Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Army of Sickness

This week I have had the flu.

I know, breaking news - right? The thing is that I am not a person who ever gets sick. I have always counted myself as one of those lucky people who every year seems to bypass all of the illness around me. Not this year. Not this girl. It got me good this time. I suppose I had it coming.

Why does having a high fever suddenly make you feel like you are 7 years old again and totally helpless? And the chills. And the sweating. And the general grossness. Ugh.

Thankfully, I have a husband who is an excellent caretaker and a Mom who taught me the tricks-of-the-sick.

Trick #1 is this soup that my Mom made for all of us when we were sick. It literally could not be simpler or more delicious when you are ill and nothing sounds good. All you do is cook some orzo pasta in salted water, drain and return to pot. Add chicken broth and heat. Right before you serve, add just the smallest pat of butter and mix around. That's it. I have been living off of this all week.

Unfortunately, chicken broth can't do it all. I have taken a lot more meds than these in the last few days, but these have been the key players that have kept me from crying.

And, uhm, I apologize for posting anything with the word 'Mucus' on my blog.



Drink lots of fluids. Everyone knows this, but it is so ridiculously important that I had to say it. In my normal, healthy days, I am already an avid consumer of water, but I have UPPED it this week, let me tell you. I have had about every kind of tea in my house, but so far, the most successful remedy has been hot water, lemon and honey. Dan ran to the store to get me a bag of lemons and I have been downing this concoction since. It is literally my only reprieve from coughing.

Then, there were the flowers. They didn't make my fever go away. They didn't make my cough go away. They most certainly didn't help the fact that I felt dizzy every time I moved.

But, they made me happy.

And they were from my husband, lovingly, as I laid on the couch under a pile of blankets, with sweaty hair and not looking pretty. In the slightest.

Last but not least was the matzo ball soup that my friend Ari (who is due to have a BABY in 2 weeks) made me last night. It was so sweet and caring of her and I was so thankful. It gave me some relief from coughing and was absolutely delicious. I was so excited to eat it that I forgot to take a picture.

Thank you to all of my peeps who helped me out this week. I owe you all one!

Hope you all have had a better week!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Burlap Baby Shower Banner (aka Bunting)

In the last of my little Baby Shower posts, I wanted to show you how I made the burlap 'Baby Shower' bunting. It really could not have been easier.

The first item of business was to buy the burlap. I bought 5 yards, which was way too much, but I wanted to have some extra around because burlap makes me feel happy, but you could easily do this project with about 2 yards.

I then cut a triangle out of a paper garbage bag. My triangle was approximately 10 inches wide by 12 inches long.

Next, I put the triangle on the burlap and cut around it. If you wanted to, you could pin the triangle to the burlap so it doesn't slide around, but I am too impatient for such business and just went for it. There was some variation in the size of each piece, but I actually like that imperfect look.

Now it was time to paint! I purchased these oil paper stencils at Michaels along with the cheapest black paint they had and a stencil paint brush. I slowly filled in the stencil with only a small amount of paint. You have to make sure to hold down the stencil so there is no bleeding of the color. You can buy a special spray that will keep the stencil in place while you work, but if you are willing to get your hands a little covered in paint, it is possible to work without it.

Make sure that you give each triangle ample drying time. I let these dry on magazines overnight.

At this point, there is very little left to do but glue! I had two spools of dark brown ribbon that I actually sewed together at the ends to make it long enough and stretched it out on the floor.

I have mentioned before that I live in a small apartment and I think this picture demonstrates nicely that I am not a liar.

Once I had the spacing the way I wanted it, I went along with a glue gun and glued each triangle to the underside of the ribbon.

After about 10 minutes, all the glue was dry and it was finished!

Here was the bunting I made, hung at the shower. I was really pleased with the result and how easy it was. And, if you are not a burlap fan, you could really use any fabric. Also, if you are not into the mess of paint, you can buy vinyl decal letters to stick onto the fabric.

So, that is it!

Happy Bunting Making to You!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baby Shower Garland

There is nothing I love more than simple crafts - they are relaxing and provide almost instant gratification.

