Friday, December 31, 2010

a creative year in review

Today is the last day of 2010! Can you believe that? This year seemed to fly by so fast. It was a good year. A year of good health. A year of not-so-good gardening...but we had fun trying. A year of wonderful beach vacations. A year of teaching, learning, and growing. A year of sewing, crocheting, and gluten free baking. A year of baby steps in the direction of a more natural lifestyle. So, without further ado, here is a recap of this years accomplishments in the creative department.
homemade laundry detergent; crocheted hat; crocheted hat and scarf for charity; another crocheted hat; gluten free cake iced using the ways of the cake genius; birthday skirt and appliqued shirt; mini homemade valentines; crocheted St. Patrick's Day headband
pile of fuzzy, flannel scarves; easiest, cheapest, and cutes Easter shoes, a-line skirt; wall decor; owl lounge pants for upcoming birthday; two more a-line skirts
Christmas gift bags; reading pillows, two sets of sewn Christmas gift wrapping
empire waist apron; crocheted baby hat and sweater; gluten free molasses cookies; homemade elder berry syrup; gluten free chocolate birthday cake; halloween costumes with some homemade parts; reading pillow; crocheted Pikachu
gluten free seashell cake iced in the cake genius way; crocheted washcloth set; a-line skirt; seashell birthday dress; gluten free cardinal cake-again using the cake genius method of icing; spring skirts; parmesan rosemary gluten free chicken nuggets; summer shirt; gluten free bread

Not too bad for one year. I know there are things I forgot to include, but it's nice to see how much I really did accomplish in one year. And I know 2011 will start off with a bang! I've got several things half sewm, but they are for the January 2nd birthday so those things will have to be included in next year's list. I hope your 2010 was all you had hoped it would be. May your 2011 be even better! Happy New Year! xoANG

Monday, December 27, 2010

a white Christmas

I do hope that your Christmas was wonderful. Christmas day was nice and relaxing here at the Clothesline. We had a nice big (gf) pancake breakfast, read the story of Jesus' birth in Luke 2, spent the entire morning in our pajamas, opened gifts, and did some last-minute, family-gathering baking. It snowed,too. A beautiful white Christmas. We wore cozy robes and fuzzy slippers.Well, the girls wore their new princess snuggies and fuzzy slippers. I know, I caved. The snuggies were swooned over every time they were seen so I got them. After taking a closer look at them, the construction is so simple...I could have made them. Hmmm, maybe that'll go on my list of easy gifts to make.
The girls were thrilled and very thankful for every single gift. It was so great to see them appreciate their gifts. It didn't matter if it was a simple pair of gloves, a pack of gum, a bed tent (pictures to come) or an electronic game. The genuine excitement and the quickly following gratitude was enough to make my heart overflow.

After lunch and rest time the girls put on their fancy dresses so we could go to Grandma and Pop's house for the family gathering. Naturally we ate ourselves silly, then enjoyed dessert and coffee. Not too long after that everyone was showered with more gifts. The girls got Baby Alive dolls that drink and wet. Many, many diapers have been soaked and changed.
Now, it's time for me to switch gears. I've got to prepare for a birthday party for a certain someone who will be turning eight years old. I've got some sewing planned for the annual birthday outfit, plus some extras. Oh, speaking of sewing, I decided to sew some of my gift wrap this year. I dashed out to the fabric store for a fabulous sale and snagged some lovely fabric.
These lovely grosgrain ribbon tied bags were a snap to make. The girls even made the bags for Tim's gifts. I controlled the pedal, but they chose the material, helped thread the machine and took care of the rest. They were surprised at how easy and quick it was to sew a whole bag!
Not only did the bags turn out cute, but I can use them again next Christmas, and the next, and get the idea. I made the family gift bags this year, too, so they could be used for other things like holding yarn, or groceries, or other gifts. You can see them here. Oh sure, I used some wrapping paper as well this year, but only because I already had it. I usually buy new paper every year the day after Christmas, but not this year. I did look at it, and some of it was very pretty, but I think I'll go with more sewn bags. Besides, it gives me yet one more excuse reason to go to the fabric store.
Okay, I need to go. Birthday plans and ideas are taking over my brain and if I don't start measuring and cutting fabric soon, I might just explode. xoANG

