chicken pesto pizza

Hello friends! We're busy packing, demo-ing, moving, and unpacking this week, so I've got some lovely little pre-fab posts up my sleeve. Hugs, kisses, be back soon!

Dee lee cious.
{is it too early after Thanksgiving to talk about food?}

The pesto in this case is spinach + walnut, which was very tasty, though I really want to try it with basil pesto when summer rolls around again. My advice: spread the pesto thin and sprinkle the cheese on thick.

And cook it hot hot hot. Mmmm-mm.


learning time: crayons and colors

Happy Thanksgiving week! We're busy packing, demo-ing, moving, and unpacking this week, so I've got some lovely little pre-fab posts up my sleeve. Hugs, kisses, be back soon!

Since it's gotten colder, we've been spending less time outside and more time inside... watching TV.
I love me some Spongebob, but not alllll the time.
{besides, his laugh really is horrible.}
SO we've started doing learning time, sort of a mini home-preschool.
The girls love it and pester me every morning until it's finally time for learning time. 

Every day I have a little theme picked out, usually based on a library book. 
Last week we talked about crayons and colors, and it was fun.

{can you imagine doing that job?}

Historically I have not been a big crafts-with-kids person, but learning time is changing that.
There are zillions of ideas online. I like this site.

The night before, I dyed some macaroni (mix 2 teaspoons rubbing alcohol with 6-8ish drops food coloring and mix with 2-3 handfuls uncooked macaroni in a ziploc bag; rinse out the bag, make another color, and let it all air dry on plastic wrap or wax paper) for a rainbow project.

I printed this coloring page at 120%, then the girls painted it with watered-down glue and stuck on the macaroni {I brought out one color at a time to avoid mass chaos}. I sort of wish I would have just divided a piece of cardstock into 6 equal rectangles; the skinny curves were hard for ms. M to navigate.

This week we're doing Thanksgiving stuff. So excited.


guest post: i'm thankful

Happy Thanksgiving week, dear Marigoldlets! 
I know you are busy with pre-holiday schemes and dreams,
but if you have a minute, pop on over + see my post on
over at I'm Thankful Week hosted by Jenn at Ruffled Sunshine.
Sound good? Good.
See you there!


eeping out + signing off

We are closing on our house today!
We will sign in our work jeans, head straight to the house, and put the poor shag out of its misery.
But it will be OUR ORANGE SHAG.
So I am going to sign off for a week or two. I have some extra posts up my sleeve, though.
'Cause I don't want you crying yourself to sleep over this or nothin'.


Happy Thanksgiving week, beautiful Ruffle-lets! 
I am so excited to be here -- Jenn is my favorite, did you know?
Thanks for having me over today!

I knew right away what I wanted to write about for this series, but I kept pushing it away.
really, amanda? lame. obvious. booo-ring.
But I just can't push it away. I think it would eat a hole in my head if I kept it inside any longer.
And so today...
I am thankful for the gift of 
c r e a t i v i t y .
And I'm not talking about the sewing/mod podge/stamping/scrapping kind of creativity
{though that is nice, too}. 

I'm talking about the creativity we each were born with--
The creativity that lets you make 
a smile -- a bouquet of dandelions -- a symphony of crackling leaves -- a jump-on-the-bed wild rumpus --
--that lets us make joy.
{children are so good at knowing this intuitively.}

Here is what I believe about creativity:
I believe that we are the children of the most creative being in the universe.
and whether our talents lie in friendliness or flowers, concertos or kazoos, 
I think we've each inherited some irresistible want
even if it's just a joyful noise on a little red kazoo.

Loves + hugs + I hope you are having a marvelous week of creating!


loulouthi go anywhere bag

I am IN LOVE with this bag.
{although, have I ever made anything from this Anna OR that Anna that I wasn't in love with? no. no I haven't.}

So let me tell you all the great things that everyone else has already said about this pattern:
It is well-written. It is the perfect size. It has lots. of. pockets.  

It probably isn't the right bag if you like to tote around everything + the kitchen sink. 
Otherwise, it's the right bag. Trust me.

