Teacher gifts

21 12 2012

So much for posting more frequently! I don’t know quite why, but this year has just been crazy. That purse I was going to make in October, yeah, that hasn’t happened. I did manage to get fabric for it though, in the form of a pair of cargo pants and a linen dress, so hopefully I can start on that soon. I also knit a cowl for BB, but I don’t have a picture yet… So the only thing I’ve accomplished that I can share is this year’s teacher gifts:

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We live right by a Dollar Tree these days, and I found baskets and decorate-it-yourself mugs there, plus some cellophane bags. I made granola similar to this, but with pecans, orange zest, and craisins, to make it a “holiday granola”. Then I made cinnamon-glazed popcorn, just as written, and chocolate truffles from a cookbook. They were simple but messy…so, so, so messy. In the end, the kids didn’t help at all because they are both sick, which is a bummer.

Well, off to round up library books, package more bags of popcorn, do laundry…and pay more attention to LB. 🙂 Maybe the new year will bring a little more time to myself!





My top was featured!

25 04 2012

Big excitement in my little world… in the midst of cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, getting out of the house for showings, general depression that all these people who come to see the house don’t seem to want to buy it, etc., I get an email saying

EEEEeeeeeeEEEEE!  Way to make my day, my week, my year, Rae!  Looking through the pool of tops there are so, so, many that are so, so beautiful that I never dreamed that I had a chance (although I certainly hoped it).  Please take a moment to take a look at this week’s Top of the Tops to see the massive talent of this group of garment makers.  (Clicking on the image above should take you to the poll.)  I loved the wavy pintucks shirt from the moment I saw it, the bow top made from the Anna Maria Horner fabric that I love, and so, so many more.  I can’t believe that I am in among these!  As much as I love both linen tops that came out of the past week, it was the Happy dots that was featured, and honestly I think it is my favorite too.  It’s so bright and cheery, and so light and comfortable.  The winner gets a gift certificate for fabric (!!!) so of course it would be awesome to win!  Please check it out and vote for your favorite (only once, mom!)!





Valentine’s Day

14 02 2012

If you know me, you know I’m a little bah-humbugish about all these so called “holidays”.  Before I had kids, I ignored them completely, buying candy for Halloween just to head off any potential eggings (and failing, I might add), and ignoring Valentine’s day completely, along with St. Patrick’s day, cinco de mayo…you get the idea.  I give you this line from Wikipedia, the source of all easy-to-find knowledge: “No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs [Saint Valentine].”  There were 2 (or maybe 3) Saint Valentines, and none of them related to love, marriage, or anything of the sort.  And yet we must buy cards, chocolate, flowers, jewelry?  I always found it so pointless.  But once the kids are old enough, it becomes inevitable.  At school, they had parties yesterday (for BB) and today (for LB), kids hand out valentines, heart-shaped crafts are made, little girls are decked out in pink, red, and heart-emblazoned outfits.  BB has already decided that this whole valentine business must be for girls, because they like pink.  Astute or prejudiced?

Well, we had to do valentines, so valentines we did.  I searched Pinterest for some good boy-ish ones, since BB’s class is all boys.  I found this awesome one on stitch/craft, printed it out, added the glow bracelets we had left over from Halloween (I bought them as non-candy alternatives; you can guess how popular they were), and voila!

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Super-cool, and very easy!  And wow, BB’s handwriting looks just like his mom’s, haha!  No, my writing is ever so slightly more legible.  He’ll get there.  I also volunteered to make cookies, because I’m masochistic like that. 

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“Please, give me the job that’s the most work!”  I’m often the last one at drop off and pick up, which means I’m often the last one to sign up for the party supplies list.  Anyway, I was going to do cutout cookies, but decided at the last minute to inaugurate my cookie press, which I’ve had for ages and never used.  Not bad, eh?  It was easier than rolling cookies, but not by a lot. 

