Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Bye 2011! Hello 2012!


I'm not even sure what this is that I am drinking, but I will tell you that it is de.lic.ious!  Although I think anything with whipped cream on top is delicious.  Just sayin.

The girls are fighting.

The dog is crazed from the fireworks.

The boy is actually pretty delightful.

The husband?  Yes, he is the best one in town.  Did you know that?

Here's a little recap of our year....

January - I spent a weekend in Chicago!  Yay!  We had a snowpocolypse.
February - The girls turned 9.  I turned(gasp!) 33. 
March -  Chris turned 32.  (such a baby!)
April - The Pioneer Woman posted about IKE & CO and sales took off!
May - We finished the school year!  Chandler got stitches.
June - Quinn turned 3.  We redecorated the living room and craft room.  I got a job as a media specialist in Athens.
July - Chris was hired at CCSD.  Yay!
August - A new school year started!  The girls entered another year of dance.
September - I started blogging at A Little Etsy Love. 
October - Chris and I had a surprise weekend to ourselves...and we bought a new car!
November - Thanksgiving.
December - We've made it.  :)

I hope you all have a wonderful (and safe!) New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Time with Gram.

We've spent the past two days out at my mom's house.  My 81 year old Grandmother has been here this week from Chicago and it has been wonderful to spend some time with her.  We miss her throughout the year.  Some days it is really hard to be 800 miles away from the majority of my family.



Casey is named for my Gram's side of the family...Casey was her mother's maiden name and Harper (Casey's middle name) is my Gram's maiden name.  They affectionately call themselves the two Harpers.

My brother and his girlfriend came up for dinner last night and Mom really outdid herself...



steak with wild mushroom sauce
roasted asparagus
twice baked potatoes
grilled squash, zucchini and onion
sauteed brussel sprouts (my favorite!)

And I just have to share this because it makes me laugh.  This is the sign that my parents have on their back fence....


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sewing 101

The girls asked for a sewing machine for Christmas.  Seriously. 

I had brought out my mom's old sewing machine (like a 1982 Kenmore that weighed 100lbs and made this God awful clunk-clunk noise) back in the spring and we made pillows together.  And then they started begging for their own machine. 

But, I had no idea what a good sewing machine really was, or what would work well to teach kids to sew on, what would last, etc.  I didn't want something junky, but I also didn't have $400 or $500 to spend on a machine.

And then Elizabeth posted this with a link to this and I felt like I had hit the jackpot.  {And if you don't already read E Tells Tales, then you should.  Girl is funny, I tell you!}

So Santa hooked them up with the sewing machine and and all the trimmings, and the plan was for Meme and Great Gram to help get us started on our way.  Because I had never sewed anything (start to finish) from a pattern before and really had no idea what I was doing.  I am also highly aware that I get irritated when I don't know how to do something and I didn't want to ruin Christmas that way.  But Mem's and Gram left before the sewing could commence.  (Aaaaagggghhhhhhh!  That was me freaking out in my head.)

So I talked Chris into making a skirt with me when the kids went to bed.  That way we could figure this whole pattern thing out between the two of us and I could cuss and not scare my children.  And then I would know what I was doing and could walk them through it.  (Have I told you lately that Chris is the best husband/father ever???) 

So we did, and then I did, and now two little girls are very happy to have their own handmade skirts!

 

**As I am typing this, Chan is pinning together squares of fabric and sewing them together...just for practice.  I think I might have a seamstress on my hands!**

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2012

On Saturday night, my living room looked like this....


Santa had just finished setting up.  We had 50 balloons and big blocks and a sewing machine, all the notions, and fabric.  Clearly, the children were not on the naughty list this year (although, believe me, there were days that I had my doubts).

By mid morning on Sunday, this is what my living room looked like...


And it has pretty much looked like this ever since. 

A few of my favorite gifts this year...

a handmade purse from Chan...

a stained glass painting from Casey...

new l.l.bean slippers from my mom...

