Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm back!

I'm back! First of all, I must apologize for having you add me to your feed reader, only to change my address on you! My new blog address is now http://www.quietudeblog.blogspot.com/ Blogger discontinued FTP support recently and it seemed like a good time to switch over to a new address; one that fits my blog a little better than the old one. ;-) (If you have always wondered, the bitter gamer is my brother, who gave me some webspace years ago. When I first started my blog, I didn't really have plans of making it public, and so didn't worry about the address. However, I eventually got me some visitors, and then when people started asking me for my blog address in real life, I realized how bizarre it sounded. But I haven't gotten around to changing it until now!)

For the time being I will leave the archives up here, but all new posts will be at my new address. So please update your links, feed readers, etc. to point to http://www.quietudeblog.blogspot.com/ See you over there!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Bloggie break

Hi everyone, just wanted to let you know I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break. When I come back I plan to have a new design and a fresh focus, among other things. I am not sure exactly when that will be, but a good way to be notified is to add my blog to your feed reader (something I recently enabled -- not sure why I had that option turned off for so long... silly me).

See you again before too long, Lord willing!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baby hangers

My mom sent me some wooden baby hangers that she found at a store that was going out of business. They are a great shape, but they were plain white with an ugly "Taggies" logo smack in the middle. Using this tutorial, I gave them a facelift with scrapbooking paper. The end result is quite worthy of display.


The crocheted blanket on which they're laying was one of the many beautiful handmade gifts given to Edmund. It amazes me how the birth of a baby inspires women to get so creative with their hands!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Most delicious spinach salad

I made up this salad for Valentine's Day dinner with my husband. It's sort of a conglomeration of various salads I've had over the years... but the end result is utterly delicious!! This recipe makes enough salad for two, so adjust your amounts as needed.

  • 2-3 c. baby spinach
  • 1 apple (I used Jonagold)
  • ~3 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 T. maple syrup (do NOT use the fake stuff!)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

    Fill two salad bowls with baby spinach. Cut an apple into eighths, then slice each eighth into pieces. Scatter a handful of apple slices over the spinach (be generous). Scatter crumbled bacon, chopped walnuts, and crumbled feta cheese over top of it all.

    Mix together the maple syrup, olive oil, and vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad.

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  • Monday, February 15, 2010

    Nursing bra tutorial

    First of all, if there are any men reading my blog, this post is not for you. Instead, go visit my dad's blog, CreationPath (although you still won't escape the nursing theme!!).

    ...Now, I would not normally post pictures of my underwear on the Internet. :-) However, I made this tutorial in hopes that it will be helpful to other nursing moms. Since I've started breastfeeding, I've found that nursing bras are generally

    A) hard to find in the first place
    B) plainly utilitarian
    C) not of the style I'm used to wearing
    D) expensive

    Since I am a big fan of breastfeeding, and Douglas and I are hoping the Lord will bless us with many children, I did not want to spend the rest of my pre-menopausal days wearing ugly bras. ;-) A few weeks ago I decided to convert some "regular" bras into nursing bras by way of some front-closing bra clasps. You could also use nursing bra clasps, but for whatever reason I like this kind better.


    I ordered these from Sew Sassy Fabrics. I'd recommend stocking up when you order, since shipping is on the expensive side. For what it's worth, the black clasps that I ordered seems to be a bit sturdier than the clear ones.


    You could really use just about any style of bra, provided the cup will bend easily to uncover the breast for nursing. (Test this when trying on bras.) This particular bra comes from Target and sells for around $10. It is part of a line from Gilligan O'Malley, called 'Everyone's Favorite Bra' or something like that. It is particularly suitable for this project because of the ring at the top of the cup. Plus, they have a variety of colors and prints so you can choose something a little more sassy if you like. (I'm showing a plain beige in this tutorial because I really don't want to post pictures of my sassy underwear on the Internet.) ;-)


    First, unpick the stitching at the top of the cup to release the plastic ring.


    Next, cut the lingerie elastic just below the loop sewn near the adjustable slider. (You could also unpick here, but it was sewn so tightly I found it easier to just sacrifice that little bit of elastic.) Cut the remaining loop off of the slider and discard.