{For kitchen sink-toters, this one is nice, which I blogged about here and have been using almost constantly since then.}

I made 2 changes to the Go Anywhere bag: one, I used a visible magnetic clasp for the main bag, which was just personal preference. Two, I used fusible fleece interfacing for the main bag, and I'm so glad that I did {I first used it on the Birdie Sling}. It gives the bag just the right amount of heft and sturdiness.

{I guess I was really worried about making sure you saw the inside, too.}
Bravo to both my favorite Annas!


fear + dream ::meet:: simple + beautiful

Happy Monday, sweet friends!

I'm over at Simple + Beautiful today sharing my recent journey of mine 
where I overcame one of my fears in pursuit of something a whole lot better.
Ms. Melinda Joy is a beautiful + kindred spirit, not to mention a very old friend.
Go get to know her -- you'll be glad you did.
Hop on over and say hello!


once upon a thread inspiration: the house that jack built

You guys! Are you making anything for Once Upon a Thread??
It kinda snuck up on me last time, so I didn't participate -- but this time -- look out.
The details are still fuzzy, but here's my {delicious} inspiration, 
from this thrifted 1967 version of The House That Jack Built.

Amazing, isn't it??
I want to live in that house.
And speaking of rats, can I just say that I killed 8 mice while Richard was gone.


dear fear, meet my dream

I've got some fears. Oh yes I do.
Sharks. Large spiders. Bad accidents. Parenting toddlers.
Starting an all-girl bluegrass band.
{I know. whaa?}

It's been #1 on my list of dream/fears for a loooong time. 
I want to be in an all-girl bluegrass band. 
Except that I can't play the guitar. or the banjo. or the bass. or the mandolin. I don't know how to play by ear. I can only read music...some of the time. Except that I don't really know my chords, either. Or really much theory at all. And I stink at counting. And just who is going to be in this all-girl bluegrass band of mine, anyway?

I mentioned this dream/fear to my friend Martha one day. She laughed, then said it was awesome. A few weeks later, she called me. Let's get together and jam, was the gist of it.

And I thought, But I can't play the guitar. or the banjo, bass, or mandolin. I don't know enough music theory to say what key I want to play in, and I can't play by ear. But the pull and tug and promise of a dream fulfilled was too much to pass up.

 I found an old hippy named Bill with an autoharp for rent -- 'cause the autoharp seemed unthreatening enough. I drove almost 3 hours {one way!} to get it. It's the easiest thing in the world to play -- so easy, in fact, that boy howdy and hot dang, I think I'm going to get myself a guitar and learn how to play that sucker. The joy of singing along to Yankee Doodle with my little ones is just too much to hand back to Bill along with the autoharp when the rental month is over.

Speaking my dream out loud -- Martha's encouragement -- Bill's autoharp -- have given me courage.

And just like that, I am brave.

And even though I can't play the guitar, or the banjo, or the fiddle, and I couldn't tell you a diminished seventh from an augmented seventh, this dream is mine, with all the joy and none of the once-lingering insecurity.

I'll invite you to our first gig.

Your turn, should you feel so inclined.
Which of your fears are getting in the way of your dreams?
What excuses have you been clinging to like sinking life boats?

Are you ready to speak your dream out loud?

Be brave and share with us!
And don't forget to stop by sometime -- I'd so love to see you around.
Thanks for having me, Ms. Melinda Joy! 
{You are my favorite.}

gallery: colorful knit socks

Time for socks!
There weren't any socks in the laundry basket for months and months
{except for semi-damp Army socks, that is}
and now they are everywhere.
I used to knit & made a pair of socks that I still love to wear.
I was working on them on a flight to visit my parents {pre-kids, obviously}
and the really old lady sitting next to me said, "You must have the patience of Job."
All these gorgeous socks make me want to pick it up again!


pattern review: simplicity 2594

My sewing mojo is back with a vengeance, and this little pattern is just what did it.
Fast, simple, and really satisfying.