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

a gift

So there are only a couple of days before Christmas. I don't really feel stressed about it. I hope you're not stressed either. Things are getting accomplished. What I have enjoyed spending time doing is thinking and talking with my girls about what Christmas is really about. Sure present making and giving is fun. Baking is fun. Cleaning clutter...also fun when I can enjoy the results. But Christmas, it's a time to really remember that God sent His Son down to this earth, to live His life as a man, only to give it up for us. I can only imagine what those shepherds were feeling when the angel came to them in the field that night. Oh, to hear their conversation as they made their way to Bethlehem to see the Child. The thrill of knowing that they witnessed the fulfillment of the prophesy of the Messiah. Yes, that's what Christmas is about...grace, mercy, and love given to us as a gift. Now here's a little gift for you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

my (feed) dogs are barkin'

After months of neglect, my little sewing machine is getting a much needed workout. I have been working on Christmas gifts for family and friends. It's so fun. I always forget how much I enjoy seeing something come together.Oh, there are still times when my seam ripper gets more use than my sewing machine, but the end result, the gift, wonderful. I'm having a difficult time keeping all of my sewing stuff (fabric, thread, measuring tapes, ribbon, bobbins, ...) in one area though. Well, technically speaking it is all in one area...the dining room. It's all spread hither and yon on the table and on my desk as I work through a few projects. Putting it all away each time I have to stop sewing to function as a wife and mom is crazy, but it must be done lest the cat eat an entire bobbin full of thread and gag and hurl for days on end. Yes, that has happened, and yes, it's disgusting.Oh yeah, which leads to the ironing board being set up in the kitchen to press seams and the like. I must add here the plus side to all of this mess... having fabric out, measuring devices on the table, thread and pins close by but out of reach of the cat, has perhaps inspired my little ones. Oh joy! Can it be? They are eager to sew? Well, here, take a look. Not only did they build a makeshift dress form from tinker toys, but they assemble an entire outfit out of fabric and accessories. A dress form! Visionaries, those girls of mine. I've always wanted a dress form but with limited room and limited skills I've never given it a second thought, but they knew that creating clothes is easier with a headless and armless mannequin. No, they didn't call it a dress form, but clearly that's what they meant. I've got a few little, quick and easy, instant gratification projects on the sewing list for them to create. It's just fuel for the fire, baby, fuel for the fire. Oh, and did I mention my crochet bag is full of yarn and small projects? In spite of the sewing and crocheting frenzy and the fear that my head may explode if the clutter is not reduced, I do still feel pretty calm. Here's the thing though, not only do I need to make room for the coming Christmas present overload, but I also need to make room to breathe. Sewing is pretty relaxing for's the clutter that messes me up. Okay, inhale through the nose, out through the mouth. I can do this. Maybe I just need another cup of coffee to give me that boost of clutter-clearing-energy that I need. Happy Wednesday xoANG

Thursday, December 16, 2010

snowy day...inside and out

Our day started off with snow. We watched it come down and slowly cover everything in sight. Eager to get out there in it to play, the girls completed their school work very quickly. Even the cat, trying to stay extra warm, quietly sat at the table with the girls.
As soon as school work was complete I suited up the girls and we headed out the door with Dad. He had the day off because of the snow...what a treat it was to have him home all day. The snow was fluffy and light. Perfect for skiing and shoveling and snow angeling(that's a word..right?)...not so great for snowman building or snowball making. It was still beautiful and cold and fun. Despite snow up the sleeves and down the boots the girls had a great time. They warmed up quickly with a cup of hot chocolate.
And because there is no such thing as too much snow, the girls worked on making paper snowflakes before dinner. There were little bits of paper everywhere, but we have some beautiful snowflakes as a result.

Enjoy your time together whether it's wintry white or sunny and warm. Happy Friday! xoANG