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hodge Podge

So yesterday I broke down and went to the doctor's.  I thought I was alive and on my way to well on Wednesday, but by Wednesday night I knew that I was sorely mistaken.  At the doctor's they gave me a prescription for many different drugs and I have spent most of today in a prednisone high cleaning craze. 

And what am I listening to while I bleach out the trash cans in my house?  I'll tell you.  And it might come as a surprise. 

But first let me say that I love Holiday music.  Love it.  But, after having listened to it nonstop in the house and in the car since Thanksgiving, I just couldn't do it these past couple of days. 

So here's the mix that I put together and I must say, it is the best cleaning mix I've made in awhile.

Ain't No Mountain High Enough {Marvin Gaye}
Best of My Love {The Emotions}
Blueberry Hill {Fats Domino}
Chantilly Lace {Big Bopper}
Charlie Brown {The Coasters}
The Game of Love {The Mindbenders & Wayne Fontana}
Hey!  Baby {Bruce Channel}
Runaround Sue {Dion}
September {Earth, Wind and Fire}
Son of a Preacher Man {Dusty Springfield}
Sugar Sugar {The Archies}
Wedding Bell Blues {The 5th Dimension}
You Sexy Thing {Hot Chocolate}

And every single one of them remind me of my childhood.  I used to put on performances in my grandparents' living room to Chantilly Lace and Blueberry Hill.  Did you do things like that as a child?  I also really lucky because between my parents and my aunt, I went  to a ton of concerts as a child - Jan & Dean, Chubby Checker, and no joke, Davey Jones...with backstage passes! {It was one of the highlights of my middle school years.  My cousin, Beth Anne and I screamed like maniacs.  One of these days I'll have to scan the pictures and share them with you.  I know that you'll be jealous.}

So the music and the prednisone have pretty much gotten me through today.  Just in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm Alive!

Sunday night we went Christmas Caroling with our church to a few of the nursing homes in Athens.  Quinn stole the show!  He knew several of the songs and would sing those, the ones that he didn't know he just danced.  And let me tell you, that boy has some of the best moves ever.

Following caroling, we had a fellowship meal together and by the time we left to go home, I know that illness was on the horizon.

I woke up on Monday with the crud.  You know exactly what I am talking about, so I don't really see a need for details.  But, I had a haircut appointment, so I had to get out of the bed.  Which I did.  And then I returned home, got back in the bed around 3 and stayed there.  For a long time.  Like 18 hours. 

Yesterday I got up, but barely. 

We'll see how today goes.

So far this break, we have battled pink eye and the crud.  The bright side to all of this is that we are not having to take sick days.

The not so bright side is that I had big plans for this break and am now days behind.

Ugh.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Night of Monopoly

We played Monopoly for the first time with the girls last night.



It was actually a pretty bang up night for them.  Monopoly.  Muddy Buddy Chex Mix.  A Shirley Temple for Casey and Root Beer for Chan.  We played for over 3 hours.  And they were hilarious!  I one point Chan said to me, "Blow it up, Moneymaker."  and then held her hand out for a fist bump.

She is starting to be so "tweeny" and I love it!

Casey was all sorts of priss about her properties and her houses.  She always cut me a discount when I landed on them though.  She's good to her mother like that.  At one point, while discussing how she narrowly escaped a $950 rent on one of Chris's properties, she said, "Whew!  I was about to sweat my pants!"

I have no idea what that means.

We declared a draw.  After 3 hours of playing and no clear cut winner, a draw was the best way to go.

What was Quinn doing during the Monopoly-o-rama?  Pretty much this. 



For years I have been reading articles about "Digital Natives" and wondering who those digital natives are.  The girls certainly weren't.  The kids at the schools that I have taught in weren't either.  I was seriously starting to think that I was never going to fully understand this term.  And then Q came along and now I get it.  He's 3 and knows his way around the phone and ipad better than I do.  Because he's a native and I am just a foreigner in a foreign land.