Today I made some very, very last-minute valentines for LB.  I found some cute printables here on one charming party, edited the jpg to be just one image, made a table in Word, copied and here it is:

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I cut them out and stuck them on fruit flats, and there you go, a valentine fit for a 2-year-old who only cares about the fruit flat.  I managed to confiscate all candy after each child had 1 lollipop.  Not too bad. 

Now I had met the minimum holiday requirements.  And yet, I felt like I should do more.  I blame this entirely on Pinterest, which makes it look like everyone does special holiday-themed meals.  (And also handmade valentines.  For anyone whose children are not old enough for this nonsense, or who doesn’t have children period, let me give you a reality check: ours were the only handmade ones in the lot.  So making lovely handcrafted valentines is definitely not a requirement.  Not that ours were lovely; they were very basic and utilitarian in that they used up things I needed to get rid of.  Anyway.)  For breakfast, I added a small heart made of jam to our usual peanut butter and banana oatmeal. 

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For lunch I brought along some of these wonderful pretzel turtles that I first saw on facebook (thanks Mandy!), then looked up (where else) on Pinterest.  No picture, but if you like turtles (the chocolate, caramel, and pecan kind), check out that link!  Yummmm!  They were really easy.  I made some for LB’s teacher, and some extra for us.  Then for dinner I made pizza, and just for kicks, and because I had beet powder lying around that I need to use up (who doesn’t?), I made pink pizza dough.  I made 2 little heart-shaped pizzas, and let the boys top them themselves.  They loved it!

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They even (gasp!) ate toppings on the pizza!  Red pepper, to be precise.  It was pretty exciting.  Finish it off with a flourless chocolate cake, and call it a day!

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End of summer

22 09 2011

I am majorly saddened by the end of summer today.  As much as I love fall, it’s a sad fact that it will not last from tomorrow till mid-December.  Winter will be here long before that!  So I wanted to take a minute to reflect on what we did this summer.  I had a list of goals, and I actually did refer back to them when I was thinking of things to do.  We didn’t accomplish everything but we did a lot, and had a wonderful summer, which I suppose is why it’s so sad to see it ending.  (In reality it ended 2 weeks ago, I guess, when the kids started preschool and life became a busy whirlwind of rushing here and there.)

My goals: Total FAIL.  I accomplished 0 of 3.  None.  Zip.  Nada.  I guess in the summer I just don’t spend any time sewing.  Not entirely true though!  I failed to make garments (which is sad because the patterns are all summery), finish a romper for LB (stopped with only snaps to go!), and carve one. single. stamp.  BUT, I made myself the purse of my dreams:

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I’m planning a whole post on this.  It’s not so exciting to look at (although I love it), what’s exciting is the abundance of pockets and some carabiner loops I sewed in.  It’s so perfect! 

Outdoor goals:  Pretty good here. 

* Bean bole teepee: check.  It didn’t turn out great and unfortunately I didn’t get a picture in its full glory but here it is in its early days:

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Sadly, my neighbor, who is wonderful and watched the garden while we were out of town, weeded a little too enthusiastically and “weeded” the bean plants and 2  of our three cucumbers.  Sigh. 

* Moving to a real bike: check.  Thanks to a wonderful friend, BB acquired a real bike with training wheels and he has loved going for rides on it.  I can’t even keep up with him!

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* Go camping: double check!  We went once and loved it, and immediately planned another weekend excursion.  I would hardly say they went without a hitch, but we all had a great time and BB is still talking about going camping. 

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We didn’t do any letterboxing, but other than that we completed all our goals!