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

because we're nearly frozen

...we've been keeping busy inside. Well, mostly inside. I did wash the laundry today, which not only means that I don't get to use my clothesline because it's 21 degrees...or 5 degrees with the mighty gusts of windchill factored in...but it also means that I get to go outside to go down in my basement to deposit and retrieve the laundry. It. Is. Freezing. I am super thankful, though, that I do have a washing machine and a dryer that both work. I am immensely thankful that I have a warm house to spend this frigid day in...with slippers and scarves and cuddly blankets.
Let me just say that Christmas is nearly upon us and I do not feel am not prepared. Nor do I feel stressed about being unprepared. I've been sewing things here and there when time allows and in the evenings I've been crocheting. The crocheting is not gifts though. I am crocheting hats for my girls. Hats with ear flaps to be more precise. I have crocheted and recrocheted the same hat about 4 times because my girls have evidently inherited the normal sized head gene. I, in case you didn't know, have a small head. Fluffy, frizzy, curly hair...but small head. Hence the hair, I suppose.So hat one is almost only needs the ear flaps (which are in progress). Hat two is about 1/2 complete and larger than the first to accommodate an almost 8 year old sized head. Almost eight. Yikes! How did that happen?
Other indoor happenings....early morning, pajama clad girls making a music stand and mic stand for the singing of Christmas carols.
Also, lots and lots of playing fetch with the cat. He's got a new favorite mouse toy...a squishy little fake mouse from our halloween candy bowl. I had to snip the tail off because he kept trying to eat it. But chase and fetch that mouse he does many times each day. He'll chase and fetch until he collapses from exhaustion. It's quite entertaining.
Also, after reading on Regina's blog that elder berry syrup was so simple to make I had to make some of my own.
We've been a huge fan of elder berry syrup (sambucus) for over a year now. It's great for boosting the immune system and for fighting colds and flu. Read about it's benefits here. We've been buying it, but making my own is so much cheaper, and the recipe I followed made an entire pint.
There's a great video and recipe to follow here.
So, that's what we have been up to here at the Clothesline. More sewing, crafting, baking, and cuddling under fuzzy blankets sure to come. Oh, I also made a pumpkin pie...just because. Mmmmm. Stay warm. xoANG

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

catching up in ten

It's been a little busy at the Clothesline lately. I thought I'd take a few minutes and ten pictures to share the last couple of weeks with you.
1. Birthday time! Even before breakfast the girls wanted Dad to open his gifts.
2. We enjoyed a delicious gluten free chocolate cake (mix by 'Cause You're Special) with the best ever chocolate cream cheese frosting.

3. We put up and decorated our Christmas tree. The girls enjoyed putting the ornaments on the far, the cat has not knocked anything off the tree.
4. Ahhhh, the Thanksgiving turkey...all 24 delicious, juicy pounds. Hooray for the invention of the cooking bags! They work great every single time.

5. Perfecting the pas de chat in the last class of the semester.

6. Practicing an arabesque during free dance time.
7. Another pumpkin roll in time for a visit from my mom. It's not a proper holiday season without a slice or two of this dessert. Yes, it's gluten free...and delicious!

8. Busy crocheting by the tree making a gift for a very special boy.
9. Our first snow of the season. A light snow, maybe an inch or so...but on the day of the Christmas parade. It was frigid but wonderful.
10. Because of the snow I was able to finish up that birthday gift...a crocheted Pikachu. Free, wonderfully written pattern found here.
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So, now we're all caught up. Time to finish the laundry, get some homeschooling done, measure-cut-sew Christmas gifts, and enjoy this time in my warm house with my healthy family while dinner simmers in the crock pot. Happy Tuesday. xoANG

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

book 'em danno

Can I just say, I am glad that Hawaii 5-0 is back on tv. I'm glad they kept the same music, it makes me want to dig my toes in the sand and listen to the ocean while eating li hing mango. The acting on the show, well, it isn't all that great from what I've seen so far, but I guess sometimes it takes a while.

It has been nice to hear some people on the show (locals, no doubt) speaking pidgin. When I was teaching on Moloka'i it bugged me for a while because I was trying to teach English grammar and it just didn't mesh well at all with pidgin. But now, hearing it on the show, I like it. I also learned to love it while on Moloka'i.

The local words, the inflection, the laid back tone of it all. I miss that. Now the scenery...oh, the beautiful scenery, it is probably the only reason I even catch the show every once in a while. It is fun to see places that I've been to many times. Places that I captured on film. Aaaahhhhhh, Hawaii. It is beautiful...and warm.

Anyway, that's not what I meant to talk about. We went on a field trip before Thanksgiving to the local sheriff's office. It was fun and informative. After meeting a couple of very nice deputies we all headed in for fingerprinting. My girls were a little apprehensive since they thought that was only for criminals, but they were quickly reassured that it was for safety reasons...and they wouldn't be carted off to jail.

