Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fallish things

I am up early today! I'm very excited because my fabulous friend Jenn and the younger of her two daughters is flying in in a few hours for a visit!!!  So, yesterday, I spent the whole day cleaning my house from top to bottom, since I know it may not get cleaned while she'd here--we'll be having too much fun :)  AND, my cousin Jordan came over two days this week and helped me paint Kelby's room. I have a few finishing touches to do, then I'll share pictures, it reallllllly turned out cute.  For now, though, I have lots of pic from our trip to Nick's Garden Center last week! Oh, first, though, here's one of the gorgeous tree in our front yard:
haha! Love that one :)

And, my favorite:
If you live in the Denver area, this Pumpkin Fest is worth the trip!!! It's free to get in--you only pay two dollars to ride the train, a dollar to jump on the bouncy castles and for your pumpkins if you want some.  There are hay mazes, beanbag toss games, sandboxes filled with dried corn and Tonka trucks, a hayride and much more.  It's tons of fun and you still have time! f

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

family pics, the easy version

My favorite photographer, the lovely Angela, has been busy, busy and I wasn't on the ball enough to schedule family pictures far enough in advance to get them into my parents' Christmas box to Mongolia by mid-November. SO, we had some dear friends over last weekend and I asked my friend Becky if she'd snap some pictures of us in front of our house with my camera if I had the settings all right and everything. While we were at it, I took some of her family and some of Melissa's family! It was fast, fun, and we all got some good family pics out of it, so I am happy! And, I'm thrilled that our house is in the pics this year, since it was a huge part of our year. Here's the one we're going with for Christmas cards:

And a few good ones of the kids, too:
Nice work, Bucky!!!!! I hope you guys don't mind me posting your pictures on my blog, because here they come, hahaha.

Here's some I got of Becky's family (baby girl due in January, yay!)
And then of Melissa's family:
Then, out came baby Liliana (SO PRECIOUS!)
Love this next one, soooo sweet :)
And, of course, there were plenty of out takes!

Boys throwing leaves--the only thing little boys would do with piles of leaves, of course.
And, my all-time personal favorite:
When we went back inside, I got a couple more of the baby.  Isn't she soooooo sweet and adorable??

Whew! I know that was a lot. But, if you stuck it out and are reading the rest of this, I have a great idea for you:  no matter what kind of camera you have, or what kind of photography skills you possess, grab another family or two and take some pics for each other! You will all be glad you did it, I promise :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

costume progress and more house snippets

I have had a very productive three days!! I don't know why this sudden burst of energy, but I hope it sticks around :)  After being sick last week, I was extra motivated to get my house back from the hurricane that had devoured it, hahaha, then I moved on de-wallpapering our hall bathroom, which is getting painted and bead-boarded this weekend, yay! And, I've managed to whip out the boy costumes. Here's Obi-Wan:
It turned out pretty awesome.  We just need to find gray pants at black boots at a thrift store and Casey is good to go.  Oh, and see that pretty stair case to the right?  I finally painted those risers yesterday and I can't prove it, but they look so much better than the patched-up mess they were before!

I took the easy way out on Kelby's Yoda costume.  The only good cloak pattern I could find was two sizes too big and required a whopping 6 yards of fabric (more than Casey's! What????) So I bought an extra small women's v-neck, long-sleeved shirt and cut it up until it resembled a toddler's Yoda robe, hahaha.  A black ribbon and a flannel designed-by-yours-truly Yoda hat later, and we had this:
(terrible picture, I know)
So, it turns out I have time to make my clown costume after all!  Thankfully, I was able to use several pieces of the fabric a dear lady at church gave me, otherwise I probably couldn't have afforded to make all the pieces involved!

Since there was a rare moment this week when this media wall in our house was not a complete disaster, I went ahead and snapped a picture.  Let's face it, though, technology is ugly and not everyone's book spines are the same color (ahem, Crate & Barrell catalog), but this is where our family spends a lot of time and this is also the room in our house that required one of the greatest amounts of work, so I will show it off even if it doesn't look like a magazine!  Here is what this side of the family room looked like before:

And here it is now:

The wood panelling was around the entire perimeter of this room and we removed and retextured everything except for this area.  We didn't want to destroy the built-ins so we simply painted the paneling and the fire place white.  Even though there's a sliding door to the left, this room doesn't get a lot of light, so the changes we made made a huge different in the brightness.
Here's another before view:
And here's this door after:
This door used to be brown (to match the lovely paneling!) and so I painted it white and made a Roman shade (my first attempt, not bad!)  So there you have it :)