Difficulty: intermediate; some familiarity with attaching a yoke is useful
Time: one evening, start to finish, including pre-washing and cutting fabric
Fabric: cotton sateen from Liesl Gibson's Lisette collection, purchased at Jo Ann
Special techniques: cutting pieces on the bias, pleats, gathering, yoke
Version: A, without the belt

Other notes: This pattern reminds me the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, only for grownups (and with a cowl neck, obvi). There are also pleats on one shoulder, which I (((love.))) The cotton sateen doesn't drape quite as nicely as I thought it would; it still looks ok, but I like to wear it with a cardigan or light coat to help smoosh down the cowl a little. Next time I plan to use something drapier. The dolman sleeves are very cute, but they are very roomy in the underarm and I will wear a little shirt beneath it in the warmer months. The pattern instructions for attaching the back yoke are a little confusing and it took a bit of head-scratching to figure out, even though I had done it before on the ice cream dress. I do like the fact that this top completely covers the booty-crack zone {mine is always escaping}.


happy little moments

loving the organized chaos of tape-shape games on the floor 
coloring more than ever as the wind blows colder and the days get shorter
double-suckering it on Halloween night
recovering from Maren's {blessedly} brief encounter with whooping cough
strumming on my newly rented autoharp -- and loving our new daily singalongs 
thrilled with Erin's new blog header, designed by yours truly
still giggling about Lizzy's teasing comment {and little sister's horrified response} while Maren was sitting on the potty: "Maaaa-ren, there's jeeeellyfish in the potty..." 
grateful for Rachel's thoughts about why we like what we like -- and do I really like it?
chopping my hair today after a 4-week attempt to grow it to chin length
wondering what will become of the bushel of apples that somehow made it onto my kitchen counter
excited about Katy's Once Upon a Thread project coming up this month
even more excited about a certain man of mine who's coming home tomorrow after 4.5 solid weeks in Army training
savoring the well-timed message of this video {which also made me cry} -- it's time to slow down.

{psst... don't forget to link up to the pin-did challenge if you've done something Pinterest-inspired lately!}


mini tutorial: layered lace skirt

I saw this delicious little lace skirt in the little girl's section at Target a 
few weeks ago and it has been on my mind ever since...
I thought it would be pretty easy to knock off, and I was right!
This is a good beginner's project, if you're just getting your feet wet.. err, oiled.. with your sewing machine.

I cheated and didn't gather each layer of lace like the original skirt. It makes for a different end result, but I still like it a lot. Using a skirt that fits your child as a guide, cut two rectangles of jersey. I angled mine in a little so that they're more like trapezoids. Depending on the size of the skirt, cut about 12 strips of lace. They should be about 2 inches wide and long enough to cover the width of the skirt. You may need more or fewer strips for your skirt, depending on its size.

Place one strip of lace flush with the bottom of one jersey piece. Sew the lace to the jersey by stitching a straight line across the top of the lace strip. {pins help. a lot.} Pin the next strip of lace to the skirt, overlapping the two lace strips just so that the upper strip covers the line you just sewed. Stitch the second strip down. Keep going until you've covered the whole piece, then repeat with the other jersey piece.

Trim off excess lace and sew the two short sides of the skirt together so that you have one long piece of lovely lacey fabric. Cut an elastic waistband to fit your child. Gather the skirt so that it is the same length as the piece of elastic you just cut. Sew the waistband to the skirt, right sides together. Flip the waistband up, then sew the short sides of the skirt together. Tack down the top layer of lace in a few places, if necessary.

I'm not sure how to do the top layer so that it wouldn't stick out. Maybe using a lining would somehow help that? I'm kinda ok with it since their shirts will cover it up anyway.

You could get all fancy and hem it or even add that lining, but let's not get carried away.
I will probably hand wash them so that the lace won't get too frazzled,
but they will only wear them to church, so {theoretically} they won't get too dirty.

She looks so old! When did that happen? Is it the turtleneck?


the pin-did challenge: week 4

A red door! 
Isn't it gorgeous? 
Kate of Oh Write! is behind this baby, and she has some lovely Pinterest inspiration photos up with her post, too.
I want to do the exact same thing the minute we close on our house -- only I'm thinking maybe mustard?

Pinterest keeps right on knocking my sub-zero winter socks off with all the amazing ideas peeps are pinning. 
I keep swinging between creative ecstasy and creative despair at how many things there are that I want to be DOING!

Your turn...