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Friday, August 29, 2014

Your Family in Pictures ~ A Book Review

I chose to review a photography book because I am working to improve my own family photos. That last first birthday and now my oldest entering high school have me scrambling to hold on to these fleeting childhood days. Let's face it- I am a sap with a camera here, people. Your Family in Pictures by Me Ra Koh is just what I was looking for.

I am still learning how to use my DSLR and struggling to get into manual mode. This book is suitable for point-and-shoot users, too, but I did pick up some helpful tips. She recommends a lower F-stop than I can get with my camera lens so that made me a little sad, but I still learned some new settings. That being said, I still have a long way to go...

This book has more than technical information. It also includes a lot of what pictures to take instead of just how to take them. Some of the "photo recipes" I am unable to try out right now, but there are some great ideas. I love that the book is about capturing special occasions and everyday moments. I haven't actually "staged" anything specific yet, but I did try some things to capture some memories.

This book is full of family photography inspiration and I would recommend it to others.

I recieved this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pink Lemonade First Birthday

My last baby is one year old. 

Yeah, I am tearing up a little just typing that.

Anywho... let's move on now. Since it was our last (sniff, sniff) first birthday I went all out! I have always wanted to do a pink lemonade theme and these silly kids keep going and getting their own opinions about things. This was probably my last chance.

We don't usually go "all out" for birthdays. Just our family and some cake, ice cream, and snacks. A pack of balloons and a little crepe paper if I feel ambitious. This time I put a little extra effort into the decorations, but only because they will be used in her nursery, too. We have parties in our sunroom since it is a large, open area. We actually set up picnic tables outside this time, but I kept the food inside. I just hung some pink balloons and yellow crepe paper (the other kids insist on this) and put some silk daisy bunches that I got on clearance at Joann's and Michaels in some clear vases.

pink lemonade first birthday party

On the windowsill I arranged some pink and yellow items like her first dress (yellow) and her first hat (pink).

pink lemonade first birthday party

pink lemonade first birthday party

I also mod podged some frames I already had and printed out THIS free printable from Daisy Cottage Designs.

yellow honeycomb frame

pink and yellow frames

I painted some wooden signs, too, just 'cause I am on a sign kick for my etsy shop and felt like it.

pink lemonade sign

pink lemonade first birthday party

pink lemonade first birthday party
Yeah, I am totally redoing that one...

Oh, and each month I have been taking her picture in a washbasket, so I clipped those on the wash line that already hangs out in my sunroom.

For the food I found lemon and strawberry cake mix at the store so I did a batch of each in cupcakes. Of course, I added sprinkles. Gotta' have sprinkles! 

pink lemonade first birthday party

Of course, there was ice cream, pink lemonade, regular lemonade, and other goodies. I also made striped jello in lemon and strawberry.

The most labor intensive thing I did for Hannah's birthday party was to make her a romper. I have wanted to make her one for awhile now and this was a good reason. I got the fabric at Joann's and I actually bought a pdf pattern. I am not going to source the pattern because I was not very happy with it and do not think that it was worth the money. The final product was still pretty cute, though!

pink and yellow baby romper

pink and yellow baby romper

yellow ruffle

I think it is too big, so maybe she will get to wear it some early next summer. The ruffles should be higher, too. Well, I learned some things anyway...

pink and yellow baby romper

pink and yellow baby romper

Here it is compared to the very first thing I sewed for her

Oh, it is so tiny!!!

Excuse me. I am gonna go cry and eat some more of the leftover ice cream now.

 Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rapunzel and Button Flowers Quiet Book Pages

Something old. Something new.

Rapunzel and Button Flowers Quiet Book Page

I did a button flower page on Grace's book HERE, but the Rapunzel page is new. Naomi really likes princesses, but ironically hates having her own hair brushed. I just thought of that now. Um. Oh well.

I saw the tower Rapunzel page idea on Pinterest- several different versions I mushed together so no specific link.  I used cotton yarn to make the hair and stitched it onto the background (a scrap of darker brown fused onto the blue backing.) Then, I fused the tower and the roof onto the page and used a zig zag stitch all the way around- especially the window.

Rapunzel Tower Quiet Book Page

I sewed a strip of green to the bottom to make some grass and add some dimension.

Rapunzel Tower Quiet Book Page

The tree makes a nice little storage pocket. I fused and zig zagged the trunk onto the edge, then made a treetop pocket to hold all of the little hair clips and some more ribbons.

