Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Silverware Windchimes

Last year I wanted to make some vintage spoon bracelets and got a great deal on a lot of silverware on Ebay.  Somewhere along the line I saw a set of windchimes made with silverplate and decided to make one for my mother-in-law for Christmas to use the various bits and pieces of silverware that I didn't use for bracelets.  It wasn't too hard to make--although bending the fork tines was a bit ouchy on my hands. I used beads that I had lying around the house.  It was just handy that I had enough to make this! 

They sound really gentle and pretty.

Might just have to make a set for us!

To make:

You need:  A piece of iron.  2 sterling dinner forks.  4 assorted shorter forks/spoons/knives.  Pliers.  Leather.  Drill and drill bit (teensy.  1/16 I think I used).  Hammer.  Fishing twine.  Beads.  Scissors.

Get yourself a piece of iron. I had a small piece from a railroad track. Worked great! Wrap a piece of silverware in the leather, lay it on the piece of iron, and pound it flat with a hammer.  Repeat with each piece of silverware.

Drill a small hole in the top of the handle and center and just above the tines of a fork.  Do the same with the handle of another fork.

Wrap the fork handle with a piece of leather to help grip into the vise and avoid tool marks.

Stick the fork handle into the vise right up to the tines.  Bend the tines, center ones forward and back and side ones outwards.  A lot of elbow grease works, as does a hammer.  Just be sure to cover the tines with leather if using a hammer of pliers to avoid tool marks.

Bend and curl the tines using pliers . 
Be sure to put the leather between the pliers and the silverware to avoid tool marks.

Repeat with second fork.

Drill holes in the handle of 4 assorted spoons/forks/butter knives.

Tie the pieces together with fishing twine and beads as shown in the photo. 
I twisted a piece of wire through the top fork and decorated with a large bead for hanging.

Polish well with silver polish.

Voila!  A unique and pretty gift for a garden lover.

Note:  If I were to do it again, I might drill a little hole in each fork tine of the forks that I'll be curling before I curl them.  That way it would be easier and nicer looking when attaching the chime parts.  Just a thought.

Christmas Card

It seems like I only get out Christmas cards every two or three years, so when I do I like to do something kind of fun or creative.  One year, we did a card that was kind of like those "I Spy" books.  You know, where there's a whole bunch of stuff laid out and you have to find little objects among the mix.  I put out Christmas ornaments, beads, lights--and then stuck in little bits and pieces like a little car, paintbrushes, etc to represent certain things that had happened to us that year.  Another year I did a newspaper type thing (that was fun!).  This year I blatantly ripped off an idea that I found on line.  If you'd like to steal the idea from here, go ahead.  It was quite simple to do in Photoshop, and would probably work fairly well in Publisher as well, although it would take a bit more time probably. 

This year our list was trimmed dramatically, so I posted it on FB as well, so friends could see it there.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, our 2011 Christmas card:

Of course, I COULD send out one like this, but since the idea of my kids taking Swedish lessons to prepare their Nobel Peace Prizes seems rather preposterous, I'm just happy to report that we survived 2011 fairly intact and happy, that we're looking forward to the coming year, and we wish you all the very best!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beautiful RoAnna

When we first had kids, RoAnna was one of our first babysitters.  And now, feeling extremely aged, I had the privilege of taking photos of her blossoming pregnancy. 

She liked the idea of the earth and fertility, and brought some ivy with her.  Between her ivy and what I had, plus yards and yards of fabric, we transformed her into a grecian goddess:

And then, for fun, Rick played around with a set of headphones that he had brought along.  I love that they had idea of what they wanted to do and got into having fun at the session.  It was such a pleasure working with them!  I can hardly wait to meet their little one. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First 48: Babies K and B

I thought I'd try my hand at some birth story type photography, so when a friend of mine's sister was expecting twins, I offered my services.  Last Friday I got the call and headed to the hospital.  Here are a few select photos taken within the first 48 hours of arrival.  I thought about whether I'd like photos of me in labor posted on someone's blog--and decided I wouldn't.  So even though I have permission, I'm being really discrete here and only posting ones that I wouldn't mind having posted, if it were me. 