I feel okay about this though because I know how to play monopoly and he doesn't.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Visit Me at A Little Etsy Love!

Don't forget to stop by A Little Etsy Love to check out my posts from yesterday and today! 

{that old blue house}

 {sweet auburn studio}

The high point of my day:  2:45, when school was let out for a two week Christmas break!  Hooray!
Low point?  Um yeah, that would be Q having pink eye.  In both eyes.  To the point where we couldn't even get his eyes open this morning without a warm washcloth.  Ugh.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This is really only half a post.

I have more to say on everything in this post, hence this being half a post. 

Quinn had his Christmas party at school today.  Chris went and made a billion little videos for me.  Q was beside himself that Santa was in the room and had a billion questions for him.  First and foremost he wanted to know where the reindeer were. 

Chris and I were most impressed with the gingerbread house that he made.  And slightly creeped out.  All the teachers swear that they did not help with the candy/color choices and that he grouped and counted everything out himself.  I believe this is a flag for an OCD future.  Just sayin.


That's crazy, right?  And here he is inspecting his work.  I actually told him to put his face by it so that I could take his picture with his house....this is it...



The Grandpa and Gram box came today.  The tradition continues...they sent Q an electric keytar.  I swear, they really do hate me.  Every box seems to have something noisy in it.  Big sigh. 

Quinn's favorite in the box?

This.  Right here.



Because what little boy doesn't want to be a super hero?????

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Conversations Overheard


This was the conversation that these crazy two had on the way home today...

Chandler:  Don't you think that we should open a shop together when we grow up?
Casey:  Yes!  Pendley's Closet?
Chandler:  No.  Sparkle Star.
Casey:  Um, why Sparkle Star?
Chandler:  Because when we grow up we're going to be glowing.

And that could really mean a whole lot of different things, now couldn't it?

I love overhearing kids' conversations, don't you?

ps - I made a haircut appointment for Monday.  Hooray!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Things My Husband Says to Me

There are times when I think I could start a new weekly series entitled, Things My Husband Says to Me, because sometimes, well, sometimes he says some really, really funny things.

Like over the weekend when I mentioned that I desperately need to get my haircut (its been since *gasp* June, people, June) and that I don't know how much longer I can go without color.  I stopped coloring my hair almost 2 years ago just to see what my gray would do.  It is, indeed, a really great silver color, but kind of wiry and I don't know that I can do wiry. 

Chris really likes the silver.  But I had one wild, wiry stand poking through and so he pulled it.  And then said...

I really think you should leave it alone.  You could look like Einstein.

Um.  Because that's what I want.  To look like Einstein. 

So I am trying to book a cut and color for next week.  Before its too late and other people start to recognize my likeness to Einstein.

Monday, December 12, 2011

We're Getting in the Christmas Spirit...

...and here's my proof....


Yep.  Someone in my house spells "Christmas"..."Chirtmas."  Big sigh.  And never mind the "nite."  Sheesh.

My cousin Jimmy sent us a Christmas mix tape.  Yay!  He really does make the best mixes. 

Although he doesn't seem to follow the same theory as Barney on How I Met Your Mother...



Do you watch that show?  I'm in love with it.  Just in case you were wondering.

But back to cousin Jimmy and the mix tape.  Christmas songs... and this one...




...is the girls new favorite.  We've tried to get them to like the Wham! version, but, big sigh, they think it is too *slow*. 

My favorite on the mix would be this lovely number by She & Him.  I think you'll love it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Clearly, this has not been my best blogging week.

But, Chris passed a certification class (something to do with those gifted learners, blah, blah, blah) and he got a fancy certificate in the mail...

This totally made my week....

Really and truly awesome...

I am framing it...


Pretty funny, right?
I love typos.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Little Behind.