Art goals: pretty good also.  We didn’t manage to do an index card a day but we did a whole lot, and mostly watercolor (BB loves watercolors), also some oil pastels and sharpies but watercolors were a clear winner here.  Some of BB’s work:

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I always asked him what it was because, let’s face it, it’s pretty abstract.  Every time we sat down to do a card, I did one too.  These are some of mine:

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I really enjoyed drawing with sharpie and then watercoloring the drawing.  I had never thought to do it, but it seems to be a common practice in kids’ books and I can see why!  Very fun.  Most of mine are pen and ink.  Some are coped straight from Made by Joel, as I tried to get the boys into the coloring pages, but neither one was having it.  I think his illustrations are fantastic.  We didn’t do any more formal art classes, although we might be doing one now in the fall.  This was just perfect as an informal way to do some art all summer long.  I hung them up on our art line and we had a rotating gallery of masterpieces all summer.  🙂

I think that’s enough of a summer reflection for one night; this weary “soccer mom” has to get up early and gogogogogo again tomorrow.  Goodbye summer!  We loved every minute!

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The trouble with slacking off on the blog…

21 11 2010

…is that I have no idea how to succinctly recap what’s been going on.  So I will use a slew of pictures.  Ready?  Since the end of KCWC we have:

Learned to walk!

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Sewed a few things (yes, I finally tried a 90 minute shirt!  More on that later.):

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Made cute food:

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Enjoyed fall, it was too brief:

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Gone to visit my parents in scenic Delaware:

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Flown to California to visit the other side of the family, just in time for Halloween:

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Visited Disneyland:

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And turned 1!

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So, you can see it’s been a busy time for us!  I can’t believe my baby is one already, I mean, it just blows me away.  We had a blast celebrating with family out in the land of warmth and sunshine.  It was hard to come back, but that’s life.  I’m making a concerted effort to get more organized, so whether that will lead to peace of mind and oodles of free time to craft and blog, or if I will spend all my free time organizing, time will tell.  I have some projects that I’ve been wanting to post but haven’t had time, and blogging tends to be a good kind of vicious cycle where I feel more motivated to finish projects so I have something to post.  I have just now caught up on the blogs I follow, and (fingers crossed) I am looking forward to getting back to posting more regularly!  (Famous last words, right?  Especially before the holidays, yikes.  Well, bring on the madness!)





Happy Earth Day!

22 04 2010

Now, I have to start out by saying we didn’t do anything special for Earth Day.  If you haven’t figured it out already, we are definitely an “Earth Day is Everyday” kind of household.  We recycle, compost, drive fuel-efficient cars, etc.  The amount of trash we produce is so small I seriously toyed with the idea last year of stopping our garbage pick-up altogether, but it would have required a lot more composting on my part, which is hard to do in the winter here.  And winter here is most of the year.  Anyway, what I really wanted to do is just share this great article from the New York Times.

The Dandelion King (read it; really, it’s good.)

Yeah, I know, it’s just an opinion piece, but that’s what it’s about–changing people’s opinions.  Who says a monochromatic green lawn is the ultimate ideal?  We have a neighbor who has dandelions, grape hyacinths, and several other plants I can’t identify in her lawn.  And you know what?  It’s really pretty.  We have a healthy amount of clover in our lawn, and it’s a nitrogen-fixing plant, which reduces the amount of fertilizer your lawn needs.  That, in turn, reduces the amount of fertilizer that runs off into our water supply.  Plus, it provides food for bees!  (And bees could use the help!)

Like the author of that article, I once thought a “perfect” lawn was great.  But I didn’t know how much effort went into keeping it that way.  I think a lawn with grass and flowers would be lovely and low maintenance, and much more earth-friendly.  If everyone agreed, think of the time, energy, and chemicals we could save, without having to worry about offending the neighbors!

Here is a craft we made with flowers we picked, mostly out of the yard.

Dandelions, clover, forsythia, other unnamed flowers... a pretty assortment!

The more time I spend outside (now that the snow is gone), the more I like our biodiverse lawn.  I am hoping to keep it chemical-free (we will have a crawler this summer, after all!), but with our concern over resale value of the house, it might not be possible.  If only we could all embrace the “mountain meadow” look instead of the golf course aesthetic!

(I can’t find any nice pictures not subject to copyright, so I refer you to google.)