Monthly Archives: December 2010

12 week appointment

Yesterday we went to our 12 week appointment for the baby.  Brian went with me to this one.  It was our first appointment with the nurse practitioner and seemed important enough for him to go.  She talked a bit about the different testing and screenings available.  She did an exam and then we listened to the heartbeat.  It came in at 170 beats per minute.  I had found it at home with the doppler a few days before so it wasn’t such a big deal.  It was really nice to have the confirmation that all is well and on track.  I go back again at 16 weeks and then we have our first ultrasound at 19 weeks.  It can’t come soon enough!

After our appointment we met our potential doula for dinner.  I say potential because we haven’t signed a contract with her yet.  She came highly recommended from a friend (thanks Melinda!).  We both really liked her.  She is a wealth of information and very easy to talk too.  We’re going to decide this weekend for sure but I hope we get to work with her!

That’s about it for now.  I’m mulling over my goals for the New Year.  Hope you have a great one!


My First Quilt

I started my first quilt this summer with help from my Mom.  It was a LOT easier than I thought.  I chose a basic design called the Disappearing Nine Patch.

The fabric I used all has a special meaning: Blue – from our bridesmaids’ dresses, Brown – leftover from the curtains in our house, Tan – from one of Brian’s Grandpa’s shirts, Green – from other curtains in our house. I cut many 4″x4″ squares.
I followed the same arrangement for all of my 9 patch squares.
Here I’ve sewn the 9 patches together, pressed them flat,  then cut the square in to 4 new pieces.
This is one possible arrangement for putting the small squares back together.
Another possible arrangement.
And another option. The possibilities are endless!
A bigger layout just to see if I like it.

I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Laundry Area Makeover Pt. 4: Specifics

This was saved in my drafts so I’m posting it to get it out of there.

Here’s a bit more information to help you if you’re contemplating a similar project:

  • The floor tiles are reversible foam tiles like these ones.  I think they are the same brand.  I got mine at Menard’s.  They are supposedly made of recycled materials.  The reverse side is primary colors.  They are comfortable to walk on and scrub and sweep clean easily.  I cut them with a utility knife.  Pay attention to how many come in a package so you aren’t surprised later (like me).  I needed more than I thought.  Luckily they were on sale when we decided to buy more.  I don’t remember what I paid total but I think it was around $100 with some on sale and some not.
  • I used a roller for extra rough surfaces to paint the block.  It covered fairly well.  I trimmed out and touched up with a 4″ synthetic bristle brush.  I used the same bristle brush to do the ceiling.  It wasn’t worth it to me to even try to roll some of the ceiling with all the corners and whatnot.
  • I did a layer of primer under the turquoise paint and on the ceiling.  It was the kind that says 1-2-3 on the label and is similar to Kilz.  I did two coats on the ceiling and did not paint over it.
  • The closet rods are metal pipes and dowels.  I rigged them up with baling twine.  Hey, it’s readily available and durable.  A fancier more skilled person could have drilled in to the block columns and used special hardware to hang the poles.  Those cement blocks in the middle of the clothes were piled there to set the poles on but they were too wobbly and took up valuable space.  They’re going back outside as soon as someone volunteers to carry them. 😉
  • A layer of cement blocks/pavers under the underclothes bins is perfect to elevate the bins and keep dirt and dampness out.
  • The laundry tubs will be plumbed in later.  We have a shower stall to go down there too so we’ll hook it up all at once.
  • We do need to have a few more outlets installed for the iron and the radio.  Keep this in mind when you’re picking a spot for those things.  Same with lighting, I kind of wish the lights over this area were on a different switch and we may do that eventually.

A final word of advice on creating a family laundry area…approve it with your family first.  In my defense, I did explain the idea to Brian well in advance.  Unfortunately he did the “nod and smile” but later admitted he didn’t think I would every get around to actually doing it.  He was a little put off when I emptied out his bedroom closet. 🙂


Dea-chan asked (I think it was you!) about how functional the room actually is now that I’ve been using it for awhile.  Answer: it’s great!  There are a couple little things that still need attention such as I need a trash can and I still need post it notes and safety pins to keep track of what needs mending on certain pieces of clothing.  One unexpected but very convenient perk is that there is lots of room to hang clothes to dry.  I have clothes lines on each side of the basement but I can usually fit two loads worth right in the laundry area.  There is that old curtain rod, the laundry tub, the ironing boarding, and various nails in the ceiling that all work wonderfully for this.  It is SO convenient!  I love it!


If you have any other specific questions let me know!