Friday, October 15, 2010


There was a doggie roaming our street for a few days.  I kept trying to get him to come in, but he ran away whenever I approached him!  We even left food and water and a trail of Cheerios leading up to our front door, which he ate, but still wouldn't let me near him.  It did not take long for us to get attached to him! The girls and I named him Cheerio :)  Finally, after two nights, I called animal services to come and get him (because I couldn't bear the thought of him outside and cold for another night) and they must have because I haven't seen him since about 4 yesterday.  Still, I was sad. I may have teared up because I couldn't win him over and make him ours :)  So, we went to the mall. Ha! I must have been feeling sentimental, because I bought this guy for Kelby at the Disney Store:
The Donald on the right is mine, which my dad bought me at Disney Land when I was two (the same age that Kelby is now!)  I seem to remember losing the first Donald and wailing with sadness until my dad actually went back into the park to buy me another one.  What a guy :) This was my very favorite stuffed animal, I slept with him every night until I was a teenager and I even made him that friendship bracelet.  Anyway, Kelby picked this Donald all by himself--glommed on and wouldn't let go :)

Feeling a little better after the mall, I got to work finishing up Natalie's fairy dress! I haven't made the wings yet because I need to get the fabric and the wire, but the dress is finished and she LOVES it.  She positively floats around while wearing it :)
 So, two costumes down, three to go--although if I don't have time to make Casey's or mine, it's not the end of the world, right?

So, back to Cheerio--I was told by the lady on the phone that they don't have the resources to call me if the dog isn't claimed, but that I can call and inquire.  I would love to take this dog in, but he's a total scaredy-cat. Does anyone have experience with these kinds of dogs? If we get him, will he just run away at the first opportunity??

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

around the house sightings

Whew! We had a big weekend.  But yesterday was rainy and gloomy (my favorite) and the kids and I stayed home all day, it was nice.  I managed to finish Layla's costume a few days ago.  I need to find some good instructions for ears, though. (Blurry picture, sorry)
The same lady at church that gave me several boxes of fabric, also gave me a little stack of patterns.  One of them was a little girl's dress pattern from the early '90's, which was perfect for a Minnie dress, with the puff sleeves and rounded collar and all.  Turned out pretty cute :) And cost less than $7. The Minnie costume at the Disney Store is $50. Ridiculous.

I also have bits and pieces of Natalie's costume done:
I still have the tulle skirt and the wings to make, but I'll show it all here when it's done.  It's pretty cute so far.  I found that great flower print on super-clearance! And a different lady from church passed those '70's floral trims on to me several years ago. Perfect :)

I also wanted to show you another little corner of our house.  Since the living room is a slow process (We need a rug, throw pillows, curtains, etc...) I went ahead and snapped a picture of this little piece of it.
 We got that window at The Salvage Lady in Denver.  Awesome place.  Can't you just picture loads of Christmas cards tucked into all the corners??

That apple garland is the one I made last Fall, out of this book. Here's a closer picture.  It's one of my favorite things. (P.S. When I looked up that book on Amazon just now, it looks like it's now a bargain book and super cheap! Probably out of print, just FYI :)

And last, but not least, this picture of Kelby watching "Woody" is too cute not to share.  Yes, we do have a big TV, but he likes to be wherever I am and since I was in the living room doing some reading, I put it in the computer for him.

For some reason, my pictures are looking kinda pixelated after I put them onto Blogger from Flickr.  What's up???? They don't look like that originally and they don't look like that on Flickr.  Hmmmmm. One more point for possibly switching to Wordpress.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

help, please

Okay, I received the fabric I ordered in the mail, but I'm still undecided about which fabric to use for big, quilted pillows on my new sofa.  Here's the new option:
I ordered the yellow one because I already had the green one, so I would use both somehow--maybe two square pillows out of the yellow and a bolster or something out of the green. Plus, I have some great pink vintage ball fringe from a yard sale a few years ago that would be perfect.

But, here is the vintage option:
In either case, the curtains are probably going to go.  I didn't buy quite enough fabric so they don't even close on the huge window and since it was only a dollar a yard, I won't be losing out on much money.  I'm thinking about finding a big black and white print for the drapes, what to you think? And which fabric should I choose??

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Well, I have been on a podcast roll ever since I posed that question to you all! I decided to compose a list of  a few good ones that I'm really enjoying.  I am only bummed that it took me this long to discover this free world of resources! I even found some good ones for kiddos, which Natalie has enjoyed a few of already.