Oh, Friends, I am feeling a little behind this week.  I have had meetings after school twice this week and last night was our Holiday program (the girls did a great job) and well, I'm just a little tired.  And overwhelmed.  And worried.  About a billion different things.  Mainly the fact that parenting is so very hard.  And usually you have your first child and that's the one that you can try things out on and if it doesn't go so well then you've only messed up that one child.  Having twins first...well, let's just say that I am worried I might be messing up two at the same time.  I think I should win some kind of award for that.

And then it dawned on me the other day that this is Quinn's last Christmas with Mrs. Spry and that made me want to cry.  Next year he'll be in Pre K, somewhere new, without Mrs. Spry.  Ugh.  It makes my heart heavy.

I am just trying to make it to next week.  And then we'll be on break.  And I can catch my breath.  Amen to that.

{Side bar conversation: Want to win some IKE & CO goodness?  I've got a couple of giveaways going on and you should enter them...here and here!  Go!  Hurry!}

Sadly, I don't have any new pictures to share.  So I will leave you with this series from last December of my favorite little behind.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

THe Story of IKE & CO - Chapter 2


I had already signed up on etsy as a customer a long time before I ever started this venture. And so one night, I took pictures of what I had left and opened a shop. On a whim. Not something I would advise others to do. But, at the time, I didn't have anyone that I knew that did this sort of thing, and no one that I could turn to for help. So I took some pretty crummy pictures, one of my best friend's helped me come up with my original name – Charmingly Adorned – and then I waited. I figured it would be months before I had my first online sale. But it wasn't, it was less than two weeks later.  (And believe you me, I jumped up and down and did some screaming.  Then I called just about everyone that I knew.)

I would like to say that my shop took off then and there. But it didn't. Not hardly.

But some really important things DID happen. I continued to make sales in real life – friends of friends were starting to ask about stopping by my house to see what I had, ladies at school asked if they could take a bag of my stuff to church with them and sell things for me. I found that I had a wonderful supportive group of women in my life.

And, one night, I was reading blogs, hopping around and I stumbled on Crystal B's blog. I knew about her from reading the Nie Nie Dialogues and Chris had actually bought one of her necklaces for me for Christmas. She had written a post about her book club and what they were reading and it happened to be a book that I loved. So I commented. And then she visited my blog and commented on mine and from there, we began emailing each other and struck up a friendship that I wouldn't trade for the world. She made the third purchase out of my etsy shop – a necklace for her daughter – and encouraged me to keep going.

So, I had sales. I had started building a following. I had a mentor.

I worked for the next few months on crafting a style of my own. Learning new techniques. Reading articles and watching how-to's on youtube.

My online sales were building and I started doing give aways and advertising.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

10 Things I Did This Weekend.

First, let me apologize for the no picture post.  I have no idea how that happened.  Ugh.

1.  Friday night we ate Chinese food and did a little cleaning.  {The weekend was off to an exciting start, I know.}

2.  Chris took the children to the Watkinsville Parade on Saturday morning with his mom, sister, brother-in-law and their kids.  Then they went to lunch and out shopping for our angel tree kid.  There was so, er, um, miscommunication in our house and I thought Chris would be back home with the kids prior to going to his parents' house to celebrate his sister's birthday.  But he wasn't and I misjudged my time alone time frame and did not use my time wisely.  Has that ever happened to you?  It's kind of crummy.  Crummy, indeed.

3.  I worked on jewelry.  Took a bunch of packages to the post office.  Ran into an old friend there.  I've missed her.  We used to work together at my old school and seeing her made me realize just how much I miss a school feeling like "home" and the people in it feeling like "family." 

4.  I cleaned the shower and the toilet.  I am at the point where my bathroom gets cleaned in stages.  Not really the best, but something is better than nothing, right?  Because pink is not an accent color in the shower.