Rapunzel Tower Quiet Book Page

The button flower page is just about the same as the last one, but I got lazy and skipped the leaves and only made three flowers. 
Button Flowers Fabric Quiet Book

Button Flowers Fabric Quiet Book

They are still reversible.

Button Flowers Fabric Quiet Book

So that wraps things up! I plan on making another quiet book very soon and I have some cute ideas for that one. Thanks for reading along and if you want to see the rest of the pages in the series you can click HERE.

Rapunzel and Button Flowers Quiet Book Page

 Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

You can see the rest of Naomi's quiet book here:

Grace's quiet book can be seen here:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New and Improved Zucchini Alfredo

We are continuing "Zucchini Week" here and so far it is going well! I am still freezing more than we can eat, but it will be good in casseroles and zucchini bread this winter. Tonight we had sausage, potato, and zucchini packets on the grill, but last night my husband wanted my new and improved version of zucchini alfredo. The original recipe is HERE, but we like this one better. It is creamier and the texture is better with the addition of some pasta. If you are going for low carb, use the other one.

New and Improved Zucchini Alfredo

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked and drained
8 cups thinly sliced zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 stick butter
2 cups milk
8 oz. cream cheese
6 oz. bag shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella
1 tsp. salt

Saute the zucchini in butter with minced or pressed garlic cloves until soft, but not mushy. Meanwhile, melt cream cheese with milk in a medium saucepan. Stir in parmesan and mozzarella. Add salt. When the sauce is creamy, combine with the cooked pasta and zucchini. Heat thoroughly and serve.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mermaid Friends Quiet Book Page

This is the page where I got a little carried away.

Naomi really likes her fish tank (she calls plecostomus "grumpy fish") and when I came across this old, blue, swirly fabric I immediately though "ocean."

ocean theme quiet book page

Of course, the tea-dyed muslin (a little off color in these pics) made great sand at the bottom. It also doubles as a little pocket.

mermaid friends quiet book page

There is where I got a little carried away. I got out the felt and started creating little ocean creatures and had way too much fun with it.

mermaid friends quiet book page

On the left side I made seaweed inspired by THIS tutorial (which is actually for forest animals in grass, but it works here, too.) The little sea animals can play in the seaweed made of bits of ribbon, ric rac, and dyed lace. That keeps in line with the theme of the rest of the book even if the bright sea creatures are way off. They are fun. I don't care.

fish and seaweed quiet book page

I hand embroidered the faces on the jellyfish and starfish. Then, I machine stitched another layer on the back (with ric rac between them for the jellyfish.) The dolphin and purple sparkly fish were done by hand. The sequins were from some trim, but I ended up hand stitching most of them on  anyway since it wanted to come apart.

On the right side we have a sunken ship with a little port hole for playing peek-a-boo and some more seaweed-ish stuff (ric rac and gathered satin ribbon) I added just cause it needed something.

sunken ship quiet book page

The mermaids were just so cute that I ended up making three of them. They are completely hand stitched. I had some time to wait around on my husband in the car and added lots of details.

felt mermaids quiet book page

felt mermaid and dolphin

mermaid friends quiet book page

Just two more pages/one post to go! 

mermaid friends quiet book page

 Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

You can see the rest of Naomi's quiet book here:

Grace's quiet book can be seen here:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Zucchini Pie

It is zucchini season!!! Yay!!!

We have an abundant harvest this year, so as a little challenge, I am going to try to make zucchini a different way each night this week. Tonight was zucchini pie! I have posted this recipe before, but I made a few tweaks so I thought I would repost it.

Zucchini Pie

  • 4 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tube crescent rolls

Saute zucchini in butter. Meanwhile, press crescent rolls in bottom of pie pan. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. When zucchini is cooked and softened, stir in the egg-cheese-spice mixture. Pour over crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare to be bombarded by zucchini recipes again!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The PACountryCrafts Fall Collection 2014

There are some big changes coming around here, so I have been kicking it into high gear with my etsy shop lately!

I tried to create items that would fit well with traditional fall decor or a more neutral color palette.

I still make my pumpkins and indian corn baskets.

I also added hand painted signs this year!

You can purchase these items HERE in my etsy shop.

Leave a comment below and let me know if there is anything else you would like to see!

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