Mini Rice Bags

These little bags make great reusable hand warmers to tuck in winter coat pockets.  A few seconds in the microwave and they’ll toast right up.  Any type of little fabric bag will work but I couldn’t find a good tutorial explaining how to make them look nicer.  I’ve done all thinking for you, just follow the steps.


  • A cute fabric of your choice, I used 100% cotton (Avoid synthetics that may melt or ignite in the microwave!)
  • Regular rice (not quick cooking) or preferred filling
  • Thread that matches
  • Scissors
  • A small funnel
  • A ruler
  • Marking crayon/pencil OR a cutting mat and rotary cutter

Step 1: Cut squares of desired size. For bags about 3" x 5" cut your squares 7" x 5". You will need 1 square for each bag. Ideally, iron your fabric first and cut it on a mat with a rotary cutter. I didn't iron, and I used a ruler, marking chalk, and scissors to cut. They still turned out fine - you can even up the edges when you sew.

Step 2: Fold the fabric in half, wrong side out, to form a rectangle about 3.5" x 5". Stitch the edges where the come together on the long side using a 3/8" seam allowance. Remember to reverse and go over your stitches at each end to secure the seam.

Step 3: Refold the rectangle moving the seam you just created to the middle of the rectangle. Seam one of the short sides closed using a 3/8" seam allowance.

Step 4: Sew the other short side only about halfway across - reverse for a few stitches and run over the last few stitches again, then raise your needle and remove your work. In this picture the left side is completely closed and the right side only halfway. (Note: pay no attention to where the needle is lined up here - I just sat it there for the lighting.)

Step 5: Turn your little bag right side out by gently working it through the opening you left. Use for finger or a pencil to straighten out the corners. Be careful not to rip your seams as you go. Top stitch over the completely closed end using a 1/4" seam allowance. Do not topstich the partially closed end yet.

Step 6: Insert the funnel in to the opening. Hold the funnel and the bag with one hand, as shown. In this way you can use the funnel to scoop up some rice out of the bag or a bowl. Then, use your other hand to tap the funnel against until the rice goes in. I didn't measure, just fill your bags about 2/3-3/4 of the way full.

Step 7: Fold the opening shut to match up with the part that is already sewn closed. Use your fingers to seal off that end of the bag while you position it under the needle. Topstitch along the entire end using a 1/4" seam allowance. Trims your threads.

There you have it – mini rice bag in 7 easy steps.  If you have any questions or catch any mistakes please let me know.  These make great little gifts.  I used the paw print fabric for the girls I work with at the vet clinic.  You could use a cute snowflake or holiday print.  The darker the color the better if most pockets have bits of who-knows-what in them like mine.

Did you give any homemade gifts this year?

Menu Plan Monday

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday.

I have to jump back in to this!  I haven’t cooked much in ages because I didn’t feel good and then we’ve had a ton of leftovers.  My poor husband!

  • M – Herbed Chicken & Brown Rice*
  • T – Hamburger* with Cream of Mushroom Soup on toast (not for me!)
  • W – Salmon Patties & Whole Grain Noodles
  • R – out for dinner to meet with a potential doula
  • F – Spaghetti & Garlic Toast
  • S – Sirloin Steak* & Red Potatoes
  • S – Leftovers

* = from the freezer

What’s on your table this week?

A Good Excuse

Remember awhile back when I posted this post claiming I would post every day for November?  And then, not long after that, I’m sure you remember how my resolve fizzled and this blog once again became neglected and quiet.  Well, my friends, I was not just slacking in my typical way.  I had a really GREAT excuse!!

Literally minutes after hitting “publish” on that post my life changed in a big way…

My mind and my time during the month of November were quickly overcome with appointments, lab work, and thoughts of a baby to be.  We had been trying to conceive for only 2 months and I was paranoid that it was going to take us a long time.  I was pleasantly surprised that it happened so soon!  We were well in to December before I started to think much about anything else again.  By then, I was having a short period of nausea and generally feeling lousy.  Thank God that passed quickly and since I’ve felt pretty good!  We’re coming up on the 12 week mark this Thursday and so far all is going well.  I’ll be bopping in and out of here but this time – no promises! 🙂

Christmas Village

Christmas may be over but the folks in my village are continuing business as usual…

The music and candle shoppes are open for business.

The townsfolk are out and about.

My favorite, the barnyard scene.

The railroad depot, strangely void of passengers on this busy day of travel.

That boy looks awful young to be hanging out near the tavern!

Do you have a Christmas village?  How long will it stay up for?