Wednesday, September 30, 2009

not in Kansas anymore.

I already know I'm a nerd, you don't have to remind me.
But I'm entitled to that reference based on the fact that The Wizard of Oz plays in our house every single day.

Kansas was aMAZing. The trip of a lifetime.

Julie (and Janey), Sarah, and I met in Dallas Friday afternoon and together we flew in to Wichita. Megan was waiting for us!

How lucky did we get to be in town the same weekend of the famous Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair?! Our first stop was Megan's friend, Carolyn's. She lives right by the craft fair location, and we wanted to be up bright & early, so we stayed the night there.

The scenery was incredible. My blog friends even got to experience a touch of my travelling-induced anxiety on the drive to Hillsboro. Not embarrassing at all.

Carolyn was so welcoming. Megan's mom and sister were there to greet us, too! We stayed in the cool bunkhouse (a big basket of goodies awaited us!), which is actually bigger than my whole house. I stood just outside the bunkhouse and rotated all the way around while snapping pictures:

Can you imagine waking up to these views each morning? Well, if you live in the mid-west, I guess you can. It was culture shock for a California girl.

Saturday the real fun began. Craft fair shopping with your husband and kids is a nightmare. But with your fellow crafty bloggers? That's a different story.

Janey fit right in!

How's this for a fun group?

Over just 3 days I got to meet in person:
Julie
Sarah
Megan

Jess
Beki
Amanda

Kendall
Mindy
and many more,
not to mention all of their wonderful families!

According to Camden, I was going to Kansas to see Dorothy.
This was as close as I got.

In addition to the craft fair we hit up antique shops, barn sales,
and even a vintage soiree!
Wow!
Let's just say we wished we'd driven a U-Haul! SO many treasures!

This one's for Chayse, who told me to say hi to the Tin Man.

We antiqued literally until sunset.

For dinner, we headed to Megan's where we met back up with Jess, her sister, Ann, and mom, Kathy. We had so much fun making enchiladas, getting to know each other, and talking fabric & sewing machines that we didn't eat til almost 10! Nobody minded.

Megan's house is even more beautiful than we expected.

And this was probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in! I am not a good sleeper, but two nights in this bed did wonders for insomnia.

Sunday was so bittersweet, with Cora's Playground dedication.
We loved Grace Community Church.

We were invited the Macs' big family dinner at Jess' parents house, following the dedication. Everybody was SO nice! The food was great. The men watched football while the ladies invaded Kathy's sewing room, aka the Cora's workshop. We ooh'd and ahh'd over all of their great dresses, and Kathy even sent us home with some for our girls... after demonstrating her serger skills, that is!
(PS- I need a serger.)

It was an unforgettable night, remembering Cora.
God brought us together, and I am so thankful for new friends.

Monday morning we woke up to rain, and our plane awaited. We couldn't leave town, however, without a visit to Sugar Sisters for breakfast!

Now take a look at what's peeking up from behind the apron in that sign, and don't say you weren't warned once you step inside.

A quick stop for cupcakes, quiche, and coffee. We even had some yummy cupcakes boxed to go! Mine barely survived the journey home. They were squished, but DELICIOUS!

Oh, can you see it? That's right, zero in on the salted caramel cupcakes. Yep, right behind them. Click to enlarge if you have to. That Sugar Sister had no shame! But what a baker.

Megan, I can't thank you enough. Craig and the kids were awesome for putting up with our invasion. I already want to come back. Here I come...

And speaking of Megan, go give her some birthday love. And see even more of our fun weekend while you're there. Just don't compare our photos. She is amazing!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

saddle up!

This shower was SO. MUCH. FUN. to put together!
Inspired by the country-ish location and some fun vintage style fabrics, the theme shines through in every single element of the party!

Here, again, are the invitations you've already seen.
I love the interest that the fabric and buttons add. I could use and adapt this idea over and over again.

Do you see what I mean by a country theme fitting this location?
It was held at the home of the expectant mom's parents. This is the view from the back porch!