    Remove the plastic ring from the elastic and replace it with one half of the new bra clasp (making sure the clasp is facing the right direction). Re-loop the elastic through the slider as shown, then pull tight to make a new loop.


    Stitch down the new loop. A zipper foot will be handy to get up close near the slider, but don't stress if you don't have one. Just make your loop a little larger.


    Slip the other half of the new bra clasp through the top of the cup (making sure it's facing the right direction), fold over, and stitch in place. If you choose a bra that doesn't have a plastic loop like this one does, you could use extra lingerie elastic or matching ribbon to sew a loop at the top of the cup to hold the clasp.


    Ta-da! A finished nursing bra. Now that you've got out your thread and needle, you could make it more feminine by adding lace, bows, ribbon rosettes, or whatever. It irks me that nursing bras are so unattractive, when women will be wearing them at a time when they're not in the greatest shape and they really need something extra to feel pretty! So have at it, Moms!

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    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Ceylon dress


    I recently finished my Ceylon dress from Colette Patterns and I LOVE how it turned out. This was my first time working with a Colette pattern but it was a super experience. It's well-designed and the instructions are great. Definitely worth the price!

    I went fabric shopping at Jo-Ann Fabrics to try to find something suitable for this project, but everything I saw was rather "blah." I remembered this lightweight gray wool I had in my stash, but I thought I'd only bought two and a half yards of it. I was about to order some fabric online when I decided to double-check. Lo and behold, I had four yards! Yippee! This wool turned out to be the perfect color and weight for this dress.

    The pattern is described as 'intermediate' and I would say that sums things up pretty accurately. The hardest part (for me) was getting the front yoke pieces to curve evenly during pressing. I love all the extra details of topstitching and gathering. I also like the buttons down the front, but making 16 covered buttons and buttonholes was a bit of a drag. I did make a fabric belt (as suggested in the instructions, but not included in the pattern), thinking I've got to make the most of what little waist I currently have. ;-) However, once I tried it on I wasn't sure I liked it that well -- it seemed to break up the line of the buttons too much. I think I will wear it without.

    I am so happy to have a cute, vintage-y dress that is nursing friendly and that flatters my postpartum figure! I think I'll be wearing this nonstop for the foreseeable future!

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    Monday, February 08, 2010

    Daffy-down-dillies


    It's around this time of year that I begin pining for spring. After the hustle and bustle of Christmas, winter begins to drag and I'm ready for some warmth, already! Douglas kindly gave me these potted daffodils to lessen my impatience. As each bud unfurls, it's a reminder that it won't be long now...

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    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Ceylon

    I'm raaather excited as I just ordered the Ceylon dress from Colette Patterns last night. All my outside sewing obligations are finished up so I'm happy to have a fun new project to work on! It is much-needed, from my point of view, since none of my pre-pregnancy dresses currently fit me. I'm losing weight steadily but it will still be a few months before I'm back to "normal." I chose this particular pattern because of the multi-sizing, the cute '40s vibe, and the BUTTONS DOWN THE FRONT (nursing access!!). I'm off to the fabric store today -- hopefully I can find something great and I'll be able to show you the results before too long!

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    Saturday, January 09, 2010

    Some Edmund...

    ...just because!





    Edmund turned six weeks old on Thursday. He has grown so big (over 11 lbs.) and already his newborn clothes are too small. I'm putting him in 3-6 mos. onesies because the 0-3 mos. sizes just aren't long enough anymore! He's started making more expressive cries -- more whiney at times, rather than just the "scream-your-head-off" type -- and has begun to give us some sweet smiles, too. His favorite activity is nursing, but he likes to be in his swing, on his changing table with a space heater blowing on him, or in the bathtub. He seems to have a fussy period most evenings when he needs a little extra comfort, but then he's usually in a happy mood in the mornings.

    It's so fun to see his personality develop. I can't wait to find out what his interests will be and what activities he will enjoy!

