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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well, I tried.....

So I haven't blogged in a couple of days. Besides having a sick kiddo at home I really didn't have much to report in the "domestic goddess" department. I did sew some more bibs (which reminds me, I need to do an update soon!); did "surgery" on Kailani's dog, "Tiki"; cut some fabric to make Easter dresses; tried to fool the kids by sneaking some veggies into a pasta dish and did some sanding.

Tiki - Recovering from cosmetic ear surgery.

Sanding? As in use an electric sander and smooth out some wood? Yes. :) Can I just tell you how cool I thought I was? What a dork, I know. But I have this weird fascination with tools and home improvement stores like Lowe's or Home Depot. To me it's just one big craft store. I walk up and down the aisles and wonder what every little gadget is and want to know what every tool does! And I'm just amazed that I can ask any employee where something is (and I might not even know the name of it - "I'm looking for the round thing that goes to the square thing") and they know what I'm talking about! WOW.....

Anyways. Back to the sanding. I found some old wooden Pepsi crates in my dad's garage. He wasn't using them for anything so I thought maybe I could do something with them. Then I remembered being in a fabric store and seeing fat quarters being stored in something similar. YES! That's what I wanted to do. But the wood was splintering and looking rough so I thought I'd try to sand them down. There was no way I was going to do sand them manually (what fun would that be?) so I bought a small hand sander and grinded away!

*Sigh* Well, after sanding the insides and outsides of three crates I'm not too happy with the results. After removing the burlap (?) stapled to the bottom I found that the wood was rotted worse than I thought. Darn! Oh well...I tried. I think the fabric looks great stacked up in it so I'll probably try something similar.

The crates weren't my only disappointment. I tried making a slip cover for my camera strap. Unlike the patchwork one that I made for my girlfriend I tried to make one like this. It was really easy to make but I think I prefer the patchwork one better. Maybe with some tweaking I could get it the way I want but I'm not sure I even want to try. After all there are so many things on my "want to try" list to do!

Speaking of wanting to try.... I came across a website that lists "The Top 100 Tutorials". So many wonderful ideas! Now I just need to figure out how to get more than 24 hours into a day!

Reminder - tomorrow is "Wordless Wednesday!"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blog under construction...and I'm snapping away....

You may have noticed my blog has undergone some changes over the last couple of days. Please bear with me....I am trying to get a feel of just how I want my blog set up. Seems like it would be an easy task but I get a little OCD...and it doesn't help that I've got two munchkins that are constantly interrupting my every thought!

By the way....my industrial snap press came in the mail today! WHOO-HOO! Watch out! I'll be putting snaps on everything! Now I can get back to making more bibs! Snap away.....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I've been wanting to participate in "Project 365" - where you take and post a picture every single day but I'm having a hard time getting started. So instead I will attempt "Wordless Wednesday" (thanks Kris!) and try to remember to post a picture at least once a week. (Remind me if I forget!) So here it is....post #1:

In just a few more months we'll be home....

Check out more "Wordless Wednesday" here.

Puzzle Pockets

Ever have one of those "AH-HA!" moments? You know, where you see something so seemingly easy to make that you are kicking yourself for not thinking of it on your own? Well, I had one one of those moments recently. PUZZLE POCKETS! If you have young kids then you probably have puzzles....or should I say puzzle PIECES laying around. Well no more!

Allison over at cluck.cluck.sew had a great idea of putting a felt pocket on the back of wooden puzzles. That way you can store the pieces in the back and not lose them (or at least not lose them as easily!) I took out our wooden puzzles (of course every puzzle had pieces missing), some felt, pinking shears, Velcro, my glue gun, turned on my sewing machine and got started.

Okay. It looks simple, right? *Sigh* Well, let's just say had I had another cup of coffee before attempting this little project it would've gone much better. I had to do the first one over twice. While I left enough of a gap at the opening I didn't give my Velcro enough
room for when the pocket was full. It looks perfectly fine when the pocket is empty....but when there are puzzle pieces inside it ends up looking like this:

(Notice there is a "bubble" forming so there is room for the puzzle pieces.)


After making the same mistake AGAIN I figured I'd just leave it. It still functions fine. I just made a mental note to myself to leave more room next time.

Next time? As in when I make the next one immediately after this one? How about I did it AGAIN! ARRRRGH. "Just let it go.....let it go.....it's not a big deal......"


On to the 3rd and final one. Whew. Came out fine. :)

Here they are in all their glory. Mistakes and all:

Lesson of the day: no crafting till after coffee.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little House on the Prarie.....

The other day when visiting a local quilting shop Kailani tried on a bonnet that was on display. Okay, I admit, bonnets are not my thing. However, I could not deny the fact that it was incredibly cute! Impulsively I bought the kit which included the pattern, instructions, fabric, elastic, etc. Could I have made it on my own? Probably. But the question is would I have taken the time to figure it out? Probably not.