5.  Had a lovely evening celebrating Emmy's birthday!  Happy Birthday (officially tomorrow) Em! 

6.  Chris and I are watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix instant streaming.  I don't know why we've never watched it before.  I must say, it makes me laugh.  A lot.

7.  I have all of my Belle Chic sales mailed out.  Booya!  Yep.  That's right.  I just said booya.

8.  In addition to that, I am almost finished with the latest Karen Kingsbury book.  I'm a sucker for Karen Kingsbury.  Just so you know.

9.  I did the grocery shopping. {not very exciting}

10.  I wrapped a billion presents.  I did a billion loads of laundry.

And there you have it.  My weekend.  In a list.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rainy Day Collection


{will be listed in the shop later tonight!}

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, IKE & CO!

I can hardly believe it!  IKE & CO is turning 2 today!!!  Can you believe it?  I really can't!  Thank you so much for being along for the ride with me.  For encouraging and supporting me.  For believing in me.  Words cannot express my gratitude.  Truly.  {Although a giveaway and a discount code just might.  Go here to enter!}

And in case you are unfamiliar with the beginnings of IKE & CO...here's Chapter One....

**************************

In the Fall of 2009, I was starting to find myself in a not so good place. I had a year old son, two daughters, a husband, a new job...and I just felt ho-hum. I had gained so much weight with my pregnancy and then lost it, but still just didn't really feel like myself. I didn't like my clothes, or my hair, or my style.
It may seem crazy, I know, but I felt like I could look better than I was letting myself.
And then there was the issue of money. I knew how tight money was for us – three kids with two teachers as parents will do that to you. And I couldn't imagine spending a lot of money on accessories. But I saw soooooo many cute, cute things out there.

So I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it. Mainly because that was what I had time for. I had just finished my 3rd degree from UGA and went right into coaching one of my daughter's cheerleading teams...which ate up all the extra time that I thought I might have that fall.

At this point, I had been reading blogs for several years and writing my own for over a year. I was so inspired by the stories that I read out there and other women's style...and even though I loved Anthro, I knew I couldn't afford to shop there. So, I continued with my thinking.

And then it happened. I decided the week of Thanksgiving that I would make a few pieces of handmade jewelry for people in my life for Christmas. I knew how to attach a clasp to wire and I already had all of the tools for beading and jewelry making. Cheerleading season was over. Grad school – where I had spent the previous two years of my life – was over and I was ready for something new. So, I went to the local craft store, stocked up on what I thought I would need, came home, organized everything that I bought into one small box and then sat on the couch with my husband after the children went to bed that night and made three necklaces. The next night I did the same thing. And the night after that. And the night after that.

By the end of the week, I had made about 30 necklaces. No kidding. I was so relaxed while I was working on them. I loved it. I loved creating the combinations of the beads, imagining who I was going to give it to and how much they would love it.

I had spent years scrapbooking and had loved it, but this...this was ten trillion times better. I could give these away. I could wear my pieces out places and feel good about myself.

After my thirty necklaces were made, I sat back in amazement. My husband kind of sat back with a look of horror on his face. “What in the world are you going to do with thirty necklaces???” I looked up at him, “Ummmmm, wear a different one everyday?”

And then we came up with a plan. I had about 10 of them that I knew were gifts for people. And about 5 or 6 of them that I absolutely couldn't live without. But the rest...maybe people would want to buy them.

And they did. The ladies at church did and the women in my family did. And before I knew it I had made enough money to cover what I had spent to begin with and it was very exciting. 

******************************
Chapter 2 coming soon!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Visit Me at A Little Etsy Love!

Friends!  Have you seen this shop  - Piggie and Dirt - featured on other blogs lately?  Well, I did and promptly feel in love, emailed them and they are doing a spectacular giveaway on Little Etsy Love today!!!  One of these could be YOURS....





Lovely, right?  They would be perfect in a bedroom, in a dining room, kitchen window, bathroom window, in a baby's nursery.  So many places that they would be perfect in!

So go!  Enter!