The tables are my favorite. The top two photos show sections of the table settings for two six-foot tables. I made patchwork runners from seven different fabrics, including burlap, denim, and a bandanna print. Mini hay bales were the focal point, surrounded by lots of mason jars full of flowers, cute farm animal puppets, and vintage wooden blocks.
In the bottom photo you see the eight foot main dining table. For this one, I made the table cloth from sections of burlap and the vintagey cowboy print. What a cool effect the small 24 containers of white daisies created! 12 mason jars and 12 baby bottles.
Puppets, blocks, and bottles: all reusable for the baby!

We had to include a special spot for the few kids attending. A school-height table complete with crayons, worksheets, farm books, and fun masks ensured the lil' buckaroos would stay BUSY!

So the clothesline is a popular baby shower decoration idea these days. I wanted to expand the concept by using the tablecloth fabrics to applique coordinating onesies. I did a horseshoe, a star, a Levi's pocket from an old pair of big brother's jeans, a horse head, 'lil' bro', a pig, and a sheriff's badge star. All with cloth diapers in between. Again- practical, useful, super CUTE decor. And that Lil' Cowpokes fabric by Michael Miller was actually my original inspiration behind the theme.

My pea pod game made another appearance for this shower. The game winners went home with these. A simple, basic oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix, jazzed up with blue m&m's. The labels? Sarah + Abraham, of course! I am so lucky to have someone who not only deals with my constant strange requests, but does an even better job than I would have imagined! Oh, and these were our Cookie Monday cookies this week. I couldn't possibly have sent them off as gifts without testing the complete recipe out! It was worth it.

More Sarah & Abraham cuteness here! I love her favor stickers, and use them a LOT. Guests were sent home with classic toy stick horses, in iced shortbread cookie form. I was so excited when I found the horse head cookie cutter, and then just used candy making sticks from the craft store to create the look. Lots of royal icing plus many hours in the kitchen produced 45 of these guys.
***
I am not a fan of cutesy, pastel baby showers. Actually, they drive me NUTS. But taking a unique idea and carrying it out through the whole event makes me very happy. I'm such a sucker for party planning.

Yee-haw!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cookie Monday

Planning a country baby shower, imagine my excitement when these were brought to my attention a few weeks ago on Bakerella. You can't go wrong with handmade cookie mixes in a jar. Well I decided they'd be perfect as game prizes for the shower (look out for that post soon!), so I whipped up three batches. But curious to see how they actually came out baked, we made some for ourselves today! We substituted Reese's Pieces for the m&m's.
Yum.

PREHEAT oven to 350.
DUMP into a big bowl:
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup & leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oats
3/4 cup m&m's (or Reese's!)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans (we omitted)
ADD:
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 stick of butter, almost melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
MIX well.
ROLL dough into 1 1/2 inch balls.
BAKE for 10-11 minutes.

One bowl. 11 minutes to perfection.
Seriously... go make these.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Need a reason to smile?

Go find the song you played over and over again, during those first weeks after meeting your husband. You know, the time your heart actually skipped a beat when you heard his voice on the other end of the line.



Or the song that played as you kissed at the altar... for the walk down the aisle with 150 of your closest friends cheering you on... and as you pulled on that rope together, making wedding bells sound for the entire town.



Go find a song like one of those and BLARE IT.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

tears

My weekend in Kansas was overwhelmingly a life-changing experience. As we pulled into the church parking lot on Sunday, getting our first glimpse of Cora's Playground in person, I was overcome with tears.

Tears of frustration.

Frustration that this amazing playground was a result of the loss of a baby girl.
That Cora would never get to enjoy the playground with her friends or siblings.
Sadness over the agony that the Macs have endured over the last eight months...

Tears of accomplishment. Feelings of accomplishment of seeing ideas turn to goals, to reality.
Realizing the powers of prayer, community, and the incredible world of blogging.
The power of Cora's legacy...

Tears of hope.
341 balloons were released in honor of Cora's days on earth.

Stickers for seed packets generously donated by sarah + abraham.

Hope for the healing of the McClenahan family.
For health of their new little life.
And for a strengthened faith of all those Cora's story has touched...