A few lessons about stranger danger, gun safety, and dialing 911 and we were good to go. And no one got booked or tased. All of the kids had a fun time.
Now it's December and I can't figure out what happened to the rest of November. Not to worry though. I've got lists and fabric and gluten free flour. All I need is some time to get into the Christmas-present-making&baking groove. It's super windy and frigid outside today so this afternoon looks promising. xo ANG

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Friday, November 19, 2010

{this moment}

Inspired by Amanda, I share with you this moment from our day.
On a cold, fall afternoon the girls designed wrapping paper to wrap gifts for a very special birthday. Sunday looks to be a day filled with gifts and chocolate cake for the most wonderful Daddy in the world. I wish you a wonderful weekend. xo ANG

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a quick note

just to say that Christmas music is playing on the radio! Yippee! Now, I am holding true to my earlier statement that I won't bust out the Christmas cd's until Thanksgiving Day. However, what the radio plays from now until Christmas is completely out of my control. Just this morning I heard my girls singing White Christmas while they worked on their morning chores. And there was quite a bit of ballet dancing when Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy came on the radio before lunch. So, if you love Christmas music as much as we do here at the Clothesline, do a quick scan through your radio stations. You may get a wonderful surprise that will warm you to the soul--even if it's cold outside. happy tuesday xoANG

Sunday, November 14, 2010

warming up sewing machine, that is. She's been sitting around, unused, for a while now. Christmas is coming and much sewing will be done. I've got bags, and shoe totes, and pillows, and lounge pants all on my to-make list. There may also be some soft, flannel scarves on that list, too. But my sewing machine needs to be eased into the holiday making season instead of overwhelmed all at once. Yes, she's funny that way. And yes, I'm a little kooky for talking about my machine like she's a person. Your point? Anyway, thankfully I had the perfect reason to get my sewing machine warmed apron. Yes, my dear friend, the cake genius, had a birthday and much to my delight she wears aprons as much as I do. As I pondered and searched for a new style of apron to make I came across this super cute tutorial via One Pretty Thing and I knew it was the one. Simple, but with lots of little details...gathers, contrasting top stitches, sparkly fabric, unexpected, yet very flattering, empire waist. Yes, that's the one for her.

It just so happens that the Tie One On apron theme this season is Apple Cider and since I had in my hands a freshly sewn apron I just had to enter it. The calico trim is very fallish and apple-y, the off white trim has the tiniest bit of golden sparkles and reminds me of a freshly cut apple, and the top stitching, although difficult to see in the photos, is a delicious red. So yes, I think it's Tie One On worthy. And just for extra apple-y goodness I am holding a scrumptiously crisp granny smith. Oh, yes, that's me wearing the apron. I like to have photographic proof of each sewing project I complete. And man, oh man, when the Christmas to-make list is complete I will be making one of these beauties for myself. So what's on your to-make list this season? happy weekend xoANG

Sunday, November 7, 2010

tiny sweater

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine had a baby. A sweet little boy. I tried my hand at crocheting a sweater and a tiny hat for him. I used Rima's free, and oh so easy to follow, pattern for the sweater. Pretend that you don't see the unfinished sleeve there...and I didn't add buttons like Rima did on hers. For the hat I used this free pattern. Both patterns can be found on Ravelry. I used Lily's Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton yarn...a favorite of mine. It's so soft and only gets softer after each wash.
So now that it's so stinkin' cold at night I need to keep the yarn projects flowing. I've got some ideas to keep me busy when the sun goes down. Maybe I'll get some things marked off my list.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

sneak peek

I wasn't kidding when I said I was getting a head start on the Christmas to-do list. After a few days of looking at all of the card choices on, then choosing and editing pictures, we finally made our decision. So, you, my dear friends, get the first peek at the finished product. I'm hoping by the time this card actually arrives in your mailbox you will have forgotten what it looks like and therefore, be pleasantly surprised. Oh, and I did hear Christmas music in a store today...I promise to resist playing my Christmas CD's at least until the week of Thanksgiving. Happy Weekend. xo ANG
Faith Hope Family Religious Christmas Card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, November 5, 2010

{this moment}

Inspired by Amanda's Friday ritual, I offer you this moment.

Have a wonderful weekend. xo ANG

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


This year the girls decided on their costume choices long before I could sway their decision. E chose to be a cowgirl and O chose to be an indian. The Friday before Halloween our library hosted the annual costume parade. We met our friends there and paraded through the library. It was a short burst of fun on a busy day and all of the costumes were adorable. Our favorite librarian couldn't resist a photo with the girls.
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Then on Halloween, my in-laws church had a trunk-or-treat event. We saw many wonderful costumes and decorated cars. My personal favorite was the Pirates of the Carribean car. Seriously, how cool is that? We invited our friends to join in the fun. They all got tons of candy, had a great time on the hay ride, and enjoyed each other's company. The weather was nice and warm...until the sun went down.

It's amazing to me how much fun my girls have dressing up. They dress up all the time...but I guess throwing some candy into the mix really kicks it up a notch! happy tuesday xoANG