While reading the instructions and thinking there were steps missing I decided to hop online and search the web for some clarification. I found a (FREE) tutorial with clear directions and pictures on how to make them. Pretty much the same way I made mine with the exception of the ruffles. Check it out here. Revive Sara's blog! Tell her I sent you!

The bonnets do tie under the chin but instead I tied them in the back. This makes it a bit easier to take on and off and prevents me from having to tie them again....and again....and again. If you are a parent I'm sure I don't need to explain!

In addition to the bonnets the girls are wearing pillowcase dresses that I made this morning. I got both pillowcases from Goodwill for a DOLLAR a piece! Talk about a bargain!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Green.....

Yes, St. Patrick's day has come and gone but with it officially being spring I thought I'd share a "green" recipe!

A couple of years ago my good friend Sarah made the most amazing spinach pasta salad. My taste buds told me that she slaved over it....it was
THAT GOOD! She was generous enough to share the recipe with me and thankfully it is quite easy to make! Every time I have made it someone asks for the recipe! The secret is the salad dressing - Girard's champagne dressing. Don't use the low-fat one.....use the real stuff! Even my carnivorous husband admits that it's really good! Don't like spinach? Try it...you might just change your mind! (My kiddos will eat it (and actually like it) without the spinach!)

With Sarah's permission here is the recipe as I remember it. :)

1 16 oz. box of bow tie pasta (Farafelle)
1 bag baby spinach
3/4 bottle Girard's champagne dressing
4 oz. Feta cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)

This is all you need! (Missing - pine nuts.)

  1. Cook the pasta according to package direction.
  2. Toast the pine nuts by tossing them in a hot frying pan until the nuts are slightly brown.
  3. Toss all the ingredients together.
  4. Refrigerate and serve cold
If taking to a potluck or saving to eat at a later time I would recommend adding the spinach right before serving. If the spinach sits for too long it will get soggy.

This picture does not do the salad justice!
Next time I make it I'll take a more appealing pic!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day - Today!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Well, today has been a lot of fun. I woke up this morning and purposely did not wear any green so Kailani could have the joy of pinching me. Sure enough she came down the stairs, made like she was going to give me a hug but gave me a little pinch instead. Oh the simple pleasures of a six year old. :)

Time for breakfast. How about some Lucky Charms? Kailani acted like I served her a gourmet meal. She was so excited to eat cereal that contained marshmallows. Rarely do I buy any - because that's all the two girls end up eating (not that I can blame them!) After breakfast she put on her skirt. She was so excited. I was just happy that it would be warm enough to wear it!

So off to school she goes. The first thing I do is get dessert ready. Dessert? Already? Yep. That's because I decided to make a layered rainbow Jell-O dessert. If you've ever made one you know that while it's easy to make it takes just about all day to do. These things are very popular in Hawaii but I had forgotten about it until I read Kris' blog at JesseKate Designs. What a great idea for this holiday!

While waiting for each layer to set I then prepared for the shamrock scavenger hunt to occur after school. Am I brilliant or what? Before you start applauding me I AGAIN have to thank Kris! Another wonderful idea! (Kris - can you adopt me?) I tweaked it a bit but followed her basic guidelines. With the weather being so beautiful out I opted to do the hunt outside. Just as Kris suggested I exchanged some bills for gold $1.00 coins and wrapped each one in some foil and then placed them in a goody bag. On the outside of each goody bag was a clue. Here's how each went:

Lucky Clue #1
On a warm sunny day this is where you like to be
You jump and you run and try to shock me.

Lucky Clue #2
Stand over here and feed some fish
Close your eyes and make a wish.
(bridge over the fish pond)

Lucky Clue #3
All the birds get hungry, this you know
And when they do where do they go?
(bird feeder)

Lucky Clue #4
When you were younger you were afraid
But now you go high - you've got it made!

Lucky Clue #5
It's new and you love it - it's orange and black
When it goes really fast Koa wants to attack!
(golf cart)

Lucky Clue #6
Check everyday to see if something is there
And when you send something put the flag in the air

And then the last bag:
You found all the treasures your hunt is now done.
Save it or spend it on something real fun!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

After she found the last bag we came inside and she opened each one. She didn't recognize the coin and/or it's worth. My dad told her that each coin was equivalent to 100 pennies. For whatever reason she kept thinking 100 dollars. After she opened each one she would say, "100 dollars....200 dollars....300 dollars....." In hindsight I should've put a dollar in each bag in different denominations. Ex. 100 pennies, 20 nickels, 10 dimes, etc. as she is studying money in the first grade. Oh well. She had a blast and I certainly enjoyed watching her.

