for $0.50 each on Monday and hadn't quite decided what to do with them, beyond the obvious glitter-bath.

I had an old frame lying around from an earlier-this-year yard sale {among many yard sale frames I happen to have 'lying' around} and a quick coat or two of paint covered up most of the brilliant gold underneath.

Then I used a matte spray-on clear sealer (Krylon Matte Finish) to seal on the paint and the glitter on the ornaments.

THEN, this is where the true aha! moment came in, I remembered I bought wooden reindeer at JoAnn's or Michael's around Halloween for a mere dollar. A coat of paint, followed by a healthy dose of glitter later, and we have our very own silvered Santa's helper.

I adorned the besilvered 'deer with a tag and a sticker printed with BELIEVE, added a few rub-on flourishes, and a ribbon around the neck of the reindeer to secure the tag in place finishes it off. I've recently realized the supremacy of my hot glue gun. Nothing dries as quickly or holds as well or bonds as many mediums. I shrink in its awesomeness.
cost breakdown:
6 wooden ornaments: $3
wooden reindeer: $1
Ribbon: various on hand, cream bow was $2 in ribbon
paint: on hand
glitter: on hand, but I'd estimate about $5 in glitter {it's german glass glitter}
Krylon Sealer: on hand, but I think it was around $3
frame: $1
tag, rub-ons and sticker: free - given to me
total: $7-15, depending on what you have to buy {mine was $7}

Not too bad, right?

After an afternoon on the door, I've learned this: don't use paper on this project. My chipboard tag has curled from the winter chill and wetness. Tomorrow I'll have to remedy the situation. Not sure with what. Maybe I'll end up laminating it.

If you make/have made something similar, I want to see!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Baby Bibs to Drool Over

What started a few years ago with a co-worker's baby shower gift, has been perfected-a mere 2.5 years later.

I love making these. Each one takes over an hour to make-plus time to create and apply the applique-but every one is unique and I love the finished products.

I tried using cotton fabric for the accents, but they just didn't turn out quite as cute as the felt. I say they're for droolers, because really...do you want to ruin such a cute bib!? {but they do wash really well}

There are 4 layers in each bib {5 if you want to include the felt as a layer}: cotton {front}, fusible webbing, cotton batting, brushed cotton twill {back}. like I said, I've tried a few different things and this is what produces the cutest and most professional results.

I like to make the back look just as pretty as the front. The cuteness shows on the back like this. How awesome is that!

Anyways, these are for baby gifts and possibly a craft show next year. If you want them, they're $15 each, which includes shipping. Not that I'm soliciting sales, but I've had requests in the past so I might as well put the info out there, right?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Christmas Countdown {a.k.a Alexanders Advent Calendar}

First off, I have to say that this was one of the most time consuming, yet most fun projects I've done! November's project day we tried something new by offering a project for people to work on. I put together kits of the basics and those who wanted one just came with the rest of the items on their lists.

My cute friend Monique was the only one who finished hers that day. Everyone else was too indecisive {and chatty} to complete it, but that's fine by all. Visiting is half the fun.

I only got one good picture of Mo's calendar. It was already 6:30p or so by the time we decided to stop and go to dinner, so I hastily grabbed a few and two of the three were blurry; otherwise there would be many many more.
Ryan actually prefers her style to the one I made! What a great compliment, Mo!
Isn't it beautiful!?

Now, you get to suffer through obscene amounts of pictures of mine. First, pictures of some of my favorites. They took the most time, therefore, they're my favorites.
And then a nice side view.
And one of the bottom.

And one of Santa. I was so proud of him. He's from an old Christmas card that my thrifting friend Brooke found at an estate sale we hurried to a few weeks ago. I scanned him in, printed him out (2x) on cardstock and then layered a few features and added glitter. I LOVE him.

And what it will look like on Christmas Day.

Wasn't that fun? We used this tutorial by Teresa McFayden as inspiration and made them our own from there.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Twilight in Comic Strip

I came across this last year and laugh every time I read it. It sums up the Twilight series pretty well. As much as I love the books, they're totally laughable :)

This bit of genius is from here.
{if you click on it you can enlarge it to read the whole thing}

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rinda & James, II

Remember when I posted here about my brother-in-law and his new wife?

Well, they've been published!!! Not like we were published, but in a big-deal magazine. Any guesses?

Here's the spread to clue you in:

How fantastic for Rinda to know that everyone loved their reception and beautiful wedding ideas!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Can I start the Christmas music yet?

And the decorating?

Wait - not the decorating, not until Saturday. For today, we're off to see Wicked! I'm ready to be impressed, cast and crew.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Obligatory Shots of Food

And praises of thanks. Well, I'll spare you the praises of thanks {of course it's there, who do you think this is?}, but here is where I'm showing off all my Martha Stewartishness and pictures of glorified mashed potatoes and candied yams.

Let's start with a table setting. I used some kickass 1920s pink depression glass divided plates for our plates du jour, a variety of silver candlesticks I had {some old, some new}, a picture-perfect pumpkin atop a milk-glass pedestal bowl thingymajigger, and voila! perfect start for dinner for two.
And then I went and added Ryan's Grandma Marshall's crystal glasses. I think they're beautiful, old-school wheat pattern and all, and I will cherish them forever.

And then placed the champagne flutes that his parents gave us {they were in this awesome basket for our wedding night that we took to the condo we were staying at - it was jam-packed with snacks for 3 days!} in front of that

Then added in one handsomer-than-handsome red-bearded husband...
...and his requested cornish game hen {which he said tasted like arse. wait, no, scratch that-he said it was bland}

and ham, sides, etc.
and you get a lovely picture of my dinner plate!
Are you full yet?

You can have seconds. We have enough food for 4 Thanksgivings.

But WAIT! Don't go until you've had some pie.

French Silk Double-stack Pie {I kind of just made that name up. It's cool, no? Double the filling recipe, ditch the pie dish in favor of a springform pan, use a single recipe for the crust}

And Pecan. With stars added for good measure.
They are so so SO good! Must stop gorging. on. pie.

So to make this long post even longer, I'm going to share my family's French Silk Pie recipe. It's a staple at all Watkins' Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and it's delicious. Sinfully so. But sinfully easy to make.

French Silk Pie
1 cup real butter {margarine not an option-spring for the good stuff}
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled, but still warm
4 eggs
Cream butter and sugar together, add vanilla. Add in warm chocolate and mix thoroughly. Add in 2 eggs and beat on HIGH for 5 minutes. THIS IS A MUST. Add last 2 eggs and beat another 5 minutes.
Pour into prepared pie crust and refrigerate for 6 hours. Frost with Whipped Cream and chocolate shavings.

We use a butter-nut crust. Always have, always will. It's far superior than pastry dough crust for this pie.

Butter-Nut Crust
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Cut* butter into flour until a dough forms. Add in nuts and press into pie dish.

Bake 15-20 minutes at 350o F. Let cool before filling

*I tried it with my food processor this time and it was so fast and so easy. I did half the butter first, mixed it all the way in, then added the rest of the butter and then the nuts. Easy peasy.

Let me know if you make one and what you think!

Unless you think it's gross. Because I don't want to hear that.