I posted a few days ago about the baby shower that I helped throw for my friend Ari, and one of the things I made for it was a garland out of tea stained paper doilies. Now, I know that doilies are a bit of an old-fashioned accoutrement, but I think that with the tea stain, they go from old fashioned to somewhat vintage - at least that is what I tell myself.

I started by putting the doilies on a metal baking sheet.

After letting a tea bag soak in hot water for about 5 minutes, I simply squished out the lovely tea stain onto each doily.

Some I did a little darker than others just to mix it up a bit.

Once I had stained them all and given them time to dry, I cut a long piece of raffia ribbon and wove it through the holes in the doilies - and there you have it. I think this would look cute used at a little girl's tea party or anything girly really, for that matter.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby Shower - Oh Yeah!

This past Sunday I had the honor of helping throw a baby shower for one of my dearest friends, Ari, who is due November 12th.

Ari is the first girl in my group of friends to have a baby and I had been excited about this for months.

One of our friends lives in this really amazing building in downtown Portland which has this communal space you can rent out for parties. It worked perfectly for the baby shower since everything was already so nice, all we had to do was add some details.

There were many of us helping with the planning so we all took on different responsibilities; mine was decor. I wanted the decorations to be a little different and not your typical pink and purple pastels which you find at many showers. I started with this simple garland that I made out of paper doilies and raffia ribbon. I simply stained the doilies with tea bags and wove the raffia through them once they were dry. It was simple, inexpensive and I was really happy with the result.

The other little project I took on was the 'Baby Shower' banner (aka bunting). This too was incredibly simple using only burlap, stencils, ribbon, paint and a glue gun. I'm going to do a post with step-by-step instructions soon, in case you want to make one of these yourself. Also, how great is this space? The views were really incredible.

We had a bit of an owl theme going on which was our inspiration from the beginning. They were on the invitations and made little appearances around the room. How cute are they? I made these using a Martha Stewart owl punch and gluing the owls to little wooden stir sticks. I wish I could use these stir sticks every day. I love them.

Another detail that was important to me was flowers. I wanted there to be vases of flowers everywhere since I think they can do so much to any space. I spent a few months collecting vases from Goodwill in all different colors and shapes. No two vases were exactly alike, which is a look that I have often admired.

Then, there was the food, of which I can take no credit. The table above only has about half of what was actually served on it and it was delicious. I am lucky to be surrounded by ladies who seriously know how to cook. We had homemade butternut squash soup with sauteed sage, hot apple cider, stuffed mushrooms, cheesy bread with Gruyere, the most incredible Parmesan-artichoke dip I've ever had in my life, macaroons, meatballs and a plethora of other delectable delights.

This picture cracks me up because of Ari's face - haha. She looks disgusted, but I know for a fact that she loved all of the food since half of it was her recipes (she is a chef.) Tell us Ari, why so glum?

We decided not to do too many games since, let's face it, they can get a bit old, no? Most of the time was spent socializing and we had a bunch of onesies out for people to decorate, but the only real game was "Guess the Size of Ari's Belly." You had to cut a piece of string and who ever measured the closest was the winner. I still feel badly about how big I cut my piece of string. Sorry Ari!

After the games came present time! I love present time at showers because baby clothes are the cutest things in the world. It was also funny to see my friend, who I used to party with at frat houses, get excited about nipple cream and breast pumps - oh how the times have changed!

I love this photo. I think Ari looks beautiful and so, so happy - it is exactly how you want an expecting Mother to look.

With the shower done, we are now in full counting down the days until the baby is here! I cannot wait to meet her. I hope you enjoyed your day, Ari. Lovesies!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ten Things I Know For Sure

I know that...

1) The exhaustion from a hard day's work can feel really good.

2) Spending time with girlfriends you haven't seen in a long time is like oxygen.

3) Being married is my cup of tea. I really, really love it.

4) You should drink as much water as you can - always. There is a vast difference in the way I feel on days when I drink a lot of it and days when I don't.

5) J.Crew is too expensive. It bugs.