Instead of keeping the money Kris actually had a great idea of taking the money and paying it forward - to teach her children about servicing others (see what she did and her final note here.) I considered doing it as well....but Kailani has been saving her own money to buy a prize of her choice and I really haven't given her an opportunity to make any money. Bad mama!

After the excitement of the scavenger hunt it was time for some rainbow Jell-O!

These little glasses were perfect for it. Would've been better if they were smaller but I had to work with what I had. Instead of using yogurt I used evaporated milk instead. I found that it took about 40 minutes for each layer to set. If you look close you can see that some of the colors "bled" - that was because of my impatience (the green is actually supposed to be yellow...but blue + yellow = green!) Next time I may make individual servings and put all of them in clear, plastic cups.

As you can see, the little bowl isn't so little!
Momo decided she only really wanted the whipped cream anyways.

Kailani checking out all the layers....

Happy St. Patrick's Day! And a special thanks to Kris at JesseKate Designs!

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Patrick's Day - Tomorrow!

St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow! Whoo-hoo! I love the holidays although I don't celebrate as much as I would like. However, I've got the crafting itch so I thought I'd try to do more this year than just send my kid to school wearing green.

A couple of weeks ago I found some cute shamrock fabric. I went ahead and bought it without knowing what I was going to make. I decided to make Kailani an outfit to wear to school but it turns out the kids are supposed to wear their green field trip t-shirts on St. Patty's day. *Sigh* So much for making a cute dress. So I thought I'd make her a skirt. Well goshdarnit, she has P.E. tomorrow. Not only that I totally procrastinated and now I don't have a whole lot of time to make anything time consuming. Besides, the fabric screams "St. Patrick's Day" so there is a good chance she's only going to wear whatever I make once.

Well, the weather is expected to be unexpectedly warm tomorrow. In the 70's (go figure). So a skirt with shorts/legging underneath might not be too bad. I recalled a twirly skirt tutorial that I followed a year and a half ago from House On Hillroad. It's a simple pattern with step-by-step instructions and pictures to go along with it. For Kailani's 5th birthday party the theme was tigers - I ended up making about 10 twirly tiger skirts for the party guests. Here's a picture from that special day.

And here is the skirt that I finished this morning. I bypassed the instructions to make a tie and just used the elastic. In all honesty with no distractions I probably could have made it in an hour. But since I have a two year old....well....need I explain?

I'll take an action shot tomorrow. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Tour of the "Orphanage".....

I sit here staring at the computer screen trying to get my thoughts together on how to express the experience that I had today. I want to be able to share my thoughts and feelings without turning this entry into an infomercial. Here I go.

This morning I had my tour of the Barium Springs Home for Children - the "orphanage" that I want to make the bibs and blankets for. I was excited and eager to see the "orphanage" and to learn all that I could about the place. But I was also nervous that I might leave disappointed for some unexpected reason. Thankfully that did not happen.

You're probably wondering why I put the word orphanage in quotations? That would be because the orphanage is no longer an orphanage!


That was the first thing that I learned on the tour. Apparently it is one of the biggest misconceptions of the place. Yes, many many years ago it was an orphanage but as the needs of the orphanage changed so did the services they provided. Initially I was disappointed - here I am dedicating my time to recruit others to help me make things to contribute to an orphanage that really isn't an orphanage anymore? But my disappointment was quickly diminished as I learned more about the home, the services they offer, the needs that they have, and of course when I learned about the children that they assist.

So if Barium Springs isn't an orphanage what is it? I was told a "group home" or a "day treatment center." Yes, there are children than live there but there is so much more the home than just that. The Barium Springs Home for Children provides:

1) Residential services - including day treatment and foster care;
2) Early childhood education - including training and consulting;
3) Alternative education - including day treatment and Spring Academy;
4) Community-based services - including clinical services and child services support; and a
5) Campus Ministry

So does this change anything for me or the direction that I want to go with the 1000 bibs and blankets? No. Not at all. If anything it makes me want to do even more. But what more can we do?

While on the tour I was able to meet so many people that play an important part of the daily lives of the children there. Administrators, directors, teachers, daycare providers, chaplain, and even the Sheriff. I asked several of them their opinion on what the kids needed - things that the community could help provide. Of course I was asking this question as a general question but I was also trying to figure out what craftsters could do to help. In addition to the items on the "needs list" some of the things that we can make for them include:

1) blankets for the children's cots;
2) twin sheets/blankets for the beds in the group home; and
3) clothing

They are ALWAYS in need. But just as situations change, their needs change.

I left the home feeling inspired but quite overwhelmed. It was a lot of information to process - good information but nevertheless a lot of it. I still want to move forward with the bibs and blankets....and I hope others do too!