Aren't I the luckiest photographer EVER??

The babies ended up being delivered via c-section, and hospital policy understandably keeps cameras out of the OR, but the nurse was great and as soon as the babies were wrapped up, she wheeled them into the room for a couple of quick photos before they were whisked away to be weighed and measured.  Someday maybe I'll live in a place where I can take photos immediately after birth, but for now, I'll take what I can get and be happy!

"So YOU'RE the guy who kept sticking a foot in my eye.  I oughtta..."

Big sister wasn't so sure about the idea.  This is as close as she would get while I was there!

All cozy in beautiful handmade blankets by Auntie.

I would LOVE to do more of this type of work!  I felt so honored to be able to document these moments, and being able to snuggle with such new, fresh little souls made this a weekend that I'll remember for a long time.  I'll be going to their home soon to take newborn portraits--and I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Scheme

Found this piece of paper under the table the other day:

We're in trouble.

In other news:

Our Thanksgiving table was groaning.

Good food, good friends, good reasons to be grateful.

I wet brined the turkey with  water, salt, apple cider vinegar, and herbs , then minced some garlic, mixed with olive oil, and rubbed/smeared it under the skin.  Then inserted sage leaves and thyme sprigs under there too.  It felt weird to be up to my forearm between the meat and skin, I must say, but it really wasn't difficult.  Filled cavity with onion wedges, parsnip and carrot pieces, and more sage leaves.  This is going to be my go-to turkey recipe for the rest of my life.

No idea why these are watermarked--but OK!!  On the left, pumpkin thyme rolls.  Salad was pear and candied pecans with a balsamic vinaigrette.  I have decided never to use a potato masher again after using a ricer this time.  I was sick of mashing and mashing and still getting lumps.  BUT, stick the cooked spuds through the ricer, stir in the butter and milk and...NO LUMPS!  I'm converted. 

And yes, that IS my ironing board still set up against the wall.  *sticks jaw out*  So?? 

But I digress.

How to set a Thanksgiving table on a budget:  Cool tan plates from Goodwill.  Napkins on sale at Boscov's for $3.99/4.  Embroidered with turkeys.  Loved.  Place cards by Martha Stewart online templates.  Wheat.  Candle in vases filled half way with corn.  Table linens on sale for 90% off everywhere after Halloween (paid $2 for the dark brown cloth and about the same for the runner), leaves from Dollar Tree and lo, a harvest table!  There's something to be said for procrastinating, as long as you don't have rigid expectations.  HA!

And in other news:

Was blessed to be able to take birth story photos this past weekend of a family expecting twins.  Felt so privileged to be able to document such a special moment.  I'll post a few discrete photos in the next day or so.  Those twins are the sweetest!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Apples for breakfast...yes?

More photos taken an age ago which I meant to post but didn't and I hope you forgive me.
These cookies are yummy, and with both apple and oatmeal, they are most suitable for breakfast, don't you think?
Apple Oatmeal Cookies

2 1/4 cups (340g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 sticks (336g) unsalted room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups (300g) brown sugar
1 cup (190g) granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups (360g) quick oats
3 small apples, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks.

1. Preheat oven to 350 (180 degrees celsius). In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt , and spices. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add in vanilla.

3. Slowly add in dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. Remove mixer from the stand and stir in oatmeal, and apple chunks. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

4. Use a small ice cream scoop (if you have one—mine’s in storage right now) or a tablespoon to drop golf ball sized dough onto the cookie sheet, keeping at least an inch and a half between each cookie.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until just turning golden brown.

And they were delicious.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Farm fresh

A friend gave us some beautiful fresh from the chicken eggs last week.  I took a photo. Forgot to post.

So now, for your viewing and drooling pleasure...

Aren't they lovely? 

And they tasted wonderful, too.