6) Vintage wire baskets will always be in my life.

7) Break-outs don't stop in your teens...un-freakin-fortunately.

8) Weekend getaways can make all the difference.

9) Travel. Travel. Travel. It is good for you.

10) 100% acrylic sweaters are a waste of money. Never buy them. (Thanks, Mom!)

And there you have it.

What do you know for sure?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wedding Recap

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to my cousin, Shawn's, wedding. I love a wedding at any time, but when it is a wedding filled with family that you love, it is all the more enjoyable.

The wedding took place at Zenith Vineyards, a stunning winery about an hour south of Portland. I've said it before and I will say it again - the green in Oregon is one of my favorite things in the world.

Here is the little groomy. Shawn moved out to Oregon from Colorado about 5 years ago to attend school and since then he has become like a brother to me.

Shawn has 4 brothers who I also love dearly. Conor, my brother is also there on the right. This group of boys - oh my. I adore them. It is such fun to have cousins around and a treat that I rarely experience. The group in that photo are some of the best men that I know.

Also in attendance, my beloved Grandma. She could truly write a book on survival and love and is one of my idols in life. Standing next to her is my Dad, who was also the best man.

I love you Grandma!

Here is my brother again, being goofy as usual. The beautiful young lady next to him is his girlfriend who I find to be a total delight.

I am still trying to figure out when my baby brother decided to grow up. To this day I cannot see a Thomas the Tank Engine without imaging Conor as an adorable 4 year old, surrounded by cars, trucks, trains and Toy Story toys.

The ceremony was beautiful and the rain just barely stayed away.

I have decided that the smile a bride has on her face as she walks back down the aisle is the most real smile she will ever give. I remember as Dan and I were finally married and walking down the aisle, I could not have not smiled if I tried. It is a totally joyful moment in life and there is nothing else like it.

Also - uhm...can we just look at her dress for a second? Beautiful.

After the ceremony we all headed inside for the reception. This is the first wedding I have been to with long tables and I have to say that I really liked it. It gave a simple elegance to the room that matched perfectly with the tone of a vineyard wedding.

After dinner, toasts and the like, came my favorite part of any wedding: the dancing. In this photo, my Dad has decided to get jiggy with it while my sister (left) looks on. I can tell just by looking at her that she is mouthing something along the lines of, "Oh. My. God."

I too got a bit into the dancing. If at any point in my life the song, "Don't Stop Believing" comes on, there is a 99.9% chance that I will look like this. It is an inconvenient truth of my being :)

Then there was the joy of dancing with Charlotte. Pure bliss.

She was trying to imitate the dances of all the adults around her and was the center of everyone's attention. It was so cute, I almost couldn't handle it...

...then she started doing this. Everyone was taking pictures of her and it looks like she wanted to get in on the action.

The bride works as a wedding coordinator and therefore no detail was left unattended. The flowers on the tables were all in vintage silver vases and bowls. It was stunning. Apparently her Mom spent months scouring Goodwills across Oregon to come up with the beautiful collection. They all looked like antique pieces passed down through the generations. I was very impressed. Don't be afraid to get thrifting, brides! Nobody will ever have to know :)

One of things I loved the most about the wedding was the guest book. Christina, the bride, loves the book Pride and Prejudice. Instead of a traditional guestbook, she glued little envelopes into her favorite book and everyone could write on a card, place it in the envelope, and there you have it - a super creative and personal guest book.

Another beautiful detail was the large, old frame which held the seating arrangements. I am a TOTAL sucker for old frames, so this caught my eye immediately. Fantastic idea.

Last but not least, the hors d'oeuvres. During the cocktail hour, these were out on a table in the middle of the balcony and looked stunning. The pops of color set among the white linens grabbed everyone's attention. It is all in the details, isn't it?

Well, another wedding down for the year. That makes 2 weddings for our family in just 6 months and to be honest, I am kind of sad it is over. Everyone has gone home and I miss them all dearly. It has left me wondering, who will be next?

My sister, perhaps :) Love you, Caitie!!!
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