(ETA: If there are no orphan babies staying at the home you may wonder who will receive the bibs. The bibs would be used in the daycare center as well as given to foster babies and their foster parents. Apparently (but understandably) there is also a great need to help out grandparents that due to the economy find themselves now taking care of their grandchildren. If the home has no use for items (which is rare) they find people that are in need of them. Nothing goes to waste.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monsters for My Little Monsters

My sewing "want-to-do" list is growing longer day by day. I say "want to do" versus "to do" because in reality there is no way I could possibly make everything that I want! Everyday I am inspired to try something new and I love it.

Yesterday I came across the cutest little monsters. They are called "RevoluzZzionary Monsters". They just made me smile! And just my luck, a tutorial was provided on how to make them! So today I went through my stash and made two of them, one for each of my girls. They aren't perfect - but that's okay. Kailani fell in love with her monster and wants to take it to show-and-tell tomorrow. If that's not the biggest compliment I don't know what is. Trying to impress a 6-year old is tough. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Easter Hat and Mittens

Goodness. There are so many things that I want to sew! Obviously I've got tons of bibs and blankets to sew but I can't let that consume all of my sewing time!

I stumbled across a really cool blog - The Purl Bee. I want to make just about everything she has listed in her "Patchwork Project Journal" - esp. the party garland and the bunny hat & mittens! With Easter coming up I thought my girls would really enjoy finding their own bunny hat in their Easter basket. How cute would that be to have bunny ears to wear while searching for eggs?

Eat Snow!

This past Sunday we got some snow. While everyone was excited about it I was not (Cold + wet = not a very happy mama!) But I also knew that this might just be the last snowfall we will get to to play in for a very long time as we are headed back to Hawaii this summer.

Sunday afternoon the snow started.

By midnight it was looking like this:

When I woke up I have to admit - it was beautiful outside.

Unfortunately for me the girls were ready to go out almost immediately. While getting them dressed I was quickly reminded of just how long it takes to get everyone bundled up. By the time both girls were dressed I was ready for a nap! But in the end it was worth it - the girls had a lot of fun.

Okay, maybe it wasn't fun the whole time. This is exactly how I felt:

While in the snow I remembered my father telling me about his mom making "snow cream" for him and his brothers when they were kids. I thought I'd try it out. Here's the recipe:

Snow Cream
1/2 cup milk
1T sugar
2-3 drops of vanilla
1-3 cups clean snow (like I really needed to put "clean" lol)

Mix the first three ingredients together. Slowly add snow to desired consistency.

Ours ended up being more like a drink - I used two cups of snow. I think it would've been much better if eaten like shaved ice. I just didn't want to go back out into the snow to get more!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Cutting has Begun

Just wanted to share what I've done so far. Forty front bib pieces have been cut. Back pieces are still waiting their turn. The scary thing is I didn't have to buy any fabric - this is all part of my stash. I decided to go with the infant bib pattern provided at Chickpea Sewing Studio. It's an easy pattern to follow. I printed out the pattern on card stock, cut the two pieces out, taped them together then went crazy with my rotary cutter. For the next stash of bibs (which probably won't be for awhile) I'll use a different pattern - probably a larger one.

Here's how they look so far. Don't bother counting - three are missing. They are currently pinned together waiting their turn to be sewn. I think this project gives me the perfect excuse to go out and get an industrial snap press!

A Pocket Full of Buttons - March Giveaway!

My girlfriend over at "A Pocket Full of Buttons" is giving away two, yes TWO adorable corduroy A-line dresses just for checking out her blog! Deadline to enter is Friday, March 6th so head over there now! Like what you see and can't wait to get it? Check out her website at Sew Fierce. Thanks Stephanie for an awesome giveaway! Tell her Sharon sent you. Good luck to those that enter!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Feeling the Rewards.....

I've barely gotten started with the "1000 Bibs & Blankets" project but I already feel rewarded. First of all so many people have come forward to help out. My friends, friends of friends, and even newly acquired friends that I have never met in person but who share the desire to help in a crafty way. Thank you to all of you.

So far one of the biggest highlights for me has been the reaction of my six year old daughter, Kailani. I told her about this project and why I wanted to do it. She had no idea what an orphanage was so I did my best to tell her. I could see the wheels turning in her head as she was trying to process all of the information - that there are kids out there with no mom and dad? We then talked about some of the things that we have as a family, tangible and untangible and how blessed we are to have what we have. Her response to this project? "Mom, I want to learn how to sew so I can make bibs too." It was quite an enlightening moment. I was so touched that my daughter wants to be a part of this too. While I haven't taught her how to sew I will try to incorporate her help in any way that I can. Tonight I asked her to draw a picture. Here is what she drew:

They are supposed to be bibs hanging on a laundry line. Of course she had to include cute little animals. lol