  • I have always enjoyed the sermons from Christ Church in Moscow, ID, where my sister and family used to live and still subscribe and listen when I can.  You can find this podcast here, or by typing "Canon Press online sermons Moscow, Idaho" into your iTunes. 
  • In the comments, Steph recommended the Radio Lab podcast by NPR, and I'm reallllly liking this one! The subjects are diverse and very interesting and make for easy listening.  I like NPR anyway, (except for science Fridays, booooriiiiing) so it's no surprise I like this one :) Thank you, Step! 
  • After I got the Podcast bug, I started looking for all kinds of things, including podcasts for kids.  We like "Children's Fun Storytime" and "Sing 'n' Learn Children's Entertainment" (this one is for preschoolers). You can find both of these by typing their names into the iTunes search bar.
  • Some of you sewers are probably already aware of the Sew Forth Now podcast, but I listened to it for the first time yesterday and really liked it.  
  • Along with Christ Church's podcast, I have also subscribed for quite awhile to Family Life Today.  It is always encouraging and the topics are always good one for families. 
  • Also in the comments, my friend Rita suggested Coffee Break Spanish, which I haven't tried yet, but definitely will soon! She said the lady speaks Spanish with an Aussie accent, ha! 
  • Last but not least, my sister recommended I consider subscribing to to and I think I will definitely do that.  In the mean time, though, Books Should Be Free has free downloadable audiobooks (mostly classics) and I downloaded Lady Audley's Secret and started listening to it today.  So far, so good! A great resource if you don't want to spend the money on an audiobook subscription. 
I hope you have some fun with these! If anyone has more listening entertainment ideas, please share in the comments! 

I can't have a post without a picture, can I??? Here's one of Natalie making life-size paper doll clothes.  Someday, when I teach this kid to sew, there will be absolutely no stopping her!!! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

One small project at a time

I finally get to show you the other side of our kitchen! I don't have a great before picture of this wall, but here's part of what it looked like before:

The owners left this banquette table for us.  They didn't want to move it and we thought it went well in the space.  After using it for a few months, I decided it could go.  This thing may be cute, but it's impossible to keep clean!!!! And having three little kids eat almost all their meals on it was putting me on the brink of crazy ;)  So, we replaced it last weekend.  Now we have this:

MUCH better! Casey hung that shelf for me on Saturday and so that, along with the space under the new kitchen island, make for a bit more storage for me.  I'm happy! 

I am also really excited about little beauty of a vintage sofa I scored on Craigslist for TEN DOLLARS!!!!! I could not believe my luck.  It needs a little TLC, but I already took off the fringe that was around the bottom and steam cleaned it.  The cushion is filled with down! I know, because I pulled a feather out of it, haha.
I'm considering repainting the wood (it's been painted before), to repair the one part that's messed up on the right.
I also ordered some fabric for pillows.  This one:
But then, yesterday an older lady at church blessed me with a big box of fabric and there is a vintage cotton print in there that may look even better! Maybe I'll ask all of your opinions when the other one comes in the mail :)  

Friday, October 1, 2010

Here's the deal...

I get really frustrated sometimes that people (based on my blog) think I "have it all together" or that I'm "so on top of things".  Trust me, people, that is NOT the case!!!!! I try very hard, actually, not to come across that way on my blog, but in case you're still not convinced, here's what's occurring today at my house:

  • Two out of three of my kids are not dressed--one is half-wearing an Alice in Wonderland dress and one is wearing her shirt with just her Dora panties.  This is usually the way it is. 
  • My garage is FULL of junk--some is going out and some is coming in.  Someone is coming today to look at something in the garage that I listed on Craigslist and even though I may be embarrassed, it's not enough to make me want to go clean it up, if that were even possible. 
  • We only did school two days this week and Natalie and I were both cranky for one of them.  (I struggle with this and am ridden with guilt that I may not be teaching my kindergartner what she needs to know.)
  • Kelby was a cranky MESS this morning.  I wanted to put him back to bed.  Or invest in ear plugs for my own sanity. 
  • I have done zero sewing this whole week.  Except for some hand quilting on Natalie's quilt, which is coming along, but which I've been working on since Spring.
  • Only one of my children has a finished scrapbook, that's how seldom I actually get to work on those. 
Is that enough?  There, now never say, "that Nikki has it all together" again! My blog may make me look like I accomplish a lot, but that's only because I refrain from blogging the daily laundry list of things I don't do every day. 

We have been enjoying these last few weeks of fine weather.  It's been a beautiful Fall so far.  The girls took their coloring outside this week. We did school outside one day too (the non-cranky day :)

For all those things I don't get done, these three kiddos are the things that really matter, right? Right??

Sorry if I'm rambling, but I've been looking for something to entertain myself with while I'm cleaning bathrooms or folding laundry.  I put a few different preachers' weekly sermons on my iPod to listen to, but I've been thinking of trying to find some good podcasts.  Any recommendations? Any subject will do! And, while I'm on it, does anyone else think audio books online are ridiculously overpriced? Or is it just me?