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
-Hebrews 11:1
***

So much more of our Kansas weekend to come...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cora's Playground

We are here!

Friday, September 18, 2009

this weekend

Today I am headed somewhere far.
Travelling with two friends I've never met in person.
We will stay somewhere better than any hotel. Anywhere!
It is sure to be an emotional, bittersweet, unforgettable weekend.
Remembering Cora.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

four scarves and a skirt!

I am in LOVE with Anna Maria Horner's new Garden Party collection. It kept me very busy all weekend while somebody else was glued to football.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Martha loves me.

Just got a frantic phone call from my mom. She and her work friends spotted me
ON MARTHA DOT COM!!!

My corn costume from last year is one of 20 picked under "Your Best Halloween Costumes" in the Halloween Workshop!

AHHHHH!

Monday, September 14, 2009

all you need is a friend.

A crafty friend!
A friend who's there for encouragement when you're ready to burst at the seams.
A friend who knows the perfect birthday gift.

Thank you so much, Julie, it's perfect!

I love that this sign for my tiny new craft room doubles as a
bulletin board for all my to-do's!
Complete with a cute paper button tag pinned on.

Look! I've already started my list.
Deep breaths.

And when all else fails...

The BEST {easiest!} Apple Crisp Ever.

Today is Apple Crisp Monday. Fall has officially arrived when you have the aroma of apples & cinnamon coming from your oven.

I've been lucky enough to have this recipe passed down to me from Kevin's 'Grams':

Yields 6 servings, but you can see on the right side that she noted
amounts for time and a half (9 servings).

Click to enlarge,
Make it,
Share with a friend.

PS:
Thanks, friends, for all the birthday wishes! It was a good day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

twenty seven

I didn't have anything in mind to post today, until my mom called yesterday and requested to be my guest blogger for the day. I love doing Happy Birthday posts, but I was not about to write my own! So I caved.

Here she goes...

September 11th, 1982.

27 years ago today, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. 7lbs. 11oz. 19 inches long. We named her Heather Kate. Giving birth to this tiny human being, was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced at that point in my life. I was thrilled! A little girl that I could dress in red keds and matching oshkosh overalls. A little girl that I could spend my days with exploring and creating. A partner to go to the beach with. Someone to read to. Someone that would change my life. And that you did!

From early on, I could see your artistic side developing. Your love to create, write and to dance. You wanted to be a teacher from the minute you started second grade. It seems like yesterday, I would walk down the hall past your bedroom to see you standing and reading out loud to a row off dolls and animals across the room.

You also loved to plan. Boy, did we plan parties. Months in advance. Between the two of us there were no details left undone. From perfectly themed parties to coordinating hats, shoes and socks for every outfit, we had lots of fun together. Fun that I still get to have with you today.

Unbelievably, now there are two more "Kates" in our family. Chloe Kate and Camden Kate. A whole new generation of party planners, creators and organizers are developing before my eyes. Chayse- our guy's-guy all the way- keeps us real with the reminders that every outfit doesn't have to match and it is OK to play in the dirt!

In no way could I put all of the joy you have brought to me in a couple paragraphs. I want you to know Heather, that you could not have been a better daughter and friend to me, thank you for growing into such an beautiful person. I am so lucky. We are all so lucky to have you in our lives- your sisters, brother, husband and children, friends and family. Thank you for always being you! I am so proud to be your mom.

Happy Birthday!
I Love You!!!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

coffee in the keyboard

image courtesy Just Something I Made

This is where my head's been all week!

Yep, thanks to a computer catastrophe involving Kevin and coffee, Cookie Monday {or Tuesday... or Wednesday} never made it up. Where did the week go?

One thing's for sure, when you have no excuse to be planted in front of the computer, laundry seems to magically get done much faster.

Sabotage?!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

sisters

It's Back-to-School Week at i heart faces!

I love how this shot captures the girls kissing their first "goodbye" of the new school year. Seven hours is a LONG time without your sis!

Now I'm off to check out the other entries!