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    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    Highlights from Christmas

    We were blessed to be able to spend over two weeks at my parents' home in Nebraska over Christmas. Edmund was a great traveller and slept in his carseat the whole trip. We'd stop every few hours to nurse and change his diaper, and then be back on the road again. Edmund's now been in six states before he was six weeks old! His geography-loving daddy is quite proud of this. :-)


    Because my mom spent the first part of December elsewhere (ahem), she was behind on her Christmas decorating. We all pitched in to get the tree up and decorated, the lights strung outside, and multitudes of Christmas knick-knacks distributed throughout the house.


    Edmund with Uncle Nathan and Aunt Chandra

    While we were in Nebraska, Edmund was able to meet all his aunts and uncles for the first time.


    Edmund's Aunt Louisa is only 12.5 years older than him. She loves to hold him, and Edmund loves to be held, so everybody's happy!


    Since I now live a cat-deprived life, I was quite glad to see my cat Basil again. Nothing is quite so cozy in the winter as a furry feline curled up in your lap. :-)

    We are thankful to the Lord for the chance to spend so much time with our far-away families! Next visit, sometime this summer...?

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    Tuesday, December 29, 2009

    A Homemade Christmas

    A Homemade Christmas at SimplyVintagegirl.com

    I had great intentions of participating a bit more in my friend Emily's "A Homemade Christmas," but Edmund has kept me quite busy since his arrival! I did get one homemade gift made before he was born, which was a knitted hat for my brother, Nathan. I had some leftover yarn from a scarf I made him several years ago, so I decided to try to make a matching hat. I didn't have a pattern, but made it up as I went along. My friend Keturah helped me figure out how to decrease the stitches.


    Douglas would like me to make him a hat, too, so that's next on my knitted projects list. I'm envisioning a tweed yarn...

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    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti

    I have been thinking about what Christmas baking traditions I would like to start in my family. Last Christmas, I didn't do much baking other than some cinnamon rolls and gingerbread people. This year, I haven't done much either (having a newborn slows productivity), but I did manage to make these cranberry-pistachio biscotti from my mom's recipe box. I realized I've found recipe #1 for the Singer Christmas Cookies folder -- they've made the cut!

  • 1-3/4 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1-1/2 c. raw pistachios
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • sugar

    Mix first four ingredients in food processor. Add cranberries, mix again. Add vanilla and butter in chunks. Mix until cornmeal texture (add a little water if needed). Add nuts and eggs. Fold into mixture 10-15 times. On floured surface, divide dough into four 8" logs. Spray cookie sheet with oil. Place logs on cookie sheet, flattening slightly. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. Set on rack 15-20 minutes to cool. Slice and bake on sides for 7-10 minutes.

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  • Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Sing Lullaby



    I first heard "Sing Lullaby" by Herbert Howells on a radio broadcast of Nine Lessons and Carols a few years ago. It's still one of the most beautiful and poignant pieces of Christmas music I've ever heard. Enjoy!

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    Monday, December 07, 2009

    Edmund Michael


    Edmund Michael at one day old

    Thanks so much for all your well-wishes and congratulations! This past week and a half has been a wonderful time of getting to know Edmund while recuperating from the birth. My mom has been here to lend a helping hand and what a blessing that has been.


    Edmund is a deep sleeper, just like his Dad. :-) I have equal difficulty in waking them up at times! I love watching his little rosebud mouth and chubby cheeks while he's relaxed in slumber. What a thrill to have such a beautiful little son.


    God has answered so many prayers surrounding this pregnancy and birth. I had a great, healthy pregnancy with no complications and an equally smooth delivery. I labored for about 24 hours -- about one third of the time spent with very light contractions, a third working moderately hard, and the last six hours... well, we'll draw the curtain of charity over them. ;-) Thanks to the Lord's mercy and Douglas' encouragement and coaching, we made it through!

    Even the timing of Edmund's birth is a gift from God -- Douglas had Wednesday through Friday off of work due to Thanksgiving break, which meant he did not have to take additional time off to be with Edmund and me. My preferred midwife, who was to be out of town on the days surrounding my due date, was on call, so she was able to attend the birth. The fact that he was born early also gives us plenty of time to recuperate before our Christmas travels.

    We are overwhelmed with thankfulness for God's goodness! Praise His name!

    Praise the Lord, O my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
    Praise the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all His benefits --
    who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
    who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
    who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
    --Psalm 103:1-5

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