Thanks, Steph!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


A couple of photos of the kids from Friday.  I was a bad mommy and didn't take any last night.  Too much going on!  But the Halloween parade at school was adorable.

Here are my kiddos:

After the parade, it was off to partay.

Erm...let's try that again. 


That's more like it.  :o)

Each year the kids draw on the pumpkins and I cut them out.

They both chose to do their interpretation of Belle.

Can't you see the resemblance?

Monday, October 31, 2011

October snow

This is what we beheld on Saturday morning:

 The kids had a ball, of course.  Spent the whole afternoon out there, came in for a late lunch--and wouldn't stop eating!

Belle had an OK time as well.  :o)

Supposed to melt this week, but I think it's going to be cooooold trick-or-treating tonight!

Julia's baptism

I'm sure most of you who have been around here much have figured out that I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I don't really go into my faith on this blog much, since it's not only a personal blog but also somewhat of a professional one.  But every once in awhile it's worth mentioning, simply because it's integral to who I am.  Anyway, last Saturday was my daughter's baptism, and it was lovely.  She was so excited to be baptised!  When she wrote in her journal that night, part of her entry read, "Outside I felt like a soggy wet sponge, but inside I felt all warm and fuzzy."  Isn't that sweet?

Here's the one and only photo that was taken, which I did quickly in the hall between making sure everything was ready and also making sure there was at least one photo.  Since we didn't have any other family there other than my husband's 86-year-old mother (it has been a lovely visit--she's still here perusing cookbooks as I type!), there wasn't anyone to see that photos were taken of the family and such, but at least there's one of Julia and her daddy.

As a side note:  Every once in awhile I do a double take with Julia, because she looks soooo much like her cousin, Trina.   This is one of those photos where I really see the resemblance.  When the nurse first put Julia in my arms, I looked down and thought, "Trina twin!"  Truly the Rutz genes win out with this girl, while Adam looks just like me.  OK not really.  He's a lot shorter and is all boy.  But there's no mistaking that he's my son!

We were blessed to have many friends--both members of the church and non-members alike--attend, and Julia was amazed at all the people coming out to support her.  Thank you all so much--you made the day complete.  When I think of the wonderful people in our lives I feel so lucky to be here and know so many first rate folks.  I don't know how I hit the jackpot, but I'm grateful.

Also thanks to those who participated in the service, speaking, playing the piano, directing the music, jumping in to help with the refreshments, and the other miriad of things that made everything go smoothly.  The day was extra special because of you!  Thanks!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Beth and Co.

Was able to get these shots of Beth's family yesterday--right before it started to rain and before the wind and blowing and COLD that came in today.  YAY!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Julia: 637 photos and some extra strength Tylenol later.

I've blogged before about how stinkin' HARD, if not impossible, it is for me to take photos of my kiddos.  The other day I took Julia out with her new white dress for some photos for her baptism announcement.  Two hours, 637 photos, a full card, and a spent battery--and I just got a handful.  Oy.  Once again I'm thinking the thing to do is hire someone else to take photos of my kids.  Rawther ironic, that!  HA!

My favorite girl.  These shots?  I like.

And this, my friends, is a glimpse at daily life with this young lady.

Pray for me...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bed of laundry?

I mean, I know I have some laundry to do and all, but really?

This is what I found a bit ago when I went upstairs to get the name of the cleaner I use to give to hubby.

Grabbed my camera.

Took this:

And never did get the info for Meryl!


Brought Belle over to a friend's to play with their new 4-month-old doberman puppy. He's such a sweet dog--but already outweighs our Belle and is the same height!  When he grows into those paws, he's going to be hugeamongous!  But such a pleasant

Took a couple of pictures of him while there, just cos!

Look at those ears!  Kind of reminds me of a batman costume.  HA!

This photo followed by a nose print on my lens.  Which happened more than once, for the record.

My Belle tired him right out, so into his chair he went...

(Look at those paws!  When he catches up with them, wow.  Huge.)

And crashed.